a little light stitching

tape measure sewing thread

I’m a lazy knitter and a careless sewer. Too keen to get started on the project, I neglect the basics. Knit a swatch? Not always. When I do knit one, I carefully pin it out, find the tape measure and count the stitches. Recount the stitches. Take a vague approximation of the two. Refer back to the pattern. My tension doesn’t seem quite the same. Never mind, I’ll just knit the next size up or down. You can probably guess whether I make a muslin before starting a sewing project. No matter how many times Jane shows that this is a basic step to ensure that you understand the techniques and can adjust the pattern to your own shape, I just take the scissors to my chosen fabric and get started.  No wonder things don’t fit quite as perfectly as they could.

I enjoy knitting.  I like cutting steeks and turning the heel on a sock. I’ll happily knit with different colours, stranding the wool across the back of the work, though I’m bad at planning and just wing it on the needles, but when it comes to fancy stitches I duck out. Really, does that jumper need a cabled pattern? I convince myself it will look just fine without. A fancy cowl neck, a picot hem or lace pattern? No chance.

I start sewing projects with enthusiasm but alas, I shall never be as talented as my mother, which is why I mainly knit and don’t sew. Last summer I had a little phase of sewing. I converted an old skirt into a top with surprising success and then bought some fabric to make another top using the same pattern. I’m not sure what I managed to do, but the top came out too short, so not quite such a success. The skirt I made was alright to wear if there was nothing else clean in the wardrobe but the fabric I bought to make a dress is still unsullied by scissors and needle, neatly folded away.

This is a rather long winded way to say that I’m joining in the Stitched Journal Project. To quote Alex “It is a project to get the ideas flowing, to process the days in a creative way, to try new techniques and to push past fears that keep us from making something.  It isn’t about perfection, or getting it “just right,” it is about process and perspective.

I’m mentioning it, because I thought you might be tempted to join in too. I’m going to use it to widen my horizons; to try the things I usually ignore. Expand my knitting beyond plain rows of knit and purl, do a little creative sewing along the way, maybe some crochet or rug making. Who knows.  I’ve dragged out my “Complete Book of Needlecrafts” and “Book of Knitting Stitches”. I’ve sorted my knitting needles into pairs, my sewing machine is dusted down and I’m ready for action. I don’t suppose for one minute that I’ll actually put everything into a real journal; it will probably just get stuffed in a box. Or maybe I’ll just make it into a digital journal. Oh, how easy that is to type. I have absolutely no idea what a digital journal is.

18 thoughts on “a little light stitching

  1. Julie says:

    You sound like me. Have you seen this blog, this month Lucy is blogging a pattern every day from 1st February till next week http://fortiesknitter.blogspot.co.uk/. I also saw that Stitched Journel Project, I thought of joining in but I would probably fail before I start like I did with the knit-a-long. But the stitching journal has given me an idea for three wedding anniversary presents for my sons and daughter-in-laws. I think blogs are digital journals.


    • Anne @ Life in Mud Spattered Boots says:

      Thanks for the link. I think I may download a couple of those patterns, especially the fairisle. My expectations for Stitched Journal are probably lower than most participants and I may not complete something every month, but it’s good to apply a little thought to some of my projects instead of jumping in.


  2. dianeskitchentable says:

    Oh I love to sew & used to do it all the time for my daughter when she was a competitive figure skater. I loved doing all of the beadwork & crystals on those dresses. I keep trying to get myself in gear to redo most of the windows & make a duvet cover…well I guess the list is endless. I’ve had a problem with my hip and it sounds like I’ll have to have it replaced so maybe I should get back to knitting or crochet as something to do after surgery. I never quite got the knack of sizing with knitting but crochet seemed to come a little easier for me. I’m going to have to take a good look at this web site you’ve mentioned.


  3. Heike Herrling says:

    I know exactly what you mean – I totally wing it when crafting. But usually it works out ok, and it’s much more fun than getting stressed about it being perfect. It’s meant to be fun, above all, right?
    I love this stitched journal idea and I think I want to join in. I’m going to contact Lola Nova now… exciting!


  4. Gather and Graze says:

    Good luck with the new project Anne, I look forward to seeing your posts and progress! Sewing and knitting are both crafts that I would love to get into… though I seem to lack the patience with these things – always start with such enthusiasm… yet can’t seem to complete anything!


  5. thecompletebook says:

    Good for you – I hope you will keep us up to speed with your progress.
    I knit and crochet – sewing not so much. My mom is a perfect seamstress and even made my wedding dress for me. I sadly don’t seem to have inherited her sewing gene though.
    Have a super weekend.
    🙂 Mandy xo


  6. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial says:

    Enjoy your year-long project. 🙂 I once knitted a scarf using all different colours of wool and trying out about thirty different stitch patterns in my knitting book. It didn’t look like much by the end, but I did learn to knit pretty well! Used to sew like crazy too, but both those hobbies have fallen by the way now. Sometimes I think the joy is in learning the skill, rather than actually making anything with it! 🙂


  7. andreamynard says:

    I too have lots of enthusiasm for knitting and sewing but am also the person who used to make dolls clothes by stapling and cellotaping and have never moved much beyond this in terms of skill. My enthusiasm has got the better of me though and have just joined a creative group where I’ve already learnt so much from more experienced stitchers. So really look forward to hearing how you get on.


  8. Jenny says:

    Sounds like an interesting idea. I’m better at knitting than at sewing when it comes to enthusiam and following every step (though I only knit gauge squares when I think the final size might be an issue). When it comes to sewing I just want it to be done, and quickly which doesn’t always leave polished results and means that the nicest fabrics remain uncut for fear of what I might do to them!


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