Stitching of a Different Sort

Posted in: This and That — By on October 25, 2014 7:30 AM

Some people like baking, some people prefer cooking. While I’m not a great cook, I definitely prefer it over baking. I like that I can use a recipe as a starting point, but make adjustments based on my preferences or what I have on hand, and taste as I go to make sure it’ll turn out okay. Baking, on the other hand, is more of an exact science. Unless you really understand what you’re doing, it’s much harder to customize a baking recipe and get a happy outcome.

I think the same can be said for sewing and knitting. With sewing, it’s much easier to substitute fabrics or alter the pattern, and achieve the result you want. With knitting, the patterns are pretty exacting, down to the tightness of your knitting, size of needles and specific blend of yarn that is called for. You really need to understand how the stitches and pattern work if you want to go rogue!

It’s the precision that knitting requires that has always turned me off of attempting any project following a knitting pattern. Unlike sewing, it’s hard to flub it with knitting because it shows! So, since I was a kid, I’ve stuck to improvised scarves, mitts and socks using techniques I’ve picked up from my mum over the years.

But part of me has always loved those fancy cable knits, fair isle designs and other fussy stuff…

I finally decided to give it a go when my son grew out of a beautiful red hand knit hat that was a gift at my baby shower. I loved that hat on him and wanted him to have another special hat to wear this fall and winter.

It didn’t take long to find a great free pattern online — this Ravelry pattern for a double rib toddler hat with earflaps was so adorable and had lots of good reviews. The skills required were very basic and the end result has a sweet mock cable pattern that was super easy to create. I did have to restart my hat a couple of times, first because I needed to use bigger needles so the hat would fit my son’s head, and a second time when I tried to go rogue and screwed up the decreases! Using the helpful decrease chart provided, my final attempt went really smoothly.

So, without further adieu, here is the little hat:

Apparently it tastes good, too.

My next knitting project: Making a matching hat for my husband (by request)!

Even though this wasn’t a sewing project, I really wanted to share the experience that I had tackling something I’d never done before. Seeing beautiful knitting projects by other crafters online or in my Instagram feed is so inspiring that it makes me want to make things too. There were tons of patterns and information online, entirely for free. It’s really empowering to have access to so much experience from crafters all around the world. If a stitch I was unfamiliar with was listed in the pattern, a quick Google search brought up countless tutorials and YouTube clips showing exactly what to do, all because other people wanted to share their knowledge with others. And for any other pursuit you can think of (dying fabric, playing an instrument, cooking, building a website…) there are just as many resources for learning.

I realized that Sewing School may come up in similar Google searches by novice sewers who are wondering how to troubleshoot their sewing machine or bind a quilt. Hopefully our sewing tips and tricks help demystify sewing for someone out there, just like knitting a hat was demystified for me!

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