Tuesday, 10 April 2012

I Started Something I Couldn't Finish

Originally posted (elsewhere) on 10/3/12
At the start of the year, this article got me started on a plan that even at this early stage is unravelling before me.

I decided that this year I wouldn't buy any clothes, with the reasonable exceptions of footwear and underwear. Instead, I would make one garment a month, with a view to learning a new skill or technique each month.

So January - a nice easy task to get started with an aim to learning a bit more about my overlocker, not least how to rethread it without swearing so much. I chose this Burda skirt pattern (see right). My skirt still isn't finished, but I have got better and quicker with the overlocker.

There are reasons for this, some of them are the same reasons that got me started on this project too. Mr K's lovely dad, a former engineer who usually had some sort of project on the go, as well as managing a large vegetable garden, spent the last six months of his life quietly losing a battle with pulmonary fibrosis. As he lived nearby, we were lucky to be able to spend a lot of time with him - in good health and bad.

In days of better health, he used to teach me to drive on the country roads round here. The driving lesson was an excuse to try out different cafes and tea shops for fry ups or tea and cake. We made vague threats about compiling a book on the cafes of Southern Scotland. The quality of their cheese scones was the usual test. If they had gluten-free cake on the menu they got extra points, but not if it tasted like packaging material. Once we were at a cafe where the owner came out of the kitchen and announced they were closing early that day as they were going to bury their cat and have a little ceremony in their garden. After that, the cafe was always known to us as the Dead Cat Place.

I've wasted hours - years probably - thinking about doing things or making things. Laziness or lack of confidence have been the usual obstacles. It seems to have only recently occurred to me that life just isn't long enough to get everything done, and to fit in all the learning. I've been so slow to figure this out; meanwhile lots of people around me have been busy getting on with all kinds of interesting and worthwhile stuff.

Here is my February garment. It's from this Debbie Bliss knitting pattern with a couple of my own alterations. I learned how to do mattress stitch for sewing it up. Somehow I got this finished before the skirt:

There's something quite meditational about knitting that I don't get from sewing. Once you've got the pattern set you can get into a bit of a trance. You can also watch telly and knit; I wouldn't try that with sewing.

The over-exposed photo hides the mistakes I made on the last two rows of the collar. It's a bit of a cheat as I started this piece last July, put it away in a bag and finished knitting it in February. It was a day into March when it was actually sewn up and finished. A lot happened in February.

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