Slow sewing and handwork projects

Hey friends! It’s been a minute! I’ve got something a little bit different than a finished garment to share today. I’ve been traveling for a fair bit since the beginning of the year and haven’t had much time in my sewing studio. So while I have some finished garments to share that I frantically completed before my trip to Maui a few weeks ago, I was too distracted by the beautiful weather and the “Hawaii missile crisis” to take any photos. And the next weekend I spent in Palm Springs for a girls weekend. And then to snowy Chicago for a work conference. It’s a tough life really. All that aside, I’m so grateful to be home, with no traveling plans for a while.

All that travel helped me remember that I actually love having a handwork project going. I don’t know how I always forget that I love the calming, meditative aspect of slowly stitching things together. So in the interest of having things to do on the plane (because I always think I’ll get actual work done, but I NEVER do), I picked up a few skeins of yarn and decided it was about damn time I knit myself a sweater.

My step grandmother taught me to knit maybe 12ish years ago, and I’ve barely ventured out of flat, rectangular things in garter or stockinette stitch. I keep trying to knit my boyfriend a scarf, since he wears them all the time in winter, but every time I finish one, he deems it too itchy. So then I just keep it for myself. This all makes it sound like I knit on the regular. I definitely do not. But I keep seeing all these beautiful knit garments on the ‘gram and I can’t contain my jealousy any longer.

My general approach to almost everything in life is “I bet I could figure out how to do that”. At one point, someone, somewhere figured out how to do a thing. There’s usually no real reason you couldn’t ALSO be a person who figured out how to do that thing. Now, there are limitations to this, of course. Am I going to be an Olympic gold medal gymnast? No. But this isn’t the uneven bars, it’s looping a long strand of yard around a couple of sticks, thousands of times in a row. (All this to say that if you have that one project in mind that you can’t start because you don’t think you are good enough yet, just do the damn thing. It’s probably not as hard as you think, and if you wait until you’re definitely, totally, absolutely ready, you’ll be waiting forever.)

So, I grabbed my yarn, picked a pattern (after seeing Lladybird’s version of this sweater a while back) YouTube-d a whole bunch of things I had no idea how to do and got to it. And you know what? I’m knitting a sweater. And learning so much. (Which is what happens when you have  no idea what you’re doing and make a ton of mistakes.) And I’m having a blast. It’s like the feeling after you make your first wearable garment and you feel invincible and amazed at yourself. I am almost finished with the body, and then moving on to the arms. Currently I have zero clue how to knit those (something about knitting with like 15 needles at once, all poking every which way). But you know what? It can’t possibly be that hard, and is probably nothing a little internet research can’t solve.

Since my sweater got too big to lug around with me somewhere around trip 2, I also unearthed an English paper piecing project from long ago. I love these Karen Lewis Textiles fabrics, and have been sewing together these little crosses into a throw pillow cover. They’ve been perfect for my university group supervision classes and I’m such a better listener when my hands are moving. I’ve moved away from my quilting roots since finding garment sewing, and it’s been nice to pick it up again. I’m also destashing and cleaning out my sewing studio, and finishing up leftover projects.  And it feels great to be using up scraps and finding homes for orphaned quilt blocks. It’s really helped me get my garment sewjo back, actually.

This is what it will probably look like once I’m done.

So what about you? Do you do handwork in between other projects? I dabble in embroidery, English paper piecing and knitting. Are there other crafts I should be trying? Let me know in the comments!

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