6 February 2008

Needle work

I wrote yesterday about focusing on your home and the importance of seeing your work there with respect. One of the things that helped me refocus on my life at home was to do things that I really enjoyed and that helped me live up to my new values. I taught myself to knit and sew again. I had done these things earlier in life but put them aside thinking they were irrelevant when I could buy, ready-made, whatever I needed. I've already told you, to my shame, that I used to throw away shirts and skirts rather than sew on a button or mend a small rip. I regret doing those things but it did teach me the true waste of doing it and that knitting, sewing, mending, patchwork and dressmaking are fine skills to have and necessary when I want to use everything to its full extent.

I bought my first ever sewing machine when my children were small and I wanted to repair their clothes. That didn't last long though and that sewing machine sat in the cupboard, unused, for many years. I started using it again about five years ago and when I took it to be serviced and the mechanic told me that it would stand only one more service, I decided to give it away on freecycle on buy another sewing machine. I use it frequently.

Although I knit, sew and make simple patchwork I don't regard myself as having a craft hobby, or even having the skill of a crafter. I see this work as housework. I don't sew and knit for pleasure, although there is much pleasure in it, I do it for the practical reasons of economy and maintenance, and to make unique practical items for my home.

I know some of you will be new to sewing and knitting, and some will not have taken up the needles for many years, so I want to encourage you to give it a try. I think there is a lot to be gained in learning these skills. You'll save money when you mend clothes rather than waste them, you'll be able to make unique gifts instead of buying one of a million, you'll be able to sew curtains, cushion covers, aprons, shopping bags, dishcloths, jug covers, napkins, tablecloths and tea towels. The list is long.

I've collected a number of sites that have helped me in recent years, maybe you will find help there too. I'll also include my stitchery how to and the link to my free stitchery patterns. I hope you gain a lot of enjoyment with your knitting and sewing, I have, although I'm not nearly good enough for my own liking yet. But I do get by and produce many things for my home that I'm proud of and use frequently. My hope is that you find that pleasure too.

Fingerless gloves. I am knitting these this winter.
Knitty.com this is a nice knitting site with lots of wonderful ideas

How to sew - basic instructions to get your started.
Homespun Living - Deb's blog is a lovely mix of sewing, knitting and cooking.
Turkey feathers - this is a lovely blog for sewing and various craft ideas.
Sew Mama Sew
The wonderful rosehip blog.

These are just a few sites where you can teach yourself how to sew, mend and knit. If you know any other links that freely givegood advice, with pictures, please add them to your comment so we can all share this important homemakers' list.

PS: I have to apologise to many of you who are waiting for a reply to your email. I hope to have the time to get to them tomorrow. I do appreciate your notes and always enjoy catching up with what everyone is doing.
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