Saturday, December 7, 2013

December Witch Crafting- Mistakes

I have been sewing like a mad woman. Every single day, for nearly all of the day, I sew. I am making Christmas presents. Things are actually going pretty good and I feel like I may get everything made before December 24. There is a golden rule of sewing that states the easier a thing is the more likely you are to screw it up. It's right under the bylaw about the longer you stitch, the more tired, hungry, grumpy you become, and thus the more glaring the mistake.

I am making a mirror frame for my aunt and uncle. I've made picture frame mats, but not mirror mats. And I chose to up-cycle a mirror, which is octagon shaped. That results in a bit of tricky construction. I have no pattern. I'm figuring things out as I go along. I heard you suck in your breath as you realized I am stupidly working on a project a bit above my skill level on a tight deadline. It's okay, I know I'm being dumb. Yep, the project was doomed from the get-go.

The first mistake I made was in my design. I settled on a bargello diamond pattern. Due to the stitches running straight across the canvas rather than diagonally, a good bit of blank canvas showed. That was rather ugly. I ripped everything out and tried diagonal stitches. Which altered my design in a lop-sided way. I ripped it out again.

Maybe I needed some filler stitches. I diagonally stitched a silvery white with alternating rows of red. That looked cool, like frost and fire. I thought it would be awesome peeking through the diamond pattern. Except the frost/fire threads made the diamond straight stitches bulky. And they pulled up in wads instead of peeking through. It completely distracted from the diamonds. Rip out again.

On the third (or was that the fourth?) time I started over, I said the hell with these stupid diamonds. I got out variegated yarn in hopes that the colors alone would make a bold enough statement. I also went with a diagonal stitch to completely cover the canvas. Two problems solved.

But what if it's too much color? Color makes a bold statement, but it shouldn't do all the talking. I settled on black to tone things down. And hey, I could make bigger stitches and wrap this project up sooner. And I could outline my colors in black. I still have no idea what I'm doing. Exactly how are these 8 straight pieces going to fit together? AND still hold the mirror in place? Without the ugly back being reflected in the glass? Rather than take some time to figure this out, I kept stitching the edging to let my subconscious mind work out the solution. I hope I don't have to rip anything else out.

I've noticed most of the sewing blogs I read talking about mistakes lately. A seamstress accidently cut holes into the bodice of a dress. Experienced quilters who have been sewing for years try something new and, oops, that didn't work. The shirt looks fine, it fits well, but due to the nature of the cloth, it does not photograph well. You don't understand that's a problem until you realize the models wearing your clothes will be endlessly photographed and your clothes will look poorly made. Sewing can be a very relaxing hobby. There is a soothing rhythm to the up and down motion of the needle. But it takes a lot of intelligence to get to the relaxing part and you will probably become prematurely gray before you get there. I know as ye sew, so shall ye rip.

But on the other hand, no one needs to know how many times I started over. At the very least, I learn to avoid a particular mistake. With every project I complete, I get a little better at sewing.

And I feel really, really smug when someone thinks my mess is beautiful.

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