Busy hands

I think I must be the least frequent blogger in existence, but there’s a reason for it. I have a lot to do besides write my thoughts! I think them, and I sometimes think that I should write something, but before I can, I’m on to the next thing. Usually something that involves my hands.

In late 2019, I took knitting lessons. Talk about good timing, but it was an amazing hobby to be learning in the early days of a pandemic. Online yarn orders were still being (carefully) shipped, and I was pretty slow anyway. It was, and still is, a fun, fulfilling and productive hobby. I can’t think of a time since I began knitting that I didn’t have at least one project on my needles.

Last spring, I decided that I needed a nice knitting project bag so I could take my work with me more easily. I looked at several but didn’t see exactly what I wanted, so I decided to learn to sew and make what I wanted. It wasn’t exactly out of the blue. I’ve sewn simple things before, and I had my mother’s old Singer machine that she used when I was growing up. It had been years since I dusted it off (20 years to be exact). I oiled it up, found all the manuals and parts, and got started. 

What a rabbit hole! I’ve made numerous bags for myself and for gifts. It’s fun to do. But of course, (yep) I decided that if I could do THAT, then I could make CLOTHES. Just a small leap from mostly flat rectangles to couture. Or a t-shirt.

I’ve replaced mom’s sewing machine with a new model, with lots of attachments, bells and whistles, and I’m learning to make clothes. Pants, to be specific. I’ve done a few tops, many un-finished or not quite right, and learned a lot. Pants are harder. MUCH harder. After several muslins, or test pants made of cheap fabric, I felt confident enough to make actual pants. Nice trousers using good quality, heavy linen fabric. They turned out well, and there were only one or two things that I’d change. Next time.

The common pleasure in knitting and sewing, besides the obvious one of having a nice handmade wardrobe, is the materials. The yarns! The fabrics! Lovely colors, natural materials, things I can’t find in the shops. Soft, squishy yarns in my favorite muted hues; drapey, colorful fabrics that will last for years! And the challenge of teaching my brain, and hands, to wrap around new skills, which is a big part of growing older…better.

I think I’ll be doing this for a while.

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