Friday, September 24, 2010

Beginner Sewing and Knitting: Taking back the skillz

Here is my first apron that I just finished about a week ago.

In part of my journey towards a sustainable lifestyle, I am determined to learn some of the skills that have been on my bucket list for years!  I have always enjoyed crafting..As a child/youth, I made many a latch hooking, as a teen and college student, I got into oil painting, but I always wanted to know how to knit and sew.  In 6th grade I took a home ec class and briefly learned to use a sewing machine, but didn't pursue it, because I thought it was not the "college track"--Even though, I enjoyed it, I did not think it was a class "worthy" of the track towards "success" and "being college educated".  (what a snob I was)--and I really wasn't a snob.. especially in junior high..I was kind of shy and nerdy and not in the hip group..but I was a popular wanna-be-for sure!  I did not always have the backbone or confidence to stand by and trust what I felt was right either-back then... I'd like an earring and someone would tell me it was ugly and then I'd think I was wrong in liking it-- (that is a whole other story of adolescent insecurities) In any case, I feel very differently about the "value" of this skill..  And really want to "take back the skills" that have been devalued during at least the last couple of generations..  For example: with this skill, I can make pajamas for my kids that are not filled with toxic flame retardant--take control of my own buying power so that I do not have to be limited by what is on the shelves or be "forced" into buying fume filled sleep ware.

And here I am, going back to it, because I really did want to learn how..and have always thought "the thought of knitting and sewing during the wintertime" a very warm and fuzzy thought--just as appealing as sitting in a cafe sipping a great latte..

 **I am learning how to use a sewing machine and sew from patterns from classes at Portland Sewing--taking the complete 12 week course: Learning to Sew. 12 classes @ 3 hours/class.  The first 4 week block, you make an apron, the second-a robe, and the third pajamas.

Portland Sewing: "We offer sewing classes for the beginner to the advanced stitcher wanting to learn something new, from sewing basics to pattern making, draping, tailoring and couture. No matter the class, our job is to make sure you gain skills, create a project you like, build your confidence — and have a good time doing it!" (My review is that I really like the instructors and the school.  You can begin knowing nothing about sewing and feel after each 3 hour class, you have learned a great deal)  I am not afraid to ask questions..and find it much easier to learn the skills and "tricks" than I would have trying to learn on my own..  The classes continue from the very beginner all the way to people who wish to do apparel design professionally!  You begin with Learn to Sew (if you are a complete beginner)--Then you can continue to Beginning Sewing, then Intermediate, and so on..  I also believe that the prices are very reasonable considering each class is 3 hours long and you really get the help and the level of learning that matches where you are at in your skill level. 

2111 NE 43rd Ave. Portland, OR
(503) 927-5457
Sharon Blair

I am learning how to knit from the book: Stitch and Bitch. (which breaks down each knitting skill into manageable bites) with simple projects for the beginner to intermediate..and interesting historical commentary on knitting.

 Here is the Janome sewing machine I am making payments on on top of a sewing table I bought on Craigslist.  (I really like that it has metal parts (built to last) and can lock in place the slooooowww speed)--because I am such a beginner!  (-; 
And here is the first 1/3 of the scarf I am working on. Knit Knit. Pearl Pearl..  (-; 

And this is truly truly fun for me.  I love create and get to see the "art" of what comes out of it; and I love to learn..and it is sooo useful.  I am hoping to next learn how to knit a hat, and I also have high hopes of making Halloween costumes, curtains, learn to quilt, and hem up some pants.  (if I can find enough "free time")  Fall/winter is a good time to attempt this, I think as my garden slows down..

And I want to be a part of advocating for a wonderful (not quite lost art)--that is not just an art, but a very very useful skill.


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