Craft Jumpstart

My attempts at learning to knit are on hold for the time being, as I just got too frustrated with the whole experience for now. I think I was doing it right for the most part, but all the stitches were too tight and everything kept slipping off of the needles. I’ll come back to it eventually, but in the meantime, I’ve tried to jumpstart my craftiness with a bit of embroidery and sewing.

After the knitting thing didn’t seem to be working, I dug around my stash to find something I could actually do and feel good about doing. I found a kit from the DMC Linea series and decided to go with that. Basically, you get a fabric base item (purse, pillow cover) with a pattern already printed on, and then you can pick your own colors and stitch it all out. I ended up choosing some pinks and ended up with this after a few hours:

Embroidered purse
Close-up of embroidered purse
I think this series is DMC’s attempt to get a younger, more “hip” crowd into embroidery, which is fine by me, especially because it’s so easy to do and the kits are pretty nice. I don’t know if they’ve done well, but I know they look a lot better than the usual embroidery kits you find in the same aisle. It’s kind of depressing to look through all the same old designs of clothes-wearing teddy bears, fairy-filled fantasy scenes, and awful, inspirational quotes, so when I saw these, I was pretty pleased. I hope to work on a few more of these, and then move on to some of my own designs.

Originally, I was thinking that I’d buy some readymade items and embroider them, but after looking through some newly acquired craft books and fiddling around with my sewing machine, I think I might make some of my own from scratch. Awhile ago, I’d emailed Sarah of Hip to Piece Squares about how she makes her tote bags (aren’t they all just gorgeous?!), since I couldn’t find any good patterns elsewhere, and she offered a lengthy set of instructions to get me going. I put off trying it out for awhile, but after making a zippered pouch at our last South Bay Craft Group meeting, I was able to figure it out. The approach isn’t too different really, with one using handles and the other a zipper.

My First Totebag My First Totebag - Lining View
I messed up on a few bits and even had to rip out some stitches at one point, but I like it as a first try. I even made a little zippered pouch to go with it!

Handmade Zippered Pouch - White, Black, Red
Handmade Zippered Pouch - White, Black, Red - Inside
I’ve also been trying to catch up on old projects and intended projects lately, and it feels so good to get them done. First, I finally washed and ironed a major embroidery piece that I worked on for months and that is a very belated wedding present for a good friend. (No photos yet, but after it’s been framed and delivered, I’ll post some.) And then I sewed up a pillowcase that I had intended as a Christmas gift for my sister. It was so much easier than I thought:

My First Pillow - Front
My First Pillow - Back
She’s attending my alma mater and is a lot more “rah rah” than I ever was, so I thought this would be perfect for her. We’ll see what she says when it arrives though. ;)

Anyway, I feel so much better having worked on all of these projects now. It’s just no fun being in between projects, so I’m hoping to keep up this momentum and move on to other things. It’ll help, considering that I have a bunch of swaps on Swap Bot to work on over the next month or two!