Sunday, October 24, 2004

Life is Sew-Sew

Today I veer yet again from the topic of knitting, because I haven't had time to do much of it. Why? Well, in addition to parenting and starting a new job, I have been Sewing Princess Skirts. They were simple, they were cute, and it was all for a good cause (for more information, see my other blog). But I am not good at sewing.

There is a reason that I am not a good at sewing, and it has to do with measuring: I cannot measure. (Actually, there is another reason as well: I could not sew a straight seam even if my life depended on it. Well, maybe if my life depended on it I could, but probably not, because don't you think that the stress would make those little stitches even more crooked? Not even a sober person could walk a straight line on my seams.)

But back to measuring. The thing about sewing is that you have to be exact. Meticulous. You have to cut that quarter inch seam allowance and mean it, baby: no extra sixteenth inches here and there. My husband, well, he would make a great seamstress (or is that tailor?). Measure twice, cut once, nothing off more than 1/32 of an inch. Hmmph. It is not in my temperament to work this way.

I tried quilting once. Pieced together sixteen log cabin blocks for a baby quilt. These particular log cabins would never have held up in a Nor'easter, let me tell you. The blocks then sat in storage for oh, about ten years, before I passed them on to my mother-in-law, who has been doing a lot of quilting in the past few years. She may try to salvage them, but even she--frugal to the bone--may admit that they Just Aren't Worth Saving.

Now, the reasonable among you may point out that knitting, too, requires measuring. And you are right. You must measure the swatch (which of course I always do, because only a crazy person would start a project without swatching first....right? RIGHT?). You must measure the length as you knit merrily along. You must measure to know where the armholes should start, and where you should take off stitches for the thumb (not usually in the same project as the aforementioned armholes), and where you should start that next section of intarsia. But, the thing is....knitting just seems so much more forgiving to me. When I'm off here and there, I can usually find a way to make it all work. Sure, losing stitches in an Aran pattern means you're pretty much sunk, and very bad measuring means that your sweater will probably only fit the Rottweiler next door. But most of the time I can figure something out.

I know that there are meticulous knitters out there. They make beautiful seams. Their sweaters always fit. Their work is much finer than mine. But me, I'm with the anarchists. Although not a risk-taker by nature, I love the adventures of knitting with sketchy measurements. Sometimes I just need to make it up as I go.