First things first: Ravelry added a tag for designers to pledge donations to relief in Haiti.  You can search Help for Haiti patterns here to shop, and you can narrow the search by your favorites or queued items.  I’ve added all Knitting Kninja sale patterns to the pledge.  Retroactively, 50% of the profits from all patterns sold from the date of the earthquake until the end of this month will be donated to Save the Children.  Only tangentially related, there’s an excellent book about Haiti that I read some years back called The Rainy Season by Amy Willentz.  It is not a current book – it is about Haiti in the 1980s – but it is very very well written and it has a lot about Haiti’s history and politics that could be helpful to someone wanting to know more about the country.  I’ve gotten my copy out again since the disaster to try to gain a little context and perspective.  I know it’s not recent, but I feel a little more connected when I can understand just a little about the country.

In my last post, I mentioned that I’d dropped mysterious other projects to work on my Liesl.  The main mysterious other in question is a new shawl pattern I’m working on, Arabella.  I’m still knitting up the second sample, but I must tell you how excited I am about this project.  As with Clothilde, it’s been through a lot of changes throughout the design process.  I think a lot of what has made Clothilde appealing is the ease with which it is knit.  Arabella started out really complicated, and as I worked on it, it hit me that while it was pretty, I wasn’t enjoying knitting it.  So I simplified and simplified and came up with something that I think is a lot more fun to knit, and still looks very pretty.  I’m making a number of mix and match options for Arabella, including two different choices of edging, and two choices of length for edge points.

I made a grand total of one firm New Year’s resolution this year, and last night I got a start on it.  I am determined to learn to sew.  I have made several attempts in the past, but I’m just not that good at it, and I’m often flustered by the way that half of sewing is actually ironing.  I skip crucial ironing steps and then wonder why my project turned out all lumpy and wrong.  One of the Christmas presents I received this year was Handmade Home, a book of simple sewing projects from Amanda Blake Soule (whose blog is wonderful – you must read it) and I thought that simple sounded like something I could sink my teeth into.  After several false starts, last night I made this little pleated tote:

It’s far, far from perfect, but it’s sewn, and for once, it’s mostly sewn right!  I had terrible trouble with tension, and could not seem to figure out why, until I looked online and found that I’d put my bobbin in upside down.  Oh yeah.  I’m good.  The best part, really, is that the whole project is recycled.  The fabric came from free boxes left on a street corner.  (Berkeley has so many of these boxes.  I think when people are done with stuff in Berkeley, they just put it in a box labeled FREE and stick it on a street corner.  We regularly find cool stuff on walks.)  The ribbon is from gift wrap.  And together they made a little tote that Nora can carry about.  With ladybugs on.  Because that part’s essential.

Returning to that whole ironing thing, Mrs. Meyer’s Ironing Spray is the best thing in the world for when you have to iron a bunch of stuff.  My fabric ironed out better when I sprayed it, but better still, when I placed the iron on the wet fabric, clouds of lavender scented steam blew into the air, making the apartment, and the fabric, smell wonderful.  (The basil scent is also awesome.)  Mrs. Meyer’s products are just plain wonderful in general, and if I haven’t gone all fangirl about them before, I’m doing it now.  Go, buy them.  Enjoy the good smells and the fact that they’re free of toxins, biodegradable, and they work really, really well.  I hate cleaning my house, but I think using something that smells good and comes in pretty retro packaging makes it just slightly more fun.

Um, yeah.  I went off on a bit of a tangent there.  Anyway, while the learning to sew was my only firm resolution, I do have some knitting related goals for 2010. I joined the 10 in 2010 group at Ravelry, committing to ten projects in ten different yarns, of which Liesl, in the Sundara ASM, was my first.  I’d like to come out with a minimum of four new original patterns.  I want to finish a pair of socks knit in sock weight yarn.  (This is the goal I’m most doubtful of, but I think it’s certainly possible.  I just need to follow through!)

So here we go!  Into the future.


One Response to “Resolved”

  1. Emily Says:

    Cute tote!

    At LEAST half of sewing is ironing, for sure. That’s one of the first things my mom started pounding into my head when I said I wanted to learn to sew. I actually kind of enjoy ironing, though (probably because I associate it with sewing!), so don’t really mind. I like to watch the seam being pressed crisply into place on the wrong side, and then turn it over and see the tidy right-side seam appear.

    Best of luck with your 2010 goals; it sounds like you have some great ones.

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