No matter what goals you seek to accomplish, aspirations you wish to define or battles you aim to conquer, there is one thing that is for certain. When all seems bleak and foreboding, the one truth you can be sure of is that there is always a light. It is not always easy to see, but it is perpetually there. I have finally reached a point where I now stand at the doorway to that light.
I officially have sleeves… and they sparkle.
I know that intro seems a bit over the top for a little black pullover, but this is an important accomplishment for me. I’ve drifted away from so many endeavors that I enjoyed doing, just because they weren’t going in the direction I thought would evoke a sense of place, and an image of success in the eyes of the world. I’m still trying to figure out when I became that person—the person so concerned with what would be right for others, that she forgot all the things that were more importantly right for her. I just want to be the right me. The only thing this would require me to do is simply spread my wings, and let the wind take me.
The Obscure Zone
When I was a very young, I always enjoyed living in the obscure zone. Being an only child, I suppose I was never blessed, or cursed, with someone to discourage me from wanting to be unique. Sometimes I get the impression that I saw it as blasphemous to just want to blend in. I didn’t immediately like things because everyone around me liked them—I liked things because I thought about how they affected me, and then consciously decided whether or not I would allow them to be a part of my life. Being that young, I had not yet been conditioned to believe there had to be other deciding factors. It was just me, and how I believed things should be. Deep down inside, I knew that little girl was still in there somewhere. She had just been lead astray by the strong arm of society. It was that ever-present light that coaxed me back into the obscure zone—where I will always belong.
In my early youth, I would sit and crochet with my Godmother. She always made little slippers for me and my mom for the holidays. My mom, who was a little over 6’ tall, wore about a size 11 shoe, and I was probably a size 8 back then. Since I too was quite tall, especially for my age, I don’t quite know where my 4’ 8” Godmother was going with these little wool slippers she made, but my mom always seemed to love humoring her, so we wore them proudly.
She taught me how to do single and double crochet stitches, but I never managed to make anything other than tube tops and blankets for my dolls. This was more than likely due to the fact that there were no yarn craft inspirations, or Yarnspirations, for me to aspire to. The sweaters you buy in the stores were predominantly knitted, so I couldn’t relate to that, especially since I thought knitted garments had to be made by machines. I thought there was no way those sweaters could be done by hand. Unfortunately I had no one to tell me otherwise at that time. So the only yarn-craft I knew was crochet. But all that I was exposed to, in that world, were horribly color-uncoordinated granny square blankets, combination table/church lady hair cover doilies, and my Godmother’s uncomfortable little crochet Christmas slippers.
The detailed texture of the stitches hurt the bottoms of my feet, and they made me slip on the linoleum to the point where I had to struggle just to walk in them. But I loved her, so it was worth whatever additional effort it would take for me to let her know I appreciated them.
I’m so happy that at least now I have found crochet and knitwear designers that create inspiring garments that I can truly appreciate, and aspire to. Knitting is a thing again and it’s a lot easier to find like-minded individuals who enjoy and appreciate the Yarn Arts as much as I do.
To Sew or Not to Sew
My love of garment design started when I was in preschool. My dad, who was a Teamster (truck driver), hauling garments for Calvin Klein, Gloria Vanderbilt, Lord & Taylor and various other designers in the garment district, bought me a Holly Hobby Sewing Machine, so I could make use of the left over fabric I procured at his various pickup locations. The clothes I made for my dolls with it were a lot more relative to what I believed clothes should look like, so I eventually forgot about crocheting. By the time I was in High School, I had made several of the tops I wore to school. They were not always ready-to-wear quality… Ok, they were never ready-to-wear quality, LOL!! But since I made them, I couldn’t see anything wrong with wearing them.
I had painted the Japanese symbols for Love & Happiness down the side of my jeans, along with various flowers and peace symbols. Somehow Dorothy had managed to click her heels and find her way out of Oz, but I couldn’t figure out a way to escape the 70’s, a good decade after the fact.
I enjoyed making my Halloween costumes to wear to the Village Parade. One year I went as Romance 1600 Sheila E. I loved wearing the blue satin, lace and ruffles. I even made Prince’s Mountains outfit for the love of my life. I’m surprised he still spoke to me after I whipped up the flair-leg, button down, hip huggers and belly shirt, bat my eyelashes and pleaded with him to wear it. LOL!
There was also a top that I will never forget as long as I live. I can see it as if it were in front of me right now. I made it with an electric blue fabric that I scored while dumpster diving at my dad’s Lord & Taylor pickup location. The fabric had small black symmetrical designs all over it, and gave off a shimmer like Silk Charmeuse. I used it to make a sleeveless top. Well… It was actually completely open on both sides. No stitching whatsoever besides the shoulder seams and an opening at the hem for me to pull it on. There was quite a bit of exposure on either side of my upper body. I’m aware of that now, but for some reason, back then, I didn’t seem to think much of it. I may need to go through some type of therapy to figure out why. Actually, when I think back today on most of the garments I made, I don’t know how I managed to get through High School.
Although I don’t sew often now, I never lost my appreciation for sewing. I just became more interested in deepening the process of garment creation by learning to create the fabric I would be working with. Knit & Crochet gives me that opportunity, and a new and heightened sense of gratification.
Instant Gratification Bug
What I most enjoyed about sewing, over crocheting, was that I could want a top, and have it the next day, or two days tops. I think I looked at sewing as the reluctant cocoon of the instant gratification bug. My lack of patience kept me at a distance from the yarn arts, but I’ve grown up quite a bit now and realize that some things are just worth waiting for.
Their knitwear designs satisfy my Yarnspiration needs. I deeply appreciate their mastery. My eye cannot get enough. If not for the art of patient knitting, we would not have exceptional works of art such as these:
I still get impatient from time to time. Like the moment I began making the sleeves for my pullover. I will eventually learn the art of patient knitting, but until then, I have to settle for a short sleeve pullover. At present, I’m on the 2nd embellishment stage. My original strip art sleeve idea had to be revised. The strips were too thick and would overpower the shimmer of the gold floss in the sleeves. I decided to try chain stitch strips instead. Maybe the thinner strips won’t overpower the initial idea of the piece.
If that doesn’t work either, then I’m sure I will figure something else out. I’m just happy to know that it won’t be long before I can wear my first hand-knit pullover sweater. It’s a new year and things are moving forward as planned.