Learning a new craft (anything, really) always seems to involve that bumpy bit where you're figuring things out as you go, yes? Especially if you're self-taught, and especially if you decide to venture out into Doing Your Own Thing. Back in the beginning of my knitting days, I decided to knit a simple blanket for first child (he was my only child at the time). The pattern called for cotton yarn, but I couldn't find the yarn listed, so I found a mercerized cotton in a color I liked. Now, the blanket is still in use, still on his bed, and it served its time as a cape and all manner of make-believe props, but mercerized cotton (not that I knew this at the time) is, well, kind of heavy and droopy for a blanket. When I had my next child, I knit him the same blanket out of Mission Falls 1824 cotton, which is fluffy, soft, and light. Totally different cotton. These are the things you learn as you go, unless you plan to be a slave to always using the yarn specified in the pattern, of course!
And then there's sewing. I still find the array of fabrics daunting, the different types of 100% cotton a bit overwhelming (quilting cotton? lawn? voile? different weights, different feels, so hard to figure out, especially when there's no place to touch them all in person). Oh, and colors and patterns--truly, the minute you take matters into your own hands, you're increasing your potential for mistakes, but it's the best way to learn, isn't it?
Which leads me to my latest miss. Remember the sea star from the last post, and how I was a bit wary of that dish towel fabric? The napkins are a bit heavier, so I switched to that for my next pattern, a hermit crab. (You may recognize this guy; he evolved from the sketch at the end of this post.)
different hermit crab.
What a disaster with this napkin. Tearing away stabilizer from a loosely woven fabric is all sorts of bad news. I soaked it in the sink for a bit, and that helped get a couple more pieces out, but then I just gave up. Luckily, something small like this doesn't take long to stitch, so if you're going to learn a lesson, it's not a bad way to learn; very little time was lost here. And now I know the pattern looks really cute stitched up, so that's something. And we go through cloth napkins pretty quickly, especially since I also put them in the boys' lunchboxes (seconddayofschoolandIhateeverythingaboutit) so the rest of the napkins will get used, even if they're not embroidered. Oh, and they're really soft, unlike the blue one with the other hermit crab, which is so old and has been washed thousands of times but is still kind of stiff-feeling and not too absorbent, which makes me think...
...that napkins for embroidering and napkins for actually using maybe aren't the same thing at all?
(If you have any suggestions for the best sort of fabric for stitching that is also soft and absorbent for napkins, please let me know!)
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