Sunday, 19 April 2009
If you read this blog regularly you've probably got the idea that I'm mostly a make it up as you go along kind of person. While I have toyed with other ways to do things, and despite my preference for having a plan, a list, a map of where I'm headed, I have definitely come from a background of responding to what's in front of me rather than stepping out.
As a crafter this means I have not traditionally been one for patterns. I learned to knit and sew mostly by trial and error, and when I was very young relying on my mum to interpret what came next. It's kind of funny, on reflection, because patterns should really slot right into my love of organising the chaos around me.
But as an early crafter patterns were always a disappointment and since I lacked the skills to fully understand, appropriately alter and selectively disregard them, I abandoned them altogether. I learned most of my garment making skills through a process of elimination, often making the same dumb assumptions over and over again, starting with a piece of fabric on the floor and a vague outline of my body on it. I'd them gradually take it in seam by seam till it sort of resembled a piece of clothing. Lots and lots of failures in there, lots of tantrums (I was a teenager afterall) but also a lot of first principle learning that has stood me in good stead.
Much later I learned pattern drafting, which made me realise how utterly in the dark I'd been as a sewer, and later still I started down the road of understanding and creating knitting and crochet patterns. It's kind of ironic that at a time in my crafting career that, if I had learned in a more traditional way I would be at last abandoning my reliance on patterns, I have gained a whole new respect for them.
While my tendency when presented with a new challenge is still to make stuff up, I am increasingly enjoying the process of just following directions. I'm much more savvy about what I use a commercial pattern for, and whose patterns I'd use, and my frame of mind when using one, but having two such different approaches in my repertoire is very useful.
With all this floating through my head I happily agreed to test a new hat pattern for Nicole. I have made up hats, and they've been quite OK, but not at all approaching real millinery. So I was interested to see if a pattern could take me somewhere really new, and was very pleased when it did.
There's a lot in taking any kind of craft project from the basics to the finessed, and following Nicole's pattern did exactly that for me with the techniques for hat making. This hat is far more complex and finely finished than anything I have ever done before. I am hoping D likes it because I think it would really suit him! I'd like to try the pattern again, using what I learned I think it will be even better, perhaps with the wider brim for me.