Spring is springing

The weather here in Valladolid, Spain isn’t exactly balmy, but the temperature this week has gone up some and the sun has been making some appearances. Last year and the year before I decided to knit with yarns other than wool to get through the warm weather and keep my hands happily busy. I also indulged in some crochet, too. This year I’ve decided to expand my crafting horizons and try sewing and embroidery.

I got my idea to try learning how to sew when I wanted to make some rag bags. Knitted and crochet bags intended for toting stuff need to be lined. Consequently, I had to accept defeat: I was no longer going to be the knitter who avoided sewing at all costs unless I needed to whip out the darning needle and do some mattress stitch for seaming sweaters. Lining the rag bags made me realize that sewing wasn’t so unpleasant just as long as it was a project I could really get behind. After looking at some cool knitting patterns with steeks and others with beautiful embroidery I decided my goal would be to sew more. After researching a little bit I even discovered that people frequently embroider with beads. How could I not be sold on embroidery if it’s yet another craft that can be combined with beading?

I’ve spent a good amount of time researching my options. Today I took the plunge and bought my supplies. Here’s what I’m going to do:

1) Sew by hand using the English paper piecing technique.

2) Use an encyclopedia on embroidery to try different types of embroidery stitches.

3) Buy my first sewing machine ever.

The supplies I’ve bought so far: thread, card stock, embroidery needles, an embroidery hoop, quilting needles, fabric, a rotary fabric cutter, and a mat to use with the fabric cutter.

Supplies I still need: batting, washable pencils to draw embroidery doodles on fabric and a sewing machine.

Not a priority right now: batting, sewing machine.

I’ve decided to approach my goals in this way because I really want to learn all the details about sewing. I think doing some stitchery by hand (and learning embroidery on the way) is going to be a really good way to understand the ins and outs of making seams and piecing together fabrics. This is why I chose English paper piecing. It’s a manual type of quilting.

My first project? A quilt, of course! I’m looking at a quilt as a huge canvas on which I can practice lots of different sewing and embroidery techniques. I originally thought that I’d perhaps make a knitting bag as a first project. I’ve changed my mind. Although, you never know, I could very well have two sewing projects going at the same time: the big project (a quilt) and the little project (a bag). I usually have a sock (small) and either an afghan or sweater in progress at the same time anyway, so why not do the same thing with sewing and embroidery?

At this stage in the game I have not actually sewn or embroidered anything. During the week I’m going to plug away at my gansey. I think I’ll make my first attempt at English paper piecing this weekend.

Yes, I do realize that this is a knitting blog. Do not worry! I will not bore you too much with my lessons in sewing and embroidery. I’ll have plenty of knitting and crochet things to blog about in the Spring and Summer. I think it will be amusing, though, to see what kinds of trouble I can get into with learning how to sew and embroider. I’m really clueless.

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