She started sewing at the start of the pandemic making masks for everyone, including yours truly, and I don’t remember how but moved on to quilting–she even got a new machine for it.
Now, when Dina does something, she goes all out. She researches and watches tutorials. She gets the best quality tools and supplies (she’s a notorious snob, be it tea or yarn or anything in between). She follows patterns to the letter, whether it’s knitting, baking, or, in this case, quilting.
During a group chat a few months ago, she was telling us about this quilter she follows, and how this woman would pull random scraps from a bag and say “I think this’ll work!” and start quilting without measuring and turn it into beautiful things. “Chaos quilting”, Dina calls it.
Chaos is kind of the way I do everything (although whether those things are beautiful remains in doubt).
Knitting? Who needs a pattern! I made handwarmers I still wear to this day by just randomly knitting–I learned how to do a thumb gusset by watching a video and just applied it to my project. I like lacework, so I would knit things just by doing some math and making up a pattern.
Baking? Who needs measuring cups! I just toss everything together until it has the right consistency in most cases.
This is why if you ask me about writing, I sometimes go blank, because I just wrote fifty-something books and somehow learned how to be a storyteller along the way.
If I quilted, I’d be a chaos quilter too.
But I don’t quilt because it’s fucking expensive and takes up a lot of room, and that’s the thing with me and hobbies–I’ll do it for six months to a year and then I abandon it for something else. However…I have wanted something new to do that doesn’t involve looking at a screen.
My eyes and brain get tired and I need a break sometimes, but working with my hands and focusing on a task lets my mind do all kinds of background stuff I need to work out stories. It’s part of the process. So I’ve been pondering what kind of inexpensive hobby I could take on.
I decided on embroidery.
I was excited about this kit, but doing it I got kind of doubtful. See that fabric? It’s thick canvas. It’s hard to get the needle through and my hands were killing me. But I swore I wasn’t going to get any supplies until I’d made at least one thing.
Then I went to the local fabric store today to get some stuff Dina wanted but didn’t have locally, and I asked, “Do you have any embroidery supplies?”
(Note: at this point I learned what I’m doing is “crewel work”. I had no idea when the lady asked me kind of embroidery I was doing, I was like “Uh…back stitch and French knot stitch and stuff like that…?”)
So I got some linen blend fabric to experiment on, some hoops, and some good floss, and I decided to do what I should’ve done to start with: chaos crafting. No pattern. No plan. Just start stitching on fabric to get a feel for it. It’s the only way I really learn.
Tonight I made this.
It is not at all good! It is, in fact, very bad!
But…I learned! It helped make sense of the instructions I read for a couple of different stitches. It gave me a feel for the fabric and how to work with it. I tried a few tricks tutorials suggested. And I think with practice I will be able to make something good eventually (hopefully before I abandon the hobby in six months).
So this is my first official attempt. I will post again when I can do something Actually Good (which may or may not involve me at least drawing something on the fabric–I got a water soluble pencil for that in the future).
It’s all gonna involve swear words it, though.