Sewing straight lines

“What are you making?” is the quintessential icebreaker question when people see you knitting. After hearing about whatever it is, the unanimous citizen response is, “Oh I don’t have the patience for something like that.” Repeating this interaction but replacing knitting with sewing produces an eerily similar response: “Oh I can’t even sew a straight line.”

It’s as if people feel a need to justify to why they haven’t (or don’t plan to) take up the same hobby. Or they’re trying to fend off what they perceive as a forthcoming recruitment pitch, which, given a knitter’s love for knitting, isn’t entirely crazy. How do you usually respond to these unsolicited explanations? (I’m assuming you get them too) Because I’m not sure that people are accurately identifying the barriers.

I usually say that patience is something I possess in wildly different amounts depending on the situation.

And as for the sewing in straight lines, it’s actually pretty hard for me (probably because it requires so much damn patience…measuring, cutting, piecing).

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I’m working on a stash-busting scrap quilt that – like most – requires sewing together lines of blocks (the last quilt pattern I used was cleverly chosen to avoid this). It’s so hard to match up row after row of little squares! What trick am I missing? I had to rip out several seams and redo them so that the lines weren’t egregiously mismatched, and there are still plenty of little places where it’s not quite right, but…I like where it’s going. I think it will look good when it’s finished.

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5 responses to “Sewing straight lines

  1. Oh, this is fantastic! And I so get the passerby comment scenario. For me whenever I bring hand sewing to our tennis club while I watch my kids play, every single time, usually a man of a certain generation asks me if I would like to make some extra money mending his clothes. (I always thought it would be funny if I was by chance his doctor in the ER the next day). It makes me sad to think that we are becoming a rare breed. Keep up the beautiful work. :)

    Hillary

    • Oh yes, you’re so right! The clothes-mending-comment is another common one. I have done some mending…maybe not for random guys, but for friends and coworkers.

  2. I’ll tell them I sew very often and that the more you do it the easier it get, just as with other hobbies. Although some people definitely have more talent for it than others.
    I like the effect of the quilt you’re making. Clover forkpins can help match things up during sewing. Each pin consists of 2 narrow pins (hence the name) and you keep them in place when sewing (you sew over them) so if you match a seam perfectly it should stay matched because the fabric can’t shift.

  3. Oh this is fabulous. I am adding it to my must do list.

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