Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Even I have some standards.

I'm am so crafts-challenged (poor digital dexterity and no patience) that my standards for my own work are pretty low.  But I do have standards.  Really.

I am never going to crochet like the experts.  Never never never, and that's because I have NO desire to.  Such intricate work makes me stark raving insane.

Hand made by my mom-in-law. This kind of skill floors me.

Larry's mom crocheted this gorgeous tablecloth for us.  It's enormous, covers a nice big farmhouse-sized table for a big gathering.  I've just folded out a corner to show the pattern.  How anyone can do something this big and this beautiful, stitch by tiny stitch, much less do it in a few months, boggles my mind.  I have enough trouble with simple mufflers.

And then, there's my lumpy work...

The all-blue one on the right is designed and being made (it's maybe half-done) for a friend for Christmas.  The blue and green one on the left (also incomplete, but about 2/3 done) wasn't made for anybody.  It's a test piece, to try out stitch ideas and see what makes the kind of final product I want to make.

My conundrum is that I don't want to do time-consuming stitches, but I get sick of the basic crochet stitch that makes all those little bow-tie-looking rows.  Bored with them.  Tired of that granny look.

So!  The question was, how could I make a piece that looked like I worked really hard, without actually working really hard?  I approach life this way whenever possible:  easier paths, shortcuts, magic formulas, etc etc.

On the blue/green one, I started doing rows of various stitches to see if I could make something that has a more interesting appearance, but was not too thick to wrap comfortably.   That job has taught me a lot.  It's too thick and stiff, some of the rows too uncomfortably ridge-like, and the variety of stitches looks as amateurish and randomized as it is, but as an experiment, it helped me figure out an easy stitch for a muffler that's decent-looking and feels good.  I'll finish it anyway, but only because I've started, and hated, and unraveled about 6 previous attempts and just don't want to throw out another one.

Maybe I'll give it to Goodwill, or use it myself, but it doesn't meet my standards for gift-giving.

This is where people say stuff like "The recipient won't care about the endearing goofiness!  You made it with your Very Own Loving Hands!"

Bullcrap.  Maybe she would find it all endearing, but it bugs me when women get told that, when it comes to the work of their hands, the lu-u-u-v is what matters.  Insipid, sexist swill.  Ever notice how, if a guy's woodwork or metalwork or whatever is lopsided, out of proportion, painted sloppily, or otherwise stupid-looking, nobody says, "Oh who cares, it's so cute, you made it with lu-u-uv!"?

At a glance, the blue one doesn't look that much nicer, but it does look a little nicer when you see it in person, and feels better, and meets my standards, which are mediocre.  This isn't about Being Too Hard On Myself.  It's competent, not Excellent.  My yarn tension is uneven, so there are some stitches you could drive a Humvee through, others so tight I can barely find the place to insert the hook for the next row.  It will look homemade, and I'm fine with that, but it has to be a certain level of well-made.

As for making anything with Love, it's sort of not in me to work serenely.  Even my simple project fouls up at moments, and the language I use ... let's just say that New Age people who think that your feelings and mental state infuse your products with good or bad vibes would be horrified by my attitude.

Maybe I should order some of those "made by" personalized labels for my goods:

Handmade For You - with Creative Profanity!


Christy said...

Oh, I needed this laugh! I could certainly use a few of those labels myself!

southernyankee said...

This is where that magic formula thing comes into play for us:

"if a guy's woodwork or metalwork or whatever is lopsided, out of proportion, painted sloppily, or otherwise stupid-looking, nobody says, "Oh who cares, it's so cute, you made it with lu-u-uv!"?"

The magic begins with a big hammer, or whatever tool is handy at the moment of discovery.

The magic ends when the mess disappears in a pile of rubble with low a grunt of satisfaction or something more appropriate to the level of failure.

I'm just saying.

Dann said...

Ditch the yarn. Learn to quilt!

ronnie said...

My Mother-in-Law quilted all her life. *Hand-quilted*. Thousands of teeny, tiny, hand stitches. Every baby got a baby quilt. Every wedding got a wedding quilt. She made tote bags, pot holders, makeup cases, place mats, and gave them all away. She only stopped when her vision wouldn't allow her to see the tiny stitches anymore. I am in sheer awe of her.