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A Sampler of Life Lessons Learned with DIY Crafts & Where Bloggers Live

A Sampler of Life Lessons Learned with DIY Crafts & Where Bloggers Live

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My pastel colored handknit sweater

A Sampler of Life Lessons Learned with DIY Crafts & Where Bloggers Live

Our Where Bloggers Live collaboration theme is all about DIY crafts and I thought it would be fun to walk you through how handknitted sweaters are really made. Most people don’t realize some of the extra steps involved.

Quote of the day: “The greatest mistake a man can ever make is to be afraid to making one.” Elbert Hubbard

Mistakes?? Let’s just say that I talk about life lessons and the mistakes I’ve made with my handknit sweaters when I showcase my pieces on Instagram. (Make sure to check out my #YarnDay Saturdays on Instagram).
Let me first say that I didn’t think this post would be about the mistakes. But unfortunately I have many failures with my DIY crafts.

Yet, I do think that I have learned from my failures whether in life or my DIY crafts. And it certainly hasn’t stopped me from continuing with my love of knitting. In fact, you may have seen the post my favorite things and my “yarn store.” Obviously, I keep at it!

DIY crafts with knitting

The Big Picture

I think one of my failures with knitting is I am impulsive. For example, let’s look at the pattern above. I saw it, I thought it was cute and so I chose this pastel colored cotton yarn to knit up. The best part about knitting your own sweater is you can tailor it to your liking or preferences. For this cardigan, I stopped the sleeves at 3/4 length to make it work better for our AZ weather.

But let’s talk about my faults. One of the issues is I didn’t research the pattern or really analyze the measurements of the pieces (the back piece in particular). More about that below.
This yarn is also maybe not the best for a pattern without any kind of ribbing. I thought that because the pattern used cotton yarn it might be okay. Yet not all cotton yarn is created equal.

Part of the reason for some of these issues is that knitting is a form of relaxation to me not about being perfect. Plus it used to be my creative outlet where I could combine this fabulous textile called yarn and create a unique clothing item.
It is also my love language, so back when I was knitting a lot, it meant I loved you if I knit you something.
So I don’t always look at the big picture before I start. I just grab and go!

My blocking board and why you block in knitting
My blocking board is stained from some of my previous projects.

The BTS of Knitting

When I first came up with this idea of showing some of the behind the scenes with my DIY crafts, I had just finished “knitting” this sweater. I put “knitting” in quotes because many patterns have you knit the pieces separately, and then you have to sew them together to create the item.

Insider tip: Not all handknit sweaters are knit in pieces. If you like to knit, but don’t like the idea of sewing them together, then you’d love the “top down sweaters” better. You can find a boatload of these patterns on Ravelry which is a free online site for yarn lovers.

In the photo above, I’m showing how you need to “block” the pieces so they are the right shape, size and flat. Below is a close up of the blocking pins (on the left) and the clips to hold the pieces together when you sew them (on the right).

It was at this stage that I realized that the back piece of the cardigan seemed awfully short. But I’m one who tends to just go along with the process and trust it. Silly me.

Failure-The Life Lesson

And tada!! Here is the sweater above. Unfortunately it’s a mess. I don’t like that even though I blocked the pieces, the edges still curl a ton. (Granted, as an experienced knitter, I should realize that this cotton yarn would do that without a ribbing on it).
I also don’t like that the back is SO short and the side seams poof out.

Does this mean I throw it away. ARE YOU KIDDING? A hand knitted item has not only a ton of money invested in it (yarn is not cheap) but also a ton of time. The cardigan above took me at least 40 hours to make. Sure, I could take it apart and reknit the back portion. But hey, that’s a lot of work too!

So what’s a girl to do? When I was living in Denver, it was wonderful because I’d ask my knitting group for suggestions. Just like for the burgundy sweater below. It seemed too short and the sleeve edges curled, so the suggestion was to crochet some edging. Which I did with success!

As for the green cardigan above? I have started to work on “fixing” it. I sewed the side seams in more so they don’t poof out (hard to see in the photos, but trust me, they poofed).
And now I’m working on adding some crochet stitches on the edges and crocheting some length for the back. Unless anyone has a better idea?

DIY Crafts

In conclusion, I think the fact that I’ve learned there can be fixes to my DIY crafts makes me realize there can be fixes to our outfit and clothing pieces in general.
I’m sure it’s a personality trait, yet finding these fixes is sometimes just as fun as the knitting itself. Well, maybe that’s not true. At first it’s annoying when the project doesn’t come out perfect. But the feeling of success after fixing it makes you realize that you can overcome these hurdles.

Like I said….life lessons from DIY crafts.

Last Minute–TaDa

Here is what I just finished two nights ago. I had to reblock the edges again, but I added a bunch of crochet on the back to lengthen it and pull it in!! Then I also added a double crochet (well, I’m not sure a “real” crocheter would call it a double stitch because I kinda make it up as I go, LOL) along the sleeves and top.
Keep your eyes peeled on Instagram because it’ll be showcased there too one of these days!!

BTW, don’t you love these tie dye sneakers??? These are a new style of the Walking Cradles Orleans sneaker for Spring. Super comfy and super cute!!!

Life lessons from DIY crafts

Where Bloggers Live

Welcome to the monthly edition of Where Bloggers Live. It’s kind of like HGTV’s “Celebrities at Home,” but…Bloggers! Who doesn’t like to peek behind the scenes and see inside people’s homes and life? Join us as this group of seven bloggers will be sharing more of the behind the scenes, memories, living spaces and all kinds of fun

Bettye at Fashion Schlub
Daenel at Living Outside the Stacks
Em at Dust and Doghair
Iris at Iris’ Original Ramblings
Jodie at Jodie’s Touch of Style
Leslie at Once Upon a Time & Happily Ever After

The Series

Inside Our Home
My Community
Holiday Lights in Phoenix
Things to do in Phoenix
Valentines Day–The 3 Important People in my Life
Arizona Facts That May Surprise You
My Home Office
A Day in My Life
Our Front and Back Patio
Our Kitchen
Vacation Memories
Closet Tour
My Favorite Things
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
The Guest Room and Murphy Bed
The Remarkable Evolution Inspiration for Life
Help Me Figure Out How to Decorate My Entry way

Thank you

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