A little sewing lethargy and some side projects

Ah, sewing, I love it so!

mrs hughes 2

But, occasionally I take a little break from it.  I have a long list of things I want to make and I love making them.  Unfortunately, having bad eyesight inhibits me sometimes.  A sewist and poor eyesight don’t work well together.  Honestly, I often have to squint a lot to see the minute details while sewing, which sometimes leads to some headaches.  I have a progressive eye disease called keratoconus, which I was diagnosed with in 2005.  It is not a rare disease, but not common either (they say that about 1 in 2,000 people are afflicted).  My keratoconus is progressing and my current RGP [hard contact] lenses and glasses aren’t helping me anymore, so time to go the eye doctor.  It is not easy to find a keratoconus specialist, so I was a bit depressed about it last week, but I now have a new ophthalmologist whom I will be seeing in a few days and hopefully be on the road again to eye wellness.  My previous eye doctor was in another state, and I had put off seeing one here in California as I was getting by with my glasses/contacts.  But I’m no longer putting it off and am looking forward to seeing if my new doctor has some new ideas to help me regain my eyesight.

In the meantime, I decided to learn to knit again.  It doesn’t take much eye concentration for me to knit and knitting is much more portable than sewing, so it’s something I can do almost anywhere and something I can do at night.  I’ve always been envious of all the lovely handsewn sweaters that others make, so I decided that I’m going to try my hand at making my own.  My grandmother and my mom were both avid knitters (neither knit anymore…) and taught me how to knit when I was about 7 or 8.  I never knitted more than squares out of discarded yarn and I would sew them together and make cat blankets.  I found it quite monotonous as a kid and it never held my attention for long, thus the reason why I only made squares.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten how to knit and took a little refresher course from my mom last weekend.  I practiced all week and got the hang of it, although looking at some patterns, it all looks very complicated to me, so I’m going to start off making a few scarves as gifts and then, hopefully, try my hand at a sweater.  I don’t want to use any scratchy acrylic yarns, and decided that if I’m going to spend the time to knit things, that I’m only going to use quality yarn, so I ordered myself some cashmere and merino wool blends.  I can’t wait for them to arrive so that I can get going!  If any of you are knitters or crocheters, please let me know where you buy your yarn!  I ordered mine from fabric.com, but I’d like to know other places to buy quality yarns.

I did sew a little the past few days and made some donation items for the Fall Festival at my husbands’ elementary school this weekend.  These will either be used for the raffle or silent auction.  A friend of mine is running the raffle/auction and asked us to donate something whether it be for a kid or an adult, so I made these kitchen/dining items.

Cowboy placemat/napkin/potholder set

Cowboy placemat/napkin/potholder set

Western potholders

Western potholders

These are all quilting fabrics that I found at Joann’s.  I used fleece off the 50% off remnant rack instead of batting for my quilting “sandwich”.  The placemats and potholders are quilted and the napkins have a narrow hem.  These are pretty quick and easy gifts to make, although cutting them out can take a bit longer than the sewing and quilting.  I didn’t use a pattern for these, just rulers, my rotary cutter and cutting mat to make a rectangles and squares.  If you want to know how to do make these, ask, and I will post a tutorial.  I really like the vintage cowboy and red handkerchief pattern set and how that turned out.  I chose western themed fabric as I live in a rural ranching community and the people here love western stuff.  I used to, but I like more historic, feminine and eclectic themes myself these days.  I was thinking about buying some of the awesome Day of the Dead skull fabric that I’ve loved for a long time at Joann’s and make an apron, which would be extremely cool, I think, and appropriate for the time and the function.  But….. I didn’t feel like making one…. so next time!  Or perhaps I will make one for myself?!

Anyway…. I am almost done making a white polka dot wrap blouse that I hope to wear this weekend, so I think it’s safe to say that I’m back to sewing.  I’m just hoping that my eyes cooperate with me and that next week brings some new solutions for my eye problems.

Happy Sewing!


  • http://www.moonthirty.com Susan

    I hope your new ophthalmologist has great news for you! :) I second the recommendations for yarn.com and knitpicks.com — I’ve used both with great results. But if you have any good local yarn shops nearby, there’s really nothing like them… I’ll always be a sewist first, but a lovely indie yarn store is just a feast for they eyes and fingertips. 😉 Best of luck!

  • http://gravatar.com/melissaormonde melissaormonde

    I know what you mean about sewing lethargy. Sometimes I can’t get enough of it and sometimes I can barely force myself to finish a project. Right now I’m trying to get my Halloween costume done after weeks of procrastinating! I’m looking forward to seeing the results of your knitting! I’m in the beginner boat too (just scarves and hats so far) but I would like to try something more challenging one of these days. By the way, best of luck with your appointment! Hope there’s some good news about your eyes :)

  • http://Sewiststitch.blogspot.com Sandra

    Here’s hoping your new doctor has got some good solutions for you. I’m sure you will get into the swing to knitting. The key I think is to make something that is interesting. I use to knit loads and loads when I was in my 20s and hand made was all the thing. Now I don’t knit so much cause I’m never still for that long. Merino/cashmere will be lovely and I agreed only good wool is worth knitting.

  • http://nessahux.blogspot.co.uk/ Nessa

    Hope things are looking better for you very soon. Knitting scarves is a great idea to get you back into the swing of things. I buy my yarn in the UK so won’t be much help to you.

  • http://www.valerieszebra.blogspot.com Valerie

    Sorry to hear about your eye condition but glad you have a new doctor. For any sewist that needs help to see good light helps a lot, the best lighting you can afford and sewing in daylight.

    • http://missushughes.wordpress.com/ tanya maile

      Thank you, Valerie. My ott light has helped me greatly. And yes, I only sew during the daylight hours, of which I will be doing shortly! :)

  • http://anniesews.wordpress.com anniesews

    Good luck with your eye doctor. Love the potholders! 😀

    • http://missushughes.wordpress.com/ tanya maile

      Thanks. Annie!

  • https://www.facebook.com/dvalenta Debbie Valenta

    Hope the visit to the eye doctor is a success. If you’re just getting back into knitting and you’re stymied by patterns that seem to be lessons in obfuscation, I would suggest joining a local knitting group. There are always several old pros on hand who can help make sense of confusing pattern instructions. That, and it keeps you motivated to finish a project when/if boredom starts to set in.

    • http://missushughes.wordpress.com/ tanya maile

      Thanks, Debbie! That’s a great idea. I’ll have to see if such a group exists around here.

  • http://www.tresbienensemble.com Michelle

    I love to rotate between knitting and sewing! And, I can see how knitting would be a break for your eyes. Unless I’m doing a complicated stitch pattern, I don’t even look at my hands while I knit. I like to buy yarn all over, but my favorites for online shopping are yarn.com (WEBS) & halcyonyarn.com Also, Knitpicks,com is wonderful for really inexpensive natural fibers.

    • http://missushughes.wordpress.com/ tanya maile

      Thanks, Michelle! I will definitely check those sites out!