So here I sit feeling pretty good about my crafting ability. I’m making a hat out of the wool I spun and dyed myself.

Granted, it is the most simplistic hat pattern known to man . . . the wool came out uneven and chunky . . . the color isn’t what I wanted . . . what the hell? I suck!

I’m having a dilettante moment. (For my favorite musical definition of dilettante, check out my rockin’ pal Nell Balaban’s song. Just click on her name, and click on Dilettante on her site). A dilettante moment, we’ve all had them–usually after meeting someone who’s a real artist. Someone who does more than follow a pattern. Someone who, at the risk of sounding both trite and queer at the same time, follows her heart. I recently came across not one, but two such examples of our craft at its most impressive.

First was Christina O. She was the woman who taught me how to make my cardboard box Tensioned Lazy Kate (by the way, here are links to other people’s homemade lazy Kates: Stuck on Socks, and Keyboard Biologist). I met her at last week’s Sit n’ Knit NY. She (wait for it) felted her own wedding dress. WHAT? Now that may seem like some crazy heavy, smelly-when-wet, dress, but NO. It looked lighter than air. Here’s the description of the process from her blog:

The bodice is almost finished and I started on the petals for the skirt. This is really exciting. I love my electric sander. It really makes life easy. So here’s how I’m doing it. First, I cut the gauze in a petal shape. There are three sizes, as the skirt is longer in the back than the front, and I wanted to keep the number of rows the same. That means the petals in the back will be in a triangle shape with the larger ones in the middle, and then graduated sizes to the outside. After the gauze is cut, a petal is laid on the counter, wet down with soap/water spray, and the wool is laid on top. Once the areas are filled in, wet muslin is put on top of that, and I lightly sand it-a few seconds for each area. I flip the fabric over, and now the felt is stuck a little to the muslin. I peel it off like hot wax, at an angle away from the felt, so that I don’t disturb the placement of the wool. Next, I sand it some more, this time for longer to make sure the layers are attached. I flip it over and sand the backside for good measure, then rinse out the soap and full it on the washboard in the sink. Ahhhh. That’s all there is to it.

That’s right folks, “that’s all there is to it.” WHAT?!? Here’s a pic of the finished dress:

You all must go see the pics of the whole crazy process. Click on the photo album link.

Next there’s my friend Francesca’s mom. She crocheted and beaded, not only her own wedding dress, but her bridesmaid’s, matron of honor’s and flower girl’s as well. Here’s a blurb from the local paper:

(At her wedding on Saturday Miss Pauline Philomena Bagshaw wore a full-length dress and train which she had crocheted herself. The bodice and sleeves were edged with 1500 beads. She also made her bridesmaid’s and matron of honour’s crocheted dresses.)

And then there’s me: dabbler, trifler, idler, amateur, lightweight, tinkerer, dilet–wait a minute. I just finished my hat. It looks pretty good! The color in the yarn looks really neat. The uneven weight turned out cool. I rock!

Muddah, faddah kindly disregard this letter. (you’re either old enough to get that reference or you’re not. Sorry.)

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  • HPNY Knits September 24, 2006   Reply →

    you “just” need to do this another million times and you’ll be as good as they are, cause practice makes perfect!
    wow, spin, dye, knit, its great- but wait, I am missing something, where is the sheep……………?

  • Wendy September 25, 2006   Reply →

    When I was in college, I was an English lit major – and sometimes, reading actually made me depressed – I could never write a sentence as beautifully as this author, as witty as that author, as poignant as another – and if I couldn’t be that good, I wasn’t going to write. And now, here I am, not writing – and not having tried . . .

    Keep crafting – if you want it, you have a ballgown in you too (but just don’t make it in Kidsilk Haza a la Rowan – that thing could roast a horse).


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