While this is going to sound contrary to my strong feminist persuasions, I have been known to admit that the two most useful skills I ever learned are typing and sewing. I can type as fast as I think. That’s why I blog so much. I am fleet fingered, and, in my previous career as a writer faced with constant deadlines, I have found the typing skills I learned in high school to be invaluable.
In my role as mother, in my interests in costume construction, in my obsession with wearing clothes that fit well, in my years of gaining and losing a few pounds here and there, knowing how to sew has come in very handy as well.
I like to make something out of nothing, to take an old idea and give it a new spin. I like to work with color and texture, form and function.
That’s why I also knit and crochet. When I retired, I officially registered as a small business so that I could sell what I make. I thought I would do a few craft fairs every year, and the first year I did. But I learned that what I really like is designing and making stuff. What I hate is the record keeping and the hard physical work of setting up and taking down a craft booth and all of the tedium that goes along with standing around all day waiting for someone to buy something. This October, I’ll be doing my last big craft fair. At least I think that will be my last.
So, what exactly to I make and sell, you wonder.
One night several years ago, while I was still employed full-time, I saw Ally McBeal wearing a kind of short, snug-fitting lacey poncho. It looked like a circular shawl that you could slip over your head and it wouldn’t fall off your shoulders. After a few false starts, I designed and made one of my own and wore it to work. That very day, two people asked me to make one for them. And so I did, and the next thing I knew I was getting more and more orders. So, I made a whole bunch of them and started a little craft business to sell my “spiral shawls.” This is an example of one.
Last winter, in an effort to use up leftover yarn, I made a washable rolled brim hat that is adjustable. Then I made several and gave them away to my friends — who wore them to work. Yup. People asked them where they got them etc. etc. Over the past several months, I’ve completed two dozen of my Indestructible Adjustable Hat, which I also will sell at the October craft fair.
I’m one of those people who can’t just sit and watch the world go by. I have to keep my hands busy. If I don’t, I eat.
Now I’m crocheting a Winnie the Pooh bear for my grandson and a sweater vest for my mother. I suppose I could clean the bathroom or weed out my books or organize my pantry. But those things don’t make my hands happy.