Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Crossing the line

There's a line. A line, you know? Between "handmade" when it means, oh, wow, you made this yourself? Wow, I wish I could make stuff like that, and "handmade" when it means, well, dreadful. The kind of handmade a child dreads when her mother makes her something and expects her to wear it when everyone else has the nice one from the store....

So I made this fleecy soft hat for an 8-year-old, the daughter of a friend, who is undergoing chemo. I see pictures of her (and she's doing amazingly well -- more about Maddie) and I worry that she's cold -- that her head is cold. So I decided to make her a hat. I have made hats from this pattern, for children and adults (sized accordingly) 8 times without mishap. But this time I was in a hurry. And so I did a miserable job when it came to the last step of decorative buttonhole stitching (done by machine) where the bottom edge of the hat gets turned up. Have YOU ever tried to take stitching, decorative stitching, out of polar fleece? It is an ugly thing. What I know I should do (besides slow down and listen to the voice inside my head next time) is just throw this one out and make another; I've got plenty of fabric. But I can't -- I stubbornly have to tear out each stitch, trying desperately not to gouge the fleece. And I certainly couldn't have given the hat the way it was (which was what Ken suggested) because of that line, that line you cross when "handmade" is an insult.

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