Becky Says...

August 2005

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Kits - August 2

I've had reason of late to think about such things as kits for doing crafts work. I know some people think these are somehow substandard to either following directions or working strictly from one's own design. But I see a great value in kits.

For one thing, they allow you to practice merely doing the craft. I'm thinking in particular of embroidery kits, because those were the first I ever had.

A kit that gives you not only the fabric but the yarn or thread and probably an embroidery hoop and a needle allows you to make one investment instead of several. It allows you to use materials intended for that work. And it allows you to take the time to experience doing the stitches. To learn how your hands make certain motions and what happens when you do those motions.

It also allows you to decide whether you like doing the work enough to invest more in it. There are, for instance, all sorts of gadgets that are used by more experienced embroiderers. But if you really don't like doing embroidery, there's not much need to invest in them.

I still have and proudly display on my living room wall the first piece of crewel embroidery I ever made. It was from a kit, and from working with that kit I learned a few stitches really well. I was doing this work while I was in college. A few friends noticed what I was doing, and shared catalogs for other kits. I got several more, and learned more stitches as I worked on them.

Along the way, I learned an appreciation for the work. I learned what combinations of fabric and yarn can work well together. I got some reference books. I learned more stitches. I learned more about care of wool and linen. I learned how to be comfortable with translating my own ideas into crewel work.

But that first piece I did, from a kit, remains one of my absolute favorite pieces. One of my cousins, who was a rather accomplished artist, gave me the kit because she knew I liked working with my hands and liked doing intricate hand sewing. She thought I might like to do crewel work, and that this would be a good way to find out if she was right. I think of her every time I look at that piece.

So if you're contemplating getting a kit, go right ahead. If you'd like, you may consider this my giving you permission to work from a kit if you're trying to learn something, or if you want to enjoy doing something without investing a lot of money in it, or if you just plain want to work from a kit. I will not look down my nose at your effort or at your finished project. I promise.

I will congratulate you for accomplishing something.

Text © copyright 2000-2005 Becky