Let’s say, that you were very much a knitter, and less so a sewer – and let’s say that you decided to do a very simple sewing project.  Let’s say – even, because it’s true, that you only decided to do that sewing project because when it was done it would be a vehicle for knitting, and that made it seem all right to you.

Let’s say also, that you have a brand-spankin’ new sewing machine that you said you wanted, and even though it turns out that your husband really got that sewing machine so that he could learn to sew and make things for the boat, you really feel like you should use it. (Let’s say that things are also more or less square between you and said husband, because you delayed telling him that you can buy bias tape until he’d made a few million metres of it.)  Let’s say also that you may, or may not have had the best plan (read – no plan) for this project, except that you’ve been thinking about it for a while, and really, 90% of your plans work out, in one way or another. (Eventually.)  Let’s say that had finished embroidering all your numbers on the thing, and let’s say that you ran out of red embroidery floss as you finished the 4 in 24, and that’s a pretty good place to run out if you’re making an advent calendar, which you are.

numbersdone 2014-11-21

Let’s also say that after you drew about nineteen really weird/wonky/crooked trees, you finally got one that’s just the right amount of whimsy, without being all Seussian, and let’s say that while you had a pretty hard time sewing it on, you remembered a thing or two about turning corners while you were doing that, and so you only swore like a sunburned sailor for about half of the time.  Let’s say too, that despite a few incidents with the reverse button – which let’s also say that you’ve discovered is in the least intuitive place that it could possibly be in, which (let’s just say) might have meant that the corners aren’t quite as tidy as they could have been, that you’ve managed to sew down the embroidered strips for the pockets, and got them turned into pockets, with a little more stitching, and really – that reverse thingie? You’re still mad about where it is. (Let’s say too that you’re not quite ready to release all your rage at the machine, because you know that it’s probably just 25 years of having a different machine with the reverse in a different spot that’s actually the problem.)

accessories 2014-11-21

Let’s say as well, that after consulting the internet, and your mum (who’s very, very handy with a sewing machine) that you figured out how to sew on 24 buttons with the machine so that it only took like… an hour instead of three, and let’s say that it could have been a lot faster too, if you could have figured out how to get the “feed dogs” down a little sooner, and if you didn’t have to look up how to get the *&^%$#@!!ing presser foot off, and if you had figured out that the tension was all wrong and was making those weird loops on the bottom before you’d done, like… ten buttons.

allon 2014-11-21

Let’s say too, that you decided that only a fool would change the thread in the machine for one button, and you sewed that one on by hand.  (Let’s say that’s the yellow button, and let’s say that you decided that the top one should be yellow, purely for reasons of ornament.)

yellowone 2014-11-21

Let’s say that all of that is true, and that you cut a piece of dowel to go through the top, and let’s say that it took you a while to find a handsaw and mitre box in the basement (because it was in an even less sensible place than the reverse button, and also there are spiders down there) and lets say that you sanded the wood, and got it through the casing at the top, and let’s say that right now it’s hanging in your living room where you can admire it.

snowman 2014-11-21

Wouldn’t you, let’s just say, be rather smug that it was all going so well, and completely willing to overlook that you only have 6 ornaments made, and it’s 9 days until deadline?

I’d say so.

134 thoughts on “Perhaps

  1. I certainly would.
    I’d also say that it’s nine days until the *first* ornament needs to be done. It’s 33 days until the last one has to be there.

  2. It’s adorable and will be quite the heirloom in the future. And, after all, the ornamenta are small and you don’t have to have all of them ready by Dec. 1.

  3. A feat definitely worthy of a feeling of smugness
    I’m also still trying to get my mind around the idea of being able to use the machine to sew on buttons. That wasn’t part of my school sewing lessons back in the 70s!
    And the snowman looks great.

    • That was my takeaway from this post – SEWING MACHINES DO BUTTONS! {See Arthur C. Clark’s third law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”}

  4. A word of caution regarding machine-sewn buttons (and not to reduce your feeling of smugness, to which you are well-entitled): They come off a whole lot easier than the hand-sewn variety. Maybe stitch a few extra to the back before you gift it, just in case.

    • I’ve only found that to be true of factory sewn buttons, the many that I sew on, stay there. But only if you follow the instruction book.

      To Steph: I own 3 machines by same manufacturer, and even after 20 years or so, I still have to double check where the back up is on each machine. Always a learning curve with any new product or skill.

      • i’ve had my grandma’s singer from 1920-something, and it doesn’t have a reverse! we used to lift and pull the fabric back under the needle to reinforce.

  5. Let’s just say the buttons look better than the hooks and eyes on a white tree with a green background than some heirlooms with felt ornaments others own.

  6. Pingback: Perhaps | Yarn Buyer

  7. I would say, that’s wee little snowman peeping out is pretty darn cute. I would say also that I see a flurry of ravelry searches for teeny little knitted ornaments in the near future. Well done!

  8. Go ahead, be smug. I am a bit demoralized to see in your twitter sidebar that tiny pompoms are super hard however, given that I am making tiny Santa hats for this year’s ornament gift and will have to make at least a dozen of them 🙁

  9. The only reason you need to have all 24 of the ornaments done by Dec 1 is so you can take a picture of the finished product with all 24 little ornaments peeking out to share with us before you start hanging them on the tree. But, let’s just day, most of us are probably mature enough to wait until you’re getting ready to put it away after Christmas.

  10. While I love, respect, and admire the Yarn Harlot, it’s posts like this that make me glad I don’t celebrate Christmas. I know that I couldn’t handle the stress.
    (And apologies in advance to anyone who thinks I might be trying to be offensive. )

  11. Excellent! And, if you do one a day, and in the order you are putting them on, you can stay well ahead of the 24th!

    Really nice!

    Now if I could just pass the human verification test!

  12. Baah! Ornaments can arrive on the ‘just in time delivery’ basis just as so many other things these days. OK, you might want to be a day or so ahead, just in case something happens. Which it won’t, if you’re prepared for it to happen. Otherwise, nice job on the perseverance thing.

  13. The Advent calendar is beautiful….the post the other day about the making of it sent me to a back closet to retrieve one I made years ago for my son. It has not seen the light of day for over 25 years because I am not a Grandma yet. But this year it’s out and hanging up already. As I pull each little ornament out of its pocket I’ll say, “Thank you, Yarn Harlot, for letting me enjoy this again!” And each ornament will be a surprise because I can’t remember what they are after all these years !

  14. Craft stores usually have bags of pom-poms in different sizes -you should be able to find the proper size for the tiny Santa hats.

  15. You can always pop in a candy if you don’t have the ornament done for this year. Think what a nice surprise will be waiting next year!

      • My 13 y.o. daughter FINALLY decided to clean her room when she found trails of ants to her old candy canes. (this was 20 years ago and I still recall the horror on her face).

  16. My sewing machine hates me. A few feeble attempts has taught me to stick to knitting. I’m in awe of your project! Merry Christmas♡

    • I highly recommend Craftsy’s basic sewing class. It made communicating with my sewing machine quite a bit easier recently (and we have a tenuous relationship at best, too).

  17. Is all the other Christmas knitting for the year done already? I’m supprised to see such a large project this time of year. Normally around now we start hearing about how the Christmas knitting schedule is slowly falling behind.

  18. Hmmmm. “SEWER” not a word I usually use associated with textiles. I pay a town tax for water and sewer. When it comes to the needle arts I prefer “STITCHER”. Your Advent calendar is really cute. Making teeny tiny ornaments its own challenge, but worth the effort. It is a dear snowman.

  19. You have 6 ornaments finished and need 18 more in the next 9 days. That’s only 2 ornaments per day, which I’m sure you can do in your sleep. Great job on the advent calendar!

    • Especially since they’re so tiny … for anyone who could finish that fiddly stripey baby sweater on teeny-tiny needles, or the other baby project with all that embroidery, this is way do-able. Can’t wait to see them all!

  20. Glad that the sewing is completed and that you can proceed to making the ornaments to fill the pockets.

    And maybe this year, do it in reverse and FILL each pocket on its day? Then you are 9 ornaments ahead of schedule!

  21. Looks like it’s a Bernina… amiright? I agree, reverse (and scissors) buttons are in the least intuitive/convenient spots…design flaws that never change!

  22. Wouldn’t you, let’s just say, be rather smug that it was your friend, rather than yourself, tearing her very curly hair out over wee knitted thingies while you were comfortably ensconced in front of the fireplace with popcorn, red wine, chocolate, and a small snuggly dog?

    • Let’s just say you’ve taken a sharp left turn into a whole new realm of Christmas crazy. Presbytera, where are the beer and popcorn??

    • I’ll be right with you, Presbytera, after I’ve finished my bit of squeeing over how gorgeous and adorable this advent calendar is looking. Dude, I’m an orthodox Jew! Why am I so busy cooing over this calendar??? But… apparently I am. (God, I love Christmas. Sigh!)

  23. 9 days until deadline? Not at all! You’ve got 9 days until you need the ornament for the 1st, then 10 days until the ornament for the 2nd of December is needed, 11 days until the 3rd ornament is needed, and you get the gist. The deadline is rolling away as quickly as the days go by. Piece of cake to get it done, right? 🙂

  24. It’s truly a shame it will only be used for just one month.
    Sorry did I say that out loud?
    Really it’s quite nice and will be treasured for many, many years.

  25. Your machine sews buttons??! What wizardry is this?

    This is probably the wrong kind of helpful, but you could always knit ornaments as fast as you could, and whatever pockets aren’t filled yet on Dec 1 could get a chocolate. Then, the pocket would LOOK full, and each time you finish a new ornament, someone gets to eat a treat. Double the incentive?

  26. Word of warning (with love) – the decorations in pockets 8-24 are going to have to be on the tiny side, so that they don’t block the painstaking embroidery on the pockets above.
    On the plus side – they’ll be even quicker to do.

  27. This is so adorable. I’d say you still have time as long as you stay ahead of the curve. And that you get points for making this from scratch so doesn’t that count as at least one present or 3?
    Rootin’ for ya.

  28. My husband knew how to sew before we were married. He made a down sleeping bag, down vest, sail bags, and a lot of stuff. (He also had his own asparagus steamer!)

  29. How does the rest of your Christmas knitting look? Either there’s no panic, or you’re so far behind you haven’t looked at the need to panic yet. Be sure your spreadsheet has some sick days built into it, because you always take a few. Hope you enjoy the process.

  30. I was explaining just the other day to a friend ( who enjoys sewing) why I didn’t get along with sewing machines.

    Thank you for letting me know that I am not the only one in the universe.

    Totally get the loops of thread from the bobbin on the bottom thing.

  31. Since there are no little ones in your house to take the teeny tiny toys out each day, you can just this once, (since it is the inaugural year) put them IN each day!

  32. Let’s say you are a knitter not a sewer. And let’s say you read about a knitter who is a sewer. And let’s say not only are you jealous you are very very impressed!!

  33. Perhaps you could have an Advent calendar that has an ornament added each day, instead of being taken away. That way all your lovely little ornaments could be admired for longer and you could start a new trend!

  34. I’ve been watching (admiring) you knit through this blog for some time. You totally have this! I will admit to some scepticism when you first broached the topic of this project. (Read: I am capable of sewing but avoid it if there is an alternative). I’m truly impressed! Smug on….

  35. You have every right to be smug. Not only have you done all the sewing, you have probably added things to other people’s to-do lists. I, for one, am now putting together an advent calendar for my kids: paper bags, tags, clothespins and baker’s twine (so this isn’t a fiber or textile project) but I do have to figure out a few things to stuff bags with… have fun!

  36. Those of us who do sew have hit all the same snags when learning a new machine or a new process. I’m impressed by your Go For It attitude — you might be surprised by the number of people who own a sewing machine but are afraid to use it. Can’t wait to see all the ornaments. Are you going to show us one a day?

  37. You have more patience than I have! I agree with the comments on craft glue – a real life saver. (I am the woman who once used super-glue on a late project, just to save sewing up time – don

  38. whoops! cut off. Don’t even think of using super-glue! Not on knitting, anyway. Can’t wait to see a picture of the finished project.

  39. I’ve been meaning to do what you have done for years. A beautiful, hand-made Advent calendar. You have every right to be smug. I hardly use my sewing machine so I have to re-learn almost every time I use it.
    You are an inspiration to me – just not until next year.
    P.S. Please post pix of the whole thing in all it’s glory.

  40. Let’s say that everything that you do just totally impresses me. After meeting you at the Arkansas Fiber Fest and taking only one of your classes, I felt like you were family! Thanks for inspiring me to finish things and learn new things! (and my sewing reverse thingy is in the wrong place too!)

  41. I would say it is looking freaking Awesome!!! WOW!!! I am inspired to maybe make one of these days…soon….maybe for 2015 yule….

  42. The days are in the color of chocolate–treats inside could match the pockets for this year should you need the time to knit socks instead.

    But I’d be really really smug right now if I’d made that. It’s beautiful. (And that snowman is adorable!)

  43. Wow, you’re like the canadian Martha Stewart! Very tidy sewing job and very pretty embroidery. I love snowmen, he’s very cute.

  44. Well…let’s say that you should….perhaps….MOVE IT WOMAN! Or as my former Marine Corps son would say..”quick, fast and in a hurry”


  45. First of all, can I just say, for someone who doesn’t sew you’re an amazing sewer. Very neat, perfectly lined up boxes, very well done!! And the trouble with Christmas Decorations is that they really need to be done in August, but all the inspiration comes in November, so there you go. Beautiful though.

  46. I am MUCH more a knitter than a sewer. I got my first sewing machine 2 years ago. 1 year later I bought a piece of fabric to make something. I still haven’t done a single piece on it. Whenever I have time for crafting I always go for my needles or a crochet hook. Someday… Maybe…

  47. I am looking for some laceweight or very fine (I think) in a self striping yarn for a tie for my son. Does anyone know where I would find such a product? Any help would be appreciated.

    • Zauberball Lace or Zauberball Crazy Lace, perhaps. I don’t know if the stripe length is what you’re looking for. Alternatively, self-striping sock yarn would work well, though it’s not as fine a weight.

  48. LOVE IT! Any chance you’d be willing to post a final photo of the whole thing in one piece? I totally want to see it in its entirety!

  49. All is forgiven with “and also there are spiders down there”.
    Sewing machines! And people who sew and really know sewing and sewing machines! They are real and they walk among us!
    You overshot the project and are making up for lack of sewing wisdom.
    Still… it looks lovely. Cheers.

  50. I love it, very very much. 🙂 I know that you are a perfectionist, and therefore I know that although you think your corners aren’t quite perfect, the rest of us think they look great. 🙂 Please do share pictures with all of the finished ornaments, even if we have to wait until after Christmas to see them. 🙂

  51. That is awesome! And I’m seeing it as a 9 day buffer (plus it’s like 8 days until December, so that’s like a 17 day buffer.) You only need ornaments “just in time”. Sure, there’s less choice every day, but there is also a surprise every day this way. And you could totally make “stand in” temp ornaments if you really need to.

  52. Agreed that you don’t have to have them all done in 9 days!!! It will make the anticipation that much more heightened. Wonderful job on this, Stephanie! You are so talented.

  53. I do believe I knit so I don’t have to sew. I am always amazed that pants can be hemmed so the legs are the same length! My brother sews kites (very close to quilting) and I always tell him “Mother would be so proud!

  54. I would just say that it’s pretty stunning, you have a week before more ornaments are mandatory, and I can’t wait to see more details. I would also say that I now want one of my very own.

  55. So, for Christmas this year, Joe gets a gift certificate for a fabric store with a good selection of bias tape?

    Oh, Steph – mostly you’ve been Very Good. But you might merit a tiny little lump of coal for that one.

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