Do you watch Top Chef? If you do, you know that they always get busted on deserts, and use the excuse “but I’m not a pastry chef”.
I am like some of the contestants, in that I cook, but I don’t bake. For one, I’d probably be 100 lbs. heavier if I baked, but really, it’s because there is a precision in the chemistry of baking. You have to measure, there are ratios of things (see, I don’t even know what things), and you have to know the chemistry of baking. The way I cook, I might read through a recipe, but I rarely follow it, even the first time through. I might not have all the ingredients, or it might call for cumin, which I don’t like, or there might not be enough garlic, so I improvise based on the idea of the original.
And sometimes, there isn’t even a recipe. I might see something on TV and say, that sounds good, and then I’ll make my own version that might taste nothing like the TV version. The problem with that, of course, is that nothing is measured or recorded, so if you come up with something really good, you can’t reproduce it.
In knitting, I pretty much do the same thing, although I do follow patterns for the most part, but once I’ve made something, I don’t follow the pattern much if I make it again. Or even the first time, sometimes! And if I am counting stitches and come up short, I’ll just M1 and get it balanced and move on.
I’m starting to think sewing is more like a pastry chef than a sous chef -type pursuit, and I really need to work on that. Not necessarily in following a pattern, but in measuring, balancing, etc.
But anyway, here’s a case of the saw it on TV but didn’t write anything down, didn’t buy the pattern, didn’t measure, just winged it. I’m new to quilting, but I can work my DVR, so I have been recording shows like Quilt in a Day and Fons and Porter. On the latter, there was an episode where they made a bag out of pre-quilted fabric. I looked on their web site to see if the pattern was available, but it wasn’t. So, I just watched the episode again, and then I winged it.
Here’s the result:
Now, those of you who are pastry chefs will be all itchy over the crazy wobbly looking pockets, but I just pinned the pockets on and started sewing. I didn’t know what I was doing, but it’s functional!
The inside has a divider, which is just a folded piece of fabric sewn into the side seams. I thought that might help it be more stable when the ironing pad or mat is removed. I have no idea if that will work, but I’ll get to test it out next weekend at the LAMQG weekend sew.
Since I used Amy Butler Love quilted fabric, I decided to link into the Sew & Tell and Amy Butler challenge on Amylouwho’s blog. I guess I’ll have to wait for next week though, as I’m late for this week. I’m linked up now. Go take a look and see what other Amy Butler goodness is being made.
The other project is more of the ‘read the recipe, didn’t follow it’ type.
Over here, there’s a great tutorial on creating fabric baskets. And I read it, but I wanted a longer basket for storing my large fabric scraps, and thought I might make a few and line them up all neat on my IKEA Billy bookcase, out of reach of my toddler.
So I decided to make my fabric 22 x 16, and cut out 5″ squares, so I’d have some charm squares out of the deal instead of wasting that fabric. And I didn’t have the type of interfacing that she had, I had a much stiffer Pellon (70 maybe?).
So, with this wicked stiff pellon, it wasn’t that easy to sew around those really bulky corners. I was wrestling and wrestling with it, and mumbling to myself that what the heck is free about a free arm when you can’t even wrangle the thing around the thing when I thought of the solution. Hang the end of the machine off the table, and no more wrestling!
Here it is stuffed with the leftovers from La La’s quilt, plus the fabrics I’m planning to use for an Xmas tree quilt.
I wrapped the fabrics around my 4 1/2 inch square-up ruler, and they fit perfectly in the box.
I like the nice sharp corners.
It’s not as wobbly as it looks, it’s just full.
So that leads me to an ethical question. When someone puts up a tutorial or a pattern and you use it for inspiration, I think it’s widely accepted that it’s OK to mention the inspiration and make your modifications and move on. Sort of like open source software. That’s what I plan to do with the green fabrics. I plan to make a wall hanging inspired by the one posted on PurlBee last year.
But what if you are inspired by something that’s not a tutorial or free pattern, but is just a photo of a completed work or a pattern for sale? Is that fair game in the same way? What about software. If you found a program online that does some cool stuff that you never thought of doing before, but instead of buying it, you write your own code to do the same thing. Now that you have the idea, is that OK? What if you don’t try to sell or give away the resulting software, but just use it yourself?