For the last two years I’ve followed along with Me Made May* from the sidelines. I find it incredibly inspiring to watch as women (there may be men who participate, but I’m not aware of any) spend the month showing off their handmade wardrobe. More than anything, I think its these makers who made me want to try my hand at knitting (and now sewing) garments.
I love to knit socks and mittens and shawls and whatnot, but for me, knitting and wearing my first sweater felt like a really big deal. A lot of it, I think, is the visibility. I wear hand-knit socks everyday, but in general, they’re inside my shoes and not something people around me are aware of (I do try to wear my fancier ones to parties though). Knitting a sweater, though, or a skirt, is a real statement. When someone asks you where you got it, you get to tell them that you made it, and then it’s out there.
When I started knitting, I was kind of self-conscious about it. I simultaneously wanted people to notice and comment on it and desperately hoped no one would notice. I’m well past that now, and a few weeks ago, when my stylish and deeply talented colleague asked me where I’d gotten my sweater, I was proud to tell her I’d knit it myself.
Knitting, and making in general, is definitely losing its dusty reputation, in part because I think people are realizing the stereotypes they associated with “handmade” just didn’t make sense. Events/series like Me Made May help with that, because seeing a parade of beautiful and stylish handmade garments, made by people from all over the place with different body types and differing amounts of “free” time is a statement about who makers are. Which is to say, potentially anyone.
I had hoped to participate in Me Made May this year, but I’m not sure I have enough garments to properly do so. So instead, I’m committing to spending this month making clothing I can wear next year (and also, I hope, next month!). On the knitting front, I am determined to finish Grace by the end of the month. I cast-on on June 1, and I’m not sure I want this WIP to turn 1, so I’m buckling down. On the sewing front, I have plans for a couple of new tops and, I hope, a dress. Given that it’s already May 3, I guess I should get to it!
*Here’s a great little primer on Me Made May if you’re not familiar with it. You can also search Twitter and Instagram for the #MMM14 hashtag to find people who are participating.