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Violet Trundle sewing with a Singer sewing machine at her home in Hughenden, ca. 1925

Photo via State Library of Queensland on Flickr

Handmade is such a better word than DIY. (I kinda loathe DIY because it sounds like I’m a city slicker trying to be cheap.) I am a hand-maker, I make things with my hands.

Making things is much more… much more… well, it’s more. To me, it’s more satisfying to make something I’m going to use than just buy it from the store. It’s not that I’m against consumers, it makes more sense to me to start from scratch, or at least as close to scratch as I can get.

As much as I want to be able to completely produce items from day 1, I still have to buy rather than make. I do not have the abilities to weave my own fabric, or to spin nice yarn for knitting, or create threads for embroidery. I’m not there yet. The more I work to learn to do such things, the closer I get to “sustainable” because believe me, as much as my yarn is 100% American Wool, it still has to be trucked to the store for me to drive to, and then buy.

When I hear someone call themself a DIY-er, I cringe inside. It’s like applying a new-world definition to an old-world belief, turning a lifestyle into a hobby. Handmaking something is not a hobby, as much as others wish they could say so. Even Elizabeth Zimmerman talks about feelings she gets when she’s knitting, how she felt that she has done that before, even if it is her first time.

I rarely talk to other people about such feelings. I have a natural knack for being able to knit, as odd as it sounds. I learned by knitting a square, and as hole-y it was, from the minute I began to knit, I felt warmth, I felt natural, I felt as if I had been doing this for decades instead of a day.

Yeah, I still have to buy things from a store, and yes, sometimes the vile Wal*Mart. I hang my head in shame, but when I am with others in something I have made, rather than bought, my head is high. I am not better or worse than others because I can make things with my hands, I simply have pride for what I can do.

So I stick to handmade, because what I make is with my hands, and what I make with my hands, is made with my heart.