A long time coming.

Late last spring, I stopped by the dearest Kemper’s trunk show over at one of my local yarn shops, Knot House Yarns. Kemper is the dyer behind Junkyarn and a super cool human. She helped me pick out yarn for a pattern that I was dying to cast on.

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I drove home, wound up those yarns, and cast on immediately. Of course, I had other things on the needles, so I indulged myself just a bit and then put it down. This would turn out to be the pattern with this project, over and over. I would pick it up and knit a bit on it and put it down to finish up some other project.

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This was the barest beginnings of my Audra Wrap. Now, don’t get me wrong, the pattern is beautiful. The yarn is beautiful. But there was something about the repeating sections that made it seem like it would take forever to knit and, like some fibery self-fulfilling prophecy, forever is just about what it took. It took me a bit over 10 months to finish. But finish it I have and it is glorious.

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This is the Audra Wrap by Ambah O’Brien. The yarn is Junkyarn in Brigitte (peach), Rosemary (purple), and Lady Murasaki (grey mohair). The pattern really is lovely, the stripes are fun and the lace is intuitive and very pretty. The yarn was a dream and I am both happy and sad that I used nearly all of it.

IMG_20190421_084800 This is a completely new to me shape, I haven’t knit anything like it before. I’m really interested to style it and get some good wear out of it.

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It is so long! It almost touches my toes when I hang it over my shoulders. I had a little too much fun just basking in the cozy softness draped all over.

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Now that it’s finished, I am so pleased. I don’t know that I would have chosen these colors together without Kemper’s help – but boy are they perfect! This one was definitely worth the–loooooooong–wait.

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Happy making!

Sweets and my sweetheart.

I have to tell you, I am having the most lovely spring break with my son. Our trip to Denver was a work weekend for me–and a pretty stressful one, at that–but having Joshua along was the perfect spot of sunshine.

We flew out on Friday morning. This was Joshua’s first flight and he reports that while takeoff was really exciting, the other 3.5 hours was less so. He played Smash Bros. and I finished the first sweater sleeve before we landed.

Once we got on the ground, it was a bit of go, go, go. Joshua was a huge help, carrying and moving and lifting. Having a strong teenager around can be pretty nice. We had supper with my coworkers that evening and went to bed pretty early. As per usual, I was up early for some pre-conference coffee and knitting.

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After a morning of work, I took my lunch break to take Joshua to eat. It was such a treat all weekend to get to take my breaks with him.

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That evening, we took a walk and got some supper and found this little shop called Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. No surprise, Joshua wanted to check it out. It smelled amazing! We picked up a few Saturday evening treats and headed back to the hotel.

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Sunday was my big day, but I did manage to catch up with Joshua a few times. I had an evening event so a few of my coworkers took Joshua out for dinner and laser tag. From all accounts, they had a blast. I met up with them at the hotel restaurant afterward.

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The next morning Joshua and I got up early to pack and hit up VooDoo doughnuts for breakfast. I had gone to the original VooDoo a few years ago and Joshua is ever interested in sweets so it was a must. IMG_20190415_073423

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The doughnuts were pretty amazing. With that, we went down to the conference and helped out a bit and then got a ride out to the airport.

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I had, of course, not done very much knitting over the weekend. I wasn’t really thinking that I would be able to finish the sleeve before we landed, but somehow, I knit and knit and knit, and voila! I did it. I took a picture as we landed, but it’s pretty blurry so I will spare you. Once we got settled in, I wove in the ends and set to blocking her.

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I can’t wait for this sweater to dry. I really feel like it will fit into my wardrobe so nicely!

All in all, we had a great time. I got to spend a lot of time with Joshua, which doesn’t always happen these days. He starts high school this fall–gulp!–and time is really starting to feel short. I am so happy that I was able to bring him along with me. It was a pretty sweet trip, and I’m not just talking about the doughnuts.


Happy making!

Two out of three ain’t bad.

At the beginning of the week, I set out to try to finish three projects. Well, I’m here to tell you that it didn’t happen. On the bright side though, I finished two, I swatched for a new sweater, and I can knit sleeves on the plane.

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My first finish of the week was the Audra Wrap. She’s not had her ends woven in or been blocked, and only partly because I’ve got to figure out exactly where to block a shawl that’s biggger than me. I got Astra to take a picture of it as soon as I finished it – she had to stand quite a ways away.

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My second finish (on the same night, no less) is my first but definitely not last Rita Blouse. Rita is a pattern by Gertie of Charm Patterns. I made it from the scraps of a top I made a few years ago. Looking at that post, I definitely feel like my sewing skills have improved!

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This adorable pattern was extraordinarily well written. I was really intimidated but Gertie’s instructions really guide you through the process. The top is gathered and the lower bodice quite fitted. I cut a straight 6c and I think that was mostly the right call. When I first tried it on, I felt that the arms and shoulders were quite tight. I wound up adding abut 3 inches of elastic to the neckline and 1.5 inches to the armholes. That made a big difference.

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I still think it might pull a little bit under the side bust and up to the armpit, but I’m not really sure what to do about that. This was my very first invisible zipper and I think it was mostly successful. Like I said, Gertie’s instructions are very helpful.

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The back is a tad puffy in the gathered part, so I may shorten it a bit in the next version. And if you’re wondering, there will definitely be a next version. I am in love with this little top! Overall it took me a bit over one evening to make. That was with several mistakes and looking up youtube tutorials on invisible zippers, so not bad at all.

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The unfinished sweater I was working on has definitely seen progress. It now has both button bands and a neck band, and a sleeve well on it’s way.

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For the button holes, I was inspired by Amy Beth of The Fat Squirrel Speaks podcast to try out one row button holes. I think they look so neat and tidy! I folled Amy Beth’s tutorial and it worked perfectly. I’m only taking this sweater on the plane today, so I’m hoping this baby will be finished by the time Joshua and I are back home.

The other night, after finishing the wrap and the top, my hands were pretty tired but my mind was a buzzing with motivation. I decided to pull down some of my fabric and some yarn and gauge how I’m doing on the whole wardrobe potential thing. I kind of had this sinking feeling that I had a bunch of fabric that wouldn’t pair with any of the sweaters I want to knit. I was pleasantly surprised.

This is what I came up with. Some of these will be mix and match but these were the standout pairings in my mind. This also helped me figure out which are going to be cardigans and which are going to be pullovers. I’ll talk about the yarns and fabrics as I plan to use them, but first up is this set:

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The yarn is Woolberry Fiber Co. in the Hayride colorway and the fabric is a rayon challis Rifle Paper Co. from Cotton + Steel. The fabric is destined to become a circle skirt and the yarn will be a Beauty School from Poison Grrls. It is just the cutest little retro fitted top and I can’t wait to knit it up. I swatched this week in the hopes that I’ll be coming home with a finished sweater ready to cast on this one.

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I think that’s it for now. Joshua and I are about to hop on the plane to Denver – he’s travelling with me for a work trip to kick off his spring break. It’s just a weekend trip, but I’m excited to have him along. He’s fantastic company even if he will cost me a fortune in food. Now, to get to this sweater sleeve!


Happy making!

Perhaps a clean slate is in order.

Every once in a while, I am looking for a clean slate. Not necessarily because I’m tired of my projects or don’t like them, but just ready to start something fresh. I’m in one of those moods today. I’ve got a bunch of things on the needles, but I’m trying to focus on a three at a time, a sweater, shawl, and something small.

I finished up the something small a few days ago and it inspired me. That something small was the first pair of socks I’ve knit this year!

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This is quite a departure for me, I believe I was up to 6 or 7 pairs by this time last year. But I’m focusing on other things this year, so I’m just not cranking out socks like that, which is just fine. These were pure pleasure to knit, the stripes were just mesmerizing. That gold is gorgeous! The main yarn is Tiny Human Knits in the Cumberbund colorway. I debated for a while over the contrast heel, but finally settled on Peepaloo Fields in the Tide colorway – leftovers from my Sunset Highway. I love them.

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This got me thinking. I leave for a work trip on Friday, and when I come back it will be spring break. Spring break means a fair bit of quiet crafting time around here, so I’d really like to be cracking into something fresh and new. With that, I took stock. Of the projects I’m focusing on, I’ve got a sweater, a shawl, and a sew that need finishing off.

The sweater:

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My Crumb, which only lacks sleeves at this point. Worsted weight sleeves can go pretty fast, so I’m hopeful here. This could even go on the plane and get finished up on the trip.

The shawl:

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This monstrosity is a) beautiful b) my Audra Wrap and c) taller than me. I am on the final stripe section, so it’s all garter from here on out. I am starting to get excited that this giant thing will be bound off on only 144 stitches. That’s pretty sick.

And last, but not least, the sew:

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This terrible night shot of an in progress make is my Rita Blouse. I’ve got nothing left but to finish off the elastic and hem it. It’s a bit tight in the bust and arms though, so I am going to try adding some length to the neckline elastic to see if that helps. If not, I’ll probably need to go up a size either in bust or all-over size for the next one.

I do feel like this is a bit of a tall order for a short week in which I have to get every member of my household ready for a trip, but hey, sometimes arbitrary goals are a fun motivator.


Happy making!

Dressmaking 101

For quite a while,  I’ve been itching to try my hand at dressmaking. I made myself a knit dress a few years ago, but that just didn’t click for me.

Enter B5748. This is a reprinted vintage dress pattern from the 1960s. I have loved it ever since I realized that most of Andi Satterlund’s dresses were a version of this pattern. I purchased the pattern on a sale and have had it looking at me since last summer. For some reason I recently decided to give it a go. I had fabric and yarn that were meant to go together and the sweater was cast on, so the dress had to follow soon. I started by making a muslin of the bodice:

 

I noticed some gaping in the back shoulders and a fair bit of extra fabric above my bust. After some thought and tinkering, I decided to lower the bust darts a smidge and take out a bit of the top back shoulder strap. I’m not sure if that was the best method for taking care of the gappy shoulders, but that’s what I did. The re-worked muslin fit much better.

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Not perfect, but definitely workable. With that, I got rolling. Now, as this was my very first fitted (very little ease in the bust) and one of only a handful of garments I’ve sewn, I was a little nervous about the brief instructions in the pattern. They really don’t go over the top with helping you out. That’s probably ok for some people, but I wanted someone to hold my hand.

Enter Gertie. In my pattern stash, I have a copy of the Night and Day Dress by Charm Patterns. One of the versions is a fairly similar style, so I tried out a muslin of that bodice as well.

 

Much worse! I think I straight up cut the wrong size. Certainly the bust is way too large, but the back is so tight! There is work to be done there. With all of that, I decided to go ahead with b5748 but use the pattern instructions from the Gertie pattern. That worked like a charm!

I wound up making a few modifications to the dress in the end. I switched from a side zip to a lapped zipper in the center back. I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this one. The lapped zipper turned out fine, though I could use some practice. But the top of the zipper pulls a bit, and I wonder if that would just work better at the side.

Much as I wanted a full circle skirt, with the 44″  wide fabric and directional print it was not meant to be. I didn’t want flowers laying over on their sides! I wound up self-drafting a gathered skirt, more or less with success. I added pockets as well, because, well, pockets, damnit.

With all of that said, let’s take a look! I’m pretty stinking proud of this one.

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This fabric is by Anna Maria Horner – I was inspired to use this thanks to a remarkably similar the exact same dress on Andi Satterlund’s blog. It’s 100% cotton and sturdy and soft and lovely. This is one project where the inside is nearly as pretty as the outside:

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Gertie’s instructions really made a difference in how the finished product turned out.

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I love the neatness! I kind of can’t believe I made this. All-told this wasn’t too bad of a project. I think it was a good starter dress. It isn’t perfect, but that’s ok. I can’t wait to dive in and make another dress!

Pardon the nighttime photos and not-so-lovely set-up. I need to step up my outfit photography if I’m going to be making dresses!

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Truth be told, this dress makes me feel like a million bucks. I’m not sure if I’ll go straight for another b5748 or try to get a Night and Day bodice that works, but this style is hitting on all cylinders for me. Now to get cranking on a closet full!


Happy making!

 

 

 

 

I don’t know what it is, but I like it.

I have been firmly in the “grey is my favorite color” camp for a million years. But lately, I’ve been thinking about how Astra so easily revises her favorite colors. Orange has been a long-standing fave but that key second favorite spot rotates in and out, I think it’s green right now.

So what is my second favorite color? What is even my favorite color? Do I have one? Does it matter? At any rate, I have been drawn to obssessed with mustardy colors lately. I knit my sisiter-in-law a mustard cowl for Christmas, because she loves mustard. At first I thought this was a case of a color I’d never wear, but then… I knit a hat.

That’s my Kobuk, and it’s a pretty tame shade of brown? mustard? I’m not actually sure. So then I though I’d turn it up a notch and knit a sweater.

That’s Populuxe, in a gorgeous tweed gold? brown? mustard? Still not sure. I just know that I love this little sweater. Finally, in my fibreshare package was a beautiful skein of (I’m pretty sure) mustard yarn. I knit it into a shawl in about 7 seconds.

This is Spindrift by Helen Steward of Curious Handmade. I knit one of these in 8 days a couple of years ago and have loved it ever since. This baby was on my needles for exactly one week. I could not put it down!

That color is just perfect. The yarn is merino/silk/yak from Happy Hank Co. in the English Mustard colorway. The silk gives it a gorgeous sheen and that yak is just buttery soft. I wore it the other day and it feels amazing.

I’ve kind of fancied that I can’t wear this color, but I think maybe that’s a tad bit silly. But whether I shouldt or not, I’m wearing it. I just can’t get enough. And somehow it goes with all the mauve and teal and other colors in my wardrobe.

At this point, I’ve amassed quite the little collection of mustardy (browny/goldy/greeny) yarns. It would seem that I’m not really sure what the color actually is, but I just know I love it.


Happy {mustard} making!

Populuxe.

Way back before our holiday trip, I swatched a little swatch. I knew that when we got home it would be the new year and I’d be ready for something fresh and new on my needles. So I wound up some yarn and got to it.

Once we arrived back home, I wasted no time and cast on my shiny new sweater. I started Populuxe, an adorable cardigan by Andi Satterlund. The yarn is from Sweet Sparrow Yarns, in her tweed DK in the Butterbeer colorway. I zoomed right along and before I knew it I was down past the sleeve join and ready to try it on.

I tried it on and… it was too big. Obviously several inches of positive ease through the bust, and that’s before adding a buttonband! I tried to reason with myself that maybe it would fit with the sleeves, but even Kevin said it looked like it would be too big. I frantically checked my stitch counts over and over until I happened to check the needle size and my swatch notes.

Back in December, I had swatched with a 3.50 mm, 3.25 mm, and 3.00 mm – and promptly figured out that the 3.00 mm was the right choice. So, of course, when I cast on in January – I pulled out the 3.25. You wouldn’t think a quarter millimeter would make such a difference, but it was definitely not going to give me the fitted look I was going for. So I frogged.

Just looking at that makes me sad. It took a while to pull it out and wind the balls up. I was alternating skeins and you knit the top in three parts so…

I had lots of little bits to work with. I’ll admit, it took me a hot minute to get back to knitting it. But once I got going on it, it went pretty fast. The pattern is beautifully written and a cropped DK sweater isn’t a ton of kniting.

I finished it in good order and then dithered on buttons for around a month. I finally ordered some and they arrived and I had ordered 6 and not 8. After that, I just bit the bullet and went to JoAnn’s and found something suitable. I do not like sewing buttons on anything, but I got it done.

And now, I have a finished cardigan.

I love this sweet little sweater. The tweed yarn gives it such character, and those starburst details are precious. I really adore this pattern. The finished sweater fits like a glove.

I even wore it with my Hollyburn skirt! I love a good me-made outfit. I’ll admit it took me a bit to work up to wearing it buttoned up. This is much more the style I want, but certainly not the style I’m used to.

I am so glad that I took the time to frog and re-knit it. It is everything I hoped it would be and I may or may not have purchased yarn for a second one. But before I get to another Populuxe, I’ve got another Andi Satterlund pattern on my needles. I just can’t get enough!

Now I’ve got to go try this one on… cross your fingers that I am using the right needles. Just kidding, I hope.


Happy making!

Thank you to everyone who so kindly commented on my last post. Your words warmed this little maker’s heart. ❤️