Learning curve.

One of the challenges that I set out for myself for this year was to sew a garment with a zipper. It seemed like a pretty easy challenge, to be honest. Low hanging fruit, one might say. As I mentioned last week, I was right on the cusp of inserting said zipper in my second try at the Hollyburn skirt.

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Well, I finally settled in to insert the zipper this weekend. It went very smoothly. Putting in that zipper was actually pretty simple. Looked nice all sewn in, and everything. I pulled it off the machine, zipped it up… and the waistband didn’t line up. At all. I’ll save you the pain of a long explanation of the 5 hours of insanity that ensued and boil it down to a simple list:

  1. I took out the zipper, re-sewed it. Still out of whack.
  2. I took out the zipper, ripped out the back seam, redid both. Still out of whack.
  3. I took out the zipper, pinned it in again, and noticed that the shape of the two back pieces seemed different. Turns out I had put one back piece in backward.
  4. I ripped out the back seem, part of the waistband, the back panel, and about three miles of serged finishing. Re-sewed it all.
  5. Inserted the zipper. Still out of whack, but not nearly as bad as before. The top of the waistband lines up, so I’m going with it.

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This is the finished top of the zipper/waistband. You can see how the top of the waistband lines up, but not the bottom. From the best I can tell, things got janky when I did the waistband in the first place. But it’s wearable and cute, and to be honest, I love it.

This is the Hollyburn Skirt by Sewaholic Patterns, in Kaufman Chambray Union Worn Indigo. I made view B with the belt loops from view A. I cut a straight size 10 and made no modifications. Although, let’s be honest, I don’t know enough about anything to make modifications in garment sewing yet. I do want to point out that all of my frustration has nothing to do with the pattern itself. It is clear and well written, nothing was confusing or over my head. Total user error.

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This was quite the steep learning curve. This one turned out better than my first attempt, and I hope to solve the waistband issues with the next one. After struggling with the skirt half the weekend, I turned to my ultimate comfort make… socks.

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And, I finished them. These kind of happened without me noticing. I just needed to work on a project that wouldn’t be frustrating, something I know how to do. So I knit that second sock over the weekend and we have a pair.

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The yarn is Knitterly Things Sparkle Vesper Sock in Misty Mountain Rainbow, the August 2017 rainbow of the month colorway. I did 29 rows of 2×2 rib (one full stripe repeat) and cut in my afterthougth heel at 6.5″ down from cast on edge. For the heel and toe decreases, I used one of the options in the Smooth Operator Socks pattern.

This is pair 8 in my rainbow box of socks, and pair 16 overall for the year. Not too shabby. I really like these socks, the speckly stripes remind me of that hazy look things get in August when it’s just too hot and summer has gone one a bit too long.

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Whew. Two finished projects: one extradordinarily frustrating and one amazingly comforting. I love having both possibilities. I’m not planning to start any more socks until September 1, but I do have the replacement fabric from my first Hollyburn attempt. Maybe this one will go even better.

Happy making!

Back in the saddle.

When I was around 10 or 11, my cousins got a go-cart. Judge and I were eager to try it out and being the oldest and bossiest, I went first. I promptly slammed my foot on the peddle and ran the go-cart straight into a tree. With a busted chin and bruised ego, I swore I’d never ride another go-cart. My dad told me in no uncertain terms that I was, in fact, getting back on the go-cart. He told me that if you fall off of a horse, you get right back in the saddle and show yourself and the horse who’s boss.

Fast forward a decade and I had a major car accident. I was in various hospitals for a while and eventually came home and went to stay with my dad for a while. I had not driven a car for over a month, not since the accident. I was so afraid to drive again, but my dad once again told me, back in the saddle you go. I managed to live through the harrowing 3 mile drive to my aunts and I’m happy to tell you, I’m still driving to this day.

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Fast forward another decade plus and I am happily not wrecking any vehicles. But still, I’ve been balking at the idea of getting my serger back out. The last (and only) time I used it, it didn’t go very well. Well, I finally dredged up my dad’s advice and got the serger out this weekend. I’ve eased into things with some practice and have now been doing a bit of finishing. Finishing what, you may ask. Garments!

My first try at getting back into garment sewing and using a serger to finish raw edges:

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Not too bad! It was slow going, but I made it work, more or less. This is the Ogden Cami, by True Bias patterns. The fabric is some Art Gallery quilting cotton I had lying around. This fabric is far from ideal with very little drape–I wanted something stable and sturdy and easy to work with for this first try.

This is a great little pattern, pretty easy to do with some new techniques for me. After whipping this one up on Sunday morning, I thought I’d have a go at another Ogden in drapier fabric Sunday afternoon. And voila!

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This is some “silky chiffon” from Joanns that I found on sale. It’s definitely drapier, so it was good practice. I’m not completely convinced of the fit. I think you can see that it pulls across my back a bit and the front seems pretty voluminous.

I wore this one to work today. I’m still undecided about the fit. Maybe the fabric is still not drapey enough? I don’t know if I should try to adjust the pattern or look for something else. After making these two tops, I thought I’d step it up to a bigger project. Enter the Hollyburn Skirt, by Sewaholic. I had some navy poplin that I had purchased just to give this skirt a try. This pattern has a lot of finishing involved, so I kept going with serging seams to finish them. They were looking pretty snazzy, if I do say so.

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On the very last seam before installing the zipper, the worst happened. I caught a bit of the skirt fabric in the serger… and it serged.

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The kids find this hole in the seat of my skirt much funnier than I do. I was so frustrated. I had to take a step back from sewing. It’s scary to think of trying again and ruining something else. So I did the safe thing. I worked on a sock. With the serger safely in the craft room, I knit on. But in my mind I could hear my dad telling me to show it who’s in charge. And so, with trepidation, I cut out another skirt and got to work. I’m pleased to say that it’s going even better than the first skirt, serged seams and all.

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This will be hopefully by my first finished Hollyburn. I can’t wait to get it done!

I’m proud of myself for sticking with it.  I’ve got no issues with go-carts and cars these days and I’m happy to add sergers to the list.


Happy making!

Birthday socks and other pretties.

As must happen every year, my birthday has passed. It was a good one though, and I’ve got some lovely yarny goodness to show for it.

First up, I finished my birthday socks last night.

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This yarn is Tilting Planet Apollo Sock–an amaszingly squishy 75/25 base–in the Cosmic Cake colorway. These are my eighth pair in my light box of socks, and my fifteenth box o sox pair overall. I don’t have very much more to say about them, but they’re beautiful so let’s look at them a bit.

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Cosi’s toes are cuter, but the socks don’t fit on him. In other birthday news, I received a few wooly gifts in the mail this week. One from Kevin and one from me. The gift I gave myself was a complete surprise, I had ordered the Hey Sister Yarn Co. August club colorways. I had no idea what would be arriving in the mail, other than one “color” and one “neutral” club colorway. Boy, was I pleasantly thrilled to open up these pretties!

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The neutral club color (left) is Taupe Frost and the color club color (right) is Lucid. They are both so pretty and I love how well they go together. I see a two color shawl in my future. As for what Kevin treated me to… he really treated me to a birthday afternoon of yarn shopping from the shop of my choice. I chose Quince & Co. and I’m glad I did.

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I’m in love with this color palette! In this mix are a hat, cowl, mittens, and a cardigan! Ever since I knit my Windswept, I’ve been itching to make a sweater out of Chickadee, Quince’s sport base. Well, Kevin helped me choose the color and it’s happening! I wound up a skein as soon as I got off work and got right to swatching.

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I’m planning to knit Empire, a cardigan by Gudren Johnston. I’m trying to resist the urge to cast it on tonight. Luckily, my Sunset Highway is doing a pretty good job of keeping me occupied. I’m nearing the end of the first contrast color.

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That’s it for me, this year’s birthday is tucked away with those pretty pink socks. I’ll bring it out next year and we’ll see how things look with another year on them.

Happy making!

Typecast.

As I read my sock knitting comrade Andi’s latest blog post yesterday, I got to thinking. Andi talked about her penchant for knitting socks and asked if other’s had unintentionally typecast themselves as a particular type of knitter.

Of course, socks were the first thing that sprang to my mind as well. I’ve branched out quite a bit in recent years, and socks are down to around just half of finished projects. But generally when anyone other than Kevin sees me knitting, I’m knitting socks.

This weekend, Kevin’s parents have been in town and so what have I been working on? You guessed it, socks. My birthday socks, to be specific. They arrived–with Astra in tow!–on Saturday afternoon. We grilled out and spent then evening talking. I woke up the next morning for coffee with Kevin’s mom and finished the the first sock.

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Jackie’s a crocheter, so after some lunch and a walk, we settled in for a bit of a craternoon before heading out to supper for her birthday.

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The last few nights, I’ve just been plugging away on my sock while we talk. I’m down past the heel and into the gusset increases, this pair of socks just seems to be flying by.

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In the background of all this sock knitting, I do have other projects going on. But colorwork, cables, or managing multiple balls of yarn just don’t make the cut when I’m trying to hang out and talk. Socks are just always my answer – portable, one ball of yarn, nothing to think about or check other than a quick leg or foot measure.

Maybe one day I’ll be confortable enough with sweater knitting to tote a cardigan around for my in-public knitting. Socks are pretty tough to compete with so I don’t mind if people just see me knit socks. Thank goodness I love them.

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Happy {sock} making!

 

Birthday.

Today is my birthday. Oddly enough, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten more into my birthday. I used to not set much stock in my own birthday, but now I think I’ve learned the value in taking a day for yourself and letting it be special.

Kevin treated me to chocolate this morning with my coffee and I started the day by casting on my birthday socks.

I finished the ribbing before it was time to get Joshua out the door:

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This yarn is Tilting Planet in the Cosmic Cake colorway. I’ve been saving it for about a year for my birthday socks, and I just love it. The yarn is dreamy and squishy and the pastel pink and lavendar wtih hot pink and neon orange pops just slays.

For my birthday, Kevin graced me with a gift card to Quince & Co. I’ve been mooning on about their yarn since I knit my Windwept in Chickadee. That yarn is amazing. Thanks to sweet boyfriend, I’ll be knitting up a cardigan in it as soon as possible.

In even more happy day news, my Zweig is dry! I finally got to try it on with two sleeves and everything!

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Pardon the house, it’s raining so no pretty outside pictures today. I am so pleased with the fit of this sweater! I love how it is relaxed but not oversized, just perfect.

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I didn’t really modify this sweater at all, except to knit the body 1″ shorter than called for. That seems to be fairly standard for me, and I think it worked well here.

This is Zweig, by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks. I used Skein Yarn Top Draw Sock in the Japanese Slipper for the main color, and Nice & Knit Sock in Old Bay. The Old Bay was a special colorway that the Nice & Knit ladies dyed up for MDSW trunk show at The Knot House this year. Both of these yarns are luxurious and soft, they make a lovely, cozy sweater. I was skeptical of my color pairing abilities, but I think these worked perfectly.

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All in all, I’m incredibly pleased with this sweater. It is definitely my favorite sweater, and one of my favorite knits ever. I sort of wish my birthday was in October or something so that I could wear it out. But August is always nice and humid, so no sweater wearing for me.

We’re headed out tonight for some sushi and a low key family evening. It’s been a great day to just relax and enjoy time with Kevin and Joshua, and take the time to indulge in some lovely knitting. Nothing crazy, just special.

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Happy {birthday} making!