Hello darlin, nice to see you

It’s been a long time…

It has been a hot minute hasn’t it? Suffice it to say that I’ve not felt like blogging for several reasons and have no idea how much I’ll feel like it moving forward. But we’re here today, so let’s recap.

I have been quite non-prolific over the last few months. A lot of that is that I’ve been working on lots (for me) of larger projects and a lot of that is that I’ve just had less time. Since we last spoke, I’ve finished two knits. The first is a sweater for Astra:

This is Flax by Tin Can Knits. I knit it out of Red Heart Super Saver in Pumpkin. The pattern is very simple, it would make a great first sweater. I will say that I’m not over the moon about the neckline, if I knit another for Astra I’d cast on fewer stitches there to bring it in a bit.

I also finally finished up my navy Hollyburn skirt! This one had been waiting for a zip for months, but it’s done and in my closet now.

I’ll confess I haven’t even worn it yet – partly because it’s been so cold and partly because I feel like I don’t have much to wear with it. So, to get something to wear with it, I cast on a new sweater. I finished all the knitting and blocked it a month ago, but I just ordered buttons this week. I’m sewing those on this weekend!

This is Populuxe by Andi Satterlund. I knit it out of Sweet Sparrow Yarns in the Butterbeer colorway. It was heaven to knit, which is good, because I knit a fair bit of it twice! I’ll tell that story once this beauty is properly buttoned and finally complete.

In other news, I’ve been plugging away at my Audra Wrap. It’s nearly half way finished but I don’t take many pictures of it since the sections all look the same.

Over the last couple of months I cast on a few other things, a new sweater:

This is Damejakka Lopa and I am pretty stinking proud of that colorwork. I’m using some of the Rauma FinulPT2 that Kevin got me for Christmas. I’ve been moving a little slow on it now, but I’m in no rush. It’s pretty pleasant to work on the flea stitches now. I also cast on a Lumen out of some Jill Draper Makes that I picked up at Maryland Sheep & Wool last spring. I zoomed at first, but the lace has some p3tog that really slow it down and make my hands a bit sore. I haven’t picked it up in a bit.

A couple of weeks ago, I found that I was not knitting all that much. Work has been pretty stressful so I was coming home all brain-fried and frazzled. I couldn’t wrap my head around lace or colorwork or anything. After a bit, I realized that I was really missing vanilla socks. I hadn’t cast on any the whole year but I finally broke down and boy, did it feel good.

These have been wonderfully comforting and easy on my mind. Not to mention they are gorgeous! Speaking of gorgeous, I participated in Fibreshare again this spring. My partner really hit the nail on the head with what she sent, I don’t know if I could love it more.

She had posted a teaser to her insta-stories saying that I would die over that far right hand skein – she couldn’t have been more right. It is the absolute perfect shade of greeeny-goldy mustard and I love it. It is a merino/silk/yak blend by Happy Hank and the color is English Mustard. I could not stop myself and within 24 hours of opening the package, I cast that sucker on.

I cast on for another Spindrift Shawl. It’s been a bit less than a week and I am almost finished with it. I cannot wait to have this color in my shawl collection! And the yarn is buttery soft. It’s been an amazing knit and very difficult to put down.

I think that pretty much sums up my crafting for the year so far. In addition to all of that, this week I’ve started a muslin (read, practice version) of a new dress that I’ve been dreaming about for months and months. I think I might be ready to cut out the real fabric pretty soon.

With all of that, I suppose I have been keeping my hands busy. I’ve felt that my crafty productivity is really low these days. I am trying not to compare myself to last year, but sometimes that’s tough. I hope that finishing that cardigan and getting it in my wardrobe, finally breaking out my new skirt, and maybe having a new dress to wear will help me feel the fruits of my labors a bit more.

That and writing. It has felt good to sit down and write this evening. I love to talk about making, talk about yarn and patterns and my sewing woes. I was nervous to get back into it, but this has brought me a great deal of joy tonight. And that is what this making hobby is all about.


Happy making, darlin!

Wrapping Up.

As one might imagine, a lot of things can happen in a month. Particularly if that month is December. I am sitting here at Kevin’s parents house on the last day of the year, having a cup of coffee in my bear mug and thinking over the last month and the last year. First, let’s do a quick (not so quick) photo montage of December.

At the beginning of the month, I went to California. On the plane ride, I finished this shawl. Color Field by Kemper Wray, knit in Primrose Yarn Co. Jasper DK in Hermione (light pink) and Maple Leaf (green).
I took Joshua out to a special breakfast as a congrats for working so hard and being recommended for honors classes for high school next year. Captain Crunch french toast is amazing, by the way.
I finished my last pair of Rainbow Socks. This is Fireside Hearth Song on Vesper Sparkle Sock by Knitterly Things.
With that, all 12 pairs of rainbow socks are complete! This is the 2017 Rainbow of the Month club by Knitterly Things. So rainbowy and stripey and wonderful.
And so, my 2018 box o’ sox is complete. 20 pairs of socks all ready to go for the new year.
Since we travel so long for the holidays, we celebrate Christmas a bit early at our house. This year, we made homemade hot chocolate that turned out amazing.
Every year, my brother and SIL send out a special card that they design and print. This year, we got to witness the entire process. So much work goes into them, but they are so beautiful.
We spent Christmas at mom’s cabin and we got some very rare and precious knitting time.
My mom knitted us all into little birds! They are ridiculously cute.
The birds: Me, Kevin, Judge, Crystal, Noah, and Madelyn
This was all of my holiday making for this year. I knit a Stillwater Cardigan for mom, Eureka Cowls for Crystal and Madelyn, socks for Noah and Kevin’s mom, and made a Strathcona Tee for Judge. I started back in July so it was pretty low pressure. I am very pleased with how it all came out. I have some super knitworthy people in my life.
In the holiday madness, I cast on a patterned sock! Whitethorn Socks by Lindsey Fowler.
Over the visit, we had a family D&D night complete with a cheese ball and a benevolent gold dragon. Many thanks to Kevin for DMing the madness!
Now we are all back in Tennessee and even managed to catch a UT basketball game. Go Vols!
A while back, Astra asked for an orange sweater – so I cast on an orange sweater.
And finally, because I had to have something mindless, I cast on a Spindrift Shawl.

These are just some of the highlights. Overall, it has been an amazing trip full of love and light. We head home tomorrow on the first day of a fresh new year. I am ready for 2019. There have been ups and downs this past year, but to be perfectly honest the downs were some of the hardest yet. I am ready to greet a new year tomorrow, full of possibility.

I hope that you all are finishing your year out with joy.

Happy making.

In Which Lessons Are Learned.

Sometimes, a project doesn’t pan out. For me, that is always frustrating but I am trying to learn from my mistakes — especially in sewing, which is where this tale of woe occurs.

Yesterday, I sewed up the Mathilde Blouse by Tilly and the Buttons. I used a really lightweight white voile fabric, intending this to be a wearable muslin to see if I wanted to make more of these. Well, I wound up creating a very un-wearable muslin, but after many deep breaths I am here to tell you that it’s ok.

I have quite the long list of things that I learned. I know this was listed as an intermediate pattern and I’d say that’s right! I’m pretty proud of myself for (more-or-less) learning:

  1. Tucks
  2. French seams
  3. Buttonholes

Unfortuately, I also learned that not all tailor’s chalk washes out. And even on the wrong side, aforementioned tailor’s chalk will show through sheer fabric. So now, here you go, my Mathilde Blouse:

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Pretty cute, huh? I finished everything on it except attaching the buttons–because I was suspicious of the tailor’s chalk. I tried it on, clipping it shut in the back. It’s pretty cute, but really way too sheer for my taste.

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I also think I’d like it in a drapier fabric. My French seams turned out pretty nice, I think. That was a daunting step that turned out to be not too scary once you got going!

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But here’s the real kicker, the thing that makes this a definite unwearable…

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Those little blue dots, among other marks that can be seen on the outside of the top, sunk my little ship. (But my tucks look ok, right?) I think I will make this blouse again sometime in a drapier, more opaque fabric. The style of it is pretty cute. I will definitely be careful with the tailor’s chalk next time!

Happy making!

Like bees.

We have been a wee bit busy around our household. Typically we don’t do much in September, leaving that time to get back in the swing of things with the new school year. Such has not been the case this September, though! We’ve had friends over to stay and have taken the first of two trips to Tennessee for the month.

With all of that, I haven’t had a terrible lot of time for making. Lets have a bit of a recap in pictures, shall we? That always helps me get up to speed and back in the swing of things, blog-wise.

First up, I wore my Hollyburn to work! I was a bit nervous, since this is not my usual style, but I loved it.

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Void progress, about halfway through the border.

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Joshua earned his red belt!

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Two weekends ago, some wonderful friends of ours came to stay over Labor Day weekend. It was also the first weekend of college football, so Kevin and I were up early and decked out:

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Of course, it was also September 1, so I cast on my next pair of rainbow socks:

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We headed over to Savage Mill to do a little walking and lunch before game time. We walked through an antique shop and I stumbled across this amazing quilt. Entirely hand-pieced and hand-quilted, the craftmanship was excellent. I was tempted to take this beauty home with me, but resisted.

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On Sunday, we got up bright and early and headed down to D.C. for a museum day. We had a blast and even managed a picture of the whole group!

Labor day morning, I was up early for some quiet binding off time with my Void.

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It’s all finished now, but I still haven’t blocked it! That might show you just how we’ve been running around, I’m usually pretty quick on the turn around with blocking.

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School started for the kids, who were very excited to take pictures together in the yard at 7 a.m. Just kidding, there was a lot of groaning involved.

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We had several appointments that week, which afforded me some sock knitting time.

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And then, this last weekend, we took a road trip down to Knoxville to take the kids to their very first Vols game. Once again, we were up bright and early to get our orange on and head to campus for gameday festivities.

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We saw all the sights Kevin wanted to see and the kids even had fun at the game, lightning delay and all! A very good day, indeed.

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On Sunday, I finally slept in late. It was glorious. I resolutely parked my rear end on the couch to indulge in an entire day of football and sock knitting. The socks went better than the game did. I had to cast on a new pair, since I evidently can’t knit a heel while watching Roethlisberger throw a million interceptions.

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On the way home, I put heels in both socks before it was my turn to drive.

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Now we’re home, mostly recovered from all the fun, and I have one completed sock. This yarn, by the way, is Autumnal Equinox by Knitterly Things. The other sock, above, is Petal by Baerenwolle–sadly, she doesn’t dye yarn anymore so no link to be had.

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It’s been a fun month so far. We’re going to a concert and a wedding still yet, so the fun hasn’t stopped. In the meantime, I’m hoping to put some stitches down on my WIPs.

Happy making!

 

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!

Midterm Progress Report.

It’s hard to believe, but the year is at the halfway point. I’ve been thinking a lot about assessment and progress, and about the goals I set for myself six months ago.

I started this year with the idea of challenging myself with my making. I set out six specific challenges and I’ve accomplished two: a knitted garment and a colorwork knit. As for the rest, my sewing mojo has left the building. All I want to do is knit. And that is a-ok by me. One day I’ll get around to those sewing challenges. Probably.

My make nine is plowing right on ahead. We’re halfway through the year? I’m just over halfway through those nine projects. The links for the finished objects will take you to my project pages. The yarn plans have changed for a couple of the others, so we can take a look at those as well.

Madewell — Joji Locatelli

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Dotted Rays — Stephen West

Eureka Cowl — Jessica Gore

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Sunset Highway — Caitlin Hunter

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Peepaloo Fields Twist Sock in (l-r) Tide, Bluebird, Delicate, and Hush

Void — Melanie Berg

Selbu Mittens — Skeindeer Knits

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Windswept — A Homespun House

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Coastal Walk — Joji Locatelli

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Box O’ Sox

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A bit more on my Box O’ Sox. I’m marking it finished for the make nine since it’s a dozen socks completed. But really, deep down in my heart, I know it’s only halfway done. I’m keeping the good times rolling on the sock train, more about that in a previous post.

In addition to all of that, I’ve got a fair number of other finishes. They look awfully pretty all piled up together:

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Six months of making, right there. Not pictured are a project bag, a tiny pouch, and a pair of yoga socks that have been gifted.

I feel that my word for 2018, intentional, is really helping me this year. I’m starting to feel like I’m building a wardrobe with my knits, creating garments and accessories that integrate into the style that I aspire to. I’m feeling rather inpsired by my new color palate, and really moving towards that ideal. With my larger projects that’s meant some teal, mint, grey, and a whole lot of mauve:

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So good. I just love these colors. My favorite accomplishment of the year is taking the plunge into garment knitting. I love knitting sweaters and can’t wait to get to more. Especially if they are mauve, apparently.

I think that’s it for everything I’ve made this year. There was that little bit of sewing and then it’s been a ton of knitting the rest of the time. I’m really excited for the next six months, I cannot wait to see what comes off my needles!

Happy making!