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!

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!

New year, new challenge(s), new socks.

With 2018 fresh and new, I’ve been thinking about what the new year would mean to me. Last year, I embarked on a wonderful journey, my year of making, and I started this blog to chronicle that journey. Now that it’s over, I find that I don’t want to stop. I want to continue making every day. I find that I am wanting just a bit more.

I am intrigued more and more at the the idea of challenging myself in my making. I want to grow as a maker. Growth would certainly mean different things for my different crafts. For sewing, I want to learn simple things, like grading patterns or inserting zippers. Quilting is a bit more complicated, I’d like to take the next step with the longarm or get a bit more adventurous with my pattern choices. With sewing and quilting, I am still such a beginner that there is a lot of room to grow.

Knitting, however, is another story. I want to do everything! Garments, cables, colorwork, you name it and I am probably interested in it. I think I’m a good knitter, but a pretty vanilla knitter. I knit a lot of simple projects and I’m ready to change that. Perhaps not altogether–you’ll need to pry my vanilla socks from my cold and lifeless hands–but a bit.

In thinking about the best way to challenge myself, I thought about what made my year of making work. I think the big things were that it was a simple and easily definable challenge–and it was realistic.

To that end, I’ve come up with 6 challenges for myself for 2018. I’m not planning to put a timeline to any of these, I will most likely be working on a few of them at the same time. In no particular order–and with planned projects or inspiration pictures–my 6 challenges are:

A knit that incorporates fair isle

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Image courtesy Kemper Wray

A cabled shawl a la Winter Honey by Andrea Mowry

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Image courtesy Andrea Mowry

A knitted garment – finally

An English paper pieced mini quilt

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Image courtesy Sew and So

A whole cloth quilt for experimenting on the longarm

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Image courtesy A Few Scraps

A skirt with a zipper – it makes me smile how simple this one is

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Image courtesy Colette Designs

I would love to cross each of these challenges off by the end of the year. I do have a few other goals in mind as well. I want to continue on with my Wardrobe Architect project, and part of that means being intentional with my fabric, yarn, and pattern choices for the above projects. I’ve got a few languishing projects from before the gift-making extravaganza that I want to wrap up before any other big cast ons:

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Boho Blush, on hiatus since sometime in mid November

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Love Ewe Baby, barely started on and on hold since mid October

And if all of that isn’t enough to get me started, I have sock plans. I want to participate in the Box O’ Sox knitalong again, and knit myself 12 pairs of socks. This year, I want to have a specially curated box full of soft colors. I’ve been leaning more and more towards softer, less saturated colors recently and I think a light box o’ sox is just what’s in order. I pulled out all the yarns that I want to knit up into socks:

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That lineup slays me! I can’t wait to see that picture turned into a box of squishy socks. My birthday and halloween socks are even included in the list! I’m casting on my first pair today:

I’m enjoying a day off at home with Kevin and the kids and a little bit of making. A nice cozy start to 2018 with lots of looking forward to this fresh new year.

Happy making!

Year of Making: 2017.

On the first day of this year, I decided to commit to one small thing: “put energy into a making project every day.”

At first, that meant a conscious decision to sit down with a project every day. Sometimes it meant sleepily knitting a few rows before bed so that I would keep my commitment. As I went on, it became easier and easier. As I got more in the habit of doing something everyday, I found myself reaching for my projects more and more.

I’ve kept track of what I’ve worked on in a spreadsheet. I’ve been more than a little curious to see how the numbers would shake out. It’s no surprise that I spent 342 of the last 365 days knitting. I tend to reach for my knitting more than anything else. On 266 of those days, I worked on socks. I love knitting socks so it’s not much of a surprise that three quarters of my knitting days involved socks.

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I finished my box of socks a few months ago, but that didn’t stop me from continuing on. I’ve finished five more pairs of socks for myself since then. I love the look of them all laid out. This last pair was knit on Christmas vacation, so it hasn’t made it home to meet it’s new sock drawer mates.

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When I wasn’t knitting on socks, I knit up shawls, hats, mitts, and even a tiny owl for my mom. I’ve spent a significant bit of time cross stitching, quilting and sewing. There were even a few days of canning, fermenting, and crochet thrown in. Looking back it feels like a productive year:

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There is something about looking at a year’s worth of creating, thinking about how my hands knit every stitch, cut all the fabric, pitted every cherry. More than just the products of my hands though, my makes all feel like teeny time capsules, moments of my life molded into something tangible. Knitting socks at the beach with my family, figuring out how to sew my very first garment, picking cherries with Joshua.

Writing about everything has really crystallized that notion that there is a story in each of my makes. I love thinking about that and having the blog to look back at all of it.

Now that my year of making is coming to a close, I don’t believe I’m finished with it. I’m not sure that I will keep track of things daily like I have been, but that idea of putting “energy into a making project every day” still rings true for me. It’s exciting to think about a future full of years of making.

At any rate, I’ll be right here tomorrow, the first day of the new year, spending a bit of my day creating something.


Happy making!

Speaking of catching up.

It seems like ages since I wrote a regular ol’ blog post. You know the kind, where I just chatter along about the things I’ve been working on? Well buckle up and grab a cup of something hot and tasty, this is going to be a long one.

Let’s start with the dresses. I made two dresses out of that dark grey cotton jersey, one for Astra and one for me. They actually came together pretty quickly and are adorable, if you ask me. Astra and I agree, they’re awfully comfy, too. Astra’s dress was the Delaney Dress by Peek-A-Boo pattern shop and mine is the Moneta Dress by Colette Patterns.

 

I think I’ll have to make myself another dozen Monetas. It’s incredibly comfortable and figure-flattering. I’m a fan.

In the sock world, I’ve got a bit going on. Still working on Kevin’s socks, but I’ve got one nearly done. I tried a few things for a toe-up heel and then finally decided to stick with what I like, which is a cut-in afterthought heel. So, I have one sock tube done. I cast on the second toe so that I would be ready for football this weekend:

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On the road trip to the anniversary party, I was determined to finally finish my Hedgehog socks. They had been on the needles since August! I finished them in the car on the way down, but had left the mate at home.

Now that we’re home the pair is finally together. The yarn is Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock in the Down By the River colorway. I’ll say it again, I love this base! I can’t wait to knit up some more socks in this squishy BFL.

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Thankfully, I brought another skein of yarn on the trip. Back in August I subscribed to the Hedgehog Fibres sock club. I’ve been dreaming of subscribing for nearly forever and I finally just went ahead and signed up. I received my first shipment a few weeks ago:

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I’m absolutely dying over the lighter skein, Iceberg. That pale blue and speckles slays me. The darker skein, Flytrap, is waaaay out of my comfort zone. Something struck me about it though, it seems perfect for Halloween socks. So I skeined it up and took it with me, thinking it would be a great October cast on. I managed to knit the entire cuff of the sock during Kevin’s turn at driving:

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Since then, I’ve turned the heel and finished the gusset on the first sock. I think they are perfectly spooky and fun!

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In other news, I finished the big seed stitch section and started section 7 on my Marled Magic shawl. It’s gigantic and amazing.

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I’ve had some pretty itchy fingers lately, I want to cast on everything! I cast on the Fleesensee hat:

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I was really enjoying this one, and the yarn is heart-breakingly pretty. It’s Suburban Stitcher DK in the Underwater Princess colorway. However, it was too small by quite a bit, so I’ve ripped it out. The yarn is now going to go to an Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief, if my needles ever get here.

Since that certainly wasn’t enough, I also cast on the Love Ewe Baby shawl. This is my first foray into two-color brioche and I am completely besotted. It is so squishy and soft and pretty!

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Right side.

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Wrong side, even though nothing about this is wrong!

I’m using Swift Yarns in the Swift Simple base, a 100% Merino singles base.  My colorways are Princess Bride (soft pink) and Tropical Vintage (speckle). I’ll add in some Marilyn (hot pink) when the time comes.

I think that’s everything I’ve been working on. I have the knitting bug something awful. There have even been a few days crisp enough to break out some wool!

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I’ve also been on a major planning bender. I’ve got a fun, big project in the works. I’m considering doing a bit of a series on it for the blog but we’ll see if I can tear myself away from the knitting long enough to write it up. I’ve done a bit of organizing lately, but more about that another day. For now, I’ll just leave you with a picture of a cat who loves yarn.

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YoM day 272-285: Quilting; sewing; sock, hat, and shawl knitting – a bit of everything!


Happy making!