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!

 

 

 

 

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!

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!