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!

 

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!

Four sweaters behind me, four thousand more to go.

I’ll just come right out and say it. I love knitting sweaters. I don’t know where they’ve been all my life. I think that I want to have a sweater on my needles at all times. There are so many beautiful patterns out there! At the beginning of the year, I had knit zero sweaters. I’m now up to four. Four! Yes, that means that I finished a sweater.

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Zweig is almost dry and then we’ll be ready for some pictures and I’ll call it done. I knit the whole second sleeve on Saturday and Sunday, it just seemed to fly. Since I can’t seem to stop myself, on Sunday morning–before finishing the sleeve–I swatched for the next sweater. It’s nice and warm here in Maryland, so the swatch was dry by the time the Zweig was taking a bath. I immediately wound up my yarn and cast on a new sweater.

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This is my third (yes, there was a first and second) attempt at the Sunset Highway by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks. The yarn is all from Peepaloo Fields on her simple sock base, the 75/25 merino nylon. Left to right, Hush, Delicate, Blue Bird, and Tide. I’m so excited about this one I can’t stand it. I really love the deep teal and how it’s working with the paler blue.

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I could be farther into the yoke of the sweater, but last night I got a bit distracted. I’ve been planning to knit Void by Melanie Berg for quite a while and something just came over me last night. I cast it on and knit two repeats before bed. I woke up this morning and knit another half repeat before Joshua came and made me get up to go to work.

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I feel an addiction coming on strong. This yarn is the absolute perfect pink and so round and bouncy it is heaven flowing through your fingers. The yarn is MadelineTosh Longrider DK in the Scout colorway. I believe this base is discontinued, I purchased the yarn on a ravelry destash. The Longrider DK is a fairly heavy DK which works well since this pattern calls for worsted. This yarn has tried to be a cardigan and a pullover but I think it is perfect for this shawl. The stitch definition on those little cables is divine!

In other news, I’m starting to feel the sewing bug coming on. In particular, I’ve been thinking about sewing up some camis to go underneath all of these sweaters. I’ve also got a bit of an outfit in mind for the fall. I purchased this yarn first, then found the fabric and I think they are a match made in heaven. I’m going to sew a Hollyburn Skirt and knit a Mount Pleasant top to go with it.

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Cloud 9 Sweet Nothings poplin and Woolberry Fiber Co. in “Hayride”

And finally, I’ve wound up the yarn for my August socks. I’m over the moon about my soon to be birthday cast on! I’ve been saving this pretty pink skein of Tilting Planet for a year, just waiting. The colorway is Cosmic Cake. Perfect. The other pair will, of course, be rainbow socks. I’m digging this murky, speckly rainbow.

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I think that’s it. I’m taking the day off for my birthday on Thursday and I think I will just veg out and knit on my birthday socks. As one does.

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!

Sharing is caring.

About a month ago, I signed up for the most recent round of Fibreshare. If you are unfamiliar, it’s an international swap for fiber-y crafters. Weaving, spinning, crocheting, and you guessed it… knitting. Sign ups opened up back in May after a particularly stressful week and I decided I could use a little extra joy in my life.

Once we received our partner details, I was off to the races. My partner is a fan of bright colors, stripey sock knitting, and chocolate. A woman after my own heart, in many ways. I had two skeins of yarn in my stash that seemed to fit the bill perfectly, and then I started scouring the internet for the perfect extras. In the end, I also wound up asking Kemper of Junkyarn to help me pick out a skein of her yarn for my partner. She picked the brightly speckled “Leslie” colorway. Perfect.

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After finding the yarn, the extras, the chocolate, the final touch was sewing up a special project bag. The Weebrawbag by Laura Zuckerkuss seemed the perfect thing for a fellow sock knitter. Big enough for a sock project but small enough to take anywhere, it even has pockets for notions! The hardest part was finding fabric. Once I saw this socks on a clothesline pattern, though, I knew.  I also knew that I wanted one too, and if I didn’t make them in tandem, I’d never get around to it. And so, I made two.

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Arne’t they adorable? They are pretty tiny, so I gave my partner’s bag a test run with a skein of yarn:

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Plenty of room! I really enjoyed this project and the finished object is just lovely. The only modification I made was to use fusible fleece instead of the interfacing called for–solely because I purchased the wrong interfacing. If I made this again, I might make the channels wider, they’re a bit tight. Once the bag was complete, I assembled the package.

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I wrapped everything up–tied with yarn, of course–and shipped it out. I’m pleased to report that my partner was happy. All in all, it was incredibly fun to put together a package for another knitter. I don’t really get to put together crafty gifts for others often, and I really enjoyed it.

All in all, I had so much fun putting the package together–including the cute bags. And I get to keep one!

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Happy making!

Prepared.

Today, I hop on a plane for Los Angeles. I’m heading to a conference my organization puts on and it’s one of the biggest weeks of the year for us. I’ve been preparing for this since sometime in July and I think I’m ready. I hope I’m ready, it’s certainly too late now.

In my crafting life, trip preparations haven’t been going on nearly so long. I did attempt to make myself a new notions pouch for the trip. I’m not sure what comes over me before a work trip, but this isn’t the first pre-trip bag I’ve worked on. I’ve made a project bag and a notions pouch on the eve (or day of) other flights! Life kept happening this week though, and I didn’t quite get it done.

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The pattern is the Quilted Notions Pouch by Retro Mama. It’s a paid for pattern, but it is so worth it. I love how it’s going and can’t wait to finish it.

I’m taking three projects for this trip. Socks, for the airplane, of course. On a long flight, I like something compact so that my elbows aren’t flapping around everywhere. I went ahead and cast on the first pair of socks. I always like to get the next sock’s ribbing done as soon as possible after I finish a sock, it helps me stay motivated. Though I rarely have a problem with second sock syndrome, I like to keep the sock train moving.

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This is Boombox, on Twist Sock by Hedgehog Fibres. I picked this one out of my light box o’ sox, since it felt appropriately Los Angeles colored to me. I meant to just cast on the ribbing, but we played DND last night and I just couldn’t put them down.

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Since I have 11 hours of flight time, not to mention airport time, cab time, waiting time, etc… I’m bringing the next pair of socks to cast on too, just in case. This is the March colorway in my Knitterly Things 2017 Rainbow Club, the colorway is called Rainbows After Rain. I can’t wait to get to that pink stripe!

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For a little flavor, and so that I hopefully won’t run out of knitting, I’m bringing along my Coastal Walk, too. I am just obsessed with knitting it, the lace was so intuitive and pretty! I’m with the body of the shawl and ready to move on to the border, so in my mind it’s practically finished.

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For tradition’s sake–and definitely not because I love seeing all my bags set out–here’s all the knitting I’m packing for the trip. Fingers crossed for at least one FO out of the lot.

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With that, I’m ready to head out to the airport. I feel prepared, work-wise and with my making, so let’s get to it! I hope your Saturday is lovely, I’ll just be knitting my way across the country.

Happy making!