Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sweater Season = New Projects!

The arrival of fall is a joyous occasion for any avid knitter. It's a season of wool and bundling up by fires and sipping warm drinks. Unless you live in Florida like me and even your Christmas day is usually 78 - 85 degrees F, lol. I can't help but be influenced by the hope of cooler weather that surrounds me though, so I also fall victim to the desire to knit lots of things this time of year. Add to the equation that I haven't been able to knit much in the past 4 months and you've got me really jones-ing. So when Andi Satterlund announced her fall knit along for this year along with a new cardigan pattern, I was all into it. I love her fall knit along :) I've participated the past 3 years, so I had to keep things going. This time of year always sees a slight slow down in obligations that keep me from knitting and sewing, so it's a good time to join in a nice online challenge (unlike the summer OAL which always ends up being crazy busy for me but I stubbornly insist on participating anyway, lol). Since I haven't had much to post lately, I figured I'd bring you up to speed with what I have going on in the background chez moi.
 This is where I'm at with the knit along thus far. This is Andi's new pattern, the Blaster cardigan and it's been smooth sailing so far. I tried my darned-est to make this sweater from stashed yarn, I really did, but I am seriously lacking in sweater amounts of DK and sport weight yarn in my stash. It came down to only one option that I was extremely un-thrilled about (plus it was a textured yarn so it would've looked really strange) and I'm to the point in my creating that I don't want to spend all that time making things that I don't love and therefor won't wear. Given that I just had my epic-ly huge estate sale and sold a ton of yarn, I felt justified in splurging on enough nice yarn to make a new sweater immediately (i.e. it wouldn't sit in my stash for who knows how long). I'm actually pretty proud of my justification, lol. See, I sold a bunch of cheapy acrylic yarn that I got at thrift stores and made a little over the amount that I paid for this new yarn, so I basically just traded the cheapo acrylic for the good stuff :) This yarn is Filatura di Crosa Zara in a bright pumpkin orange and it's fabulous. I worked with this yarn years ago as a new knitter, but I completely forgot how nice it is to work with. I adore the feel of it on my hands so knitting this is a real pleasure. I'm excited to keep going on it!
I've also swatched for a new Christmas project. Normally I wouldn't reveal this now, but the recipient already knows this one is coming. I've decided to make my mom a sweater for Christmas :) She really liked my Ginny Cardigan so when I found a great deal on some appropriate yarn in her favorite color, I pounced and I've had the yarn waiting for months for me to discuss style choices and fit before I start. The yarn is Isaac Mizrahi Merino Blend (now discontinued - thus the sweet price) and it's a 50/50 merino/acrylic blend. My mom likes the yarn feel and I feel better about making something for someone else with it since it's machine washable. I will confess that I've only done the swatch since I'm making the Blaster cardigan in the time limit, but this sweater will be the next project I pick up.

I also have made nice-ish progress on my Alecia Beth cardigan. It's fingering weight so I'm much more lenient on myself with how long it's taking me on this sweater considering how little crafting time I've had this year. I'm past the waist on the body, so that's good :) It'll get a little work in between other projects, but there's really no rush on it.

So that's my latest projects! I'm knitting away, but I've also done a bit of sewing (I've got a shirt waiting for pictures, a costume that needs complete reworking, and a shirt I'm making as a gift this week) so I hope to be posting a bit more often soon :)

Yay for sweaters!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

One Week, One Pattern 2016: Completed!

This past week was  #OWOP (One Week, One Pattern), an online sewing challenge where you wear only garment made from the same pattern for a whole week. I've always wanted to participate in but never had enough garments from one pattern until this year. So I just had to jump in! Most people choose a very diverse pattern that includes tops and bottoms so they have lots of choice, but that's just not my style, lol.
This year, it was hosted by Hannah from Cinderellis Sews (it's been hosted by others in the past) and there were prizes and online fun. It's silly, but just sharing your makes and having other sewists project to look at really made my week. I decided to go with my favorite pattern for this challenge and only wear my Sorrel Tops all week. The Sorrel Top is from Seamster Patterns and it's me-to-a-T. It's also the last project I posted, lol, which put me up to 4 versions from the same pattern so I knew I would be able to wear them all for a solid week. No one even mentioned that I was wearing the same thing every day (which I was actually expecting since this is such a distinct pattern). Sadly my newest version was only worn once because I spilled something on it and it was in the wash after the first day :/ The others held up beautifully though. The challenge was fun, to be sure, but it also brought things to my attention:

  • Looking at the photos I have to admit that my most flattering version is my wearable muslin (blogged here) which makes me realize I need more solid versions. I've had a navy one planned with a white collar that has a piece to look like a bow and I think I may need to make this one a reality.
  • My Forest Friends and my Birthday Birdie versions seriously look like the same shirt at a quick glance in these photos, lol. No one can say I'm not consistent!
  • The asymmetrical collar is more flattering on me, so I will probably stick to that version in the future.
  • These shirts are super comfy and I'm fine with wearing them everyday. Yay!
The eagle eyed among you may wonder about the last photo in the collage - it's yet another Sorrel top! lol I started making this one on Wednesday but after mixing up the collar and facing pieces I had to unpick the whole collar and recut a few pieces which caused me not to get it finished in time to wear this week. It's even made of Disney fabric - how ridiculous am I? It's all for a purpose though, so just know you will soon be seeing yet another novelty print Sorrel top on this blog. Just after posting another one. Like back to back. I have no regrets. I do think I will have to set this pattern aside for a while now though. I want to branch out with my fun t-shirt making and try some new things. Maybe I'll actually get around to sewing something off my Make 9 in 2016 list. I can dream, right?

So I really enjoyed finally getting to be a part of #OWOP after all these years! I'm excited to pick a different pattern next year and keep the tradition going. Yay for fun sewing challenges!

Monday, September 12, 2016

FO: Birthday Birdie Sorrel

Oh my gosh I can't believe it's been so long since I last posted! I've been on a mission to get my estate sale done ever since I posted my socks, but I had this post already lined up waiting and just completely forgot to put it up. So I actually made this last month :) The sale was this last weekend though and I am now trying to ease back into a somewhat normal life, so expect to see more posts (and probably more silly bird fabrics, lol). So here we go!

On my birthday this year (back in June) I got to do a little splurging on some Doodles fabric before going out to dinner with my mom. I mean, we were eating right across the street ... we had to go in! I was good and only got two lengths of cotton interlock for t-shirts - the green birds for my Swirly Birds top and this bird and flower print. I justified this because a) they were half price b) I knew exactly what I would make with them and they would be quick projects and c) it was my freakin' birthday, ok? Personal justifications aside, I knew this print would be great as another fun Sorrel Top, channeling the total cutesy factor of my Forest Friends Sorrel. I've had the habit lately of putting all my stuff together on my Kollabora page to keep me motivated, and this top is a perfect example of that. It's like because I made it a project profile already, it was next in line to make. Funny how that works.
I love this pattern for novelty prints! It's also nice for fancy fabrics that you don't want to buy much yardage of - not that this is a "fancy" fabric by any means, but it's nice that the main body pieces for the top in the largest size fit nicely onto 1 yard of 58-60" wide fabric. You will end up with scraps when you're done too, which just feels very satisfying. I did have one little snaffoo with the fabric though this time. I asked for 1 yard, but just before cutting out my top I noticed it looked a little short. They only gave me 32"! What?! Come on, Joann's. How hard is it to get it at the 1 yard mark? I've had it happen where the cut line isn't straight making you get not quite what you asked for, but this was just flat out 4 inches short of a yard. I squeaked by, but I had to piece the underarm of one of the sleeves. Moral of the story - measure your stuff right when you get home so you can do something about it if you're shorted. End rant.
I went with my favorite elbow length sleeves with curved cuffs again because they are just awesome. The pattern also includes plain sleeves, but seriously why have plain sleeves when you can have these cool cuffs, right? I originally planned on making my cuffs and collar out of white Laguna jersey, but out of the 3 other times I've used this pattern, 2 of them have white collars. I just really wanted to switch it up this time. I dug through my stash and pulled out this buttery yellow cotton interlock I bought at a thrift store for $1 a yard a year or so ago. I bought it to make muslins with at the time because I just couldn't imagine wearing such a pastel color with my skin tone, but it works great as an accent color. It's not exactly as bright a yellow as the bird fabric, but it's close enough that I don't mind it and I don't think anyone else will either (if they do, they're a jerk. just sayin', lol).
I played around with the length on this top a bit. I've noticed lately that several of my shirts are longer in the back, almost like a high-lo looking hem, which tells me I need to make the front longer for my body. I lengthen the body pieces to eliminate the hem band anyway, so this time I made the front a full 2 inches longer while I only extended the back by about 5/8ths, then when sewing the body together I matched up the waist notches and then stretched the back fabric evenly from the waist down to make the bottom edges match up at the sides. I really like how this fits! The length seems pretty perfect, so I think I will continue to so the same thing on future iterations (because let's face it, there will be more of these ...). This also seems to have helped with my slight sway back, oddly enough.
I'm also thrilled with my collar stitching this time around. The key to this collar is to really slow town and take your time when attaching the facing. You sew the facing to the collar at the neck hole, then fold it over and secure it by stitching in the ditch all the way around the collar itself. One slip up and it looks home made. I also discovered last time around that it's better to match your top stitching thread to the body fabric (it helps the seam blend into the background), so this time I used a purpley blue thread on top with the buttery yellow in the bobbin (which was an old serger cone I was given years ago that I never thought I'd use - it matched perfectly, lol).
Speaking of the collar, isn't it cute?! This is my first time making up the symmetrical collar option on this pattern, and I mostly just did it to switch things up a bit. This is a very distinct pattern (especially in the crazy prints I make it with), so I don't want it to look like my uniform (though that would not be bad in my book if I needed a uniform, haha). Anyway, so this is the symmetrical collar, which seems like it's thinner just because of how it sits on the neck, but it is actually the exact same collar pieces shifted to meet in the middle instead of off center. It's cute, and I certainly won't rule it out in the future (I still want to make my own version of the black and white striped version in the pattern samples), but I really prefer the asymmetrical collar on me. If you're going super cutesy and different, might as well go all the way I say. I still love this shirt though, make no mistake. I love that it's a little different but still fun. That's me in a nut shell: different but fun :)
This is an awful picture, but it shows the piecing I had to do under the sleeve. It looks a lot like an underarm gusset but it's only on one sleeve. My sister couldn't even make it out when I showed her in person and she also sews, so I'm not all that worried about it. I just sewed a scrap piece to the area of the fabric that needed it before I cut out the sleeve, then finished the edges and pressed the seam open, then cut the sleeve piece. I don't even feel it when worn, which is good. It's just the memory of being shorted 4 inches of fabric that will haunt me. Rrrr....
So that's my newest Sorrel Top :) Man, I love this pattern. I keep checking but it looks like this pattern is still not available to buy. I got it as part of the Sewing Indie month bundle last year as an exclusive release, but she mentioned at the time that the pattern would be released individually later on. I'm thinking something must have happened to her? Sewing Indie month kind of fizzled out mid month. No winners were ever announced, no more blog posts, etc. Anyone know what happened? It's really such a shame because I love her patterns and I'd love for more people to be able to make this cute top. I'd be really interested if anyone knows anything :) Thanks!
So there's my latest fun t-shirt :) It's been a fun and comfy shirt to wear in all the hubbub of my last few weeks. It helped to still feel like me in the midst of being dirty and hot and sorting through piles of old stuff for hours on end, so that's a win in my opinion. I will confess I now have another one of these planned for an occasion in the next few weeks, lol. Man, I love this pattern. I can't wait!

Fabric: 1 yard (actually 32", grr...) of Doodles brand cotton interlock from Joann's - $7.00, 1/4 yard of yellow cotton interlock (thrifted) - $0.25
Pattern: Sorrel Top by Seamster Patterns
Notions: knit interfacing - $0.25, thread (purple and yellow) - $1.00, woolly nylon thread - $0.50
Time: 4 hours
Total Cost: $ 9.00

Friday, August 26, 2016

FO: SOS Knit Along Meadow Stripes Socks

It seems I have caught the sock knitting bug, folks. I know this because I live in Florida yet I have managed to make myself 3 pairs of wool socks (yes, THREE) in just a few months time. Considering I only even wear socks a few times a year as it is, never even considering any made of wool, that's an exponential increase in sock appreciation. What can I say? They are a small project that is easy to see progress on, that are easy to carry around with you, and in a pattern like this they knit up very quickly. How can I say no to that?! Plus, these socks are WAY more fun than the rest of my drawer (except maybe my long socks with squirrels printed on them - squirrels!). Anyway, I present my recently finished pair of socks :)
I hadn't even thought of making more socks until I saw Susan. B. Anderson was hosting a knit along for her latest pattern. Last-pair-of-socks-ago, I was on the hunt for a simple sock pattern with an afterthought heel so I wouldn't break up my stripe pattern. I didn't manage to find anything that appealed, so I decided to wing it and they turned out ok (I'm referring to my Arne & Carlos socks) but after wearing them I noticed that the heel still tends to slip down telling me that area isn't long enough. It's ok since I will probably just be sleeping in these come winter time, but still. I wanted to find a pattern that would show me what I did wrong. Smooth Operator Socks by Susan B. Anderson is just such a pattern.
The knit along was a super fun group of folks all making socks. It was very low key - you didn't even have to complete any socks to win anything, just hang out on the Ravelry board and have fun. While you didn't have to finish, I had set a personal goal to do so since these are such a simple knit (seriously, it's just stockinette stitch) so I did manage to finish before the August 22nd end date. I find myself with very little knitting time lately even though my sewing has been surprisingly steady. Maybe it's the blistering heat and soaking humidity (ugh, please end already...), but I digress. My lack of knitting time meant that I took 3 weeks to knit these up, working almost exclusively on Sundays at church - this in spite of the fact that the first sock only took me 3 days to make.
The pattern is really handy and you choose your size based only on the circumference of the widest part of your foot and then just making every section whatever length you need or choose. The real reason for buying this pattern is the heel instructions. Susan gives a really good tutorial on how to make the heel along with tips for making sure you don't break up the stripe pattern of your socks with the heel either. Once making the heel, it's done with just k2togs! Crazy how simple it is, but it works. This is my first time every managing to get exact matching socks :)
I think the heel turned out pretty cool on these. I dug through my stash of sock yarn to find an appropriate striping yarn to make mine up in only to see how lacking my stash was in self striping yarn (lots of variegated and solid, but only a few striping). In the end it came down to a beautiful skein of Opal Le Petit Prince yarn that I'm hoarding for the perfect pattern and 2 skeins of Patons Kroy Sock in the Meadow Stripe colorway. I went with the Kroy yarn to treat them as a pattern muslin. I wanted to make sure I really liked this pattern before I use my beloved Opal, you know? Funny enough I was inspired to get this colorway of the Kroy after admiring a pair that Susan made for herself earlier this year, so really it was meant to be. The colors are so fun!
I'm seriously so proud of the fact that both socks match! I mean they are completely identical - even when I ran out of yarn in a few spots, I actually made sure to begin the new yarn at the same place in the color pattern to keep with the design. I have several tiny balls of yarn leftover, but I also have a matching pair of socks :)
Now you get a couple creepy ballet position photos, lol. I was trying to be visually creative here. Too bad the right sock slumped down a bit *sigh*. The pattern now even includes an alternate heel and toe variation that does not involve kitchener stitch if you are so inclined. Personally I enjoy kitchener, so I made these with the original instructions.
And there you have it - my new pair of socks :) I'm actually pretty impressed I was able to wear these socks for photos out on my porch in the middle of the day and not feel like I was walking through a fire, so that's something. I'm really happy to have found this pattern and participated in the SOS knit along. I now have a great go-to simple sock pattern for striped yarns! Hooray!

*I just found out today that I won a prize in the knit along! Yahoo! It was just drawn at random, but I won a lovely skein of Morning Bright fingering weight yarn in a light gray. I can't wait! Yay for knit alongs!*

Yarn: 2 skeins of Patons Kroy Sock in the Meadow Stripes colorway - $10.00
Pattern: Smooth Operator Socks by Susan B. Anderson - $3.50
Knit With: Knitter's Pride Karbonz size 1 DPNs (love these!)
Time: 3 weeks
Total Cost: $13.50