Three stockings, three toys, three jack o-lanterns, three, three, three!
Bear completes the group. I think he (she? I got to thinking too hard about these toys’ genders after my last post when I realized I was naming them all mister and decided to leave gender assignments out of it going forward) is my favorite and I think it’s because Bear is colorful though it does make me wonder if Bear has a circus past and the politics of that.
These toys are adorable and a great introduction to embroidery.
I can hardly gloat about having some Christmas items done so early. It was more a function of really wanting to make these than any sense of order or preparation or planning. Sometimes a whim will work in your favor.
This is the squirrel from the Kiriki Press‘ doll embroidery kit series, aka “Mr. Squirrel” to keep with the theme.
This embroidery bug has taken my quite by surprise. I suddenly want to embroider something for everyone for Christmas. I ordered this amazing Sea Captain embroidery kit for brother-in-law and his girlfriend. I was sorely tempted to get the Sea Captain’s Wife, too, but the expense of all these kits was starting to add up even for usually-spendthrift-when-it-comes-to-her-hobbies me. So tempting, though…
I’ve always carried a comfort objects with me. Back in my analog days I used to bring a book everywhere I went. Now instead of a book or my kindle I carry sock knitting everywhere I go. And thank goodness, too, because when I ran myself down to the Minute Clinic last night (no influenza for me, just a non-specific something viral. Yay?) I was able to get most of the way done with this pair’s 2nd sock.
I like to knit with whatever garish. colorway catches my eye. They often don’t result in socks that I particularly like, but that’s OK. I stick them in my Box O’Finished Socks. Somebody will claim them someday.
I toted this project around in project bag I made last Christmas using Indigobird’s Reversible Knot Bag tutorial. I’d bought a stack of fat quarters in fanciful holiday fabric (love fanciful holiday fabric!) and kept sewing until the stack was gone. After making the first couple I added about an inch of depth to the pattern to more comfortably carry a ball of sock yarn. They don’t actually work that well for on-the-go, toss-in-your-purse-and-run knitting. My knitting keeps falling out, but I’ve been too lazy and/or forgetful to transfer back to the bag I made using this reversible draw string bag tutorial that travels better.
It’s not such a big deal that my knitting falls out continually because I used the scraps from those project bags to make a bunch of coordinating Double-Pointed Needle Keepers using this tutorial. I had to add an inch or so to the width of the case to accommodate the length of my cheapo Susan Bates dpns I use. I unabashedly ❤ my Susan Bateses. I have personal sock rules habits: they should be knit on dpns unless knitted in a complicated pattern divisible by two in which case two circulars should be used; they should be knit from the top down; they should be knit one at a time. All of these “rules” are debatable and a matter of personal preference, but it’s the habits I’ve fallen into that make whatever sock I have in progress my comfort object.
In my mind it makes sense that if I’m going to make a thing once it stands to reason that I ought to make it multiple times. I use this faulty logic to rationalize the cost of the pattern and the fabric and the notions as if the more I make a garment the cheaper its cost. I casually disregard the fact that two of these are incremental costs and the remaining is a sunk cost. There is no actual “saving” of money or achievable economies of scale for the single sewist.
The kids were with me on my last shopping expedition to Jo-Ann’s where there was an abundance of cute printed flannel. My more-is-better mentality combined with the children’s influence and I bought enough fabric to make each of them 2 pairs of PJs. That’s 4 pair total and it seemed like no big deal until I was doing the actual sewing.
Dude, there is a lot of sewing in these PJs. I love that, I find it wholly satisfying, I delight in the details, but it is also much slower going than I had anticipated. Granted, it would go faster if I hadn’t understitched the back neck to the facing instead of the shirt and spent an hour or more on the unexpectedly difficult task of picking stitches out of multiple layers of flannel, but still.
I started with a size 3T in View B with the gathered ruffle details for MJ in the hopes that these might might useful both this year and next. Only time will tell, but after cleaning clothes out of the bins in the basement last weekend I was glad I cut out the larger size because we have approximately 53,000 pairs of 2T pajamas that I had forgotten about.
More of the same to come if I don’t abandon the PJ Project of Fall 2017. Chuffy is super excited about the emoji fabric he picked out, so that should keep me going for at least one other pair.
I spontaneously picked up the three partial balls leftover from the Daelyn, decided it was surely enough for a toddler-sized sweater, and cast on Old Growth.
I knit sleeve #1. Lots of yarn!
I knit sleeve #2. Two is always a good number of sleeves. Doubt starts to creep in.
I started on the body. Hmm, only 1 partial ball left and still several inches of the body to go + yoke + button bands. Better suck it up and order another skein. So much for stash-busting. It doesn’t help that a sweater’s worth of Rosy Green Wool’s Big Merino Hug fell into my virtual shopping cart when I placed my order. I was saving money on shipping, naturally!
Against expectation that last partial ball was enough to get to the end of the sweater body with a whole single yard to spare. I broke into the new skein – shout out to good dye consistency between lots – for the button bands. So I guess I can make a matching hat? Yay? I sort of resent when trying to use up yarn creates more knitting.
I always say that I learn by making mistakes. I also always say that if I don’t do a thing 3 times I’m not doing it right. Usually I’m referring to spreadsheets or accounting software, but here is the story of my first attempts to sew with knits in 3 parts.
Act 1: a horror story.
This pile of regret was supposed to be a wearable muslin of Moneta by Colette Patterns. The less said the better. Fit issues, fabric issues. I gave up when trying to gather the skirt. That didn’t work at all. No problem with the pattern or the instructions, I simply had no idea what I was doing and sometimes when you bite off more than you can chew you end up choking.
I was never going to sew with knits again. At least for a long while.
Act 2: a twist ending!
I was inspired to revisit my disappointment while binge-listening to Love to Sew (so, so good!) and by Kelli Ward’s interview in particular. Better to start smaller, I decided, on a body that will be easier to fit, and this time no trying to gather knit fabric with clear elastic. I lowered the bar and my expectations. I harbored hope that this time would be different.
It wasn’t going well. I didn’t do a good job cutting which set me up for trouble piecing the pants together. I ordered knit fabric and realized when I was sewing that it would make a great t-shirt. How would that work for pants?! Badly, I thought. How do you finish a seam in knit fabric if you don’t have a serger? Do you just… not? Is the zig zag enough? How do you “press open” a seam that’s a zig zag stitch on fabric that curls? I grew more certain that these were another failure and chalked this project up as a sacrifice to the learning process. I stopped caring and plowed ahead sure that this would be a tear-jerker.
Imagine when after all that indecision and self-doubt I held up a pair of what appear by all accounts to be actual, not entirely terrible, wearable pants:
Pattern: True Bias Mini Hudson Pant
Fabric: Robert Kaufman House Designer, Dana Cotton Modal Knit, Dana Cotton Modal Knit in Wisteria
I frowned at them wide-eyed and thought, “HOW DID THAT EVEN HAPPEN?!?” and “Wow, knits really are forgiving!” I mean, they’re a mess and you’ll never get to the inside of these, but pants!
Act 3: a coming of age story.
After the shock wore off (the surprise still hasn’t) I thought I would try my luck again with the same pattern but heavier knit fabric that I purchased during a stressful trip to Jo-Ann Fabrics to pick up all those bibs and bobs online fabric retailers so frequently don’t offer. I skipped the cording, again, because I ran out of patience while shopping.
This story doesn’t have a pat ending. It’s a mixed bag. First off, these are some ugly pants. I don’t know exactly what I was thinking. This happens to me a lot at Jo-Ann. The stress of shopping there results in some strange choices. Also, I overcompensated in terms of fabric-weight. I thought these pants would be cozy, but they’re bulky. Although the sewing went a lot more smoothly I made some dumb mistakes learned some valuable lessons, like to match stripes to the outside of the pocket at the side seam (not the inside), and to double check that the cuff seam is on the inside leg seam (not the outside) and to make sure cuff patterns go in the same direction as the rest of the pant.
But look beyond the garish fabric! I made more pants! In half the time! And they didn’t scare or intimidate me at all. There’s far to go, but I’m on my way and eyeing that Moneta pattern, again. It would be so so so perfect for fall…
Usually when I’m in a fit of knitting ennui I turn to socks. This time it’s my handspun that’s saving my lazy-brained knitting ass: here’s another simple cowl, the 2nd in a series (also, incidentally, a failed Baby Surprise Jacket for the same reason. I’m not so good at guesstimating finished handspun yardage or BSJ yardage requirements). It’s just 30 stitches of garter stitch knitted until the yarn ran out then sewed together.
I have NO IDEA what the fiber is. Pretty, though. I really like the plum and olive together. Manly with a touch of fancy. The only thing I can tell you is that I navajo plied this baby. You spin a single ply then loop it over and back through itself to make a 3-ply. BRILLIANT. I love the physicality of navajo plying. In my mind’s eye I see myself gracefully dancing with string, but in reality I’m holding my wrists at awkward angles with an unbecoming expression of concentration like the one I wear when I’m driving and my kid is constantly asking me “What’s wrong?”.
I ended up with a yarn with solid chunks and short transitions between and a cowl long enough to loop twice.
I love knitting lace! I do not love wearing lace. I have a stack of finished knitted lace shawls probably being eaten up by bugs as I type this. I’ve made really intricate lace for fun and simpler, modern knits that I thought would be more wearable, but I am a habitual person and when it gets chilly I still don the Clapotis I made out of Noro Silk Garden Sock way back in 2009.
Wow, has it been 8 years already? Where does being “habitual” end and “in a rut” begin?
Back to the task at hand. If I’m not going to wear lace I thought maybe my table could.
Of course I’m already worrying about stains so my table may not be lace-adorned after all. Is it gauche to put this under a clear plastic tablecloth? Undoubtedly. I may need to rethink this plan. That or only serve white foods at Christmas dinner.
My first skirt! If you don’t count the abominations my girl scout troop collectively made in 4th grade. We all wore those shapeless sacks to school on the same day and I wish I hadn’t gone along with the idea because that skirt was so ugly and I was so embarrassed and uncomfortable.
Let the healing from that indignation begin by reveling in our own autonomy. Nearly 30 years later I’ve made a skirt whose fabric and pattern I selected myself with much more positive results.
This is my first time working with a border fabric. They’re so pretty. I wasn’t sure, though, what to do about the hem. I didn’t want to lose any of the border, but it seemed weird to not hem at all. A cursory google search revealed no quick or obvious solution so I cut the pieces out less the 2″ hem and decided I would deal with a hem later if it needed one for weight or wear by adding and folding over a(nother) border.
Not hemming meant having to find a way to deal with side seam selvages that would usually be encased therein. Mitered flat-felled seams seemed to do well enough.
I would have preferred solid eggplant pockets, but I didn’t have enough fabric. They’re fine with some pattern peeking out.
It still feels weird to not hem. My 4th grade girl scout troop leader would be appalled.