Final MMMay Roundup

MMMay is over!

  • Day 22: Malaga Pleated Hem Top. The pleats at the hem of this are so good, as is the v-neckline in the back. It hangs from the shoulders down your back in a way that feels luxurious and also like you’re wearing a secret cape. I dig it.
  • Day 23: My sleeveless Matcha, again. I needed some cheering up.
  • Day 24: Wiksten Tova Dress. Brand new!
  • Day 25: Ruby Top. An oldie but a goodie.
  • Day 26: Ryan Top, again. Not pictured: my Weekender Duffle!
  • Day 27: Tiny Pocket Tank. Terrible fit on this, it doesn’t suit me at all and was made out of quilting cotton to boot. But it matches my blue shorts so well!
  • Day 28: Gemma Tank. I love this pattern and think it fits pretty much perfectly, but when I made it with the scooped neck it didn’t fit so well. WHY?
  • Day 29: Bianca Top. This was me reaching for one of those makes that I never reach for. I love his fabric’s hand, hate its color. I mean, mint is fine, but not for me to wear. Pulling this out of the closet confirmed that I need to let it go. I have so many me-made that I love so much. This one makes me sad.
  • Day 30: Sailor Top. This is another one I never reach for. I love the fabric and the pattern is OK, but I don’t know. I think I’m just not in a peasant-blouse place.
  • Day 31: GINGER JEANS. Fresh off the sewing machine. Plus my plain white Akita because I wanted to wear an all me-made outfit for the FIRST TIME EVER. Even though I have several fabrics in my stash that would look very nice with black jeans, I haven’t turned any of them into tops, yet.

Did I meet my pledges? Yes, no, and maybe later.

  • Strive to pair me-made blouses with something other than jeans. Stretch goal: accessorize!
    • Um, no. First off, what was with this goal? What did I imagine myself wearing shirts with if not jeans? The real idea behind this was to accessorize and create outfits. I still have no idea how to “outfit”. I’m a jeans + top sort of person. My only hangup about it is that it makes for pretty boring daily photo sharing, a problem I’ve decided to remedy in the future by not posting daily photos.
  • Get some jeans/pants that I feel good in. Stretch goal: make them!
    • I did both! I bought new jeans! I made new jeans! I am awash in jeans! I have THREE PAIRS that fit! That’s more pairs than I’ve had in years.
  • Wear my unused and forgotten shawls out of the house, each one at least once.
    • I wore one shawl once. Sigh. Maybe I’ll try this one again in the fall. Winter stays late and summer comes early to the Midwest and we just didn’t see a lot of in-between temps like I had hoped for. Actually, how that I’m writing this a shawl would have spruced up the plain white t and black jeans I’m wearing. Oh, well.

My biggest take away was that I chose to repeat some me-made tops rather than wear others even a single time for the whole month. I have some cleaning out to do!


Never Enough Geraniums

I recently contacted my former boss to ask if I could use him as a reference. I had not had contact with him in years, but he was gracious and kind and I found out he’d had a daughter since we last spoke. If you’ve ready recent posts you know that I like making things for babies. This child is not a baby, anymore, she’s a toddler, so I went to the stash and fell back on my tried-and-true, often-made, always-cute Geranium Dress pattern. I kept the sewing simple: no notch, no sleeves, just a piping detail to add a little oomph.


Pattern: Geranium Dress by Made by Rae
Size: 2T


No major mishaps in this make, unless you count the fact that I forgot to cut out two bodices, but then I forget to cut the bodice lining when using this pattern so often that I congratulate myself when I do remember.

Geranium is always a lovely make.

Two Left Feet

Why YES, I have been on a bit of a baby bootie bender, lately. So kind of you to notice and thank you in advance for your patience.

First, the pair that I had cut out at the same time as the last pair I showed you.


I have no sizing labels – I ordered some, once, from an Etsy shop, but they were sold out. I was annoyed that I was able to “purchase” a product that didn’t exist and I’ve never remembered to try again – so I helpfully made these Christmas themed so that the baby’s parents would know about when they should fit.

While I was at it I started another pair for a co-worker and excited expectant first-time grandmother, this time without a helpful seasonal cue.


I was careless and sewed the linings of those booties in the same direction which gave me two bootie linings for the same foot. That wasn’t going to work as people’s feet usually come one on each side. No matter, I thought. Instead of picking a seam out of that fleece and pulling it out of shape in the process I’ll just make ANOTHER PAIR. I then proceeded to make one lining for the correct foot and a third lining for the other. Sigh. Enough is enough even for baby-booties-crazy me and I did pick that seam out without misshaping the fleece too much.


I am left with a single pair of unclaimed booties, this time possibly with a seasonal cue if they find their way to a baby born in the fall. I considered using just fleece for the sole lining since these booties scream springtime, but how could I not line bunny booties in soft furriness?


I am done with booties for now, though not with the gifts.

Booties are stackable!


Me-Made-May Week 3

The run-down:

  • Day 15: My other Willamette Shirt. I love this bright plaid. Like a lot. I think I shouldn’t, but I do, and it surprises me every time.
  • Day 16: Washi Dress.
  • Day 17: Everyday Skirt. My only me-made bottom and it doesn’t match a single me-made top in my wardrobe. Great planning, me.
  • Day 18: Akita Top. I’ve seen lots of very nice Akitas popping up during MMMay, but mine isn’t one of them. Mine is saggy-baggy. I wear it anyways. I tell myself it’s drapey and loose-fitting.
  • Day 19: View Ridge Top. I really like this top. My shoulders got really sunburned that day, which is my own fault and not the shirt’s. Wear sunscreen, y’all.
  • Day 20: Forsythe Dress. I wear this dress sometimes, but I’m still on the fence about it. It’s fine.
  • Day 21: Willow Tank. A quintessential basic when not made up in purple and blue polka dots. Somewhat limiting when it is.

Random observations:

  • Daily picture taking is not fun. This is an experiment I have already decided will not be repeated next year.
  • I question the worth of daily picture taking in my case as I mostly wear jeans. One of my personal challenges was to mix that up, but I really don’t have a lot of bottoms. I’m not sure why I’m dragging my feet on all those pants patterns I’ve purchased with good intentions or that pair of jeans I have cut out. I need to get on it! Fewer baby booties (you have no idea, that’s a post for another day), more pants and skirts!
  • I never realized how much pink I wear. Wow, it’s a lot of pink and it’s really bright and it’s making me wonder who I even am, anymore.

Shake Your Bootie

My best co-worker is going to be a Grandma again. It feels weird to write that because she’s a vivacious woman who doesn’t resemble a granny at all, unlike myselfIMG_7566

Pattern: Menta Booties
Size: 6 months

I love babies and I love acknowledging births even in cases like this when the incoming baby isn’t personally known to me. This is the perfect little gift for such an occasion. I have more planned for this baby and her big brother, some things that will live at Grandma’s house for them, but I’ve really been dragging my feet on baby stuff, lately, if you’ll forgive the pun.

I’ve made this pattern before and I’m feeling more confident that I’ll make it again and work my way through that faux fur and fleece. I’m feeling so confident, in fact, that I’m eyeing some of those add-ons. Note to self: back away from the booties.

Me-Made-May Week 2

Another roundup of my Instagram dump:

Clockwise from upper left:

  • Day 8: Willamette Shirt. One of my favoritest makes. Perfect marriage of collar and pullover. Yay.
  • Day 9: Wiksten Tova Tunic. While wearing this I remembered this pattern doubles as a dress and that I have the perfect fabric for one. I cut it out last night and am hoping I’ll find matching thread in the tin.
  • Day 10: Sleeveless Matcha Top. Photo features Nova. This shirt makes me happy.
  • Day 11: Short-sleeved Archer Button-Up. Not my most successful make. A bit big, a bit too granny-like even for me, someone who likes pink and florals and handknits and thought she was all about granny-style until that one time when I was 36 and at the drugstore with my kiddos and a woman looked at me very closely before asking if my daughter was my grandbaby.
  • Day 12: Bohemian Tee. It’s knit! But this is a rare case when you may be forgiven for calling it crochet. It’s a bit sneaky like that.
  • Day 13: Alice Top. My first me-make. I’ve worn and washed this so much it’s threadbare and showing its age. I still love it. It might not be suitable for work anymore, though.
  • Day 14: Sugar Pop Top. I don’t wear this one as often as I should. Lovely fabric. A bit of pooching occurs under the collar across the top of my bust. Perhaps the fabric isn’t sturdy enough or maybe I inadvertently pulled the fabric slightly out of shape while sewing. I like the idea of peter pan collars, but I don’t reach for them. This top went beautifully with my gray suit which was a happy surprise. That’s the suit I forgot the zipper was broken on and I sewed it shut for the 1.5 hours I needed the suit. Sewing for the win!

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a hard one for me, and because it’s hard for me I’m sensitive to all the possible ways that it might be hard for others. Maybe you’re not a mother, but you want to be. Maybe you’ve lost a pregnancy. Maybe you’ve lost your child or your mother or your child’s mother. Maybe you’re estranged from your mother or your children. Maybe you’re child free by choice. Maybe you’re child free not by choice. Holidays have a way of pointing out to us where our lives and persons feel deficient. I don’t want to yuck anybody’s yum. I just try to get through the day with as little attention as possible, and if you do, too, know you’re not alone.

I had almost finished my 2nd Cozyblue Handmade stitch club package before I realized it would make an excellent Mother’s Day gift.

My new-to-me stitch this time was the bullion knot. 
The back. Not very neat, but I will not be ashamed!

I love my mom. I told her once that she’s hard to shop for, to her great indignation. She seems to have everything she needs and wants and no trifle can acknowledge all the lengths she’s gone through for me or the things I’ve put her through. I was overthinking it; it really is the thought that counts. It doesn’t have to be the right thing if it is given with love in good faith.

Socks, I Mean a Hat

Stash Rule-of-Thumb #967:
Fingering-weight yarn is great stash because you only need 1 skein (2 tops) to make a pair a pair socks and you can always justify a skein or 20 (or more) of sock yarn on hand.

The Problem: This long-ago-stashed skein of sock yarn, when I held it, told me it didn’t want to be socks. Its seacell content begged to be worn somewhere north of the ankles. Its tonal coloring lent it to a wider array of possible projects. My first thought was Multnomah, but I didn’t have enough yardage. Also that thing about how I haven’t successfully made a habit out of wearing shawls, nor has anybody else I know for gifting purposes.

The Solution: A hat, then.

In which I discover that it’s practically impossible to take a picture of myself in a hat. I love my perfectly centered arm extension, though. It’s like I planned it that way.
Pattern: Sockhead Slouch Hat by Kelly McClure
Yarn: Fleece Artist Sea Wool in Vintage
Mods: Cast on 8 fewer stitches & skipped 1st set of decreases accordingly
I have mixed feelings about the pooling. Why yes, that is my sleeveless Matcha


I could feign irony or sarcasm that I finished a hat in time for the season’s first 90-degree temps, but I knew that this make was unseasonal when I started it. Instead I’ll pat myself on the back that I finished it instead of letting it languish until midway through next winter.

Me-Made-May: Week 1

I’m spamming Instagram (@busyhandsidlemind) with photos, so I’ll not spam you here. A summary will suffice.

Clockwise from the upper left hand corner:

  • Day 1: Ryan Top; Icarus shawl. This is my only me-made that has received compliments from strangers in the wild. It appeals to a certain older-skewing yoga-going demographic. It fits perfectly. I need more.
  • Day 2: Farrow Dress. My company’s CEO mistook me for one of our creators one day wearing this. I took it as a compliment. She’s very cool. And has great style, obvs.
  • Day 3: Sleeveless Matcha Top; #22 Garter-Stitch Yoke Cardigan. This is me trying to make an “outfit”. The print and sweater are a great match, the styles not so much.
  • Day 4: York Top. I rarely get to ride my bike to work. I was very visible in my hot pink paisley shirt.
  • Day 5: Fen Dress. What an excellent summer dress. Go make one.
  • Day 6: Willow Dress. Just finished! More on that later.
  • Day 7: Sleeved Matcha Top. I wore this to an interview. No joke, saw my very casual company’s HR director while I was on my way there all suited up. Awkward!

Takeaways so far:

  • If I’m going to meet my goal of pairing me-made tops with something other than rtw bottoms I’d better get to those jeans I basted up weeks ago and haven’t looked at since.
  • I still don’t know how to wear a shawl.
  • I am happily surprised to report I think I need more dresses!
  • I find myself not wanting to repeat outfits which means I’m going to have to find new ways to wear pieces. Which was the point, right? But I don’t know how to do it!



Knitters DNA

Handspun never felt like “stash” to me, probably because it’s a finished object in and of itself.

Also, it’s so so so pretty.

But it is stash, stash almost too precious to be used. No more! I’m sticking with my recent philosophical pivot to use the things I have instead of letting them molder… by turning them into objects that will surely molder.


Pattern: Knitters’ DNA by Martina Behm
Yarn: Handspun
Roving: Frabjous Fibers Hand-Dyed Blue Faced Lecester in #118 Tea, Toast & Cake
A not-so-great photo for scale

I love the variation in handspun – it’s why I make it! – and then I’m not quite sure what to do with it because of that variation. Happily, I’m in a stage where simple patterns mean comfort knitting, not boring knitting, and this mental space lends itself well to finally using some of these special skeins I’ve been hoarding for too long.

But I still don’t know how to effectively wear a shawl. Any tips? Give in to it and just be a person who wears shawls? Will I feel less silly with practice?