Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Happy Poppies

Hi everyone!  Welcome back!  I'd like to start off by saying that being able to sew again, even in little fits and starts, has made me feel so HAPPY!! Just being able to sit down and create something I've been imagining is so empowering, isn't it? I've got another Fen Dress to share with you today.  Like my plaid version, I used double gauze for this one.  I freely admit to falling down the double gauze rabbit hole lately and I finally understand why so many of you rave about this beautiful fabric.  This particular fabric is from Distinctive Sewing Supplies and it's very reasonably priced at $15 per metre.  I was able to make this dress from a mere 1.5 metres of fabric!

Ever since completing Colette's Wardrobe Architect the second time around, I have really stuck to my main colour palette of pink/navy/mustard when shopping for making supplies. While this fabric leans more toward the coral side of pink, it works really well with my existing wardrobe and has injected some much needed brightness into my handmade dresses. As you can see, it goes really well with my Lillian cardigan.

I love the full gathered skirt as it reminds me of all the fit and flare dresses I used to make and wear before I got sick.  I love how this dress pulls in parts of the old me and melds it with the new.  I ended up donating the bulk of my BI (before illness) wardrobe to my local thrift store as they no longer fit and I do hope that those dresses found new life with new owners.  To have found a pattern that emulates that beloved style but fits my new shape and lifestyle is so gratifying.  I feel as though I got back a little bit of me. 

I wore the dress today with comfy navy leggings and one of my favourite me made necklaces. I started playing around with polymer clay just before Christmas last year and I really enjoy working with it. It's such a versatile medium and gives a good workout to my hands and my brain when my body isn't up to more full contact crafting. I made all the clay beads and the big orange rose and strung them with glass beads from my collection.  I strung it asymmetrically as it reminded me of a necklace I saw on Etsy that I loved.

As for further sewing projects, I have a Fen top/dress refashion in progress and I found a pattern recently that's very similar to the Pyne & Smith dresses that I love, I just need to hack it to have a button placket.  I've treated myself to two dress lengths of Rifle Paper Co. fabric - one in rayon (similar here) and one in cotton - and the cotton print will become a summer dress very soon. 

On the knitting front, I'm working away on my West Bluff shawl and am almost ready to blend in my third colour.  I'm planning on casting on the Campside Cardi shortly using some beautiful midnight blue heather yarn from my stash.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

A Fade and A Fen

I'm really pleased to have two finished objects to share with you today.  A recent string of good days allowed me to get back to my sewing machine and check another item off my 2018 Make Nine List.  But first, the cardigan.  I am really proud of this cardigan.  It's the Comfort Fade Cardi by Andrea Mowry and it's my first fade garment project that I really love.  I treated myself and used indie dyed and eco yarn in this project.  From the top, I used the following yarns:  Estelle Eco Andean DK in cream, the next three are superwash merino from Hue Loco in Salt Water, Ohana, and Sunday Bike Ride (a one pot wonder), and the last yarn is Naive Watercolour 2 from Stranded Dyeworks.  I used the Estelle yarn for the collar, cuffs, and waist

I have wanted a mid-weight sweater in my wardrobe for some time and I kept going back to the Comfort Fade Cardi time and again.  After searching the hashtag on Instagram and seeing so many beautiful versions, I knew that I wanted to try knitting my own.  At worst, if I didn't like the fade, I could knit it in solid cream with the Estelle Eco Andean DK in my stash.  Fortunately, I love how the speckled yarns work together and the cardigan is already getting loads of wear.  The colour combination reminds me of salt water taffy :)

As you can see, I made a few modifications.  I knit the cardigan in plain stockinette rather than reverse stockinette, as I prefer the look.  I knit a garter stitch hem rather than 2x2 rib, and 2x2 rib for the cuffs and collar.  I really like how that looks on my Lillian cardigan and knew I would prefer it on this project.  Despite the Estelle being a more rustic yarn when knitting, it bloomed beautifully during blocking and is as soft as the superwash merino speckled yarn. 

Meet my new favourite dress :)  It's the Fen Dress by Fancy Tiger Crafts and is another project to check off on my Make Nine list.  I did make a plain navy wool suiting version earlier which served as a very useful muslin.  The fit was just how I wanted it but the plain navy fabric wasn't at all flattering and didn't look as bright as I'd hoped even layered with my striped t-shirt collection. 

This version; however, ticks all of the boxes for me.  I found this beautiful plaid double gauze at my local Fabricland at least a year and a half ago for the princely sum of $7 per metre.  You bet I snapped it up! Now, I didn't quite have enough yardage to cut everything as suggested, so I added a CB seam on the skirt back and didn't bother with plaid matching.  I also sewed everything with French seams, which is so satisfying.

This is my first garment made with double gauze and, holy cow!, I'm in love!  It is butter soft which is perfect for my sensitive skin, and it sews like a dream.  I cut a size 12, grading to a size 14 at the hips and the fit is spot on.  The only minor alteration I made was to put a small pleat at the CB neck as the neckline is a bit wide, despite staystiching.  I could redraw the neckline but I like the detail that little pleat adds. 

I've spent a lot of time over the past two years learning to love this 'new' body of mine.  Aside from changes wrought by chronic illness, there have been changes due to aging.  I'll be 45 this September and this is the first time in my adult life, aside from pregnancy, that my measurements have been larger than 36-28-38.  I'm now a 40-34-43 and, while it took a lot of work, I like myself this way.  I have lovely curves for the first time since pregnancy and breastfeeding and I really like my shape; I'm now a plump pear.  The added weight means that I have approximately 1.7 chins and a belly but I'm also no longer freezing in the cold weather. 

Having the courage accept my chronic illness and how it makes me vulnerable; look at myself unflinchingly in the mirror and marvel at my body's ability to change; as well as laugh about the various body changes with trusted friends has really helped.  So has this amazingly inclusive and supportive online creative community.  Every time I post, either on my Instagram or blog, I receive a flood of positive compliments.  These really, really help me, as I hope they help others, to embrace the person they are now and to fully accept and love yourself, lumps and all.

I've had to re-evaluate my entire aesthetic, including the silhouettes I wear and sew, but I feel I'm finally getting to a place where I can turn out pretty garments that flatter my new figure and boost my self-confidence.  Totally acceptance of my personal style (kindergardener + Pippi Longstocking + crazy art teacher) has also help me find more personal joy in my appearance and in my making.  

After all, isn't life to short not to eat that extra piece of cake or to fearlessly wear the colours and patterns that truly bring you joy?

Monday, April 9, 2018

Making: January - March 2018


Hello everyone and welcome back!  I'd like to share my makes from the first quarter of this year, which, quite frankly, feels like it's whizzed by! Except for last week which felt 19 days long for some reason!

I've really felt the need to get back to basics in my making this year.  I've fallen back in love with simple stitches, simple construction, and simple silhouettes. I bought the Madder Anthology 2 recently and it has become one of my best purchases ever.  I do believe I will end up knitting every project in this book.  Now, I shared my three South Bay Sweaters with you last time as part of my Make Nine update, but I have been rather a prolific knitter of late, and I'd like to share the things I've knitted outside of Make Nine.

Long time readers will know that my absolute favourite colour is hot pink and I went with an eye-wateringly neon highlighter pink for my Lillian cardigan.  It was also my first time using superwash merino yarn in a make for me. I used Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Pucker and it is absolutely divine! 

Lillian is a basic top-down raglan with picked up stitches along the sides and collar that are knit it in 2x2 rib.  The only minor changes I made were to start the 2x2 rib cuffs earlier as I like the look of a long cuff.  I added two button holes at the waist and used these adorable buttons from L'Oiseau Fabrics.  This came together quickly and was a very relaxing knit.  The cardigan has become a firm favourite and is in high rotation.

My second finished project is the Barn Sweater, also from the Madder Anthology 2.  I picked up quite a few sweater quantities of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in the sale earlier this year.  I like this yarn.  It's durable, lovely to work with, and comes in a veritable rainbow of colours.  I chose Forest Heather for this project and I really love it; it has flecks of gold and turquoise throughout the green. 
The only thing I didn't love for this project is that the collar and button bands are worked at the same time as the body of  the sweater which tends to twist my brain a bit.  I've realized that I`ve knit my button holes on the wrong side! *facepalm*  I still love the cardi, though, and I want to give it a good blocking and sew on the pretty wooden buttons I bought before I give it a showing off here. 

My last make is the Over to Sea to Skye shawl by While They Play.  I bought the third series of Outlander in January and, as always, watching it makes me want to knit All The Scottish Themed Things.  I wanted a thick shawl that would look nice under my red duffle coat for winter.  I chose Cascade 220 (another one of my favourite yarns) in natural and used just under three skeins.  The shawl is knit on the bias and I think that different lace and textured sections work really well together.  It is very warm when worn as a scarf and kept the freezing winds from nipping down my neck into my coat.

I do have two projects currently on my needles: the very popular Comfy Fade Cardi by Andrea Mowry (above) and the Marled Fade Triangle by Stephen West.  The cardigan is flying off my needles and I love how the yarns I chose are fading together - it reminds me of salt water taffy.  I'm waiting on my last skein of yarn to arrive from Stranded Dyeworks so I can keep working away.

From a sewing perspective, I only managed to sew one seam on my pale blue Cleo Pinafore in three months!  I did; however, get all my spring and summer sewing plans finalized, including getting the fabrics and patterns, as well as listing them in my Textillia queue.  I love the queue feature as I queue all of my planned knits on Ravelry and it keeps me motoring through my projects.  I can be a sewing and knitting magpie and get distracted by the newest and shiniest pattern and fabric releases and my queues help keep me on track. 

Now, I know that there is a lot of fabric up there and that and my list is rather ambitious but I'm really excited about it.  I know I won't get everything made, but I'll be happy with whatever comes off the machine.  I'm working with double gauze for the first time (the poppy fabric 5th from the top and the plaid fabric on the bottom), as well as learning to use a walking foot as my serger may have finally passed away.  I`m really pleased that all of these fabrics came from local shops.

I've got some old favourites in my queue, including more Maya Tops, a Fen Dress, and a couple of Renfrew tops, as well as some new-to-me patterns like the Cassiopee Dress.  I was really excited to track down some Rifle Paper Co. rayon at Spool and Spindle for this project (6th from the bottom)! I have wanted a dress made in any of their floral rayon prints since their first collection debuted. 

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I`d love to know what your making plans are for spring and summer.  Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Make Nine Update: South Bay Sweaters

Since my last post, lo these many months ago, I have been quietly working away behind the scenes on my Make Nine projects.  First up is a new favourite: the South Bay Sweater.  The simplicity of the stockinette and garter stitches caught my attention and rebooted my love of simple knits. 

It is an engaging knit, and, like the So Faded Sweater, the project starts out knitting short rows flat to build up the back and front necklines and then it's joined in the round from that point on.  The simple garter panel and lovely gathers are two of my favourite features.  If you're new to knitting and are looking for a first sweater project, I highly recommend this one. 

I knit a size 37 and started the side increases 1" from the underarm; working two more than the pattern called for to get the shape I wanted.  I knit the sleeves bracelet length instead of three quarter, as well as knitting the cowl deeper so I could fold it over.  I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Papaya Heather, which is one of my favourite colourways, and took advantage of their $1.99/ball sale to get myself a double sweater quantity.

I loved the pattern so much that I knit one for my daughter an another one for myself.  I used Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Sugar Plum for her sweater. 

My daughter is at the age where she fits in the small end of women's sizing and that makes it easier when she wants me to make her similar garments to ones I have made for me.  I used to be able to knit on the fly for her; essentially making an adult pattern fit a child's body, but since the cognitive junk that goes along with auto immune disease has significantly increased over the past year, I can't do that anymore.  It's also making blogging more difficult, which is why I'm here infrequently.  Despite that, it is so nice to be able to use an existing pattern and simply knit the size that will fit her.  Yay for small victories!

My second sweater is knit as the first (size 37 with modifications as above) and I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Tweed in Marine Heather.  It was my first time using this yarn and I'm smitten.  It's so soft, the colours are rich, and I really like the tweedy neps.  I already have a cardigan planned using North Pole Heather.

Despite being a crafting turtle (sewing is still physically demanding for me), I have managed to finish 3 projects from my Make Nine list, including a navy wool Fen Dress, and a yellow striped Renfrew Top.

How are you coming along on your Make Nine list?  

Sunday, December 24, 2017

2018 Make Nine

Hello and welcome to you, friends! I want to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  If you don't celebrate those holidays, I wish you a happy winter and hope that you have some lovely hygge-filled nests in which to snuggle and relax.  I have a pot of fish stew bubbling away on the stove and a large bottle of Bailey's cooling in the freezer for my after dinner treat.

While things have been quiet here on the blogging front, if you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I have been slowly and quietly working away on projects behind the scenes.  In fact, I have a few finished objects to share with you in the coming weeks, including a sewing project!  I recently started working with an Occupational Therapist who is teaching me about pacing; how to slowly build and maintain my energy so I can finally feel like my kind of normal again.

I have also been thinking about projects I want to make in 2018.  I'm sure you've all heard of Rochelle's Make Nine challenge.  She launched it a few years ago and it took the creative community by storm - and rightly so.  It's such a lovely, gentle way to plan projects and stay on task, while still allowing the NEW and SHINY patterns and fabrics to pop into your queue.  As I no longer take crafting energy for granted (not my favourite fall out from auto-immune diseases), I find that the gentle planning of projects can feel as satisfying as the actual making, as well as ensuring I'm filling existing wardrobe holes.

Taylor sweater, Tilly & the Buttons Cleo, Spool & Spindle

Starting from the top row, far left:  This is a sweater that has been in my queue for what feels like ages.  Ever since I knit my Camille sweater, I have wanted to knit another one of Purl Heroine's patterns.  This particular one is Taylor and has a beautiful broken cable detail on the yoke.  I love it!  I'm planning on knitting this from more Wool of the Andes yarn in the Semolina colourway, which is very similar to the pattern photo.

Next up is the Cleo Pinafore by Tilly and the Buttons.  It is such a great pattern and I really appreciate Tilly's drafting skills.  I recently finished a pink denim version and have a periwinkle twill version in the queue.  I love pinafores and I know that this will get a huge amount of wear, especially layered with Renfrew Tops, leggings, and handknit socks.

Last in this row is a dress using this gorgeous fabric from Spool & Spindle.   You all know that I'm trying to keep my crafting spending exclusively Canadian and I'm delighted to have stumbled upon Spool & Spindle.  This fabric is a sensational cotton lawn in a gorgeous shade of mustard.  I love, love the pattern and the pops of teal.  Initially, I wasn't sure what pattern I would use for this glorious fabric until I remembered that Salme Patterns has a lovely (and buttonless!) shirt dress pattern that would show off this fabric nicely.  As it's cotton lawn, I will be making the dress with short sleeves to give it more versatility.

Fancy Tiger Crafts Fen Dress, Barbour Fraser Jumper, Sewaholic Renfrew Top

Moving on to the middle row, far left is my second planned dress: the Fen Dress by Fancy Tiger Crafts.  I did make the Fen Top earlier this year but, sadly, it has since been deconstructed and is awaiting refashion.  I just didn't like the longer sleeves or the neckline.  However, I have seen some really cute dress versions on the internet and want to to see how it will work for me made up in navy wool suiting.  Navy is a staple in my wardrobe and this will be a great layering dress for my fall and winter wardrobe.

My second sweater project is really the piece de resistance for me.  Sam Heughan (aka Jamie Fraser, my TV husband) is the brand ambassador for Barbour and has designed a stunning capsule collection for both men and women.  This cabled beauty is my favourite piece and I plan on knitting myself a version using Cascade 220 in Atlantic.  I'll knit it bottom up, as I think that's the best construction method.  I'm in the process of working out the pattern on paper and plan to cast on in January.

It wouldn't be a proper plan for me without an old favourite of mine:  The Renfrew Top pattern.  This is a TNT for me and an absolutely essential piece of my cold weather wardrobe.  I have some lovely yellow striped jersey from L'Oiseau Fabrics, as well as length of rose pink bamboo jersey from Blackbird Fabrics that are crying out to be made into tops.  I'm thinking the scoop neck version with long sleeves.  I wear these with everything!

Rayon/linen fabric, South Bay Sweater, Simplicity 6096

The last row, far left is a swatch of this gorgeous kelly green rayon/linen blend fabric that will  become a pair of cropped trousers using McCall's 2735; another TNT pattern for me that is, sadly, out of print.  I found my version at a thrift store for $1.99.   I do have several pairs of these trousers in different colours but I really missed having a green pair over the spring and summer this year.

The middle photo is a beautiful peasant dress pattern from Simplicity.  I LOVE  good peasant dress for summer but still haven't made any!  I have some lovely floral rayon in my stash that will be perfect for this pattern; easy to wear with my beloved cropped linen trousers in the spring and on its own in the hot summer.

My final planned sweater is the South Bay Sweater by Samantha Lamb.  I first saw this on Yards of Happiness as a test knit and fell in love with it.  In essence, it's a simple top-down, raglan sleeve sweater (my favourite) with feminine details like the gathering under the garter panel and the 3/4 length sleeves.  I've cheated a bit as I cast this on last week but I just couldn't wait until New Year.  I'm knitting it in Knit Picks' Wool of the Andes in a beautiful coral/pink colour called Papaya 

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Wow! This turned out to be a much longer post than I expected!  If you're still here, thank you for reading until the end.  It means a lot to me that you take the time to stop and visit my corner of this community.  Thank you :)

What are you planning on making in 2018?  Are you participating in the 2018 Make Nine challenge?  I'd love to know!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Find Your Fade Shawl 2.0

I have finished my second Find Your Fade Shawl! Whew! It turned into a bit of an epic knit as it hibernated for a few months while I deliberated over the last 2 colours to use, but it's finally off the needles, blocked, and on me!  I really enjoyed knitting my first Fade Shawl.  I had not knit anything so big before and the stitches became meditative.  As that shawl now lives with my sister-in-law, I knew I wanted to knit another for myself.

The push came for this from this skein of yarn I had originally bought for the first one.  However, while it's beautiful on its own, it clearly didn't blend nicely with the existing colour scheme.   It took me a while to settle on the colours for this shawl, but once I dove into my stash and matched it up with some beautiful yellow Cascade Fingering yarn, I was off! I used a combination of commercial yarns by Cascade, Sweet Georgia, and Regia, as well as a beautiful skein from a new-to-me indie dyer in British Columbia.  Check out her Etsy shop - her yarns are gorgeous! 

This is a really, really big shawl; actually more like a blanket than a shawl.  It's lovely and lightweight, yet still warm and cozy.  I wear it wrapped around my  neck under a coat or tied around me like a cardigan at home.  As you can see, everyone in my family loves it. 

After this one, though, I think I'm done knitting gigantic shawls. That being said, this pattern has firmly cemented my love of knitting asymmetrical/bias shawls, so much so that I have cast on the Free Your Fade.  I'm knitting it in jewel tones in rainbow order because, obviously, rainbows are my favourite!  It's primarily a stash-buster but also an excuse to stock up on just-one-more-skein of my favourite yarns. 

What's on your needles?  What's the biggest thing you've ever knit?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Emmeline and a Rainbow Renfrew

Despite the woes of crafting with chronic illness, as I talked about in a recent post, I have been able to do a bit of sewing lately in small spurts with long rests in between.  I saw my Rheumatologist recently who confirmed that I have Psoriatic Arthritis and Fibromyalgia, which explains the chronic pain I've been experiencing for several years outside of the arthritis pain.  It feels so good to finally know my official diagnoses and validate all that I have been experiencing as a patient.  I am so glad I trusted my gut and asked for a second opinion.  My new Rhuematologist is thorough, compassionate, and a good listener.  He immediately realized that my quality of life has been seriously impacted by this and took both the necessary and extraordinary steps to find solutions.  I feel so blessed and relieved to be under his care.  Now I can begin the business of finding out how to live well with both of these diseases.  If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them. 

Now, back to the knitting and sewing!  First up is Emmeline, which is another self-drafted pattern.   I knit the vest from the bottom up using Cascade 220 in a gorgeous, bright magenta.  I chose a simple double braid cable for the central motif and bracketed it with panels of seed stitch and simple cables.  This is the first time I've knit a braided cable and I'm happy to say that there was only one frogging incident.  Once my knitting muscle memory kicked in, it became a relaxing knit. 

Keeping my core warm in the cold months really helps my chronic pain and I wanted another vest in my wardrobe besides Harriet. I debated about adding a cowl neck, but ultimately decided that a plain neck would be the most versatile and I can always layer on a cowl/snood if I choose. Fuschia and magenta really are my neutrals and add a much needed punch to my cool weather garments.  I wore it today with my Anya Cardigan layered over top and was nice and toasty.

Next up is a rainbow stripe Renfrew Top.  This is a TNT pattern for me as I like the fit, the construction, and its easy hack-ability.  I essentially live in Renfrew Tops in the cool months as they are comfortable and go with everything in my closet. I sewed the scoop neck version with 3/4 length sleeves.  The only blip in the process was that my cuffs turned out slightly too big and bell out too much.  I will cut them off and resew them, but, for now, I'm just rolling up my sleeves.

This gorgeous rainbow jersey knit is from one of my new favourite online fabric shops: L'Oiseau Fabrics. They have an exceptional array of colours and prints available and the quality is top notch.  This is, in truth, one of the nicest jerseys I have ever sewn with.  The fact that I sourced it from a small Canadian business makes me feel good, as I have been trying to reduce my carbon footprint in sourcing sewing and knitting materials. I highly recommend them for all their fabrics.  

This top was one of my three Fall Basics garments and I'm really pleased with it.  I'm looking forward to sewing another Renfrew with this yellow striped jersey, also from L'Oiseau, and I have my eye on this green striped jersey, as well.  What are your plans for fall and winter making?  Any pattern recommendations?  I'd love to know!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Fall Basics

I love sewing; it's one of my most favourite creative pursuits. Coming back to blogging has been such a positive experience; my mood has been in an upswing since my first post.  With the exception of my Fen top and lemon Roberts Dungarees, all the makes I've shared here were made over the past year and a half. 

Sewing is still a full-contact sport for me, which has been incredibly hard to acknowledge.  I try to follow the 1:3 activity vs rest ratio in all of my daily activities, i.e. 10 minutes of activity followed by 30 minutes of rest,  but didn't do it well enough when making my lemon dungarees and paid the price.  I was bedridden over Thanksgiving weekend and I am still in recovery mode. I began to feel as though sewing would have to pass out of my life. 

I used to sew at least 20 hours a week prior to my diagnosis.  Obviously, I can't keep up anything remotely close to that output now, nor am I going to try; but, I need to strike a balance between the necessity of making and the necessity of rest.  Enter the Summer of Basics make along, which I am tweaking to suit the season. Making three garments over three months is entirely feasible for me.  I can still indulge in sewing but on a more responsible scale. 

Striped jersey from L'Oiseau Fabrics, stretch denim from Fabricville.

After my recent setback, I took the time to reevaluate how I sew and my true wardrobe gaps. I narrowed those down to three key items:  1) a rainbow stripe Renfrew top,  2) a yellow stripe Renfrew top, and 3) an indigo stretch denim pair of Roberts Dungarees.  My lemon pair have become a wardrobe staple (stretch poplin FTW!) and adding a neutral pair makes perfect sense.  Renfrew tops are absolute wardrobe staples already and adding fun stripes to that mix is always a good idea, right?  I even managed to get my rainbow stripe Renfrew cut out a few weeks ago prior to this epiphany, so I'm already ahead of the game. 

On the knitting front, I have more flexibility. Knitting is primarily a sitting activity, so it's easier for me to do.  I tend to have one large project and one pair of socks on the go at one time.  However, I've been casting on All The Things lately and now have a few too many projects on the go.  As such, I'm going to focus on finishing off the garments I have on my needles before casting on a new make.

I've just finished the body of my Emmeline vest.  Emmeline is a self-drafted, bottom up, seamless knit in this amazingly bright magenta Cascade 220 wool.  The colour is so fabulous, isn't it? All I need to finish is the ribbing the arms and neckline; although I am debating about knitting a cowl neck like my Harriet jumper.  What do you think?

Also on the needles is a Flax Light sweater for me based on this one I knit for my daughter. I'm using some of the leftover yarn from that, as well as some scrumptious hand dyed yarn, for my version.  I'll incorporate the fading techniques I learned whilst knitting my (now frogged) So Faded jumper.  I'm almost at the sleeve separation which always feels like a victory.

Lastly, is a second faded Flax Light for my daughter. She chose the beautiful colours and I love how it's coming together.  This was delayed as I needed a set of small (30 cm) circular needles to knit her sleeves.  They've finally arrived and I'm working away at it.  I've used Knit Picks Stroll Tonal and Heathers in this jumper as my girl is a huge superwash merino fan.  

So there it is. My slow, sensible, and achievable making plan for the next three months.  Making things for myself is a form of self-care and I really think we need to get rid of the term selfish sewist.  I feel most of us pursue sewing as a form of self-care, self-love, and/or self-acceptance and there's nothing selfish about that.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Lemon Roberts Dungarees

Oh, have I got a whopper for you today!  These may be the craziest things I've ever made and I am unabashedly in love with them.  It all started with Roisin's 'Good God, Lemon' dress.

Roisin is a pretty inspiring Sewcialist, isn't she?  Her handmade dresses are beautiful and I love how she uses a variety of prints that really show off her personality.  When I saw the Good God, Lemon dress on Instagram, I was smitten with the amazing lemon print fabric that she had used.  The shop she used was out of stock, but Blackbird Fabrics had just restocked their version and I bought myself 3 metres.

Originally, I thought I would make a dress or pinafore from this fabric; either a Painted Portrait Dress or a Ruby Dress.  However, when the fabric arrived, I knew it would be perfect for overalls.  It's a stretch poplin with amazing stretch and recovery; however, it's quite a bit beefier than other stretch poplins I've used.  This isn't a criticism by any means, but it does go to show that sewing can be quite serendipitious.

Once the fabric was washed and dried, it hung out in my fall/winter capsule pile while I finished up some summer stragglers and cracked on with really narrowing down my capsule makes.  It wasn't until I saw Tasha's pinapple palazzo pants that my ideas for this fabric really solidified.

I've waxed poetical about my love of Marilla Walker's patterns before and I'm happily doing so again.  She really is a brilliant pattern drafter and her construction methods yield beautiful garments that let the fabric shine.  Marilla's patterns tend to fit me straight out of the package, but just to be sure, I wanted to make a muslin before cutting into the lemons.  I used a charcoal twill that I've had in my stash for a while. I cut a straight size 4 and the only change I made was to sew the inseam at a 3/8" instead of the recommend 5/8" seam allowance.  The twill I used has no stretch, so I do get a closer fit at the waistline than you see here.  That really doesn't bother me though, as one of the reasons I wanted to make lemon dungarees was to have other options besides pajamas available for high pain days.  On those days, even fabric hurts when it touches my skin and the oversized fit of these would be perfect.

To make the palazzo style legs on the lemon version, I slashed and spread the leg pieces by 2", narrowing to 1/4" at the thighs, and redrew the outer side seam to fall straight from the hips.  The slight pooling of the fabric at the back is from my swayback.  I elected not to do a swayback adjustment because, in this instance, the pooling really doesn't bother me. 

I love how this crazy print makes me look like I belong in a Florida retirement home!  Maybe I should change my name to Magic Madge?  I had planned to make a hot pink stretch denim version of these dungarees, but in an effort to make a wearable wardrobe, I know a pair of hot pink pants will get worn more often.  I ordered some dark indigo stretch denim from Fabricville for another version of this lovely pattern.  The hot pink stretch denim will be made into Style Arc's Barb pants.

What are your fall/winter creative plans?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Mist Jumper

I knit this jumper late last year (I finished it just after Christmas) and wore it constantly until the weather warmed up.  I finally managed to block it just a few weeks ago and now that it's 'presentable,' I'd like to share it with you.

Mist is a self-drafted, top-down, seamless, raglan sleeve jumper, which is my very favourite to knit and wear.  This was definitely a therapeutic knit as I was flaring during  this time and my pain level was high.  I needed to knit SOMETHING to distract myself.  My amazing husband, Chris, took me to my local yarn store, where I saw this yarn winking at me from their Cascade wall.  I think all the best yarn stores have a Cascade wall, don't you? 

This particular yarn is Indigo Heather and is really a yarn chameleon.  Up on the wall, the yarn looked like a very pale periwinkle, but when Tracy brought the skeins down for me, it seems to change to silver grey. When we took the photographs, it looked icy blue. It's gorgeous no matter what colour it decides to show off. I really love Cascade 220 in both the solids and heathers.  It's such a lovely yarn to knit with, has great stitch definition, blocks up to a soft fabric, and has a veritable rainbow of colours available.

As I said, it's a self-drafted knit and it's pretty rare that I follow a sweater or cardigan worsted weight pattern anymore, as I've come up with a formula that works for my personal knits.  I do love to experiment with my knits (see my Morag jumper) and I end up with a garment I love...most times.  Don't get me wrong, sometimes the design fights me, or vice versa, and there is a lot of ripping back, but it's really worth it.  I find free wheeling my knits really engages my mind; from calculating the increases to determining the optimal stitch pattern, to pulling bits and pieces from my favourite patterns.

Mist is an amalgamation of all of that.  The pretty scalloped neckline is from the Genevieve Pullover, the front and cuff lace pattern is from the Meret beret, and the hem pattern is from my Vogue Knitting Stitchionary knit & purl volume.  It's the sugar cube stitch, which I converted to be knit in the round and used again on my Harriet pullover.

I worked simple yarn overs as the increases in the raglan seams and changed it to either ssk, yo or k2tog, yo for the rest of the body.  It was engrossing enough to keep my interest peaked but not so difficult that I couldn't watch Netflix while knitting.  That's an essential for me - gotta have the Netflix. 

I am really pleased with the end result and, as I said above, I wore it constantly last winter and early spring.  Now that the fall weather seems to have finally arrived (I am so sick of heat and humidity), I know that this will be in heavy rotation again.

I've just finished the Ophelia Vest using Rowan Pure Wool Superwash in a fantastic bright yellow and have another self-drafted vest on the needles using Cascade 220 in magenta.  Plus, I've always got a sock on the needles.  What have you been knitting lately?  Any dream knitting patterns you've come across?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Dottie Angel Tunics

Dottie Angel tunic worn with a Briar Top in ribbed knit

I've got another pink make to share with you today!  Pink really is my happy colour and when I'm well enough to sew, I'm darn well going to work with something that makes me feel good :)

This is my most recent Simplicity 1080; otherwise, known as the Dottie Angel Dress.  I started working on these late last fall and slowly plugged away at them over the ensuing months.  I sewed them tunic length as that is the most versatile for me.  In the warmer months, I wore these layered over my favourite linen cropped pants and now that it's *finally* cooler, I'll layer them up with jeans, long sleeved tees, and sweaters/cardigans.

This poor pink version was really a labour of love. Originally, it has a contrast hem panel with contrasting pockets.  I wore it and hated it.  I ripped off the pockets and sewed new ones that matched the contrast panel and hated that, too.  Finally, after sitting in my sewing cupboard for a few months, I realized that I don't like contrast hem panels but I do love a good contrast pocket!  Off came the hated hem panel and coordinating pockets.  Fortunately, I had enough of the pink fabric left to sew a matching panel and I'm especially pleased that I was able to get the pockets out of scraps left over from my Fen top.  With some creative cutting, I was able to have enough matching bias tape to cover the raw edges.

My favourite pockets! I put them on everything!

I sewed a size medium and made a few modifications.  I raised the neckline slightly and brought in the shoulders a bit.  I found that the neckline was quite wide and tended to slip off my shoulders - definitely not the look I was going for.  I also changed the sleeves from cap to kimono using the Christine Haynes' Lottie pattern.  While I do like cap sleeves, I don't like the way they're constructed on this tunic.  The side seam is sewn and then stopped just short of the underarm and then the sleeves' raw edges are turned under.  I find that this puts a lot of stress on the underarm seam and it inevitably rips.  Maybe I just have Hulk shoulders?

I also lengthened the side ties to be able to wrap right around my waist and tie in the front.  It's easier for me to tie them like this rather than contorting myself to tie them in the back. LOL!  Please excuse the wrinkles but I had been wearing this one for a while when we took the photos.

I really like this pattern for a lot of reasons.  It's simple to sew; a basic A-line shape with bias tape used instead of facings.  It's easily hacked to create new looks and it flatters many different body types. It's also incredibly versatile as it layers easily and can be worn all year round.  I really like the big pockets as they hold a lot of things, including my phone and a ball of yarn!

L-R: black brushed cotton, red quilting cotton, navy brushed cotton
Just to prove that I do sew with other colours (ha ha), here is a snippet of the three other tunics I've made.  Each gets a lot of wear and are very comfortable.  I fell in love with brushed cotton this year, and now have several tunics and tops in my wardrobe.  The black tunic (on the left) was inspired by this one made by Tif, aka, Dottie Angel, herself. 

That lovely red one in the middle has a tone-on-tone brocade pattern with gold accents.  It sparkles in the light! The pockets are made using a pretty rose print cotton remnant that I've had in my stash for at least 10 years.  I livened up the navy one with giant red rick rack trim around the pockets. 

What do you think of the Dottie Angel dress?  Have you made it?  What about her other patterns?  I love Wrong Doll's and Laura Mae's quilted coats.  Aren't they amazing??
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