Archive for the ‘blog life’ Category
I just discovered that Sulala is two years old today! What a perfect day to dive into my sewing habit with full force.
My entire sewing career is linked to this machine (minus a few brief flings, notably a one-night stand with my 4-H leader’s machine and a continuing affair with my mom’s Bernina), so it stands to reason that I can use her as the foundation for my sewing back story. My mom sewed a great deal for me on this machine when I was younger, happily stitching pants for me when I refused to wear jeans or any store bought pants, for example, or crafting the entire wardrobe for my Am*rican G*rls doll. In junior high, I made bags of varying quality, but never really got into sewing. During high school I golfed. In college when Mom upgraded I inherited the Singer. I made a few blankets for DH (imagine the domesticity of your RA sewing in her dorm room!! Wouldn’t you want to turn to her with all of your problems?) and my grandma, and then of course whenever I moved I made curtains and other household-y things for our various dwellings.
I think I had to wait until I understood patience a little more to really get into sewing, though, and patience is a lesson that knitting has never stopped teaching me. I wonder if anyone else has had this experience: until I started knitting–or maybe more accurately, reading blogs about knitting–it never really occurred to me that the fault of poorly fitting clothes was not mine! Until I was able to make decisions about how I wanted a sweater to fit, I did not understand how my body shape really affected what I bought. I simply thought that I could not wear the majority of styles that were on the store shelves because I wasn’t shaped right. (Well, and then there’s the fact that I am cheaper than dirt and never really put much effort into anything regarding looks.) For example, I have a really hard time buying dresses that fit upper and lower halves together, so in my head for years I’ve just thought I can’t wear dresses.
Why all of this self-reflection is relevant is that watching all of you have such tremendous success clothing your own beautiful selves, not as a chore or to hide anything but as a fun challenge, inspired me to try. And that meant turning to my faithful Singer. So last June with my trip to Ireland and Switzerland as my motivation I began to capital-S Sew. (I just realized that really it all started with making a dress for a wedding, but I don’t have a picture of it!!).
Dancing in Atlanta’s airport: Ok, so I did make these pants (highly modified) from Butterick 5101 and a JoAnn’s knit, but the picture is showing my travel purse. I had such a rough time finding the perfect bag to take along, and finally just a day or two before I left I threw this one together. It ended up being…not perfect by any means but certainly functional. The funny part about the purse is that it is made from a pair of pants that were headed to the wadder pile. Can anyone guess where (hint: the straps were cut from the legs…)? I can’t recount the state of mind that led to this revelation that pants would give me the purse shape I was looking for, but ain’t that the state of creativity sometimes?
Next is another Butterick 5101 top, view A, made from a nice Ponte knit. Well, nice for this top but not so nice for the pants shown above because it has pilled like crazy (Rats–just realized I made this top twice too, and only have a picture of one version!). Wrap tops can be trouble, but this one a) actually covers a little bit on top and b) doesn’t cling and cut in all the wrong places in the middle. Oh, and c) was very easy to sew! This picture is obviously not from Swizterland, by the way!! I know there are some WI’ers out there cheering right now!
Here’s that top again with a dress I made to go with it. I’m really hoping that I’m just standing at an awkward angle in this picture, and that my bottom half is not actually attached to my top half like this. I love the fabric, though, a Moda cotton I got on sale in Tennessee. The dress is New Look 6788, view B, and I had to make some major modifications to it so it ended up being a little “meh” without the top over it. Turns out that this “dress” when made according to the pattern is really a “sack” with no shaping at all. I took in the front, added front and back darts, and took in the center back seam to get some semblance of a dress shape to it. There’s no zipper, which is what really should have clued me in that something was wrong here! I’d make it again, with shaping and a zipper though. But look–the final result is me in a dress!
And a skirt!! Simplicity 5524, in another Jo-Ann linen look (gotta learn to finish seams!!). If ever there was a skirt to convince me that I can wear skirts, this is it. It was easy to make, is easy to wear, and I daresay even looks decent. You can tell I did a fabulous job accessorizing it with the daring choice of a white T-shirt!
Ok, I’m out of patience with looking at myself for today. More to come!
Hello, and thank you for coming back! I am humbled by your patience, and please do accept my apologies if my absence somehow upset the equilibrium that is your world.
I decided that really, the only way I could make any kind of half-graceful re-entry into the ‘sphere was to finally write up a pattern I’d been sitting on for a while.
Actually, it is my grandma who has been sitting on this one, because the pattern is for a blanket I made for her. (Now that I think about it, my grandma probably hasn’t been sitting on it either, because she loves to get handmade things from me but then squirrels them away as if they are too precious for use. Or maybe she hates them, I don’t rightly know! But I continue to produce, and she continues to squirrel).
I liked about this blanket enough to write it up for you all because it is very simple in execution–most of you have probably already figured it out just by looking at the pictures–but it can be graphic and striking. I chose sweet Grandma colors in Homespun, but I am really hoping that someone will do some cool Noro combinations, or some other long repeat color changes, or some wildly wonderful solids.
The pictures are not great. As it happens around these parts, the finishing and the gifting took place with uncomfortably close proximity, which means that yet again I did not get a decent picture of the thing. Combined with Grandma’s FO-squirreling (see above), this is probably the only exposure to the world the poor blanket will ever get.
In that regard, one of the reasons I haven’t been blogging for the past several months is that I didn’t take the time to get good pictures of my knits (and I haven’t been knitting a whole lot, but we’ll pretend it is the picture thing). I know some of you are talented photographers, and can’t understand how it might not be worth the time I was trying to put into my not-great photos before, but I have come to the realization that if I’m going to post, the pictures will have to be whatever I snap on the way out the door. I feel a little bit bad about it, but then I just pop over to the next blog (you know who you are, yarnzombieTeamKnitPeacockChicWestCoastCreative) and realize that there are plenty of good pictures out there for those who desire them. You come here for…hmm, I’ll have to get back to you on that one! But it is good to see you around these parts again (and to be almost done with the life-eating exam that kept me away!).
There have been a lot of cool things that I’ve experienced since becoming a blogger, but this has to be one of the coolest. A little while ago Stella of A Cold Bright Day in April and I discovered that we were born just days apart. That’s pretty cool.
Then, we discovered that not only were we sharing a brain about patterns, we’d even picked the same colors of greens and browns (Project Spectrum appropriate, also by coincidence in my case. You too, CBD?). That’s just downright scary, and so far beyond cool. I was sending her an email describing my plan while she was posting about hers. I think it’s time for another neenerneener.*
A few years ago I knit a tote bag for my mom out of these colors (K’picks WotA in chocolate and asparagus) and had some left over. I had drawn up my own brocade-ish chart and done stranded knitting for the tote–no pictures, sorry!–and when I finally admitted I couldn’t let myself do Venezia, I started toying with the idea of using that chart with these colors for a sweater. I had to order a few skeins of the chocolate, and we’ll see if that will work! I’m not using the same stitch count or needle size as I did for my Road to Golden, just knitting it to the same size.
I started the sleeves tonight. I am always amazed that the “easy” knitting takes forever, but the “hard” stuff goes by before I can really enjoy it.
I’m as jazzed about this project as I could be, and would like to thank my better-knitting-half for the inspiration to get it out of my head and onto the needles. See you on sleeve island, I hope!
*Twilight Zone music again, that’s deedoodeedoo for some of you.
I’m not going to lie, one of the reasons I love this whole blogging thing is that I can be nice, all the time, if I want to. I’m sure many of you are also in work/school/life situations where, due to a tremendous amount of pressure to take yourself and everyone else seriously, there isn’t a lot of kindness floating around. I really appreciate this opportunity to *not* be taken seriously, but even moreso to be first and foremost kind (or as I just mistyped, knid.)! Thanks to all of you!
Sweet #1: Thanks s’much to More than One Way for always Making my Day, and for even considering that I might make hers! It’s probably against the rules to re-gift the nomination back to her, but man does she ever deserve it.
The rules : “Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times.”
And even though I just did a link fest, I think I’ll take the excuse to do it again. Please pardon the repeats, but I have to say that you all really do make my day in no small manner (in no particular order, of course).
- West Coast Creative- stunning, stunning pictures!
- Between Stupid & Clever – of course muuuuuch more on the clever side, and fun music too
- Girl Who Knits – make sure to check out the Oreo bon bon recipe
- Knitting Lemonade- ooo, you must go see her today. SO funny!
- Knitspot – Inspiration, thy name is Ann. And she’s from Canton, near where I grew up.
- Pepperknit- creative knits & patterns, plus she actually finished a great Shocking! skirt
- TeamKnit- have I made a “put me in, coach?” joke yet??
- Octopus Knits- check out the Tilted Duster. Best I’ve seen!
- Peacock Chic- what more can I say? She inspired me to redo my office. Again.
- Yarnzombie- currently celebrating my new favorite holiday. Or wait, I mean, the holiday I currently feel the most conflicted about on the inside
Sweet #2: A few days ago as I was walking out of a choir rehearsal an alto I’d not yet met came up to me to say, “Excuse me, but I just have to know where you shop. Your sweaters are just fantastic!” I, having worn my Hourglass, Road to Golden, and Thermal that week, was just stunned enough to squeak out something about how sorry I was that I was a knitter. Day made? Check!
Scary #1: I fell to the lure of JoAnn 40% off coupons. I am weak, and every so often I hoard coupons and stock up on some cheap yarn for really cheap. Usually I’m pretty happy with my purchases. Usually I have a very high acrylic tolerance, in fact I even like it sometimes, but this yarn compelled me go through my stash and put a bunch of old acrylic yarn into a bag for charity (but was it really charity? No, it was a totally selfish action, so I’d appreciate it if you think worse of me for it. Thanks).
So I give you the progress thus far: one skein and FOUR KNOTS down, we have the beginning of Lady Eleanor. The backstory behind this pattern in the Scarf Style book is that one could imagine one’s self wrapped in the luxurious Lady E heading across the moor for a secret tryst or something like that. If I were to apply that analogy to the current situation, I really hate to think where I, with my fifteen dollars of wormy yarn, would be headed. (Fret not: coming soon to a frequently lonely blog near you–the JoAnn coupon success story).
Scary #2: Scene- inside my head as I gather my things for school, wondering why I’m once again packing knitting even though I know I won’t have any time or place to do it. The answer (also in my head) comes easily enough to be downright frightening: I need a project because I could get a lot of knitting time in…just in case I’m ever in a hostage situation. (???!?!? Perhaps I should start a “This is your brain… This is your brain on yarn!” campaign!)
When the “7 weird things” meme came my way, I revealed that
2) I read knitting blogs for almost a year before finally jumping in and getting my own. I was convinced that there had to be some dark underbelly to all of these people posting pretty pictures of yarn, it couldn’t be that good!
Well, I’ve found it! The dark and unspoken underbelly of the knitting blog world. Are you ready?
It is that good, and even more amazing than the yarn is the people.
I really can’t tell you all how grateful I am for your willingness to give me a shot, and for your incredibly kind words and bursts of enthusiasm for my lil’ patternish sort of thing. Every so often I realize exactly how much being a part of this community brings to my life, whether in learning about new techniques, yarns, or patterns; giving recipes, books, and well-wishes; or the simple but necessary (as is oft forgotten) act of sharing lives and stories.
Oh, and the other, secondary fabulous thing about this community is that everyone is talented and I get to partake of that talent daily!!!! For example, take a gander at the goodness below, from Franquemont Fibers by Abby of Abby’s Yarns. Abby writes with humor and an inspiring level of attention to detail, and her blog is a treasure of knowledge. She is extremely generous in sharing her expertise, and does so in a manner that makes it extremely accessible and exciting.
And she makes pretty things. Enjoy! I figure that a little stash-flashing is truly the best way to express my appreciation for and to you all…
Falkland top in Spice
Romney top in Sea Foam
Superwash top in Lemon Zest
Domestic wool top in Deluge
Merino/tencel top in Maize
Superwash top in Oak Tree
I iz, perpenSOCKular style!
Extreme computer cam closeup of extremely hued Knitpicks Simple Stripes! Waaah!
(that was a Wayne’s World extreme closeup “Waaah” in case you missed it. I kind of hope you did.)
(I don’t know if the above foray into nontraditional English is because I’ve spent way too much time grading essays or way too much time laughing at LOL cats. Anyone else share my newest giggles? I think you have to look at about twenty of them before you start to see the patterns of thought and get the humor. I think it is getting late, and DH is getting up at 4 am. I think I’m in trouble.)