Velour Socksuit

I call the knitting I carry around with me my “travel knitting,” but these socks have really been places.

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Local dyer, ooh-la-la
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Iowa
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Dentist
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St. Louis: knitting present, but not pictured. You didn’t really want another picture of knitting on the dashboard of my car, did you?
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Finished socks!
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Afterthought heel to preserve stripe pattern

Ruffles Have Ridges

I inexplicably love ruffles. Inexplicable because the ruffles I gravitate to are not ones that balance my pear shape, but emphasize it. I love a big ruffle at the hem of a shirt, but I’m pretty sure ruffles don’t love me. Not that this has stopped me from making and wearing the heck out of a View Ridge by Straight Stitch Designs… 

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Photo from last summer featuring Chuffy’s pincushion sculpture that says “oOoOh”

but the cropped length of the Peplum Top gave me pause. So I made a muslin! Just to try it out and see if it would work! I hurriedly tried it on and it was so ill-fitting that I decided I would use it as a PSA about how making a muslin is useful because sometimes that little bit of extra effort will prevent you from wasting time and money on a garment that just isn’t going to work. So I was shocked when I put on appropriate undergarments to take photos with the express purpose of showing you how bad it was and…

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*Spit take*

It turns out trying a muslin bra-less over the oversized t-shirt you sleep in is not going to give you a fair assessment of a garment’s fit. WHO COULD HAVE KNOWN? Obviously I didn’t. It fits and I stand in disbelief. But would it flatter? I certainly wasn’t going to wear an 80’s-athletic-wear-inspired crop-top out of the house (or around the house, for that matter) so I attached that ruffle to get an idea of what this style would look like on me.

I’m a definite pear-shape with short-ish, muscular legs. I love the volume and the movement of this top. But it’s a style that favors the slender-thighed and narrow-hipped and, dare I say, the youthful. Does it work on me? Do I care?

This is what I’m self-conscious of looking like:

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What is even happening up there by my head?

And yet I know that people don’t look the widest part of me straight-on from the angle that unflattering photo was taken while I stand stock still so they can take in all the lumps and bumps. In real life I think I might present more like this:

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In my mind I aspire I look like this:

So I don’t know. What do you think?

Taking a Pattern for a Test Drive

In the past I’ve tried to skip the muslin process, often with regrettable results. I seem to think I should be able to cheat or outsmart my way clear of making a muslin. I started sewing with the misconception that a muslin is a chore you should try to avoid doing if possible, whenever possible. I’m having to learn for myself the hard way that what everyone says is true: if you want a better chance than a roll of the dice at a garment that you’re happy with, making a muslin is critical.

Now, I’m not going to say that me up and making two muslins for fun marks a sea change in my attitude towards them, but I think it does reflect a grudging acceptance of how important a muslin is. It didn’t hurt that both these patterns are free. Patterns can be pricey and if I’ve chosen to spend money I already have a personal investment greater than the financial one. Making muslins of French Navy’s Orla and Peppermint’s Peplum Top patterns felt more like I was taking them out for a test drive than a trial run, or as in the case of my Belladone, training for a marathon.

This post got too long, so first Orla. I had seem some very nice examples here and there, but I wasn’t up for another fitting challenge so I was fully prepared to make a muslin and chuck it. I was stunned that this fit so well right out of the (virtual pdf) envelope.

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Pattern: Orla by French Navy
Size: Small

Folks, if I found a dress that fit as well as this in a store I would absolutely buy it. Lest you think the muslin in this case was a waste of time, I decided to size up and make a couple small adjustments on my final version because I, ironically, am aiming at something less fitted. It’s currently more of a hospital gown than a dress – the fabric store is far and my weekends are busy, but hopefully I’ll get around to buying and installing the zip soon!

Small Clothes Carry Great Weight

I’d been avoiding the bins of kids clothes we have stored in the basement. I couldn’t remember if we had girls clothes down there in size 3T. This time it was different because either they were there or they weren’t and either way it was heavy because the daughter who used them or was supposed to use them isn’t or didn’t. Up until this point I knew that we had the clothes and the problem was whether or not to use them. Would it be too hard? Would it honor her? Was it creepy? I’d been dreading coming to the end of the bins of stored clothes since MJ was born. This time I didn’t know which problem I was going to confront or what questions I might ask myself.

While avoiding the the bins I made MJ a t-shirt.

IMG_8038.JPGPattern: Oliver + S School Bus T-shirt
Size: 3T
Fabric: Kristen Balouch for Birch Organic Fabrics, Folkland, KNIT, Enchanted Unicorns Dusk

And then I went downstairs and and discovered that we have lots of 3Ts, summer things B had worn and winter things she hadn’t. I’m feeling terribly unorganized and burdened by things and the emotional weight they carry. So many pants, many of which are cute little jeans that MJ will never, ever allow to be put on her person. She’s more likely to leave the house in this mismatched clashing pairing, if she deigns to wear the t-shirt at all:

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She’s her own person. And Goddamn if I don’t love her for it.

Goal-Oriented

It’s almost May! That means it’s almost time for Me-Made-May. If the weather keeps flip-flopping I’ll get to wear my thickest sweaters and thinnest summer dresses!

I wear me-mades regularly so my goal with this challenge isn’t to wear them more often, but more creatively. I don’t wear “outfits”. I wear a shirt and some pants. My office is casual so by “pants” I mean “jeans” and by “jeans” I mean “one of three pairs that don’t fit well, but don’t have big holes in the knees, yet, although one pair is very, very close and that’s the pair I’ve been wearing to get dirty at Longfellow Farm since my last pair of junk jeans split the knees so wide as to be unusable, so really let’s admit I only have two pairs of jeans each of which have significant fit issues and I don’t feel good wearing.”

So, yeah, there are significant gaps in my wardrobe, and filling those holes is another worthy goal for MMMay.

My Official MMMay Goals are:

  • Strive to pair me-made blouses with something other than jeans. Stretch goal: accessorize!
  • Get some jeans/pants that I feel good in. Stretch goal: make them!
  • Wear my unused and forgotten shawls out of the house, each one at least once

I’m excited!

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Waverling

I am a product of my time and have found myself falling for the minimalist zeitgeist. For me this has manifested more in feeling intense guilt over owning the things I have and less in purging or consuming those things. I know I’ve gone on and on about the moth(s) and how assessing, freezing, baking, sorting, and handling of all my yarny things has made me think again about what I’m doing with them and why I have them. But wait, here’s more blathering on the subject!

I have a box of handspun yarn that’s too precious to knit with. It’s a big box. And there’s a basket, too, if I’m being honest, and it’s a big basket. I’m not a good spinner, I don’t really know what I’m doing, but it’s mine and I made it and it’s gorgeous. It’s also inconsistent and yardage is guesswork and most of it is variegated which complicates pattern selection and what if I didn’t use every last bit of it? What if I made a thing that turned out not so precious as my yarn had been? What if I make a thing and *gasp* don’t use it?

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Well… f*ck it. I took this beautiful, unlabeled ball of really astonishingly soft handspun and improvised a cowl. It was maybe 200 yards, maybe less, of approximately aran-weight yarn. I cast on with only an idea of a plan, something big enough without being too big, with movement but to so much that it would read as patterned, and this is what came off the needles:

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The pattern, briefly:

Waverling
Gauge = 15 across & 22 high over 4″. I used US #9 needles.

  • CO 100; or, make it smaller or bigger by casting on fewer or more in multiples of 10
  • Purl 1 row
  • Knit 1 row
  • Purl 1 row
  • Stitch pattern (repeat until it’s long enough or until you think you’ll run out of yarn):
    • Knit 4 rows
    • (C4B, k6), repeat to end of row
    • Knit 4 rows
    • (K4, C6B), repeat to end of row
  • Knit 3 rows
  • Purl 1 row
  • Knit 1 row
  • Bind off purl-wise (I used the stretchy bind off).

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That’s all there is to it! Easy-peasy.

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Mustard Yellow is a Neutral

There’s a little girl at daycare who has the cutest pair of mustard yellow cords. I love them, I do. I’m totally jealous of this 2-year-old’s clothing and fashion sense which, I suppose, really means that I like her mum’s fashion sense and I’m jealous that her child allows herself to be dressed in actual pants as opposed to the loudest leggings imaginable.

Maybe shorts will be a different story when the weather gets warmer. Both the ideas posited in that sentence, that my daughter might wear something I suggest and that we might see a Sunday when it doesn’t snow, seem implausible at the moment. Nevertheless, I present the cutest pair of shorts I made from leftover linen from my Farrow dress. Look, put them with the Wiksten tunic I made and you get an outfit!

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This outfit has ALL the good pockets.
Pattern: Puppet Show Shorts from Oliver + S
Size: 3T
Fabric: Linen from Jo-Ann

I really love this pattern. It’s reminiscent of bloomers without being too balloony or having uncomfortable elastic in the legs. I’ve had this fabric earmarked for this pattern for a while, but put it off because fiddly pockets and elastics and gathering in 4 different places, none of which are my favorite sewing tasks which leaves me wondering what else is there? I am always so very satisfied with the results, however, especially with respect to fiddly pockets and these are the cutest of all of them.

I really hope kiddo wears these. I tried to get her to try these on – just to check the waistband, I said – and she emphatically refused – No, NOT these ones, she shouted, repeatedly – so I’m preparing myself for disappointment. We shall see when (if?) the weather turns warm.