Outstanding

Outstanding can mean “not done yet” or it can mean “exceptionally good.” This post is to celebrate these socks’ graduation from one use of the adjective to the other after being in WIP purgatory for 6 years.

Folks, I want to be able to say that 6 years is a long time for a project to languish. And maybe it is, objectively, if you’re the sort of knitter who makes a point of finishing the things she starts. I’d say it’s about average for me if I compare it to the other WIPs in the basket/closet/bin/drawer/unused luggage/vault/mom’s house/off-site storage facility. I jest, I jest.

7837CA14-4027-41A5-8661-8F55E5B34F66.jpg

Pattern: Vorticity by Alice Yu
Yarn; Malabrigo Sock in Indiecita

Sometimes life interrupts knitting, but more often a project is packed away because something’s not working. As you’d expect, upon taking this pattern up again I remembered exactly why I’d put it down.

The chart uses a red line and an indistinguishably thicker red line in the same ink to indicate two different things. Moreover – get ready for some controversial knitting semantics – I disagree with the idea that a 4-stitch jog constitutes a “row.” It’s not. Call it the jog it is. Put those 4 stitches at the end of the prior chart row. Or at the very least state what’s happening in the pattern instructions instead of relying on a chart symbol in the same ink used to indicate a pattern repeat. I mean, c’mon, help a knitter out.

IMG_2265.jpg
Jog =/= row

By the time I picked these up again I had forgotten everything I had already learned the hard way except that the chart was garbage in a way I couldn’t remember. I’m really quite good at reading charts, though, so I powered through, much as I did the first go-around, and wondered what my problem had been years before until I realized the pattern wasn’t stacking the way it was supposed to. Back to ravelry’s helpful notes I went and oh, hello other instance where there’s a end of row red line impersonating a pattern repeat red line.

IMG_2266.jpg

This became a project I was’t going to let outsmart me. I can be stubborn. When I find myself digging in it’s usually a sign that I”m cutting off my nose to spite my face, but this is only knitting so I dug in, knit the damn sock leg no less than 4 times before getting it right, and finally finally got my pair of socks.

Get ready for a slew of socks, I’m having a bit of a moment. Or maybe the new socks I’ve cast on will languish for 6 years before you hear about them. It’s happened before.

Let it all go

I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m KoMari-ing my house, but I have been cleaning out. I’m not looking for joy. I’m looking for absolution. I want to be unburdened by things I’ve kept far too long, things that I thought might be useful or that I thought my future self would want. I can’t speak for my future-future self, but my present future self wonders why her past self couldn’t part with string art she made in junior high mumble mumble years ago or why she thought her present future self would ever want it.

My time to clean out is limited, and often interrupted. It turns out this works in my favor because I don’t get decision fatigue before I have to take a break. I have the mental energy to be honest and ruthless. If I can get the stuff that may still have some use to someone else into bags in the basement then it stands a good change of getting moved out of the house. Things are neater, shelves are clearer, drawers are emptier, boxes that I’ve moved twice without unpacking are gone, and storage bins I bought when I misunderstood my problem to be one of organization and not over-accumulation sit unused and have become clutter themselves.

I’ve been on such a roll that my attention has even turned to areas formerly sacrosanct. I’m talking fabric stash, folks.***

At first thought it isn’t so big and it’s easy to justify. But as I continue thinking about it the stash snowballs. I realize that I have enough for several dresses, a top, two shirts for Hubs, a skirt or pants, and some other random stuff that I bought for such-and-such purpose then abandoned. The stash no longer feels “not so big”.  But you know what? Those don’t bother me. Those fabrics wait patiently on the shelf. They’re all earmarked or usable quantities and I like them. Let’s call that part of the stash “curated”. It was the stuff in the bins that gets to me. What’s even in there? And why do I keep it?

It turns a big chunk of it was scraps of fabric I don’t like and/or aren’t big enough to be usable in any significant way. Off to Scraps KC it went. Another chunk constituted scraps large enough for children’s clothes. I had three choices: 1) admit I was never going to get around to using the scraps and give them away; 2) continue to store the scraps indefinitely in case I ever did get around to making kids clothes; or 3) make the damn kids clothes, already.

So I got to it.

I made a tunic from leftover seersucker.

B2118A93-E014-4B71-8FEA-FC7D9BF89AD5.jpg

Pattern: Baby + Child Smock by Wiksten
Size: 5T
Fabric: leftover seersucker from my fen dress which predates the blog
397F5636-BA09-46AE-9D94-64085A1B1AA8.jpg
Minnie Mouse, you must have noticed by now, is a recurring theme.

The direction of the stripes were 100% a function of trying to fit all the pattern pieces on to the fabric I had.

I also made shorts. Three pair!

IMG_2136.jpg

Pattern: Puppet Show Shorts by Oliver + S
Size: 5T
Fabric: All linens from this project, that project, and the other project
IMG_2134.jpg
Did you think there wouldn’t be Minnie involved somehow?

I’ve made both these patterns before. If you click through you’ll see that this is even the 2nd pair I’ve made from the leftover mustard yellow linen. I overbought by a bunch. I can’t speak for the recipient (she told me they could be for her brother when she saw me cutting them out) but I personally LOVE them.

And finally, not kid-related, I made a project bag.

AEC04C24-E3CA-4E66-8FC0-F381075135D4

Pattern: Cordula by Fröbelina

I’m feeling pretty chuffed. It feels good to move these scraps out of my stash and into my kid’s dresser.

*** Note I deliberately omitted mention of the yarn stash from this post. That one’s complicated.

Misdirection

I put heavy expectations on this one cut of fabric that’d been in my stash for too long.  You know the one: it’s pretty and special and you want the perfect thing for it and the longer you look at it the higher the stakes become.

I wanted something businessy enough for the office, casual enough I would wear it everywhere else. I was sorely tempted to hack Peppermint Magazine’s Peplum Top into a dress, but it would be too casual, too balloony, too sleeveless.

What followed was a long, indecisive story full of false leads, boring twists, humdrum turns. Highlights include an ill-advised pattern purchase which I don’t want to talk about because there’s nothing wrong with the design, it just wasn’t me and I don’t know what I was thinking. I stuck with it long enough to make an ugly muslin of said pattern out of terrible, cheap fake satin from Big Box Store.

Overwhelmed by my lack of ability to make a decision that wasn’t horribly misguided I finally did a thing just to get this fabric made into something and out of my head.

I made the Peppermint Magazine’s Peplum Top into a dress.

IMG_9739.JPG

Pattern: Peplum Top by Peppermint Magazine
Mod: cut a longer square to turn the ruffle into a skirt
Size: C? Maybe D? I’ll try to remember to check my pattern pieces.
Fabric: unavailable voile from La Mercerie

IMG_9746.JPG

I could be 9 months pregnant in this thing and you wouldn’t know it.

It’s just what I wanted.

IMG_9740.JPG

Even though I can’t wear it to work without covering up more.

I think it’s what the fabric wanted, too.

IMG_9765.JPG

Even if it’s a little stiff.

And it turns out I wouldn’t have had enough fabric for sleeves, anyways. I could have saved myself a lot of waffling if I’d considered that first.

IMG_9773.JPG

 

Sacked

It was a mistake to preface the debut of this dress to my husband by announcing that it was “a little weird.” The style wasn’t exactly flattering, but then I wasn’t sure it was exactly supposed to be, and I was self conscious about how the pleat fell right on the apex of my belly, making me regret all the more the Mexican food and ice cream I’d gorged myself on the prior weekend.

“It doesn’t look weird,” Hubs said. I felt relief, but he hadn’t finished. “It looks like a sack dress,” he continued, shrug implied. He meant it as statement of fact, not criticism, and really, this dress is the very definition of a sack dress (I looked it up), but the word “sack” destroyed all hope that I had achieved the subtly quirky yet sophisticated garment I had wanted.

IMG_9822.JPG

Pattern: The Shirt Dress by Merchant & Mills
Size: 10
Fabric: Flannel chambray from Stonemountain & Daughter

IMG_9815.JPG

I slept on it. I wore it work. I realized it needs a pair of heels, not my usual flats. I noticed it was comfy as all get out. The soft brushed chambray feels like wearing giant flannel shirt. Soft + comfortable + professional without being stuffy. Isn’t this combination exactly what I wanted? Why be disappointed that it’s not as flattering as a fit and flare which, cute as they are, I can’t stand wearing for more than a couple hours? I’ve worn this work quite a lot. It’s become a go-to, part of my regular biweekly rotation. I would wear it weekly if I didn’t think people women would notice.

IMG_9839

If success is measured in comfort and use, this one turned out to be a dark horse winner.

IMG_9820

Excuse the wrinkles. The only drawback to sewing my own clothes is that by favoring cotton and linen I have added to my ironing chore.