Like I Need More Hobbies

Confession: I joined the Cozy Blue Stitch Club.

I have no regrets. Christmas is going to take are of itself this year, she says optimistically overlooking bags and baskets of abandoned projects as if her crafting weren’t subject to unforeseeable vagary and whim and also ignoring the fact that while the stitching is done, this project is not.

IMG_6873.jpg
I decided I would learn and practice at least one new stitch with each club shipment: this is the first time I’ve used raised fishbone stitch.

I’m unsure how to finish this because the curve of the moon matches the curve of the embroidery hoop and the moon gets a little lost. I decided I’d try removing a hoop’s hardware and painting it red, but I haven’t remembered to buy supplies or look for hoop alternatives. Wait for it, I’ll be frantically blowing paint dry on a hoop on December 20th to get it in the mail in time for Christmas.

Embroidery is so satisfying and quick (I’m comparing, here, to the plodding pace of my first craft: interminable cross-stitch). It can be as fussy or simple as you like. I love that Liz can send out a design and every stitcher will come up with something different. I love that even as just a novice I can make something that is legitimately good, desirable, and worth having. I’m so pleased.

A Welcome

We have a new baby in Hubs’ extended family. His family is small and this is very big, very welcome news. This baby lives far too from us in a Texan climate I don’t understand which confused my usual sensibility to knit. Do Texan babies even need sweaters? No matter, she’s getting one anyways. Even if it is 84 degrees today (I checked). Perhaps it will be useful in chilly overly air-conditioned restaurants? IMG_8044.JPG

Pattern: February Baby Sweater by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Mod: Omitted the lace pattern
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Hummingbird

IMG_8045.JPG

Leave it to a knitter to pack a sweater, a summer outfit, and sunglasses in these same box as if they all belong together.

Velour Socksuit

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

IMG_6514.jpg
Local dyer, ooh-la-la
IMG_6530.jpg
Iowa
IMG_6584.jpg
Dentist
IMG_6764.jpg
St. Louis: knitting present, but not pictured. You didn’t really want another picture of knitting on the dashboard of my car, did you?
socks.JPG
Finished socks!
IMG_8318.JPG
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… 

Capture
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…

IMG_7925.JPG
*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:

IMG_8293.JPG
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:

IMG_8238

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.

IMG_7981.jpg

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:

IMG_8043

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!

Capture.JPG