Cannot Unsee What Has Been Seen

This is my 2nd Ryan Top. It fits great right out of the envelope – joy! – and I’ve long meant to make another one or several.

This fabric is another vacation souvenir. It’s not something I would usually go for and that was the point, to push my boundaries a bit. I had 2 scant yards of this fabric which turned out to not be quite enough for perfect pattern placement. Limited by my material, I was very intentional with my cutting and contemplative of the layout. I worried especially over the big red boxes and where I wanted them which is why it chafes so badly that for all my care I overlooked something important.

Can you see it?

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Pattern: Ryan Top by Whitney Deal
Size: Medium
Fabric: Something cotton? I’m a bad note keeper.

Do I need to point it out?

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Red Squares. Right on my boobs. I’m annoyed because I could have had a bit more wiggle room with that pattern placement if I’d remembered how looooong this shirt is. The length is something that surprised me the first time around, too, but I got used to it and forgot that I could easily shorten it by as much as 6 inches and have a top that’s not only long enough and, let’s be honest, would be more flattering to boot. I’m not a tunic + leggings sort of girl, but this pattern as drafted would work well for that purpose if you are.

So, not a total success, but I’ve worn it a couple times and probably will again. I need me a pink cardigan or a red scarf to carry it into the fall and winter. Bonus: a cardigan or scarf would mask my pattern placement embarrassment. The problem with picking a fabric that’s outside the box (ha ha I try not to miss a pun) is I don’t have anything like that in my wardrobe already. Maybe I should buy some yarn…

Bee in my Bonnet

I adore bonnets. I’m happy to harmoniously co-exist with bees. I often have a bee in my bonnet. Just ask my husband. No, don’t, he might tell you how I go on about how our children’s ridiculous bedtime routines or how much I dislike apples that aren’t baked into pies or crisps or my neighborhood’s impassable, crumbling sidewalks or how antagonistic KC’s drivers and roads are to bikers and pedestrians or any of the other things I rant at him about.

Look at this sweater I made instead. It’s a distractingly bright shade of yellow that I am confident will appeal to bees everywhere.

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Pattern: Beekeeper Cardigan by Marie Greene
Size: 38
Yarn: Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool Worsted in Sun Yellow
Mods: Added buttons

I bought this yarn to make a sweater for Hubs. Alas, I never found a pattern for him that suited this yarn’s color or gauge. When the Beekeeper cardigan popped up it was the right gauge, right color, right pattern, right time. Ding ding ding ding! The only criteria this pattern didn’t meet was that wasn’t for Hubs. OH WELL.

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The pattern instructions were comprehensive, detailed, and backwards to what I’m used to with the gauge and sizing information at the end instead of beginning. I just couldn’t grok it. It took me forever – minutes, possibly! – to figure out where to find that info and when I did I skipped over the size information, picked my size based on the finished measurements and got myself into trouble knitting the yoke because I thought the instructions were referring to the former when they were in fact referring to the latter and they were not the same though both were the same number. Confused? I was, too! But it was in no way a problem with the pattern, it was a problem with my reading comprehension yet again. If putting that info at the end was a tactic to make a knitter read the entire pattern before casting on it did not work for me. I am clearly far too smart for that and I knit the yoke 3 times just to prove how good I am at (not) reading and following directions.

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Luckily it was a super quick knit for all that and I’m happy with it. The yarn doesn’t itch at all (this is the 3rd sweater I’ve made out of this yarn for this reason; they’re all winners and I might be getting superstitious), the sleeves are the perfect just-a-smidge-longer-than-bracelet length, the neckline isn’t too wide, every dimension is big enough but not too.

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“Bees & Buttons” is my new name for a haberdashery

The bees have completed their work for the year so I’ll have to wait until spring to see if they like my sweater, too.

Blue Skies

It wasn’t until I dug it out this Robert Kaufman Quilter’s Linen to make Hubs a birthday gift that I realized it did not, in fact, have any linen content at all, hence the “quilter” modifier in its name. So Hubs got a somewhat stiff 100% cotton Merchant & Mills All State for his birthday. And you are getting a brief, incomplete blog entry nearly 3 months later.

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Pattern: Merchant & Mills the All State
Fabric: Robert Kaufman Quilter’s Linen in Dusty Blue
Size: Bigger than last time.

I had made this pattern for him before, but I made it too small. I somehow missed the sizing information (unfamiliar UK sizing was too much for my brain to interpret) and guessed badly based on the finished measurements. Hubs wears it anyways. I considered this and the fact that he wears holes into the things I make him a compliment until I asked which of the 3 shirt patterns I’d made for him he preferred and he told me they were all pretty much the same. Well fine then.

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Indifferent husband in question.

This pattern, with its boxy guayabera feel, is my personal favorite. Not in quilter’s cotton, though, so next time I”ll make it in something lighter. Third time’s the charm, right?

Three

MJ turns three today.

Here is the dress I made her:

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Pattern: Lotta Dress by Companie M
Size: 3T
Fabric: Cloud 9 cotton I grabbed off the clearance rack at Joann

I’m always learning new things when I sew. This time I learned how far ahead of the needle my serger’s knife cuts and why you don’t serge seam allowance after sewing inseam pockets.

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Pro-tip: serge those edges THEN sew.

After a long time out it turned out to be an easy fix. I removed the pocket, cut an inch off the width of the skirt, and started fresh.

It’s the same pattern as the dress I made MJ last year. I used the same button loop placket and cap sleeves, but added the i-cord and used inseam pockets because I thought I ought to mix it up a little bit.

I’ve sworn off Joann Fabrics. Again. Joann, why can’t I quit you? Oh yeah, because you are the only place anywhere close-ish that I can reliably buy notions which is something I re-remember every time I need buttons. I got super lucky, though, and hit a timely and unexpected jackpot at Urban Mining: vintage buttons!

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I stocked up.

Unbelievably I found buttons that were a perfect match in the quantities and sizes I needed. And I needed 4 smaller and 3 bigger, so let’s take a moment to acknowledge the improbability of finding these buttons in a space mostly dedicated to furniture and knick-knacks mere blocks from my house, no long, trying to trips to Joann necessary!

MJ, of course, would have been happiest with Minnie Mouse buttons. Here is the godawful dress I made at her behest also out of clearance Joann fabric that MJ spotted, adored, would not let go of, and insisted be made into a dress immediately upon arrival home. She will surely wear this dress instead. Ah, well, more power to her. The girl knows what she likes.

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B List

I am really bad at stitching in the ditch. Really bad. I have no idea how anybody successfully achieves an even, invisible stitching line that does not wander with all the fabric you cannot see caught in the back, but not too much such that your elastic casing becomes too narrow for the elastic. Or, as is often the case, both, in alternating sequence on the same waistband.

I’ve learned a thing or two about coping and even more about avoidance so when I realized I could hand-sew waistlines and bias edging with far better results in not much more time than it was taking me to fix my mistakes all the while skirting (har har) the horrible feelings of frustration and inadequacy, well, that’s how I do it, now. The slow way. The in-front-of-the-TV way. The gee-I-thought-this-would-be-super-annoying-and-should-be-avoided-and-I’m-surprised-to-find-I-rather-like-it way.

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I wrote all of that because I have not much to say otherwise about this skirt. It’s the same skirt and fabric as last time, different view and different color. View B-stands-for-Boring because it doesn’t have view A’s fabulous pockets in Boring Brown. We’re getting down to Basics here, folks.

Pattern: Gypsum Skirt by Sew Liberated, View B
Size: 8
Fabric: Robert Kaufman Brussels Washer Linen Blend in some brown shade I don’t remember
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Fear not. It still has pockets. Just the Boring inseam variety.

The waistband really elevates this pattern. Even as basic as it is Hubs was surprised that it was something I had made and that’s 100% because the waistband looks complicated. It’s not – it’s just a wide elastic waistband sewing over a couple times. Which is great! It never cups or rolls and I find I really prefer the wider elastic to the narrower stuff. Unfortunately when I pulled this on this morning I realized that I hadn’t cut the elastic quite short enough. It’s driving me crazy and not as flattering as if it sat at my proper waist and to fix it I’m going to have to pick out all that stitching. So much for my quick summer-into-fall basic. Wah.

Post Apocalyptic

My mother-in-law gave me this yarn years ago. I’m generally happy to accept yarn, even when it’s yarn I’ll be dropping off at Goodwill the next time I (eventually) go. You never know where your next skein of qiviut might come from. Probably not from the hamper of acrylic your co-worker thoughtfully procured from an estate sale, but let’s stoke the fires of optimistic treasure hunting.

My MIL, though, has good yarn taste and knows her stuff and has never given me anything I’m not interested in knitting up. This yarn is gorgeous in a very non-traditionally-yarny way which makes it both appealing and confusing. It’s heavy, dense, cool to the touch, ropey, and has absolutely no give at all. Its unusual qualities are what make it attractive and also make it it hard to know what in the world to do with it which is why, I’m guessing, MIL passed it on to me way  back when. It screams post-apocalyptic dystopia. That or chain mail, a knitting trend that based on a cursory google and ravelry search has not managed to catch on well at all.

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It knit up at a gauge that seemed to defy all ravelry pattern database records, which is not unusual in itself for the twilight zone experience of gauge, but the limitations of this yarn’s characteristics combined with a gauge heretofore unmeasured in our physical world meant that despite my best intentions and interest this yarn languished. I started and ripped out a project that was’t going to work and wasn’t something I would have worn anyways and proceeded to put the yarn away for , no exaggeration,  another 5 years after that failed attempt.

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I *finally* realized that one of the things holding me back from using this yarn was that there was just so much of it. I didn’t want to make anything with sleeves because the yarn was so heavy and inelastic, but I was unconsciously holding out for a pattern that would use it up. Using some is better than using none, and I finally settled on a simple, appropriately zombie-apocalyptic pattern that required nowhere near the yardage I had on hand.

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Me, looking to alien-infested skies. I don’t know what it is about my husband’s photography skills, but I am not this thin in real life.
Pattern: Slope by Shibui Knits
Size: Cast on smallest hoping for medium
Yarn: Blue Moon Fibert Arts Koi, Indigo Nights (discontinued)
Needle: 4

Gauge remained an issue, but the simpler your garment the more flexible a measurement gauge can be. I cast on the smallest size hoping for something in the middle. In this case it worked fine. It only needed to fit my shoulders and it does. The rest of it is a matter of personal preference.

I flubbed the length measurement. It’s longer than it should be because I was measuring from the wrong place. You can see how a measurement from the front v. side v. back would vary significantly. I also shorted the armholes some by starting the neckline decreases a smidge earlier than the size medium called for.

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And now I am ready for the technological singularity.

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I know it’s been point out a million times, but how can knitwear so prevalent in post-apocalyptic hellscapes and yet nobody has the skill to repair it? So many holes and running stitches. Get it together future-dwellers.

Good Company is Better than Knitting

I went on a vacation, gosh, more than 2 months ago already. I always pack more knitting than is reasonable or appropriate. I’ve finally learned that vacation leisure time is so packed and leaves me so exhausted that it leaves little time or energy for my usual leisure activities. I’ve also learned that my limited trunk space is better utilized by new fabric/yarn/souvenir purchases than lugging around yarn I already own so this vacation I tried to reign it in a bit. I didn’t cast on a new lace shawl, for example, or bring a second lace project in case I finished the first. I just brought along a hat that was already in progress. And a sleeveless top. And some socks. Plus an extra skein of sock yarn in case of emergency. See, very restrained!

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Charming mini skeins bundled together.

The hat was a Blue Sky Fibers kit I bought thinking it might make a good gift for a knitter I know. Then I decided that a hat requiring weaving in 42 ends felt more mean-spirited and burdensome than well intentioned or generous. Laboriously turning 21 mini skeins into teeny tiny little balls of yarn by hand confirmed that I had made the right call.

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So. Many. Ends. It was like a unicorn’s mane in there.

A long car ride is the perfect time to do tedious tasks and now I have a colorful, stripey, slouchy hat for me to keep for myself. I ran out of one color, but it was an easy thing to sub in one of the other 20.

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I don’t know if I’ve ever actually knit with the emergency skein of sock yarn I always bring on vacation. Even still, I never want to be in a position where I need it but don’t have it.