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.

Use It or Lose It

There’s nothing like a moth scare to make you reassess all the knitted things you have piling up in the corner. I like to make things! But I don’t necessarily like to wear the things I make, which is how I ended up with a stack of shawls. Or I make more of a thing than is personally useful, which is how I ended up with a lot of socks. Or something turns out not as I had hoped, which is how I ended up with an otherwise perfectly fine baby sweater that looks like Halloween vomited.

I also found a couple dishtowels I made probably 10 years ago, give or take. All they needed were a couple ends woven in and buttons. I think I never bothered because they’re so boring and sort of homely. The Sugar ‘n Cream is surely unappetizing to moths and therefore safe, but why not finish and use the things? Better that than storing it.IMG_7747.JPG

Pattern: Mitered Hanging Towel
Yarn: Sugar ‘n Cream Cotton

It’s a charming pattern worked up in uncharming colorways that I had on hand for whatever misguided purpose. Ah, well, no matter, they’ll be stained before the week’s out and hanging towels are so handy for little hands.

So Nice I Made it Twice

After digging around my stash for inspiration for baby things to make I remembered that I had made all those toddler aprons. Good news! Two babies taken care of and I found this tunic which happily is exactly the right size for MJ to wear this spring:

Pattern: Hide-and-Seek Dress + Tunic, Oliver + S
Size: 3T

This pattern and this fabric was what started me sewing. I can’t tell you exactly how or why; it was a confluence of cute fabric that grabbed me and discovering Oliver + S patterns and chronic insomnia that gave me time to fill and thoughts filling my head I needed distraction from. The insomnia and depression also compromised my decision making processes and handicapped memory formation, so I’m not altogether clear what happened or in what order or exactly when or why it seemed sensible to make dozens of garments for no immediate purpose in the middle of the night. My memory is so bad that while looking through my Google photos and online order history to put some sort of timeline together I discovered that I made this exact thing in size 6 months for MJ and had completely forgotten. But look, photographic evidence:

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Back when she used to let me pick out her clothes

So there, she gets the same top 2 years apart. I guess I should try to be delighted that past me left these little surprises for present me. That sounds better than being frustrated by my muddy mind and sad about the things I don’t remember.

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Respite

When I started dipping my toes into sewing I told myself I wasn’t going to make the same mistakes I did when I got really super into knitting, specifically the undiscerning accumulation of anything and everything relating to my new hobby and even more specifically the enthusiastic and often misguided procurement of materials. Yarn, people, I’m talking about yarn. Yarn bought for projects I never made, yarn bought that was unsuitable for its intended purpose, yarn bought because it was pretty or to get free shipping or because it was on sale. I bought so much of it and am still dealing with the repercussions of that years-long binge years later.

My fabric stash creep has me stressing out. Fabric stash has some advantages over yarn stash, though. Project-for-project it takes up less space and it can be used up more quickly. And if I buy some fabric, for example, with some vague idea of finding a coordinating fabric and making a child’s dress which I never do, I have a much easier time finding another use for that fabric. I can, for example, easily find a pattern for an adorable top to use up that fabric whereas a skein-or-more of yarn is so encumbered by its yardage, fiber content, and weight that I’m wracked with indecision.

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The pockets on this are THE BEST POCKETS.
Pattern: Wiksten Baby + Child Smock Top
Size: 3T
Fabric: Kawaii Japanese Fabric in hedgehog
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I want one me-sized

Let’s not talk about the resulting increase in my pattern inventory this example produces.

Y un forno che non va

The first time I studied abroad was to Rome where I stayed with a host family. I was self-conscious and shy and spent a lot of time that my host family thought I should be going out and dancing staying in and reading. I learned that no matter where you go in the world you go you take yourself with you and that my host family preferred Texans.

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Little Italy by Satsuma Street

I also got lost every day, discovered Belgium beer, skinny-dipped in the Adriatic, told everyone who would listen that I was going to marry my boyfriend of 9 months (I did), formed fast, intense friendships that flamed out as quickly as they began, met one friend who would be a soulmate, and declared to my parents on the drive home from the airport that they didn’t have to worry about me going back there for an academic year. Which I did.

Cross-stitch is slow. Contemplative. Events created a break in my life and my sense of self and I am surprised by how therapeutic it felt to make this and think about that long past time in my life, like maybe I might find a way to reconcile and synthesize the me before with the me after. Cross-stitch was my first and only craft obsession for a long time. I took my cross-stitch with me me to Italy. It was what I turned to to fill my evenings when I couldn’t knit or do much else. It’s surprising how much slowly pushing a needle through aida fabric can dredge up.

Cursed

This is what I had saved as a draft in a post titled “Full Circle” in which I had intended to triumphantly reveal my finished Leaves of Grass.

This story finishes where it began, at Knitorious in St. Louis, where I procured this project’s first 5 skeins (yes, that was the listed yarn requirement) and its final 8th skein (yes, that was the actual yarn required).

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Isn’t it sweet how I thought I was done with it? Well, it wasn’t done with me. This thing is cursed, I tell you, cursed.

If I read auspices I may have gotten a clue from this shawl’s beginnings. This was a souvenir purchase while on a family vacation during which the car broke down not once but twice in two days in completely different ways and the second time so spectacularly that we rented a car and continued on because our choices were either do that and get where we were going or hang out in a suburban Indiana Holiday Inn until the car was either fixed or declared beyond repair in 4 or 7 days and go home.

Then the yarn gobbling.

Then the moth(s). Hubs tells me there was only one moth. Like he used to tell me there was only one mouse in our infested apartment building. I was just catching the same one over and over. I’ve never been able to figure out whether he’s optimistic or in denial.

Then… then… then I burned it up in the oven practicing due potential-moth-egg-and-larva-killing-diligence.

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I’m a big girl. I didn’t cry.

I’d been baking or freezing all my yarn and finished projects since I spotted the moth without incident and I just can’t explain what happened here.

The last few weeks I’ve been swimming against the current. I think if I just stick with a thing it’ll turn out, but some things the harder you try the worse it seems to get. Right not this feels like a lot of wasted money and wasted effort and that stings. I’m down, but I’m not out. I’m stubborn and resourceful and I’m going to figure something out. But I’m going to wait until my wounded pride begins to heal and I feel the current change or I learn how to swim in it, whichever comes first.

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Pre-baking. She was 5 feet in diameter and glorious.

Good news is I’m excellent at treading water.