2012’s Greatest Hits

Because I’ve been enjoying reading all of these top 5’s, and I wanna play too!

Top 5 of 2012
Courtesy of Gillian at Crafting a Rainbow

I honestly don’t feel like I had a lot of misses this year, mainly since I didn’t have a lot of finished projects, and I already talked about my goals for this year and next, so I think I’m going to focus more on wearability of the things I made this year. This is certainly not to say that I don’t like or wear the other things that I’ve made this year, but these have gotten the most wear so far. So without further ado…

5) The “Junior Mints” Jacket
Out of the several jackets I made this year, this one has turned out to be the most versatile, probably due to its more neutral color and fairly basic shape. It’s been great for throwing over t-shirts when I want to dress them up a little (or just be warmer), and has worked well with some of my handmade tops and dresses too. Like my “Christmas in July” dress, or the “Moving Target” shirt. This may be a good candidate for a 6-way styling post, come to think of it. 

4) The “Mighty Jungle” dress
IMG_0117 I finally successfully sewed a maxi-dress! And although I’d probably change the skirt a bit if I were to sew it again, like add a slit or a godet or something for ease of movement, I can walk in it pretty well. I was very proud of myself for finding a way to use some cool but difficult fabric that I’d had for years, the cotton means that it’s still comfortable in mid-Atlantic summer humidity, and since it’s a tougher, batik cotton, I don’t have to iron it as much as I would if it were just regular old quilting cotton! I’d say it’s a win.

3) The Convertible Dress
MMM'12, Day 20 There’s just so many reasons I like this, even though I don’t really see myself sewing it again for awhile–a girl really only needs one dress like this in her wardrobe, right? It was super-easy to sew, once I managed to actually find a piece of fabric that was big enough. The rayon bamboo is super-comfortable in that aforementioned mid-Atlantic humidity. There’s multiple ways to style it all by itself, and I can even mix it with some other stuff that I have. The color is fun. And this dress has some pretty serious sentimental value now, since it was what I was wearing the day that Doug proposed!

2) The Vaguely Celtic Renfrew Top
I’ve seen a lot of Renfrews pop up on these top 5 hits, and with good reason. This top fits me so well, and the only tweaking I needed to do was to grade the waist right out of the envelope. It’s fitted enough that it makes a good layering piece, which means I’m still wearing it even though it’s 3/4-sleeved and I have a ridiculous inability to stay warm this time of year, but not super-tight so I can wear it alone, too. The print is neutral enough that it goes with lots of different bottoms, but it still has some fun punches of color. The tube cowl is brilliant for not showing the underside, like some of my other cowl-necked knits have done. I really mean it when I say I want to make a whole bunch more of these–this is going to be the TNT pattern that I compare all of my other knit tops to from here on out!

1) The jeans, of course.
Jeans 2
Because as fun as it is to dress up, I’m really a jeans girl at heart. And I’ve been wearing these at least once a week since I finished them, they haven’t fallen apart or gotten holes in them yet, and now that I’ve gotten them a bit more broken in, they’re super-comfortable. And they still don’t gap in the back! So you can bet I’ll be making more of these in the future, too, once I tweak the pocket linings and figure out what to do about that front waistband stabilization issue.

My top 5 wardrobing  lessons learned:
1) Jeans will always and forever be my ultimate “cake” project.
2) I like to wear knits, and I should make more things that use them.
3) Notice 2 of my top 5 are prints, and 2 of my top 5 are things that go really well with prints. Those aren’t going away for me. Probably ever. So I’ll be much happier if I embrace that and figure out what will tie all of those together.
4) Solids are ok to sew as long as they either have an interesting style, like the Convertible dress, or are lined with a funky print, like the Junior Mints jacket.
5) I have warm-weather clothes down pat. What I need to focus on more are the things that can span multiple seasons and/or keep me warmer when it’s cold. Because I’m still bored with my fall and winter wardrobe. (This may be a bit of a challenge as I work through the stash, because I’m not sure what I have that qualifies for this.)

a crafty Christmas haul

Like I said in yesterday’s post, I was totally spoiled this year. So here’s the latest additions to my various supplies and stashes! Besides, this is just a thinly-veiled excuse to play with the new camera.

Knitting goodies

I got some knithing things– two skeins of recycled denim yarn, these two books (one from my mom and one from my fiance), and two bamboo circular knitting needles that I found in my stocking.

Fabric goodiesI got some fabric, of course– though mostly not for clothes this time. The fat quarters are the exception, since those are for things like waistband facings and pockets for all of those pants and jeans  that I need to make. The big mostly-blue and green floral print on the right is for curtains in my future sewing room, the sunflowery thing is one of those panel apron kits, the cheery print on the left is so I can make myself a tailor’s ham/sleeve roll/ironing mat cover/other pressing aids.
Ironing goodiesWhich, of course, brings me to more pressing aids! My mom said she specifically wanted to find some things to stock my future craft room that other people might not think to get for me. So she got me this ironing mat for when I don’t want to haul out an entire ironing board, this lovely-smelling starch alternative spray, and the iron off of my registry. She got this one awhile back and it works very nicely–and I’m glad that she went ahead and got it, because she’s one of the only people I know who would understand that me asking for a pricier iron is because I actually do need one that will hold up while getting more-than-average household use!

Sewing goodies

Other sewing goodies: A long clear quilter’s ruler and brand-new scissors, both of which I’ve already opened to use in cutting out The One Dress, a tube turner set similar to one that I’ve been constantly borrowing from her since I was a teenager, a buttonhole cutter, sewing machine needles (one pack of which is the extra-sharp fine needles and so I will most certainly be using those soon), and a little frame/bag thing to sit around a serger and catch the messy stringy bits. And Gertie’s book!
Other crafty stuffAnd finally, my very own glue gun, and another book from my Amazon wishlist. You know, just in case I do ever decide to try the Etsy thing or anything like that ever again. If nothing else, it looks like it has some good information on photos and blogging. They’re not pictured here, but I also got some glue sticks for that gun, and a Joann’s gift card from my future in-laws, which I’ll probably just hang onto for awhile until I have a better idea of things I might need for my craft room, or home dec-type stuff.

What about you? Anything fun and crafty under your tree this year?

Screwing my courage to the sticking point

Merry (slightly belated) Christmas! I hope it was lovely for all of you. I definitely got spoiled this year, with sewing/knitting goodies (which I will post about later) and some things for my fiance’s townhouse and DVDs. And the thing I’m most excited about– a new digital SLR camera!! I’m still in the VERY beginning of learning how to use it stage, so bear with me as I learn to adjust the settings, but this will definitely help with my resolution to get some better photos on here!

And now it comes to it. I have the most expensive pile of fabrics that I’ve ever worked with in my life hanging here, after four hours of pressing it as flat as I could. (The dupioni wasn’t exactly cooperative, so hopefully it will be ok in the end.) And I have a fully-dissected and pressed muslin that is ready to use as a pattern. I’ve watched a few sessions of my Craftsy class, and ordered a ginormous roll of paper to aid in cutting out the silk, as per this tutorial.

Now it’s just a case of getting up the nerve to actually take the scissors and cut.

I know I’ve showed a fabric shot before, but it wasn’t all of it. So I figured I’d do a little highlight post before I start slicing and dicing. I ended up having to source my fabrics from 4 different places, which seems kind of crazy for one dress! (I apologize for the shadow, and the off-tone of the photos–it’s very grey and dreary here today, but I don’t feel that I can afford to wait for better lighting!)

All the fabrics!
Going left to right: Nude organza, lace, white organza, crepe de chine, dupioni, and habotai.

The lace, which inspired the whole thing, came from a place called Lace Factory. I stumbled across it on Etsy kind of randomly several months before I even got engaged and snatched it up with no particular purpose in mind. I mean, seriously, how often do you find lace that isn’t all rose-covered and stuff? I couldn’t pass up the sunflowers. Fortunately, they have a website too, because I wasn’t entirely sure once I started planning this that the 3-yard piece that it had been sold as would be enough, and ended up buying 2 more yards.

Of course, the lace is super-white, which did make it a little difficult to pair fabrics with it! The printaholic in me is surprised at how hard it is to find plain old solid white fabric–everything seems to come in various shades of ivory. After buying swatches from multiple websites, I settled on the white silk dupioni from Fabric.com for the outside of the dress. It’s still slightly more ivory-looking than the lace, but I figure that will help the sunflowers to stand out a little better. Also, if I underestimated how much fabric I’ll need, it’s something they will definitely keep in stock and so I can order more. It’s good to have that safety net.

For the underlinings and lining, I bought various undyed silks from Dharma Trading Company–going with plain dyeable fabric was a pretty cost-effective way to go! My plan as of now is to underline the entire dupioni portion of the dress with crepe de chine, and to add a layer or two of white silk organza to the bodice and waistband for extra structure. I think the most sensible way to do this is to do a separate inner bodice from the organza and stitch the boning to that, but I may end up needing to sandwich the boning between that and some white muslin, depending on if the boning is showing through the rest of the bodice. I figure that I can always recycle the white muslin from the skirt of the test dress, where it’s not all marked up with red waxed tracing paper, if needed.

I’m also going to be lining the dress in silk habotai, also from Dharma, and I bought extra of it for dyeing purposes. I’d still like to add a green sash or something to add some color to my dress, and Doug wants me to make him a tie for the wedding. I can’t choose the color yet because I don’t know for certain what my bridesmaids are wearing, due to maternity issues. The baby is here (and adorable), and my new mama friend will probably be more ok to shop in a couple of months. But for simplicity and greatest chance of actually re-wearing, there’s talk of just letting them each pick out whatever little black dress that each girl wants, whether they match or not, and if that’s the case, I may need to come up with some green accessories for them as well. I guess whether it’s a sash or just jewelry will depend on the styles. Maybe the Pantone color of the year being a green will work in my favor?

Side note–it is SO HARD to find wedding-ish jewelry in green on Etsy that doesn’t involve pearls. Which I’d really like to stay away from, because they’re really not me. I’ll keep looking since I don’t feel comfortable buying without knowing what the dresses are anyway, but I might have to resort to making jewelry for me and the bridesmaids after all!

The most recent addition is the nude organza, which was also kind of tough. But although I had no luck with white silk there, Mood finally came through for me on this one (thank you, Mood!) This one ended up going very well with my particular shade of paleness, and this will be underlining the lace for the upper back and the sleeves. Now I just need to figure out how I’m going to finish the edges and seams on those particular sections.

The possible addition that I’m not sure about yet: I may need to add some tulle to give the skirt some body, but I’m not sure yet. I guess I’ll have to see how the skirt behaves in the actual fabric.

And there you have it: about 22 1/2 yards of fabric for one dress. Crazy.

2012 in review, part 2: In which I talk numbers and stuff

Jeans 1
I know I’ve posted this picture before, but it has two of this year’s finished projects, so I thought it would be appropriate!

2012 totals:
Fabric in: a whopping 63 yards. I blame the wedding dress. And my future curtains. Also, since I’m posting this a few days before Christmas, obviously this doesn’t count anything I might receive there.
Fabric out: about 27 yards
Stash total: about 248 yards
Total number of finished projects this year: 21, if I count the dress muslin. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Garments sewn: 13, + one very time-consuming muslin. Actually, make that 2 time-consuming muslins…the jeans took awhile, too.
  • This amounts to a raincoat, 2 fully-lined corduroy jackets, 5 tops (2 of which were reconstructions), 1 skirt (also a reconstruction), 3 dresses and a pair of jeans.
  • Knitting projects completed: 3 (Doug’s hat, my Camille shrug and a scarf)
  • Other projects: a bridal shower gift, a baby shower gift, a knitting needle case and a scarf.
  • This total did not count scrapbook pages, though I did finish several. It’s just that most of them were ones I’d already started a year or two ago. And I’m too lazy right now to actually pull them out and count them.
  • The sewing project that I’m proudest of is obviously the jeans, since finishing a pair of those successfully has been on my yearly goal list probably every single year since I started this thing. The knitting project that I’m proudest of is the Camille shrug, because I think that is the most complicated pattern that I’ve followed so far, minus that sweater I mentioned earlier. And this turned out to be a really fun knit, which surprised me!
  • UFO projects from this year: I have 3 knitting projects (Doug’s scarf, the “Branching Out” handwarmers and a “Gap-tastic” cowl that I started ages ago to use up the yarn from my Cadence sweater. (I’m not counting that top that ended up getting completely frogged.) I also have a Vogue knit top that I cut out back in the spring, but set aside because it would be too warm to wear it for months and I never got back to it. And I have a pillow that I started making at a craft day at a friend’s house, which won’t take me too long to finish but the wedding stuff is higher priority now, and a patchwork skirt for my sis-in-law that I only work on when she’s around so I can make it exactly to her specifications.

Things that surprised me: 

  • I made absolutely zero jewelry all year. I guess this is making up for the year of the ill-fated craft fair/Etsy shop?
  • I barely did any reconstructing, but considering how few finished sewing projects I had, period, I guess it’s to be expected.
  • The sewing projects I did do were rather complicated and involved, for the most part. Due to this, I made a lot more muslins this year than I think I ever have. Which is definitely a factor in the next point…
  • My sewing has slowed way, way down, since I only averaged about one project a month. But I think that has the potential to change after the wedding–I’m sure it will be easier to work in creative time once we’re actually living together and therefore see each other on a more regular basis. Plus there won’t be all of that travel time between my place and his.
  • Apparently I like knitting complicated lacey patterns. See above. I also really like brainless knitting for tv-watching purposes, but that’s not a surprise.
  • A recent surprise is that I’ve really been in the mood to pick up my scrapbooking again lately. This is probably because I’ve also been thinking that should be the next major supply stash that I should sort through/pack up/move.
Anyway, that’s pretty much it for this year! In the meantime, I’m trying to push through the last week of 2 jobs for awhile, reading up on any tips and tricks that will help me actually get this dress going for real, and going through the flurry of activity that inevitably comes with Christmas! So I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very merry Christmas, and to thank you for your time spent reading and commenting on this blog–it really means a lot, especially knowing that I haven’t had a whole lot to show this year!

2012 in review, part 1: Life happened.

I know it’s not quite the end of the year yet, but since there is going to be absolutely nothing that changes anything I’d write in this post between now and New Year’s, I thought I’d just get this out of the way early. (Gives me more time during the Christmas-New Year’s week to focus on actually, you know, working on my wedding dress.)

One of my long-time favorite quotes is this one, from a John Lennon song: “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” I think he hit it pretty spot-on there (even if I tend to not like his post-Beatles music). Obviously, this year did not go as planned–but in the best possible way. If you’d told me this time last year that I’d be engaged, I probably would have laughed in your face. So since I generally review the goals and plans I made at the end of the previous year in this traditional post, I’m going into this with the disclaimer that life definitely had other plans. On with the show!

Since I basically have nothing crafty to show right now, in order to avoid this being a massive text-only post, I’m breaking this into two parts. So this part is basically a review of my goals from this year, and looking ahead to the next.

Part 1: My 2012 goals, as stated here: 
1. Continue chipping away at the fabric stash. And whatever other stashes.
The verdict is: Mixed success. On the one hand, I did use up several pieces of fabric, including several that had been around for years. (The lining being the piece in the latter project.) On the other hand, I did end up purchasing several things. They’re mostly things that will get turned into curtains for the townhouse, since I haven’t really been in the habit of stashing home decor things. And, you know, yards and yards of fabric for a rather unplanned wedding dress. I’m ok with that, because like I said, these are special circumstances, and these high-yardage projects will take huge bites out of that total all at once. (After the dress, it’s back on the wagon for sure!)

As for those other stashes–I think I used up one type of yarn. I did get rid of some beads by giving them away. So that counts, right? 

2. I have a handful of specific projects I’d like to sew. #1, the jeans. It WILL happen this time. #2, a jacket or two. #3, the Lonsdale dress I’ve been envisioning for at least six months. Aside from that, I want to leave things flexible for seasonal sewalongs and the like.

Now this one I totally nailed! Exhibit A) Jeans!! Exhibit B) Two jackets (and a raincoat!). Exhibit C) Lonsdale!

I guess it’s a good thing I left that flexibility loophole in there, since I am now on month 3 of total sewing monogamy.

3. On the reconstruction end of things, I’ve had an idea simmering in my mind for a couple of months now. Since I’m already an Anthropologie fan, I’m setting a little mini-challenge for myself. Once a season, I’d like to choose a garment from the current catalog, and make a recycled piece inspired by it. Perhaps even with a tutorial, if the interest is there. (I was originally thinking once a month, but again, I’m trying to avoid over-committing myself. And once every 3 months sounds reasonable.) Also, I’d like to reconstruct often enough to stay a part of the Refashion Co-Op.

Total fail. Not only did I not do this mini-challenge at all, I got shuffled out of Refashion Co-Op months ago. Oh well.

4. Continue working on my knitting. Specifically, I’d like to make something with a cable that actually looks like a cable, something with multiple colors in the same project, and at least start that afghan that will take me years to finish.

I did not make a cable project. But I did make a striped hat.  In the most technical sense of the word, I did start the afghan one night…. I just had to rip the entire thing out because the gauge of the yarn was waaaaaay off with the size of needles that the original pattern had called for, and I haven’t gotten smaller needles with a big enough cable yet.

5. Keep chipping away at the scrapbooks as I feel inspired to.

I did finish a couple of pages here and there. So I’ll call this one a win.

6. Get better at picking projects that will help me make complete outfits. (I have a couple of orphan pieces that I still love and I want to wear them.)

I kind of feel like I haven’t really had an opportunity to test this one out, to be honest. But I do think that things like Me-Made-May and my “fashion diet” this fall and winter has made me much more aware of what holes in my wardrobe need plugging.

7. Make some more things for others. I can be a terribly selfish crafter.

And for the most part, I still am. I did make a few gift projects this year, though, and I did spend some precious sewing time resizing t-shirts for my bestie and crafting a skirt for my sis-in-law (which is nowhere remotely close to being done, since I’ve only worked on it when she’s been around.)

In 2013, I’d like to….

  1. …finish my wedding dress, obviously. Nothing like an immovable deadline and the pressure of everybody that I know being aware that I’m making it to motivate me! There’s also other handmade things planned as far as reception decor goes, so I’ll lump that in here too. 
  2. ..find a way to work craftiness in on a more daily basis. As I was preparing to write this, I was struck by how few things I’ve made this year, compared to every other year since I started this blog. I understand why, because I’ve never faced a year where I was dealing with starting a new relationship, getting engaged, starting the biggest sewing project of my entire life, and having virtually no time to sew for an entire season due to regular 6-day workweeks. But it still saddens me a bit. I know that things will get crazier right around the wedding, and I may not have time to sew or craft at all then. Aside from that, I think I’d like to try Tilly’s thought about just taking 15 minutes every day. Surely I can do that, even if it’s not necessarily sewing. (It’ll probably be way more than that for awhile, now that I’m almost done with the retail job for a few months and will be sewing like my life depends on it so I can finish as much of The One Dress as possible before that starts up again. So this is more for when I go back to more regular work.)
  3. …get my craft stuff organized. It’s pretty much a necessity, since I’m also going to be moving all of my stuff within the next 6 months. Some things, like the majority of my jewelry-making supplies, are already at my fiance’s townhouse. Thankfully, I do get an entire room, and a guy who actually thinks organizing is fun and is excited about the challenge of getting my stuff in there in a way that is both neat and functional. (He already spent hours of evening time getting all of my beads organized and consolidated into a few containers, even though I told him that if he’d wait a few days until we could hang out again, I’d help him…did I get a great guy or what?)
  4. …make the townhouse ours. It’s already started, since we’ve repainted several of the rooms, and as I just mentioned, I did move a few things there that I don’t foresee needing before the wedding. I am looking forward to having a place to decorate, and already have fabric for two rooms’ worth of curtains–as well as plans to reuse some stuff so I don’t have to make all the curtains. So yes, I’ll probably be talking decor a little more than usual, at least for a little while. Hope you all don’t mind.
  5. …still keep chipping away at those scrapbooks. Which will probably be easier after the wedding, since we’re setting up the closet in my sewing room to be a scrapbook/jewelry-making nook. Complete with a table so I can leave half-finished layouts out on it instead of putting everything away all the time!
  6. …sew a few basics–or cake, if you will–that will help tie various parts of my wardrobe together. I’m thinking specifically about some pants of the Thurlow variety, assuming that the pattern works on me, since I am in dire need of some pants that aren’t too short for me. And maybe another pair of two of jeans, since I very well may wear these jeans out within the year from constant wearing! (I already have several pieces of fabric stashed for this purpose, so I shouldn’t need to buy too much there.)
  7. …as mentioned before, get back on the stashbusting wagon. Some stash purging will definitely be in order!
  8. …IF time permits, try another mini-wardrobe. I’m thinking specifically for the honeymoon, and that I’d like to pull it together using mainly pieces that I already have in my wardrobe. If I finish the dress in enough time, making one or two things would be great. (You know, since I basically have zero pairs of shorts that fit me and we’re going somewhere tropical. Thurlow test, anyone?)
  9. On the knitting front–I started this sweater months and months ago, kept picking it up and putting it aside because it was giving me all sorts of issues, and finally just put it into complete hibernation once The One Dress came up. I know that if I can just get through this top part (enough to make sure this will look good), it will be a great learning project. So I would like to either finish this particular sweater, or find another use for that yarn that will work for me. (Either way, it would be nice to get through one sweater next year.)
  10. On the blogging front, I really would like to make some changes around here–a new blog design, if I can figure out how, and most definitely improving my photographs. I know that’s a huge weak point, and I’m hoping that having a little more space (and a better chance of having a photographer on call) will help me out there.

That seems like a lot, doesn’t it? But I do know that at least some of these things will happen out of pure necessity. I’m trying to leave these goals mostly open-ended, since I don’t really have much way of predicting what sort of effect this sort of Really Major Life Change is going to have on my crafty life!

Next part to come later this week…

I’m dreaming of a blue craft room…

Production on the dress has come to a pause. It’s partially because my schedule has suddenly exploded with things like having to work multiple Saturdays in a row again (boo), things I’m playing my flute for (yay!) and various social engagements, all of which conspire to keep me out of the house for multiple evenings. It’s also partially because the only table in the house that’s big enough to cut this thing out on is completely covered in gift-wrapping stuff, most of which is not mine and therefore I have no control over getting it cleaned off. So I don’t think I’ll actually get it cut out before Christmas, but before the end of the year seems like a pretty reasonable goal. I hope. The good news is that the muslin is dissected, though I do need to press it. Between that and some Craftsy/reading research on the underlining, since it’s been awhile since I’ve done that, hopefully that will be enough to keep me feeling productive while I wait.

https://i0.wp.com/distilleryimage11.s3.amazonaws.com/94ea79d2f54711e1973e22000a1e88a7_7.jpgIn the meantime, I’m now about 6 months away from getting…. *drumroll*…. my own sewing/craft room! I’ve been collecting inspiration on Pinterest for a few months, and the room is already painted. (I thought I had a picture of it, but I don’t yet–it’s a very cheery aqua color with a creamy yellow on the doors and inside the closet. It’s such a happy-looking room, and I think it will be wonderful to create in!) My beads and most of my jewelry-making supplies are also already down there, and now super-organized thanks to my fiance. I also have this table from Ikea, which folds out to make a cutting table large enough to cut the legs of pants out, and therefore should serve most of my purposes.

The biggest question at the moment that still needs to be answered is how the heck to store my hundreds of yards of fabric, I figured I’d show a couple of the things that are inspiring me right now.

Marie over at A Stitching Odyssey  recently did a sewing room makeover, and I absolutely love the look of her fabric cubicles. It’s a pretty nice way of keeping all of the different types of fabric together! Gertie did something similar, but with a whole bunch of canvas boxes.  Which is a nice way to keep the dust out, but I do kind of miss seeing the fabric!

I saw this closet craft room thing on Pinterest awhile back. Doug suggested that we make the closet into a little nook for my non-sewing crafts, like my scrapbooking and jewelry-making. So we’ve got a little table in there, and some shelves. I’m really looking forward to having a place where I can just leave layouts sitting out and work on them as I’m able– I think it will do wonders for me actually getting pages done, since the biggest deterrent for a long time is that I have to drag stuff out every time I want to scrapbook, and my sewing machine is always out. I’m thinking that if I get an office chair where I can adjust the height, I can use it for both that and my sewing table.

There’s a bunch of little things that need to get figured out still–where to put my pattern boxes and various craft books, what to do with my fabric and yarn, where to keep all of those various notions like threads and scissors and the like, etc. But I am rather looking forward to getting it figured out and seeing how it comes together!

What about you? How do you like to keep your fabrics and the like organized?

Surprise– I’m still knitting!

It’s not a really focused thing right now, obviously. But this has become the answer to the conundrum I posted about awhile ago for what I can do in situations where I want to craft but can’t work on the dress. Namely those where I’m just chilling at my or Doug’s house, watching tv with him and wanting to keep my hands busy.

So I have two in-progress projects to share with you today.

IMG_0285I started this one first, though it’s hibernating for the moment. These are the “Branching Out Mitts” from Coastal Knits, which I received for Christmas last year. Over this past year, my best friend and I have become fascinated with the “bucket list” idea, though several years late for the movie, and have been working on creating ours. I’ve ended up with several craft-related ones on mine so far (yes, including “sew my own wedding dress,” though that would have been on there anyway even if I wasn’t currently planning my wedding!), and one of the things I’ve decided I’d like to do is to knit at least one project from every knitting book or magazine that I own. I liked several of the projects from this book so I’m sure I’ll be revisiting it, provided I can find good wool-free yarn options for some of those sweaters. The yarn is some that I purchased near the end of the summer, and it’s been very nice to work with so far. The biggest challenge has been trying to teach myself to knit with a second color within a pattern, and I’m hoping that I’m allowing enough slack for those little runner strings, or whatever they’re called, on the backside, since I do tend to knit rather tightly.

IMG_0284I set it aside for a super-simple scarf for Doug, to go with the hat that I made him for his birthday.  Now that it’s getting colder again, he requested one, and I have to take advantage of such rare opportunities. He’s flat-out admitted that I probably won’t ever be able to make clothes for him! He’s super-picky about comfort, and once he’s out of work, pretty much all he’ll wear are oversized t-shirts and black athletic pants. I’ve never seen him even wear jeans! (On the plus side, I won’t have to feel guilty that I’m sewing all clothes for myself and not for him, right?) Anyway, this is pretty much the perfect brainless tv knitting project, because it’s just knit 3 purl 3 rib. The hardest thing has been keeping track of the number of rows before I need to switch colors. And, well, the switching colors. Since that hat is pretty much the only striped thing I’d knit ever, and that was in the round, I’m honestly not sure if I’m doing this right. I’ve been tying the ends of the yarn together for now just to hold it together, and I have started knitting the tail of the new color into the scarf so that I have one less end to weave in later. But weaving in ends is something that doesn’t seem to work too well for me so far, and on the couple that I did do, I have little puffy yarn ends sticking out. I guess I’ll just trim those out with scissors, but I’m not sure how this is going to hold up in the long-term…any suggestions from you veterans?

I’ve been doing the alternating stripe widths on the black and the tan on purpose, so I can use up more of the other. My plan is basically to knit until one of the yarns, probably the green, runs out. Hurrah for stashbusting! (Hopefully it won’t be the black that runs out first, since I used the most of that in the hat.) And although he knows he’s getting this, since I’ve been knitting it right in front of him, I am still hopeful that I might finish this around Christmas so that he has it for the coldest part of the winter.

Not that I’ll be working on them today, because I have another day not scheduled at the shop. (Even though this time I have to work Saturday instead….boo. Oh well.) So today, other than my teaching, is all about muslin deconstruction!