slowest knitter EVER

I finished a thing! It only took me about 8-9 months! The sad thing is, it took me that long to finish a sweater for Hobbit. Who is not a super-tall human. And it was with bulky yarn. Isn’t that supposed to be fast to knit?

latte coat frontTechnically, I never actually finished it. There were supposed to be pockets, but I literally ran out of yarn. I didn’t block it (it’s acrylic anyway, so it’s not like that would do much), and I was supposed to sew on some buttons, but figured that pushing buttons through those tiny little eyelet buttonholes while trying to restrain a toddler was probably a lost cause. Anyway.

latte coat backThe yarn was Lion Brand Hometown USA, which I originally got from a cousin who had tried knitting and decided it was too physically hard on her hands. There were two skeins of the cream and one skein of the brown, and I figured it would be good colors for something boy. It looked like there would be enough yardage, based on what I read on Ravelry, so I went for it. And wow, was I wrong on the yardage. I actually had to go back to the store twice to buy more of the cream, and the last time I went back for more, there wasn’t any. The brown stripes on the sleeves were out of necessity, just to get enough length to finish. (And as you can see on the left side, I didn’t have quite enough of that either.) I also discovered that knitting super-bulky yarn isn’t that fun for my hands, either. I guess it’s because I knit pretty tightly, but it hurt. So I had to keep picking it up and putting it down and occasionally knitting another project instead.

The good news is, since I knit a larger size, even though it’s spring now and he probably won’t need this sweater, it’ll probably still fit him in the fall. The bad news is, I’m pretty sure he hates it. I tried to get it on him just long enough for a photoshoot, and these were the best pictures I was able to get:

nooooo This one was while yelling “nooooooo” and reaching out so I’d pull this horrendous thing off of him.

 

 

 

 

bye latte coatAnd if he looks happier here, it’s because he was managing to shrug it off himself. Sorry for the blur. I blame toddler physics– the kiddo in motion tends to stay in motion until an outside force acts on him and forces him to take a nap or something.

Oh well… I’ll try again in the fall. And if he still hates it, maybe Padawan will wear it? I hope so, because as long as this took me, it’s sad to think that it might have been a complete waste of time.

 

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I move slow and steady…

Man, where did August go? There’s actually been quite a bit of crafting going on in Casa Adagio. But I just couldn’t seem to get it together to, you know, actually finish something this month. But I do have several things in progress, so here’s my monthly update.

So here’s what’s been happening in my little world…

IMG_43751. Knitting project the first. Awhile ago, I started knitting the Latte Baby Coat for Hobbit, after inheriting some bulky acrylic from a cousin who tried knitting and decided it wasn’t for her. I thought this would be a quick project because of the thick yarn. Boy, was I wrong! For one thing, I had to entirely frog and restart it, because I originally started to make the hooded version. Then I realized that I misread something, and was several stitches short. That, and the hood took nearly half of my main color of yarn. So I started again, with the admittedly less cute hoodless version. Hobbit currently hates all things resembling hats anyway, so I guess it’s for the best. And this is how far I’ve gotten. I had to buy another skein of yarn anyway, as this is much more of a yarn hog than I’d anticipated. I’ve discovered that bulky yarn is hard on my hands, too. So I can only do a few rows at a time. I’m glad that I started this as early as I did, since I’m not sure if it would be ready for the cold weather otherwise. You know, if he even lets me put it on him in the first place. He’s in full fledged toddler mode now at 14 months, so you never know!

IMG_43762. Knitting project the second: I decided to mix it up and also start a long-planned project for myself. I’ve been wanting a nice mustard cardigan for awhile, so I finally started it. I still need to acquire one smaller cable needle for it. Amazon sent me the wrong needle size, and trying to wrestle Hobbit into the car seat to drive five minutes to the post office to do a return and hope they send me the right size doesn’t seem worth it. So I’ll just order another one sometime. Like in a year or two when I’m close enough to finishing this cardigan to actually have to think of button bands. Did I mention that I am quite possibly the slowest knitter on the planet?

IMG_43743. Sewing project the first: I finally started the Grainline Archer shirt that I’ve had queued for, oh, two or so years. I think what was holding me back was the fabric. It’s a perfectly serviceable, lovely-feeling Japanese linen…but oh so plain navy blue. I just couldn’t get excited about that, especially since 2 of my 3 pairs of pants that vaguely fit are blue jeans. (I do have some gray denim to fill that particular wardrobe hole, but you see how long it takes me to actually sew things on my list…) But thanks to some inspiration from a fairly recent issue of Seamwork, I’ve gotten past my mental block, and am quite excited about my embellishment! This is the yoke and the collar, with the addition of sashiko embroidery. I’m also going to do this on the cuffs. I won’t go into more details now, since I’m also possibly the last indie pattern user on the planet to make this shirt and I’ll need something to talk about in the finished project post. But I am quite pleased so far. And, surprisingly, enjoying the process quite a bit.

IMG_43724. Sewing project the second: I have fall sewing on the brain, and therefore cut out a shirt from some fabric that’s been in my stash for at least a decade. It’s stuck here for two reasons at the moment. My attempt to tea dye some stark white inexpensive crochet lace trim resulted in barely any color change at all, and I need to give that a second go. As you can see, it’s still too bright. Also, I ran out of thread that was even remotely matching, and couldn’t refill my bobbin until I bought more. But hey, I’m stashbusting!

5. I did the worst closet purge of my life. I had to part with so many me mades this time that still just don’t fit anywhere remotely close to well. A few things that I couldn’t bear to fully let go of, like this jacket and all of my Thurlow pants, are going into the refashion bin. Maybe those pants can at least be revived as kid’s shorts or pants, because I only got about one year’s use out of them and the fabric is still in great condition. Plus then I get to keep the buttons. Still, I’m rather bummed about this whole process.

IMG_43776. I did buy some fabric. Mostly for Hobbit’s Halloween costume this year, which I’ve gotten as far as tracing some pieces and sketching out for some hand-painting that needs to happen with it. But I also did some selfish shopping for a sewing dare. Gillian dared me to make myself an everyday outfit based on Lord of the Rings costumes! So I bought a piece for my main component. (I needed something for free shipping on Fabric.com anyway.) More on that later, since the Halloween project has to take higher priority.

7. On top of all of this, I’ve sloooooowly been making a fourth and hopefully final batch of cloth diapers, which will hopefully last through any growth spurts that may come before Hobbit is ready for us to start the dreaded toilet training process. I’ve got the covers done as of this month, but need some time to do the inserts. It’s just serging around rectangles and adding some stitching for fold lines, but I still have to cut about half of them out in the first place, too.

I think that’s all of it! So I’ll have something finished to show. Eventually.

pondering knitting

Me and knitting have reached a weird point in our relationship. I have a couple of UFOs that I just don’t feel like working on at the moment, about half of the projects in my Ravelry queue are pullover sweaters (which are obviously out for now), and I’m not really sure what to do next.

So I recently swatched for a cardigan that I already bought yarn for, the Rocky Coast from the Coastal Knits book. Amazingly, the gauge actually worked on the first try! But I wonder if the yarn/needle combination makes it look too loose of a knit. The trials of almost always having to substitute the suggested yarn, I suppose. I may go ahead and start this one anyway, because it has enough cotton in the yarn that washing could tighten it up. And knowing me, by the time I finish knitting this, it’ll be just in time for fall 2016 and my body will probably be at its new normal anyway.

I also had this random single ball of yarn that I bought at the beach shop a couple of years ago, and I figured a bulky yarn would knit up fast and get out of my stash. I wanted to take advantage of the yarn’s ability to change textures–it kind of knits up like a t-shirt yarn, but can open up to more of a lacy mesh. And I haven’t been able to find any patterns I liked for the amount that I had, so I attempted to design my own cowl pattern. The pattern itself worked fine–it’s a combination between a moss stitch, to show the closed texture, and a drop-stitch to hopefully allow part of the yarn to open up. I think I’d have to block this to make that happen. The problem is, I only had enough yarn to do three repeats of the pattern before I had to bind it off, which makes for a very narrow cowl! So I’ve had this sitting on my table for something like a week, trying to decide if I should go ahead and block it and see what happens, or to unravel it and try to come up with a different project. Any thoughts?

Either way, I’m feeling kind of mental blocked on anything yarny until I make decisions about what to do about these two projects. So in the meantime, I’ve been tracing out patterns that I was given for Christmas for geeky baby quiet books instead.

ooh, sparkly.

First of all, thanks for the advice offered on my last post! You gave me some great ideas for what to avoid (my entire wovens stash, I’m looking at you), and there were also some rather brilliant thoughts on how to make some of my ideas more nursing-friendly, and therefore able to be worn longer. Yay!

Today, I actually have two finished projects to show! Late last year and after I already knew about the pregnancy, I got lured into buying a couple of knits at Joann’s while there for an unrelated shopping trip, because I knew that the bulk of my knits stash were solid colors and I was craving some printed goodies. Also, look how sparkly they are! My original intent was to get these done in time to wear for Christmas, but due to all the sickness issues, that obviously didn’t happen. So I decided to get these sewn up quickly. I need some color in my extremely pared-down winter wardrobe anyway.

McCall's 6084The cardigan is McCall’s 6084, and the top is Simplicity 2852. For the cardigan, I didn’t really change much of anything, other than add a little length to the sleeves to accommodate my monkey arms. I do that pretty much automatically for long-sleeved things now, but in this case, it looks like I actually didn’t need to! So I just gave it a bit of a wider hem on the sleeves than it called for.

The pattern claimed it could be made up in an hour. It took me a little longer than that. For one thing, this knit was really awful about clinging to itself, so it took me awhile to smooth it out enough that I could cut the pieces well! I did construct it completely in one sitting, and it especially helped that I was able to skip a couple of awkward-looking steps due to having a serger. But then I let it hang overnight so the hem could settle a bit before finishing that.

Simplicity 2852The top is one that I actually have made before, though I did view E for that one. That’s actually one of the shirts I already had that I’ve been continuing to wear anyway, and so far, it’s worked. I do think that I’ll have to toss that shirt at the end of this cold season, though, because the fabric is getting horribly pilled. Especially now that I’m wearing it at least once a week! I honestly didn’t think this view was one I’d ever sew, especially because I hated that bubble hem trend! The gathered front made it look like it would give me some room to grow, though.

I made the sleeveless view so I could wear this into the warmer weather. I even already had another cardigan that coordinates! I did make a couple of changes to the pattern to maternify it even further–besides leaving out the hem elastic, because ugh, I added 2″ width to the center front and 2″ to the hem. I like this a little longer, actually–if I was the type who wore leggings as pants, this would actually work! I think I’ll stick to wearing it with things that cover my lower half a little better, though.

Honestly, if I wore it with a belt to cinch it in, this top does have some non-maternity potential as well, I think. We’ll see whenever I get a waistline back. (Actually, now that I’m looking at this picture, it probably needs a belt somewhere anyway, doesn’t it? It really is kind of a sack. A sparkly sack in a fun print and a color scheme I love, but a sack nonetheless.) In the meantime, I had nothing but scraps left over from both of these pieces, so at least they didn’t live in the stash long! Between the two pieces, that’s 4.25 yards down.

IMG_2288The belt really highlights that the bump doesn’t want to hide anymore, doesn’t it? I have to keep reminding myself that it’s ok to not suck my stomach in for pictures! The more exciting thing is that we have the ultrasound scheduled for next week, so hopefully we’ll be finding out if the baby is a boy or a girl soon!

I think I also need to work on the camera setup–Doug’s been working hard to get the former office/library ready to turn into a nursery, so all the furniture there has been cleared out and the room is repainted. So these pictures are in the sewing-now-slash-computer room. (At least I still have one!) But I think I’ll have to experiment with where to put the tripod so I don’t look like such a giant next to the door. I already feel like I look big enough!

The slowest refashion I’ve ever made

I mentioned in my FESA post that I had finally finished a knitting project, and here it is!

RohelineThis is the Roheline cardigan, as modeled by the floor. I tried to get a good picture of it on me, but I was completely unable to avoid the canine photobombs today. Plus the sky is about the same color as this sweater right now, and that really doesn’t help on the lighting front! Oh well, you can see the drop stitch detail better this way anyway.

I call it the slowest refashion, because the yarn is actually recycled! Several years ago, I bought three sweaters from the thrift store, as a cheap way to experiment with how my skin would react to some different animal fibers/percentages of wool.

I ended up tossing the yarn from #2, since it unraveled into a gross tangle of cheap acrylic and just enough wool to annoy me. I still have the yarn from #3 and love the colors, but I’m leaning towards tossing that one as well, since I suspect that even a measly 8% wool is going to be too much for me. So this all came from sweater #1. It’s a mostly cotton/acrylic/viscose blend, with a little bit of rabbit hair. And I guess I’m ok with rabbit, because this one didn’t bother me to knit with at all!

Roheline sleeve issue
Making this was definitely a learning experience. I already knew how to do drop stitch, and had experimented quite unsuccessfully with short rows in a failed sweater attempt before. But I did finally learn how to do them properly on this. I had to learn Kitschener stitch for the underarms. I also taught myself how to do “magic loop” knitting so I could do both sleeves at the same time, which was mostly successful. I guess I still need to work on that, because I was unfortunately left with this obvious line down the sleeves where I was jumping between the two circulars and the stitches are a bit looser/sometimes look like I left holes. Is that normal? I did sort of try to block this when I finished, meaning I basically just dumped it in the sink, ran some water over it and squished it around, and let it dry. I know the yarns I can generally work with don’t block as nicely as wool-based ones, but I guess I should try actually washing this for real and letting it dry to see if I can smooth that out some more.

Roheline sleeveFor the most part, I knitted this straight off the pattern, since I frankly don’t really have the knowledge to add extra shaping to knitting yet. But I did add a little extra length to the sleeves, about an inch, which I think was a good move. It’s nice to have my wrists completely covered when it’s cold outside!

Roheline

And here’s my attempt to get it as an outfit photo. This was seriously the best out of the multiple tries. Crosby really wanted to model today, I guess! Considering how long it took me to knit this sweater (a full 15 months!), and current events in my life, I am SO glad that I decided to do a cardigan for my second sweater, so I can actually wear it this winter!

I’m in a weird place right now, wardrobe-wise. I’m pretty firmly in the camp of having to wear maternity stuff on my legs already, since the waistbands of everything else are just getting too uncomfortably tight. But I’m still able to fit into my regular tops very well, as long as I’m ok with the “I ate one too many cookies” look. (Just minus the fun of actually getting to eat the cookies, sadly, since I’m still waiting for that nausea to go away.) So this is maternity leggings (from Old Navy) and a maternity denim skirt (from Goodwill) with my regular purple Sadie tank. I’m slowly in the process of trying to assemble a wardrobe that will be as mix-and-match as possible, but I think that will have to be a separate post for later. As of now, I have a lot of holes to fill. But since this cardigan fits very nicely with the palette that’s emerging, at least I have one layer to work with.

FESA report card, and other news

Now that it’s December, and the Fall Essentials Sew-along is over for another year, let’s see how I did…

Well, I didn’t do great. I had seven things on my original list. Very conservative of me, I thought!

1. Espresso leggings (Fashionable Foundations): didn’t get to them.

2. Roheline cardigan (Chic Chemises): The knitting part of this one is done– I barely finished in time, as I wove in the rest of the ends and sewed up the underarms on the 30th. I do still need to add buttons, but first I need to find some. The buttonholes ended up being a lot smaller than I expected, and I somehow didn’t buy enough of the original buttons I purchased for this. Either that, or I lost a pack. So I need to find some small enough to fit through those tiny one-stitch buttonholes. Not that I’m likely to button this much, but oh well. Pictures to come.

3. Darling Ranges dress (Fabulous Frocks): My original plan of sewing this for The Monthly Stitch’s Frocktober got scrapped when it became apparent that my peacoat would have to be a higher priority. Maybe next fall?

4. The peacoat (Baby It’s Cold Outside): I did finish this! And since I’ve already talked about why it was such a time-suck, I’ll leave it at that.

5. The Scraptember skirt: I worked on it, but didn’t finish it. In my defense, Julia’s had it in her possession for awhile to figure out what she wanted to do about another tier, so I haven’t actually had access to it.

6. A scarf: I knitted part of this while I was on vacation. And haven’t touched it since, so I could concentrate on my sweater.

7. The Disney sewalong project: Which would fall under Chic Chemises and Fashionable Foundations. You know I already finished the shirt, and I did also finish the skirt last week. I have a little extra time tomorrow, so hopefully I can get some pictures of the outfit then.

So, not my most productive period of sewing. But once again, life happened while I was busy making other plans…the truth is, there is a reason why my sewing mojo has been so low during the past couple of months, and it’s not just all of the tailoring involved in that coat. Some of you whom I chat with on Twitter may remember me mentioning some major jet lag and nausea when I got back from my trip in September. Well, turns out it wasn’t jet lag…I’ve also been busy over the last couple of months with making a tiny human! My “morning sickness” has really been 24-7 nausea for about 6-7 weeks straight now. So most of the time, I’ve felt too crappy after work to do much of anything other than sit in front of the tv, and sometimes knit. It really was pure stubbornness that enabled me to finish that coat!

Thankfully, I’m just about at the second trimester, currently on week 12, and hopefully that means I’ll stop feeling constantly sick soon. (Oh please oh please…) And yes, there is going to be some baby-centric sewing going on here, but I seriously need some more maternity clothes, so I’ll still be making stuff for me as well, I promise! Finding RTW maternity clothes that aren’t in boring colors or fit properly in places that aren’t supposed to change that much–i.e. my shoulders and the length of my arms–is really hard, you guys!

FESA plans!

It’s that time of year again! I do love this sewalong, and this is the 3rd year I’ve participated. You all know how I feel about the cold, and my ironically wool-phobic skin doesn’t help matters. (I say ironic, because since I got married, my last name now starts with Wool! Go figure.) So this is a great way to keep me focused and excited about making things to get me through the winter.

So without further ado, here are my plans for the next couple of months. I’m keeping things rather conservative this time, so maybe I can actually finish everything?

Fashionable Foundations for Frosty Weather: I have some stashed knit to try out the Espresso leggings, and I’d like to knock out a pair or two of them. Since woolly tights are a sad no-go for me, I think this could be a great way to keep my legs warmer for wearing skirts. (I wear boots with skirts a lot, so the no-foot-coverage thing won’t be an issue.) Not to mention it’s a layer I can wear under my jeans while I’m shivering my way through the last bit of October at the outside register at my retail job. (I have some black, too, but it’s a much bigger bolt since I’d also bought this fabric with that aborted attempt at a Red Velvet in mind. Oh well. I can always use black knit somewhere, right?)

Chic Chemises for Cool Climates: The definite is that I’d like to finally finish up the Roheline cardigan that I’ve been knitting since August 2013! (Though I really didn’t get it started until last September, since I had to restart no less than 7 times.) I’m so, so close to finishing the sleeves, which means I only have the yoke and buttons to go, so it’s not unreasonable. Depending on how the time goes, I also wouldn’t mind trying out the Archer blouse, since I didn’t get to that in my summer plans.

Fabulous Frocks: I would like to do a Darling Ranges dress if at all possible, since the colors will be great for taking it into the winter. Also, I meant to make it last year, so it’s time. I’m hoping to knock this one out next month, since The Monthly Stitch’s theme is “Frocktober” anyway. I’ll just need to find a layer to go over it–I have yarn to knit a yellow cardigan that will pair nicely with this, but there’s no way I’ll be able to finish 2 cardigans in this time span.

Baby It’s Cold Outside: My old peacoat that I made in 2007 is starting to fall apart. Replacing that will be first priority! (Even so, 7 years, including the polar vortex of wintry doom that we had this past year, is not bad at all for my first me-made winter coat!) I’m hoping to play around with a few more tailoring techniques, but I’m using the exact same pattern as the first one, so at least fitting won’t be an issue. I actually have started cutting this one out already, but since there’s 4 layers involved, I’m still on the outside. (The black and white tweedy fabric has been cut, but I’m underlining most of the pieces with that greyish silk organza that’s right next to it. And that’s taking a little longer. Especially given that I haven’t been able to touch it since Saturday.)

Other projects: I’m hoping to knock out a skirt before the end of the month, because a long-standing project I’ve been making for my sister-in-law is perfect for Scraptember! I may knit up a scarf, too, since I’m strongly leaning towards a one-skein project to take on my upcoming trip to France. (Next weekend! Eeeeee!) After all, I have a lot of plane/airport time, and at least 6 hours on a bus to get to Normandy and back, and I’m not sure how well my Kindle battery will hold up for a cross-continental flight. Also, I know from experience that I sadly cannot read on the bus without getting sick.  Maybe I’ll have better luck with just keeping my hands busy.

I’m also beginning to plot out what I’m going to make for the Disney sewalong that Katie and I are co-hosting in November, but that project is still a secret!

June in review

All things considered, it wasn’t a bad month, sewing-wise. I did two of the four challenges for The Monthly Stitch‘s Indie Pattern Month, busted a couple of pieces of stash, and made some progress towards what I need to get done for DragonCon.

1. Projects completed: 3. There was the Tiramisu maxi-dress, my Tiramisu-Moneta mashup for my Belle costume, and since I had a yardish left of the maxi-dress fabric, I tried out the Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono tee. I haven’t had a chance to take pictures of it yet, but will try to do so soon. I also hemmed a skirt for the same friend whom I did some prom dress alterations for a few months back–she gave me the skirt at the same time, but I’d been slacking.

I ended up with approximately half a yard left of the blue from the Belle dress, plus some large, oddly shaped scraps. So my stashbusting total for the month is 6 yards used up (2.5 from the Belle dress, and 3.5 from the maxi-dress and Kirsten tee.)

I also added some stash, though– my mom was cleaning out a bin at her house and found all of these fabrics she’d been given that wouldn’t work for quilts, but would work for clothes. So I took four pieces off of her hands, which adds up to about 11 1/2 yards in. Yikes! That light greyish lavender solid piece is going to need some work–there’s some rusty-looking stains on it, and that’s not a color I’d wear, but I figure it could be a good candidate for a dyeing experiment. And they all need to be washed a second time, because after one trip through the washer and dryer, they still have a weird musty smell. But I’m kind of in love with the colors on that plaid. And already plotting possible shirt ideas for how to use the gingham without the results looking too country, and found some cute ideas on ModCloth, which are now on Pinterest.

Side note–I’m not surprised, but slightly annoyed, that it’s so much easier to find stashbusting ideas for fabric I wasn’t planning on having than, say, the pieces of brocade that have been sitting in my stash for years!

On the knitting front, I’m making slow progress on my Roheline cardigan. I haven’t gotten past the point where I’m increasing every few rows yet, but I tried a sleeve on the other day, and they’re almost up to my elbows. I am planning on making the sleeves about an inch longer than the pattern calls for, to accommodate my monkey arms, and I still need to do the shoulders and yoke once I get to the point where I can attach the sleeves to the body, but that gives me hope that I might actually finish this one before it gets cold! Which is good, because I already have my next cardigan picked out and have the yarn for it. I’m also working on a couple of smaller projects on the side. One of which is for a gift. So I’ll talk about those later.

One non-clothes thing I made, which might be a little cheesy: an anniversary gift for Doug! Since the traditional gift is paper, and I didn’t have a ton of time to make anything, I decided to go with an idea I’d seen on Pinterest awhile back for those nights we want to hang out but aren’t sure what to do. I kept the basic principle of different colors for different kinds of dates (at home vs. cheaper nights out vs. dates that take more planning and/or money), but decorated the sticks with scrapbook paper that I already had in addition to the paint. And since I didn’t get all of the sticks written on before our anniversary, we did some brainstorming to add some things that fit us a little more than the ideas that were on the original website–there’s at least two sticks in there that have something to do with hockey! He liked it, and we did finally have a chance to pull an idea from it for what to do last Friday night (board game night!) So I think this will be a fun thing to have around.

I sat down recently to review my capsule wardrobe list, and all things considered, I’ve been doing pretty well with it so far! Though I forgot to factor in the DragonCon stuff at the time. So for the upcoming month, here’s my goal list:

From the capsule wardrobe: the black maxi-dress, which will be super-fast since it’s basically a long knit tank top, and the Reglisse dress, hopefully in time for the Sundress Sewalong that Heather is hosting. Also, the skinny jeans, which I have somewhat started already, at least as far as pattern retracing and altering goes. I’m hoping to get those cut out today and start sewing by the end of the week. They’ll double as part of the DragonCon sewing (yay for Doctor Who companions who wear normal everyday clothes!), and the timing is perfect for Lizzy’s Jeans in June/July sewalong!

Aside from the jeans, I’m also hoping to knock out the rest of my Belle costume– I need to make a white top to go underneath the dress, which I’m pretty sure I have something in the stash I can use for that, and a hair bow.  The Monthly Stitch’s theme this month is monochromatic (all black and white), so between that and the black dress, I should be good to go! If I have time, I can probably also finish my Amy Pond outfit, since all I’ll need to do aside from the jeans is to slightly refashion a plaid top that I found at Goodwill awhile back. But if not, I can easily knock that out in August. I have one other costume to do aside from those, plus buy a wig. (And now that I decided to go with my old Eowyn costume instead of finish the Tauriel costume, I found out yesterday that Simplicity just released a pattern for one of the other Tauriel costumes! Go figure.) I’m trying to get better about being realistic about what I can accomplish in my sewing time, so let’s see how I do, shall we?

Knitting away

Since I’m extending my stashbusting pledge to my yarn, I thought I’d give an update on what’s going on there!

Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to use anything up. But I did finish a couple of projects.

Irish cables hatFirst up: The Chunky Irish Hiking Hat. I used the same yarn that I used for those handwarmers back in the fall, and still didn’t use the stuff up! I’m honestly a little less-than-thrilled with this one. For one thing, the top cable got crossed the wrong way, though I was too lazy to rip back since I was knitting this at my mom’s house and using a pencil as a cable needle. For another thing, it’s too small and/or too short for my head. I wore this for the first time on Friday night, and it barely skims the tops of my ears, which makes it virtually useless for keeping one’s head warm while sitting in a college ice rink to watch a hockey game! (I went with several of my cousins, because the colleges we went to were playing each other. Doug was more than happy to play interpreter.) It also kept riding up to stick up funny, so I had to keep pulling it down. I’m not entirely sure whether I should just rip the whole thing out and make something else with it, or send it to the thrift store and cut my knitting time losses.

Whittier hatI was much happier with the Whittier hat. It’s surprisingly warm for a mesh hat, and once you get past the edge, the mesh pattern is pretty easy. The most challenging part of this one was the cast-on. I’d never done a tubular cast-on before, and was pleasantly surprised when I took the waste yarn away and the whole thing didn’t fall apart! The yarn is Bernat Alpaca Natural Blends. I’m still surprised I can use this stuff, since I can’t even touch wool without reacting. And though it worked fine for my Cadence sweater, I wasn’t sure how it would be wearing it on my head. It gets a little itchy on occasion, but if I shift the position on my forehead every so often, I’m fine. So, at least to 30%, alpaca is a go! The buttons were already in my stash, from a thrifted jacket that I replaced the buttons on, and I think they look much better here than on the jacket!

I still have quite a bit of this left (I had two skeins and didn’t even use half of one), so I think my yarn usage total for January, not counting in-progress things, was about 101 yards. According to my initial estimate, that leaves me with 19,827 yards…but hey, it’s still progress!

While I’m at it, here’s my fabric totals for January:
Yards in: 2 (from Stash Diet Swap)
Yards given away: 1 (gave a piece to my mom, since they didn’t send enough for my project and I had no use for it otherwise)
Yards sewed up: 4.25. Though I actually used significantly more than that, since I cut up several more yards for more Thurlow pants. But I’ll get to those later–I’m quite close to finishing 2 of the 3 pairs.
Net total loss for January: 3.25 yards/3 pieces, plus some scraps for Itty Bits projects. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

(Of course, I’m going to NYC this weekend, so it’s a good thing I gave myself that travel allowance! Mood, here I come!)

I do have a few more knitting projects in progress. One will not be pictured here, since it’s a gift and also a project I’ve been keeping at my parents’, but here’s the others:

Roheline 2I made visible progress on the Roheline cardigan! I finally reached the point where I can divide for the sleeves. I just haven’t gotten any further than that, because I need to actually sit down and watch a few videos–ideally, I’d like to do both of these sleeves at once, and I found instructions for how to do that with two circular needles. Way better than wrangling double-points.

Lacy Keyhole scarf- Craftsy

I’ve also started a very basic project–awhile ago, I bought the Knit Lab class from Craftsy, thinking it would be good to help me make sure I’ve mastered the basics. Of course, since then, they added another class that would probably have been more along the lines of what I wanted. But my mom had mentioned that she was thinking about doing this same class, so rather than both of us buy it, I’ve been going over there a little early on days I teach at her house and we’ve been watching through it together. So this is the start of the Lacy Keyhole Scarf project from this class. I like the texture of this yarn! It makes it look way more interesting than just basic garter stitch. I’m also taking this opportunity to try to get the hang of continental-style knitting, since that’s what she demonstrates in the video, to see if it really is better for my wrists. We shall see. I haven’t had any luck ever with purling continental, so that may be a big determining factor.

Top 5’s of 2013, part 4: Knitting and other craftiness

Because those things deserve recognition, too, right? So here’s all the things that weren’t sewing clothes.

Top 5 hits of 2013: 
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1. The Branching Out mitts that I knitted. Look, I did colorwork! And they’re soft and cute and from a pattern I already had on hand. And I used the yarn in a fairly timely fashion, so win all around. I did have a bunch of this yarn leftover, but I’m actually using the leftover blue in a current project, which I will blog about when I have more to show for it.

2. The “Project Life” scrapbooking system. I started playing around with this during the summer as a way to try to stay more on top of my scrapbooking and document newlywed life. For those of you who don’t scrapbook, the basic concept is that you can get these kits with pocket page protectors, cards that fit into those slots, and then you just add your writing and photos and you’re basically done. Most people seem to do one spread a week. I’ve been doing more of a system of add stuff as I have photos for it or things I want to write down, occasionally mixing in more “traditional” scrapbook layouts, and go on a more month-by-month basis. I can’t say I’m caught up, but it really is making it easier to scrapbook on a more regular basis–it’s so easy to just grab the stuff, sit in front of the tv, and see what fits where. I’m also able to use some paper and stuff I already have, just slicing it down to size. I haven’t showed too much of that on here, so here’s a sampling of some things that I’ve (mostly) already gotten done!

Scrapbook Layouts, 2013

It’s not all pocket pages, obviously. The top two show what I’ve been doing when I have a “real” scrapbook page on one side–I’ve been making my own cards here and there to coordinate with whatever the main page is. The bottom left-hand corner is a finished page, from a concert that I went to over the summer with two of my closest friends, the bottom lowest right is one of the straight-up Project Life pages, though with a few additional filler cards that I made or printed myself, and the one above that is an in-progress one from the honeymoon. Yes, they’re all Instagram pictures of a little plastic TARDIS. Doug and I were having fun with that! I just need to print out the captions and paste them on, and then that spread is done, and same thing with most of my honeymoon pics. I’ve only gotten stuff through the end of the summer mostly done at the moment, but I’m still feeling much better about this particular hobby than I have for a couple of years!

TARDIS shoes!3. Geeky shoes. My bridesmaids and mom got a huge kick out of our mostly Whovian shoes for the wedding reception! And I have occasionally worn mine since, though not recently since it’s been wet and icy a lot lately. Not the best scenario for painted canvas footwear.

Roheline cardigan (in progress)4. It’s nowhere near finished, but I’m going to add my Roheline cardigan. This is what it currently looks like. I have a long way to go, but once I got past the initial trouble with starting it, it’s been a pretty easy knit, albeit slow. I think my stockinette knitting is starting to look pretty nice and even, which is why I’m calling this a win, even if it’s still in progress! And now that I finally understand what it means by “wrap and turn” on the short row sections, the top will look even better.

5. Making things for others. Yes, this includes sewing too, but I tend to often be selfish in my crafting, and I did make more things that were gifts for other people this year. So that makes me feel pretty good.

Top 5 misses of 2013:
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1. The scarf I knitted for Doug near the end of last winter. It was successful for stashbusting, but he hasn’t really worn it at all so far this winter. This isn’t a criticism, because he does wear the hat I knitted for him in 2012 all the time! He just doesn’t get as cold as I do.

IMG_05132. The bedroom curtains, to some extent. They do block more light than the blinds do alone, though it still can get way more bright than I like in the mornings. They’re way shorter than I would have preferred. Note to self: Next time, be more generous with curtain yardage estimations.

3. Jewelry-making. Mainly because I just didn’t take the time to do any this year. Note to self: must start playing with beads again, because I have way too many of them not to!

4. Home decor crafting in general. I meant to do a lot more, but once again, time management and I didn’t get along so well, and I only got to the bedroom curtains.

5. Honestly, I can’t come up with a fifth thing, because that more or less encompasses everything I made this year! So let’s just say the time factor and leave it at that, since having more plans than I finished was a running theme this time around.

Finally, in the interest of not leaving projects unblogged, here’s the handwarmers I actually finished to wear to my retail job.

work handwarmersIt’s honestly not my best work–I messed up the very easy stitch pattern here and there because I was in a hurry, and the yarn is pilling very quickly, because my job is hard on them. The stripes don’t match up, and I don’t care, because I just wanted to get them done–though I did do a surprisingly good job of getting the thumb gussets to match the stripes without even trying! But they’ve been keeping my hands warmer than they would have been on their own, especially during October when I was still mostly sitting at an outdoor register. This is how I was wearing them then:
handwarmers
Yes, those are other gloves underneath. Along with a hat, a scarf, long underwear, at least 2 other shirts, and a 2-layer sporty winter coat. Incidentally, one of the main reasons I still want to sew a new winter coat rather than just use this one, other than fashion, is that the inner layer is fleece, and I’ve found that it’s really, really difficult to pull that on over my sweaters and blazer jackets, on the occasions that I forget to bring my “real” winter coat with me to switch to before I go do my teaching!

Aside from a couple of secret projects that I won’t post until after Christmas, and a few in-progress things, that pretty much wraps up 2013! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas (or whatever you celebrate)!