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.

 

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!