Another Faded Stripes Tee

My sewing has been extremely slow going lately. Life just keeps getting in the way. Between being totally overwhelmed by this semester and my dad having heart surgery a couple of weeks ago (he is thankfully doing well), I’ve only found very rare and brief bits of time to sew. And given how busy the end of the semester is, that is likely going to continue to be the case. Such a drag!

Ottobre Woman 02/2015 Faded Stripes Tee

So despite the extensive fall sewing plans I made awhile back, the only thing I’ve managed to finish so far is this one very simple shirt–a second version of the Faded Stripes Tee from the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of Ottobre Woman. This is exactly the same as my first version, except that it features a self-fabric binding rather than using ribbing.


The striped fabric is another rayon-spandex blend from It’s incredibly soft and nice to wear, but the stripes are hard on the eyes. It actually made me nauseous when I was cutting the shirt out. Luckily, when I pair it with a cardigan and a scarf (which is how I’ve been wearing it to work), it tones down some of the psychedelic effects of the pattern.


Aside from this easy tee, I’ve been very slowly making progress on the Get Moving Hoodie from the fall issue of Ottobre Woman. After squeezing in a decent sewing session last night, I’ve got everything but the hood finished, and it’s looking good. I’m hoping to share a finished hoodie soon.

I’ve also finally started work on the Style Arc Misty Jeans, although I’m only as far as having the pattern assembled and cut out. The good news is that the crotch curve on the pattern matches the jeans I normally wear almost exactly–I just need to shorten the front rise a bit. Given the similarity in the crotch curve, I’m thinking about playing things fast and loose, forgoing a muslin, and just fitting as I sew. I might end up regretting that decision, but I don’t have the patience for the muslin process right now. We’ll see what happens.

While I haven’t been getting in much sewing, I’ve managed quite a bit of knitting. I think that since I’ve been knitting so much longer than I’ve been sewing, it’s just easier for me to manage knitting projects when I’m stressed out or pressed for time. Over the last month or two, I managed to finish both the Featherweight Cardigan and the Little Wave cardigan that were part of my Fall Essentials Sew-Along plans. I’m working on posts for both of those right now and will hopefully have them up soon-ish. (A preview: I hate one and love the other.)

Madigan Pullover

I’m also about halfway through knitting up Madigan, which I’m making up in Valley Yarns Northampton in Medium Gray. I’m through the cowl neck, yoke, and bust shaping, so that project should be pretty smooth sailing from this point on. But I’m going to need to start some Christmas knitting soon so it’s hard to say when I might finish that sweater. How is it already the middle of November!?

Jet Pullover, or, The Sweater That Would Never F*****g End

Knitting this sweater was a major slog. I worked on it intermittently for nearly a year, throwing it aside when I was too frustrated or bored with it to even look at it and picking it up in fits when I could convince myself that it was worth finishing.

Basic Knitted Pullover

The idea for this particular sweater came after the yarn refused to work with two different patterns. I decided if it wouldn’t play well with a pattern, I’d just improvise a plain, no frills v-neck pullover. I wanted something similar to my Blank Canvas sweater but in a dark neutral that I’d be more likely to wear on a regular basis.

Since I had extensive notes on the way I had worked the shaping on my Blank Canvas, knitting the body of this pullover went smoothly and pretty quickly, given that it’s knit up in a fingering weight yarn (Cascade 220 Fingering in Jet, more specifically). It’s when it came time to work the sleeves that things took a hard turn towards the miserably tedious and frustrating.

My first plan was to work a seamless, top-down sleeve shaped with short rows, which is the same sleeve method used in the Grandpa cardigan I finished around the time I began this sweater. But the short row sleeve caps looked terrible, so after trying twice to get it right, I ripped it out completely and decided to do a regular seamed, set-in sleeve. I used an armscye calculator to help me figure out how to work the sleeve cap shaping and decided I would knit full length sleeves with a deep ribbed cuff.

Knitted Pullover V-neck Detail

So I knit up the first sleeve which seemed to take forever, especially since the cuff ribbing was never-ending. And when I got to the end of the sleeve, I realized that the sleeve was about 2” too long and, more importantly, there was no way that I had enough yarn for two full-length sleeves. So I ripped out the entire first sleeve (which at that point represented endless hours of joyless, painful knitting) and reengineered my sleeve plans to give me ¾ sleeves. My third sleeve plan was, mercifully, a charm but the knitting still took forever—mostly because I had started to actively hate this sweater project and was alternating between knitting a bit and thinking very seriously about ripping the whole thing out.

I finally finished the second sleeve in early August. It took me another month to stomach picking it up again to knit the neckband, sew in the sleeves, and weave in the ends. But once I put it on, all the hate and resentment was gone. I love this sweater. The fit is relaxed and casual, it’s soft and lightweight, the neckline is just where I wanted it, the yarn goes with pretty much every other piece of clothing I own, and this particular shade of charcoal/soft black is my favorite. I will wear this sweater all the damn time.

But I will not be improvising a super basic, fingering weight pullover again any time soon. Or ever.


I once had a professor describe a poem I wrote as “rollicking good fun.” It is easily the most memorable bit of writing feedback I’ve ever received and is also the best way I can think to describe the Winterlong cowl pattern. It makes for rollicking good knitting fun.

Winterlong Cowl

I actually knit this a few months ago, right at the very end of my dissertation writing when I was feeling completely depleted. I picked this pattern up, even though it was decidedly the wrong season for knitting a heavy cowl, because it was interesting and different. Working through the bold pattern repeats was addictive and satisfying. It was hard to put down and when I came to the end of my yarn, I was trying to figure out who I might need a cowl for Christmas just so I could knit the pattern again.

Winterlong Cowl

The yarn is Patons Classic Wool in Mercury. This particular color appears to have been discontinued, which is disappointing because I had been planning to use it for a sweater. Oh well.

Winterlong Cowl

I feel like I could use another fun knitting project like this. I’ve been feeling bogged down lately, and it’s very tempting to come home in the evening and waste hours doing nothing but looking at crap on the internet. I’ve been forcing myself to put my laptop away and knit in the evenings. Knitting definitely helps me relax and improves my state of mind overall. But I’ve been working on a Featherweight cardigan, which is all stockinette and ribbing so it’s fairly boring. If you’ve got a particularly fun pattern that you’ve made, please share! I need more ideas.

Winterlong Cowl

Fall Sew-Alongs: FESA and the Style Arc Misty Sew-Along

Sew-alongs usually don’t appeal to me, but I’ve come across two going on this fall that seem like fun. The first sew-along I’ve jumped in on is the Style Arc sew-along  hosted by Alicia at Pandora Sews Plus Size Clothes, and we’ll be making the Misty Stretch Pull-On Jeans.

The sew-along officially starts on Octobre 1st. My first impulse was to make these up in black denim, but I already have black jeans to I ended up ordering some gray denim from Girl Charlee. I even lucked out and ended up winning a give-away that Alicia hosted on her blog for her first blogging anniversary, so I won a generous prize pack with the pattern, a gift card from Mood, and some needles and Gutermann topstitching thread to help me with this project. Very exciting.

I’m also planning to participate in the Fall Essentials Sew-Along, which is hosted by Rhinestones & Telephones. I’ve actually lurked this sew-along for a couple of years now, and it was a huge dose of inspiration for me when I was still trying to push myself to get into sewing garments. What I find particularly appealing about FESA is that there are so many possibilities, you can really make whatever suits you. Plus, it’s knitting-friendly, which is a huge bonus for me. There are a couple of different categories my plans fit into.

Fashionable Foundations for Frosty Weather

In addition to making the Misty Jeans, I’m also planning to make the Style Arc Jasmine Pants in some stretch twill that I have in the stash. I’m going to prioritize making a black pair since I kind of hate my current black work pants, but I’ve also got some gray twill that I might use.

Chic Chemises for Cool Climates

Faded Stripes (Ottobre 02/2015), Till Dawn (Ottobre 02/2014) and Solid Green (Ottobre 02/2014)

Faded Stripes (Ottobre 02/2015), Till Dawn (Ottobre 02/2014) and Solid Green (Ottobre 02/2014)

While these patterns don’t really say “fall” (in fact, they are all from Spring/Summer issues of Ottobre Woman), I need some shirts to wear with cardigans. My fall teaching uniform is basically pants/shirt/cardigan, so these shirts will definitely expand my workwear possibilities. I’ve got a selection of rayon jerseys in the stash that I’m planning to use.

I’ve been wearing out cardigans faster than I’ve been replacing them, so I could also use a few more top layers. I’ve got a black ponte I’m planning to use for the Morris Blazer, and a couple of sweater knits that I plan to use for the cardigans.

I’ve been meaning to make this pattern since it came out–I even printed it out and assembled the sheets a few months ago. But I haven’t actually made it yet because I kept waffling on what fabric to use. Now I’ve got three cuts of rayon jersey that I think are all good candidates, so I’m hoping to make at least two versions of this shirt.

Hannah Fettig's Featherweight and Gudrun Johnston's Little Wave

Hannah Fettig’s Featherweight and Gudrun Johnston’s Little Wave

I’m also planning to finish up my Little Wave and Featherweight cardigans, which are both in progress.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside


Kelopuu Hoodie (Ottobre 05/2014) and Get Moving Hoodie (Ottobre 05/2015)

I think I might be stretching the definition of this category, but these seem jacket-like to me. I’ve got some cotton interlock that I’m planning to use for the Get Moving Hoodie. I’ve been walking recently, and a lighter layer will be nice for those cooler, but not quite cold fall days. The asymmetrical hoodie is another piece that I keep meaning to make, but haven’t gotten around to yet. I’ve got some black sweatshirting that I plan to use to make it.

Melanie Berg’s Sunwalker

Scarves are another big part of my fall teaching wear. I just bought some Knit Picks Gloss in Blackberry that I’m going to use to make Sunwalker. I plan to make the scarf a bit smaller than intended in the pattern to make it a bit more wearable for me.

So those are basically my fall sewing and knitting plans. Will I finish all of them? Of course not! Or, at least not by the time FESA officially ends in mid-November. But I think I can at least make a decent dent and, fingers crossed, have a significantly improved teaching wardrobe at the end of it.

Hot Patterns Fast and Fabulous Tailored Track Pants

If my Onyx Shirt felt like a sewing victory, then this project made me feel even more triumphant. This is my first time sewing a pair of pants that are suitable for wearing outside the house.

Hot Patterns Tailored Track Pants

These are the Fast and Fabulous Tailored Track Pants from Hot Patterns. This project was an experiment in a lot of ways. It was not only my first serious attempt at pants-fitting but the tapered, cropped leg, elastic waistband, and relaxed fit are out of the norm for me in terms of style. When I first finished the pants, I was kind of disappointed—they felt a bit bulky and the legs seemed like an awkward length. But a trip through the washer and dryer improved the fit. (I did pretreat the fabric, but only sent it through the washer and dryer once. It’s a linen/rayon blend so I suspected that another turn in the dryer would result in a bit more shrinkage.) I’m pretty happy with them now and even wore them to a second new faculty orientation I had to attend at the university’s main campus–paired, of course, with a nicer shirt and nicer shoes than shown here.

HP Tailored Track Pants

The fabric I used is a medium-weight linen-rayon blend that I bought last year from JoAnn Fabrics. The fabric is probably a little heavier than is ideal for this pattern, and I did have some issues with bulk at the waist seam, especially near the pockets. I would manage the bulk differently on my next version, but I’d probably also use something a touch lighter. I actually have a lighter-weight linen-cotton blend that I’ve earmarked for a second version of this pattern, but I don’t imagine I’ll actually make them until next spring or summer.

HP Tailored Track Pants

Fitting this pattern was actually pretty easy, which makes me think that Hot Patterns pants might just be a good fit for my body. I started with a size 24, made a muslin, and ended up removing a 1.5-2” wedge from the center front and adding about 3/8” to the back inseam. With just those two changes, I feel like I ended up with a pretty respectable fit.

HP Tailored Track Pants

Once I got to the point of finishing the pants, I did end up shortening the legs by 2”. I was surprised that the legs seemed too long since I’m 5’7”. After a bit of research, I think the reason I needed to shorten the length was because I intended to wear these pants with flats. The fashion advice of the internet suggests that if I was going to wear these pants with heels (as pictured on the pattern envelope), the legs would have been a perfect length. Women’s clothing is weird and complicated.

Hot Patterns Tailored Track Pants

My one quibble with this pair of pants comes from my own poor choice of elastic. The pattern calls for 5/8” elastic, which I couldn’t find in the store. I didn’t want to have to order elastic online, so I used ½” elastic instead. The problem is that the channels for the elastic are wide enough to allow the elastic to easily twist and flip. The problem is made worse by the fact that the waistband design only allows for one point where you can invisibly secure the elastic (at the center back). The elastic in the top channel is most prone to twisting and it’s pretty annoying—all the more annoying since it’s a problem I feel like I should have been able to foresee and prevent. Oh well. Next time I’ll be patient and order the right size elastic.

Hot Patterns Tailored Track Pants

I like the detail of the cuffs on these pants, although you can’t really see them in these pictures thanks to the impossibility of photographing black. If I make these again, I think I might add some pockets to the back just to further distance their look from pajama pants. By far, my favorite detail on these pants is the multi-channel waistband, which makes them particularly comfortable. I have an 11” difference between my waist measurement and my high hip measurement, so the slope between those two points of my body is pretty extreme. It seems like the multiple pieces of elastic conform better to the shape of my body so that the waistband stays in place throughout wear. I think this is the first time I’ve not had to fight with a migrating waistband. Hallelujah.

Paprika Onyx Shirt

Behold: my first successful woven garment.

Paprika Onyx Tee

This is the Onyx Shirt from Paprika Patterns. It’s a pretty basic woven tee pattern with a crop top option (thanks, but no thanks). But it has some nice details that I really liked: a slight dropped shoulder, the option for a scooped neckline, and—the big seller—a sleeve cuff and epaulette detail. I ended up making View A with the scooped neck option.

I didn’t make a muslin since it was a pretty basic style and since my fabric was something ridiculous like $2/yard. I did, however, make a few fit alterations before cutting out my fabric. Starting with the size 7, I:

  • Did a 1.5” FBA, rotating part of the dart out to the hem but leaving most of the dart in for a better fit.
  • Added 2” in width to the sleeve. Since I was adding so much width, I had to make some adjustments to the sleeve cap and the length of the armscye. I used this tutorial from The Curvy Sewing Collective, and the adjustments worked out nicely.
  • Blended out to a size 9 at the hip.

For a first go with this pattern, I’m pretty happy with the fit. Next time, I’ll add a bit more width to the back hem so it falls better at the back hip. If you look at the profile view picture farther down the post, you can see that the side seam is unbalanced and is being pulled towards the back.

The fabric is a cotton voile from that has a plaid pattern woven into it. I believe described it as a “shadow plaid.” The texture is a nice alternative for the print-phobic like me. Plus, while I did make an effort to match the horizontal lines of the plaid along the side seams and to center the plaid down the front and back, I didn’t have to worry too much about messing up the plaid matching at the sleeves and such since the plaid design isn’t highly visible. This fabric was very eager to fray, so I used French seams wherever I could and finished the sleeve seams with a 3-step zigzag stitch.

Paprika Onyx Tee

My only complaint with this pattern has to do with the cuffs. The way the cuffs are finished, you end up with an unfinished edge that gets folded down to the edge of the sleeve and that remains invisible so long as the cuffs are in place. But the cuff is only secured by a line of stitching at the sleeve seam and then by epaulette. The end result is that it is pretty easy for the cuff to flip out of place and show the unfinished edge. I recently finished a pair of pants with a cuff that is invisibly secured with a hem stitch. If/when I make this pattern again, I would probably try the same technique on the sleeve cuffs to keep the cuffs from flipping down.

Paprika Onyx Tee

I wasn’t sure I would actually like a woven tee, but I’ve really enjoyed wearing this shirt and I think it looks pretty good on me. I actually wore this with a pair of gray pants for the new faculty orientation at my college and no one gave me side eye. So two thumbs up for that.

Ramona sat at the window watching me like a creeper as I photographed four different projects. Such a nerd.

Ottobre Woman 02/2015 “Gym and Sport” Sweat Shorts

I do not wear shorts and yet here I am, modeling a pair of shorts for you on my blog. These are the Gym and Sport Sweat Shorts from Ottobre Woman 02/2015. Since I do not have actual gym or sport needs, I think of these more as my “lounge and laze” shorts. (Actually, I did wear them once on a walk but my thighs don’t play well with shorts and there was enough ride-up action for me to consign these to at-home only status.)

Ottobre Gym and Sport Shorts

As far as lounge and laze shorts go, these are supremely comfortable, and I’ve been wearing them a lot since I finished them. I was drawn to this pattern because of the details—the ribbed waistband, the decorative raw edges, the top-stitching, the front patch pockets. I had fun sewing these up, they were a good way to practice some new techniques, and am happy overall with the way they turned out.

Ottobre Gym and Sport Shorts

However, since I suspected these were going to end up being exclusively for hanging around my house, my bar for what was “good enough” for these shorts in terms of the fit and some of the aesthetic details was a little lower. I would have preferred a different color ribbing, maybe blue or purple, but I had the black on hand and wasn’t willing to go out of my way to get something different. The fit in the back isn’t ideal—I have some wrinkles at the back thighs, although they are still very comfortable while wearing so I just let it be. The position of the back pockets isn’t ideal but I also think the proportion of the back pockets is off. I actually enlarged both the back and front pockets to account for the fact that I graded these up a couple of sizes, but I think the back pockets still need to be a bit larger.

Ottobre Gym and Sport Shorts

I would have made more adjustments if this had been a pair of pants that I was actually wearing out of the house, but again—these are good enough to meet my “lounge and laze” standards. I confess that I also decided not to press these before taking blog posts. I just couldn’t bring myself to iron the wrinkles out of what are ostensibly pajamas. Life is too short.

Ottobre Gym and Sport Shorts

As far as fitting goes, I started a muslin for this pattern before I left NY, although the fabric I used had slightly more stretch than my fashion fabric so the muslin wasn’t as useful as it could have been. Before starting my muslin, I graded the pattern up by two sizes, added some extra width to the waist, and added about two inches of length to the legs. Then based on my muslin, I ended up raising the center back by about an inch, removed a two-inch wedge from the center front, added 3/8″ to the front inseam and added about 5/8” to the back inseam. I also enlarged the pockets by about 3/8” on all sides to make them more proportional to the size I had graded to. During sewing, the last fit change I made was to peg the legs of the shorts a bit to keep them from flaring out too much.

The main fabric is a medium-weight cotton blend sweatshirt fabric from Girl Charlee, and the ribbing is a rayon-spandex blend that is a medium-weight but also kind of flimsy. A ribbing with more body, like a medium weight cotton ribbing, would have been ideal but again—I just used what I had on hand. The instructions called for making your own drawstring, but I wanted to use black cotton twill tape instead. I didn’t have quite enough twill tape so I cut the length I had in half and attached each end to a length of ¼” elastic. The elasticated drawstring is nice because it doesn’t cut in when I sit down. The pattern also calls for grommets for threading the drawstring, but I just put in some buttonholes. Good enough.

This is my second Ottobre Woman pattern (my first was the Faded Stripes top from the same issue), and I’ve got three lengths of rayon jersey sitting on my ironing board that are all set to become tops from various Ottobre Woman issues. Ottobre Woman isn’t flashy but it’s pretty perfect for me—casual styles with clean lines. So expect to see more Ottobre soon.

I can only imagine that there are neighbors near by and this is my “mind your own damn business” face.

Simplicity 1062

Since I last checked in two months ago, I:

  • Successfully defended my dissertation.
  • Got to play tourist around Cincinnati for a week when my dad and his girlfriend came down to visit.
  • Met our new and deliciously tiny twin nephews (the recipients of the green and blue sweaters from this post).
  • Played trains with our 4-year-old nephew, who has somehow come to believe that my name is Lisa.
  • Made it through a very long week full of new faculty orientations, meetings, and workshops.
  • Redesigned my blog.
  • Completed my first week of teaching as a new professor.
  • Officially graduated from my PhD program.

It has been a very full summer. The first half was kind of dire, what with the seven week rush to finish my dissertation and then pack up our apartment to move to Cincinnati. But the last five or six weeks have been much more pleasant and relaxing. Even with the start-of-the-semester rush, I’m feeling good about my new job–I’ve got good students, the people I’m working with are all very nice and welcoming, and I’m glad to be teaching writing again. And although many people seem to expect me to be disappointed about moving to Ohio, I’m really loving Cincinnati so far.

A post-defense pic with my committee, including a committee member who had to Skype in.

A post-defense pic with my committee, including a committee member who had to Skype in.

After a long break, I also started sewing again at the end of July. I’ve finished a handful of items but was put off by the idea of having to figure out where to take blog pictures in our new place until today. As it turns out, the patio area at the back of our townhouse is a pretty perfect location with good light and low foot traffic from the neighbors in the afternoon, and I was able to catch up on all of the project photos I needed to take (with the exception of a cowl I knitted and now need to re-block after stupidly letting my cats sleep on it).

Simplicity 1062

Today, I’m sharing the simplest of my recent sewing projects–Simplicity 1062, view C, which I made up using a lightweight poly/rayon/cotton blend jersey from Girl Charlee. This isn’t my usual style, but I’ve been feeling drawn to oversized shirts so I thought I’d give the pattern a try since I had some fabric on hand that I knew would work well. I’m surprised by how much I like the batwing cut and all of the extra ease. It is, as you can imagine, incredibly comfortable, but I like the way that it looks on me as well.

Simplicity 1062

As far as the sizing goes, I was a little tempted just to make a straight size XL, which is the size that most closely matches my bust measurement. However, I decided in the end that I wanted to stay truer to the intended design ease, especially around the hips. So I ended up tracing the L for the neckline, blended to the XL for the sleeves and upper torso, and then blended out to the XXL for the hips.

Simplicity 1062

This shirt is meant to have a subtle high-low hem, so the hem of the front piece curves upward by an inch or so. Since I didn’t do an FBA on this top, I added some extra length to the center front of the shirt by simply straightening out the front hem. The shirt would have been too short at the front without that extra bit of length and thanks to, you know, boobs, I still get the curved hem effect.

Simplicity 1062

I feel compelled to explain that this shirt is cut on grain, but the heathered striations in the fabric run at a slight diagonal. I’m thinking of it as a fun design feature. I haven’t really worn this yet but am looking forward to wearing it all the time once fall sets in. I’m also keeping my eye open for a good striped jersey to use for my next version.

More finished projects coming soon!

Moving and Knitting

We’re finally moved into our new place, unpacked, and mostly settled. Everything went about as smooth as it could and, of course, it was still incredibly stressful. I’m so glad it’s over. There were about 10 days between when our stuff got picked up by the movers and when it got dropped off, and since Aidan was working, most of those days were me spending some quality time with Netflix and my knitting.

TV-wise, I watched Rectify, Inside Amy Schumer, and the new season of Orange is the New Black, all of which I recommend. (I mean, the newest season of OITNB took awhile to find its footing and some of the story lines were kind of heavy handed and Piper continues to be THE WORST but it was still a pretty good watch overall.) Knitting-wise, I finished my Winterlong cowl before I left New York, and I’m planning to write a separate post about it. Since then, I’ve had three different sweater projects on rotation, and I’ve been picking one at random each day to work on. So here’s the big update on my sweater knitting:

Jet Pullover

Jet Pullover

I started this sweater back in September when I decided to improvise a fitted pullover after this yarn (Cascade 220 Fingering in Jet) refused to work for anything else. I got the body knitted up pretty quickly but got completely bogged down by the sleeves. My initial plan was for long sleeves with a very deep ribbed cuff. The ribbing took forever and was seriously tedious knitting, and then by the time I finished that first sleeve, it turned out it was way too long and the cuff was creating a weird below-elbow billow in the fabric. Plus, it became clear that I wasn’t going to have enough yarn to knit two full-length sleeves. So this project got shoved in a bag and put in time-out for a few months (which is now evident in all of the wrinkles) until I figured out a new plan. The revised plan is now to make a pullover with 3/4 sleeves that will be very similar in style to my Blank Canvas, except with set-in sleeves. I’ve finished the first sleeve and the second sleeve is moving along quickly. I’m hoping I can get this one finished up before it’s a year old.

Little Wave

LIttle Wave in progress

I started this sweater–Little Wave in Valley Yarns Northampton Dark Teal–back in March and knit about 10″ of the body before putting it away during all of my sock knitting. When I started this project, I was going to omit the pockets and the garter stitch elbow patches but realized I wanted both when I came back to this pattern a couple of weeks ago. So that meant ripping out everything but the ribbing so that I could work the set-up row for the pockets. The upside of re-knitting almost all of the body is that it allowed me to make some adjustments to the shaping at the sides. I just finished knitting up to the armholes this morning, so I’ll be moving onto the sleeves next.

Slanted Sleeven

Slanted Sleeven in progress

This is my newest project, which I started right after I got to Ohio. The pattern is Slanted Sleeven, which is a pretty basic cardigan that uses a “slanted contiguous sleeve” method that basically allows you to knit what looks relatively similar to a seamed, fitted sleeve cap while knitting seamlessly from the top-down. I started this pattern, using some Valley Yarns Charlemont in Dusk leftover from my failed Apres Surf Hoodie, mostly because I was curious about the construction method. Between the unusual construction method and the fact that the pattern is written in a unique way, what seems like a simple or boring cardigan is turning out to be a pleasing knitting challenge. I’ve had to adjust the pattern numbers a bit because I’m using a fingering weight yarn (the pattern is written for sport weight yarns), and I’m clearly not far enough to be able to try it on yet, but I think the sizing is looking good so far. But I probably just jinxed myself with that comment so we’ll see what happens.

knitting corner

We still have stuff to arrange around our new place, but my crafting stuff is pretty much in order at this point. I’ve marked out my little knitting nook in our living room and I’ve got my sewing stuff all organized in the second bedroom upstairs. After having to take about a three week break from sewing because of the move, I’m very much looking forward to spending some time with my machine this week.

sewing space

I’m hoping this means I’ll have a few sewing projects to share soon. Although, most of the projects at the top of my list are shorts or pants, so they could very well all wind up in the trash. Regardless, I’m glad to have access to my machine again!

The Dissertation Socks

Over the past ten or so weeks, I’ve been busting tail to finish up my dissertation. For six of those weeks, Aidan was already in Cincinnati starting his new job, which left me alone in our apartment with nothing but our cats and my writing-related guilt and anxiety. It sucked about as much as you’d imagine. One day when our landlord stopped by to take some pictures of our place, she asked me, “So what do you do to let off steam and relax while you’re doing all this writing? Just drink a lot of beer?” Yes. But also, re-watch all of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and knit socks.

Stack of Handknit Socks

Socks are like my knitting homeplace–they are how I developed so many of my knitting skills early on and they are the thing I come back to when I need an easy, feel-good project. (I have similarly romantic thoughts about Buffy. Season Five is an amazing piece of television, even though I can’t stand Dawn–it’s just beautifully written. And that musical episode in Season 6! Anyway…) I felt myself drawn back to sock knitting when the pressure to finish the diss hit hardest, and then I just kept on knitting tubes and turning heels until the writing was done. All in all, I finished six pairs.

Pair #1: Denim Socks

Denim Ribbed Socks

  • Made for: Me
  • Pattern: A Nice Ribbed Sock from Glenna C.
  • Yarn: Regia 4-ply Terra in Denim (discontinued)

Pair #2: Blue Yonder Socks

Blue Yonder Tonal Socks

  • Made for: Me
  • Pattern: Top-down, boring stockinette
  • Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in the Blue Yonder Colorway
  • Notes: I salvaged this yarn from a scarf I made a few years ago but rarely wore. I didn’t really like wearing this bright blue near my face–it suits me better as a cheery pair of socks.

Pair #3: Ringwood Socks

Plum Ringwood Socks

  • Made For: Me
  • Pattern: Gentleman’s Half Hose in Ringwood Pattern from Nancy Bush’s Knitting Vintage Socks
  • Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy in Lost in Plum
  • Notes: This yarn was also salvaged from a scarf I never wore. I didn’t strictly follow Nancy Bush’s pattern–I really just drew on the 2×2 ribbed cuff and ringwood stitch pattern, but substituted my own cast on numbers and heel and toe shaping.

Pair #4: TMNT Socks

Socks in Stroll Tonal Canopy

  • Made for: Aidan
  • Pattern: Improvised top-down socks in 2×2 ribbing worked over 72 stitches
  • Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Canopy

Pair #5: Spike Socks

Ribbed Socks in Stroll Tonal Train Station

  • Made for: Aidan
  • Pattern: Improvised top-down socks in 2×2 ribbing worked over 72 stitches
  • Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Train Station
  • Notes: I love this yarn! I want to order another skein to make myself a pair of socks with. And maybe a second skein for a scarf or cowl?

Pair #6: Drusilla Socks 

Zigzagular Socks in Stroll Tonal Gypsy

  • Made for: Me
  • Pattern: Zigzagular socks
  • Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Gypsy
  • Notes: It’s nice that this pattern has a few different sizing options, but if you knit these at the recommended pattern gauge it seems like you would end up with sock that has zero ease, which just makes for a baggy sock. My foot circumference is 9″ and I cast on per the instructions for the 9″ size with smaller needles that were giving me 8.5 stitches an inch (pattern gauge is 8 stitches per inch) and it was clear about 4″ in that these were going to be way too wide despite my tighter gauge. I ripped back and cast on again for 68 stitches, which required adjusting the numbers for the rest of the pattern but resulted in a much better fit. I was also pleasantly surprised at how colorfast this yarn was. I was expecting a bowl of pink water when I blocked them, but the yarn didn’t bleed at all.

I’m honestly surprised to say this, but I don’t even feel burnt out on sock knitting at this point. If I had more sock yarn in my stash, I’d probably just keep chugging along. But I’m out of sock yarn and have once again witnessed the final destruction of the Sunnydale Hellmouth, so I’ve switched gears and am now watching Grace and Frankie while I knit up Bristol Ivy’s Winterlong cowl.

Our movers are coming today and it will be almost two weeks before our stuff arrives at our new place. Naturally, I’m bringing about three months’ worth of knitting with me when I drive down with the cats. I’m looking forward to lots of knitting and no writing.