Market Bags

I turned my final grades in on Saturday and now I’m taking this week off completely before I start all of my summer work. I’m not very good at deliberately taking time off, so I’m fighting the impulse to make myself a big to-do list for the week. So far, I’ve been sitting on the couch knitting, and I’ve managed to get to Raku Week in the most recent season of The Great Pottery Throw Down and finish up a sweater that I’ve had on the go for awhile. (I’ll share that in a bit once I’ve had a chance to block it.)

Last week, I had some training stuff to sit through, which gave me the chance to finish up my April crochet project—these two color-blocked market bags. I used a free pattern I found on Ravelry and some basic kitchen cotton from JoAnn’s, and now I have two new bags that have solved my ongoing issue of having to drag a weird pile of loose sheets and blankets in and out of school each week to get Jude and Silas’s nap stuff washed over the weekend. They also got lots of compliments from the teachers at school, so this might be a nice gift project. The pattern itself was very simple. The bottom and the top are just worked in single crochet and the mesh is an easy combo of chains and double crochet.

I took on this challenge of making a new crochet project every month on a whim, but I’m really enjoying it. I’ve known how to crochet for about as long as I’ve known how to knit, but I’ve done it so erratically that I usually have to look up tutorials to remind myself how to do very basic things. So taking up a new project each month is definitely helping to cement some of those skills, while also introducing me to new stitches and techniques and helping me develop a more even and desirable tension.

But there’s creative value to the challenge too, in that it’s helping me explore some of the possibilities of crochet. It’s an opportunity to explore what kinds of projects I like crocheting, a chance to discover new-to-me designers, and a way to develop a clearer sense of where and when I might prefer crochet or knitting for a specific type of project. I think I had also gotten to a place with knitting where I was stuck in a bit of a rut making the same kinds of things with the same kinds of yarns but not feeling particularly excited about any of it. Doing more crochet feels like it’s shaken something loose for me and helped me look at knitting again with fresher eyes and start to envision plans that feel more exciting while still feeling true to the kind of maker I am.

Anyway. I’m excited to see where the next eight months of crochet projects takes me—I don’t really plan them out in advance so I really don’t know month to month what I might end up doing. That’s part of the fun.

Project Details:

Pattern – Color Block Market Bag by Jenn Palmer

Yarn – Lily Sugar’n Cream in Ecru, Red, and Teal

Hook – H


Seamwork Lex Sweatshirt

I talked recently about all of my failed garment sewing over the past year or so, but I did recently make something that I am very happy with. After I finished up all of the quilts I had in progress over Spring Break, I knew I wanted to swing back to garment sewing and I knew I wanted (needed) an easy win. So I pulled out some French Terry that I bought last summer and decided to try the Seamwork Lex pattern, which is basically an oversized sweatshirt. My thought was that it’s much easier to get a win with a pattern that doesn’t require much in the way of fitting.

That thinking paid off and I did, indeed, get my easy win. I put this sweatshirt on as soon as I finished it and wore it for the rest of the day. And I’ve worn it every weekend since I finished it, making it one of the only things that has me feeling okay about the colder-than-normal spring weather we’re getting this year.

I am a Seamwork member and have one of the memberships that gives me access to the whole catalog of patterns. Is it worth it? I don’t know but I haven’t felt compelled to cancel it at this point. (I’ve also watched a lot of their classes, which is probably where I’ve felt the benefit of membership more.) I will say that I’m sometimes perplexed by Seamwork patterns or feel intimidated to begin them because I know the way they draft is off for my tastes. I find that they tend to include a lot more ease than I’d like (I made the Mel joggers at one point and cut one size smaller than my measurements indicated and still had to take the outer seams in by about the equivalent of another size and my fabric wasn’t even particularly stretchy). I find that their high necklines also tend to be very, very high, just like the rise on all of their pants. The issue is that I basically need to figure out what my “standard” adjustment for Seamwork patterns is and I haven’t been able to do that yet because 1) I haven’t been sewing much for myself and 2) I just started making muslins, like, a week ago. There aren’t a ton of Seamwork patterns that really pull me in but they do have several really good jackets that I want in my closet, so that’s my big drive for figuring out how to work with their patterns.

Anyway. I was less worried about fit with the Lex because it just doesn’t need to be fitted. I think I started with a size 20, based on my bust measurement, and then graded to a 22 at the hip. The pattern calls for a fairly stable medium-weight knit for the main fabric and then a ribbing with 50% stretch for the cuffs, bottom band, and neckband. I did not have access to a ribbing that would match my fabric so the bulk of the adjustments I made to this pattern were just focused on making it possible to use my main fabric for all the pieces that were supposed to be cut from ribbing. Because the terry had maybe ~20% stretch, I cut the largest size for the cuff and bottom band pieces, which worked out well. The neckline adjustment was more complicated—I first made the neckline wider and deeper (because, again, the Seamwork necklines are *very* high) and then I swapped out the neckband used by the pattern for a neckline binding since it required less stretch and wouldn’t add height to the neckline.

So, all told, this was an easy fitting win, but also still required some pattern adjustments and some critical thought about what it would mean to ditch the ribbing. But it was just the right caliber of pattern work to not stress me out and to make me feel more confident in my ability to make fit adjustments after a year of uninspiring garment projects. And it’s supposed to be in the 80s this weekend, but I might still try to wear this for awhile anyway because that’s how much I love it.

Project Details:

Pattern – Seamwork Lex

Fabric – Medium weight French terry (pretty sure it is a cotton/bamboo blend but I’m not 100% sure. I do know I bought it from and I think it is a Telio fabric?)

Size – Size 20 through shoulders and bust, graded to a 22 for the hip.

Pattern changes – wider, deeper neckline; neck binding instead of neck band; added width to hem band and cuffs to account for lack of stretch in fabric; did not use ribbing

Recent Knits

Just a short post today to share some of the knitting projects I’ve finished (sort of) recently. It’s the last week of classes for me, and I feel totally drained but I am determined to keep posting!

The first project is this Constellate Hat, which I started when my friend Abby asked if I’d be interested in doing a knit-along with her. I actually don’t knit a ton of hats, mostly because I find them kind of boring, but the stitch pattern on this pattern was really intriguing to me. And I’m glad she suggested making this pattern because:

  1. It was, indeed, an interesting stitch pattern to learn
  2. The pattern itself was written in an unusual style that was sort of frustrating at times but also kind of fascinating.
  3. I got to use a yarn that I love but has been sitting in my stash neglected for a very long time.
  4. I had been feeling very bored with knitting and so it was refreshing to take up a kind of impulsive project that was outside of the range of what I had been working on.
  5. It was fun and motivating to work on something with someone else.
  6. I ended up with a great hat.

I have not actually worn this hat because it is spring, and I am stubbornly refusing to wear anything other than a light jacket even though it is literally snowing outside as I write this. But I am excited to pull it back out in the fall.

The second project was an easy baby sweater for our new niece, Genevieve. I’ve made this pattern, The Playdate cardigan, a couple of times before—once for Jude and once for my nephew, Forrest. It’s a nice, easy way to showcase a great skein of fingering weight yarn, which was precisely what I wanted to do with this particular project. I’d had this skein of MadTosh Twist Light in my stash for years but couldn’t figure out exactly what I wanted to do with it. I think I originally bought it for socks, but it didn’t feel like the way I wanted to showcase the color. I think this baby sweater is a much better way to show off the fun little speckles of color. When it was finished, I went a little bananas and bought three different colors of buttons so I could really belabor the choice, but I think it was worth it in the end. The purple buttons really bring it together.

Right now, I’m working on the second sleeve of a Glenmore Aran for myself that isn’t worth photographing at the moment because I’m using black yarn and so it just looks like a mass of black. But I imagine that I’ll finish that up just in time to pack it away until October. Unless it keeps snowing.

Project Details:


Pattern – Constellate Hat by Hunter Hammerson

Yarn – Manos del Uruguay Fino in Peacock Plume

Size – This is a flexible pattern written for a range of sizes and gauges. My gauge was 7 sts/inch and I cast on 136 stitches.

Baby Sweater

Pattern – Playdate Cardigan by Tin Can Knits

Yarn – MadTosh Twist Light in Cosmic Silver

Size – 6-12 months

Flying Baby Quilt

Just a quick post today to talk about the third and final quilt I finished over Spring Break this year—a baby quilt for our new niece, Genevieve. I am really pleased with the final quilt and glad it’s off to its new home where it will hopefully be loved and used.

But the process of making the quilt, from the very beginning stages, was a frustrating object lesson in trusting my intuition. I started with a rough plan—picked a pattern and then decided I’d buy a fat quarter bundle of Ruby Star Society Heirloom and pick out a range of pinks and peaches and purples to use for the quilt blocks. I made those decisions early, in October of last year. And as soon as I tried pulling the colors and prints I wanted to use, I knew it was all wrong. It wasn’t going to come together to be what I wanted. Something about—something I couldn’t really name and still can’t name—was just off.

But I persisted, and kept trying to convince myself that it would be fine. I drew up quilt mock-ups and colored in the approximate fabric colors and layout and make Aidan look at it and tell me what he thought. I hung it up in my sewing room and convinced myself that it would look good. I kept pulling out the fabric over and over again and arranging it and rearranging it to tell myself the palette was right and a good match for the pattern. I went out and bought 3 yards of background fabric to complete what I needed for the top. I shopped and made plans for what I’d buy for the backing and what I’d use for the binding. And then when it finally came time to get started with the quilt, I got honest with myself, kicked all the plans to the curb, and went back to searching for a new pattern.

The good thing is that once I just accepted that what I had been planning wasn’t going to work, finding a new pattern and pulling a new set of fabrics that would work together was fairly easy. It didn’t even take me long to find the perfect backing fabric—a minky rainbow print in basically the same color palette I’d used for the quilt top. I’ve never used minky to back a quilt before, and this is where I should have again trusted my intuition. The primary concern that people have with minky as a quilt backing is that it’s actually a knit and it stretches. I am not intimidated by stretch fabrics. I have worked with all kinds of knits. I know how they behave. I know how to handle them.

But I still got in my head about basting the quilt together, and decided to follow advice I’d seen online from people who insisted that spray basting was the ONLY way to keep the minky from shifting all over the place while quilting. Some people love spray basting, which is great. I don’t. I much prefer the process of pin basting and I like the flexibility that comes with being able to adjust and repin if necessary. I kept trying to figure out why that wouldn’t work with minky backing—kept trying to understand why I couldn’t get by with pin basting and a little extra attention towards making sure I wasn’t getting any puckers on the back. I couldn’t see what it would be necessary and dreaded the whole spray basting process the whole time but did it anyway.

And it ended up being a big mistake. The minky did not shift, but the quilt top did. I had to fight through the entire quilting process to avoid puckers in the top, which is a problem I’ve never had with pin basting. I had to rip out so many areas of quilting and redo them. I had to pry the basted quilt top off the batting in two places so that I could adjust it. None of this is to say that spray basting is categorically terrible, obviously. I’m sure I’d have had a much easier time if I was more skilled and familiar with spray basting. But it sure as shit wasn’t any easier than pin basting, and I should have just gone with what I knew and what I felt good about.

Oh well. It’s done now. And finishing touches plus a good wash have mitigated most of the rough parts of the quilting. Will I learn my lesson and not second guess myself so much in the future? (Probably not.)

Project Details:

Pattern: Flying by Quilty Love

Size: Approximately 41” x 48”

Quilt top fabrics: Kona Cotton in Snow and six fat quarters from a Ruby Star Society Heirloom bundle

Batting: 80/20 Cotton blend batting from the Fat Quarter Shop

Backing: Dear Stella Minky in rainbow print

Quilting: 1.5” straight grid in all-purpose thread

Cicada Making Backpack

This project is almost a year old at this point, but it’s on my mind because I just pulled it out again after using a different backpack throughout the winter. I planned this project about a year before I actually got around to sewing it, so I bought the cicada print canvas (which I think is another pre-Ruby Star Society print from Cotton + Steel, but I might be wrong about that) before I had an inkling that Brood X was going to emerge in Cincinnati in late May 2021—right after I actually finish sewing this. But still, I guess it’s a nice way to memorialize the several weeks we spent besieged by dive bombing bugs and exoskeleton litter and gross cicada larvae and incessant buzzing.

This backpack was the first major project I took on after having Silas. I had done some very easy sewing prior to that, like making a few pairs of pajamas for Jude in the fall when I was still at home on parental leave with Silas. But at some point in the winter of 2020-2021, I just stopped sewing completely. I was teaching 4 classes online, I was getting very limited and fractured sleep, and I was having to dedicate an hour+ of my day to pumping, which is ridiculous. It got to a point where keeping my head above water with my classes required working every night after Jude and Silas were both in bed, as well as working every weekend. By the time I got the end of the semester, I was completely burned out and demoralized. I was lucky that I was able to hand off the summer class I had originally agreed to teach in Summer 2021, which lightened my load over the summer and meant I could focus on just recovering from the spring semester.

I launched my creative recovery by 1) watching The Great Pottery Throw-Down, 2) doing the Design Your Wardrobe class on Seamwork, and 3) making this backpack. The pattern is the Making Backpack by Anna Graham, and I’ve worked with a handful of her patterns before and appreciate the clarity of her instructions. I don’t have extensive bag making experience, so I found all the different kinds of interfacing and various steps fairly intimidating. But I just leaned into the process and focused on one step at the time. The result was a really healing (is that cheesy? I don’t care) sewing process where I got to do the kind of complex, precise work that I enjoy without having to worry about fitting my postpartum body and where I got to see a really beautiful object come together in my hands.

I used this as my everyday bag throughout the summer and fall, swapped it out for a darker backpack for winter, but just brought the cicadas back out. I actually missed carrying this bag around, which tells me I need to make myself something that feels more seasonally appropriate for winter. I’ve got my eye on Anna Graham’s Buckthorn Backpack pattern.

Project Details

  • Pattern: The Making Backpack by Anna Graham (Noodlehead Patterns)
  • Fabric: Exterior fabric is a Cotton + Steel cotton and linen blend canvas and the interior is also an old Cotton + Steel print. I’m pretty sure these are both pre-Ruby Star Society designs, but I’m not 100% sure.
  • Notions: I bought a notions kit from Anna Graham’s shop that had all the canvas strapping, bag sliders, zippers and a little leather patch. It was great to have everything together and I would absolutely go back to her store for notions kits or for sourcing individual notions in the future.
  • Interfacing: I don’t know. There are 3 different kinds of interfacing on this bag, I think? The pattern has very specific recommendations, which I followed. I was able to find exactly what was recommended at Joann’s, and it all worked out really well.

Home Street Quilt Wall Hanging

Another quilt! This was another of my spring break finishes, and it’s just a small wall hanging version of the Home Street Quilt from The Blanket Statement. I was immediately drawn to this pattern when it was released and decided to participate in the quilt along Erin hosted. My hope was that the quilt along would offer a few tips and tricks to help me expand some of my basic quilting skills since this is a self-taught hobby for me and I’ve been figuring it out as I go. And I did, indeed, learn some really valuable stuff from the quilt along—stuff that ensured that this quilt turned out well but stuff that I’ve already applied to other projects. So it turned out the be a really useful experience and a nice middle point between just trying to learn from working with a particular pattern and taking a more formal class.

Speaking of resources for self-taught quilters, the actual quilting I did on this was inspired by the “gentle curves” motif described in the book Walk: Master Machine Quilting with Your Walking Foot by Jackie Gehring. This is such a great book, and I’m glad I have my own copy now. I really enjoy the process of quilting with my home machine with a walking foot, and this book offers some really helpful tips for success and then a bunch of different examples of motifs you can easily achieve with a walking foot. I generally like the look of fairly dense, fairly minimalist quilting, but I also don’t want to just stick with straight lines or basic grids without ever trying to branch out. And this book has some really helpful examples of motifs that I think will help me continue to stretch my skills but that will also always help me find just the right match for whatever quilt top design I’m working with.

I made this piece to hang in my office on campus. The fluorescent lighting probably isn’t doing it any favors in terms of displaying it, but I like getting to look at it everyday. This is one of my favorite things I’ve made, and its nice to be able to look up from my desk on a particularly frustrating day (of which there are many at this point in the academic year) and just be reminded that, at the end of the day, I can make some pretty cool shit.

Since I came back from Spring Break, I’ve had a few different things where I have to engage in prolonged professional small talk, either with people I only know through work or don’t know at all.  And I’ve been struck by the fact that when people are talking about what they do in their free time (or whatever free time they’re willing to admit they have in these situations where people feel compelled to present themselves as working constantly), I actually have very little interest in talking about the things I make. I’ve talked about shows I’ve watched and books I’ve read and things my kids have done or said. But I don’t feel inclined to share my craft interests, and when I have shared a bit, I’ve kind of wished I hadn’t.

I think there’s sometimes an innate value given to things like writing poetry or playing music or even cooking and baking. There’s less of a sense of craft as clearly valuable and interesting. And I don’t have any shame or any apologies about what I do or how I spend my time—I mean, I wear the clothes I make and use the backpack I sewed and have decorated my office with quilts and needlework projects. I’ve written about making my own clothes. I have this blog and a public Instagram account. People vaguely know that I make things, but a lot of people don’t really know what that looks like for me. And that is fine. I don’t feel like I need to hide anything, but I also am not particularly interested in being a craft ambassador. I’m happy to talk about this quilt with anyone who asks about it, but I prefer to wait and keep the fuller view of my creative life in reserve to share with people I know will respect it.

Project Details

  • Pattern: Home Street Quilt from The Blanket Statement
  • Quilt top fabric: 4 prints from a Ruby Star Society Heirloom fat quarter bundle plus cotton chambray shirting left over from a previous project and some undyed muslin
  • Quilt back fabric: an old (pre-Ruby Star Society) Cotton + Steel print that’s been in my stash forever
  • Batting: leftover 80/20 cotton poly batting

Geese in Flight Quilt

I mentioned this in a recent post, but over my Spring Break, I made it a goal to finish up three quilts that were laying around my sewing room partially completed, and I actually succeeded in getting all three done! Here’s the first.

All I needed to do over Spring Break on this quilt was hand-sew the binding, but it’s a twin-size quilt, so it took me ~8 hours. And that is precisely why I procrastinated on finishing the binding for about two months. But that is basically how this quilt has come together—I would work on it for a while, approach a step that stumped me or seemed to onerous at the time, and then set it aside for a good chunk of time until I was ready to pick it back up. And with a quilt, why not do precisely that? Unlike a garment, there’s no chance my measurements are going to change before I come back to it. No chance that it will go out of style or be the wrong season by the time that I finish it.

I actually worked on this piece for two years. I saw a post from Anna Graham of Noodle-Head showing this exact quilt, which is worked up in prints from her Driftless collection with Robert Kaufman. I had been talking about making us a “picnic quilt” to take camping with us or to lay down in the grass, but I couldn’t pick a pattern or fabric. And then when I saw this, I knew it was exactly what I wanted and when I saw a kit for the quilt posted on Instagram, I bought it immediately. I think that was January or February 2020? In March, when we were all sent home, this quilt was the very first project I started working on.

To me, this quilt represents a ton of learning. It was basically my crash course in quilting. Prior to starting this, I had made one baby-size quilt for Jude that involved just sewing together pre-cut strips from a jelly roll. So that project familiarized me with the basics of the quilting process but didn’t require that I really learn any more precise or specific quilting skills that would help me with more complex projects. (It also didn’t make me fall in love with quilting. I was happy with the quilt when it was finished but had no real desire to launch into another quilting project until I got the kit for this one.)

So when I started this quilt, I had never used a rotary cutter, cut fabric for a quilt, followed a quilt pattern, pieced together quilt blocks, trimmed quilt blocks to size, arranged blocks for the top, or had to worry about a scant ¼” seam. I could have slowly built up some of these skills by working through more simple patterns or by seeking out more formal guidance through a class or videos or a book. But instead I just launched into this pattern (which is clearly marked as an intermediate level pattern) and learned by making mistakes and encountering problems and then having to figure out how to solve them. It’s not everyone’s preferred method, but it is incredibly effective.

Spot the photo assistant. Lol.

This is one of those pieces where, up close, I can see all the mistakes and the imperfections. But I also don’t really care about them. For one thing, they aren’t actually visible from a distance. For another thing, none of those imperfections will have any impact on how much we use and appreciate this quilt. But more importantly, through all of those mistakes, I learned a ton. I fell in love with the process. I feel like this is the quilt that made me a quilter.

The Details:

  • Pattern: Geese in Flight by Jeni Baker
  • Fabric: various prints from the Driftless collection (which was printed on Essex linen–I don’t think its available anymore) plus Kona Cotton in Gotham for the top and binding, Interrupted Signal print from the Art Gallery Star Gazer collection for the backing
  • Batting: bamboo/cotton blend
  • Quilting: Horizontal straight-line quilting (done with a walking foot) done at ¾” intervals
  • Size: Twin size (~70″ x 85″)

Crocheted Friends

I’ve been feeling very drawn to crochet lately. It started when Jude’s only winter hat got left behind in his cubby at daycare during one of the interminable school shutdowns in January. I needed a new one fast and had no desire to go shopping for one, so I pulled out some leftover yarn and looked up a free pattern and had a new hat for him in two days.

It was fun and satisfying and suddenly I was searching Instagram for crochet accounts and discovering all kinds of new designers and coming up with all kinds of ideas for things I could try making. I taught myself the basics of crochet right around the same time I started knitting, but I didn’t do anything with it because I found it really difficult. Then several years later, I stumbled on just the right series of video tutorials (I cannot remember for the life of me who made them) and it clicked and I’ve made the occasional project since then. But it’s never something I’ve done enough to feel like I can get into a good rhythm or to feel like I was ever advancing my skills. So I decided it might be fun to try a new crochet project each month and just see where it takes me.

So far, I’ve made the hat for Jude in January, started a fingering-weight cowl in February that’s going to take me awhile to finish, and then made two different toys in March. The first was this little blue bunny for Silas to take to school with him for naptime. The bunny’s head and tail are stuffed but his body is unstuffed and crocheted at a more relaxed gauge so it is kind of a stuffy/blanket hybrid, which I thought was really cute. I found that designer for that pattern on Instagram, and her account led me to the second pattern I made—this little stuffed hippo.

Both projects are made with Bernat Blanket, which is a plush, fuzzy super-bulky yarn sold at most big box stores (I got mine from JoAnn’s). I have a pretty limited range of yarns that I tend to order online for knitting projects, so looking at crochet patterns has me exploring a whole new range of yarn offerings and it’s just kind of fun to see what is available and play around with stuff I wouldn’t otherwise have used. Crochet also has me seeing a whole new range of possibilities in my yarn stash, which is primarily made up of leftover yarns from past projects. The cowl I’m making is actually a color-blocked cowl from a selection of single-ply fingering weight yarns I have laying around but haven’t been sure what to do with.

I’ve been knitting for a long time (almost 20 years now), and I feel a bit bored with it at the moment. I was listening to a couple of Seamwork Radio episodes recently where Sarai and Haley were talking about ways to fall back in love with sewing when you’ve been doing it for a long time. It’s got me thinking through some ideas for ways I can rekindle the joy in knitting. But I think the appeal of crochet is related to that desire to rediscover the joy in fiber arts—it’s giving me the joy of learning new things and experimenting, and it’s helping me see and experience yarn in new ways.

Project Details:

HatUnlimited Hat Pattern from Kristin Holloway Designs in Cascade 220 Superwash in Aporto

BunnyHoney Bunny Pattern from Mama Made Minis in Bernat Blanket in Dusty Blue and Antique White. (I made the smaller of the two sizes.)

HippoHallie the Hippo Pattern from My Dear Knot in Bernat Blanket in Blush Pink

Season of Socks

The end of the fall semester is always the same: things get bananas around mid-October and don’t let up until final grades are turned in and in the fray, I stop sewing and start knitting in overdrive. Knitting is my stress craft and the second half of this semester has been especially stressful. The silver lining is that after spending nearly a full year in a full on knitting funk, I’ve managed to knit seven Christmas gifts and three pairs of socks in eight weeks. I’ve also picked my Mireille pullover up again, remedied a too-short body and corrected some questionable waist shaping and actually started knitting the sleeves. I’m hoping to get that sweater done soon, but for now–the parade of recently finished socks.

Ribbed Trekking Maxima Socks

This first pair is one I knit for Aidan, and are knit in 2×2 rib like nearly all the socks I make him. The yarn is Trekking Maxima in the Black Multi Twisted colorway. Several years ago, I made Aidan a pair basic socks like these in some Black Tweed Knit Picks Stroll. They are his favorite socks, and I have never been able to make another pair that quite competes with the black tweed socks until these. So it should only be another six or seven years before I hit the magic sock jackpot and produce another favorite pair of socks.

Malabrigo Sock BFF Socks

I’ve been meaning to try Cookie A’s BFF sock pattern, and I’m glad I finally did–I already have another skein of yarn earmarked for a second pair of BFFs. For this pair, I used a skein of Malabrigo Sock that my mother-in-law bought me for my birthday. This colorway is Candombe.

BFF Socks Close Up

Malabrigo Sock isn’t my favorite for socks. Since it’s 100% merino, it doesn’t wear as well as a wool/nylon blend. I originally started knitting this up as a shawl, but I realized about half way into it that I was never going to wear a scarf in this colorway. It’s lovely, but it doesn’t really fit in with the rest of my wardrobe. So I decided to go with socks and, so far, the yarn is holding up much better than the previous times I’ve used it for socks.



I made the final pair of socks using the Fika pattern, which was published in the Spring 2015 issue of Pom Pom Quarterly. It uses a twisted rib cuff and has a contrast garter toe detail, which was the real selling point of this pattern for me. I don’t love the heel that this pattern uses, but it’s great otherwise. The primary yarn for these is Knit Picks Hawthorne Kettle Dye in Blackbird, and the toe detail is some leftover Knit Picks Stroll Brights in Pickle Juice. This is the first time that I’ve used Hawthorne. It’s a much sturdier sock yarn than Stroll–less soft and more tightly spun. As far as sturdy sock yarns go, it’s not quite as nice as something like Trekking or Patons Kroy, but it’s good (especially for the price) and it wears really well.

So those are the socks I’ve finished sort-of recently. Shots of all my Christmas knitting to come shortly!




Ogden Cami

I officiated a friend’s wedding at the very beginning of the month. It ended up being a fun experience, but the lead up was kind of nerve-wracking. I was worried that I would either 1) ruin my friend’s day by putting together a shoddy, awkward ceremony or 2) end up looking like a fool because I don’t really go to weddings and thus have no sense of what people wear to them.


Proof that I did the thing.

The question of what to wear was complicated by the fact that I do not wear dresses or skirts, which seem to be the wedding guest outfit of choice for 97% of women. And if you try to seek out pants-based wedding outfit ideas for women, you mostly get pictures of tragic mother-of-the-bride pantsuits, which was definitely not the look I was going for. In general, anything more formal than, say, a Friday night dinner at Olive Garden is a little outside my comfort zone. My life is 100% casual so occasion dressing as a concept is more or less a mystery to me. For awhile, I figured it would be easiest to make myself something to wear but I gave up on that idea a couple of months ago when I realized that it’s kind of impossible to make sewing plans when you have no sense of where to even begin.

So I ended up doing the shopping thing, which remains one of my least favorite activities in life. But after trying on anything that seemed remotely appropriate, I ended up finding something I liked a lot. And, of course, multiple people asked me if I made my outfit, which is a thing that never happens in my day-to-day life when the chances that I’ve actually made what I’m wearing are significantly higher.


A rare photo of Aidan and I dressed up.

The only handmade item I wore to the wedding was this Ogden Cami. I didn’t make it specifically for the wedding—I’ve had this project planned since the pattern was released—but I did move it up to the top of the queue once I’d purchased my wedding clothes and recognized the danger of potential movement-related button gape with the shirt. I finished it the night before we left and was thus safe from flashing any bra peeks at any point during the event.

True Bias Ogden Cami

I’ve been looking for a camisole pattern that is not cut on the bias for a long time, and that’s primarily why I bought this pattern. But I also appreciate that it’s finished with a partial lining, which I found easier and cleaner than something like a bias facing. Overall, the pattern was really straightforward and makes it very easy to get a nice-looking garment.


A shot of the inside–this is the back partial lining

The most challenging aspect of this project was simply dealing with my fabric, which is a very light, very soft rayon. It was described online as a “viscose rayon challis” but feels more like a rayon voile to me. It’s the first time I’ve sewn with something so light and so shifty, so it took some experimenting to figure out how to get the best stitch results on my machine (65/9 universal needle/straight stitch foot/1.8mm stitches, in case you were curious). Because the fabric was so light, I used French seams on the sides, so the inside all looks quite nice.


I didn’t do much to adjust the fit. My bust and waist measurements put me right between a 14 and a 16, so I just cut between the lines for those two sizes. True Bias drafts for a C cup, and my current pattern cup size is between a C and D, so I didn’t bother with an FBA, but I was still a little concerned that there might not be sufficient length at the front and on the front lining to cover my bust. So I added an additional ½” to the center front of both pieces, blending to nothing at the sides. The cami looked a bit on the short side to me, so I also added 1” of length to the body.


All in all, this is one of those boring-to-look-at and impossible-to-photograph projects that I’m really glad to have in my closet. It’s useful, it feels and fits much nicer than the cotton layering tanks I’ve been wearing, and I don’t have anything else like it right now. This isn’t the kind of garment I’m likely to wear on it’s own, but I could probably use another one in a lighter color for layering.

True Bias Ogden Cami

Let me know if you want me to officiate your wedding. I have a fancy outfit from Kohl’s and have been ordained by the internet—only the best for your special day.