Blanket Progress and Baby Knitting Plans

I didn’t really do any knitting in January or February because I was struck down with morning sickness. But when I picked up my needles again in March, I started working on a series of baby projects for my sister’s first baby who will be here very soon. (So excited!) I just wrapped up the last of those projects recently, although I can’t share them until I actually send them to their new home in MN. But finishing them meant I could get a start on some knitting for my own baby, and I decided to start with a Pinwheel Blanket.


I made a Pinwheel Blanket for Jude and found knitting the pattern extremely satisfying. I’ve been really inspired by the Pinwheel Blankets that Cassy from Knit the Hell Out has made using some TFA Palettes from Tanis Fiber Arts, so I decided to make my own and ordered the Turquoise Pop palette. The plan is to simply knit through each color in turn until I run out of yarn completely. Very complex stuff. Lol.


This photo is a bit outdated now since I’ve just added the fifth color, which means that I’ve passed the half way point. My rough estimate is that the blanket is currently around 31″ in diameter. The blanket I made for Jude ended up being around 36″ once it was blocked, and I was really hoping to get something slightly bigger this time, so I’m pleased that it seems like I’m on track to accomplish that goal. My only concern is that a 40″ circular needle is the biggest I’ve got and I’ve already got 500+ stitches on the needle, which is more than 100″ in circumference. I’m really hoping I can scrunch all of my stitches up enough to fit the full blanket on my current needle–I really don’t want to have to order something larger. I guess I’m playing needle chicken instead of yarn chicken this time?


Beyond the blanket, I don’t have a ton of baby knitting plans. I knit Jude several baby sweaters and baby #2 is due just a couple of weeks after Jude’s birthday, which means that everything should fit in just the right season. But I will knit a newborn hat from some of my sock yarn leftovers, and I’m planning to finally knit up this kit I bought from Barrett Wool Co. for Susan B. Anderson’s Little Giraffe pattern. I bought this when Jude was a baby thinking I’d make it for him, but I clearly never got around to it. I knit Jude a little stuffed monkey that he now sleeps with every night, so this seems like an appropriate friend for our new little one.


Originally,  I thought I’d stop at those three projects, but then I pulled this skein of Socks That Rock out my stash and felt like I needed to turn it into a little pair of Rocky Joggers. I bought this yarn so long ago I have no idea what the color way name is and I seem to have lost the ball band, but it’s mostly a royal blue broken up with stretches of light gray and rainbow speckles. I think a pair of Rocky Joggers in this yarn could be really cute. I think there is also an equal chance that they will just look bizarre, but I’m going to risk it anyway because I am very eager to see this color way knit up but I have zero desire to knit socks.


And while I was rifling through my stash, I also discovered that I have just enough of this color of Malabrigo Arroyo (leftover from a sweater that I made Jude almost a year and a half ago and never blogged even though it’s one of the most adorable things I’ve ever made) to knit a baby-size Beloved bonnet. So I’ll be knitting that too purely because I’ve been wanting to try the pattern forever.

I felt like I had to really push myself to make progress on the gifts for my sister. But I’m finally feeling energized by knitting again. I think a big part of it is that I’m on a break between classes and only need to work for a couple of hours a day during Jude’s naps right now. Just having more time and energy makes a huge difference. But it’s also nice to just be able to have something concrete in my hands while I’m watching Jude play during the day–it keeps me focused on the good things coming up and (mostly) helps me push away all the anxieties fighting for space in my head, at least for a bit.

Fall Knitting Plans


I’ve bound off my Carbeth Cardigan–I just need to block it and sew on some buttons. I’d love to be impulsive and buy some bulky weight black yarn so I can make myself a Carbeth pullover with a split hem. But I’m going to try to be responsible and make up some of the projects I already have yarn for. Here’s what I’m planning to make in the next couple of months:

Saudade Hat

I bought myself some Jamieson & Smith 2-Ply to make Ysolda Teague’s Saudade Hat. I want to knit the pattern but didn’t want to think about color combos much, so I just ordered the colors used in the pattern photos. If I don’t like the resulting hat for myself, I’ll give it to my sister who loves all things gray and yellow.

Madigan Pullover, resized


I’m also planning to rip out and reknit the body of my Madigan Pullover. I love this sweater fiercely but haven’t been able to wear it the last two winters because it no longer fits. I did a lot of bust shaping when I originally knit the body, including horizontal and vertical bust darts. And while it fit beautifully when it was finished, it immediately started to look baggy and weird when I lost a bit of weight. I’ve learned that less fitted garments are actually a lot more flexible through various bodily changes. I may not need to reknit the sleeves, so hopefully this salvage operation won’t take too long.

Teddy Sweater for Jude


In the spring, I ordered two skeins of Malabrigo Arroyo in Regatta Blue with the intention of making myself a shawl. But when I saw the yarn in person, I knew I’d rather see it on Jude. So I’m going to order a natural skein of Arroyo and make him the Teddy Sweater by Terri Krause.

Sounds of Life Cardigan


I still have the yarn from my failed Solitude Jacket. I’d really like a simple cardigan in this soft, heathered black color, so I’m planning to make Andrea Rangel’s Sounds of Life cardigan. The pattern gauge is different from my gauge with this yarn, so it will require some adjustments but I think the pattern is simple enough that it won’t be a problem.


This one is a bit of a stretch–I don’t know if I’ll actually get around to working on this one in the next little bit of time. But I’ve been wanting to make myself a stranded yoke pullover and impulsively ordered some Knitpicks Palette in Navy, Marble Heather, and Mist to make Ysolda Teague’s Threipmuir pattern. I swatched some of the colorwork last March during Spring Break. Now I just have to find the headspace to commit to knitting a whole stranded yoke. Hopefully finished the Saudade Hat will help me feel bold!

Outfit Along 2016: Mireille and Ginger

Despite my terrible track record for actually finishing knit- or sew-alongs, I decided to participate in this year’s Outfit Along, which is co-hosted by Andi at Untangling Knots and Lauren at Lladybird. The idea behind the Outfit Along is that you make two garments–one knit and one sewn–that can be worn together as an outfit.  It’s a fun, and kind of rare, place where the online knitting and sewing worlds come together.


I’ve followed the OAL for the past two summers and have really enjoyed seeing the combos that people come up with, but I hadn’t ever really planned to participate myself. Like I said, I’m terrible at seeing things like this through so I’ve kind of given up on them. Also, the OALtends to lean towards a particular aesthetic that, while lovely on other people, is not really my thing.But when this year’s OAL was announced, I immediately had an idea pop into my head, and I just decided to go for it.


My plan is knit the Mireille pullover from The Shetland Trader and sew a pair of Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans. For the sweater, I’m using Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Charcoal. For the jeans, I have some black stretch denim that I think will work really nicely for a pair of skinny jeans.


In my last blog post, I talked about how a lifelong emphasis on practicality and lack of interest in style has led to me having an aggressively boring wardrobe. As soon as I envisioned both of these patterns together, my inner censor started hounding me: It’s not seasonal. Why would I make an oversized pullover when all advice suggests I will look best in something fitted? I’ll always be too hot in an alpaca-blend pullover. I’m not competent enough to sew jeans. I’ve only owned one pair of skinny jeans before–shouldn’t I pick a “safer” style if I’m going to go to the trouble of making jeans? This is just going to be a waste of good fabric. That censor voice (which is discernibly different from the quieter moments of intuition that tell me when something in a project isn’t working out quite right) is fucked up, so I’m ignoring it and forging ahead with the original plan. Basically, I’m using the OAL as a way to push myself to pay closer attention to my impulses and my intuition, like I talked about in my previous post.

Anyway. I haven’t done anything on the jeans, beyond buying the pattern. I also bought the Sewing Your Own Jeans e-book that Closet Case Files put out–I’ve read through most of it at this point, and it seems really helpful. The OAL goes through the end of July, so I’m hoping to gather my jeans-making supplies, get the pattern assembled, and maybe get a muslin started by the end of June, which will give me plenty of time to actually finish my jeans in July.


Mireille, on the other hand, is off to a very strong start. The OAL started on June 1st, and I cast on for my sweater at about 12:05 a.m. In about a week’s worth of knitting time, I’ve made it entirely through the yoke and am now into the body of the sweater. The construction of this sweater is interesting and entirely new to me. Mireille has a drop shoulder. But unlike the the uber-boxy drop shoulder of the 1980s, this sweater is knit from the top-down, working from the shoulder seam and using short rows to create a carefully shaped, sloped shoulder that looks more modern. It’s meant to be loose-fitting, but the body still has some shaping and the sleeves are slim fitting, so I think it’s going to look really good once it’s done.


I’m making the 48.5″ size, which puts me right around the lower end of the recommended 5-10″ of ease. I’ve swapped out the cables written in the pattern for a more traditional rope cable and I’m altering the waist shaping a bit to give me a bit more room at the hips, but otherwise the knitting should be pretty straightforward. I’m just keeping keeping my fingers crossed that the Ultra Alpaca doesn’t grow more than expected during blocking. I’m watching my row gauge carefully, but alpaca is always a bit of a gamble. I’m going to try to finish this sweater sooner rather than later so I have time to go back and shorten the sleeves or the body if necessary before the end of July.

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.

New Pattern Thoughts

There have been a lot of summer pattern releases recently, both sewing- and knitting-related. Neither the Vogue nor McCall’s summer patterns are of any interest to me. It’s not entirely surprising since summer sewing patterns tend to be dress-heavy, and I don’t wear dresses. (Nor do I wear culottes, which are apparently a thing right now. And I especially do not wear culotte jumpsuits, of which there are not one, but two, patterns included in the McCall’s release. But I’m not the person anyone should be consulting about fashion so, you know, follow your culotte bliss.) The McCall’s release has a number of kid’s patterns that would be useful if I had a 5-year-old daughter with a moderate interest in ruffles but, alas, I just have three crabby old cats.

The one new pattern that I’ll definitely be buying is the Grainline Morris blazer. I’ve wanted to wear more jackets, so I’ve bought a couple of jacket patterns but they all seem out of my depth right now. The Morris Blazer looks like something I could reasonably manage at my current skill level.

The new Twist Collective is a bunch of patterns that make me think, “nice, but not for me.” This issue also had a significant number of kid’s patterns, although none that really grabbed me. I like the color work pattern on Elephanteau, but I don’t particularly like the neckline.

I do, however, really like the Minthe cardigan. I love all of the details on this pattern—the fit, the neckline, the pockets, the zippered front, the textured bands. But it also seems like the pattern uses some interesting construction methods, which will make it more fun to knit. Minthe has already line-jumped a couple of other sweater patterns in my queue.

BT Men's Collection

By far, my favorite recent pattern release is the new Brooklyn Tweed Men’s Collection. There isn’t a piece that I dislike, but I do have a few favorites. The two cabled hats (Crag and Snare) are great, and I can see myself making Sawyer for Aidan.

 The stand out for me is Carbon, which I want to alter to fit (curvy, narrow-shouldered, not-a-man) me. I love the monochrome color work, and there’s a very good chance I’d buy the exact yarn used for the sample. I’ve wanted to make a stranded sweater for myself for a long time but have never found a pattern that I liked enough to commit to. Apparently, they all just weren’t gray or masculine enough for me.

So those are my new pattern picks. It’s probably better not to have a ton of new patterns that I want to make, especially since if I actually made Morris, Minthe, and Carbon before the year was up, it would be a crafting miracle.

In Progress: Little Wave

I cast on for a new sweater over the weekend–Gudrun Johnston’s Little Wave. I actually had the yarn for this sweater earmarked for a different pattern for almost a year, but never worked up the motivation to actually get started on it. Then, a few weeks ago, I was feeling overwhelmed trying to pick a new knitting project, and I made Aidan sit down and give me his thoughts on the patterns I had in my Ravelry queue. Since the beginning of our relationship, Aidan’s been responsible for picking out things that have become my favorite clothes, so I trust his judgment. Well, he nixed the cardigan pattern I had planned to make with this yarn because he didn’t like the stand up collar. I agreed that a stand up collar isn’t a look I’m a huge fan of and figured that if it had been a year, and I still hadn’t committed to that sweater project, then it wasn’t worth keeping on the docket. Aidan suggested I make something with a shawl collar instead, which brought me to Little Wave.

The yarn I’m using is Valley Yarns Northampton in Ocean Heather, which I’ve actually salvaged from a previous sweater project that I never wore. I’d used it previously to make Ravine. That sweater has a great cable pattern that was a lot of fun to knit, but in the end I just didn’t like the fit, the neckline, or the style of the sweater. This was one of my earlier attempts in trying to nail down a good sweater fit and while I learned a lot from this project, I think I only ended up wearing it once or twice.

 Anyway, I took an evening to take the sweater apart, unravel the pieces, and wind the yarn into hanks. I let the yarn soak in a tub of water for a good while, and now that all the kinks are gone, it’s ready to be reborn as a new sweater project.

Working out the fitting for this pattern has been the biggest challenge so far. The combination of the textured stitch pattern, the garter stitch panels at the sides of the sweater, and the bottom-up saddle-shoulder construction doesn’t give a lot of room for improvising and makes it a bit harder to move between sizes. Plus, there’s about a 5″ difference between each pattern size, which also makes it a bit trickier to pick the right size to work with. The pattern is actually written with separate instructions for men and women, so that there’s one set of finished chest measurements, but two sets of instructions for shaping the cardigan so that it fits more conventional feminine or masculine styling. (Basically, the women’s version includes some waist shaping, a higher armscye, and the length through the body and sleeves is also a bit shorter.) The trade off for a unisex pattern seems to be fewer overall size options, but so it goes.

Right now, my plan is to basically make up the 46” size through the body. However, I’ll be casting on for the number of stitches called for in the 51” size, and dividing the extra stitches between the garter panels at the sides and the cardigan fronts. I’ll get rid of the extra stitches in the garter panels by working additional waist decreases and then get rid of the extra stitches on the cardigan fronts by starting the v-shaping for the neckline sooner than called for in the pattern. This will give me more room at the hips, waist, and bust, while allowing me to work the shoulder and armscye shaping for a smaller size. The shoulders for the 46″ will be too wide for me, so I’m going to try to work some extra decreases in the yoke shaping in hopes that I can decrease down to the appropriate number of stitches for the 41.25″ size. Here’s hoping the plan works out!

Portrait of a Crafter in the Gray Days of February

I’ve been sewing steadily through my stack of cut  and prepped projects. This past weekend, I finished up another version of McCalls 6844. Since then, I’ve been slowly working on a version of the Jalie Scarf Top and am nearly finished—I just need to figure out how I want to hem the sleeves and the bottom. The next few weeks are exceptionally busy for me, so I’m not sure when I’ll get the chance to take pictures, but I’ll post about both eventually.

Asymmetrical Hoodie from Ottobre Woman 5/2014

Asymmetrical Hoodie from Ottobre Woman 5/2014

The other projects I’ve got cut and ready to go are pretty simple and, actually, most of what remains in the pile is gift sewing. I’m already looking ahead and planning what I’ll work on when I get through those projects, and I’ve got two particular patterns on the brain. First, I’m planning to make up the asymmetrical hoodie pattern from the 2014 Fall/Winter issue of Ottobre Woman. I’m going to keep it pretty basic and use some black sweatshirt fleece I bought from Girl Charlee recently. Then I’m going to try the Camas Blouse from Thread Theory in a lightweight gray cotton blend jersey. I tried making McCall’s 7018 last fall, but I ended up not liking the style or the fit of that pattern so I didn’t bother finishing it. I think the style of the Camas Blouse (especially the v-neck) will suit me better.

Thread Theory Camas Blouse

While sewing has been going pretty well for me, my knitting has felt like a bit of a drag lately. I have a gift in progress that was actually quite fun to knit, but I’m now in the throes of some tedious finishing work that I just don’t have the energy to push through at the moment. But the biggest thing that has me feeling stalled on my knitting is an unfortunate sleeve problem with the basic gray pullover I’ve been working on for a few months. I knit the first sleeve, which felt like it took forever, only to discover that it was way too long and that I didn’t have enough yarn to knit a second full sleeve, even if the sleeves were shortened to a reasonable length.

Jet Pullover in Progress

I came up with a plan to do some sweater surgery on the first sleeve so I could turn it into a 3/4 sleeve without re-knitting the whole thing. And then I did nothing. And since then, I’ve just felt kind of haunted by that crappy sleeve. I recently realized that while my sweater surgery plan is workable, it won’t yield the result I really want and the only way to get satisfying sleeves with the yarn I have left is to redo the first sleeve completely. I actually feel better about the sweater since realizing this, but I’m also not currently up to ripping out a sleeve that took a million years to knit. In short, knitting and I are on the outs because it keeps demanding more focus and emotional energy than I have to give right now. It’s okay. I am sure we will make up later.

On a more upbeat note, I’m really excited that the Great British Sewing Bee is back. You have to do a bit of digging to find a way to watch it if you’re in the U.S., but there are a couple of different extensions/programs that will allow you to stream it on the BBC iPlayer. (I use this one. There’s a small monthly fee after you stream a certain amount of data, but I think it’s worth it.) I love this show—it’s fun to watch and I find it very inspiring. Plus, the show challenges are helping me keep my own current stressors in perspective. Watching a group of people struggle to transform a denim shirt into an entirely different garment in 90 minutes while being filmed and then publicly judged on their work? I figure, if they can make it out of the sewing room alive and in tact, I’ll be okay too.

How is February going for you so far?

Assorted Thoughts and Plans


My Apres Surf Hoodie is a bust. It’s just too snug and the snugness isn’t easily resolved. I think part of the problem is that it’s hard to measure gauge on an overall stitch pattern. But I suspect a bigger part of the problem is that I switched the way that I was working my SSKs about 2/3 of the way through the back. I also should have blocked my pieces as I finished them to make sure that they were knitting up to the appropriate size, but I didn’t. Oh well. I still really want this sweater, so I’m going to just put it aside for now until I’m emotionally ready to rip and reknit.

Grandpa Cardigan

On a more optimistic knitting note, I’ve finished my Grandpa cardigan. It just needs a bath and some buttons and it will be all ready for the dip in temperature that we’ve got coming up this weekend. More pictures and details to come shortly.

Gloomy Pullover in Progress

I also started a new pullover. I’m using some Cascade 220 Fingering in a heathered black. I had first planned to use the yarn to make Carpino, but that pattern was written for Brooklyn Tweed Loft which is apparently closer to a sport weight than an actual fingering weight. Cascade 220 Fingering is firmly a fingering weight, so the stitch pattern looked terrible at the recommended pattern gauge. So I switched gears and decided to try making Catkin, but the dark color of the yarn combined with the heathering effect meant that the stitch pattern wasn’t really visible. So now I’m improvising a simple light-weight pullover. So far, it’s all stockinette knit in the round, which feels wonderfully meditative at the moment.


I managed a small bit of sewing over the last week and have been thinking a lot about what I want to make over the next few months. Here are some of the things I’ve got my eye on:


I’m planning some very basic t-shirts in very basic colors that will really just become shirts for layering. Boring, but useful. The black and gray fabrics are both cotton-spandex blends and the white is an organic cotton interlock. I’m planning to use the V-neck t-shirt pattern included in McCalls 6658, which is the same pattern I used to make my recent vine-print tank top.

Knit top plans

I’ve also got some more interesting knit tops planned. From left to right, I’ve got the Jalie scarf top that I’m planning to make up in a dark teal rayon-spandex blend, Vogue 8831 (a raglan pullover with a cowl neck) which I’m planning to make with a black rayon sweater knit, and McCalls 7018 (a jersey button-down), which I planning to to make in a heathered black cotton jersey.

Burda zipper raglan

I also have a gray cotton jersey that actually feels somewhere between a traditional jersey and a sweater knit, and I’m planning to use that fabric to make this zippered Burda raglan top.

McCalls button downs

These shirts are probably more aspirational than the other projects I’m planning, but I’ve got a white cotton broadcloth that I want to use to make a basic button down using McCalls 6649 (sans color blocking, thank you very much). I’ve also got this polka dot rayon challis that should work nicely with McCalls 6436.

I’ve been knitting long enough that starting a new project or picking up my knitting whenever I have a bit of time isn’t a challenge. But sewing isn’t as intuitive for me at this stage, and when I’ve stopped doing it for awhile, getting back into it starts to feel really daunting. So I’m going to aim to squeeze in 15 minutes of sewing everyday. I’m hoping this will help me work my way through the fabric and patterns I’ve been accumulating while also keeping me from feeling like I need hours of uninterrupted time to get any sewing done.


Apple Zucchini Muffins

I’ve been doing some simple baking lately—easy stuff like banana bread (I’ve been using this recipe from Simply Recipes and it’s great). I made these apple zucchini muffins two weeks ago and they were really, really good. Good enough that I’ll definitely be making these again soon. I substituted a pinch of allspice for the cardamom and used 1/2 a cup of vegetable oil instead of 1/4 cup because I didn’t have any applesauce on hand. The best part about these muffins is that, unlike a lot of muffins, they stay good for days.


Aidan and I have been watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and are at the beginning of season 3. Kira Nerys has officially joined the ranks of my all-time favorite female TV characters. She’s pretty much on the level of Dana Scully in terms of the depth of my love for her. My favorite things about her include: her ongoing distrust of the Federation, her salty attitude, and her Bechdel-test approved friendship with Jadzia Dax.


I also appreciate the fact that 90% of her smiles are sarcastic. She is a woman after my own heart.

May MAGAM Plan

So I’ve already made two garments for myself this month (my gray Birgitte tee and my chevron camisole), but I’m still planning something different as my official Make A Garment A Month project for May. I’ve been wanting a light-weight hoodie for awhile and have actually been wearing one of Aidan’s around the house lately. So this month, I’m going to try my hand at Vogue 8951. I’m planning to make view B with the hood and kangaroo pocket. I’ve got a black cotton interlock for the main fabric, but I’ll be adding a contrast hood lining using this red, gray, and black chevron jersey.

You might notice from the pattern envelope that this pattern is drafted so that the back is a good 4″ longer than the front. I think this is a really weird design feature–it reminds me of a mud flap. I assure you I have already hacked that extra length off of the back pattern piece. I haven’t seen very many versions of this made up yet (it’s a relatively new pattern), but the few people who have posted about this pattern have similarly done away with the weird butt flap.

This is a “Very Easy Vogue” pattern so hopefully it works out better than my April failure. Onward with the sewing!

A Failed Project and Other Crafting Woes

Sometimes trying to make things is a real drag. I haven’t really been knitting since I finished my Blank Canvas sweater back in March. I’ve picked up a couple of small projects trying to get back into the groove of things, but I’ve ended up giving up on all of them. And then this weekend, I threw in the towel with New Look 6104, which was supposed to be my April MAGAM project. After sewing the darts and the pintucks, I basted the fronts and back together to check the fit, and it’s kind of a mess. I mean, the fit isn’t the worst, but there are several fit issues that really bother me—the bust darts are too low and I suspect that the full-bust adjustment I made was actually a smidge too large. I tried to add darts to the front to add some waist shaping, but they didn’t turn out well, and I think in general I need more practice sewing and pressing darts. Plus, the interfacing I used (while the weight recommended by the pattern) is significantly stiffer than I’d like.

I could finish it and call it “wearable,” but that would only be in the sense that I could physically wear it on my body because I would never actually choose to wear it. And there are certainly some things I could do to try to fix some of the fit issues I’m experiencing, but I’ve reached a point where the number of things that bother me have far out-paced my interest in the project and my desire for the finished object. So I’m forfeiting this one and moving on to the next project. I’ll admit that I let the failure of this project get me down this weekend, so I’m trying to focus on the silver lining in this crafting cloud. So here are some of the good things that have come out of the work I put into this failed shirt:

  • I made my first muslin for this project, and my muslin was partially successful. While I’m not happy with how the front of the shirt was fitting, I did manage to get the fit of the back worked out nicely with a muslin. I ended up  doing a narrow back adjustment, a rolled back adjustment, and a sway back adjustment (all of which I did using the methods described in Fit For Real People), and I can apply this fit knowledge to future projects. Also, part of the reason that I was able to get a good fit in the back was because I actually re-cut the back for my muslin after making pattern changes based on my first muslin. I (stupidly) did not do the same for the front, and now I tangibly see the benefit of seeing the muslining process through to the very end.
  • I used a cheap piece of fabric that I bought awhile ago and have no real attachment to so I’m not broken up about it being used for a failed project.

  • I had to sew pin tucks for the first time and they turned out really well.
  • I had planned to bind the armhole seams, so I used some of my extra fabric to make some bias tape. So now I have about 3 yards of chambray double-fold bias tape that I’m sure will come in handy at some point in the future.

  • This project has helped me re-assess some of my sewing goals. For example, I’m not sure how committed I am to woven shirts in general. I want to work on fitting a pattern for a basic button-down shirt since this is really the only kind of woven shirt I’m drawn to in the first place. I had been planning to try a couple of different simple woven blouse patterns this summer, but I’m going to change my plan and focus on fitting McCall’s 6035. I like the princess seam detail and if I can get a good fit on this pattern, I can see myself making this pattern over and over again. I’m pretty minimalist in terms of what I like to wear so it makes sense to me to spend a good deal of time fitting some basic patterns for button-down shirts and pants, even if they are a bit complicated, rather than trying my hand at a bunch of different patterns that I feel iffy about.

With all of that in mind, I’m moving on to some of the projects I’ve planned to make for other people and I’m returning to some more basic knit patterns. This weekend, I got all of the notions and fabrics I need to get going on a project for my nephew and godson, and I’m getting ready to cut out the Birgitte Basic Tee. I’ve developed a bit of a knit inferiority complex and somehow convinced myself that I’ve been “cheating” by sewing so many knits rather than working out fit with woven patterns, but I realized how stupid this was this weekend. Knits are what I like to wear, so it makes sense that I work on developing my sewing skills with knits. But I’m also trying to be a little more gentle with myself in general—I get impatient with myself for being a beginner, but of course, the only way to get past being a beginner is to keep moving through the clumsy beginner stages.

I’ve also finally started knitting a new sweater with this heathered black yarn, and it only took me knitting through 2” of twisted rib last night to climb my way out of my knitting funk. I’m doing a variation of Kate Davie’s Catkin sweater, which is a fingering-weight sweater worked at a fine gauge. I don’t know what it is, but I find a fine-gauge ribbing intoxicating. Hopefully my craft life continues looking up!