Making Stuff

What's Up: A Making Update

Flexibility . . . is good. I write to you today NOT from our cabin in the woods up north, but from home. Sometimes plans change, even when you're on the verge of packing up to head out. We still need to go. It's just not gonna be this week.


How about a quick update on what I'm making and how things are going instead?

First, I finished the dress I was sewing for Erin to wear in a Halloween wedding. You'll have to be satisfied with a back-view shot of me doing a try-on of the dress OVER my sweatpants. Because that's what I've got . . . 


It turned out to be One Of Those Projects that took a lot longer than I expected/wanted it to take. Fussy fabric. Fully lined. Circle skirt. (Actually TWO circle skirts. Because fully lined.) Invisible zipper. And I was working from measurements, but didn't have the actual wear-er (that would be Erin) around for fittings. The dress turned out nicely, in the end. And it arrived safely in California yesterday.  (So check that one off my list.)

Next, I'm nearing the end on my test knit for this sweater . . .


Just a bit more to knit on the back. And then the "sleeve" edgings. It won't take me long. (The pattern release is scheduled for November 5. I've got plenty of time.) It's a very nice little sweater, and I'm eager to have it in my clothing-rotation for the cooler months. I'm also eager to have it finished, so I can move on to something else. What? I haven't decided yet. But probably this. (Although I'm also smitten with this.) (And I want to knit this, too.) (So . . . who knows.)

Finally, remember my adorable pumpkin kit? I stuck it back in it's drawer yesterday . . . 

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Giving up for another year. BUT. I am following a comment-suggestion from Valerie, and I've set up a reminder on my phone to dig it out next July and start working on it earlier. (Brilliant, non?)

How about YOU?
What are you making this week?




What Are the Chances

. . . that I can turn THIS little pile of wool scraps . . . 


into THIS charming little Halloween item????


I picked this kit up in a moment of weakness at my one-and-only Rhinebeck experience back in 2015 (Hi, Patty!). Each fall since, I pull the kit out of my "craft closet" sometime in September . . . and I carefully read through the instructions and take inventory of my materials . . . and decide THIS IS THE YEAR.  And then I (humbly) put it back in it the closet after Halloween. Unstarted. Again. 


What are the chances, d'you think, that THIS IS THE YEAR? 
(Keeping in mind that I have that test knit to finish before the end of the month. AND that I'm sewing Erin a dress to wear in a wedding later this month, too.

Can I?
Or . . . 

(And does this happen to anyone else? Or is it just me???)




This is a Test!

I'm knitting like it's my job right now.
Or . . . I'm trying to! 


Because I'm doing a test knit for Elizabeth Smith.
And I have a deadline!

I've knit a few of Elizabeth's designs in the past (like this one and this one), and they are among my favorites -- to knit and to wear. I tend to like the basic simplicity of Eliabeth's designs, and I really appreciate her attention to detail. (She writes a great pattern, too. Clear, easy to follow, lots of photos and technique tips/tricks.) So when she showed a new design on her blog last month and put out a call for test knitters, I was All Over It. Because her new design is one I'd be wanting to knit - and wear - anyway!

I'm doing the no-sleeves version in the DK/sport weight "division" . . . in this yarn. (And I did check in with Elizabeth writing this post. I do have her OK to show my progress here, although I won't be revealing any modeled shots until she releases the pattern later this fall.) 


I really like the way it's coming together so far. I love the texture! It looks kinda like Brioche. But it's not. And it looks kinda like ribbing. But it's not. (Surprise - it's all just knit and slipped stitches.) The stitch pattern has a nice, easy rhythm, and the knitting clips along pretty quickly. (And it's glaringly obvious when you've miscounted, so when fixes are necessary, they're easy to manage.) (Ask me how I know. . . ).

This is one test I'm happy to take!


How about you? What are you making this week?

(And be sure to stop by Kat's today for more Unraveled Wednesday fun.)




That's Me In the Corner

(Click here for a soundtrack to accompany today's post.)
(In case you're not already singing along. . . )

I've knit a lot of sweaters over the years.
But I've never knit one sideways before.

Until now . . . 



That's me in the corner.
That's me in the spotlight.
Losing my religion. . .


It was kinda weird to knit a sweater from cuff-to-cuff, sideways. I had to wrap my brain around it a few times there . . . on the fly. Row gauge was a huge issue for me (on a sideways project, the stitch gauge determines length; the row gauge the width), so that had me flipped around, too. It's a little like knitting origami.


As I was knitting this sweater, I really liked the "wrong side" better than the "right side" (I blogged about that here) . . . but, in the end, I went with the "right side" out. I tried with the "wrong side." But the seaming was a nightmare. And the decreases/increases didn't looks so hot from the "wrong side" either.

I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try
But that was just a dream
That was just a dream . . . 
Overall, not a bad way to lose your religion!
(If you want the details, you can find my project notes on Ravelry here.)
How about YOU? What are you making this week?



Finishing A Little Something

Just in time for the end of summer, I finished my very whimsical little embroidery project.


I loved everything about this project.
The design.
The colors.
The stitching.
The whimsy and charm.
The getting back to my crafting "roots" as an embroiderer. 


I think what I loved the MOST about this project . . . was just working without a net. Not really following directions. Just kind of . . . free-forming it to see what would happen IF.

I loved that.


This little project awakened my desire to keep embroidering; to do MORE of this kind of thing.
So stay tuned! (Because now I'm kind of inspired.)


And how about you? What are you making these days?


PS - For details about this sampler, you can read this post from earlier in the summer when I talk on and on about it.

Tortoise-ing Along


How's that sideways-sweater knitting coming along?
(This pattern.)


S - L - O - W - L - Y.

That's how!


I'm knitting at tortoise-speed this summer.
And that's okay.


I've knit one sleeve, the back and the front.
The rows are about to get a lot shorter again, so . . . Home Stretch.

And . . . I've reached the Most Exciting Part: dropping the stitches for the fringe!


Slow and steady wins the race, right?


How about you? Are you a tortoise. . . or a hare . . . when it comes to your "making?"


Be sure to visit Kat for more Unraveled updates today.

Finding Some Whimsy

Well. First I've just got to thank you all for your kind words and support . . . after I spilled the beans about my RA flare yesterday. I got a little teary more than once, reading your comments and emails. I should know by now to trust in the support and comfort of this crafty, book-loving, bloggy community, but . . . wow. When you feel the love here, well. It really does just kind of knock you over a little bit. So thank you. Thank you so very much.

Let's get back to "pretty" though now, shall we?


Way back in January, as I was setting my "intentions" and what-not for the year ahead, I claimed that I wanted "more whimsy" and "less stodginess" in my life this year. What did I mean by that? What was I going for there? I don't exactly know. But I think it probably had to do with the darkness and slogginess of 2020, and wanting to break free in this new year.

Besides. It's kind of fun to seek out whimsy in the world. (And to write off anything that smacks of stodginess.)

Anyway. I have been following Rebecca Ringquist, the artist behind Dropcloth Samplers, for a while on Instagram. I'm always charmed by her embroidery samplers! She creates designs that resemble very artsy doodles that are engaging and accessible, but she doesn't assign colors or stitches (except, of course, in her stitch-teaching kind of samplers). It's kind of like . . . she's created "coloring books" for embroiderers! And let's just say they most certainly fall in the Whimsical Camp.

I've spent many a moment dreaming about which of Rebecca's samplers I might order for myself . . . someday. Embroidery is really my "first craft." You may remember my story when, as a 5-year-old, my Great Grandma Strom patiently taught me the outline stitch by writing my name on a piece of scrap fabric and allowing me to practice the stitches while she sat nearby. (Which I stitched right to the little skirt I was wearing. Ah, the lessons we learn.)

I never did decide on a sampler to order from Rebecca, though . . . until this summer when she introduced her new Picnic Sampler. I was hooked from the first time I saw it fly across my Instagram feed! It lit up every part of my stitching brain: Color! Flowers! Gingham! Summer! And . . . it just drips charm and whimsy . . . with not even a slight hint of stodginess. 

It was an immediate "add to cart" moment.

And now I look forward to grabbing my little sampler for "patio time" with Tom in the evenings before dinner. It's a lovely way to end the day. (And except for my worst RA days, I usually can manage at least some limited stitching time.) (Thank goodness.)

I love being able to just . . . "color" my sampler with embroidery thread and stitches . . . in my totally free-form, fill-in-the-blanks way. (I'll bet this brings an eye-twitch to those of you who prefer carefully charted designs and floss suggestions. Each to her own, I say! Embrace your preferences!)

It's a lot of fun. I love picking it up and stitching a bit each day.

DEFINITE whimsy, here.
(And so far, I've avoided stitching the sampler to anything I'm wearing, so BONUS . . . )


How about you? What are you making this week?


Do check out other Unraveled posts today over at Kat's!


Taking Shape

So I've been doing a little knitting.

Not a lot.
But some.

I'm making this . . . out of this . . . and it's got a rather interesting construction.

First, it's knit sideways.

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And second, it promises future excitement (!) with Dropped-Stitches-To-Make-Fringe.
(I can't wait for that part.)

This is one of those projects that is super simple - in design and in construction.
The yarn does ALL the work and heavy lifting.


But it has taken more than a little thinking and even some algebra to get it into shape so far. Because with a sideways construction? Row gauge matters!
And I never get row gauge. 
(So I had to knit that first sleeve twice. I got over it.)

But that's not where the thinking ends with this project.
Because as I'm knitting, I'm pondering a design thing . . .
and at this point, I'd love to get your opinion.

The pattern is designed to have the smooth side of the stockinette showing as the right side.
Like this . . . 


But I'm actually loving the way the reverse side of the stockinette looks.
Like this . . . 


Reversing things is simple. I just need to decide before I seam.
(And I have plenty of time to decide, as you can see.)


They Say

. . . that laughter is the best medicine, right? Well. Here's a little sewing project "comic strip" for you . . . 


I have been dreaming of a pair of Sew House Seven's Burnside Bibs for a couple of years now. I just love the look of them . . . That easy-breezy, kinda beachy, pants-as-apron look. Comfy. But sort of fashion-y, too. Definitely "on trend." And there are photos of them all over the place. Sewing blogs. Instagram. It is a very popular pattern, and the bibs look great on everyone, every body.


The back view has always tripped me up and kept me from actually making a pair. Because, really. Who is flattered by a big, old gathered butt??? Who is comfortable always messing with long, criss-crossing ties??? That's a whole lotta . . . fuss . . . back there. And rarely does anyone show photos of their Burnside Bibs FROM THE BACK.

And now we know why!

I really do love the look (from the front). And as I wore them around the house over the weekend (to see if the gathers might "settle" with wear) (they did not), I can attest to their comfort. Seriously . . . pants-as-apron. But that back-tie-gathered-butt? It's tragic.  (Tom, always so supportive of my efforts, thought I had made some big mistake. He commented that they looked "awfully bunchy.")

I don't think there's really anything to be done about them at this point. I've thrown them in the washer and dryer three times so far -- hoping to soften them up and "calm" the gathers. It's working somewhat . . . maybe? But I think that back view is just a bridge too far for me, and I know I can't wear these bibs without constantly fussing with those gathers.

I will point out that the pattern includes a dart-and-zipper option, which might resolve some of the gathering, and could potentially reduce some of that goofy "poofiness" under the belt loops. I thought about it long and hard before deciding to forego the zipper option -- mostly because the gathering is STILL pretty extreme, even with a zipper and darts. But it may make enough difference that the bibs would fit better in back.

(Not these, of course, because too late now.)
(But for any future Burnside Bibs I may attempt.)
(Which is not likely, though.)
(Just sayin).

If nothing else, they're good for a laugh.

Fairy Tale Knitting

Sometimes, when we finish a knitting project, it's like finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Sometimes, we are granted at least one (and maybe all) of our three wishes. (That it fits, that we don't run out of yarn, that our gauge swatch was true, for example.)

Sometimes, we really can spin gold out of straw.

And sometimes?
Not so much.


My face . . . says it all.

Fee. Fi. Fo. Fum.
This disaster was supposed to be this

But my gauge swatch lied.
I hate the yarn. (It's thick and twists a lot.)
I don't think a good-soak-and-a-toss-in-the-dryer would help at all.

No pot of gold at the end of this rainbow!
(Sometimes Rumpelstilskin wins . . . and you really can't spin gold from straw.)

Some knitting fairy tales . . . are just Grimm.


I hope your knitting this week is full of fairy tale magic and that all your wishes that come true!
(And don't feel bad for me. I'm on to a new story already . . . )


Be sure to visit Kat today for more Unraveled tales!