Catching Up

I kinda fell off the blog-posting wagon there for the past week. Its been super busy at work, and when I've been at home, I've just wanted to do a whole lot of not much. And I haven't been taking many outfit photos, because I've been wearing a lot of repeats.

Here's the only two I've taken recently:

Lent Day 36

Day 36: Cardigan: Joy by Kim Hargreaves, made by me

Button up: Banana Republic Outfit

Skirt: New York & Co.

Tights: Target

Shoes: Clarks Outlet

Lent Day 41Day 41:

Cardigan: L.L. Bean

Skirt: New York & Co.

Boots: Naturalizers

A Trio of Seam Finished

The one thing I have been doing is working on my Beignet skirt.

I don't think I'll be relinquishing my title of "slowest seamstress ever" anytime soon, but I think the skirt is coming together very well. I'm basically down to hem, buttonholes, buttons, and belt loops. The goal is to have it done for Easter (remember when I thought I'd get two projects done during Lent - ha!!!)

Almost There

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When I'm In My Late 20s I Shall Wear Purple

Lent Day 26As I typed in the days for these photos on my compy, I realized that I've passed the halfway mark for Lent - only 20 days left to go!! (Lent - why are you so long?) Lent Day 26

Headband: ribbon

Necklace: Cloud Necklace by Kriya

Tee: Target

Skirt: Valentine's Day Skirt, made by me.

Shoes: Clark's Outlet

Lent Day 27

Lent Day 27

Necklace: Sears

Cardigan: Joy by Kim Hargreaves, made by me

Dress: Burdastyle Zoe, made by me

Tights: Target

Shoes: Bass Outlet

I have mixed feelings about this dress. I love the color and fabric, but it's shorter than I'd like (especially in the back- despite lengthening the pattern by several inches) and the neckline and sleevelessness aren't flattering on me without a cardigan.

What do you do with sewing projects you're no longer happy with or don't fit, etc.?

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Catching Up

Lent Day 21

Last week was a wonky week for me - between getting back from the DC trip to the snow on Friday - it was just weird and disjointed. In the midst of all I didn't feel super motivated either in dressing or taking photos, so all I have for Lent proof is these two. Don't worry, you're not missing anything.

Lent Day 21 (above):

Necklace: Sears

Cardigan: Joy by Kim Hargreaves, made by me

Tee: Target

Wool circle skirt: made by me

Shoes: Clarks Outlet

Lent Day 22

Lent Day 22:

Sweater: Gap

Skirt: Granny skirt, drafted and made by me.

Boots: Naturalizers, Macy's

Reaching

My seedlings are doing well. Almost everything has a little seedling now (except the mint). Up until a few days ago, though there wasn't a hint of activity on my peppers or tomatoes. The soil was too cool, methinks. Then while driving, Mr. Cleaver mentioned that the despite the cool weather, the sun made the car really warm. Only in Maine, he said, do you drive around with the window cracked in 38 degree weather.

Reaching

His comment gave me an epiphany, and immediately when we got home, I put my tomato seeds under my clear glass cake dome, and voila! within a day seedlings!

Beignet Fabric & Lining

My other big triumph of the week was finally cutting out my Beignet skirt yesterday (the blue twill is the shell, the polka dot is the happy happy lining).

I spent some quality time in JoAnn's yesterday and picked up two patterns, some notions, the lining fabric and fabric for two more projects - including the pattern and material for a new casual skirt. I'm putting my plans for pants on hold and as soon as I finish the Beignet, I'll dive into that skirt pattern, because really, the denim skirt needs a break!!

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Parlez Vous Beret? (Lent Days #16 & 17)

Parlez vous Beret (Lent Day #16) Yesterday I went to the optometrist for my bi-annual eye exam (everything's the same as before) and while at their office, I got about five compliments on this skirt. Then one of my co-workers called it "very European" - which I think is more due to the beret than anything else.

Parlez vous Beret (Lent Day #16)

Beret: Designed and knit by me

Scarf: Express, thrifted

Cardigan: Joy by Kim Hargreaves, made by me

Skirt: New York & Co., clearance for $5-$8!!

Wool Tights: warmlegwear.com

Shoes: Clarks outlet

Tone on Tone (Lent Day #17)

Today I went for a tone-on-tone look in classic Leah teals. It'll be quiet around here for the next few days as I'm leaving for DC tomorrow for a work conference - I'll be back Monday evening, with a new post on Tuesday. Until then, have a great weekend!!

Tone on Tone (Lent Day #17)Necklace: Gift

Cardigan: Old Navy, years ago

Tank: Gap outlet

Skirt: Wallpaper Skirt #1, made by me

Shoes: Bass outlet

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Lent Days #7 & #8

Day #7 Detail For days seven and eight, I mixed it up with some dresses. Thanks to "Springing Forward" it's not as light in the mornings right now, which has made getting photos a little more difficult (or at least blurrier), but I boldly strive on in the name of Lent.

Yesterday I wore a dress that arrived in the mail on Monday. I had pre-ordered it a while back, and while initially hesitant to purchase a red dress, I'm glad I did. It's a bit hard to tell in the photo, but there are scalloped tiers going down the length of the dress - which makes for a fun dress. The black and red might be a little harsh, but I think I'll have fun trying different ways of styling this dress, particularly as it warms up some.

Lent Day #7Necklace: Sears

Dress: Red Fox by Shabby Apple

Cardigan: Joy by Kim Hargreaves, made by me

Shoes: Clarks Outlet

Lent Day #8

This morning I was feeling a little crummy when I woke up, so I went with the dress equivalent of comfort food. I bought this wool-poly knit dress a few years ago and it's easy to throw on and go.

Also comfort food? Tea and toast with marmalade.

Lent Day #8

Dress: Brief Originals, Vintage (from the store above Strange Maine in Portland, ME)

Wool Tights: WarmLegWear.com

Boots: Naturalizers, Macy's

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Finished Object Round Up

If you're one of my friends on Ravelry, you might have noticed that for the past several months the top half of my project page seemed pretty empty. I had no photos of anything I made in the past 4-5 months - oops!

I blame this on two things - one: I didn't feel like putting on woolly things in the middle of the summer to take pictures of them and two: something I affectionately call That [email protected]#n Sweater.

Chevron Cardigan

That [email protected]#n Sweater is the achingly lovely Joy pattern from Rowan's vintage knits - my second and not last project from that book. It's a perfect lightweight cardigan that goes with anything and I wear it probably three times a week these days.

Chevron Cardigan

So why the name? Three reasons, it's black, textured and involves the following US needle sizes: 1, 2, 3. All of this is to say, I started it January 28 and finished around July 5th. A nearly six month labor of love.  That said, I'm a huge fan of the finished product, my only caveat is that I wish I had used better quality yarn, it's made from Knit Pick's Palette, which doesn't feel as nice as I'd like and it's already doing some serious pilling, but in any case I'm sure I will wear this cardigan to the bone.

My Pillow

To make myself feel better, this is a project I completed from start to finish in about three days, one which involved a marathon session of watching The West Wing.

Pillow Pieces

The project was inspired by a similar pillow pictured in SouleMama's book Handmade Home, which I picked up at a local book signing a few weeks back. The "bluework" pattern is free on a site called Pattern Bee (which as of 9/10/09 appears to be down for maintenance - the link should be re-activated around 9/16). The fabric is from a fat quarter pack I picked up at Z Fabrics a while back. The whole thing looks very nice on my sofa.

Woven Scarf

This one you've seen a lot of, but here's me actually wearing that scarf I wove earlier this summer (June). The ladies in my knitting group like to mock me for my consistency in color selection. Looking at the items in this post and my current (unpictured) knitting project, I'd be the last one to deny it. What can I say?  I like the colors of the ocean!

Book Jacket Photo

Another scarf photo, in a long tradition of what I like to call the"Book Jacket Photo."

Ishabel Shawl

This is Ysolda's Ishbel shawl from Whimsical Little Knits, which I picked up back here and knit in  some hand-dyed lace weight from Pine Star Studio that I got at the Maine Fiber Frolic. I knit it in about 10 days and took about 2 months before I got around to blocking it, which really does make all the difference in the world.

Ishbel Shawl

This is my new favorite picture of myself. All of the knitting/weaving photos were graciously taken by Mr. Cleaver while we took a walk around Mackworth Island this Labor Day. Mr. Cleaver joined me in creating the final FO ofthe post, of contribution to Mackworth's village of Fairy Houses.

Our Fairy House

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Because Sometimes A Sock Sack Isn't Enough

Large Project Bag

Having recently found myself with no fewer than three (3!) knitting projects on the needles these days, I was running out  places to put them all. As regular readers and members of my knitting circle know, I am not a usually a multi-project knitter, although I think I am starting to turning into one. The case these days is that I'm requiring different projects for different places - largely driven my the fact that my main project is black yarn on rather small needles. It started when needed something simple for an airplane trip, then something light-colored for theatre knitting and dark restaurants for knitting group, and then I had a design idea I really wanted to work on... you get the idea.

My solution to this plethora of projects? A new sweater-sized project bag!

Large Project Bag

As I'm also enjoying one-day sewing projects, this worked out great.  As a bonus it matches my needle roll!

Fancy Round Bottom

A drawstring bag is no work of sewing genius, there are a few details I added that I'd like to share.  First is my fancy round bottom, which was much easier to attach than I thought it would be.

Pockets!

Second is my interior pocket for holding spare needles, pattern instructions, needle holders, etc. This spare storage takes it just a step above the usual project bag. 

Overhead View

As for the project inside? I've been working on it since January, but I have every hope that I'll be able to show it off here, finished, by the end of the month. Because you know when you need a hand-knitted sweater in the Northern Hemisphere? The end of June. Yeah....

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Lent Week 6

Lent Day 37

Lent Day 37

Lent Days 36-42

Lent Day 36, 2. Lent Day 38, 3. Lent Day 41, 4. Lent Day 42

 

Only 5 Days left to go

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Lent Week 4

Lent Day 28

Day 28

Lent Days 25-27

Okay, so there are some pros and cons to this week's Lent posting.

Pros:

  • On days 25 and 26. I am wearing a skirt. This is for you Crow.  Click on the titles for larger versions if you don't believe me.
  • I am wearing the same sweater on days 26 and 28. Why repeat myself a day apart? Because I made that sweater. After three months of knitting, I feel as if I am justified in wearing it as often as I want until it is too warm to wear it, which at the rate Chicago is currently going, will be sometime in early June.
  • Hardwood floors make awesome backgrounds.
  • I actually cleaned my desk so I could take the Day 26 photo.

Cons:

  • I, uh missed three days. I suck. But I was also prepping for a first rehearsal and helping build a set at the same time. (full disclosure: I wore jeans while set-building, but only during set building. I changed clothes immediately before and after, adhering to the rules I set out at the start.)
  • The weather mocked me with two days of nice weather and then turned into super-cold land again. (At least until the weekend).
  • I am running out of place in my apartment to take pictures. Not to mention poses. I am so not fierce.
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Knit Extravaganza!

I have no problem taking pictures of the food I cook, but for some reason, I totally have a brain fart when it comes to photographing my more craft-orientated projects. So I'm going to do a few quick posts to catch up on my current and recently completed projects. Today's post focus on the knitting, the next will focus on the sewing projects.

Project #1 - Salina Sweater from Rowan's Vintage Knits.

Salina Sweater - Collar

Pretty much the entirety of my Christmas vacation in Maine was spent working on the front portion of this sweater. I was a little iffy about the color at first - I bought it off the internet and it wassuppossedly a pale blue, but in reality is a very pale grey with a lovely rainbow tweed flecks. In any case, it will be something different in the sea of green sweaters Iam no longer allowed to buy/make.

I haven't casted on the sleeves yet, because I'm taking/took a break to work on two items I actually need/needed.  See projects #2 and #3.

 Project #2 - MK Carroll's Tillie Cloche 

 Tillie Hat Millie Hat - assemetrical brim in back

A week before Christmas, I lost my favorite warm hat to the CTA. It was a lovely maroon crocheted bobbly thing that was purchased at a church craft fair as a Christmas gift by a family friend several years ago. But alas, it is no more. It is, however, still cold in Chicago and my windowpane-style beret, wasn't cutting it in the wind. So I needed a new hat, fast.

Thanks to the beauty that is Ravelry I was able to find an excellent cloche pattern by MK Carroll.  Thanks to the awesomeness that is Mr. Cleaver I got some lovely yarn for Christmas and pretty much instantaneously went to knitting it up. I made it through the crown and half of the brim before we even left Maine.

But the brim, oh boy, did I have trouble with that brim. Which is no one's  fault but my own.

First - I did not use any of the suggest yarns, instead I used Reynold's Lite Lopi, but I did do gauge check and adjusted accordingly. My problem was that I arbitrarily decided that after the initial decrease and increase on the brim that I would say "to hell!" with the pattern and just eyeball the length. Let us just say that this decision did not work out well and was woefully long on the first and second attempts. There was much grafting, ungrafting, weeping and gnashing of teeth.

In the end however, my ears are warm and I really like the hat. It's not 100% done in the above photos. I haven't blocked it lacking a head form other than my own and I haven't added the i-cord trim, but it's cold outside and like all my projects minute finishing can wait until I've worn the thing a half dozen times.

Project #3 - Hello Yarn's Squirrel and Oak Leaf Mittens 

Squirrel Mitten

I lost my warm hat and a month later I had made a new one. I lost my warm gloves and it's taken me oh, eight months to replace them.

That's because the last pair of mittens I made were so disastrous that I refuse to display them here. Well, since Mr. Cleaver was getting me yarn for a hat, I batted my eyelids, looked at him with sad puppy eyes and got a few more skeins for a pair of  mittens to match the hat.

Now I still look at those two skeins of yarn in the photo above and think - surely those would be sufficently contrasting to make a pair of Norwegian-style mittens, surely! The purple is so bright and the grey is so, well, grey! However, as is evidenced in the same above photo this is clearly not the case. So my squirrel mittens are subtle.

But I'm okay with this, figuring that since this is my first colorwork pattern (which I'm really enjoying) it's okay to be subtle, since the mistakes will be less obvious. And as, one of the ladies in my knitting group said on Tuesday - they're like "Magic Eye" mittens, stare long enough and you'll see the image. And I quite like that idea.

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