A Chambray Day

I'll admit that post-Lent, I've missed doing outfit posts, so I'm bringing 'em back (albeit not daily-maybe weekly). Chambray Day

I've been thinking a lot about personal style lately and I've been trying to think what, if anything, defines my style. I have a hard time putting my finger on it (though my knitting circle can select with great accuracy, what would be a "Leah sweater") and I thought by continuing to document my favorite outfits, I might be able to get a better grasp on my personal style.

Chambray Day

Chambray Dress: Bass Outlet

Forecast Cardigan: Made by Me

Boots: Naturalizers - perhaps unsurprisingly, I've worn a hole in the bottom of these :(

How do you define your personal style? Any tips for pinning it down? Does it help you in any way or do you think it doesn't matter?

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A Simple Neutral Skirt

Grey Twill Skirt

So it's a few days late for Lent, but I finally have that simple neutral skirt I needed for my wardrobe and it only took two days start to finish. So maybe I'm not the slowest seamstress ever.

Sewing with Friends

Of course it helps when you have company for one of those days (though a second ironing board would have been helpful).

Next Up!

The pattern is Burda(style?) 7437 view B, which was the only pattern I could find that had the styling I wanted - specifically having the fly closure. The fly was a first for me - my tip: baste the zipper first - it took a couple of tries to get everything lined up, but was otherwise simpler than I thought it'd be.

Grey Twill Skirt

I made a few minor mods - namely skipping the pleat in the back and taking in the back waist band/center seam. It wasn't clear if the skirt was designed to sit at the waist or not, but mine does, which may be why the skirt ended up a teeny-tiny bit shorter than I expected (which I honestly didn't notice until I looked at these photos). If I sewed it again, I'd probably add an inch to the hem (and not over-trim the button underlap), but overall I'm very happy with the way this one turned out.

Grey Twill Skirt

I did flat-felled seams on all the piece to piece joins and top-stitching on the pockets and waistband. I hammered in a jean button for the closure.  All told - I think it turned out very professional-looking, like if I didn't tell you, you wouldn't know I made it.

Grey Twill Skirt

My next sewing project will be a Sunni-inspired sleeveless bow blouse. I feel like I'm on a sewing roll right now, so I'd love to keep the good mojo going!

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Lent Day 43

Lent Day 43 The pollen levels in town today are 10 on a scale from 0-12, so I am unfortunately a booger factory today :(

Despite my seasonal sniffles, I popped on a cheery summer dress, made seasonal with a wool cardigan and boots. Lent Day 43

Cardigan: Forecast, made by me.

Dress: 4th of July Dress, made by me

Belt: Off a shirt I got at Sears. No longer have the shirt.

Wool Tights: WarmLegWear.com

Boots: Naturalizers

Lent Day 43

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Introducing: Winterberry

Winterberry Gloves & Beret Set

I hope no one minds seeing a very woolly pattern with winter in the name in the midst of spring (at least in this hemisphere), but I'm so excited to finally get this pattern out in the world that I couldn't wait for more appropriate weather.

Winterberry Gloves & Beret Set

This hat and glove set is one of those "necessity is the mother of creation" projects. In back in late 2008(!), my dear friend Kasey requested some knitted elbow-length gloves to go with a 3/4 sleeve coat she had purchased. I was happy to oblige and even though I'd only made a pair of Nordic mittens and no gloves at all, I decided that I needed to design the gloves myself.

Frozen Winterberries

At the time I was heavily inspired by the winter berries that were adding splashes of color to the otherwise gray trees in my neighborhood and having just finished Stephanie Japel's Forecast Cardigan I was well acquainted with bobbles - all of which led up to these gloves:

Winterberry Gloves

The structure didn't change all that much from these originals, with the exception of the thumb, which was improved in the final version.  The red gloves were knit in Ultra Alpaca, which was soft and lovely, but was lacking in the stitch definition I thought the cable panel needed and the sturdiness which gloves require.

Winterberry Gloves & Beret Set

For the final version, then I chose to knit with Peace Fleece Worsted in Antarctica White, which I found to be a very flattering shade.

Winterberry Gloves & Beret Set

With both the Peace Fleece and the Ultra Alpaca, the gloves used a skein and just a teeny bit of a second skein - usually just to finish the fingers on the second hand, so I decide to work up a beret with a complimentary cable pattern. Aside from the cable, the beret is a simple knit, but is just the right size for pulling down over the ears for true warmth.

Winterberry Gloves & Beret Set

The patterns requires some cabling without a cable needle, which is fully explained in the pattern notes and the gloves utilize a 8-row cable repeat, with row counts at the end of each section to keep on track.  The gloves are fitted from elbow to wrist and the hat ribbing is knit on smaller needles to remain cozy for a multitude of head sizes.

Winterberry Gloves & Beret Set

If you're interested in making a your own Winterberry set, you can purchase the pattern in PDF form for $7.00 USD  via my Ravelry store or the PayPal link below:

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I did not cobble the shoes

Forecast Sweater & 1/2 Circle Skirt

Two posts in a week? This hasn't happened in quite some time! But I had some new FOs that I couldn't wait to share. The outfit shown above is Leah-made from head to toe, (well - I didn't cobble the shoes).

The sweater is a Forecast that I finished last fall when I first moved back to Maine. I never took finished photos of it because it was too small and I wanted to reblock, which I did about 2 weeks ago. The sweater didn't get any better fitting (it's a bit short and a bit tight - becuase honestly, I made it a size too small on accident), but I wear it all the time anyway and it worked with the outfit.

The skirt is a 1/2 circle skirt made in vintage (and admittedly ever so slightly moth-eaten) wool I purchased at the same time I got the fabric for this skirt (which I guess I never blogged about).  The pattern is Simplicity 2758 and was a simple and quick pattern. You can't see it on the photo, but there's also some nice button/tab detailing at the waist. Though I have to say that I keep making these skirts with waistband detailing, but I almost never wear skirts in a way where the waistband is visible. Ah well.

Clessidra Knee Socks

The final part of the outfit and the one I'm most excited about is my first pair of hand-knit knees highs. It's another Knitty pattern, Clessidra, and it has a lot of great details and a good fit (though you have to size down your needles on the heels).

Clessidra Knee Socks

One of my knitting buddies comments on how she likes my use of props/styling in my knit photos and wanted to know what was the plan for these socks. I was trying to go for autumnal Library/Den feel. And in case anyone is wondering the books are Alice In Wonderland, Jane Eyre (which I'm currently reading)/Wuthering Heights, something called Wild Wild World I picked up at a vintage book sale because I thought it was pretty and the Letters of Lewis Carroll vols. I and II.

Clessidra Knee Socks

And if I don't catch you tomorrow  - Happy Halloween!

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When I moved to Maine, I decided that I wanted to walk more and Mr. Cleaver agreed. We both love to stroll together, in Chicago, we'd jaunt up to Andersonville. Here in Portland, we've ended up in a neighborhood tailor-made for the leisurely stroll. Then houses are lovely to walk along and the other evening we saw some little brown bats in action at the far end of street, there's also Baxter Woods which is a 6/10 mile loop through deciduous and evergreen trees, and then there's Evergreen Cemetery.


Now before you start thinking that I've gone all morbid and spend all my time hanging out in cemeteries, I say fear not. It's just that cemeteries are some the best keep green-spaces ina lot of urban environments, if you don't mind weaving between headstones. I always loved the idea that in the early 1900s people used to have picnics in graveyards. I don't know why the shift occured, but there are plenty of people wandering the trails at Evergreen, so I'm not alone.


I also love the history of graveyards. Who were these people, why did this one deserve a monument, while this person hardly a stone at all?  What happened to the wife on the headstone listed below her husband with a birth, but no death date; and how horrible to lose someone at sea.

Duck Pond

As an added bonus, Evergreen has a trio of duck ponds, filled with Mallards that will eagarly take your stale bread. We also saw what might have been a cormorant. I'd really loved to get a book on the local flora and fauna so I could identify it all.



And my favorite season is knocking at the door!

In a quick round-up of other news. I had my second interview on Monday, but alas, no job there, though the interview went (I felt) very well.

We found a great dresser for $10 at a garage sale this weekend, so I am no longer living out of a suitcase, which is fnatastic for one's pysche. I've also made what seems like an endless series of trips to Target and Walmart to get all the little things, like a toaster or a vacuum.

The book club is reading Watership Down, and I raced through it. I forgot how wonderfully thrilling that book is. Next up on my reading list is Richard Russo's Empire Falls, then I plan to do a survey of New England Poets - feel free to send along any suggestions.

I'm about a third of the way done with the first sleeve on my Forecast sweater and I picked up some lovely leather buttons for it on sale at JoAnn's yesterday. I'm also about halfway through sewing a Kasia skirt out of thick navy blue linen. I'm feeling very confident about my sewing on this piece, though if anyone has a trick for making sure you iron the interfacing on the right side of the fabric I'd love to hear it! I also managed to pick up a great vintage navy blue linen dress/jacket combo at Material Objects, it's an almost exact match in color to the skirt, so I can mix it up with the jacket. I'll post pictures when I get a chance.

I'm assisting my friend Peter on a reading of the play The History Boys for Mad Horse Theatre, I'm not sure the exact date of the reading yet, but I'm excited to be involved!

Our internet is supposed to get hooked up on the 23rd, which I can't wait for, and will hopefully increase the regularity of my posting. Until then - I'm off to enjoy the fall weather!

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Putting it all Together

So since the last time I posted, a number of things have happened.

  1. We moved into the new place and are slowly making an empty apartment into a home (a big shout-out to our Portland friends who are letting us mooch their unwanted furniture!)
  2. Mr. Cleaver got some part-time work as adjunct faculty at the community college
  3. I got a call for my first job interview, which happens on Monday afternoon and there's a good chance I'll get another interview this week (I know a guy).

It feels good to be in our own place. The neighborhood is great, our landlords are super nice and it's a solid apartment. I'll post some photos once it gets a little more settled. So far I've managed to get a few things on the walls and my sewing machine on my desk, but no clothes out a suitcase. We all have our own priorities.

Forecast Cardigan in process

I went to a new knitting circle on Tuesday, I'll have to give it a few more tries to see if it's a good personality fit or not. It was a really small gathering, so I'm not sure it was representative, but we'll see.

Other than that, knitting's been on the backburner to unpacking, but I did finally take some photos of WIPs to share.

The photo above is the Forecast cardigan. A surprisingly simple knit, with more purling than I'd like, but I really enjoy the pattern. I'm knitting it in Cascade 220 Heather and I am really enjoying this yarn. It's very spriongy!

Sextuple S Scarf

This scarf I haven't worked on since Chicago, but I thought I'd photograph it too. It's my "Seed-Stitch Self-Striping Striped Scarf." It's not very interesting to knit and I dislike making scarves in general, but I loved the colors and wanted something simple to display them. The blue-green color is particularly special since it's the Edgewater colorway from Lorna's Lace, which is my old Chicago neighborhood. The Purple is called Black Purl. It's just a nubbly scarf, but I like it. I might pull tassles on at the ned, but we'll see, I still have a lot of length to knit.

We don't have internet in the apartment yet, so the posting may still be spotty for a while. But keep your fingers crossed for me tomorrow!

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Unemployed, but no longer homeless

So last week, when I said I'd post this week, I forgot to take into account that I'd be living out of a suitcase at the mother-in-law's with dodgy internet and looking for a job and an apartment. But after week here, I've managed to secure a place to live starting September second and have sent out a dozen job applications. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some interviews next week. 

In other words, it's been both slow and crazy/stressful all at the same time. Yay for moving!

Beach in Winter Socks

But I have had plenty of down time, which means I finally finished my Shock Wave socks that I've been working on for over a month, which considering the relative ease of the pattern, is longer than usual. They turned out very nice though, and since it's about 15 degrees colder here, have come in handy already.

I've also done about 34 rows of my Forecast cardigan since Monday evening, which is fast for me, so it evens out. In between job and home hunting, I did manage to check out a new (to me) yarn shop and bought some more sock yarn, so I'll be set for projects for a little while.

As all my belongings are shoved into two cars, I haven't had an opportunity to do any more sewing, which I miss more than I thought. I'm itching to get out my machine and start stitching, but it'll have to wait until the new place.

That said, I've yet to share the last project I finished just before the move.

Ruffly Shirt

It's basically the same shirt as the one from my new favorite outfit, but with a ruffle. But the best things about this shirt are threefold: 

  1. I got the material for $2 at a garage sale
  2. I actually got the collar stand right
  3. I did my first bias tape on the sleeves and a french seam on the insides.

So all in all, it was a great learning shirt. And also fabulously snazzy. Of course, now all my projects will be more fall/winter in nature.

Well, I'm all internet/computer burned out after spending several hours on applications, but I'll be back soon!

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