Big Projects, Little Projects, WIPs, and FOs


I've gotten really bad at sharing my projects here. I've been posting WIP photos on Instagram pretty regularly, but then I forget I haven't put them here, and months go by and here we are.

As LMC nears closer and closer to her third birthday, I've learned that a toddler's fashion choices have very little to do with my own preferences, and that a great interest in an item one day, may translate to no interest whatsoever for next several months. For example, LMC was super interested in this dress as I was sewing it, but has never worn it aside from those photos. In general she has no interest in dresses at all. So all those lovely detailed Oliver+S patterns I had purchased, have gone into a box.

What she will happily wear almost every day of the week and most nights to bed are tutus (or ballet skirts as they're called in the Cleaver household). So I got smart, bought some tulle and knocked out a few in her favorite colors over the holidays. They even managed to supplant the previous tutu, which was worn every other day for months and has now been relegated to the back of the drawer. As Mr. Cleaver said "You could make her one in every color and she's wear them all the time, light pink, dark pink, light purple, dark purple..." (LMC has some specific color preferences).

I haven't been quite as successfully in supplanting the "doggie hat" (see every photo of my child this winter, indoors or out) with a hand knit one, but I did give myself the greatest chance of success. It's purpley-pink, has earflaps, pompom, and an animal on it. She's worn it a handful of times, which I consider a great success.

But the nice thing about both the tutus and the owl hat is they were low-commitment projects. I made a second tutu before the first one had finished it's round in the wash, and the hat took two knitting sessions, tops.  So even if she didn't like them, ripped them, lost them, etc. It's no harm done. And THAT, I've found is the key to making handmades for this child.

The bonus of only making super-quick simple projects for LMC is that I can do the complex projects I crave for myself. And when it comes to myself, it seems, there are no simple projects. 

After number of deadline-driven knits, I was feeling a bit burned-out on knitting and instituted selfish-stitching Sundays for myself, where I could work on anything I wanted. For my first selfish-stitching project, I chose the Shersock's pattern from Lattes and Llamas. I'm a fan of the show, so I wanted something to commemorate that, but also something that was nice-enough looking that they'd still look neat even if you didn't catch the show reference, and these fit the bill perfectly. They were also the perfect selfish-stitching project, because I don't do a ton of colorwork and it gave me a chance to work on my skills.

My second selfish-stitching project was a pair of very useful  fingerless mitts knit up in some yarn I had dyed in 2011 and spun in 2012. I don't have a selfish project on the needles right now, but I just saw a new design Bristol Ivy has in progress that is absolutely stunning, so I'm pretty sure I know what its going to be.

As for sewing, my motto seems to be no small projects! As I leapt from sewing my first pair of jeans to sewing a winter coat. The jeans are the stovepipe leg version (View A) of the Ginger Jeans. With the inclusion of the sew-along, I found making jeans very do-able if time consuming. I made the lower-waisted version, which I raised a bit by making the waistband twice as wide (hence the two buttons). She's since released a tutorial on doing a mid-rise variation, which I'd probably do the next go around. I'd also make them a size down, because I didn't account for how much the denim would stretch throughout the day. But even with those caveats, I'm super proud of my jeans making. Seriously, making your own jeans makes you feel like a sewing BOSS.

As for WIPs, I'm currently working on my plaid Cascade Duffle Coat. I've been itching for a new winter coat for years, and this pattern was just the thing I was looking for. As with the jeans, it's not hard to sew per-say, there's just a ton of pieces/steps, but it's coming along. I doubt it'll be done by the end of the month as I hoped, but I live in Maine and the winter in long, so I'll still get plenty of use methinks.

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