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February 19

The Ultra Cozy Sweater

When I saw the Riptide sweater pop up on Ravelry, I just knew I had to make it!

Riptide Sweater

After blogging about my 1940’s suit, I bet Riptide is not exactly the sweater you all think I would knit – and I admit, I’m right there with you.  I tend to fall on the side of ‘vintage modern’ and this sweater is totally ultra-modern, probably best worn with leggings.  I’ll never – ever wear leggings – they are just not made for someone like me.  lol  Fine on other people of course…  But I digress.

Riptide Sweater

After I accidentally felted/shrunk my Channel Cardigan so bad it couldn’t be saved, I was in the market to knit up a new, cozy cardigan.  Something to keep me warm on the coldest of days in my house – which can get down to a chilly 57 degrees on the worst of days.

Riptide Sweater

I started to knit this one, but the intricate cable pattern was taking too long and the days were quickly getting colder here in Chicago.  Timing couldn’t have been more perfect for the Brooklyn Tween Winter 2015 pattern launch – within two days I had gone to my LYS to buy yarn and I cast on that same day.

Just shy of two weeks later I had a wonderfully warm sweater knit up.

Riptide Sweater

I bought 7 skeins of Beroroco Ultra Alpaca Chunky in Indigo, a wonderful navy blue color.  My LYS only had 7 of the 10 skeins that I needed.  I bought the 7 thinking I could find the extra three on Ravelry or elsewhere online.

Lucky for me – I ended up not needing those 3 skeins after all.  I was perfectly on gauge with this sweater so it’s quite odd that I used far less yardage than was required.  It was a blessing in disguise that I was not able to get all the yarn, as it would have been a waste.  (I even have 3/4 of my last skein that is unused).

Riptide Sweater

Before I get ahead of myself, I should add: I hate chunky weight yarn.  I dislike it with a passion!  You see… the patterns I’ve always used with Chunky weight yarn were patterns that had negative ease.  Me, chunky weight yarn, and negative ease  = disaster.  I never, ever wear the projects I’ve made with that combination, not even for lounging around the house.  Case in point #1, and case #2.  Sure they’re great looking garments – I just don’t feel very good in them.  I feel like a sausage in a large casing.  Can’t say it any better than that.

But this sweater… is a horse of a different color!  I’m smitten with it.  I am a convert.  I’ll still never knit up anything with negative ease that uses a chunky weight yarn – but I’m no longer writing off this yarn like I had in years’ past.

Riptide Sweater

I was determined to keep this knit simple, with very little modifications, if any.  It’s such a generously sized sweater I didn’t see the point in making modifications…

What I did modify is as follows:

  • Cast-on in between the smallest and 2nd smallest size at the hem.  Decreased more frequently to arrive at the smallest size at the bust.
  • Shortened the yoke by 6 rows.

More details on my modifications can be found on my Ravelry Riptide project page.

Riptide Sweater

Being knit in a chunky yarn – it was a really quick knit.  I technically knit this up (twice) in 2 weeks.

Knowing I wanted an ultra large, layering sweater I knit it in the second smallest size giving me the recommended positive ease as stated in the pattern.  I knit all the way up to the armpits and realized it was too large.  It was so big it would have been roomy even on Felix.  I frogged the whole thing and cast on once again.

Once I got the to fancy yoke cable decreases & Brioche stitch I was confident I knew how to knit the Brioche stitch without any pattern directions.  Well… I was very wrong.

I know the Brioche stitch when knitting flat – not when knitting in the round.  So once again I had to frog all the way back to the yoke and re-knit the upper bodice & neckline once again.  I could have left it as it was, but I really liked the defined stitches so I chose to fix it.

So technically – I knit this one sweater twice in two weeks.

Riptide Sweater

Like I said a million times already, good thing it was a quick knit!

My favorite part of this sweater (besides how wonderfully comfy it is) is the cable decreases.  These kind of decreases were not only fun to knit but this method of yoke decreases really does fit my narrow shoulders much better than a raglan yoke decrease pattern.  You can bet I’ll be on the lookout for more sweater designs with this type of construction in the future.

Riptide Sweater

You’ll never guess what I did after this…. I found some languishing yarn in my stash and knit a second one.  :D  But I’ll save that for next time.

Happy Knitting!

February 17

My 1940’s Suit

I’ve long since wanted a vintage suit in my wardrobe, somehow stars aligned and I felt compelled to finally make one for my very own.

A 1940s Suit

This pattern I used is McCall’s 5094, a sweet little suit from 1943.

McCall5094

Looking back on my Etsy purchases, I bought this suit back in 2011 – if you can believe it!  I bought it because at the time I loved the spring suit look (view B) and knew it would look divine in a swingy rayon.

Instead, I made this up in view A, but I made my sleeves full-length.

A 1940s Suit

I knew that I would get much more wear out of this during the winter in long sleeves than I would in shorter ones.  I used a mid-weight wool crepe in a muted blue that I had in my stash.  I had intended this wool crepe to be used on a different dress, but oftentimes things get reallocated, and I had enough yardage in this one fabric to make both the top and the skirt.

A 1940s Suit

Besides my normal fitting adjustments on the bodice, one major modification I made was to the skirt.  The skirt is a very simple one, rectangles that are simply gathered at the waist – aka a dirndl skirt.  I cut out my fabric and basted in the waistband to check the fit with the bodice – it was awful!!  The skirt was so full at the waist with all of the gathers it looked like I was wearing a sac and the peplum stuck out at the oddest angle because of it.

I wish I had pictures to show you just how bad it was… Suffice it to say I took at least 6 inches (on the fold!) out of each skirt piece.  I nearly reduced the skirt fullness in half and it now looks much closer to the pattern envelope.  I could have gotten two skirts out of the original fabric pieces.

A 1940s Suit

It may have been an appropriate skirt if I was using a light weight fabric like a silk crepe de chine or a rayon – but in my wool crepe it was just too puffy-looking.

A 1940s Suit

This is one of my favorite makes of 2015, and really, it holds a place in my top 5 outfits I’ve made, of all time.  It’s not a garment that gets frequent use in my wardrobe, but I love it ohh soo much.  It’s one of those unique, chic pieces that I can now always turn to when I need something a cut above the rest or for work functions.

A 1940s Suit

I have a propensity to make all sewing projects more complicated than they need to be.  I purposefully wanted to keep this suit simple so that I could finish in time for a deadline (a presentation I was giving at work).  True to form, one thing led to another and I found myself adding lining to the bodice and making my own shoulder pads.

A 1940s Suit

Felix and I ventured out to the University of Chicago campus for these photos.  There’s wonderful architecture down there and I knew it would be a perfect backdrop to pair with this suit.

A 1940s Suit

While the University is extremely close, I haven’t made the time to walk around as much as I should – what with all of our house work and winter upon us.  So driving down to scout out cool locations for blog photos is a wonderful excuse for us to see more and more of campus.

A 1940s Suit

I don’t think I addressed it before but my hair – it’s now brown.  :D  I loved my pink hair and I kept it pink for a full 9 months.  But it was so much upkeep I couldn’t handle it anymore and I thought it was time for a change.  Do I miss my pink hair – Yes!  But I could only wash my hair ONCE a week in order to keep the pink from fading until my next 6 week refresh.  And I do love being blonde (my natural hair is an ash blonde) – but I wanted to try something different – and chestnut brown seemed like a nice change of pace.

A 1940s Suit

This is my first time setting my brown hair too.

A 1940s Suit

While nearly ever outfit I think “Gosh this would be even cuter with pink hair” I think the brown looks nice and rich.  Perhaps I’ll go blonde again in the summer months, but for now, the dark brown is continuing to grow on me.

A 1940s Suit

Happy Sewing you guys!

February 12

Everyone, Meet Daisy

As many of you know, we lost Quincy to (basically) old age last November.  He was such a sweet tempered, easy going bunny – his loss left a hole in our hearts.

quincyMeds_09

What got me through was giving Phineas all sorts of extra attention these past few months.  I luuuv my little Finn.

Phineas

He’s the perfect combination of sassy, fun, affectionate and it only helps that he’s adorably-Disney-cute.  Since Quincy passed, Phineas just hasn’t been himself.  He perked up again after a month or so, but there were still spots in the house he would no longer venture alone.  He needed his old pal, Quincy, to give him the courage to hop into the dark corners to explore – he needed that companionship.

Felix and I started to talk about adopting right around Christmas & New Year’s.  I was getting the itch to get a pal for Phineas and I admit – I love having two bunnies in the house.  Of course if it were up to me, I’d be living in a house with micro pigs, dogs, birds, lambs, alpacas and more.  But we finally agreed that we could handle a second bunny, once again.

We spent a long Saturday visiting 2+ shelters and met all manner of bunnies.  At the end of the day, I formed a top-5 list and at the top of the list was Janis Hoplin (aka Daisy).

bunnySaturday

Daisy, a former classroom bunny, was listed at the shelter as being cage-aggressive.  After (no doubt) getting poked for a year in a classroom, she was a bit skittish and protective of her space.  I really can’t blame her.

When I first met her, I stuck my hand in her cage to pet her in and boy did she she react!  She lunged at my hand to scare me off, like she was going to bite me (but didn’t).  Of course I pulled my hand out asap as I didn’t want to get bit.  But then I tried again.

I moved slow and she reacted in the same manner, but this time I didn’t flinch.  She puffed up her body and reluctantly let me pet her.  She slowly relaxed and seemed to like what I was doing.  I pulled my hand away to see what she would do and she followed it – begging for more.  She got to the point where her body was almost falling out of the second-story cage opening as she was leaning into my torso enjoying all the attention I was giving her.  I was smitten!

We waited until the following weekend to bring Phineas in to meet her and a couple of the other bunnies – but mainly her.  If Phineas didn’t like her – all bets were off.  Luckily Phineas seemed to be okay in her presence and it was a quick and easy decision to bring her home with us that very day.

Daisy & Shelter

I’ve purposefully waited to share our new addition since 1.) We didn’t decide on her name and 2.) We were waiting until her and Phineas were bonded together.

Since bringing Daisy home – I’ve been working with her a great deal on her manners.

It was pretty clear that she hasn’t lived in a home setting before.  She also wasn’t used to having a pen space, but was always living in a cage.  But most of all, I’ve been working with her on her cage-aggression.  After having 3 bunnies before Daisy, I knew that we could help her.  While I adopted her because I felt a connection with her, I also had a hunch that no other family was going to give her the best chance like we would/could.  She just needed some extra attention & patience and I knew she’d come around.

Daisy in her Box

The first week she was home with us, I didn’t do any bonding sessions with her and Phineas, but was just trying to get her settled and calm.  I frequently sat in with her, invading her space.  Of course she didn’t like it, but she was also terribly desperate for attention and pets.  She wanted me to pet her for over 30 mins straight and would grunt and stomp at me whenever I stopped or if I moved something in her pen, even an inch.  Not very lady-like manners if I say so myself.

Daisy with Romaine

The more I sit down with her and re-teach her the proper manners (ie grunts & lunging will get you no where) the better behaved she’s becoming.  She gets plenty of attention from me, but knows that if I stop, it’s okay; that more attention will come later.

Daisy and Phineas

She’s come such a long way in the last 3 weeks, but we still have a little ways to go.  She no longer stomps at me (much) and hasn’t lunged at my hands for a week now.  And after 5 bonding sessions with Phineas they’re now paired in the same space together – which is huge!

Bun Space

I can’t say they’re fully bonded, but they are co-living together which really is amazing!  She still acts a bit skittish – but still… she’s only been with us for 3 weeks and I know she’ll calm down with some more time.  She’s quickly turning into Phineas’ partner in crime.

She’s officially Phineas’ partner in crime!  Since last Friday, they’ve been housed together and they’ve become such great pals.  Phineas already has the confidence to hop into previously uncharted territory & Daisy is far less skittish than she previously was.  Her manners are improving exponentially, she’s such a dear.  It’s the most wonderful thing seeing these two buns binky around each other and chase each other for fun.

Phineas and Daisy

I met with some other very wonderful bunnies who could have also worked well for Phineas (thinking of you Charmin and Chase) – I wish I could adopt them all and give them all happy homes.  If Felix didn’t keep me rational, I would be be that crazy bunny lady with a house full of them.  For some inexplicable reason, I just felt that connection with Daisy and knew she needed to come home with us.  I hope she feels the same way.  :D

Welcome home, Daisy!

 

P.S.  If you click the bunny at the top of the page on the right, it will take you to all of my bunny-related blog posts.
February 10

My Nancy Jumper

Nancy, a stand-alone pattern from Susan Crawford has long been in my queue to knit up.  It is such a charming jumper, perfect for a chilly spring or fall.

Nancy Jumper

I had all sorts of bits of extra Excelana yarn after making Tasha’s Victory Beret (yet to be blogged), that I knew I wanted to try to use them up.  Since this jumper called for the same yarn in several of the colors I needed, I decided to stick with the original colors.

Nancy Jumper

I could have modified a couple of the colors to what I already had in my stash… I just couldn’t bring myself to alter it.  The color scheme is a major reason why I love it so much – I really can’t see it any other way.  After getting my yarn & pattern purchased, I was off to the races.

Nancy Jumper

I now have to admit: I completed this pretty little jumper last Spring.  I finished it just as it was getting warm out, so I was unable to wear it until the weather turned cold once again this past fall.  And….well… then I realized I had absolutely nothing to wear with it.  This pretty little jumper ended up an orphan in my closet.  :(

Nancy Jumper

My Nancy jumper was a smidgen too long for my full skirts.  I also don’t have any color-appropriate slim skirts in my winter wardrobe that would match this either.  Nothing that I had in my closet seemed to work with it.

As I was shopping for my Paris trip last September, I bought these cute little cranberry pants and I knew they would work with my top.  I know they’re not a 100% match, but after having this jumper languish for so long, I was fine with a 90% color match.

Nancy Jumper

Pattern Modifications:

When I was inspecting the pattern instructions, one thing that stuck out to me was how wide the sleeves were at the armscye/bicep.  I believe I cast on for the set amount of stitches & quickly realized it was just too large for me.

Even though I re-figured the entire sleeve and the fit is better than the original, I am still not completely satisfied with the fit.  The more I make raglan styles, the more I am dissatisfied with how they fit on my shoulders/upper body.  I just hate having that extra fabric at my armpit-fold area.

Additionally I decided to knit (just the sleeves) in the round.  This took a bit of refiguring as the pattern stitch was written to be knit flat & I had to modify the stitch pattern to be knit un the round.  Knitting a sleeve in the round gave me every opportunity to fit as I went along.  If I were to knit them flat, I wouldn’t really ‘see’ how they fit until I went to seam them to the bodice.

As much as I dislike the extra-fabric-at-my-armpit issue, I’ve worn this sweater all fall & winter long.  Since we’re having such a mild winter this year in Chicago, its given me the opportunity to wear this little jumper all season long.

Nancy Jumper

Other Updates:

As you know, I’ve haven’t been posting very regularly on my little ‘ole blog.  There have been so many distractions in my life lately that this is the last thing I had time to do.  Many of you have surmised that I’ve been too busy to sew or knit – which I have to say is NOT the case.  I am ohh soo backed on posting my projects, that its kinda crazy.  What I have been pretty decent about is posting quick pics on instagram.

As 2016 is now in full swing I’m recommitted to braving the cold, setting my hair, and getting outside to take some photos of my makes (also known as making Felix come outside to take my picture.)  Stay tuned for more as I get my act together to share with you everything that I’ve been up to.

Cheers & happy knitting.

January 7

Lumberjack Man Sweater

Happy 2016!

While I’ve been busy sewing for myself and doing all sorts of house work, here I am leading off the year with my very first project for Felix which I’ve been calling Man Sweater.

Lumberjack Sweater

Left to Right: Meg’s Josh, my Felix, and Michelle’s Mike

Update: My Ravelry Project Page with Detail Notes on Knit Alterations

Felix has actually never wanted me to sew or knit him anything.  I know right?!  He’s had this fear that if I took the time to make him something and he never wore it, that I’d be angry.  (This is probably correct. My Felix is a smartie.)  So he just wanted to stay out of the fray and buy his clothes instead.  He’s only wearing this now because I was the one who wanted to knit this up for him.

Of course Meg, Michelle & I saw this pattern (aka the Lumberjack Sweater) pop up on Ravelry and we mutually agreed this would be a great sweater to make for the men in our lives.  The pattern seems easy enough for a first-time man-sweater maker.  (Hint: this is an incorrect assumption & more on that later!)

Lumberjack Sweater

Felix and I picked out the yarn for this sweater when we were in Paris from a shop called Lil Weasel.  It was a charming shop and the price of yarn was quite reasonable to boot.  They have both a yarn shop and a fabric shop right across the way from one another (yarn is reasonable, fabric not so much).

Lil Weasel

I should add there’s a lovely little cafe/wine bar next door that I visited not once but twice, if you happen to be in the area yourself.

Since this was Felix’s first time actually looking at yarn in any serious kind of way, I picked out the type and he simply picked the color.  Felix overheats quite easily and rarely wears sweaters to work, even in the winter months.  But since our house does get quite cold, I knew he’d eventually wear the sweater.  Not wanting him to get too hot in it, I decided on a Rowan 50/50 mix of wool & cotton.

Rowan Yarn

Felix is a man of simple taste.  His wardrobe consists of various shades of grey, black, browns, and the occasional colors – in muted tones of course.  So it seemed to make the most sense for him to pick out a nice grey that he could layer easily & I knew he’d end up wearing it more comfortably than a brightly colored knit that I might have preferred.  But believe me, he’s slowly getting introduced to some new colors.

Michelle is experienced with knitting for her husband, Mike.  But for Meg and myself, this was our first hand-knit man sweater.  I can’t speak for Megan, but I felt like I was starting all over from scratch about how to ‘fit’ a garment.  I felt like quite the newbie knitter.

Lumberjack Sweater

Lumberjack is a top down, raglan style sweater.  The neckline stitches are picked up again later on and the collar is worked into the sweater (1×1 ribbing).

I measured Felix’s chest and waist and picked my size accordingly, with the correct gauge of course.  I cast on and started working on the sweater to the point where you divide the sleeves from the body & work the body in the round.  He tried it on and it was awful – a joke!

Lumberjack Trial Lumberjack Trial

It was waaay too large even though I was on gauge and picked the ‘correct’ size.  I ended up frogging the entire thing and sizing down two sizes.  I worked to the same point again – but the second time there were just too many stitches on the sleeves for his arms while the chest and back area were alright.

Frogging back once more a few inches, I slowed down my raglan increases (aka fewer increases) on the sleeves while keeping the increases on the front and back body the same as the pattern.

Third time is a charm I guess.  Kinda sorta.

Lumberjack Sweater

I still feel like there’s too much pooling at the armpits – but I continue to be told that’s just the way a raglan sweater fits.  It’s a personal preference thing.

We all met up last weekend to take photos at the Lincoln Park Conservatory.  It’s the perfect location for photo taking as its bright, just like being outside but warm enough inside in the winter weather.  I’m sure I’ll be going back here for photos of me in my stuff soon.

Lincoln Park Conservatory

Coincidentally this is the same place Meg, Michelle, and I came for our first knit photo shoot in December of 2013.  How the time flies!

Ingenue Team

It seemed only fitting that we had the guys pose for us, now that we were on the other side of the camera.

They’re goofballs – look at the progression of Josh in the middle.  Laughed so hard I cried going back over these images.

Lumberjack Sweater Lumberjack Sweater Lumberjack Sweater

Lumberjack Sweater

They were good sports about all of this.  But we did pay them off in chocolate and hand knit sweaters.

Once the sweater body is joined in the round, there ceases to be any shaping to the body whatsoever.  Michelle advised me that there should be some decreases to create shape and was scoffing at the pattern pretty hard at this point.  I followed suit and decreased like she does for Mike.

Well… I ended up frogging the body back a great deal also.  I should have known better here though – Felix is shaped nothing like Mike or Josh and he really doesn’t need any decreases from chest to waist as he has a much shorter torso and is a bit thicker as well.  So this one was on me.

But back to the pattern instructions…

The instructions for the body of the sweater are just plain odd.  What I mean is that the length given is so loooong.  Yes, Felix does have a short torso and didn’t need as much yarn.  But Mike and Josh are tall with long bodies.  They didn’t even need the full length that the pattern suggested we knit.  I bought yarn according to the size and the shop was 1 ball shy of what I needed.  Yet I still have 3 left-over skeins!  It’s such a waste.  It’s not like I can fly back to Paris and return my extra skeins.  I know Michelle also has 2 extra balls of yarn from this sweater and her yarn was much more expensive than mine was and Meg had like 4 left over and her guy is the tallest of the three!  In short, it’s just not right.

Lumberjack Sweater

One alteration I made was to add in some short rows near the hem of the body of the sweater, in the front only.  I know Felix won’t like me saying it but he does have a bit of a tummy (it is post-holiday season after all) and needed a bit of extra length here.  Adding length to the whole body would only accentuate the difference between his front and back – the sweater would be too long over his butt yet alright over his stomach.  I decided to add around 6 extra rows to the front of the sweater – nothing too dramatic that you would even notice.  I could have added a couple more, but I didn’t want it to be dramatic that someone could tell there were short rows added.

Lumberjack Sweater

I would consider myself to be an Intermediate-to-Advanced knitter.  I know how to do color work, cables, and alter most of my patterns to suit my preferences.  I don’t really feel daunted by too many knits at this point and kinda feel a bit bad-ass even noting this.  :D

But this sweater is not for a first-time sweater maker as the designer would have you believe.  Sure it’s an easy knit.  But when you have to pick up stitches from the provisional cast-on and the stitch count is not the same – a newbie knitter wouldn’t have enough confidence to figure out why and how to fix it.  The designer has you lifting a bar to increase for the first raglan increases right off of the provisional cast on edge (which I blindly followed) and when you pull out the provisional edge to work the collar – these stitches basically disappear.  So you can’t ever get the stitch count.

A designer would have also added in some waist shaping to accommodate for an average-shaped guy and also wouldn’t have us purchase 2+ skeins of yarn needlessly.

As a now-seasoned knitter and sewer, I think I’ve come to expect a higher standard for my pattern purchases.  Which honestly I think is a good thing.  I expect patterns to be designed professionally and with little errors.  Of course there will be the random mistake here or there – I’m human after all and I get that this happens.  But I can’t honestly sit here and say this is a sweater you should all run out and make as your first man-sweater when I know better.

This leads into a whole different discussion and I know I’ve opened a can of worms on this one: Higher Standards & Honesty.

I can go on and on about this topic & probably will do so at some point in the near future.  But too often do we sit back and think “It’s probably just me” or praise something to the public while complaining in private.  I think this is a dangerous habit I’ve been seeing within the crafting community as of late and I think it’s dangerous and I know many of you are with me on this.  We just want to be positive and supportive and if we have nothing nice to say we don’t say it at all.

It’s great that we want to do this for each other – it’s what makes me love this community of creators.  But honesty doesn’t have to be mean and honesty doesn’t mean we don’t support one another.

Okay I’m placing a lid back on this one for the time being.  But feel free to comment if you like either about Felix’s first hand-knit sweater, how handsome these guys are, honesty in the crafting community, or anything really.  :)

Lumberjack Sweater

Cheers & happy knitting.

December 3

Fabric Suggestions??

Hey there.  Just a quick post today to ask you guys for some suggestions of fabric.

Before I get ahead of myself here’s the backstory:

My mom has always wanted a beautiful chenille bathrobe – but she is very picky.  Over the summer she purchased a lovely french blue & white, vintage chenille bedspread.  Now she’s a great seamstress too… but she has somehow commissioned me to turn the fabric into her bathrobe.  It’s becoming her Christmas present so it’s a win-win.

My labor and time are precious to me – but I’m happy to make her something she’s always dreamed of & can’t find in the store.

This is the pattern she settled on:

Advance bathrobe

We’re I’m modifying a few aspects of it in order to turn it into the bathrobe of her dreams.

This is where I get to the crux – With all of this bathrobe scheming for my mom, I went and bought the very same bathrobe pattern for my very own!  I couldn’t help it.  heh

I’m intending on making a bathrobe for myself during the same time I’m making my mom’s bathrobe.  I figured why not?!  Plus it will keep me motivated to finish.

But…. I have no fabric for it.  I’m planning on making the full-length version and will also be lengthening the sleeves.  As far as fabric goes I’m really open to any suggestions you have.

I just want something feminine but also warm for the winter.  And I also don’t really feel like adding a lining to it.  But that’s the only criteria I have.  (Just NO fleece please!!!)

 

Thoughts anyone??  I’m pretty open to suggestions & could use some help on this one.  Just don’t know where to start.

December 1

A Mill-End Sale

A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of stopping in at Lorna’s Laces Mill-End Yarn Sale.

Yarn Sale

My friend/coworker/knitting buddy Maria is apart of Chicago Knitters Group.  She invited me to come along to the sale but I already had a hair appointment scheduled for the same time and sadly declined the invite.  It was rsvp only and you had to be escorted into the space, so I knew I would never make it in time.

On a whim I decided I was going to drive over to the sale to see if Maria was still there shopping around, after my hair appointment since I got done earlier than I expected.

Yarn Sale

I knew it was close to my hair salon – but I was kicking myself pretty hard when I discovered it was in the same building, just one floor up!

Sheepishly, I entered the studio space looking for Maria.  She wasn’t around but I was warmly welcomed to come and look around, shop, and take photos.  I need yarn like a hole in the head – but who can say no to an impromptu yarn sale?!

Yarn Sale

Dyes:

Yarn Dye

Some undyed yarn stock:

Stock Fibers Yarn Bins

Dying vats/bins:

Yarn Dying Vats

Studio Space, looking back at the front door:

Lorna's Laces Studio

Freshly dyed yarns:

Freshly Dyed Yarn

Isn’t that a pretty mix?!

Yarn Sale

Yarn Sale

I don’t normally purchase yarns with multiple colors in them, I prefer semi-solid or solid dyes.  But I couldn’t help myself.

Coincidentally, I remembered I actually needed to shop for some worsted weight yarn.  I maaay have utterly shrunk my Channel Cardigan to the point its unwearable.  Stupid me thought I used a superwash yarn that was safe to go in the washing machine.  I was wearing it every evening and then I went and felted it in the wash.  So I went and bought this as a replacement yarn:

Yarn

The colors are a bit rubbish here in the photo – but suffice it to say its a mix of dark grey, some reds, purples, and hints of green – in a pretty way.

It’s a bit out of my comfort zone, but I thought I’d give it a try.  Its kinda silly, but I’m now on the hunt for a car-coat style cardigan pattern to pair with this yarn.  Just something huge, comfy, and warm I can wear in layers around my house when it’s cold during the winter.  What’s even more silly is that I kinda just feel like making another Channel Cardigan…

I also purchased this yarn to make into a pair of socks.  It was just so pretty I had to have it.

Yarn

This one is pretty true to color – its a blend of dark, smokey purple, lilac and greys.  You can tell I had a hankering for purple that day.

Thanks again Maria for inviting me to this sale!  :D

November 23

Remembering Quincy

This is such a hard blog post to write… Felix and I had to put our bunny Quincy down this past Friday.

Quincy Hugging

I think many of you follow me on instagram and have heard this sad news already, but I wanted to share it officially with everyone.

Back in July, I picked Quincy up from our bun sitter’s house on Sunday afternoon.  It was clear something was wrong; Quincy couldn’t sit up without assistance and it looked like he had a stroke or something.  At that point we thought it was the end.

Luckily, it wasn’t.  We were able to get some extra meds for Quincy’s E. Cuniculi which flared up and started taking him to get acupuncture treatments to relieve his arthritis.

Quincy Acupuncture

Acupuncture was the best thing to happen to Quincy.  It helped relive so much discomfort he was having, due to his old age of 12 (at a minimum – he’s adopted so we don’t know officially).

These last five months with him has been ‘bonus’ time.

Quincy

Quincy started having more bad days than good days.  During the last 2 weeks, Quincy wasn’t able to really sit up on his own or even hop around by himself.

We sadly knew it was time to make the decision.

Phineas and Quincy

I just hate that I had to make the decision to let him go.  As Quincy’s caretaker, I know that it’s my job to make this decision, as it was a quality of life issue.  But I really hate that I had to make the decision, ya know?!  I feel like it’s not mine to make, in the grand scheme of things.

Quincy’s appetite and mind were never lessened by his physical ailments.  He was always happy to have his meals and treats in the evening.  This is also what made it so hard… Besides his arthritis failing him, he was alright.

Quincy Weigh-In

During Quincy’s hard times, I always got closer to him, as he solely relied upon my assistance to sit up, help with eating, and cleaning him up after any accidents.  Phineas didn’t seem quite as attentive as he usually was – so I imagine he knew.

Precariously-Perched Quincy

Quincy was laid to rest in my front yard on Friday morning.  Friday was a sad, sad day.  I spent pretty much all weekend sitting around, dazing off watching movies and doing a bit of knitting.

Quincy and Phineas

My focus is now taking care of Phineas now that his buddy is gone.  They were inseparable.  I don’t think he knew what was going on Friday, but he seems to be slowly aware that Quincy isn’t coming back and is a bit more lethargic than he usually is.  Its just so sad…

Phineas

Quincy was a great addition to our household and gave us so much joy.  He will be sorely missed.  If you made it to the end, here’s the best, silly video of Quincy for your enjoyment.

Felix wrote a wonderful tribute to Quincy over the weekend and has some great photos and a few videos too if you want to see some more.

So sorry to have to convey this sad news.  A heartfelt *thank you* to all of you who sent me kind thoughts over the weekend (via Instagram) – they were much appreciated.

November 3

Effortless Linen Dress

One of the last projects that I was able to make for my Paris trip is this easy, breezy linen dress.

IMG_8133

I bought this navy & white linen at Fancy Tiger Crafts this past spring when I happened to be in Denver for a work conference.  I’ve longed for a rustic, looking linen dress and I bought it with that idea in my head.

Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday (1953) starring Gregory Peck

Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday (1953) starring Gregory Peck

I wanted my dress to feel like something Audrey Hepburn would wear in Roman Holiday – simple, chic, and perfect to wear while having an adventure.

Rodin Museum

The bodice, sleeves, and skirt of my dress all come from different patterns and I created the waistband piece and fit it accordingly.  I call this pattern hacking – but Ms. TaniaSews so cheekily reminded me that its your “design” not a hack job.

The bodice is from a 1960’s dress, skirt is from a 1950’s dress, and the sleeves – I can’t remember.  They’re my to-go-to sleeve that I always leave out as it’s perfect for my armscye; I believe I modified it from a 1940’s blouse pattern though.

The Rodin museum garden turned out to be a great place for sneaking a few photos of my dress.

paris2015-Day8_15

I probably could have stood to hem my dress a bit shorter… I know I have a propensity to made my hems longer rather than shorter, but I think it’s the effect of my height.  Sometimes when I’m looking in the mirror, the angle is off and it appears that I have more length than I do, resulting in slightly longer hems.  #ShortPeopleProblems

Linen Dress

The skirt is in between a full circle and a half-circle skirt, perfect for swishing along the boulevards of Paris and Bruges.

Linen Dress

I love center, lapped zipper insertions.  I nearly do them on all of the dresses I’m able to because I love them so much.  I stitch the one side down and then pick-stitch the remaining side by hand.

Linen Dress

Now the hem looks fine in these pics – what the hay??  I’m guessing it’s my photographer’s height that is throwing off my own hem angle.  Ahh well…

Linen Dress

As you can see, the linen takes on a different color depending on the lighting conditions.  Sometimes it’s very navy blue and other times it’s more rustic looking.

paris2015-Day8_12

Rodin Museum

It was perfect to wear on my travels and it has a spot in my regular wardrobe now for work.  It’s a breezy summer dress and now it’s turned into a great transition piece for fall paired with a cardi and brogues.  All in all, it’s a simple dress, but I love it so much.

October 27

Eiffel Tower Dresses

It’s no secret that Meg, Michelle, and I are friends and we meet up for knit nights at a local cafe.  So of course we’re always pondering and dreaming about fabric, patterns and the like.  It was very natural of us to say “Wouldn’t it be amazing to go fabric shopping in Pairs?!” as we drank our evening tea, knitting needles in hand.

I casually mentioned it to Felix that night and he giggled – and said what any good husband says at these moments.  Something along the lines of “Sure, whatever you want.  I can come too, right???”

We met again the following week or two and the conversation started to shift from dreaming about Paris to thinking about how we could pull it off and actually all go together, for real.

Knitting at the Eiffel Tower

In all of our scheming, we found that we all wanted to make a wardrobe staple: the shirt dress.  Michelle had settled on the McCalls 6696 dress pattern and I remembered I had that one in my pinterest pattern faves.  So we just all decided to use the same pattern.

McCalls 6696

This is probably my favorite photo from our shoot.  At the time M&M didn’t realize I wasn’t jumping with them, as they were too busy smiling for the camera.  I am making my classic Liz-grumpy-face, as I am rubbish at jumping anywhere above 3 inches off the ground.

McCalls 6696

I picked my fabric, a stretch cotton sateen, solely because I liked it and it matches the exact same hue of my hair.  I’m pretty certain Meg’s is from her stash as she’s been Konmari-ing her place and Michelle’s is from an Estate sale score.

McCalls 6696

Michelle made her dress first, and warned of how large the collar was, along with the bodice.  So even before I made my muslin I took off 1/2 inch from the bottom of the collar’s edge and shortened the bodice by an inch or so.

McCalls 6696

After making my muslin I reduced the gathers at the center back of the bodice – let’s just say significantly (at least 1″ – most likely more).  It was just way too poofy for my thick cotton sateen – so I converted the gathers to one box pleat.

McCalls 6696 Detail

I also have to admit, this was my very first collar stand.  I’ve always shied away from patterns and blouses calling for a collar stand.  I’m not sure why I was nervous about it, but I just followed the instructions and it came out perfectly.

I didn’t even think about pattern placement when I was doing the bodice – but the white section that is on my right… ahem… bodice is less than ideal.  Perhaps you didn’t notice it before, but I’m sorry, that’s probably all you’re going to notice now that I’ve pointed it out.

McCalls 6696

Friendly dogs in the park; I love that frenchie in the back getting his ear scratch on.

One of the things I did not like about this pattern is that it’s impossible to make changes without ripping out the entire bodice.  The waistband goes all the way around, so you have to unpick the front button band, unpick the waistband, then adjust the side seams and possibly the waistband length.

McCalls 6696

 

If I make this again, I’m going to have to modify the waistband piece so that I have side seams in it.  My weight fluctuates too much to not have a place to make adjustment dresses.  The only way this works is that the cotton sateen has some stretch in it so it expands and contracts as I ate my daily-Parisian macaron.

Felix & me.

Felix and me

 

It’s been a while since Felix has been shared on here – but doesn’t he look nice in his new clothes?!  But then again, I’m pretty biased.  Oftentimes, Felix or I am taking pictures of something or one another, but we never seem to get ‘couples’ shots, so it was nice to have our picture taken together.

This is my favorite one with Meg & Josh:

Meg and Josh

 

And Michelle & Mike:

Mike and Michelle

As I’m getting back in the swing of blogging, I’ll have some more to share with you soon about Paris and what I’ve been up to these past few months.

Felix & me

Cheers!