At the end of May, Karen from Fringe Association announced a make-along that she called Summer of Basics. The goal was to use the months of June, July, and August to make wardrobe basics. Sewing and knitting were both allowed, and everyone got to decide what was a basic for their individual wardrobe. Brilliant!
I didn’t seriously consider joining until a reader commented that I should, at which point I realized that I make things all the time and wardrobe basics are super smart things to make since they get used all the time.
First up is my Call Box Hat:
This is a pattern that I wrote (and it will be released September 30 in Knotions Magazine!). I had made a prototype version several years ago, but somehow I lost it and I missed it last winter. I wrote all about it here.
Second is my Alabama Chanin T-shirt tunic:
This tunic was a super easy make. It’s the perfect length, and I love wearing it! You can read more about the details here.
And Third is my Watson Bikini:
I just finished these last night, and they fit well. Part of me can’t believe that I just made my own underwear, but there they are staring me in the face. You can’t get much more basic than underpants (also, I’m planning to make a matching bra. You’ll see that in the next few weeks).
So that’s my Summer of Basics. What counts as a basic in your wardrobe?
I am an introvert. I like listening to the quiet around me and being alone or with just a few friends. I have a fear that I will totally mess up interpersonal moments – especially with strangers – so I rehearse imagined conversations a lot.
Yesterday I was at the bookstore. I had ordered a London Fog and browsed through the stacks. I had quite a lovely time. I made my selections and walked up to the cash register for *cue scary music* HUMAN INTERACTION!!!
The cashier looked like a nice person. “Hey, what’s up?” She asked.
Genius that I am, I replied, ” Good thanks.”
A moment of awkward silence followed. I decided to acknowledge the elephant in the room: “That’s completely not what you asked.”
At this point the cashier started to laugh. So I added, “Introverts of the world unite!”
She giggled harder and then added, ” From the safety of our own homes.”
We both chuckled as she rang up my book, and as I left she wished me a happy time “safe at home.”
I used to be good at talking to people. Or at least I didn’t make a fool of myself. Next time I’m making my husband check out for me.
I love books. I love reading them and buying them and owning them. And I love sharing books. Here are 2 of my recent finds. I hope they are as helpful to you as they have been to me.
The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns is exactly what it says it is, but not in the way you think. I thought it would be a book with 20 very different sweaters. Instead Ann Budd addresses 6 basic sweater silhouettes and writes out the patterns in 6 gauges for sizes from toddler to large adult (there are a lot of tables involved). As a new designer this book is also a great introduction into the world of sweater design. I had no idea how to write a sweater pattern or how to shape a sleeve or a collar. Now I do.
It turns out that if I don’t have to use more than 2 needles or take live stitches off my needles I don’t mind cabling. Now, this leaves only a tiny number of the world’s cables easily available to me, but it means there are some I don’t mind. And it just so happens that 1/1 cables without a cable needle are covering the entire back of Portage. So I’m making good progress. I’m currently about halfway done with the raglan increases.
The yarn, Anchor Bay, is so lovely to work with! It tends to be a bit splitty, but once you get used to that it is just the softest, nicest yarn to knit with. I’m already hoping for extra yarn to make a hat or cowl.
In other news, I have been making gnomes. Oh, wait, that’s not news anymore…
I started Portage yesterday. I think it’s interesting that even though I don’t enjoy cabling (it kind of scares me) my 2 sweaters are both heavily cabled. My trick for working with cables is to colour my charts. I colour cables of one type one colour, and choose a different colour for cables of another stitch count or direction. That way the knitting goes more smoothly (and quickly) and I’m not constantly squinting at my chart. Plus it’s pretty.
I’m almost 2 increase charts into the sweater and I’ve already messed something up royally and fudged a solution. So now that that’s out of the way the rest of the sweater should go swimmingly, right?
We all have those projects we dream of knitting but somehow seem to never start. I even have the yarn and patterns for some of these projects. Yesterday I decided there is no time like the present: I should start knitting now. My 2 selected dream patterns are both sweaters (I may be a bit loony).
The first is Esme by Purl Alpaca Designs. I have loved this sweater for years ever since I found it on a (now forgotten) blog.
I love the fit of the sweater. I love the neckline. I love the collar. The only thing I would change would be to knit it with 3/4 sleeves. If my swatch works out, I plan to use my Yarn and Soul Superfine 400.
My second dream sweater is cozier and less ethereal, but no less of a wardrobe staple: the Portage Cardigan by Melissa Schaschwary.
I am using Anchor Bay by Cascade yarns (50/50 cotton/merino), and it is delicious!
I can’t wait to see how these sweaters work up, and even more I can’t wait to wear them!
My Baby Flax was chugging along until I stopped reading the directions and missed the sleeve decreases 2″ back. So now it’s in the naughty pile until I make time to rip back and re-knit it correctly.
My True Brit is coming along nicely. Since I took this picture I have finished binding off the first piece and seamed up the edge. I need to block it before I can swatch for the gaiter that will be attached to it.
And as always I am making gnomes.
If you are as overwhelmed by the gnome cuteness as I am you can follow my progress at The Gnome Gallery. I try to take pictures of all my gnomes as I make them.
A while ago I wrote about how I like to dress down at home, but somewhat nice at work. However, I find it easiest to make clothes that fall in between – too nice to wear at home, but not nice enough for a professional setting. Several months ago I bought some cotton jersey, intending to make ALL THE THINGS, but the colours were not what I expected, so the fabric got set aside. A few days ago I decided that sometimes good enough now is better than perfect someday, and that I should use what I already have rather than buy more stuff.
So I pulled out my Alabama Chanin patterns, and set to work making a tunic to wear at home. I used the basic T-shirt pattern, but lengthened the hem to end mid-thigh and shortened the sleeves to end just above my elbow. I also added a pocket, because POCKETS!
I turned the neckline under to stabilize it. I may turn the other hems under, but then again, I may not. I have also thought about felling the seams, but that just seems like a lot of work for an already functional garment. In my imaginary world I will applique leaf shapes all over the tunic and it will become a work of art that I wear with leggings and a hat as I walk through piles of autumn leaves. But sometimes good enough now is better than perfect someday. And I can always add to my finished tunic.
One of my coworkers is having a baby really soon. I promised him a baby sweater, and with the baby almost here I decided I should probably get a move on. The plan was to transform this pile of yarny scraps into a Flax Light.
I’m about halfway done, maybe a little more, and I am loving this sweater!
Come winter, this is going to be one well-dressed baby!