All the WIPs

I feel like a junkie. There are needles all over the place. My yarn storage is a mess. I have so many half-finished projects. But all I want is the next high, the next quick project, the next finished thing.

partly finished craft projects

I am a Project Knitter. I knit (and spin, and sew, and weave…) for the stuff. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the process of crafting. There have been so many times when I went to knitting as a balm for my soul, to soothe and ground me. But there have also been many times when I just wanted a project to be done. I want instant gratification. When a shiny new idea hits me, I want to cast on immediately. I find the yarn and the pattern, and for a while everything is good. But then the project doesn’t get done right away. Maybe I’m busy and don’t have a lot of time to knit. Maybe I decide to read a book. Maybe (gasp) I’m knitting something else. And without realizing it, I put the project down for a week or a month or a year. After a while, I have a small mountain of unfinished things. And they weigh on me, because somewhere in the back of my head I know I need to work on them. Something has to be done.

I am very bad at keeping New Year’s resolutions, but one of my goals this year will be to finish up these lurking projects. The nice thing is they’re already half finished. And think of all the needles I will free up! But all I want to do right now is cast on something new.

What do you do when you have a bad case of startitis?

P.S. The coupon code for my newest pattern is still running. Get the Ribless Hat on  Ravelry for 18% off until January 18 with the code HOORAY18

2017 in Review

Every year December comes and suddenly none of us can believe how quickly time has gone. Isn’t it funny that we have this same conversation every year when nothing and everything has changed?

In 2017 I finished 21 knitted projects, plus several additional small projects.

 

I have 9 Works in Progress at this point…one or two of them were started in 2015! Yikes!

I learned a little bit about crochet and finished 2 projects, with one more in progress (the pattern for the shawl on the right will end up being released in Knotions Magazine in March).

I also learned to weave and finished 2 projects with another currently in progress.

This was a good year for spinning – I finished 9 spinning projects in several different weights. Most of my handspun is from combed wool top, but this year I spun my first batts and my first silk. I am so proud of my Rumpelstiltskin yarn. And, yes, I have some spinning in progress as well.

I sewed quite a few garments this year, mostly tops, but the crown of my handsewn garment collection is actually a pair of undergarments – my Watson Bra and Bikini.

Lastly, but certainly not least, this year I launched my own line of knitting patterns. I have published 4 patterns this year: two I published myself, and two were published in Knotions Magazine.

And we can’t forget the gnomes…but they have a whole page all to themselves here.

During the year it is very easy to get bogged down by the details, and it can seem like I’m not accomplishing anything. I think taking a little time for us each to focus on our achievements is healthy and uplifting. So now it’s your turn: What did you do this year?

I want to be Elizabeth Bennett

I love the BBC Pride and Prejudice – the actors, the settings, and especially the costumes. When I was little my mom sewed for me all the time. My closet was packed with handmade sundresses. As I got older I fell in love with American Girl Dolls and especially the books that came with them. My mom sewed me a Felicity dress which I wore every time I could possibly manage. She also sewed me a Laura Ingalls dress and bonnet, which I wore incessantly. I guess I’ve always loved to dress up and pretend I’m someone different.

Recently in reading Jane Austen Knits I stumbled upon Sense & Sensibility Patterns, where you can buy patterns to make your own Regency Era gowns (I’m drooling over this one in particular). I would love to make one for myself, but I don’t wear a lot of full length dresses. So my plan is to make a short dress. It will have a square-ish neckline and a knee-length (very slightly) hi-low hem. I will wear it with my wedding boots, and in the winter I can wear leggings. Also, I will knit this spencer to go with it.

regency dress

Knowing me, I’ll take forever to actually make it, but it is so fun to dream of projects.

I Made a Bra!

bra and bikini

About 2 months ago I bought the Watson Bra and Undies pattern. I made up a shopping list, cut out my fabric, and sewed the undies pretty quickly (more about that here). And then I stopped. I was terrified of making the bra. What if I didn’t cut it just right? What if after hours and hours of sewing it just fell apart? What if it didn’t fit?

The only way to know what would happen was to actually make the bra. So I did it. It fits! It didn’t fall apart. And now I have a matching set.

bra frontbra back

My main fabric is a cotton/polyester blend, and I fully lined it with nude power mesh. I really like the fit of this bra. It gives me good coverage without squishing me or making me a shape I’m not. The instructions are pretty easy to follow as well. In the future I think I would go down a band size, but on the whole I have no complaints.

detail

So there you have it. I made a bra by hand, there are no machine stitches on it. So if you are holding back from something like this because you’re scared, just do it. You might surprise yourself. And if it fails somehow or doesn’t fit? It’s just fabric. There is always more.

My Sewing Book Collection

sewing books

Sewing was one of the first crafts my mother taught me. I started by making small pillows that were supposed to be square. Soon I graduated to decorating plastic canvas and then to basic embroidery.  I don’t live near my mom anymore, so most of the new skills I learn are from the internet or from books. These are the books in my sewing library.

alabama studio sewing and design

Alabama Studio Sewing + Design: This book changed my life. I had never thought of hand-sewing jersey before or of using applique as an all over technique. I didn’t know there were hand-sewing stitches that were stretchy. I’ve made 3 garments from these patterns so far, and they are great.

couture sewing techniques

Couture Sewing Techniques: If you want to learn everything there is to know about the finer points of hand-sewing garments, this is the book for you. It starts of with a history of couture, and has chapters devoted to different aspects of crafting a garment, such as seams, hems, and finishing techniques.

fit for real people

Fit for Real People: The basic premise of the method presented in this book is that you fit tissue paper patterns to your body. You don’t make a muslin, you don’t have to take a million measurements or learn to draft patterns. Just pin the pattern in place, make adjustments for your body, cut, and sew. Revolutionary!

doodle stitching

Doodle Stitching: This book is all about whimsical embroidery. It starts with suggestions of several embroidery stitches to use, and then details projects to be made with these stitches. I keep this book not because I want an apron with a teacup on it, but as a reminder that not everything has to be serious and that a little colour can really spice things up.

sewing courses

McCall’s Easy Sewing, White Sewing Course, and The Home Handicraft Book: These are all basic sewing courses aimed at amateur sewists learning how to sew garments for the first time. They are full of tried and tested techniques, and are a great way to get started sewing.

Do you have a sewing library? What books do you keep coming back to for tried and tested knowledge?

Summer of Basics

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:

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:

watson

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?

My Lazy Day Tunic

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.

gnomepocket