Sunday, August 5, 2012

Last Summer Dress

Finally finished is the Grainline Studio Tank Dress! I love her pattern variations and decided I was up for a challenge. Turning the tank into a dress was easy, getting the placket right was the bigger challenge. My pattern drafting skills definitely need more work! Small issues with the placket pattern draft resulted in some tricky sewing. It took me an entire afternoon (sewing it on inside out, ripping out, having that "ah ha!" moment, then sewing it in correctly) but the work was totally worth the seam ripper. 

My second hurdle was the buttonholes. I'm working with a new machine and this was the first time I was using the buttonhole function. This sidelined me for about 2 hours which involved half a yard of scrap fabric, digging out the manual, searching for a web tutorial, etc. It wasn't until I walked away and came back 20 minutes later that I had my second "ah ha!" moment of the day. I felt like a total sewing genius when I figured it out (a well hidden, pull down, buttonhole lever in the back ...). I was so proud to have figured it out I texted my mother immediately to let her know I beat the machine.

This project then got put on hold while the husband and I took a vacation to Maine. I finally found time this weekend to finish the armholes and hem. 
Voila! One last summer dress. 

A big thank you to Jen at Grainline for her wonderful patterns, thoughtful variations, clear tutorials and continued inspiration! You're single-handedly providing my summer wardrobe (2 tank tops, 1 swing back woven shirt, 1 tank dress and counting!). 
You rock.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Knitting Update

The Flint mittens I had started back in April are finally finished! They were so easy and so rewarding to knit. I absolutely love them. I think the cable going up the thumb is my favorite part (after the neon trim, of course). I really love these Brooklyn Tweed patterns though. Speaking of which ...

During my recent trip (read: splurge) to Purl Soho, I picked up some Brooklyn Tweed Loft yarn. They have a great selection and the colors are all beautiful. It took a while for me to decide. So many choices can be debilitating. In the end I went with my favorite go-to color ... grey (Loft color equivalent: Snowbound). Surprise, surprise.

I can't wait to get these wound and ready to go.

What to make is the next question. Brooklyn Tweed just debuted Wool People 3 and I am so into all of it. As usual. I love thoroughly reading those Look Books. So beautiful. Even the pattern diagrams! Wool People 3 aside, I'm still pretty smitten with the Spring Thaw patterns.

Right now, my top three project contenders are:

Image: Brooklyn Tweed

Image: Brooklyn Tweed

And the Auden Sweater:
Image: Brooklyn Tweed

I'm not sure if I'm in the mood for another sweater, however this one is knit in the round which means easy and relatively quick. It will also give me a second sweater option for Rhinebeck (woo woo!). I'm leaning a bit towards the loop scarf though since I will be able to wear it immediately (in my freezing cold office). Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Summer Dress #2

Two weeks ago I finished up another summer dress. I am in love! The pattern is New Look #6804 and the fabric is a beautiful cotton/linen blend I bought (totally splurged on) at Purl Soho. This may end up being a new 'go to' pattern for me. It was very easy to make and those pockets are just too cute. I especially love how the skirt flies when you twirl (an important dress component, ha ha).

I have been totally possessed by the sewing bug this spring. This weekend I cut out another dress (hello, grainline studio tank dress!). I found a nice plaid in the stash and there was just enough to make the tank. Perfect-o. You can sort of see it in the above photos, hanging off the chair to the right. The sewing portion will have to wait until next weekend though. I just can't turn an iron on when it's over 90 degrees outside. Yeck.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

scarf, no wait, a tank

It started when I saw this cute pom pom scarf on the Purl Bee

I bought the two yards of cotton fabric, a navy solid and a navy gingham, washed them and put them in the 'to make' pile of my sewing corner. Memorial Day weekend came and while I was finishing up a dress, I realized I also wanted to make something else (a magical moment of manic sewing compulsion).

 Looking around the sewing corner I found the navy fabrics. As I was ironing them I really fell in love with the feel. I needed to be able to really WEAR this fabric. A scarf was not going to cut it. That's when I reached for my trusty tank pattern. I made the front of the tank in the gingham and the back in the solid. And I love it.

Another great addition to the wardrobe!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

On a roll

Last weekend was a sewing weekend like no other. In one day I managed to crank out a new dress and a new tank top. 

First the dress. 

I used my go-to dress pattern, Simplicity 8482, and tried the variation that included two long ties that can be overlapped across the body (and tied in the back) or gently tied in the front. I love it!  

 The fabric is a lightweight cotton I bought at Nido last autumn while the husband and I were vacationing in Vermont. A great shop for fabric and yarns!

For this dress I tried a new tip that I learned from Colette Patterns.  When preparing the skirt and all the gathers, they suggest sewing three rows of basting (instead of the usual two rows) to help better control the gathers. And boy are they right! The gathers were much more controlled and even - sewing them down was a breeze. I love little tips like this! Here's the blog post for a full description and I highly suggest subscribing to their weekly newsletter, Snippets.

I still need to photograph the tank top that I made. Post coming soon.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ikat Scout

I'm excited to add a new blouse to the closet! 

Spring weather & sun make me want to sew and the conditions proved just right this weekend. Today I made Grainline's Scout Woven Tee. I had this beautiful cotton ikat in the stash and it was begging to be a blouse. Feeling ambitious I also went ahead with a pattern adjustment - adding a full back - following Grainline's awesome tutorial

I love this pattern and am sure I'll be making more blouses with it in the future (and perhaps a dress?). I should also mention that I used Grainline's flat bias neckline tutorial and it worked like a charm. Next weekend (long weekend, woo hoo!) I'll be sewing up a dress I've got cut and ready to go. Gosh, I love sewing!

Sunday, April 29, 2012


My first seamed sweater is complete .. and it fits!

I'm so pleased with how this sweater came out. It's warm and roomy enough for a shirt underneath. I used the dimensions of a favorite sweater as a guide and I think that was the biggest help. The one change I made was with the neckline. The pattern instructions have you do a purl round, then knit to create a sort of lining. I found the lining to be bunchy and really thick. When I put the sweater on,  I felt like I was being choked. I ripped all of that out and just did a regular bind off. It doesn't look as clean as the knit lining version but it is significantly thinner and more flexible. I don't think anyone will really notice anyway.

In other news, the blanket is almost done - I just need to decide on a contrast color. I really wish Cascade's Magnum came in neon colors. I think the cream would look awesome with a neon yellow border.  I'm loving the neon yellow trim I've worked into my Flint mittens. I think it looks so awesome. This picture doesn't do it justice -

I can't wait to see the progression of the cables. These mittens are a really fun knit and I think they will be a great travel project for some small trips we have coming up. 
All of this beautiful wool ... is it crazy that I've already started dreaming about this year's Rhinebeck?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Living Room Makeover

It's pretty much complete - the living room makeover! We picked up a few more items and hung the curtains yesterday. Like all home projects, I feel it's a work in progress. For now though, I think it's great! Here are a few before and afters.

Walking into the apartment before and seeing the chaos was making me crazy. The snowflakes were leftover from a photo shoot, the folding table was always stacked with junk and the wardrobe, although covered, still stuck out and looked awful. The new table we added makes for a nice dinner table or game table when we have friends over. We closed up the previous table and decorated it with family photos and a new lamp, which was desperately needed. I love it now!



We needed to partition an area for Adam to have some space. The previous "wall" was ugly and those book cases felt like they might fall over at any minute. The new "wall" is much nicer and holds more stuff. It's shorter which is kind of a bummer but I think we'll slowly fill out the top with more plants (possibly some hanging ones!).



And then we have the corner with the tv. Once we brought in the extra table that is attached to the bookcases we needed to angle the television so it could be seen by those on the couch and at the table. I think it looks so much cleaner and open. I also love our new printed drapes and decorative little canister.



Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Shadow sweater is officially blocking! I now feel like it's actually close to being finished. Hopefully everything will be fully dry by tonight. The blocking really made the yarn soft, the pieces feel like a nice soft fabric now.

I've been stumped for the last couple of weeks thinking about what to knit next. Which is crazy because I usually have several projects in mind that I'm eager to start. Although I have a generous stash at home, all I could think to do was run to the yarn shop and buy a ton of pretty pastel cotton and start up another sweater. Thankfully, I stayed sane.  After I had the Shadow sweater laid out to dry, I dumped my entire stash on the floor and went onto Ravelry. After perusing for hours but still not finding anything, I consulted Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac. For April, she made a blanket and for May, mittens for next winter. I looked at my stash and voila - found my next two projects.

A quick Ravelry search brought up the Eleventh Hour Blanket from Purl Bee:

And, already sitting in my favorites, the Flint Mittens from Brooklyn Tweed:

I cast on the blanket immediately and sank into the couch for last two hours of 'The Ten Commandments' (love that movie!). It's knitting up quickly and is super lush. I'll only have to pop into the yarn shop for a contrast color.

I also got my mitten yarns and needles in order so I can start today. I found a beautiful natural, oatmeal colored yarn that I bought at Rhinebeck last October. I also found a skein of neon yarn that my sister-in-law left here. I don't think she'll miss the little bit I'll need for the trim. Fun!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

What to Knit Next

Brooklyn Tweed's new Spring Thaw Lookbook is amazing! I can't get it out of my head. I keep going back to gaze at the patterns and figure out how I can work them all into my wardrobe (and knitting queue ...).

Although I'm still working on the last sleeve of my January sweater, I'm already thinking about the next project (What yarns are still in my stash? Do I feel like color work? Should I buy some new yarn?). My top three pattern contenders are Quill, Convoy and the Seasons Hat:

Quill, image from Brooklyn Tweed

Convoy, image from Brooklyn Tweed

Season's Hat, image from Brooklyn Tweed

I'm leaning towards Quill as my office is freezing and the shawl looks so cozy. It also looks like a project that would be easy to take on the train. Now I need to find time to dig through the stash. There's got to be some fingering weight yarn in there somewhere. If not, I guess I will HAVE to buy some new yarn. Muhahaha!  For now it's back to that stupid last sleeve.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Baby Blanket

My sister-in-law Jenny is expecting her first baby at the end of the month and we've finished this baby blanket just in time. My husband and other sister-in-law all knit squares to make this a joint family effort. The yarn is from knit picks and it washed up so soft! I will admit that Adam and I have cuddled up against this blanket in the last week having it on the couch.
 Jenny and her husband don't want to know the sex of the baby so we chose colors that were more fun than gender specific. Now I've got to get it wrapped up and to the post office. Her due date is the 30th!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Where You Been?

It appears my last post was over a month ago. Yikes! There's been a lot of change recently which has kept me away. I started a new job at the end of January which has been incredibly exciting but also means I haven't had a lot of time for projects, most notably my January sweater. I'm still on sleeve #1 and (fingers crossed) will finish it before the weekend is over.

The other half of my focus has been on our apartment. I decided that this is the year that we get our apartment in order. No more college furniture. This new passion for furniture and interiors is totally the fault of pinterest. I'm on there (momillco) should you like to follow me. 

So the first room to get a makeover is our living room & foyer. With my sister-in-law's help, we outlined a shopping list and went to Ikea. Here's what we got:

New bookcases to replace our old, beaten down set. We bought two of these bad boys which helps cut our room so the husband can have some 'man space'.

And since we like to play games when people come over we also got the table attachment. This piece is getting a ton of use and helps cut down the number of times we eat at the coffee table, ha ha.

To hide all of the stuff in those little cubbies, we bought a TON of white boxes. I think these are my favorite. I will probably go back to get more ...

And then to cut all that white, we bought some green. I'm so happy Ikea has plants that are okay for low light rooms. I love having plants. We bought three of these guys although I really wanted to also get a tree, like a ficus. I didn't win the tree battle.

There's still so much to take care of - we need some window treatments, a coffee table and a rug for the foyer. I also need to get busy getting rid of some excess furniture. If you're in the BK area and want a killer, solid wood, corner desk. Let me know! More regular posts and, hopefully, more project to share moving forward.


Friday, January 20, 2012

January Sweater

Image from Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed
I like to start a sweater project in January. After knitting numerous little gift items in November and December, I like the focus of a larger project. January also just feels like a good time to bunker down and knit rows and rows (or rounds and rounds) of something big. The sweater I've picked is the Shadow sweater which is part of Jared Flood's 'Wool People' series. The pattern is by Olga Buraya-Kefelian.
Image from Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed
I was really eager to get a sweater on the needles so I started my January sweater in December when I went home for the holidays. Since the sweater is knit in pieces, I decided it would be great for plane travel. Good news is I managed to finish the back of the sweater while I was away and now I am sooo close to finishing the front. I've decided not to do the little pockets though. I just like a cleaner look and didn't want any added bulk. Hopefully I'll get some sleeves started by February!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Handmade Gift Recap - Part Two

Next up are the slipper socks I made for Adam 
and the button cowl I made for my mom.

The slipper socks have quickly turned into Adam's favorite socks. I'm sure I will be making more of these in the future! I used the Mountain Form Slipper pattern and some leftover yarn. They were a very quick knit. This photo really makes Adam's feet look like Kermit's. Ha ha.

The cowl color is so beautiful in person, this photo doesn't do it justice. The yarn was purchased at a yarn shop in Middlebury, Vermont during our fall foliage trip. I like that you can button it all the way up or unbutton it and wear it looser around the neck. I procrastinated for so long about the buttons. I wanted to find the perfect wood buttons. I ended up finding these at Joann's ... on Christmas Eve. A total surprise.

Items not yet photographed - a Anthropologie inspired headband/wrap that was made for my sister-in-law & a navy blue beanie that was made for my brother-in-law. These items are currently being worn (yay!). I was not quick enough with the camera. Hopefully I can snap one of them wearing their new pieces this winter!