Happy Halloween!

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Two Gryffindor scarves in time for Halloween. Check! One more on the needles with no deadline, for a cousin. Check! Lots of candy. Check! One happy wizard. Check!

This scarf was very fun to knit. The second one was a little less fun, but the third will be fun again because it is not for Halloween. It is just for regular winter wear, so I can take my time and enjoy the process.

I am also knitting the second sleeve of my Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig. Hopefully I will have that completed soon. I finished the knitting on the Myrna Cardigan by Andi Sutterland and just need to sew on the buttons and photograph it for you.

My next  sweater project will by Chuck by Andi Sutterland.  I am participating in the Tiny Paper Foxes Make 2 Along. The premise is that you make two or more items that you plan on wearing together. I want to knit Chuck to wear with my Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Files. I will be putting the zipper in my muslin version of those this weekend!

I hope that your knitting and sewing projects are sweet to you this weekend, and not at all scary. Happy Halloween!

I can haz ‘serged’ seams!

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Ginger Jeans are rolling along. When I got to the first instruction that said to serge the seam, I went “hmmm”. I don’t own a serger, but I have borrowed one from my BFF. I currently have it in my closet. I know that it works because I had it worked on a few months ago. They demonstrated that fact for me at the shop.

When I got it home, I had already managed to un-thread it and life is JUST TOO SHORT!

So, when the Ginger Jeans directions said to serge the seams, I wondered what kind of fake overlock seam my sewing machine could do.  I had previously downloaded the manual, but see above as to why I have not read it cover to cover. However, I did find a very easy to watch 1 minute YouTube video that taught me which stitch number and foot to use for a faux overlocked seam. Yea. I already had the foot. Double Yea. Happy sewing!

Slow Sewing

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I have been channeling the hare as my sewing spirit animal for the past few years. You know, crank out lots of mediocre projects that fit well enough, just to move on to the next project. That approach served the purpose of letting me practice lots of techniques and learn more about many different types of construction in a relatively short amount of time. It also taught me the ways in which my body differs from the standard pattern block, and the typical pattern alterations that I will most likely use for most pieces. This is all valuable information and has increased the volume of handmade garments in my wardrobe, but it has its limitations.

My new sewing spirit animal is the tortoise. S-L-O-W and steady wins the sewing race. The only person I am racing is, of course, myself. Now I want to take my time and practice my fitting and finishing techniques, not leaving a pattern or project until I have made the best version I can make, using the best materials that I can afford. If I am making less pieces per month, then they can be made with higher quality materials without breaking my ‘fun money’ budget.

The first pattern to try out my new slow sewing method is the Ginger Jeans pattern by Closet Case Files. I currently only own one pair of blue jeans because I have never liked the way jeans look on me. My waist to hips ratio is very large, so it has always been hard to find jeans that fit well. My plan with this pattern is to make the first version with some okay stretch denim that came from my local big box fabric store. These will be my possibly wearable muslin. Then, I will get some really nice denim and findings to make the ‘real’ version. These jeans may take me into the new year, but that is okay because I will have a great fitting pair of jeans when I am done.

I have already done a full butt adjustment and lengthened the crotch, as these are adjustments that I made for my Thurlow Trousers by Sewaholic and they fit really well. Even though these are just the muslin version, I am taking my time and pretending that they are the real version to practice my top-stitching and construction. Who knows, they may even turn out to be a pair of jeans that I wear as well!

Spinning Rolags

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I still consider myself very much a beginning spinner. The joy in that is constant discovery, the process of trial and error, and delight in learning a new technique or how to handle different types of fibers.

So far, I have spun a silk hankie, a braid of Sheltand, two braids of silk and Merino, and four blended rolags from The Wooly Witch. This was my first experience spinning rolags and I found them much easier to draft than fiber from a braid. The fiber in the picture of The Waterhorse of Loch Ness colorwary, inspired by the series of Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon.

The colors are so beautiful and the spinning was so nice that I think I would like to spin another ounce of this same product. My plan is to pair it with a commercial yarn for a shawl that features a small pop of contrast color. I have been eyeing the Shell colorway from Camelia Fiber Company of Nashville, TN.  They only dye in small batches, so it is hard to come by. Fortunately, I have several projects on the go right now and am not in any hurry to cast on another. But, I always keep future ideas peculating in the back of my mind. Because if I woke up one day with nothing to knit, there would be trouble!

Harry Potter Scarves

As my son gets older, each year I think that it will be the last year he will want to dress up for Halloween.  I would put on a costume in a red-hot minute for any occasion, but he is a little more like his dad in that he doesn’t  think any run of longer than 3 miles deserves its own tutu. They are funny that way.

So, when he and his friends hatched the plan to be the Harry Potter gang this year, of course I volunteered to knit Gryffindor scarves. Because, it may be the last year he wants to dress up. Yes, it will be too hot to wear them. Yes, he will probably lose it the same day I give it to him. Yes, the dragon scarf I knit for him was moth eaten because it was left in a car with the windows rolled down. I don’t care. I knit to relax and to show love. I can do both with these scarves. That will be my treat this Halloween. (Because I am Torching Ten, right?)

Knitting is finished on #1, just needs blocking and fringe.
Knitting is finished on #1, just needs blocking and fringe.

Half-Marathon Training

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In three weeks I will take off on my seventh half-marathon adventure. Although, one can and does, argue that 13.1 miles is not HALF of anything! I have been loosely using the Another Mother Runner’s Half-Marathon Own It training plan from the book Train Like a Mother. I say loosely because I have been using it more like a suggestion than an actual plan.  Basically, I have been having trouble getting in more than 20 miles per week and my long runs are not so long these days.

However, I loosely used it last February for the East Texas Half and ended up with a PR, so anything can happen on race day, right? Actually, I will probably run about like I have been training on race day, which is usually the case, but I am good with that this time around.

As my son gets older, he is more involved in extra-curricular activities and if I have to sacrifice some running time for that kind of stuff, I will earn my Mommy merit badge. What, no badges? Well, someone drove me to cheer practice, ball games, piano lessons, etc. for years, so let’s just say I am paying it forward. Actually, I love to watch him do his stuff. Add your typical proud mom platitudes here.

I haven’t forgotten about the Torching Ten challenge (in which I try to lose ten pounds), I just forgot how much I like to eat. I am down four pounds and have been hanging out there for awhile. The plan is for this post to get me motivated to push those numbers to double digits. So, expect more here about running and nutrition soon. Happy training!

Hand-spun Cowl

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This is the braid that I bought in May at the Magnolia State Fiber Festival from Alisha Goes Around.  It is a silk and merino blend that was a lot of fun to spin. I spun it kind of chunky and plied into a two ply bulky yarn. (Of course, it was not consistent in thickness throughout!) I only had about 100 yards from an 8 ounce braid, so I decided to knit up an infinity cowl. I didn’t use a pattern for this, I just cast on until it looked long enough, knit about three rounds in garter stitch, and then knit in stockinette until I was almost out of yarn.  Then I finished off with another three rounds of garter stitch and a bind off.

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It is very soft and I think it will be really warm. Even though I loved the colors in the braid, it came out a lot more white and yellow once it was spun and knit.  I think that this will be a donation for an upcoming hat, scarf, and glove drive for our local council on aging. I have been thinking lately about all of my ‘stuff’ and I really don’t need another scarf, and I know there are people who do. So, I am happy to give this away. I also plan on knitting some warm hats to add to my donation. Look for future posts about my journey to strike a balance between the joy of making and the responsibilities of ‘having’.  Happy knitting, spinning, sewing, and running!

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Myrna by Andi Sutterland of Untangling Knots

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Even though I am not quite done with my Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig, I could not help myself from casting on the Myrna by Andi Sutterland of Untangling Knots. The blame for this lies completely on Jessyka of the CJaneMake Podcast. She hosts a vintage inspired knitting and sewing podcast that I really enjoy.  She is currently knitting the Myrna and it looks so cute that I was inspired to cast one on for myself.

This cardigan is cropped with short sleeves and a deep V-neck.  In other words, a quick knit with a relatively small yardage of worsted weight yarn. I am using a deep red color of Cascade Venezia Worsted. I should be done with this in time to wear it during our cooler fall days this year.

The motivation to finish this knit quickly is high because Jessyka hosted a pattern give-away through her podcast and I WON!!! So, Andi Sutterland’s Vianne pattern is currently sitting quietly in my Ravelry queue, waiting her turn. I will finish my Featherweight before I cast on Vianne. Probably.

Akita Blouse from Seamwork Magazine

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I have been an off and on subscriber to Seamwork Magazine since it began.  I seesaw between wanting more patterns and needing to concentrate on the patterns that I already have so that each of my garments can be as well-made as possible.

This LOUD blouse came about as the perfect cross between some vintage cottage that my husband’s grandmother gave to me from her sewing stash and the simple, once piece Akita blouse from the September issue of Seamwork.

The pattern is easy to cut and sew, with simple finishing details. It was a one day project, and I am not a swift seamstress. If I were to make it again, I would lower the arm-scythe and add some hip shaping to the hem. The bust darts seem to hit me just about right, although it is hard to tell from my poor posture in this photo. (Note to self, take blog pic in the morning, not after work!)

Right now I am on the concentrate on the patterns I have end of the spectrum, so there is sure to be something that I really want to make in the October Seamwork issue. Oh, and have you seen the Vancouver collection from Sewaholic? Those patterns were created to jump the line in my sewing queue!