Tag Archives: knitting

Spring Sewing Plans: My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Standard
Spring Sewing Plans:  My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

*I’m reposting this because the pictures were only showing as links when viewed on a phone. I’m sorry for any confusion! Hopefully you can see all my pictures now, no matter what type of device you are reading on.*

Hi, everyone! I have something a little different for you today. Normally, I do a photography post the last Friday of every month, but I never made the time to get out and take those photos in March. So instead, I want to share a little challenge I have set myself for the spring.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Now, I love planning sewing projects–and knitting projects, actually, but especially sewing projects. I wanted to try something new for the spring–a personal challenge of some kind. I know there are a million sewing challenges floating around the internet, but I usually have so many ideas of my own that I find it hard to take time away from my never-ending list of fun possibilities to follow the guidelines of a challenge. So, I decided to create my own! I want to try to make myself a spring outfit that all goes together. My plan is to make as many of the pieces as I can. While this isn’t an especially novel idea in and of itself, it’s distinctly different from how I usually work, which makes it fun and refreshing for me.

Here’s a broad outline of what I want to make: a long-sleeved t-shirt, some pants, and a windbreaker for my main pieces. In addition, I plan to make undergarments (which won’t show up here, as I don’t feel comfortable blogging those, but which I will still make), socks, and a hat. I haven’t learned to make shoes, so I’ll exclude those.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

All right! That seems like a pretty good list. Now let’s break it down.

Where I live, spring starts off quite cool and takes awhile to warm up. Every year, I wish I had some Breton-striped long-sleeved shirts in bright colors for spring time, so that or something similar is what I want to make for my shirt. (Never heard of Breton stripes? Check out this article on the history of Breton Stripes.)I decided that I would pick my pattern based on what fabric I found. I could use the Union St. Tee from Hey June Handmade if my fabric was pretty stretchy or Vogue 8950 if I found two coordinating stretchy fabrics. If the fabric was low-stretch, I could make the Coco Top from Tilly and the Buttons.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

After lots of deliberation, I ordered this coral pink and white striped sweater knit from Fashion Fabrics Club. It’s low stretch, so I’ll make the Coco top with long sleeves and boat neckline.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Since a Breton-striped shirt has nautical roots, I thought it would be fun to make the Sailor Pants, Pattern 229, from Folkwear, which I got for Christmas.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge
My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

I found some non-stretch, medium/heavy weight denim also at Fashion Fabrics Club. I’ll admit, I’m a little nervous about this, but I plan to compare the pattern to jeans patterns that fit me as well as some genuine sailor pants that I own. The pants I have are the same 13-button style, but are made in a wool gabardine (I think). They are truly high-rise and don’t have quite the bell-bottom shape of the Folkwear pattern. I plan to use them as a guide. I may even make a muslin. All the extra steps and double checking are, admittedly, the kinds of things that usually lead me to procrastinate, so fingers crossed on these.

For my windbreaker, I want to use the sweatshirt pattern in vintage McCall’s 5303.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

I have had this pattern for a long time. It’s one I got from my Mom’s pattern stash, although she gave me the medium instead of the large. After looking at the finished measurements, I decided to hunt down a large online, even though anything from the medium through the extra large would fit. I think the windbreaker/sweatshirt will be great to throw on when the wind whips up on the beach, and in a Supplex/Taslan, which is water resistant, it will even keep sprinkles off. It doesn’t hurt that Supplex/Taslan also blocks a good amount of UV rays. Woven Supplex is something I have wanted to try more of for awhile now. Previously I used a tiny bit for the neckline placket and pocket of my Patagonia-inspired sweatshirt, but that wasn’t enough to get a real feel for the fabric. I ordered a bunch from the Rainshed so I can make this and hopefully some hiking pants and board shorts later this year. My original plan was to make the main part in yellow with magenta facings on the hood.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

After looking at the various colors I ordered, however, I think I would rather make the main part in yellow with this “Candy” pink for the hood facings. I do need the Candy pink for another project as well, but I’m hoping that with some careful cutting, I’ll be able to make it work for both.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

For the socks, I found the free Sew It Forward Socks from Ellie & Mac, a sewing company that is new to me.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Free patterns are such a great way to try out a new company, and a sock pattern I could sew was right up my alley. I’m not quite sure what fabric I want to use for these, but I’m hoping to use up some of my t-shirt scraps.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Because it is often cool here during a lot of the spring, I thought a hat might be a good idea as well. I plan to make The Oslo Hat–Mohair Edition from Petite Knit. It will be nice to throw a little knitting into the mix.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Maggie at Pintuck & Purl gave me some mystery yarn on a cone and after doing some tests, I’d guess it’s a wool fingering weight yarn. I plan to pair it with some silk mohair from The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers to make this hat. I picked out the color “Stagecoach Mary” from their Mighty Mo line over on the Wool & Co. website.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

If the season gets ahead of me and warms up before I finish with this, I still plan to make it, but I’ll consider substituting a bag pattern or just taking this off my spring outfit list without substituting something else for it.

And that’s it! I’m really excited about this! Even when I work in larger batches of several projects at once, I don’t usually try to coordinate my projects, so it’s fun to do something a little different. We’ll see how I get on as the season progresses. I have a few things to finish up, and then I plan to get started tracing all my patterns. As I get going, I’ll post some projects that I finished recently, and by the time I’m done showing you those, I bet I’ll have some of this challenge finished! If this sounds fun, feel free to join me and make your own spring outfit using whatever parameters sound good to you, then leave me a link in my comments so I can check out what you’re up to!

Winter Knitting: Wool and Honey Sweater in Jamieson and Smith 2 Ply Jumper Weight

Standard
Winter Knitting:  Wool and Honey Sweater in Jamieson and Smith 2 Ply Jumper Weight

If you are reading this post, then it means I have actually succeeded!  Last week, I had some family things to take care of that took the time I would normally be blogging, and this week our computer sort of…exploded?  There were no pieces of metal or plastic flying through the air, but there was a loud bang and lots of sparks.  Thanks to my in-laws, I have a laptop I can use to get everything sorted and out on the blog, although for awhile there, I couldn’t upload pictures or get WordPress to save my post. However, it seems I have finally prevailed (with help from my husband and the internet)! In the grand scheme of things, this is minor, but it feels like an accomplishment nonetheless.  While I’m not bad at technology, it’s far from my first love.  What I really love is fibers I can sew and knit.  Today’s project is of the knitting variety–I made a Wool & Honey sweater!

My Wool & Honey Sweater
My Wool and Honey sweater in Jamieson and Smith 2 ply Jumper Weight yarn

The Wool & Honey sweater is a pattern from Drea Renee Knits (Andrea Mowry).  The first time I saw someone wearing this sweater, I thought it was really cool, but had a very strange shape.  The shoulders and sleeves are fitted, while the body is wide and boxy.  There’s a really cool honeycomb pattern that sits on top of the stitches at the neck, chest, and upper arms.

My Wool & Honey Sweater
Wool and Honey sweater front view
My Wool & Honey Sweater
Wool and Honey sweater back view

I initially wrote the design off as something with interesting details that wasn’t quite for me.  But somehow, as often happens, the design got into my head.  Then I accidentally made a sweater with a similar shape in the fall…and I liked it!

I bought the paper pattern at Pintuck & Purl and decided that I would join in their Winter Sweater Make-Along on Zoom. 

fullsizeoutput_e2a

After researching yarn, I decided to go with Jamieson & Smith 2 ply Jumper Weight, which was both less expensive, even after having it shipped from the UK, and less prone to breakage than the recommended yarn.

My Wool & Honey Sweater
My Wool & Honey Sweater

Once I got all my supplies, I knit up a few “swift swatches in the round” and realized that I was, as usual, knitting very loosely. 

My Wool & Honey Sweater
My swatch from the right side after blocking
My Wool & Honey Sweater
Here is the back of my swatch after blocking–it looks messy, but it helps you swatch quickly in the round.

I recalculated my gauge so that I could knit at the gauge that I got, and found that I would need to make the smallest size, rather than the size I would normally fit into, which would have been the medium or large.  I really had to make it work since I was already using very tiny US size 0 and 1 knitting needles.  Here is where I have to give a huge shoutout to Meaghan over at the Drea Renee Knits (DRK) team.  While I could knit the XS to get a bust size that would work for me, it looked like the arms would be too tight.  I e-mailed the DRK pattern help address and explained my problem.  Meaghan took time to talk through all the details with me, help me with my math, explain that Andrea Mowry drafted these sleeves so they would fit well with anywhere from -2″ up to +3″ of ease, AND she offered to check over all my math once I made my calcuations since her formula was slightly different than the one I had first used.  She really went above and beyond, and I am so grateful.  It made a huge difference in my confidence and in the finished sweater to have someone that knowledgeable to talk things over with.  And as it turned out, the XS was going to be fine with the gauge I got, sleeves and all.

My Wool & Honey Sweater

Knitting this pattern was fascinating.  I had no idea how the honeycombs would be formed.  They are really ingenious. I love that they look like they are randomly scattered over the surface of the sweater and that they grow in size as they go from the neck down toward the waist. 

My Wool & Honey Sweater
My Wool & Honey Sweater
My Wool & Honey Sweater

This is my second DRK pattern, and I am a convert.  Any special techniques I might not understand are explained in the pattern or on Andrea’s YouTube channel.  Knowing I could e-mail someone for pattern help is really the icing on the cake.  This pattern was challenging, but not too hard thanks to the help provided, and it was interesting.  The only part I didn’t love was how long it takes to knit a sweater with fingering weight yarn on tiny needles.  Needless to say, the Winter Sweater Make-Along finished long before I was done with my own sweater, but it gave me the push I needed to get started, and it was fun to connect with other knitters over Zoom.  Just as I really began to think I would never finish, I got going on my sleeves.  Even making them a little bit longer, by the time I got to the sleeves, the end really was imminent (even if it didn’t always feel like it).  I began this in mid-October and finished in early to mid-February.

My Wool & Honey Sweater

I absolutely love this sweater.  In the first two weeks after I finished it, I wore it almost every day.  My family started to laugh at me, I wore it so much.  It’s warmer than I expected for the weight of the yarn, but not bulky or too warm.  

My Wool & Honey Sweater

Here are my takeaways from this project: 

  • I am a total fan of DRK patterns.  They are interesting, fun, and there is great support to help you through the parts you don’t understand.  I have since signed up for her newsletter, which I’m really enjoying.  I even got my mom hooked as we’re knitting Andrea’s Sparks socks pattern together over Zoom. 
  • I love this Jamieson & Smith 2 ply Jumper Weight yarn.  It’s beautiful in color and texture and great to knit with.  It blooms nicely with blocking and it has given me a whole new appreciation for the Shetland yarn I have in my stash from my first knitting phase years ago.  This yarn comes from Shetland sheep which are an old and very cool breed.  I love its rustic look.  It’s softer than you would expect, and while it blooms when blocked, it doesn’t jump right to getting felted.  I would definitely knit more projects with this yarn. 
  • That being said, I don’t love how long it took to knit a sweater out of fingering weight yarn.  I know four months isn’t forever, but it often felt like it took forever to complete even a single round of stitches.  I absolutely love the lightness and drape of the sweater, so I understand why people love fingering weight sweaters.  I won’t say I’ll never knit one again, but I definitely need a break. 

And the boxy body plus close-fitting arm style?  I love it!  I don’t like how it looks with every pair of pants I own, but with closer-fitting bottoms, I do like it, and it’s a dream to wear.  The stretchy sleeves and forgiving fit of the body are also great for weight fluctuations, making this a sweater that should last a long time. 

My Wool & Honey Sweater

I’m so glad I tried this.  While sewing is my biggest love, I have done less of it than I would have expected over the last year, moving at a slow-but-steady pace, while I have done more knitting than I would have expected.  Knitting is easy to pick up and put down, and I have two new knitting buddies in my mom, who has come back to knitting after a long absence, and one of my kids, who is really getting into it. 

I love, love, love being able to make my own clothes.  Knitting gives me one more tool in that box. 

My Wool & Honey Sweater

If I could add any other tool?  Shoe-making!  Maybe one day.  🙂

My Wool & Honey Sweater

Sweater Knitting: The Engle Sweater in DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk

Standard
Sweater Knitting:  The Engle Sweater in DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk

Looking back over the past two or three fall/winter seasons, I noticed something: I have knit a lot of sweaters! I went from someone who had sworn off knitting because I just could not size larger projects correctly back to someone who almost always has at least one project on my needles. I’m still not awesome at sizing. I’m a loose knitter and sometimes my gauge changes as I go along. And I definitely don’t love knitting as much as sewing, but I do like its portability and how easy it is to knit for just a few minutes here and there. Finding affordable yarn in a fiber I like is a struggle, but I’m getting better at that, too.

Sweater Knitting:  The Engle Sweater in DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk

All of these things came into play with the Engle sweater by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks.

Sweater Knitting:  The Engle Sweater in DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk

I love the colorwork designs incorporated in the different patterns from this designer–they stand out in a way that is really pleasing to me.

The Engle is knit from the top down in a thin but fluffy yarn on larger needles, and incorporates colorwork.

Sweater Knitting:  The Engle Sweater in DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk
Sweater Knitting:  The Engle Sweater in DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk

While looking for an affordable yarn for this project, I discovered the brand DROPS Design, which is based in Norway. They have a lot of different yarns in various fibers (plus lots of free patterns) for an affordable price. The US distributors that carry the full range of their yarns are actually based in the UK. One of DROPS’ offerings is Brushed Alpaca Silk, which has a very similar percentage of alpaca and silk to the yarn recommended by the pattern. I loved the colors, and the yarn was very affordable.

There was a great little line drawing included with this pattern that you could use as a coloring page to try out color combinations.

Sweater Knitting:  The Engle Sweater in DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk
Sweater Knitting:  The Engle Sweater in DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk

I was so happy to see this! On my Soldotna Sweater, I had made my own coloring page, but here was one made for me! After some coloring, I ordered cerise, black, off white, and curry from Purple Sheep Yarns. Shipping was reasonable, and the yarn arrived quickly.

Sweater Knitting:  The Engle Sweater in DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk

After swatching, I ended up using size US 8 needles for my colorwork, US 7’s for the stockinette portion, and US 6’s for my ribbing (except on the sleeves, where I forgot). Optional techniques used: Twisted German Cast On (nice and stretchy for the neck edge), Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off.

I began knitting my sweater in the summer, I think (maybe July?), but it was clearly coming out too large (my loose knitting was wreaking havoc). I unraveled it and cast on again on August 23, 2020 after taking a break and redoing my calculations. My measurements had put me in a size 4, but with the gauge I was knitting at, I could knit a size 2 and achieve a size 4 (in theory). Unfortunately, with my loose knitting and the lack of elasticity in alpaca and silk, which don’t have the bounce-back that wool does, my sweater was large and grew a bit. It was so beautiful, though, that I kept going, and hoped for the best.

Sweater Knitting:  The Engle Sweater in DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk
Sweater Knitting:  The Engle Sweater in DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk

Now that I knew I was knitting a bit loose and now that I remembered alpaca’s tendency to grow and relax, I got into my groove and decided that I wouldn’t knit the sleeves quite as long as the pattern directed, since I expected them to grow a bit with wear. For that reason, I opted not to do the sleeve color chart, even though I really liked it. It seemed like the colorwork would be a little too close to my yoke.

Sweater Knitting:  The Engle Sweater in DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk
Sweater Knitting:  The Engle Sweater in DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk
Inside of the sweater, front
Sweater Knitting:  The Engle Sweater in DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk
Inside of the sweater, back; you can see where I carried my yarn down as I went along

By the end of September/beginning of October, the sweater was finished. My loose knitting and the relaxed sweater meant that I didn’t actually have to knit quite as long as expected before it was long enough. The shape turned out a little boxier than I had expected, but I love it! It’s so soft and warmer than you would think. The drape is nice, too, and it hasn’t really grown or stretched beyond what you see here.

Sweater Knitting:  The Engle Sweater in DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk
Sweater Knitting:  The Engle Sweater in DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk
Sweater Knitting:  The Engle Sweater in DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk
Sweater Knitting:  The Engle Sweater in DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk
Sweater Knitting:  The Engle Sweater in DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk

So, while I won’t say I sized this just right, I do love this sweater and have worn it a lot over the fall and winter. Knitting loosely with this yarn creates a very interesting, light, and soft fabric and a beautiful sweater.

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas!

Standard
Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas!

It’s almost the Winter Solstice (the first day of winter) in the northern hemisphere, which means that fall is wrapping up and it’s time to think about winter sewing and knitting plans! I’m always thinking about sewing and knitting plans, and since I love to read about what other people are considering making, I thought I would share a snapshot of my ideas with you! There is no way I will ever make all of these ideas, so these are just ideas, not plans. I change my mind about what I want to make quite frequently until I have started on a particular project or batch of projects. So here are my thoughts at the current moment.

Sewing: Garments

I love sewing tops, and I have a few ideas of some that I would like to make. I have been wanting to make a Western-inspired shirt for a long time, so I bought out-of-print McCall’s 6262, which is a unisex Palmer/Pletsch pattern with lots of design options.

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

Since this pattern doesn’t have the option to make shaped shotgun cuffs, I also purchased Threads magazine, Issue 67 from October/November 1996 from Vintage Pattern Warehouse. It has an article by David Page Coffin, called “Updating the Cowboy Shirt” explaining, among other things, how to make these super cool cuffs. This one is going to take some real thought to figure out exactly how I want to make it up, but first I need to sew a muslin to check out the fit and practice a few techniques. I was hoping I would have enough of these two rayon fabrics in my stash for a muslin, but I don’t think I do, so I’ll have to look through the stash a bit more to see what else I’ve got. I should probably start by tracing my pattern pieces so I can hold them up to the various bits of fabric I have to see if they’ll work.

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

I don’t wear a lot of turtleneck shirts right now, but this year they are really appealing to me. I have a few Polartec fleece fabrics that might work to try out the free Yoko Square Roll-Neck Top pattern from Jalie. It looks so comfy! (Tessuti has a similar pattern called the Monroe Turtleneck if you want something slightly different.)

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

I really love a good Henley-style shirt in the winter. I made one previously by combining the Thread Theory Strathcona Henley and the Deer and Doe Plaintain Tee, but I have wanted to try one drafted for women, and Itch to Stitch has just the pattern, the Visby Henley. This is also a fun change because the Strathcona Henley has set-in sleeves and the Visby has raglan sleeves. I would love it if I could make one either from my wool knit scraps

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

or my Cotton + Steel knit scraps

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

but the wools are of various weights and amounts. The only one with significant yardage is the green, but it’s pretty thin. Maybe it would work better as a Yoko or Monroe Turtleneck. Hm… The Cotton + Steel knits I don’t love all together, although I like some of them in combination. This may be a project that I eventually buy fabric for and save the wool and cotton knits for something else.

On to sweatshirts! I have had Burda Style 6315, View A (the colorblocked view) on my list for awhile. I think I might have enough leftover Polartec Powerstretch to make it, but like the Western shirt, I really need to trace out my pattern pieces to see. I had originally planned on using light pink with the ivory and purple, but the scraps I have left of that are very small. Luckily, I have a bit more of this dark gray.

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

I bought some really, really soft Tencel sweatshirt knit from Pintuck & Purl in a sale, and have been looking for the perfect pattern to use it with. It’s light to midweight, and drapey. I think a Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover with the hemline shape from the Style Arc Josie Hoodie would be great with leggings this winter.

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

I love how you can put in a little burst of color in the Brunswick with the pocket on the arm and on the sides by the snaps. I have made both the Brunswick and the Josie and they are two of my favorite sweatshirts.

Leaving tops aside, I’m interested in trying out the Ullvi Slouchy Hat from The Last Stitch. I’ll have to modify things a bit since this is drafted to be a double layer hat, which would be great with a fleece that is brushed on both sides, but won’t be as good with the scraps I have since one side is smooth and the fabric is a bit thicker. I’ll probably cut it to be a single layer and either hem the bottom or bind it with foldover elastic. The double layer instructions would probably work on some of my thicker wool knits, though!

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

Sewing: Non-Clothing Items

It is one of my sewing goals to do a few projects using leather. I have done some small projects with leather and vinyl in the past, but I want to get in some more practice. My husband bought Leather Bags: 14 Stylish Designs to Sew for Any Occasion by Kasia Ehrhardt for me, and I have some leather scraps that someone gave me, so I would like to maybe start with one or two of the smaller and easier projects to get my feet wet.

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

I also still have this partial Hudson Bay Point Blanket that I got for free at a yard sale. Parts of it are very worn, but I have thought about making a bag with a leather bottom from the good portions, so I might use this book as a starting point, although if you have any pattern recommendations, please leave them in the comments! I don’t have experience making heavy-duty bags, so I need a pattern that will give me guidance on supplies and techniques.

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

I posted awhile ago about making some of the Twig + Tale Tropical Leaf Blankets, but I still haven’t made one for myself, and I really want a Monstera blanket, so I may make one for myself and a friend. Maybe I’ll even try one of the doll-size Fan Leaf blankets. While digging through my stash, I found this old wool blanket remnant someone gave me and this leftover twill from a bag I made, and I LOVE them together! I really don’t know if I have enough or how practical these fabrics are for what I want to do with the blanket, but I’m willing to piece them if I have to.

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

These blankets are so much fun to make, and now there is also a North American Leaf Blanket Collection that I really want to try!

Knitting

Although knitting hasn’t shown up a ton on the blog, I have done a lot of knitting this year. Sewing is definitely my biggest love, but I like having a knitting project going as well because it’s more portable than most of my sewing projects.

Right now, I have the Wool & Honey Sweater from Drea Renee Knits on my needles. I started this as part of a winter sweater make-along through Pintuck & Purl. I am a fairly slower knitter, so having a regular Zoom craft night was a good way to get started. Even though I didn’t finish in the allotted time, it got me going. Now I am partway down the body, and am hoping I have enough yarn for everything.

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

I really like this pattern, and the yarn, Shetland 2ply Jumper Weight by Jamieson & Smith, is beautiful. I think Shetland yarn is so cool. I have often questioned my sanity in choosing to knit a full sweater out of fingering-weight yarn on tiny, tiny needles, though. After this, I’ll be ready for some thicker yarn or just smaller fingering weight projects…

And that is why my Mom and I plan to have our own little knit-along and cast on the Sparks sock pattern at some point in the near future. This pattern is also by Drea Renee Knits. Knitting the Wool & Honey Sweater made me realize that knitting two socks in fingering weight was not a big deal. They are a lot smaller than a sweater, so I can definitely get them done! I’m hoping to use up some of the odds and ends in my group of sock yarns. I ordered some “Real Black” Cascade Heritage sock yarn from Wool & Co. to tie all the colors together.

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

And that’s it for now! Well, when I say that’s it, you should imagine a further mental list of projects a million miles long, but these are at the top of that list for now and are the most likely to be made this winter. Since I don’t want this blog post to be a million miles long, I’ll leave it at that. 🙂

However, I would LOVE to hear any creative winter projects you are planning. Do you have any sewing, knitting, or other craft projects you are thinking about? Feel free to share them in the comments. And Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate Christmas! I’ll be taking the next few weeks off, but I hope to see you here in January.

How the Sweater Curse Ended: Cotton Soldotna Crop

Standard
How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

Here’s something a little different–a knitting project.  In fact, it’s an unblogged sweater from 2019!  I do have some fall sewing projects to show you, but I need to take some pictures first, so instead we have a summer sweater.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

Just like so many knitters, I fell for the Soldotna Crop sweater by Boyland Knitworks when it came out.  A short-sleeved sweater is kind of a funny thing to knit, but when I saw this, I saw my opportunity to knit a sweater that was cropped and short-sleeved, requiring less yarn (and therefore less money for supplies).  It was also an opportunity to dig into another colorwork project.  After a few stranded knitting colorwork projects, I was in love.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

Before I started sewing, I knitted.  And with one very well-fitting exception, all the sweaters I made were massive.  There was a lot I didn’t know that I’m learning now.  Anyway, after taking two years to knit a sweater for my husband that was still massive after I intentionally shrunk it in the washer and dryer, I was done.  (Check out my Craft Fails if you want to see the sweater.) After hanging around Pintuck & Purl for a few years, though, I got slowly sucked back in by all the amazing knitters that I kept meeting there.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

I started thinking about color and value (i.e. darkness and lightness of each color) and tested out my ideas by tracing an image of a finished sweater, scanning it into the computer, and using it as my own little coloring page.  My goals were to use colors that I loved in a range of values similar to the original.  Having good value contrast can really make a design stand out, even more than the color can.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

Looking at the original in both color and black and white helped me figure out where I wanted to place my colors.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

Once I had that figured out, I colored my picture and redrew the pattern chart with my colors in it so I wouldn’t get confused while knitting.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

I initially chose an inexpensive synthetic yarn, Berroco Comfort DK, but the colors weren’t exactly what I wanted.  Sweaters are so expensive to knit, and I was trying to keep the cost down, but I just wasn’t happy with my purchase.  That being said, I do really like this yarn and have since used it to make a few hats.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

So, I returned what I could of the Berroco yarn and eventually got what I really wanted from Pintuck & Purl, Mirasol Pima Kuri DK Cotton Yarn.

You can see all the colors I considered, followed by a grayscale picture that helped me pick the ones I wanted based on their values.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

Part of the joy of colorwork for me is the colors and I loved these.  My choices (left to right):  Smoky Mountain, Cabernet, Lime Twist, and Adventurine.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

I made a few good-sized swatches in the round in part of the colorwork pattern and then threw a swatch in the washer and dryer, which was how I wanted to block/care for my finished sweater.  After it was done I measured it, and my husband ran the numbers through Excel so we could check what size sweater the gauge I had knitted at would give me, accounting for shrinkage after blocking.  Once I thought I had what I wanted, I cast on.  I was nervous, but I really wanted to try, so I went for it.  I cast on sometime in March 2019 and worked on it little by little over the summer.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

I knitted a size L, which turned out well.  My measurements put me in a L, except for the arms, which I should have knit in a 2XL, but I did a straight L, and it was fine.  The neck area is a bit odd and is not as open as the picture on the pattern.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

If I were to do this all over again, I would cast on closer to the start of the colorwork and just have a small roll neck.

I have noticed that my gauge tends to loosen over time, which works great for a sweater knitted from the top down, as it will naturally get a little larger near my hips.  I lengthened this a bit, since the cropped original version was just too cropped for me.  Once I had knitted down to my high hip, I finished things off.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

Below is a picture of the inside before I wove in my ends.

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

I tried the sweater on after binding off and…IT FIT!!!!  Now, I won’t tell you there are no mistakes (there are), and the back of the neck it a little weird, but…I LOVE THIS SWEATER.  I had MADE a sweater, and it FIT.  I was over the moon.  For a long time, I just kept it out so I could look at it every time I walked by.  It looks good as a t-shirt, and also works as a vest-type sweater over a collared shirt.  With this sweater, I think I finally broke the curse of the too-big sweaters.  😉

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

How the Sweater Curse Ended:  Cotton Soldotna Crop

My Modified Marshland Sweater

Standard
My Modified Marshland Sweater

Since the scope of this blog is sewing and creative projects, I’ll just say this before beginning:  we’re well here.  I often suffer from anxiety, but by God’s grace, I have been largely calm and peaceful.  I’m thankful for many things, not the least of which is good creative work to do in uncertain times.  Creative work may seem frivolous and secondary to some, but it can be both a necessary and a wonderful gift.  So let’s talk knitting today.

I don’t always put my knitting projects on the blog, since I keep this space largely for sewing, but this project represents a lot of problem solving and (good) hard work, and I want to share it.

My Modified Marshland Sweater

So, here was my problem:  I have many partial and complete skeins of 14- or 15-year-old wool yarn from Yates Farm in Vermont in a worsted weight that knits up like a bulky.  I love this yarn, but I have lots of colors and not many skeins that are the same color.  It’s also a slightly scratchy yarn and isn’t great at the neck or ankles although it’s lovely to wear over another shirt.  I’ve been pondering just what to do with it for years.  Maybe the best way to use it was a colorwork sweater, but it had to be something without a high neck that could use a lot of partial skeins and a lot of different colors.  Hm…  What could I make?

My Modified Marshland Sweater

I had fallen in love with the Strange Brew book by Tin Can Knits and had it in my library.

My Modified Marshland Sweater

l

My Modified Marshland Sweater

This book is filled with patterns for colorwork yoke sweaters as well as hats and cowls.  Not only does it contain patterns–it tells you how you can design your own sweater or change up the existing patterns.  It’s my favorite kind of craft book:  projects, inspiration, and reference information.  A lot of the design aspects of the book are still a bit beyond me, but after ages of mulling things over, I thought I might take my favorite design, the Marshland Sweater, and modify the colorwork a bit to have some of my favorite elements in it.

My Modified Marshland Sweater

I studied what I liked best in the existing pattern and in other colorwork designs and changed up the color charts a bit.  Since I don’t have experience designing knitwear, several of my rounds had three colors in them instead of the usual one or two, but I managed ok.

To throw yet another complication in, I needed to be able to knit this sweater at a different gauge since my yarn was knitting up thicker than a standard worsted.  In order to figure out gauge, I took the advice in the book and made a hat.  I wasn’t worried about it fitting anyone–if it did, it would be a bonus.  Instead, I used it as an opportunity to try out some colorwork patterns I had been doodling in a notebook and to see if I could make a fabric that I liked…and what would happen to that fabric if I washed it in the washer and air dried it.  In the end, the hat was not really wearable, but it WAS informative.

My Modified Marshland Sweater

From there, I measured my stitches per inch and used the formula on the Tin Can Knits website to figure out how that gauge could be used to knit the Marshland Sweater.  I wanted a big, warm, comfortable winter sweater with plenty of ease and length.

Here’s what I ended up doing:

  • Yarn:  Yates Farm worsted yarn
  • Gauge:  14 stitches/4″ with size US 10/6 mm needles in colorwork after machine washing and air drying
  • Needles:  US 8/5 mm for ribbing, US 9/5.5 mm for plain stockinette sections, US 10/6 mm for colorwork
  • Size:  Knit a women’s small to end up with a women’s large, checking and adjusting length as necessary

Then, I got knitting!  I had one pretty massive mishap where I overlooked a key instruction and knit beyond where the armholes were supposed to be.  I knew I would have to rip back quite a bit.  And then I realized that I had made another huge mistake–way back an inch from the beginning, I had messed up during the increase rounds, and I would have to rip back almost to the beginning.

The thought of just dropping a match on the thing leapt through my mind.

Instead, I put the sweater down and quit for the night.  The next day, when my family was at work and school and I wasn’t so tired, I ripped all the way back to the point where I had made my first mistake.

I had a goal of knitting at least one round a day, and that really made this sweater move.  I cast on on December 30, 2019 and, even with my huge mistakes, finished binding off on February 26, 2020.  I couldn’t believe it.  I’m not a very quick knitter, so this was lightning speed for me.

My Modified Marshland Sweater

After that, I just had to block it (which I did in the washing machine using this tutorial) and weave in my millions of ends.  It was finished a few days later!  And I love it!!!!!

My Modified Marshland Sweater

I left the sleeves long to increase the coziness factor and did the same for the overall length of the body.  I’m SO HAPPY with how all the colors look together and how it fits.  It’s big and warm (but not too warm) and perfect.  Theoretically, even if I wash it in the washer and air dry it in the future, there will still be plenty of ease.  I haven’t had the guts to try that, so hopefully I’m right.

My Modified Marshland Sweater

l

My Modified Marshland Sweater

I have had this yarn for so long and have been at a loss for just what to do with it for so many years.  I still have quite a bit, but now I have a good idea of how to use it.  As spring seems to be on its way, and I want to get some wear out of this sweater, I have worn it multiple times per week each week since making it.  Between wearing this and my newly completed cardigan, I have had a lot of wardrobe repeats, but I am so happy with both of them that it’s a joy.

My Modified Marshland Sweater

l

My Modified Marshland Sweater

l

My Modified Marshland Sweater

Quick and Easy Knitting: Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

Standard
Quick and Easy Knitting:  Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

For Christmas this year, I got a skein of soft BAAH Sequoia yarn in the Dragontail colorway, a beautiful hand-dyed super bulky merino yarn.  After seeing a sample of Sequoia knit into a Big Wool Basic Hat, a free pattern by Sara Heckman, I knew I wanted to make (at least) one too.

By the time Christmas rolled around, I was ready for some quick and easy knitting and sewing projects.  This pattern was perfect.  Knowing that I am a loose knitter, I took a chance and went down a needle size to US 13’s.  I chose to use double pointed needles instead of circulars because I already had them.  Using the size 13 needles, I got the right gauge.

Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

This pattern is basically a tube with ribbing at one end.  Once you knit to the appropriate length, you run some yarn through the live stitches and draw them tight and tie the yarn off.  It’s nice and easy and quick.  The length the pattern suggests knitting to is 10.5 inches, which I did on my first hat (on the right, above).  It makes for a hat long enough to wear slouchy or to fold up the brim.

Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

l

Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

l

Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

l

Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

I was on the fence about this, so when I decided to knit a second hat by unravelling a previously made cowl, I made it shorter–only 9 inches long.  This was the perfect length for me to wear the hat with the brim unfolded, which I like better.

Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

l

Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

l

Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

l

Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

I wore both hats for a while and in the end decided to un-knit my first hat by an inch and a half so that it would also be 9 inches long.  I’m really happy about that decision.

Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

I bought a faux fur pom pom at Pintuck & Purl for my pink hat (also where the yarn and my other pom pom are from).  It attaches with a big snap, which makes it easy to detach if you need to wash your hat.  (You sew half of the snap to your hat–the other half is already attached to the pom pom.)  On the multi-colored hat, I had a rabbit fur pom pom that had a little elastic loop, kind of like a hair tie, so you can tie it into your hat.  I liked the snap better, after trying both, so I bought some big snaps at Walmart and sewed one onto my multi-colored hat and turquoise pom pom, covering up the elastic loop.  This makes for a much more secure attachment, and it’s easier to detach the pom pom now that it has a snap.

Big Wool Basic Hats in BAAH Sequoia

I’ve been wearing these hats almost every day.  I love their bright colors and that this hat was so fast and easy to knit.  I would definitely make this pattern with this yarn again.

 

Glacier Park Cowl Number Two!

Standard
Glacier Park Cowl Number Two!

It’s time for a knitting post!  I don’t know what happened this winter, but I went crazy for knitting, and then I discovered how much fun stranded colorwork was.  What this mostly means is that I waste a lot of time looking at pictures of colorwork sweaters I will never knit on Ravelry.  I swore off sweaters after the mammoth beast I made for my husband (filed under “Craft Fails“), and never looked back…except that now I’m looking back.  😉

Anyway, after knitting my first Glacier Park Cowl last year and loving it, I decided to make the pattern one more time.  I  thought I could improve on my first version, and I just found the pattern so enjoyable to knit.  Things that don’t need precise sizing (and that are small) are really my sweet spot.  I had a cowl that I wasn’t very happy with (the white speckled one below) in some hand-dyed sock yarn plus a good amount of leftover black sock yarn from my last Glacier Park Cowl, so I could unravel the unsuccessful cowl and use the leftover black sock yarn.  Perfect!

Glacier Park Cowl Number Two!

The two most helpful things I learned before starting this second Glacier Park Cowl were the importance of color value and yarn dominance.  For colorwork designs to be really clear and easy to visually understand, you want your colors to be different in value.  An easy way to check is to take a picture with your phone and turn the color picture to black and white.  If the colors you have chosen are very different in value (say one shows up a light gray and the other is nearly black), your colorwork design will really pop.  Brooklyn Tweed has an in-depth explanation of how this all works on their blog.

Yarn dominance has to do with which part of your design you want to stand out the most.  I wanted the black elements of my cowl to stand out more than the white speckled parts.  Since I was knitting Continental, holding both yarns in my left hand, I always held my background color (the white, speckled yarn) in the back (or to the left) of the color I wanted to be dominant (the black).  You can find a really clear explanation of all of this (including how to hold your yarn) in Andrea Rangel’s book Alterknit Stitch Dictionary (in fact, here are some of her quick tips for colorwork–number 4 talks about yarn dominance).  For a more in-depth explanation of color dominance in a blog post, see this one from Paper Tiger.

OK, so on to the project!

Glacier Park Cowl Number Two!

l

Glacier Park Cowl Number Two!

The Glacier Park Cowl is a pattern by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks.  I bought it on Ravelry through my local shop (Pintuck & Purl).  This time around, I used Hedgehog Fibres Sock in Cheeky (also from Pintuck & Purl) and Malabrigo Sock in black.  I knit fairly loosely once I get going, and so I used a US 1, 24″ circular needle for the ribbing and a US 2, 24″ circular needle for the colorwork.  On my first version of this cowl, the colorwork section is smaller than the ribbing (it pulls in), and I was trying to prevent that this time around by going up a needle size for that part.  I knit the full recommended length of the middle section of the project, making my second cowl much longer than my first.

Glacier Park Cowl Number Two!

l

Glacier Park Cowl Number Two!

I was determined to get this project done before everyone in my house finished their Christmas Break.  It’s hard to resist doing one more row when you can see the project taking shape and each row of the chart feels like progress.  I also love knitting with a speckled hand-dyed yarn because you never know when another little bit of color will show up.  This particular yarn is mostly white with little black and pink speckles throughout.  It does split a bit from time to time if you aren’t careful, but you get used to that.  I loved knitting this pattern.

Glacier Park Cowl Number Two!

The surprise was in finding that as I went along, my knitting got looser!  After doing more reading, I found that I’m not the only one this happens to, but it was funny when I finished and the end was wider than the beginning!  A lot of it has evened out with blocking, so it’s not a big deal, but it’s very useful to know.  You can see it a little more clearly in the picture below.  The bottom was where I began and the top was where I finished.

Glacier Park Cowl Number Two!

Interestingly, because my white yarn was so wavy from its former life in the unsuccessful cowl, I ended up blocking this twice before it started to relax.  The above picture is after blocking once (or before blocking?  I can’t remember.).  The other pictures are after blocking twice.

Glacier Park Cowl Number Two!

I’m really happy with this knit, and I have been wearing it and my first Glacier Park Cowl all the time.  Even though I was initially horrified at the thought of knitting such skinny yarn on such tiny needles, I loved this project, and would totally make it again in other fun colors.

Glacier Park Cowl Number Two!

If you are a knitter, do you have any favorite colorwork patterns to share?  I have some slightly scratchy bulky yarn in several colors I would love to use at some point, but I just can’t find the right pattern.  It’s listed as a worsted, but it knits up like a bulky (plus I’m a loose knitter).  I would love recommendations.

Adventures in Colorwork: Glacier Park Cowl

Standard
Adventures in Colorwork:  Glacier Park Cowl

This summer, I decided to knit the Glacier Park Cowl by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks. 

Adventures in Colorwork:  Glacier Park Cowl

I was going on a road trip and I wanted something interesting (but not too hard) that I could take with me.  I had some black Malabrigo yarn left over from a hat I had made, and I knew I wanted to use it with a hand-dyed speckled yarn from Pintuck & Purl.  I found the perfect (irresistable!) yarn by Birch Dyeworks: a beautiful turquoise and white speckled yarn with surprising flecks of colors here and there.  This was going to be good.

I bought my pattern via Ravelry at Pintuck & Purl.  Then I freaked out.  The pattern had a chart.  I didn’t remember how to knit from a chart!  My colorwork experiences were too long ago!  What was I going to do?!  Before I could work myself up too much, Mary from Birch Dyeworks, who happened to be in the store, talked me down and explained how to use a color chart.  It was just a stitch for every square.  I could totally do this.  OK.  Deep breath.  Back to EXCITEMENT LEVEL 100.  😉

I cast on my project in July (I think) and worked on it a little bit here and there for about four months, finishing last month.  Sometimes I didn’t work on it for days.  Sometimes I only did one round.  I was practicing my Continental knitting skills and my color skills.  I learned to knit with two colors Continental style by watching this video from Voolenvine and this video from Garnstudio repeatedly until I got the idea.

Here are the details of this project:

Pattern:  Glacier Park Cowl by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks (purchased from the designer’s Ravelry page in-store at Pintuck & Purl, which benefits both the designer and the store–super cool!)

Adventures in Colorwork:  Glacier Park Cowl

Yarn:  black Malabrigo fingering (or sock?) yarn (bought some time ago) and Birch Dyeworks Nymph on a Bender fingering/sock yarn (the latter purchased from Pintuck & Purl);  I didn’t use a full skein of either, but I also made my cowl smaller than it was meant to be according to the pattern.

Needles:  I used a US 1, 24″ circular needle from Pintuck & Purl.  I started off with a longer circular needle, since I that is what I had, but it was a pain to stretch my knitting around, so I finally broke down and bought a better size for the project.  No regrets.

My gauge after blocking:  31 stitches and 50 rows over 4″ in colorwork.  My ribbing sections are significantly looser.  The gauge for the pattern is supposed to be 28 stitches and 34 rows over 4″ in the colorwork pattern.  I bet you can guess if I made a test swatch or not.  Nope!  Part of why I like cowls is that they are easy-fitting and I can dive right in.  Looks like I need to go up in needle size for the colorwork section if I ever make this again.

Adventures in Colorwork:  Glacier Park Cowl

Size after blocking: 8.5″ tall by 20″ in circumference.  The pattern was meant to have a height of 12″ with a circumference of 24″.  I noticed that my cowl was going to have a smaller circumference, so I decided to make it shorter as well to keep it proportional.

Adventures in Colorwork:  Glacier Park Cowl

This project, though it took me awhile, was a joy to make.  I loved the simplicity of the easy ribbing and continual knit stitch with the complexity of following the color chart.  I REALLY loved seeing the pattern emerge and discovering what color would show up next in the hand-dyed yarn.  It was always an exciting surprise when a little fleck of pink or yellow made an appearance.  Looking for that next bit of color really helped me get excited to keep knitting.

Adventures in Colorwork:  Glacier Park Cowl

I was disappointed that my ribbing was looser than the rest of my knitting (and it tends to flip to the outside when I wear it, which is annoying), but I blocked it and then brought it in to Pintuck & Purl to show Maggie and Mary, and it turns out that I’m not the only one who thinks it’s beautiful.  They looked at the inside and Mary turned to me and said, “You’re good at this!”  I was so surprised! And it was a huge compliment to see them admire it.  It isn’t perfect, but I’m good at this!

Adventures in Colorwork:  Glacier Park Cowl

l

Adventures in Colorwork:  Glacier Park Cowl

And you know, I have this crazy idea that I might want to make it again.  I have a simple white and pink cowl that I made a year or two ago that isn’t quite as great to wear as I want it to be, so I might just unravel it and try this pattern again with the leftover black yarn I have.  I could change the needle size for the colorwork section and see what happens.  I love this pattern and I now understand why people like to knit with fingering/sock yarn–it makes a drapey, comfortable fabric that is really nice to wear.  I wear this cowl all the time!

Adventures in Colorwork:  Glacier Park Cowl

I think I’m getting drawn in by colorwork.  I love, love, love color and if I can just find that sweet spot of simple + interesting, then maybe I’ll keep knitting.  I still love sewing more, but it is nice to have a knitting project in the background for when you want a little change or want something to work on while watching a movie or going on a road trip.  I dove into another colorwork project after this one, but got so frustrated I quit, so coming back to this and trying to do better on my second attempt sounds kind of nice right now…even if it takes me until next summer.  😉

Adventures in Colorwork:  Glacier Park Cowl

Why Do You Make Things? (Or: The Knitting Project That Didn’t Work Out)

Standard
Why Do You Make Things? (Or:  The Knitting Project That Didn’t Work Out)

Today I have a knitting project that I finished earlier this year, but have waited to post until the weather turned cool.  This isn’t so much about my failed and salvaged hat project, though.  It’s about what that failed and salvaged hat made me consider.

Why do you make things?

Last winter, I decided I would knit the Traveling Cable Hat, a free pattern from Purl Soho in some beautiful yarn from Romney Ridge.  I’ve knit cables before, so I thought I could do it, even though it might be challenging.  I’m not a perfectionist, and I don’t like to go back and fix every single mistake.  I prefer to finish.  This project, however, was one I tried to be precise in.  There were parts I didn’t understand, so I looked things up and asked other knitters.  I ripped back when I made a mistake and read and reread the directions to try to get things right.  I got frustrated and persevered, and to say I wasn’t enjoying myself is putting it lightly.  My husband kept asking, “Why do you keep knitting?”  The question surprised me at first, because he’s always one of my biggest supporters.  He always encourages me to push through, knowing I can finish the project.  But he could see that this one was one long, downhill slide.

Why do you make things?

When I sew, I certainly don’t enjoy every moment of every project.  There are times I get frustrated and have to put my project aside for a while until I can figure out how to solve a problem or until I’m not so annoyed, but overall I enjoy it.  I enjoy knitting, too, although I’m not nearly as successful with knitting as I am with sewing.  In fact, my last few knitting projects have ended up…OK, but not amazing.

Why do you make things?

His question made me think, though.  Why do I sew?  Why do I knit?  What am I looking for in my photography?  What do I want to get out of each and is it the same for every one?

It’s important to think about what we do.  After all, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” (Socrates)  I don’t mean you have to give great weight to every activity in your life, but it’s worth it to figure out what you want to get out of your creative endeavors and why.

So, here’s what I came up with, for me, at this point in my life.

Knitting is for enjoyment.  I like knitting.  I like its tactile nature and I like the act of knitting.  I want to knit things that are simple enough that I can work on them while talking to a friend or watching a movie, but still interesting enough that I’m not completely bored.  However, this is not the craft I currently want to challenge myself in.  I don’t want to dive deep and learn every knitting technique and method out there.  I don’t want to do a ton of problem solving with my knitting.  I want a project that’s not too taxing, but is still enjoyable.

Photography is for seeking out and capturing beauty.  I’ve also been thinking about photography in this vein.  Even with this medium, which I’ve loved since I was quite young, I don’t want to get into the technical aspects.  I’m interested in composition and accurately recording what I see that I find beautiful, but I’m not interested in doing that deep dive right now.

Sewing is my creative practice.  Sewing, on the other hand, is exactly the place I want to dive deep.  I want to try new things, read all the blog posts, magazines, and books, and add skill to skill.  I want to see what it will be like to make certain kinds of things.  I love the planning and the finishing in sewing.  I love to wear what I’ve made, and I love discovering that I can learn new things and get good at something!  I don’t get into the process in the same way that I do with knitting–I’m heading for that end goal–but I do like the problem-solving involved with sewing.  It makes me smarter and it teaches me about how to handle other hurdles in life.  This is where I want to spend my mental energy and challenge myself.  This is where I want to work hard and grow.  This is my medium, my craft, and my art.  At this time in my life, sewing is my creative practice, and through it, I have learned so much, and I have gained so much.  I’m really thankful for it.

So after struggling with that pattern through the ribbing and the cable set-up, and after thinking all this over and coming to these conclusions, I gave up on it and stitched the rest in stockinette stitch, using another pattern to figure out the decreases for the top.  And I enjoyed it.  I can’t tell you if the Traveling Cable Hat pattern is good or not.  I gave up on it.  But I’m glad I started it because it (and my husband’s question) made me evaluate why I’m creating in the ways I’m creating and what I want to get out of each medium, where I want to spend my mental energy, and what I should call success in each area.

Why do you make things?

l

Why do you make things?

What do you want to get out of your creative pursuits?  They don’t have to be sewing or knitting or photography.  They might be your hobby or they might be your job, but why do you love them?  What is the end goal for you?  Even if you can’t yet figure out the full and complete answer, taking the time to think through these questions will be worth the effort.