Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Me-Made-May Week 3

What I wore:
  • Monday, May 15: Adelaide dress, Geneva undies
  • Tuesday, May 16: Navy blue gathered skirt, red tank top (RTW), grey linen cardigan, Geneva undies
  • Wednesday, May 17: straight-leg jeans (RTW), floral woven tee, Geneva undies
  • Thursday, May 18: damask skirt, black long-sleeved t-shirt (RTW), striped cashmere sweater (RTW that I visibly mended), Geneva undies
  • Friday, May 19: my favorite thrifted jeans (RTW), mauve floral button-up (RTW - this is possibly my favorite shirt), my Lofoten sweater, stripy socks
  • Saturday, May 20: straight-leg jeans (RTW), flannel shirt (RTW), purple cable pullover sweater, Geneva undies
  • Sunday, May 21: Washi dress, Smartwool tights (RTW), half-slip, autumn leaves ankle socks, Geneva undies, burgundy cardigan (RTW)
What I made:
Unfortunately, I didn't spend much time making things this week.  I cut out the pieces for two size 2T Oliver + S Parachute Polos for my nephew and grandcousin - the deadline to finish these is Wednesday, May 24.  I'm not sure if I'm going to make it.  I also finished spinning the singles of the Hello Yarn merino top that I've been working on for over a year!

What I thought:
I want to change the way I do the Future Projects page on the blog.  I will organize it into one list of things I "need," like more cloth napkins, things for which I currently own fabric and have a pattern picked out, and another list of more nebulous sewing desires.  I want to reduce the waffling that results in procrastinating sewing that I really want to do and enjoy, because I feel like I have so many things I want to make that I can't possibly figure out the next step.

I also really enjoyed reading these two posts from the Whipstitch blog.  They really get at what I've been feeling with my sewing and wardrobe lately - I have a lot of clothes that I don't particularly love or feel comfortable or attractive in.  I want to build a practical wardrobe made up of clothes I love, that isn't over-full.  I don't want a large stash.  I don't have the money or storage space for it, and I don't like the feeling of greed or the impulse to hoard that comes with it.  I would rather buy high-quality fabric that I love and will use soon after I buy it.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Me-Made-May Week 2

What I wore:
  • Monday, May 8: My black and polka-dot Adelaide dress, yellow cardigan (RTW), and Geneva undies
  • Tuesday, May 9: Re-fashioned denim skirt, altered shirt, grad school hoodie (RTW), and Geneva undies
  • Wednesday, May 10: Damask skirt, long-sleeved t-shirt (RTW), striped cashmere sweater with visible mend (RTW, mended by me), mushroom socks
  • Thursday, May 11: Favorite thrifted jeans (RTW), newly finished woven t-shirt
  • Friday, May 12: Lady Skater dress, Blue shoulder-button sweater (RTW)
  • Saturday, May 13: In the morning I wore my brown and yellow floral skirt and an orange embroidered t-shirt (RTW).  In the afternoon I changed into jeans (RTW) and my new woven t-shirt
  • Sunday, May 14: My blue tiered skirt and a purple tank top (RTW)
What I made:
I finished up the top for myself that I mentioned last week.  It fits pretty well, and I'm happy with how it turned out.  I'll write a full post on it once I get some photos taken this week.  

What I thought:
I was going to say that Friday the 12th was the first day I wore a repeat, but then I realized that I wore my Lofoten sweater twice last week and I wore my mushroom socks for the second time on Wednesday the 10th ... but on those days I also wore me-mades that I hadn't previously worn this May.  I'm simultaneously surprised and not surprised that I made it 11 days with so few repeats - I have almost 20 pairs of hand-knitted socks, but not a ton of other me-made items.

The weather this week definitely shifted.  It's warm enough now that I can wear a skirt without tights or a t-shirt without a sweater and feel comfortable outside.  This is the weather that my me-made wardrobe is designed for, which reminds me that I want to work on sewing more cold-weather appropriate clothes for myself.  I traced out the long-sleeved version of the Lady Skater dress this weekend, and I have fabric washed and ready to get started sewing this week - of course, I also need to get started on birthday polo shirts for my soon-to-be-two-year-old nephew and grandcousin, so I might not get it done this week!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Moda Love Baby Quilt

One of my good friends from grad school had a baby girl in mid-April, and I wanted to send a quilt for her.  I decided to finish this little quilt top, which I stitched up in November 2015.  The quilt top was really cute, but it had two problems: it wasn't flat, and it was too big for the 1 yard of backing fabric I had bought when I bought the charm pack I used for the top.
I did exactly what I had outlined in my previous post about the quilt top.  I trimmed a few inches off two of the borders, and pieced a row of leftover charm squares flanked by grey strips into the back.  It was a tight squeeze (the pieced back was exactly the same size as the top!) but it worked.
This is the first quilt I quilted on my new vintage Singer.  I did an orange peel pattern in the grid, and wavy flower vines in the borders.  The non-flatness of the top was indeed not a problem, especially after I washed the whole quilt.  It's soft and cosy - not too densely quilted.  I forgot to measure the quilt after I washed it, but I think it's about 40 by 42 inches.

I'm very happy with how this little quilt turned out.  I like the pattern, and I could definitely see myself using it again, either as a baby quilt or as a bed quilt for a full or queen sized bed (using 10" squares instead of 5").

Friday, May 12, 2017

Old man sweater

This is the last of my Christmas gift knitting ... finished in April!  Robert had been wanting an "old man sweater" since Christmas 2015, when I made an olive green cable cardigan for our nephew, who was then six months old.  I wanted to knit one for him, but I wasn't quite sure what he wanted, and I definitely didn't want to knit him something he wouldn't like.  When the Interweave Knits Winter 2017 issue showed up, with a feature on sweaters for men, I was excited, and with Robert's cooperation, I mashed up two of the patterns in it to make this sweater for him.
He decided he wanted a pullover, not a cardigan, and we agreed that a shawl collar was required.  This would point to the Donegal Sweater, but he thought the collar poofed out too much at the back of the neck, and he wasn't wild about the stitch pattern - he really wanted cables.  He did like the cable panel on the back of the Belfast Cardigan, although he didn't like the overall fit or styling on the model.  So I replaced the decorative panel on the Donegal Sweater with a slightly adapted version of the cables from the Belfast Cardigan (the stitch counts were only off by one, so that was pretty easy).  I measured a ready-to-wear sweater that he wore a lot last fall and winter to choose the size, and then I started knitting.

Unfortunately, I started with the wrong size needles, so I had to re-knit half of the first sleeve when I didn't get gauge, and I was also knitting or sewing several other things for Christmas, so I ended up wrapping one and a half sleeves to put under the tree on Christmas morning.  I finally finished the sweater in April, and Robert loves it!  He got to wear it several times before the weather warmed up too much for wool sweaters, and every time he wore it he eagerly reminded me that I had made his sweater!  The fit is pretty good - the sleeves are a bit long and wide, but that certainly hasn't stopped him from enjoying wearing it.

Pattern: Donegal Sweater, with modifications
Size: 47"
Yarn: Valley Yarns Northampton, Color #50 Medium Grey, 100% wool, seven skeins
Needles:  US6 for ribbing, US9 for body
Started/Completed: December 2016/April 2017
Modifications: Replaced the decorative stitch pattern on front and back with cable panel from the Belfast Cardigan.  Reduced height of the the back neck shawl collar

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Me-Made-May: Week 1

What I wore:
  • Monday, May 1: My favorite thrifted jeans (RTW), a casual button-down shirt (RTW), Lofoten sweater, light brown handknit socks, and Geneva underwear
  • Tuesday, May 2: Purple Smartwool tights (RTW), my navy gathered skirt, half-slip, plum-colored long-sleeved t-shirt (RTW), blue sweater (RTW), Geneva underwear, and my green lace shawl
  • Wednesday, May 3: Favorite thrifted jeans (RTW), mushroom socks, long-sleeved t-shirt (RTW), Lofoten sweater
  • Thursday, May 4: Blue tiered skirt, long-sleeved t-shirt (RTW), mended striped cashmere sweater (RTW with a visible mend by me)
  • Friday, May 5: Lady skater dress, the same blue sweater I wore on Tuesday
  • Saturday, May 6: In the morning I was gardening so I didn't wear any me-mades.  In the afternoon I changed into my brown floral skirt, a pink short-sleeved t-shirt (RTW), and aqua cable henley sweater (RTW)
  • Sunday, May 7: Blue Washi dress, yellow cardigan (RTW)
What I made:
Well, I immediately strayed from my intention to only make for myself in May.  I ran out of time to finish a little dress for my cousin's baby that needed to be finished before the last week of May, so I finished that up.  And I realized that two little boys in my family are turning two at the end of May/beginning of June, so I ordered fabric to make a little polo shirt for each of them.  Then I started sewing on a top for me.  I had hoped to finish it during the first week of May, but didn't quite make it.  I still need to adjust and finish the side seams and do the hemming and finishing.
On the knitting front, I frogged the skew socks on the left in this photo.  These two pairs of socks were enough too big that I decided they're unwearable, so part of my plan for May is to re-knit the skew socks using smaller needles and to take out the toes and shorten the feet of the pink socks on the right.  Here's what the "new" skew sock looks like right now:

I also did a little bit of spinning - for the first time in many months I'm not knitting things for other people that I feel like I need to prioritize!

What I thought:
I realized that I don't have any me-made shirts.  Everything I've made for myself is either a skirt, a dress, socks, a shawl, a sweater, or a winter accessory.  Thinking of my wardrobe as a whole, that's not really a problem for casual wear, since I have a pretty wide variety of casual tops, especially tanks and short-sleeved t-shirts.  Where I have a big hole is long-sleeved tops, particularly work-appropriate ones.  I own enough work tops so that I don't have to iron too unreasonably often, but I don't have very many that I love or even like.  Several of them just don't fit and are in colors that I don't feel comfortable wearing.  So that will definitely inform my sewing plans going forward.

I've been reading a lot of blog posts lately about capsule wardrobes, and feeling like maybe I should do that for work.  But choosing just a few colors to base the whole thing off of feels stressful and restrictive.  I'm coming to the realization that while I like the idea of having a relatively small number of items, I can make that work without restricting myself to just 1-2 neutrals and 2-3 accent colors.  I'll make (or buy second-hand) things that I like and that I'll wear a lot, and not worry about capsule rules!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Christmas Mitten

This is the second-to-last Christmas knitting 2016 post - I'm way behind!   I knitted my mom these lovely fancy mittens - the Snowfling Mitts.  I used red and white Cascade 220 and lined them with a lovely purple hand-dyed sport-weight alpaca.  They were fun to knit and terrifically warm.  Perfect for cold Midwestern winters.

Unfortunately, the left mitten was tragically lost soon after they were put into use.  Luckily, I have leftover yarn, so I can knit a new mate this Summer.  Then I might have to knit another pair for myself!

Pattern: Snowfling Mitts
Size: One size
Yarn: Cascade 220, one skein each colors 8505 and 9404, and Foothills Yarn and Fiber 100% baby alpaca in Iris
Needles:  3mm sock dpns (a little bit on the short side for adult mittens, but totally workable)
Started/Completed: December 2016/January 2017
Modifications: Used worsted rather than DK weight yarn for the outers and sport rather than fingering for the lining

Friday, April 28, 2017

Me-Made-May 2017: plans and my pledge



me-made-may'17
I, Katherine of willknitformath.blogspot.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '17. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made item, not counting underwear, each day for the duration of May 2017.  In addition, I will devote all of my sewing and knitting time to making things for myself, with a focus on improving and expanding my work and cold-weather wardrobe.

I'm excited for Me-Made-May this year!  I've been in a bit of a sewing funk the last couple of months, partly due to limited sewing time, which paradoxically made me waste the sewing time I did have without actually sewing anything.  I've also felt kind of bogged down by several gifts I've been making for people - according to my blog, I've made exactly three things for myself in the last year: my Adelaide dress last June/July, the grey cardigan I finished last October (which I wear a lot but don't totally love), and the half-slip I threw together this Spring.

So I'm really excited to focus on making for myself next month.  I've been noticing a lot of gaps in my work wardrobe this year:  I'm set for slacks, but I don't have enough tops that I really like, and all of my dresses are short-sleeved or sleeveless.  First up on my list are a woven t-shirt and a long-sleeved lady skater dress, both in fabric I got from the Hancock's closing sale last Summer.  If both of those get finished next month, I'm thinking about a long-sleeved button-up in a beautiful light-orange voile I've had in my stash for a while and a sewn cardigan in a purple scuba knit (also from the Hancock's sale).

I'll try to keep a list of what I've worn each week.  I think this project will be helped by the fact that my semester is over as of this weekend, so I won't feel the need to be quite as dressed up at work (almost all of my work wardrobe is ready-to-wear, mostly hand-me-downs or purchased second-hand).  The one thing that could put a wrench in my plan of wearing me-mades every day is the weather - so far we've had a pretty cool spring, too cold for me to wear most of the clothes I sewed for myself in the Texas heat.  If all else fails I guess I'll wear a lot of sweaters!