Knitting · Sweaters

Harvest Moon Cardi

Several years ago, I bought a black slouchy knit turtle neck with a split hem. I wore that thing to death. It went with everything. It was super comfy. But it always irked me that I hadn’t made such a simple thing myself.

So, I bought a bunch of Berroco Blackstone Tweed and tried to knit Wintry Mix by Amy Herzog, which is roughly similar to my old favorite. I didn’t like how it was turning out, and so many of the project photos on Ravelry showed collars that didn’t look quite right to me. I ripped out and tried a couple of different patterns.

None of them satisfied me.

And then I went back to Harvest Moon, a cardigan which had been in my queue for a long time and which called for the same yarn. Why not give it a go? It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but it’s what the yarn wanted to be, and lo and behold, I ended up with a sweater that I love, love, love!

I had some reservations about the front edges. The method used to finish them neatly also caused them to be significantly tighter than the rest of the sweater. I was worried that the front edges would pull up unattractively. I’m glad I persisted despite my concern. This yarn blocks out wonderfully, and blooms like a dream.

The pockets required a lot of sewing, but I was able to get through that in an afternoon. I haven’t put pockets in a sweater in many years, but pockets are awesome. I know I don’t need to sell you on them, but they’re a cozy place to stick your hands when it’s chilly out, you can carry around your keys, or dog biscuits or whatever treasure you find on a walk down the beach.

Speaking of treasures, I finished off the sweater with a special item I found in my jar of vintage buttons.

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Sewing · Tops

My shirt’s so bright, I gotta wear shades

More often than not, when sewing projects turn out differently than expected, they end up in the rag bin. This was a nice change of pace. This top was just supposed to be a toile of the Laurie Striped Tee from Named Patterns. The fabric was a bit of jersey I had picked up several years ago during my VERY BRIGHT COLORS phase. Looking at those colors, after being subjected to nearly eight months of rain and gloom, shocked my system. Maybe I needed the shock, like people whose hearts stop beating, need the paddles stat. The colors buoy my spirits–a relief as I am grappling with some heavy issues.

I like the way this tee turned out so much, that I’m sure it will be in frequent rotation during the months to come.

I made very few alterations to the pattern. I narrowed the shoulders a little bit, and maybe could have done a smidge more. While I was sewing it, I was concerned the neck hole looked mighty small. I contemplated widening it, but decided to give it a shot as-is, and, since it isn’t choking me, I’ll leave it be.

I was also worried that the neckband was going to sag or flop, because I didn’t have to stretch it very much while sewing. It’s laying nice and flat. Perhaps I shouldn’t fret so much.

Not having sewn any Named Patterns before, it struck me that the instructions were on the minimal side. That’s ok for me, since I’ve done a lot of sewing, but beginners may need to enlist the help of a friend or crack open sewing books if they’re not quite clear on a technique.

Thank you to Named Patterns and whatever sewing deities were looking out for me, because this project success came just when I needed a win.

Hats · Knitting

Baa-ble Hat

Two good things: sheep and a project that would use up some of my scrap yarn. How could I resist? The Baa-ble Hat by Donna Smith is charming, and I cast on for it almost the minute after I first saw it.

I used bits and pieces of Cascade 220 I had laying around the house. If I had been sourcing yarn just for this project, I would have used a lighter color green for the base so there was more contrast between the “grass” and the “sheep’s legs,” but I’m happy enough with the result from this “make-do” project.

I don’t have too much to say about this, other than it was fun to knit and I wear it frequently. A twenty-something working at Top Pot Donuts told me he was totally jealous that I had such a cool beanie, so apparently, it makes me hip.

Costumes · Sewing

Coo Coo for Rococo

After my divorce, I did very little sewing, except for a little hemming, repairing small holes and replacing buttons. I was sad, and little upsets like something not fitting exactly right, or sewing the wrong pieces together made me feel even worse. But then some friends of mine invited me to a masquerade in town and I knew I had to make something–I couldn’t–no, I wouldn’t–wear a store bought costume. That got my sewing mojo back in gear.

Marie Antoinette famously loved masquerade balls, so I decided to make a gown like something she might have worn, only out of polyester brocade and satin and machine-made lace. I could not afford real silk and handmade lace because I didn’t have the coffers of the French monarchy open to me. Continue reading “Coo Coo for Rococo”