Loose Ends

I’ve been working hard trying to tie up the loose ends of many projects I’ve started over the years. This could really be a full time job by itself! I’m almost down to the most labor intensive items with my knitting and crochet work.

What I have left:

Indian Knights Blanket: Super labor instensive colorwork

Egyptian Lace and Color Shawl: Super labor intensive fine lace

Zigzag Mens Sweater: In pieces and needs to be seamed

Flower Art Frame: A large, ongoing project with multiple pieces that’s great for travelling

Trilogy Sweater: Currently working

I am quite comfortable leaving the three intense and large projects waiting in the wings for now, but I’m super excited to start the next needle project (Cloudbow from Pom Pom Magazine )so I have to clear something from this list, most likely the men’s sweater. The pieces have been blocked, but I have discovered a hole that needs to be fixed before I can put them all together. That is one of the detriments to leaving a wool project undisturbed for too long.

One of the loose ends that I most recently tied up was the Neverland Crochet top. The cool thing about this top is that it can be worn with either neckline in front. This wasn’t my first yarn choice, but it was a linen yarn (Knit Picks Lindy Chain) from the stash that I thought would work well in a lightweight top for the summer. I was glad to have the yellow to give this basic tan a pop of color!

My measurements were smack dead in between the Medium and Large sizes, but went with the large because I plan to machine dry this item and I wanted to account for a little bit of shrinkage that might occur with the linen fiber. Regretfully, I didn’t do any math to make all of the necessary adjustments for the BEST fit, but I made a length adjustment for my comfort. I also didn’t test the strap length until after I wove in all of the ends. Of course they were too long, but I machine-stiched them to fit and crocheted the sleeves on to hold the seam in place.

I plan to pair it with a pair of bright yellow dropped crotch linen pants. I have no idea if i will like the look together, but I’m going for what I see in my head and maybe it will work out. If not, I will find something else that works.

Year of the Kalle Shirt

I’m calling it early!  This year the Kalle Shirt is going to be my number one make.  I’ve made the cropped version, I’ve lengthed it and made a lace version, and I already have plans to make the tunic and the dress. 

Before I work through the plans for the next few makes, let get into this super fun guipure lace top.  All of my work with lingerie lace was the start for inspiration for making a lace version of this top.  Lingerie mostlys works with stretch lace and I was hoping i could find something with a bit more structure to use for a top. 

Many times I will have an idea and then work backwards by searching the web for something similar or something that best conveys the idea in my head since I am not the best sketch artist. Even though I’ve been sewing for many years, I still don’t have a lot of experience of working with many different fabrics. Often I am not sure what fabrics pair best with each other.  And because I order fabrics primarily online, I’m not always willing to take the hit per yard if it doesn’t work out.  So I used pinterest to help me find button up tops with lace and cotton to give me an idea of how the two would work together and came accross a few guipure lace shirts that were really close to my idea. From there, I used mood fabrics to see what fabrics were available and I fell in love with a tropical print and white guipure lace.  This shirt would fit the vibe quite nicely for my upcoming trip to the Dominican Republic.

To get the look I wanted, I lengethed the front of the shirt pattern to match the back and then straighted out the curved hem.  I wanted to keep the scalloped edge of the lace as a design feature on the shirt, but failed to account for that length when I cut the back piece of the pattern. I accounted for my mistake by sewing a strip of fabric to the back hem, folding up to create a hem, and top stitching.  All of these adjustments were made on an already fitted pattern since I made this shirt once before.

Design Your Wardrobe, Revisited

I signed up for Design your Wardrobe in 2020, which turned out to be a challening summer to be inspired to sew a wardrobe. My concept collection was shelved and the fabric was tossed onto UFO mountain. Since I’ve been working through or scrapping each one of my unfinished projects, I thought it was a great idea to revist this project and complete the wardrobe for Summer 2022.

I wrote about week 1 of the start of the process 2 years ago, but I didn’t share the draft post for the remainder of the process so I will throw in some of those details before I share my first three completed pieces.

Week 2 of DYW was all about defining a color palette, which was a struggle. The pinterest board I created contained loads of bright colors and my fabric stash had very little of that. I shopped my stash and stumbled on a lovely pink which coordinated with a geometric african wax print and that became the focal point of the collection. I used a color website to incorporate other colors into the pallete to break up all of the pink. Week 3 was about taking your style inspiration, color pallette,

I think I took about 3 weeks to plan my looks. I dug through patterns at seamwork, my personal pattern stash, indie pdf patterns, burda style magazines. I collected watches so that I could source the right fabrics. There were so many options available to settle down on 6 looks, but I managed to settle on a spring/summer collection of looks with linines, lgith weight rayon crepe, waxed cotton and knits.

Look 1/ PRINTED COORDINATES: Seamwork’ Adria Top, Seamwork Christina Skirt both in Geometric Waxed Cotton from Stash. (coordinates with shorts, wrap, and pants)

These two were swapped out for Butterick 7603 and Burdastyle Skirt #102 from 6/2019 issue

Look 2/STATEMENT PANTS: Breaking the Pattern Solina Top in Linen from Stash, Seamwork Channing Pants in Pink Material of Unknown fiber from Stash (coordinates with shorts, printed skirt, and printed top)

Look 3/CASUAL BASICS: Burda Style Top #119 from 7/2019 issue in Blue Knit Fabric from Stash, Seamwork Miller Shorts in Linen from Stash (coordinates with printed top, wrap, and printed skirt)

Look 4/BOLD DRESS: Mccalls or BurdaStyle Dress in Geometric Waxed Cotton from Stash. Will be revisiting the dress style as I think I might swap it out with a different pattern. (coordinates with wrap)

Look 5/KEEPING IT SIMPLE ONCE PIECE: Seamwork Lucy Jumpsuit in Chartruese ponte Knit from Mood. I want to add some details to this jumpsuit. Any ideas for me? (coordinates with wrap)

Look 6/RELAXED DRESS: Victory Patterns Hannah Dress in rayon crepe print and solid from FabricDotCom and Butterick 6176 Wrap in Linen Knit with Laminate from Mood (wrap to coordinate withdresses, jumpsuit, printed top and skirt, linen top)

I wish I was working with a brighter color palette, but the point was to use up some of my stash supplies. Regardless, I am super excited to see all of these looks come together!

A Crafty Origin Story

I’m not sure if I ever told my crafty origin story. Perhaps I did in an old, long forgotten blog. It’s not one of those stories that starts out with a maternal figure passing down their handcraft skills and traditions to the next generation. These stories seem to be common and most compelling.

This Long Thread by Jen Hewett, graciously gifted to me by a good friend, has me pausing to reflect on the start to my creative path.

I feel like my story starts with me waking up and deciding that I wanted to sew, however, that actually isn’t all of the way true. My story really does start with that maternal figure, my mother. She wasn’t a crafter then, even though she has taken to the crafty life with diamond painting these days, she didn’t teach me a creative skill. She did plant the creative seeds that have since bloomed into to a thousand crafts. Each Christmas during my childhood I asked for the sun, moon, and stars on my hand written wish list. This list was a full page (sometimes front and back) of items circled from toy store catalogs and advertisements complete with page numbers, colors, and any other identifying information to get me that exact item I wanted.

I had a very blessed Christmas. I received some of what I asked for, some that I didn’t, and always two gifts that were non-negotiable: an educational toy and a crafty toy. The craft toys (and later the educational ones) became my favorite. Over the years I received Strawberry Shortcake fashion plates, paper dolls, a spirograph, latch hook sets, Play-Doh, a light brite, and the ultimate toy for creativity: legos. This is where the creative in me was born!

From there, a close friend in the 5th grade took me to an after school session where a teacher/school aid taught me the basics of crochet. I decided that my first project was going to be a single crochet stitch blanket for my twin bed. I never finished that blanket, but the crafter in me was still alive. Freshman year of high school is when I decided I would teach myself how to sew. With no YouTube and social media influencers of that day to learn from, I just bought a pattern and studied that thing to learn what I could until I earned some money to buy a book on sewing.

I often tell the story that most of my creative path has started with an idea and self-motivation, which is very much true for some crafts, but there are a few close connections who have definitely introduced me to creative outlets like scrapbooking and card making, spinning, dyeing, and cross-stitch. It’s not completely a solo journey!

EXPLORE: 2022 Word of the Year and the Kalle Cropped Shirt

When I start feeling that drain from using IG, I get the itch to come running back to blog land. It’s a much quieter place to relay my thoughts and experiences regarding my creative life without bombardment of reels, many ads, and endless scrolling. So, what’s new for 2022?

Maybe it’s a little cheesy, but I still choose a word that sets an intention for the current year. I chose the word EXPLORE for 2022 because I wanted to step out of my shell a little bit with different styles, garments, techniques, crafts, and materials. I want to take some time to EXPLORE my current stash of fabrics and yarn, EXPLORE new ways of getting things done, and EXPLORE that area just outside of my comfort zone. So if you are here for this journey on the blog or IG, WELCOME!

Over the past two years with working from home, my wardrobe has trasitioned into a lot of sweats and pjs. After a huge closet purge, I feel like I am left with a lot of holes for both staples and statement pieces. I have spiced up my underthings with more lace, color, and different styles so I aim to incorporate more of this idea in my daily wardrobe as well. Not sure yet what will work for me or not, but the goal is to step outside of my “norm” and create a new vibe.

First up, the Kalle shirt, cut out in a size 12 with a no dart 1.5″ FBA. What’s to explore with the Kalle? Stash fabric, bright color paired with print, and cropped style shirt. This chartruese stretch poplin has been in the stash many years and I’m not even sure what it was originally planned to become. Perhaps it became an addition simply because I like the color and the crispness of the fabric.

I am trying to learn how prints fit into my wardrobe because all solids all of the time are a snooze for me. I can’t do it anymore. I dipped my toe in the print useage by using a black and white fat quarter as a popover accent. The stiff poplin and placket make the shirt float away from the body rather than fall in soft folds, but I don’t dislike how it turned out. It’s a pretty great pattern with solid instructions.

I definitely plan to explore all of the other views of this pattern. A button up shirt and a shirt dress will be great additions to the wardrobe.

TBR: Inspired by Black History Month, Sets 3 and 4

I’ve been trying to learn a lot beyond what’s contained in the pages of the book, digging into the authors and their personal stories and the achievements and controversies that surround them and their works. I frequently jot notes of quotes, themes, and things to make me think about the world or my own life. This is the last of my list, two parts combined into one. I’d better stop talking about these books and get to reading!

With the Fire on High

Transcendent Kingdom

Becoming. Started and didn’t finish.

Twisted: The Tangled History of Black Hair Culture. I could talk for an hour just with my own hair challenges and experiences

The Souls of Black Folk

Americanah

Caste

Invisible Man

Just As I Am: A Memoir

Vegetable Kingdom

Our Time is Now

Well Read Black Girl

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

Wednesday Work in Progress, Unraveled Edition

I am still pluggin’, chuggin’, churnin’, and burnin’ on the same lace project. This month my focus is on chart C of The Girl with the Rose Red Slippers pattern. This is the section of lace that shows the flowers in the garden

Lots of of yarn overs! I am a little more comfortable with this section and I’m now able to listen to TV and music with words while knitting. I still have the occasional dropped or missed YO which requires unpicking TWO rows. Very annoying, but this isn’t a mindless knit.

My only regret so far is not using a yarn with color.

I am still reading The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemison. I have not made it very far in this book. I still want to read it, but I just don’t think this is the time for it right now. It’s a little slow in development, but I understand it is a trilogy.

Joining Kat and the other yarny peeps for Unraveled Wednesdays.

Hoping to Go Left, But PLANNING For it to Turn Out Right

There is something about a blog post outlining your creative goals that makes a plan go awry. Maybe my creative plans are way too elaborate or maybe I’m just terrible with the discipline it takes to accomplish these elaborate goals.

There was that one time I created that 101 things in 1001 days action list. With 100+ things to accomplish in several years it seemed attainable. Somewhere in the middle some of my interest in some of the tasks waned and I lost steam.

Oh, and how about the time I announced that I would do a SWAP (Sewing With A Plan)? I picked one of those wardrobe patterns that looked cool, but not something I would really wear so that got tossed to the side.

Then there was last summer’s Design Your Wardrobe series. I was ready then insert a pandemic loaded with stress, isolation, and worry to suck away all of my creative motivation. Well people, either I am sucker for punishment or I’m very persistent because I’m back at it again.

I planned to keep these “goals” to myself, but after a bit of convincing and encouragement I’m sharing a plan. It follows a modified Sigma 21 plan which I learned from a friend’s post. I’m not in the Ravelry group to link there, but she has the link and explanation in her post. To be honest, formatting my creative plans in this way is a little less ambitious that what I originally came up with for my creative yearly goals, so maybe I’m on to something. It’s enough to make it challenging, but not so much outside of things I don’t normally do in my creative life. So here it goes!

1 – Year of periodically purging creative items that no longer serve me. I’ve already pulled out tons of fabric and patterns that must go, even a few old handknits, but I’m trying to keep up this purging energy throughout the year with my other creative outlets.

2 – Drafted Patterns. This is the year of trying out different methods of drafting my own lingerie patterns. I started a pair of boy shorts yesterday, so we are on track.

3 – Hand knits. Socks, sweaters, shawls. No pressure to knit any particular item.

4 – New Creative Challenges: Soldering, Enameling, Fabric Dyes, Cheesemaking. I’ve dabbled in 3 of these over the years, I would like to dive back into these a little bit.

5 – Paper Flowers. The creative outlet that got me through the early months of 2020 was making paper flowers. It was very calming to cut and glue paper together. I’m also pretty terrible and caring for indoor plants and these are pretty without the maintenance.

6 – Online Classes. Craftsy, Sew Ed, something Live. Lifelong learning!

7 – Books to read this year. I hope I can finish a lot more than 7, but no pressure. I’m just getting back to regular reading.

8 – Non-intimate sewing projects. Bags, Clothes, Housewares. Also I perfect opportunity to revisit the Design Your Wardrobe Challenge.

9 – Earring Designs. Play with beads to create my favorite accessory.

10 – Bakes. I love baking and I do it often, but let’s throw in some bread and French Baking to kick things up a notch or ten.

11 – Intimate Garments. Bras, undies, and how about a bodysuit?

I think I set up my plan to be less restrictive this time around. Not too many specifics so if it goes left, that’s okay. However, these are all activities that I engage in regularly organized into a plan format. Am I on to something here?

Leaving you with some of the lovely paper flowers that helped me process the past year. I even won a photo challenge with these flowers that scored me some free tea!

New Read, Old Knit

This week I’m spending some time with an old UFO. I don’t even remember when I started this, but I know it’s been on the needles for years. It’s one of those super intense and delicate, fine lace projects.

The shawl named The Girl with the Rose Red Slippers is from Ancient Egypt in Lace and Color. I love just about every project in this book, but picked this one because of it’s size compared to the others. I had enough lace in the stash to make it. I hope that is still true because I don’t remember swatching or doing any planning. This reminds me that I should really get back into Ravelry to keep track of my details or keep much better notes. The shawl is inspired by an Egyptian tale of Rhodopis and Phararoh Amasis which you can “read” in the details of the shawl.

This project will help me get in touch with some quieter moments sitting in silence or with soothing instrumental music. A chart full of yarn overs, K2togs , and SSKs will keep all of my attention focused on where I am in the knitting.

New book club read is The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemison, who is a new author for me. I hear so many good things about her world building and character development. I’m excited to read this trilogy.

Check in with Kat and all of the other Unraveled friends to see their reads and knits this week.

Black History Year of Reading, Set 2

I am trying to break up with my old way of reading books. I mentioned I was once and “avid” reader, but now I’ve taken to distractions and leave lots of books unfinished. I can’t really say I grow bored. I’m always tempted by the next new, unopened book full of promise. I read according to my mood and what catches my interest in the moment. By the time that mood passes I have not finished what I was reading and I’m ready to move on to the next thing. I’m trying to ditch that bad habit and take my time to get through each book. Here is the next set of reads selected for my Black History Month TBR list.

The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni: I disliked poetry when I was in school because I felt it was written more for the writer than the reader. That could be true, but I think there is something in it for me to enjoy.

Stamped from the Beginning: I got about 3 chapters in and put this down. Not for a lack of interest for I learned a bit in those few chapters. Heavy material, but I definitely want to dive back into this one.

Long Walk to Freedom: I know highlights, but I am interested in the details of his life.

Parable of the Sower: Set in the early 2020s and I like Sci-Fi

Glory, Magical Visions of Black Beauty: Coffee table photography book amplifying the beauty of black youth. Will enjoy the art and pass along to a friend’s child hoping that she gets inspired by seeing those brown faces in all of their glory.

Rhythm, Uplifting Quotes from the African American Perspective: Quotes are everywhere, all over the internet, but I will take an already curated list of quotes that can potentially lift my spirits over sifting through websites and instagram posts anyday.

How Long Til Black Future Month: Short Story Collection by my favorite Sci-Fi author I’ve never read. I’m excited to finally get to know this authors writing with my next book club read: The Fifth Season. I really do hope I enjoy it as much as I think I will. And this cover!?!?😍😍😍