Baking, spinning, sewing, and knitting, oh my!

I am continuing to experience a great deal of making-mojo. 

I finished 388 yards of handspun from a braid that I bought from Three Waters Farm.  The colors are outside of my usual comfort zone, but I really love it. 

I have been more motivated to explore bread-making recently. There’s something so satisfying about being able to make bread. I used the recipe for challah from the latest issue of Taproot Magazine, and I am so happy with how it came out. I’m looking for more recipes to try, so any suggestions are totally appreciated. 

Little One was on spring break last week, so I took a few hours while she was relaxing to sit back down at my sewing machine. The pattern for this is the Lil’ Knot Bag. The top stitching around the handles was a little tricky, but I’m pretty happy with the result. It was nice to sit back down at my machine, and this project was a good one for working on some skills. It was much more manageable than some of my other endeavors at the sewing machine have been. After a little more practice, these might appear in my Etsy shop. I’m still developing the direction I’d like to take my shop in, but I have some ideas in the works. 

I’m working on some mitts from handspun. Working with handspun has been hugely satisfying for me lately, as well. 

I also found these super cute little charms at the craft store the other week, so I made some stitch markers. I bought some extra, and they’re available on my Etsy shop. I’m getting ready to do some yarn and fiber dyeing, so keep an eye out for updates! 

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My word for the year & making goals for 2017

As I have the past few years, I am setting out some general making plans and goals for the year. I’ve also noticed a growing trend of people choosing a word for the year, so I think I am going to jump on that bandwagon as well.

This is the first year where I have felt like choosing a word for the year, and it is the first time when I have felt like a single word fits with what my priorities are. My word for this year is going to be grow. I chose this word because it encapsulates what I’d like to focus on this year when it comes to my making, creative projects, and career goals. I want to build and grow my relationships with some of the artists and makers that I have come to know locally and on the internet. Being a major introvert, growing relationships that feel fulfilling and comfortable can be a big challenge. I want to expand my handmade business and develop some more concrete goals for how to successfully mesh my full-time career with a side passion project. Growing our homestead is also a major goal; I’d like to become a more successful gardener and continue to prepare to bring more fiber animals onto our property. Continuing to build and gain confidence in what I do and what I have to offer is another area that I hope to focus on, and it is something that I have really neglected in my career, personal life, and passion projects. I suppose my aim overall is to grow my skill set and expand my knowledge-base across my many interests: knitting, weaving, sewing, spinning, gardening, homesteading, and speech-language pathology.

Specifically, related to making my goals are to:

  • knit/spin/weave/sew from the materials that I have accumulated — making from both patterns and materials that I have in my stash is always a lofty goal
  • make items that I will actually use and wear; I’d like to knit at least four sweaters for myself, and I’d like to sew most of my summer wardrobe
  • make knit and sewn clothes for Little One
  • plant a dye garden and become more familiar with plants that can be foraged for dyes in my area to continue to develop my natural dyeing skills
  • take the time to watch and learn from the classes that I’ve queued on CreativeBugCREATIVELIVE, and Craftsy

Feel free to share your goals for the year in the comments or link to your posts. I love to hear what others are focusing on as they enter into a new year of creativity and making.

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Sewing: On my list

I’m accumulating a long list of sewing projects that I want to tackle. Building my handmade wardrobe is becoming more enjoyable as I’ve started to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the process. I’ve also started to realize how imperfect factory made clothing is too – when you look closely, nothing is perfect. All that said, here are a few things that are high on my list. 

Schoolhouse Tunic – I got some plaid fabric when the Hancock Fabrics went out of business, and I think this would look cute in that. 


Wiksten Tank – I haven’t quite decided what fabric to sew this in, but it’s high on my list for summer. 

Blanc Tee – I could see this becoming a wardrobe staple. I bought the expansion pack to go with the free pattern, so I am excited to try a few variations. 

This version of the Scout Tee by The Craft Sessions also looks like a great basic top, so I’m also anxious to get started on this one. 


I’m also planning on another Sailor Top and Fen by Fancy Tiger Crafts. 

Are there any sewing projects high on your lists? I’d love more ideas! 

Sewing: Sailor Top

   
I’m feeling pretty excited about this shirt! After my last experience with the Lou Box top, I decided to try something a little more fitted. I subscribe to Creative Bug, and the Sailor Top project fit the bill.

 After taking my measurements and looking at the finished  dimensions, I decided on the medium. I was on the fence, but tried to remind myself that often make things too big. The instructions were great, and I made sure to try to pace myself through it and not rush. There are a few mistakes, but it is wearable. Overall, I am pretty happy! 

 
  

Sewing: Lessons learned from the Lou Box Top 

I was super inspired to sew a Lou Box Top after seeing one on the The Craft Sessions site. I had some fabric that has been in my stash for a while, so I decided to give it a try. I had tried seeing this too back in September, but it wasn’t a successful venture (I was distracted so I made a mistake in pattern assembly, and it was all downhill from there), so I went with some fabric that I wasn’t particularly attached to. It is a simple project, and it came together easily. Overall, it is a good beginner project. I was happy with my technique overall. Unfortunately, I don’t think it suits me as much as I had hoped. Here are some things, positive and negative, that I learned during the process:

  • I am relatively short, so I don’t think the boxy shape did me any favors. By now, I should know that something with “box” in the title is probably not a great bet. But, inspiration and a pretty picture got the best of me. Early in my knitting, I fell prey to this often, and I need to remind myself to take those lessons and apply them to sewing. It is totally wearable, but not particularly flattering. 
  • I chose the medium/large size, but I think I probably should’ve gone down I size since there is a bit of ease. I think having it more form-fitting than it is designed to be would’ve been better for my figure
  • I added length, and that was successful. On my first attempt long ago, it was short and even more unattractive 
  • I was happy with the neckline and finishing. 

In all, it was neither a huge success nor a huge failure. I have my eye on a few things that will hopefully suit me a little more. 

FO Friday

Here are a few things I finished up today. 

A small notion/project bag.  This fabric is super fun!   
A skein of marled grey & black yarn. The grey is Cormo, and the black is Corriedale. It’s about 85 yards of worsted weight. 

 
I decided to put both of these up in my Etsy shop, so take a look if you’re interested. 

Happy Friday everyone! 

WiP Wednesday: Spinning, sweater, sewing and mitts

  
I’ve had some project ADD lately, so I have a lot in progress. I am so excited about all of it though! 

I’ve been spinning some Cormo and Corriedale. Last night, I started plying the black Corriedale and the grey Cormo together. I am pretty happy with the result. I need to skein it up and set the twist still. 

My husband’s sweater is coming together. The back and one front are finished. I’ve just started on the right front. Two sleeves and he button band to go! I’m enjoying it, but it is a lot of stockinette. 

I’m starting to prep to do some sewing. This weekend, my plan is to make the Lou Box top. The last time I tried this pattern, I taped pieces incorrectly and it was too short for my taste. I am going to remind myself to slow down and make sure that I don’t rush. 

In the car, I’ve been working on the Maine Mitts from the Swoon book. I have one mitt just about finished (it needs the thumb) and the second is in progress. 

My projects are really getting me through what has been a weird week. Early this week, it was the one year anniversary of my mom’s death. There are a lot of emotions bubbling to the surface, so it has really helped to have projects to keep me busy. 
I am looking forward to the weekend and digging into a few of these projects more. 

Sewing: zipper pouch

  

Sewing is deceptively hard. I feel like it should be so simple and quick because there is a machine involved. Even though I know better, I have an expectation for more instant gratification. 

In any case, I am determined to become a more competent and confident sewist. The Ben Franklin Crafts near my office sells fat quarters for reasonable amounts, so I’ve been trying to start to get comfortable with zipper pouches and project bags. 

I made this one using a few tutorials I found on Pinterest. Both have video tutorials, which I needed for figuring out the zipper business. 

Melly Sews. This was a great overall tutorial, but I needed a few more close-ups. 
Kelbysews. This tutorial focused more on the zipper installation. 
There is room for improvement, and I have more zippers and fabric at home to practice with! 

2016 Knitting, Spinning & Sewing 

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a warm, safe, and wonderful time celebrating. My husband and I are pretty classic introverts, so we spent the evening in our comfy clothes watching Netflix (and I was knitting too, of course). True to form, we both fell asleep on the couch long before midnight. It was pretty perfect. 

Looking back, 2015 was a wonderful year of knitting and crafting. I didn’t have a lot of goals at the start of the year. But, knitting and crafting ended up being a huge comfort as I was coping with the loss of my mom. I learned a lot and became more confident in my skills. 

In 2016, I am hoping to continue learning and developing my skills. Here are some general goals that I have in mind:

  • Knitting a sweater for my husband 
  • Knitting a pullover for Little One 
  • Knitting more sweaters, shawls and hats for me! 
  • Spinning some natural colored fiber and experimenting with natural dyes (from plants around our property) – eventually I hope to put some of this in my Etsy shop 
  • Spinning alpaca, and some other fiber types
  • Repurposing the yarn from a thifted sweater 
  • Sewing functional, well-fitting garments for Little One 
  • Repurposing fabrics from old garments to make new ones 

I am not going to make goals about knitting or making from stash because I know I can’t keep them. I am working on planning more, finishing projects, and making little things that use stash, and it’s going well and helping control my stash. 

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, fun and productive 2016! 

Friday FO: PJ Pants

  
I took a little break from the knitting to make some PJ pants for Little One today. I found a great free pattern and video tutorial online. The pattern and tutorial are by Made By Marzipan. It was quick, and I am pretty happy with the results. We’ll see if I am still as happy once Little One tries them on. I intended to make them for Christmas, but I don’t think I’ll be able to wait to give them to her.