Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Indian Summer


Let's start off with a little confession.  I finished this sweater in summer of 2015 before my son was born.  However, I managed to take pictures and start a blog post in October of 2015.  I never finished the post, so here we are a year later and you are just now seeing this (unless of course you follow me on ravlery).

I was a bit inspired by the Masterpiece show Indian Summers when I finally had the chance to photograph this sweater, and at the time, we were having a very gorgeous Indian Summer as well.  Hence the title of this post.


Have you ever had one of those projects that almost feels like fate?  I had been holding onto this Cascade cotton for about five years; I bought it at the general store while on my honeymoon.  I wanted to make something special with it, but soon learned that cotton is not always the best choice for knitting sweaters.  Last year I shared that I had a bit of a stash problem with my yarn, which lead me to organize my stash via ravelry.  While I was on quite the knitting kick last year, I started to search out more knitting blogs to follow rather than sewing blogs.  I came across Tres Bien Ensemble and decided to add her to my ravelry friends as well.  This lead me to stalk her favorites and queue - where I came across this wrap cardigan.  As I searched through fellow raveler's finished sweaters, one caught my eye.  Krystina had made hers out of Ultra Pima Cascade yarns and had changed the lace pattern to once from Vogue's Stitchonary.  I thought this would be the perfect match for the yarn purchased on my honeymoon and I had just checked out the Vogue Stitchonary Lace volume from the library.  Really, it was fate.


I loved how fast the sweater knit up, especially the body and the sleeves.  I did adjust the pattern so that the fronts and back were knit seamlessly as one piece until the armhole divide.  Of course, I also adjusted the pattern to use one of the lace patterns in the Vogue Stitchonary Lace volume.  This was my first time doing a true lace pattern, and I found it to be easier than I thought.  It didn't take long before I had the rows memorized and was whizzing along on the lace panel.  I got so caught up in the lace pattern that I knit my panel a little too long and then it stretched even more after blocking - so I ended up with quite a bit of tail after wrapping and tying the panel.


This sweater was a great transitional piece for summer into fall for me - especially last year.  With nursing my little one, it was really nice to have an outer layer that was a wrap sweater - it was easy to remove and provided a little more coverage over my nursing tank.  I'm all about modesty, especially when nursing, so this was a great little number to add to wardrobe.

It feels weird to be posting this sweater so late, but I really don't have much of a backlog of projects from the past year.  I also just shared that it took me four months to sew a dress, so you know there won't be other new projects coming any time soon.

Annabelle

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Anticipation


Well, a big hello to anyone who is still around after my long absence from this little space.  Life with two kiddos certainly has kept me much busier than I anticipated, but I wouldn't change it for the world! So, my post title "anticipation;" hubby and I are in a difficult phase of life where everything is busy (kids, work, kids, family stuff, kids, kids).  Anyway, it is has been pretty tough to even get date night scheduled, other than a quick dinner.  So, back in early May of this year I told dear hubby that we were going to go to the fall hangar dance and I was going to make a dress.  Guys, it took me all summer to make this dress, I finished it up just a few days before the dance.  Not that this dress is difficult in any way, but I'm just really short on time lately.  But seriously, let's not dwell on what I don't have, let's celebrate because I sewed a dress in 2016!


Now for the dress.  The pattern is Butterick 6282, which is a reproduction pattern from 1941.  While the dress is totally appropriate for the event, I will admit that I don't love the pattern.  I was drawn to the simple, utilitarian style and the fact that it was button front, but very different from most shirtwaist dresses.  However, before making the pattern, I knew that I hadn't seen any versions of this dress that I liked, including the photos that Butterick used to promote the pattern.  All of the excess fabric in the bodice and the voluminous sleeves didn't quite work for me.  All that aside, I made the dress anyway because it was a pattern that I had on hand and I had a fabric that I thought was a good match to the pattern.


I used a wool and silk blend suiting fabric for this dress.  I think the fabric worked perfectly for the pattern, it makes this dress more of a fall and winter dress.  I kind of needed something like this in my wardrobe since nearly all of the dresses I have sewn are bright pink or purple florals.  The only adjustment I made was to take out the pleats in the sleeve cap.  Originally, I sewed up the dress as given, but when I put it on, the sleeves were just way too much for me.  I felt that even with shoulder pads, it just wasn't the right silhouette on me.  All I did to change the sleeve after detaching it was simply cut the top portion of the sleeve off, following a bell curve of a typical sleeve.  With this adjustment made, the sleeve still fit really well into the armhole of the dress with no additional alterations.


The dress naturally has a very "blousoned" bodice, but it is accentuated a bit on my dress by the fact that over the four months that it took me to construct the dress, I had lost some weight.  Oh well, that just means I should have a dress that will fit well when I have another baby (not in the works yet, but definitely a future possibility).  While I'm still a bit unsure of how I feel about the bodice of this dress, I will say that I love the skirt portion of this dress.  The box pleat in combination with the a-line skirt is the perfect amount of fabric for a flattering shape.  I'm thinking about making a skirt from this pattern in the future.  (You know, when I have time, haha).
My favorite photo from our highly anticipated date night!

Okay lovelies, that's all I've got to say about this dress.  I hope to get my act together and get some other posts up soon.  I have a nearly finished sweater (that I started a year ago), as well as a sweater that I finished just before my son was born last year.  

I will say, that finding time to be creative has been such a blessing.  I know that I need some creativity in my life, but I am content just to find bits and pieces of time here and there as long as it eventually results in something.  Until next time!


Annabelle

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ready?

I know that it has been a while since my last post.  As June drew to a close, I started to think about actually getting ready for the baby.  I wanted to get my house clean, freeze some meals, prepare my daughter for being a big sister and get things ready for the baby.  Since my mom was two weeks overdue with three of her children and my daughter was two weeks overdue, I assumed this pregnancy would follow suit - so I would have plenty of time to get ready.



I started by knitting little newborn hats for a baby boy or girl.  Now, I had been telling my daughter that she was going to be a big sister and that her baby sister was growing in mama's tummy.  While my belly got lots of kisses from my sweet toddler, I'm glad she didn't fully understand the term "baby sister," because she ended up with a baby brother who came five days early!


So was I really ready?  Not at all.  I didn't even think I was in labor when it first started.  I ended up taking my daughter to the zoo that afternoon.  She wanted to be carried, so when I had to put her down for each of my contractions - and that started happening more and more frequently - I knew I should start thinking about getting to the hospital, and soon!

I know some people like to hear birth stories, while others could go without them.  So here's a quick little rundown.  I planned on having a natural birth like I did with my daughter.  We got to the hospital and I was a 6 and within minutes was an 8.  I thought, Yes!  A few more minutes and I will be pushing.  Four hours later I was still at an 8, and was told I would need pitocin.  I cried for an epidural.  Suddenly baby's vitals dropped and they yelled for an emergency cesarean!  I met the surgeon and they started prepping me for surgery.  I heard cheers and was told to give them five more good contractions - they wanted me to get to a 10.  What the @#$%, I thought, why do I need to dilate to a 10 before having an emergency c-section?  I had missed the fact that giving me some extra amniotic fluid had caused the baby's vitals to return to normal.  The five more contractions they wanted were the time it would take to prep the epidural.  On that fifth contraction I yelled that I was pushing and the baby was coming.  They had me turn over for the epidural, but then the midwife announced that the baby's head was crowning.  One more good push and my darling son was in my arms - no medical intervention needed.

This is my "Oh my goodness, I actually had a natural birth" smile.
 With all of that, the part I was the least ready for was nursing.  I knew I was going to have trouble with nursing because of a condition that I have, but I still wasn't fully able to prepare myself for the mental struggle.  Because I'm not able to make enough milk to feed my baby I feel like less of a woman and inadequate as a mom.  I know these are lies that I should not give into, but I'm just being honest when I share that this is my struggle.  However, I'm giving it my all and savoring each moment with my two beautiful children.  Sewing is definitely not going to happen for a while, and I'm totally okay with that.


Annabelle

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Little Something for Me!

While you may have noticed that a lot of my knitting lately has been geared towards my daughter and nephew - I only recently noticed that there has been a lot more unselfish knitting going on than I planned.  I don't know how many of you are familiar with ravelry, but once quick glance at my featured finished objects section shows that eight of my last nine projects have been for people other than me.  Taking into consideration that I also have a few little projects for baby that I had yet to add finished photos of, my own mug was about to be bumped off of my featured finished objects!  Now, it's not that I'm so concerned about not seeing my own face on my ravelry page - but I really think it's about time I did a little selfish knitting!


I've had A Posy of Violets in my ravelry favorites forever; I just needed an excuse to purchase the pattern and start knitting.  As if needing a small selfish project wasn't enough motivation, I also happened to have a handful of fingering weight yarn leftovers that begged to be used up.  Well, this project was so small, that I didn't even completely use up any of those scraps.


 The flowers are supposed to be made into a brooch.  I can't decide if that's what I want to do with them, or find some other purpose for them.  For now, I'm happy to have a small project that was made just for me.  I've even started working on a bigger project for me - a sweater!  While I'm expecting, it's the perfect excuse to take on a more time consuming project, because I can't wear it right now anyway.  It's a summery sweater, so I'm hoping that I can get it finished before baby and have something cute to look forward to wearing next spring and summer.

Do little projects motivate you to start working on something bigger?

Annabelle


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Simplicity 4635 at 33 Weeks!


While I haven't been doing any sewing as of late, I do have a sewing project to share with you.  You've seen a glimpse of the unfinished dress here, but I now finally have pictures of the finished dress to share!  This past weekend there was another 1940's themed Swing Dance event, which gave me the excuse to wear this very 1940's-pretty-much-costume-like-dress that I made.


Some of these pictures actually make the dress look a bit more flattering than the way it looks in real life.  Maternity clothing from the 40's was so different than it is today.  The very first thing I noticed when sewing this up, is that the sash hits at the natural waist (which is something that completely disappears during pregnancy).  All of the modern maternity dresses that I have are empire waist - nothing hits at my natural waist.  Also, most maternity dresses today are made from knit fabrics rather than woven.  This dress of course uses a woven fabric (in a vintage reproduction print).


My hair has grown so long lately that I hardly take the time to do it anymore.  I've only ever attempted victory rolls two other times, but I figured that I needed to go all out with my vintage look for this event.  I found a modern victory roll tutorial; and while I don't have a curling iron any more, I think I did a decent job recreating this look - even though it may not be a truly authentic 1940's hairstyle.


 While I really enjoyed wearing this dress to a 1940's themed event, I don't know if it will get much use elsewhere.  I feel that it looks a lot like a costume, and there really isn't a way to modernize it at all.  (However, Lord willing, this is not my last pregnancy and there are dances like this every Spring!)  I'm just glad I made this dress while I wasn't pregnant, and that it was ready to wear well before the night of the event, unlike the last time I sewed a dress for a similar event.


After a full night of dancing in high heals at 33 weeks pregnant and staying up well past my bedtime, I'm taking it easy this week!  I hope you are having a fantastic week.

Annabelle

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Signs of Summer


My plan wasn't to turn this blog into knits for little ones, but that appears to be the case for the time being.  My latest knit is a new favorite for me (to see on my daughter).  It's the Midsummer Meadow Tunic by Heidi Atwood-Reeves.  When I saw this test knit come up I was trying to decide between this one and a cute sweater by another pattern designer; I'm terrible at testing two projects at once.  I chose this one, because I had the perfect yarn in my stash (yay, for using up stash!) and I thought that a little tunic would be perfect for my girly girl.


I love how this tunic has fun details like the three little dandelions on the skirt portion of the tunic, picot welt, back box pleat, back keyhole and flower details throughout the yoke.  All this, and there is still a lot of stockinette, so it is a fast and easy knit.


The yarn I used for this project was Frog Tree Picoboo.  I love this yarn, it's a DK Bamboo Cotton, so it's incredibly soft and has a nice drape.  It's also machine washable, which is pretty much a must with children's clothing.  When my sister saw this tunic she mentioned that she loved the yarn (she's not a knitter, she was hinting that I should use the yarn to make something for her son).

While there are still a handful of future test knits that I've seen previews of, and absolutely want to be a part of, I've also started eyeing up some projects for me (it's about time!).  I've lost an interest in sewing for the time being, but I'm hoping that if I start knitting for me than sewing will naturally follow.

Annabelle

Thursday, May 7, 2015

I See You!


I told you all that I have been addicted to test knitting lately.  Seriously, I can't get enough of knitting cute things - especially when it means that I also gets to help out an indie pattern designer.  After I finished my last test knit, I did tell myself no more, I'm done.  Before I even got that project posted, I saw that Lisa had another test knit posted to her group.  The test knit was already in progress with nearly every slot filled up - every slot except for one 6 month size.  How convenient, my nephew is currently wearing 3 to 6 month clothing!  Yep, without even a second thought to all of the things I wanted to sew and knit for myself I went ahead and volunteered to fill that spot.  I think I need to be better about setting boundaries.


Lisa's latest sweater is called Peekaboo, it's a raglan sleeve sweater with what looks like a second layer underneath.  I love the concept.  The sweater is supposed to be knit in a solid color with the under-layer knit in stripes.  After volunteering for the project, I realized that I did not have any worsted yarn in my stash, so I went yarn shopping.  Unfortunately my LYS did not have enough yarn in a single color that I liked for this sweater, as a result I knit stripes throughout the main portion of the sweater and knit the under-layer as a solid.  I still kind of wish I had been able to make the pattern as intended, but I do like how this turned out.  I think the orange really pops against the blue and green.


I am such a fan of Lisa's pattern designing skills.  In my last test knit for her, I loved the texture she added to the sweater.  In this pattern, I love the layered look that is created without there actually being two layers in the sweater.  I find myself thinking that this would be a clever addition to some of the patterns that I want to knit for myself.


It's a pretty good thing that my model was on his best behavior and gave me lots of smiles, because my daughter kept photo bombing my pictures.  I can't tell you how many pictures had her little hands trying tickle my model's tummy or hand him a toy.  It's always precious to see her so eager to help take care of this guy, I think that she will make an excellent big sister later this year!


Annabelle