FO Friday: Aomari Twist Top

Pattern: Aomari Twist Top by Papercut Patterns

Fabric: Soy Jersey by Pickering International in Chili

Size: L

Started: January 26, 2019

Completed: January 27, 2019

My wardrobe is short on long-sleeve tees, so I was happy to find the Aomari Twist pattern for one with some visual interest. It is a quick sew with an interesting construction, to get the keyhole twist to work. Although I love this top in theory, in practice I am not enamored with my FO for a couple reasons.

I wish I had taken the pattern company’s advice that “drape is king” more seriously. I used a soy jersey for this and I just don’t love how the twist falls when it’s on. I also wonder whether I would be happier with it a size down. It feels big and sloppy when I’m wearing it. Due to the construction it is difficult to take in without taking apart the entire top and I just don’t have the energy for that. It is a good top for days I get my chemo – it leaves my port easy to access and then if I like I can turn the shirt around and hide the pump I leave attached to. I do like the reversible nature, too, I wear it backwards as often as I do forwards.

My other big complaint is the sleeves. As you can see in some of the pictures, they come down past my wrists. I am happiest in a bracelet length sleeve and I find these annoying. They’re too loose to stay up when I push them up. The pattern as written finishes the sleeves with a band and I have the top in my mending basket to add that band, I wonder whether it would make the whole top feel a little neater if I felt like the sleeves fit better.

Overall I still find this a promising pattern. There’s a sleeveless version for wovens, and I might do a summer version in a smaller size and give it another shot. Have you ever remade a garment in a different fabric or size and loved the later version more?

DFW Fiber Fest Recap

I am very lucky that my job affords me the opportunity to attend a lot of fiber events, but one experience I’ve never had is going to a big event as a yarn civilian. So, when I saw the teacher line-up for this year’s Dallas-Fort Worth Fiber Festival I decided to take the plunge and sign up. I had a full weekend of classes (7 of them!) and managed to sneak in some marketplace time as well. Here’s some of what I learned during this lovely weekend.

These are my swatches from Knitting for Speed and Efficiency with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (bottom) and My Aching Wrists with Carson Demers (top). In the former class I learned a ton about the history of knitting before we talked about how we can improve our personal knitting rate. It was interesting to take at this particular time in my life as a sick person, because the disability community talks a lot about not measuring our worth in productivity and my brain was really trying to figure out how to hold onto an interest in knitting quickly with not feeling like it reflected on me. I learned that I knit 28 stitches per minute, which is mid to top of the average range for North American knitters: 10-40 stitches per minute. We talked about a very efficient way to knit if we’re willing to learn a new technique, as well as ways to increase speed in our current knitting style. You can’t really practice both, you have to pick one, and I’m still undecided which I’ll do when I’m done with one of my current projects and am ready to take on a speed-practice one.

I put these swatches together for the picture because they both show the same tendency – when I start practicing a new knitting technique my gauge gets smaller. I am a very loose knitter, often needing to go down 3 needle sizes to get gauge, and I finally learned why in Carson’s class. When I make a stitch I do so on the shaft of the needle, so my stitches are the diameter of two of the needle size, not one like it would be if I formed the stitch on the tip. I don’t have a problem with being a loose knitter so I’m not sure if I’ll attempt to change this practice of mine, but it is nice to understand why I have to knit on such tiny needles.

I also took my first two weaving classes this weekend – Knitting for Weavers with Deborah Jarchow and Saori Weaving with Kathy Utts. Above are my samples from the former class. It was such a great set up – there were half a dozen different types of beginner looms in the class. We each warped the one in front of us and wove a sample on it, and then moved around the room and tried out other looms we were interested in. It is amazing how different the models can feel in your hands, and how tiny style differences make using it harder or easier for your body. During the entire time we were warping I was thinking how glad I was that I took a class and didn’t just buy a loom, because this activity was not for me. And then the moment we started weaving, as I saw cloth being created in front of me, I had such a visceral reaction – I was part of an ancient textile art, sisters with the Goddess Arachne. Now that the fumes have worn off I’m still not sure I’ll take it up as a hobby, I don’t know if I have the mental energy to properly learn a new kind of making, but I also don’t know if the siren call will overwhelm my senses at some point.

My favorite class experience was definitely Saori weaving. I love everything about the philosophy – it is about creating imperfect art and knowing ourselves in the process. Sitting at that loom felt so good, as did playing with techniques and making up my own. The Saori way is to machine wash your weavings, which puts fear in my stomach but I am going to do anyway to really go through the process. After that is done, I cannot wait to hang this piece that I love in my office. It’s definitely not in my budget to buy a Saori loom anytime soon, but I may visit the local studio and take some more classes.

I can’t believe it, but I didn’t take any pictures while I was there! So just imagine a picture of a great marketplace full of interesting vendors. I also really liked the hotel/conference center set up – they’re across the street from each other and right next to a bunch of restaurants. My favorite was Nosh and Bottle, a deli/market. I had one of the best sandwiches of my life there and will definitely eat there again next time I’m in Dallas. Maybe for next year’s show? If so, hopefully I can convince some of my knitting group to come with me!

FO Friday: Tacara Dress

FO Friday: Tacara Dress

Pattern: Tacara by Seamwork

Fabric: Tencel French Terry by Pickering International in Heather Grey

Size: 14

Started: January 26, 2019

Completed: January 26, 2019

In November I had the pleasure of visiting Fancy Tiger Crafts for the first time, and I went in with the plan to hit their fabric section hard. I am happy to support online fabric stores, but there’s nothing like getting to touch the bolt in person to help you pick a match for a pattern. That was certainly the case for this fabric – I wouldn’t have looked twice at this on a website, but in your hands this tencel french terry is incredible – soft and cozy and delightful. I had wanted to sew Tacara since it was first released, and this was perfect for my vision of a thick, snuggly fabric.

The pattern was super quick to sew up and my only modification was to remove 4” from the length (hi, I’m 5’2”). One change I wish I had made was to place the pockets higher – I have to slouch to get my hands into them currently. Next time I will try to remember to try on the dress once the shoulders are sewn so I can check pocket placement in the mirror.

One fun thing about this pattern is that I was able to borrow a coverstitch machine while I was working on it. I had never used one before, but it sure does make my hems look gorgeous. I normally use a narrow zigzag on my knits, but I think I’m going to get serious about saving up for my own coverstitch to be able to add that touch more often.

Today is the first day of a cold front here, so I’m looking forward to snuggling up in my new dress!

#yarnlovechallenge Time!

#yarnlovechallenge Time!

Hello! I am excited to let you know that for the 3rd year in a row, Mary Heather and I will be hosting the #yarnlovechallenge this February.

Participating is easy! Post a photo on Instagram inspired by the daily prompt, and tag it with #yarnlovechallenge and #yarnlovechallenge2019. Using the tags makes it easy for others to find you and your posts, and we repost some of our favorites on the yarnlovechallenge Instagram account. It’s fine if you don’t post everyday, just join us when you can!

I really hope you’ll join in this year!

FO Friday: Snowshoe Hat Cowl

FO Friday: Snowshoe Hat Cowl

Pattern: Snowshoe by Amy Miller for the cowl, the hat I improvised based on the cowl pattern

Yarn: Foxhill Farm Cormo Silk DK in Natural

Needles: US8 (5.0mm)

Size: 58” long and 9.25” wide

Ravelry Link: the cowl and the hat

Started: March 8, 2018

Completed: September 8, 2018

I love matchies. I love matching mom and daughter sweaters. I love matching kid and doll clothes. So it is no surprise that I love a matching hat and cowl set. What is surprising is how few of them I had in my wardrobe, so I set out to fix that with these accessories.

I fell in love with the Snowshoe cowl pattern as soon as I saw it – a big reversible cable and garter stitch are what my knitting dreams are made of. I went shopping specifically for this pattern at Rhinebeck 2015 and came home quite happily with 2 skeins of Foxhill Farms Cormo Silk. It is a luscious yarn, soft and drapey and such a gorgeous natural shade. I looked a little bit for matching hat patterns, but quickly decided I’d rather make up my own based on the Snowshoe pattern so they’d match perfectly. I’m so pleased I did, I adore how they go together.

Are you the kind of maker who loves a neutral matching set, or do you love the opportunity to show off lots of different colors and textures at once?

2019 Plans

Hello! At the start of 2018 I didn’t want to set any goals or make any plans. I was living with a lot of unknowns and wanted to avoid adding self-made responsibilities to my plate. As 2019 dawns I have answers to many of those questions and they make me want to approach this year differently. I try to keep this space devoted to my crafting, but I’m going to briefly share an update on my health, as it’s the motivation behind all of this. I have chronic colorectal cancer, which means that my at least with current medical treatments my disease cannot be cured. I’m going to be doing chemo every other week for the foreseeable future. There’s a rhythm to the cycle, and I’m ready to have some goals to work towards, wherever I may be each day.

Reading

I love crafting books, and I’ve amassed a huge collection of unread ones. This year I’d like to get through all my unread paper books, most of which are craft books. You can see the list of all these books on the associated Goodreads shelf here. I’ll be sharing some of my favorites on the blog, starting with Kate Davies’ Handywoman later this month.

Sewing

Thanks to a night of sleeplessness earlier this week, I went through my entire pattern and fabric stashes and set up an exciting queue for myself. Sewing has been hard for me the past year – between pain and exhaustion it has seemed out of reach to accomplish the physical tasks involved in getting projects going. With the mental work of this queue done, I am ready to tackle my fear and go for these projects. At a sewing weekend later this month I’m hoping to add some much-needed knits to my closet with a new dress and a couple new tops. My goals for the year include a jumpsuit and pants, both firsts for me.

Knitting

My knitting was side-lined last year when I developed carpal tunnel (Listen to your bodies, y’all! Don’t push through pain!). I took 2 months off entirely, and since then have been working on it in PT. I can do some knitting know and hope to increase my stamina in the coming months. For the Ravelry Project Challenge I set a goal of 6 projects – definitely on the list are a bunch of boxy cropped sweaters and I’d also like to knit up some accessories with some kits and other perfectly matched skeins in my stash.

Blogging

To make sure I hit new year’s blog post bingo, I have to include that I would like to blog more regularly this year 🙃. But truly, it is one of my goals to get back to weekly posting. I’d like to include more writing about crafting, and not just my personal projects. If you have something you’d like to hear my thoughts on, you can tell me in the comments below or email me from the contact section!

Looking forward to another year with you, dear readers! And, if you do want to keep up with my health, you can read about that on my cancer blog at bearingthewait.com.

Fireside Cardigan

Fireside Cardigan

Pattern: Fireside Cardigan by Kate Oates

Yarn: Windham by Jill Draper (colors weren’t labeled)

Needles: US6 (4.0mm)

Size: Newborn

Ravelry Link: ta-da!

Started: December 1, 2017

Completed: January 2, 2018

When one of your best friends is pregnant you want to send as much love as you can. When that friend lives in another city you have to be crafty in finding ways to send your affection. I knew I couldn’t be there in person to snuggle Mary Heather’s baby, so I decided some special knitwear was the next best thing.

I started with yarn, selecting my favorite – Jill Draper’s Windham. I think merino is generally overrated, but this one is so bouncy and just pleasant to feel in your hands as you work. Jill is a mutual friend of Mary Heather and I, so adding some more friend-love to the gift was a bonus. I selected a mixed color bundle at Rhinebeck; I was so excited by all these yellows and the chance to make a bright baby knit.

Choosing a pattern worked out similarly – Mary Heather and I both love garter stitch, babies in shawl collars are adorable, and Kate Oates, the designer, is another friend of ours. I was short on white yarn for the collar so it’s a little sad, I wish I had had a bit more to beef it up with. I love the detail of the knit stitch column at the sides, like you can see in the photo above. The pattern is written for a solid and I just picked a random number of rows to knit to make the stripes. The other modification I made was to reduce the number of sleeve decreases because they looked tiny.

The best of knitting a love-filled sweater for your best friend’s baby is that you get pictures of said baby in said sweater. It was thrilling to see sweet Adisa grow into (and eventually out of!) the sweater. I’m mostly a selfish knitter, but this baby/mom pair is quite knitworthy. Have you made a beloved project for a friend far away? Tell me about it below!