Thursday, August 28, 2014

WIP: Wonder if I can Proceed?

Having my knitting needles all organized and looking so pretty in my new needle case, I've been wanting to pick up some knitting again.  Recently, I was able to make a few baby hats for some expecting friends, as well as a fall hat for my baby girl.  It's so nice to accomplish something before you face a more daunting task.  The daunting task I speak of is deciding what to do about my two knitting UFOs.

UFO numero uno is the 1950's sweater that I started as part of a knit along on ravelry.  I was making great progress, and even planned to have it completed by the deadline until work went crazy and I was too tired to even knit on the bus.  So with a finished front and almost finished back the sweater sits.

While I really like the pattern, and I love the yarn colors that I selected, but I can't decide if I should forge ahead and finish the project or frog it.  The reasons I don't want to keep knitting are:
  • I made this when I was still working in an office environment.  It was perfect for wearing with all of my high waisted pencil skirts.  Now I never wear high waisted pencil skirts, and this does not really go with my more casual "mommy" clothes.
  • While I have never had a lot of waist definition from having a more boyish figure, my post baby body has even less waist definition.  This sweater is made for that lovely 1950's hour glass figure, and I can see that it just won't suit me so well.
  • I started this as part of a knit along, because I love being part of a community.  The knit along has been over for a year and half now . . .

While these are all legitimate reason to begin unraveling, I can't get past the fact that I have already put so much work into this sweater!  Now that my free time is less than ever, I wonder if it's even possible to unravel this and start AND finish a new sweater from scratch.

My second UFO is the lovely Georgia by Jane Richmond.  This sweater was started when I needed something to do at 2 AM every morning.  Yes, you read that right, 2 AM.  The first four months of nursing, I used to get up in the middle of the night and pump for forty five minutes.  I have chronic low milk supply (it's a real thing), so this was one way to help make up for it.

Just so happens that my gauge at 2 AM is a bit tighter than my gauge during normal awake hours.  I guess I was focusing so hard on not focusing on how much that I was pumping, that I just pulled that yarn tighter and tighter.  I still have my original gauge swatch, prepared during the day, and the gauge on my sweater is much tighter than the gauge on my swatch.  This has resulted in a sweater that is too tiny.  Can blocking correct this?  I've never needed to change a sweater much through blocking.

Look at all that gaping where the buttons should close!  Not looking so good.
So my lovely readers, take a walk in my shoes (actually, I'm barefoot at the moment).  What would you do about these two wips?  Does it make sense to press on and finish?  Rip them out and start over?  Rip them out and start a completely new project?  I am not used to having UFOs, so this is actually very tough for me.  Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Oh, and because I cannot end my post with just negative feelings, I did complete something!  I made my mom a cowl just like the one I made my sister for Christmas last year.  My mom really liked it, and she has always been so supportive of my crafting hobbies that I thought it was about time she was the beneficiary of my work.  Here it is modeled by the best looking person in my house:

Ahh, her cuteness kills me!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

What Gets Worn the Most?

Now that summer is nearing an end and fall is just around the corner, I thought I would take a critical look at my handmade wardrobe and see what truly gets worn.  Prior to mommy hood, all of my handmades got worn pretty frequently; however that is not the case any more.  By taking an honest look at what I wear the most, I want to know how to edit down my "to do" list to only items that will get a lot of wear.

There are two items that currently get worn all the time; my Renfrew top and shirt dress.  Renfrew gets worn a lot because I don't have many t-shirts, yet I often want to wear a t-shirt.  I love the cheery colors in the fabric and a basic t-shirt is a perfect mommy staple.  My shirt dress actually gets more wear than my Renfrew.  It was the first thing I wore out of the house after my daughter was born.  It got a lot of wear this past year because it was my only handmade dress that was nursing accessible.  I also love the nod to the 1950's from this classic style.

Then there are three items that get worn a lot, but not all the time.  I am including my Gabriola skirt here even though it was just made, it gets worn a lot (like I wore it to church two weeks in a row, plus during the week).  I love the way the rayon fabric feels against my skin, and the bright colors are my style.  My Alma blouse actually gets quite a bit of wear as well (though when I was still nursing during the day, I would wear it if I was going somewhere, then change as soon as I got home to make nursing easier).  My 1960's floral shift dress has always been a favorite.  This one gets worn when ever I need to dress up (though like my Alma blouse, it wasn't nursing friendly).

So what trends have I noticed with the things that truly get the most wear?  First, it has to be comfortable and easy to wear - which can be accomplished in fabrics other than knits.  Second, I really do love bright colors, and it seems that pink is a color that I wear a lot of.  Pink isn't necessarily my favorite color, but I do think it looks good on me, and I often find it to be associated with other bright colors.  Third, I like a good mix of dresses and separates - in my top five I have two dresses, two shirts and one skirt.

As I look to start planning a fall wardrobe, I am going to look for patterns that are casual and easy to wear.  I will also look for a mix of modern and vintage silhouettes and fabrics like cotton and rayon.

Have you taken a critical look at your hand made wardrobe before?  What trends do you notice?


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Summer Romance

Oh my word, I am so excited to share my newest sewing with you!  Way back in February, I mentioned that I won a pattern through a giveaway on Vicki's blog.  That Vicki, she is so sweet and kind.  Well, I let her pick out a pattern for me, since I really had no idea what I wanted for myself.  Vicki selected the Gabriola Skirt from Sewaholic.  

I have to be completely honest here and say that when Tasia first released the pattern I thought it was cute, but just not for me.  Aside from my wedding dress, I have never worn a skirt or dress that went past my knees.  Also, I sort of felt like maxi skirts were too trendy for me - like I'm not cool enough to pull one off!  However, when the pattern arrived, I felt that I had the perfect fabric in my stash - and I liked the idea of stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something I normally wouldn't.  I am so glad I gave this pattern a try (thanks a million Vicki!).  I love wearing this skirt.

Part of the reason for taking a while to sew this project up, is that I knew I would really need to concentrate on the cutting of this fabric.  My fabric is a rayon challis, which tends to slip right out of my hands as I cut it.  I wanted to make sure that each of those gorgeous points lined up perfectly, and knew this would require precision during the cutting of my fabric.  The extra time and effort paid off; all of my points do indeed match up perfectly.

Tasia likes to use the word "dramatic" to describe this skirt, but to me it feels very romantic.  Maybe it's the combination of the whimsical floral print and the way the fabric swishes when I walk, but I just feel like I could be swept off my feet at any moment.  Honey, can you put down the camera for a second and sweep me off my feet?

Have you ever been surprised by sewing up a pattern that you didn't think was your style?  Seriously, I think I need experiment with this again.  For now, I am just going to frolic around in my yard and be the princess that lived happily ever after . . .