Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Matching (AKA Lake Superior Ate My Hat)

Well. I started to write this post almost two months ago because I had made matching hats for me and my brother Paul last year for Christmas. I had some nice anecdotes about doing a Handmade Christmas (I think this is the year for our family ! ) and how it reminds me of Laura Ingalls Wilder and how they would make their Christmas gifts from bits and bobs of yarn, and I was all prepared to tell you the adventures my brother and I have taken these hats on.

And then I lost my hat (and mourned). But we're not at that part of the story yet!

Let's start with the process: terribly scientific, I just kind of made them up as I went. I might have ripped out and started over once or twice, but it was a year ago, so the disappointment of starting over has faded (or been blocked out). It's out of extra yarn from my senior collection, Knitpicks Wool of the Andes worsted weight, 2 ends for a heavier gauge, size... 11? needles. Forever obsessed with this deep teal. I made my pom poms with cardboard circles because no pom pom maker in existence will ever be big enough for me. (The pom pom was maybe too big, because my hat sometimes fell off my head from the weight of it. Little did I know this would be the end of the hat!)

The only photos of our matchingness! This was shortly after Christmas, 2015.

Not long after I made it, I took it for a blizzard trial run in Baltimore in January. A girlfriend and I went out to visit another dear friend from college, and got caught in that big ol' east coast blizzard. Our flight was cancelled and we got stranded for an extra couple days... not the worst to be stuck on vacation! I was super toasty warm in my cowl, hat, and big wool men's overcoat when we ventured out to a bar to play boardgames and enjoy some Natty Bo (National Bohemian) which I understood to be to Maryland what PBR is to Milwaukee.

Here's one more shot from Baltimore, after the sun came out.
So I think I probably took it to Alaska when I visited family in April, and maybe Paul brought his but we don't have photographic evidence.

Then we went to Seattle as a family and took a ferry, and my hat definitely didn't fall into THIS body of water.

Paul wore his hat while enjoying some news on a street corner in Seattle.

He also went on a side adventure to Idaho and climbed something (if you know Paul at all, you know he climbs things, sorry Mom) and his hat did NOT fall off while climbing to outrageous heights. Also, how gorgeous is this photo?!

The hat, plus me and my future husband, cutting down a Christmas tree while visiting my parents. (Ooo meet Mike! I don't know if you've seen him on the blog yet!) 

Okay so, we know this story has an ending (though amidst this rambling post, you might have been wondering if that was still the case!). On Christmas day, we decided to travel due to a major snow/ice storm in the forecast. There were some huge swells on Lake Superior, and I had my camera at the ready, so we stopped so I could get some shots. I climbed down to a stone covered beach, and started snapping away.

The photos were turning out great. I could hardly tear myself away, thinking that each wave was going to be bigger than the last! But finally, I started walking back along the beach, and paused to get one last photo.

As the wave rolled in, I realized the water was coming much higher up on shore than before. I stepped backward, trying to keep my feet dry. As I stepped, my hat flopped forward and fell off my head, right into the big water. 

And it was quickly swept further in by the waves. I tried to fish it out with a stick while ankle deep in the frigid water, but it was slippery and I didn't want to sacrifice my hat AND my dignity (also my camera) so I sadly watched it slip away.

Boots soaking wet and head slightly cold, I climbed back up the bank and trudged away. And that's the overly dramatic, terribly drawn-out tale of how I lost my hat in Lake Superior. (Paul still has his.) I guess I should make another?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Just-About-the-Best-Day-Ever Dress

This dress is really special. I always have felt like there is a certain kind of magic when you wear a newly-made outfit for the first time, and this dress was no different. (Really, handmade clothes are a super power regardless of how new or old they are!) 

First, the fabric. The fabric! This is a beautiful ikat weave that I picked up at a stumbled-upon fabric sample sale from a really incredible Chicago company called Piece & Co. All of their fabrics are handcrafted by artisan women all over the world - in clean work environments with fair compensation. It was totally by happenstance that I ended up in this cool Chicago loft office filled with piles of some of the best textiles I've ever seen, and I have so much respect for the people who woven the gorgeous fabrics I got to purchase!

So this was one of the pieces of fabric I picked up -- it was already fated to be pretty great. I decided to make a dress in a silhouette I'm totally not used to wearing, but deemed it necessary because of the heat of summer. It's got a slight shirttail hem, a notched neckline with ties, and self bias binding along the hem, armholes, and neckline. And that's it! No darts, no zippers, no lining, no fuss. It took a day to finish. I made it entirely on my beloved Singer Featherweight (my main machine now - a gift from my dear aunt) - with french seams so it's all properly finished.

Oh but wait! Let me tell you about the magic of this dress! I wore it for the first time on the day I was offered my new position as a designer for kid's clothing. I had interviewed a couple weeks prior, and this was the day I found out. These photos were taken over lunch by a friend, before the meeting where I got the job -  but can you tell I was oozing happiness even so? Sometimes, a good, new, self-made outfit will do that (and more) for ya.

I legitimately feel this way pretty much every day ^. It's been the best job ever, and it started with this dress. It was for sure good luck. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Little updates :)

Hi, it's been a while! I've been a little busy, and thought about posting quite often. But boy, it's been a year. In the ways that years often go, it's been a mix of really great and really not great. There have been moments where my heart has felt so full it could burst, times where I couldn't seem to stop smiling if I tried, and also moments that make my throat catch to think about. But mostly I've been really happy, and working really hard, and trying to make every day better than the last. 

(There have been some really hard-to-top days...)

Mike and I are getting married in 2017! We are so excited and happy - I can't wait to build a life with him. :) 

And if you were wondering... yes, I'm making my dress! 

More soon - just wanted to loop you guys in before posting my backlog of projects!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Woodsy Plaid Archer Button Up


Another plaid flannel Archer! Are you sick of these yet? People started to catch on to how much I was wearing my other flannel, so I had to do the logical thing and make another one. I got more of this amazing Kaufman Mammoth flannel from, because it is in all actuality the perfect flannel. Such a great weight, so soft, and such a good quality.


Not much is different on this one, except I took the sleeves in 1/4" to just slim them down ever-so-slightly. All internal seams are flat-felled, and I made the entire thing on my little Singer Featherweight machine, thanks to a little buttonhole attachment I picked up. This is my 4th Archer, and I find that I am still learning things! Mostly, don't skimp on pins. It's okay to have to rip things out. When in doubt, steam it out. Oh wait, those are things I remind myself with every sewing project!




But seriously, as I was working on this, I was thinking about how glad I am to have this thing that I do (because I don't think calling it a "hobby" is nearly encompassing enough at this point) that I've just straight up always enjoyed, always done (well, since I was 12 or so), and can always continue to learn from and improve upon. Sewing and making clothes is my happy place. It's one thing I just don't get sick of, and as much as I do it, I'll never be 100% proficient at it - there is always room for improvement. It's humbling to continuously make mistakes, and to make very imperfect things, especially when it's in something I consider to be the strongest of my skills. I think part of the attraction of sewing is that you can always, always learn more.



Also let's talk about these buttons! These beautiful handmade wooden buttons are from Arrow Mountain, an awesome Etsy shop based out of Australia. I am so stoked on them - she has all kinds of cute designs, and I am already plotting which ones to order next! How cute do these look with this nice woodsy plaid??



That's all I've got for now. I did snag some amazing woven fabrics in Chicago last weekend, so expect to see some pretty blues and ikat weaves ASAP!

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Giant Knit Slouchy Beanie pt. 2!


When I made the tutorial for this giant slouchy beanie, I did it with two different colors of roving, but I really wanted try it in all white to see how it turned out. I used roving from Dharma Trading, which I am really surprised and delighted by, and my size 50 knitting needles. It took only a couple hours to finish, and I made it out on the balcony to photograph it just in time before it got dark.


And I really love how it turned out! It is super warm, very comfy, and quite cute. I'm always trying to be conscious of having cute winter gear, since it takes up such a large portion of my wardrobe. This fits the bill, I'd say!


I just love roving, and I don't think this affair is going to end any time soon, to be honest.



And yeah. I'm wearing this shirt for forever. Don't judge.


Tutorial for this hat is here, or you can buy the hat here. :)

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