Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer Stashbust 2014!

Friends, my stash is out of control. I have an entire closet dedicated to my sewing, and yet, everything still ends up on the floor and draped over random pieces of furniture in the apartment. I find that I can't part with many pieces - I have a specific idea for almost every piece in my stash.  The only problem is that I cannot seem to find enough time to make everything!  This is a common issue among us sewists, I think. So, in an effort to effectively use my time and to whittle down my stash, I am joining the lovely Sally (of Quirky Peach fame) in her fabulous Summer Stashbust 2014 adventure!

I decided that this challenge would be a great way to get over my fear of serging once and for all.  While I have a lovely, brand new serger (Brother 1034-D), I had developed a fear towards it. I think it was the idea of threading it. I used one way back in the day when I worked in a costume shop, but I also new how to fix copiers when I was the print girl at an office supply store, and I don't remember much of that skill either.  

Enter the lovely Lisette, who, while living with me for a month, sat down with the serger and let me peer over her shoulder while she threaded it. Sure enough, I was able to re-thread it yesterday when the thread snapped unexpectedly. I felt like a champ :)

I decided a great project for practicing my serging skills would be the Jamie Christina Mission Maxi dress. I've made two versions of this pattern before, one for my sister, Kitty, and I wanted another for myself.

I had some fantastic knit from Girl Charlee left in my stash from my Rose Hip Tights:

and I thought this fabric would be perfect for a Tropical Tiki Maxi:

I'm not going to lie, friends: this took me less than two hours to cut and make with the serger.  AMAZING. I am now planning two more maxi dresses, though it's unlikely that they will have both flowers and volcanoes on them.

My face looks a bit unsure, but do not be fooled - I am crazy about the fit of this dress! I am calling this a stashbusting success :)

Friends, are you participating in Sally's stashbust? Check it out and sign up here


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Channel Cardigan

Friends!  Darling friends!  It's been ages since we chatted last.  Forgive me, I've been knitting my heart out.  The past month  has been spent on finishing the Channel Cardigan by Jared Flood.  Every free minute I had went towards completing this eighteen page behemoth pattern. EIGHTEEN PAGES.  

Not to say it wasn't a lovely pattern, because I think the results are quite stunning.  I just wish it had been a bit more ... condensed.

This was my first foray into cardigans, and I got the opportunity to learn buttonholes, raglan sleeve shaping, English Rib, and creating chevrons. I also had a great opportunity to polish my seaming skills.  

The pattern has you knit the two sleeves first, followed by the body, the two collar pieces, the belt, and then the belt loops.  As you can see, I made it as far as the belt.  I was knitting this baby down to the wire - until 2:30am, and we shot these photos 6 hours later.

I won't lie - knitting the first sleeve took me a month. Having to recheck the pattern every single row took up so much time, and I just felt myself falling behind. Also, I have really long arms, and I like even longer sleeves.  The pattern calls for 17 inches before starting the sleeve cap, and I worked until I had 22 inches before starting my sleeve cap.  Eventually, I put the first sleeve on hold after I reached the 22 inch mark and started the body.  Truly, I wish I had started the body first because once I had memorized the pattern, I finished the body in about seven days, and then the second sleeve in two. 

*I just want to pause here and say how much I love this back view photo because the white streak in my hair is totally badass.  I wish it were thicker so I could look more like Rogue from the X-Men, but hopefully the thickness will improve over time.*

I knit this monster up in Cascade 220, as did Liz. Oh, yes, didn't I mention that?  I totally rocked out this pattern with three knitting buddies by my side :)

Liz, Michelle, Mari, and I all knit up the Channel Cardigan together. I love this photo - all of the sweaters turned out beautifully!

Liz had some interesting tension issues happening while she knit hers up, and it was strange, considering I am also (normally) a loose knitter and we used the same yarn.  I was even under gauge at points, meaning my fit was a bit more snug than I would have imagined.  I blame my extreme tension on fiscal year end business at work. #knittingmystressout

After much adjusting, Liz's turned out perfectly, and she even added pockets!  So so smart.  Pockets are next on my list of things to learn, and I definitely think I'll be coming to Liz to learn those :)

The color of Michelle's sweater is divine, and has the most delightful flecks of contrast color in the yarn.  I kept wanting to pet her because her cardigan was so soft.  I didn't, however, because the temperature was climbing steadily and we were all starting to feel a bit hot under the collar.

(Seriously, though - I love this jewel tone on Michelle and think I may need a similar color sweater in my wardrobe soon...)

Mari made hers in a lovely red-orange shade, and made the body of hers a bit shorter.  I like the shorter style very much!  She's able to rock hers perfectly without a belt, and the buttons are a perfect finishing touch.

Well, everyone else posed with the tree ... and then you have me:

After three sweater KALs, I don't know how to take normal pictures anymore...

but apparently I am not the only one (hehe!)

Many thanks to Mike and Felix for taking our photos.  So greatly appreciated, guys!

XOXO and keep cool out there, kids!