Sunday, October 11, 2015

Slow Fashion October Week 2: SMALL

As we come to the end of the second week of Slow Fashion October, I need to write about the theme of Week 2: Small. For this prompt, Karen Templer writes: Today begins Week 2 and our theme is SMALL — we’re talking handmade / living with less / quality over quantity / the capsule wardrobe / indie fashion / small-batch makers / sustainability in every sense. 

I think I'll start by showing you a couple of very unattractive pictures of where I keep my clothes. Here's my half of the bedroom closet:

This is where I keep jeans and corduroy pants, most of my long-sleeved shirts and a couple jackets. I also own precisely three dresses: one is from the thrift store and it's a cute little number I can wear about once a year when my husband and I get to go out someplace fancy, one is from REI and good to wear on hot summer days, and one is a little black knit dress I got at T9 that is perfect for gigs when I don't have to be too formal (like auditions). You can see the shoe rack peeking out from under the clothes. I don't actually own that many shoes, and I haven't bought myself new shoes aside from running shoes in years. My shoes aren't particularly nice or special; I just haven't bought new ones.

In keeping with this week's theme, our closet is small. Heck, our whole house is small (and will remain so even after the remodeling is done), and that's fine by me. Less space to heat, cool, pay taxes on, and fill with clutter. It's a challenge keeping everything organized with a family of four, though. Especially when some of us (ahem) have creative hobbies.

Below is an equally unattractive snapshot of my side of our bedroom dresser. You can see in the side of the photo that my husband never completely closes the drawers on his side (insert frustrated emoji here). The dresser is where my socks, underwear, PJs, running clothes, grubby gardening clothes and t-shirts are stored. 

I keep my hand knit items in a drawer elsewhere, and I also own a couple very fancy skirts for the rare occasion when I need to dress up for a more formal gig (like a voice recital). And that's it for my clothes. I'm fortunate not to have to dress up for work very much. I teach piano and gig as an accompanist, but living in the Midwest where we take [a little too much] pride in being casual, as long as my jeans aren't ripped and my shirt isn't stained, whatever I'm wearing is good enough unless I'm performing. 

I don't make enough money to spend it on expensive clothes. I'm not necessarily proud of my wardrobe. It's a mix of items I've found in thrift stores, admittedly cheap jeans and shirts from places like Old Navy and Target, a few splurges from Title Nine and REI, and so many hand knit sweaters that over the summer I actually donated a bag of the ones I don't wear anymore to St. Vinny's because I didn't have room for all of them. The clothes I like best are the ones that last. I love my hand knit sweaters. I love the running and outdoor clothing I've collected from REI and T9; though I'm afraid I can't say whether or not the people who made them are treated well or paid fairly, those items cost more up front and wear like iron. Of course I can't say the same for the cheaper things I've gotten at Target and the like, though I wear those things hard, too.

For me to declare that everything I wear will be made by me or come from small-batch makers and sustainable sources is, frankly, wishful thinking. I'll never, never, be able to sew running tights or tops that come close to what I can find from brands that specialize in that. I seriously doubt I'll ever make a pair of jeans. (Soon I am planning to venture into t-shirt sewing, however, and I wouldn't have believed that a year or two ago, so never say never, I guess.) And I certainly can't afford to buy everything sustainably, though I can certainly live with less. 

Because our space is so limited here, I go through my clothes pretty often to cull the things I don't wear enough. Now that we're getting into fall and cooler weather, it's probably time to do that again. In fact, I have been waiting for The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up for months at the public library, and it finally arrived yesterday. Considering Slow Fashion October and the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge, its arrival is timely, don't you think?

So that's the story with my clothes. It's not very interesting, and I don't have a lot of time or money to do a big overhaul at the moment (we're doing the house first). However, I believe in starting small. I remember when the organic/local (not the same thing, you know) food movement took hold about 15 years ago. Many people couldn't afford to buy all organic food, or all locally produced food, so these lists were published along the lines of "Top Five Vegetables you should buy organic". Start small. If can only afford one expensive food item in your budget, say, buy organic apples because apple production uses more petrochemicals than other fruits. 

How will I start small? I won't buy any more crap clothes for starters. I have more than I need already, and when the cheap daily t-shirts wear out, I'll figure out how to make more for myself with better fabric than you'll find at Target and the like. (Good excuse to save up and do some more online shopping at Organic Cotton Plus, now that I've discovered how fabulous they are!) 

Second, I'm going to acknowledge publicly that I have too much yarn in my stash and I'm going to give some away at the end of this and every SFO post I write this month! The first step to living with less is to actually have less, right? And so I'm going to share the excess. You get free yarn, I free up a little space. Win win.

Here are two balls of Sublime Organic Merino DK. One is a pale herby green, and the other is a natural cream color. It's soft as a baby's butt and I think I was going to make a hat out of it before losing interest. There are also two hanks of Tahki Cotton Classic in a sunny yellow. They were going to be a top for Anya when she was a baby...obviously I never got around to it and two skeins of cotton isn't enough to make her anything useful anymore. Do you want this yarn? I hope so, because I want you to have it! Leave a comment here or on the IG post by TUESDAY OCTOBER 13, 8:00CT and tell me how you might use it, whether to make a small thing, or to be a smaller part of a bigger project. Be sure to include your Ravelry username or an email address. I'll pick a number out of a hat and announce the winner later this week.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Slow Fashion October, week one (a bit late)

Chances are, if you read the latest and greatest in knitting and crafting blogs, you've already heard of Slow Fashion October. There's an Instagram for it - @slowfashionoctober - and it's got its own hashtag. #slowfashionoctober is the brainchild of Karen Templer of the Fringe Association website and shop. SFO kicked off last week, and of course, I'm just a little late to the party on this one because, well, life and kids and work and that big renovation project (which is moving right along, by the way):

Six guys did this in six hours. Amazing. 
The prompt for Week One, which ended yesterday, is simply to introduce yourself and tell about what you make and why, and why you want to participate in Slow Fashion October. I've been mulling over this for a little while. I have a lot of feelings about this event, and I have to admit that while most of my feelings about this are positive, not all of them are.

Let me start with who I am and what I make. My real name, as most of you know, is Susan. I hold  advanced degrees in music (several), and I teach piano part time at a local institution and do freelance work as an accompanist for all kinds of people, from young musicians through graduate level students at the university here in Madison. My husband and I have two children; Daniel, 9, and Anya, 7, make frequent appearances here and on my other blog so I feel like they don't need that much introduction. Here they are on picture day wearing stuff handmade by me! (That was a proud moment):

I make a lot of stuff and for a lot of reasons. I garden, I cook, I knit, I sew, I play the piano. It's not because I'm trying to live a life of domestic bliss as much as the fact that I have a need for tactile input almost all the time. Wool yarn, dirt, piano keys, bread dough are all things that might be manipulated under my fingers on any given day, and that keeps me happy and productive. It also helps me stay in touch, perhaps in a small way, with how we come by the things we need. It's a lot of work to learn a piece of music for others to enjoy, to make a batch of bread we eat at breakfast, to knit a pair of socks by hand, or grow a crop of Swiss chard (the only thing in my back yard garden that wasn't a total flop, by the way), so investing time and effort into those things keeps me grounded.

I've been making stuff since I was a kid. I am from a creative family, so this should come as no surprise. My dad has done some woodworking, and my mom is a well-respected quilter in her local guild. My brother is an engineer, a self-taught guitarist, and he writes some wicked funny limericks. We all cook. I myself learned to knit and sew in 4-H (my mom taught the knitting classes, and I learned garment sewing from her and another teacher who is pretty amazing.) I've done a bit of quilting off and on - nothing too complex - and I want to learn to crochet for the sole reason so I can make snowflake-shaped coasters and Christmas ornaments. (Right now those crochet charts look like doodling to me!)

I feel like I can rightly say I'VE BEEN MAKING STUFF SINCE BEFORE IT WAS COOL. So for me, the modern handmade/maker/DIY/whatchamacallit movement is long overdue, and very welcome. It's no longer dorky and weird to knit your own sweaters or sew your own tops. It's just cool. (Usually).

I'm also an advocate of eating well, supporting the local food economy, and teaching kids to grow their own food and learn about natural spaces. I spend a lot of time volunteering for the outdoor and garden program at the elementary school for these reasons, and also because it's just plain fun to get outside and dig in the dirt with a class of 9yos. Really, it is.

Digging potatoes is a blast.

All of this brings me to Slow Fashion October and why I'm participating. For me, personally, the more time and effort I invest in the clothes I wear and the food I eat and the music I play, the greater the reward. If my clothes fit and look good and feel good, then I feel good. If I know who raised and harvested the ingredients in the food I carefully prepare, it tastes better and we all enjoy it more (with the notable exception of a batch of chili last weekend that was god-awful. I think the dried anchos were terribly bitter and ruined the whole pot. It was dreadful...) If I prepare my music well, frankly I get paid better and more people hire me. Win win win.

But let's be totally honest. The reason I'm participating specifically in Slow Fashion October and not just continuing to make things in my own isolated life is because I enjoy the social media game. I like seeing what other people are making. I like showing off what I'm making. Yes, I'm admitting to some serious aspirational feelings here.

Also, I'd like to see if SFO can grow into something bigger than an blog/IG challenge and have a true impact on the fashion industry. If it does, that would be terrific, because as much as the world recoils in horror every time there's another horrible garment factory tragedy, and as much collective hand-wringing the maker community engages in about origins and sustainability, it feels like there's not a whole lot we can actually do about it. Most people don't have the privilege of time, money, and knowledge to make and mend and buy second-hand. Most people don't have the privilege of time, money and knowledge to research every single article of clothing that they wear, much less make it. Somehow, consumers have to demand accountability (actual accountability, not just platitudes) from the industry or nothing will change in the garment factories in Bangladesh or dye houses in India. I'm not sure how that's going to happen. Fast fashion is doing very well.

I plan to involve my children in this discussion. I want them to be aware of these issues. They are young and naive but still old enough to understand injustice. Also, I don't see kids and kids' clothing in the wider discussion much at all, and I want to bring that to the table. I think I know why kids are left out. Kids grow. They grow fast, which makes it hard to sew and knit clothes for them (Felicia of The Craft Sessions being one notable exception!) and/or prohibitively expensive to buy sustainably made clothing for them, even if you can find it. And - this will come as a surprise to no one - once kids reach a certain age, most of them are not interested in wearing handmade or secondhand clothing. Because you know. Dorky. Maybe showing up at school wearing snazzy rocket-print shorts will make your kid the coolest in the class or maybe it will make him a bully target, but likely he doesn't want to take that chance.

So we've reached the point where I am having conflicting feelings about this whole business. On the one hand, I'm absolutely in support of the idea of a carefully chosen, handmade wardrobe. I'm definitely on board with having less stuff in general. As a family of four living in a small house (yes, we're making it bigger, but only by a little bit, and only in the kitchen where our clothes and my stash don't live). And as far as I am able, I am certainly in favor of making things with sustainably-produced materials whose origins I can trace. But on the other hand, let's acknowledge that only a small sliver of society can afford - in terms of money, time, skills - to do this at all. There is a terrific discussion over on Bristol Ivy's SFO post on IG about this, by the way. If you have the time, I encourage you to go read it.

It's messed up that making something costs more money than buying that same thing made by someone else halfway across the world in deplorable conditions. Totally messed up. Yes, lots of people could choose to purchase differently, but many, many simply can't. In the words of Jesse Jackson, that ain't right. And that's what bothers me the most about ALL of this and why I feel so conflicted about it.

So here's what I'm going to do. Rather than get all preachy about ethics and sustainability while simultaneously rolling my eyes at words like "origin" and "sustainable" and "capsule" and "curate" and "creative-as-a-noun", I'm going to let go of all that and share. I'm going to share my skills with my kids (if they want to learn) and with others. I'm going to share my stash (giveaway alert!). And of course I'm going to share all about it and more on Instagram.

A lot of my posts look like this. Sock knitting and Scrabble.

Slow Fashion October, here I come! Er...wait for me!!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Nature Walk knit pants for Anya

Yesterday, thanks to rain and saturated soccer fields, we found ourselves with a few hours of free time that would have otherwise been spent at soccer games. You'll hear no complaints from me (I'm not the most enthusiastic soccer mom, can you tell?); I'll happily spend my Saturday morning crafting in the basement rather than chauffeuring the kids from field to field and praying no one gets a concussion.

I've got this complicated corduroy jacket I've been wanting to finish for two weeks now, but it's on the back burner because it takes more time and concentration than I've got to spare between my work demands and progress on the house renovation (which is slow but ongoing). Also, Anya needs some clothes! And since she likes to wear handmade things, especially when she has a role in the making of them (or at the very least choosing the fabric and pattern) I'm pretty much willing to drop everything and do that for her. I know it won't last forever.

The previous weekend we made her a pair of Nature Walk knit pants from Oliver&S, a pattern I've had sitting around for a while now. It was a test run with fabric I had bought at a yard sale and had leftover from another project...good thing because while the instructions were clear and the sewing went smoothly, it was evident once Anya tried them on that I should have gone up a size. (Note to self: Oliver&S runs small, despite the body measurements on the pattern envelope).

Obviously, she finds them comfortable.

The test pair of pants was so comfy, if snug and a tad short, that I made the leap and ordered fabric online (there's shit for fabric options in this town if you're looking for non-quilting fabric at a local business) with the intention of making a pair of pants for realz this weekend. Yesterday's soccer-free morning was the perfect opportunity, and within a span of about three hours, I had the pattern traced, the fabric cut, and the pants sewed up.

Anya loves them and was happy to put them on for a brief photo shoot.

Unfortunately, it's practically impossible to get good pictures of a pair of pants when they're actually being worn by a 7yo. Just trust me that they fit and look good and are comfortable, okay?

The fabric is organic interlock knit from Organic Cotton Plus. It was a big deal for me to order from there; I've been trolling browsing that site for years, even since back in the day when they were Near Sea Naturals, always wanting to buy but never knowing what to get or how much. It's not the cheapest fabric, you see, and while I believe the price should reflect a fabric's true cost (for production, dyeing, ethical sourcing and all the rest), I've not felt confident buying something of this quality knowing how likely I am to screw it all up and have to throw it out.

That I now have the confidence not only to buy this fabric but to cut it up and sew something out of it the day after it arrives says something about how far I've come recently. I think when it comes to sewing you just have to take a big breath and just DO IT or you'll never really learn.

And let me tell you, this fabric is BEAUTIFUL. It feels wonderful and the color is lovely and it's stable and sews up nicely and is worth every penny, if you ask me. One pair of pants for Anya didn't take that much and I have enough leftover for a t-shirt for her if she wants. (Or a tank for me if she doesn't!)

I'm just posting this picture to show you the ramp to our front door. I CANNOT WAIT TO HAVE A REAL PORCH HERE, PEOPLE. They tell me it will happen this week.
For what it's worth, here are a few close up shots of the pants with a few more details. That curvy waistband is such a cute feature. I added topstitching just below the seam line to help it sit a little flatter.

The cuffs were Anya's idea. I added orange cuffs to the practice pair because we didn't have quite enough of the main fabric for the legs to be full length. Anya liked the cuffs so much she requested them on the next pair, even though there is plenty of the blue fabric not to include cuffs.

Here's a close up of the cuff hem. Someone on the Curious Handmade wardrobe challenge discussion thread suggested that I use double-sided fusible stabilizing tape to help with hems on knit fabrics and it worked like a dream here. I'm thinking of doing a separate post sometime on the tools I use because there are a few things I've found that make sewing a whole lot easier, especially sewing knits, which is something I'm learning a lot about right now. Would you guys find that interesting? Or not? I know there are already quite a lot of online resources available at the moment...

Here's the inside of the waistband with topstitching. I do have a serger but I have not been using it for sewing with knits. It's just not a great machine and it leaves rather sloppy edges. Knits don't ravel so I don't think it's necessary for finishing. Maybe someday when the remodeling is done and I can save money again I'll save up for a nice serger. Someday.

And here are the pants sideways. You get an idea of what they look like, at least.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

early fall thoughts

It's been too long, my friends! I've given you only sporadic updates all summer long, with promises to show you a small pile of finished objects and instead all you've gotten are a smattering of iPhone selfies of half-sewn garments and a few piles of yarn. Like many others in blog-land, I've turned more of my attention to Instagram, where I can scratch that itch to share instantly all the things I've been doing, whether my few followers there care to see or not. The problem with IG, of course, is that it's hard to be very thoughtful on a mobile device, where you're typing out a caption on a tiny keyboard, especially when one is likely to forget all about it in a few days. 

I find it somewhat ironic, then, that Instagram has been a place of community for people seeking ways to simplify their lives. Live with less, DIY, make all your clothes, slow fashion, can your garden bounty, appreciate latte art, slow down and enjoy the moment, but by all means document it and broadcast your simple living to the world seconds later with your fancy phone and internet connection. Hey, I'm not really judging. I do it and I find a lot of inspiration online. But I still see the irony. If I truly unplugged and didn't go online for a week I bet I'd get a lot more knitting done. (Note to self: try that sometime.)

Last weekend I took a whole afternoon to go to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival at the Jefferson County fair grounds. I brought along a good friend and fellow knitter who just had knee replacement in July, so she didn't want to drive, but she had amazing stamina for walking through the vendor barns and looking and sheep. We were there for hours, and it was great. It was just what I needed, too, to get away from work stress and my messy kitchen and the construction zone that is my house (last week it was so awkward getting out of the front door that Anya climbed out the basement egress window to get to school; concrete work continues this week with waterproofing and the installation of something called a sump pump crock), and no one was along to interrupt my conversation or sigh about how long I was taking to look at yarn or complain about being hungry. Bliss.

I snapped a few pictures of sheep because they are cute and wooly, and posted one video clip to IG of a sock knitting machine in action, but mostly I hung out with my friend. We visited every vendor, (we both bought a few things!) ate soft serve ice cream and admired the sheep. Anya had some specific requests for yarn, which I was able to find after much searching (more on that in another post), and other than that I bought yarn for two projects: one for me and one for a very special gift. That's all I'll say for now.

Behind the scenes I've been working on my sweater out of Hebridean yarn. I knew if I didn't start one soon after getting back from Scotland that I'd consider it too special to knit with and it would sit and fester in the stash. I did spend several weeks swatching and contemplating the perfect pattern, afraid I'd pick the wrong thing and be disappointed. Finally, after a deep breath, I just started. The worst that could happen is that I'll be unhappy with it, pull it all out, and knit the yarn again.  Right? 

But I don't think I'll be disappointed. This is the Caribou Cardigan from Road Trip by Tin Can Knits. Fitting that the whole book is travel themed and I bought the yarn on such a special trip myself. Plus the sweater is so cleverly constructed, with a sideways cabled yoke and then finished in one piece. Right now it's a mess of brown, but soon I'll finish the main body and then block it before doing the sleeves to make sure I picked the right size. I aimed small because I detest a baggy sweater, but the yarn is, well, rustic and certainly not next-to-skin soft, so I'm crossing my fingers it won't be too close-fitting and therefore itchy.

I also recently finished this three-color cowl (pattern here by Joji Locatelli) and I adore it. The thing needs a proper photo shoot with me wearing it, but that means someone else needs to hold the camera and take pictures of me, all of which seems like a big production at the moment. The hassle of photo shoots is precisely why you haven't seen any FO posts all summer, in fact. I'd have to put together an outfit and make sure my hair looks decent and then drag the husband to a park or something, especially since right now my back yard is a 7-foot pile of mud next to a giant pit with some concrete.  It's just all too much trouble. 

I do enjoy this, though. Taking good pictures of the stuff I've made and am making, and trying to write something meaningful about it, to share just what it is I spend all this time doing and why. And despite all my snark up there about the irony of sharing a slow, simple life on Instagram, I'm still totally participating in stuff like the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge and Slow Fashion October and the Crafty Bliss Challenge, to the extent that I can with everything else going on around me.  Something's gotta keep me grounded after all.


Friday, September 04, 2015

I need to catch up

School started, renovation started, I'm back to teaching, in short my life is busy and full and when I'm not gawking at the enormous hole in my back yard or preparing for class or meeting with contractors and getting things in order for the next stage of remodeling, I'm stealing the remaining few minutes of every day to knit or sew or read or do yoga with YouTube. 

So until I can catch up on current and finished projects here, I'll share a few snapshots so you know what's coming! 

Marmalade Jacket from Waffle Patterns in progress. It's going well but not quickly! 
Three color cowl that I actually had to wear last week because it was chilly. Hard to believe now as we swelter through the first week of school. 
Caribou Cardigan by Tincanknits that I hope to finish in early fall. I'm using Hebridean wool I bought in Scotland so this is a special project. I'm a little worried it will be itchy but I suppose that will feel authentic or something...right?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Flashback Skinny Tee bonanza!

Slowly, surely, I am getting the hang of this whole sewing thing. Because I am stubborn and want to figure things out for myself, there is a lot of trial and error - t-shirts with popping seams, too-tight necklines, and wavy hems (still working on that last thing). Frustration, muttered curses, a deep breath, another try, a better result. I am learning.

I also tend to forget that there are things like online classes one can take to improve one's skills without so much frustration. Whitney recommended a Craftsy class on sewing with knits that I'm mighty tempted to take. Eventually. Soon?

I rarely knit the same pattern more than once, occasionally twice, but I'm much less adventurous with sewing patterns. I find something that I can make successfully without royally screwing up, and I will stick with it forever.  As a result, today's endeavors resulted in two acceptable shirts for Anya, all the same pattern as before: Flashback Skinny Tee from Made By Rae

The first is in a zebra print. The fabric is a cotton (maybe with a bit of spandex? it's stretchy) interlock I picked up on sale at Hancocks at least three or four years ago because at the time Daniel wanted zebra PJs or something. I obviously didn't get around to making the PJs but I kept the fabric, so now Anya gets a zebra shirt! There's enough left she could probably have shorts or leggings to match if she wanted, but I bet she doesn't.

You can't tell from the picture above, but the hem is a little wavy. I used a twin needle because I like the look of double stitching, but it kind of stretched out the bottom in a way that it won't bounce back. I don't know if this has to do with some property of the fabric, or the fact that it's not top quality (it's not bad, but I'd say middling at best), or just that that type of stitching just doesn't lend itself to hemming stretchy fabric. Otherwise, the shirt turned out pretty nice and it fits Anya quite well, with a bit of extra length in the sleeves.

Buoyed by my success with the zebra print, I finally mustered up the courage to cut into some nice fabric. About two years ago I bought a couple pieces of Robert Kaufman Laguna Jersey. I had to order it online! I believe that was the first and thus far only time I ordered fabric online, despite being tempted many, many times before and since. You just can't find knit fabric locally outside of chain stores around here, except for Gayfeather Fabric on the east side, and while that shop is lovely and the owner is nice as can be, there isn't a wide selection of knits.

But I digress. The Laguna jersey is so nice. It's soft and light and stretchy without losing its shape. I had a yard each of turquoise and tangerine (colors Anya picked out two years ago when I bought it, and thankfully still likes) and I was afraid to cut into either piece and ruin them with my piss poor sewing-with-knits skills. Not that this fabric is extravagant luxury silk or something, but I still wanted to do it justice and try not to waste.

As you can see, it worked out.

Anya is pleased.

She even put up with modeling not one, but two long-sleeved shirts today, even though it was absolutely vile outside: upwards of 90 degrees and very humid.


Interested in more details? Here is a useful tip: using good materials will affect not only the outcome of your project, but your level of frustration during the making. Sewing with fabric that is good quality and easy to work with will be much more enjoyable than sewing with fabric that is mediocre. Or crappy. I absolutely know this already with yarn and knitting supplies, and it was good to have this reminder today.

I left the bottom edge raw because I don't have the huevos to risk another wavy hem. Still learning. ..
I didn't finish the edges or seams with a serger. I have one, but I'm not entirely comfortable using it on knits. When I do, the edges stretch and it doesn't look as neat and finished as it should. I don't know if it's user error (probably) or if I would benefit from a better machine (probably that, too, but that's money I can't spend) but since knits don't fray I'm not worrying about it.


Because hemming knits still kind of makes me twitch, I opted for cuffs to finish the sleeves. I've done this with all the t-shirts so far. I don't have 1x1 ribbed fabric for it (I'd have to order that online, too, and I don't want to bother for such a small quantity, plus how do you match colors anyway?) so I used the same fabric for cuffs and neck as I did for the main pieces of the shirts. The zebra print and blue are stretchy enough it was fine, but for less stretchy knits I would just cut those pieces on the bias; I did that yesterday for the striped tee and it's fine.

Last, I had a revelation this morning. I was messing around with the zigzag trying to figure out the best stitch length and width to avoid popping seams and I stumbled across a stretch stitch on my machine. MY MACHINE HAS A STRETCH STITCH SETTING. HOW DID I MISS THIS BEFORE?? The stretch stitch is wonderful and may have changed my life. It's #16 on the stitch menu of my Pfaff, it's called the "stretch tricot stitch" and it's a total thread-eater, but it's indestructible. I defy you to try and pop one of these seams!

Now, I've got one more tee to make for Anya - color: tangerine! - before I run out of knit fabric. The question is, now that I'm on a roll, do I order more and keep cranking them out? Or move on? I can't decide. What do you think?

Thursday, August 13, 2015


Update on t-shirt sewing (because I know you are all just waiting at the edge of your seats!)...This morning I remembered reading about using zigzag stitch on knit fabrics so I spent some time fiddling around with it and look!

I made a shirt that hasn't ripped!

It's cute (as is the model, obviously) but the fabric is from a cheap remnant I picked up at a chain store (Hancocks I think) so I'm not sure how it will hold up. It's not cotton and probably won't breathe and will pill. 

Even so, Anya has a new shirt for fall and I may be ready to try this pattern out on fabric nicer than what I picked up at yard sales and clearance racks. She is a willing and patient model and deserves better, no?

Also, I've been knitting. It's just too hot for modeled photos of alpaca neckwear. Stay tuned because I have lots of fun stuff coming down the pike.