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Me-Made-May ’14 – My Pledge

18 Apr

MMM14logolarge

Hey everyone! Have you heard that Me Made May is open for 2014 and currently accepting pledges? Woohoo!! I admit, MMM is one of my favorite parts about keeping a blog – while taking daily photos can be a huge pain at times, it’s a wonderful exercise to keep myself on my toes as far as actually using and wearing my handmade wardrobe. Although the majority of what I wear is handmade anyway, I like this opportunity to find new ways to wear outfits and bring out old pieces that I may have otherwise forgotten about.

ha!

I’ve been thinking about my pledge for the past couple of weeks. Although I tend to wear mostly handmade (I rarely, rarely buy new clothes – they are usually thrifted, and even then, I’ve been slowing that game down dramatically – and try to make everything that enters my wardrobe), my supply is dwindling thanks to my ever-changing body. After swapping out my summer clothes and trying on everything, it’s pretty apparent that I’ve got a lot of wardrobe gaps that need to be filled asap. So, with that being said, I am modifying my pledge to suit my current closet statistics and try to keep things realistic.

‘I, Lauren of LLADYBIRD, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade garment each day for the duration of May 2014, with no 100% outfit repeats.’

Last year, my pledge was no outfit repeats whatsoever. Y’all, that was hard. I quickly learned throughout the month that there are lots and lots of pieces in my wardrobe that simply don’t get worn anymore for whatever reason – either I don’t like the style on me, I don’t care for the fabric, or the fit is off (this is the main offender – the fit was good when I made it, but my body has changed and now I’ve got some glaring fit issues in many of my older garments). As a result, nearly every single one of those pieces ended up in the donation pile. I love the freedom of having an empty-ish closet that is no longer holding stuff I don’t wear hostage – but it also makes things a liiiiitle difficult when you’re trying to plan an entire month of only wearing handmade! Especially when you can’t dupe an outfit. So for 2014, I’m allowing myself partial outfit dupes – as in, I can wear the same dress during the month, but it must be accessorized/shoed/jacket’d differently. Hence the no 100% repeats. I think this is still enough of a challenge for me to really stretch myself, as well as find some wardrobe gaps to fill while I’m at it. I’m excited!

I call this look ~2nd Grade Teacher Chic~ ✏️

If you’d like to participate in Me Made May, you can view all the info here on Zo’s blog. If you just want to watch from the sidelines, I’ll be posting my daily outfits in the Flickr pool, as well as on my own Instagram. As with prior years, there will be a weekly round-up post every Friday in May. Expect to see lots of mirror-shots like the one above :P

As a side note, I recently got a new phone that includes a panoramic camera (say what!) (yeah, y’all, I’m behind on the times). As I’ve been working on updating my sewing room – to remove clutter, reorganize what I’m keeping, and include an actual desk so I stop camping out at the dining room table – I jumped at the opportunity to take some giant, poorly lit shots. What do you think?

Sewing Room

Sewing Room

My sewing room is totally my happy space ♥

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DIY with Zazzle

6 Dec

Have y’all ever heard of Zazzle? It’s an online marketplace where you can create custom, well, anything, and have it printed and shipped directly to you, on demand. Not only that, but you can also upload your designs to sell and have other people buy them! Pretty neat, and pretty perfect if you love creating designs but hate going through with actually getting the design printed on anything. Ooh La Leggings Zazzle contacted me a couple of months ago to see if I wanted to try out some of their products for a review. Did I! The hardest part was figuring out what I wanted – seriously, the options are endless. You can make tshirts (with like 50+ styles and colors to choose from), business cards, coffee mugs, key chains, buttons, stretched canvases for your wall, phone cases, greeting cards, custom wrapping paper… the list goes on and on and on and on and on! And everything can be customized. Ooh La Leggings I spent about 2 weeks trying to sort through the products, and in the end I decided to go with a pre-designed raglan tshirt – the Crafty Tee! Isn’t it cute? I love the design and the fact that I could get it printed on a raglan. You can also change the colors of the raglan, but I love the simple black and white. Ooh La Leggings My only beef with this top is the sizing – the suggested sizing says I need to go up from my normal size, since it runs small. So I ordered a medium, and it was just too big :( Should have trusted my gut and went with the small, oh well! Fortunately, I have a serger and I can make shit, so one quick swipe through my machine and the fit is perfect. No bagginess! Ooh La Leggings Ooh La Leggings Keeping things relevant with the ol’ blog, I also made my leggings. I used the Ooh La Leggings pattern (my flavorite), and this amazing solid red rayon ponte from Mood. You can’t see too well in the pictures, but it has a lovely sheen to it and it’s very soft. I love these ponte leggings because they are SO comfortable, and they almost pass as pants! Especially if you tuck them into boots, ha. Zazzle Loot I still had some extra credit burning a hole in my account, so I decided to also order some tiny business cards and a custom mug. Aren’t they cool! Zazzle Loot Zazzle Loot You probably saw this mug on my Instagram, because it’s hilarious. My sewing motto (other than “I’ve made a huge mistake” haha) is “That’s steam out” (because, seriously, IT WILL STEAM OUT). I say it all the time! So naturally, I needed a mug that said it. I couldn’t think of an appropriate, non-licensed picture to include, so I just went with one that I know doesn’t have any copyrights attached to it – my tattoo! Ha! “Designing” the mug was really easy – I just uploaded my picture, centered it where I wanted it on the mug, and then added text and played around with fonts until it looked right. There are multiple views of the mug, so you can do a 360 to make sure everything is placed correctly. If I could change anything about the whole process, I would include some pre-set, standard placements to choose when you’re centering your picture and text. There is a center vertically and center horizontally, which helps a lot, but most of my mugs have the design centered when the mug is turned to the side – so it looks nice while you’re holding it. I’ve learned that choosing placement is hard when you don’t have the physical mug to look at, and as a result, my stuff isn’t quite centered. And it’s also on the wrong side (I’d say oops, but it faces me when I’m holding it sooo that’s actually kind of a good thing, maybe). Honestly, I could send this back and get it fixed (it’s Zazzle’s policy to refund or replace if you’re not satisfied with how your design turned out), but I dunno, I guess I’m lazy. This works good enough for me! I’m also happy with the quality – it’s a nice, solid porcelain (makes a fun ‘ting!’ when you hit it with your spoon, aha) and the image is very sharp with saturated colors. Zazzle Loot The last product I chose were these skinny business cards for my blog! Nothing fancy, just my name, email and blog address (plus that little pincushion because, d’awww). I forever have people asking me for my blog link when they find out I have one, and I’m forever searching for paper to write it down on. Now I can just hand them a card! And they’re so tiny and cute. I also love the package they came in – it keeps the cards safe from the dangerous land that is the inside of my purse, but it’s easy to pull a card out by sliding your thumb across the top. Ooh La Leggings Overall, I’m very happy with my Zazzle experience – everything went to print and then shipped quickly, and the ordering process was smooth and simple. I would love to create a custom printed tshirt and then work some refashioning magic on it – how fun would that be?! Plus, I think I need more coffee mugs – like this one. And ooh, check out the cool sewing tshirts – one, two, and holy shit this is hilarious. Thanks, Zazzle, for letting me test and review a tiny offering of your massive array of products! Guys, just as a head’s up – this post contains affiliate links. Meaning, if you click the link and then buy the product, I get a teeny kick-back. Just in case some of y’all hate me or something, and don’t want to contribute monetarily. No worries! Anyone else get a hankerin’ for some DIY with someone else doing the work? Have you ever ordered from Zazzle before? I think I’m in love!

edit sorry the tshirt link was bad, y’all! I updated it and hopefully it’s fixed now :) Also, I just noticed that everything on the site is 20% off – and tshirts are 50% off! Sale runs today only, so go shop your little hearts out :)

Completed: From A to Z Cardigan

2 Dec

I feel like the knitting of this cardigan took forever, but it was really only about 2.5 months. Crazy!

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This particular project is a little special to me because I started it right when I put in my final notice at my old job, then I got a huuuge chunk of it done while I was in Chicago, and now it’s been my saving sanity since.

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The main reason why I haven’t knitted it up as quickly as the others is just TIME. I never feel like I have enough anymore! I guess every adult feels that way, though, huh? :) Once I realized I was not getting back those 1 hour lunch breaks (and let’s be real – working from home means NO LUNCH BREAKS EVER, EAT WHILE YOU WORK !!!! haha), I just let myself manage what I could manage. Which usually meant a full 15 minutes of knitting, at the tail end of my lunch. This equates to about 10 sleeve rounds (oh, don’t look at me like that, there were 30-50 stitches per round. very small!).

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Once I hit that, I finished fairly quickly! Yay for me taking my own advice :)

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Anyway, pattern talk time! This is From A to Z by Andi Satterlund. A little different from what I usually knit – the construction is bottom up, with knitted-in pockets and a few bits of intarsia for contrast, plus that monogram at the front (it’s duplicate stitch, not intarsia. FYI!). I used Valley Yarns Northamton worsted weight yarn for the main color, and the contrast is leftover bits from my Central Park Hoodie.

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The pockets on this cardigan are SO COOL. They are knit with the body – meaning they aren’t seamed on separately. It was hard for me to wrap my head around first (honestly, I had to email Andi and ask her for help, and she was very prompt in her response!), but once I got going it was pretty easy. The top stripes are intarsia – my first intarsia, ever, and while it’s not terrible, it could use some improvement. I still have problems with holes where the colors join (which you can’t see because, duh, I sewed those shits right up), but it’s a start!

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Part of the reason why this took so long was because it was sooooo repetitive. Stockinette can really take forever, especially at the bottom where it’s the widest! Once I got to separating the tops and then adding the sleeves, I finished this up fairly quickly. In comparison, anyway.

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(I was really horrified when I saw this pantyline picture, until I later realized that those lines are caused by the ruffles in my undies. JUST SO WE ARE ALL CLEAR)

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I plan to wear it closed, but it looks good open, too!

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I made the XS and had no pattern alterations. This is what I love about Andi’s patterns – they fit me perfectly as-written! Can’t argue with that :D

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I LOVE the monogram. As with my intarsia, my duplicate stitch could reeeeally use some work as it’s definitely a Monet. It doesn’t look so great up close! But from far away it’s not so bad.

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Ugh, sorry for all the pictures. I’m just really proud of how this cardigan turned out!

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Like the varsity sweater of my ~dreamz

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Told ya that dupe stitch was lacking. OOPS haha!

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Here’s the back of the pocket, in case you were curious about the construction. I created the pocket by making kfbl stitches and pulling the new stitches to a holder, then knitting the pocket lining separately, then picking up each stitch along the side as I knit the bottom of the cardigan. I hope that makes sense! It’s pretty genius, in my opinion, glad I had a chance to try it out!

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I’ve plumb run out of things to say, so I reckon that’s it! Ravelry notes are here. Next knit project – Owls! I have some lovely grey yarn for that and I’ve already started swatching :)

Oh, and just in case you were curious – my shirt says “I Listen To Bands That Don’t Even Exist Yet” (because it’s hilarious, that’s why) and I made my hairbows myself:)

One last thing – the giveaway winner! Let’s see who the random number generator picked today….

winner
winnername

Congratulations PoldaPop! Keep an eye on your mail, you’ve got a Sugar Plum headed your way!

Thanks to everyone who participated!

Review: 110 Creations: A Sewists Notebook

29 Nov

Hi everyone! Hope y’all had a good Thanksgiving (or Thursday, if you live in non-Thanksgiving land. So sorry for your loss). Mine was most excellent as I managed to eat a giant meal TWICE in once day. Before I settle into a food coma, though, let’s talk about this cute little book that I recently received!

110 Creations Book

110 Creations: A Sewists Notebook is literally, exactly what the title describes. It’s a spiral bound notebook specifically designed for us sewists – with places for notes, line drawings, etc – and there’s room for, well, 110 creations! Wanna have a look with me?

When Beth originally emailed me asking if I’d like to review a copy of the book, I’d barely finished reading her email before I had started my own reply with something along the lines of “OMGOMG OMG PLS YES GAHHHHH!!!” See, this type of book is exactly what I’ve been looking for, notebook-wise, for a few months now. Somewhere to write all my plans, notes, and LINE DRAWINGS. Sticking that shit on the wall is good and fine, but carrying it around is like a little whipped topping on the sweet cherry pie of organized sewing.

I know, I just told y’all I got this book for free, and I totally did. However, this review is totally honest, even though I am absolutely gushing. I’m not afraid to rip something apart if I think it sucks and is a waste of money. Fortunately for everyone, this shit rules.

110 Creations Book
110 Creations Book

When Beth sent me the book, she filled out the first few pages based on my F/W 2013 sewing plans. I love that she even wrote my name in the beginning, it’s like a real library addition now :) Of course, a few things have changed since I wrote up that post – like, I chose a new pattern for my coat, I used a different fabric for the Lola dress and the Zinnia skirt, but those can easily be changed out in the book. I mean, what’s a notebook without a bunch of scribbles and edits and doodles, am I right? :)

110 Creations Book
110 Creations Book

Here you can see a blank page, and a “sample” page of how to go about filling out all the blanks. There are spaces to write all the info you need – from Project Title (if you’re more creative than I am and give you projects names that contain more than just the color+pattern, ha!), to pattern/fabric/notions, to planning notes, alterations, finishes, hems, and even a place to write notes for next time. Not to mention, there’s a little croquis so you can even draw out the garment and attach a swatch of fabric for more organization. How many times have you planned a project, but forget to execute some vital part while you were actually making it up? I always leave off something – a special hem finish, some type of decorative accent, an alteration, something. With everything clearly laid out in one place, you can easily keep track of everything that’s going in and out of your project space.

110 Creations Book

Oh, there are also a few blank pages in the back, croquis-less, so you can plan menswear, children’s clothing, bags, etc.

110 Creations Book

There’s ALSO a Pattern Catalogue, so you can keep track of what you already own (if you’re a hot mess like me with hundreds of patterns and no real system for avoiding duplicates… oops)…

110 Creations Book

… a wish list…

110 Creations Book

… and even a place to keep track of when you last changed the needle in your sewing machine!

Seriously! She has thought of EVERYTHING!

110 Creations Book

I’ve had a lot of fun writing out my project plans in this book! Here you can see my coat plans, all in one place! I love all the little spaces to write notes – it’s like filling out the most fun survey ever (surely you guys agree with me that filling out surveys is stupid fun, ha). I can also see myself tweaking this to include plans for knitwear as well. Mostly because I looove planning. Ugh, it’s just so good.

The only thing I would change about this book is to make the croquis a little lighter, so the lines of the garment show better when they’re drawn on. If the croquis was sketched in grey, instead of black, it would be perfect.

If you want to see more of this book, you can read more about it here. Also, if you’re staring down that croquis and thinking, “Yep, my body does not look ANYTHING like that!”, just know that Beth also offers books with customized figure drawings.

110 Creations Book

So here’s the fun part – Beth is offering a 10% discount on this book, as well as free shipping! The offer is good through Monday 12/2. This would be an excellent holiday gift for any crafter on your list – I totally would ask for a copy if I didn’t already have one (or maybe I’ll just end up with two. Why not!).

You can buy your copy here for $13.49 (marked down from $14.99, and again, free shipping!). There is also an ADORABLE smaller size (6″x9″ ee!), although it’s not 10% off since it’s a pretty new release.

So what do you think? Are you the type A who salivates at the thought of having ALL THE PLANS, ALL IN THE SAME PLACE? Is this book just appealing so hard to you right now?

One last thing before I peace out for the weekend – I noticed that a LOT of places are running some pretty epic Black Friday specials right now, so if you’ve got your Shopping Hat on and are looking for a few discounts to sweeten the deal, check these out -
Papercut Patterns is running 15% off ALL patterns (through Monday 12/2)
Mood Fabrics has 20% off all fabrics through end of today (through Friday 11/29)
A Fashionable Stitch has 25% off the entire shop, use the code THANKS2013 (through Saturday 11/30)
Grainline Studio is offering 20% off the entire shop, use the code GIVETHANKS20 (through Monday 12/2)
Colette Patterns has 20% off the entire pattern shop (through Friday 11/29)
Victory Patterns is 30% off all paper and PDF patterns, use the code happyanny (through Friday 11/29)
Disparate Disciplines has a fun Black Friday sale – get a free $5 gift certificate for every $10+ gift certificate you buy (through Friday 11/29; after that it’s $5 for every $20+ gift certificate you buy through Monday 12/2). She just released a new Mitten pattern that is SUPER adorable – and 15% off, to boot!
Sleuth Patterns is 30% off your entire order, use the code BLKFRIDAY (through Saturday 12/7)
Christinie Haynes is 20% everything in the shop (plus she is donating 10% of every sale to the LA Regional Food Bank! Awh yeah!), use the code thanksgiving (through Monday 12/2)
She’ll Make You Flip has 20% off your entire order, use the code LLADYBIRD20 (through 12/31) (Ok, this isn’t a Black Friday deal – just a sponsor deal! – but I thought I would mention it anyway$)

Wow, that list got way longer than I meant it to! Happy shopping, I guess, ha! Let me know if I missed any good sales – I know there’s a lot out there today!

Completed: The Peacock Eyes Cardigan

23 Sep

Who else out there has a sewing or knitting kindred spirit? You know, someone who is pretty much always on the same wavelength as you when it comes to projects, whose blog or Ravelry queue is prime for lurkin’ because it means you’re totally about to find your new favorite pattern without actually discovering it yourself? For me, that’s Jo. Seriously, her Ravelry favorites are one of my favorite things to look at on the internet because I love basically everything that she loves (also, when I opened that link to embed it in this post, I discovered ANOTHER cardigan pattern that I need. Dammit, Jo!). It seems like every time we chat about what we’re working on, it’s something creepy similar. I love having a knitting twin!!

Jo's Francis sweater
Red Cashmerino Cowl

See? I spied her Francis, Revisited sweater and SHAMELESSLY ripped it off as soon as I got my hands on the yarn. No hate.
Wish I could have ripped off her amazing hair, too, but I guess life doesn’t work that way :P

So we decided for our next projects, we’d embrace that twinsy-ness and try to channel each other’s wavelength… the wavelength being bright green, obviously, since we had both been independently thinking about buying yarn in this color. We weren’t planning on finishing at the same time (one thing I’ve learned is that you can’t really rush knitting!), but somehow it worked itself out anyway. So here’s mine – in brilliant kelly green, my new favorite color of right this second.

Peack Eyes Cardigan

This is the Peacock Eyes pattern. Lots of my favorites rolled up in this one – top-down, once piece, fingering weight, pretty lacework. Hell yeah!

Peack Eyes Cardigan

I bought the yarn for this sweater back in August, when I knew I would be having surgery and lots of couch-time as a result. I decided to treat myself to something special, and, whooo boy, this stuff is special all right. The brand is Vice and it’s a blend of merino, silk, and cashmere. It feels just as amazing as is sounds, and the color is incredible (don’t let my shitty pictures fool you – it’s bright Kelly green, y’all).

Peack Eyes Cardigan

It was also really really expensive – like $70 for 2 skeins. Ok, I guess that’s not *that* expensive, but it’s the most I’ve paid for sweater yarn to date! Totally worth it, though. I enjoyed knitting every single stitch of this cardigan. It was like angels on my fingertips or some shit.

Peack Eyes Cardigan

If you clicked over to the pattern link, you’ll see that my cardigan is much more cropped than the original pattern, as well as having shorter sleeves. I had to change a couple things up to get my yarn to work with the pattern as I didn’t buy enough – two skeins meant I was about 100-150 yards short of the suggested amount, and I didn’t want to buy a third skein soooo I improvised! I’m not a huge fan of long cardigans, anyway, so this worked out – although in retrospect, I may have cropped it too much. Oops. I’ll still wear it, though :)

Peack Eyes Cardigan

I really love this style of cardigan. I think the lace peacock eyes are so pretty!

Peack Eyes Cardigan

It looks good unbuttoned, too – which I’ve already tested this theory, wearing it last week before I sewed the buttons on. Ha! It just looked toooo good with my outfit, is the thing.

Peack Eyes Cardigan

Since the cardi is pretty shrunken with a good amount of negative ease, the button bands really don’t like laying completely flat – see in the picture? I hand sewed seam binding to the undersides so at least the actual button holes aren’t trying to pull open (ugh, I just hate the way that looks, sorry), but there is still a little bit of pulling. I am happy with the way it fits, though.

Peack Eyes Cardigan

I feel like I should point out the new piece of jewelry in my septum – well, I guess it’s not really new, it’s been there for over a month. It’s just a retainer; I got it so it could be removed during surgery, but I kind of like it so I haven’t changed back to the silver horseshoe. My mom hates it. She says it looks like I have a staple in my nose, haha. What do you think?

Peack Eyes Cardigan

One other thing, I wore this dress because 1. It looks awesome with the green; and 2. I wanted to show y’all that I did fit my puckery bust darts. Of course, you can’t see them at all so obviously this is a moot point, but, you know. Just so you know.

Peack Eyes Cardigan

One more back shot, because I can!

Peack Eyes Cardigan

I do have one question for the knitter pros – see how my button band does not align with my bottom ribbing? No matter what I do (and I’m extra careful to pick up the stitch at the VERY edge of the ribbing when I start the band), I can’t get it to make a straight line. Any tips on how to fix that?

Peack Eyes Cardigan

I didn’t have any green petersham ribbon to sew to the button band like I normally do, so I used rayon seam binding. It does not exactly match – it’s teal, the sweater is green – but it complements. I sewed my button holes on as usual (and stuck a piece of silk organza underneath because my machine wanted to eat that rayon) and then stitched it on the sweater by hand. It’s not as solid or pretty as the petersham would be, but it works!

Peack Eyes Cardigan

Peack Eyes Cardigan

The buttons are vintage, a gift from my sister-in-law. They are a perfect match for the yarn color!

Peack Eyes Cardigan

This is a shitty picture, but it shows the true yarn color. Told ya – kelly green ;)

Peack Eyes Cardigan

I guess that’s it! Full Ravelry notes are here. Now hop over to Jo’s blog and check out her green goddness… she went with the same brilliant green, but with different pattern (omg amazing)(yes it’s already in my queue).

Who’s your crafty Kindred Spirit?

EDIT Almost forgot to mention this! I’m taking a quick, last-minute trip to Chicago this weekend and would love to meet up with some sewing friends for fabric shopping and eats! I sent out an inquiry on Twitter and we’re cooking up some plans right now, but if you did not see the tweet and would like to join – just send me an email! We are looking at either Saturday or Sunday (the 28th & 29th).

An Amazing Review

24 Jul

Have you heard about The Amazings?

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I know what you’re thinking. “Laurennnn, why are you telling us about this – there are SO MANY online video classes, this market is oversaturated and we are tired of hearing about it blah blah blah.”

Well, take a look at their Mission Statement:
The Amazings was born out of a single, simple idea.
Society has always learned from its elders. but somewhere along the way we have lost that connection between generations — which means losing rich, valuable, and rare skills.
We’re on a mission to fix this and we need your help.

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If that doesn’t immediately appeal to you, I don’t know what does! Granted, I’m not trying to badmouth other forms of online video learning – I love ‘em all, I’d buy ‘em all if I could justify the cost and time – but there’s something to be said about learning from someone who’s been honing their craft for years and years. It’s like learning from your granny, except it’s actually probably someone else’s granny ;)

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Even better, up to 20% of every enrollment goes directly to the elders teaching the classes. Since most of them are retired, you can imagine how much this benefits them.

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The Amazings has been around for over a year, teaching classes in London (lord, I wish I lived in London – some of those look AWESOME!), but they’ve recently branched out into the online world with videos to teach certain skills. There are currently 10 classes available, with more being added regularly. I was contacted and asked if I wanted to try out a class to review – how could I say no??
(also, I have no idea what is going on with the above photo but HOLY SHIT that lady is the coolest, I want to hang out with her!!)

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I chose to learn making natural beauty products. True story: I’m a bit of a documentary freak (if I’m going to sit and watch TV, I want to feel like I’m learning something in the meantime, yeah?), and I’ve watched enough about the evils of chemicals in our food and beauty products that I’m basically terrified to buy things from the grocery store now! Making the food switch has been easy – food gets consumed quickly in my home, so you gotta buy more to… uh, stay alive – but the changing out my beauty products has been a long and somewhat expensive process. My budget doesn’t allow me to buy a bunch of new stuff at whim (especially if the new is gonna cost more up front!), so I’m slowly using my old products and replacing them with more natural options.

Natural Beauty Products 4

After watching this video, I checked my cabinets and realized I had all the ingredients on hand to make my own body scrub. YES! I’m not going to show you a picture because mine is in an old salsa jar aaaand it’s pretty white trash looking, ha, but the inside looks just like this press photo! I used lavender from my garden, and peppermint essential oil, and it smells fabulous! It’s very moisturizing – which is important to me, as my skin tends to be very dry. I can’t wait to try some of the other products once I get my hands on the supplies.

Watching the class was less like watching a “class” and more like watching a small one-on-one teaching session that just happened to be videoed. It was very personal and intimate – both women were chatty, swapping stories, and it was obviously unscripted. I like that! It’s filmed in a way so that the “student” is basically a placeholder for you – asking questions you might ask and such – but of course, the elders are available for you to contact directly if you have questions. Another thing I really liked about this class was that there is a separate document with recipes, as well as a crib sheet for different types of herbs and essential oils and how they interact with your body. I’m a total n00b when it comes to skincare, so this information is super helpful!

Silver Clay 1

I’ve also been lurking on this class for making a pendant using silver clay, but it’ll have to wait for me to get my finances in order before I can really try it out. That stuff is NOT cheap! But it’s SO COOL, and Debbie makes the process look so easy. I’m not much of a butterfly person, but I am imagining so many other possibilities!

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Seriously. Those were all made with CLAY.

Upcycle 2

There are also classes on upcycling a man’s shirt, retro hair styles, needle felting, and quilting, amongst other things.

Loom Knit 4

The classes run between $12-$28 and are viewable on most devices (I say most because I did have some trouble getting the video to work on my Kindle Fire, but I have been assured that they are working on fixing that), anytime, anywhere, forever.

So… who’s interested in signing up for that silver clay class with me, and crafting some legit awesome jewelry? ;) Are you are terrified as chemicals as I am? What was the best thing you learned from an elder – relative or not? Let’s discuss!

Completed: Red Cashmerino Cowl, mmm

27 Feb

It’s been a couple weeks since my big knitting fail (which wasn’t a huge fail after all, since I got loads of great advice for future knits, not to mention ~*someone has a new sweater to love forever :) I LOVE WHEN THESE THINGS WORK OUT), and what have I done since then??

Red Cashmerino Cowl
DUH, I KNIT ANOTHER SWEATER.

Red Cashmerino Cowl
Ok ok, confession – I wasn’t expecting this to knit up quite so fast. I mean, holy shit – 2 weeks. That’s all it took. And you can disagree with me all you want, but I am not a super fast knitter, nor do I knit for super long periods of time every day – a little under an hour on my lunch break, and an extra hour on Mondays and occasionally Thursdays when I meet up with other knitters. I don’t knit on weekends, and I rarely knit when I’m lounging on the couch (Landon has this weird hang-up about me knitting while we watch TV – he thinks it means I’m not paying attention. FREAK, you know I still have ears and can listen!!). This was just a really really quick knit. I love it!

Red Cashmerino Cowl
The pattern I used is Francis, Revisited, which is a freebie on Ravelry (yay!). You’ll notice that the original pattern is actually pretty shapeless and loose-fitting – which looks pretty on the model, but I’ve learned that it is not a flattering style on me. I need waist-shaping!
Also, I just realized that my skirt basically blends into the background here, rendering me a strange floating legless lady. Sorry about that.

Red Cashmerino Cowl
Jo has a lovely fitted version of this sweater, which I was DYING over (and, truth, she’s how I discovered the pattern in the first place), so I consulted her on decreasing deets and she was very very encouraging and helpful. I did some maths, cast on for a 33″ bust, and started knitting. Since the sweater is knit in one piece, top-down (my favorite!), it was easy to check the fit by threading a length of yarn through the live stitches and pulling it on. This can definitely get to be a pain in the ass, but I think the end effect is worth it.

Red Cashmerino Cowl
I mean, check out that shaping! Yeah!

Red Cashmerino Cowl
In addition to the waist shaping, I also lengthened the sleeves to full-length – I guess I just don’t see the point in short sleeves on a cashmere sweater (with a cowl neck, no less). That being said, I have a tendency to roll the sleeves up, like, always, so maybe it was a moot point. Also, I wish I had added like two more rows of knitting, because they’re the tiiiiinest bit short. Maybe I can pull that out with another block, idk.

Red Cashmerino Cowl
The yarn I used for this was Debbie Bliss Cashmerino – merino and cashmere, and SO FREAKING SOFT. I picked it up at Haus of Yarn‘s after-Christmas sale (which, sidenote, this yarn store is like 2 miles from my house YES MA’AM INDEED). Actually, another lady grabbed it first and I followed her around, sulking, for about 2 minutes, then she put it back in the bin and I pounced on that shit like a cat on a can of tuna fish. VICTORY. It was half off, too – meaning this sweater cost me about $35 to knit. Yep. Even with cashmere blend yarn.

Red Cashmerino Cowl
Cashmere is such a dreamy way to make yourself feel better after a knitting fail, fyi.

Red Cashmerino Cowl
Crummy color shot, but here you can see the seed stitching at the sleeves and hem. I like this has a nice alternative to ribbing, and it’s very easy to do – just knit 1, purl 1, and stagger each row.

Red Cashmerino Cowl
More specific notes about my adjustments can be found on my Ravelry page (as not to bore the non-knitters here).

I love my finished sweater! It’s so cozy and warm and soft – and RED. Yeah!!

Completed: My Central Park Hoodie

30 Nov

A funny thing happened last weekend – I celebrated (ok, I’m using that term very loosely here) my 1 year knitting anniversary! Crazy how it’s only been one year – I feel like I’ve been knitting an entire lifetime. And hey – I made 4 sweaters in the meantime (Agatha, Miette, Blagatha, and Chuck. Whew!), amongst other things. And here it is – my 5th sweater!

Central Park Hoodie
This is the Central Park Hoodie, which is kind of Ravelry-famous. I was really excited to knit this pattern; it’s been sitting in my queue for months. I put it off for so long because I thought it was be ~sooo hard~ with all those cables.

Spoiler: this was the most boring pattern I have ever knitted.

Central Park Hoodie
To be frank, I hated this sweater pretty much the entire time I was knitting it up. Isn’t that dumb? I don’t even know why I finished it; I knew it would be a UFO forever if I put it aside, and anyway, I guess I wanted to give it a fighting chance. I’m glad I finished it because – surprise! – I do actually like it, but we were definitely livin’ on a prayer there for a while.

Central Park Hoodie
I hesitate to blame the pattern for my h8 – although the pattern is not without it’s faults. First of all, it’s very dull. Apart from a few cables (which are easy as FUCK, don’t ever let someone tell you that it’s hard!), it’s all stockinette, all day. And since this hoodie is knit in pieces rather than the round, that’s a hell of a lot of boring purling! Speaking of which, I have learned that I do not like knitting in pieces. Seaming is lame. From now on, I’ll probably knit everything top-down in one piece. But I am glad I learned how to seam.

Central Park Hoodie
My real hate here focuses on this yarn. I used Ella Rae Classic Superwash – it was on sale, so the total ended up at around $35 (for wool yarn! UH HUH!). Hey guess what THIS YARN SUCKS ASS YOU GUYS. Sure, it’s soft and springy and it was cheap as shit – but it’s got some kind of weird agenda where it likes to grow the second it gets wet. I don’t know if that’s a quality of just the Ella Rae superwash (I hope so, because I found a heathered, non-superwash Ella Rae last night that was amazingly beautiful and now I want to buy large quantities of it), or all superwashes. Knitters, what’s the deal?

Central Park Hoodie
ANYWAY, the growing was an issue here. Thank god I properly blocked my swatch, so I knew the width would sort out (as each panel I knit originally looked child-sized. No lie, the ladies at my knitting group kept asking me if I was sure I was I knitting the right size haha), but length was an entirely different issue that I forgot. The sleeves, for example, should have blocked at 24″. Mine are 31″. I knit them to the correct size, I just didn’t account for them growing like teenage boys once they got in contact with water. Ugh.

Central Park Hoodie
I solved the sleeve problem by rolling back the cuffs. And look – sleeve cables! Whee! Oh, I knit the sleeves at the same time; partially because I wanted to try something new, and partially because they were boring as hell and I knew the second one would never get knit.

Central Park Hoodie
My other mistake (apart from the growing conundrum) was that I did not bind off the ribbing loosely enough. I tend to bind off very tightly – even using a larger needle doesn’t help much – so this is no surprise. But, oops, see how much longer the back is from the front? Even coaxing the fibers open with a blocking didn’t solve this issue. I ended up tacking down the bottom corners of the binding, to make the hemline look circular and what I hope appears intentional. Ha!

Central Park Hoodie
I mean, it’s sorta cute I guess.

Central Park Hoodie
Due to the ulta-tight binding, the hood doesn’t exactly sit comfortably. As you can see, I am very unhappy about this. OH WELL.

Central Park Hoodie
I would like to add (haha I just typed ass accidentally there, wtf) some closures to the button band. As much as I like the slouchy open look, I’m not an open cardigan kinda gal. I don’t know what to add, though! I think buttons are a no-go, since I can’t add buttonholes at this point (the stitching is very loose and open). I considered a zipper but I don’t think it will look right with the wide band. Snaps? Frogs? Toggles? What would you do?

Central Park Hoodie
I pinned it closed for the pictures. I do like the way it looks when it’s closed!

Central Park Hoodie
Overall, it’s a pretty cardigan. Not exactly what I had in mind, but I’m pleasantly surprised!

Central Park Hoodie
I’m just glad that it’s finally DONE and I can move on with my knitting life!

Central Park Hoodie
See how open the stitching is? Thank you, Ella Rae, for your shitty superwash yarn.

Central Park Hoodie
And here you can see my first attempts at seaming, to the right. It’s not perfect, but it’s not terribly bad either!

Central Park Hoodie
My whole outfit is handmade, btw! That’s my Plaid Clusterfuck top (see, it does look ace with a high-waisted skirt and a cardigan!) and my Denim Ginger (which is hands-down the me-made piece I wear the most – at least once a week!).

Ok, a couple more questions to wrap up an OBNOXIOUSLY long post!
My grandma asked me to knit her a scarf. Yay! She said she wanted something very simple, not too long and of an average width. And she wants it to be an actual scarf, not a cowl or anything like that.
Knitters: What stitch pattern would you suggest? Stockinette is sooo boring, and anyway, the yarn is acrylic (at her request), so I can’t block it into laying flat. I was thinking of a simple lace pattern or something with a lot of texture, like a seed stitch. Any suggestions? I know she said “simple,” but I’m also mostly certain that she said that because she thought anything more would be too much of a hassle. Which, as a knitter, I would rather be engaged and a little challenged!
Non-Knitters: If you asked for a simple scarf and were handed something with a little more design to it (like lace, ribbing, or texturized) – would you be totally butthurt that the person did not take your request into consideration? Or would you pleased to get something fancy and really only requested something simple because you didn’t want to be a bother?

Completed: The Chuck Sweater

18 Oct

I may not have been sewing much lately, but I *have* been knitting up a storm! Allow me to introduce Chuck, my fourth sweater.

Chuck Sweater
Ok, this picture is actually kind of useless – I just like the way the light is shining all over my face like I’m some kind of Heavenly Being or something lol

But seriously:
Chuck Sweater
PRETTY FREAKIN STOKED ABOUT THIS LIL’ GUY

This is Chuck, by Andi Satterlund. Also, holy shit I need to stop knitting Andi patterns, or else she is going to think I’m some weird creepy pattern stalker. For real, though, I love her stuff – the shaping is perfect for my body, and I love how everything is knit in one piece. I actually don’t know how to seam up a sweater at this point!

Oh, the skirt is also me-made! It’s pretty old (like, pre-blog days), so I don’t remember what pattern I used. Maybe Vogue 8603? IDEK.
Chuck Sweater
This was knit with absolutely no alterations – although I did need to go down a couple of needle sizes, to a 6. The yarn is good ol’ Cascade 220 (another thing I need to branch away from), it’s a really lovely heathered red with bits of gold & bright blue floating around. I actually bought this yarn in Chicago; Tasha helped me pick it out. I love it, it’s such a nice shade of red!

Chuck Sweater
The pattern itself was super easy to follow, and it knit up SO FAST. Seriously – I started this on 9/20, and ended on Monday. Less than a month! It didn’t hurt that the pattern is almost entirely stockinette, except for the cables in the front. And since it’s knit in the round, that’s just row after row of knit stitches. Really mindless, the perfect kind of project to talk through :)

Chuck Sweater
I’ve had people ask me about how I get so much knitting done – I knit in little pieces every day :) Mostly on my lunch break at work (I get an hour!), and then I also meet up twice a week with other knitters for an hour or so. Which, by the way – if you’re a Nashville knitter (or crochet-er, I don’t judge) and want to join our meet-ups, shoot me an email & I’ll pass on the deets. I love meeting other knitters and talking about YARN. God, I’m such an old lady. Ha.

Chuck Sweater
This is the best picture you get of the back. Sorry, but backs are boring.

Chuck Sweater
I did have a bit of a misstep with the cables – I turned a couple the wrong way and didn’t realize it under several rows later. Ugh!! I knew the messed-up cables would bother me to no end, so I took a deep breath and googled a solution…

That will teach me not to miss-cross my cables
… which involved ripping WAY THE FUCK DOWN and then knitting everything back up. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty terrifying. I was able to fix everything, as you can see, but the end result had some weird loose yarn pulling in the back, and giant gaps in the front. This is pretty common when fixing cables, the only thing you can really do is pull the yarn around and hope it blocks out. Spoiler: most of it did. I did end up stitching a couple of holes closed with yarn – and the inside has a spot where there is still loose yarn – but it looks ok from the outside. You can hardly tell that any cable surgery happened!

Chuck Sweater
The finished sweater is pretty short (at least an inch above my belly button), but it looks great over dresses & high-waisted pants :)

Chuck Sweater
This picture shows the color best. It has so much depth, love it!

So what’s next? I like to always have a project on my needles (it gives me something to look forward to in the middle of the day :D), so I’ve already cast on my next sweater – this will be the Central Park Hoodie.
Never enough sweaters
This yarn is Ella Rae superwash. You should be proud of me, for breaking free of the chains that bind.

Here is my Ravelry page for Chuck, if you’re interested!

Chuck Sweater
I’m so glad it’s finally sweater weather!!

Completed: The Blagatha

4 Sep

Hey look, I finished another sweater! That makes 3 sweaters now – not bad for someone who’s only been knitting 9 months, eh? Instead of a baby, I made sweaters trolololol

Blagatha

I still don’t think I look nearly as gorgeous as Andi + her sweater in the Agatha pattern photos, but hey, I’ll take this!

For those of you who are new, this is my second Agatha sweater – I loved it so much, I wanted a second version. I am calling this one the “Blagatha” because, well, it’s black & saying Blagatha is kind of fun (another word I really enjoy saying is “goo.” I’m sure you are just fascinated with this). Anywhoodoo, this is pretty much the same as my first one – I knit the size small, using heathered black Cascade 220 & size 5 needles. My gauge must have loosened quite a bit since the first sweater because this one barely needed any blocking to get it to fit – I mostly just blocked to even out the stitches. On the mustard sweater, I really had to stretch the sleeves because they were soooo tight. Not with this one! With that in mind, it is also a bit longer than the mustard one. The sleeves are super long. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Blagatha
I’m sorry these pictures are so crappy. It’s rainy, grey, overcast, and black just does NOT like being photographed! Meh!

Blagatha
This is my back/side porch, by the way. I promise my entire backyard isn’t a mud pit – just that section. Fine with me! I hate mowing haha.

Blagatha

These are really awful. Here are some flash-photos, so you can see the lacy details!

Blagatha

Blagatha

Blagatha

Blagatha

Blagatha

Blagatha
I just love all the side & waist shaping – it really makes the sweater extra-awesome.

Oh, and of course – it looks good unbuttoned too :)
Blagatha

Blagatha

Blagatha

Blagatha - buttons
Aren’t the buttons cute? I actually found them at Joann’s, although they definitely have a sweet vintage vibe to them

Blagatha - Buttons & Petersham
The button bands are backed with petersham ribbon for stability. I used my sewing machine to sew the button holes on first, then hand stitched everything to the sweater. It took 3 episodes of Arrested Development, whoop.

And for those of you who want to know how I get all this knitting done – I knit on my lunch break at work :) I get a full hour, so it’s perfect for squeezing in some tv or music & just chilling out for a bit. I don’t really knit much at home, home time is sewing time! Unfortunately for me, my sewing time right now is completely wrapped up in draperies. BORING. At least now I can *see* the light at the end of the tunnel!

Oh, I also embroidered this:
Peacock Embroidery
It’s old-ish – I was working on it during that hellish week when everything was packed but we hadn’t actually moved yet. I’m not sure what I want to do with it, though. Maybe a pillow? Eh.

For my next project, I’m taking it easy with a hat. Well, it has cables.
First attempt at knitting cables!
How exciting! I’ve never worked with cables before :D

I’ll be starting another sweater as soon as I can afford the yarn :) Buying all that yarn at once is such a debbie downer, btw – yarn stores should have some kind of yarn layaway where you can set aside all the yarn you want in your preferred dye lot, but you can pick it up a ball at a time. Actually, I’m not really sure how that would work. Someone make it happen!!

Blagatha
Now let’s see some cold fronts so I can start parading this new wool baby around!

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