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Seamwork’s Astoria top

I have completely fallen for Seamwork magazine…I love the articles and the wonderful patterns that focus on simple and easy to sew projects in a short amount of time.  Right up my alley.  This is actually the first pattern I went to tackle: the Astoria top.  I really, really want to like this one.  A retro cropped and fitted top reminiscent of the 50’s is super cute, but hard to wear with any of the items of clothing I currently own.  Did this stop me from making one?  No, instead I made two!  I mentioned this top a few posts ago and that I’d post about it when/if I found an acceptable bottom to pair it with and this is the best I could come up with.  Eventually I’d love to try my hand at a half-circle skirt or some sort of midi a-line paired with boots, but for now this flared black skirt is the best I’ve got.  IMG_5227

Frustrated by the process of posing for these pictures I decided I was just going to be real and post these even though they are pretty ridiculous.  It is hard to pose outside when the girls are continually running in and out of the shot and mocking my “elf shoes” and telling me to make kissy faces.  Those kids.  So, do these look professionally done- no.  Were they taken by my reluctant husband who I forced outside to take them while the girls played in the driveway and my neighbors doing yardwork were probably wondering what the hell we were doing?  Yes.  Whatever works right?

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This turned out to be a super fast and easy sew.  It took less than an hour from start to finish, and the size was spot on except for the arms.  Anyone else have this issue?  The top itself is fitted, but the arms are really loose on me.  IF I make another I will have to take them in for sure- I don’t think the fit works.  I wonder if the top is so fitted because of my large chest and lack of darts obviously.  Maybe I should try sizing down in the sleeve?  I used a nice knit from Joann’s that I picked up on sale a few weeks ago and it is so soft and easy to work with.  I am not normally one to wear animal print but I think this is subtle enough for me to pull off.  Hmm…up close this certainly doesn’t look subtle!  It will take awhile for me to gain the confidence to wear a top this short and fitted, but maybe one day I will pair it with the right bottom and some heels and rock it.  Maybe.

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Seamwork’s Camden Cape

IMG_5196I knew as soon as I saw the new issue of Seamwork Magazine I was going to make the Camden cape.  Not that a cape is particularly useful in my life, or that I thought it would be particularly flattering on me, but I just had to have it!  All logic aside; there is something charming and elegant about a wool cape isn’t there?  I thought maybe I could actually pull it off if I paired it with slim pants and cute boots to modernize the silhouette.   I immediately printed it out and spent the countless hours taping the pages together and getting my pattern pieces cut out.  There are so many pieces to this thing!  My honest opinion?  This is really not a 3 hour pattern.  I swear I think at least 1 hour was spent cutting out my fabric.   I may be slow, but I feel like 3 hours is impossible.  I was determined though! I had the perfect fabric already- a few yards of a deep purple wool I had picked up for less than $2 at the thrift store months back.  Score!  I lined it with another thrifted fabric- a bright berry colored cotton.  I used 5 vintage brass buttons I had in my stash…overall cost to this is around $5.  Wow.  IF I were to make this again the first thing I would change however is this lining fabric- it really needs something something like a satin or other fabric that won’t “stick” to whatever I am wearing underneath it.  I think a different lining fabric would help it drape better as well.  IMG_5179IMG_5172IMG_5203

Now, lets get to the fit.  This thing is ridiculously enormous.  I made a size 18, and I feel as though I could take off both of the side panels and it would still be roomy enough.  I almost wondered if I cut extra pieces and made a huge mistake?  Hmmm. I don’t think so, so I just think I need to size down or hack this thing up and make it smaller.  Also, please ignore that wonky last button…I think it is just the photos, or I might have sewn it on a bit high.  UGH.  I may also need to iron this thing.  I really want to make it work and may try to make it smaller, or even add another row of buttons so that I can cross it over even further and have two rows of buttons like peacoat style? Enough of my negativity…l really want to get this to fit right so that it isn’t time wasted.  And of course I now feel like my wardrobe really needs a cape!   I can’t wait to see other versions of this out there- since the pattern has just been published I was going into this blind.  Thoughts?  Is it salvageable?   IMG_5186

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Knitting my heart out…

I’ve been in a real funk lately.  Feeling anxious, stressed out and generally overwhelmed.  Not exactly sure why, but this feeling of constant anxiety has made me want to just curl up in bed under the covers and hibernate…not that I have had the chance to do this AT ALL, but the feeling is there.  I guess the busy fall semester at work coupled with running (and my mentoring) and all of the “duty” that comes along with being a Mom to two busy girls is catching up to me.  Fall is always an especially busy time but this year it feels much worse.  Perhaps I have overcommitted myself  and the girls?  Probably.  Definitely.  Oh well, live and learn I guess.  In the meantime I have been coping by trying to incorporate stress relief crafty activities into my life to try to ease my anxiety and nervous energy.  There really is something to say about the meditative qualities that knitting possesses!  The repetitive motion is very soothing.  A much healthier alternative for me that trying to turn to medication or having a drink for sure.  So, when the stress reliever of running isn’t quite cutting it I have been knitting.  The benefit is obvious….

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I used the Pickles pattern here.  I have been dying to try this pattern out for a few years but was intimidated by the colorwork- I had never even attempted to do any sort of stranded or fair isle or intarsia or whatever you want to call it before and it freaked me out a bit to be honest.  Although I read the comments on ravelry that many people had issues with the sizing I made it up according to the pattern (but only did 4 rows of hearts to decrease the amount of slouch) and hoped for the best.  Unfortunately even though it is an adult size it barely fits my 6 year old.  I had intended it to be for one of my girls anyway, but the tight fit means she may or may not wear it- ugh.  I am going to try to soak it and block the hell out of it soon.  The yarn is a fabulous deep purple madeline tosh I have been hoarding for a few years, and the hearts are made from a few different sources- a hand dyed self striping yarn by 716knit, and a random light pink superwash dk yarn I had laying around.  The self striping yarn is the bright pink and yellow, but I chose to use each color separately so I had to get a bit creative and couldn’t just knit right from the skein or the hearts would not be a solid color.  This just meant more ends to weave in…but it was worth it since I love the bright yellow pop of color!IMG_20151101_082123

In the meantime I have already started a second one and increased the number of stitches by 10 to try to enlarge it enough for my older daughter.  I will also have to be even more cautious of how tightly I am carrying the strands across inside- I am pretty sure that was the main issue here.  Other than this it was a very satisfying knit and I am damn proud of myself!  I am even tempted to make one for myself; but with a worsted weight wool to ensure a better fit for me with the current pattern.  Black with white hearts would look great don’t you think?