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Crochet top(s)

Gearing up for travel always inspires me to get sewing.  As though planning a trip isn’t enough work I always feel the need to bring a few new handmade items for each vacation…sometimes I am successful and sometimes not so much!  When planning our trip to London/Dublin last summer I had envisioned wearing a loose knit tank and began knitting a navy round-yoke sleeveless sweater that never got finished and I honestly have no idea what even happened to it.  I have thought about it ever since and was determined to make something similar to it for my upcoming trip to Spain but couldn’t bear to start a new top in the same style so I decided to take a bit of a shortcut and crochet one instead.  I have been knitting and crocheting off and on for years and I still find crochet to be SO MUCH FASTER.  Not sure if this is true for everyone- but I always feel like it is my shortcut, my cheat for knitting.

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After combing ravelry for what felt like forever I came across this simple boxy crochet top and fell in love.  I worked on it here and there – at home, on my lunch hour, in waiting rooms and in bed until I was finally done.  That sounds overly dramatic now that I read it- it really only took a few hours here and there over the course of a few weeks to finish.  I was so eager to get started I just ran out to the local JoAnns on my lunch hour to buy cotton yarn and settled on Lily Sugar N’ Cream in Indigo as a good inexpensive but natural fiber option.  No acrylic for this summer sweater!  The pattern works up very easy.  The two row pattern was simple to memorize and the repetitive stitch was extremely soothing and meditative.  I did find the sizing to be ridiculously large.  I began the sweater following the XL size but with the stated 14 inches of ease built in it was way too big.  I decided to work up the size Large with the hook size stated and it fits great.  Perfect amount of ease and drape.  It was easy to crochet while watching TV or carrying on a conversation which is a must in my book.

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I finished it a few weeks ago and decided to run outside for a few pictures of it when my youngest pulled out a similar pink sweater that I had crocheted for her older sister years ago and I had forgotten about…I believe she found it at the bottom of her closet- argh.  She immediately wanted to wear it to match me and come into the photo shoot!

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I have become discouraged lately and have stopped sewing or knitting/crocheting for my girls much in recent years because many of the items became somewhat forgotten or banished to the back of the closet but I am so happy to see them be resurrected like this.  I love the oversized granny square pattern I used for her little pink sweater probably 5 years ago that I started an adult sized version for me as soon as I finished this one.  I am actually wearing this top right now, and while getting dressed for school this morning she popped in my room and saw it on me and ran to her room to wear hers as well.  Now, if that isn’t the ultimate Mommy compliment I don’t know what is.  It makes me smile just thinking about it- that my little girl wanted to dress like me today at school.  I will hold onto this for as long as I can!

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Getting back to active

I’ve been in a slump.  A FUNK with a capital F.  Depressed, bummed, cranky, bitchy or whatever you like to call it.  For a few months.  I have several reasons why that I feel can explain it away but for the sake of keeping this blog (mostly) sewing related I will not get into it!  No matter the reasons I know what I have been missing out on and what I need to get myself back into doing…one of them besides sewing is getting back to running!

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I ran my first half marathon just six months ago and then winter came, and the reasons for my hibernation came into play and BAM- I fell of the bandwagon.  Hard.  I would run maybe twice a week, then once a week…then maybe once every two weeks.  You get the idea.  Weeks would go by and I couldn’t drag myself out there because when I did it was so much harder and not as enjoyable as it was when I was regularly running.  It wasn’t fun.  Long story short- I know the only way to get myself out of this self imposed hibernation is to be like Nike and  JUST DO IT! I went out for a great 3 mile run this morning and felt wonderful!  There was a chill in the air but the sky was clear, the flowers were in bloom and it was perfect.  I came home and grabbed an iced coffee and (after a much needed shower!) headed outside for my daughter to take a few pics* of me in my new favorite pattern- Pattern for Pirates Peg Legs.

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This is now a free pattern and I am so happy I gave it a try.  I made the straight XL size with the high waist and capri length.  The fabric is a double brushed poly (just like Lularoe) I snagged for just under $8 at LaFinch Fabrics.  They feel like butter…so soft!  I have made a few orders from this shop and am in LOVE.  Fast shipping and a wonderful selection of double brushed poly, liverpool knits and more.  These knits are a new world to me and I have sewn up several great pieces with them that I hope to blog about soon!

The fabric print I used for these reminds me of running tights so they are pretty casual- but perfect for a lazy Saturday!  I know I will be making up so many more pairs of these once I buy more fabric…no more $25 Lularoe leggings for me.  I love the capri length and they are a super quick sew.  Besides the version I made this pattern includes 2 rises: low/mid rise and high rise and 4 lengths: shorties, bike, capri and ankle in sizes from XXS up to 3XL.  They even have add ons for a gusset, waistband or side pockets and more.  I can’t wait to sew up a pair of shorts in performance fabric with a side pocket, gusset and waistband pocket- they’ll be perfect for running!

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*a childs height does not equal the best pics!  I really need to up my game with my blog posts/pictures.  Hopefully future posts will feature more flattering pics and background!  She did manage this beautiful shot of the tree though…

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Olympia Dress for Easter

There’s something about Spring that inspires me to sew, sew, sew.  Maybe it is the warmer weather and the ability to go outside without bundling up under a puffy winter jacket?  Or it could be that I just have more time and the days are longer and brighter and I have more energy?  Either way I have been sewing up a storm these past few weeks and although I have sewn several items of clothing/bags etc since my last blog post I haven’t been interested in blogging or sharing them- until now!

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Coming out of winter hibernation I have a few blog posts ready to go and here is the first one- the Olympia Dress by Love Notions Patterns.  I came across Love Notions when I first sewed their Laundry Day Tee – which I am totally in love with and will post about soon!  This Olympia Dress is my second pattern by this company and the first I have paid for- and I am so happy with how this dress turned out.  This is my second version- the first version I used an inexpensive lycra jersey that I am just not in love with.  This version is using a pretty substantial scuba knit from Joann’s that I have been holding onto for months and didn’t have the occasion to use until now- I think it is just perfect for Spring and for Easter.

 

This dress is super simple to sew and even though I was nervous about the integrated reverse shawl collar I think it turned out Ok and was pretty easy to figure out using the directions and the video posted on the Love Notions site.  The pattern has a great size range and even individual cup sizing which is wonderful.  I sewed this up using the XL size and the D-cup bodice.  I made the sleeveless, knee length version but the pattern actually includes five sleeve lengths: sleeveless, short, elbow, 3/4 and long as well as two skirt lengths: knee and maxi.

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I am in love with this pattern for its flattering shape, simple construction and versatility.  I feel like the non-gathered waist works better for me than the Colette Moneta that I had previously been obsessed with- it fits well and is super quick to sew.  The stability of the scuba knit makes things so simple- no slipping or stretching issues so I was able to sew this in about 1 1/2 hours.  No zippers, closures or elastic required means it comes together very fast.  Instant gratification!

I’ll leave you with a shot of the tree outside of my house- it is what I see from the view of my sewing room window- no wonder I am inspired- just beautiful!

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