Monday, July 24, 2017

Pants Edition

These gloomy days are really trying me.  It has been raining buckets for what seems like weeks, and the lake is already sandbagged and overflowing. The furniture feels clammy.  Life has become damp.  I know it is like this everywhere (except where it is hotter than Mordor) and I feel like we should all just hold hands and dance in the puddles together, but all I really want to do is nap.  I love a good rainstorm now and then, but it's just been too much this year.  Too much water, too much cold.  As the rain hammered down on the roof the other day, I put on a sweater, tuned in to Tom Petty Radio on Pandora and sat down at my sewing machine to turn the frown upside down and accomplish something.  This Pants No. 1 pattern by Sonya Philip has been in the back of my mind, and sometimes in the front of it, ever since she released it.  I love the idea of these simple pants so much--two pattern pieces + a few yards of linen fabric + a little elastic = instant gratification wardrobe staple.  These are the pants I want/need.  This is what you wear with those long-ish dresses and tunics I keep seeing everywhere, but that cling to my cotton leggings like a hungry bear.  It feels like these will fill a little bit of a gap in the wardrobe.  This test pair, made in about an hour (sewing, I love you!) out of a piece of thrifted linen, are the perfect lounge-y, pajama-y pants.  I am wearing them right now.  I want to wear them all the time.  
Brown linen, or maybe charcoal?  Black silk, hoo!  That would be so good.  Anybody know a good source for medium-weight silk?  You sewers in the vicinity of the 6th Avenue garment district, I am keenly envious.  In my little neck of the woods, unless you want to make a quilt or a prom dress, there is no fabric to be found.  Maybe a road trip to NYC is in my future, because this first pair is not going to be my last.  [What if I used a drop cloth from the hardware store?  Would that work?  I am being serious...]
Next up:  a whole bunch of Kiomi shirts, also in thrifted/gifted linen, from Lotta's book Everyday Style, also totally easy and wearable--the hardest part of that project will be tracing the pattern from the master sheet, which looks like a road map of the whole world, all at once.  That'll be a workout for my bifocals, but the sewing is smooth sailing, all the way.  

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

7.18.17

 
I have not been able to resist making this sweater.  It is Granito by Joji Locatelli.  Such beautiful simplicity, that thing.  Those pefectly placed pockets.  The skinny sleeve/baggy body combo that I'm so into right now.  Even though I suspect this otherwise very good yarn (Holst Supersoft) is not a good match for the pattern--Supersoft is quite rustic and a little bit scruffy and light as a feather, which is ordinarily one of it's big advantages, but it isn't going to drape at all, and Granito seems to need drape--I had some Supersoft in the stash and this pattern was crying out to me.  It may work out just fine, but somehow that isn't the point right now.  I have reservations, indeed I had reservations when I set out, but I am enjoying it anyway, and I might surprise myself--it could be perfect.  It might!  We knit on the porch, Catdog and I.  She offers advice and suggestions, and raises an eyebrow slightly at me now and then, when I make an ill-considered yarn substitution, but for the most part she is intent on the arrival of the garbage truck or the mail carrier or somebody going by on a bike, and can't really be bothered with my yarn problems.
In non-sweater news, I am clearing out my closets and foisting all the granny blankets on my kids, who unwittingly walked into my trap this week and are now doomed to be sent home overloaded with Mom's Crochet.  Honestly, I love all these blankets (you may remember some of them) but there are only so many beds around here, and only so many blankets two people can use.  Go forth into the world, yarny blankets, and keep warm the assorted college students and bohemians.  (And take a few quilts with you!)
A couple of my beautiful girls brought their own projects in progress with them, too.  I may have taken seventy-three photos and a couple videos of them knitting and crocheting, and teaching each other to knit, oh my goodness.  It never gets old.  

Sunday, July 9, 2017

These Days

Hi there!  It is summer.  It kind of comes and goes this year, which, thinking back, is kind of how it always goes.  I don't know why I keep being surprised by that.  Last night was freeeeezing, and I doubled up on quilts and wool socks again, and had to shut all the windows, and now, today, well.  You can see how the catdog feels about it.  Warm, sunny, summertime.  The sky is the color of the couch.  Oh, right!  The couch!  I kept forgetting to tell you about it.  Okay, this is the Ecktorp sofa from Ikea, which we bought I think back in 2012, and I had two plain white slip covers for it.  (Guys, don't get a white couch without getting a spare slipcover.  Serious. What are you going to sit on while the only slipcover you have is soaking in OxiClean?) Anyway, after awhile, one slipcover had gotten pretty grubby--and also, I get bored and like to change everything around about every five minutes-- so Michelle and I cooked up another vat of indigo and without any hesitation, I dunked it.  Oh goodness, I love it.  Its the color of blue jeans [obviously] and I think it will fade in kind of a gorgeous blue jeans way [also obviously] and I can hardly wait to watch that happen.  I love that old-blue-jeans-grayish color.  I await that, and also all the other fading iterations of indigo blue this slipcover will undergo.  They are all good.  Indigo dyeing is so much fun.  Everything white that isn't nailed down suddenly looks like a good candidate to be indigo.  I still have the other slipcover, which is still white (for now, for now...) and so will probably alternate them, which should keep me entertained for awhile.  
 
With summertime comes another of my favorite things.  An Open Window, aaahhhh. There's almost nothing better than an open window.  It's really true.  I sit all day beside one open window or another, knitting and drinking coffee, reading and knitting and drinking coffee.  The warm wind blows across the orchards and ruffles the pages of my book, and I can smell dirt and rain and lilies.  The cardinals in the yard say, "Burrito, burrito, burrito!"  I am a summer flower, no doubt about it.  I am also a pragmatic Northerner, though, and I always remember that our summers here are fleeting and that soon (sob), sooner than you would believe, it will be cold again.  So I knit things like this:
This is Basic No. 2, my own top-down, worsted-weight, 5 sts/inch turtleneck pattern, knit this time with a Camaro-inspired rainbow palette across the body and sleeves.  Those stripes!  Bliss.  I feel like this is something I would have worn in 1978, while watching Starsky and Hutch [speaking of which, hoo!  That show was so full of handknits.] I feel like my first boyfriend Bobby from next door had this shirt.  It makes me think of the Brady Bunch and my Huffy ten-speed bike and spending entire fall Saturdays reading comic books.  Next time I'm gonna lower the stripes about two inches, which will make it totally perfect, but this one is nearly there.  The collar is huge.  Ultra.  Mega.  It's 11 1/2" tall, meant to be folded over for a double-thick, no kidding, all-the-way-warm turtleneck.  My neck is pretty long and I am always wishing for more collar on a sweater like this.  It looks a little bit like a neck brace, but I'm telling you, when the wind is howling (just a few months, friends) I will be enjoying that super tall, ultra mega collar very, very much.  Developing these sweater template patterns that are just right for me has been the most rewarding project I can remember.