As we near the end of the month, I can confirm I completed my March read. I really enjoyed this in depth look at The Final Year of Anne Boleyn, by Natalie Grueninger. It is well written and researched, and is updated with current information. She researched the primary sources herself, and has come up with her own supported conclusions. If you’re a Tudor history or Anne Boleyn fan, it’s a must read.
I’m also enjoying my course with the author: 365 Days of Anne Boleyn. I’m so glad I signed up!
I’ve made progress this week on Powdermill. I’m enjoying this knit. Nothing like straightforward, repetitive colorwork to keep you going. (I’m giving Arrowhead side-eye.) Also, this yarn is scrumptious. I’m glad I have a stash full of it!
I’m also up to 12 inches on the body of the purple Lodge Sweater. It’s my mindless knitting. However, spring is coming, and I’m starting to shift my focus to sewing.
This week I finished sewing my Ottobre casual cotton pants. I can’t wait to wear them. It’s still too cold for this cotton twill, which is a medium weight. I’m planning to sew another pair in navy stretch twill, and then Simplicity s9376 in black brushed cotton twill.
The new Ottobre has a lovely summer top pattern, and it only takes 1.5 yards for my size. I have some cotton prints in mind for this from stash. The polka dot was a gift from BonnyKnits, and the batiks are fair trade from Global Mamas in Ghana.
I continue to alter my sewing plan (see what I did there?) as I assess my wardrobe needs.
I finished spinning my Pumpkins for Sale BFL fiber. This was my first time chain plying, and I enjoyed it. My spinning is getting more even, but I still have a long way to go.
It looks good with the yarn I spun from the same fiber, and dyed orange. (I was exhausting a dye bath.) These plus one more color will knit up a nice Shift cowl in the fall. I have more BFL fiber in stash to spin. What color should I dye it to go with these? Maybe russet, or olive green? I’d like the cowl to be made completely from hand spun. Let me know your opinions on the color in the comments.
DIY Hair Care
I thought I was on the right track with my homemade hair care products. But after a few weeks, my hair started feeling like straw. I’m back to purchasing products. Maybe if I get a good crop of soapwort this year, I can try again with that.
It’s still too cold to start seeds or plant peas. I hope it warms up soon!
I finished sewing my cotton pants, and I have to say, I like them. These turned out more like old school chinos instead of jeans, which I’m really happy about. I skipped the belt loops, as I never wear a belt or tuck in my shirt (except here so you can see the trouser top).
I cut a size 48, and I should have gone with a 46. I had to take in an extra centimeter on every seam, but made it work. They are still a little loose, but it’s a good thing since this fabric is 100% cotton and has no elasticity. Next time, though, I’ll cut the same pattern without a seam allowance, and sew a 1/2” seam allowance.
The rise came out well, as did the fly. My only complaint is the instructions said to cut a bias binding for the inside waistband edge. This was unnecessary and, in fact, made it too long. I ended up having to hand stitch it down. Next time I’ll omit this step and top stitch the serged edge of the waistband through the seam on the outside.
Pattern is Casual Cotton Pants from Ottobre Autumn/Winter 5/2021. Fabric is gray cotton twill from stash. I’ll make my next pair in some navy stretch cotton twill, also from stash.
It’s nice to have woven pants that fit. I was getting tired of wearing joggers, or dresses, or overalls. Okay, who am I kidding. I never get tired of overalls.
This is my first time participating in ScrapHappy. I’m really excited about this group, because I think it will help me use up materials I have rather than buying new materials I don’t really need. I decided to ease in with something simple.
My oldest turned 26 last week. Our plan was to go to Perkins Observatory on Friday, but the birthday kid came down with Covid, so we’ll try again another time. Here is our gift, wrapped and ready for next time. (It was an overcast day anyway. Maybe next time we’ll have clear skies and get a look through the big telescope!)
When trying to come up with gift wrap for this, I thought about reusing a paper bag and decorating it, or wrapping the books in fabric. However, knowing my oldest would not have any need for a scrap of fabric, I decided to try something new. A gift book sleeve!
This sleeve has clean lines and makes a great pouch not only for gifting books, but also packing a lunch, or holding a journal, pen, and pencil. The fabric is leftover from my Winter Solstice Project Bag made in 2020. I was thinking about purchasing a piece of space fabric, but I thought, “Let’s just look in the ol’ stash first.” When I found this star fabric, I thought it was perfect! It’s two rectangles of fabric the size of the largest book, plus a couple of inches on each edge for seams, gussets, and top hem. If you want to add a drawstring and casing, you’ll need a couple more inches on the top side.
ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. More information can be found here. Contact Kate or Gun to join. Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at):
I’ve got a good start on my Casual Cotton Pants. Right now I’m waiting on a matching zipper to arrive to sew the fly. I had a gray zipper that was too light, and a black zipper that was too dark. I could have tried to make do, but zippers are under $2 and I know I will use those other zippers some day. Normally I serge the seams, but in the interest of being able to alter these should I lose any more weight, I decided to serge the edges of the waistband pieces and stitch them together. They will be easier to unpick that way.
Clue 3 dropped on Who Ya Gonna Shawl? but I’m still knitting Clue 1. I love these colors together. I’m not sure I’m knitting the stitches correctly, and they don’t look like the spoiler pic. It may be because I chose a dark contrast color instead of a light one. Ultimately, I don’t think it really matters. Ghosts or Galaga? Who cares, right? I’ll keep working on this as the mood strikes. I honestly don’t know how people keep up with mystery knitalongs like this. There are some fast knitters out there!
I’m a little down on knitting right now. After finishing Arrowhead (which I ironically call “my opus” to myself) I guess I need a little break. I’ve been thinking about picking up a long languishing project, or even casting on something new from stash. Or, I might spin for a while.
Have a great week, YOPpers! Sorry not sorry about the title. Bob and I watched Weird: the Al Yankovic Story last week and I can’t stop thinking about it.
I spent some time looking over the Audrey Pants sewing pattern, and it needs a more drapey fabric than what I have in stash. The pattern recommends gabardine or wool melton fabric. (Melton seems a little heavy to me for trousers.) The pattern also includes tuck pleats, and I think making this pattern in cotton twill would make my already poofy belly look even more poofy! I will make this pattern someday, when I have the appropriate fabric.
In the meantime, I dug through my old Ottobre Magazines, and found a more appropriate pattern for my fabric from the Autumn 2021 issue. It’s designed more like a jean than trousers, but I think it’s a good style for me. I’m going to make my first pair in gray cotton twill. It’s not my first time sewing jeans (I made a pair back in 2019) so I’m not daunted. If these turn out well, I have some navy stretch twill that might also work.
I have only been knitting stockinette as a palate cleanser since I finished Arrowhead. I’ve been working on the purple Lodge Sweater. Not much to show, though.
Sizing: it is slightly too large. The sleeves are too long. But since it is a jacket, and I’m short, I did modify it to fit me better. I thought about ripping out the cuffs and a couple of inches of knitting on the sleeves, and then reknitting the cuffs. But I have noticed my sweaters start to felt when I spin them in the washer to get the excess water out. If this starts to felt, I’d like a little leeway in the sizing. My Ranunculus arms are bracelet length now, which I’m not crazy about. I’m always pulling on them. So I think I’ll leave this as is. It’s cozy.
I’m pleased with this facing technique. Instead of covering the steek edges with ribbon, you pick up stitches and knit stockinette a few rows to cover it, then sew it down. I will be using this technique in the future, for sure. Overall, I’m surprised I didn’t make any mistakes. I did have a few errors, but was able to fix them. I may enter it in the State Fair.
And can I take a moment to sing the praises of Icelandic wool? It’s lightweight, warm, and surprisingly soft. No, you wouldn’t want to wear it next to the skin. But over a shirt, it’s great!
I applied for a second part-time job last week, and even though I don’t know if I will get it or not, I’ve realized I need some business casual wear. I think I should get on those Audrey Pants in brushed black cotton. If they turn out well, I can sew another pair in gray cotton twill.
I finished Keeper of the Queen’s Jewels. I liked it. I gave it four stars on Goodreads. I’m on track to finish 12 books this year, which is a hilarious goal. I do have other books partially read as well, if I can bother to finish them.
This week I sewed an outfit from lightweight merino wool jersey. I got this fabric for a great price on Etsy. I think the seller was clearing out the 100% merino, or maybe because it’s lightweight. Anyway, I knew I wanted some black wool wide-legged pants for spring. I only needed two yards for that, and I still eked out a Tekura Tee to match. The pants are from the Ottobre PJ pants pattern. I think one leg may be just a skosh longer than the other, but I’m not sure I care enough to do anything about it.
A few new sewing patterns have caught my eye, and I’ve updated my project list with them. I’m also losing weight (not intentionally, just happening from medication and diet changes) so I’m pushing back any tailored pant sewing until my weight levels out. But I’m already excited about sewing new linen garments from my stash.
I’ve finished knitting the sleeves on Arrowhead. I’m ready to knit the armhole facings, and then I can pick up and knit the collar. After that, just the collar facing to go! I can’t believe I’m nearing the finish line on this project.
Other than that, I’ve started The Who Ya Gonna Shawl knitalong, and am nearing the end of the hem ribbing on Freya’s Lodge Sweater.
DIY Hair Products
My homemade shampoo is working great. It’s a simple recipe of water, Castile soap, and argan oil. The conditioner is also working, but I think I may be able to skip this step and simply use a little argan oil on my hair after towel drying, at least while it’s this short. I may also experiment with an herbal hair rinse, possibly with marshmallow root since it’s emollient. (Cue to me looking in the garden for someplace to grow marshmallow. I’ve always loved the look of the plant. Now I have a reason.)
I’ve primarily been focusing on my Arrowhead cardigan. I’ve steeked the front, and am close to the cuff on the sleeves. After that, there will only be finishing left to do! I expect that will take me a week or two, as there are facings in addition to cuff and neckline ribbing to knit. I am really looking forward to finishing and wearing this cardi!
I played around with my new Addi Express knitting machine. There’s good news and bad news.
The bad news is that it knits worsted weight yarn too loosely to make a usable fabric, unless you want air and drape. The good news is I think I can make slippers and mittens in aran and bulky weight yarns. I could use scraps and quickly knit these for myself and my family. I really need to work on my afterthought heel, though, as it’s too shallow.
The other bad news is that the machine is persnickety about which yarns it will knit successfully. I will have to experiment, but I think it prefers a smoother yarn. I don’t knit with acrylic, so it will be interesting to see if I can make it work with my wooly scraps. I’ll keep you posted!