I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, but sometimes the new year is just the push I need to do the things I’ve been thinking about for a while. The rainy, dark winters in Seattle can make getting motivated challenging and the last few months of 2016 were especially tough.

I needed to get out of the rut I was in, so I decided to participate in two New Year’s events through my gym; a Whole30/Reset and a fitness challenge. I also had an unused Dusty Strings gift card, so I signed up for the winter ukulele ensemble session. Between hitting the gym 3 days a week, cooking Whole30 compliant meals and ukulele lessons, January and February have flown by.

I successfully completed Whole30 and while I’m happy to have more flexibility in my diet, I am still feeling pretty good from no sugar or booze for a month. Making exercise a priority again has helped a lot too. I’m feeling recharged mentally and physically and ready for the year ahead.

Rake and Make had it’s fifth anniversary this month and this blog has morphed a little over the years. I still garden and cook, but there are so many better cooks than me out there and I haven’t been doing anything new with the garden lately. What I really love about blogging is sharing my makes with you, so I’m thinking I’m going to focus on that from now on. That said, my 2017 gardening and cooking goals are going to be slim to none while I focus on my sewing and knitting projects.

MY WORD OF THE YEAR IS FUN

At the beginning of each year, I like to assign a word to the year, sort of like a mantra. One year it was “balance”, another year it was “intention”. This year it’s “fun”. This year, I need to have more fun, whatever that may look like. Maybe it’s not even doing more fun things, but having more fun with the things I already do every day, from working to exercising. I’m good at practicing gratefulness, but I could use some improvement on my enjoyment of everyday things. I’ve always been so goal driven and future focused. As I get older, I feel how quickly time passes and the need to stop and enjoy each moment more. I could also stand to relax a little and quit being so serious and hard on myself. It’s all related to having more fun, so I feel like that’s the perfect word for this year.

2017 SEWING AND KNITTING PROJECTS

GARDENING GOALS

I’m gonna do it, but may not blog about it so much.

COOKING GOALS

I say it every year, but maybe this will be the year I start doing some video. The first one I want to do is a quiche shell tutorial. That’s about all I have planned on the cooking front.

DIGITAL MARKETING COURSE

You may have read about my career change a couple of years ago. It’s been a challenge, but I’m finally starting to get in a groove. I studied photography in college and my marketing experience comes from my time in the Rat City Rollergirls, my stint as a freelance photographer and this blog. I think I do a pretty good job considering I’ve never had any formal marketing training, but even so, I’ve always considered going back to school or taking some sort of certificate class. With the world of digital marketing constantly growing and changing, I decided it was time to sign up for a Digital Marketing Course. I start this week and will have class on Tuesdays and Thursday nights from now until the end of April. I expect there could be quite a bit of homework (we have to give a big presentation at the end), so things could be quiet on this blog for a while. It’s only 10 weeks and it’s such a great opportunity. I am very excited for this course and can’t wait to start applying everything I’ve learned.

SEWING CAMP

I’ll also be returning to Camp Workroom Social in October. This year, I have been asked to be an Alumni Resource Committee member. What that means is, I will be there to help out with things, welcome campers, answer questions and help with anything they might need (such as directions, campus tours or even finding more clean towels).

Camp Workroom Social is such an amazing group of instructors and campers, so I’m super honored to have been asked to do this. If you are attending Camp Workroom Social this year, give me a shout. I’d love to hear who’s going (new or returning)!

This year is shaping up to be another busy one, full of personal growth, creative endeavors and most of all FUN. Time to get to work and slay my 2017 goals!

Happy New Year! Wait, what? It’s February, I know, but due to too many New Year’s resolutions (Whole30, a fitness challenge and getting back into ukulele lessons), this is the first chance I’ve had to do a “Year in Review” post. I have written a Year in Review post every year since I started blogging as Rake and Make, so I can’t break with tradition, can I?

Honestly, I am heading into my fifth year of this blog and I’ve thought about shutting it down, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. I have said it before, but I’ll say it again, I love having my blog as a record of all my projects in the garden and my studio. It has been such a great exercise to set goals and review at the end of the year. Plus, I have met some really amazing people through blogging. So rather than throw in the towel, I am going to renew my investment to writing and start with a belated “Year in Review” post.

2016 was a crazy year politically and globally and there were many who said 2016 was the worst year ever. It was bad in a lot of ways and we are dealing with the fallout of 2016 still (and sadly it looks like we will be for 4 more years). On a strictly personal level, my year wasn’t so bad. I worked too much, but still managed to get some stuff done. If you want to review my 2016 goals, they are here.

GARDENING

I knew that turning my whole front yard and most of my backyard into raised beds was a big commitment and that there might come a time where I didn’t feel like doing it all, which was exactly how I felt last year. It’s okay though. I acknowledged it and didn’t plant as much. Turns out there’s nothing wrong with scaling back. Since I took a little break, I now feel reinvigorated for this year.

We did get new chicks though!

Pictured (from left to right) is Ricki Lakenvelder, Winnie the Wyandotte, Birdie the Ameraucana and Buffy the Buff Orpington. Not pictured is Monkey the Speckled Sussex, who we got later. Buffy turned out to be Biffy and went to live on a farm where roosters are more welcome than they are in my neighborhood. These ladies will be a year old in April and we are already getting brown, pink and blue eggs from them.

At the risk of sounding like a crazy chicken lady, they really do all have different personalities and they have grown to be very beautiful birds. For me, the eggs aren’t the only benefit to keeping chickens. I truly enjoy checking on them every morning and giving them a few little treats. It’s my time to slow down for a minute and enjoy the moment before my inevitably crazy work day begins.

COOKING

I finally got my Roasted Garlic and Yellow Tomato Soup recipe up. Mmm, now that has me dreaming of fresh from the garden tomatoes. See, I think I have my gardening mojo back.

That dang quiche shell tutorial video is going to happen. I will try again this year.

CRAFTS

For how busy I was with work, I still managed to sew a bit. I just didn’t have time to blog about any of it. I was also able to make it to Camp Workroom Social again last year, which was ah-mazing, as always.

My project list kind of changed around a bit though as it tends to do.

I DID MAKE-

I DIDN’T MAKE/FINISH

Knitting has been easier for me to do than sewing lately, since it’s portable and I can do it whenever I have time, so I completed all of my knitting goals and then some!

One thing I have realized is that it’s not how much I’ve accomplished that makes me happy, it’s actually doing these things. It’s part of how I keep myself sane and grounded. When I don’t get to do the things I love, I start to get a little down. Making time for my hobbies is very important. And sure, being able to look back at a year and see everything I’ve done is satisfying too.

I, of course, have a 2017 list going already and I’ll post that later if you want to follow along. Spoiler alert, it’s a lot of stuff I’d like to finish in time for Camp Workroom Social 2017! 😉

Happy post Thanksgiving weekend! Hope you all had a good one. I spent Thanksgiving day with friends, talking about how especially thankful we are (post-election) to have each other and to live in our little progressive bubble of the Pacific Northwest. I probably shouldn’t say “progressive bubble” and not say that we also talked about how we can’t be content to live in a bubble anymore and how it’s time for action. By saying that, it probably goes without saying that I voted for Hillary and the next day cried all day and started questioning everything. Like how almost half of the country could vote for a racist, misogynist, homophobic, xenophobic person like Trump and what that said about my (and my wonderful culturally and ethnically diverse neighbors’) place in this world. In fact, discussions about how we got here and what we do from here are dominating almost every conversation we have lately. It’s hard to talk about much else, so it warrants mentioning and truly deserves a longer, ongoing conversation. Since this is the first I have ever talked about politics on this blog, I’m honestly getting a little out of my comfort zone by doing it. So I’m going to keep this intro brief and move on to showing you the Hetty Cardigan I recently finished. Thanksgiving, politics, knitting… look, it’s blue!

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Pattern

The pattern is the  Hetty Cardigan by Andi Satterlund. The lace pattern is similar to the lace on the border of the Miette Cardigan, but shaped a little differently and repeated throughout the sweater, so my Miette was good practice for it.

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Yarn

The yarn I used was Malabrigo Rios. I fell in love with this yarn because of its soft texture, nice weight and rich variegated blue color. It was a dream to knit with as well. It did turn my needles blue though! 😉

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Alterations

  • Lengthened body by 2 more repeats of the chart.
  • Increased 4 stitches every 4 rows for first repeat. Then 4 and 2 for the second repeat.
  • Lengthened sleeve 17 rows.

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Notes

In order for the lace pattern to be centered with the shoulder seam, when picking up the stitches at the armhole, you must have an even number of stitches on each side of the shoulder seam. It doesn’t say that in the instructions and that’s not the sort of thing that is intuitive for me yet, so the lace pattern on the first sleeve I knit is not centered. I almost ripped the whole sleeve out to fix it, but I had already had to rip that sleeve back several times for other mistakes, so I decided to move on. It really doesn’t bother me too much, but I wanted to point it out, so that others can learn from my mistake.

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I ran out of yarn on first sleeve, due to lengthening. I had started this sweater so long ago, that I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to find one more skein that was close enough in color. Luckily, I found a skein in a different dye lot, that looked close enough at Seattle Yarn. So the 2nd sleeve is a different dye lot. Due the nature of the way this yarn variegates, you can hardly tell!

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I like how, up close, the yarn overs and the Sl1-k2tog-psso make it look almost like little cables.

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I used Lauren’s tutorial on stabilizing button bands again, but this time the grosgrain ribbon I bought was some sort of nylon blend and my automatic buttonholer would not work on it (it kept eating fabric), so I had to interface it. The iron temp needed for interfacing shrunk the grosgrain about 1/2 inch, which made it so I had to bunch the button bands up a bit to get it to fit right. You could also see the white interfacing through the buttonholes, so I went and bought a matching embroidery thread and hand sewed all the button holes open, so you couldn’t see it so much.

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I’m so happy that I have gotten to the point where I can make alterations to patterns and understand that if I am going to lengthen a cropped sweater (to end at the hips and not at the waist) that I need to increase for the hips. My math seems to have worked, because the fit is good and this sweater can actually button at my hips. I’m glad I lengthened it too, because I have been wearing this a lot with jeans and over t-shirts, so the extra length was needed and made it more versatile.

I’m super happy with the buttons I picked out too. They color match perfectly. I was tempted to go for some crazier ones like the fun little mushroom or sunflower shaped buttons or blue stripes that they have at Seattle Yarn, but decided they would make it look too kid-like. I opted for more subtle, wearable-with-anything buttons and I’m glad I did.

This sweater is getting lots of wear and is not too warm, but is pilling already which I have heard Malabrigo yarn does. I have had a variety of the electric de-fuzzers over the years, but those never seem to work that well. Maybe I have just been buying the cheap ones though. I also have heard of sweater stones, but have never tried one. If anyone has any good suggestions for how to remove the fuzzies, I would love to hear it, but you don’t have to keep your comments to that. Feel free to comment on the sweater, politics, what you did for Thanksgiving and/or what you are thankful for. This could get interesting! 😉

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Hello! I’m still trying to get my back log of completed projects posted and am especially behind on knitting projects! This is the Brooklynn Tweed Bray Cap in Shelter that I finished back in March. See the lovely Lilac tree in the background? Everything is dead and rain soaked in my yard at the moment, so this makes me happy to look at now. In fact, I should be out cleaning up the garden and planting garlic right now. It’s so cold and cruddy out, that I am procrastinating by writing this post instead! That said, I’m going to keep this short and sweet, so I can get out there. We love garlic in this house and I will never hear the end of it from my husband if we have a garlic-less summer!

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Pattern

Bray Cap by Brooklyn Tweed

Yarn

Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in color way Truffle Hunt

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Notes

The pattern and yarn came from Tolt Yarn and Wool. I love that store. I also loved knitting this pattern, because it has cables AND lace, so it was very fun to knit. The yarn broke on me a couple of times though, which I have never had happen before, but I hear it’s a common occurrence with this yarn. It broke once at the beginning (I think when I was joining in the round) and once at the end when I was cinching up the top of the hat. I’m glad I waited to write about this hat until I had a chance to wear it though. This hat is getting a lot of wear this fall and I can now say that it is warm and comfortable and feels very sturdy. The yarn breaking was just an inconvenience and didn’t effect the overall structure of the hat.

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This was my first hat, can you believe it? I have since knit the Tin Can Knits Banff Hat for my husband, which I also enjoyed knitting (and was a quick knit) and a “Friendship Hat” at Camp Workroom Social last month. I am kind of on a hat spree now!

Now that I have a few hats under my belt and know how quickly they come together, I can break up the monotony of all the longer sweater projects I like to take on. Because I always have to be knitting something now, right? 😉

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I’m happy to say, I have been sewing and knitting like crazy and I have several projects backlogged to share. This little number is the April Rhodes Staple Dress sewn in a double gauze I bought at Stitches on Capitol Hill in Seattle.

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Pattern- April Rhodes Staple Dress

Fabric- Flight Shroom Double Gauze Organic Cotton by Birch Fabrics, purchased from Stitches

This is my second Staple Dress and while I initially thought this dress was so not my usual silhouette, my first Staple Dress turned out to be something I wear all the time. Plus, it is super quick and easy to make. So when I saw this fabric at Stitches I had to make another one. I’ve seen this fabric used for a Staple Dress before, in fact I think it’s the same fabric as on the back of the pattern envelope (just in a different color). When it comes to handmade clothes, I am not at all above being being a fabric copycat. If it’s been done before, I know it will look good!

I’m not sure if the other bird print versions were also double gauze, because the double gauze was not so awesome for this pattern. I used a cotton lawn for my first Staple dress and this pattern is really meant for lighter weight fabrics. The heavier weight double gauze just didn’t drape as well or take to the shirring very well. It just seemed like so much fabric, so I ended up taking in the sides and shortening it.

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Alterations- 

  • I had added 3″ to my first Staple Dress and used the saved traced pattern, but since this dress ended up looking so big, I decided to take 3″ back off of the length of this dress.
  • I also took in the side seams 2″ on each side (from underarm to waist).

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For the belt loops, I used the same technique for making thread belt loops from Nancy Zieman’s Sewing A to Z Book (as featured on the Colette Patterns blog) as I did last time.

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Here are some pics of the double gauze in case you are unfamiliar with what it is as well. It’s pretty cool when you think about it. It’s basically just two layers of gauze sewn together with tiny practically invisible stitches.

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I ripped a swatch of fabric apart for you so you can see what I mean.

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Since this pattern is silkscreened, the ink goes all the through both layers.

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Pretty cool, huh? I will certainly sew with double gauze again, now that I know what it is, just probably not for another Staple Dress. The alterations I made to this dress did work though and this dress has been getting lots of wear. This may be my new TNT pattern. 🙂

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