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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We’re a finicky lot here in the Pacific Northwest. It’s true that it rains a lot in the winter, so we crave sunny and warm days. We had a especially beautiful and unusually warm summer this year, but with many 90 degree days (which we’re just not used to here), slaving in front of a hot stove has been the last place anyone wanted to be. That said, some may be grateful for the fall weather that is setting in. Personally, I am sad to see the warm temps go, but there are plenty of things to get me excited about fall, like getting to wear my hand knit sweaters and favorite boots and actually wanting to be in my kitchen again. This roasted garlic and yellow tomato soup is the perfect recipe for the transition from summer to fall when tomatoes are plentiful and the nights are starting to get cooler.

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I came up with this recipe because I had an abundance of yellow tomatoes. I like the color the yellow tomatoes give, but feel free to make this with whatever color tomatoes you might have.

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Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Core and cut tomatoes into quarters. Spread as a single layer onto 1 or 2 baking sheets. Cover with garlic and onions. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

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Roast for 40 minutes or until caramelized. Resist the temptation to flip them halfway through, but you may want to rotate the tray if your oven heats unevenly. Transfer the tomato mixture to a soup pot. Add bay leaves and stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes or until reduced to a desired consistency. You can also add stock if it gets too thick. Add basil to the pot and blend with an immersion blender.

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Set the table, put on your favorite Netflix show, serve with a delicious toasty grilled cheese sandwich and say goodbye to summer, because fall is where it’s at.

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Roasted Garlic and Yellow Tomato Soup
 
Ingredients
  • 4 lbs. yellow tomatoes
  • I onion (quartered)
  • ½ cup basil
  • 6-8 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups stock (veggie or chicken)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Core and cut tomatoes into quarters
  3. Spread as a single layer onto 1 or 2 baking sheets
  4. Cover with garlic and onions
  5. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper
  6. Roast for 40 minutes or until caramelized. Dot not flip halfway through, but you may want to rotate the tray if your oven heats unevenly.
  7. Transfer tomato mixture to soup pot. Add bay leaves and stock
  8. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes or until reduced to a desired consistency. You can also add stock if it gets too thick.
  9. Add basil to pot, blend with immersion blender

I try to sew myself a dress for my birthday every year, but only manage to get to it about every other year. It’s a good goal though, because it gives me a deadline and feels special to wear on my birthday. One year, I sewed myself a Colette Crepe and the year I got married I wore my Victory Pattern Ava wearable muslin. I have been wanting to sew the Sewaholic Cambie Dress for a long time (this pattern came out in 2012), so I am totally late to the party in discovering what an awesome pattern it is.

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Pattern- Sewaholic Pattern Cambie Dress

Fabric- I’m not sure if this fabric qualifies as Swiss Dot or not, but it is basically a light-weight black cotton with embroidered white dots on it. I think I got it at Pacific Fabrics. It was bought to be a Cambie, but has been sitting in my stash for years.

I lined it with black Bemberg Rayon.

Alterations- Graded pattern from size 10 at the bodice to size 12 at the waist. No other alterations.

Fit- This is the first time ever I haven’t had to make any alterations to the bodice. I felt like the bust darts were in exactly the right place and the length of the bodice was good too. I like the fit of it so much, I’m already trying to figure out how I can use this bodice for other patterns.

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Total time to make (including tracing the pattern, cutting all fabric, sewing muslin and fashion fabric)approx. 28 hours

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Notes- I almost called this post “Birthday Disaster Dress” because that’s how I felt halfway through sewing it.

Problems – 

  • Mistake #1- Had to sew the waist band on twice, because the first time I wasn’t thinking about pattern matching and the way the dots lined up looked horrible– No big deal. I had enough fabric left to cut new pieces and I’m so glad I did. It didn’t take too much extra time and it looks so much better I think. Yay for seam rippers. 

  • Mistake #2- Sewed lining too close to the zipper– I had even read Tasia’s sewalong post on how to sew in the lining, where she says not to sew too close to the zipper, but apparently I didn’t pay it much attention. I’m thinking with a cotton lining this wouldn’t have been such a problem, but with the Bemberg Rayon it was a huge problem. The reason this was a mistake will be explained in Mistake #2. It was a snowball effect.
  • Mistake #3– Was sewing late at night because I was trying to get the dress finished in time for my birthday party. I think you know where this is going. 
  • Mistake #4- Tested the zipper before pressing– I also thought I had sewn over the zipper when I was sewing in the lining and was so anxious to check the fit and make sure I hadn’t just ruined the zipper, that I tested the zipper before pressing it. This is where mistakes two through four added up to me stuck in my dress in the middle of the night because the zipper was caught on the lining. Needless to say, getting me out of the dress involved first waking up my husband to help me and then having to rip the lining to get me out. Sad face.

Amazingly enough, I took it all in stride, because I make mistakes on everything I sew. I have also learned from making several late-night, tear-producing knitting mistakes, that it’s better to just go to bed and deal with it with fresh eyes the next day.

To assure myself I hadn’t ruined the dress by ripping the lining, I woke up early the next day and sewed up the hole. I was surprised by how cleanly it sewed up. The lining got pressed and pressed again and, as long as I have my husband zip me in and out of the dress (like it’s the 50s), there haven’t been any other snagging issues. Next time, I’ll sew the lining further away from the zipper and if it’s Bemberg Rayon again, I’ll edge stitch it down before I sew the rest of the lining together.

See? You can barely see it, so it still has pretty guts!

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Once it was all said and done, it was funny how quickly I forgot about all the problems I had sewing this dress. I loved wearing it on my birthday. It might even be the best dress I have made so far. I really like the construction and the finishing of it. The Bemberg Rayon may have been a bit tricky to work with, but I love the way it looks and feels, so I would totally use this fabric as a lining again. It should be easier next time too, since I know what to look out for now. The shell fabric and the lining together give it a sturdy feeling and a nice weight. There are many versions of this dress online and it looks good in so many different kinds of fabrics that I can see making a bunch more of these.

So here’s to a birthday dress that was a little hard-fought, but in the end I learned a lot and everything turned out alright… in fact, better than alright. It’s a little like how I feel about turning 40, so I guess it’s fitting. 🙂

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