Two Scarves and a Blanket

The casual crocheter is back for another season's roundup of projects. I was really feeling the yarn crafts this year and managed to complete four projects! Definitely a record for me. On top of the baby cardigan I made my niece, I also made two scarves and a blanket for myself. And after you hear the roller coaster ride I went through in the process, you'll understand why I'm happy to tuck my hooks away for another year. 

Blackwood Cardigan

This Blackwood Cardigan by Helen's Closet is one of my favourite and most worn makes from this Fall. Unfortunately, I don't think my pictures do it justice. Dark colours are darn hard to photograph indoors in the winter. I tried three separate times (and threatened to quit blogging every one of those times). This is going to have to do.

It's kind of fitting, actually — determination was the name of the game with this cardigan from the very start. I was blinded by the cozy factor when I saw this fantastic green cotton ribbing at Needlework and scooped it up without considering at all how a thick ribbing would behave with my pattern. I should know better. Of course I started to panic once I read through the pattern: folded bands around the neck and hem meant there would be three layers of thick, stretchy knit at those seams. And ribbing? Ribbing is apparently notoriously hard to sew with because it is super stretchy and often ripples. Fun times.

I must have been having a good mental health day, because I decided to persevere, stick to my original plan and see what happens. I'm so glad I did! The thicker knit gives it a chic, structured style, kind of a casual blazer vibe, which I love. I was comfortable wearing it both working from home and out for dinner. And, hey, something that is dressy enough for a night out and warm enough for the -20° walk to the restaurant gets a big Canadian high-five!

So what about those construction issues I was worried about? As you can probably tell from the photos, there were some problems, namely wavy seams and stretching. The right side is noticeably longer than the left. Haha! I'm sure stay tape would have helped, and I totally intended to use it, I just forgot when it came time to sew. Them's the breaks. It was virtually impossible to unpick black stitches from this knit too, so I chose to live with it. I don't think it's very obvious when I'm moving around anyway.

I tried to combat the bulky seams by serging the pieces seperately and pressing the seams apart, but I don't know if it really made that much difference. Not worth the trouble, in my opinion.

Something else to note: I didn't care for the way the front neck band wasn't enclosed by the bottom band, you just serge off both ends. Maybe this was another ribbing issue, but I found it hard to get that to look nice and neat. I'll try to change that on my next one.

Other mods... I shortened it by 3". (I'm 5'4", in case you didn't know that already.) I like the look, but it pokes out from under my Fall jacket, which annoys me, so next time I will lop off another inch. I also left off the sleeve cuffs because I'm digging the rolled sleeve look these days, especially with this reversible knit. I changed the pocket design too, cutting them a bit longer and then turning down the top once, rather than adding to the bulk with another band.

That's it!

It's a great pattern, quick and easy to put together and a great, versatile piece to add to my wardrobe. I'm excited to make a few more next Fall in something drapier. Merino, perhaps?

Handmade Christmas

This is very unCanadian of me, but I'm trying this new thing where I don't apologize as much, especially for ridiculous things like blogging. This is a happy place to share and document my hobbies, and if that happens two months after I made something, so be it. No need to stress, no need to explain. Who knows, with practice maybe it will spill into other parts of my life. I encourage you to do the same. #noapologies

On that note... let me show you all of the super cute things I made for Christmas! Ho ho ho! :)

Saying Grace: 2018 Make Nine

Happy New Year! Since it's been awhile, I thought you guys might like a quick update on what's up with me both in and outside the sewing room and what I have planned for 2018.

The biggest change that came with the new year for me was that I started a new position at my editing job. Starting any new job is stressful in itself, but for this one it also meant a change of hours from part-time to full-time. This is a big shift for a maker. For the past four years I've had two days a week reserved for me, to work on my business and my craft, and it was blissfully sweet. But when I closed my business, I knew it couldn't last forever. Part of me wanted to start a new venture last year just to keep the long weekends flowing, but a bigger part of me really didn't. And that meant my creative hiatus had to come to an end.

But I'm OK with that. Really, I am. I'm excited to see what it feels like to sew for pure pleasure; I'm excited to have more money for travelling... and fabric; and I'm excited to be doing more engaging work for that money. Still, it's a big adjustment that I can't ignore. It's going to require some grace, especially at the beginning of the year. I don't typically pick a "word of the year" per se, but I have found myself coming back to that one a lot these days.