Queue Check — September 2017

Queue Check — September 2017

Last month I declared that September would be finish-it month — an attempt to prevent myself from casting on anything new before doing my Fall wardrobe planning. Then I promptly cast on something new, the cardigan pictured up top (details here). I did make progress on the purple sweater (from the top-down tutorial) — just the last sleeve to knit, once the humidity goes away and I can stand to be near it. And I also finished the two tees that were awaiting their top-stitching, and ticked off a few other bits from the fix-it list. But I’ve still not lengthened the black cardigan, and I have abandoned the grey one altogether. It’s just too much apathy to bear.

So the vanilla cardigan (another Improv) is sailing right along. I’m about 7″ into the long slog of the body, another 9″ or so to go, and rather than setting it aside and finishing the sleeves first, like I often do, I’m eager to finish the whole body, the button band and possibly even the pockets before I knit the sleeves. I’ll tell you more about that down the road — still mulling the details. Happily, this spontaneous cast-on fits right into my fall/winter plans, so no regrets!

And then there’s that grey swatch up there, what? During the Summer of Basics I got a little obsessed with all the Cline sweaters everyone was making — especially this one (click to the second pic) and this one. I found out a couple of friends were casting on, and that Fancy Tiger and Drygoods Design are co-hosting a Junegrass knitalong, and I got sorely tempted. Cline is designed by my friend Julie Hoover, and it’s honestly not one that earned my affection when she first released it. It fits the model in the exact way clothes tend to hang, tent-like, on my scarecrow shoulders — the fit I spend my life in avoidance of. But then it was so cute on so many other people and I started wondering if there’s any way it might look ok on me. Through Julie’s kindness (and that of a stranger), I was able to try on a sample while I was in Denver to make jeans, and it’s surprisingly cute on me, although I’ll need to lengthen the sleeves and watch the neck width. So I came home and swatched for it with my Junegrass (batch 1; there’s now a batch 2), and I’m pretty sure that’ll be my next cast-on. (In which case I’ll be twinning with Jess!)

So much stockinette.

Happy weekend, everyone! If you require anything from Fringe Supply Co., we’re always here for you, and I’d love to hear what you’re working on!

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: Reader, I cast on

 

Outfits! — Pre-Fall 2017

Outfits! : Pre-fall 2017

Outfits! : Pre-fall 2017

You may have picked up on this already, but I’m not really ready to start putting together fall outfits that I can’t wear anytime soon. But I also want to try something different here — at least for the next few months. Rather than projecting a whole season’s worth of outfits at once, I’m going to try doing it one month at a time. October is a very different situation from December, for example, and things change. I make things and buy things along the way, or discover new and beloved ways of combining things. So for the moment, I’m just doing ten outfits to get through the rest of this month, and then I’ll do October. (And there might be a little Slow Fashion October game to propose, we’ll see.)

For now: I’m trying to make peace with these next ten days of “highs near 90” by focusing on the positive aspects of the lingering warm weather. Like I love my tall boots and only wear them with dresses, and I like dresses best when I can wear them with my tall boots, so this is the moment where I get to indulge in linen and boots at the same time. Likewise, I do really like sleeveless clothes, as you know, and it’s nice to be able to throw a vest on over them. (At least while indoors.) These are some of my very favorite ways to dress, and the window may be narrow. Plus it’s a chance to wear some of my favorite summer outfits at least one more time. So I’m embracing it! I’m embracing it! (I’m really really trying to embrace it.)

A big part of why I don’t feel like myself in summer clothes, I’ve come to realize, is simply that there are no layers. Duh. I am a layerer. Layers are fun and make me happy, and when I first put on my linen Nade tunic over a linen dress and realized that’s one way I can wear layers in summer, it was like the choir of angels singing. The same thing goes for my State Smocks — throwing them on over anything and everything totally changes the look of things. And it solves the pocketless dress problem — God bless ’em — so I’m also distracting myself with the fun of them for the time being. (The sketches up top are outfits 9 and 3 from the lineup.)

So I’m getting to practice my warm-weather layering, but that doesn’t mean I hope it sticks around. Come on, sweater weather! I’ve got so much good stuff I’m eager to play with.

(For details on the garments pictured, see my Fall ’17 inventory and Summer ’17 inventory.
Fashionary sketch templates from Fringe Supply Co.
)

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PREVIOUSLY in Fall 2017 Wardrobe: Closet inventory and Mood

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Fall ’17 wardrobe planning, part 2: Closet inventory

Fall closet inventory
Fall closet inventory

So I mentioned on my Fall Mood post yesterday that, having gotten my sartorial feet back under me, so to speak, I’ve been starting to have a little more fun getting dressed again. Yesterday I talked a bit about color seeping back into the mix, which you can see above, and the other aspect of that is what I referred to as “curve balls” — by which I just mean putting things together in odd or unexpected ways.

I am no Cary and Jenna — as much as I admire their reckless abandon when it comes to pattern and color. But I do like to mix things up, even in my own minimalist-leaning ways. For example, camo is my favorite print on earth because, in addition to being neutral and going with just about anything, it’s fun to mess with. When I bought the seemingly dressy, black silk Elizabeth Suzann Artist Smock in February, I wasn’t convinced I loved it enough to keep it … until I put it on with my camo pants and silver shoes, at which point there was no giving it back. I bought a pair of Ace&Jig pants this summer — black and white, being me — and my favorite thing is to wear them with my snake-print ballet flats. Even just throwing in a tan shoe where a black one would have been the obvious choice, and vice versa, can make an outfit feel more me, more idiosyncratic. More amusing. Sometimes it means I’m wearing something others might find confusing, but if it makes me feel good, out the door we go — that is all I care about.

I’m feeling really good about the clothes I’ve made over the past year — as if I’ve really hit my stride as both a chooser and a maker — and although they are very straight, I feel like they all lend themselves to the odd combos and to the days when I just feel like playing it straight. And meanwhile, I’ve bought a few pieces that raise the quirk quotient.

It feels really premature (in the unrelenting heat) to be putting together this inventory of my fall and winter selects, while many of the clothes from my summer list will continue to play a starring role for the next few weeks — more about that tomorrow. But anyway, here’s what I’ll have to work with over the coming months:

SWEATERS
camel cardigan
yoke sweater
striped raglan pullover
fisherman sweater
black cardigan
grey wool “sweatshirt” (sewn, wool knit)
purple cardigan
black lopi raglan
– boiled wool pullover (J.Crew 2014)
– shrunken cotton fisherman (L.L. Bean c.2010 but still available)
– cashmere turtleneck (J.Crew c. 2009)
cowichan-style vest
black Anna vest
grey vintage waistcoat
Sloper turtleneck

It’s astonishing to me how different this is from last year at this time, when those first four sweaters didn’t yet exist, nor did the grey pullover. Having them all in my closet, waiting for fall to arrive, feels like a major wardrobe windfall. And going through this process, I’m feeling extremely good about my decision to cast on the vanilla cardigan. The grey turtleneck is on its last legs, but I’m hoping to squeeze in a few more wears this year. The next thing I cast on, though, will be a simple grey pullover.

TEES/TOPS
black muscle tee (see also black gauze version)
striped muscle tee
– grey sleeveless tee (Everlane, no longer available)
white linen shell
– dotted chambray tunic (Endless Summer, made by a friend)
– plaid top (me-made, never blogged)
– silk smock (Elizabeth Suzann)
chambray button-up
– plaid cotton flannel shirt (Uniqlo c. 2011)
– plaid wool flannel shirt (Fischer, 2015)

I still need to make another version of my black sleeveless top that’s longer in the front, for layering. And I’m planning to make another flannel shirt for myself this year — another Archer — but looking over the lineup here, I don’t feel any urgency about any other tops at the moment. Although I’m still itching to bring the big-pleated top idea to life. Oh, and I already have the sleeveless tee cut out of the same grey wool knit as the “sweatshirt” pictured, so that will definitely get sewn together soon, perfect for winter layering.

STATE SMOCKS
I’ve been stalking the State Smock releases since we still lived in California, so at least four years, and can never spot one that’s right for me that isn’t already sold. That is, until last month (while I was piecing together the interview with Adrienne) when I scored both an olive drab one and a pale pink one; and then while I was in Denver, I managed to get a white one. I don’t know what it is, but it is the most magical garment ever. If I’ve had the olive one for 50 days, let’s say, I’ve worn it for all or some of at least 30 of them. The pink one gets worn mostly around the house, while sewing, etc. And I expect to wear the crap out of the white one forthwith. I would happily wear one every day of the year. These guys have really given me whole new ways to wear my existing clothes — more on that tomorrow.

JEANS
– threadbare jeans (Old Navy c. 2013)
– natural denim jeans (Imogene+Willie, made in US, 2016)
handmade jeans
– dark cropped jeans (J.Crew Point Sur, made in US, 2016)

I am well-stocked in the jeans department. There are the faded jeans pictured plus the visibly mended pair, both of which are perilously fragile and need more shoring up, but that’s the color of denim I want to be wearing right now: super faded. The natural jeans are great. The handmades are my all-time favorites — nicest and best-fitting pair I’ve ever owned — and the only way to get them to fade is to wear them. A lot. Hopefully the dark denim will seem more appealing once cold weather is upon us. And in addition to the J.Crew jeans pictured, I also have my dark denim Imogene+Willie jeans. (The ones that went to Paris with me.) Definitely no needs here.

PANTS
– b/w patterned pants (Ace&Jig Derby in Highland, no longer available)
olive pants
– camo pants, heavily mended (Gap c.2009)
– wide-leg khakis (J.Crew, 2016)

This makes it look like I have a well-rounded pants collection at the moment, but: the Ace&Jig pants will feel much too thin and flimsy in just a few weeks; the olive pants got ruined in the wash; the camo pants are also perilously fragile and my most beloved ever, so I’m wearing them sparingly; and I don’t wear the khakis very much. The olive “toddler pants,” as I call them, are really the only thing I want to wear right now, so my plan is basically to make four pairs that will replace what you see here: a natural canvas pair, denim, wool herringbone, and camo. Those will get me through the winter, and they’re clearly the most urgent items on my make list right now.

Tomorrow: outfits!

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PREVIOUSLY in Fall 2017 Wardrobe: Mood

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Fall ’17 wardrobe planning, part 1: Mood

Fall ’17 wardrobe planning, part 1: Mood

I’ve had color on my mind a lot lately, as we creep all too slowly toward fall, and as I embark here on fall wardrobe planning. These past few years have been about rebuilding my wardrobe from scratch following the great clean-out and the shift in awareness and the upheaval of a move to a new climate and life and all of that. For me personally, basics and neutrals are building blocks — the foundation of a room or a wardrobe — so that’s been my focus. And with the emphasis on handmade and investment pieces, it’s been slow going. In the best of ways. But I’m at a point where I feel like my foundation is solid and it’s time to start layering on the fun.

There are two things I mean by that: color/pattern and curve balls, the latter of which I’ll expound on tomorrow.

The clothes I’ve been making or acquiring over this period have been almost exclusively neutral and largely solids. (I count blues as neutral, especially denim/chambray blues on which I heavily rely.) And it’s been wonderful that they all pretty much just go together, like Garanimals. It’s made coming up with outfits or packing lists super simple, which has its obvious merits. Plus there’s the fact that I feel strong and confident and at ease dressed in head-to-toe neutrals. So there’s part of me that doesn’t want to mess with a good thing. But then there’s the other part: the one that is longing for more lightness (at a weird moment of the year, right?) and for color.

I put together a Fall ’17 Mood board at Pinterest yesterday, which is about color as much as (maybe more than) anything else, and it looks almost like a spring mood board. I think I’ve literally said this before, but it has really struck me profoundly lately: My color palette doesn’t change. It is not subject to fashion winds or trends, or to the different ages and eras of my life.

I have an older board at Pinterest, started six or seven years ago, called All Things Lovely. I don’t add to it very often, and it’s super random and undirected — it could be a book cover, a landscape, a portrait, a ceramic bowl. The only thing the images have in common is they give me such a peaceful, happy feeling that I’m moved to add them to that board. I’m not sure I’ve ever just called up the board and scrolled back through it, but I did yesterday, and I realized it’s my lifelong mood board — the mood of my soul, I guess, to be corny about it. It’s black-and-white-and-ivory-and-grey. It’s all the shades of blues and greens, and blue-greens and green-blues, the softer and murkier the better. It’s lilac undertones. It’s burlap and camel and caramel and nut browns. And there are flashes of pink and yellow here and there. Kelly green is as bright as it ever gets for me, and I like it best mixed with softer greens.

Thinking back through the last several decades of dressing myself, that has always been the case. All that ever changes is emphasis. The past few seasons, it leaned heavily on the darker tones, and now I’m feeling the lighter ones. And what I’m wishing for are the colors that have been all but missing lately. But the challenge is to add without complicating — finding ways to make the colors fold in just as effortlessly as the neutrals, like they do in this pinboard.

Interestingly, the colors have been creeping into my closet bit by bit, which I’ll show you in my inventory tomorrow. And I’ll talk about how I love a little sartorial curve ball and why.

Is it fall yet where you are? (Or the start of spring?) It’s still mid-upper 80s here for the foreseeable future …

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PREVIOUSLY in Wardrobe Planning: Summer wardrobe results

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2017 FO-12 : My first jeans

MADE: My first jeans

I always think I don’t have much to say about any given FO — that the post will be mostly pictures. And then I inevitably proceed to write 3000 words. But I feel like I have just three words to say about this one: I. Made. Jeans. I’ve said it about a hundred times since it happened. I made jeans. But beyond that, there really isn’t a lot to say, since, as it turns out, there’s not much to it! Open up the pattern, find your size, follow the instructions (and/or the tutorials or online class), and you’ll wind up with a pair of one-of-a-kind jeans. So many sewers told me that, and it turns out to be perfectly true.

MADE: My first jeans

In my case, I had the good fortune to make this first pair (Oh yes, there will be more!) in the company of the pattern designer, Heather Lou of Closet Case Patterns, and a roomful of really awesome women in the big classroom space at Fancy Tiger Crafts. With Heather there, she could not only demonstrate each step before we did it, but we each arrived for the workshop weekend with our jeans cut and basted together, so step one was a fitting with Heather. There were 16 of us, I believe, and not only did we all leave with finished jeans, they were each fascinatingly unique to the person who made them. Not just in the sense of fit — although there was that. (Look at this video Heather posted. HEART!) But also in the details: whether we were making Ginger skinny jeans or Morgan jeans, zip-fly or button, what color our denim was (stretch or non), what fabric we chose for our pocket linings, thread color, whether we did any fancy stitching on the pockets … so many personal little details. (Mine: Morgan jeans, zip fly, dark indigo denim, non-stretch, striped khadi pocket linings, gold topstitching, no pocket decoration.) When we all stood together in our JEANS on Sunday for class photos, I could hardly stand how awesome it was. They all looked so legit and professional, and yet there was no chance of mixing up any two pairs. We had all made our mark.

MADE: My first jeans

I did get a little stressed out at the end of the day on Saturday — the second of two all-day days of being in a room sewing nonstop (with a half-day left to go). I was determined to get the shape of the thigh exactly right. Heather had asked us not to concern ourselves too much with perfection on what was sure to be our first of several pairs. But I didn’t want to leave with a pair that didn’t quite fit me in the same exact way as the other jeans already in my closet don’t quite fit me. I told myself before I went that I would rather come home with a pattern piece for the leg that was just what I wanted than with finished jeans. So I was taking the time (and Heather was indulging me) to tweak the thigh, at a point where I was incredibly tired and falling behind. So yeah, I almost cried when I had to do it five times and then catch up with everyone else, but it was nothing to do with the pattern or the difficulty level or anything. It was all me. And it was worth it — I have the customized pattern piece AND the finished jeans.

Well, almost. The only thing I didn’t get done is attaching the belt loops, which I will get around to but am in no rush about, since I don’t even own a belt. And I’m putting off hemming them until they’ve been worn a bunch and washed a few times.

MADE: My first jeans

I’ve been saying for a few years that my goal in life was to one day be wearing a t-shirt and a pair of jeans, a combo as ordinary as possible, except that I made them both — but in all honesty, I never really imagined the jeans would ever happen. It seemed SO far-fetched. As usual, a public commitment to do something is what made it happen for me, and sewing my first Archer this summer really made it manageable. When I unfolded the Morgan pattern to start my homework, and saw that it all fit on one piece of pattern tissue and was fewer pieces than Archer, I let out a little snort of relief.

I am telling you straight up: If you can make a button-up shirt, you can make jeans. I am wearing the proof.

Pattern: Morgan Jeans by Closet Case Patterns, size 12, tweaked for fit*
Fabric: Unknown selvage denim from a friend of a friend’s stash**
Cost: $18 pattern + $40 fabric + ~$2 khadi scraps + $9 hardware kit + $4 top-stitching thread = $73

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*My only pattern mod, other than the fitting, was to widen/straighten the lower leg.

**The FoF believed it to be Japanese made and dyed with natural indigo, but the friend doubts the latter. Since naturally dyed fabric is basically non-existent in the commercial realm other than some people dabbling in natural indigo denim, I was really trying to find and use a naturally dyed fabric, but this fabric might not have been. I’ll never know for sure!

Special thanks to Heather, also, for snapping these FO photos of me, somewhere near Redstone CO.

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Elsewhere

Yarny links for your clicking pleasure

I got back to Nashville late Tuesday, homemade jeans in hand and beaming with pride. We did take pics while I was in Colorado, so I’ll tell you all about them on Monday. But meanwhile, a bit of Elsewhere:

– Many of you know about the hilarious and talented DG Strong (@amazingdg), one of my oldest/dearest friends and the guy responsible for getting all of your Fringe Supply Co. orders out the door so quickly, among other things. But did you know he’s a State Fair Best in Show ribbon winner? He’d love to tell you all about it. (photo, above left)

– State the Label (ref.) and a whole bunch of other indie brands are having a hurricane relief fundraiser today — details here

– Felicia has written another super thoughtful piece, this time about Our fear of going back, of undoing or redoing, and it ties in to our recent discussion here about how we feel about mistakes. (above right)

– The North Face + Fibershed = Climate-beneficial beanie

– Cute new pants pattern from True Bias, the Lander Pant

The Refashioners challenge is always a highlight of the year. (Related: Never not wowed by Sasha.)

– “Designer jeans are a relatively new phenomenon; people who ordinarily wouldn’t have worn the Western jeans thought it was okay to wear them if they had a designer name on them, as opposed to Levi’s, Lee or Wrangler—the traditional jeans manufacturers,” Calvin Klein told Playboy in 1984. “My name is on the outside of the jeans and on the inside of almost everything else I make …”

– and I love absolutely everything about this photo and caption

IN TINY SHOP NEWS: We have a darling new option for you tiny scissors lovers, Lykke short-tip interchangeable sets are back in stock, and the bone narrow-rim buttons are now available in itty bitty 10mm. Plus I’ve done a few more mark-downs in the sale section!

I get to have an actual sleep-in-do-whatever weekend this weekend, and I’m so excited about it after the last jam-packed month. Happy knitting, and see you next week!

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PREVIOUSLY: Elsewhere

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New Favorites: Huck

New Favorites: Huck

As you likely know, the Brooklyn Tweed Fall ’17 collection hit the airwaves yesterday, and there are several nice garments in there that could make their way into my queue someday. But the standout — the design that made me leap out of my chair a little — is Norah Gaughan’s hat pattern, Huck. I’ve been missing that raspberry/blackberry/trinity stitch from my fisherman sweater and planning to knit a funny little hat pattern from the same 1967 booklet (which partially inspired my teaching pattern, Debutant) that uses the same stitch. But Norah has hit this one well out of the park. The way the cables nestle into the raspberries is flat-out stunning, and looks like it would be so fun to knit … that I already printed the pattern!* I look at so many hat patterns every week of my life, and this one was such a jolt of originality. I was about to say now I can’t decide between this one and the vintage one, but they’re hats! No need to choose.

*I feel compelled to note here, by way of a little PSA, that if you’re printing this (or any) pattern, please only print the pages you need! This one is hilariously 11 pages long, but you actually only need a few of them.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Massaman set

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