KTFO-2016.12 and 13: Adventure Tank and Seneca Skirt

FOs: Adventure Tank and Seneca Skirt

Having sworn to document all Finished Objects on the blog this year, as well as elaborating on how they fit into my overall wardrobe, I’m posting about these two aforementioned finishes today—

No.12: My first me-made t-shirt — and the first of many Adventure Tanks to come. As I mentioned in my summer sewing plan, this is a Medium and I love it but will make the next one (striped!) in size Small. This looks great with jeans and such on its own, but you can see above it’s a little big to be worn with the skirt and would look better scaled down in comparison, which would also be better for layering under other things. The only change I made was to lengthen it by 1.5″, and then I didn’t hem it (I’m liking it raw) so it wound up 2.5″ longer than the pattern calls for. I couldn’t love this hemp jersey any more than I do — it’s amazing.

No.13: My test sew of Seamwork’s Seneca skirt (designed for jersey), using the leftovers from my blue striped top to see if I would like it in a woven. The verdict: Eh, almost. I don’t think it’s outstanding in this particular fabric (I’ll like it better in something darker) and as previously noted, my plan for the next pass at it is to go up a size for the skirt front/back and gather them to fit the Medium waistband. This one is a straight Medium — only modification I made was to omit the side-seam insert panels and just seam the front and back together.

As with most every garment on earth, I like the skirt best with layers and boots. The question still remains whether I’ll ever really be a skirt person, but becoming a summer-clothes person seems beyond my capacities.

FOs : Adventure Tank and Seneca Skirt

Pattern: Adventure Tank (view B) from Fancy Tiger Crafts
Fabric: Black hemp jersey from Fancy Tiger Crafts bought for $20/yard
Cost: Free download from my CreativeBug account + $6 to print + $20 fabric = $26

Pattern: Seneca from Seamwork Magazine
Fabric: Unknown Japanese cotton remnant bought for $5/yard
Cost: $12 pattern + $7 to print + $7 fabric + $2 elastic + $1 grommets = $29

Also pictured:  black lopi raglan and off-black chunky turtleneck

NOTE: For those of you who were wishing for a pattern for my striped top, above, and its black precursor, I had mentioned that Amber’s Adventure Tank (muscle tank variation, view B) looked like it might prove to be the thing. And I think it’s safe to say it is — just look at the top two photos up there to see how similar they are! To make Adventure in a woven, you might need to go up a size — definitely make sure the neckhole goes over your head — and cut your bands on the bias. For the hi/low split hem, just straighten out the lower sides and hemline, making the front and back panels as long as you want them, and leave a split in the side seam to your liking. Add pockets if you want. Let me know if you try it!


PREVIOUSLY in 2016 FOs: Gathered Skirt, take two

Fringe and Friends Knitalong 2016 : Preview and plans

Fringe and Friends Knitalong 2016 : Preview and plans

The pattern: Improvised top-down — no patterns allowed!
The schedule: August 15 through September 30, 2016
The hashtag: #fringeandfriendsKAL2016

This is by far the most advance notice I’ve ever given about a knitalong — and with good reason! I’m talking about the Fringe and Friends Knitalong for Fall 2016 here, and this one is a little different. Whereas in 2014 we knitted the Amanda fisherman-style cardigan (or other fisherman pattern of your choosing) and in 2015 we knitted the Cowichan-style Geometric Vest (or other Cowichan-style pattern of your choosing), this year there is no pattern. I don’t mean it’s a free-for-all — I mean we’re making up our own top-down sweaters, no patterns allowed! So I thought it might be good to give you a little extra time to dream up your sweater, read my tutorial on how to improvise a top-down sweater if you haven’t done it before, and generally prepare for what’s bound to be one helluva fun challenge. Plus we’re starting a little earlier this year, so consider this fair warning!

While I’m insanely proud of the tutorial and the untold number and variety of sweaters that have been knitted from it over the past few years, the photos are horrendous! It’s long been a goal of mine to update the images and some of the text, and I’m currently working on that. It will all be spiffed up before the knitalong begins.


I’ll officially kick off the knitalong on Monday Aug 15 with a simple outline of how top-down works (a new companion to the full tutorial), followed by this year’s Meet the Panel post! (I’ve got a really fun group lined up.) After that, I’ll have a post each week exploring some variations or techniques not included in the original tutorial. We’ll wrap that up at by the end of September (in time for Slow Fashion October to kick off!) and I’ll show you the finished panelist sweaters as they’re completed.


There is no sign-up form or deadline (or Ravelry group to join) or anything like that. To knit along, simply knit along! It can be any sweater you have in your head that works as a top-down sweater — pullover or cardigan, plain or embellished, whatever yarn/gauge your heart desires. My tutorial covers raglan-style sweaters, but if you are familiar with other top-down approaches (such as contiguous set-in sleeves) and want to use those methods, that’s totally cool — as long as A) it’s top-down and B) there’s no pattern. If you’ve never done this before, here’s your chance to learn how to knit without a pattern, completely to your own shape and preferences, and to gain an invaluable understanding of how sweater shaping works in the process — which will make you a more confident knitter and enable you to tailor patterns to your liking in the future!

Ask questions and share your progress in the comments here, and/or use the hashtag #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 wherever you post. You’ll have a whole raft of people willing to help!


Yes, there will be prizes. For this one, I’m going back to the “WIP of the Week” idea from the first year. Post your progress photos between Aug 15 and Sept 30, using hashtag #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 (on Instagram, Ravelry or Twitter) and I’ll pick a winner each week, which I’ll also feature on the blog.

That’s it! I’m soooo excited to see the variety of sweaters that will materialize as part of this, as well as the friendships that always form among participants along the way. Are you excited? Do you already have ideas about what to make? Let’s hear it!

SEE ALSO: FAQ and Addenda and Top-Down Ideas for me and you

Yarn pictured is Lettlopi in color 1413; brass stitch markers from Fringe Supply Co.

Queue Check — June 2016

Queue Check — June 2016

I can’t believe it’s the last day of June already. I don’t have much to show for myself — the black cardigan has just barely advanced beyond where it was when we debated the shaping. (I’m going classic, by the way — thank you for all of your input.) But the slow progress is partly to do with my needing to spend time on another project I can’t tell you about yet! Which I can at least say is coming along beautifully and I’m very excited about it. The only other thing I have to say about the cardigan at this point is how awesome it is to have cast on with two strands of fingering and made it nearly to the ribbing before needing to wind any more yarn.

The poor neglected Channel Cardigan plans, though. Is there still any chance I’ll be wearing it by Fall?

It depends a little on what I decide about this year’s big Fringe and Friends Knitalong. I’m cooking up something I think is going to be tremendously fun, but it will also throw a wrench in my well-planned queue. As will a few recent acquisitions of incredible small-batch yarns. So I have a lot to think about and plot around, and I’ll have more to say about all of that soon! But just as a heads-up for now: I’m thinking of starting the big knitalong in mid-August this year. Make a note!

(Field Bag and brass removable stitch markers from Fringe Supply Co., of course)


PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: May 2016

KTFO-2016.11 : Gathered Skirt, take two

FO: Purl Soho Gathered Skirt, take two

Remember that black skirt I sewed last spring that was a bit of a fail? It was Purl Soho’s Gathered Skirt for All Ages pattern, and it was a perfectly cute skirt — I just didn’t like it on me. However, I continue to think it’s an adorable pattern for a little girl, so I offered to make one for my niece. We picked out the fabric when she was here last summer — this sweet cotton double-gauze, don’t know who makes it — and I just finally got around to sewing it up! (Bad aunt. Very bad aunt.)

Of course, there were mods:

– Niece was at camp at the time, but my sister measured the waist of a skirt in her closet which matched the largest of the pattern sizes (“12 years”, 25-inch elastic), but given that I still think it’s too much fabric, I cut the “8 to 9-year” size, with a 30″ waistband, to go with the 25″ elastic from the larger one.

– Still felt like those main panels were alarmingly wide, and remembered I had wanted to lengthen it (oops), so I turned the main panels on their sides, and the original height became the width — a drastic reduction in the measurement there, from 26 wide to 16 wide for each, or a total of 20″ of circumference removed. Then I cut them to about 18″ long.

– Since I wasn’t doing anything contrasty with the pockets, I just cut the side panels as one long piece and folded for the pocket, rather than seaming two pieces together.

– To reinforce the top (folded) edge of the pockets, I pressed a strip of fusible interfacing between the layers, and top-stitched across it.

– I remembered last time, in the end, my elastic didn’t fit into the casing. So this time I cut it 3.5″ wide instead of 3″ — worked out perfectly.

– And I also French seamed everything (and top-stitched it down) so it looks as nice on the inside as the outside.

It’s super cute, although I think I may have slightly overdone it on volume elimination — we’ll see whether she can walk in it! But seeing this one makes me want to try it again in my size, with the volume somewhere between this and the original.


PREVIOUSLY in 2016 FOs: Sleeveless top redux, this time with pockets!

The handmade wardrobe conundrum

The handmade wardrobe conundrum

Here’s the difficulty about knitting your own sweaters — for me, anyway: If I’m spending the time and money to make my own sweater, I want it to have as much longevity as possible. To not be anything trendy or that will look dated in a year or two, or that I’m likely to fall out of love with for whatever reason. This is true of purchased and sewn clothing, but infinitely more true of handknits. So I try to keep it classic. However, a closet full of classics is in jeopardy of being boring — both to make and to wear.

Take this black cardigan I’m working on, for instance. I’m at the point where I need to decide which direction I’m going with the shaping and then the edgings. The pragmatic thing to do is to keep it simple and basic (especially for a black, wear-everywhere cardigan!) — like the sketch on the right up there. But I have an overwhelming urge to make it more of a kimono shape. Wide sleeves, wide garter-stitch edgings, probably even a belt. Little kimono jackets are so trendy right now, and I LOVE them, but how long will I feel that way? Will I be on the blog a year from now lamenting the fact that I still don’t have a basic go-everywhere black cardigan that will be with me for a decade or more? Can I not knit the classic and sew a kimono jacket? In addition to the timelessness factor, there’s also the fact that I don’t really enjoy wearing garments with wide sleeves. They’re always dragging things across the table with them, and there’s no way to push them up out of the way when you need to. Clearly the Right Thing To Do is knit the sweater on the right — the sweater I want to wear. But what I want to knit is the sweater on the left.

Yes, I can also rip out those edges and sleeves and transform sweater A into sweater B at any future point in time, but will I? Maybe I will …


KTFO-2016.10 : Sleeveless top redux, this time with pockets!

FO : Blue stripe sleeveless, this time with pockets!

Monday’s Idea Log post was written last week before I left for DC for the weekend, for the trade show, and in the meantime I finished sewing the second version of my sleeveless top, which I alluded to in that post. This one uses the same pattern pieces I had drafted for the black top, but with three key differences:

1.) I fixed the back neck to the way it was originally meant to be — just a crewneck, thank you. Several people have asked, with regard to this and its predecessor and the sketch of the dress version — whether this neck hole goes over my head. As you can see, it does!

2.) I added pockets! As noted in Monday’s post, they’re based on my beloved linen tunic’s pockets. I’m mad about these, and also pretty damn pleased with my pattern matching.

3.) This has the same split hem as the black one, but because I’m lazy and this fabric is a bit shreddy, I French seamed the shoulders and side seams, having done the same thing on my linen Gallery dress. What happens if you try to combine French seams and a side slit is you have to clip the seam allowance right at the bottom of the French seam in order to be able to turn it under to finish the remaining edges. I like how it gives a sort of lapped side seam.

So this one is a major winner. It’s more of the $5/yard Japanese cotton remnant fabric I got from Imogene+Willie last summer (the one on top in this photo), and it’s divinely soft and wonderful to work with and to wear. Factoring in the bias tape, I’m guessing I might have used just over a yard.

These pics were taken at the end of the day on Saturday after hours of trade show meandering and back-to-back meetings and walking and walking and walking. It was inhumanly hot in downtown DC, so right after this, I changed into my aforementioned Earthen Slip with this top over it, and that’s officially my new favorite outfit — but alas I have no photos of that! Suffice to say, it’s a versatile little dream of a garment.

Next up: the dress version!

Pattern: self-drafted*
Fabric: Unknown Japanese cotton remnant bought for $5/yard
Cost: no pattern + $6 fabric = $6

FO : Blue stripe sleeveless, this time with pockets!

*Fancy Tiger has a muscle tank pattern publishing very, very soon with which you could no doubt sew a facsimile of this

KTFO-2016.9 : Hemp-silk muscle tank (with bonus mending)

FO : Hemp-silk muscle tee

Back in March when Jen Beeman was in Nashville and we taught the Stowe Bag class at Craft South, I organized a little Saturday night sewing party with Anna Maria and a few of our mutual friends. I’d had plans to have something picked out and cut out ahead of time so I could just drink and chat and sew, but it didn’t work out that way. So instead I brought a piece of fabric I had little attachment to and a lot of, and an idea for a simple sleeveless top. When we all got there, I set about cutting out that top as quickly as possible, with Jen and Alexia both weighing in on my so-called pattern drafting as I did it. Somehow, even with adult supervision, I managed to draw the front neckline on both the front and back pieces of my pattern. At which point Lauren yelled out, “Just make it a V in the back!” which seemed like an excellent and time-saving solution. Having hurried through the drafting and cutting, I managed to nearly finish this in the few hours we were hanging out — all that was left at the end of the night was the hem and fixing the bias at the V where I’d botched it by paying more attention to the general hilarity than to what I was doing. So it’s been hanging around for about 10 weeks waiting for me to have 30 minutes to finish it, which I finally did on Monday night.

I also took a few minutes that evening to mend my all-time favorite pants, which developed a sizable rip in the crotch about a year ago. I’m all for visible mending, but am not in the habit of calling attention to my crotchular area, so I just used some sewing thread in a camouflage-y color and did a bit of random stitching to fill and bolster the blown-out fabric. And I’m so happy!! How did I live a year of my life without these?!

As full of mishaps and memories as the top is, I love it. When I cut it out, I was debating whether I wanted to split the hem and whether I wanted the back longer, so I just cut it really long and decided I’d figure it out when I went to hem it. But once I put it on, I decided I really like it just the way it is! I can always shorten it later if I want.

The fabric is a hemp-silk blend I bought for $7/yard at one of Elizabeth Suzann’s remnant sales. I think I have four or five yards of it, so plenty left to make a dress, or a skirt to go with this top. For the neck and armholes, I used some linen bias that I had cut once upon a time, thinking a pile of black linen bias tape might be a handy thing to have on hand, so that was a big time-saver. Thanks, me!

Pattern: self-drafted*
Fabric: Unknown hemp-silk remnant
Cost: no pattern + $7 fabric = $7

FO : Hemp-silk muscle tee

*Fancy Tiger has a muscle tank pattern publishing very, very soon with which you could no doubt sew a facsimile of this