2017 FO-8: My first button-up shirt (SoB-1)

2017 FO-8: My first button-up shirt (SoB-1)

Once again, I haven’t had a chance to take modeled pictures of this, but I’m so desperate for my first Summer of Basics finish, and so eager to show you this, I’m going ahead and posting it! I’ll add pictures of it on me when I can, so for now you’ll have to take my word for the fact that it’s a perfect fit! I am so proud of it.

As you know, this is Grainline’s Archer Button-Up, and I get why the entire internet raves about this pattern all the time. It comes together so beautifully (all I did was follow the pattern instructions and Jen’s sewalong posts) and apart from the one confessed tantrum, I had fun sewing it. It made me realize the reason I don’t find sewing as thrilling as knitting is that I’ve never sewn anything as rewarding as this.

The fabric is also amazing, and I’m glad I snagged it before it sold out. It’s a Japanese cotton chambray that falls somewhere between dress shirt and work shirt. One of the reasons I was much more of a nervous nelly about this project than I usually am is that not only was the fabric sold out, but I had accidentally purchased half of what I thought I had. Like yarn, I try to always buy more fabric than I’m supposed to need, just in case. Well this time, I had too little. I had to find the closest possible match to cut the yoke facing out of, and couldn’t afford a single mistake since there was literally no more fabric to be had. So that was a little stressful! But thankfully it all turned out fine in the end.

. . .

I made only a few minor modications:

– It’s a straight size 14, except that the sleeve was shortened 2.5 inches and tapers to a size 6 in the lower arm and cuff. (The muslin sleeve went down to a size 10, but a cutting snafu led to the better decision to go even smaller at the cuff.) Next time I might add an inch or two to the body length.

– I made up my own pockets, and placed them a bit higher, too. The horizontal stitching line matches up to what would be the top edge of the original pocket placement. The top-stitching on my pockets is a bit dodgy, but y’know, presence of hand.

– Regarding my whole personal drama with the cuffs, I wound up assembling and then attaching them, a la the method described here. I basted the stitch line along the sleeve edge, and just had better luck easing the curve of the sleeve into the assembled cuff while keeping the placket and cuff edges in line.

– And I left off the collar, as I’m always lamenting the dearth of collarless shirts in the world, or cutting the collars off of things. I guess I was enamored with the idea of being able to say “look at this picture-perfect chambray shirt I made,” but when I stopped and asked myself what I actually wanted to wear and didn’t already have, it was collarless. That decision also led to my adding a second pocket, whereas I was originally going to do only one.

. . .

It was a great call to give myself the whole summer to do this, and to tackle it at a very leisurely pace — just sewing a little bit of it each weekend. But now that I’ve done one and know how it works, I expect to sew the next one in a week! And there definitely will be more. I’ve entered a whole new world where a shirt can fit my shoulders without being too huge everywhere else.

Pattern: Archer Button-Up by Grainline Studio
Fabric: Yarn-dyed chambray from Miss Matatabi
Cost: $18 pattern + $25 fabric + $11.25 buttons = $54.25

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PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Grey pullover + striped muscle tee

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2017 FO-6 and 7: Grey pullover + striped muscle tee

This post is a little long, so I want to note up top that the coveted army-green Porter Bin is back in the shop today as of 9am CT, along with another special treat. And you can also now find the army Porter at these fine stores!

2017 FO-6 and 7: Grey pullover + striped muscle tee

Technically, this is a premature FO post since these two garments aren’t 100% finished yet — they both need their topstitching, and the striped one needs a hem — but I’m so excited about them I couldn’t wait to share. Why?

I serged them!

You may recall I bought a serger in August* of last year and it’s been in the box ever since. In my defense, I hadn’t sewn at all, anything, between last August and the beginning of June. These are two of the four garments I cut out when I had a little cutting party one Sunday a couple of months ago, thinking if there were stuff ready to sew, I might actually sew again. And I did proceed to sew the white linen top that got cut that day, but the other three (all knits) have sat at the end of my ironing board, neatly bundled and so very appealing, but just … waiting. I think the whole reason I wasn’t sewing is I didn’t want to sew stuff — knits especially — on my regular machine when I had a serger, but I didn’t know how to use the serger and didn’t have time to figure it out. So instead of that purchase increasing my sewing productivity, it brought it to a screeching halt.

At long last, this week I scheduled time to go back to Craft South and take the lesson that came with the purchase of the machine. I showed up for my serger lesson on Wednesday without my serger, because that’s the kind of day I was having — the kind of day where I would normally prohibit myself from sewing, because sewing and a foul disposition are the worst possible combination — but I wasn’t letting anything stop me from finally getting that machine out of its box and learning how to use it.

Bob brought the machine to me, Michelle showed me how to thread it and use it and, clumsy and fog-brained, I fumbled my way through the afternoon. And within a couple of hours, bam!, two knit tops with serged seams. Homemade tees and sweatshirts here I come!

. . .

The grey top is a modified Hemlock Tee identical in process to the black wool gauze one I made last year, so all of the pattern modification details are in that post. The only difference (at the moment) is I haven’t decided whether to hem the sleeves like before or leave them rolled like this, but they’ll likely stay as is. The fabric is a dense grey wool knit that I got at Elizabeth Suzann’s fabric sale a couple of years ago; this was a bundle of scrap pieces I paid $10 for and used maybe a little more than half of for this top. It’s a little wonky — I think I even cut the pieces with the grain going different directions — but it’s totally fine and the simple alt-sweatshirt I’ve been needing.

Pattern: Hemlock Tee from Grainline Studio (modified)
Fabric:  unknown grey wool knit remnant
Cost: free pattern + about $6 fabric = $6

The striped sleeveless tee is my second Adventure Tank View B, following the black one last year, which was the first (and only) knit thing I’d ever sewn. Having now sewn one on the regular machine and one on the serger, it’s crystal clear how worth it the serger is. This is also the same fabulous organic cotton-hemp as the black one, only in an awesome ivory-and-black stripe, and my gold star moment of the day was that I had cut the front and back with perfectly matched stripes and managed to keep them aligned as I sent them through the serger, breath held, teeth gritted. And look how symmetrical the bands are! (I needed that, since I was definitely not wowing anyone with my mental sharpness or sewing acuity.) The last remaining kit-of-parts from my cutting party is this same tee again but in the grey wool knit above, the rest of that scrap bundle, which will be fantastic for transitional weather and for layering. So that will be my third of these, but definitely not my last — I love this pattern so much.

Pattern: Adventure Tank (View B, muscle tee) from Fancy Tiger Crafts
Fabric:  striped hemp jersey bought for $20/yard from Fancy Tiger
Cost: reuse pattern + $20 fabric = $20

. . .

By the way, speaking of sergers, this post on the Grainline blog came at the perfect time! That tip about only buying one cone of the contrasting color is pure genius and will no doubt save me a ton of money. Thanks, Jen!

Happy weekend! What are you up? And don’t forget about the Porter Bin

*I keep saying I bought it in October for some reason, which might have been me trying to trick myself into thinking it wasn’t as bad as it really was?! It was 11 months ago, wow.

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PREVIOUSLY in FOs: The white linen shell

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2017 Remake-1 : Black linen slip dress + more camo mending

2017 Remake-1 : Black linen slip dress + more camo mending

Despite my careful planning and copious outfit projections, I’ve actually been struggling a little bit to get dressed so far this summer. For a few reasons: A) I haven’t replaced my ankle boots yet, which dampens my enthusiasm for all the dress-based outfits I want to be wearing. My poor old boots are just way too shabby. B) Many of the outfits in the rundown hinge on garments that are either still WIPs or that need to be mended, refashioned, lengthened or shortened, and thus aren’t actually available to be worn. And C) I really just want to wear my black linen pull-on pants every day, and I do! Yesterday, blessed with a few hours to spend in my sewing room, I decided the best thing I could do with the time was tackle the fix-it pile and get a couple of existing garments back to usefulness. So instead of cutting out the muslin of my Archer for Summer of Basics, as I had planned:

  1. I shortened my black linen slip dress to knee length and added patch pockets (which you can’t actually see in the photo, but I swear they’re there!), and
  2. I mended the 3″ tear in the side of my precious old camo pants.

Which means all of the above and below are now actual wearable outfits:

2017 Remake-1 : Black linen slip dress + more camo mending

2017 Remake-1 : Black linen slip dress + more camo mending

Please excuse the lack of a better (or modeled) dress photo — it was a seriously dark and stormy day. I’ll be sure to include it in a future FO post!

For details on the garments pictured, see my Summer closet inventory. And the more recently added black linen Sloper sweater and white linen shell.

Also, while at Squam I had the pleasure of chatting with Renee of the new-ish East London Knit podcast. Man am I fidgety when you point a camera at me! But if you’re interested, you can watch it here. Thanks again to Renee for inviting me on!

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PREVIOUSLY in FOs: The white linen shell

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2017 FO-5 : The white linen shell

2017 FO-5 : The white linen shell

I want to tell you about the incredible week I had, being and teaching at Squam, but I’m gonna need a minute to collect my thoughts. For the moment, here’s the little linen top from my to-make list, which I cranked out the Sunday before I left, believing it would be useful on the trip. Lori took this photo on my third day wearing it, so that seems to have been a good hunch.

This is the same as the two I made last year — the black silk gauze and the blue striped cotton — with a few tiny differences:

– the neck and armholes are finished with bias instead of bands
– the front is as long as the back (no high/low)
– there’s a center front seam
– the pockets are bigger than on the striped one
– the neck bias is attached with the seam slightly off-center in the front

The latter three of those things are the result of mistakes on my part, from working too fast. (Didn’t add enough fabric at the front for the intended gathers, seamed the excess back out; grabbed the pocket I had drafted for my black pants instead of the one from the blue stripe top; thought I was attaching an arm band and realized too late it was the neck hole I was working on.) And all are happy accidents — I even like the little bit of patchwork effect at the neck. I might add a few sashiko stitches or something.

I’m not sure why — guess it’s just the extra length in front — but this one seems roomier than the others … which I’m also ok with. This was the perfect layering piece for the unpredictable and wildly fluctuating New Hampshire spring weather, the perfect warm-up to get me back to sewing after 10 months away from the machine, and is guaranteed to be worn incessantly. I’ll try the gathered neck idea on the next one.

Pattern: my own
Fabric:  off-white pure linen via Fancy Tiger, $12/yard
Cost: free pattern + about $18 fabric = $18

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PREVIOUSLY in FOs: The Squam hats

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2017 FO-4 : the Squam hats

2017 FO-4 : the Squam hats

My latest finished object is actually a pair of them: the sample hats for my class at Squam this week. (Modeled by the lovely Silbia Ro.) I’m teaching (for the first time!) a beginner class in knitting cables and wanted to design a hat that met several criteria for that. 1) I want everyone to have a fair chance of leaving with a finished hat. 2) I want it to function as a good cable teaching tool while also being knittable in the social setting of a class, where there is all sorts of discussion going on the whole time. And of course, 3) I want it to be cute. I’m really happy with it on the third count, and will have to let you know how the other two work out! I’m calling it Debutant because it’s inspired by some vintage patterns in my old booklets, and because “debutant” is French for “beginner.” I hope my students will love it!

I haven’t decided yet whether or when I’ll be publishing the pattern — another thing I’ll have to let you know about. But for the moment, I’m at the lake, in the woods, in the classroom (and I’ll also be on Instagram) and taking the next two days off from the blog. If you’ve never seen my post about attending Squam in 2014, it’s full of lots of pretty pictures and might make a good stand-in if you need one. I’ll see a bunch of you at Squam — and at the Squam Art Fair; don’t forget about this little treat! — and will see the rest of you back here on Monday. Have a great weekend!

2017 FO-4 : the Squam hats

PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Sloper as a linen V-neck

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2017 FO-3 : Sloper as a linen V-neck

2017 FO-3 : Sloper as linen V-neck

I tried two new things with this little summer sweater: knitting Sloper as a V-neck and holding (Kestrel) aran-weight linen yarn double for a bulky linen fabric. The former was straightforward enough and worked out great. The “bulky linen” concept is a bit of an oxymoron and I won’t really know how it plays out until I’ve worn it a few times. It’s heavy for a little linen sleeveless thing, clocking in at just over a pound (520g, to be precise, so just over ten 50g skeins), and I fear it may feel like I’m wearing chain mail on a hot day. But it’s cute! Looks just like my initial sketches.

To be candid, I have a serious love-hate relationship with this yarn. This is the third time I’ve knitted with it (see Togue Stripes and Flex, both in my sister’s closet) and hated every minute of the knitting but loved the finished fabric. Knitting with it held double on US13 needles definitely increased my unenjoyment of the actual knitting, but also made it blessedly brief! I think the fact that I keep doing it must be like what they say about childbirth. :/

My mods to the chart are documented here, and there’s a further rundown on all of the modifications/details below. There have also been several people having some fun with the pattern for the #sloperKAL this month, which I’ll follow up about in a separate post. But if you’ve got one planned or on the needles, please link it to the Sloper pattern page at Ravelry so I can see!

You can also scroll through my Instagram posts on this sweater here, and like it at Ravelry if you’re so inclined!

2017 FO-3 : Sloper as linen V-neck

Pattern: Sloper by Karen Templer (me)
Yarn: Kestrel by Quince and Co. in Ash, held double throughout
Cost: free pattern + approx $110 yarn = $110

Modifications and details: (see mod chart and notes here)
– Working at 2.75 sts per inch on US13 needles, CO 58 sts each (front and back); decreased twice along the way so it was 54 by the time I got to the armholes
– Knitted 6 rows of ribbing instead of 8
– Switched to Andalusian Stitch* on the 3rd RS row (i.e. row 9)
– Began the armholes (3 BOs per side, as per pattern) on row 61, the 14th Andalusian ridge, so it’s about 15″ from cast-on to underarm
– Divided the (48) sts in half for the V on the last RS armhole BO row and immediately began the V shaping
– Worked decreases for the V one stitch in from the edge; k2tog on the right side, SSK on the left side (so leaning toward the V): every RS row 6 times, then every-other RS row 3 times, leaving 15 shoulder sts per side
– Worked 34 rows from underarm to shoulder
– After blocking and seaming, on US11 needles picked up sts around the armholes and neck for edging: p/u 3 in 4 all the way around (wanted to cinch it all up a bit), then BO all sts purwise on the next round, binding off firmly to gird against the inevitable stretching

Size notes:
Assembled, it’s about 40″ at the bust, 42″ at the hem, and 24″ long — and it will definitely grow with wearing and shrink with washing and grow with wearing … It’s all fluid!

*Andalusian Stitch = k1/p1 every 4th row (aka every-other RS row if working flat). I love how simple it makes it to ensure that you’re doing things evenly across pieces and to match them up at the end.

OUTFITS

I had already done outfit ideas for this one during Summer ’17 Wardrobe week; here they are again with the actual sweater filled in:

2017 FO-3 : Sloper linen V-neck
2017 FO-3 : Sloper as a linen V-neck
2017 FO-3 : Sloper as a linen V-neck

IN SHOP NEWS: The new issue of Knit Wit is here, this time with patterns, and we have all three issues of Making back in stock again. Also, thanks so much for your enthusiastic response to the new Charcoal Field Bag! I’m always so glad when you love something as much as we do. ;)

Have a fantastic weekend!

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PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Camel Channel cardigan

2017 FO-2 : Camel Channel cardigan

2017 FO-2 : Camel Channel cardigan

Being that this was nearing completion so close to takeoff, I thought I was going to refrain from doing an FO post about it until I had photos of myself wearing it on the trip, but as soon as I snipped the last woven-in end yesterday, I knew I wouldn’t be able to stand the wait. So here it is in all its glory — albeit on a hanger and an armless dress form. I’m sure there will still be Paris photos to come. ;)

In short: LOVE.

Sooo it’s not the sweater I originally set out to knit — different proportions than expected and, as a result, not shawl-collar — but I couldn’t love it any more for what it turned out to be. When I slip it on, it feels utterly perfect: like it’s exactly as it was meant to be, and like it suits my frame perfectly.

It’s a modified version of Jared Flood’s incredible Channel Cardigan pattern, knitted in Jones & Vandermeer’s Clever Camel, and like my Gentian hat of yore, this was a magical combination of yarn and stitch pattern. Every minute I spent with it in my hands was heaven, even when I was ripping back and redoing, and I am sad that it’s over! The fabric is beyond words. (And I wound up using far less yarn than I thought, so it wasn’t even as expensive as I was prepared for it to be! Although still definitely an investment, and very definitely worth it.)

There was a moment early on when I got nervous about using this natural camel color for this particular project. Halfway into the first sleeve, I realized the combination of color and texture was going to feel very ’70s to me, and the question was whether it would be good ’70s or bad ’70s. In the end, it does feel like a really great thrift-store find (and just a tiny bit like I pinched it off Mr. Rogers). But I’m glad I went with it. My only regret is not making the pockets about two chevrons deeper, but they’ll serve their purpose just fine.

Most of all, I want to say that this sweater is, somehow, truly next level. It terms of how polished and professional it feels, it easily surpasses everything I’ve knitted to date. I couldn’t be prouder — or more excited to wear it. Thankfully we’re traveling somewhere it stands a chance, because it’s too late in Nashville!

2017 FO-2 : Camel Channel cardigan

Pattern: Channel Cardigan by Jared Flood
Yarn: Clever Camel by Jones & Vandermeer in Naked (undyed)
Cost: 10 skeins @ $19.80/ea (spent in 2016) + $7.50 buttons + $8 pattern (spent in 2014) = $213.50
Buttons: 20mm bleached horn narrow-rim buttons from Fringe Supply Co.

Modifications:
– knitted sleeves flat and seamed
– added side seams (via basting stitch at each side)
– added inset pockets
– omitted waist shaping
– omitted eyelets/belt
– omitted seamed shawl collar; worked a plain, picked-up, garter-stitch band instead (US5)

Size notes:
I knitted the size 38.75 size at a very slightly larger stitch gauge, so it’s a more like 40-41″ in circumference (about 5-6″ positive ease on me), but all vertical dimensions (sleeve length, V depth, total length, etc) match the pattern/schematic.

You can scroll through all of my posts on this sweater hereInstagram posts here, and favorite it at Ravelry if you’re so inclined!

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PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Black yoke sweater