Almost-perfect sweatshirt + Squam packing list

Almost-perfect sweatshirt + Squam packing list

This past weekend, I packed two totally different sets of clothes for two very different trips: Squam Art Workshops and Portugal. Pretty much all of my current favorite garments went into the Portugal pile (show you later), which left me combing through my remaining clothes looking for just the right few things that are A) reasonably presentable enough to teach in, B) appropriate for tromping around in the New Hampshire woods, and C) suitable for the cool, changeable, early-spring weather (as I sweat here in Nashville). And also, I seem to have entered some phase where each time I pack I’m in some kind of competition with myself to see how few things I can get away with! So, y’know, just a few complications there. But thankfully I left myself some very helpful notes after last year.

The Squam trip is just five days: travel there, teach, teach, playtime/art fair, travel home. (Although it feels so long and peaceful in those woods.) Having just watched On Golden Pond, which was filmed on Squam Lake, what I really wanted was to dress exactly like Katharine Hepburn in the movie — i.e., a daily diet of big button-down shirts over a jersey turtleneck and trousers.

In reality, there are two things going in both suitcases — my trusty old denim vest and my recently finished grey sweatshirt, above. It is perfect in every way but one: I cut the fabric the wrong direction. But it’s fine! And I’m looking forward to having it along for sleeping in, for knitting on the screened porch at night, and of course for those chilly mornings on the dock before class. It’s Grainline’s Linden Sweatshirt, and all I did was raise the neckline about an inch all the way around. The fit is utterly perfect, and I’ll definitely make it many more times over the course of my life.

So I’m takig 7 primary garments (outfit clothes) in my Squam suitcase:

Squam Art Workshops packing list

Black cardigan
– Denim vest (J.Crew, ancient)
– Chambray shirt (hand-me-down)
Black shell
Striped shell
– Clay wide-legs (Elizabeth Suzann Clyde Culotte, made in Nashville, sample sale 2017)
– Jeans (Imogene+Willie Willie, made in US, 2017)

(Lots of overlap with last year.) Plus for around the cabin: the sweatshirt, a tee, old cutoffs and my thick black leggings. And since apparently my good ol’ Chucks were the only shoes I wore last year, they’re the only shoes I’m taking this year — hopefully no rain. I’m tempted to throw in my black turtleneck, just in case.

Funny to think I’ll be seeing some of you in the dining hall tonight!


PREVIOUSLY: Squam 2017 reflections and outfits and Knitting in paradise




My Summer of Basics plan!

Queue Check = My Summer of Basics plan!

I don’t know how it’s June already but I’m pretty excited about it because today’s the day — the start of Summer of Basics 2018! “Summer of Basics” being shorthand for “3 months for making 3 garments our closets are in need of, in the company of like-minded individuals, and maybe stretching our skillsets along the way!” For the full rundown on what Summer of Basics is all about (along with suggestions!), see the preview post, but that’s really the gist of it. What three things would make it easier and more delightful for you to get dressed in the morning? Identify them, make them, and share your progress on Instagram using hashtag #summerofbasics. (If you have a private account and want to participate — or be eligible for prizes — you might want to make a separate, public account for this purpose. Posts do have to be public to appear in hashtag feeds.)

I’m putting off any talk of prizes for the moment because the very idea of prizes — while they’re obviously fun and motivating — can make people a little nutty sometimes, and I don’t want prizes or categories to influence your planning in any way. Just figure out what you want to make (challenge yourself!), and those finished garments are the real prize! Anything else that might happen is icing on the cake. For now, let’s concentrate on the cake!

. . .

So what am I making this year? I have gone around and around — and of course I reserve the right to alter this plan along the way — but I have tentatively decided on the following three gap-fillers:

1. Cool weather pullover: Improv
This is the most problematic hole in my closet. I’ve done a magnificent job of making myself deep winter sweaters, but we don’t have a lot of deep winter in Nashville. What we have a lot of is cool weather — cool enough that you might crave a sweater, and can get away with it, but not if it’s pure wool. And I have exactly one such sweater: a cotton fisherman holdover from my store-bought clothes life. So I’m making a lighter, more abbreviated, not 100% wool pullover! Haven’t quite decided on yarn yet, but my plan is to make the love child of an aran sweater and a gansey: the “seeds and bars” motif transferred onto a raglan yoke. (With apologies to the historical purists out there!)

2. Frilly white sleeveless top: Alice Top by Tessuti
As previously discussed, I need to replace last year’s white linen shell, and one of my all-time favorite warm weather garments is any kind of slightly frilly white top, especially sleeveless. So I’m taking this opportunity to finally try Tessuti’s Alice top pattern, which has been on my list for a few years now, and the idea is to add some frill in one way or another. This will largely depend on what kind of eyelet (or who knows) fabric I might come up with, so the exact details are TBD. But I’ll almost certainly make a more straightforward Alice in the meantime, with something(s) from my stash.

3. Pajamas!: Carolyn Pajamas by Closet Case
I think a pair of pajamas is a total closet basic, and yet I have never owned proper pj’s like this in all my life. I’ve had lots of pajama pants — my very favorite thing (especially if they’re flannel) — but never a matched set, or this kind of top, so it feels to me like a luxury item! I also love the quite long-lasting trend of a fancy pajama top as street wear, so in considering fabrics for this, I may decide on something that would also work outside the house. I’m excited about the piping — have only ever done that on upholstery — and may even challenge myself to sew with a slippery fabric! Really not sure yet. I have a heap of navy linen in my stash, and the idea of linen pj’s sounds kind of dreamy. So I don’t know — fabric TBD! And will I make pants or shorts for the bottoms? Also to be determined, depending largely on which way I go with fabric.

(Fashionary sketch templates from Fringe Supply Co. And oh, hey, there’s some fabulous paper goods news over there today!)

. . .

I just realized I didn’t manage to do a Queue Check post for May, as I’ve been finishing up my spring make list and my other knitting projects are top secret, but this SoB plan is the state of my queue as we head into June.

(If you missed it last year, I made a fisherman sweater, my first button-up and my first pants!)

So now how about you? I can’t wait to see what you have planned! Remember to use hashtag #summerofbasics when sharing on Instagram.


PREVIOUSLY in Summer of Basics: Get planning! (introduction and details)




The Clyde jacket-to-vest rescue mission: accomplished!

The Clyde jacket-to-vest rescue mission: accomplished!

I finished two more things from my spring make list this weekend and technically this is the latter of them, but I’m telling you about it first because I am so over-the-moon in LOVE that I need to shout about it immediately. This, you may recall, began life as the Clyde Jacket that fell into my hands at the Elizabeth Suzann sample sale back in early December for $35, mysteriously unfinished (as in: it had never gotten its sleeves). Upon close inspection, the stitching around the hem looks as if the machine was acting up, and it even chewed a hole in the fabric in one spot, at which point there clearly was a decision made not to bother attaching the sleeves. Thankfully, instead of being tossed on the fire, so to speak, it was tossed onto the sample-sale pile — and I’m SO glad, because rescuing it has given me some serious joy, and I also might never leave home without it.

To convert it from an unfinished jacket to a finished vest, all I did was put it on my dress form, put one of my State Smocks on over the top of it, and trace the big armhole of the smock onto the canvas of the jacket with a chalk pen. When I took away the smock and looked at the line I had drawn, it perfectly echoed the shape of the pockets, as if fate had intended it all along. The Clyde jacket has front and back panels flanking the wide side panels into which the crescent pockets are set, so all I did is adjust the markings a tiny bit so I had just enough fabric running alongside those vertical seams to be able to attach bias binding. As it happens, I also had a bunch of navy linen fabric from last summer’s ES garage sale, which matched the navy canvas perfectly. So I cut long strips of bias, attached them all the way around the armhole, then turned it all under and top-stitched, so in the end the vertical panels form the tops of the armholes, with nothing visibly added. It makes for a really nice detail!

I don’t even mind the aforementioned hole in the fabric. You can barely see it, the jacket is so dark, but it’s also a good excuse to try out the darning function on my machine at some point.

So in the end, what I have is a shorter version of the Clyde Vest, and it feels completely indispensable to me — like the garment I can’t believe I’ve lived this long without. In fact, I have a Clyde Jacket in Clay that I paid full price for last year (and adore), and I’m considering making the same alteration to it! I may even have some matching canvas for that from the garage sale …

The Clyde jacket-to-vest rescue mission: accomplished!

Worn here with my canvas pants. And the other thing I finished this weekend is over on Instagram.


PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Recycled denim pants

Summer ’18 wardrobe: Mood and color

Summer '18 wardrobe: Mood and inventory

I started to make a Summer ’18 mood board at Pinterest the other day and realized that my ruling mood board right now (and always) is my All things lovely board, formed over the past nearly-ten years and really the inner me in Pinterest-board form. I want to listen to that more, and it’s telling me a LOT about myself right now, so for today I made the mini mashup mood board above, pulling from the two. Here’s what it says to me about how I want to dress this summer: breezy, light and loose, as usual; and in my normal palette range of watery blue/greens mixed with b/w, indigo, navy, russet-y pale browntones, and a little bit of stripe or pattern here and there. But it also tells me I’m craving some hits of stronger color. I’m particular feeling the red-orange and pinkish-red bits and want to work in a pop of that somehow, along with a spot of yellow. (This yellow top of Jaime’s is killing me.) An unexpected red shoe was my favorite styling trick of the late ’90s and early aughts, so with all of the above, I’m a little obsessed with these Everlane slides right now and might be acquiring them soon. I might also need to think about a pair of statement shades. ;)

All of this will influence my plans for Summer of Basics, coming up on June 1. But meanwhile, it’s making me feel pretty dang good about the state of my summer closet!

I’m genuinely excited about this summer, you guys. My first summer in Nashville, Fringe Supply HQ was in a windowless, airless, ventless, death trap of a room, and I dressed accordingly: tank tops, shorts, sandals and sweat. Then for the past three summers (as you’ve heard me drone on about), our little warehouse was meat-locker cold, to the point that I often had to leave by mid-afternoon to work somewhere I could recover the feeling in my fingers and the normal flow of blood in my brain. THIS SUMMER! This summer we have control of our own climate, and I can actually dress for summer — can enjoy the sleeveless clothes I love so much without worrying about bringing my wool coat to work with me, as I did last year. It’s so liberating, I don’t even have words to describe it! So tomorrow I’ll show you the roundup of my summer clothes that tie into the vibe above so nicely.


PREVIOUSLY in Wardrobe Planning: Spring 10×01 Challenge, lessons learned

Recycled pants (2018 FO-14)

Recycled pants (2018 FO-14)

On Saturday, while our beloved contractor was tearing an ever larger hole in the middle of our house,* I was on the other side of the wall from him, in my little workroom, keeping myself occupied by sewing up the other pair of pants I had cut out a few weeks ago. These are the same as all my other modified Robbie pants — my “toddlers” — with the caveat that each pair varies slightly in the rise and/or the thigh. (That’s in addition to the more major modifications shared by them all: my own pockets, longer legs, wider hems, totally different waistband.) Between the fabric and the particular tweaks I made when cutting this one, this is basically the pair I’ve been wanting the whole time; what I’ve always wished the denim pair to be. The fabric here is 100% recycled cotton — denim industry waste, woven into a heavy canvas. The light-denim color combined with this silhouette makes them feel a little bit 1970s, in a good way. And despite a hilarious number of thread issues along the way,** I’m extremely pleased with them.

These and the natural canvas pair are sure to be the cornerstones of my summer wardrobe this year, which I’ll be getting into the planning for tomorrow! I promise photos of them on me in the course of all that. These never look like much on the hanger …

Pattern: Robbie Pant by Tessuti (reuse No. 6, whoa)
Modifications: self-drafted pockets, assorted tweaks, modified 2″ waistband
Fabric: 100% recycled cotton canvas, not commercially available anywhere that I know of

*If you haven’t seen it in my Instagram Stories, we’re remodeling our bathroom, which — as they do — keeps turning into a bigger and bigger job than expected.

**Thread 1 was garbage, so I switched to thread 2, which ran out an inch shy of my finishing the waistband top-stitching, so then came thread 3, followed by the bobbin (still thread 1) running out just short of the second hem being complete (finished with thread 3). And since I only use natural thread in my serger, there are a total of four different threads used here! lol


PREVIOUSLY in FOs: The sweatshirt vest


Jenny Gordy’s shirt, mitts kits & Elsewhere

Round-up of links for knitters and sewers

The most-answered question of the week was my open-ended Q about moths; I’m planning to read through it all today/tomorrow, but thank you so much for all the in-depth responses! The most-asked question of the week would be regarding that cute striped shirt Jenny Gordy was wearing in her Our Tools, Ourselves photos — lots of people wondering if there’s a sewing pattern for it. According to Jenny, it’s a Madewell shirt from a few years ago (i.e., no longer available), and the closest pattern I know off the top of my head is the Kalle Shirt + Shirtdress pattern, pictured above, from Closet Case Patterns. (Which happens to also be on my shortlist of contenders for Summer of Basics!) It doesn’t have the neck gathers like the one on Jenny, but you could easily replace the center-back pleat with gathers back there. And maybe widen the cuffs at the sleeves.

Also, Verb has restocked the beautiful Log Cabin Mitts kits (pattern here) in their incredible Range rambouillet, which is a truly exceptional small-batch yarn that sadly won’t be repeated, so if you desire a kit (or skeins) hop on it!

Other than that, Elsewhere:

– Such an important subject I’ve been trying to figure out how to bring up, PLEASE READ: The cost of a knitting pattern

– For those of us who are likely never going to make our own: Responsibly made underwear

– All the praise hands for Lynn Zwerling of Knitting Behind Bars

– Fashion over-consumption is “a monster of our own creation. But there seems to be a growing (and welcome) consensus that it’s time to cut off its head.

– “You get it from your mother.” Well, yes and no.

– And congratulations to Katrina Rodabaugh! Can’t wait to get my hands on her book. (To which I contributed a little quote, full disclosure.)

Have the most amazing weekend, everybody! I’ve got some secret knitting to finish up. ;) How about you?


PREVIOUSLY: Jane Adams and Elsewhere

Make Your Own Basics: The jackets

Make Your Own Basics: The jackets

Some of you wanting to really stretch your sewing skills for this year’s Summer of Basics might be considering outerwear. We’ve talked before in Make Your Own Basics about coats and trench coats, but there are still a few archetypal jackets and patterns left to be considered:

THE JEAN JACKET: Audrey by Seamwork is a true classic (For more of the work-jacket version, see Ottoline)

THE ANORAK: Kelly Anorak by Closet Case Patterns hits all the notes

THE BIKER / MOTO: B6169 by Liesl Gibson is a somewhat fitted, pared down take on the look (For the full lapels, see Melissa Watson for McCall’s M7694; or for a knitted cardigan see Elsie, and sweater-vest version, see Harley)

Do you know what you’re making for Summer of Basics yet? You can survey the entire Make Your Own Basics series at Pinterest if you need something to spark ideas!


PREVIOUSLY in Make Your Own Basics: The coat