Kaari

November 7, 2013

kaari

I’ve wanted to knit Kaari for years. It started when I saw versions from Wiksten (here and here) and Garment House (here and here). It seemed like the perfect knit – a simple raglan sleeve sweater with so-odd-they’re-cool pockets.

kaari

kaari

shoes: seychelles scoundrel // pants: jcrew pixie pant // earrings: nc solstice

I didn’t do a gauge swatch, which is one of the worst things you can do as a knitter, and ended up with a sweater that could fit my husband. The pieces blocked into huge, drapey sections of fabric that I was not expecting. I ended up laying the sweater on my blocking board and smooshing it into the correct measurements. As it dried, it shrank a bit and the sweater was salvaged. I’m worried about future washings.

The original neckline wasn’t quite what I wanted and, despite picking up more, I was worried about running out of yarn again. I did a simple 2×2 rib then bound off loosely when I thought it looked right. Usually high necklines irritate me, but the yarn is so soft that I hardly notice it.

I’ve been a nervous wreck about sewing on those pockets from the moment I first saw Kaari. How on earth was I supposed to sew a selvedge edge to the completed front?! I referred to my favorite reference book, The Knitter’s Book of Finishing Techniques, for instructions. If you knit at all I would highly recommend that you have this thing laying around. It’s small and spiral bound and perfect. I have to refer to it every time I finish socks because I can NEVER remember the kitchener stitch. Anyhoo, I looked up how to seam the pockets and it was so easy! No big deal.

pattern: Kaari by Norah Gaughan
yarn: Karabella Aurora 8 in colorway 201
mods: changed the neckline

So, I finally have a Kaari and I’m really, really happy with it. It fits well, it’s neutral and it’s soft. YAY!

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In other news, I was just given a huge hide of black cow leather. GIVEN. My poor industrial hasn’t been turned on in months and I desperately need a black bag, so I’m pretty excited about this incredibly gracious gift. Have you seen any awesome bag patterns? I’d like something slouchy and simple, but lined so I can add interior pockets.

The Little Things

October 20, 2013

Eric and I have this thing where we talk about our small wins of the day, the little things that make us grateful or proud or happy. This week I feel like my little things have actually been big things. It’s been a good week at NC, I met the Oatmeal at a book signing (AGAIN!) and a sweater was saved.

I bought this yarn, Karabella Aurora 8, waaaay on sale almost a year ago.  I started knitting Kaari pretty soon after, but set it aside once I had the back finished. It’s stockinette and tedious and I was trying to figure out how to alter the neckline. I thought ten balls would be enough. It’s not. Kaari isn’t Kaari without the front pockets and at the rate I was going there wouldn’t even be enough yarn for the front. It’s been a year. No way will I find that yarn again much less the same dye lot.

kaari

kaari

EXCEPT FOR I DID. The yarn shop that I purchased it from still had some – same color, same dye lot. Apparently I’m the only person in all of Colorado who  wants this yarn and I’m ok with that. I grabbed three more and fingers crossed it’s enough. I’m almost done with the knitting, but I know blocking and seaming will take me a few days.

I’m quite grateful the sweater will be finished. It’s one of my favorite patterns.

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Also, I did some serious organizing and since this is never going to happen again I want it on public record. Look at this shit:

so fresh and so clean!

SPOTLESS.

Where I Start Caring // Seamly.co

October 17, 2013

I’m not crazy into clothes shopping. When I have extra money to burn I’ll buy supplies, like beads, yarn and fabric, or shoes. I do, however, shop at big box stores like GAP and H&M for cheap staples and trendier items. I’m not going to say big is bad because that’s not always the case, but I am realizing that my purchases directly affect a lot of people. Who’s benefiting when I buy a J.Crew tee? Who am I hurting? How is it manufactured and how long will it hold up?

There are a few makers and doers I’ve met recently who care and it’s rubbing off on me. Some care enough about these questions that their entire business is built on sustainability in fashion. One in particular is Kristen Glenn of Seamly.co. When Kristin needed help with some photos I enthusiastically said yes! Her clothes are what I actually wear. The leggings especially! Modeling leggings is kind of terrifying, but after lots of laughs and direction from Kristin I think they turned out pretty great!

seamly.co leggings

hamming it up!

denim seamly.co leggings

I know most of you sew, but if leggings aren’t on your list of things to make this season or if you just want some extra pairs, I can’t recommend these enough. They’re super soft and comfortable. I especially love the high waistband and unbelievable price: $34. For handmade, eco-friendly, kick-ass leggings. Yeah.

Her other pieces focus on versatility. The Versalette can be worn 30 ways and comes in a super soft, black knit fabric. I also tried on her dresses. The Jenny can be worn long or short and the 5-Ways Maxi is next on my wishlist. I can see myself wearing it daily all summer long.

five-ways maxi

jenny dress

all photos via seamly.co

What I’ve learned is that I like having a warm feeling after shopping. I like having that personal connection and a good story behind the brand. And I think Kristin is a badass and I love what she’s doing. I’m honored and flattered to be all over her site! Read her blog and story when you get a minute. I think you’ll really like her too.

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On a somewhat related note – I’ve never really thrifted and I look hilarious in vintage anything, but I’ve started shopping at secondhand stores. Dudes. I found Frye’s for sooo cheap, designer jeans (I CAN’T HELP IT) and other goodies for ridiculous deals. It’s this liberating underworld that I’ve been completely unaware of until now. Any other savvy shoppers out there?? What and where are some of your best finds?

Simple Sweater

October 6, 2013

I’ve been away from home for the last week. I went road-tripping with my mom to see family in southern Utah. It’s one of my favorite places and I picked up a few goodies that I’ll be sharing later. In the meantime, here’s a sweater:

close-up

pattern: hemlock tee
fabric: synthetic blend sweater knit from newly named Colorado Fabrics in Littleton. I maybe paid $8 for two yards.(They have some great ones, so if you live in the area I suggest you peruse their bins.)
mods: I just used a different fabric.

hemlock

hemlock

boots: emma ankle boot // jeans: j. crew toothpick jean // earrings: brass chevron earrings

I finished my Hemlock a couple of weeks ago and wear it all of the time. It was originally designed for a tissue weight jersey, but as it gets colder I thought a sweater knit might be more practical. I think the result is the perfect slouchy sweater. It’s going to be hard not to make ten of these.

I didn’t finish the ends and it’s slowly unraveling. Any suggestions? Should I just serge them then fold over the hems to topstitch? I like how they roll, but I want the sweater to last longer than a month.

Moss

September 26, 2013

When a project looks pretty much perfect I get an adrenaline rush. I will never jump out of a plane, but I think I get a similar sensation from impeccable topstitching.

i'm a pretty huge fan of this skirt.

orange hair: light mountain henna in red // top: American Apparel
necklace: scalloped brass // shoes: Sam Edelman(similar)

back
functional pockets
PatternGrainline Studio Moss Mini
Fabric: Stash denim that I’ve had for years! YAY! So pumped that I used it.
Mods: None! I cut a size too small, but guess what? A size too small just makes it a high-waisted Moss Skirt! No big deal. ALSO, I didn’t have any grey or blue topstitching thread so I used the triple stitch function on my machine. I think it looks just as good if not better because there weren’t any tension issues.

moss mini

moss mini

moss mini

The zipper was really easy to install thanks to Jen’s tutorial.

I tried three times to stitch a buttonhole. I don’t know what is up with my machine, but we’re experiencing a pretty serious problem. It kept jamming or even going the wrong way when I had it on the automatic function. In retrospect, I’m glad it didn’t work out because I think this particular version looks better with a clean front and a hook and eye closure.

There will be several more of these in my future. I can’t recommend the pattern enough.

Stripey Underthings

September 17, 2013

I was discouraged after my last attempt at bra making. The sewing part isn’t necessarily difficult (minus the channels which I did not attempt), but I knew that it would take several muslins to get the fit right. And that’s for each pattern. I wanted a small win. When I saw this Jasmine soft bra on Shona Stitches blog, I immediately purchased and printed the pattern.

Jasmine consists of only three pattern pieces and contains so much potential.

ginger + jasmine

This set was initially a muslin. I just wanted to get a feel for the pattern and sewing elastic. As it came together I started to really like it! It’s funny because I’m so inspired by Ohh Lulu’s gorgeous, feminine sets (Sequins?!?! Are you kidding me?!?! SWOON.), but made such a boyish set myself.

ginger + jasmine / detail

After cutting out the cups I realized I would need to do an FBA to fit my, ahem, enhanced bustline. I kind of used tips from Amy at Cloth Habit’s sewalong and kind of winged it. I just slashed and spread. It worked because it’s a knit. A woven wouldn’t have been the right shape. Here’s my very non-technical result:

fba

I used a really old, poly blend stash knit. The black lining is organic cotton from Michael Levine found here. It’s the only plain cotton knit in my stash, so I’m going to grab a few colors to have on hand for linings. I especially love the wide, plush bra straps that I purchased from Sew Sassy. They are so soft and comfortable!

ginger + jasmine / back

ginger + jasmine / back detail

The bra is too loose around the band (even though I trimmed an inch from the back). I think it’s due to the stretchiness of my knit. I thought lining it with the black cotton would stabilize it a bit, but it’s still stretchy. That’s good though because as I said above, the cups wouldn’t have fit otherwise. It fits well enough and is so soft and comfortable that I’ll wear it at home. In the future I’ll grade the pattern down for a snugger fit.

And let’s not forget the undies! I paired my Jasmine bra with Ginger high-waisted bottoms. I think they are adorable and the fit is really flattering. I could actually add an 1” or so to the top since I’m tall. They were really easy to put together, but I need to work on my zig-zag topstitching. It doesn’t completely cover the elastic, so the elastic flares out and there are places where it bunched as I was sewing over bulky areas.

I’m officially hooked. There will be way more sewn underpants on this blog. Have you attempted them yet? How do you feel about sewing underwear? I’m looking forward to being good enough to cut into my gorgeous Merckwaerdigh sets and stashed silks.

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