May 2018 Making Update: Big Life Changes + Garments Galore!
A while ago, when I was a more diligent person whose time was more her own, I was pretty consistent about sharing weekly making updates. The past few months, that has seemed impossible, in part because I haven't gotten all that much done in a given week (thanks, grad school). But! Lots of changes are happening, and I'm hoping most of them will make room for me to post more of these updates. And I finally have a minute to check in, so prepare yourself for a big fat post about what's been going on with me + what I've finally been able to finish!
First, for anyone interested, I thought I'd offer a few life updates. (Anyone not interested can totally skip ahead to the making updates, I won't be offended.) Most of you know that I've been chugging away at a Master's degree for the last two years. Amazing news – I am looking at finally finishing this July! Right now, I am in the final stretch of revisions on my thesis, and I will be defending in the first week of July. That's the last of a long list of checkboxes to get me to graduation, and then I will be looking for real adult jobs in Austin (cross your fingers for me, please).
In not-school life news, I moved out of my apartment at the end of May. That apartment was where I first learned how to live alone, first learned how to be a single adult (for a while), first conceived of and pursued Bundle, first lived with my significant other... It was an important apartment for me, so this is kind of a big life transition! But, I am very much looking forward to living with my love in Austin, a city we adore and where we both have a great network of close friends. So if any of you are in the Austin area, give me a shout! Something that's been on my long-term to-do list is to find time to either join or put together a local sip & stitch group, so I'd love to meet some like-minded fiber folks in the area!
Until I make that move to Austin, I'm living with my parents (did anyone else wince when I said that?) for the first time since I moved out for college. It's temporary, so I'm not too worried about it, but it definitely is weird. Anyone who's had to move in with their parents as an adult, drop a comment below and let me know how it went for you! Arrested development friends forever. <3
This is the first time I've had some finished objects to share in a while, so I'm pretty freakin' stoked to share these with you guys. Typically, I have finish line paralysis, where I get about 75% of the way through a project, and then I get distracted and move on to something else. I'm learning that that typically means I wasn't really in love with the project, so I've started ripping out projects that I don't feel excited to finish, and it's really cleared up a lot of making time for me! Over the last month or two, I wrapped up a couple of pieces from my 2018 Make Nine, and I'm feeling really proud of that fact.
First up is my Tegna (pattern by Caitlin Hunter). I am obsessed with this top, not gonna lie. The lace detail is gorgeous (even though I do not enjoy the process of lace knitting and super struggled with the k4togs using very-not-stretchy linen yarn, oy), and the fit is so flattering. This was also my first time knitting short rows, which weren't even a big deal, as it turns out. Even though the finished product is full of little mistakes and improvisations, and even though there are some silly stripes on the back and the sleeves are a different color from the body because I wasn't smart enough to alternate skeins throughout the project... I really love this top. I am still new to the land of garment knitting, and I must say, I'm now pretty addicted to the rockstar feeling I get walking around in something I made.
Next off the needles is my So Faded Sweater (pattern by Andrea Mowry), which obviously contains no fades. I started this pattern with some lovely speckled yarn a few months ago, and quickly came to the conclusion that speckles, for me, are much better used for accessories than garments. So, I frogged my earlier version, and decided to make a nice, lightweight cotton raglan using my new yarn obsession, Shibuiknits Fern, which I found at my LYS in Austin and fell head over heels for. I truly can't say enough nice things about this beautiful yarn. It's made of brushed 100% organic cotton, and it's so lovely to handle. Super soft, a little fuzzy, and a little stretchy – definitely my favorite of any cotton yarn I've used. The sweater is so soft and light, absolutely perfect for Texas heat. I just love it. This will definitely be my new go-to yarn for sweater knitting. Cotton is a summer yarn for most, but down in Texas, it's really more of a year-round fiber; wool is rarely appropriate.
Anyway, I altered the sweater sleeves a little bit so that they hit just below the elbows, and I'm really, really happy with the end result. It's lightweight and so soft! I'm hoping to get some better, non-selfie photos of both this and my Tegna soon so you can see them better, but for now, just take my word for it – they're both really cute!
Works in Progress
Though I am still basking in the high of my FOs, I did get started on a couple of garments that I think will be great summer projects. First up is the Lace Market Top by Marie Greene at Olive Knits. I'm going to be using Quince & Co's Sparrow linen yarn in the color Eclipse – a deep, moody grey/blue/purple that I love. I'm really excited to see how it works up. For some reason I've decided that I want this to be the top I wear to my thesis defense in July, so I am working hard to get it finished by the time I get back from Hawaii at the end of June. Fingers crossed!
Next up is my next planned cast-on, the Ivy Cardigan by The Blue Mouse. Emily is quickly becoming one of my most favorite knitwear designers, and she's made so many amazing strides since she started designing full-time last year! I am always impressed by the fun she has with unique textures. When I saw this perfectly summery cardigan pattern available for free on The Hook Nook Blog, I knew I had to make it. And it turned out to be the perfect stash-buster for me! I had so much We Are Knitters' The Cotton hanging out in my stash, so it was great to have the opportunity to make what I think will be a perfect summer-to-fall transition piece with it.
As always, I have a to-make list that's about a mile long. Highest on my priority list are end-of-summer knits, like the Moira Top by Miskunn, which I already know is destined to become a wardrobe staple. I'm also excited to try my hand at sock knitting using Knits Please's Vanilla Ankle Socks pattern. And of course, I can't wait to cast on my Find Your Fade Shawl later this summer, which I recently got all of my yarn for, and which I am super excited about. I mean, look at those colors! (Fun fact: This color palette subconsciously directed my recent tiny brand update – I added some peach and mustard color to the site and newsletters.) I think this will be an absolutely perfect fall accessory, which is good because I'm going to treat this as my no-hurry, between-projects project for the fall/winter. Also, I've decided that beautiful poppy-red Rock Lobster colorway by Hello Stella (third from the bottom) is my spirit skein. It's so gorgeous, I can't get over it!
And in other future making plans... I am starting to get design ideas. Eep! I don't want to make promises I can't keep – especially because I want to keep my focus for the year on learning new skills (read this blog post if you want to know more about why that is) – but I have a couple of plans for new garment designs. One of them will use the linen/silk Queensland Collection yarn pictured above – it was intended for my Lace Market top, but it didn't quite fit the design, so I have a really fun pullover planned for it instead. Probably the designs in my head will take me forever to figure out, but I am excited to have the beginnings of designing inspiration again! Be on the lookout for new patterns toward the end of summer – and click here to sign up for my pattern tester email list, if you're into that sort of thing.
Of course, long term, I am planning to tackle more projects from my #2018MakeNine list (which has changed twice since I initially made it, but we don't need to dwell on that). I also have a couple of exciting collaborations planned for the fall, and – on top of all of that – I'm hoping to revisit some forever projects that may one day become original designs! But my priority this year is all about building a handmade wardrobe, stash busting, and teaching myself new skills, so that is where I am trying to keep my focus.
Phew! If you made it through all of this, thank you! Future making updates won't be quite as long-winded as this one (probably), but I'm excited to have some stuff to share with you guys finally.
#2018MakeNine patterns and progress from top to bottom, left to right:
- Moira Top by Miskunn (yarn acquired)
- Tegna by Caitlin Hunter (finished!)
- Find Your Fade by Andrea Mowry (yarn acquired)
- Snowy Pines Shawl by Emily Nugen (yarn acquired)
- So Faded Sweater by Andrea Mowry (finished!)
- The Weekender by Andrea Mowry (yarn plans in the works)
- Lace Market by Marie Greene (in progress)
- Flat Iron Shawl by Toni Lipsey (yarn acquired)
- Ivy Cardigan by Emily Nugen (in progress)