Black & White: Linden Loves + Making Magazine no. 6

Happy Friday! I’ve had an unusually social couple of weeks with more events on the horizon, which means I can really feel the tug of my inner introvert imploring me to hibernate and recharge. Getting out and about is good for me, I must say, and last week I made a couple of Grainline Studio Linden tops that happened to match one of the events I attended this past Monday: Making Magazine’s Black & White trunk show at Drygoods Design.

You know, as someone who spends a lot of time alone squirreled away working on projects that don’t see the light of day for months on end, I often forget how scintillating it is to connect with people in real life. Online communication has its place and is a wondrous thing, but nothing beats a face-to-face conversation. I’ve been working with Carrie, Ashley, Cecily, Whitney and Lily of Making for over a year now but this was the first time we met in the flesh (ew, why does that sound so gross?). It’s such an uplifting feeling to discover that someone’s online persona perfectly matches the in-person personality. They are down-to-earth, easy to talk to, brimming with creativity and ideas and are just all-around wonderful. I had such a lovely time with them all! If you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to listen to the first episode of the Making podcast to learn more about Carrie and Ashley. They are so, so inspiring! And I’ve been shy about mentioning it, but I was interviewed a while back as well. You can find that podcast episode here.

Anyway, so caught up was I in blathering away, I forgot to snap photos, but I was excited to see that my little contribution to the Black & White issue was included in the trunk show. I made these guys:

Photo by Carrie Bostick Hoge

They’re felted animal masks! And how stunning is this magazine cover by the awe-inducing Lisa Congdon??

I also had the privilege of meeting Sonya Phillips of 100 Acts of Sewing, who was teaching a class towards the end of the trunk show and that was a major treat too. She’s the real deal, folks. There’s an abundance of joy in her creations. Another all too brief encounter was with Kristin of Woolfolk Yarn. Oh my goodness, have you seen her website and Instagram feed? Pure gorgeousness. Kristin listened to my knitting woes and sagely assured me that I was ready, that I can absolutely knit. She has such a grounded, beautiful presence. My only wish was that I could have stayed longer to chat more with everyone.

The intrepid women of Making and Jen of Grainline Studio often collaborate together so it was doubly fitting that I wore a Linden top to the event. I chose the polka dot one, of course. Other than adding 2 inches to the bodice length, I didn’t make any changes to the pattern for this version. It’s a straight up size 6. I love the Linden so much. So quick, so easy, so versatile! I’ve made a gaggle of them in the past, and I’ve gotten over my former reluctance about sewing the same pattern over and over. There’s something very comforting about a familiar pattern.

For this black wool version, I tried out Jen’s tutorial for a flat bias neckline. However, I had already cut out the neckband as per pattern instructions, not on the bias — which I don’t think should have made too much of a difference for this stretchy wool knit — and for some reason, my neckline got very wavy. I don’t mind the waviness, though I’m sort of confused by this super awkward pose in the photo. What am I doing? I included it to remind myself that I’m ridiculous in so many ways. I made a few other changes to the pattern with this version: shaved off an inch for each sleeve and slimmed the bodice by about an inch as well. And I always add at least 2 inches to the bodice of any top pattern to account for my extra long torso. This wool feels luxurious, and I’m pretty sure I got it from Drygoods but for the life of me, I can’t remember where I got the polka dot sweater knit from. I adore this black top despite the less than perfect neckline (see the wavy bits below?). Nothin’ a good scarf can’t hide. That I will knit one day.

There’s not a lot to be said for the back view, but here it is:

As long as I’m mentioning patterns that I keep sewing repeatedly, I’m wearing my 5th pair of Ginger skinny jeans that I never blogged about. The thing with these jeans is that the denim doesn’t have a lot of stretch so they aren’t my most comfortable pair. They look pretty good though, don’t you think?

And there you have it. Lindens, crafty folks, connections, repetitive sewing.

Okay! I’m doing a school presentation this afternoon and then I’ll be participating in the Ballard Art Walk at Secret Garden Books on Saturday, November 10th, so come on by if you’ve got a few spare moments from 6-8pm. I’ll have some original illustrations from my books on display and will be doing some custom illustrations too!

I’m off to prepare for these two events and then I’ll be back to my solitary schedule for a few weeks. Ahhhhhh…that sounds nice.

I hope you have a delightful weekend in every way, my friends!

2018 Halloween: K the Kat

Happy Friday! Halloween twenty-eighteen was a good one. A very good one. K hosted a little pre-trick-or-treating gathering at our house for a group of her friends and much jollyness ensued.

See that lumpy tunic that human-as-cat K is wearing? I made that. Despite swearing up and down that I wasn’t going to make a Halloween costume this year, I found myself cutting out fabric two days before Hallow’s Eve.

The reason I was anti-handmade costume is because I finally learned from previous years that I always have deadlines during the last week of October and I can’t seem to get my act together enough to have my work done in time to stitch up a proper costume.

Feeling very comfortable with my decision, I asked K what she wanted to be for Halloween. “A cat,” came the obvious answer. So I went to Goodwill and found a cute headband with ears for a dollar and figured I was done. All she would need is a black top and leggings, I reasoned. K was aghast when she heard about my Halloween costume suggestion. “Will you at least buy me a costume that’s furry?”

So back to Goodwill I went, but came up empty. Then I went to Fred Meyer’s, the Target-like PNW store that’s a mecca for cheap costumes during this season. Again, nothing. I went to the local consignment store. Nada. There were a ton of unicorns and Marvel comic characters and a few princess outfits and capes, but nowhere could I find a furry, fluffy, feline-esque costume (I should note that I couldn’t find one in her size or one that wasn’t of the sexy variety).

I got home after my unsuccessful shopping attempts and there, in one of my fabric baskets nestled a decent amount of black and light grey minky fabric pieces looking oh-so-fluffy. I sighed.

It took me 2 1/2 hours to trace one of K’s tops, cut out the pieces, shape a tail, attach the light grey oval for the belly and sew the whole thing up. Turned out to be roughly the same amount of time I spent scouring the various stores. It was meant to be, because I had just enough of the the black fabric. Oh, the sleeves were a little too tight initially so I had to add some funky gussets with knit fabric, but that didn’t take too long and looked discreet (should have gotten a photo!).

K LOVED the costume and practically skipped to school in it (we took these photos the day before Halloween and for the actual day, I upgraded the felt nose and painted a nose and whiskers with make-up). Even though I was a Halloween grinch at first, I’m now so glad I took the time to make this wonky little costume. Both my sweet K’s agree:

And hey, I was able to meet my deadlines so it all worked out.

Do you feel it in the air too? The holiday season is looming large and the upcoming weeks are already starting to look full and festive. Speaking of festive, I’ll be at Drygoods Design on Monday, November 5th with the Making Magazine lovelies if you’re in the ‘hood! 5-7pm! With the extraordinary Sonya Phillips and Woolfolk Yarn!!

I’m off to go relax! Have a wonderful weekend, friends!!

Rumi + Toaster = Roaster Sweater Tunic Thingie

I did it! I figured out the tripod/wireless remote situation with my new camera and new photo wall! I just realized that all my shots are a little crooked but I’m out of practice with this whole selfie thing, so let’s take it slow and easy. The new camera was a reluctant purchase. I managed to somehow drop and break both my nice Canon and back-up Canon cameras a few months ago (sob!) and after lamenting the losses, I decided to take this opportunity to try out an Olympus mirrorless camera. I have to say, I’m lovin’ it because it’s so compact yet takes sharp, lovely photos.

Here I am, testing out the remote. I have about 7 jillion blurry photos of me from this single test.

Anyway! Like I’ve mentioned, I’ve been sewing.

This here is a hybrid of sorts of the Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater and the Cali Faye Rumi Pullover. The fabric is a polyester/cotton blend (well, I’m pretty sure it’s polyester/cotton, but don’t quote me on it) that I purchased years and years ago. I bought this with a vision of a roomy, cozy, cocoon-y turtleneck sweater and spent eons searching for a pattern with no luck. I was on the verge of just self-drafting a pattern when I remembered how much I love wearing my Rumi Pullover. The Rumi is very roomy (maybe that’s why it’s named that way?). But it is not a turtleneck. Luckily, I had stored the Toaster Sweater pattern with the Rumi pattern, so I figured it was kismet and I could just double the height of the neck piece and call it a day. It worked!

The other modification I made was to slim down the silhouette of the bodice a touch and tapered the hem for a subtle cocoon shape. I also added 5” to the length and reduced the front neckline about an inch to accommodate the turtleneck piece.

I loooooooooooooove it. It’s exactly what I had in mind. I could eat buckets of roasted chestnuts and drink gallons of hot cocoa and no one will ever notice my expanding waist. My kind of sweater! I’m calling it my Roaster sweater. Or maybe Tumi is better?  I’ve paired it with my favorite Ginger Skinny Jeans by Closet Case Patterns; this pair is in constant rotation and they’re holding up spectacularly.

There’s a lot of grey going on here, including my hair. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that I stopped coloring my hair about a year ago. It was — much to my utter shock — one of the most life-altering experiences I’ve had. I was SO self-conscious, it was nuts-o. As my roots grew out, I felt increasingly insecure and couldn’t figure out why I was making such a big deal about it. It was adolescence all over again! It took a good six months for me to get accustomed to the grey. I know that it’s a little tricky to see all of my silvery strands in these photos, but trust me, they’re abundant. The funny thing is, I love the grey/silver now. It is, after all, my favorite color and the way my hair sparkles and shimmers in the light is pretty awesome. And just plain pretty, I believe. The other day I saw a stunningly beautiful woman with silver locks and I was so inspired. If I can look half as chic as she did when I go fully grey, I’d be golden…or, uh, silver in this case. Though I miss my wonderful hair stylist who not only made me (artificially) feel youthful but also patiently listened to my dronings-on, the upsides of going naturally grey are innumerable. I don’t have to deal with stained pillowcases, I’m not shelling out $$$, I’ve reclaimed the time spent sitting in the salon chair, etc. etc. These days I can’t imagine going back to coloring my hair.

Oh, I’ve missed blogging. I derive so much pleasure from just sharing my thoughts and things I’m working on or playing/experimenting with in this random, carefree way. It feels so good to be typing this little post up. There are many, many exciting things happening behind the scenes, which is a major part of why I’ve had to put some of my favorite pastimes on the back burner. Maybe I’m being too optimistic and ambitious, but after pondering various options, I think I’ve come up with a fun way to incorporate everything I want to do. I have some news and more sewing that I’ll share over the next few weeks along with a personal project that’s been brewing in my mind for…oh…years.

Alright my friends, it’s time for me to get more sewing done. I hope you have a cozy, Roaster sweater-y type of weekend (if you’re in a cooler climate range, that is) and just an all-round good time!

 

 

 

 

Espadrilles Kit by A Happy Stitch

Hello, my friends! Amid the swirl of book launch prep, I also made shoes. SHOES.

Espadrilles, to be exact. The Espadrilles Kit from A Happy Stitch, to be even more exact.

They look legit, right? When my lovely friend Melissa of A Happy Stitch contacted me to see if I’d like to try my hand at shoe-making, I was all in.

I was actually a little nervous. There were some super long and curvy needles involved and the very helpful and thorough kit included “needle pullers” (plastic thimble looking things) which intimidated me. I ended up not using them, which I regret because my fingers hurt a bit afterwards.

Making espadrilles, I discovered, is FUN. And way easier than I expected. I knew that I would need to practice a bit to get the hang of things and asked if it would be okay if I made a pair for both me and K. Melissa quickly shipped me all the supplies needed for two pairs.

I would estimate that each pair took me about two hours to make, give or take a few minutes. Sewing up the fabric pieces with the sewing machine is a breeze; after all, there are only two pattern pieces. Even with the interfacing and lining pieces added on, the machine sewing part took just a few short minutes. The most challenging part was the blanket stitching of the pieces to the soles. And this is mostly because I am the world’s slowest hand-stitcher. I started with the black pair (for me), and after a few false starts, I got into a nice stitching rhythm. The instructions are excellent and Melissa went above and beyond with the packaging. I didn’t take beauty shots of the parcel, but you can see the loveliness here. It literally comes with everything you need except a sewing machine (and the thread for the sewing machine, but hey).

I found it tricky to get the fit right, but that might be just me. I knew that the sizing ran big, but I wasn’t sure how deep (wide?) to make my blanket stitches. I guesstimated and the result was a rather loose-fitting pair. I normally wear a size 7, but the espadrilles I completed fit more like a 7.5. On the flip side, I didn’t want the teen size 4 to be too big for K, so I enlarged my blanket stitches yet her feet barely fit. Then again, she’s going through a crazy growth spurt so I probably needed to reduce the blanket stitching dramatically from the get-go to give her more room. Side note: the teen size 4 was about 3/4″ shorter than the women’s size 7, but a lot narrower.

Although I haven’t yet, I plan on re-doing the stitches so that our espadrilles slip on and stay on effortlessly. They look great, though, and I feel irrepressibly proud to have made SHOES! K loves them and is so sad that she’ll only be able to wear them for a nanosecond before she grows out of them. Well, I’ll just have to make her another pair…maybe wedges, next time?

Thank you, Melissa, for letting me try out your beautiful kit! I received the materials for free, but all of my opinions are fully my own. I can’t recommend this kit enough!!! ESPADRILLES! Who woulda thunk they could be DIY’d?

Random kitty photo, just because she’s so adorable. Sorry.

 

P.S. All those glistening spots you see on the wood floor? M had just taken a shower and had left wet footprints all over the place. Keepin’ it real.

Happy Friday + Making LINES

Photo by Carrie Hoge

Happy Friday! Have you seen the latest Making issue, LINES? What a beaut! Carrie and team continue to slam dunk with gorgeous content, and I’m so honored that I was a contributor! Many things have changed in my life these last five years, and one of the most glorious changes is that I now get to collaborate and work with the loveliest, most amazing people all the time. I’m sad to say that wasn’t usually the case for the 25+ jobs I’ve had in the past, though of course there were always a gem or two.

Today I thought I’d do a sort of behind-the-scenes of my projects in LINES, since that’s always fun for me.

Photo by Carrie Hoge

Project one was the nesting fabric buckets. I realize I’m not scoring any points for originality here, though I did add flourish on the canvas fabric with fabric paint, which turned out to not only be enjoyable, but I was also very happy with the results. Quick and easy, that’s how I roll.

Here’s another pretty outtake of the buckets that Carrie shot:

Photo by Carrie Hoge

I can’t remember exactly whether I offered or if Carrie asked me if I wanted to contribute to the kids’ section as well. At any rate, I was planning on creating an animal nesting version and made these samples:

Then I found out that there was a distinct and totally coincidental cat theme going on in the kids’ section so Carrie wondered if I would be able to make a cat version. But of course!

Photo by Carrie Hoge

So cute, right?? As I’m prone to doing, I squealed with delight when I finished the kitty basket.

Plus, it worked out well because the bear and owl buckets ended up as gifts for friends and K fell in love with the bunny.

What you may or may not have noticed if you’ve browsed through the issue is that I did a number of illustrations, which was a dream assignment. I’ve always wanted to have my illustrations in a beautiful print magazine, and I can now check that off my bucket list. Thank you, Carrie!

The middle illustration was based on the supremely adorable cat made by Erika Barratt (her instagram AND Making‘s feed are must-sees — so much inspiration!).

The entire issue is a visual feast full of thoughtful projects and stories. I hope you check it out!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

I’m out of practice
Haven’t created haikus
in a long, long while

P.S. Furoku members! The next edition is scheduled to go out tonight…I think. I hope. Probably!