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Gotta Catch 'Em All

I took a break from the regularly scheduled selfish crafting to do something I've always wanted to do - make a cosplay outfit!

My friend is going to an anime convention in a week or so, and he wanted to dress as Red, the Pokémon Trainer from the video games. This guy:

He had everything under control except the jacket. That's where I came in! I used the Fairfield Button Up Shirt from Thread Theory, extensively modified, of course. The fabric was just your basic poly/cotton twill, with liberal application of interfacing on the white areas for stability. I only have two pictures for now, but I will repost his final Con pics on instagram when they happen, if you're interested in seeing the whole costume!

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It's all lined (except in the sleeves), with a zipper and snap front and fake pockets. I went the extra mile and topstitched the front and bottom seams after putting the lining in, which makes it feel more like clothing, instead of a costume. I like that it's heavy and sturdy enough to act as a real jacket. The fit is bloody good, as well.

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With the release of Pokémon Go, it's all Pikachu, all the time around here. I had taken the joy of Rei having forgotten her obsession with Pokémon for granted, until last week. She's remembered it, big time. So here's a gif of the pumpkin I carved for her last Hallowe'en, because it was adorable. Go Pokémon, I guess.

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A Sweater for MEEEE!

Yes, I am that excited to be knitting sweaters for myself again.

I went through a long, slow year and a half of losing weight. It was an important process for my health, and an interesting social experiment (yes, people do treat fat people differently), and I am happy to be at the other end of it (I may do a post about it at some point, we'll see). I am enjoying one of the most exciting (to me) rewards of meeting my goal: building a high-quality wardrobe of hand made garments and second hand gems for a vastly different body. What started the year as a challenging goal has become a passion - can I really make or thrift the majority of my wardrobe? So far, yep. I can. And it's pretty awesome.

I needed a cropped cardigan, so I settled on Vianne, by Andi Satterlund. The link there is to her instagram, where she is consistently gorgeously stylish and my designer girl-crush.

I used Berocco Vintage DK, because I had a few skeins left from other projects in a nice grey. It's a bit splitty, and doesn't feel like 100% wool (you know, because it's not) but it's a serviceable, washable yarn and I think it's got pretty decent lace stitch definition.

The pattern was a joy to knit, as the lace was easily memorized, but not so simple as to be boring. I should have made one size up, but that's part of the challenge in learning to dress a different body. My preference in ease has changed, and I didn't know that until after making Vianne. Live and learn! It looks cute unbuttoned and can technically close, so I'm not bothered.

If I redo anything it will be to pull out the button band, re-knit it, line it with bias tape, and use snaps rather than button holes. I do love these little grey buttons though, so they would go right back on top of the snaps. My bind-off is currently a tad tight, so that would receive greater care as well.

All in all, I am very happy with this little sweater. I think it will be great for both spring and fall, as it's surprisingly warm. I've already started knitting the next cropped lace cardi. More on that another day!

The dress under the sweater, by the way, is my hot-off-the-serger Seamwork Adelaide. It's in a cotton/tencel denim that behaves like linen and shines like a silk blend. Needless to say, I'm pleased with that too.

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Blogging, and Why I Wasn't

Hi friends.

If you listen to my podcast or hang with me on social media, you already know why I haven't been a good blogger. Around the time I last published a post, my husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Shortly before he went into treatment, I went back to work full time. Basically our lives went to shit and everything changed. 

Bright side - I still have a job (and the money and wonderful, sanity-boosting adult conversation time that comes with working outside the home) and a husband (less one small piece). The cancer is over with, and, thanks to a round of chemo, is unlikely to rear its ugly head agin.

Less bright side - I am tired. I am tired like I have never been before. Going back to working full time, while still having to be a parent, is bloody difficult. Doing that while supporting a partner through surgery and chemo is hell. It hasn't really worn off yet, even though we have been back to "normal" life for a couple of months.

But here I am, on the other side. And he's here too. Our daughter just finished Kindergarten, our house is clean(ish), our life is in order, and my crafting mojo is coming back. We are okay.

We are okay. 

Sometimes I need to remind myself of that fact.

I'm going to be trying to throw up the occasional blog post, now and again. Bear with me! I've got some really lovely projects to share with you.

See you 'round the net!

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FO: Ridiculously Fancy Gloves

Hi there! So it turns out going back to work full time after 6 years as a stay-at-home parent is hard. I've barely had the mental energy to knit anything beyond garter stitch, which is why I am so glad I finished these a while back. I think they'd just break me now. Small mercies, right?

Over on the podcast, we recently wrapped up the Artalong; a recurring craft-along in which we use famous art pieces as inspiration for textile projects. My project for the CAL was a pair of Meisi gloves by Julia Mueller, inspired by Reims Cathedral. 

This pattern, you guys. Oh man. The gloves are knit in fingering weight yarn, with a twisted stitch pattern on the hand and up two fingers. They are complicated, and fiddly, and 100% worth all that effort. My only modification was to knit the turned hem on the cuff plain, rather than adding bobbles as written. With a glove as fancy as this, bobbles really seemed like gilding the lily.

I used Wollmeise Pure in Wasabi, on 2.25mm (US 1) needles. I knit the small size (stumpy little hands over here), which came out a little tight on my right hand but perfectly on my left. The right glove was knit during the ever stressful pre-Christmas season, which may have contributed to a tighter gauge. What can I say? I knit my feelings.

The yarn was a tad splitty for this needle/stitch pattern combination, but the stitch definition is spectacular. I don't know if I'd use it again for a project like this, but I'm beginning to feel the urge to make a Wollmeise sweater. The colours alone are worth the slightly lower elasticity and occasional split ply.

I'd love to have been able to photograph these for you in a more bilaterally symmetrical fashion, but until they invent a self-aiming and adjusting camera, we'll have to deal with one hand shots. The gloves look great on together, and I'm so glad I made them. With my extra yarn (well over 300 yards extra, Wollmeise skeins are rather large) I've moved on to working on a Sockhead Slouch Hat. I hope the colour will add visibility when I'm walking the dog after dark, and after all those little twisted stitches, I'm looking forward to some mind numbing stockinette.

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Spring 2016 Wardrobe Planning

One of my goals this year is to make or thrift 80% of my clothing. Between the time it takes to sew clothing and the quixotic experience of thrift shopping for specific items, I felt a heavy duty list was necessary. I'll need an entirely new wardrobe this spring (one of the downsides of weight loss, shit's expensive, yo), so I have my work cut out for me. I hope that going over my process here can help you plan your crafting with intention, too!

My spring colour cheat sheet: I replaced the dark purple on the bottom right with Navy, after the fact, for a more harmonious palette. 

My first step was to look at spring/summer 2016 runway trends and colour forecasts. If I need this many new items, I may as well embrace a few of-the-moment looks. I liked the lace, lingerie-as-daywear, stripes, and the emphasis on the shoulders, so I went with those and left the flamenco ruffles and full body sequins to my more flamboyant brothers and sisters. I cross referenced the Pantone colour forecast with the colours I isolated using the Colette Wardrobe Architect workshops last fall and chose 10 colours. I think this step is particularly important, as it's far too easy to end up with separates that don't match. 

Next, I visited my DIY Fashion Pinterest board, where I collect gorgeous indie patterns that work with my personal style and body shape. I gathered a few untried patterns to go alongside some old favourites, and pasted pictures from those patterns into a file I could reference on my phone. I also wrote down all the fabric and notion requirements. For each item, I noted fabric types and colours that would work with my vision and with various trends.

Then, notes in hand, I visited the fabric store. I followed my list as methodically as possible considering the excitement of all that fabric and a giant sale, and raided my stash afterwards for a few more things. I still have a few items to find (I need a bathing suit!) But I made an excellent start.

Look at all that pretty fabric! I plan on making the Aster shirt by Colette in the beige floral cotton and the solid navy crepe, in the short sleeve and the flutter sleeve versions respectively. The pretty navy rayon with the little floral print will be a Deer & Doe Centauree dress. The denim will be a Belladonne dress, also from Deer & Doe; I'm excited to try patterns from this new-to-me French designer. The black dot and coral flower prints will be Seamwork Savannah camisoles; my most-used pattern, by far. The lovely Cluny lace will be an accent on the flutter sleeved Aster and the Belladonne Dress.

In my stash I found fabric for two more Savannahs (a multicoloured floral and a pale green polkadot) and a Megan Neilsen Brumby skirt's worth of denim with multicoloured woven stripes. I have a list of items I want to keep an eye out for at thrift shops, as well.

I feel like this was a very productive and orderly start! Now I just have to plan time to sew everything... which is, of course, easier said than done. Good luck with your spring shopping/sewing/knitting/whatever plans!

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