Well I’m back from the New York Sheep and Wool Festival, aka Rhinebeck, and it was awesome!! …and crazy. I was warned that it would be overwhelming and that’s definitely the truth. It’s not necessarily overwhelming in a bad way, but even my friend Aegean commented on how many people were there, and she lives in NYC!
Well this is exciting, I’ll be at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival all weekend! If you’re in the Hudson Valley area, I highly suggest coming out for the event. This is my first time going, but I’ve been assured it’s THE place to be if you’re a fan of yarn. …or sheep. The fun starts on Friday evening where I’ll be hanging out with Lisa of Indie Untangled and Vicki of That Clever Clementine (that’s Tasha’s mom BTW and she’s amazing FYI).
I did a post like this back in July, and I think it’s nice to do a mini round-up of things that are inspiring me, or I’m really loving lately. So here are three photos I’ve taken sprinkled amongst other things of three…
(yarn: quince&co Lark in color Belize)
Three shows I’m watching – Outlander, Call The Midwife Season 3, and Sleepy Hollow Season 2
Three things I’m learning from – Gertie’s new book: Gertie Sews Vintage Casual, Bonnie Christine’s class: Design Surface Patterns From Scratch, and this great resource on pants fitting via Cation Designs.
(a page from Gertie’s new book)
What are some of your “three things” lately?
Well this project took me way longer than expected but I finished! This is the Jul Hat pattern by Wiksten and I’ve wanted to make it since last year. It’s a really easy knit with just enough texture to keep it interesting. The yarn I used is Cascade 220 Superwash Sport in color Peach (I think). I bought it at my local yarn shop and stripped the label clean off the ball the second I got it back home because I couldn’t wait to knit with it. I should have added all the info to my Ravelry stash before getting started but I didn’t. Oh well, next time!
I go through phases with liking the color pink. I don’t really wear that much of it, but I really like peachy/abalone colors, so I thought a hat would be an acceptable amount of pink for myself to wear. So far I’ve barely taken the thing off my head!
I’m totally guilty of being a perfectionist with my sewing so that made knitting really difficult for me when I was first learning. After Tasha kindly reminded me that I was being ridiculous (as she often does with my knitting) I agreed to stop being so uptight and let the small things go. As soon as I started doing that I’ve fallen in love with knitting more and more with each project. I think I only have 3 mistakes in my Jul and none of them are really obvious. I’m missing one purl bump at the beginning of one of the rounds, and there’s a spot where I knit four rounds between the purl rows instead of three like you’re supposed to. I also had a wonky decrease that gave me a hole at the crown, but I just sewed it closed when it was time to weave in the ends. No big deal.
I usually go for the vintage-y beret patterns but I really wanted to knit something quick and easy since my wrists have been bothering me. I thought this might be a good pattern to fit that bill and it was. I’m not 100% sold on the slouchy style for future knits yet but I do think the hat is super cute. I like it much better with long hair than I do my short hair so I suspect I’ll be wearing both pink hats and fake hair a lot this Fall.
Speaking of new things, I finally got prescription lenses put in my vintage frames! A few years ago I found them on Etsy and my friend surprised me for my birthday by getting them for me! They sat on a shelf in my sewing room for the longest time but now they will hardly ever leave my face. I’m so in love with the gold and the sparklies!
The shirt I did not make but you better believe I’m already on the hunt for the perfect plaid to make a bunch of cool weather button-ups. Fall weather is definitely my favorite. I love wearing hats and long sleeves year round so it’s nice to be able to go out in public dressed appropriately for the weather for a few months out of the year haha!
My cat Vandie wanted to join in on the fun. She’s 18 years old now and totally crazy (as you can see). She’s a rescued barn cat and she’s been with us since she was a tiny sickly kitten. She’s pretty special. …tight knit group in that barn if you know what I mean (*cough unclebrother coughcough*). She sleeps on my face every night and has serious proximity issues but I love her dearly. Even when I’m trying to sew and it’s nothing but “Vandie you can’t sleep on those, those are pins!!” all day long.
I can’t believe how spry she still is for 18 years old. My recently departed 19 year old (R.I.P. Tabby Mae) had arthritis and eventually bone cancer so the last few years of her life weren’t so exuberant. I think Vandie lost her mind ages ago but her stamina isn’t going anywhere anytime soon! She’s crazy.
I think Lucille pulls off the slouchy hat look much better than I do. Especially when the hat is pretty pink like her collar. Someone get this dog a modeling contract already. I mean honestly. Look. At. That. Face.
Well that’s it for this knit! I’ll be working on a few things for Rhinebeck next. Yep, I’ll be there and I’m SUPER excited about it.
All this week I’m away at summer camp (which is a super special place for me and I’ll be revealing more about that on Thursday) so my online presence will be super sparse. I’ll be back soon, though!
What are you knitting lately?
Well I’m a dummy and I stressed both of my wrists pretty badly this past week. Mostly from a combination of knitting with a cat on my arms, bowling, and typing a lot. …but mostly from the cat who has proximity issues. She sleeps on my head at night and I can’t tell her no because she’s like 89 in cat years.
I’m trying to keep the typing to a minimum this week (though typing with a brace is helping a bit) so today I’m sharing a series of “three things”, starting with three photos I’ve taken recently.
The first photo is of the knitting project that I got carried away with and knit too much at once with a ten pound cat sleeping across my arms after bowling the night before. Note to self: that’s a recipe for not being able to sleep because your wrists are sore. Duh, me. The second photo is of my 18 year old cat who likes to sleep across my arms, face, neck, back, head, legs, etc etc. But you look at that little cat face and tell me you wouldn’t let her sleep wherever she wanted, too lol!
This next photo is of some tiger lilies growing near my house. They were the inspiration for my new hair color.
Three sewing projects in my immediate queue: The 1940s Rodeo Gal Shirt, The Bronte Top, and Simplicity 3850 (because I’ve been wearing the same jeans for several weeks now and I need to start making more pants!).
Three TV shows I started watching: Witches of East End, Being Human (U.S.), and Hemlock Grove. …I’m on a Supernatural Netflix kick right now, what can I say.
What are some of your “three things” this week?
After I knit two successful hats with the help of online video courses (here and here), I decided to set out on my own and work through my first knitting project using only the pattern. Well, I had to utilize YouTube once to learn how to do a “M1″ but after that it was smooth sailing! I’ve well and fully caught “the knitting bug” and I don’t ever want to get better.
With each new thing I knit I realize that knitting is only 10% hobby and 90% magical string sorcery passed down through generations of wool wizards. It’s truly incredible to me that you can take two sticks and a piece of string and tangle them up in such a way that it makes a thing that you can wear. It’s fascinating! They should call them knitting wands, not needles.
Right now I’m really enjoying the magical string art that is Beret Knitting. As in, I only want to knit berets! Hats are perfect for me because I don’t have the largest attention span and I’m constantly wanting to start new projects (I’m like this with sewing too). I know with time I’ll learn to appreciate the temporal investment of knitting larger projects, but right now I’m in that super excited “MUST KNIT ALL THE THINGS!!!” phase. I can’t help it.
So this particular pattern is the Lichen Beret by Kristen Hanley Cardozo. I picked it because I really enjoyed learning lace techniques with my last project and wanted to build on that skill. The half lace, half regular stitch pattern makes this beret a very fast make and perfect for those needing to knit all the things like me. I made a noticeable mistake in the lace pattern in one spot but decided to leave it be as a reminder that I’m still learning. Speaking of reminders, I need to remember to pick much lighter yarn colors because I have small furry children who constantly need to be on me, hence the dog hairs that now live on my Lichen. Adds character, right?
I used a Knit Picks yarn that was given to me by a relative with an overflowing stash, and I think the yarn is pretty old since I can’t find the color on the site. It’s 100% Peruvian wool of the Andes in a worsted weight, and the color (though probably discontinued) is called Stream. I used one whole skein and a bit of a second to finish the decreases and make the pom pom. I couldn’t decide if I wanted a contrasting colored pom pom, or no pom pom at all so I just attached it with a safety pin and wear it as the mood suits.
I love berets because they have a recognizable vintage vibe (definitely gives my outfit more of a 30s look which I love) and are really fun to wet block. This was my first full-on wet blocked project (my other two were just quickly steamed into shape) and I think I picked the perfect plate for the task. So sunny and fun!
Well, I think that’s all I have to say about Lichen. Now for some silly photos…
I’m really shy in real life but a serious ham to those who know me well. Wil and I spend 70% percent of our photoshoot adventures just laughing at me being awkward and ridiculous. Most of the time it’s on purpose
I hope everyone is having a great Memorial Day! Today we honor the men and women who lost their lives while serving their country, and as a WWII reenactor, I respect this day very much.
We also tend to think of today as the first unofficial kick-off of summer so that’s pretty great too
Are you knitting any magical things lately?
p.s. Let’s be friends on Ravelry!
I have a new sewing AND a new knitting project to share today! The shirt you’ve seen already in a different fabric, it’s the Salme Kimono Top that I shared a tutorial for on Craftsy. There isn’t much else to report there except I adore these Kimono sleeve shirts and I hope you’re not too sick of them already because I plan to sew many more. This particular fabric (an Amy Butler voile) was given to me by Gina at The Little General many, many months ago. She originally sent it as a kit to make a circle scarf but I had enough to make a whole shirt instead!
This is only my second “real” knitting project and I’m very proud of it. It’s the All Day Beret by Debbie Stoller and I worked through the pattern with the help of Debbie’s video class on Creativebug. I’m having such great success knitting with video classes! I’m learning new techniques and learning how to read patterns as I go, so if you’re a beginner knitter (like me) who’s ready to step up your game, I highly recommend trying a video class. I’ve taken the All Day Beret class, and the Rosie Beret class (both on my own dime) and I’m thrilled with how my projects turned out! (Here’s my Rosie Beret if you missed that one.)
I used a local yarn by East Valley Alpacas. I don’t usually like knitting with really fluffy, fibrous yarns because the fluff gets in my nose and irritates my allergies but this yarn was so squishy and soft that I just couldn’t help it! If the color wasn’t enough to brighten my day, the fact that I directly supported a local business by purchasing this yarn really puts a smile on my face too.
The original pattern calls for a super wash worsted weight type yarn, but I thought this fluffy alpaca goodness would give the lace pattern an interesting texture. It’s a sport weight but the sizing/gauge worked out just fine for my little head.
Hat – All Day Beret pattern by Debbie Stoller
Shirt – Handmade by me (tutorial on Craftsy!)
Skirt – Antique, given to me by my gracious Aunt
Boots – Timberland Savin Hill Mid Lace
Hair Color – Manic Panic Vampire Red
photos by William Waldon
I’m calling this The Fortnight Beret instead of the All Day Beret because it took me a lot longer than just a day to make it (though Debbie assures me an experienced knitter could easily make it in one sitting), and I’ve been wearing it day after day after day. I should have been born in an era when women were expected to wear hats, and being seen without one was practically like stepping out in the nude. That’s kinda how I feel without a hat on actually. I can’t help it. I just like hats!
What are you working on lately? Any hat pattern recommendations for me? I’m on Ravelry!
p.s. in case you missed it, the Sew For Victory deadline has been extended until Monday the 5th! Get those photos added to the Flickr Pool!
I’m not even sure where to start here. This is my first “real” knitting project and I could not be more proud of it. There were a few different occasions last year where I almost gave up knitting for good, never to pick up the needles again. I was a beginner and it just wasn’t clicking as fast as I had hoped. I didn’t “get” knitting. It was frustrating, I didn’t find it very relaxing, and I was rather sad that I physically couldn’t make any of the awesome things I dreamed of making. I felt destined to knit plain scarves on straight needles for all eternity.
But I never gave up! My dreams of hand knit hats and sweaters kept me interested enough to just keep trying and keep trying. Finally I came to the point where I told myself I’m going to make some serious progress or I’m going to accept the fact that I’m just not a knitter. So I bought a Knit Lab Class on Craftsy and some quality yarn and decided it was do or die. After one mistake that ended in a frogging (that ended in me crying and skulking around for hours), and after one instance of messing up the cables and flying to DC just to have Tasha help me fix them (just kidding, that’s not the only reason I wanted to see her lol), I KNIT THIS HAT.
And you guys, I knit it pretty damn well. This was my first time ever using circular needles, my first time ever increasing or decreasing stitches, my first time ever using double pointed needles, and my first time ever attempting cables. It was mildly insane of me to attempt this beret while being such a complete and utter newbie, but working through an online class with videos and visual hand holding every step of the way made it possible for me to work through it. I highly recommend Circular Knit Lab – Hats Four Ways with Stefanie Japel if you’re someone like me who knows deep down in your soul you want to be a knitter, you just don’t know how yet. This class will teach you.
When I started the class I knew how to knit and purl, but I wasn’t even 100% sure which stitch was which. Sad, I know. I didn’t know how to “read” my knitting to tell whether or not you need to knit or purl next when doing ribbing. I was almost as clueless as you can possibly be, even though I had been “knitting” for a year. So you can see why something drastic needed to be done or I was bound to just throw in the towel. As you might guess, knitting is infinitely more fun when you can actually make things!
Speaking of making things, I whipped up a quick shirt to match my new beret and favorite pants. This is my version of the Portrait Blouse from Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing. The original pattern includes a side zipper and quite a bit of shaping, it’s a really beautiful silhouette actually, but I just don’t do blouses with zippers. I made a few changes to the pattern by taking away all the dart tucks and leaving just the bust darts. I also made the side contours just a tad less defined, made the neckline a tad less scoop-y, and stopped the side seam an inch short at the armpit because it was feeling much too tight originally. Oh, and I added two inches to the length so I had a little extra to tuck in. I made the size that was recommended and I can pull it over my head just fine!
Beret – Rosie by Stefanie Japel
Sweater – thredUP (Gap Brand)
Shirt – Portrait Blouse by Gertie
Pants – Modified Simplicity 3688
Shoes – Old Navy
Ghostly complexion c/o SPF 1,000 and wonky camera settings
Photos by William Waldon
While my heart will always be in the 1940s, I’m really loving the casual sportswear of the 30s lately. Berets, gigantic pants, sweater coats, skinny eyebrows …I want it all! Half the fun of exploring vintage clothing is finding out what works for you. As much as my heart goes all aflutter whenever I see a WWII era novelty print dress, I don’t really enjoy wearing dresses that much. I definitely plan to make a shirt and pants for Sew For Victory (more about that on Monday) because that’s what I feel most like “me” in on a daily basis, so that’s what I’m going to continue making. Oh, and berets. I’m going to knit soooo mannnnyyyyy berets.
So the moral of this story is: Never give up on your dreams (knitting or otherwise), wear whatever vintage styles feel most authentic to you (I actually wrote a few Craftsy posts on the subject), and don’t try to make Lucille wear hats because whole towns will drop dead from cuteness overload.
p.s. the yarn I used is Shepherd’s Wool by Stone Hedge Fiber Mill in the Lakeshore colorway, and I’ve worn the beret SO MUCH since I finished it that it’s already starting to pill and felt. I practically sleep in the thing.
Well I had grand plans for Tasha’s Knit For Victory challenge but alas, I did not follow through on those original plans. Turns out I need to step back and re-learn knitting from the bottom up. I know the stitches but I don’t know a lot of fundamental language, or how to read patterns, or many crucial knitty things that I should know. It’s a mess really.
But long story short… I made a small turban style headband to go with my Women’s Land Army uniform!!!
I’ll have plenty more W.L.A uniform photos to share soon (I’m at a WWII reenactment all this weekend) but for right now I need to share my headband since today is the Knit For Victory deadline!
I didn’t use a pattern exactly, but my turban style headband starts with the It’s A Cinch pattern as a base. I just added a little extra piece to the center for the turban knot. For the knot I cast on 10 stitches and knit until it was long enough to wrap around the cinched center, then I sewed it together at the back and tied it to the headband so it couldn’t twist around. I wish I could remember what yarn I used (it’s been in my stash a while) but I know I got it at Jo-Anns… I think it’s Lion’s Brand Wool-Ease. Susan Crawford just announced a brand new yarn color in her Excelana line called Land Army Green! How perfect would that have been?
The headband was a really quick little project that I enjoyed making, but I really want to take a class so I can learn how to read patterns and get better at knitting in general. One of these days I swear I’m going to knit my own sweaters. Well first I would just like to be able to knit a simple beret since I wear one all the time!
Check out all the other beautiful projects in the Knit For Victory Flickr pool and Ravelry Group. My meager headband is quite dwarfed in comparison to the incredible projects that were shared. I am in awe! But hey, I actually finished something so any small victory is still a victory
If you’re pining for some 1940s sewing, Sew For Victory will return in the Spring! I’m so excited!
I had secretly known about Tasha’s Knit For Victory challenge for ages since we’d been discussing the idea before Sew For Victory was even over. So you would think I’d know exactly what to make by this point! …but I don’t.
I haven’t knit anything in a while so to get warmed up I made a 1940s inspired turban. It’s just one long piece at this point, but once I sew it together it will be complete and blog ready. I didn’t follow a pattern but hopefully it will look something like this (the one with the big bow) when it’s ready to wear.
I also bought yarn to make the Miss Laverty Motoring Hood by Susan Crawford and I have every intention of making it because A.) it’s adorable, and B.) I know I would wear it all the time. I saw a very similar hooded scarf in an old Sears catalog that had wide stripes throughout, so now I’m considering trying to make one with maroon, navy, and white stripes. Wouldn’t that be cute? I’ve never made anything with stripes before though…
But! I finally buckled down and learned how to do ribbing because I’m considering a WWII service vest as an easier project that will help me reach my goal of knitting a sweater. I’m so much more timid about knitting than I am sewing and I just can’t bring myself to dive right into a full sweater yet. I need baby steps! I think a sweater vest would be a good practice.
Finally, I made a little swatch type thing (I made this a while back) to test out this awesome V for Victory pattern by the National WWII Museum. Can you see the V? (I’m using my phone for photos today so they’re not the greatest) If I’m really ambitious, I think I could work this little V design into the shoulder of my proposed sweater vest!
I suppose I need to be realistic with the time constraints since I am still a beginner and not the fastest knitter out there. I’d probably get more wear out of the hooded scarf since I’m constantly wearing hats to conceal my wild untamed hair, but I’d be awfully proud of the sweater vest if I can pull it off. It’s so hard to decide! If I was a speedy knitter I would definitely just make both, but I think I’m going to have to pick just one. I have a big WWII reenactment coming up at the end of January so I could definitely use some period-correct warmth near my face…
What’s it going to be: Sweater vest? Or motoring hood?
What are you making for the Knit For Victory challenge? Are you on Ravelry? Let’s be friends!