2017: Goals

Today I’m here to talk about my making goals for the coming year, 2017. I’m ambitious, and don’t expect to get to all of it, but I like to have a pool to choose from as I go along so I have some premeditated self-guidance.


I’ve been trying to refine my tastes and style a little. Instead of picking projects that I find novel (a rookie mistake I used to frequently make), I’m trying to pick things I’ll actually enjoy wearing. I’m sure I’m allowed some frivolity in my life, but most of my knitting should be geared toward practicality. I want to love my clothes, and I don’t want to spend time, money and effort making things that don’t make my heart sing. What I think I need to add to my wardrobe, knit-wise, this year:

  • Marinière pullover; the classic nautical sweater, with blue and white stripes, and a boatneck. Mine will be fitted with 3/4 sleeves, and I’m seriously eyeing Imperial Yarn’s Tracie Too (bottom right) as a candidate.
  • Black or charcoal pullover; I need a basic dark pullover with long sleeves and a v-neck, I think.
  • Patterned circular yoke pullover; I’m eyeing some Icelandic designs, though I’m getting pulled in very swiftly by Kate Davies’ Puffin Sweater, with its zigzag circular mantle, though I’d definitely do it in greyscale instead. I was already eyeing Snaeldan Nappað tógv 2tr (2-ply) for this, and noticed that this project by Ravelry’s A-frb already existed (top centre), and is the spitting image of what I want, even in the same yarn.
  • A pair of mittens! I’m leaning toward Pia Kammeborn’s Shine mittens (top left) in the original yellow and white. Usually I don’t go in for matching the sample, but the look of them makes me happy, and isn’t that the point?
  • I want to try socks. I have sock yarn, and will try in the summer, when small wool projects make more sense than large ones on your lap in the heat. This actually is a surprise for me, because until recently I was open about my feelings re: knitting my own socks. (“I couldn’t bear to wear my knitting on my feet, where it will wear through so quickly!”). I took a course on mending at Knit Fit last month, and I’m more confident that I can make and maintain knits that take a lot of wear.
  • I also have definite plans to skewer some things I have had on the back-burner, but certainly also have the materials for. Specifically, two Brooklyn Tweed patterns (also pullovers — hi, I’m Aja, and I love pullovers):
    • Stasis, by Leila Raabe (bottom left), done in Tracie Too (grey, with black contrast, as in the picture, actually).
    • League, by Veronik Avery (top right), done in Brooklyn Tweed’s Loft, as called for, but in wholly different colours (I’ll get to that another post).


Less concrete feelings on sewing in 2017. I’m thinking of getting a new sewing machine (have been for some time), but I’m hesitant because it’s a lot of money and I’ve been so frustrated with sewing recently.  I have some basic feelings:

  • I want to make my yellow dress, finally.
  • I want to try to make a few tops for the summer.
  • I want to attempt a black gauze skirt.
  • I want to make a bunch of project bags so I can neatly pack away my knitting shenanigans at the end of the day, and not look at its sprawling mass around the house.
  • I want to attempt quilting at some point. Maybe 2017 will be it?

Finishing Old Projects

In no particular order (and what I think is stymieing me on these):

  • Dedicated Follower of Fashion (Deco, by Kate Davies): The sleeves scare me a little, because it’s hard to measure the gauge and I’m afraid I’ll have to reknit them a bunch.
  • Tamarack Jacket, by Grainline Studio: I strained my eyes embroidering this sucker, and have been afraid to go back, but I will when the light gets better in the spring!
  • Migration Pullover, part of the 2016 Fringe and Friends KAL: Having to restart this was a bit frustrating, but ultimately the right choice.
  • Faroese Pullover: A product of maker’s ennui; it’s a bit fiddly around the sleeve increases but I know I’ll like the product, so I just need to push through another arm, and the top raglan.
  • Ballard Bound (Ebba, by Dianna Walla): The blue was coming off on my hands and I know it’s going to bleed everywhere, and… maybe I’ll frog and use different yarn. I thought about buying some Chickadee, as is called for, but I’ve heard terrible things about the pilling and I don’t want to do all that work for pills.
  • Travel Cardigan, Victoria, BC: Endless sea of stockinette mixed with the zero memory of mohair silk thread. Pretty, but why do I do this to myself?


I plan on being careful with my current unfinished projects in the coming year. I don’t expect the world of myself — that I’ll finish all three large projects that are as yet unfinished in January, or whatever. I do, however, want to interchange new projects and old projects to breathe new life into them all. I hate it when making feels like a chore, and so I will start a new project and finish that, then finish an old one, back and forth, etc. etc. until I’m in a place where I don’t have a ball and chain in yarn or fabric form around my ankle. Making is supposed to be fun, after all!


Autumn Making: Part One

I have been job-hunting for about a week, and this past weekend was a whirlwind punctuated, this morning, by a bit of an ague (i.e. a tiny, fatiguing, but annoying cold). Please pardon the silence!

What have I been up to? Well! Let me regale you with an increasingly autumnal tale.


Tom has had the idea in his head for a few months that, when the time came, we would drive down to his parents’ house in Enumclaw and pick their apples to make apple cidre.* I thought he meant apple cidre, the delicious if cloudy juice drink. He thought he meant hard cidre. We arrive now at an impasse: while I like hard cidre, I’ve yet to have a homemade variant I’ve really enjoyed, and so much prefer to have the soft stuff. He, on the other hand, is really very curious about creating alcohol from apples. He has experience in brewing, don’t you know.


We went down to Enumclaw last Friday when Tom got off work, and picked about 250 pounds of apples off two trees! This was a serious bumper year for apples in Washington State. We also got about 60 pounds from Tom’s friend Ben, who was planning on helping us when it came time to press (it was his uncle’s press, after all).

For two days, our house smelled almost unbearably of apples, and I was really concerned the acetylene off-gassing into the air was going to turn the rest of our food! Obviously, paranoid.

Sunday rolled around, and while I made an apple Dutch Baby to split with Tom for breakfast, he got busy preparing the Pressing Stage (or, our tiny porch, depending on how romantic you’re feeling).



I kept peeking while cooking to see what he was up to. Sanitizing equipment and apple-prepping, it seems. It seemed to me to be such a tiny press in comparison to the larger mostly homemade one my uncle and I have used every autumn for the past several years. I was skeptical, I’ll admit. I knew it was going to take a long time to get through these apples (and it did).

Hard at work grading apples, and cutting out the bad parts.
Some of Ben’s Honeycrisps were a little wormy, so we had to get creative with the knives. Minimal wasting, here!

It was about then that my camera got lost in the absolute chaos of our tiny cottage. I had to roll the rug up because men were in and out with apple-juice covered shoes on, simmering juice, decanting and occasionally spilling it all over the porch. The wasps weren’t too bad, but could’ve been better. We had the hose at the ready to water down the sticky mess every once in a while.

Cidremaking isn’t glamorous, anyway. I got apple juice in my eyes while we ground it in to pommace in the little hopper sort of visible in the press pictures (attached to the back), and spent most of the day cleaning up behind the guys, and making a really delightful stuffed pumpkin for dinner (of course, six people showed up as I pulled it out the oven…). We low-temperature pasteurized the cidre to make sure nobody gets sick, and then threw in some champagne yeast (though you could use any, this is a personal preference).

Ultimately, this resulted in these carboys filled with apple juice and yeast!

The back one is burbling away merrily, whilst the front one hasn’t decided to start fermenting properly yet. I hope that one works out. Also, it’s really difficult to get a good photo in this kind of semi-darkness. Yeast needs darkness to do its job, so I’d prefer to have potato quality pictures and good yeast activity, than good photos and bad yeast outcome! Ah well!

I did get lucky and go out with Cory to Pacific Fabrics for a bit, amongst other places. I picked up this cute dressmaking book, too (for about half the price of anywhere else I’d seen it, and it’s filled with useful little dressmaking tricks)! It has great little patterns in it that I’m super excited to get making this fall and winter!

*Hello, I’m a Canadian and I spell it with an -re!




Planning Stage: A Handmade Autumn

It’s Labour Day, and Seattle is grey and a bit chilly. The weather’s weird here this time of year; the early spring flowers frequently get confused and rebloom. I saw crocuses on our walk today. What?

Fresh with some pocket money from dog-sitting (I had no idea dog-sitting was lucrative?), I’m naturally planning on how to blow all of it (or at least much of it?) on some fun new handmade clothes for the fall and winter!

Sewing Plans

I’ve got a few plans for the next month for my handmade wardrobe. It’s getting cooler here, but not so much so that I can’t wear skirts and dresses. I am also considering a more casual jacket that I can just throw on and trundle about in.


I went in to District Fabric in Fremont on Saturday, when it was still sunny and warm. Tom was in tow, and the shop was a bit steamy, so we left before I bought anything as we were too uncomfortable for me to settle on anything. However, with their 3rd anniversary sale on, I knew that I’d want to come back. I texted Cory to see if I could similarly enable her (Me: “At the risk of being a horrible enabler…[sale at District]”, her: “Hehe! What are you doing in half an hour?”), and we struck off yesterday around lunch time for a quick dip into fabric hedonism!

I scored a Colette Ginger Skirt pattern; absolutely stunning (!), beautiful (!!), perfect (!!!) Italian brushed wool in a navy blue check with amazing depth (enough for the Ginger; the picture with the pattern is closest in colour to actuality, but the complexity of the check is obvious in the other photo); and some cotton/spandex dark grey heathered jersey knit for another Moneta (I’m planning an arsenal!). District Fabric was feeling particularly generous on their birthday, so as a part of the purchase, I was given a really cute Ikat napkin set. I chose this green and white ikat print, surprising even myself, as I almost defaulted to my usual black and white preference. I feel like I came out with what I wanted, though of course, I wish I could’ve come home with All the Wool, Shirtings and Silks. Oh my.

Today, I’m ordering up some really lovely, textured linen and chambray for a Tamarack jacket. I’m really excited about this quilted jacket, but I don’t want to make it as roomy as it calls for because it’ll look like a tent on me. Instead, I might size down. Toile will tell. Anyone have any experience with this pattern and have thoughts? I have been searching online for other’s thoughts, but nothing’s come up that’s too tangible.

Here’s what I’m thinking (photos linked directly from Colette and Grainline Studio websites):

Moneta X 2 (yellow, and grey) by Colette Patterns
Ginger (blue check wool) by Colette Patterns
Tamarack jacket (black/silver linen) by Grainline Studio
Sorbetto (stash buster) by Colette Patterns


To recap without pictures:

  1. Moneta X 2 (yellow and grey) by Colette Patterns.
  2. Ginger skirt (blue check) by Colette Patterns.
  3. Tamarack jacket (I’m thinking black/silver linen) by Grainline Studio.
  4. Sorbetto (a few in some fabric remnants I have kicking around, to wear with cardigans) by Colette Patterns. Did I mention it’s free? Yay!

Are you excited? I’m excited. Yes, it’s Colette-heavy, but that’s fine with me this season. I’m going to post pictures of my fabric choices when I can sometime this or next week. Depends on when the rest of the fabric comes in.


I’ll have this #fringeandfriendskal2016 pullover done in a few weeks, if I keep picking away at it like I’ve been doing. I try not to have too many projects on the go at once, thought that’s been a problem the last year. Consequently, I’m going to try to finish up projects I’ve had in hibernation for a bit.

  1. Deco. I am almost done the entire body, but need to finish a bit of the front first.
  2. Faroese pullover. I’ve had this in my bag for ages, and I only have to finish an arm for it to be complete. It’s on!
  3. Ebba. I need to decide whether or not this is going to bleed on me, and if I decide it will, I’ll frog it. I love it, but the dark blue yarn is a serious bleeder.
  4. I’m sure there’s at least one more I’ve forgotten.


It’s going to be a busy autumn!

A Moneta Dress, or Adventures in Jersey Knits

A mustardy rayon spandex blend I got at District Fabrics, in Fremont.

I haven’t sewn in a good long while. This is mostly because my sewing machine was in Ontario, while I’ve been in Washington state! My personal effects arrived about two months ago, and I’m only just getting settled enough to start sewing again.

I’m not a highly skilled seamstress. I can do basic things, and even try slightly more advanced techniques, but I haven’t taken lessons, or anything. I try to find good tutorials online, and I have a few books. I try very hard, even so. I even sewed my own wedding dress (horrible wedding pictures, but the dress turned out ok.)

I’ll be sewing version 3 of the Moneta dress.

Today, I’m working on the Moneta dress, by Colette Patterns. Everyone under the sun who knits from indie patterns seems to have done this one. Here’s another, I guess? I’ve used several Colette patterns before, and they usually fit well, but never worked with jersey knit. Maybe it’s my naivety, or my general luck with sewing purportedly difficult patterns or fabrics, but I’m not too nervous. I’ve picked up some tracing paper in a roll, and I have almost all of my necessaries (acquiring a walking foot for my Janome mechanical machine tomorrow, for good measure — it frequently eats lighter fabrics if I’m not careful).

I’ve chosen this mustardy yellow, a colour usually outside my colour range and roundhouse. I’m excited because it’s so autumnal! Yes, it’s a bit of a blatant rip-off of the Moneta 3/4 sleeve sample on their site, but… I don’t care! I foresee me making a lot of these dresses for ease of wear this fall and winter. Why not start brighter than normal?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI even managed to find thread to match,despite the abysmal light in the store making my swatch look, well, puke green. Yay! I’m usually a Gütermann girl, but this was the only thread that matched well. Coates, don’t fail me now. I also took this opportunity to pick up a few tools I don’t have. Lefty scissors were on sale, which was very exciting. I won’t get hand fatigue as easily if I use correctly handed scissors. I also picked up ballpoint needles, a hem gauge, clear elastic and ballpoint pins. I still need that walking foot, and a ballpoint twin needle. Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy, so I’ll trace it all out and see how I feel!