Thursday, December 21, 2017

Completed: Buffalo Plaid Washi

It happened. I finished a garment that suits my style, fits perfectly, and is flawlessly (to me) constructed.

It's a unicorn.

And now there's no need to sew anything else ever.

Just kidding. Now I'll sew a hundred more Washis! I've sewn several Washis (Made by Rae) before, which you can see here, here, and here. The two versions I made for myself just didn't fit. There was a weird gape in the front neckline, the darts didn't hit right, and the top was too small. So I decided to tackle it again this fall.

I adjusted the darts big-time - moved them, made them smaller, and shortened them. Then I eliminated the gap at the neckline, adjusted the curve of the armhole to accommodate my slumped shoulders, and changed the angle of the shoulder seam.

All these small adjustments worked! I also sized up to a Medium - because I am a medium up top - and the final result is a perfect fit!

Matching the plaids was tedious, but I focused on the front matching and the bottom sides -- they did, but it took every bit of my fabric.

The best part is that the black and white will match everything and can be dressed up (with tights and boots) or down (with Keds).  And pockets! Somehow I didn't get a photo, but it has pockets!!

Here are the details!
Pattern: Made by Rae Washi dress
Fabric: Kaufman 1" Carolina Gingham from
Size: Medium
Changes: Alterations detailed above
Verdict: After 10+ years of sewing, I finally have a garment that checks every single box. Woohoo!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Plaid & Petals - PR&P Week 2

I'm so excited to be at it again for Project Run & Play! Thank you SO MUCH for your support and encouragement!

This week's challenge was "Buffalo Guys or Gals," and coincidentally, I'd ordered myself a big chunk of black and white buffalo plaid just the week before learning about the themes! Eliza LOVED my fabric, but at first I wanted to use a pretty pastel for her plaid.

Then I remembered a) Eliza loves black, white, and gray and b) black and white is a neutral, so c) I can still use pastels for the accent colors!

So, I started with the black and white and just started throwing fabric at it. My mom and sister kept getting texts asking, "What about this?" They nixed everything until I shot them a picture of the Les Fleurs combo. We all agreed this was it. I'd picked up the coral knit originally to use in the first week's challenge, but it worked perfectly with this combo. I'd already used this same print of Les Fleurs and had some leftover from one of Eliza's spring dress, so it only took a bit more to make a Shandiin by LouBee Clothing.

I added little bow ties on the side and an elastic waist, but kept the Shandiin mostly intact and used my design chops on the ballet sweater. It has a crossover front, finished slit in one side seam to thread the tie through, and a small belt loop on the other side seam to keep the belt in place. It wraps around and ties.

For the jeans, I started with the Juniper Jeggins from Peekaboo Patterns and made them more jeans like by sizing up and using a mid-weight denim. I also added a waistband and some embroidery. I started on the embroidery WEEKS ago and went through THREE pockets. My embroidery skills can definitely use work, but hey. I tried.

That's it! I'm really pleased that this outfit fits our aesthetic - it's just her style. Next week's look was actually the very first one I planned -- it's been in my head the longest and I'm most excited about it, so please go vote at the Project Run & Play site so I can stick around and show you! Thank you so much!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Buttons in the Urban Wild - PR&P Week One

Hello, everyone! I'm so excited to share my first submission for Project Run & Play!

Eliza requested blue, black, white, and gray, and the challenge called for buttons -- so I made sure to check off all boxes just in case this is the only week I'm here.

First, the trench. I knew from the beginning I'd be sewing a trench coat in this style at some point in the competition. I sewed one back in 2013 for Flip this Pattern, and Eliza wore the snot out of it. Why reinvent the wheel? Only I didn't keep my pattern pieces from that project, so I had to reinvent the wheel. 

It started with the Sunki Dress pattern by Figgy's. I omitted the zipper in the back and modified the front, rounded the neckline and changed the shoulders, and added a collar. I added facings to the front as well as belt loops and a tie. I kept my two favorite design elements: the side panel/pockets and the pleated sleeves. (Thanks to Cottage Mama for reminding me how to tie a bow.)

After a couple of muslin versions, I was ready for the real deal. The corduroy fabric jumped out at me as something Eliza would LOVE (Robert Kaufman) and the black was leftover from my bridesmaid's dress. All buttons, fabric, and trim came from Let's Sew in Evansville unless otherwise noted.

I do not like button holes, so I sewed the buttons on and put sew-on snaps on the back of the fabric to close it. It reduces the chance for error, and it's easier for Eliza to open and close. The neckline and facings are trimmed with bias tape.

Also, ever since I dropped my camera I can't get it to focus properly. C'est la vie.

The t-shirt is based on a shirt Eliza had a few years ago and adored. It was a 2T dress, and I kid you not - the child wore it until she was 5. My version is a little different than the original, but the angled neckline with buttons and gathered body are the same. I added trim for a pop of color and to tie it together with the coat and skirt. The buttons are so pretty. There's a thread chain loop to close - no button holes woohoo!

Finally, the skirt. I used the Ayashe pattern from Figgy's, which I've sewn before and adore. I lost the instructions for the pattern and had to wing it, but the only real design change I made was to add shorts underneath. But look! Button holes. Those suckers took me a full 1.5 hours.

While we're talking time, this whole ensemble took me 20+ hours to complete. Wanna know how I know? I watched all 10 episodes of The Vietnam War (AHmazing documentary). Each episode is about 2 hours.

The photo location was perfect. It's a pedestrian overpass by a high school near us. I promise I didn't ask people to come and graffiti in raspberry and turquoise spray paint, but it does coordinate nicely.

I knitted the hat while we were on vacation. It's the Barley Hat (a free pattern) by Tin Can Knits and the yarn is some soft chenille stuff from JoAnn. 

That's it! I'll leave you with a photo dump and a plea to please vote over at Project Run & Play!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Boston Marathon 2017

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It's not the course that makes the Boston Marathon special. Although if it were an overcast day, about 45 degrees, with a stiff tailwind it would be the fastest course possible. But Patriot's Day rarely has that forecast in Boston. • • It's not the history. Although running with greats like Katherine Switzer, Amby Burfoot, Meb, and team Hoyt was a huge honor, and the prestige of the Boston Marathon is unparalleled, it wasn't what will bring me back. • • It's not running with a bunch of fast people. Although even in the hardest moments when I felt like we were crawling, we were actually keeping an 8:00ish pace, which is still decently fast, but that's not the best part. • • It's Boston. See this photo? There are people hanging out of a window to watch the finish line. For finishes of regular people like me. People were lined up along the 26.2 mile course for HOURS. Cheering constantly. They weren't out there to see their cousin, scanning the crowds of runners for a lone person to cheer for. They were cheering for ME and HER and HIM --Random strangers whom they'd never met and they just kept cheering. There were crowds three deep for the last few miles. I smiled and laughed so much through Wellesley my cheeks and abs hurt. I took water and wet towels from spectators and thanked a man who had his water hose out front for us to run through. There were elderly people in lawn chairs and babies - TONS of babies and kids - slapping high fives as we passed. Running through each town I thought, "There's no way it'll be like this the whole race" but it WAS. The people of Boston OWN this race - it's THEIRS and they do it RIGHT. Drivers yield to pedestrians, even when we jaywalk while sightseeing in the days leading up to the race. Drug store cashiers are over-the-top helpful, and our hotel had employees lined up with streamers and cow bells cheering for us as we arrived post-race. • • That's just the tip of the iceberg. The Boston Marathon is awesome because of the people of Boston and the towns along the course. They carry the runners through, and even though we were probably quieter than usual Monday, I can guarantee we are all grateful. • • Boston, I 💙💛 you.• •

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Race Recap: I trained to run a 7:30 pace, but planned to start at 7:45 and cut down every five miles based on feel. Even as the temps for the forecast crept up, my plan stayed the same. As per my custom, 🙄I got to the start line just a few minutes before the gun went off for our wave and ended up at the back of corral 1. That resulted in the first lucky break: I started slower than planned. From the start the heat was a factor, and I made a decision to drink water at every single stop. (2nd lucky break) As the 5 miles clicked away, I stuck to the plan and increase speed, just not as fast as my original goal. Still, up to mile 15 I was cruising and repeating my mantra: "Feeling good, looking strong, I could do this all day long."• • Then my watch died. It dropped GPS signal in Newton. Then the Newton hills hit. They were TOUGH and I had no idea how much I'd slowed. My watch would work for a bit, but it would drop again. I held on as tight as I could and knew I must be slowing, but because my watch didn't have cumulative time, I had NO IDEA where I stood. (3rd lucky break)• • So I smiled. And soaked it all in. And enjoyed the crowds. And slapped hands and thanked spectators. And encouraged other runners. And blew kisses to Wellesley girls. Not knowing my time forced me to be present in a way I'd never have been otherwise.• • I didn't know my finish time until a local running buddy texted me after the finish. It was the sweetest celebration text about my race execution, along with a photo snapped of my splits. My time was 4 minutes slower than my PR, but the 1st half was 1:45:36 and the 2nd half was 1:47:27, pretty close to an even split. • • It was a tough day, and so many people were literally doubled over and brought to their knees. My results weren't because I trained any harder or drank any more - in true marathon fashion, we can't predict when it'll be our day and when it won't. I'm grateful to have had a relatively good race.• • So, lessons learned: a) My nutrition has worked in two races, so I'll stick to it. (Gu opened at mile 7 and nursed through mile 9. Another Gu at mile 13 and nursed through mile 15. Gu at mile 18 and nursed through mile 21. cont'd👇

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Right on Hereford, left on Boylston. The most beautiful sight for marathoners lies ahead - the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Along with that image, I'll remember looking over and seeing Ryan standing on a metal barricade, leaning over and yelling "MARTINI!!!!!" and waving his free arm. 😍 So. Much. Joy in those finishing moments.💙💛 • • So, what's next? A sprint tri and some 5ks will be fun. There will be another marathon this fall and I'm saving up for another round of coaching for it with @mattebersole. But first, more rest! My quads are still tender and my middle left toe resembles raw hamburger meat. 😬• • Thank you all SO MUCH for following along and the encouragement. I'm so very grateful! ❤️• • #bostonmarathon2017 #BeBoston #womensrunningcommunity #inspiringwomenrunners #ihavearunnersbody #womenrunning #motherrunner #keepittight

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Completed: Sontag Shawl

In my fantasies, I’m a former World War II army nurse who’s on vacation with her husband in Scotland when I come across some ancient stones, fall through a worm hole, and end up in 18th century Scotland where I eventually marry and fall in love with (in that order) a devastatingly handsome, chivalrous man and live adventurously ever after.

Just kidding. That’s the plot of one of my favorite novels: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I started reading the series in college thanks to my friend Emilee and have since followed Claire (the heroine) and Jamie (the Scot) through several sequels.

Last year Outlander fans’ long-time dream came true when they made the books into a movie. It’s a STARZ mini-series and it’s OUTSTANDING. The actors are exactly how I’ve imagined the characters, and the writers stayed true to the novel’s plot.

One of the unexpected joys for me was seeing the wardrobes. Claire’s woolen shawls had me drooling on my knitting needles, and I immediately set to work creating my own version.  
(I overexposed all of the photos -- it's impossible to show the texture/color of the yarn otherwise because it's so dark!)

After an exhaustive search of Ravelry, I landed on a Sontag shawl pattern by Kay Meadors. I chose a Pure Wool Worsted (super wash) by Rowan in a beautiful brown.

The result is exactly what I wanted! I messed up the pattern (Leave it to me to mess up something so simple!), but fortunately I was able to finagle it. 

This yarn is delightful! It’s so, so warm. It’s soft, too, but would be itchy directly on my skin. When I pictured wearing it, I imagined it over a button-down shirt with a pair of jeans - just like this!

I can tie it in the back to make it snug, or I can let it go free and just wear it as a shawl. In the winter I usually skip coats and go for shawls, so this will get tons of wear.

This winter was relatively productive for knitting! I finished a few hats, this shawl, and a pair of fingerless gloves for a craft swap. I also started and re-started and re-started and re-started The Peacock Eyes Cardigan but COULD NOT get the lace pattern. I’m going to attempt a lace shawl as a starter and put the sweater on hold until I can master lace.

My Christmas present was knitting related! They’re Lykke interchangeable needles purchased through Fringe Supply Company. It’s so nice to have a complete set of circulars instead of having to dig through bags to find separate ones. I highly recommend these needles, too. They’re smooth as butter.

Thanks for reading!

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