Thursday, July 14, 2016

Oh Summer! You Wacky Girl!

Clearly I've been spirited off by the siren of summer, but that wasn't before my father and I finished the roof (front of house we started in May).

The roof is great now, having undone the fraudulent work of the previous roofers.  We still have a shed to do, but it's not an emergency.  After that one, I think I might retire from the roofing business.

The ladyfriend and I are now in Nova Scotia, enjoying our new cottage and making it our own slowly but surely.  I've got three knitting projects on my needles at the moment.  My new guideline for my WIPs is as follow - three is the magic number (if you can, please sing De La Soul here), one has to be a TV/car knit (aka no need to look at or keep track of much), one should be more technical/interesting, and one should be for the upcoming season (I'd like to be ahead of the game every once in awhile).  Of course one project might meet two guidelines, like the John Galliano sweater that was published by British Elle in 1986 (back in the day when they had knitting patterns - oh the glory days!) is for fall/winter and has a traveling cable and unique construction.
I'm using some vintage yarn that came with matching tweed fabric (!) that I bought on eBay a hundred years ago.  There were supposed to be patterns with it, but they were not included.  I'm playing a little yarn chicken as I don't know how many yards I have of the stuff, but I'll be okay with 3/4 length sleeves should it come to that.

The other sweaters I'm working on are a simple, in-the-round, sweater for my mother (per her instructions and choice of yarn) and Pasture, by Annie Rowden, which I'm absolutely loving.
It's not only the easy shape that is appealing; it's the yarn from Woolen Rabbit - a blend of merino, silk, and cashmere.  I've got the body almost finished; just waiting for the needle I forgot to bring to arrive in the post.  Such is life!

I have plans to unravel a cardigan I made years ago but have never been happy with the fit of to make a pattern from the most recent (and first) issue of Making.

Additional crafty ambitions I have while at the cottage are to work on Shake-n-Make's English paper piecing project for our Hand of Craft show next year and the Gallery tunic.  I also have the pieces for the Alabama Chanin sampler quilt (from the first book) here, which I consider an ongoing cottage-based project.

I'm looking to the time here as an opportunity for making in all its forms.  I'll be working on stories as well and canning and cooking and living the life I'm constantly crafting for myself.  It's a luxury to have this time and space, and I plan to enjoy every moment of it.

Happy summer!  Happy creating!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Squam Art Workshop - Spring 2016

As mentioned, I went to Squam at the beginning of the month.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Squam Art Workshops, I invite you to think of a summer camp for crafty adults.  You're in an idyllic setting in the middle of New Hamphsire, you share a cabin with fellow campers, you're fed three meals a day in a dining hall (they ring a bell at mealtimes), you make all kinds of great stuff, and you do a regular tick check.  Clearly I loved it.
Exterior of dining hall

The cabins were rustic but comfy.  I only had four other roommates and had opted for a single room for my first time (the cabin had three double-occupancy rooms and one single) .  Each cabin that was on the lake had its own dock, and each had fireplaces whose wood boxes were refilled each day.  We also had an actual ice box, which was also checked each day and refilled as necessary.  They harvest the ice from the lake in the winter and keep it in, yes, ice houses all summer.

This was how they delivered the ice.
And here's our iceman, standing in front of the ice box.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

MeMadeMay 2016 Wrap Up

I'm pretty happy with my MeMadeMay participation this year.  I'd vowed to wear a foundational item everyday, and except for the one day in Nova Scotia where I simply wore socks I'd made, I managed to make it happen - even when I was roofing (ofttimes after the work was done).

There were a few things I discovered doing this.   Firstly, I knew I liked that wrap-around skirt I made, but I didn't realize how essential it would become.  The part b of that discovery is that I haven't made a lot of bottoms or bottoms I felt like wearing (important distinction).  It also went with more items than I'd originally given it credit for.

 I was also concerned that my me-made style isn't quite up to my regular (?!) style.  But when I put these pants I'd made with a Junya Watanabe shirt and Robert Clergerie shoes, I felt pretty good about it.   However, I'm now conscious of how easy it is to drift into the "let's make lots of loose tunics" camp, which only addresses part of the way I like to dress.  Two lessons learned - make some more funky/high style items and maybe I like to just wear loose tunics sometimes.  Consolidation lesson?  My style is more varied than I might have thought.

As mentioned in previously, I also discovered things that heretofore I hadn't realized went together.  I ended up finally wearing a vest I'd knit a million years ago (I know, you wouldn't know I was that old unless I told you - hah!) and loving it.
Yes, this vest also went with the wrap-around skirt!
I wore my Alabama Chanin dress a few times.  At Squam it was quite a hit, as it were (there were times when I was a little shy/embarrassed about the attention it go, but I love a crowd that understands what went into that dress), and I'm planning on starting another one this summer.

MeMadeMay has inspired me to continue making my own clothes and has filled my head with ideas.  There's a pair of white jeans (Birkin flares) on the horizon as well as a number of other tidbits.   And I just finished the Ondawa Wrap that I started at Squam.  Images to follow!

Anyone want to share other lessons learned during MeMadeMay?  I'm definitely looking forward to Slow Fashion October, but I won't be waiting until then to continue to rock my me-mades.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Story Time

Part of my identity is as a writer, and I'm partial to the short story form although clearly there's a bit of a love of creative nonfiction as well.  A few years ago a friend suggested I share some of my short stories on my blog, and finally I'm ready to do so.  So from time to time, I'll post a short story that I've written.  Hope you enjoy!



You have small bright teeth; they form a constellation in your mouth.
         I try to get at them, to loosen the lips with pretty words or force.  But you like to keep them from me; you like to control their appearances, flashing them at unexpected moments, leaving me dizzy.
         I long to pry your mouth open to find the plush soft tongue and lay my head there looking at the stars.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

A Packing Primer - Get the Steamer Trunk!

Want to know how much you can pack into your daily life without losing the whole suitcase, as it were?  Here's a peek into what I recently packed in -

Last time I blogged, I was in DC visiting family -
The boy wearing an Alabama Chanin t-shirt I made for him.

The thimble tattoo he gave me.
My father and I drove back to Hamilton together so he could help me do my roof, which took about a week.  It's two thirds done; he's coming back this month to help me finish it,  but at least we took care of the leak.  We were doing such a good job (seriously) that our neighbor asked if we might help them do theirs.  I am not going into the roofing business, but I appreciate the compliment.
Tarping the roof for the evening with my dad and friend.
The day after my father headed back to DC, we had our birthday dinner at our friends' house.  We both agree it is one of the best meals we've ever had.

 And two days later, we drove to Nova Scotia to close on our cottage.  Crazy!  Keep in mind, this is all during MeMadeMay!  It kind of helped since it focused my travel wardrobe around handmades. (Full post just on MeMadeMay and what I learned coming soon.)

Two essential elements of Nova Scotia:

Sheep at Lismore Farm -

And lobster (here in its ultimate expression - the lobster roll made by the ladyfriend) -

I also had an FO - the Fair Isle Skirt by Mary Jane Mucklestone.  It was part of a KAL (knit-along for you nonknitters) for Squam.  I really wanted to take this little sheepy home.

And then, we drove down to Portland, ME en route to Squam.  There was just enough time to have an amazing dinner at Eventide Oyster Co., buy some fabric at Z Fabrics, then pick up some Quince & Co. yarn at KnitWit, and find some local craft beer.  The server who brought out our food at Eventide said that we'd ordered really well and that she was excited for our dinner.  She was right!

And then the ladyfriend dropped me off at Squam for the Squam Spring Retreat...
Full post on Squam coming soon.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Week One Plus for Me Made May 2016

Here's the round-up of outfits worn since May 1.

  • Bottom right:  Rowan sweater originally made for the ladyfriend.  It got a little felted in the wash so it became my sweater.  The pants are J. Morgan Puett.
  • Bottom left:  Me-made wrap skirt with Imogene + Willie shirt and my Blundstones
  • Middle right:  Cappucino dress with Robert Clergerie shoes
  • Middle middle:  Saint James top with Alabama Chanin skirt
  • Middle left: Long sleeve t-shirt (worn with Prana jeans, not seen)
  • Top right bottom:  Junya Watanabe shirt with Betsy Ross patterns pants
  • Top right top:  Lisette top (worn with Prana jeans, not seen - again)
  • Top left:  Wrap skirt with mustard top-down sweater, Blundstones, and a Wrangler jacket.
I'm in DC now, visiting family, and what I'm starting to realize is that I don't make enough things in black.  Putting together a little capsule collection for the trip (brought only carry-on suitcase) made me realize that while I have a fair amount of me-made clothing, I need some to make some things that are more easily integrated into my overall wardrobe.  As it happens, I've been mulling over a little capsule collection for the fall/winter although it's not black.  We'll see how all this pans out.

If you're participating in MeMadeMay16, how's it going?  Are you encountering any challenges?

Monday, May 2, 2016

FOs for April, MeMadeMay, and a Frolic

I managed to finish a few knitting projects this past month.  I blogged about the early ones, the ones that required so little it was almost embarrassing (but clearly not that embarrassing because I still haven't bothered with the sweater that needs ONE SIDE SEAM).

In addition to these, I finished a pair of socks for the ladyfriend using self-striping sock yarn bought in Berlin.  I'm hoping to finish the Brooklyn Tweed sweater that's in progress now by the end of the month.
For years I didn't knit for her because she didn't wear the knits I made for her (I know, I can hear you gasp).  Some of that was my fault - not necessarily her style or the size was off - and some of it was hers (the ladyfriend can be sensitive to wool; you know, the itchy factor).  However, we're thinking the BT sweater is going to be a winner, and I'm ever an optimist (often cranky or jaded but still optimistic).

The other major knit I finished was my mustard top-down sweater, which was part of my wardrobe plans as outlined at the beginning of the year.
I have to say, I really like this sweater.  It's totally easy to wear and looks like it'll play nicely with some of the other items in my wardrobe.  It's just in time for MeMadeMay16, and because the weather sucks, wool or wool blends (this is a wool/hemp blend I picked up at the Romni Wools Boxing Day sale) are perfect.  That's the nicest thing I can say about the weather right now.