Sundress Prototype

It is not often that I pull out my sewing machine and try to design clothing for myself, so last week was very, well… interesting. With the hot summer weather approaching I have visions of sweet sundresses and strappy sandals. I imagine an entire wardrobe made by me, for me in gorgeous colors and airy fabrics. I started searching for inspiration on the internet and found bucket loads of ideas. Then I went stash diving – not the knitters stash dive into wool and alpaca, but the seamstress’s stash dive into cotton lawn and organza. This is what I came up with –

Being without a pattern, I remembered the wisdom of my grandma, and I got out some plain muslin to make a first draft. I somehow managed to fashion a dress and then (regrettably before taking a photo) I cut it into pattern pieces. With those pieces, I made this-

Okay, okay, I will model it for you…

(Why is it that when I model my knitting, I feel awesome, but when I model my sewing, I just feel like a dweeb?)

So, this little green number still has some areas that need work. It is too short and the skirt is too full for my figure (a feature that looked nice in muslin, but not so nice in lined cotton). I like it, though – it is comfortable and cute and nice and cool.

This dress is fully lined, because I love lining dresses (call me crazy), and because the fabric is a little shear, and if I have to wear a slip with it, it will hang in my closet for two years before getting thrown in the Goodwill bag having never been worn!

I have also completed a second dress, this time with an a-line skirt and gathered bodice –

But it doesn’t fit right and I think I am going to have to take it apart and try again. That is a little discouraging, so I have been stalling for a couple of days.

All this sewing is exhausting and I remember now why I turned to knitting. But, it is rewarding, too, and I am getting better at it as I go. Maybe before the heat gets here, I will have that wardrobe that I am dreaming of.

Or maybe I will just knit another pair of socks….

Every Stitch An “I Love You”

When I knit something for someone, I spend hours thinking of her, imagining her smile when she sees what I have made, hoping she will love it. A knitted gift is so much more than a mere pair of socks or hat or sweater. It is “I love you” said tens of thousands of times – one “I love you” for every stitch. But even a pair of socks cannot contain enough stitches for my mama.

My mom’s birthday was yesterday, and I was so excited to give her these socks (project page on Ravelry here). They are Esther Socks in MacKintosh Skye Sock Yarn Twilight.

Three things about this knit –

1. This pattern is so gorgeous. It was easy to memorize and turned out lovely. That said, there were a few quirks. The cuff is a bit tight and hard to get over my heel, and the difference between the small and the large was a whole ten stitches! I had to choose between too small or too large, not an easy choice for a gift. I chose too small hoping to stretch them a bit when I blocked them. It worked, but I was a little unsatisfied with it. Also, it was originally written in German and the translation is a little awkward. I relied pretty heavily on the Ravelry notes of those who had gone before.

2. I made some modifications (big surprise, I know). I only did one repeat of the pattern for the cuff before diving into the heel. As for the heel, I used my new love, the sweet tomato. I also switched the direction of the cables on the second sock so that the two socks would mirror each other. Mom will probably never notice, but it pleased me greatly to do so. 🙂

3. This yarn is a bit normal. Nice, but not fabulous. It knit up normally, it felt normal on my feet. The color is nice, but not fabulous. Maybe I am just still reeling from the amazingness of the Casbah, I don’t know. It is good yarn. It is a pretty color. Not every ball of yarn is going to knock me over, I guess. That said, I would buy more in a heartbeat!

Another happy pair of feet wrapped in knitted love. My job is done here.

Happy Birthday, Mom!


The Boy’s Green Sweater

Driftwood Cardigan in Dream in Color Classy, Emerald Darkness

With matching hat of my own design.

My boy wasn’t too comfortable modeling, so we went the silly route. 🙂

Three things about this knit.

1. The pattern was less than great. First of all, I made the mistake of assuming that it covered the size that I needed (it didn’t), but that was a minor thing. Being top-down, I just made it big enough with no problem. Secondly, the pattern was written as if it were just notes taken while someone knit it. It felt very unorganized and incomplete. I had to rely on my experience to make it out and I felt that for a written pattern it should have been better. Once I got the gist of the thing, I stopped following the pattern at all and just winged it. Not exactly what I spent $6.25 for.

2. This is not the first time I have used this yarn and my opinion of it hasn’t changed. It isn’t very luxurious and it isn’t my favorite to use, but it wears wonderfully and is machine washable, so it is a good choice for The Boy, who tends to be hard on his clothes. Another good thing about this yarn is the yardage – a full sweater and hat made from less than four skeins of yarn. And the color! Oh the colors of this brand are so amazing!

3. I got some really spiffy ebony buttons from this Etsy shop. They look awesome. I had played with the idea of using snaps and ribbon, or even a zipper, but the buttons won in the end. I am happy with how it looks.

Getting The Boy to model for me wasn’t hard, but he sure was glad when it was over. Look at him go!

I am glad this one is done, too. Time to knit a sweater for me. I already wound the four balls of Malabrigo Sock needed for it, but confess that I am on a sock knitting kick that doesn’t seem to be letting up.  See?

Socks of my own design, Shibui Knits Sock, Spectrum

Remember These

My days are full of “must remember this” moments, moments that I hope I will be able to recall twenty years from now when I am an empty-nester and I have all day to myself.

Cuddling with my three Littles as the early morning light streams in through the window.

Listening to The Munchkin prattle on endlessly, with her lisp and her smile. 

Drinking the watered down coffee that The Dancing Queen proudly made just for me.

Teaching The Princess how to grate cheese.

Hearing The Bookworm sing in her sweet voice the song she just wrote.

Watching The Boy mime entire battles in the backyard.

Playing peek-a-boo over and over and over (and over) again with The Fraggle.

These moments. I don’t ever want to forget them. And while there is the myriad photographs that I have taken to help jog the memory, and the home videos, as well, I am afraid that it will all fade from my mind. And so I am in the business of enjoying each of these moments to the fullest. Savoring my time with my young children before they grow up. I feel the temporary-ness of this situation. I have a twelve year old already, and it seems only yesterday she was crawling around the house on all fours. It goes so fast. So fast. I don’t want to miss even a second.

While I know that all sounds so poetic, so picturesque, so unrealistic, I am here to tell you that we do have not so nice moments, too.

Washing dishes to the sound of the living room being ransacked.

Cleaning up poop when someone didn’t make it to the potty fast enough. 

Refereeing fights and begging them to “please just act like people who love each other”. 

Saying the same things over and over and over and over and over and over…….

Sure, every day has those moments too. But I think I might miss those someday, as well. I was made for this job and “Mama” is all that I ever wanted to be.

One day my house will be clean. One day I will finish row after row of knitting uninterupted. One day I will wash a load of laundry or two and be done. One day it will be quiet in this house. One day I will be free to jump up and go when I want, eat whatever I want without sharing with six other people, and take a nap at any hour of the day. And that will be lovely.

But these moments now, these are my priceless treasures. Each day that I spend enjoying my little ones is a gift. Each moment is so precious. The good ones and the less good ones and even the frustrating ones, they all come together to make up a mosaic of the good life. Life with Littles.