Pants

IMG_8256I made these pants last summer, using the Purl Soho City Gym Shorts pattern as a guide and improvising the pants legs and ankle drawstrings based on a lovely pair of purple elephant-print lounge pants I found at an import shop last time we visited Oregon.

The fabric I used (of which I still have plenty- perhaps it needs to be another Patsy?) came from a Hancock Fabric closeout sale, and it’s a bit on the casual side for work. I think I could get away with this style of pants for work if I wear them with a tailored shirt and heels, at least on Fridays, but none of the fabric in my stash really works for another flowy pair of pants like these. While the ship has completely sailed for participating in the Summer of Basics challenge, I think focusing on my own basics when I actually need them is a good plan.

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Stashdown 2017: End of August

I’ve been slowly but surely working my way through my stash. The bag of “give away or donate” yarn is getting more and more full, and the drawers where I keep my yarn are no longer packed so tightly that I can’t move things around in there. This is progress, and I’m happy to say that I’m almost to my yarn goal of having all of my yarn fit into its dresser comfortably (with no stashes hidden around the craft room or in bags pretending to be works in progress). I still haven’t committed to sorting my beads yet, and that will take a good long time, but it’ll happen.

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I’ve been making washcloths these days, and it’s nice to be able to use up a ball of cotton on about a cloth and a half. There are so many free washcloth patterns, and to be honest, any stitch with an interesting texture can automatically be a washcloth if you make it square-ish and washcloth-sized. They’re ultra-portable and lightweight while in progress, quick to make, and useful. They also make decent gifts!

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As always, socks are on the needles. Much of my stash is in the form of sock yarn, so two-at-a-time toe-up socks are a perfect way to use up every inch of your sock yarn and still have a matching pair. The above is the leftovers from a friend’s birthday socks in Cascade Heritage Prints in the colorway Tut, and it will make a perfectly ankle-length pair of socks with just enough of the supplemental color (Pagewood Farms’ Denali sock yarn in the colorway Grasshopper) to make toes and a short cuff.

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These colorful little beauties are the leftovers from a pair of socks I made for a family member earlier this year, along with some leftovers from my Grandma’s Sacre du Printemps socks. I used up the multicolored yarn (Stroll Hand Painted sock yarn from KnitPicks in the colorway Big Top) to within a couple feet, and there was just enough Grasshopper left to make the toes and cuffs of the Tut socks.

 

Sisyphus

Friends, I was determined. You’ve no doubt grown tired of seeing these socks, year after year, and I am tired of showing them to you. I’ve fallen in love with pattern after pattern, and all of them have been… wrong. Too long, too short, too tight, not enough yarn to finish, you name it. I posted a picture of the socks the other day, and my grandma responded that she had thought they were finished, and I have to say, I thought they were too. However, my lot in life (at least where these socks are concerned) seems to be something of a Greek punishment. My craftiness has been met with a permanent obsession with rolling these socks up the hill only to have them come crashing down again.

Well, this time, I got that rock to the top of the hill, and the rock shrank in the laundry. I was so happy with the finished product, but unfortunately they went directly from the washer to the dryer rather than hanging to air-dry. We’ll just blame that one on the cat. Anyone have a size 8 or smaller foot and thin calves? I have some socks for you.

Recalibration

I’m happy with my decision to put down all the sweaters and prioritize things a little differently. Recalibrating my energy for the summer has meant focusing on stashing down by knitting hats, and getting down and dirty with my old frenemies, my colorwork socks.

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They’re coming along pretty well, and I’ve tried them on a couple times and been quite pleased. I’m hoping I can wrestle the whole pattern out of the blue yarn, but at this point (both in my drive to finish these and in my resistance to buying new stuff) I am okay with sneaking in the leftovers from previous attempts to make it happen. Perhaps each sock will have a band of some nearly-identical blue around my calves so that the cuffs will end up being the same blue.

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Taking a step back

As happens periodically, I let my excitement for new projects get ahead of my actual wardrobe needs. Rather than continuing with THREE sweaters and a few sewing projects about which I’m neither excited nor confident, I’m going to take a break from ambitious, completely unnecessary crafting and focus on spinning (downsizing my fiber stash), smaller projects to sell at gatherings (downsizing my non-sock yarn stash), and socks that will actually be worn (downsizing my sock yarn stash).

Now is the time for my blue and yellow colorwork socks to finally get the love they deserve! I first improvised them while in rehearsal for the Eugene Opera, in the late fall of 2014. I adored them and wanted nothing more than to show them off constantly, but the shape of the foot was wrong and my tension made them far too tight in the ankles to even pull them on, much less wear them. They’ve been frogged twice, and no previous attempts have stuck, but I’m determined to work it out this time.

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Basic, but not necessary

Between Fibreshare and souvenir yarn shopping, I’ve collected two sweaters’ worth of yarn that I think is calling out to be made into fun cardigans. I currently have the same silhouette in mind for each of them- a Riverside, with all its lovely ribbing and interesting shoulder shaping, perhaps as a cardigan. However, I’m also really charmed by Confetti, and I think the crazy colorful spots in the Colombina would be really pretty with the deep turquoise as a contrast.

20170528_083626The Alegria Colombina and Schmutzerella Let’s Make a Teal are fun and gorgeous together, but there wasn’t quite enough to make a full sweater, so I bought two additional skeins of Colombina through Ravelry. The three skeins don’t quite match each other (it’s interesting to see how different this colorway has been through its many dye lots), but I think it’ll be easy enough to blend them in a way that won’t be too visible. Confetti requires about one skein of the secondary color, which will be the turquoise, and about two skeins of the primary color.

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Obviously, these sweaters will not be filling any holes in my wardrobe, and I find that despite my excitement for the yarn and choosing patterns, I’m not jumping into casting them on. I’ve been paying more attention to my embroidery projects and to purging my yarn and fabric stash, and leaning more towards starting small, stash-busting projects for sale, for the household, or for gifts.

I thought I’d cleanse my palate with a quick hat, so I cast this on last night. The yarn has been sitting in my stash for quite a while (the beige is from Fibreshare last year, the top right coral color is from Fibreshare two years and one address ago, and the bottom red is recycled from a Bins sweater from Portland at least five years and five addresses ago), so I’m excited to set it free and hopefully send it on its way to a head that needs warming. I’m not sure yet what chart I’ll add in, but I’ve been dazzled by stripy Fair Isle designs lately and may lean in that direction.

Stashbusting for basics

Since this is Stashdown 2017, and I am trying valiantly not to bring any new materials or tools into my craft room unless I have a specific plan for them, I’m approaching the Summer of Basics as an opportunity not only to challenge myself to try new things and accomplish some skills-related goals, but to use fabric, yarn, and patterns that have been sitting in my stash.

The tie-dye style scarf on the bottom right is on its way to becoming the first of several Patsy skirts, and the pale pink fabric second from the top left is slated to be a Lisbon slip. I don’t have much of the striped linen on the top left, but I really love it and I think it could be a great boxy top. The striped fabric second from the top right would be great for a structured pair of shorts.

I’m pretty happy with the patterns I’ve tried so far, but there are a couple patterns in my stash that I haven’t used yet and a fair amount of fabric looking for a permanent home. I intend to make a pair of pants, ideally with fabric that would be appropriate for work, and either a dress or top that makes use of some of the lovely linen and lace that my grandmother gave me when I visited last summer.