And we're off! It's fall Kids Clothes Week and I have WAY WAY more planned than could ever be squashed into one week of clothing sewing.
This time around feels particularly exciting to me because it was just after last fall's KCW that I started this little rant over here on Typepad. A year! Woot! So, if you're out there - thanks so much for following along! And if you're interested in seeing what I made last year, you can find me over here:)
For the day one extravaganza, I made the little guy (not so little...) a fresh pair of Kudzu Cargos. This is my favorite pair of boy pants to date. They take a little bit of time to make but the details make them really worth the wait. One of few fun boy patterns out there. You can see a pair that I made him last spring here. And I couldn't resist a Bimaa because it is the best although he has definitely outgrown the sizing:) This hoodie is TIGHT!!!
Her dress is a muslin for a dress that I'm working on getting just right. It's basically a little girl copy of the one that I made for myself. Hers still needs a bit of work but she was excited about it and set to work breaking it in straight away.
One of the great things about living in Northeastern Minnesota is having easy access to wild places.
We've had this vintage trailer for a couple of years but haven't yet had enough time or energy to get it rolling. Last week we brought it to a campground way up in the woods where the raspberries, bears, moose and eagles are plentiful.
It felt good to unplug. Mr. Moody commuted to work all week from our remote campsite while the kids and I luxuriated in half mile hikes that took two hours; browsing blueberry patches, squashing rosehips and trying in vain to catch crayfish.
We watched two young eagles all week that had nested above a campsite nearby. We saw them eating. We heard them screeching.
One morning, the kids and I watched a group of French-speaking young people solemnly wade, knee-deep, into the water to spread something that must have been a loved-one's ashes.
We read stacks of books and wrote some of our own.
We made friends with our good neighbors, who serenaded us with their accordian in the afternoons.
For awhile, I pretended that I would always have these long days with my littles.
And the days were so good.
So, you know that saying that, "behind every good man is a great woman..." blah, blah, blah? Well, I'd like to think that I am an adequate mate and a whole-hearted mom. But really, this guy. He's the real brains of this operation. It was he who gently urged me, one step at a time, back to school, he who lead the home and rural deliveries of our two children and he who bought me a sewing machine that was way out of our price range a couple of years ago to help me to do what I loved. It is he who now sits reading Teach Your Own while the littles squirm through their bedtime Sparkle Stories. And he who skates into the kitchen to give me a thumbs up, meaning: "let's do this homeschool thing!" while I lazily slurp a glass of wine and browse cookbooks.
It is he who has been the brawn behind some of my favorite sewn items. And when I say he has been the "brawn," I mean he designed and printed things like this piliated woodpecker tee and tote and this Valentines Day tee.
But, you know, the guy works more than full time designing and building stuff and so, I can't always lean on him. And I wanted to start printing on fabric myself!!! It is my secret dream to get to print on fabric for real, like in large scale someday. So, in June, when he was exhausted after a big bike race and my daughter brought in the sweetest little mushroom from outside, the learning could wait no longer.
Armed with the new experience of having made a stamp for the very first time in Maya Made's class at Squam, I set to work sketching the the mushroom and transferring it to the stamp surface. Once you have the drawing complete, you just flip it over onto the stamp surface and then rub the back of the drawing with a pencil to transfer it - it's super slick and easy! I had never before seen this pink eraser type stampy stuff but it is great because you can easily cut away the excess so that the print doesn't show the carving lines around the drawing.
It was a little too much flutter for me and the stamp washed away in the wash even after heat setting:(
So, next, I worked at trying to use fabric paint to stamp with but with the delicate little gills - it just wasn't working. The grooves were getting clogged with paint. So, I went for a freezer paper stencil and I'm totally in love! Another School Bus Tee for my boy .
Plus a high low swing tee for her using more of this dreamy fabric that I used to make his pocket tee. Okay, gratuitous photos of the mushroom print, since I guess that you can't really tell the difference between the brown tee above and the grey one below...
Don't you think that Mr. Moody should get a mushroom tee of his own? I just purchased the yarn to make him this epic sweater (the guy in the yarn shop told me that he's never actually seen one finished) so, perhaps if I'm able to accomplish that I'll have evened our scores?
Photo by Brooklyn Tweed. Source
I know, those aren't lilacs. They are lupines. We spent the morning chasing the season's last lupines. And we found them. Still handsome and in their prime near the cool lake shore. I think that we'll go to them again tomorrow.
I officially finished a version of Maddermade's Livie Sweater over the weekend. I had to pry it away from my sweet girl while she slept because, as I mentioned last week, she was already wearing it with only one sleeve - its unwoven ends trailing behind her like kite strings.
I'm really excited about this pattern. I adore it's modern shape, it's unique technique for raglan shaping, it's long garter cuffs. This will most definitely not be the last Livie that I knit. I'm plotting a scrap cardi in stripes to follow this one up. I may size up next time but I'm really happy with how this one fits. My Ravelry notes are here. The antler button was made by my Grandpa.
The book wasn't at all what I expected. The writing is spare in comparision to other books that I have read about India, which seem to go to great pains to describe the beauty of the culture and countryside. In her own words, Katherine Boo found slumdwellers to be "neither mythic or pathetic [and] certainly not passive. They improvis[ed], often ingeniously, in pursuit of the new economic possibilities of the twenty-first century (249)."
It was important to the author not to sensationalize experiences that would be shocking to Westerners. She focused on the economy in the Annawadi slum during the period before and after America's recession. Because the book's focus was narrow and because the author chose not to decorate the narrative with metaphors, readers will, I think, come away from the book with an academically influenced understanding of the economics of this particular slum.
It is an important read, though not an easy one. It is redundant-seeming at times but not because the author is artless, the style of the book reflects Mumbai's culture which is complex and layered.
What are you reading and knitting on?
In June, Made by Rae plus Liesl of Oliver and S issued a challenge to parents-of-kids-who-wear-handmades to get em' out, to get the kids wearing em' and to share photos. There were a number of ways to get in on the fun. I chose to go with Instagram, my new true love.
It wasn't hard to play along, my kids are almost always in their handmades anyway but it was unique for me to be encouraged to abandon the styling before snapping photos. It was fun to see what the kids chose to wear each day. I took the opportunity to clear out things that were outgrown and store-bought things that we'd been given but that I didn't love. I pledged to let them wear whatever they wanted, so long as it suited the weather. And I loved capturing the kids doing the things that they love in combinations that they chose.
I'm carrying on the free-spiritedness of Made for Kids Month today by sharing these candid, less than perfect photos. Bear with me:)
The sweaters and stocking caps were still out in full force in June. And I love how the photos demonstrate the hardiness of the handknits! In the photo on the far left, my kids had asked if they could run through the sprinkler (or well, bike through the sprinkler). It wasn't much over 40 degrees that day so at first I said no. My daughter knows that wool keeps the wet out for awhile. She reminded me that she was dressed all in wool and proceeded gleefully through the sprinkler in her sweater and hat (plus tutu obvs). More on her Wee Ambrosia sweater here. In the photo next to that, though it's difficult to see, my girl is showing how truly durable her handmades are. She's tree climbing in a Flashback Tee, her knitted Bulle Dress, a pair of Parsley Pants and a simple skirt in a Nani Iro print:) These were just a few of the highlights. There was plenty of Go-To Leggings being worn and these guys pretty much wear a Bimaa every day. Kudzus too! The Kudzus that I made for STYLO mag are in heavy rotation.
Here's Eero in his Bimma plus Figgy's Seraphic Pants from last winter.
For the most part, the kids (especially my daughter) chose combinations that were unusual... But I did swoon over her choices for our town's summer solstice festival (another sub-forty degree June day). Her paisley Geranium is one of my favorite garments. I made it last winter with an extra flouncy skirt for the holiday season. She added her Pixie Cap and her brother's Button Placket Sweater plus a shawl that I made for myself last winter.
With July's KCW quickly approaching, it's a good time to review what's been worn the most this season. We're in need of some more leggings, t shirts and shorts around here. And I've been sticking my toe into the swimwear sewing pool too...
What are you going to make next?
Joining Frontier Dreams today for KCCO.
To celebrate the season with the long days we are running through the wet woods. We are building with the stones on the beach. We are eating all things fried and sweet. We are not weeding our garden.
At night, I've been fretting about the jungled garden. About all of the fresh, homemade meals that I did not make. About the time that they'll spend away from me come fall.
But our ordinary scattered, summer ramblings are extraordinarily joyful. I am lucky.
Our romp on the beach early this week was unexpectedly chilly. So, when my daughter asked if she could use the sweater that I was knitting, in the spirit of this summer of no structure, I agreed. I tore the yarn that would tangle it and looped up the ends so that they wouldn't slow her down. Can you spy the circulars still dangling from the half finished sleeve?
I'm hoping to finish up my daughter's Livie Sweater and to begin this book. Have you read it?
Me, attempting some hand-stitching on a beautiful spring day at Squam. Photo source: Maya Made.
It has been over a week since I returned home from my second annual trip to Squam Art Workshops. I've waited to blather on about it because the task of capturing the profundity of it all is staggering and because I am sure to fall short.
Nighttime knitting in our cabin. Photo source: Julie Dillion
When we arrived the first night, excited and anxious, wondering what was coming next, we were greeted by the retreat's founder Elizabeth, who directed our attention to a handmade banner that read: "This is It!" She reminded us that the retreat would be best approached with an open heart and with no expectations.
I needed to hear it. I knew it to be true, but still, the charge that "this was it" was both comforting and terrifying to me. I knew that in the quiet and calm of the New Hampshire woods I would certainly have the opportunity to rest and to stitch but that I would probably miss my family too and that the time and space might allow for thinking about things that were hard.
That being said, this trip, like the last, was primarily joy-filled. My cabinmates were hilarious and whole-hearted in their efforts to help and care for one another. I whiled the hours happily away with my roomate who is a gifted writer, a truly generous soul, and a night owl. We could not have been more skillfully matched. There was yarn bombing galore - toadstools poking out from the underbrush, canoes in sweaters, large stones wrapped in handknits, nothing is safe...
The things that I made were humble but carefully crafted. I spent one day working through different methods for making short rows. If you are a knitting nerd you know what short rows are, but if not - they are used for adding shape to garments and they are all the rage. You can use short rows to add a bit of ease in to the bust of a sweater (as in the swatch example below), you could use them to shape a hem or neckline, I did so here. Here is another example of short row shaping used to make the overlapping circular fronts of a sweater. Gudrun Johnston taught the class. She was charming and clever. It was a dream to meet her.
I spent two more half days learning to print on upcycled fabric with the luminous Maya Donenfeld. We then used our printed fabric to stitch up a couple of pouches. The stitching was done primarily by hand and primarily out-of-doors. I loved the freedom to get away from the machines and to be outside.
The retreat is celebrated on the last night with an art fair. There were many rare treats to be found there including the gorgeous knitting tools sold by Fringe Supply Co. and Cal Patch's original designs to name a couple. I was thrilled to be included as a vendor this year too. It was such a fun way to meet people. One sweet woman (Angela, are you out there?) even admitted that she had recognized me from the blog. Wow!!! And I met others who I had connected with via Instagram. Sometimes I love you so much social media...
Photo Source: Heather Classen.
I think that Elizabeth's reminder, that - this is it! is so totally right on. And, I think that if you're thinking of attending Squam, there is one thing that you CAN expect. The group is relatively diverse, last year I met my dear friend Felicia from Australia and this year, Maltina, from Germany. In spite of their diverse reasons for being at Squam, though, one simple thing is sure, each attendee is there to make time for art. We make time for art.
And you? How are you making time for art this summer?
Joining Frontier Dreams today over here:)
Just before traveling early this month, I finished Joji Locatelli's fresh new sweater pattern: Feathers in the Wind.
I had originally begun this pattern using a gray yarn, which would have shown off the lacework better. But I spied this bright green while on vacation and couldn't resist it after the long gray winter that we had. The only modification that I made to the pattern was to lenghthen and loosen the cuffs. I didn't reduce the stitch count when I got to them and made them extra long inspired by Maddermade's signature cuff style.
This sweater embraces all of my favorite sweater attributes: top-down construction, sport weight yarn, pretty details but still rugged enough for daily use and a good fit. Plus this yarn is the best. I don't love all of the wild colorways, I wish that their semi-solids in earthy colors were more readily available. But! The yarn doesn't pill, it blocks out obediently and it's super-duper soft.
My Ravelry notes are here.
Have you had a chance to check out STYLO?
At the risk of dragging this all out too much. I wanted to break these posts up a bit so that the duds can get their due. Thanks for bearing with me:)
For him, I made a pair of Kudzu Cargos using Charming Doodle's spanking new pattern. People, get yourself a Kudzu Cargos pattern.
In general, I feel very - meh about pants made out of wovens for the littles. Even though I believe in the utility of a good pair of cords and in the beauty of some light weight, wide leggers like these and these - my kids RESIST the un-knit wear... But these, these sprang right to the top of his pile.
These pants are my jam. You don't need to make them out of a woven with stretch, which makes it easier to find fabric for them. They have really snappy details for pleasing the sewist (note the geometric accents throughout the pattern). They have tons of pockets for stashing. They have ARTICULATED KNEES people - too cool!
We can't get enough of em. I used a purple denim from Treadle. I did the accenting/color blocking by using the reverse side of the fabric.
The tee that he has on in the photos is yet another Flashback that I hacked into a raglan. That fabric is also from Treadle, an icy green tiny rib knit that I bought in the fall and a new, very lightweight knit that had cashmere in it (I didn't find out about that until after I asked them to cut it - am weirdo).
His hat is the quickest and most satisfying sew ever. It's Leila and Ben's Little Cap Pattern. His little mitts were made by my mom using this pattern. This is their third year in rotation. Both of the kids reach for them all of the time and the pattern is free.
Next up, Her STYLO...