Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Another Smock

Dear Mom,
Another Ann Carolyn Smock went from fabric to garment last Sunday.
Elle frolics in the garden, getting her "feet" wet in the dewy grass

close up of pocket

Styling Option: Layer over a Peter Pan collared shirt!
 I've nearly finished the cardigan I plan on wearing with this smock. I just need to finish a pocket  (that white stripe you seen on the left front is waste yarn holding the place for the pocket opening), weave in the loose ends (obviously!), sew on the buttons and block the sweater. The yarn is my all-time favorite, Bartlett, in Burgundy Heather.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Back in Action

Dear Mom,
It stopped raining, the sun came out, and although a bit chillier than normal, I was able to mow the grass and get Peggy (my clothesline) back in action.
We'll have sweet dreams tonight. Drying sheets on the line is one of Life's Simple Pleasures.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Missing in Action

Dear Mom,
I guess I should have put "Write Blog" into that schedule I was so proud of in my last post!

There have been several blog posts swirling about in my head since that last post on January 30th, but I just didn't make time or have the motivation to actually write and post them.

Mostly what happened is I fell down the rabbit hole of sweater design and knit, wrote, test knit, and published a new sweater pattern: Friezestyle. This consumed most of February and March.

I made this one using up some of my handspan yarn.
The idea for Friezestyle was born after knitting class one afternoon, when one of my loyal students picked up a shop sample for this scarf and declared "wouldn't this be a pretty sweater!"....

 My guardian angel must have been driving because I think my brain was knitting a sweater all the way home.

In between and around all that knitting, the Young Lady came home for spring break. While she was home, we matted and framed some of her art work for submission to the student art show. We celebrated when 2 of her pieces were accepted. I drove down for the opening of the show and proudly witnessed her accept an award for one of her pieces. That same piece sold, too!

This week we move her home for the summer. It is hard to believe that this little girl will be a college sophomore!

In the spring storms, we lost a large tree. Luckily, as it split and fell, it did surprisingly little damage to the fence. Having it removed was a scary thing for my wee black beast. 

 I sat on my back porch with my knitting and watched a crew of Very Muscular Men remove that tree and another we felt had overgrown its place in the yard. I'd helped plant the trees and felt I needed to witness them leaving. I was fascinated by the precision removal of the tree. And once that fascination wore off, I found myself admiring some strong shoulders and flat stomachs.... I am sure those Very Muscular Men saw an old lady and her scared dog with nothing better to do.

It's a good thing they couldn't read my bubble.

And a few weeks later,  new trees are planted.

We've been in this house for almost 26 years.  Our large yard was hard, barren and drought-stricken when we moved in. Almost everything in this yard was planted my My Hero and I. We are beginning to see the need to rejuvenate and replace some of our overgrown landscaping. Unlike my gray hair, which comes in however it wants and I choose to accept gracefully, we are faced with the challenge of blending new landscaping into our mature landscaping- and hope to allow that to look natural as it happens.

After the knitting frenzy of that latest design came to fruition, the sewing bug bit me. And it bit hard.

I made one Top 64 out of a pretty cotton,  was mostly pleased with the results but found it tighter than I find to be comfortable across the upper arms.

I made a second Top 64 using a pretty Anna Maria knit fabric. This one feels better, but I have very little experience sewing with knits.  There are things I will try to change and do better if I make a third.
For quite some time I'd been admiring, then second-guessing, and mostly had dreamy ideas percolating over the Ann Carolyn Smock. Do a google image search for Ann Carolyn Smock and you will see why I couldn't shake this pattern out of my head.  I've really wanted to find that perfect sewing pattern for a top. I worried that Ann Carolyn's gathers across the yoke would not be flattering. I kept coming back to it. And finally decided to go for it. I wouldn't know till I tried, would I?
I ordered the pattern. I bought some inexpensive fabric to make the shirt version.  I have to stop right here and say that Ellen Mason's instructions are thoughtful, well written, and clear, with helpful hints and practical advice throughout. Reading through them is like having a friend sharing her best, most encouraging advice. Sewing this shirt was fun. The pattern is brilliant.

So, I successfully sewed the shirt. It fit, was flattering, the sleeves were just right, but the back was tight when I moved my arms. I was discouraged and sad, but not quite ready to give up. My first thought was my go-to self punishing one: "If you weren't so fat. If you would just lose weight..."
I let my brain percolate.
A day or two later, while getting dressed, a pleat on the back of one of my shirts (that fits without binding, that is not a knit) smiled at me. A pleat! All Ann Carolyn needs (for me) is a pleat. One little pleat at the center back. And we live happily ever after.

Here is Ann Carolyn Smock #1.

Notice the cute pocket!
The pockets are very roomy!

The pleat. I added a decorative button to the back for fun.
I've had these buttons since the early 90's.
And here is Ann Carolyn #2:
I have fabric for more. There will be more. Just wait and see! 

Okay, and let me say another wonderful, smart thing about this pattern! Fabric requirements for each piece are included so you can easily decide to mix and match fabrics with out guessing at yardage. BRILLIANT!

Comfy, cute, my new uniform- with sleeves rolled up in the summer and under a hand knit cardigan in the winter. I have yarn and fabric combinations queued up. I may look like I am channeling my inner fifth grader at recess, but wearing these makes me so happy that I don't think I mind if I do. I just need saddle shoes! Meet you at the swing set!