In progress

Katie's projects

I started an Alabama Chanin style dress last Thursday and finished stitching it yesterday, so it's not really in progress, but here's a dress I made, dirty mirror and all- 

It's the short dress from Alabama Studio Sewing and Design and I'm planning to overdye the plain beige with indigo. This dress is made from two layers of a cotton jersey sheet I thrifted. I hit the jackpot last week and found 5 (!) flat jersey sheets at one thrift shop. This project was a bit of a trial and made me use up some of my new sheets because right now I'm not quite the size I'm accustomed to usually being, and I'm not getting skinnier! Anyway, I first made the size medium (using a different sheet) and it was too small. Then I made the size XL and it was too big. Just like Goldilocks, the size large was just right, and it was super fast to sew together. I made a mistake when I cut out the front panels, cutting them to tunic length instead of dress length, so I improvised-

I'm happy with the diagonal seam detail. Now that I figured out the sizing, I may make an embellished dress with some of the nice fabric I bought when we visited Alabama. But first, I'm making a jersey "muslin" of the corset from the first Alabama Chanin book. The sizing standards are different between the first and last books, so I am trying the size medium for this corset. It's another sheet, two layers, and I just started it today. 

If this ends up fitting me, I might try to overdye it too. Around here, lots of people wear royal blue all the time because it's the color for the University of Kentucky. So if I were to wear this royal blue tank around town, I'd blend right in! Hmmm, maybe a wildcat stencil is in order. (Just kidding...)  

A while ago I blogged about wanting to make a good little tool bag. Well I think I've found a good tool container and I didn't even have to make it. It's a thin vintage cigar box that I found when organizing my studio last week. 

It's tied with a jersey pull from Alabama Chanin and is outfitted with both knitting and stitching supplies- so handy to have all in one place, why did I never make a tool box before?! 

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Laura's Tangents

Really appreciated this post of Ann Wood's on working through the doldrums.

I made another one of my knit yoke tops this week. Such a quick knit and a tiny bit of sewing. The free pattern is here.

I harvested my yellow storage onions-I've got quite a bit of braiding to do...

Katie's Tangents

We're getting ready to do some canning, so Iwas delighted to receive bunches of canning jars that a friend found in her shed. Avery helped me sort the six-dozen plus jar collection.


They'll just need some scrubbing up and then they'll be good as new. 

I'm starting a few plants for Fall growing, trying transplanted beets instead of direct-sowing...

I've been walking up to our community garden early in the morning and both my dogs have happily been accompanying me- I can't get a non-blurry photo when we're walking, but wanted to share my morning view. 


In Progress

Laura's Projects

After a bit of fiddling around with the colors, I finally finished my flying geese cowl. I've admired this pattern for awhile, and after meeting it's designer Mary Jane I moved it to the top of my queue. It really is a great pattern for getting started with stranded color work-the pattern is easy to memorize. 

I've also been doing a bit of nature-y painting on my screen porch lately. I can't stop using those briars-love to draw and paint them!

Katie's Projects

After a long afternoon of raft-building on Sunday, Michael and I took the first "unit" of the raft out to Laura and Strider's to test its buoyancy. It was quickly getting dark, so all the photos we got are blurry, but here's proof that it floats! 

As this will be eventually bolted to two other units just like this one, the individual section is super tippy, and to my boys' dismay we don't have photographic evidence of this fact. Strider was brave enough to test it out and ended up in the water in a matter of seconds. It was all very exciting and I'm glad the raft body isn't at the bottom of the lake. More work to come on this soon...

We'll be doing a knit-a-long for the Cotton Loafers from The Knitted Slipper Book this month and I'm working on another small project that uses the same materials- jute from the hardware store and Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton. I love how these materials play off each other, and I'm looking forward to sharing this free pattern with you soon. 



Laura's Tangents

I braided my garlic today with help from my boys. I'd harvested it a couple of weeks ago, and by the looks of the heads and after reading this article, I'd say I waited too long-the cloves are starting to separate. Still, we've got 6 pleasing braids hanging in the shed-the first harvest of storage crops of the season.

Isaac and I made a last minute craft from pinterest for his birthday cake topper and it…totally worked. Very cool and surprisingly successful. Working on parchment paper, we made letters and numbers with hot glue, embedded toothpicks in them while they were still hot, let them cool and peeled them off, coated them with white glue and went to town with the glitter. Fun times.

Katie's Tangents

Well... I'm building another boat. A raft really, inspired by these kinds of things...

(Visit my Pinterest board to see these images and their sources...)

It's my plan to float around the lake in rustic camp-style leisure. I am going to build a canvas tent on one end so we can have a covered place to sleep. We are going on vacation in two weeks and plan to take this raft down to a nearby lake to spend a week on the water. I'm looking forward to spending some time as a family, where the biggest decisions will be choosing to either read a good book or go for a swim. The raft will be 8x12 and will come apart in panels so it will be easier to transport. I'm not really following plans, so I'm a bit nervous about it working out in the floating department. Michael and I built the first of three panels today, and I'm planning to do a float test out at Laura's tomorrow before I proceed with more building- wish me luck! 


New free pattern-Screen Porch Cowl!


The knit yoke top I designed and made has become such a staple of my summer wardrobe, that since I noticed I needed a light weight scarf or cowl to throw on when encountering chilly air conditioning, I knew I had to create another garment that combined knitting and sewing.

Messing around with Habu yarns yielded a unique and airy piece of knitting-perfect to join with a single layer of cotton fabric to form the body of the cowl.

Sewing the binding onto quilts is always so satisfying, I used the same technique to finish the edges of the cowl. The binding adds a pleasing bit of structure to an otherwise very drapey garment.

I find myself grabbing this almost daily-it is quite wearable even in the heat of a Kentucky summer!

Download the (free!) pattern Here.

I look forward to seeing other screen porch cowls-please be in touch if you have any questions or make one!


A tricky way to wind yarn, courtesy of EZ

I inter-library loaned Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Workshop DVD a while ago, and even though I haven't made it through the whole series, I have really used one of the first things she shows you how to do. Since not everyone has access to the DVD, and it's been such a helpful thing in my knitting life, I wanted to share the technique with you here. It's a way to wind perfectly lovely center-pull balls, easily and simply with just your hands for tools. I have a ball winder and swift that I use frequently, but this trick is great in a pinch or if you're just in the mood to hand-wind your yarn. 

When Laura and I were at the lake recently, I had to wind a skein of Manos Del Uruguay Wool Classica for a new project I'm working on, and she took photos of the steps involved. Just a note if you're planning to do this- I only do this with aran-weight yarn or chunkier. I am sure you COULD hand-wind a ball of sock yarn, but I don't have the patience for that. 

First, put the yarn over your knees, a chair-back, or on the hands of an obliging friend. Then place the yarn tail over your hand, with the tail facing the back of your hand. I'm a lefty and I prefer wrapping the yarn around my right hand. See what feels best to you. 

Begin wrapping the yarn around your thumb and first three fingers. I usually do this 10-12 times. 


Remove the first bundle of wraps and loosely pinch it between your thumb and fingers while keeping the yarn tail over the back of your hand. Continue wrapping the yarn again. 

Keep wrapping, changing direction every now and then. Once I've changed direction a few times, I stop putting my fingers around the yarn bundle- I just wind like it's a regular ball of yarn. The only trick is to not wind over the yarn tail. This is important to maintain the center pull nature of the ball.

When you're done you'll have a nice, even ball of yarn that feeds pleasingly from the center. 

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