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Boo Quilt

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 😂😂😂😂 Ok, this post is obviously wayyyyyy late for Halloween, but I want to share it anyways. I'm super into quilting right now and I feel like I better share this one before I jump into posting about my others.

Quilt Pattern: Orange Dot Quilts "Heat Wave."
Fabric: Cotton and Steel in last season's Halloween line, "Boo," because I am sooooo last season 😜 Fabric kit was purchased from Picking Daisies in San Luis Obispo, but then I saw some different prints at Birch Fabrics and I swapped them. I'm a sucker for anything Cotton and Steel, especially Halloween fabric, so it was hard to choose the fabrics.
Thread: Black. If I'm going to use black thread to quilt, it should be for a Halloween quilt, yeah?


Dora, the designer behind Orange Dot Quilts, is a friend of mine and I feel kind of fangirlish when I see her. I LOVE her patterns and she is genuinely the nicest person ever, which makes buying her stuff even more satisfying. Heat Wave, designed by her during a heatwave and sewn by me during melting temperatures that I am still annoyed about if you couldn't tell, was a simple one to piece together. I dedicated one night to cutting the fabrics, one day to sewing the top, and a few days to getting the whole thing quilted together.


Time wise this thing ended up taking a few months from start to finish due to my quilting indecision. I wasn't sure if I wanted to stitch in the ditch or sew on the diagonal, which would make my stitches very visible in the black thread. Then I figured I'd just go hard with the black thread and quilt on the diagonal being that it would go with the theme of Halloween/my life. I first quilted about 3/8 inch on either side of the seam, realized that it looked too shaky, and then measured the rest of my stitching from the side of the presser foot. The stitches look more confident if that even makes sense.

I'm happy with this, Halloween rules, and no, I'm not sharing it with anyone in my house mwahaha!

Be Kind

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I don't know if sewing would be a passion in my life if it wasn't for the quilt classes I took years ago and the kindness of some of the women in that class. For Christmas 2009 my husband bought me a sewing machine at my request, but I had no idea how to use it. Vicki, who I call my "new Grandma" because it's way easier to say than "my husband's stepmoms mom", was kind enough to teach me a couple of basic skills for quilting.

After figuring out how to thread my machine and sew straight lines I decided to sign up for a quilting class in 2011 taught by Bobbi Porter. I didn't know a soul in the room and went in with very little sewing knowledge. Everyone had been going to the class for years, some for over a decade, and had their own cliques and unofficial designated seating. I first sat at a table with some women who weren't very friendly and didn't seem interested in talking to me. They'd wait for the weekly assignment and then leave. I'd sit alone at the table and silently struggle, trying to figure out things like how to use a rotary cutter properly or decipher the pattern instructions. Bobbi, the instructor, was really amazing and fun and SO helpful, but she had a large class to help and couldn't sit with me the whole time, nor would I ever expect that of her. I'd nervously fidget with my machine and slowly made my way through the three hour class.

One day a lady, Peggy, came to my table and invited me to sit with her group. She informed me that the women at my table weren't very friendly, told me that I was welcome to sit with her, and gave me a dvd made for beginner quilters that she thought would be helpful to me. From then on I sat with Peggy, her daughter Carrie, Kathleen, and a few others. They were all so encouraging, friendly, and gave me tips and advice when I needed it. Class became so much more fun with my new friends.

There was another lady, Jane, who brightened my day. She wasn't shy and would stop by my table and talk to me. It was always small talk, but it made me feel happy that she would take time out of her day to walk over and start a conversation.

I've been thinking a lot about Jane and those quilting classes over the past few weeks. At the end of last year I went to a memorial at her home, she passed away from cancer. I was never close with her, but I remember her as being so nice to me when I needed it most. If it wasn't for the warmth from Jane, Bobbi, Peggy, Carrie, and Kathleen I genuinely don't know if I would be sewing today. I could have easily gotten discouraged in class and given up. The kindness of the women in that room made a lasting impression on me and for that I am so grateful.

I hope you'll join me in being kind to others, it can change lives. xo

Halloweenish

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As I was sitting here thinking about what to type I realized that I like giving myself little mini themes or goals that no one knows about (until now). This post and my next blog post are going to have a Halloween theme, even though it is currently November as I write this. Not to be that "Halloween is everyday" girl, but, hey, Halloween is everyday 😂 By that I mean I'm going to wear this outfit 12 months a year, not 1 month a year. I don't discriminate when it comes to skull fabric, especially when it's Cotton and Steel skull fabric 💀.

For me, the Grainline Driftless Cardigan is the perfect Fall piece. The weather is so up and down right now (rained one morning a couple of weeks ago, was in the 90s and 100s, and now its 75 degrees, wtf), but for the days that might have a slight chill, Driftless is my go to, my ride or die, my Fall soulmate. K, I'm being kinda dramatic since this is only my second time sewing the pattern, but I really love it. I never blogged the orange red version I made last year, but I assure you that it has gotten a lot of use. It's a little dressier than a hoodie, so I feel more pulled together when I pass on my worn out American Nightmare and Bane sweatshirts and put on a nice cardigan instead.

what's up with how I'm standing?

This is version 2 of Driftless, the version with the split hem. Didn't add buttons because I'm not going to waste four buttons on something that is never going to be buttoned up (how many more time can I use "buttons" in a sentence, jeeze). Construction is super interesting due to how the pockets are sewn. The first time I cut out the pattern pieces I was scratching my head and wondering how it was going to work, but in the end it did. Jen, the designer behind Grainline, never disappoints. And honestly, I really really like that this is a different take (construction wise) on an oversize cardigan. The only change I made was omitting the sleeve cuffs for my shorty arms.


Oh, this leopard print sweater knit is from Michael Levine and it was on saleeeeee for $4.80 a yard! 👏 I love when I lurk a fabric, don't buy it, and then go lurk again and realize that it's 20% off. Actually, the whole website was (is?) 20% off, so I should stop feeling like such a genius haha. And in no way am I affiliated with Michael Levine, just wanted to give you a heads up that they have good sales.


The shirt is from one of my favorite pattern companies, SBCC Patterns. They specialize in patterns for petites, and since I'm petite this is right up my alley. You've seen this pattern before on my blog and also on my Instagram, but it's the Paloma Blouse in version 2. No changes/adjustments made other than lowering the pockets and adding a couple of inches in length. This pattern holds a special place in my life because it's perfect for crazy quilting cottons, uses a little under 2 yards of fabric, and it's a great shirt style for my work. It's not a basic t-shirt and it's not a full on ballgown, the best compromise 😂


Thanks for reading, friends! xoxox

What the Fade?!

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Hold up, did this just become a knitting blog? Because I seem to only write about my knitting lately. Maybe it's because I've been sewing repeat and/or easy sewing patterns and idk if you guys are interested in my no frills sewing. Are you? If so, I'll make more of an effort to write about them.

v v difficult to hold a huge shawl AND take photos of yourself haha

In exciting knitting news, here is my What the Fade shawl for the Drea Renee Knits Mystery Knit Fade Along. Yeah, I joined in on another MKAL, I think I'm addicted. It is so so so fun doing mystery projects, you guys. I picked out six colors that blended in together (and by "picked out" I mean I bought a kit of five yarns and then added the pink one from my stash) from Republic of Wool, one of my very very favorite indie dyers of all time. I love speckled yarn, especially when blending between two colors.

Yes, I am wearing a Buffy the Vampire Slayer shirt.

I started the MKAL on August 31st and finished it on October 7th, which is power knitting for me. Fingering weight yarn takes forverrrrr to knit (I may or may not have mentioned this on my blog recently 😉) and I am pleased with how quickly this went from strands of yarn to a legit shawl. It might have went faster if I wasn't messing up the brioche so many times. There was some ripping back, and by that I mean I restarted this thing five different times, which was annoying. At first.

Sidebar: I recently watched this video by Jocko Willink and it really really pumped me up. Go watch it and come back here when you're done, it will take 2 minutes and 19 seconds of your life.

Did you watch it? Messed up your brioche stitches and had to start over? "Good." Niece aggressively tried to lick you and you dropped a bunch of stitches that you don't know how to pick up? "Good." I'm changing my mindset in knitting and sewing and life. I hope you'll join me.


Anyway, this is my first two color brioche project and it was extra fun with the color fading/melting. The pattern is exclusively brioche and garter, so once you get the hang of doing brioche it's an easy one to memorize and the color changes kept it interesting. Andrea made incredibly helpful video tutorials that were the only reason I even knew what was going on. That's not to say that her pattern isn't well written, it is, but I really needed the visual help to learn two color brioche. So, thanks for the well made and well written MKAL, Andrea!

The cool thing about thing about this is that it's completely reversible and you don't have to worry about an "ugly" side showing, yes!!!! And compared to my last "fade" project weaving in the ends was not bad at all. The end pieces were a cinch to hide in the brioche legs and into garter edges. I'm all about quick and easy end weaving 👌


There were instructions for optional tassels on the three corners, but I'm not about that life right now and can always add them if I change my mind. Overall, I'm really really happy with the finished product. I've got another huge shawl and life is awesome. Now comes the fun part of planning my next knitting project 😊

Thanks for reading! And remember: "good."

Birch + Seamwork = LOVE

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Some of you will probably disagree with me, but I don't really consider myself a trend follower when it comes to clothing. Yeah, there are sewing patterns out there that a lot of us sewists will use, but when it comes to styles and brand names I'm not easily swayed by what is "in style" at the moment. Take those shirts with the shoulder cut outs. NO. Lululemon leggings for $128.00? NEVER. And wearing a bra as a statement piece. NUH UH. I guess I try to think long term when it comes to sewing and I want to make garments that fit my taste and are timeless, in that they are things that I will wear for a long time, not for a "season."


Despite everything I just said two seconds ago, here is the trendiest thing I have worn in a while 😂 I've seen a lot of off the shoulder tops and dresses this summer, so I'm guessing this is very "on trend" right now. But this comment/fashion advice is coming from someone who has been wearing black Converse and band shirts for the last seventeen years, so feel free to take any "fashion tips" from me with a grain of salt, haha!


The tunic length pattern is version two of the Seamwork Loretta pattern, sewn without any fit adjustments. It was a quick one to make (it's a Seamwork Pattern, so duhhhh) with only a few pattern pieces (front, back, sleeves, elastic casing, belt, and belt loops) which is great for the instant gratification project I needed in my life. The only changes I made for my version were minor ones: I cut the elastic a few inches shorter than the recommended length for a snugger fit and I didn't add the belt loops. Honestly, I'm not a fan of how they look and since I wasn't sure if I'd be wearing it with the belt (it has since been confirmed that this will be belted at all times) I kept them off. For future version two it will be loopless, possibly have a longer belt, shorter elastic to keep it on the shoulder (Not sure I can rock an off the shoulder look. It looks cute, but might not be functional. Will have to wear version one a few times to determine), I will use bias tape along the hem instead of folding over and stitching, and it will have some sort of tag in the back so I can tell the difference between the front and back. One of my favorite things about sewing is that I don't have to have annoying and itchy tags on my neck, but I'll definitely add a small loop of elastic or fabric. Not itchy and functional FTW!


This dreamyyyyy fabric is the new chambray from Birch in black. I love that it comes in 58 inch widths and that it's organic. Well, all of Birch's fabrics are organic, so that's nothing new, but it is always a plus for me when I'm buying it. I buy organic fruits and veggies, so why not organic fabric? To clarify, Birch did give me this fabric to make a garment, but I do buy from their line already, which is why I say I'm a fan of buying organic. I also like buying local, which is convenient for me since Birch's storefront is forty five minutes away mwahaha!


Back to the fabric, it's lightweight enough for this blouse. Wait, actually, it's pretty perfect for this pattern. It would also be perfect for the most comfortable Archer too. You guys know I'm an Archerolic, right? So basically this situation is going to happen soon since it is now technically Fall and I'll be living in Archers. Also, just decided that Fall and Winter are now considered Archer Season in my world.

Happy Saturday! Happy Fall!
xo Erin

Knit Life

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Living the knit life since 2013 and falling more in love with it everyday. At this point I think I knit more than I sew. Typically, I like knitting things that I will actually wear (socks), but every year I treat myself to a sweater. With the mild climate here at the beach there isn't a huge demand for warm cozy sweaters, so they aren't usually on my needles. However, when Andrea Mowry released the So Faded sweater pattern I knew I wanted in.


Can I just say that I love indie yarn dyers? I love supporting small businesses (this goes for sewing pattern companies too!) and I loveeeeee buying yarn. It's actually probably considered an addiction at this point... Would that make it a habit or a hobby? Or both? The indie yarn used for this sweater was bought from Junkyarn. Kemper (the owner, dyer, and all around badass), made life really easy for me by dyeing up kits for the So Faded sweater and you can bet that I was sitting around waiting for her shop update because I HAD to get my hands and needles on these beautiful yarns. You can check out my Ravelry project page for more info on the yarns, or you can just stay here while I gush over Kemper and her fun speckled yarns idc. It's a fingering weight project (code for "this took forever to knit") and the yarn is made up of 75% merino, 20% nylon, 5% stellina. The stellina gives the glittery sheen that may or may not be visible in these photos, but makes me happy inside. And let's talk about the second yarn from the top. Two words: Leslie Knope. Yeah, that kinda sums up the fact that this yarn rules at life.


 So Faded (the pattern, not me being drunk) was a fun sweater to make and drama free aka had good instructions. It's knit in the round with circular needles, top down, and the sleeve stitches are left on scrap yarn and then knit after the body. Honestly, the most confusing part of the pattern was figuring out the math for fading the colors in and out out, but that wasn't even bad because Andrea gave the exact formula and you just had to plug in your numbers according to the size being knit. Maybe it's just me, but I freeze up and my eyes cross when I see math equations ugggggh. Guess you can tell that I wasn't the best mathematics student hahaha.

While the pattern was an easy one to follow it was time consuming to make. Making a sweater from fingering yarn is no joke and is not a quick knit by any means. This took around 3 months to complete, but I really lagged on the sleeves and worked on other projects in the meantime which added to the long time frame. If I worked on this project solely I could have gotten it finished sooner than I did, but life is way more fun with multiple knitting WIPs in my world.


My least favorite part about making this was weaving in all those ends. Jeeeeeze that took forever. I guess that's just the downside of "fade" projects in general. End result is worth it though. Fav part are the pops of garter stitch on the shoulders, it gives the pattern a little something special.

Would I knit this again? Maybe. No fault of the pattern, but man, it took a while to knit and it's going to be a minute before I'm up for another project of this scale. IF I do give it another shot I'm going to size down because I would prefer a closer fit. This is a little looser (my bad) because I thought sizing up would be a good idea and it wasn't. I wanted it to be more oversized and it didn't end up that way. So I should have went down a size or up a few sizes. Not complaining though, this will still be on my body WHEN THE TEMPERATURE DECIDES TO NOT BE 80-105 DEGREES EVERYDAY 😠😡😠😡 K, I guess that was a complaint and I don't want to end this post on a negative note, so I will emphasize that I do like my sweater and I like the black walls that my husband and I painted in my library. I have been wanting black walls for eight years (I can pinpoint the exact moment I fell in love with the idea) and it has finally happened. So excited. That's all.