Monday, September 1, 2014

Finished Ikat Alder Shirtdress

Happy Labor Day, I finished my Alder Shirtdress

Ikat Alder Shirtdress

I love love love this pattern. I love love love the way this dress turned out. I hate hate hated sewing this fabric.

I knew when I picked this slippery rayon, I'd have troubles. But the drape! So soft! I just kept imagining the dress it could be, and I decided to go ahead with it anyway. And it's definitely a wearable dress, but it was a bitch to work with. 

What a lovely yolk!
(look at my road rash! it's so healed!)

The way the yolk is hanging, the mis-matchy ikat on the front, the slightly rumpled button band - these are all symptoms of working with this fabric. But it hangs nicely on the body so I can ignore most of those problems, and it's light and breezy. I already wore it to work this week and it is the perfect work uniform.

I would definitely categorize this under "wearable muslin." As you can see below - I skipped doing the full bust adjustment and that was a mistake. I cut a size 16, and I should have cut a 14 and done the FBA. I'll never wear this without a tank top underneath, so it's not a huge deal, but I'll go for a better fit with my next Alder. 

Ugh, low armscye!

I also skipped my planned side seam pockets because the drape-y fabric would not have held up well. I cut the chest pockets, and then ended up skipping them as well because the ikat fabric was already so busy. Like I need to give people another reason to examine my chest...

I did shorten this by about 2" (and I'm 5'8"), because if I am going to wear what looks like a large shirt, it better show off those legs! This makes it the perfect length for wearing with boots and feeling sassy, but it did, however, make it a bit too short to belt. Meh, I guess one cannot show off both legs and waist. 

Alder Shirtdress Back

All in all, I love it and I can't wait to make more. And check out Allyson's version and Laura's version - both turned out so rad! 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Alder Dress Sew-Along: W.I.P.

Our little Alder Shirtdress Sew-along is going strong! Allyson and Laura both posted fun pictures of their WIP dresses last week. They're a bit ahead of me, since my bike accident held me back from starting this as soon as I laid eyes on the pattern. 

Alder Dress, ready for cutting

This past weekend I was finally able to cut into my fabric. It's a slippery rayon, so I had some trouble cutting it perfectly on the grain. I've been straightening it up as I sew, though, and thus far that's worked out. 

Do you like my cutting table? Yeah... it's the floor. 

How about my scenic sewing room: 

My Sewing Room

I moved into a tiny, 420 sq ft studio last January, so this "sewing room" is also the kitchen, and the dining room, and sometimes bike storage. It's a challenge to fit everything into such a tiny space, but now that I have all my sewing stuff out of the closet, I'll be knocking out a few projects in one go. You can see my pile on the ottoman in the corner! 

Ok, check with Allyson on Wednesday for her finished Alder, and Laura on Friday! 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Alder Shirtdress Sew-Along Extravaganza

Have you seen the Alder Shirtdress pattern from Grainline Studio? I first saw it on Ginger Makes, where Sonja made two gorgeous versions, and I fell in love. I had to have this dress!

Then I found out that my bff's, Allyson and Laura, were also obsessed with this pattern, and it was official: we had to do a Sew-Along.

Luckily, our mini sew-along is just a week behind the official Grainline Studio Sew-Along, so I've been benefiting from their guidance.

Here are my plans, thus far:

Version 1: A straightforward take on View A. This will hopefully be a wearable muslin, where I work out any fitting issues within the pattern. Since it's designed for a B-cup, I will definitely be doing a Full-Bust Adjustment (following the instructions here). I will also be adding pockets, and possibly tweaking the collar to a Peter Pan style, depending on the fabric.

Version 2: View B, made out of something drape-y, like silk charmeuse. Also adding pockets. Always with the pockets.

Version 3: A v-neck shirt version, a la this post. I think this would be amazing in a chambray.

My plans are ambitious, but after my bike accident last week, they have stalled. Thus far I have....

Alder Shirtdress Pattern

Just an assembled pattern. But hey! That took a really long time. I really wish I had seen this tutorial from Colette or this one from Sewaholic before I started. But I'll be cutting that fabric in no time, I just know it.

You can catch up with Allyson's progress on Wednesday and Laura's on Friday for all the Alder-goodness you can handle!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hodgepodge Mittens for Meghan

Here's a Christmas 2013 project that never got a blog post: Hodgepodge Mittens for my sister. 

Hodge Podge Mittens on Meg

This was my favorite pattern from Holla Knits Accessories last year, since I love colorwork mittens. So cozy and so entertaining to knit! I knew my sister would dig them, too, in a nice, neutral color palette. And look! They matched her post-Christmas outfit perfectly. 

I knit them pretty much as written, using Magic Loop. I stopped a few rows before the end of the chart because my sister (and I) have small hands. It worked well to try them on as I went and adjust accordingly. I loved the easy 4-stitch pattern repeat and simple color scheme. They look great finished, but weren't too crazy-making while knitting. 

Meg's Hodge Podge Mittens

My sister got married in June, and a few months before the wedding, I was sitting at my desk, thinking about how things were going to change within our family. Meghan and Jeff, her new husband, have been together for 10 years, so I wasn't really worried until I realized: Meghan and I would not be waking up together on Christmas morning, like we had since we were old enough to sleep in our own beds. It brought tears to my eyes to think about! Who knew, that at age 30, I'd still have some "growing up" to do?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Summer Knitting - Harnett Tank

Hey, check it out: it's my Harnett Tank.

Harnett Back

I cast on this baby on New Year's Eve, and finished in early June. (Rav page here, if you're interested.) I knit size 38 with almost no mods, except following Michelle's directions for jog-less stripes. She's so helpful!

I used the recommended yarn - Knit Pick's Stroll - and found it... lacking. After I finished my Fire Opal Tee, knit in a cotton blend, I was totally in love. Putting on a wool blend, at the beach, for these photos, was torture. The sweater fares much better when worn in my air-conditioned office, but I still wish I had used cotton. 

Harnett Front

But it sure looks beautiful, doesn't it? I was a little worried about the length and width while knitting, but the nice thing about wool is that it's so darn flexible, and I was able to wet block it into a nice shape. 

And hey! I'm a lucky lady, because Allyson came to visit and work on Red Letter Day Stitches stuff, and took these photos of me. This was pretty much the most perfect day at the beach because:
  • We saw a whale, and it spouted water! 
  • We saw dolphins, doing flips! Seeing dolphins is not unusual on the SoCal coast, but I had never seen so many, being so acrobatic. 
  • The water was very warm and swim-able. Rare for the Pacific, and probably why we saw so many animals.
  • We mastered the technique necessary for anchoring a beach umbrella in the sand. 
  • We were seated next to a group of very beautiful European people, and spent a good amount of time eavesdropping on their conversations and speculating on who was dating whom. Maybe that's a thing I shouldn't admit on the internet...
Harnett Flat

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A finished summer sweater: Fire Opal Tee

Lookit what happened: I finished a thing.

Fire Opal Tee 4

This is my Fire Opal Tee, and I finished it a few weeks ago as part of Allyson's KAL. Oh, what a satisfying knit!

Allyson designed the tee to be knit with wool yarn, but I live in California, so I subbed Knit Picks Comfy Fingering in Parchment, and had to make few modifications. This yarn knits up so soft and drape-y, I know I will wear this all summer (and let's be honest, winter) long. 

Fire Opal Tee 1

Although the pattern was designed to be knit with positive ease, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I cast on the 38" size (my actual bust measurement is around 40"), and a few inches in, I realized it was going to be far too loose for my liking. So I painstakingly ripped out a good 6" of knitting and cast on the 36" size. I lengthened it by about an inch before separating at the sleeves, but otherwise knit as written. It's perfect. 

Fire Opal Tee 2

And yes, I'm modeling it without a tank top underneath. Once I had finished it, I knew it would lend itself nicely to being sauced-up a bit in this way. I'm not sure if it's because I'm smack-dab in the middle of LA, or if it's just the way fashion trends have turned, but I would have never worn it this way a few years ago. 

Fire Opal Tee 3

Is it the reasonable color? The sophisticated cables? Whatever it is - I'm a-ok being a bit scandalous with just a bra underneath. Maybe it's the short hair. I'm a risk-taker now! 

Fire Opal Tee 5

Thursday, May 8, 2014

On Cutting One's Own Hair

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that about a month ago, I cut off all my hair. It had been long for almost 4 years, and it was time for a change. I started looking at Pinterest for inspiration, and an hour later I was ready to do it. 

short hair

And I did! But more specifically, I cut it. I've been cutting my own hair since I was a teenager, and have only been to a salon a handful of times over the last 15 years. 

Teenage Katie
Cutting one's own hair sometimes leads to terrible bangs, as 14-year-old Katie illustrates. 

It started when I was 14, looking at a Delia's catalogue late at night. There was a model with the cutest short hair, and before I knew it, I had convinced myself that "hair grows back," and I should "just go for it." I walked down stairs the next morning with a short bob, and my mother (bless her heart) just looked at me and said "I like it," before continuing on with breakfast.

And the rest is history. A history littered with bad, too-short bangs, yes, but it's my history. Because no stylist can cut my hair like I do, because no stylist knows my hair like I do. 

A braid

When it comes to fashion, it can be so hard to know how to assert your individuality, but this is one way for me to do so. When I cut my hair, I feel like the cut is me. It's just like sewing and knitting - you can create a one-of-a-kind garment that only you can rock, because it was made for and by you. 

new hair!

So that's why I continue to cut (and color!) my own hair, even if it means the back is a bit choppy, or the layers are a little uneven. Because they are my uneven layers, and I like them like that.

Ps. If you want to get into the wild world of self-hair-cutting, I found this great tutorial on cutting your own hair. Saves money, too!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Gettin' Back to It.

I've been a bit out of it, craft-wise. 

Messy Table
My crafting, I mean, kitchen table, complete with embroidery-in-progress

I'm sure you've noticed around here - updates have been sparse, and it's not just because I'm not blogging. It's because I wasn't really crafting. Of course, I've been working on Red Letter Day Stitches consistently for almost a year now (eeek!), but other than that, nada. 

Some Christmas presents, but nothing for me, and certainly not a sweater or major project. 

Yarn Desk
Piles of yarn at work. 

But early this year, I got some of the old itch back. And let me tell you, it feels really good to be excited about making something. 

Allyson is running a knit-along for her Fire Opal Tee, and since I've been coveting it for years, I had to join in. I'm knitting it in Comfy, as opposed to the recommended wool, but otherwise following the pattern. Of course, changing up the fiber means that the fit changes. 

Fire Opal Tee in progress!

For the most part this is good - I want a drape-y, warm-weather sweater. But after knitting a few inches, I was skeptical. It looked LARGE. I tried it on, and it was. large. So I pulled the whole thing out, and have started again, on the size 36. 

Whew. I guess you can't be out of the game for as long as I was and not expect a few bumps along the way, right?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

"bitch, please..." an embroidered present

bitch, please.

I'm pretty lucky to work at a day job full of creative people. I work for a post-production house - which means we do production on films and TV shows after all the fun stuff happens. It's a good gig with a lot of fun people, and everyone is super supportive of artists.

So when my boss requested a stitched piece with the words "bitch, please..." for her birthday in March, I was happy to comply! 

bitch, please... embroidery piece

I like to sweeten up a salty phrase, so I added plenty of Lazy Daisies and some French Knots and called it done. It now sits on the edge of her desk, confronting those that might give her sass during the work day.

the back of the work - "bitch, please."

And a quick shot of the back of the work - I always love to see it, and I know you guys do, too! 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Julep Jacket Knitting Pattern Sale! $3!

Julep Jacket Knitting Pattern by Katie Canavan

This week, my Julep Jacket knitting pattern is 50% off! That means you can snag this pattern for a mere $3. 

Allyson and I are celebrating over on the Holla Knits blog with lots of fun styling posts, too, so check it out!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Knitting for Baby Boys.

I have two nieces, so I've knit a lot for little ladies, but no so much for little dudes. But this past year, my brother had a son, and a good friend just gave birth to a little boy, so lots of knitting for baby boys!

I knit two little cardigans that were very similar, so I thought I'd put them together in one big post:

Brennan in his Trellis

My nephew, little red-headed Brennan, in his Trellis. This is a free pattern from Knitty, so there were tons of great ideas for modifications on Ravelry. However... I knit is as-is. I made the medium size using size 7 needles and Lion Brand Cotton-Ease.

This little sweater took a long. ass. time. It's so tiny, but full of cables and seed stitches, so it's a bit deceiving. This was Brennan's Christmas gift, and I was knitting it up until the moment that picture was taken. So I cut some corners with the finishing and crocheted the seams together, and used 3-Needle Bind Off instead of grafting the shoulders. 

Despite my poor time-management skills, it turned out great. It looks flippin' adorable on him, and I didn't have any of the problems with the collar that other Ravelers talked about. I thought it folded nicely, which could be due to the heavy drape of the cotton yarn. 

Front of the Baby Sophisticate

Here's the little Baby Sophisticate that I knit up for Alex's baby, Finn. I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease and size 10 needles. This is another free pattern that only comes in one size, but I followed these modifications to make it a bit bigger. Alex and her husband are both over 6', and Finn arrived at 13lbs, so I knew that he'd need the extra room! 

Back of the Baby Sophisticate

This was a super quick little knit, made quicker by knitting the arms in the round using Magic Loop. It will definitely be my go-to baby sweater from now on. I added some fun, colorful buttons, and called it done!

Dapper Baby Sweater!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Wrist Pain - When Crafts Turn Bad.

It seems like recently, more and more of my knitting friends are complaining of wrist and hand pain from knitting and sewing. It makes sense - if you're spending 10 or more hours crafting a week, then you're going to be in pain from the repeated motions, right?

For me, it's been a long-time struggle. The first time I experienced wrist pain from tendonitis, I was 14 years old, and attending tennis camp. After the first week, I was in so much pain I cried. My doctor diagnosed me with tendonitis, and sent me off with just a wrist brace and a "good luck!"

After tennis season was over, it didn't effect me much. I mean sure, bowling meant a sore wrist and hand, but it wasn't a huge deal day-to-day. 

Then, I got super into knitting and opened up an etsy shop selling tiny hand-sewn accessories, and that meant multiple hours of crafting a week. It was when I was prepping for my first craft fair that my tendonitis came back and bit me in the ass, hard. 

So I bought a pair of these stress-relief gloves. And they helped! I wore them for years while knitting and sewing, and they really seemed support my wrists and hands.

But then, about a year ago, I got a Vespa scooter, started riding my bike a lot more, and started playing tennis again. I think you know where this is going... with the added motion of squeezing the breaks, and playing the tennis, my tendonitis got super mad at me, and I was in a lot of pain.

So I upped my wrist support, and got something like this:

It's a heavy-duty, stretchy wrist support, and I love it. It feels like a wrist-hug, and when I'm really in pain, it helps a lot. I got mine from Target, and you could probably find it at a drug store.

And then, the game changed. Last October, I did a few sessions with a personal trainer at a gym, and I told him about my 15 years-worth of wrist pain. He asked if I was on supplements, and was shocked that no one had ever suggested it. 

I was skeptical. He was just like, a gym-type guy who was trying to up-sell me on his $30 bottle of supplements, right? But then I tried it...

I didn't buy the gym stuff, but I found a similar, cheaper product at Rite-Aid, and then at Trader Joe's. My wrist pain has been so much better since I started taking these daily. The suggested dose for the TJ's supplement is two pills daily, but I only take one and have found that works well. 

I can knit! I can sew! I can bike and type and lift things up! I still occasionally wear my wrist supports when knitting and exercising, but I am in a lot less pain day-to-day. Hopefully if you're going through the same thing, it will help you, too. 

Ps. I'm not a doctor. I just wanted to share my experience, so if you're thinking about taking supplements, please consult a physician, etc, and so forth. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Annie & Tom's Wedding Embroidery

My best friend, Annie, got married back in October of last year.

Photo by Danny Dong

Here we are at her gorgeous wedding. She got married at Nestldown in the redwood forest of Northern California, and it could not have been more perfect. Both Annie and her husband, Tom, are stylish, detail-oriented people, and that meant that day was just lovely. And lookit my pretty dress!

Annie & Tom's Wedding Embroidery

Ok, enough bragging - the reason I'm posting this now is to show you the embroidery I made for them! 

I love doing an embroidered piece as a wedding gift. Taking a traditional gift and putting a modern spin on it. At the wedding, we all walked down the aisle to the song "Home," so I included some of the lyrics on this piece, along with my favorite thing to embroider - leaves. I hope this is a piece that will hang in their home for years to come!

Closeup on A & T's Wedding Embroidery

Side note: Sethrina, the bridesmaid with the long blonde hair, was also the recipient of this wedding embroidery

Monday, March 3, 2014

Happenings at Red Letter Day Stitches

Although I've been neglecting this little blog, I've been hard at work over at Red Letter Day Stitches

Fat Tuesday

I released a new pattern for Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday! This one uses a lot of new and challenging stitches, and was a lot of fun to stitch up. You can purchase it for $4, here. (And March 4th, aka Fat Tuesday, it's on sale for $2!)

RaG SAL Part 2

Currently, I'm right in the middle of a stitch-along for Allyson's new pattern, Raise a Glass. I mean, we're stitching a mug of beer in honor of St. Patrick's Day, so you know I endorse this one whole-heartedly.  I love the way Allyson worked out the shading - you hold two different colored threads together! 

Part 4 - Finished Balloons > Roses!

A few weeks ago I finished a stitch-along for Allyson's Valentine's Day pattern, Balloons & Roses. I changed it up a bit and stitched the design onto a bright magenta fabric instead of my go-to muslin, and I loved the way it turned out. Starting with a blank canvas can be nice, but a bright color can really change up the feel of a design. 

Both of Allyson's patterns are available for $4. We also have year-long subscriptions!

New Easter Design! Little Bunny WIP

And a little bonus... a little peek of my new bunny-centric Easter design!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Oh, Hello!

I've been informed that Christmas was two months ago, and that it is "time to update your blog, already!" So here's what's happening, in the world of Katie....

New Hair

I dyed my hair brown! This is actually my natural color, so I laugh a little when everyone tells me it looks, "So natural! So good with your coloring!" 

Moving 2014!

I moved! This is really why I've been so absent from the internet... mostly. I now live in a little studio, in a building that was a hotel in the 20's. It's got a ton of charm, although I miss my Mid Century Dream House

New Hiking Boots

I've become obsessed with hiking! You can tell because I not only invested in hiking boots (after an unfortunate ankle-turning incident), I instagram-ed a picture of them the first time I wore them. 

Switzer Falls Hike

Waterfall Hike

I've hiked to waterfalls!

Hiking Above the Clouds

I've hiked above the clouds!

Now let's move on to pictures of food...

Donut Friend

I've been eating! This is a donut from Donut Friend, which is my current food obsession. Every weekend, I suggest Donut Friend at least once a day... but try to actually eat it less. 

Lemon Chicken Stew

I've been cooking! One of my requirements for my new apartment was that it have a full kitchen (yes, this is a thing to think about when one is looking at studios), and I've been making good use of it, with the Trader Joe's that is right next door. This is my current go-to recipe, Lemon Chicken Stew. I bake the chicken instead of frying it in the pot, but to each his own. 

A little knitting

And of course, I've been knitting. The tiniest bit of selfish knitting - a Harnett Tank in Goldrush and Pearlescent. More on this later.

How have y'all been?