New Year Catch Up

Happy (belated) new year, y’all!

2015 was quite the blur. Mine started and ended with a house renovation and we are finally finished! In this photo from two months ago was the first time my kitchen looked like a kitchen after many months of having no floor right down to the dirt.

my kitchen reno in progress | Cloth Habit

Have you been through a reno? Once you pull the string on one, oy, does it keep unravelling. What started out as a simple kitchen idea turned into changing the foundation piers under the house, ripping out 80 years of plumbing, re-wiring, ripping out two walls… and of course redesigning my sewing workroom to a space I loved.

The thing that nobody tells you about renovations–whether you do it yourself or as we did with a contractor–is that the actual work isn’t as tiresome as the onslaught of decision-making. Decision exhaustion is a thing! I knew I got there when choices over period-appropriate door plates kept me up at night.

So of course I needed distractions that had nothing to do with my business or my house, like…

Knitting

I want to knit all the things!

I bought my first ball of yarn in November and I’m gobbling up everything I can learn about knitting. It’s rejuvenated my excitement in making things and been a great de-stresser in the evenings (and I’ll admit, in the mornings too).

After my hat I started in on this seed stitch cowl pattern from Purl Soho…

Purl Soho's gradient seed stitch cowl | Cloth Habit

It’s fairly mindless knitting once you get into a rhythm, and seed stitch is an awesome pattern for getting comfortable with both knits and purls as a beginner. But boy, is it lonng, and I had to force myself not to start other projects so I could actually finish this before the short Austin winter disappears!

Meanwhile I couldn’t get enough of sock patterns, and got a bit feverish collecting them on Ravelry. It makes sense the bra making lover would dig knitting little things, right? This is my first pair, knitted from a wool silk sportweight yarn, because… silk.

first pair of knitted socks | Cloth Habit

This is the first of several pairs I started while holiday traveling. [Grins sheepishly at all the little knitted toes I’ve collected…] We were squeezed into the back middle row of economy for both international flights so having something to do with my hands was a relief!

I want to knit all the socks | Cloth Habit

Bra Making

I’ve been hinting here and there about a new pattern. I don’t have a firm release date but I can tell you that it’s nearly done and all I need is some space to round out the instructions. In the meantime, I’ve been playing around with some personal patterns for myself.

t-shirt bra experiments| Cloth Habit

I’m on a quest to perfect a basic t-shirt bra, which two years ago I swore I’d never make. Then my stash of store bought t-shirt bras started wearing out. The bras I make last longer than they do, so I knew it was time to conquer the thing that I call the “fall back bra”. And I’m pretty close to getting the fit and feel I want. Sometimes it takes a few tries! Stay tuned for more thoughts on making t-shirt bras…

Teaching

Annnd… I’m excited to announce that I’ll be teaching at this year’s Camp Workroom Social! Want to join me for an intensive weekend of bra making next October?

Copyright 2015 Esvy Photography
Copyright 2015 Esvy Photography

It’s going be be a blast of a weekend of camping and making, with courses in sewing, knitting, surface design, and fitting. Registration is open, and there are still some spots left in my class. I’ll be writing more about Camp next week so you can get a feel for what it’s all about!

Now back to packing and getting ready to move… Happy weekend!

24 comments

    • Amy says:

      The cowl is a long project to work through! The yarn is almost laceweight but it’s held double so you can use two different colors to do the gradient between colors. That part was enough to keep me occupied. And yes the yarn is expensive but soo soft and cuddly!

  1. LizOaks says:

    I was delighted to find this site. I am a total novice at bra making, in truth have not taken the plunge yet. I am knee deep in seeing the dresses for our daughter’s wedding at the moment (The big day is April 9th, at the family homestead, in Fredericksburg ,Texas).
    I spent thirteen years in Gettysburg,Pa. , making clothing for the civil war renactment community. I loved every minute of it but I am enjoying retirement and taking up new challenges now.
    As soon as the wedding is over I hope to try bra making. I have two-daughter-in-laws who have difficulty in finding bras that fit that don’t take the gold in Fort Knox to pay for them. My daughter that is getting married is also allergic to man made fibers, so I am anxious to make natural fiber bras for her.
    Thank you for your site and your blog. I found the place to buy the kit for my daughter’s bridal corset by checking out your sources for supplies. Again, I say thank you and look forward to seeing your new posts.

    • Amy says:

      Hi Liz, A homestead in Fredericksburg? My favorite place to soak up wildflowers… which I’m sure will be crazy this year with all the rain we got in the fall.

      Bras are nothing compared to bridal gowns (or corsets) so you will have so much fun when you get to them!

      • LizOaks says:

        Lol I hope so.
        Yes, it is on land that my own grandfather said he could see the fires the Comanche Indians would build in the evenings.
        My cousins actually own the homestead and it is a bed and breakfast now.
        My mother’s family were some of the original settlers of Fredericksburg. My only claim to fame is that Admital Nimitz is a distant cousin, lol.
        Yes, I Agree about the wild flowers, I truly hope they are spectacular for this spring, particularly my favorites the blue bonnets and buttercups.
        Liz

  2. Annette says:

    Not only have we done a reno, too, (Oy, is right!), but I am a fairly experienced knitter and crocheter and sewer too! While I’ve yet to sew my own bra, I have been working on knitting one! If you’d like the information, it is in book form, let me know and I will get it for you. If not, or if you already know about this and could care less, that’s okay too! So, TFS, Annette

  3. Amy says:

    I’ve been without kitchen walls for nearly two years now. We’re doing as much as we can ourselves, which is why it’s taking so very long. Kitchens seem to connect with so many other house systems, so we’re also completely redoing our plumbing (finished!) and electrical (underway) and heating/AC (unfortunately, not yet started – brrr!). I’m excited to hear that you’re finished with your renovation and have what sounds like a completely updated house to go with it! Is that a butcher block countertop? If I may ask, what type of wood did you decide to go with? Anyway, I’m excited to hear about all of your knitting, and I can’t wait to see what’s next with your sewing (and patterns!).

    • Amy says:

      Hey Amy, my sister in arms in renovations! We have a totally new house and I am so proud of bringing it into a new day, but as you know it is a labor of love. Most people in our station would have just bought a new house, but I love these old gems and hate seeing them demolished which is happening left and right in crane city Austin. You are so right about the kitchen being connected to EVERYTHING. The plumbing was the hardest (and most expensive) part of it all. In grad school I lived with a family who were doing a kitchen reno and we cooked on electric plates for a year. I just don’t think I could have handled the stress of that, so we moved into a rental with our huge herd of pets :).

      Our houses are probably very similar guts-wise? We have a 1920s pier and beam bungalow, which is the common older house here, and I know so many of the Northwestern houses were built in a similar period. Anyway, yes it is a butcher block counter top! That was actually the very first decision I made—I’d always wanted one. If you want to write me I can dig up the company we ordered it from—I don’t think they are just based in Austin. They had several types of wood and grain (one of the hard choices—we went with maple and it looks so good).

      And oh A/C, that was the one thing we are waiting to do… ours is surviving on crutches. Everything is central air here, but those babies are bank-breakers!

      • Amy says:

        Thanks! My husband and I have talked butcher block, but we’re still on the fence. We love the look, and we’re not so much nervous about stains and such, it’s more the heat issue – how much heat can they take from a crazy hot stove or an accidental hot pot placed directly down onto them. If we start leaning more towards butcher block as we get closer to decision time (hopefully soon!), I’ll definitely send you an email for that info. Also, I’m proud to say that my husband, dad, and I did all of our plumbing, so we saved a ton of money (but lost a lot of time – it’s all a trade off, right?!). We don’t have the budget to rent though, so we’re living in our place and have turned an extra bedroom into a makeshift kitchen, complete with two electric (induction) portable cooktops. We laugh though that it’s the biggest “kitchen” we’ve ever had since college! Also, people keep telling us to get a heat pump for both our heating and cooling needs, but our Seattle climate is so different from Austin that I could imagine you wouldn’t get the same advice. We need to bite the bullet and just do it, but it is expensive, and we’re not sure when it best fits with the kitchen renovation. Until then we’re wearing coats inside and cozying up to our electric space heaters! Good times! Anyway, thanks again, and enjoy your new old home!

  4. Debra says:

    Glad to hear you are enjoying your new space and have taken up knitting; meditation, with socks at the end!

    I wondered if you would make another video about dyeing this year? I really enjoyed the first one.

    Either way, all the best for 2016.

    • Amy says:

      Hi Debra,

      Thanks for the well wishes. I do plan on a follow up video on dyeing. I filmed it but had some problems I need to fix! So sorry there was a delay on this. 🙂

  5. eimear says:

    I was just looking around our house this morning trying to brace myself for the next round. its a do-er upper we bought 2 and a half years ago which we are plugging away at. – currently we have done windows and upgraded insulation and wiring (cracked chimney and installed woodstove). the saving grace is both our workrooms are warm and bright (and keep us sane), seeing your kitchen is an inspiration (dont know when ours will get the up grade as I think there are issues with drains outside….. we no longer are running into jobs as each one seems to have hidden layers!)

  6. Jackie says:

    Hi Amy, I’m Jackie from England, UK, and have just found your site. It’s great, thanks for sharing all your ideas. I’m keen to get into bra and swimsuit making.
    What a coincidence, I’ve made the cowl too fromPurl Soho, brilliant pattern, but as I live over here and couldn’t get their yarn, I had to make do with using my stash. It was great to knit, I love the gradations of colour but it did turn out a bit big. Ok for cold English winters though! Their patterns are brilliant, I have made several.
    My February task is to research bra making materials in the Uk. And then make one!

  7. K-Line says:

    OK, my kitchen reno (to start in April but just delayed till July for stupid permitting reasons) has turned into pulling off the back half of a century home (the add on) because its structurally unstable, fixing the footings under the old part of the house so that we can reattach the rooms (on 2 floors) that we’re removing, a basement excavation, a bathroom reno and new lighting in the old part of the house. I could buy a new suburban home for the amount this is going to cost. We’ve already done tons of work and nothing’s even started. And this isn’t even our first reno (we did another bathroom and redid the attic a few years ago). I can TOTALLY relate. Your kitchen looks terrific!

    On a diff topic, what’s that blue yarn you used to make the socks? I love it. And what’s your ravelry handle? I’m kristinm100…

    • Amy says:

      Hey Kristin! A basement excavation sounds crazy! But when you are in love with an old home, nothing compares no matter the cost 🙂

      Oh, I forgot to link up to my Ravelry! I need to fill out my profile but I’m amymchapman. And both yarns (the peachy pinky and the blue brown) are North Bound Knitting merino/silk DK. I got it from my local yarn shop Hill Country Weavers. It’s really pretty and soft. Perhaps it wasn’t the best choice for durable socks, as the silk part seems to fuzz a bit, but I got sucked in by the colors and I need me some bed socks (I love bed socks).

  8. Sonja says:

    Your house looks so beautiful! But renovations are so daunting… it’s easy to imagine getting totally overwhelmed!

    So glad to see you getting into knitting! Aren’t handmade socks lovely?

  9. Lesley says:

    Gosh, stunning kitchen, I’m pinning that one! We did a huge rebuild of our house 4 years ago and we still receive compliments about the kitchen. Even when we packed to move state, the ladies packing commented on the excellent and thoughtful storage – yay!
    Now we’re starting on our weekender which is where we’d like to live eventually. I think if you don’t make too many compromises and stick with the ‘vision’ it will come off just like yours!

  10. Paul Cwalina says:

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