So one of the many projects I’ve been working on in little baby steps is my next bra pattern. I know!
I had every intention of releasing this much earlier this year but at that time we were in the throes of an entire home renovation. A very dear and wise friend of mine reminded me that all of my mental energy was pouring into that and it was understandably hard to drum it up for other things. Read more
One of my favorite winter activities as a teenager was annual winter camp with my church youth group. I grew up in Michigan where winter is all about snow, snow, snow. Tubing, skiing, ice skating, sledding, freezing. And since this was the 80s, who could forget massive puffy jackets and moon boots? They were the dork books but man, did they keep your feet warm. (Duck boots were the cool kid shoes.)
I have fond memories of freezing toes under five layers of socks, tubing for hours down dangerous wooded paths, staying up late in bunk beds and not so fond memories of early morning wake up calls. I have never been a morning person.
Such is most of my camp memories but this year I’ll be making a new one in the gorgeous surrounds of the Catskill Mountains. (Hopefully sans the snow–I left that behind when I moved to Texas.) When Jennifer of Workroom Social asked if I’d be interested in teaching a bra making intensive at this year’s four-day Camp I was all in. It’s time to substitute freezing toes for a weekend with makers! I mentioned this in passing in my last post but wanted to give y’all a little more detail. Read more
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.
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…
There are many ways to finish bra cup seams and I love experimenting with different techniques. Most of the time I line bra cups with a sheer lining because I love the way lining feels and it’s an easy, neat way to hide cup seams. You can even line the insides of foam cups if the seams are bothering you.
But what if you don’t want a lining? Enter seam tape!
This is my favorite way to cover and neaten foam cup seams, and it’s also a common treatment for ready to wear bras that don’t have a lining, both foam and non-foam. I’ve had a lot of questions about how I make seam tape for my foam bras (like this one) so today I’m going to show you! This weekend I was working on a new bra and I shot a spontaneous video to show you exactly where this mystery tape comes from, and how I use it.
I always knew that the second I got into knitting, I’d have a hard time stopping. It’s like the Tetris of handcrafts. And sure enough, once I started this I was having a hard time putting it down.
It all started with a late night browsing of Purl Soho, which is a rabbit hole of beauty. I’ve bought Liberty fabrics and Sashiko kits from them in the past, and every time I’ve shopped there I ended up buying more than I should have. (Embroidery threads are sooo beautiful, aren’t they?) Sure enough, an hour later I ended up with a mini stash of quilting fabrics and yarns.
For my first project I started out with their Learn to Knit kit which includes a pattern, needles and enough yarn for a hat and handwarmers. The hat is a simple flat project, and it involves just one stitch (the knit stitch) over and over.
This project is perfect for total beginners because it limits the number of tasks you have to concentrate on until you get to the finish line. That’s a good thing when you know absolutely nothing. I got halfway into the project before I really understood how to hold the needles and keep my yarn from falling down! Finding those basic rhythms are so awkward and slow at first.
I’m an absolute newbie, and I kind of like that. Every term was alien to me. What the heck is cast on? Gauge? My beginner pattern said “slip a stitch knitwise” as if I knew what knitwise meant. I even confused stitches and rows. (I thought each stitch was a row.) And that’s what Youtube is for, right?
While my pattern had great pictures and instructions on how to knit and hold the needles, it’s hard to learn from photos alone. Watching someone knit is infinitely more helpful! So I signed up for a Craftsy class, Knit Faster with Continental Knitting with Lorilee Beltman. For the total newbs, continental knitting is a style in which you tension the yarn in your left hand and “pick” the yarn with your right needle. I’m a leftie and I’d heard this style is a bit more “hand neutral” than the English style I tried to learn many years ago.
This course doesn’t have projects, but Lorilee teaches all the basic stitches and the class is paced perfectly for a total beginner. She explains everything as if you had no previous knowledge, and knits verrry slowly while phrasing through the rhythms. That’s super helpful if you want to knit along and practice.
Needles are another topic that need explaining, and the class helped with that. My kit included beech wood needles but knitting with these was harder than it needed to be. I felt like I was forcing the yarn off the needle with every stitch, and poking my ribs with the ends which wasn’t exactly relaxing. Halfway into my hat I ran out and bought a pair of metal circular needles, and whoa, what a difference!
I’m already at work on my second project, another Purl Soho pattern made with seed stitch which I just love.
Any other newbs out there afraid of knitting? It really only takes a couple of knitting sessions until you get the swing of things. It definitely helps to work with lovely yarn you like to look at and touch. I blame fugly yarns for losing interest the last few times I’ve tried to learn!