Arum and a Half

Pasha is making moves toward walking.

It's terrifying and exciting and terribly sad. He's stumbling around holding our hands, laughing and chasing after the dog. Life is full of activity and requires us to be ready and able to jump up and run at any moment. People joke about the messy and boring wardrobe that mothers of young children find themselves in -- tshirts, leggings, messy buns. But if you know us, you'd know that we're just wearing whatever is comfortable and can survive the frantic chasing of our little people.

This has been on my mind a lot as I have started to make my own clothes. As much as I love everything I have made, some pieces are more practical than others. And I'll be honest. When I first decided to make Arum, I did not think it would be much more than a piece to wear to church or out to dinner. But it turns out that this shirt dress style is perfect for shuttling Pasha to storytimes and chasing him around at playdates.

I don't know the brand of the fabric I used, but it is a lawn cotton I picked up at Creative Threads. When I went in I had no idea what I was looking for, so the woman who runs the shop pointed me to this. It was a little more expensive than the fabric I have used in the past, but the wear is perfect for our hot NC weather. Plus it doesn't show the wrinkles nearly as much as I have experienced in traditional quilting cotton.

The only change I would make to this is a longer hem. I sewed it to pattern, and I like a shorter skirt because my post-baby legs are getting quite toned from pushing strollers and running up and down stairs. But ultimately this length is a little too short to sit comfortably on the floor without paying careful attention to how I place my legs. And we all know that artful sitting is not top of the mind when playing trains.

I already made a second version as a shirt and was quite pleased with the result. I used the Anne of Green Gables print from Windham's  Literary line. As a stiffer fabric it fit a little more closely, but I didn't mind. That is until I put on our baby carrier for a quick Target run and popped the underarm seams. It should be a quick fix, but I don't think I'll wear it until my body has adjusted a little more. Because Mom boobs.

Outfit-A-Long

Every year at this time Andi Satturlund kicks off her annual outfit-a-long.

It is a two month knitting and sew-a-long that she cohosts in which participants create two garment pieces, one knitted and one sewn, to be worn as one handmade outfit. Every year I watch the finished objects roll in and wish I could join in the fun. I've participated in just the knitted portion several times, but for the first year ever I feel confident enough to jump all the way in.

This outfit was actually conceived before the announcement of the outfit-a-long. This year for the first time ever (at least since I've lived here), Garbage will be coming to Raleigh as part of their tour. They will be coming with Blondie and they will be coming the weekend of our fifth wedding anniversary. So, of course, we are going. Originally I was just knitting the Allegany Shawl to take for the inevitable chill once the sun goes down. Something about this pattern screams outdoor concert to me, even if it will actually be a million degrees, rendering the shawl unnecessary. We all know great knitting starts in the mind.

I then ordered some lightweight denim from Hawthorn Threads in this lovely pink color to make a Cleo. I love that overall jumpers are stylish again, so I decided to make the mini skirt version. Because it is pink and I'm accenting the shawl with pink, it was meant to be. But then -- then I decided to finally make a TPCT (Totally Perfect Crop Top) and the madness was fully realized with the purchase of two skeins of Junkyarn at Black Mountain Yarn Shop. I may be the mother of a small child, but if I am finally going to see Shirley Manson live I am going all out.

May Pattern Roundup

It's the end of another month, 

which means it is time for another pattern roundup. This month's offerings were heavy on the accessories, which is appropriate for the rising temperatures in the northern hemisphere.

Sweater

Enchanted Forest, Marion Crivelli

I love a good fingering weight sweater. In our climate it is pretty much impossible to wear anything made out of a heavier weight yarn most of the year. So when I saw Enchanted Forest I was immediately intrigued even before I read about the creative construction. This might need to jump to the top of my queue.

For the Head

Persian Windows Hat, Sarah Schira

We all have those random skeins of yarn and I know I have more mini skeins than I know what to do with. This hat is the first in a collection that uses single mini skeins to create fun pops of color in single skein projects.

For the Neck

Westside Market Scarf, Burning Rivers Knits

There's something about colorwork in the summer that just makes  sense. If this kind of project takes you a while to knit, now is the time to start. It'll be Fall before you know it! 

Willow, Natalia Moreva

If you want a project that you can wear more easily in the summer heat, this is an excellent option. Plus it looks to use any number of colors you wish, which is always an added bonus.

For the Feet

Villemo Kalebsdotter, Anna Friberg

Shorties with more than one color and texture? Sign me up!

For Kids

Blustery Day Baby Pancho, Kelly Forster

Kelly writes that this started as a baby shower item, and I can see why. I'm pretty sure I will need to make one of these for Pasha this year. It's just so sweet!

Gifties

Dinosaur with Spikes, Connie Mitchell

Knitted toys are an item I never thought I'd like, but which I've become more and more enamored. This little dino dude would be a lot of fun as a child's birthday gift, knit up in a favorite color.

As always, there are so many more patterns than I can highlight here, so please share your favorites in the comments.

Sew Obsessed

There's a French comic making the rounds right now about the mental load of motherhood.

I find it completely fascinating. I'm blessed with a husband who wants to take his share of the load at home, but I am also the stay-at-home parent, so I tend to put more on myself despite the fact that I am serving as a caretaker at all times. You don't have to be plugged in to the feminist community to understand that mom brains are typically going a thousand miles per hour and juggling various to-dos and responsibilities. For me I think this is why I have fallen so in love with sewing.

I only began sewing in earnest in March, so I am still learning so much about my machine, garment construction, pattern reading, etc. Any time I sit down at my machine it requires my whole attention. I can't sew with the baby in the room or while talking on the phone. I have to put the entire world on the other side of the door and just focus.

That is super rare in my life. At one point knitting was like this, but now I am so accustomed to knitting that it is actually hard for me to sit and knit without the tv going or a book on my lap. It's great to have an activity I can do during mealtimes when Pasha insists on feeding himself, but it does nothing to tune out the craziness in my head. It helps me to stay calm, but it is not the complete escape that sewing has become.

I know this probably sounds ridiculous, and there are many other factors that contribute to this new-found obsession. But the chance for a complete escape, even just for a stolen thirty minutes during nap time, is so precious right now. And that makes all the difference.

Coffee with Dragons

If there's sewing for baby there obviously has to be sewing for mommy, right?

I mean, I think that's how it works.

Last year Katie of Inside Number 23 hosted a sewalong for the Hollyburn skirt by Sewaholic. I was not sewing at the time, but I did watch the videos and file it away for the "one day I'll sew" dream pile. Well, one day came!

It took me a while to decide on fabric for the skirt. The pattern calls for something that is not directional, and I am not one for solid colors when I can help it, so I needed to find something with a fun all-over print that fit into the wardrobe I am building. I was clicking around on Hawthorn Threads when I found Baby Dragons. Perfect! I love the entire fabric line, so don't be surprised if I just have baby dragon everything at some point.

This is the skirt that almost wasn't. I cut out the fabric one afternoon while talking to my sister on the phone and for some reason I cut a size or two too small. I sewed almost the entire skirt one Sunday night, staying up far too late, only to conclude that it really did not fit. I'd say I was devestated, but that's a tad dramatic.

No, it's not. I was devestated. I put it aside for a few days while I figured out what I wanted to do. Eventually I spent an evening deconstructing the entire skirt and reevaluating what I wanted to do. I did not like the way the seams looked either, so when I started sewing again I used French seams, which had a more finished look (I don't know why I was having such a hard time with the seams, I'm sure it was a product of sewing too late at night).

I did not have enough fabric to cut completely new panels, so I cut the larger waistband and then two extra strips to add to the back of the skirts. The end result is not perfect, but also not obviously an error.

The fact that this skirt has such generous pockets practically guaranteed I'd make it again before I even tried on the finished product.

The verdict? I love it. I feel very comfortable and stylish and love that the dragons just look like polkadots from afar.  Plus it looks great with tshirts, which is always a win in my book!