Thursday, January 31, 2013

Horse Shoes and Hand Grenades

So perhaps you have heard the saying, close enough is only for horse shoes and hand grenades?  Well, let me expand that list to include knit two, purl two ribbing.  I've been doing my best to be diligently working away on my vintage sweater for the All Things Vintage knit along, so I can keep you updated on my progress.  After what seemed liked endless hours of K2P2 ribbing (on size zero needles no less!) I gave my work a quick measure - 4 and 13/16 of an inch.  It is supposed to be 5 inches.  Close enough I say, and onto the next steps in the pattern!


I can't believe that January is pretty much over and all I have accomplished is the bottom ribbing.  Two more months to go, and hopefully some much quicker progress.  Though I'm not going to beat myself up too badly, because I did have to wind all of my yarn before I could begin knitting, and that did take several evenings as well.


But I must stay motivated because it is usually at this point that I give myself a pat on the back and take on several sewing projects before returning to my knitting.  Even though I recently starting planning out a few maternity sewing projects (much more practical than a sweater I won't be able to wear until next fall), I am going to keep pushing forward with this project.


Any other knitters out there who easily get discouraged while knitting ribbing?  How do you stay motivated to keep working on the project?  For non-knitters, what are the types of things that cause your projects to be put on hold?

Live in this moment and love life!

Annabelle

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Planning for a Growing Bump

Sorry for the complete lack of posts from the prior week, sort of on a whim I decided to apply for a new job.  Kind of crazy, right?  I was looking for something that would offer me a bit more flexibility once Little Pooh is here (Yes, for now, Little Pooh is what we are calling the baby - blame my dad if you don't like it).  So instead of sewing or knitting I spent last week meditating on my awesomeness - or at least anything I accomplished that could be considered awesome or impressive by an interviewee.  I wouldn't consider myself the most humble person ever, but I do struggle with bragging about myself, especially when it comes to interviews.

So, you want to know how it went?  Well I got the job!!!  I am super excited about this, and know that this new role will make it much easier to juggle motherhood with a career.  I am still working for my same employer, but just in a completely new role that uses my current skills and will also stretch me to learn some new things.

Now that I've got my career all figured out I decide it was about high time that I planned out some sewing projects for this growing bump of mine.  I've been shopping once for maternity clothes and wasn't super impressed by what I saw so I'm a little more motivated to start sewing some things for myself.


First up is a super cute shirtwaist dress.  Wait, that's not a maternity pattern, you say!  You are correct, but I've heard that shirtwaist dresses are great for nursing once the baby is here.  I've also heard that the average new mother walks out of the hospital looking like she did at four months.  Since I am a few weeks away from four months, this is the perfect time to make a dress that will fit me for a little while now - and then once the baby is here.  I will be able to count on at least one non-maternity item that I can feel good in as I work towards losing the baby weight.  The fact that this dress is sleeveless is perfect because it will be the middle of summer when I want to wear it again.

I like version 1 on the left.
Next is Simplicity 4635.  Yes, you've seen this pattern and fabric before.  I bought the pattern last summer because I thought it was cute and I might need it someday.  The fabric is a cotton lawn that I was going to use for my Spring Palette Challenge, but it was the third item that I never seem to get to.  This dress looks like it will be perfect for summer when I am at my biggest and I just want something comfortable, yet cute to wear.

So the navy does not photograph really well, but the patterns do!
Last, I have a wonderful remnant of navy knit fabric from Adrianna Papell.  (My fabric store sells remnants from designers).  It feels so soft and has a great stretch to it, so I think it is perfect for maternity sewing.  Plus, it is one of my goals for this year to sew with knits.  I have two really cute Megan Nielsen patterns that I picked up.  I think I have just enough yardage to sew both the top and the skirt - I wonder if worn together it would almost look like a dress?  But I also happened to stumble across Butterick B5860, which would be a great dress.  I feel like the Butterick dress could be worn as a non- maternity dress as well - though I am not certain.

There you have it, some of my current sewing plans.  Though if history is any indication of what is to come, I can plan on completing two of the three projects (or three of the four, depending on whether I choose the Megan Nielsen patterns or the Butterick wrap dress).

What do you want to see me sew?  Would you go for the Butterick wrap dress or the two Megan Nielsen patterns?  Any advice from current moms on what would be the most useful things to sew for myself.  (Spring and Summer is when I will be in my third trimester).

Live in this moment and love life!
Annabelle


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Patterned Turtle Neck

I have to be really honest with you, I have never been a huge fan of the turtleneck.  Even growing up as a child of the 80's and 90's, I was never impressed by this style statement.  To me, it looked like something only a grandma would wear.  Perhaps because it was something both of my grandmothers wore.


So why bother posting a pattern that I wouldn't want to make?  The thing is, I actually kind of do like this pattern!  I think it's because the height of this one seems less restricting than your typical turtleneck. I mean in the picture she's got a scarf around her neck with the sweater and her entire neck isn't completely swallowed up by the sweater.  Plus, I do love a fitted knit sweater - and this is clearly nice and fitted.  I also like the subtle diamond pattern that must be made with purl stitches on the right side.; just enough to give the sweater some texture.

Click on the two links below to be taken to the google image of the pattern instructions:


Have I insulted you with my rant on turtlenecks?  I truly apologize, no harm meant.  Or maybe you agree with me?  What are your thoughts on turtlenecks - can you prove me wrong and rave about how wonderful they are?

Live in this moment and love life!
Annabelle

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fair Isle Mits


When the lost get found it is always a happy moment, but if you know you will never find what you have lost it is best to face reality and get a replacement.  Two years ago, I lost a mitten from the first pair of mittens I had ever made.  I loved those mittens and they were vital in keeping my digits warm during the many cold winter months here in Minnesota.


I eventually allowed myself to accept the fact that my one mitten was gone forever and I needed to go about replacing the set.  With the same brand of yarn (but unfortunately, not the same color way) I set about creating a new pair of mittens - last year.  Luckily it was such a warm winter, that when I lost interest it wasn't a big deal because there were so few days of true winter weather.  This winter has already proven to be quite a bit colder, so I was motivated to finish my these mittens (plus I just hate having WIPs sitting around).


Behold, my new fair isle mittens that will keep (and have been keeping) my fingers nice and toasty.


The pattern is the Flip-Top Mittens in La Gran Mohair from Classic Elite Yarns.  (The patterns in this book are where all of my  first knitting projects came from!).  I chose to use Cool Wool yarn, which is a  100% wool in sport weight.  I modified the pattern by eliminating the cables (I have nothing against cables, I just didn't want to make my mittens too complicated because I also wanted to add color work).    The fair isle pattern is Snow Bunny from the Vogue Knitting Stitchionary 3 book - an absolutely fabulous resource for knitting with color!


My favorite thing about these mittens in the flip top - for many reasons.  First of all, it allows my to free up my fingers to make it easier to dig for my car keys at the bottom of my purse, while limiting their exposure to cold.  Second, having the flip top with hobo gloves underneath provides two layers of wool, keeping my fingers extra warm.


In all honesty, I am still sad about not finding my one lost mitten, as I actually liked my original pair of mittens better - both the color choice and the pattern I chose for color work.  But, I am still happy to have a hand-made replacement that is a reflection of me.

What's the longest it has taken you to replace something lost with another hand made item?  What is your ideal pair of winter mittens?  If you live in a warmer climate, what's a weather appropriate accessory that you have made or would like to make?

Live in this moment and love life!
Annabelle

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Vintage 1950's Baby Quilt

I wanted to take a moment to share a super thoughtful gift from my mother-in-law (who is oh-so excited to be a grandma).  Shortly after finding our that we were expecting she gave us this very precious gift - it was her baby quilt from 1952!  As hubby was opening it, I think the first thing uttered from my mouth was "it looks so vintage!"  And that is because it is.

Close up of the quilt details.

My mother-in-law knows my little fascination with sewing from vintage patterns and she thought that this quilt would be something that I would appreciate.  I must say that she is quite right and I especially love how it is gender-neutral, so boy or girl - it is going to work.


I'm trying to decide if I want to take the time to sew the bedding for our baby and use this quilt as inspiration.  Hubby is convincing me that we should just register for bedding so I can use the time to sew maternity clothing for myself as well as clothing for the baby.  He is so wise, I should probably listen to him - especially since I am just now finding the energy to think about sewing.


And just because I know that not everyone is excited to be inundated with baby posts, I'm only going to post baby things from time-time.  I'm going to have more vintage knitting patterns to share and some fun giveaways too!

Live in this moment and love life!
Annabelle

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Annabelle's Bump!


That's right everyone, hubby and I decided shortly after moving into our new home that it was time to start filling those bedrooms up!  Beginning this July we will be a family of three.


I cannot tell you how difficult it is to keep this kind of thing a secret.  Since Halloween I have felt like a little volcano ready to explode with my joyful news!  But more fun than sharing the news myself, was watching as hubby shared the news with his family.  I think he was actually more excited than me - he can't wait to be a daddy.  I can't wait to for him to be one either, this is going to be one lucky kid.


 We're holding little diapers for a boy or girl in these photos.  We're not going to find out the baby's sex until he or she arrives - so we're going to be prepared for both.  And I know I've already got a bit of a belly in these photos!  In the last few weeks my appetite has really kicked in, and I'm already 13-1/2 weeks along.

As a side note, my blog name (AnnabelleBumps) has nothing to do with a baby bump or being pregnant.  When I was a little girl and got the chicken pox, my dad started calling my Annabellebumps - on account of being covered in little red bumps.  (My poor dad also got the chicken pox with my sister and I and we called him Daddybumps!)  The nickname sort of stuck, and when coming up with a name for my blog I thought it would be something fun to use that was meaningful to me.

Live in this moment and love life!
Annabelle

Friday, January 4, 2013

What Will 2013 Hold?

Honestly, I'm not quite sure!  That is why my sewing and knitting plans are going to seem quite vague, but I wanted a place to make them heard - so as to keep myself accountable.

I've definitely become a bit more interested in knitting lately.  I've been visiting ravlery on a far-too-frequent basis as well as pouring through my A Stitch in Time vol. II book that I've had for a year now.  I've decided to set three goals for myself, with the hopes of accomplishing at least two of them (hey, it's already a stretch since I only knit one item for myself last year).

1) Participate in the All Things Vintage KAL.  This is a group on ravelry that is taking the next three months to have a KAL, and six patterns have been selected.  The one that I nominated (from Liz's blog) even was chosen!  So of course I will be knitting up the Striped Jumper.  I've already chosen my yarn, it's the first time that I haven't purchased yarn on sale, but I got 15% off on account of it being my birthday month - so that almost counts.  This KAL is only three months and it took me over a  full year to knit my last sweater, so I am going to need to be very determined if I want to finish this on time.  I plan on posting a few progress posts so you can give me a swift kick in the pants if I need one ;)


2) Knit myself something from A Stitch in Time.  I've definitely been leaning towards the Blouse with Gathered Neckline - it's the reason I wanted the book.  I love knitting with lace yarn, it just takes sooo long to finish a sweater.  But I know it can be done, Opalrose did a fantastic job on hers.




3) Cardigans are a staple in my wardrobe, especially for work.  I need more of them, and in some fun colors.  I want to knit Georgia, by Jane Richmond.  I've got the pattern and the yarn all figured out, I just need to find the time.


While I am still very interested in sewing, I feel like I don't have a lot of direction with what I want to make this year.  As in the past years, I would like to keep a good mix of vintage and modern patterns.

1) I want to start sewing with knits!  I don't know why I've felt intimidated by them, I have no problem sewing with silk, wool or rayon - so why not add knits to the group?  I even have a few patterns on hand that call for knit fabrics - so this is the year to do it.

2) Keeping with my German Pattern Experiment that I started last year, I would like to make at least one more pattern this year and reproduce it for my followers.  I am still getting requests for the pattern that I shared last year, so I know there is an interest from others.  Plus, there are so many patterns that I want to make.  So if I make the goal of just one more, I think that is reasonable.


3) Like 2012, 2013 will be a year of weddings - I've already been told of two and have speculations for others.  I would like to make another dress to wear to weddings.  Why not just use the ones I made last year, well it will be a lot of the same people and a girl ought to have a new dress.


4) I also really want to make a quilt for myself.  Before I even bought my sewing machine, I bought all of the supplies to make a quilt for myself.  I'm not sure I love the pattern and fabric that I picked out six years ago, but I can always start fresh.  I just love the idea of a hand made quilt.

Quilt by Tallgrass Prairie Studio
Oh my, these do feel big goals!  Whether or not I accomplish any or all of these, I am looking forward to the rest of the year.  Are you interested in seeing any of the above on this blog?  What is one of your goals for this year?

Live in this moment and love life!

Annabelle


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Sweet Memories of 2012

I know I am a bit late on this post as it is already 2013, but I really wanted to do a review of 2012 since I am quite pleased with my accomplishments throughout the year.


The year started out with my German Pattern Experiment where I hoped to sew as many items from my German pattern magazine as I could.  I worked hard trying to decipher the pattern pieces from the giant map of patterns.  By February I completed a pair of Cami-Knickers and offered the pattern to my followers.  I quickly lost interest in my German Pattern Experiment as so many other patterns had my attention.

In addition to my German Pattern experiment, the beginning of year had me participating in two sew alongs:  Anna's Ooh La La Corset and and Tasia's Minoru.  I love Anna's lingerie patterns and really hope to sew a few more of them this year.

This was also the first year that I participated in Me Made May, I was able to wear a me-made item nearly every day of May.  With the few more garments that I added throughout the year, Me Made May could be a success in 2013.

Once spring rolled around, it seemed that each garment I completed became my favorite, starting with my Floral Tea Blouse.  Not long after, I decided that my Pretty Feminine Dress was a new wardrobe staple.  But my absolute favorite make of 2012 was my Autumn Joy Shirtwaist Dress.  The year was finished out with my Cheeky as You Please Sweater, which brought my total to eleven garments for the year.

I know that 2012 could have been a really big year for sewing if I had continued with the momentum started early in the year.  However, the time it took to sell our house, hunt for a new one and move twice really drained me in the second half of the year.  But, I am happy to say that I love our home and we have no plans to move any time soon.  Slowly with the start of a new year I am organizing my sewing space and formulating some plans for 2013.

Live in this moment and love life!
Annabelle