Green Bean(ie)

As far as I can tell, a leftover skein of yarn is sort of equivalent to a spare half-yard of fabric. A psychological burden that will weigh increasingly heavily upon you until you eventually use it for something, anything a chance to make accessories! And I had an untouched skein remaining after knitting my first knitted thing. I didn’t really have any sense of what to do with 160-something yards of DK-weight wool, but then I happened strangely effortlessly upon this free Purl Soho pattern, which called for my existing weight of yarn and my owned size of circular needles (US 3). Whaaat! So I made a hat for Professor Boyfriend.

I cannot recommend too strongly knitting a sweater, then a hat. I feel like I sneezed this out in less than a week. Also, I had some extremely helpful voices suggest I was twisting my purl stitches on my sweater, which was massively useful to this beginner, because it led me to read about stitches generally and I learned a whole handful of things. The real biggie: I wasn’t twisting my purl stitches. Because it turns out I wasn’t actually purling at all, because I didn’t know how! I was doing some other thing! But now I do know how to purl, without twisting! Ta-da!

I realized this accidentally while watching a YouTube video about stitch mounts in which an experienced woman slowly and kindly pointed out how one thing is different from a different thing, which is more knowledge than I used to have about stitch mounts. Reading about twisted stitches also led me to discover twisted rib, which I find a lot handsomer than the flimsy 1×1 DK-weight ribbing I made before. So I disobeyed the Purl Soho pattern and knit through the back loop instead. Ohoho! They don’t own me!

I knit a size M since Professor Boyfriend has, I’m pretty sure, an average, medium-ish head. Also because I had the one skein of yarn it called for, which I just realized THIS SECOND is irrelevant because different skeins are different amounts of yarn!! Aahhh!! Well, I got away with it! Cripes. I do wish it was an inch or two longer, but I haven’t blocked it yet because I’m waiting for hot weather, so maybe I can get a little more length out of it then. Professor Boyfriend says it fits fine, and it’s his noggin, so either way we cool.

Thanks to YouTube stitch mount lady (a link I sadly did not save to my spreadsheet; weird), I learned to distinguish between a knit stitch and a purl stitch. This distinction was previously invisible to me. Those were the only two choices for the majority of the hat so I was feeling pretty good and competent, especially on the part that’s just a tube! Also, for a while it was a knit-until-it-measures-etc. pattern, not a count-your-rows kind of pattern, which is much more relaxing.

My single most triumphant moment (which I can also credit directly to the YouTube maven): if I were to have followed the directions for one of the decrease rounds, I would have ended up purling my knits and knitting my purls – and I noticed, and corrected it! I caught a pattern error! Or who knows, maybe I miscounted something and messed up, but if so I didn’t compound my mistake, and I still get to feel triumphant.

Eventually the hat stops being a tube and starts becoming a hat. The decrease rounds go quickly, even with the counting involved. I got to apply my magic loop skills but there’s a moment near the end where you’re working with like, 6 stitches, and it feels like surely not? This is not enough of stitches? But somehow it came together, and without a hole (which I was going to brand as a sunroof)!

The twisted rib is very stretchy and I like the whirly effect as seen on the crown of Professor Boyfriend’s head. And the color (which he was not consulted on) looks nice on him! He’s a nice-looking guy! I know this was an outrageously simple project but I feel good for getting through it without errors.

Kind of hilariously, a few days after I finished this and gave it to Professor Boyfriend, a birthday gift from my sister arrived in the mail. She’d knit me a hat that looks like it could eat this one for breakfast. Also green. I knew she was making me something because she ran some allergy stuff by me – I can’t remember the exact details but this is seriously luxe; the words ‘silk’ and ‘alpaca’ both came into it somewhere. And it is GORGEOUS.

Professor Boyfriend is lovely and gracious about his lightweight hat though. Sometimes we wear our green beanies at the same time, and this event is known as Hat Club. All are welcome.

Anyway, I’m proud of my knitting progress so far! I’m definitely not a natural, but I can feel my understanding getting better, and I think that’s the most important part – my technical skills improve more meaningfully if I actually get what I’m doing. And it’s nice to know a knitting project doesn’t have to take over a year!!

Back to sewing as per ushe next week! And thanks again to all the knitters who shared their expertise. 😊 Mad grats (⬅️gratitude with attitude). Ta-ta!

Pattern: Classic Ribbed Hat from Purl Soho

Pattern cost: $0.00

Size: Adult M

Supplies: 1 skein of DK (leftover Cloudborn Highland DK in Ocean)

Total time: 2/24 – 2/28, 2022

Total cost: $0.00

4 Denimsional

In my continued mission to squeeze value from the MN Dawn Curve pattern until it squeaks, I’ve made another pair of Dawn shorts. I’m not the only one confused by shorts this year, but I figured I couldn’t go wrong with denim – even better, leftover denim from all the other pants I’ve made recently. I had large scraps and more than a little hankering for the bi-color/parti-color/jester trend, so blammo!

These are all rigid denims. The light blue is 10 oz.; the dark blue is 8 oz.; the black used as one back leg is also 8 oz.; and the other black denim is 5 oz. I used that just for the back pockets, coin pocket, and belt loops. I cut those lightweight pieces first and set them aside. Everything else I cut improvisationally. This is the first time I’ve sewn Dawns without tweaking the fit or trying a new view, so I felt good about experimenting elsewhere.

I prioritized making the back from the dark scraps to a) minimize underwear show-through and b) in case I sat in something. I haven’t sat in something, but summer isn’t over yet. I probably could have brought one more light element to the rear, but I love black and blue together, and hopefully wrapping the dark blue to the front makes the front and back feel less separate.

I actually cut belt loops from every fabric and decided to make a call on which to use later, but there’s something to be said for sewing loops from a lighter coordinating fabric. It was so much easier to get through those layers.

You can see I’ve got buckling in the back yoke, but I’m starting to believe this is inevitable in rigid jeans. They just slump after the first day of wear (this is day 2 or 3 for these shorts – non-consecutive, if you’re asking!) but otherwise they wouldn’t fit on day 1 and I’d never get to day 2 anyway!

Oh also, when I sewed my muslin of this in the winter, I noted that the shorts back leg outseam is 1” longer than the front outseam. This time I eased them together, but is that a thing? Easing the outseams? I guess it keeps the hem parallel to the grainline, but it seemed like a lot of excess to ease over a relatively short seam (compared to a full-length pants leg).

I tried the MN button fly directions for this pair. I would class them as effective but inefficient. You’ll be switching between regular thread and topstitching thread way more than necessary if you follow them to the letter, and I know this because I did. I used a hodgepodge of bobbin threads but topstitched each denim tonally, except the light blue; I didn’t have any light blue thread, hence the gold.

Surprisingly the pattern only calls for 3 buttons or rivets on the fly, plus 1 on the waistband – and it was enough! I typically use 5 on the placket, but it’s so much faster to get in and out with just 3 that it makes me 60% more likely to pee. Oh, and my pocket bags are scrap cotton with shades of blue and grey. I’m feeling preeetty happy with the insides of these shorts.

I’ve been using a straight waistband with this pattern, which made it really easy to color block. I cut long rectangles from whatever scraps accommodated that and then placed + trimmed them to match the finished shorts.

I switched topstitching colors on each section of the waistband. Hems too. I pulled the thread to the back and knotted it instead of backstitching. Fiddly, but I like the result!

I’m actually very pleased with these shorts. They’re longer and a bit looser than I usually wear shorts and there seems to be some excess fabric in the front leg/crotch, but they’re comfortable even when my thighs are given full scope, important for such summertime activities as lying in a hammock, sitting on a picnic bench, etc. And I love these scrap colors together (not totally surprising since I bought them all in the first place). Plus it was $FREE$ (as my dad says, ‘if your time was worthless’).

Also, you may have noticed I have a low-poly paper fox head in these photos??? It’s leftover from Halloween 2020 (I made this one, Professor B.F. made a red one) and I had a case of the why-nots. One way to tell I’ve been blogging for a while – three years ago when we first took photos, I was adamant that no one could even be nearby, and for these I unconcernedly unbuttoned my shorts roughly ten feet away from two plumbers conferencing outside their van while balancing a paper fox mask on my head.

No shame in my game anymore. Woof, arf, assorted fox noises. See you soon!

Pattern: MN Dawn Curve jeans

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 14 waist, 16 hip; 16 rise; with lots of changes

Supplies: leftover denim medley; thread, rivets from stash

Total time: 7.5 hours

Total cost: $0.00

Fern Cryin’ Out Loud

How many times am I going to blog a pair of Afternoon Patterns Fern shorts? As always, Miss Swann, at least once more. Well, twice more, actually, since there’s two pairs in this post.

I don’t have a stash (one part smug to two parts jealous of your sweet sweet stash) but I save aaall my scraps. Both these shorts were made out of leftovers, originally from a pair of Peppermint Wide-Legs and RTS Papao pants.

This first pair was made from a mystery fabric which, while not exactly right, was very available. I wanted a pair of longer shorts for work this summer, but they ended up a hard-to-wear betwixt-and-between length, so I re-hemmed them to about a 3” inseam. It’s an improvement, but due to the stiffness of the fabric they stand out from my body more than I like and the finished silhouette is on the edge of dorky.

If not exactly in dorky territory, they’re on the Dorky Trail, headed west. I need the space for thigh spread, though!

I’d like to say the wrinkles are for verisimilitude. So I will. They are for verisimilitude, and you are welcome.

The thing that sells me on this pair, despite the fabric, is that I did a really good job sewing them. (No one will match Hercule Poirot for his humbility!) I know I’m not supposed to say so but I did, they look nice inside! I had a perfect scrap of sandy glimmer cotton for the pockets (not pictured, oops), and the only zip I had happened to be a coordinating color, too. It’s so tidy in there, it makes my heart glad.

I used the selvage for the edge of the fly shield, which I like aesthetically though it serves no purpose that serging/zig-zagging the edge wouldn’t also accomplish. Also, I’ve finally started backing my waistband buttons with little flat buttons on the inside. It really helps reduce wear and warping. Luckily I have a tin of them harvested from Professor Boyfriend’s worn-out RTW shirts.

I also hang onto decent-sized singleton buttons like this one, the ecru cherry on this beige cake!

 My second pair, in known-quantity cotton twill, has many more wrinkles, even though I just popped them on for the photos. Also, PLEATS.

I converted the front darts to 1” deep pleats – why? Oh, um, no reason. I think I slightly overfit the waist. Not to the point of discomfort, but the snug waist + pleats do mean these practically bloom open. Someday I’ll actually use a drapey fabric like the pattern calls for but right now my legs are inside fabric balloons. Super comfortable, unsurprisingly!

At this point I was out of zippers (well, I had a 5” one for Professor Boyfriend – but me and my body getting in and out of fitted-waist pants with a five inch zip? Ha ha ha HA good sir). So I was grateful for my recent experience sewing hidden button flies! There are a lot of good techniques out there, but I gave this one a whirl and LOVED it. I did the short lines of stitching between button holes to keep everything in place.

My shirt is a Deer and Doe Melilot, which is the zippiest button-up shirt pattern I know. It has no yoke, dropped shoulders, and cut-on plackets. The bit that takes the longest is turning the curvy hem.     

I used cotton voile bias tape to hem. I’ve done it by double folding before, too, but I like this better. The fabric, by the way, is a vintage Italian linen tablecloth – it was basically Professor Boyfriend’s trousseau. He brought it to the relationship and I used it to make a short-sleeve button down for him, then foraged the scraps for myself.

I should wear my short-sleeve Melilots more often. I really like them so I have a bad habit of saving them ‘for best’. This isn’t the easiest-wearing one in my closet, because of the linen, but who can say no to a basic white shirt?

I pointed the collar but otherwise sewed a straight size 42, no changes. It’s a little snug on my hips but the bust fits okay. I might retrace as a 44 with a 42 collar, because the collar fits perfectly; this was the first shirt pattern I tried that I could button all the way to the top (though I don’t right now, because I don’t like high necks + coronavirus hair together).

Speaking of buttons, I actually sewed this last summer for the Sewcialist’s logo color challenge. I got white on the wheel but couldn’t resist a little pop of something-something!


Also, when this post goes live I will hopefully be in the Berkshires, Q-tip up the nose permitting. Time to pack!

Pattern: Afternoon Patterns Fern shorts

Pattern cost: NA

Size: D at waist, E at lower hip + thigh

Supplies: leftovers of mystery TMOS fabric/leftovers of cotton twill; thread, buttons from stash; zipper, Sewfisticated, $1.28

Total time: 4.25 hours/6 hours

Total cost: $1.28/$0.00

Pattern: Deer and Doe Melilot

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 42

Supplies: leftovers Italian linen tablecloth; thread, Michael’s, $3.75; buttons, Gather Here, $6.00

Total time: 5.75 hours

Total cost: $9.75