Project Notes: Shell Stitch Cropped Top With Embroidered Details

I started making this top MONTHS ago. I don’t usually have a project that I’ll work on in little bits here and there, either between more prominent projects or when I need a break from those projects, but that’s what this top started out as. In the last few months, I started to get more excited about this top for a few reasons – I was really excited about the simple shape, and I had decided to add embroidered details – and I worked fervently to finish it.

The top is worked in two pieces, front and back. Most of the embroidery was done before the front and back were seamed together. Shoulders and sides were then seamed, right sides facing, in single crochet. Once seamed, I turned the top right side out and added some simple single crochet stitching to the armholes, neckline, and bottom hem to finish and round out the edges.

Working in small amounts on the front piece over several months meant that I didn’t see the piece work up as fast as usual, so the front wound up being much too wide. Instead of frogging and redoing the whole thing, I simply made note of the adjusted measurements on my pattern draft to correct it for future makes, and made the back piece much smaller to account for the front piece being too big. This meant the seam would be further back on each side instead of directly under the arms, but given the color, texture, and simple design of the top, I wasn’t too worried about this.

I have been experimenting with different types of embroidery on different crochet stitches lately, and at some point, decided I wanted to add a little embroidery to this top. You can see that the stems and shoots are made with simple long stitches, as that worked best over the shell stitching. Crochet always has at least a little stretch, and this garment has a good bit because of not only the shell stitches, but the yarn itself, which is an acrylic/nylon blend. I tried to stay aware of this while embroidering and kept a looser tension for the stems and shoots than I would have if working into regular fabric. The leaves are single chain stitches with a bit of fill, and the small buds are French knots. All was done using DMC cotton embroidery thread.

The majority of the embroidery was done before the front and back were joined together, since it was easier to weave the back ends in as I went. After trying on the top once it was seamed together, I went and filled out the embroidery where I felt the top needed it. Although I’m still not 100% about it and feel like maybe I could have done better/added a bit more. Though now I know how the top looks when worn, I could maybe figure out better placing and amount of the embroidery if I do something similar in the future.

I love how these green and blue shades pop a bit from, yet compliment the grey.

In the above picture, you can see how the side seam is further back than normal. Also, this is a bit nitpicky, but as the designer critiquing a first draft, I’d rather the back neckline for this piece be a bit higher and flatter than this. But again, it’s not a big deal, and looks okay.

I finished this piece just as the weather was warming up around here, and the material is just too hot to wear right now, but I’m excited to wear it next fall/winter.

For some behind-the-scenes and in-progress shots, go peruse my instagram: @waterswares

Waters Wears: Star Stitch Sweater First Draft

I finished this sweater a little over a week ago. I would up having a good bit of this heathered grey acrylic yarn leftover from a custom project, and decided to use it for this sweater idea I’d had in my head for a while. The shape of the sweater is inspired by an old cropped sweater of mine that has started to fall apart and wear with time (though I do mend it as needed). As for the stitch, I’ve wanted to use star stitch in a pattern for years, and as it is a thick and squishy stitch, it makes for a nice, warm sweater.

Overall, the sweater turned out well, although there are a few things to note:

– The neckline needs to be smaller, as I’d originally intended. I made up for it being too wide in this go by making the neckline ribbing closer to 2 inches wide, when I’d planned for it to be more like 1 inch wide. This made the neckline take on more of a scoopneck shape, which is fine, but not my personal favorite and not, as I said, what I’d originally intended for the sweater. It’s funny that the neckline wound up so much wider than I’d wanted, even though I measured carefully and checked several times during making.

– Though I surprisingly didn’t hate how wide the sleeves were for this go – they actually work surprisingly well with the sweater overall – I’d definitely make them smaller in the next version. And though I used a hook one size smaller for the ribbing than the body, I might use an even smaller one for the wrist ribbing next time to make the sleeve cuffs a little tighter.

– At a point during the making, I had to go buy more yarn to have enough to finish. Even though I bought the same yarn, the dye lot available to me was different. I decided this would be fine as the greys used in the body and sleeves of the sweater already varied in places, even being from the same dye lot, and as the new yarn would be used just for the ribbing. So there is an unplanned subtle difference in greys between the body and the ribbing; the yarn used for the ribbing seems a much cooler grey, almost blue-looking.

Can you see the subtle difference in greys? It’s more obvious in some lighting than others.

I decided to pass this first draft on to a lovely friend, and it looks great on her! I kind of love when I make something that I’ve not planned for anyone specifically, but then it’s just obvious it’s meant for a certain person.

Looks For Fall

I did a little drawing series over on my Instagram of looks I like to wear during fall and winter. It was a fun little project; I enjoyed playing around with this drawing style and making the borders.

Here’s a round up of the drawings.

One of my favorite ways to wear an infinity scarf in the last few years – layered over a long pendant necklace.

I typically just scrunch or tuck in skinnies when wearing boots, but lately I’m loving wearing them cuffed with ankle boots.

A lightweight sweater tucked into a high-waisted skirt makes for a chic look.

Waters Wears: Striped Tunic First Draft

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I completed this first draft of a tunic earlier this year. It features a high-low hem and high slits on the sides, along with leather button loops on the sleeves.

While I’m hoping to release the pattern for this tunic sometime next year, there are a few changes to be made first. Mainly, the neckline is wider than I intended, even after altering and adjusting it while making this first draft. I’m still happy with it, though – the rest of it turned out pretty much like I’d pictured, and it’s received so many nice compliments any time I’ve worn it (which is great to hear as the designer).

The next step is to work up a second version and make the intended changes, then I’ll get pictures and begin editing and finalizing the pattern.

Psst: If you’d like to keep up with day-to-day behind-the-scenes of my design process and projects, I’m pretty active on my Instagram account.

Tea Tales: Warm Tea In The Fridge

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For most people in the south, tea means an ice cold cup of sweet tea (black tea with lots of sugar). Growing up, that’s all we drank. No herbal teas or green teas. Nothing “fancy.”

My mom and I were a little different than most around us, though. Not that we don’t love a glass of cold sweet tea, but there was a treat we both shared a love for.

When the tea had finished steeping on the stove, Mom would pour it into a pitcher over a few scoops of sugar, add in a little more water, then stir. Once it was ready she’d put the pitcher in the fridge to cool. She’d come find me, and like a shared secret, let me know, “I just finished making tea. It’s in the fridge, so go get some now if you want it still warm.”

I’d pour some into a jelly jar glass and cup my hands around it to feel the warmth. Hold it below my nose for a bit and let the steam clear out any congestion. Then sip it slowly. I’m pretty sure I remember a few people turning their noses up at us from time to time, like, “Who drinks warm sweet tea?!” Those comments seem so silly now.

As I got older, Mom and I began to delve into the world of herbal teas. Fruit teas became a favorite, and mint. But I still love a good cup of warm black tea, sometimes with a bit of lemon juice added and mostly with honey instead of sugar. A classic a bit refined, but with humble, sweet beginnings.

Wifi Wall Prints

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I’m so excited to finally have these in the shop! These “wifi” wallhangings are handmade – a print of my original artwork, covered with a sheet of plastic so you can use wet or dry erase markers to write in your home’s wifi password, finished with a handcrocheted trim. Pretty and practical. ;)

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Find them in the shop here!

Fall-Winter 2016

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Fall-Winter 2016 is here. The little collection is made up of mix and match hats, scarves, cowl, and gloves available in 8 color combos. Some designs are returning from previous years, some are brand new. And a few other random items are available again in the shop also, like the crocheted men’s tie and Collector’s Drawstring Bag. Have a look here, and go get you some cozy goodness!

Waters Wears: Friends and Flower Crowns

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Several weeks ago, my friend, Kelsey and I made some flowers crowns. Our friend, Caleb, helped us with a photoshoot a little while after that featured them. You can see the official Flower Crowns post on Kelsey’s blog here.

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These people have been my friends for years now, and though we all don’t get to hang out together as much as we used to, the times we do get to spend together are always lovely and silly. It’s nice to spend time with people you share so many inside jokes with, who’ve stuck around through awkward phases, embarrassing phases, differences in belief and choices, tears, laughs, etc. All in all, this day made me feel so joyful. I love these people. (I know, so much cheese, but it’s true.)

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(Find out more info about outfits and accessories on Kelsey’s post.)

Waters Wears: Bohemian Stripes

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I wore this outfit a few weeks ago out with friends to eat sushi, followed by hanging out in a bookstore for hours. (Can we do this like, every weekend, please?)

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I have mixed feelings about this dress. I love the stripes, the colors, but the way the sleeves are made – meant to have an oversized tee feeling – makes your shoulders seem broader than they really are, to me. But it’s comfortable, and has definitely been a great thing to have post-having baby to easily throw on.

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Again, wearing my mother’s old necklace. A favorite I wear often.

Hope you’re all having a beautiful day! God bless!

for friends fighting hard battles

08-14-2016

for friends fighting hard battles

“be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”

I wish I could give your heart peace.
I wish I could say or do something to make it better.
But I can only offer that I’m here – though I
 am a bitter, selfish, prideful person, I will try my
 best to be here for you – and I can carry your burdens with you.

Don’t keep it in, don’t feel like you can’t share. If
you open up and I ignore, forget, don’t understand
 the depth of your struggles, am not there in the
 ways you need, then the fault is with me, not
you, the things you’re going through, or the way
you’re feeling.

And if you want, if you don’t mind, let me make
an attempt, however imperfect or unpoetic, however
honest and real on my part, to tell you of the
One I believe CAN give your heart peace. Who
 can do something to make it better.

 Who carried your burdens long ago.
 

I am trying to remember this message, too, dear friend.
I am feeble, fickle, weak, and small. As I said, I am
a bitter, selfish person. I am full of fear, a worrier.

 Let us walk together toward Him, learn to lay
 our burdens down and sit at His feet.

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