October Things

A few things that stood out this October:

1. My toddler has been learning random letters and numbers (I’m assuming starting preschool this fall has helped spur this at least a little bit) so we’re really trying to run with it. He really loves the letter ‘O’ and will point it out and shout intensely, “OOOOO!” when he sees one.

2. I finished the updated draft of a star stitch sweater and it’s now ready to be edited and graded. Woo!

3. We took my son to a pumpkin patch/apple orchard for the first time. It was mostly fun and he enjoyed having the freedom to run around, but that made it a bit harrowing for my husband and me since the orchard we went to didn’t have the best parking set up and the apples trees were located on the side of a steep hill. Definitely more suitable for older kids. When we took him to the actual patch to pick a pumpkin, I don’t think he quite understood what to do, so we picked a green one for him since he’d been really interested in a green one they’d had over near the games area.

Waters Wears: Lace Embellished Tee

I’ve been wanting to get back into sharing outfit posts more regularly, so here’s a little one. I’m really pleased with this new lace top I got recently. I’ve been looking for t-shirts that have a bit of embellishment, like a floral print, polka dots, lace, etc. I have a good set of solid color tees now, and since I wear them a lot around the house but also out and about, I’ve been getting a little bored with them.

When I originally started posting outfits, one of the goals was to share outfits that included an item of clothing or accessory that I’d made, altered, or mended in some way. I made this necklace years ago and I still like it.

I wore this to my younger cousin’s baby shower. A little dressy, but also comfortable for chasing my nearly two-year-old around trying to keep him from destroying things. (Oh, toddlers.)

Insta-Inspiration

Here’s some insta-inspiration for you this Monday!

DearlyBethany’s photos are clean yet warm. I love how she shares her outfits being worn, and then in a simple flatlay. Her silhouettes are unique and a bit quirky, while feminine and sweet. She’s also big on buying and sharing ethically made clothing and accessories.

Bethany also has a youtube where she shares more in-depth about her clothing, outfits, and other favorites.

Find her on Instagram @dearlybethany

Looking For Test Crocheters

I am looking for pattern testers! This is something I’ve been considering for a long time, and I’m excited to finally begin the process.

Pattern testers must be able to work within a deadline and provide notes on clarity issues, typos, gauge and sizing issues to ensure the final pattern is easy for makers to understand. Experience crocheting garments and using finer weight yarns is preferred, but lack of experience is not necessarily a dealbreaker.

Pattern testers will receive a free copy of the the final pattern, as well as a discount on future pattern purchases.

If interested, go apply here or click “Test Crocheting” at the top of the blog!

Project Notes: “Pumpkin Spice” Embroidered Top

This top is designed top be reversible, front to back, with buttons on one side and a v-neck on the other. I’m happy with the overall design, but I think I’d like to try it in a different yarn. I used an acrylic/nylon blend from my stash, and the yarn’s stretch made the top turn out tighter than intended. This causes pulling on the button placket. I think a cotton yarn would work much, much better.

The embroidery is done using a cotton thread. I love the pop of the white against the burnt orange. I’m debating covering the back of the button placket to hide the thread ends and to see if it will help it hold it’s shape better. It would also help protect to embroidery from pulling and wear, since it’s in a spot that will be stretched and touched a lot.

Here is the v-neck. The point turned out a little softer than I wanted. I would handle the stitching a bit differently on the next go-around. But it looks okay.

Missing Autumn Weather

My favorite season has always been spring, and second is autumn. They are quite similar. Sadly, we don’t really get either of them in the southern US anymore, just a few days of that sweet in-between of t-shirt weather and gentle breezes, and then weeks of back and forth icy cold and steaming hot, until the forthcoming summer or winter season finally wins out.

I’ve been thinking about this lately as I walk into town a lot with my son. We haven’t done too much walking during the height of summer as temps have been pretty high, and this leads me to thinking how harsh the cold will be eventually and how he might not experience those autumn-y days in the same way I did.

For me, as a kid, autumn seemed to start in August, just as school was back in, and stretch for weeks. But the past several years it feels like it lasts about two days.

Surprisingly, it feels like September has brought the cooler weather, and I’m hoping we’ll truly take time to enjoy it while it lasts.

In between a few custom crochet orders, I’ve been working on this cardigan for my son. I try to make him a new jacket or sweater every year. This one’s been working up pretty quickly (although clothing for kids is so much smaller that it does go faster, especially with worsted weight yarn). I think the collar might be where the biggest challenge lies with this one, as I’ll be trying a shawl collar for the first time and might have to play around with increases and decreases to get a shape I’m happy with.

Project Notes: Moss Stitch Top With Embroidered Hem

Here is a garment I finished several months ago, but had yet to write a wrap-up for. Using a fingering weight cotton yarn in moss stitch (also called lemon peel stitch). I had originally intended for the top to be solid color, but realized part-way through the back panel that I wouldn’t have enough of the white yarn to finish, so I adjusted by frogging some on the front panel and adding this peach to the yoke of the top. I think it would have looked fine in solid color, but I like the way the color-blocking turned out!

I used DMC cotton embroidery thread to add the hand embroidered floral details along the base. I had an idea for the florals I wanted to do, and the style, but I drew some simple sketches out to really solidify the design before I began embroidering. I’m really, really happy with how the embroidery turned out. So far, I’ve left it unlined, but we’ll see how it holds up once the top has been worn a few times. Even though all the yarn and thread used is cotton, after washing it almost seems as though the thread ends have felted in a way, so they’re actually pretty secure.

As I’ve experimented with embroidery on various crochet stitches, I’ve found that so far I like to work without a hoop or anything holding the main fabric tight, and instead work with the tension of the crocheted piece so that the embroidery won’t be pulled too taught or snap when the crochet is stretched – especially important for garments. I learned here that I really like using backstitch when embroidering on crochet, as it creates a more solid line, but can still stretch with the crochet, and it’s pretty secure and easy to weave thread ends into on the back.

I do want to try a shorter, more cropped version of the basic top, and play around with some more embroidery eventually. But I do love the way this top turned out.

Tea Tales: Apple Lime Sweet Tea

In 2010, I went on a short-term mission trip to Costa Rica. The main part of the trip was spent helping build a new church and medical clinic, along with leading VBS at several surrounding churches. The last couple days were spent at a new location and were meant to be a chance to experience more of the country, rest, and reflect on the previous days before heading home.

The second location was a hotel with a breathtaking view of Arenal Volcano, and we’d been told by the previous year’s team to be sure and order their “sweet tea” at dinner because it was not what you would expect as someone from the southern US, where we’re know for our cold, sugary, simple tea.

Drinks were brought out to the table, most in normal glasses. But the sweet tea was served in wine glasses with paper lime and apple decorations stuck on the side and straw. We reconfirmed several times that “No, it’s not alcoholic.” Just sweet tea.

Very intense presentation, very yummy and refreshing.

We tried to decipher the ingredients and make our own version when we got back home.

For apple juice, I recommend the Simply Apple brand, as it is a pure-pressed apple juice with no added sugar, that is closer to a cider texture and taste-wise.

For tea, use any black leaf tea.

These ingredient measurements are for a single serving, but you could, of course, increase them for a full pitcher.

Just Keep Stitching

(taken several months ago, this project is now finished, and my desk is now painted)

Creating and writing a crochet pattern takes a long time as a stay-at-home mom of a toddler. Something that used to take me two months, tops, is now taking, at current count, over seven.
I went into this year knowing that a focus on more intricate clothing designs would take longer than I was previously used to, but it still wears at me sometimes.

Right now, my main work time consists of part of my child’s naptime (the other part going toward exercise, lunch and housecleaning), and a couple hours after he goes to bed. This totals to about 15 hours a week, if that. I can sometimes crochet or edit a little while my kiddo is engaged in some independent play, but lately he wants to be right where I am as soon as I start – whether to grab the yarn or push all the buttons on my laptop.

I’m also moving into creating patterns for more detailed garments and learning new design software at the same time.

All this to say that sometimes it seems like this one pattern won’t ever be finished, let alone all the others I have in my queue. There are fleeting moments where I feel like I should just give up, because I won’t ever catch up with all the other designers out there with their vast collections of patterns, or those who seem to be able to churn out patterns every few weeks. But then I have to remember a few things – 1. I enjoy crocheting and designing crocheted clothing and while it may not be the most opportune-seeming time to finally dive into that, overall I’m excited about what I’m making, 2. If I keep working at this, no matter how slowly, it will eventually get done.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve found a better balance for all the things I need/want to get done in my days, but other times I feel like I wind up sacrificing one thing for others and and I’m not getting the time I need. My child will be starting preschool in the fall, going a couple days a week, and I’m planning to use that time for crochet-related work, so maybe things will pick up a bit then.

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