Hey there, foxy

I’m still elbow-deep in what I’ve been calling the shirt from hell—it’s nearly done but I fear the buttonholes will be the end of me. So I took a break to whip up something I knew would be fast. A t-shirt takes me hardly any time and always gets worn, and I had some fabric sitting around waiting to be made into one. It’s pretty cute fabric, don’t you think?

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Adorable little foxes on cotton jersey from Girl Charlee. (Heads up: that’s a referral link. I get a credit if you make a first purchase there off that link.) It’s not quite as stretchy as I expected it to be, so instead of my standard Nettie t-shirt, I made it up into Sewaholic Renfrew, which has more ease.

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I didn’t even touch my sewing machine for this project. All I needed was my serger and my coverstitch machine. I LOVE having the coverstitch machine. It’s a big expense for a very specialized machine, and most people don’t have them. I got mine for a steal from someone who wasn’t using it, and I adore it. I mean, seriously. Look at this sweet sleeve hem!

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Simply beautiful, right there. (Yes, apparently I can get cat hair on EVERYTHING.) I love that I can put a “surprise” color in the looper (it blends in here, but it doesn’t need to!) and it doesn’t show on the right side. I plan on using that fact to put a lot of color pops in future stuff.

Initially I just turned and stitched the neckline. Since this jersey isn’t very stretchy and the print is busy, I didn’t want a self-fabric band. (As you can see, I didn’t do the bands originally written into the Renfrew pattern for sleeves and hem, either.) The turn-and-stitching worked fine, but it left the neckline uncomfortably gape-y. So I ripped it out and attached a snug band with a rayon jersey scrap leftover from another project. Perfect!

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Confession: I was really, really into foxes at a certain stage in my life, by which I mean the second grade. My best friends and I played foxes every single recess, and I had this obsession with drawing them. I still think they’re pretty neat! I met someone once who had domesticated pet fox babies and they were just about the cutest thing ever. It was all I could do not to steal them. I did at least take a picture.

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Well, until next time—if the shirt from hell doesn’t defeat me!

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Harry Bear

This is one of those projects that demanded a lot more blood, sweat, and tears than anyone could rightly expect. However, I think it’s cute enough to be worth it.

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Fortunately this worked up quickly. It’s a gift for my coworker, who is leaving this week to go on maternity leave. A while ago—maybe a year or so ago—this coworker came up to me and asked me to teach her how to knit. She picked it up pretty quickly, despite the fact that she was only doing it to kill the time and wasn’t inclined to be a yarn addict as such. She set herself to making a baby blanket for her new baby, and finished it last week, and it was fabulous. With that in mind, it seemed only right to knit her something.

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Because I am a procrastinator, “something” turned out to be a bit of a trick. It couldn’t be a sweater, because that would take too long. A blanket was out of the question, of course. (Not just because she was making one already—I refuse to do a blanket on a short deadline.) Hats and things didn’t thrill me, especially since I knew she would be having a BIG baby in what has been a very warm winter. Warm stuff wouldn’t get a lot of use before it was grown out of. So, a toy. Toys are good. Toys aren’t sized. They can be carried around for a long time.

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The pattern is Harry Bear by Berroco. The yarn for both the bear body and the scarf is Lion Brand Homespun (the brown is LB Homespun Thick & Quick, the red is standard LB Homespun.) I HATE THIS YARN. Don’t knit things out of this yarn, please, if you know what’s good for your hands and your soul. It’s one loose fluffy “roving” ply around one thread ply, and it’s nearly impossible to accurately pull stitches through without catching your needle on, or more likely through, bits of another stitch. It is aggravating and frustrating. The worst part is, I knew it would be. I’ve knit with Homespun before. But the Thick & Quick is even worse. And I chose it anyway, because the texture was necessary for this project. Still, next time I’m picking a different yarn.

The pattern was nice. Pretty easy to execute. I did this version exactly as written, two pieces in the flat which are then seamed together, because I’d left starting this until Wednesday and it needed to be done by Monday, and I didn’t want to have to think or fuss with the pattern on top of fussing with the yarn. Next time I’d probably do it in the round, though. The scarf is a simple 4-stitch wide single crochet thing. I’m still not great at crochet, but let’s not look too closely and it’s fine. Once I had tied on the scarf I tacked it down in the front and back to keep it from wandering away and getting lost. The eyes and nose were embroidered in black embroidery floss. The whole effect is, let’s go with “charmingly lopsided.” Hey, the kid won’t care.

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It’s always a good sign when your mom wants to take it home. :)

Harry Bear

Pattern: Berroco

Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun Thick & Quick in “Natural Stripes” (brown); Lion Brand Homespun in “Candy Apple Red”

Needles: US 6

Hook: I (aka “the blue one”—I have three crochet hooks total, and one is for beading, not crochet.)

Time to knit: 5 days

Ravelry project page link

Summary: soft and squishy.

Meanwhile, I’m working on a few projects that are much more elaborate… hope to post these in the coming weeks, but here’s a preview if you’re curious what’s happening behind the scenes.

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Simplicity 2700 “Amazing Fit” Trousers

I’ve been sewing up a storm lately. For me, that doesn’t really mean a project a week or anything like that. Mainly, it means sitting down for longer than five minutes and really continuously working on a project. Normally I have a short attention span and a low frustration threshold with sewing, but my sessions of longer sewing, and telling myself I’ll “just do one more thing” have really helped that. For some reason, if I tell myself I “have” to do it, I won’t; if I tell myself I can quit whenever I want, I’m much more likely to stick to it. That’s been the case this week, when I’ve been putting together a muslin that’s been much more tricky than I expected… but was not the case with the project I just finished. I started sewing these in June of last year! Not exactly a quick one. However, they are finally done… my new Simplicity 2700 trousers!

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I’ve made this pattern once before. This was another “lots of muslin work” pattern, but I think the work really paid off, because these trousers fit really well. I had a really difficult time getting a good fit at first, until I finally emailed Simplicity and asked for advice. The pattern includes 3 different versions of the trouser for different body types, “slim,” “average,” and “curvy.” To my surprise Simplicity recommended the “curvy” fit and it definitely fit me the best! The main difference, I believe, is that the “curvy” has two darts at the back, where the other versions have only one.

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For this pair of trousers I mainly changed the fit of the leg. Originally this pattern makes a very nice wide-leg trouser on me, but I wanted a fitted leg that flared at the bottom. I think I may have made these a little too tight, as they’re harder to move in than I prefer, but I quite like the look when I’m standing! I also redrafted the waistband to fit better, and added belt loops.

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I really love the slash pockets. I don’t think I can have a pair of pants and not have pockets. I just don’t know what to do with my hands! There’s some wrinkling on the side seams by the pockets, though, and I’m not sure how to fix that. I think it’s just the way my hips are shaped, there’s a bit of a concavity there, but I’m not sure. The stitching lines could definitely be smoother.

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The t-shirt, by the way, is also a me-made. It’s Closet Case Nettie, originally a bodysuit pattern, which I made into a t-shirt. It’s my favorite t-shirt pattern, and I love how it fits. The fabric is a stained-glass ikat print from Girl Charlee.

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There are definitely some things I want to fix for the next time I make this pattern. The fly area is weird—there’s a noticeable wrinkle from some stitching oddness at the bottom of the fly, and the top of the waistband pulls apart. I think my redrafting of the waistband is to blame for that, so I’m going to change the center front a bit and see if I can fix it next time. I also think I accidentally sewed the waistband and its facing at slightly different sizes, which is not a great idea.

The fabric for this is some wool suiting from Fabric Mart. It’s a really gorgeous heathery blue-gray, just my style. I bought about six yards of it when it was on sale, so I’m planning to make a jacket later—but I suspect that one’s going to need a lot of work, so I’ve put it off for now. Someday I’ll have time to sew everything! (And one day I’ll buy a unicorn. You know. Like you do.)

Oh, and here’s your cat picture for the week. Tigger is so exhausted by the work of being a cat. Maggie thinks he’s full of it.

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