Friday, June 29, 2018

Mandy Boatneck Tee

A few weeks ago I ordered this yummy French Terry from the Imagine Gnat's website. I thought it would make the perfect summer tee shirt to wear for the July 4th holiday.

I used my iPad and My Body Model croquis to sketch three different tee shirts. I was leaning toward making the Mandy Boatneck tee but asked my Instagram friends for their opinions to help make my decision. My IG friends were split between the Mandy and the Mimosa and it was a resounding NO to the Tabor. It just does not go well with these stripes.

The Mandy Boatneck Tee is a free pattern on the Tessuti website. I first heard about it a long time ago but was dissuaded by the One Size category, knowing that I do not fit into a one size fits most pattern. Recently, while listening to the Love To Sew Podcast I heard Caroline mention that she loves this pattern, so I thought I would give it a go. I read a few blog posts about it and knew I would need to enlarge the sleeve, because it runs really small and also lower the front neckline a bit.

I've drawn out a little sketch of the changes I made to make the pattern fit my arms and to lower the front neckline 1/2". I spent an afternoon making this tee shirt. The instructions are clear and it was an easy sew using my serger and a twin needle on the Bernina. It would have gone even quicker, but I cut the sleeves with the stripes going the wrong way and had to re-cut them. It's a good thing I had enough fabric to do so.

The final garment turned out just as I had hoped. Our eldest son usually comes to California for the July 4th holiday (and his birthday) but this year they'll be staying in Arizona for his son's volleyball tournament. I'll miss our annual beach party but instead I'll be wearing my new Mandy Boatneck Tee to our community's boat parade.

mandy boatneck tee

I'll be making more Mandy's and I think I will elongate the back by 2-3 inches and do a split side seam.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Happy Father's Day 2018

It's become a tradition that I share the post I first wrote 7 years ago about the fathers in my life. Here is that same post with a few updates.

This Father's Day I write this post not only to honor my father, but also the fathers I admire, who have touched my life. I am fortunate enough to know many men who are amazing fathers, the first of which was my own dad.
My dad was tough. He loved us and raised my brother, sister and I to be independent thinkers, as long as we thought his way! He loved and respected my mom and through him I learned how to choose a good man to be the father of my children. My dad died in December 2000 and I miss him more and more each year. I would love to have him see the intelligent, caring men our sons have become. I wish he could meet his great-grandchildren and see his grandsons in their role as parents and the successes they have had in their chosen careers. I wish I had more photos of he and I when I was an adult. But here are some from my childhood. Thanks to my sister, who is scanning all mom's old photos, I am able to feature a few here.

Dick was my husband's father. A man who looked nothing like the big teddy bear that he was. He was a rough/tough steel worker but yet he was the grandfather who got down on the floor to play with our boys. He was a man who outlived two wives, raised my husband to be my Mr. Romance, and loved my cooking. I miss him. 

4 generations of first born sons
Father John
Father John was our parish priest who became a good family friend. He performed the marriage ceremony of Michael and Jenny, baptized three of their 4 children and was often a guest at our dinner table. We loved to hear his stories of travel before he became a priest and appreciated his wisdom and friendship. He died a few years ago and we still miss his wisdom and sense of humor.

Pat was also one of my dad's dearest friends. He and LaVonne have been my second parents. I love visiting them and even asked Pat to be "my dad" when so many of the dad's in my life had died. I try to visit him every year. He also lives a few hours drive from my home. This saying is so true, "old friends are the best friends". Can you believe these active seniors are in their 90's?  I remember riding my bike to their house to visit them on hot summer nights when I was a young teenager. They thought I was visiting them but I was really trying to get one of their sons to notice me, Ha! Ha!  I remember going camping with their family at a Boy Scout Camp (how's that for beating the odds when you are a teenaged girl?). I think since they only had boys I learned a lot from Pat and LaVonne about how to be a mom in an all-boy family. I treasure their love, wisdom and friendship. Sadly, Pat died last year, a week before Father's Day. I still miss him like crazy.

In 2014 it gave me great joy to present these influential friends each with a quilt of their own, made by me.

Frank is the last of the influential dads in my life. Frank was my dad's best friend and confidant.  He "got" my dad. They had the same politics and outlook on life. Our family did everything with Frank and Dollie and their sons. I have so many fond memories of Sunday dinners at their home.  I knew if I had a problem I could talk it through with Frank and he would explain my dad's point of view without the emotion I would get from my dad. I could complain to Frank and he understood my concerns because he understood my dad. I haven't seen Frank in a few years and need to make the effort to drive the 90 minutes it takes to go and see him. In recent years his health has declined to the point where he mostly sleeps. I still have not made the effort to go see him. It's selfish, but I want to remember him as the moody man of my youth. I saw Frank in September 2016, when he traveled to attend my mom's funeral. It was so great to see him and he was looking well and feeling pretty good.

Brent and Michael
Brent and Michael are our 2 oldest sons. They are such good dads. Michael was the first to give us a grandchild and Brent followed a few months later. They each have 4 children and are very involved dads. Their children love and respect them and I love seeing them as fathers. Usually we get them a sentimental card for Father's Day because we are in such awe of their parenting skills. But this year (2011) we got them a funny card. I'm sure most parents can relate when they think of their sons as little boys and then see them as fathers.

Michael, Jenny and family
photo by Diane Stanley 
2018 Dad and donut day at school

Brent, Molly and family
photo by Libby Jones

Father's Day 2018

This is Kyle's second Father's Day. He,  too, is a very hands on dad, always taking Valko to the park, on his evening walks and helping in all aspects of parenting. Kyle travels a lot for work, lecturing and teaching all over the world about dental implants, but when he's home he and Valko are best buds. He's learned to wear his dad hat (literally, this kid always has a hat on) very well. It's so fun to see your baby with his own baby. 

Evan is the last of our boys to join the daddy club. Ellison was born last October. Evan jumped in full force and he's completely smitten with his sweet baby girl, Ellison. There's something about a dad and daughter relationship that is just precious. Ellison is one blessed little girl to have such a loving dad. I pity the boys when they start coming around to date her!

and finally my Mr. Romance...
I hit the jackpot and so did our boys!  I think one of the greatest compliments a person can receive is that they are a good parent. We recently had our friend remark that Paul is such an amazing father and wanted to know where he learned to be a good father. He had a good role model but I think it is more than that. He is such a kind and caring person who truly loves his boys and they love and respect him, too! I've always said the greatest gift a father can give his children is to love and respect their mother. So we all win. I have an amazing husband and our boys have a loving and caring father.


missing our eldest son. 2018

One of Paul's most recent favorite photos of us from 2012

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Sweet Nectar Mittens

Everytime I finish a knitting project I get so anxious to start the next knitting project. There is something about the relaxation that comes over me when I am knitting that I really love. It's also quite lovely that you get a beautiful, finished garment or accessory out of this relaxing art. 
I started these mittens after I finished my Paloma cardigan in April. The pair of mittens, including the lining, took me only about 3 weeks to make. I really should start keeping track of my knitting hours to better have an understanding of how long the project actually takes me to make. I usually knit in the evenings, while watching TV, but sometimes knit during the day, too.
I knew I wanted to make a gift for a friend to give later in the year and mittens seemed like the logical choice. When I saw these Sweet Nectar Mittens I knew that they were what I was meant to be knitting for her. Anxious to begin making them, I went to my local yarn shop and found the perfect yarn. I wish you could feel how soft these mittens are. 

sweet nectar mittens

The palm side of the mittens is a repetitive motif with a fun detail on the thumb and a heart at the tip of the fingers. The fact that the self-striping yarn yields a lovely blended color pattern adds to the overall beauty of the mitts. I have to admit I followed the lead of the designer and chose a yarn similar to what she used. I loved the idea of one color fading into the next. 

Image result for noro shiraito color 30

I also knew I wanted to line the mittens with the same Mohair yarn that I had used in my Fiddlehead Mittens.  I was so happy when I saw that the Rowan Kidsilk Haze came in the perfect color to line these mittens.

rowan kidsilk haze

The very fine yarn is held double when knitting the lining, which creates a soft layer of warmth and a surprising pop of color.

I started these mittens at home, worked on them in Wisconsin (at retreat) and Arizona, while visiting our son over Mother's Day weekend, and finished them in the car on the way home. I really love stranded knitting (colorwork). This pattern was well written and easy to follow. The mismatched, coordinating motifs on each mitten is fun and hopefully will brighten those long winter days for my friend. My daughter-in-law's table decor was the perfect setting to snap a progress photo.

sweet nectar mittens

Mitten Stats:
Pattern: Sweet Nectar Mittens by Tanis Lavallee
Yarn: *Noro Shiraito color 30 
          45% Cashmere/45% Angora/10%Wool
          50 gr/180 meters
          *Sublime color White
          75% Merino/20% silk /5% Baby Cashmere
          50 gr/127 yards
          *Rowan Kidsilk Haze color Alhambra
          70%Mohair/ 30% Silk
          2x 25 gr/230 yards
Needles: Addi Turbo Sock Rockets size US 3 32" circular needles
           Knit Picks 5" Caspian Wood DPN size US 3

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Me Made May 2018...the final recap

I accepted the challenge of Me Made May and decided to wear something each day in May that I had made. Wearing the clothes was not a difficult challenge, but photographing myself; mostly using a tripod but sometimes with the help of Mr. Romance; was not easy. I felt like I was over saturating my Instagram feed. In the end I'm glad I did it, because it made me do two things I have been putting off for a while.
The first thing Me Made May made me do was clean out my closet. I have been putting it off for a long time. I took 3 huge bags of clothes to the charity shop and I also changed all my hangers over to the non-slip kind, so the clothes are all hanging straight and can no longer fall off the hangers.
The other thing Me Made May helped me do was to pay more attention to fit and construction, when I am making a garment. I learned we all have body "flaws" and the pattern rarely fits anyone straight out of the envelope. Thanks to listening to the LOVE TO SEW PODCAST I have learned so much about pattern fitting and also being comfortable in your own body shape. My body is pear shaped and it has always been a thorn in my side. 
So here goes...In chronological order of my Me Made May 2018.
May 1
The Blackwood Cardigan
Plantain Tee
Self Drafted Pull On Pants

blackwood cardigan, plantain too
My sister asked me if I used an app to make me look thinner. Ha! I wish 

May 2
Hand Knit Paloma Cardigan
Elani Tunic
paloma cardigan, elani tunic

May 3
Linden Sweatshirt (with my own added ruffle sleeve detail)

linden sweatshirt

May 4
Blackwood Cardigan
Avery Leggings

blackwood cardigan, avery leggings

May 5
Hand Knit Socks

hand knit socks, fair isle socks

May 6
Hand Knit Paloma Cardigan
Plantain Tee
Self Drafted Pull On Pants

paloma cardigan, plantain tee

May 7
Avery Leggings
Hand-Knit Socks

avery leggings, hand knit socks

May 8
Linden Sweatshirt (lengthened to make it a tunic)

linden sweatshirt

May 9
Bettine Dress

bettine dress

May 10
Scout Tee

scout tee

May 11
Blackwood Cardigan
Classic Frame Satchel

classic frame satchel, blackwood cardigan

May 12
Linden Sweatshirt

linden sweatshirt

May 13
New Look D0270 (with sleeve and neckline alterations)

new look D0270

May 14
This is the only day I did not wear anything handmade, but I did finish knitting these Sweet Nectar Mittens while we were driving home from Arizona.

sweet nectar mittens

Day 15
Lark Boatneck Tee
Self Drafted Pull On Pants

lark boatneck tee

Day 16
Linden Sweatshirt

linden sweatshirt

Day 17
Elani Tunic
Self-Drafted Pull On Pant

elani tunic
Day 18
Sharing what I thought was a sewing fail...the Charlie Caftan

Day 19
Blackwood Cardigan
Avery Leggings
Hand Knit Socks

blackwood cardigan, avery leggings
Day 20
I redeemed myself and was able to fix the Charlie Caftan

charlie caftan

Day 21
Hand Knit So Faded Pullover

so faded pullover

Day 22
Hand Knit Socks

hand knit socks

Day 23
Linden Sweatshirt

linden sweatshirt
Day 24
Blackwood Cardigan
Plantain Tee
Self-Drafted Pull On Pants
Hand Knit Socks

blackwood cardigan, plantain tee

Day 25
Blackwood Cardigan
Boden Tee Shirt Dress...upcylcled and made into a top

blackwood cardigan, refashioned Boden dress
Boden contacted me and asked if they could repost this photo

Day 26
Lark Boatneck Tee
Paloma Knit Cardigan

lark boatneck tee, paloma cardigan
Enjoying Redondo Beach with my High School bestie

Day 27
Hand Knit Socks

seawall socks

Day 28
Blackwood Cardigan
Upcycled dress from Anthropology made into a top
Avery Leggings

blackwood cardigan, avery leggings, refashioned clothing
Day 29
Winslow Culottes

winslow culottes

Day 30
Linden Sweatshirt

linden sweatshirt
Day 31
Upcycled Top made from an old knit dress (for the body) and a Boden Tee Shirt (for the sleeves)

linden sweatshirt

Patterns used in my Me Made May makes:
New Look D0270

Ten of these garments were made in May. That's a record for me. I have a few more that have to be finished and I can reveal them here on the blog, soon.
Thanks for staying so long and indulging me in this photo heavy post.