crafts · knitting · patterns · Sewing

In which I pretend that Christmas is not, in fact, almost here

My powers of denial are great.  This afternoon it occurred to me that Christmas is next week.  Have I bought any presents?  Nope.  Decorated the house?  Nope, except for the Advent train my sister-in-law gave us, which Marc put out only because, well, it’s a train.  Sent any Christmas cards?  Nope. And I probably won’t.

Over the many years that  worked for churches I developed a dread for the holiday season.  Apparently the fact that I’m no longer in that line of work has not lessened my scrooge-y-ness, nor has my recent reading of Scroogenomics helped (I do recommend the book!)  I just don’t like all the emphasis on buying stuff, and the heightened expectations of family togetherness inevitably lead to disappointment or conflict (not always in my family specifically, I’m just saying…) I’m singing one Christmas eve mass, which is not stressful (and I don’t have to plan it!)  But there is no avoiding it… I’m going to have to shop.  I try to stick to the local shops, as even thinking about the mall gives me headaches.

Above: how I feel after any type of shopping excursion.

I’ve got to finish baby socks for my niece.  Baby socks are like all the annoying parts of sock knitting with none of the nice boring straight parts (unless you enjoy turning a heel, in which case more power to you!)  Other than that I do not knit presents.   It just adds stress to knitting for me.

I’m finding Salina oddly stressful as well.  I think it’s all the stockinette, combined with a really fragile yarn that keeps breaking.  I’m carrying on, but I do not feel inspired, so I avoid knitting and then feel stressed out about not knitting (issues, I has them.)  I wish my knitting machine could handle sport weight yarns, because this would be a prime candidate!

The new knitty is out, and I find Spoke to be interesting.

The directions say you could leave it a cardigan, which I think I might prefer.  I almost never make anything from Knitty – I think it’s just not my style.  Occasionally there is a lovely sweater (see: Amelia) but often I find the designs puzzling – at least once every issue I think “well yeah, you could knit that, but why? ”  But anyway, Spoke is really pretty, if a bit more unusual than I usually go for.  I’ll be curious to see some finished versions, since I know I won’t get to this for awhile.

I have been teaching myself to sew knit fabrics on the Bernina (who, thanks to you all, is now named Audrey!)  I may get a serger someday, but that’s not in the cards right now.  I bought some leopard print matte jersey.

Here’s something that’s probably not apparent from my knitting: I love animal prints.  Seriously, I bought a pair of zebra print ballet flats a few months ago, and they are nearly all that I have worn since.  I was thinking of attempting this top:

But I’m not for sure on that yet.  I have more of the leopard than I thought (it was an exceptionally generous cut) and it may want to be a dress.  At any rate, I’m pretty sure that I want a leopard dress.  I’m picturing this top in something a little softer.

After my experience with the vintage shift, I’ve decided that it’s going to be important for me to learn how to grade patterns.  Modern patterns are multi-sized (though occasionally not multi-sized in my size) but vintage patterns are one to a package.  In addition, I’ve been buying Burda magazine (Burda is put out by the same people who put out Verena knitting magazine) and their patterns often stop larger than I need.  I have at least 2 right now that will need to be traced and resized.   I’ve found some good tutorials online (Threads magazine has one) and there are instructions in my “Vogue sewing book” as well.

Sewing is not helping to curb my pattern addiction, but hey – it’s been ages since I really took a good look at my non-knitted wardrobe, and it needs help!

17 thoughts on “In which I pretend that Christmas is not, in fact, almost here

  1. It would actually be pretty easy to modify the Vogue pattern to be longer to make a dress with, then you could use the leopard print as the fabric for it! Just add inches!

  2. I’m with you on Knitty. I think the only Knitty pattern I’ve actually ever made was a pair of handwarmers!
    Happy sewing! I wish I had better garment sewing skills so I could make myself some clothes. I am generally not pleased with the style or fit of anything I find in stores.

  3. I’m with you on the consumerism this time of year. I tend to avoid the malls like the plague. It actually feels nice to to be buying much while everyone else is stressing! As for stressful knitting, sounds like you need a fun quick knit to reset your mojo. I made a beret out of some really pretty colourful yarn in about three days (horay for quick knits!) and I really enjoy wearing it in the colder weather.

  4. Repeat after me: point…and…click!

    I spent an hour online a few days ago and took care of 90% of my Christmas shopping. Since I hate the mall and loathe crowds, Amazon is my best friend at this time of year.

  5. I share your sentiments on Christmas; feeling obligated to buy gifts and send cards. I think I feel this way because, like you I haven’t sent any yet. 🙂
    It’s great that you’re sewing is going well. Did you know Joann’s has patterns on sale for $1.99 once-in-a-while…Vogue patterns for $3.99?
    Just thought I’d share that with you since your picture shows a Vogue pattern.
    Have a great week!

  6. I must say that I agree with the Knitty patterns. Most of them are just really frumpy and do just nothing at all for me. That sweater, however, is just fantastic. I need to stop looking at other people’s blogs today because it’s just making me want to knit something new for myself when what I REALLY need to do is finish my Christmas presents for everyone else first.

  7. So what I am hearing is that I should just make a bunch of baby socks since turning the heel is the only part of sock knitting that I enjoy. I guess it is fortunate that my friends are in the midst of baby season!

    As for Spoke, I think that it would be more pleasing left as a cardigan so I support your plan 100%. {Don’t you feel better now that a complete stranger agrees with you? ^_^}

  8. I feel exactly the same way about going to the mall. The thing that should work well for you about vintage patterns is that even though there’s only one size per envelope, in general they run smaller than even today’s pattern sizing and “size 10” from the 60s and early 70s (which was more like pattern size 8 now) seems to be a very prevalent size out there. I have some vintage patterns in small sizes that were given to me – some I may need to make in knits as they are just too small for me, others may work with adjustments (or as is if they have a decent amount of ease.) If you want to borrow any for tracing here is my list:

  9. Oh, and another thing – the easiest way I’ve found to adjust fit on patterns is to first make a muslin, then determine what to add/subtract on the pattern tissue by analyzing the muslin’s fit.

  10. I just made that Vogue top (you can check my blog and click on the Vogue tab). It really would be an easy switch to a dress. The leopard print would be perfect!

    Burda is a great magazine. I just renewed my subscription for year 2.

    P.S. – Check out, they are a great resource for sewing, like Ravelry for knitters and crocheters.

  11. My solution for Christmas gifts this year: one day of baking cookies. All day long until I fall over exhausted and overheated by my oven. I also loathe the consumerism and mall shopping expected of us during the month of December. I especially hate the idea of making a list of people and “forcing” the choice of a gift for each, just because they are on your list. Making cookies is going to alleviate the entire anxiety – everyone gets the same thing and I don’t have to go shopping. Plus they don’t end up with “thoughtful” junk.

    It’s different if you see something and know someone would love it – that’s when gift giving is fun!

  12. I’m in the same position as you with the Christmas shopping. I’ve done a little bit ahead, but I haven’t done any for some people. Just thinking about it is stressing me out! Since I work in marketing, it’s been Christmas since July. Ugh.

  13. Like Susan, I also made that top and think it would make a fabulous dress. I also strongly recommend Pattern Review. It’s a *fantastic* site for sewists. If you don’t have it yet, pick up a copy of Fit for Real People. It’s my most-used sewing book.

    I love everything you’ve been working on! You have such a marvelous eye for color.

  14. Have fun with your new sewing machine! A good machine makes all the difference. Hope you survived your mall experience….that was a couple of days ago!

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