January: a month of knitting

I’m back!  As promised!  This year I decided to embark on a Year of Making and I am already one month down.  Can you believe it’s February?  I am planning on blogging once a month to share some of the things I worked on throughout the month.  But honestly, if you follow me on Instagram, most of the pictures will be familiar.  I’m mostly documenting my projects there.  I aim to post a #yearofmaking pic every day, but I know there will be days I miss.

Anyways, about once a year I get sucked back into knitting.  And I usually make one thing and then put down the needles until the following winter.  Well January was kind of the month of knitting for me.  It just feels seasonally appropriate and all the knitters are posting their gorgeous hand knit creations on Instagram and it all looks so lovely and warm and delicate and perfect.  Last year I wanted to make the Schwimmen hat but I had already made one beanie and then gotten distracted by something else.  I had bought the yarn and everything but never got around to it.  So that’s the first project I picked up at the start of January.  It’s my big finish for this month, though it’s not the only thing I did, it’s definitely the one I feel most proud of.

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I’m not much of a knitter, so this lace design was a huge challenge for me.  It wasn’t the kind of project you can just zone out and methodically knit while relaxing to a TV show.  I had to count and use markers and look up stitches on YouTube and check off each round I completed so I didn’t lose track.  I made a ton of mistakes too.  The first one I noticed was a little petrifying.  I couldn’t go back the rows to fix it and I couldn’t rip it out because I was afraid I’d never be able to pick back up all the stitches.  I think I put it down for a few days not knowing what to do.  But finally I pushed on and just accepted the mistake, added a stitch to fix the count and it was freeing!  Every mistake that came up after that I just shrugged my shoulders and moved forward.  It’s definitely a forgiving pattern in that sense – I doubt anyone will notice the mistakes unless they are an experienced knitter and staring at my head trying to find the mistakes, right?

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So I finished it recently and it’s currently being blocked on a balloon (I’ve never blocked anything before)! I’m excited to wear it AND I’m excited to make more beanies!  In fact, I finished another beanie last month.  It’s the Northwoods Hat from The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar.  And not only did I knit this hat, but I actually dyed the yarn first and then knit it!

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It was part of The Modern Natural Dyer Work-along hosted by A Verb For Keeping Warm.  I got the kit from Hideko for Christmas which is awesome because it came with all the materials I needed for the project, pre-measured and ready to go.  I won’t walk through the process because the book does it so well and the ladies of AVFKW have been doing it throughout the month on their blog, IG and Periscope (my newest obsession) and I talk about it a bunch in my IG posts, but let’s just say it was quite a lengthy process!  There were many steps, but it was totally doable, fun and I definitely want to do it again!

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I used madder extract to dye my yarn red and I wrapped and tightly tied string around the yarn every 3-5 inches to get those white/undyed spots.  I like the way it knit up with little flecks randomly scattered throughout.  The knitting pattern is really simple and because the yarn is bulky, it was a super fast knit.  I think I finished it in a day and a half!

Also in the knitting realm, I asked awhile back on IG about teaching kids how to knit because my 5 year old had been asking.  Some people suggested starting with a knitting loom, so I bought a set to try.  Unfortunately, the 5 year old doesn’t quite have the patience to do more than one round at a time and hasn’t finished a hat yet.  I tested out the two small sizes and made a hat that fits a baby doll and a hat that fits a baby (I was hoping it would fit my petite 2 year old, but it’s too small)!

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I’ve really enjoyed knitting this month and I think I might actually continue!  I want to make the Diode hat that Jen posted about.  And I might even try a sweater for one of my kids.  Do you know of any cute and simple patterns?  And then maybe one day I’ll make a sweater for me!

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Besides knitting and natural dyeing, I did a little bit of drawing and watercolor painting this last month, and I hope to continue to practice more of both throughout the year.  I love the videos and challenges they have on Creativebug.  It makes a whole lot of new crafts really accessible!  It also makes me want to do EVERYTHING.

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In January, I also did some arts and crafts with the kids and at work and I baked a cake and made dinners.🙂  It is interesting to see just how much making I do regularly.  Sometimes I have to make the effort to squeeze it in at the end of the day, and other times I make 5 things in a day without really trying.  The one thing I DIDN’T do practically any of this month was sewing!  But I’m pretty sure that’ll change in February.

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Thanks for all of you who left encouraging comments on my last post.  And thanks for coming along with me on my year of making.  I decided to use the hashtag #cheriesyearofmaking (original, I know!) on IG to document my year.  If you have any ideas for crafts or projects you think I should try – let me know!  And please also share what you’re planning on working on this year or this month!  Happy making🙂

 

Tips for your closet purge

Hey!  So how is your wardrobe clean up going?!  It’s been so great reading all your comments sharing your own experiences, challenges and advice!  Thank you!

The Great Closet Purge 2015 // you & mie

I just wanted to check in really quickly and share a few tips that I’ve found helpful during my purge.  I already shared these on Instagram, but I know not everyone is on there, so here they are for you! Continue reading

The year of less

So I have been thinking a lot about my plans for the coming year.  In years past I have felt motivated to do more with my blogging: blog more often, do more tutorials, get sponsors, redesign the site, go to conferences, make patterns, the list goes on and on. But in recent months I’ve felt very strongly that I should do less.  I realized that all those things don’t come very naturally to me and are just not a priority.  I don’t think I’ll ever be a professional blogger, sewing competition winner, book writer or a pattern designer, but for now, that’s okay.

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Favorites from 2014

2014 you & mie favorites

Happy New Year!!  I hope that you have all had a wonderful holiday season and a great start to 2015!  I usually get wrapped up in all sorts of holiday festivities and preparations around the month of December, which is why the blog went pretty quiet there for awhile.  But I’ve enjoyed a lot of time with family – celebrating, playing and relaxing – and I hope you have been able to do the same!

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Sweatpants that Shine!

Hello!!  I hope that, for those of you who celebrated, you had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with friends, family, gratitude and food!  I’ve been enjoying a bit of a break from sewing and blogging recently, but I’m here today with a long overdue Miss Matatabi Makers project!

Metallic French Terry Hudson Pants by you & mie

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Nightmare Moon

Nightmare Moon Costume by you & mie

Nightmare Moon Costume by you & mie

Phew!  This Halloween costume has been in the works for, what feels like, fooorever.  It’s ridiculous when I start thinking about just how much time (and money) I’ve spent on this kid’s Halloween costume!  But it was such a fun challenge for me – I really love making Halloween costumes!!  I get a lot of enjoyment out of trying to figure out ways to translate a picture or a character into something tangible, an outfit, or a costume.  So here’s the back story . . . Continue reading

Totoro Costume Tutorial

Hello!!  I’m here with a tutorial today that I’m really excited about!  3 years ago, I made a Totoro costume for Yuki and it was a huge hit with Totoro fans around the world.  Since then I’ve been getting regular emails about custom orders for costumes or selling the pattern for it, but I don’t do either.  I figured the least I can do is a tutorial for the costume so people can try their hand at making one themselves! Continue reading

Watercolor Dress {and tips for painting fabric}

Watercolor Sundress and Tips for Painting Fabric // you & mie

So I have exactly one project coming out of this Kids Clothes Week, but I’m pretty damn excited about it!  The (optional) theme for this season was Kid Art and while this dress was probably the last thing I needed to make, I got really excited by the idea of getting Yuki involved in creating a one-of-a-kind garment for herself.  I had all sorts of ideas like fabric painting, stenciling, iron on transfers, etc.  But I knew I didn’t have much time so I could only pick one thing.  If you know me, you know that I looooove fabric painting (like this cardigan, this hat and bag, and this dress) and I thought Yuki should have a go at it since she loves painting too!

Watercolor Sundress and Tips for Painting Fabric // you & mie

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Strawberries and Edelweiss

So I’ve got a new project for you today.  But when I say new project, I mean it’s never been posted before, but it’s something I actually made a year ago.  And then photographed a couple months ago.  And I’m just finally getting around to blogging it now.  Oops!  Better late than never right?

Strawberry Edelweiss Dress // you & mie

I call it the Strawberry Edelweiss Dress because, well, the strawberry part should be obvious and you may recognize the pattern as the Edelweiss Dress by Hey June.  This dress is actually a knock off of a dress I saw a little girl wearing in a picture.  I’m pretty sure it was a store bought dress and I thought it was adorable and I immediately realized the Edelweiss pattern would be perfect to recreate it.  Later on I saw a little girl wearing the same dress in blue at IKEA, so I’m thinking the original may be from a big company like Carter’s or something, but I don’t have a picture of the original.

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