In Defense of Scratchy Yarn.

alternatively: dat summer armscye tho

This past Rhinebeck, I was on the hunt for the sheepiest breed-specific wool I could find, and I decided on a sweater quantity of an undyed 2-ply longwool from a Cotswold sheep named Eloise (Ross Farm Fibers). Suffice to say I was alone in seeing the potential for a sweater.

As I was daydreaming about what to do with this haul, I thought about the tank top I made a couple summers ago. I have worn it quite a bit and it’s held up really well. I bet you know what happened next: I decided this Extremely Wooly Wool was to become a summer tank top. Rigby by Julie Hoover was already in my queue so I decided it was time.

I started knitting and quickly became concerned that this was not going to be wearable in summer. Despite this, I persevered and sprinted through the finish line at the beginning of Memorial day weekend. I’ve put it on a few times and it’s actually quite nice. This weekend’s weather was one for the books, so I bet that helped a tiny bit. We shall see how the dead of summer goes. I love the low armhole, which I achieved through careful swatching getting lucky with bigger needles. If I make this again, which is a very real possibility, I will knit the front and back completely flat to give some structure to the sides.

…and I think I’ll use something a bit more structured… and… soft. Maybe!

devoid of saturation

Regalia blouse

I have been on a blouse kick lately. Its nice to throw on a structured top with jeans and feel put together. Enter the Regalia blouse from Sew House Seven. I thought it looked fun so I pulled the trigger and sewed one up.

a rumpled front view

I used some blue linen leftovers paired with taupe thread. It was very straightforward to sew, and it fits nicely. I opted IN to the sleeve head pouf, and I like it. I did not have tulle so I used silk organza. It is a decidedly slight puff, but it feels dramatic to wear. The self-fabric yoke and french seams contribute to its sense of quality and craftsmanship, its a delight to wear.

the back fastens with a bow. this looks a little bit chunky to me, if i make this again I think I’ll do a button closure.
interior view: SLEEVE HEAD POUF!

Squishy little ditty

VKL was back in NYC this year, and even though I hate going through Times Square, I went to check it out. It was much quieter this year than in 2020 (I typed 2019 at first, but it was in fact one of the last large crowd activities I participated in before the Pando descended).

I contemplated my Ravelry queue ahead of time, and was looking for yarn to make a “Half and Half Triangle wrap” because its been in my queue forever. This winter, I noticed that I often reached for my Aestlight shawl I made back in 2012. Made of the Hottest Yarn at the time, Malabrigio, its full of mistakes because I barely knew how to knit. I wanted something to replace it. Triangle wrap sounded like a good fit.

After doing a lap through the show among the other early birds, I realized it felt a little weird to be able to duck into a booth without fighting crowds. I decided go back to Kelborne Woolens to get some Andorra for my project.

When I got home, I started the project immediately–– WIPs be damned. I knit this in a little more than a month during my subway commute and over 2 plane-trips. I am pleased with the icord edging I finagled around the scarf’s perimeter, as well as the squish of overall garter stitch. Nothing super exciting, but bright colors to liven up the last of winter and early spring!

This is Kelbourne Woolens’ Andorra in Dijon, a mustard-y green and Cloud Gray, a very pale lavender.

Progress photos

I snapped some photos along the journey. It was nice to have such a simple, yet engaging pattern to lose myself in.

catching that great hotel window lighting
almost done!

TDSL Complete!

I made Jacob a sweater and he likes it!

Top-down seamless sweaters are wildly popular, in part because they require very little seaming. Perhaps because I am a sewer, I do not mind seaming, so this advantage is lost on me. In my opinion, the structure seams add to a knitted garment is well worth the effort. Additionally, a seamless sweater gets SO heavy and bulky to transport, and it really slowed down my momentum that I needed to finish. My last gripe with this project was the collar. I thought I was clever with my foldover collar modification, but it looked very bad. I think my yarn did not help the situation, it is a 85/15 cotton/alpaca blend. Luckily my surgery went very well and I was able to salvage it.

Enough of my complaining, I am glad this sweater is finished and Jacob is enjoying wearing it.

A Wallpapering Adventure

We have lived in our apartment for 2 years, and I was pining to put up wallpaper since moving in. After browsing wallpaper for months, I found the perfect print: colorful gold-ink-outlined wildflowers on a black ground. When it arrived, I was too scared to install it: I was afraid of how hard it would be to install, and I didn’t want to regret the placement. I talked to some friends who have wallpapered before and heard mixed recommendations about whether or not to put it up myself. Over a year later, I finally did it.

I contemplated hanging the paper in different parts of our apartment, and I finally settled on behind the tv, wrapping around to the hallway because it has so few “obstacles” to overcome and you can see it from multiple vantage points. I love it.


I took the recommendations of Hygge and West to heart and got their recommended wallpaper paste and supplies. Even though I read over and over that you need to change the knife blade frequently I still didn’t change it enough and it ripped the paper. I went back in with some matte black tempra paint to cover up the rip marks.

How I put it up

The wallpaper I used is “half drop” which means the pattern repeat does not match at the same point, it matches halfway down the repeat. I cant imagine how challenging it is to design the patterns this way!!! I created a Figma mockup to get a sense of how much wallpaper I needed. Each rectangle is one repeat.

The thing I found most surprising about putting up wallpaper is how much you can “MANHANDLE” it. There is a 10 minute period while you’re putting it up that you can pull it back off the wall rather aggressively to reset it. I put this up in 3 2-hour sessions and I was covered in paste by the time I was finished with each session. The paste is a very off-putting consistency and it is extremely sticky (not surprising!).

the wallpaper paste mid-spread. i slapped some on with the putty knife and spread it around with the paint roller.
after you paste up the back of the paper, you bookend and let it sit for 5 minutes to soak in before proceeding to put it up. This is a pretty bad bookend, it should not have those wrinkles, but this was my first piece.
behind-the-tv situation.


In addition to following Hygge and West’s instructions, I watched many youtube videos before diving in to this project. Here are some videos I found particularly helpful to watch.

I found this man’s technique very helpful for wrapping the paper around the external corners. I did NOT use heat as he insists, but I emulated his smoothing tool technique and embraced his advice to use a narrow overlap to the new edge. I had one corner that had a large overlap and it was very challenging to complete the turn. I am not sure what you are supposed to do when you face these situations because you want as few seams as possible. So I just dealt with the scenarios as I came to them.

I had one visible outlet to deal with (there were more behind the TV but you can’t see them!), and I decided I wanted to pattern match it. This video was really helpful to watch. Instead of spray adhesive, I used paste.

Overall, a very successful and satisfying home project!

Tamarak Jacket

I finished a new coat and I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.

me, pleased with how this coat turned out.

Choosing a quilted jacket pattern

I have been scheming to turn some stashed Pendleton into a quilted jacket for quite awhile, but was pretty nervous to cut into it. I was torn about what pattern to choose and almost went with Hovea from Megan Nielsen, but I didn’t quite like the neckline options. My biggest hesitation of the Tamarak from Grainline Studio was the lack of a collar.

Last year though, Grainline released an expansion pack that includes a collar, and even though I probably could have figured it out on my own, I bought it for the instructions (they are great!).


I’ve had this Pendelton wool in my stash since 2019. I fell in love with it at the Pendleton Factory Store in Portland (Oregon!). I also had some red silk charmeuse discards from a friend-of-a-friend, a talented seamstress in NYC. I was really inspired by this Tamarak, and planned on copying their idea to bind the seams with the charmeuse. It turned out too be incredibly fiddly, and I didn’t have enough of the charmeuse for bias binding anyway, so I went with pre-made black bias tape. I think it looks good!

The snaps were installed by Star Snaps. I do not have any snap tools, and decided to lean on the professionals since they are so closeby.

thanks to Meghan Babin for letting me borrow this Oisin hat sample!

Construction Notes

Before I started cutting, I watched the entire YouTube sewalong which was very helpful. I especially liked all of the quilting tips!

I lengthened the jacket by 2″ and I wanted to adjust the pocket placement to be on an angle, but I ended up sticking with the pattern’s placement because I was nervous that I’d get the welts wrong.

This fabric was challenging to sew with my machine. Because the charmeuse is so slippery and the wool is so toothy, it was a nightmare to keep them aligned while I quilted (YES I used a walking foot). The back piece was so big and the lining shifted so much that I had to patch it in parts. Just before I quilted the last pattern piece, my extremely talented friend suggested that I cut the lining bigger than the pattern piece to add some wiggle room in case of slipping. This proved to be a very great idea, please take this advice if you are making one for yourself!

Putting these struggles aside, this jacket rules. I lined it with wool batting from Purl Soho. I was a bit concerned with how to tackle the binding, because with something this thick I was really worried about sewing the second side of the binding and making it look professional. The solution was to hand sew all of the binding. The fronts and collar took an extremely long time to hand sew, but the result was absolutely worth it.

Now excuse my while I go run around outside!

Thanks for the photos, Alexis and Shannon!

Turia Dungarees

The Turia Dungarees pattern was released 10 years ago, and this summer I decided make my first two pairs. How did it take me so long to realize how great overall shorts are in summer?

me realizing how great overall shorts are in summer

Because this pattern has been out for so long, many people have made them and have some great suggestions on how to go further to make these even better. I finished the raw edges w regular width bias tape and extended the pockets to tuck into the waist seam and side seams.I can remember when I first started sewing bias tape was so hard for me to get right. This time, I used the regular-width bias tape and I didn’t mess it up at all!

tush shot

For this pair, I used leftover canvas from making my Field bag. I made my first pair from some Sally Fox twill, and immediately afterwards I saw the canvas sticking out of my fabric pile and thought, why not! The canvas is very stiff, so I was very nervous these would be extremely uncomfortable. They are very comfy, believe it or not.

I didn’t have enough fabric to cut 4x straps, so I cut 2 and turned the edges under. I wish I would have used bias tape to finish the raw edges, but by the time I realized this it was way too late. The contrast chest pocket (some leftover hand-woven cloth from Verb) was another consequence of too little fabric, but I love how it turned out.

Star snaps did an excellent job with the rivets, they did a better job than I could have. Great pattern! If you haven’t tried overall shorts, I highly recommend them.

here’s the zip!

Sauvie Sundress

You may be thinking, oh boy, another sundress. When I first saw the Sauvie Sundress pattern I thought the same thing. But I kept thinking about it. I had some linen/rayon stripey fabric from The Fabric Store sitting in my stash, and I knew this fabric wanted to become something summery. I bet you can guess what happened.

This fabric is perfect for this dress. It drapes beautifully, and its very soft. I used muslin from my stash as the lining. I wanted to use a blue fabric for a pop of color at the pockets, but I didn’t want it to show through the slightly sheer fabric.

The midi length is perfect, and the mitered corner finish on the hem is delightful to look at. Sew House Seven considered every detail, I am so happy with how it turned out. I never thought I would describe bust darts as graceful, but they are!

mitered corners on the hem

After wearing this a few times, I added the bra keeper snaps. I love the roominess in the dress, but my bra kept slipping into view. I never made them before, the instructions for these were great.

bra keeper snaps

Great pattern!

Coastal Grandma Olya Shirt

I’m not a tik-tocker but I am hip to the Coastal Grandma fad. After I made this Olya shirt in Vintage Finish linen from the Fabric store, Jacob’s immediate reaction was “that’s a coastal grandma shirt.” So, it is. But its a white linen collared shirt, and I am confident it will become a keeper.

it was not a great hair day, this is me trying to hide that fact

After my epic seam-finishing fail with my Olya dress,* I thought I would not ever make this pattern again. But, time heals all wounds, and I was inspired to give it another try. Without further ado, photos.

the most intriguing part of this shirt is the armscye (more hair day problems)
I even did a pretty good job on the placket!

*I used a really expensive Merchant and Mills striped linen to make my first Olya, but the weave is too loose for a structured shirt dress and the seams disintegrated. Someday I will take it apart to reuse the fabric for something else, but the overwhelming disappointment of that dress is too raw to think about now.

Hysope Top

I was not in the market for another tank top pattern, but I saw Deer and Doe’s new summer collection and inspiration immediately struck to make the Hysope top.

I impulse-purchased this beautiful jacquard fabric while looking in the denim and twill section at Mood last year. Obviously this busy pattern stood out among the solid denims and canvas. I am not sure why they decided to put it there, but I am so glad they did! Before cutting into this fabric, I made a toile first. I used a silk taffeta-esque remnant from PCCR and got sewing. My machine did not like making button holes with this silky fabric, so I went without. Overall the fit was pretty good, but the length was a little bit too short for me. For my jaquard version, I lengthened the pattern by 2″ and I am very happy with this adjustment. One reviewer of this pattern observed that the side buttons really elevate this garment, which I agree with. Mine are horn buttons from Fringe Supply Co (RIP) from my stash.

This top comes together very quickly, this took less than 3 hours to sew. I see more Hysopes in my future!