Wearable Crochet – Wool and the Gang’s Calvin Top

Good morning friends!

Today I want to talk about my first experience with crochet garment making!  I made the Calvin Top from Wool and the Gang.  With this project kit, you get three balls of Billie Jean yarn in one of three colorways.  I made mine in Washed Out Denim. This yarn is made from upcycled denim waste, and works up to be really light-weight and breathable.

Voilaaaaaaa!!!

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I’m modeling a couple of different looks here.  The top is perfect for weekend wear – seeing a movie with friends, hanging out at the park, or a casual date.  I’m wearing an undershirt to illustrate how you can wear this top in a more professional setting – you can very easily swap the jeans for a skirt or khaki pants.  (Also, I don’t want all of Instagram to see my bra, since the top is kinda see-through.  SORRY NOT SORRY).

This project is fairly straightforward as it uses primarily double crochet stitches.  The pattern does a good job of walking you through the piece and for the most part, I did not struggle with any of the pattern mechanics.

What I DID struggle with was gauge.  I had made the gauge swatch as recommended, and had hovered in between two hook sizes.  I went with a larger hook but then did not continuously check my gauge as I moved forward with the project.  This resulted in my needing to order another ball of yarn when I was so close to finishing the project.  That was a frustrating lesson to take my gauge more seriously.

I was also in the phase of stubbornly not counting my stitches when I worked up this piece.  It did look wonky at some parts but luckily the effect was hidden when I sewed the top pieces together.  It goes without saying that I should have been counting my stitches instead of just being like, “Whatever, it’ll work itself out.” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I made a slight modification to the pattern – it has a little cord/tie at the bottom. I wasn’t feeling it, so I left it out.  The top is also little shorter than I would prefer.; if I would make this top again, I’d make it a little longer.  But overall, I’m really happy with the piece.  I was so happy to finish my first crocheted garment!

On a slightly unrelated note, I still struggle not to burst into laughter when modeling the “trying to remember if I made a doctor’s appointment” pose that is so popular on Instagram right now.  “Just be yourself,” Fiancé said as he snapped photos.

So I did this*:

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“…maybe be less of yourself,” he responded.

I don’t think I’ve ever posted this many pictures of myself on this blog.  I am feeling slightly narcissistic and I should probably stop now.  Until next time!

*When I was in high school, I was taking a group photo with the rest of my Academic Decathlon team after a competition.** The photographer told my team to be silly.  I made this exact same pose and covered up everyone else’s face in the photo.

** Yes, I was in Academic Decathlon. ***

*** It probably all makes sense now, right?

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I’m Back!

HEY GUYS!!!!

I’m back!  My test is done!  It was on Friday.  It’s a pretty intense experience – 8 hours of testing, 100 questions. It was open-book and you can bring in whatever references you want.  It was pretty wild to see everyone wheeling around their carry-on bags full of books (myself included).  I actually had someone at work tell me I was lucky it was open book, like somehow this made everything easier.  FOR REAL?  That only means that they can test you on pretty much anything.  Doesn’t anyone remember how much harder the open book exams were in school? The failure rate for the environmental exam hovers around 40%. Good times!

So how did it go?  It suuuuucked. I’m pretty sure that I failed and will be retaking the test in October.  There were just too many questions where I was like, “Cool, just gonna bubble in ‘A'” for me to feel good about passing.  But honestly, I’m so elated that it’s over with that I don’t even care that I probably failed it.  There are worse things in life than potentially failing a test.  I am just really happy that I tried.  Now time to wait 8-10 weeks for the results.

And I just have to give a shout out to my family and my fiancé for all their support! They were amazing!

But for real, I don’t know what to do with all this free time and these songs encapsulate my feelings.  And if you clicked on those links, YOU’RE WELCOME.*

Anyway, my Willow Tank is done!! Lookit!

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This was my very first time making a shirt.  It was pretty intimidating but my teacher did a good job of stepping us through the process.  It was also my first time sewing darts.  My darts are really wonky and apparently sewing in a straight line is still a difficulty for me.  But I’m so happy it’s done! I finished sewing the bias tape to one of the armholes and collar this evening since we ran out of time in class.

I must admit I tried really hard to do the “thoughtfully contemplating my shopping list” pose that everyone on Instagram seems to do when modeling their makes.  You can tell I’m trying really hard not to laugh in the photo above!  Fiancé took the photos of me and I had to explain to him why I was staring at the ground like this:

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I hope you all had a great weekend!  Please catch me up on all the crafty things you’ve been doing.  I’m glad to be back.  Talk to you all soon!

* I don’t even like this song all that much, but I just can’t help belting out the chorus from time to time.  THIS IS MY TRUTH.

GUYS I RAN OUT OF YARN

The other day I was thinking that I hadn’t posted my February makes.  I looked through my pictures and…realized I had only completed these:

Now to be fair, I had been in the field for two weeks last month…but still! This is hardly anything.  It was a good reminder to me that staying focused on projects is important.  It’s completely normal to feel burned out by a project – and when that happens, I think it’s necessary to move on to a little side project to take a mental break.  But my problem last month was trying to start too many new projects at once.  It doesn’t give me the chance to sit down and focus on completing a project.

I have a frustrating update to my Calvin Top project. I focused on this project ALL WEEK and didn’t work on any other projects.  I am so close to being finished with the second body piece! But, as I feared, I ran out of yarn.  Hence the overly dramatic post title.

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I actually did the tension swatch prior to starting the project, and remember thinking that my stitches were too dense. But I decided to plow ahead with the project anyway.  Lesson learned!  I ordered another skein from Wool and the Gang.  And since it is pay day, I ordered this project too:

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Brooding model not included.

I’ve been interested in making and wearing my own clothes lately, and this seems like a fun project to try my hand with.  It says EASY and it looks like it’s all just stockinette stitch?  Which I can do.  Knit, purl, knit, purl. I got this.  But the Calvin Top was supposed to be easy too, and I suppose it was, but it’s still going to look like a circus tent when I’m done with it.  In my humble opinion.

I also ordered this from Sublime Stitching because pay day, I have no children so my disposable income is all mine, life is short, etc etc.

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The saying on the pillow is “Vita Brevis Est” which translates to “Life is brief.” It’s so morbid. I love it.

What else is going on?  I’m keeping busy at work, which makes me happy.  Consulting is so stressful when there aren’t any projects to work on. I have a lot of projects right now so I feel like I have a purpose yay.  OR SOMETHING.  I had a very quick trip to Houston this week to sample one well, which was fun. I wish all my sites just required sampling one well.  My test is in six weeks and I’m freaking out.

I also enrolled in a garment making class. I mentioned I’m interested in making my own clothes, but it’s been hard to find the motivation to teach myself.  Fiancé has band practice on Saturdays so I thought it would be good to find a class during that time.  Every once in awhile I need to get myself out of my default reclusive loner introvert mode and actually socialize with people.  And learn to make something. I am taking a class in April where we are learning how to make Grainline Studio Willow tanks!

I’ve been following Grainline Studio for while on Instagram, so I’m excited to try my hand at sewing one of their patterns! Again, it’s supposed to be a beginner’s level class, but we’ll see.

Okay. I need to go be a productive member of society and show up to work and stuff. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  If you are stitching up something crafty this weekend, I’d love to hear about it!

Starting the Week off Right

Good morning everyone! I wanted to write out a quick weekend post since I wasn’t able to update yesterday. I hope you all had great, restful weekends and a good start to your week.  I feel much more like myself this week.  I really attribute it to my weekend.  It was definitely restful, like cuddling up with this little chunk:

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But I was also productive, and I think that’s what put me in a really good mindset for this week. I was able to get some good studying done for my test, went for a run, planted veggies in the garden (fingers crossed they don’t die), did ALL the laundry, and made some good progress in reorganizing the guest room. I found this gem while going through my old notebooks. This is from a phase in 2008 when I was depressed and would go to coffee shops to write poetry:

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So much anger, Jenny! I’d totally shop at Central Market now, if it were closer to my neighborhood.

I found time to craft, too.  I’ve been focusing exclusively on the Calvin Top.

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I’ve finished the first body piece and am working my way through the second.  I am very eager to finish it so I can try it on.  I still think it will fit like a burlap sack when I’m done, but hopefully I am wrong.

Time for me to get ready for work! Have a great day!

Apparently “Wedding Planning Wednesday” is a Thing

I learned recently from the internet that “Wedding Planning Wednesday” is a thing.  I have to say I haven’t done very much of it lately.  After being in the field for two weeks, I was hit with the “OH GOD MY TEST IS IN APRIL” freakout and have been studying for that (or, the nightly reminder that I’ve forgotten everything I learned in college YAYYYY!)

But we’ve picked a venue and set a date, so that’s a good step to cross off the list, I think.  Venue selection was interesting at first but it grew tiring by the end.  We had some pretty entertaining encounters during our search.  The first place we looked at told us they’d “rather not serve people with severe food allergies,” so I guess I need to tell my mom she’s not eating at my wedding? I hastily scratched that place off my list.  One venue was someone’s literal backyard.  Which…wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if it were a large property and the person’s home was out of sight, but no.  Her house was right there, and we could hear her grandkids playing while we met with her, and it was weird. She was also very talkative and was starting to make judgment calls on some of our choices, so we “noped” out of there very quickly.

The venue we ended up selecting is very us – cozy, relaxed but elegant.  They also have a built-in rain plan, which was a big reason why we selected this venue. We’d fallen in love with another venue, but they didn’t have a rain plan.  We would have had to rent a tent, and the tent plans are just insane.  You have to put down 50% as your deposit, and you had the option to wait 5 days until the wedding and get your entire deposit back if you decide you don’t want the tent.  OR you wait until 2 days out to decide you don’t want your tent, but then that means you forfeit your deposit.  Knowing how much I check on the weather when I’m in the field, there’s no way I’d be comfortable with the 5 day plan. And there’s no way I would have been cool with throwing hundreds of dollars away with the 2 day plan.  I’ve very glad we selected the venue with the rain plan.

Oh yeah, and we got this cute guest book:

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We bought it at Book People.  It’s not a traditional guest book, but it’s adorable and I love birds.  Hence, now it’s our guest book.

I was reading some bridal magazines yesterday and I’m sorry, I really like The Knot but sometimes they’re insane.  They had article about ~spicing up your reception~ by hiring aerial water dancers or an artist who can paint impressionistic pieces of the wedding reception.  GREAT IDEAS, GUYS.  While we’re at it, why don’t I get a fountain that spouts liquid chocolate?  Or custom-made robots for everyone as a party favor? Why don’t I do that, The Knot?  OR I can just purchase disposable cameras, put them at every guest’s table, and call it day.*

In other news, side one of the Calvin top is almost ready!

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I’m at the part where I have to make rows of double crochet mesh stitches.  It’s crazy but if I keep at it, I can conceivably finish this by this weekend. WHAT.  I’m getting pretty concerned that the tension is all wrong and that it will be like donning a burlap sack when it’s finished, but we’ll see how it goes!

Okay I need to work and stuff, talk to you all Friday!

*Do disposable cameras still exist?
** I’m just kidding. Sort of.