A sock-themed road trip

This month I took a road-trip vacation with my best guy in our new(ish) car. We drove from Toronto to New York City to visit friends, then on to Cape Cod, Boston, and Vermont. Then it was home via Montreal (to shop at Simons, of course) andย  a stop at my brother’s cottage north of Kingston, Ontario.

Being the first road trip we’d done in a long while, I was excited at the prospect of not having to worry about packing efficiently for a plane trip. While I did pack 7 pairs of shoes (!), which was ridiculous even for me, I did resist the momentary temptation to tote along my sewing machine. But sorry, sewing, you ain’t got nothing on knitting when it comes to traveling. So I packed up my trusty Wise Hilda’s Basic Ribbed Sock pattern, a couple of skeins of sock yarn, my metal double-pointed needles (with a weird worry as to whether they would let me cross the border with metal knitting needles, until I remembered I wasn’t going on a plane), and hit the road.

By the time we got to Vermont, I had a nifty new pair of wool socks. And I almost managed to make them exact copies of each other, stripes-wise — totally by fluke, of course; doing so on purpose would require far too much forethought and planning for measure-once-cut-twice me.

Ribbed socks

Sock Selfie

Fun fact: the state of Vermont has a law against any billboards along highways. (Not so fun fact: the state of New Hampshire kinda scares my Canadian sensibilities with their LIVE FREE OR DIE motto on their license plates. Surely there is some room for discussion if it came down to it, no?)

Fun Vermont fact #2: Vermont is the home of the Darn Tough socks company, which has a lifetime guarantee on their socks. How could I resist buying a pair, especially after just having heard a radio program all about companies who offer lifetime guarantees and the crazy returns they have to accept, including weird stories about Darn Tough Socks? They aren’t as nice feeling on the feet as my own hand-knits, but my hand-knit socks will last maybe 18 months before there’s a big hole in the heel. (I must learn how to darn socks and completely solidify my reputation as a prematurely elderly person.) A lifetime guarantee for socks is pretty freaking radical. Perhaps it would be more fitting if Darn Tough moved their operations to New Hampshire. “GIVE ME HOLE-FREE SOCKS OR GIVE ME DEATH” could be their motto.

Darn Tough socks

By the time we were on the road back to Toronto, I had begun work on another pair.

Basic Ribbed Socks in progress

Upon my arrival back in the T-Dot, I noticed a preponderance of extremely well groomed male tourists in my neighbourhood, and was puzzled momentarily until I remembered we are proudly hosting World Pride this week. There are tens (hundreds?) of thousands of visitors and locals all having a wonderful time celebrating love and diversity. I am so, SO happy to live in a city that practices not just tolerance, but real inclusiveness. There’s absolutely no place like home. Happy Pride! And come visit Toronto sometime — it’s an incredible city!

I <3 TorontoWorld Pride Toronto


Finished Knitted Cardi & Work-in-Progress T-Shirt Dress

Black Knitted Cardigan with Lace Collar

I just finished this cardigan…started it in December — whew! It was an on-again, off-again kind of affair. It’s a bit of a milestone for me because it is the first garment I’ve knitted for which I didn’t follow someone else’s pattern! When I first started knitting a few years ago I remember browsing through projects on Ravelry and seeing knitters who had made modifications to a pattern to suit their liking or, even more shockingly, had knit something out of their own head! It seemed as easy to do as traveling to the moon as far as I was concerned. But now having knitted dozens of sweaters (not all of them wearable, of course), and then having added sewing to my pastimes, I’ve gained a pretty good sense of garment shape and construction, so now it doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Experience is everything, I guess.

Black Knitted Cardigan with Lace Collar

Black Knitted Cardigan with Lace Collar

It’s a basic top-down raglan cardigan, and I added a collar band knitted in a lace pattern I found in a book called 400 Knitting Stitches: A Complete Dictionary of Essential Stitch Patterns by Potter Craft. (Ok, so I didn’t make up the whole pattern; making up a lace pattern still seems like landing on the moon to me.) Looking at these pictures now I think this style would have been better just a few inches longer, but whatever. Still also debating whether to rip back the sleeves a few inches and add a sideways lace panel to each sleeve to finish them off. I also notice I look pretty puzzled in the pics where you can see my face — that’s me still figuring out whether my remote control shutter release is going to work or not. ๐Ÿ™‚

Black knitted cardigan with lace collar

Sewing-wise, here’s what I’m working on at the moment, and I need some advice from you experienced sewists! This is Burda’s Cap Sleeve V-Neck Dress from the June 2014 issue.

Burda Cap Sleeve V-Neck Dress 06/2014 #102

I was intrigued by the subversive little design detail on this otherwise very simple dress: the front and back are cut a little skee-wiff (how do you spell that word, anyway?) so that you need to straighten out the side seams once it’s on, creating a twist across the midriff.ย  But I screwed up sewing the neckline, as you can see in these pictures. I sewed it with a twin-needle, didn’t use any stay-tape/binding at the neckline as instructed (cause I’m a rebel that way; a stupid, regret-filled rebel), and I clearly stretched the fabric out a bit as I sewed it. So you can see the neckline doesn’t lie flat because it’s stretched out of shape. My question for you is: can I rip out the neckline seam and resew it, and will the fabric survive and the neckline become a shining example of my sewing whoop-assiness? Or do you think this basic T-shirt fabric would be shot by the time I’ve sewn and ripped and sewn it again? Should I sew with a twin needle or regular straight stitch? Is the bias tape really necessary if I don’t stretch the fabric while stitching? Ok, that’s several questions for you.

Burda Cap Sleeve V-neck Dress 06/2014 #102

I think it would be a gorgeous little dress if I got the neckline right…and if I can hold in my breath the entire time I’m wearing it to ensure full gut in-suckage. This pattern is definitely drafted with negative ease, so bear that in mind if you intend to sew it — go up a size if you want a little wiggle room.

Truth be told, I’ve thrown myself into gardening, sewing, and knitting lately because all this refusal to acknowledge all the misogynist fuckery going on in online editorials & comments lately is actually, truly making me feel despair. Anyone else feeling the same?

Anyway, let’s get our heads back in the sand(box) of sewing and please let me know what you think I should do: rip and re-do, or start again? Thanks for your help!

Burda Wrap Blouse

Burda wrap blouse 04/2014 #115

I love the design of this top! It’s from Burda magazine, April 2014, pattern #115. I love the slightly boxy look and the high boatneck as well as the 3/4 length sleeves. I sewed it in polyester crepe fabric.

Burda Wrap Blouse 04/2014 #115

I lengthened the torso by about 10cm (4 inches) because I really didn’t want to risk having a midriff-baring top that I would never wear. As it is, it would be risky to wear this outside in a breeze without a camisole underneath, as the two front flaps are only attached at the shoulders. But the upshot is no zipper to sew in! It’s really a very easy top to make.

I sewed the size 34. The shoulders came out a bit too narrow; if I made it again I would add an extra centimeter or two there. Although I did have a near-fatal accident with the blade on my serger around the shoulder seams early on in the process (near-fatal for the shirt, not for me), so overcoming that setback may account for the narrow shoulders. ๐Ÿ˜‰


Just wanted to show you my groovy new top. Thanks for reading! Now I’ll just go back to staring contemplatively into the middle distance…