Monday, August 5, 2013


Saying you're going to pick blackberries for a pie is basically like saying, "I'm willing to get the sh*t kicked out of me in exchange for pie."

Photos from Is+Was on Instagram.

The summer is flying by too fast, and it definitely hasn't included any:
                    - blogging
                    - to-do lists  just kidding, I always make to-do lists

Fortunately it has included blackberry pie, barbecues, picnics, gingham, camping, and inappropriately named lawn games (I'm looking at you, Cornhole). I'm steadily crossing things off my summer "must" list (see, I told you I always make lists), and drinking in every bit of heat and sunshine Oregon has to offer. It's hard to imagine a more beautiful place at this time of year.

I can't promise that I'll be posting super frequently in the immediate future, but I have been using my Instagram account regularly, so feel free to check out my photo adventures if you like that sort of thing. I hope your summer is filled with everything on your "must" list. And pie. Lots of pie.

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring is like a perhaps hand

Sweet friends,

I just wanted you to know that I am still here.

My free time is limited to such a degree these days that I've had to choose between making things, and writing about making things. I think you can guess which one I chose. The good news is that I'm happily knitting, sewing, and creating away (ALL the spring bugs have bitten), and when I have time for writing and photo editing again, I'll have lots of projects, pictures, and inspiration to share with you. In the meantime, spring is bursting out all around me, and I wanted to share one of my all-time favorite e.e. cummings poems:

yes is a pleasant
if's wintry
(my lovely)
let's open the year

both is the very
(not either)
my treasure,
when violets appear

love is a deeper
than reason;
my sweet one
(and april's where we're)

- e.e. cummings

Happy spring,


P.S. The title of this post is from another of my favorite e.e. cummings poems (have I mentioned that I am a life-long Edward Estlin lover?). You should read that one too

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lumberjack Dress

For years now, I've been getting so much use and pleasure out of the Built by Wendy books, that I thought it was high time I shared a few of the resulting projects here. I own Sew U Home StretchBuilt by Wendy Coats and Jackets, and Built by Wendy Dresses, but the latter has been my most-used book by far.

My one caveat in recommending these books is that I don't feel they are terribly helpful for beginners. The instructions are often general and somewhat vague (and I've found straight-up mistakes as well); that being said, once you've got a few "regular" patterns under your belt (I'm thinking SimplicityMcCall's, etc.), and are comfortable with the basics of garment construction and sewing techniques, they are a wonderful resource for basic patterns and ideas that can be riffed on endlessly.

This one is called the Lumberjack Dress, and it's a variation that is included in the book (though, as I mentioned, even the included variations end up being patterns of your own making for the most part). I spent quite a bit of time perfecting the fit of the basic Dirndl dress, and making plain versions with very minor tweaks and updates until I had it fitting just so, then I started going wild with variations. With its full, swingy, bias-cut skirt, adorable leather toggles, rounded collar, and ultra cozy flannel fabric...this might be my favorite thing I've ever made.

I'm hoping to share the other versions with you in the near future, but I'm currently in an awkward hair grow-out phase, so I'm mostly avoiding cameras. ;)

In the meantime, tell me: Do you sew? Have you ever wanted to learn? Do you make up your own patterns?

P.S. Here's the free pattern for the hat pictured above.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Veg Out

Image found here.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about incorporating some more vegetarian meals into my diet. I actually quite enjoy making (and eating) meatless meals, I just don't seem to come across very many vegetarian recipes that inspire me. I'd love to hear your suggestions. What are your favorite vegetarian meals? Do you have any great recipe sources?

I've had my eye on this Curried Lentil Soup for ages. Wouldn't it be nice to curl up with a big bowl of that, some crusty French bread, and an episode of Downton Abbey?

P.S. This face made out of vegetables is freaking rad. Note to self: Spend more time playing with food.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Aidez Cardigan

Hello friends! Many apologies for my long absence- that was a much more extended break than I intended to take. I hope you had a lovely, restful holiday, and that 2013 is being friendly so far. One of my goals for the new year (I wouldn't go so far as to call it a remains to be seen how resolute I am) is to be better about sharing my knitting projects on Ravelry, and tracking alterations I've made to patterns before I forget what I did.

Sadly, it's much too late for this sweater on that front: I remember only the bare bones of the changes that I made, but I figure they're not getting any clearer in my head, and I might as well share it while I still remember the gist.

I made this Aidez cardigan last winter, and it was a surprisingly quick, and completely delightful knit. I wanted it to be really wearable, and I was concerned about feeling like Ralphie's little brother when I tried to put it on under a jacket, so I opted to use a significantly lighter weight yarn (Cascade 220), and smaller needles than the pattern called for.

In order to make up for the substantial gauge difference (I'm small, but I'm not that small), I did a bit of calculating, and determined that if I followed the directions for the size medium, the finished product would be about the same size as the extra small- which is exactly what I was hoping for.

It's wonderfully cozy, not at all itchy, and, though substantial and warm, doesn't feel bulky or stiff. And, of course, it pairs perfectly with my Arctic Ribbed Hat, and the gorgeous Norwegian Mittens my mom made for me...

What's on your needles these days? Any amazing new sweater patterns I should know about? I always enjoy a cabled project, but I feel like it's time I got some more experience with colorwork. I'd love to hear your project recommendations!

P.S. Check out the free Aidez pattern here.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas To All...

Dear friends,

I'm so ready to spend the next few days snuggled up with my family, but I thought I'd leave you with one more easy, last-minute decorating idea: cranberries! I like to scatter them in the base of candle holders, and in little white teacups with tall tapers stuck in the middle- so simple, and so festive. Whatever you celebrate, or don't celebrate, at this time of year (I call it "Christhannukawanzaastice"), I hope you are warm and safe, and surrounded by good food and good friends!



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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pom-Pom Hat Pattern

I have a serious case of knitter's disease. When I see a factory-knit garment, I simply can't bring myself to buy it. No no, I have to examine it, dissect it, and make my own version. Naturally, when I saw this Anthropologie Pom Beanie, my first thought was: "Thick yarn? All garter stitch and a big ol' pom-pom? I can make that!" And the only thing better than making one for myself, is sharing my pattern with you!

These hats are so fast and easy to whip out, there's still plenty of time to make a few for the fashionably-inclined women in your life. Just put on your favorite Christmas movie (Elf? Scrooged? Christmas Vacation?) and you'll be about finished by the time it's over. I wanted to make it beginner friendly as well, so this hat is knit flat- no knowledge of circular or double-pointed needles necessary (though, of course, you can easily join it and knit in the round, if you'd prefer).

So here's a little Christmas present from me to you. Click here to download the free PDF.

Hope you enjoy it!

Photos by Michael Hudson for Is + Was

P.S. Please feel free to comment if you find anything confusing in the pattern. I want to make it as easy-breezy as possible!

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