Monday, December 31, 2012

I'm a dork.

I just have to have everything filed away neatly!  I have one more finished object from 2012, and since today is the last day, I want to get it entered.  Silly, I know, but I just can't help myself!

Today I don't have time to put this on and model it, because I'm busy making Alice Medrich's Gateau Royale and some Turkish Borek to take over to a friend's this evening.  But I did take pictures the other day when the sun was out, so I can at least share those.

This is my second go with the Inverted Pleat Skirt pattern from Burda magazine.  This time I made it in Anna Maria Horner's Loulouthi Velveteen, in the bronze colorway of a design called Summer Totem.

The first time I made this skirt, you may remember, I was not pleased with the fit - the pattern as designed is for a skirt that sits on the hip.  So before starting, I took a half inch off each side seam and repositioned the darts.  This version sits just below the waist, which is where I wanted it to be.  Score!

I only had one yarnd, and the AMH velveteen wasn't quite wide enough to accomodate the very wide panel for the pleat, so I ended up having to remove an inch and a half at the center front as well, and sewing a shallower pleat.  But this doesn't affect the fit at all.

Another thing I wasn't crazy about with my first version was that the lining was a little too flimsy for my wool outer.  I thought about lining this one in cotton lawn, but in the end I decided to forgo a lining altogether and just draft a facing.  After wearing my first skirt a few times, I felt like the lining just made everything shift around too much.  This fabric is quite heavy already and I didn't want to add any more bulk, especially since I always wear a slip, whether a skirt has a lining or not.  This was my first time drafting a facing, and even though it's a pretty simple thing to do, I was proud of myself for doing it - I'm usually very lazy about that kind of thing!

You can see that I also hand-stitched the hem to make it truly invisible, and only folded the hem allowance back once because the fabric is so bulky.

I was surprised that the velveteen was more difficult to work with than I'd expected it to be.  The layers wanted to shift sideways, so it was hard to get my seams even - I even ended up picking out the left side seam and re-doing it.  Of course on the very last seam I decided to switch to my brand-new roller foot and that worked wonders!  Lesson learned!

I'm really in love with this fabric, and very happy with how my skirt turned out.  After I took these pictures, I spent some time trying lots of different sweaters with it - there are so many colors in this print, it goes with a lot!

OK, now that that's taken care of,  2012 can end, and I can come back tomorrow and tell you what I'm thinking about for 2013!

Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve, everybody!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Top 5 of 2012: Inspiration

I'll be honest:  I've been struggling to write this post for many days.  Like Kristin, I'm loath to list five blogs that inspire me, because then all the others would be left out!   I'm sure it has a lot to do with all those years of being a school teacher, striving to make sure everyone is included.  So instead, I thought I'd take you through my morning routine, and discuss some of the sites I look at every day that inspire me.

My morning begins when Hubby brings me my coffee in bed.  Isn't that just the best?  I'm a lucky girl.  He also makes much better coffee than I do!

Once the aroma and the first few sips have brought some semblance of coherence to my brain, I sit down on my knitting chair with my computer and get down to business.  I usually check my email first, although I'm generally not awake enough to actually deal with any of it!

Next stop is Google Reader.  Like many of you, I read (or at least look at) a LOT of blogs every day, and I do look at my reader several times a day during odd spare moments so that it doesn't get too backlogged.  I'm usually not awake enough to make comments first thing, so I pull up the posts I want to comment on and save those for later.

I have an extensive blogroll in my sidebar, and this has been imported directly from my reader.  I try to update it every few months to keep it current (I just did this last week), so these are usually the blogs I'm following at the moment.  Blogs that haven't posted in several months often get removed, as I figure that the raison d'etre of the blogroll is to share the inspiration and I don't want to send anyone off on a path that doesn't really go anywhere!

The reader takes up the majority of my surfing time in the morning.  After I've finished with it, I head over to Ravelry, where I check in on my friends' activity.   I sometimes look at the finished objects in some of the groups I belong to as well, although now that my reader takes up so much of my time, I'm not doing this as much.  Looking at these helps me become aware of patterns I may not have noticed and ways that different knitters have altered patterns to make a project their own.

Once I'm done with Ravelry, I move on to Pinterest.  There's lots of inspiration there, and I've discovered a couple of really great blogs by clicking through on pins that look interesting.

A new addition to my morning surfing is BurdaStyle.  I joined almost 2 years ago, but only recently started looking at the website (and even more recently, adding my own Burda projects).  I really enjoy looking at the projects page to see what people are making and especially how they interpret some of the patterns from the Burda magazine. 

And finally, I check out my group activity on Flickr.  I'd have to say that Flickr is largely responsible for me getting back into sewing over the last few years.  Several years ago, I was hooked on the Wardrobe Remix group.  I didn't participate with my own pictures, but I looked at the pool every day and was really impressed with some of the clothes people were making for themselves.  I think it was also through Flickr that I discovered Colette Patterns, just before Sarai had started having her patterns printed.  And it was through Flickr that I became aware of the sewing blog community.  I've added lots of blogs to my ever-growing list by clicking through on projects that have caught my eye in some of the Flickr groups:

Like Gillian's!  Which brings us full-circle, don't you think?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Testing, testing . . .

For a long time, I've been thinking of drafting the Renfrew t-shirt into a tee dress;  I'd planned on using the skirt portion of the Mission Maxi to just extend the top.  But then a couple weeks ago I came across this pattern at the sale at JoAnn's:

Simplicity 2054

And I thought, "For $2, why should I re-invent the wheel?"

Last weekend I had time to trace it out and make up my first version.  Looking at the finished measurements, I decided to go with a size 12 for the bust and size 14 in the hips.  Although my body measurements put me in a size 10 at the bust, I felt there might not be enough ease the way the pattern was drafted, and I wanted a looser fit there.

The design is a very basic shift-style tee dress, with three sleeve variations and an optional cowl.  I went with the elbow-length sleeves as these are generally the most practical for me.

For my test run, I used a cotton/lycra faux-ikat jersey I'd gotten from Girl Charlee a few months ago.  It was a piece of fabric I was disappointed with once I saw the real thing, so there was no risk if the dress didn't work out!  I sewed it almost entirely on my serger, only using my sewing machine for the hems, which I did with a zigzag stitch.

The pattern instructs you to sew the sleeve and side seams and then set in the sleeves, but I chose to sew the sleeve heads into the armscye flat and then do one long seam from the hem edge of the sleeve to the bottom of the skirt.  I think this was easier with knit fabric and didn't seem to affect the fit of the sleeve cap.

But, my first dress came out too big.  This is partly because I wasn't really paying close attention, and sewed the seams with a 3/8" rather than a 5/8" seam allowance!  When I tried it on, it was so loose I realized what I'd done, and went back and redid the armscye seam.  After which, I realized I should have stuck with the size 10 bust after all!  Here's the first, fixed dress:

I'm not sure if it comes through in this picture, but there is a lot of extra room and fabric under the arm.  However, I ended up really liking the fabric - it has a really nice heft and drape, and I don't even mind the print so much now.  Hubby really liked this dress - go figure!

The next day, I decided to try it again, so I redrew my pattern pieces down to the size 10 for the bust, shoulders, sleeves and waist, leaving everything beneath the waist as it was.  This time I used the fabric I really wanted to make this dress in, a charcoal grey argyle print, also from Girl Charlee.  I did everything the same, this time remembering to use 5/8" seam allowances, and got a result I'm really happy with:

Hubby likes this one even better!

Much better fit!  And soooooo comfy!  I'm planning a slew of these dresses!

Here are some comparison photos between the first dress and the second:

Less excess under the arm.

Much better fit at the shoulders.

From the back.  I could probably use a tiny swayback adjustment here.

I haven't seen a whole lot of renditions of this pattern out there in blogland, but I think it's a really great basic, wearable piece that can serve as a template for all kinds of variations.  I'm already thinking of adding some ruching to the sleeves of the white one.

And I've already ordered some more fabric to make a few for spring . . .

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Top 5 of 2012: What I Learned

I've really been enjoying reading everyone's posts on their hits, misses and lessons learned in 2012.  And true to form, I've been putting off writing my own, because I have too many ideas floating around in my head!  It does seem that the other participants in Gillian's blog-along have taken a philosophical approach to this "assignment," so I thought I'd take a different tack just to mix it up a bit, and share some of the very concrete lessons I learned this year.

These mostly have to do with sewing, because after 40 years of knitting, I honestly don't "think" a lot about my knitting any more - I just do it.  Things that would have taken some problem-solving 20 years ago have become part of my consciousness.  That's not to say I have nothing left to learn about knitting - I certainly do!  But when I think of the tricks I've learned lately, most of them occurred before 2012.  And most of them are to be found in the works of Elizabeth Zimmermann.

However, I did finally crack a nut that's been bothering me for years: 

1.  Short Rows.  I've always done the "wrap and turn" and my short rows have always looked sloppy.  I didn't really know there was any other way to do them, so when I saw Carol Feller's Craftsy class on the subject, I signed up.  I wasn't expecting to hit pay dirt, but I sure did!  I used her techniques for the collar of my Exeter cardigan, and they were the best short rows I've ever done.   I really recommend this class if you're not happy with your short rows - it's free!  

OK, the rest are about sewing - I had a lot to learn here!

2.  Darts.  I mentioned this a few weeks ago when I made my sparkly skirt.  Christine Hayne's method for pinning and sewing darts neatly has truly been a game-changer for me.  I used to dread darts and fuss with them endlessly, but with this simple technique they've become one of my favorite bits of sewing!

3.  Points and Curves.   Almost a year ago, I posted a couple of new techniques I learned while making my Pussy Bow blouse.   One was a tip from Pattern Runway for making good points on a collar:  sew to one stitch away from the point, then pivot and sew one stitch diagonally to the next seam, then continue.   It really does make for a neater corner, and now I try to use it on all corners, not just on collar points.

The other tip was from Colette Patterns:  shorten the stitch length to make sewing curves easier!  Now why didn't I think of that?  No matter how slowly I sewed, I still had trouble rounding a curve - until I tried this simple trick.  Genius!

4.  Smaller (bust) darts for smaller cup sizes, and vice versa.  It really took me a long time to wrap my head around this.  I literally had to fold a piece of paper into imaginary darts to send the point home!  In my experiments with fitting, I kept trying to take bigger darts to get a better fit in the bust, and not achieving anything but a worse fit!  I don't remember where I read or heard this first, but I do remember saying, "Huh?!  That can't be right!"  But you know what?  It is right.

5.  Fabric choice affects fit.  I first became aware of this with the coral silk Sorbetto top I made.  I had made this pattern about a gazillion times before and they always fit fine, but this one was very constricting across the upper back.  (BTW, this is also when I really realized I need to be doing broad back adjustments on things like this.)  What I realized is that all the other times I'd made this pattern, I'd used plain weave fabrics, which have a little give.  This one was made in silk twill - no give whatsoever, and hence the tighter fit.  You really can't tell from the front, but it makes the top slightly uncomfortable to wear.

I realized this again with my Mission Maxi dresses.  I did two test runs in cotton interlock (because I didn't know what the heck I was doing) and then three "real" dresses in jersey.  I thought jersey was jersey, but that's not necessarily the case.  The one I made in rayon/cotton blend fits far looser than the two 100% cotton dresses, and one of those is tighter than the others!

Just right!

I still have a little trouble with this, probably because I don't really pay attention to the "amount of stretch" listed on a given fabric.  I'm working on it though!

I learned so much this year - I really feel my sewing improved by leaps and bounds.  This is partly due to some of the nifty new tools I bought myself (serger, sewing machine with fancy feet); partly due to increased experience from just doing; and partly due to all the extra knowledge I gained by following along with everyone else's knitting and sewing insights via their blogs.  So thanks to all of you for participating in our wonderful online community!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Top 5 of 2012: The Fails

As I said the other day, I was pleasantly surprised when I went back over the year to discover that I really liked most of what I made.  That made distilling it down to 5 favorites a little difficult.  But it makes coming up with 5 failures pretty easy!

Honestly, I can only think of two garments I made this year that I would qualify as true failures.  But not to worry - I failed in many other ways!  I came up with four categories - the total number of projects is more than five, but it's all about reflection and sharing, right?

1.  The Garment Failures

I should probably qualify this a little further.  One of these is really a failure; the other just doesn't fit me well and I'm not crazy about the fabric I used.

The true failure is the green interlock maxi dress I made:

Shoddy workmanship, the wrong fabric - it's just a mess.

The other thing I made that I really didn't like was the Lisette Market Blouse:

Again, poor workmanship - I really ran this one up as a test of the pattern, and the fit was . . . strange.  But in the end, I decided I wasn't crazy about it, style-wise.  So I never bothered to go back and make adjustments.   Don't get me wrong - I think it's a cute design.  I just think it's a little too "young" for me.

But here's the interesting thing:  I wore both of these garments quite  a bit over the summer!  I wore the top all the time for doing housework and gardening, because I didn't care if it got ruined!  And I wore the dress as an in-between, after taking off my sweaty workout clothes, but before putting on my PJs!  This is something I've known for a long time:  the things I love rarely get worn, because I'm afraid of ruining them.  Must work on this.

2.  The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

I learned a lot this year (mostly about sewing, but I did learn a few new knitting tricks too).  But I could have learned so much more.

I built up quite a nice library of sewing books over the year.  I haven't counted, but I'd say I've probably got about ten books on various sewing-related topics.  I've started reading all of them, but I've only read two of them from start to finish.

And then there's Craftsy.  So enticing.  I did count the number of Craftsy courses I've signed up for - a few free, but mostly paid:  fifteen courses!  I have completed three.  I really don't know what it is that makes me choose junk on Netflix over these worthwhile learning opportunities.

You'll be seeing these on the "Goals for 2013" list!

3.  What Am I Waiting For?

Ah, yes.  The UFOs.  In my case, they never even got started!  Here's my pile of stuff to make the Victory Patterns Anouk Dress:

I was SO excited about this pattern when I bought it, and I bought the fabric soon after - around the beginning of February.  I was convinced that it was going to be my Best Spring Dress.  And then . . . what happened?  I kept thinking about making it, but never actually did it!  Have I ever mentioned that I'm easily distracted?

And then there's the Colette Patterns Peony . . . that was a UFO from 2011!  I made 2 bodice muslins and then put it on the back burner.  The good news on that is that I know a lot more about pattern adjustments, and could probably make it work for me now.

4.  I'm So Gullible

Here's another area where I often fail:  I get completely taken in by the styling in magazines or on patterns.  Even when all evidence is to the contrary, I convince myself that yes, I'm going to look Just Like The Model!  I talked about this a little with my Inverted Pleat Skirt.  But it happened to me twice this year with knits too.  First with my Ava sweater, and then with my Antibes sweater.  In both cases, I was a victim of the uber-cute vintage-looking styling in Rowan 51.  Neither of these sweaters is really "my style" - the Ava is a little too plain, and the Antibes is a Polo Shirt.  I don't really like polo shirts! 

I do, however, like both these yarns.  So both of these projects have been frogged, and the yarn is waiting for something better to come along.

So, in conclusion, I'd say a pretty good year.  And there's definitely room for improvement.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Lovely Gift

The other day I had coffee with Alicia.  We've been getting together about once a week for the last few months, for knitting and conversation.  We were even lucky enough to find a small coffee shop halfway between our houses that is nice and quiet, so we can talk without screaming at each other!

Well, this week, Alicia surprised me with a very lovely and unexpected gift.

Gah!  A vintage pattern and two pieces of fabric!  Take a closer look at this pattern:

Isn't this top adorable?  I'm hoping you can see that on the back of the envelope, at the bottom, someone has written "1954" - so cool!  Alicia said she checked to make sure all the pieces are there, and they are - they haven't even been cut out!  I'm definitely planning on making this one up.  It's one size larger than me, so it will be good practice for me with grading a pattern down - something I've been wanting to try out for a while.  However:  I WILL measure the pattern pieces first to see what kind of ease there is!

She also gave me two lovely pieces of fabric:

This one is a polyester, but it is actual vintage fabric.  This will make such a cute little top for spring, don't you think?  Perhaps even in the pattern above!

And this one is siiiiiiiilk.  Mmmmmmm!  She bought this in the garment district in NYC!  So cool!  She said there's quite a bit of yardage - about 2.5.  Sadly, I wasn't able to capture its true color - it's more of a wine red.  Really beautiful.   I've been musing about making this into another Pattern Runway Pussy Bow Blouse, because I'd been thinking I wanted to make a solid-colored silk one.

What makes these gifts even more special to me is that they all came from Alicia's personal stash.  I don't know about you guys, but I have a hard time giving away the stuff I've bought for myself!  Yes, I'm a little ashamed of that!

I'm so glad the world didn't end today.  I have a lot of sewing to do!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Top 5 of 2012: The Favorites

This has been a really tough assignment for me:  I've been trying to write this post for a week!  Why is it so hard?  Well, it turns out I really love most of what I made this year, and I've had a very hard time narrowing it down to five!  I'd say that's a pretty good thing!

Last week I spent some time going through the entire last year of blog posts and making a list of my favorites.  Even though I thought I was weeding things out, my list was still about thirty items long!  So then I thought I'd break it into a few different posts:  favorite sewn objects, favorite knit objects, and favorite nails.  But even those lists were too long!

So, as I usually do in this kind of situation, I decided to let all that information sit on the back burner of my brain for a few days, and hope that eventually a few true favorites would filter up to the forefront.  And here's what I've come up with:

#1:  My absolute most favorite thing I made this year:

My D9P quilt.  Actually, this was the one item I knew from the get-go would be number one on the list.  Even though it doesn't "go" with our bedroom, it's been on my bed since the day I finished it, and every day I enjoy looking at all the different fabrics, and the different patterns made by the quilting.  When it's cold enough that I need an extra blanket (or sometimes even if it isn't), just spreading this thin quilt on top of me makes feel warm and snuggly and cozy.  And quite smug:  hey, I made a quilt!

#2:  Hubby's Guitar Shirt:

I love this shirt for a couple of reasons.  First of all, I really took my time and did a good job on it.  But mostly, I love it because he loves it.  He often chooses it (unbidden by me) when we go out, especially for music events, and that makes me feel really proud!  He's got quite a collection now:  four guitar shirts in all, and I've got fabric to make another.  This was the first (and only) long-sleeved shirt I made him, and although this pattern probably isn't the best for his "figure," he really liked it that I was able to shorten the sleeves - it's probably the only shirt he owns that has the right length sleeves!

#3:  Coral silk Pattern Runway Kimono-Sleeved Dress:

I only got to wear this dress once over the summer - I was afraid to wear it too much because I didn't want to ruin it!  (I have this problem a lot.)  I wore it to a cocktail party for Hubby's work, and I have to say, I felt amazing in it and received several compliments.  This is probably my favorite color at the moment, and I think it's a very flattering color on me as well.  And the silk!  It feels incredible on the skin!  One of these days, I intend to make another one in silk. 

#4:  Sparkle and Swish Skirt:

It's sparkly and swishy.  I think those are all the reasons I need to love this skirt!

#5:  the Exeter Cardigan:

It felt like it took forever to make this sweater, and because I didn't like the yarn all that much, I complained a lot while I was knitting it.  But I do think it's really beautiful, and I've already worn it quite a bit in the month since I've finished it.  It has turned out to be just what I thought it would be:  my go-to, grab-it-and-pull-it-on sweater.  Since it hasn't been too cold yet this winter, I've been able to wear it instead of a coat quite a bit.  I also realized that one of the reasons I love it is that it reminds me of a favorite sweater my mom knit me when I was about 12.  Somewhere I have a picture of that one . . . I wore it constantly!

So there you have it!  Are any of you also joining in on Gillian's Top Five posts?  Are you planning year-end round-ups?  I do think it's fun to look back at the year and make some assessments.  And who doesn't love making lists?!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It's Complicated

This is one of the most labor-intensive manis I've ever done.  But I think the result is worth the work!

I started out with two coats of China Glaze Cheers to You, from the holiday 2010 collection:  the shimmery, silvery counterpart to Midnight Kiss.  Once that was dry, I sponged the tips with Zoya Danii, then applied China Glaze Fast Forward topcoat.  Finally, after waiting about ten minutes, I stamped on the "shattered glass" design from Bundle Monster plate BM208 with Wet N' Wild Black Creme.  One more coat of Fast Forward, and then all I had to do was sit back and admire my nails for a while!

(colors are more accurate in this picture)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sparkle and Swish

About a month ago, I was at Vogue picking up a few bits and bobs, and I spotted a very pretty sequin-embroidered tulle.  I looked at it and petted it for a while, but since I couldn't think of a good use for it off the top of my head, I decided to pass it up.

The very next day, I received my December issue of Burda magazine in the mail.  And inside I saw this:

Hmmmm.  I had a little argument with myself:

"It's so pretty!  I could use that fabric I saw!"

"But it's so impractical!  I never go anywhere fancy."

"But it's so pretty!"

"But it's so impractical!"

"But it's so PRETTY!!"

The following week I went back over to Vogue and bought three yards, and some taffeta to go inside.

And a week and a half or so after that, I got busy making my fancy skirt.

The pattern is very basic, and this was one of those "deluxe" patterns from the magazine, i.e. one of the "sewing school" ones with step-by-step illustrated instructions.  I didn't have any qualms about the construction of the skirt, but this was the first time I'd used either taffeta or tulle, and I was a little nervous they'd be very slippery and difficult to work with.   But they really weren't!  I didn't even use any of my specialty feet, just my normal straight stitch foot.

There were only two pattern pieces, both for the inner skirt.  (The waistband and outer skirt were cut using a ruler.)  Those pattern pieces, however, were not made for hourglass-shaped ladies like me.  The side seams were completely straight, leaving any shaping to the 8 darts.  This time, I actually did measure my pattern pieces and compare the finished dimensions to those of my body:  witness this old dog learning a new trick!  I determined that I needed a 38 at the waist, and halfway between 40 and 42 at the low hip, and then got out my hip curve and adjusted my pattern accordingly.  My nifty double pencil made adding in the seam allowances a breeze!

After cutting and marking my pieces, I did one of my new favorite things:  sewing the darts! Crazy I know, but ever since I learned this great trick from Christine Haynes' Sassy Librarian Blouse Craftsy class, I really enjoy doing them!  It really works like magic, every time.

(click to embiggen)

Here's what you do:  place pins along the dart markings on each leg, then fold the dart to bring them together.  With your fingers, feel around until the front and back pins are aligned, then slip the back one out and pin it through both layers from the front.  Magic, I tell you!  I used to really struggle with getting my darts lined up evenly until I learned this trick. 

As I said, the skirt was pretty straightforward.  I serged all the edges of the taffeta before sewing because it's so prone to fraying.  Once the outer skirt is constructed except for the zipper and the back seam, you gather the tulle up to the same length as the waistline and baste it in place at the waist and zipper edge, then insert the invisible zipper through both layers.  I did have to trim the lace first though:  the scalloped edge wasn't cut, so I had to trim off the excess.  I used my small rotary cutter to do that, and it was quick and easy.

The only problem I really had was that after I attached the waistband, some of my basting was showing through on the outside of my skirt.  I got completely engrossed in picking out the stitches very carefully - I don't even know how long it took me!  But I was pretending I was a couture seamstress, so I really didn't mind.

Since most of the stitching doesn't show, it didn't really matter that I didn't have matching thread.  But I did use "invisible thread" to sew up the center back seam on the tulle - I think regular thread would have stuck out like a sore thumb no matter what color I used!

I took lots of pictures of it:  laying flat and hanging, and close-ups of the lace.

And then I took a little tour through my closet to see what I could wear it with.  I'd originally intended to wear it with a black silk charmeuse blouse I have, and it looked OK with that, but not perfect.  This dusty rose is a very difficult color, at least in terms of what I already own to pair with it.  In the end I liked it best with a dark olive green crew-neck and my dark green kitten heels with pink bows:

I've been waiting and waiting for some better light to take pictures, but I started to feel like that might be a very long wait, so I just went ahead and finally did it today.  Sadly, you can't really see the sparkles in any of these pictures, so I'm glad I took some pictures of the skirt last week when there was sun!  The good news is that the lack of light hides (to some extent) the fact that I need to wash my hair.  With all the rowing, I'm having to wash my hair a lot more than I normally do!  But I didn't have time today.

Why did I feel in such a rush to post this skirt?  Well, I'm joining Gillian in her Top 5 of 2012 posts, and this one is going on my top five favorites!  I don't even care if it's a long time before I get to wear it - I just love it!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Blue Heaven, Blue Sky

It can be a little hard to concentrate when your nails look like this:

Let me reiterate:

Ahhhhh, so beautiful!  It's Color Club Blue Heaven - hat tip to Pam for turning me on to this collection!  I think I've found my new favorite holographic polishes:  so easy to apply, and works great with regular base- and topcoat!  I do have the aqua base coat, which I use with other holos, but I find it difficult to remove except with pure acetone.  And I'm trying to avoid that.

Here it is with some yarn:

The yarn is Blue Sky Alpacas Brushed Suri in the Agave colorway.  After I discovered this yarn a couple months or so ago, I went a little nuts and bought three balls from a fellow Raveler.  I'm using them to make my second Aura shawl (Kim Hargreaves):

I've also started another Kim Hargreaves project - a sweater - but that one will get a post of its own.  This one is my "side project."  However, it's requiring a little more attention that I'd expected:  because of all the fuzz and fluff, it's very easy to drop a stitch without knowing it, so I have to really look at what I'm doing.   Note that in my lexicon, "side project" translates as "project so simple I don't have to think about it and don't have to look at it while I'm knitting (making it easier for me to watch TV)."  So I think this has become an Actual Project.

Which means I'm not working on it all that much.