Making masks

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We finally broke down and bought a printer, because life without access to one was getting awfully tricky. Among the other things made possible with the printer was the ability to print sewing patterns. And so I’ve joined the ranks of those sewing masks during this pandemic.

A friend of ours made us some of the pleated/surgical-style masks, but they just weren’t working well for us; my daughter couldn’t keep hers in place, and my husband and I had horrible, horrible problems with glasses fogging. I’d heard from friends that the shaped style of mask is sometimes preferred by glasses-wearers, so I printed out different sizes of the Craft Passion mask (kids, teen/women, and mens) and busted into my stash of fat quarters from back when I thought I was going to make a bunch of quilts. Maybe someday I’ll actually follow through on those plans, but if I do, I can always get more fat quarters!

Cutting out mask pieces from my stash of fat quarters.

I was able to get 3 masks from each pair of fat quarters. Mine are bright blue with a yellowy green interior, my husband’s are dark green with a lighter green interior, and my daughter’s are red with a pink interior.

Makin' masks.

This is the only part that needs pins; it’s the fussiest part of the sewing.

I found the instructions a bit confusing, so ended up relying more on the instructions that went with the very similar pattern from State the Label. My first one took me quite awhile, but once I knew what I was doing, I could speed up a bit.

Showing the liner pocket

Showing off the filter pocket

The way these masks are constructed, you hem the sides of the lining and the outside separately, rather than connecting them, which creates a nice pocket for any sort of lining you might want to add. And for side hems on the outside, you actually create a channel, into which you can add elastic or whatever else you’re going to use to make the mask stay on your face.

Threading a skinny strip of fleece through the channel

Threading fleece strip through the first side channel from the top

I don’t have any elastic, but I do have a ton of is leftover fleece from my daughter’s halloween costumes, so I cut skinny strips of that I threaded through the channels – each end was threaded through from the top.

Threading the other end of the fleece strip through the channel

Threading fleece strip through the second side channel from the top

This creates a strap across the back, which rests over the ears, and then you can tie the ends together at the base of your neck.

How the fleece strip works

It fits really nicely!

New mask works great!! I took the fleece channel off, and didn’t add any other wire channel, but even wire-free, with this shaped mask I had very minimal glasses-fogging. Yay!

Front View

New mask, side view. This stays put so much better for me than the pleated masks did. And the fleece ties are quite comfy.

Side View

I had very minimal glasses fogging, too – I bet adding a channel for a nose wire would reduce it even further, but it’s still infinitely better for me than the pleated mask was. And it’s SO MUCH better for my daughter, because it stays put!! The fleece tie is very comfortable – it’s soft, it’s stretchy, and it has enough texture that once you tie the bow at your neck, it doesn’t slip.

Now we each have fitted masks in our favorite colors (bright blue, red, and dark green!)

The three of us, each with masks in our favorite color

It’s a little unsettling to make kid-size masks (or really, to make masks at all), but I’m glad that even with my fairly rudimentary sewing skills, I’m able to do this, so that we can do our part to take care of our community during this pandemic.

Putting these masks together actually gave me some more confidence with my sewing machine, and I think I’m going to try to actually sew some clothing items this summer! The first pattern I’m going to try is a York Pinafore, in some nice flannel that I’ve had for quite a long time. Wish me luck?

Honeydew progress!

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Thanks to various Zoom meetings last week, I was able to knit quite a bit on Honeydew – and by the end of the week, I’d finished the body!

Body of Honeydew - finished!

I really like the way the shoulder seams are joined with a centered double decrease – it creates a really nice-looking detail:

Honeydew Shoulder detail

Then, over the weekend, I knit away at the 2×2 ribbing for the cowl neck. I ended up making mine quite a bit shorter than the pattern calls for, because I wanted more of a loose-fitting turtleneck than a deep drapey cowl (and I also wanted to make sure I don’t run out of yarn, since I can’t get any more of the sock yarn!). I think I got the look I was aiming for:

Honeydew turtleneck

It feels slightly crazy to be knitting a mohair sweater now that we jumped from winter temperatures into summer ones! But I did step outside for a moment to capture a picture of Honeydew in the sunlight, with petals from our crabapple trees.

Honeydew turtleneck, outside

My daughter calls our trees “confetti trees” :)

Definitely not a seasonally-appropriate sweater, but it’ll be so cozy when winter temperatures return!

Honeydew turtleneck

Wish me luck not running out of yarn while knitting the sleeves!!

My next project: Honeydew!

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I promised a separate post about my next sweater, so here you go! The next project on my needles is…

Newest project: Honeydew

…Honeydew, the cover pattern from Laine 8. When I saw the pictures of this in the magazine, I couldn’t get out of my head how beautiful it would look in an icy blue color. And then I remembered that I had 3 skeins of Oceanwind Knits BFL sock yarn in an icy blue in my deep stash, and all I would need would be some mohair to pair it with. Knitpicks brought out a new color in their “Aloft” mohair/silk yarn called “Iceberg”, so I got enough of it to pair with the BFL yarn. I’m thinking this will be my rule: no new yarn purchases unless it’s something that will help me turn the yarn I already have into specific patterns.

Yarns for Honeydew

The mohair/silk blend is so soft and fluffy!

So soft!

We had one day last weekend that was actually warm, so I cast on and knit the bottom hem outside!!

It’s so nice out!!

And I’ve knit a few rows on it each evening, and also during Zoom meetings whenever I’m not the one presenting or taking notes, so now I’ve got a few repeats of the twisted-stitch honeycomb pattern:

Honeydew progress

The pattern repeat is pretty easy to memorize/read from the knitting, so I’ve been able to make good progress without having to constantly refer to the pattern.

So soft!

And it’s just so soft! I think this is going to be a delightfully warm and fluffy sweater to wear in the winter next year.

Wardie is finished!

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Well, my intention to post weekly updates on how we’re doing during this pandemic kind of fell apart after week 3. We’re now two months in; it’s been that long since I’ve left my house to do anything other than walk around the neighborhood, and I haven’t even done that much of that, because we’ve had so much cold, wet weather and my lungs get grouchy in those conditions ever since my bout with pneumonia at the end of 2019. (Yes, I’ve wondered whether that was actually COVID, but the serological tests are not reliable enough yet to really tell us, and the timing suggests otherwise.) It’s actually SNOWING today. I woke up with my brain singing “I’m so sick of being cold, being cold, being cold” to the tune of “Mary had a little lamb” yesterday. 2020 is breaking me.

BUT! I have been knitting. And in fact, I have a finished sweater to show off! But first, I wanted to share how hilariously weird Wardie looks when you’re working on the sleeves:

Wardie sure looks weird at this stage!

I actually finished the knitting last week, but with the way Wardie is constructed, well, there was still Some Assembly Required:

Some assembly required

My husband said my get-up last weekend reminded him of the newest Doctor Who – I definitely won’t complain about being compared to Jodie Whittaker!

Some assembly required

The seaming went fairly smoothly (the garter stitch selvedges helped!) though I do have a terrible crick in my neck from holding it too close to my face while trying to correctly sew through both layers of the pocket when attaching the button-band.

Sewing on buttonsSewing on the last button!

Anyhow, this is supposed to be a finished project posts, so how about the details and finished photos?

Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Wardie, by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Bartlettyarns Sport in Oatmeal
Needles: Size 3 and Size 5
Time to knit: Just under 2 months

I ended up kind of channeling Ysolda’s look from the original Wardie pattern photos with my overalls today! (Overalls have become my preferred pandemic pants – I love not having a waistband And the pockets!)

Finished Wardie!

The fit came out quite nice, and I love the way Bartlettyarns blooms – but I do think it’s a bit less drapey than it would’ve been had I knit it in Finull like the pattern calls for. It’s delightfully sheepy! And the pockets are fantastic! Definitely big enough to actually stick your hands in.

Finished Wardie!

My favorite detail has to be the cabled decreases at the back shoulder. They’re just so pretty!

Finished Wardie (with snow) Yes, that IS snow in my hair.

I also really love the split hems.

Finished Wardie - side view

The sleeves came out pretty snug, and I think that’s because my gauge ended up contracting a bit the further we got into this whole physical distancing thing (gee, stress = tighter gauge, who would’ve guessed!). They’re very comfy, though. Just takes some maneuvering to get my long-sleeve-shirted arm down the sleeve without bunching things up.

Finished Wardie!

I just love the overall look of the cardigan – the fitted, but fairly gender-neutral look just really suits me. I can see wearing Wardie with just about everything, because the neutral color will look fantastic with all of the bright jewel tones that I tend to wear!

I’ve already cast on for my next sweater, too, but I’ll save that for a separate post.