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Hello, August.

Like most academics, the arrival of August signals the impending start of a new year of teaching. Classes don’t start here until the 31st, but still, we’re now in the same month as the start of classes, and that comes with a bit of trepidation, even more so now in this allegedly “post-“pandemic time (during which plenty of people, including the President of the United States, are catching and passing along COVID, and now we’ve got monkeypox spreading, too) as I wait to hear anything at all from my institution about what sort of policies will be in place and what my working conditions will actually be. History tells me that the second I finalize my course schedules or my syllabi, the university will announce something that requires me to completely rework them, and that this might happen just a few days before the semester starts. It’s a very frustrating, uncomfortable time for someone like me, who thrives on predictability and really can’t function well without a solid plan.

August is also when I realize that I’m definitely not going to do all the things my starry-eyed May self imagined I’d do over the summer. It happens every year, though this year was even worse because it turns out that coping with the deaths of two of your beloved cats and also the loss of your and your child’s constitutional right to bodily autonomy just kind of makes everything else fall away. I mean, I did manage to knit a little toy bunny and to sew my first pair of pants, and I’m amassing a nice collection of handknit socks, and so far, I’m not screwing up my reknit of the Waterbearer Cardigan, though that’s requiring a very slow pace.

Progress on Waterbearer
Pretty brioche waves!

But the rest of the sewing I’d hoped to accomplish – the Arenite Pants, the Estuary Skirts, the Yanta Overalls…none of those have happened yet. I haven’t even managed to get those patterns traced off! I did, however, finish a sewing project yesterday from a now very familiar pattern: the Demeter Dress from Anna Alden.

New Demeter Dress (enjoying the pockets)

The fabric is a really amazing linen that has different colors in the warp and weft: one is a fairly bright turquoise, and the other is a rusty brown. Together, they create this almost iridescent olive green, which matches my eyes really well!

New Demeter Dress, closeup.

It was amazing to see the turquoise thread that I was using, which when held against the fabric seemed like it would stand out, just utterly blend in with the fabric as I sewed. I mean, it shouldn’t have surprised me – I matched the turquoise sewing thread to the turquoise threads in the fabric! But it was still just such a delight.

New Demeter Dress (showing off the turquoise bias binding)
I also used a turquoise bias tape for the binding.

I feel a little silly having made yet another Demeter Dress – I mean, I already had 4 of them, and I even already have one that’s turquoise and another that’s linen, but they’re just such great dresses to wear on hot days in the summer (like today, when we’re supposed to hit 92F, which is very hot for here!), and they layer so nicely under cardigans and other sweaters with wool tights underneath in the winter. After I finished this one yesterday, I did a little mix-and-match trying on different sweaters with it, and it goes well with SO many of my sweaters! (And then I had to spend some time in front of a fan, because trying on wool sweaters on a warm, humid day was just a little silly!)

New Demeter Dress!

What I am realizing, though, is that when I pick up fabrics that catch my eye, I’m almost always drawn towards blues and greens, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does leave me with some gaps in my wardrobe for other colors that I also like, like purples and magentas. I suppose I do have two different Cleo skirts that go with purple in some way, so perhaps it’s not a big deal that I don’t also have a dress that does. And I tend to wear my purple sweaters with my black & white ikat Demeter Dress, anyway. But I’m just making a note here that if I ever intend to sew another Demeter Dress, I probably should do it in a purple or magenta fabric. Hear that, self? No more blues/greens for Demeter Dresses!

My next DRK Everyday Sock.

Speaking of purples and magentas, I cast on for my new pair of DRK Everyday socks and they’re coming along nicely. These are my “travel” project (where by “travel” I just mean they’re small enough to come along with me if I have to leave the house – we’ve not actually done any real travel this summer), and my “I’m too tired to follow a pattern” project in the evenings, as well. The aforementioned Waterbearer reknit is one where I’m forcing myself to pay attention to the pattern, because I got myself into trouble a couple of years ago when I “got” the pattern and thus tried to knit along from my head. Sure, I can “read” brioche stitch now, but when my head is as busy a place as it’s been since the pandemic started (not that it was “quiet” before!), one moment’s inattention can create a mess that’s rather hard to fix. So I’m being a stickler for only working on it when I can move my row-markers on the pattern in the GoodReader app as I knit.

Jodie Turtle!

On a whim, earlier this week I cast on for another project that will require close attention to pattern: Jodie Turtle, from FromCinthia (Jodie’s head is also pictured in the header photo for this post). Her patterns are so charming! And I’m delighted that Bunny Odile will be getting a turtle friend – my own little handknit version of the Tortoise and the Hare :)

Finger-knit necklace

Tomorrow, I’m going to be teaching the kids in the summer learning program how to finger knit using the yarn they dyed with me last week (I’ll also be bringing some leftover bits and bobs of my own yarn for anyone who doesn’t want to use their precious hand-dyed yarn for finger knitting). So I made myself a little necklace out of some leftover Noro Kureyon just to remind myself how it worked, and then I taught my kid and her neighbor friend how to do it. My kid now has yards and yards of finger knitting (using leftover bits of Knitpicks Chroma Worsted for fun color-shifting effects) and it’s so neat to see how excited she is about it. I hope the kids tomorrow get excited about it, too! I’m also going to be bringing my violin with me, because I mentioned that I play it and they asked me to bring it in and play for them. That should be fun! I hope they like Bach :)

2 thoughts on “Hello, August.”

  1. I am very pro “uniform” dressing. For my standard daily life, I almost never wear anything other than a neutral bottom (usually leggings or joggers these days) and a plain fitted t-shirt or tank top — nearly all of which are in some shade of blue. So as far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing wrong with making yourself a whole dang wardrobe of blue or green Demeter dresses!

    That said, if you really do want to branch out colourwise, I’ve found it very helpful to have a colour-smart shopping partner when you go to buy fabric. Left to my own devices, much like you it seems, I will *always* gravitate toward the blue/green fabrics. But if I go fabric shopping with my mom, she’ll spot something that’s different but still somehow a colour I’d wear. I have often come home from shopping trips with her with colours I would never have picked out for myself, but I’m always happy with them.

    1. I’m a uniform-dresser, too! But I think for me, the “uniform” I like is having the same thing in a whole bunch of colors (as, um, might be obvious from the fact that I now have 5 Demeter Dresses and 5 Cleo Skirts), which is why getting stuck in the blue/green zone with my fabric choices is something I want to be mindful about :)

      My mom also likes green a whole lot, so I’m not sure she’d expand my color palette!

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