All posts by melli

About melli

editor / reformed academic / wife / affective parent / doyenne of the domestic sphere / unapologetic-red-lipstick-wearer

new knitting: stripey duffle coat

I recently wrapped up a new commuter-knitting project — Kate Oates’ Stripey Duffle Coat.   One of the side-benefits of commuting — plenty of knitting time.  Tends to keep away seatmates who worry about getting poked too. :)

When I first saw this pattern on Ravelry, I couldn’t resist buying it.   And boy, you really get what you pay for. It’s basically  perfect; I want to knit it over and over again. The sizing on the pattern is wonderful (I ad libbed 3/4 sleeves) and the hood is the cutest. I have a few others in the queue for one of the many babes that have arrived of late.

It took me a bit to get the the first 20 rows correct, mostly b/c I wasn’t paying attention.  I ended up ripping it back twice, before I got the increases right.

Despite not being ah huge fan of acrylic yarn, that’s what I went with. These days I’m liking it better than super-wash.  Knitpicks Brava was totally reasonable as far as acrylic goes, plus the colors are much nicer than what’s available in the box stores.  Special-washing a sweater probably isn’t at the top of new parents’ to-do lists. ;)

You should go knit this.

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the side hustle: cloth hall

You guys, I am *so* excited!  So thrilled that I just used an exclamation point (and you know how I feel about those, right?).  I’ve been chipping away at a project w/ the serious help of some wonderful people…and the project has finally taken shape.

Cloth Hall
Image by Karen Kelly Photography, www.kkpforlife.com / Machine courtesy of Sara Dickerman

While the Huz and I were house-hunting, I was offered what basically amounted to an endowment — 5 industrial sewing machines, cutting tables,  and whatever tools and notions I wanted. The benefactor, Sara, is a retired design consultant and upholsterer, who learned the trade from her father and later continued with her husband. It was a ridiculously generous gift, which I am grateful for every. single. day. I didn’t know what I would actually do with the machines, in no small part, because we were house-free, but also because I had only ever sewn with my comparatively teensy home machine.  I did know that I NEEDED to find a house with enough workspace to accommodate them.

Fast-forward two years — I have a big, crazy house; an (almost!) fully functioning workroom; and a shiny new homewares business.  The spectacular Karen Kelly of Karen Kelly Photography first helped me focus and then helped me document. Her business sense and generosity with both her time and her talent helped give me the prodding that I so needed.  I can’t recommend her strongly enough.

My husband’s support can be summed up in two little words that freed me from more than my fair share of household tasks — “Go sew.”

Also helpful was repeating this Reid Hoffman quote: “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”

So let’s just call this the launch of Cloth Hall, shall we?

Cloth Hall
Image by Karen Kelly Photography, www.kkpforlife.com / Pillows by Cloth Hall

For more on Cloth Hall and some wondrous photos, please check out Karen’s write-up.

You can also follow CH on Instagram, Twitter, and soon, on a new website.