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... Are stocked.
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Right on cue, in time for Labor Day, the weather shifted. Temperatures dropped overnight from 90 to 65 degrees, and it has been impossible to not be excited for fall. With the extra hours Labor Day provided, I began preparations. 

I took inventory and began contemplating woolies. (And, then I promised myself I wouldn't cast-on any new projects until I managed to jump the hump and finish the ones I have in progress.) 
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 I made my first batch of chili, a favorite recipe at our house. 
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And, I did some marathon snoozing, so as to stockpile as much energy as possible for upcoming months. After all, there's a lot to look forward to. 
 
Bemused 09/01/2011
 
As I wander through my RSS feed, I note widespread absence. It appears August has deluded even the most committed. SCAPEGOAT. Surely, my delinquencies  over the course of the past month have nothing to do with my faltering level of concentration, inability to find rhythm in the routine of my daily life, or my own desire and dedication.... Because, if I'm not, in fact, seduced by the serenading siren song of summer, it probably means  the increasingly abundant stresses of my 9-5 have achieved domination over me. And, friends, that's an admission I'm not willing to concede.  

Let's get things up to speed, shall we? My July Knitting remains, mostly, as it was in July. This is not to say, however, that I haven't been knitting. Contrarily, I've got 7 or 8 projects in various stages of completion floating about the house.  Likewise, I have two sewing projects well in the works. Which means, I should have plenty to share this month, so long as I can reign the crazy and finish a few of them.

In fiber related news, Mike and I made a trip to Stitches Midwest. It was Mike's first, and likely last, time. He was a good sport. I indulged. He carried my bags. And, he nonchalantly made it out of the WEBs booth with three sweaters worth of yarn reserved toward personal interests (Gotta LOVE those "by the bag" discounts). He knows my weaknesses and took full advantage of the opportunity. He's good like that. Win/Win situation. Right? The second splurge I made was at the Signature Needle Arts booth. They bait you with the opportunity to "try on" all the variations of needles they offer. Very sneaky. I already knew that I prefer circulars above all, but it turns out, I also prefer "4 tips with stiletto point over the alternatives. Interesting, huh?  They're a bit champagne, so I set my sights on sweater season with my selection. The rest will have to wait.

In other fun-and-exciting news, Mike and I attended a photo-workshop (Hooray, Groupon). We haven't made a lot of time to practice our new skill set, but that's likely also the fault of August, generally. 

Additionally, our month was full of fun visits with friends and family, surely, the main reason I have yet to completely lose my mind. No cure for crazy can compare with the clinically proven results of boat rides, barbecues, or cocktail catch-up sessions.  

And, I think about covers it...I don't know about you, but I'm ready to leave summer in the shade. Bring on the cider, sweaters and Sundays full of football.      
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As to not leave this post barren of visual appeal, a little slice of sweetness.
 
 
Verdict 08/04/2011
 
I haven't been around for a while. I knew July was going to get crazy. I don't like to talk shop around the blog, because, frankly, I don't consider it the forum for such conversations; however, tonight, I'm making an exception. 

When I'm not creating, I work for a trial attorney. And, for the past month, we've been on trial. Specifically, I work for a plaintiff's trial attorney, and we represent individuals involved in both product and malpractice cases. Despite portrayals of the justice system on TV and in the media, getting a case to trial is a relatively LONG and involved process, and the evidence and testimony that goes into presenting a case is lengthy and time consuming. The case we tried this month has been a WIP for four years. Today it resolved in the form of a jury verdict favoring our client. And, in the moment the judge read the jury's submission, all the hard work, sleepless hours, lack of quality time with my friends and family, not to mention sacrificed crafting hours, were worth the satisfaction of knowing that I had the opportunity to play a role in the retribution and justice delivered to our client. 

With that said. I have another verdict to report. I didn't get any July knitting finished. I did knit one sock. I also knit about 75% of a sweater... I didn't finish any knitting. BUT, I did manage to sew a teeny bit. 
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I'm calling this my "Closing Argument" skirt. Turns out, it might be lucky. I used a navy, 100% silk dupoini fabric with a lightweight grey lining. 
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To keep things extra simple, I revisited the skirt pattern I used on my Grasshopper outfit. I really LOVE this pattern. I do need to grade down the waistband a bit, because for whatever reason (stress???) I have a couple extra inches more than I typically would fit into a skirt band. 

Before leaving the Daley Center today, I let my boss know I was taking tomorrow off. I'm going to sleep until I wake-up; no alarms. Then, I'm going to knit. I may or may not get back on track this month. I'm not too worried about it. My main objective is to allow myself the opportunity to be blank for one whole day. Because Monday, we'll be jumping back in the saddle and gearing up for another trial scheduled towards the end of September... Crafting is likely going to become a back-burner activity for the next few months of my life. But, I'm going to pop in to see you all as often as I can! See you soon! 
 
Not the plan. 07/17/2011
 
Sleep seems to be the most expendable resource at my disposal this month. It's not that I'm purposely depriving myself of sweet slumber in order to cram more productive hours into a day, it's just working out that way. Adrenaline and stress really mess with my ability to achieve restful shuteye . I'm starting to feel the effects, but I'm not complaining, because I know it's a temporary evil. AND, I've been managing to accomplish a fair amount of progress in the extra hours I've gained as a result.  I'm steadily knitting away on my July sweater; it's experienced measurable growth since its last mention. I also cast-on a sock. Just one. And, it too is starting to show promise. Last, but certainly not least, I set my mind to some sewing....just not the sewing I intended to start. Instead, I pulled a piece of springy green cotton from my stash and did this:
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The entirety of this project took place in two short, strong bursts of motivation. It was effortless and easy, and the whole time I spent focused on cutting, piecing and sewing this outfit together, I was able to stop thinking about everything else. I've never consciously used crafting as means of escapism before, but this month, sewing dutifully served as a means of mental/emotional recuperation; Like burying your nose in a novel or eating spoonfuls of frosting from the container; you know the stuff. It's an exciting discovery.    
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Equally exciting: debuting this ensemble at a wedding this weekend.
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The top is view 1 of Simiplicity 6358

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The skirt is the short version of Simplicity 8550, minus an additional three inches length

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These patterns were never intended to be mated,  but I think they look like they were made for each other. I used a light-weight damask cotton (supposedly African) as my primary fabric and a light-weight grey lining. The cotton is gorgeous and has a beautiful sheen to it; yet, it was cool and breathable through the outdoor festivities. If it didn't wrinkle so easily, it would be my new favorite fabric. 
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I don't feel comfortable placing bets as to the completion of my other scheduled projects this month, but I'm definitely exceeding my earlier expectations and heading in a good direction. 
 
 
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I managed to get very little sleep over the weekend; not for lack of trying. I did manage, however, to relocate every piece of furniture in my living room, to paint my bedroom walls, to get all the household laundry done, to give the dogs a bath and to get my house in quasi-acceptable overall condition. I also devoted some attention to project planning. While I'm not sure I will manage to start knitting my July socks or sew a single stitch this month, I did wind some yarn, rummage through my patterns and take a trip to the fabric store. 

Because I can think of little besides work, I've queued a pile of very work-appropriate skirts... 
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Apparently, I am most productive (at minimum, most organized) when stress is steering.
 
 
After a fun filled holiday weekend, I'm feeling fairly refreshed and ready to tackle July! Well, mostly. See, July is going to be a particularly intense month for me at work. I've been preparing mentally for several months now, but things are about to get heavy. And, honestly, with all the extra hours that I foresee having to spend dedicated to work-related activities, my project completion forecast is about as accurate as the weatherman.  
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I did manage to start my July sweater knitting; it's a lace weight project on US size2 needles. It may seem like adding insult to injury; maybe it is. But, a woman, much wiser than me, has a different take on the situation... that's my working premise regarding my motivations on this project. I'm just going to keep knitting. We'll see where I stand at the end of the month. 
 
 
Since the original winner of Let The Eat Cake Giveaway Day #2 never stepped forward to claim her prize, everyone who commented was entered for a second chance! This time, RINA (comment 28) has been selected to take home the cake! Thank you all again for playing along! 
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Junebug 06/30/2011
 
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If you've been hanging around these parts for any length of time, you probably equated my complete failure to mention June sewing with yet another missed target. And, I wouldn't blame you. I've been playing catch-up...basically since I started! But, I'm back on track this month! 
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I used Simplicity 4475, view 2. I knew that I wanted to line my dress with a muslin fabric, and I didn't want it to feel bulky or stiff, so I decided to forego the front and back neck facings and used the lining as a self-facing. I also added a subtle, white piping to the neck and sleeve edges. 
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While it was time consuming, I hand-stitched the lining around the arms and zipper. I machine hemmed the skirt lining a half inch shorter than my outer skirt, and hand-hemmed my main fabric. It's also worth noting that I shortened the pattern by six inches prior to cutting.
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For fabric, I went in search of a small, dainty print; I found this calico quilting fabric at Joann. I will warn you, I needed a whole additional yard of material from what the pattern called for, nap or not I had mere scraps remaining by the time I got to the front skirt panel. I had to make an emergency trip to get more! Disaster averted! 
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This pattern is VERY easy to put together. The raglan sleeve construction is surprising self-explanatory. The fit on my finished dress is pretty fantastic. Overall, I'm thrilled that this dress came together so beautifully. 
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My favorite part of this dress is the full skirt! Look how flouncy it is! I'm so happy to end this month on a high note! Hopefully, this pace will carry me into July and be a sign of good things to come!
 
Pet Project 06/29/2011
 
With my June knitting cast-off, I'm dedicating all my fiber time to my new, somewhat secret endeavor, which has grown quite steadily since I last posted.
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This sneak peek leaves little to the imagination; I'm sure you can sense the direction this project is headed. The "somewhat secret" element of this WIP is that I'm free-wheeling! If all goes well, I plan to write the pattern down and add it to the  *FREE* pattern library on Ravelry! Now that I've given away enough information to jinx all my further  efforts, I should probably go find some wood to knock on or a four-leaf clover....
 
 
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Fortunately for June socks, my latest project craze is not so portable or transportation friendly as they are, or were, rather. 
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I'm mostly happy with the way my Harvest Dew socks turned out. After reading some of the project notes from other knitters who tried this pattern, and after my last experience with Socks That Rock, I decided to modify the stitch count. I worked over a total of 44 stitches. As I knit, my socks looked a little narrow. I was briefly concerned that I wouldn't be able to get them on but was eased at the discovery that they fit, almost perfectly. My only major upset is with my cast-on edge. I wish it was... stretchier, or something, but it gets the job done. I'm not losing circulation or anything like that. 
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Pattern:  Harvest Dew by Rose Hiver
Yarn: Socks that Rock lightweight in Bag Lady
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Danger was put-out at the idea of sharing his puppypuff with me for purposes of this photo shoot, especially during nap-time; Dulce was too busy playing to participate. 
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