Public Service Announcement: Cheap PDF Printing in Baltimore

We interrupt this two-month blog break to bring you a public service announcement.

SpecPrint in in Lutherville-Timonium (Baltimore County) will print PDF patterns for .36 cents a square foot. Kinko’s charges $2. I had four different Copy Shop size patterns printed for less than $5. Before Spec Print, I paid $22 to print *one* PDF pattern! In addition to the cost of the pattern!


7 W Aylesbury Rd
Timonium, MD 21093
(410) 561-9600

If you’re not in Baltimore, try looking for a place that does Real Estate, landscaping, architectural prints.

Now, I just need StyleArc to start selling ‘copy shop’ versions…

Revisiting Jalie 2908: Women’s Stretch Jeans (and Fly Template Winner)

I almost forgot about the Stitch Along Fly Front Guide!  The winner is JenL! I’ll email you for your mailing address.

I’ve been getting a lot of wear from my two-tone Closet Case Ginger jeans. I probably wear my pair three times a week at least. But, the underbutt wrinkles were making me sad.  Based on how much I like having hand crafted denim, I decided to revisit the Jalie 2908 Women’s Stretch Jeans of yesteryear. I really loved how the Jalie 2908 made my butt look. I just hated the front.

When I first made them in 2009, I sewed a size W. This time, I sewed a size BB based on my measurements. Well, first I sewed a size Z and felt like a sausage in a meat packing factory. Then, I went up two sizes to my *actual* measurements and made a BB.

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So, overall, I’m pretty happy with the Jalie 2908. I think I have fewer under butt wrinkles than I did with the Ginger jeans and that’s a great place to start.

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Alterations / Changes

I slimmed down the bootcut to something akin to a very slight flare. I can’t say I used any fancy metric to do this.

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Tapered the yoke to make a swayback adjustment and drafted a countour waistband from the included straight waistband. I will say on the first size that was too small, I used the Ginger Jeans waistband and it was beautiful.  At three inches, the Jalie waistband is most def too wide for my taste. For my next version, I’ve curved it a bit more and reduced the width for a 1.5 inches finished width.

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This is a Marc Jacobs denim from Mood . I kept thinking this fabric would be too light for jeans. But, I’m an idiot because it’s perfect.  The recovery in them is AMAZING. I’ve had them on all day and they haven’t really bagged out.  I bought enough to make four pairs from this cut. But, I’ll only get two as I made one too small and managed to miscut a LOT. I really need to not sew after 10 p.m.

Here are my changes for my next version:
I’m going to shorten the front crotch length. I have that unattractive fold of fabric at the crotch. I took a little fish eye dart to the finished jeans to see how it would look and the fold went away completely. I figured this out from Marji’s comment on my post six years ago!

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Make an ‘Inward Knee Rotation’ / ‘Knock Knee’ adjustment. I’m using the Sandra Bettina method from her book Fast Fit. There are several ways to make this alteration. I’m only doing 1/2 inch as I have NO idea how this will all turn out.  Hopefully give me more fabric length at the inseam and reduce those knee winkles. See how they are pulling up at the inseam? I talked about this with Mrs. Mole at Fit For A Queen.

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I’ll also curve the waistband a bit more at CB (it gapes a smidge) and reduce waistband width.

After my next pair (which are 75 percent sewn and from the same material), I’ll evaluate (and post here) and consider making the forward/ muscular thigh adjustment. I really prefer to make one alteration at a time so I can see what happens.

So, here’s what I concluded for myself between the Gingers and the Jalies. For my body, I like the front of the Gingers and the back of the Jalies. Jalie pocket placement for my butt are perfect.  The Ginger waistband is great,  the sillouhette (skinny) preferred and the instructions overall are fabulous. But, since my rear view is what I care most about, and the things I like from the Ginger are easier to transfer to the Jalie, I’m going with Jalie 2908 as my jeans pattern.

Pucci-like Panel Print Tunic: Burda 5-2010-104

I never really know what to do with panel prints. I think they would make great boxy tops. But, then I look like a billboard of fabric without some darts and waist definition in my life.  Enter, a remake of Burda 5-2010-104. I made this a good three months ago, but just never got a chance to take photos.
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Look, I know I complained about this looking maternity when I made it last summer, but I wore it a TON. So much in fact that I’ve worn it out. Still, I decided to sew it again using a stretch silk charmeuse panel print I purchased in China five years ago. I purchased three panels while there for about $15 total. I LOVE the colors of this top. It’s so summery and the blue is calming. That said, I think silk makes me sweat. Is that possible? Shouldn’t it breathe beautifully?

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I did a few things a little differently with this version.

  • I made a much bigger FBA adding another 1/2 inch in width and length for a total of 1.5 inches. Last time, I didn’t think my bust fit fully in the right spot.
  • I added a few more inches in length to the hem. Not enough to make a dress (I don’t really want a thin, white silk dress). But, long enough that it’s a little more flattering to my legs and still wearable with skinny jeans.
  • Took up the v-neck an inch or so. The bridge of my bra was always showing. I kind of didn’t care. But, fully recognize it’s tacky and I should care a *little* more.

I’m happy to report that the drapier charmeuse seems to have less of the maternity vibe too. I mean, as ‘less’ as a flowey, empire waist, ruched top can look…

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Now, I tried my best to match prints with this tunic. But, for the love of all that’s good, I just didn’t have enough fabric to do it well. Hard to explain without photos, but the circles aren’t balanced. So, I could get half of everything matched but not the other half.

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Plus, I managed to put two scoops right on my butt. I worked so hard to avoid this look on my bewbs that I managed to put two cheeks on my cheeks.

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Oh well!

I’m pretty pleased with this silky beauty. In large part because reading about my shopping in China brought back such good memories! Imagine, someone I’ve never met offers to take me shopping in a foreign country. That experience wouldn’t have been as great without them.

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I’m totally casual at work these days. And, I’m starting to like wearing jeans daily. But, I want to look a step above basic tees whenever possible. These jeans though. They are the PITS. You can see how worn they are at the inner thigh and knee. These are barely a year old. It’s okay. I’m still working on my jeans muslin. And, once I get it right, I’m going to make One Million Pairs.

Finally, remember a few months ago I was my friend’s photo assistant at a wedding in the Catskills? Well, the wedding photos are now up on her blog. Please have a look! I had an amazing time and bawled my eyes out multiple times during the ceremony. And, Jen was kind enough to include a couple of pictures I took too.  Jen and I were journalism students together in college. She was a brilliant reporter and now an incredible photographer.

This ‘Stitch Along Fly Front Guide’ Could Be Yours

Love these old topstitching guides for fly fronts. Must have bought them back in college. #gingerjeans #sewing

A photo posted by Renee (@missceliespants) on

Over the weekend, I posted on Instagram about using my ‘Stitch Along Fly Front Guides’ by Dritz. I think I bought mine in college. I didn’t realize they’d gone out of production until I did a search for them online.  I’m too lazy to type out how they work. Luckily, Debbie Cooke has a great explanation here.

Imagine my jealousy when Lisa told me there was a straight stitch version of them too!

Well, thanks to The Gooogle, I did find one set of the fly front guides for sale, pre owned. And, as much as I like to hoard, I REALLY like notions and want everyone as obsessed with them as me. I wish someone more creative and organized than me would put together a Notions November photohop on Instagram. I’d love to see all the fun and interesting notions that are out there. I have a bunch that I keep saying I’m going to post about and then just don’t.

Anywho, I have an extra set of these coming my way and I’d love to give them away. I’d offer them to Trena, but she’s made like two fly fronts in 20 years of sewing.

Giveaway good outside of the US because, I like to travel and these are only a few ounces.

To enter: post a photo link to a fly front you’ve sewn. Link can be anywhere the photo is hosted. Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, Photobucket, etc. Entries welcome until Friday, August 28th. Random number generator, blah, blah, blah.

Ginger Jeans Muslin #2

I didn’t think it would take me another month before I worked on my second muslin for the Ginger Jeans. I’ve been taking weekly machine knitting lessons and practicing what I learn during the week. So, that’s taken up all my free crafting time. To recap, I’m working on a muslin for Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans, high waist, skinny view.

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I wanted to try one alteration at a time for these jeans as I was worried about doing too many at once and not nailing down the fit issues. For reference, I’m sewing a size 16. For this version, I:

  • Made the suggested full thigh adjustment featured here on The Sewing Divas blog.
  • Took two inches out of the yoke
  • Took three inches from the waistband at center back.
  • Shortened the leg at the knee by three inches. I’m going to add another inch back in.
  • I also ended up taking about 1/4 inch out on each lower hip — just below the pocket bags after sewing.

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The fabric is a mix of stretch denims I picked up a few weeks ago. They didn’t have enough of any one fabric for me to get a full pair of jeans. But, I liked the quality (nice and hefty. the way jeans used to be) and the price and decided it was fine to mix and match like for a muslin. The instructions for the pattern are really good and the sew along is very very helpful.

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My back pockets should be closer together. But, I think they are evenly spaced,so score! Sadly, photos don’t lie and I think my first muslin without the forward thigh adjustment looked better. Here, I’ve got mom butt. I asked Jordan what he thought and all he noticed were the back wrinkles.

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I see folds all along the inside of my leg in sort of an X shape. I think calls for a full inner thigh / knock knee adjustment. I also don’t like how these shape under my butt either. But, that could be middle age approaching. That said, I usually really like how I look in jeans. So, in keeping it 100, I admit these aren’t working– yet.

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lightened so you could see the wrinkles in shadow

** Edited to add side seam photos

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So, I’m going to still wear these because I have no more hole-free RTW jeans left in my drawers. I’m going to make these up again without changing the front leg and give the knock knee adjustment a try. I do really like the front. I think I have a little extra fabric between the abdomen and the crotch point. I like to think I need a flat abdomen adjustment. But, probably not as my abdomen is most def not flat.

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Ginger Jeans Muslin #1

Thank you for all the helpful feedback and thoughts on the crotch curve for my Ginger jeans. Unfortunately, a full Saturday prevented my from watching the Peggy Sayer’s workshop live. But, i do plan to watch it this week.

Sunday, I worked on my first muslin. I decided to make zero alterations to the pattern just so I could see what I was working with. For this version, I used a khaki denim with stretch from my stash. I think it’s from Joanns a few years ago.

Also, the photo quality isn’t that great. When you ask someone (Jordan) to take photos of your butt, they take it quite literally.

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Let me say that when I put the muslin on initially, I was immediately pleased. I really like the way my thighs look from the front (not like saddlebags). And, there is no weird pulling at the crotch. Plus, the side seams hang straight on me. The front knee wrinkles came after I bent down in these. This fabric has quite a bit of stretch. So, while I would actually want my jeans a hair snugger, my real fabric has less stretch than this. So, I don’t want to play around with the size too much.

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From the side, I think I have some good lift. But, my need for a swayback adjustment is obvious. And, I may need to go down a size in the waist as I made a straight 16.

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From the back, I also still think I’m winning in the rear department. But, I do have some wrinkles around my bum.  The wrinkles at my knees  went away when I rolled up the pants another roll. They are long for me. If I tried these on in the store, I would think they were pretty good. But, because we sew, we can do a little better, right? The question is, are these bad wrinkles under my butt or wearing ease from wearing a slim cut garment.If I had to guess, I think it’s a slight protruding seat issue.  I FaceTimed Trena and we think the undercut wrinkles are wearing ease. But, again, totally open to suggestions!

So, I’m going to make a big swayback adjustment, small protruding seat alteration and go down one size in the waist. Luckily, I have a different cut of khaki with stretch to make these up in.

Whew. Again, overall I’m really pretty happy. I wish I’d done the swayback adjustment before making these. They might have been wearable! Feel free to tell me what you think. You won’t hurt my feelings🙂

Let’s Look at My Crotch Curve (Or, Fitting My Badonkadonk Into Ginger Jeans)

Now that my work is all casual, all the time, I pretty much wear jeans daily. My go-to brand has been Levi’s for the last few years. But, they’ve changed the fabric makeup and cut and I can’t get the jeans that I love anymore. Plus, the ones I bought last year are already destroyed in the inner thigh and feel gross (they can keep their recycled water bottles out of my jeans thankyouverymuch).  RTW jeans are now a sad crapshoot of tears, self loathing and contempt.

Which means, it may be time for me to make my own. I have no intimidation about the construction of jeans (I made a not great fitting pair before. The comments in that post are a treasure trove). But, the fitting of them. Ugh.Yet, I’ve been intrigued by the Close Case Patterns Ginger Jeans I’ve seen in the wild. Especially LoveLola’sSewmanju and By Gum Golly.

My measurements correspond to a 16 in the pattern and that’s what I traced out. There is no vanity pattern sizing for me! Which reminds me of a friend I was helping sew and she insisted the pattern size was wrong. M’kay. That dress did NOT fit when we were done. One ‘good’ thing about gaining weight (and approaching middle age), my waist isn’t so disproportionately smaller to my hip measurements anymore. But, what I am is still built like a brickhouse. So, I decided to compare the crotch curve of my best fitting jeans with those of the Gingers so I wouldn’t blindly start altering.

Levis line is in green, Gingers in orange and the pencil is the seam line for the Gingers. Both lines on right are to the yoke.  (click to enlarge)

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I have a huge ass and a severe swayback. Here’s my standard full seat, swayback, opposite-of-thigh-gap pants adjustment. I do these in every pattern line and have gotten some good fit in pants.

Which leaves me to wonder what adjustment do I make to have these fit my tuchus. I think I make the full inner thigh (which also adds some fabric to the front curve which is needed) and swayback adjustments. I’ll wait until I’ve got a muslin to pin out any darts at the waist needed since I’m not as small in the middle (but got much back).

So, um, I guess we all know what I’m doing this weekend. And, if inclined, feel free to weigh in.

Machine Knitting Lessons #2 (and #3)

I remember how I used to barely skim knitting posts on my favorite blogs. And, here I am writing posts on machine knitting. Due to travels on my end and my instructor, Linda’s, it was almost a month between my first and second machine knitting lesson. My first homework assignment was to complete four panels of this baby blanket. I’m only using coned acrylic yarn at this point. No need to break out the good stuff when I’m learning. I’ve also tried to keep my yarns updated on Ravelry.  Which is easy when you have all of four cones… 20150720-USER2288 photo 20150720-USER2288_zpsq6sjbobe.jpg I managed to finish each panel and am now latching them together to form the blanket. After I latch them, we’ll do some kind of trim along the outside, wash and block. This was going to Linus originally. But, I’ve put so much work into it I think I’ll give to my friend Elise who is due for a baby this fall. 20150720-USER2294 photo 20150720-USER2294_zpsvqftsiev.jpg Lesson #2 was a week ago Saturday and we focused on making swatches. After a month long break, I was so excited for my upcoming lesson that Jordan said I was like a kid waiting for Santa on Christmas. 20150720-USER2292 photo 20150720-USER2292_zpsfsq5aslu.jpg Swatching with the machine means marking the gauge swatch with eyelets to know what tension you have the machine set with. You also use these little thread markers  (below) to tell you where you’re measuring in between. Finally, you use these rulers (different colored for standard vs bulky machines) to get your swatch measurements. 20150720-USER2296 photo 20150720-USER2296_zpskmncgitx.jpg Luckily, my third lesson was a week later as I needed (A LOT of) help learning how to pick up dropped stitches. 20150720-USER2297 photo 20150720-USER2297_zps2h83ds8n.jpg And, I started my second project, a toddler cap with ear flaps. We make everything kid-sized as I can learn the techniques on a smaller scale. Here, I’ve made three sets of ear flaps. I actually will likely make a fourth. So, pretty much everyone who has a toddler I know is getting a hat next month. You guys. I made ear flaps!!!!! To make the flaps, I learned how to short row on the machine and hang a hem. My next lesson is in two weeks and I’ll make the i-cord and the main crown for the hat. It’s all very exciting! 20150720-USER2300 photo 20150720-USER2300_zpshjstckby.jpg Also, I put the ribber attachment onto my machine (the main bed does stockinette). I have no idea how it works really. But, I figured it was time to take it off the floor. And, don’t you love my fancy machine cover? It’s an old Calvin Klein double sheet from the 90s that my mom gave me new in package when I bought my house. She was the queen of not using nice things. By the time I got it, 10 years after purchase, the elastic had already failed. My friend Sheryl asked me if I like machine knitting. Right now, I find it really interesting. It’s a whole new skill set. And, it’s weird to not know what I’m doing or understand the language of knitting (or machine knitting). But, I like what I’m doing so far. But, totally understand I have a long way to go.

In other non sewing / knititng new, Jordan was sworn onto the Federal bar last week. He was sworn onto the Maryland bar two years ago. But, this means he can now argue in Federal court. 20150716-USER2275 photo 20150716-USER2275_zps7wbi0zf3.jpg I just like this photo because the judge’s clerk is throwing so much shade at me for taking photos. Whatevs.

Canada to Catskills

I liked this Canada cookie so much I bit off the stem of the maple leaf before I thought to take a photo of it. No Regrets.

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It’s been over a week since I’ve been back from Montreal and Ottawa. It took me a little longer to post than usual. And, in exchange you get a super long travelouge. Exciting, isn’t it?  Before I made it back home to Baltimore from Canada, I had a detour to a fishing camp in the Catskills.

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My friend and pro photographer picked me up during my Philly layover so I could be her photo assistant at a western New York wedding for the 4th of July. I was more than happy to help as it kind of extended my vacation and let me feel like I knew what I was doing with a camera.

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The wedding was also pretty incredible.  I cried during the vows and toasts and I don’t even know these people!!

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The wedding cake was rainbow layers. Something I’ve seen pop up on Pinterest and Instagram and I was DYING to actually try one. It was just as delicious as it looked. When my friend posts photos from the wedding online, I’ll link back so you can see. It was a gorgeous riverside ceremony with a party that went until 1:30 a.m.

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Our very old school motel had a minty green bathroom and Gideon Bibles in the bedside table. I swear I haven’t seen those in 20 years. These were published in ’73. And, I for sure haven’t ever seen a Book of Mormon in a hotel.

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Once back from ten days of not being at home (or work) I just needed a bit to get myself (and laundry washed) together.


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We took the train to Canada from Baltimore at an unbearably early hour. But, as I’m a champion sleeper in moving vehicles, it didn’t bother me. The train is four times as long as flying but 1,000 times more comfortable and scenic.

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Our first stop was Montreal which I FREAKING LOVE.  As per usual, we took a bike tour through the city.20150628-USER2198 photo 20150628-USER2198_zps5rz5nk5m.jpg

We used the same company that Trena and I used five years ago, Fitz & Folwell. And, let me say this, the owner Shay stay fine (apparently I referred to him as ‘smoking’ the first time).

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I was much more food touristy on this program with visits for both Montreal bagel standards. I was all set to ignore the bagels but glad I complied with Instagram suggestions. They actually are different than NY bagels. And super good hot and fresh from the oven. But, I have to give it to St Viatauer for the win.

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I generally don’t believe in waiting in line for food. But, we did for Schwartz’s smoked meat and again, phenomenal. We also took a walking tour of the Jewish Quarter organized by the Montreal Jewish Museum. Totally fascinating.

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And, I as promised, I had the poutine I’d dreamed of. It may be a heart attack on a plate, but it was heavenly. Is poutine like pizza? Even when it’s bad it’s good?

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We wrapped up Montreal with two little sewing meet up. The first, below, was right after my bike tour which explains my cycle dress and thin film of sweat.  Veronik, Alexandra, Heather and Vicki all came out. Some asides that show how weirdly connected you can be.

  1. Veronik is a knitwear designer. I don’t really knit (yet) so her name didn’t immediately ring a bell. Until I went on my Ravelry yesterday and saw that one of my two actual projects was hers!! It’s a hand knit sweater vest from Interweave back in 2007. I had a serious knitting friend back then and bought all the supplies to make it and never did.
  2. Alexandra and I met at PR Weekend Montreal five years ago. Since then, she’s had babies! How is it that people grow people when you’re still trying to remember to get dressed in the morning?
  3. Heather, everyone knows. I have the Ginger jeans pattern all printed, traced and ready to muslin. But, more importantly, she knew way more about US politics that I about Canadian. Thankful, because political chatter kept Jordan entertained longer than I would have expected.
  4. Vicki and Heather both saw Prince the week after he performed in Baltimore. We relived our middle and high school years talking about that show.

After a few hours of wine and chatter, Heather offered to make dinner for all of us. So, pressure cooker + friends and it was an instant dinner party! And instant dinner party in which Jordan listened to four hours of sewing and I had a ball.20150628-USER2233 photo 20150628-USER2233_zpsapkrehrj.jpg

My second meet up was with Jill. She met Jordan and I at a bakery in her neighborhood and we at ALL THE BREAD. No more Costco croissants. I swear they bake bread with a sprinkle of  crack in Montreal.

From Montreal we went on to Ottawa. We took VIA Rail from Montreal (selfie stick represent). Is the train ever not elegant?

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While we were rained out for Canada Day we still managed tours of the gorgeous art deco Canadian Supreme Court (obviously not my idea), walking the grounds of Parliament Hill, exploring Chinatown and taking a Thai cooking class at the Ottawa Chinese Cooking School.

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PLUS!!!! We had a lovely pizza dinner with the Sewing Lawyer Kay and her husband.  We ditched Jordan at a bar and went to her house and checked out her Passap and knitting machine collection (no photos. I have no photos of this. How do I have NO PHOTOS??) I felt so good leaving her because despite both owning multiple knitting machines, we both have regular online searches going for new ones. These things seem to breed like rabbits itellyouwhat.

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And, now, I am back in town. Jordan started his firm job last week. Hello 12 hour work days and billable hours. What a change from two years of clerking! We had company over the weekend (which meant I spent all week cleaning) and more company this week when Jordan gets sworn into the Federal Bar. Exciting times. I do have new tunic top to show you (previewed on Instagram) and an update on Machine Knitting Lesson 2 from Saturday.


Montreal Bound. Let’s Have Drinks.

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We’re getting ready to leave for Montreal via Amtrak. And, by getting ready I mean trying to sew a new tee shirt to take with me, doing laundry, waxing my eyebrows and generally going crazy. Jordan on the other hand had decided he’s staying up all night and not stressed. I thought a train through the US into Canada would be so romantic and continental. Except, our train out of Baltimore departs at 4 am. So, I’m just feeling tired and very American.

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I was last in Montreal in 2010 with my mom, Aunt Judy and Trena for PR Weekend. It was like a family vacation. My mom was always game for a trip. Also, looking through my photos from last time, I think I actually sewed most of my fabric from the trip!!! And by most I mean some. Don’t judge.

So, if you’re in Montreal and interested in getting cocktails Monday the 29th, leave a message here or send me an email. I’ve poked and prodded Vicki (Another Sewing Scientist) and Heather (Closet Case Files) to take me out. I think the plan is have a little somethin’ somethin’ at Huis Clos on St. Denis. I’m not sure of the time, but likely after work hours.

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Finally, Here’s a list of all the things I will eat next week.

  1. Poutine. Daily.
  2. Maple syrup on all the things
  3. Fresh strawberries from the market with glasses of champagne
  4. Croissant with coffee every day
  5. Baugettes perched delicately in my bicycle basket