BabyLock Imagine

Thanks to a very generous and thoughtful gift from my family, I was able to buy myself a little present yesterday.  It’s a Baby Lock Imagine serger, which I lovingly refer to as my Ferrari.  Many thanks also go to John for driving me down to Canton and patiently waiting in a store full of crazed women.

Much more to come on this once I unpack the Ferrari and take it for a test drive.  For now, I couldn’t resist sharing the news!  :)

Grainline Chambray Bird Archer - finished

One last Archer to round out my Summer of Archers!  This rich burgundy/aubergine combo is pretty dreamy and looks fantastic in this golden hour light.  The main fabric has a slight sheen to it in the right light, which hopefully you can see above.  I love the subtle woven dots combined with the whimsical birds on the pocket and back yoke.  This project was quite a roller coaster, but I’m really pleased with the finished garment.  Read on for all the details.  :)

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Grainline Flamingo Archer - finished

The 21-year-old version of myself would have hated this shirt.  It’s very PINK.  I distinctly remember going through a phase in college where I hated pink and refused to wear it no matter how small the dose.  I would go on and on about how I’m not a girly girl and how pink epitomizes everything that feminists rage against.  Fast forward about 10 years.  I’m still not a girly girl, but I absolutely love this shirt.  :)

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OWOP14 Collage by Allspice Abounds

[1] Spring Archer [2] Archer of Many Details [3] Flamingo Archer
[4] Oxford & Liberty Archer [5] Spring Archer [6] Archer of Many Details [7] Chambray Bird Archer

One Week One Pattern appears to have been a smashing success!  Created by Tilly and The Buttons and hosted this year by Handmade Jane, the challenge was to wear garments made from the same pattern for 7 days in a row.  This year, the challenge lasted from Saturday Sept 6 through Friday Sept 12.  Yes, that’s seven full days of wearing almost the same thing in row.  Phew!!

One Week One Pattern - large

I chose the Grainline Archer, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite TNT patterns.  (I could have chosen my all-time most-used pattern, the Renfrew, but most of my Renfrews are long sleeved and not really suited for late summer weather.)  I had 4 Archers going into the challenge and set a goal for myself of finishing the 5th one in time to wear for the last day of the challenge.  As you can see from the collage above, I made it!  Sort of (keep reading).

So let’s see what I wore all week!

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That’s right folks, I’m now on video!  My blogging has taken kind of an experimental turn lately – first I wrote a poem about sewing, and now I’m trying out a video sewing update.  I’m not sure what’s spurred on this deviation from my usual posting routine, but hey, I’m embracing my various adventures into new territory.  :)

I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing regarding posting videos on my blog, or on YouTube for that matter, so please let me know if you can’t view the video, if there are any strange formatting issues, or if anything else isn’t working properly.  You can view the video directly on YouTube here.

With that said, I hope you enjoy “meeting” me in person!  I chat a little bit about why I decided to make a video in the first place, and I show off my purple Archer-in-progress, slightly further along than in my previous post.  Added bonus: now you can hear how nasal my voice is.  :)  Enjoy!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Sneak peek Archer with Maggie Sleeve cuff finished

How do I love the Archer?  Let me count the ways… wait, actually I’d better start counting how many Archers I’ll have by this Saturday.  It’s the start of One Week One Pattern 2014!  Yes my dear readers, I, Carolyn of Allspice Abounds, will actually be participating in something online.  Gasp!  Horror!  Hold on to your seats – the daily wet-hair selfies are on their way.  :)

One Week One Pattern - largeMy goal is to have 5 completed Archers for the 7 days of the challenge.  I’ve already got 4 done (one, two, three, and the fourth in the shockingly pink photos above – proper blog post coming soon).  The fifth is just starting to take shape in some lovely Robert Kaufman chambray dot.  And yeah, I put a bird on it.

Dot Archer - pocket sewn on

The blog-post-writing has been a little light these days, but the sewing keeps on truckin’!

Are you participating in OWOP this year?  What will you be wearing for 7 days in row??  :)

Sewing Time

It’s late.  My muscles ache, my brain is a bubbling stew of reminders, my shoulders yearn to shrug off the weight of the day.
The couch swallows me whole as I collapse into its soothing billows.

Minutes pass.
My mind begins to calm.  My back begins to untie its convoluted web of knots.
My fingers begin to itch.
Something… something is missing.

A wearied glance across the room catches my sewing machine in a state of neglect, a state of nervous anticipation.
The dim light casts ghostly shadows on my work in progress, misshapen and fetus-like, yet to take its first breath as a finished garment.
Dare I hoist up my listless limbs from my upholstered oasis?
Dare I sacrifice further exhaustion of the body for invigoration of the mind, exhilaration of the spirit?
Before I can adequately ponder this perilous trade, I hear the wooden floorboards creaking beneath my feet…

Bright lights flood my sewing table.
My eyes cringe, widen, focus, ignite.
Before me lies the antidote to the menagerie of ailments that plagued me throughout the day.
Bernina, my beloved apothecary.

Fabric, soft and malleable and dancing with dots and stripes and checks.
Scissors, sharp and imposing, powerful and precise in my capable, if tired hands.
Spools of thread in every color, pins and rulers at the ready.
Chalk, with its ephemeral alchemy, eager to prescribe my every move.

With the flip of a switch, the purr of my freshly oiled machine flows through my veins like life-giving blood.
Foot to pedal, fingers to fabric, needle to unending reservoir of thread.
My healing has begun.

Hours later, I emerge from a sea of multicolored lint, fabric scraps, and thread tails, wide-eyed and victorious.
Tales of crooked seams and ignored directions shall never be uttered, for the seam ripper knows better than to share its dirty secrets.
I raise my finished garment to the sky, as if the entire jungle is eagerly awaiting its new king.


Apparently the healing powers of a freshly constructed garment are only effective on a particular set of precious souls.
Do rolled eyes and exasperated smirks count as reverential appreciation?

At the peak of simultaneous physical exhaustion and spiritual fulfillment, my body once again collapses, this time in a puddle of joy and delight.
My fingers, now sore and red with pin pricks, rest contentedly, having fulfilled their creative yearning.
At least, until tomorrow.

As I drift off to sleep, occasionally forcing open my heavy lids to catch one last glimpse of my shiny new garment, I remind myself that this ritual is deeply rooted within me.
My heart pumps with the passion of my mother and grandmother.
Their knowing hands nurturing, caring, making, healing.
And perhaps one day I will teach another how to heal her body and soul with the ritual of making.

I am at peace.
My eyes close.
My hands unwind.
But I still hear the purr of the machine, softly flowing through me, waiting to once again be unleashed.

Carolyn sitting at the computer

Am I about to write something brilliant??

Do you find yourself yearning to know more about me as you’re sipping your coffee each morning?  Are you constantly thinking, “I wonder what Carolyn’s doing right now?”  If so*, you’re in for a treat, because I was recently nominated by the very talented Kat over at The Couture Academic for the Writing Process Blog Hop!

*I sincerely hope no one is doing this.  :)

Kat is one of those sewing bloggers that I not-so-secretly wish I could meet in person someday because I suspect we would get along fabulously.  Her attention to detail in finishing her garments with couture techniques is admirable, and I really enjoy her positive attitude and genuine love for sewing.

Anyway, onto the questions!

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Science tote bag - front

Something simple: A new tote bag.  The pattern is simply a set of rectangles sewn together to form a floppy bag with self-fabric handles.  No interfacing, no structure, no frills.  Just a pretty fabric tote for housing my lunch, wallet, keys, shopping treasures, or whatever else one throws in a casual bag.  :)

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So Zo undies by Allspice Abounds - finished

After all the precise sewing on my Archer and a few busy weeks with not much sewing progress, I needed a simple, instant gratification project to get my sew-jo back.  I’m sure you can relate.  I decided to whip up a few more pairs of So Zo undies using some jersey scraps that I had lying around and a fresh batch of fold-over elastic.  I guess I was on a roll because I wound up making 5 pairs!  Yay for some new, colorful additions to my unmentionables drawer.  :)

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