Tuesday, August 28, 2007

In the Nick of Time

Environment Canada says I've got at least 4 more days this summer to wear this! (Yes, I know the nonesense of that statement!)

Butterick 6640 (most likely out-of-print by now), recommended size based on measurement chart
Rayon print for the dress, lightweight white jersey with lycra for the lining
Alterations: full shortening of waist based on pattern "lengthen/shorten" line, but then forgot to add it back at the bottom so I've got a 1/8" rolled hem to keep the length, changed the slope of the side seam to accomodate the tummy, nipped in the top of the side seams another 1/4", did my usual press-into-quarters-and-topstitch for the ties instead of sewing RS together and turning, small bust adjustment, curved bust dart, and chopped the lining off mid-thigh (not sure what the pattern suggested for that!).

And the wonderousness that is the angle shot and sucking-in-of-the-tummy!

The backstory:

I attempted this pattern, what is it, 5 years ago, 6? With apparently the inability to read. I not only totally ignored the fabric suggestions and tried to make it out of broadcloth, but I also ignored the warnings written on all the bodice pattern pieces saying "Before you cut: Garment requires a close fit at bust. Pattern should measure exactly your body measurement. Alter pattern if necessary." in 5 languages, and did my usual one-size down trick to take out the excess ease they "always" put in. Yeah, that didn't work out so well. So the wait was on for a nice rayon, because my skin and large-percentage polyester don't get along. Enter Mom's fabric stash (thanks, Mom! There's quite a bit left over...). Then the wait for a lining - because why make a breathable dress if the lining is poly? When it finally dawned on me that I didn't need another light, plain coloured rayon - the lightweight cotton jersey I got last fall will probably work just fine! So everything got cut out at the end of July - excited!! Then the unseasonably cold August set in. How can one get into sewing a sundress when it felt like fall, and I might not be able to wear it until the end of next June?

Thank goodness the weather is giving one last salute to summer! Due to the haste of putting it together, it's not up to my usual (not so high) standards - but hey, it's a sundress, it's rayon (really rayon - like look at it sidways and it wrinkles rayon), and I get to wear it, instead of agonizing over getting everything to line up and lie flat.

Excuse me while I find some hills to stand on with my hand shading my eyes ;).

Monday, August 20, 2007

Finishing the Big Yellow Monstrocity

(and yes, I know that the name is repetative - having a large, bright yellow, very hairy mohair shawl in your lap in August requires many adjectives!)

Stats: Finished size 72"x28" (180 cm x 70 cm).
Pattern: "Scarf with No. 20 Edging ..." from Victorian Lace Today
Yarn: Emu Filigree Supreme (Mohair, Wool, Nylon), I have 2 25g balls left over (must check back at the old post to find out how many I started with!), on 5mm needles.
Alterations: extra 10 rows in the centre panel (misremembered the pattern!), reduced the number of edging repeats from 22 to 18 to make up for the thicker yarn and larger gauge. I only did chain 2 for each crochet picot on the ends, the 3rd chain made it too big and loopy with my materials for my taste (it's hard to see from the photos, as the edge is angled up slightly).

I'm waiting until November to decide whether I want to overdye it. Even though it's not my colour, I may want the burst of sunshine to chase away the winter grey!

As a parting pic - my recent score at the local Value Village! I'm guessing one 40's (even had a "War Bulletin" printed in the front cover), one 50's, 2 60's, and a 70's. The 40's one has two sweaters with "sock heel shoulders!" (really what it says - gives very neat 40's-esque square shoulders).

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sneak Preview

Finally finished my first designed-from-scratch socks! The pattern is in the process of being written, and will be posted here as soon as I get it to the point that other people can understand it.

Arwen and the VLT shawl/scarf are proceeding apace. I was trying to figure out why I was so intent on getting these things done, when it's the middle of August (a cool August, but nevertheless). Then it came to me - I'd been searching for quite a while for something to make with the leftover mohair, and also been wanting a black cardigan (trying to find both the yarn and a pattern!)... so both these projects have been in the back of my head for a while. It's like being able to mark off two big, longstanding "to do"s. Hopefully they keep going this fast - I've got summer things to do!!!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

How Knitting is like Cooking

I started out knitting like I did baking - slowly following the recipe, continuously checking that I did all the steps right.

Then I went to daring baking - substituting like for like (the asked for cotton for a different cotton, or even using cotton instead of bamboo).

But yesterday I found out that I'm fully into cooking mode. The mark of someone who "can cook" vs someone who makes dinner is often the ability to look in the cupboards and whip something together that tastes good out of available ingredients. Or who, halfway down a recipe realizes that she/he's missing vital ingredients, yet pulls it off anyway.

Yesterday the Yarn Harlot came to Halifax. Stephanie asks that people bring hand knit hats with them to donate to the homeless, which I forgot about until yesterday morning. So I dive into the stash to find some bulky yarn not attached to a project and cast on 6 backward loops onto a 5.5 mm circular needle.

OK, I've got the stitches on a huge needle and I don't have any dpns in that size. No problem, use the Magic Loop Technique! Start increasing 6 stitches per row for a couple of rows, then think "what stitch pattern?" as my fingers have no time to stop. Rib! Rib is good - fits more head sizes that way. Rib a row. Broken rib!! Even better. I haven't used broken rib before. Knit a row plain in between the rib rows. Hey, why don't I make the plain knit rows the increase rows - simpler that way! This is working out pretty good, and knitting up quickly on the 5.5mm needles. I can also pull the whole hat onto the cable part of the needles and try it on as I go along - once it's just lightly snug (I have a medium sized adult female head - I wanted the hat to fit guys too), I switched to 4.5mm dpns (just because I was getting a little annoyed at the magic loop) to do straight ribbing snug enough to keep the hat on and I kept going until I ran out of that ball of yarn.

Then that fortuitous thing happened - like that spur of the moment meal that turns out to be a family favourite - I turned the hat inside out to weave in the ends... and I loved the "wrong side"!! I tried to bury the ends neatly to make it a reversable hat - I might just have to use this "pattern" again!

It truely was a magic day for knitting. Not only did I manage to start and finish this hat before I left for the Lord Nelson hotel, I also brought with me two (different) socks to work on and the Arwen cardigan. With the wait beforehand, the talk itself, and the trip home I finished both socks (except toe grafting) and did at least 2" on the cardigan!!!

I think it was the laughter. Or Stephanie sends out speed vibes to her audience. My cheeks may never relax again - and hopefully my fingers stay fast! And even if I hadn't knit a stitch, Tuesday night would remain in my memory for a long time - the Yarn Harlot is so amazing live - I have no idea how someone can remain consistantly funny, not only during the talk, but all the way through the question and answer sessions! Not only that, she's amazingly nice as well.

And, yes, there were enough chairs.

Monday, August 06, 2007

New Projects!

There's something amazing about new projects - pairing materials to ideas or patterns, adjusting and redesigning, hanging on suspense as you wait to discover if (a) you have enough of X to finish and (b) it turns out anything like you imagine.

Two more gambles have leaped into the pile:

A Cardigan for Arwen, Interweave Knits Winter 2006

Alterations done and proposed -
I'm making this out of ~worsted weight black cotton from a second hand sweater, so the cables aren't going to pop like they do with wool, but I've swatched it and it will at least give a nice basket-weave effect. Because it's cotton (which I've learned to my detriment GROWS), and because I land in between sizes in both chest measurement and "wingspan", I went down to the smallest size. There's only a small chance that I'll have enough yarn for the hood, but with the smallest size, I have the greatest chance! Having been warned about both the bicep measurement (fine for me) and the wrist measurment (too big), I plan on adjusting the shaping on the sleeves by adding 4 more short rows but taking out 8 plain rows in the middle (one cable repeat on the cuff) - that way I should keep the upper arm the same diameter, but decrease the cuff a little more than an inch.

Completed so far: back (plain stockinette rectangle, so glad that's done!), ~2" of left front.

Victorian Lace Today, "Scarf with the No 20 Edging" p84

I think I've found a solution to the "what to do with the leftover mohair" quandry! Still not quite sure about the school-bus yellow, I'm thinking of overdying it a russet. The yarn is "Emu Filigree Supreme", a present from my FIL in England.

Alterations: This is a very hairy mohair, and "reads" thicker than the original intended yarn. I'm using bigger needles too (supposedly 5mm, but I've only got one 5mm circular, and I think it's slightly bigger than it's supposed to be!). Lightly hand blocking it gave me 4" per edging lace repeat, which would have given me a much longer shawl than designed for (and taken up more yarn than I have), so I've redone the numbers to only have 18 edging repeats (vs 22), which will still add up to 72" long (we'll see how much bigger that gets when properly blocked!). It'll be wider than the designed 26", but that's ok.

Completed so far: 7 edging repeats, first pass. 2 25g balls down, 13 left in the stash!

And I'm having a lot of fun ;).

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Not a Wardrobe

May 1st - July 31st, in summary:

Slate blue wool pants finished (was already cut and fitted in April).

Cotton knit dress, rayon skirt, and cotton pants all altered.

Shades of white and brown "mini-capsule".

Shades of blue "mini-capsule".

Cut out and waiting to sew. There's also a pair of beige wool pants cut out - not really interested in sewing them up just at the moment!

Just for fun.

Plus a doll and a baby sweater.


Intention: to get my sewing mojo back, and participate in the PR Wardrobe contest.
Rules: make 10 garments from start to finish plus an accessory. More tops than bottoms, and all the tops need to work with all the bottoms.
Results: a) Did I make a plan? Yes. b) Did I follow the plan? Mostly. c) Did I finish the plan? No. d) Did the plan follow the rules? Not so much.

Did I get my sewing mojo back?

Most definitely.