Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Cool Yarn Samples

I got my new yarn samples from Elann today,and I'm really thrilled with these. There are so many neat things I could do with them, and I can hardly wait to play. The four small skeins at the top are what I will be playing with, and the color card is at the bottom. I'm so pleased I signed up for these, as it's much nicer to have the yarns "in hand" before I make a decision.

I turned the heel on my lacy arrow sock last night (first heel in quite a few years, so that was a trip down Memory Lane) and am decreasing on the gusset now. There's something about socks that just makes you want to do one more row....

Monday, September 26, 2005

Scalloped Faux Suede Skirt

I saw this dark green faux suede fabric (very thin with a knit construction) with a laser-cut and scalloped edge on Thursday at Hancock's, and went back Saturday when I knew how much I needed. I immediately knew that I wanted to repeat the pink Mrs Stylebook skirt that I made in March. But, I wasn't sure how much it would take, since the border on the selvedge would dictate that it be cut on the crossgrain. I bought 2 yards, and it took most of that, since I made sure each of the 6 panels had a scallop centered. The cutting was the easy part, as this fabric was kind of difficult. It was almost flimsy, and yet there was no give to it at all. I really had to take a lot of pains with the fitting, and when I stand perfectly straight and still, it hangs quite nicely. Any movement brings draglines, but I guess that's the nature of the fabric. It might have been a little better on the lengthwise grain, but then you would lose the scallops, and there would be no point in using this at all. Anyway, I thought this would be a nice quickie for the weekend, and I'm kind of pleased. The hem is really darling, I think, and here is a close up.

I was thinking that I could sew this evening, since it's Monday Night Football, but I realized I have a Sewing Guild meeting to go to, so that's probably out. It's the first Guild meeting of the year, and has been a potluck for quite a few years, but this year, it's just going to be dessert, so that should be easier, and just as nice, or nicer! Last night, I was at another club's Open House, and there was a wonderful hors d'oeuvre buffet, so it's been a pretty good start to the week so far!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Lacy Arrow Sock So Far

Here is the beginning of the Lacy Arrow Sock that I began as a complete change from my latest sewing project, the Marfy skirt. I have made this pattern at least 3 times before, but it's been a long time. My sister brought me a pair I had given her with hopes of my repairing them, and I decided that the only way I could do it was to begin knitting the pattern again so I got familiar enough with it to be able to darn it into the pattern correctly.

It's a nice pattern, and really only has 4 pattern rounds, although it has a 16 round repeat. The 4th pattern row is repeated 5 times, so actually a pretty simple pattern, although it looks complex.

This yarn is some Phentex acrylic which I received from a friend when she learned I was knitting baby things for my nephews. This was some that I ended up not using, and it's very nice sock-weight yarn. I'm using 2.75mm needles and 64 stitches in a round. I didn't really realize it was acrylic until I had done the ribbing, but I like the color, and it seems very nice, so I'm going to go ahead. I don't see why it shouldn't be just fine.

I have decided that I will just recut the skirt yoke pieces and start over on it. I still don't have a zipper for the jacket, but I'm leaning toward using one I have, although it's not an ideal color, but apparently the ideal color does not exist, so I will just make sure it doesn't show much, and it won't matter. I am definitely going to wait until I'm feeling bright-eyed and clear-headed before tackling this again.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Are Mad....

Sorry, the title's an "in" joke. A very young relative used to ask his mother "Are mad, Mom?" and of course he knew she was. So; are mad, means it's really bad.

Everything was going along pretty well yesterday. I got my Resort Tweed Marfy jacket shell all together except the sleeves, started pinning the facings, and realized I needed a separating zipper. I have a lot of them, but the color I liked best was in a length that's too short. This only needs a 10" zipper, and I don't know where I got the shorter one, although I'm thinking Pendleton or Wazoodle, in a zipper bundle. It's a lovely taupey color, and all they have in YKK or Coats&Clarks (at the local fabric chains) are Beige, which is almost Natural, and really a little too light a color. So, I decided that if I had to go on a zipper hunt, I would just stop working on the jacket, and move on to the skirt for a while. About 10pm last night, I decided to cut out the skirt.

There are 4 pieces to the skirt, a Front and Back Yoke, and a Front and Back Skirt. None of these are cut on the fold, as they're asymmetrical. They have to be cut with the fabric right side up, and I knew this. I cut the Textured Weft first, taking great care to make sure the fusible side would correspond with the wrong side of the fashion fabric. So far, so good. Then, I proceeded to cut the Tweed with the wrong side up, and didn't flip the pattern pieces! I just couldn't believe it. I went to bed.

So, now I'm trying to decide whether to start over and cut new yoke pieces, or should I just have the angle and skirt-drape on the Right instead of the Left. At this point, I can't even decide whether I can make a good decision, so I'm waiting for a little more reflection. These are the kinds of things that are just maddening, and they never seem to become obsolete.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Party Shell is Done

Here's the latest version of the Berroco Shell pattern I've used several times. I did this in Party yarn by Crystal Palace. This was a (successful, I think) experiment in sizing, as I used a Small for the Back, and a Large for the Front. I like the fit very much, and I used single crochet around the armholes for a more covered-up look than the pattern, and also to tighten them a little. Here's a side view of the shell.

The finishing on this went pretty smoothly last night, except I seem to have to sew the first seam on every sweater lately so that one right side and one wrong side face out. This was not a fun yarn to rip out either. It slides nicely, but it's hard to tell where it goes. Just a little more care and patience would probably work wonders, both in knitting and in life in general.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Lily Chin Class

I had a wonderful time yesterday taking a class on KnitWeaving with Lily Chin! She is just as delightful as many have said, and a great teacher with lots of wonderful ideas and great samples. We made swatches of quite a few of the techniques, and that's what you see here. The top swatch (the very top part) is probably my favorite, and the one I will likely use for a garment. I'm thinking a coat, although that may be just a little ambitious.
The second swatch is really a fun technique, and will make some great scarves very quickly. I'm thinking Christmas gifts here.
The third is not really a weaving technique, but a stitch pattern, which I've done before, but Lily has some interesting innovations which made me really take another look at it.
The last photo is of all my technique swatches.

As I said, I really enjoyed the class, but I don't think I could stand another very quickly, just beause when I got home, I was so tired and really achy all over from sitting (with a few nice breaks) for 8 hours. I was really surprised that it bothered me, but I guess my days are very varied, and I don't sit that long ever.

I want to make some extra notes before I forget what I learned, and what ideas I've had, as I know I will not get back to this right away, but WHAT A FUN TIME!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Test for Marfy Skirt

Last night I tested the yoke section of the Marfy skirt (9420) that I'm making from the Resort Tweed. It's asymmetrical and fitted, and I thought it best to check it, even after flat-measuring produced good results. It fits beautifully, and I'm tempted to finish the trial skirt (made from black/white gingham rayon) and wear it. I think I'll restrain myself though. I'm planning to work on the jacket (9419) first, and cut out the silk jacket facings and fused them last night. Because of the diagonal print, I changed the grain to give a pleasing effect, and I hope that fusing them with TextureWeft cut on the correct grain will take care of any problems. We'll certainly see.

I'm off to a Lily Chin Weaving Techniques for Knitting class all day on Friday. I'm excited, as it is a topic I know nothing about, and it sounds very intriguing. She is said to be a great teacher, too. It's sponsored by Threads, my local yarn shop.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Party Shell Back is Done

This is a close up of the knitted fabric for the shell I'm making with Crystal Palace's Party yarn. The photo includes the right twist near the shoulder. I'm really pleased with this so far. I finished the back in a size Small this afternoon and started the front which is a Large. I'm trying my new sizing technique, and I hope it's going to work. I will end up with about a Medium in actual circumference, but with the space where I need it. The photo below is the back of the shell, before blocking of course. For some reason, all the photos except the close up above look like there is blue in the melange, but there definitely is not. The pattern I'm using is from Berroco, and the same as the Vrillee Shell I finished in May.

I also finally decided what the color and texture of this yarn really remind me of. Previously I had said "toasted meringue," but I suddenly realized that what it really is, is Nutmeg Logs. These are a log-shaped Christmas cookie with white/cream colored frosting, raked with a fork and sprinkled with nutmeg.

I didn't work on my Resort Tweed today, as my hip was really hurting, perhaps from leaning over a probably-too-low table to mark all those pattern pieces yesterday. It was a nice break anyway. This shell should be rather perfect in color for the tweed also.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Finally, Resort Tweed

I have been dithering about what to work on for quite a while now. I really want to get to Autumn things, but it's still in the 90's here, and I know I could wear some summer things yet. Anyway, I finally committed to working on the Marfy 9419 jacket in Resort Tweed

with silk crepe facings.

I plan to do 3/4 sleeves, but instead of a binding around the edges, I'm going to do turn-back cuffs with silk facings.

I'm also doing the Marfy 9420 skirt in the tweed, with the lower part of the skirt faced/lined in the silk. I may even have enough of the silk left for a matching blouse or at least a shell. It seems to be taking much less fabric than I originally thought, although I originally planned a much longer, bias Vogue skirt from this fabric, which would have taken about twice as much as this skirt, if not more.

This afternoon and evening, I got the tweed for the jacket thread traced and cut out. I will do the skirt tomorrow, and then the interfacing for the jacket, then the silk. Quite a production just to get it all prepared. Thank goodness for football season. It does give me time to work on this kind of project!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Working on my "Russian" Dress

I don't know if you remember a miniseries that was on TV probably 15+ years ago. It was either Peter the Great, or Catherine the Great, and I'm now leaning toward Peter, but it matters not. The costumes were wonderful, and I fell in love with the sleeves on the dresses. The dresses were layered of course, for warmth, and the sleeves were fairly tight-fitting, and from the elbow to the wrist, they looked like they were made about twice as long as necessary, and so had lots of wrinkles/folds there. The wrists were very tight.

So, since I had recently gone to a pattern-making seminar, I decided I could do this. I made a very plain, non-layered dress in a rust jacquard with tiny black diamonds, with tucks at the shoulders and buttons and loops closure at CB and at the wrists. The standing collar is quite high (6 buttons,) with an extra-depth bias piece for the outer collar, so it has folds like the sleeves. I wore this, usually belted, for several years, and it was especially nice on very cold evenings. I made it when I was a much larger size than I am now, and I tried it on the other day and decided I could remake it as a much more fitted dress. I took it all apart except the collar and about 1" of shoulder seam near the collar, and began pinning, etc. It's very interesting, and I'm finding that my now usual alteration taking length out above the bust is necessary on this too. I've put in fisheye darts below the bust, and horizontal darts too. In the back, I have shoulder darts, and fisheye darts, as well as a horizontal dart at the waist.

I was thinking of putting a half-belt at the waist to hide the waist dart, but since I've added the tuck above the bust, which looks like a really cute design detail, I'm thinking of using an exposed teeth zipper (gold) in the above bust (yoke) seam, and maybe I should do one at the back waist too. I think it would be kind of cute, but I suppose if I do that, I should get rid of the buttons and loops, and use a zipper as the back closure too. What would be very cute would be to use a zipper down the side of the collar and onto the shoulder seam. If I do that, I'll take the collar off and turn it so the opening is at the side. I'm planning to use an invisible zipper in the side seam as the actual closure. Anyway, I can't decide whether this is worth all the work, or if I'm just fooling around with it while I try to decide what else I want to do.

Friday, September 02, 2005

The Mailman's a Good Guy

Yesterday I got my birthday present (not too late) from my sister. A lovely pair of Kai Pinking Shears. I asked for a dressmaker's shears last year, and love them, and was hoping she might think I needed the pinkers this year. My very old Fiskars pinkers were dull beyond redemption, and I was making do with a left-handed Ginghers pair (anyone like them?) that came to rest here, and a cheapie pair as an interim solution. It can never be said enough: quality tools really do help make quality work. They certainly lower the frustration level anyway. I still pink things fairly often. Most projects get a touch of it at least, and some get quite extensive pinking.

I also got my first package of sample skeins from Elann yesterday. What fun!!! You get 5-10 yard samples of their new yarns for each month. This is enough to try needle sizes, stitches, yarn combinations, etc. In other words, you get to play. It also includes a free subscription to their monthly newsletter which includes yarn swatches of each colorway of each yarn, and suggested patterns, etc. I used to get the newsletter, but haven't for several years, but the sample skeins are all new to me, and it was such a treat to get them. Just what I need, more almost irresistible temptation. I can hardly wait for the next batch.

Today the new Threads came. It looks good. With Chanel jackets on the cover, how bad could it be?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

True Colors of Wrap Blouse

Here is a much better photo of the actual color of the Vintage Wrap Blouse. You can also see the batik pattern in the fabric if you click on the photo to get a larger size. This is a pair of sage drawstring pants that I made earlier this summer. They are quite a perfect color with this.