Monday, January 30, 2006

And the winner is...Silky Wool

This is a tiny image of the color of Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool that I ordered for the Bobbled Sweater. It's called White Sands, and has just a hint of pink to it. I hope it's going to be everything I hope it will. Quite a few people on the Knitty Board seem to think it's very nice, and especially good for cables and stitch work, so that's encouraging. Elsebeth Lavold is known for her Viking Knitting patterns, which rely heavily on intricate cables, etc. so that also gives me hope. I'm kind of pleased with the color too, I think. Especially having just read an article in the Wall Street Journal about the fact that nude neutrals are making a big comeback, and pale, pale pink is one of the hot ones. So, even a fashionable color, besides one that appeals to me. What more can I ask? I got the yarn at Yarn Country and also ordered some Silky Tweed and a pattern book by Lavold.

I've been doing some spring cleaning, seemingly. January is a little early, but it is really nice weather, and when I'm in the mood to clean, I have to seize the day, because you never know when it may come again! The sewing area is getting a little overhaul too, and none too soon. I love it when it has a little more spacious look, and I was beginning to feel pretty boxed in.

The Spring Couture shows are over, and I really enjoyed all of them, except one. I have rarely seen a show which had absolutely nothing that appealed to me, but she managed to pull it off. Oh well, maybe next time. Now it's on to Fall Fashion Week in New York for the RTW shows.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Swatches and Swatches!

I've fallen in love with this Vogue Knitting pattern from the Winter 01/02 issue. It's supposed to be done in an extra-fine merino wool yarn. I had planned to use a lovely Harris tweed for it, and I did a swatch, and then started the back when the gauge appeared correct. The more I knitted, the more I was sure that the very subtly variegated yarn hides the stitch patterns. And, if you can't see the stitch patterns on this sweater, what's the point? Here's how it looks. Now that I look at it again, it doesn't look so bad, but I'm just not crazy about it. I love the yarn, but I guess not for this pattern.
And here's a close up.

I tried several wool yarns in various weights, as I thought maybe part of my problem was that the Harris yarn was too thin. No wool yarn that I tried seemed to have a similar look to the Vogue photo, and I began to think of other types of yarn. The latest thing I tried is some Cotton Gauze yarn. It's a tape yarn, and I don't think it's bad, although I would want a lighter color, which would make it more defined, I think. Here's a photo of the Cotton Gauze. I'm at the point now where I'm not sure if I really like it, or I'm just wishing I liked it because I'm tired of the whole controversy. Actually I do like it, I just worry that I'll wish I'd known about some other really great yarn choice that I should have used. So, any suggestions will be gratefully accepted.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Red Shrug

I was looking through a box of sweaters the other day, and came across a little shrug that I knitted in 2000 for my Grandmother. When she was gone, my aunt gave me back the things I'd made for her over the years. When I found this, I almost couldn't figure out what it was at first, and then I remembered it. Red was her very favorite color, and I made this from a yarn called Safari in a blend of red and black. It was perfect for her as she was always a little chilly, and it was easy to put on and have a little extra warmth over her shoulders. The pattern is by Fiber Trends, and is called Evening Shrug. There was a lot of short-row shaping, and it was knitted all in one piece so that when you were done, there were 3 stitches at each underarm to graft together. I decided I might as well wear it around the house anyway, as it really is nice and warm. It's not really my colors, but it's kind of fun. The shawl collar is a feature I like, compared to other shrug patterns I've seen. Here's a photo with the caramel wool pants and Koala shell.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Lace Wrap & Inside Zipper Pant Photo

I finished the Vogue Knitting Lace Wrap #24 from the 2005 Holiday edition. I think it turned out pretty well, and it's lovely and warm to wear. The colors are not nearly so clashing as you might suspect from the photos. It's longer than I think it really needs to be, and it isn't even as long as they say to make it. There are a few corrections to the pattern which are outlined on the Vogue Knitting website. I think it will be nice to wear over jackets. I used a cable needle for a shawl pin, and with a few stitches on the curve, it doesn't show or shine at all when it's holding the Wrap. You can see Catso here guarding it while I took the photo. It was a challenge to get the photo taken before he made another swipe at the shawl pin. Those feet are just very handy. It was fun to knit, and I'm almost sorry to be done with it, although I'm anxious to get started on a new project. There will be gauge swatches tonight if I have time!

I also took a photo of the inside of the latest side-zip Hollywood-waist pants showing the hook & eye, as requested. The inside is not as gorgeous as I could wish. I wasn't really planning it to be seen, and the lining has a "unique" application, which actually works well. Anyway, here is the inside photo. You can see a larger version at myPants Gallery at Pbase. I have the hems re-pinned and all ready to sew, but won't get to it tonight.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Melton Pants

Here are the matching Melton pants both with the Vogue 8123 jacket, and alone. I think they turned out quite nicely, although I'm thinking about lengthening them slightly so I can wear higher heels with them. They're lined, and have the Hollywood waistband I've become so enamored of. Pam Issacs-Erny calls it a Comfy Waistband, and it certainly is that. As you can see, it looks just fine with a top tucked in; not in the least like your average elastic waist pants, at least in my opinion.

I got really excited last night when I suddenly realized that I can make skirts with this same waistband treatment! Perhaps I am easily thrilled, but I have a RTW skirt that has a similar fit, and I've always liked it.

I had another revelation when I was working on the lining for these pants. I cut it first, as the lining fabric was still on the cutting table from the jacket. I then cut the Melton, but I sewed the lining first, and I realized that one could sew pant linings "on spec" as it were. I almost always use the same pants pattern, but even if I didn't, the lining would probably fit any pant that fit me. So, sometimes when I'm just dying to sew something, but really don't have a project in hand, this might be something to think of. How nice to have a lining all ready to go into a pair of pants at a moment's notice, too.

I have been doing my zippers a little differently with this waistband. This is an invisible zipper that goes to the top of the waist, and there is a small hook & eye set on the inside across the top of the band. This is very secure, and the zipper is truly invisible.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

More Stuff

That Vogue jacket has really spawned its own cottage industry! Thanks to several people on Sewing World, and especially Carolyn, I'm making a pair of my standard Double Burda pants out of some of the remaining Melton (which I now know is a color called Lovat) and I have enough left that I could make a skirt too. I also realized last night that the dark caramel rayon ribknit top will go beautifully, and there is a skirt cut out of that too if I would just stitch it up. It matches some of the embellishment on the jacket collar, and would be a very nice contrast I think. So, that skirt may be next, but right now I'm on the pants. I finished them last night, except for the hem. I like to do a Cynthia Guffey triple hem, as when you're done with them, they're in to stay, and absolutely invisible.

I received an order from elann on Wednesday, and I'm quite excited about it. I got enough Filatura di Crosa Valentino in Chestnut to make the free pattern they're offering for a shawl which can also be worn as a pseudo-cardigan. It's quite a neat design.

I also got some Silk City Cotton Gauze, which I want to use to make this very trendy Berroco Laced Cardigan, Joy.

Finally, I got enough Harris Shetland 4-ply to make a bobbled pullover from a fairly recent Vogue Knitting.

So, I think I will be somewhat busy for the forseeable future. The weather has been so lovely since Christmas (55 right now!) that I suppose soon I'll have to cut into the Fiber Time for gardening. I'm not complaining though. It's gorgeous outside, and I am on the lookout for pansies.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

"JackieO" Jacket - Vogue 8123 Finished

I finished the Vogue 8123 Jacket last night. I noticed the other day that in a list of patterns I was interested in doing, I had called it the JackieO Jacket, as an aide-memoire, and it does remind me of her style, and that era we associate so strongly with her style.

I added some more embellishment to the collar before attaching it, as I thought it was a little blah. I had forgotten all about roving, which makes a very nice base to add other things to, so I put it on top, and added a little more yarn on top of that.

The keyhole buttonhole was made with the template buttonholer on my Kenmore, and it worked beautifully through all the layers. Here's a close up of the collar, and of the antique carved mother-of-pearl button. You can see more photos at my Vogue 8123 Gallery at Pbase.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Vogue #8123 Progress

This is the embellished collar for the jacket I've been making from Vogue #8123, and it's going awfully well. I underlined the entire thing in pink flannel with cute undies printed on it. Since it's also going to be lined, no one will ever see the flannel, but it was a very nice weight and quality, and at a great price. I washed and dried it on hot to preshrink it before I cut it out, and it seems very stable. I basted it together and tried it on before I cut out the Melton, and it was fine. I finally got the jacket together this evening except for the lining and the collar, and I really like it. The flannel added just the perfect touch, as the Melton was just a little flimsy feeling for this jacket all by itself. The instructions given by Vogue certainly would not enable you to get the results that you should be able to achieve. I added quite a lot of interfacing. Besides the front facings and collar, I also interfaced the hem and sleeve hems, and used strips at the neck seam.

I embellished the collar tonight, and may add some beads or a little embroidery, but it's basically done. The lining should go quickly, and that will be that. I have a lot of the Melton left, and am thinking that a skirt would be nice. It's such a nice color. I was told that it's called Covert.

The kicker in the middle of all this productivity is that my Elna began sounding like it needed a little rest and attention last night, so I packed it up and took it to the repair shop this morning. They promise results in a few days. Meanwhile, I'm using my old Kenmore, which you can see here, and it's sewing through all these layers like a dream.

Friday, January 06, 2006

New Year Plans & Progress

I've been enjoying a somewhat heated discussion on Sewing World about the "test garment" of the Decades of Style Patou Suitdress pattern published by Threads Magazine. We all agree that the Threads version is quite awful, and has such elementary sewing errors that it's hardly worthwhile to go on and detail the more advanced missteps, one of which is the use of a plaid fabric. It has gotten me thinking about the type of fabric I want for my version though. I was quite sure that I wanted a plain fabric, and was beginning to think about weights, and where I might find just the right thing. I'd looked around some, and nothing really grabbed me. Then, I suddenly thought of the Oscar de la Renta foiled wool suiting which I got from EmmaOneSock. I hope there will be enough, as when I bought it, I never contemplated this style, or anything like it. I wouldn't have to worry about a mismatched pattern, as it's quite random, but it has the weight I was thinking of for this. I don't want a terribly thin fabric, and this may be just right.

I've also been beginning on a Vogue Jacket #8123, the center view. I'm going to use a wool/cashmere Melton from Wazoodle which is a little thinner than I think this should be, so I got some flannel today and it is now preshrunk and ready to cut. I'm hoping to do some embellishment on the collar, and I'm also thinking of pockets. Maybe angled patch pockets which cover an opening like a welt pocket, so the patch pockets do not bag out or get stressed.

I've also been knitting on my Vogue Knitting wrap, and I'm almost done with the wrap itself, and then it will be on to the decorative knitted roses at the closure. It's been a fun thing to knit.