Friday, March 30, 2007

Twisted Flower Sock II

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I finished the first Twisted Flower sock last night. I think the pattern is truly spectacular. The motif placement is just perfect, and the pattern is very exact so that you should get exactly the same results as the pattern photo. I have started on the second sock already, and although I do have to continually refer to the charts, it's still a very quick knit, and quite enjoyable.

The pattern is from CookieA. She has quite a few that are very interesting.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Twisted Flower Sock

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I downloaded one of CookieA's new sock patterns the other day, and began to knit using elann's Esprit sock yarn, which is cotton/elastic, so nice and stretchy, which cotton yarn certainly is not by itself. It's actually a very pale green. I like how the pattern is knitting up, and the instructions are extremely complete, giving you charts for the leg, heel (which is also decorative) and the top of the foot. No excuses for mistakes, I guess.

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I also managed to snag a photo of my frog! I'm so thrilled to have a real frog hanging around the garden and the ponds. He likes to sun himself on the pond heater, so I'm a little loathe to take it out, even though I think the cold weather is well and truly gone. Right after I took this picture, I tried to move in for a little closer one, and he dove off the heater and swam away very quickly. Shy, that's my frog.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Flat Seat Adjustment Success

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I finally hemmed the pants I tried Ann Rowley's Flat Seat Adjustment on, and I rather like them, to say nothing of the fact that the alteration is just pure magic, in my opinion. I wanted a pair of pants that I could wear pretty high heels with, and the ones I have on in the photos are about 3 1/2", and the hems just almost brush the ground, so it's best if I stand up very tall. I had drooled over some of the cuffed pants in the runway shows last fall, and I'm finally getting to doing a pair. I haven't had cuffed pants for years, and in fact, unless I made them myself, if I bought a pair of pants with cuffs, they would almost always be immediately let down so that they'd be long enough, and there went the cuffs.

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This fabric is a polyester which is supposed to imitate linen, and it has a little shine to it. I like the color, and it goes with a lot of things I have. I think they'll be nice clear into summer, with heeled sandals. I just think there's nothing more swishy feeling than really long pants, with heels.

I think the folds in the backview are from the way I'm standing, but perhaps not. I never noticed them when I was looking in the mirror, but that doesn't always mean much.

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This is my favorite Double Burda pants pattern, which is two Burda patterns I've put together to get what I want. It has a side invisible zipper, side pocket, and Hollywood waistband.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Yarn Order Arrives & Pattern Alterations

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This is the yarn I ordered from Bendigo last Tuesday. I think it is amazingly fast to get yarn all the way from Australia to Nebraska in less than a week. They have always had very fast service though, so I wasn't terribly surprised, and I did hope it would arrive soon.

The dark blue (Midnight Tweed) is much more heathered than it appears in the photo, and is for the cabled sweater pattern shown in the previous post. The dull purple is Agate, and will be a Norah Gaughan Ram's Horn Jacket. They are both wool. The Latte is Cotton, and will be a Norah Gaughan Spiral Shell.

Ann Rowley, whom I count a dear friend, and who is a very, very expert seamstress, posted her Flat Seat Adjustment for pants, along with photos of the process, on Stitcher's Guild, on her Ann's Pearls of Wisdom board. I immediately had to try it, and I've been anxious to start making some pants again, so the timing could not have been better. I did the pattern alteration, and cut on Saturday night. I sewed the pants up yesterday except for the hems, and am hoping to finish them tomorrow. I am very thrilled with the results of the alteration. It seems to be just about perfect. Very, very thrilling!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Bendigo Yarn

Since I keep talking about Bendigo yarn and how much I like it, but they have no website, I thought I'd just post scans of their color card to give you an idea of it. Do order one for yourself so you can see it in person, as you know how unreliable monitor colors can be.

Click on the 2 pictures and you'll get nice large ones that you can really see. The colors look pretty accurate to me here, but the darker ones are hard to see anyway.

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I ordered 2 shades of Rustic (lower left group in top photo). Midnight Tweed, 5th from the bottom, which doesn't show well at all, for a Christmas gift sweater. I ordered Agate, 15th from the bottom, for a Norah Gaughan Ram's Horn Jacket for me. It's in her Knitting Nature book. I also ordered some of the Cotton yarn (right side of top photo) in Latte, 7th from the bottom, for a Norah Gaughan shell from the same book.

I've begun swatching for the Christmas sweater with some of the Rustic I have left from my cardigan, as it's the same yarn in a different color, and for once in my life, I'm using the suggested needle sizes (US 1 & 4) and getting the specified gauge. Here's a link to the pattern I'm planning on using, which is pictured below. There are directions for both adult and children's sizes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Modeling the Bendigo Cabled Cardigan

I must confess that I was so excited to have finished this sweater yesterday that I couldn't wait to show it off, even though I couldn't get photos of me wearing it until today, which was the most gorgeous day. 84 degrees, which is just almost unheard of in March. So, I suffered a little in a wool sweater, but it was a beautiful day, and I am by no means complaining. So, here are my photos. That's my twisty wisteria trunk behind me. It's starting to put out small flower buds, and I'm hoping for a lot of flowers by May.

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First Flowers


Helleborus Niger, Lenten Rose 2007

Spring seems to be coming very quickly now. I saw a frog sitting on one of my pond heaters this morning. That made me smile!

My Favorite Knitting Bag

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Some friends and I have been discussing what makes a good knitting bag.

I've used a lot of different bags that have come my way, although the only "official" knitting bags I've ever had are the ones with the wooden framework that will stand up for you.

I like those, but this tote bag that I got from The Nature Conservancy has become my favorite. I did not expect this, and originally thought it was too low, as I'm used to a taller bag, but this is actually very handy, and the double row of pockets along both sides of the bag on the outside are just invaluable. You can see the set of pink double points in one of the inner row of pockets, and the green pencil is in one of the outer pleated pockets. Everything I need is right at hand.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Bendigo Cardigan is Finished

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This is the finished Bendigo cardigan. It's from a pattern they sell, and the yarn is their "Rustic" wool in the color Peppercorn. I am quite pleased with the way it turned out. The fit is great, the sleeves are the perfect length, and it's a color I like very much. It's a gray-green, but has a blend of colors in it, including green, tan, rust, teal, pink, and a few others, but it all reads gray-green.

I added the central strip of pattern stitches to the back. It was written just like the front pattern, but with a strip of reverse stockinette down the center where the buttons are in the front, and I thought that was kind of boring. Here's the back.

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I added the central diamond cable pattern, and the 2 twisted cables, one on each side of it.

I see that I started swatching for this sweater on the 31st of December, 2006. All in all, not bad for a fairly complex knit. Actually, the pattern was quite simple to memorize, and except for the shaping, it was mindless knitting. The real killer was the buttonband. It called for you to knit the button band, sew it on, (slightly stretched, I hate that instruction. It's so hard to get it just right) and then begin the buttonhole band, matching the buttonhole spacing to the sewn-on buttons, sew it on and sew a seam at CB. I couldn't see why I couldn't just continue around the neckline and do it all in one piece, eliminating the CB seam. It worked quite well, except it was very, very tricky to get the band sewn on just right, so that it wasn't too tight or too loose. I think I stitched it on several times, and ripped more than anything I've ever knitted, even though I was buttoning it on as I went along, and finally kept stopping every few rows to stitch it on, and holding it up to make sure it wasn't going to pull or sag. It was quite the challenge, but definitely worth getting it right.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Coral Marfy Blouse is Done

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I finished the coral cotton/silk Marfy #1101 blouse last night. Actually it was all done on Monday except the buttonholes and buttons. This version fits quite differently than the last one I made, which was a chiffon, and is more fitted looking. This fabric has lengthwise crinkles or disorganized pleating, and it gives it quite a stretch factor. I knew it was going to be much more casual in look and in fit, and that's fine. The sleeves turned out very long, and since the chiffon sleeves were just right, that was a surprise. This has the cuffs coming down over my hands, but that is about how they're supposed to be, but I don't think that's really my style. I simply made fold-back French cuffs, which I like, as the line of the cuff echoes the line of the collar. I had buttons on hand which were the correct size, and a perfect color match. Now I wonder if I should have used something with a little more contrast. It's a little plain looking, but maybe that's a good thing. I can always change them if I want to, I guess.

This should be a nice cool blouse to wear this spring and summer, even with the long sleeves. They can always be turned up too.

Here's the pink interfacing I used.

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Lower Right is the fused interfacing.
Center is right side of facing with interfacing fused to it.
Upper Left is unfused fabric for comparison.

Here's the pattern illustration from Marfy.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Pink Interfacing

Some time ago, during one of my shopping trips to the Pendleton Factory Outlet in Omaha, I bought a 5-yard package of pink fusible interfacing. We're not talking baby pink either. This is FUSCHIA interfacing. When I bought it, I had no idea when or on what, or even whether I would ever use it. I just knew it was unique, a good buy, and I'd probably never have a chance to get any ever again. I've purchased a lot of findings/notions/underpinnings from Pendleton, and every one of them has been top quality, to say nothing of being absolutely ready for the needle. It's a wonderful thing to know you don't have to preshrink your lining or whatever because someone else has already done it, and done it very well.

From Patterns

After finishing my jacket, I decided to make something that would be actually at least semi-fast, and probably successful. I knew when I finished the animal print chiffon Marfy blouse last August that I would want to make it again. It's just a good style for me, and it was a pleasure to sew.
From Fabric
I cut one out tonight from this Cotton/Silk fabric from FabricMart, and realized that since part of it is fairly sheer, my interfacing would show through at least to some extent. I tested several sheer interfacings, but they all showed through with a lighter color, even if they were ivory. I didn't really expect the fuschia interfacing to work, as it's a much stronger color than the fabric, but it really seems to just disappear, which is perfect. I hope to get some sewing done on it tomorrow, but I'm ready to roll, as it's all cut and fused.

Now to change thread on my serger.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Cream Marfy Jacket

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I finished my jacket made from Marfy 9650. The pattern is from the Fall/Winter 2005/06 catalog. The fabric is a very heavy cream cotton with metallic embossed designs. I still think it's a really pretty fabric, but it was very hard to work with. It had no give to it, and easing was just about impossible. I had to lower the sleeve caps a fair amount to get the sleeves set in. I think they turned out fine, and they're very comfortable, which worried me, but it certainly could have been easier. The raised, embossed designs added to the stiffness of the fabric as well as making it somewhat difficult to do handstitching. The needle just didn't want to go through those areas.

All in all, I think it turned out well. I made some changes, as you can see by looking at the design illustration below. I didn't do the contrast collar or topstitching, and I decided against the pocket after pinning it on several times and attempting to adjust its position to someplace where it would look good. That spot didn't seem to exist, so I ditched it. The only topstitching on the jacket is some edgestitching along the collar and lapel edges. I used a Madeira Rayon thread that was a matching cream with tiny flecks of red, blue, and green, which are almost unnoticeable in the end, but the color match was very good anyway.

I think I have enough fabric left to do a matching skirt if I wish, but I'm not sure I really want one. Perhaps when I have some distance from working with this fabric, and have forgotten my troubles with it.... Here is a side view.

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The design called for a double button frog closure on an angle, and I did a closure made with 2 mother-of-pearl flat rings, a vintage button, and a cord made from suede and linen yarns. I was afraid it wouldn't be too practical, but it seems to hold very well, and it's easy to get the placement correct while wearing it. As with most double-breasted styles though, it looks better closed than open.

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Here's the pattern illustration.

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Another Snowstorm

From Weather

Yes, another snowstorm. I really don't remember another winter that has given us so much snow, and seemingly one storm after another. In fact it's snowing again tonight, and blowing 45-50mph too. This picture is actually from yesterday, when we got 8"+ of very heavy, wet snow dumped on us in a big hurry. I think I'm just tired of it.

Tomorrow, I'm going to a Spring Salad Luncheon! It's supposed to be sleeting, so that should be nice.