Saturday, August 26, 2006

State Fair Results

We went to the Fair today, and I was very pleased with my showing. I won 1st Prize on Pearle's shirt, and also on my Organza Little Blouse. I was 3rd with my Embellished-Collar Jacket, 2nd on the Cable/Bobble Sweater, and 4th on my Toy Shell. All in all, it was very nice, but the real icing on the cake is that the judge actually commented on 2 of my items. The shirt says "Beautiful job" which is very nice, but.....I almost fell over when I read the comment on the Organza Blouse. It was just one word. "Perfect." I was stunned, but extremely thrilled! So, what a great fair! You can see the 3 sewn garments in both photos.

Just to celebrate, I guess, I decided to head to JoAnn's for the Simplicity pattern sale. I don't think I've bought a Simplicity pattern for more than 20 years, but the girls on Stitcher's Guild were posting about the latest ones out, and a blouse pattern, #4020, really caught my eye.
I purchased it, but naturally had to browse among the fabric as well. They had a lot of clearance fabric at the back of the store, and it was all 50% off the clearance price! I wasn't really in the market for fabric, but I found some real buys. A beautiful deep green plaid boucle that will be a wonderful coat, a geranium graduated polka dot burnout poly/rayon velvet for a scarf, a linen-look print, a tie-dyed overprinted knit, and a couple pieces of wool felt to embellish, but the pièce de résistance is a fine brown wool, which looked pretty nice, and when I opened it up, I saw it had a woven selvedge that said 100% Superfine Cool Wool. I took all they had, which was about 4 7/8 yards, at the very fine price of $2.50/yard. I was quite excited, as I didn't know JoAnn's ever carried anything like that, and I didn't think you could ever find it at a price like that. I really feel that my day is complete!

More Chips

Yes, I'm still making scarves for October, and I finished two more potato chip scarves; one knit and one crocheted. The crocheted one was fun, and quite different to work on, as it began to spiral quite quickly, and the knitted ones do not do so until you bind off. Instant versus Delayed gratification, I guess.

The knit scarf at the top is made with Scheepeswool Vrillée Fine, and the crocheted one below is made with Red Heart Fiesta worsted weight. The detail photo is the crocheted version.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Potato Chip Scarf

Here's a quickie project that I finished last night. (Click on the photo for a larger, more detailed image.) It's called The Potato Chip Scarf, as in you can't have just one, from KnitPicks. It takes about 2 balls of yarn, and just make sure you have a really long circular needle before you begin. I ended up finally using 3 cables from an old Susan Bates modular set, and that worked very well. This will go for the Mu Phi fundraiser. The yarn is a 65%Silk/35%Wool from Tahki called Chelsea. I had it leftover from a cardigan I made quite a few years ago, and I was pleased to find a good use for it.

Friday, August 18, 2006

So Far So Good - Crochet Bag

I finished the shell stitch band for the crocheted bag last night, and this morning I took photos of the pieces pinned out the way they'll fit together. It's looking pretty good, and I want to make sure I put plenty of pockets, etc. in the lining. I haven't decided what to make the lining from, but I may end up making a double lining so I can interface it and not have the interfacing show through any holes in the crochet. It's pretty solid, but if you don't want something to show through, you know it will. Here's a close up of the crochet. I am hoping that if you click on these photos it will take you where you can see larger images if you want to really see the details. We'll see if my link works.

The other exciting news here is that the roofers came this morning, and we're getting a new roof! They're supposed to be done tonight, which would be great. I don't see how they can do it that fast, but there are guys swarming all over the roof. The cat is not pleased, to say the least.

We were also very surprised this morning after looking in the rain gauge and seeing that we only got .12", to find that north of town, where the farms are, they got between 2.75" and 3" of rain! Finally, it's going where we need it.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Crocheted Bag Progress

I fell in love with this crocheted bag from the August Burda World-of-Fashion magazine, which is evidently an almost exact copy of a Prada bag. I hadn't crocheted anything in a long time, but once I got past the first few inches, it became very automatic. The only thrill was the fact that the pattern was translated from the original German into British English, which changes the names of all the crochet stitches from what they are in American English. A little attention was necessary to make sure I was actually doing what was specified, but it worked out okay. I finished the main part of the bag this evening, which was all single crochet, and began on the shell pattern band. That's going really quickly, and I'd better hurry up and find some leather for the straps and bands. I hope to post photos tomorrow of the crocheted pieces. Mine is a dark chocolate brown in a linen/hemp/broom yarn. It should wear like iron, which for a purse is just about necessary.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Little Projects

I suddenly remembered Friday night that I had promised to donate some knitted scarves or similar small items to a fundraiser for my music fraternity, Mu Phi Epsilon, in late November. Of course, I had done nothing about this. I recalled a printed scarf panel I had purchased this summer to make 2 scarves for this event, and I set up my serger for a rolled hem, and hemmed them. I may add some beads at the corners, as I had a scarf done that way once, and it hung very nicely. You can see the 2 identical scarves with iris below.

I also dug out some novelty yarn, and began a scarf, which you can also see in the photo above. I ended up with a cute pattern, which came out as if I had actually thought about it ahead of time. I cast on 25 stitches and knit 5-6 rows in garter stitch, then began the pattern.

Row 1: K3, *K2tog, YO* (repeat between *s) end K4.
Row 2: K all.

That's it. Repeat until you reach your desired length, then end with the same number of garter stitch rows with which you began. What's neat is that the edge borders are the same width, since the first K2tog reads as a K stitch. I may weave some ribbons through the lattice. It's easy, yet not totally boring to knit. I also thought holes would make it go faster.

I prepared the cotton coordinates that I want to use for a jacket. The color is not as blue as the top photo, but not as bright as the lower one. The plain fabric on the left will be the lapels and cuffs and the bamboo/cricket fabric will be the body of the jacket.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Katia Bolero Shell is Done

I finished the shell I've been making from Katia Bolero yarn. It's a very strange yarn with little chunks of grosgrain-type ribbon every so often with the cotton/acrylic yarn. I really like the texture of the knitted fabric, and the color is very interesting. It's going to look very nice with my border print skirt and the Seafoam Marfy Jacket as well.

I am pleased, and a little relieved that it turned out as well as it did, as I began with the Katia pattern for a tank top with cute buckles on the straps for which I had bought the yarn. About 2/3 of the way up the front, I decided I really couldn't wear the tank comfortably, no matter how cute the pattern was. It just wasn't me, and I should change it to a shell with the shoulders more covered. So, I happened upon a cute pattern, #2 in the Art Issue of VK Knit1. (Thanks Mardel for the heads up on this magazine!) I had dismissed it after looking at the first issue they put out, as it looked very much a scarf/poncho/let's knit rectangles kind of thing, but this issue has several very cute things. This pattern was for a completely different yarn, but at the point I was in my pattern, the stitch count was only one different, so I was able to just follow the instructions as written for the rest, which was quite handy. I did go back to the original pattern for the neck finish, as the VKK1 pattern used a seedstitch band, and no way was I going to do seedstitch with this yarn. My finish is 2 rows of garter stitch, which is very tidy. You can see a side view here.

I was very thrilled yesterday when looking at the August Vogue. I had been thinking that maybe the jacket I'm working on is not actually stylish, although I really like it, and it's very much "me" in style. I turned the page to a story about tunics being the big thing, and there was my jacket! Not exactly, but the YSL belted tunic on the first page of the story is very much the lines and feel of my jacket. What a lovely validation! So, I'm trying harder than ever to figure out what fabric I want to use for it. I want contrast collar/lapel and cuffs but I don't want to completely limit what will coordinate with it. Much thinking and planning involved here. I've been going through my browns, and now I'm beginning to think of greens. A pair of quilting cottons keep popping up on the radar screen, and I may just underline them and use them. The colors would be wonderful. They're dark greens with a touch of gold, and oriental in character. Well, off to the drawing board.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Jacket Trials (of Many Kinds)

Well, I've been trying very hard to work on a Fall Wardrobe Plan, and I've been laying out fabrics and going through patterns and fashion photos. One thing I decided was that I'd better get myself a solid pattern for a new version of my Self Drafted Jacket that I made in February of 2005. I liked a lot of things about it, but I hated the dropped shoulders, and the insets I used instead of darts almost dictated the dropped shoulder treatment, so I changed that too. You can see the original below. It was supposed to be a wearable muslin, and I never did a "real" one, as I knew it needed changes but didn't get to them.

I changed the collar a little and used a set-in sleeve instead of the dropped sleeve. I have a regular dart instead of the insets. I made it up in a very boardy polyester woven, and it wasn't too bad, but I tapered the body a little and changed a few other minor things, and I'm going to try it in a nicer fabric. I'm thinking of using a wide-wale wool in a dark chocolate brown, but I want something else for the collar/facings and turnback cuffs. I may do an edge-to-edge lining as well. Anyway, it's going pretty well, and I hope it will be a success. I can see wearing it belted, and with the cute straight skirt with back godets in the August Burda WOF magazine.

I did a little knitting tonight during Project Runway, and am almost done with a shell from Katia Boheme. I changed from one design to the other about halfway through, so I'm anxious to see how it turns out.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Chiffon 1101 Blouse

I finally got photos of the chiffon blouse, after I finally got buttons and finally finished it. It seems that it's been a bit of a struggle at every step. Even my pretty decent first set of photos all got deleted instead of transferred to my computer, so I had to retake them, on this hot day, etc. Oh well, at least it's done. And I like it.

This is a 44, with a FBA, the sleeves lengthened about 3", and the body shortened about an inch. I also added extra wide seam allowances to the sleeves, but didn't really need the extra.

The buttons, which I think are very cute, although they pretty much disappear into the very busy fabric, are smaller on the placket and larger for the cufflink treatment.

I think I will probably wear this with pleasure this fall, as I like the look, and although after all the extra care this one took I thought I wouldn't make it again, I rather like it, and it might be a nice wardrobe staple for a blouse/shirt. It certainly looks different in different fabrics. Below you can see the Nile Green cotton print version which I made before the chiffon.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

County Fair Results

We went to the fair this morning, and I found out what placings my garments received.

Cable Bobble Sweater First and Best of Lot

Vogue #8123 Jacket with Embellished Collar First

Shirt KwikSew #1627 Second

All in all, I'm fairly happy with my showing, although I always feel bad if Pearle doesn't get a first-prize shirt to wear, but there's always the State Fair at the end of the month. Reversals have been known to occur, in both directions.

Buttons, Buttons Everywhere...

But not a one will work!

Isn't that just the way it goes? I finished the chiffon Marfy #1101 tonight, except for the buttons. I thought I had a photo or scan of the fabric at least, but I don't. I'll take a photo of the blouse tomorrow when there's light again. It's a poly chiffon from FabricMart which has fringed satiny rectangles, and a leopard print. It's quite glamorous looking, with a few gold threads thrown in for good measure.

I really struggled with this one. It's actually the third version I've done, each one a different size. The chiffon is a 44 with FBA, although I think a 46 would be my choice next time, at least for a close-fitting garment.

The thing that really got me was that I altered the sleeves in width so they were the same as the other 2 blouses, which were made from the 50, without, and then with a FBA. I should have known that when I did an FBA, the 50 was the wrong size to begin with. But, that blouse is going to a good home anyway, and it's really cute, so I'm sad to see it go. I will take a photo before I box it up.

Anyway, the sleeves were the same width and length as the 50 sleeves, so I anticipated no problems. I got them done up to the point where I was going to attach the cuffs, and I tried them on, and they were almost skintight from the elbow down! How could that have happened? I cogitated on that one for quite a while, and realized finally that the shoulder seam on the 44 is actually in the correct spot, and so the sleeves need to be longer. I added about 3" and the sleeves are just fine. I added a little extra at the SA's just in case, and wouldn't have needed it at all.

So, after all my travails, it's done, and quite lovely, but I need the perfect buttons. I have many, many buttons, but lately I don't seem to ever have just the kind I want. I have in mind a tortoise-shell button with a gold center on a shank. I have a couple like this, but I need 9. I don't remember where I got the ones I have, but they aren't terribly exotic, so surely I can find them, or something similar.