Sunday, October 29, 2006

Warm Hands

Since I've seen so many patterns for them lately, I've been thinking about making some knitted mitts. I think they'd be perfect for a particular Christmas gift, and I thought I'd better make a test pair to see how they are. They're really fast to do, and fun, kind of like the interesting part of a sock.

The pattern is called Fetching, and is from I used Peruvian Highland Wool from, and it only took one ball to make the pair, with a little left over. I used Size 4 needles, though the pattern calls for Size 6. They took me just over a day to knit.

I'm still recuperating from this cold. I seem to have a lot more energy now, but I also have times when I'm suddenly just exhausted, so I suppose it will take a while to get back to normal. Tomorrow is the Mu Phi Fundraiser Boutique, so I'm excited about that, but I wish it was in another week or so instead of tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Beading, Slowly

I've had a bad cold ever since Saturday night, and I just haven't felt like sewing or even knitting, really. So, I've been catching up on some reading, (poolside reading, if you know what I mean) looking at magazines and resting a lot. I finally felt like doing something, and decided to finish the beading on the scarves I hemmed for the Mu Phi Epsilon Boutique Fundraiser this Sunday. (About time, I guess.) Then I noticed a couple bracelets that were half-done in my beading things, and thought I'd work on them a little. Well, it went really well, and I finished them both last night! I don't know when I started on them, but it was over a year ago, not that there was any rush.... You can see more photos of them here.

The one you see above is a cuff bracelet with an armature underneath. You can see the edge of it here and there. I used an assortment of various beads and just piled them on. I think it's going to be fun to wear. If I were going to make another, it would definitely be narrower, as there was a lot of beading just to cover this, much less build it up and make it look somewhat interesting.

The one below is what I have seen called a Caterpillar Bracelet, and has a base of narrow cording doubled, stitched and knotted at one end with a loop at the other. It's beaded all over with loops of beads, and has a beaded ball on one end as a button to close with the loop. I'm quite pleased with it, and I can see wearing it quite a lot.

A Beaded Gift

The beautiful beaded stitch markers above are a gift from my sister! It was so exciting to get them. They're so lovely, and something I never would have gotten for myself. (I've been known to cut up McDonald's straws and use those for stitch markers, and they work very well, especially if you need a ton of them, right now. But, a thing of beauty, they're not.) I find myself just gazing at these and all their little details. The largest one is a lampwork bead, handmade by someone.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Coat Photos

Well, as I said, I finished the Marfy #9621 coat on Thursday night, but only got to take photos this afternoon. You'll have to ignore the jeans and fleece top, which although extremely warm, isn't what I'd wear this coat with. I was afraid I'd miss the light again today.

I'm pretty pleased with this. It's very comfy, very warm (I tested it on the way to and from the Pati Palmer seminar today. It was snowing and sleeting!) and roomy enough to wear almost anything under. (In case you're wondering, I did not wear the fleece and jeans to the sewing seminar. I wore my Vogue bamboo print topstitched jacket.) I made full-length sleeves instead of the 3/4 sleeves shown in the illustration. I love 3/4 sleeves, but I also love warm arms, so I decided to be practical, and have warm arms.

As always, a Marfy pattern goes together beautifully. The unusual feature of this coat is the drawstring treatment in the collar. I don't know if I did it the way they had in mind, but I'm kind of pleased with it. It certainly makes for a very warm coat with the collar gathered and the ties tied. I used a fancy twisted cord as the drawstring. I also used it for the button loop. I used a 1 7/8" button covered in the lining fabric.

The plaid fabric is from JoAnn's, and the wool lining fleece is from Wazoodle.

You can see more photos and close ups here.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Coat is Done

Well, no photos yet, as it's late and dark, but I finished the coat tonight! I'm quite pleased with it, and I certainly have worked through some trials and tribulations, not the least of which is that my sewing machine died at about 2am Monday morning. Yes, my dear Elna 7000 just gave up. The flywheel suddenly was very stiff and I couldn't pick up the bobbin thread. I took it in on Monday, and just heard tonight that the hook is what's bound up. The repair guy has had solvent on it and is working it and thinks he might be able to get it loosened up enough to get it apart tomorrow to see whether the hook is okay. I hope so.

I ended up finishing on my good old Kenmore, the faithful backup machine. I'm so glad I've kept it in working order all these years. Every once in a while it's worth its weight in gold, or wool at least. I had no problems sewing, and the fact that I have a walking foot for this machine was a great help I think, as the layers were quite thick. This was because I decided to do a complete lining of the coat with the wool/acrylic bouclé fleece from Wazoodle. I was awfully worried about it at the beginning, but I think it was a fine choice, and the coat is all I'd hoped. It's very drapey, and cut large enough that even with a non-slick lining I have no trouble at all slipping it over other clothing, even sweaters. It's going to be extremely warm too.

I may wear it to the Pati Palmer seminar in Omaha tomorrow. It's supposed to be cold, and even colder for the second day on Saturday.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Welt Pocket Test

This may not look too thrilling, but I'm pretty pleased with how this test pocket is going. The lips aren't actually sewn in yet, but I was going past the scanner, so I just took my chance so that you could see it.

The plaid will be on the straight-of-grain, and the pocket will be angled on the coat. It's the largest welt pocket I've ever made; about 6" long and over 1 1/2" wide so that the contrast fabric really shows up. It's a dark green, no matter what it may look like here. It's quite lofty, and I think it's going to be a great contrast fabric for this. I decided I had better make a sample pocket as I realize it's been quite some time since I actually did welt pockets. They're always kind of fun, though. It's just so exciting to see them begin to emerge during the pressing phase.

I'm going to finish my sample, and then stitch the darts on the coat fronts so that I can do the pockets. The pocket openings must line up exactly with the dart ends. Should be exciting, and I'll find out whether I laid out my fabric exactly symmetrically. It's more exciting than I'd planned, as I had to cut each front and back piece separately since the fabric wasn't quite wide enough to do them with the fabric folded.

Here's the pattern illustration again.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Instant Jacket

Here's my Instant Jacket! I feel like it was almost instant anyway. I fooled around and didn't stitch it together right away, but now it's done. As I said before, the yarn is from Wal-Mart; they're having a collection made for them in Turkey. It seems to be mostly your average discount type yarn, although almost all novelty types, but I fell in love with this. You can see a pretty good representation of the color in the photo below, at least on my monitor. This shows the shoulder seam on the left, and the edge of the garter stitch collar on the right.

I really like this little cardigan. I think because of the tweedy effect of the yarn, it has quite a fashionable look. I was so close to not-enough-yarn-to-finish that it was scary. I used every single scrap to finish up the collar, and ended up sewing up the seams with heavy thread. You're supposed to do a round of single crochet around the whole thing, but forget that; I was lucky to finish at all. I used beautiful gold crested buttons from Pam at Sew Exciting. I think they add quite a bit to it, and it will be fun and easy to change the buttons if I want a different look sometime. The buttonholes are simply enlarged stitches that I stitched around on the inside to keep them the size I wanted them.

The back neckline on this pattern has a tendency to stretch to a width much wider than is flattering. Instead of a stabilizer like twill tape or anything which might show, I used a doubled heavy thread (30wt. cotton) to stitch by hand along the edge to stabilize it and to pull it in to the measurement I wanted. In fact, I almost halved the original length, and it came in beautifully, with no gathers or anything. It's just that it's such large stitches that there's a lot of play in them. I think that sewing the collar on could have done the same thing, but I wanted to get it the right length before I stitched the collar.

I stitched the collar on by hand, with a doubled thread, holding the collar with the right side of the collar facing the inside of the jacket. After stitching, the collar then rolls beautifully to the outside in its proper position, rather than looking rather flat, which is what can happen.

I would recommend this pattern or something similar to anyone with a Bulky weight yarn for which they want a quickie project. Anything that knits at about 2 stitches/inch works, and the more interesting the yarn, the better.

You can see some more photos here.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Coat Fever

Here's the coat that I think may finally move me from the ranks of
Dying to Make a Coat,
Made a Coat.

It's Marfy 9621, and I have a lovely deep green woven that is almost like a flat-woven tweed, with bouclé plaid threads in pink, green, gold and a tiny bit of plum metallic. It looks quite loosely woven, but it isn't as loose as I thought, although it has quite a bit of movement to it. I think it will need underlining, and possibly flannel might be a good choice.

I started laying it out and marking it this afternoon, and it quickly became apparent that it was going to be a bigger job than I had thought, since the pattern pieces are large because of the cut-on sleeves. I have to cut out single layer, so that makes the plaid matching a little trickier. I wish there were an easier way to mark than tailor tacks, but I think that's really the best method. I'm just going to have to wait until my back is in a little better shape to do all the bending over.

So, that gives me time to decide what to use for the contrast. I'm actually thinking fleece, or a lofty pile knit that I have in green. I don't want velvet, which is what is called for.

On the knitting front, I have my Instant Jacket almost all sewn together, and the collar almost done, so it is coming along.

It's going to be coat and jacket weather very soon, like maybe tonight! It's 48 right now, and it may snow a little in the next couple days. Oh, joy.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Knitting Again, Instantly

This is what I'm getting from the No Boundaries yarn I got from Wal-Mart. It's a beautifully suéded looking yarn, variegated in soft pinks and dark taupes with a little metallic thrown in. It's a little like a railroad ribbon yarn, but has much more body than most I've seen. I fell in love with it and bought all they had; 10 skeins.

I'm making an Instant Jacket. The pattern is from I'd Rather Be Knitting, and I'm sorry that I can't find a link to them. I've had the pattern for quite some time and used it once before. It makes a nice, simple cardigan, and best of all, it will work with the amount of yarn I have. This knits at 2 stitches/inch, so it goes really fast. I'm hoping I'll have enough yarn to add a collar, which would be cute I think.

End-of-the-Season Garden

I thought it would be fun to put up some photos of my garden in its early autumn deshabile. As usual, I should have done more this year, but it looks pretty nice if you don't look too closely. Above and below are the large groupings of asters that take over in the fall. In the morning especially, there are countless Monarch butterflies and bees on them.


Close up of an evening Monarch still at work.

Probably the last waterlily of the season. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Asian Jacket is Done

Last night I finished the Asian Jacket! What a good feeling. I was so pleased that I sat and knitted for about an hour on a little cardigan.

This jacket is made from Lonni Rossi cotton fabrics, which are designed for quilters, but I really liked these prints. The main problem I had with this was that I planned to line the jacket, and it was not planned to be lined. I just assumed that I could throw in a regular lining, and it started out fine, but I soon realized that the hem was a narrow hem, turned twice and topstitched. Well, that wasn't going to be too great. What I finally did was do the top of the lining as usual, and did the bottom as a facing, and topstitched through the face fabric and the lining at the same time. It worked quite well, and I don't have any problem with lining dropping below the hemline. That was a relief. The jacket is supposed to have side vents, and I did them, but they wanted to stick out kind of funny. I finally stitched them up, as I think it would only have gotten worse after sitting in it, etc.

I wondered if I was going to want a closure for this jacket, even though it isn't meant to have one. I had thought perhaps a sash belt from the chrysanthemum print, but I decided on a very large button from a set I have. I did not want an equally large buttonhole, so I used a very large covered snap. You can see the two halves below.

I used gold Madeira rayon thread for the topstitching, and they had enough colors of gold that I was able to find one that matched the metallic print perfectly. You can see more photos and close ups here.