Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Spring Must Be Coming Soon

I used to subscribe to Knit'N'Style magazine, but lately I've been looking at it on the newsstand before I buy. I don't think I've ever looked at their website before, but I happened on it tonight, and this is the cover sweater on their April issue.

I just love this! Looking at it, I really hope it is not crocheted, but the colors and the design appeal to me so strongly that I am going to have to look for the magazine. I really need to know what yarn this is.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Knitting Enablement aka Happy Birthday

From Yarn

My sister-in-law has expressed interest in knitting, and tomorrow is her birthday. What could be more perfect? My family has all gone in on a gift, and I was delegated to find something. Of course I decided that this was the perfect time to get her hooked.

I included a beginning knitting book that's used by the LYS, just in case she wants to take their class, Brown Sheep worsted weight yarn in 3 colors, 2 circular needles, sizes 6 & 8, and various yarns from my collection so she can try out different things, just for fun. I also put in a copy of Classic Elite's Knitting the New Classics that I happened to have. I think it has some very tempting patterns. I put the whole collection in a bag suitable for knitting, and there it is! I'm feeling rather successful. I just hope she likes it!

From Yarn

Chiffon Sleeves

Chiffon Sleeve Seam

I've been working on my Marfy dress again with the chiffon sleeves and collar. I got brave and cut out the chiffon, and have been working with it. I didn't do a french seam, just a regular seam, and then turned both seam allowances to one side, but didn't make them completely flat, and stitched through them with a hand whipstitch. I then trimmed very closely. The seam allowance is now tiny, and very flexible. I also did the edges of the sleeve placket with a hand-rolled edge, as you would do a scarf. I used a fine silk thread for both of these operations. It's a #100, rather than a #50, which is regular machine stitching weight. I've begun attaching the matelassé cuffs and will then attach the sleeves to the dress. Then it will be on to the collar.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Moving Along

I finally broke down and ordered several things from FabricMart the other day. They have some really gorgeous, unusual things right now. I hope I'm going to get to them quickly after they come, as well. In hopes that action will occur, I worked a little while tonight on several things.

I got out a Marfy jacket pattern to see if I had enough of a wide wale knit to make it up, and the answer is no. Instead, I'm seriously considering using a cotton with metallic designs that I got last year. I washed a swatch to see if it was going to shrink or otherwise go weird, and it seems to be very stable. I thought I'd try washing a swatch of my Armani Perfume fabric as well, and was pleased to find that it too is very stable, and seemingly unaffected by washing. A friend guessed that it had some acetate in it, and it appears that it doesn't, which is just fine.

I worked a bit on the matelassé/chiffon Marfy dress I've been inching along on, and I feel like I'm making progress. I keep thinking I need armscye facings, and I become somewhat stymied. Then I realize it has sleeves, for heaven's sake! I cut the neckline lower this evening, compensating for what I took out at the shoulder, and it improves it no end. I begin to think I may actually get it done in fairly decent time.

I've been looking at the Couture shows, and am getting a little excited by them. There are some really interesting things. The Dior show is absolutely outstanding this season, but Valentino appeals to me as well, especially from a sewing point of view, just because of his beautiful fabrics and techniques. Every detail of his garments is obviously thought out very carefully, and the care taken certainly shows.

Hip volume really is coming to the fore, after a few seasons of foreshadowing, and it begins to look quite good. There are some very nice tunics that flare at the hip, and while I don't know that I'd care for them on me, they do look good on the runway.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Wardrobing & Buttons

I'm feeling light-as-a-feather today, because I finished a project last night that had been weighing heavily on my mind. I did a program for my local Sewing Guild on Wardrobing. It was actually a lot of fun, and went fairly well, but I worried a lot about it, and I'm just as glad that it's over.

One of our members brought several boxes of sewing items to the meeting, that she was looking for new homes for. They were things that had belonged to her mother-in-law, and among other things, she had lots of buttons. I was surprised and very pleased when she handed me a large bag of buttons and said she thought I'd like these. She was so right! I love buttons of all kinds, and there are some really unique ones here, and some very large ones, which I always gravitate toward. They seem to be very hard to find as well.

Half the Buttons
Some of my favorites are the large green carved buttons, and the blue and white swirl buttons on the left. I also love the set of 6 large, domed buttons in a dark brown with brass rods inset to look like round dots. They don't show well in the photo at all.

Other Half of the Buttons

Many of these are plastic buttons, but they seem to be a much nicer plastic than modern buttons, or maybe it's that they've improved with age. I'm not sure, but I know I'll be using some of these anyway, and maybe quite a few.

I've been knitting madly on the Bendigo Cabled Cardigan, and finished one side of the front the other day. I think it turned out very well. There will be a band at the CF that is picked up, so it will be a little wider. It seems to be turning out the correct size, which is always encouraging. Here's a photo of the front, and a close-up of the stitch patterns.


Stitch Patterns

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I've Been Tagged

(& You May Be Next!)

Mardel, at Purls & Murmurs tagged me. As Mardel noted on her own blog, at first a brief moment of panic struck, but then it sounded like fun.

Here are the Rules:
  • Someone Tags you
  • You post 5 things about yourself that you haven't already mentioned on your blog
  • You tag 5 people about whom you'd like to know more

So, 5 things I haven't talked about.

I have a degree in Vocal Performance, and am a classically trained Soprano.

I can drive a grain truck. Also a tractor and a combine.

Although it's apparently almost a given now for women to admit that they never wanted to be the Princess who was waiting for Prince Charming to slay the dragon, etc., and that instead they wanted to be Prince Charming, or at least do all the exciting things he got to do, I really only ever wanted to be the Princess. Not that I was going to just sit there waiting, but I didn't want to do all those other things anyway. I'm perfectly happy being a very traditional kind of woman, although I would never want to go back to the days when that was all that was available to women. I simply happen to be one who likes that particular lifestyle, and was lucky enough to get it. Strangely enough, I don't identify one bit with any group I've heard of that is supposed to be for this type of thing. I simply want to do what I want to do, and they can do what they want to do. The end.

Probably the thing that I hate the most is people telling other people what to do. I have never understood why they didn't just do what they want, and let others have the same privilege. Not attempting to control others appears to be an impossible thing for some people, but I often think it's one of the worst things you can do as a person, and even more so if you're a person with some sort of power or authority over others. It's just mean.

I am the first tea drinker in a long Swedish line of coffee drinkers, and they do wonder about me a little.

That was surprisingly hard! Now, who shall I tag?
I will tag:
Off the Cuff
Fiberly One
Stitches & Seams
Couture et Tricot

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Weather Influencing Style

KwikSew #2286

I just finished a lace tank-style undershirt from KwikSew #2286. This is the one where I used the stretch lace elastic edging that I dyed to match. The fabric is really more of a stretch mesh than a stretch lace, in my opinion, but with the soutache sewn on in pretty designs, it looks more like a lace. It has almost a tie-dyed effect, with some of it much lighter than others in a random, mottled sort of way.

I really like this pattern, and I was thinking last night as I stitched the hem, and realized that apparently I sew these in January, that it must be because I'm cold, and so I want more layers to put on. I also did a pair of semi-heavy socks recently, for much the same reason I suspect. Anyway, I thought it was kind of funny.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

My Pincushion

My Pincushion

Debbie at Stitches and Seams had a post about her pincushion that caught my fancy. She got a new pincushion, color-coordinated to her recently decorated sewing room. You wouldn't think such a small item would be so exciting to get, but I knew exactly how she felt. It was fun to see hers, and I thought I'd take a photo of mine. It would be fun to see all of yours, too!

Mine is nowhere near as pristine as hers, since mine has been in use for a couple of years, but I am actually a little picky about what goes into it.

Friday, January 12, 2007


Border Print Gown

I seem to be in a "get the easy things done now" mood lately. I am always loathe to buy garments like this nightgown, as they're so easily made, but then I don't get them done, either. This is a cute border print polyester I found, and it just said nightgown to me, especially at the grand price of $2.50 for the 1 1/2 yards I bought. I copied an old favorite gown, using beading I had on hand for the straps and upper edge trim, where the original had narrow binding. It's quite a simple shape, but that's just what a nightgown should be. I cut it out Wednesday night, and stitched it up last night.

Nightgown Reverse

I should have posted a picture of what I used for trim on this gown, especially when it's called beading and has nothing to do with beads. I don't even know why it's called that, but as far as I know, that's the name for it. Here's a (somewhat blurry) photo.

It's lace that has largish holes or eyelets in it, and ribbon is run through them, or in this case, behind them. Often it's a contrasting ribbon, although this one is matching.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Armani Fabric?

Armani Fabric

This is a scan of some fabric that I found today in a place I didn't expect it. Wal-Mart. It was on the $2/yard table, and it immediately stood out when I came around the corner. It's a very nice jacquard burn-out print fabric in a great colorway. It's a little brighter than the scan shows, but not much. It's not what you'd expect with a shiny poly fabric, and I think there's quite a bit of rayon in it, and in fact, it may be almost all rayon, with polyester in the jacquard leaves, and around and through the burnout spots. The fact that it says Giorgio Armani Perfume near the selvedge is a slight puzzle. Could this have been meant for scarves for one of their perfume promotions? Who knows? It's pretty anyway, and a very high quality. I bought 5 yards, and am thinking of either a dress, or possibly a matching blouse and jacket lining.

I also got the new Spring 2007 Marfy catalog today! What joy, and surprise. I knew it would come quicker by courier (UPS) than by mail, but this is unbelievable. They only released it 2 days ago. So, now I'm poring over that, and gazing at my new fabric, and it may be going to give us a big ice and snow storm starting about tomorrow morning, so I'm ready to stay home and work!

Thank you all for the very kind comments on my jeans. There were questions about the Hollywood Waist technique, and I will definitely take photos next time I do one, but there's a great tutorial for this technique on Pam Erny's site, Off the Cuff. She taught me this method, and calls it the Comfy Waistband, which it certainly is, but I've found that more people call this the Hollywood Waistband, which sounds more glamorous in any case.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New Jeans

I had decided that I wanted to make a pair of pants which would "read" as jeans under things, but which would actually be a nice pair of flat-front pants that just happened to be made out of denim. The whole point was to get a pair of casual pants that would be suitable for any kind of hard wear I wanted to throw at it, and yet would look somewhat less casual than actual jeans. Since I generally wear something over the top of pants, the fact that jeans have all the detail and layers of fabric at the top doesn't do anything for me except add inches, and that is not really what I need. I wanted something that would be slim-fitting above the leg.

Front View

This is what I came up with. I used my favorite Double Burda pants pattern, leaving the leg width and shaping alone, and leaving the zipper on the side seam. I added an inseam pocket on the other side, and patch pockets on the back. I stitched the seams and then serged the allowances together, pressed them toward the back, and topstitched on the outseams, for a fake flat-fell look without the bulk. I also topstitched the patch pockets, around the inseam pocket opening, and the hem.

Pockets & Topstitching

I used the Hollywood Waistband technique, but I used a much wider elastic than I usually do since the denim needs a pretty sturdy underpinning. This is Textile Studio's 1 1/2" elastic. The top of the elastic sits at my waist, so it's almost a contour waist.

Inside Waistband

I wore these all day to see how they'd feel, and they're just as comfortable as I'd hoped.

Side View

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Fake-A-Gamo Bag is Finished

Fake-A-Gamo Bag.

I finished this project this evening. I'm rather pleased with it, and although I didn't plan in the beginning to stray quite this far from the original, I rather like the outcome.

I used Pellon Peltex 72x double-sided fusible for the shaping, and covered both sides with the chosen lining fabric. I then trimmed one side of the lining to the size of the fusible and turned the other side over it and stitched. This created a thing rather like a very sturdy placemat, to which I attached pockets and then zigzagged the side edges off the edge, so it's kind of like a flat-locked seam.

Inside Bag

I had planned to use straight bamboo rod handles, but they didn't work with the very stiff shape, and so I tried a lot of different shapes and ideas, and came up with the D-ring bamboo shape upside down. I attached the handles with 2 lengths of turned tube each, stitching the ends before attaching the knitting to the lining.

I sewed the 2 knitted pieces together on 3 sides, then handstitched the top edge of the lining to the appropriate point on the knitted pieces, and finally handstitched the knitted facing to the inside.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Fundamental Socks

From Knitting

These socks are not a thing of beauty, as I am the first to point out, but they are certainly well-made socks, and very warm, and perfect for wearing any old time, whereas I have a tendency to save my "good" handknitted socks for less hard wear. As I mentioned before, this pattern calls for Woolly Nylon thread as a reinforcement carry-along in the heel, sole and toe stitches. This is accomplished by knitting it along with the yarn in those places, but when knitting across the instep stitches, you knit with the yarn alone, adding the thread again when you get to the sole stitches again. This creates a ladder of thread inside the foot of the sock. I actually took some good photos of this, and I cannot tell you how annoyed I was when I tried to download them, and they all disappeared into cyberspace. By that time of course, I had cut off the ladder threads, and so couldn't re-take the photos. Some days.... The threads do not work their way out, and there's no need to secure them; just cut them off. This is mindless knitting at its best, too. It was about a 3-day project for the pair. One was half finished very pleasantly during the Rose Parade.

I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease for these, and one skein makes the pair.