Saturday, May 21, 2022

2 Out of 3

 Still alive and kicking (barely). Still sewing (barely). 

So, two out of three -- Not great, but not bad since the one that didn't work may be able to be salvaged. 

First up: the two that work. Looking at the photos they appear remarkably similar. They are, however, two different patterns -- one for wovens -- one for knits. The similarity is due to the sleeves I think -- I have altered both sleeves to be 3/4 length and fuller (can we call it a bishop sleeve?).

This is the woven top. It's a silk crepe with an embossed texture -- Fabric Mart called it a Jacquard, but I think embossed describes it more accurately. I tried to upload a pic of the texture, but no such luck. The pattern is Rochelle, by Loes Hinse Studio. As mentioned, the sleeve was re-made to be fuller, gathered into a band (cuff?).

I love the color and feel comfortable in this loose, airy style. Win!

Pamela's Patterns Perfect Tee -- my "go-to" knit top pattern. Sleeves adapted, and neckline changed to a vee with a center front seam.  I like sewing my vee-necks with a front seam, especially those that are solid colors. Fabric is from and I believe it is a hemp/cotton blend. Has really nice drape.

And now there's no avoiding the one that didn't work (yet).  It's also based on the Pamela's Patterns Perfect Tee, but obviously something went wrong with my adaptations, as it pulls (uncomfortably) to the back. It is tunic length, with a gathered skirt. The neckline is finished with a facing -- scalloped in front, and plain in the back. Just guessing, but I think the problem may be that the back is heavier than the front and that's why it's pulling back. I accept that I may be wrong about that, but I will try out a reduction in the gathers in the back and see if that helps. If not, well, let's not go there.

It's a shame, because the color is a good one for me, and I was happy with how the scallops turned out. Sigh.

I hope there will be more sewing projects in the near future. Right now I'm working on a crocheted topper and it's sucking all my spare time away from sewing. Also, my DH has had some health issues requiring surgery, so that limits time too. He's happily on the mend though, so hooray!  We seem to be having quite a few cases of Covid in our immediate neighborhood, so here's hoping we can avoid it ourselves. Mask up, wash hands constantly, repeat, repeat! Stay well everyone.

Next up is a variation in my "go-to" knit top -- Pamela's Patterns Perfect Tee.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

So sew

 I've been concentrating on tops for Spring - mostly tees, as that's the majority of my top wardrobe for warmer weather (which seems to come and go around here - mostly going at the moment).

First, though, the blouse that caused me so much angst over my vision issues. Well, black fabric will do that with aging eyes I suspect. Although I am not entirely happy with my sewing on this one I think it will be perfectly serviceable for everyday wear. The pattern is my basic shoulder princess seam block (mentioned previously) with "grandpa" collar (i.e. the collar band only) and the sleeve adapted to be a 3/4 length lantern sleeve. I used the visuals from a tutorial at PatternLab. The tutorial is actually for computer drafting, but the visuals were enough to get me through old school paper and pencil drafting - it's a very simple change. There is also a tutorial on the Threads magazine site, however it is for a lantern sleeve with an additional section which is not what I wanted.   

The fabric is a cotton poplin (I think!) from Fabric Mart. Any issues I had with it were entirely due to my own situation. 

After the shirt, I was ready for something easier and so I got out my TNT tee pattern from Pamela's Patterns. 

Just to add a little change, I decided to make 3/4 length sleeves and add some fullness to them. My first attempt was with a rayon jersey I wasn't completely sure about - it seemed like it might be a bit thinner than I like. It turned out fine (both the alteration and the fabric weight) so it was saved from being a pajama top. I next made it up in an Art Gallery cotton jersey - pink is such a mood brightener!


Then, I decided to stitch up a cotton jersey from Emma One Sock. The fabric itself is lovely, but the colors turned out to be much more pastel than I really like. I thought I would bring a punch of darker color to it by using some left over purple as neck/sleeve binding. I thought wrong! I also thought wrong by making elbow length sleeves. Ugh! There was leftover stripe fabric so I cut the sleeves down to a better length and simply used self-fabric bands. I decided to change the neckline by adding a mock turtleneck. Why not? 

I was happier with the change in shape, but still not convinced it was very flattering color-wise. Luckily I had purchased a RTW jean jacket in a hot pink shade, so I tried them together and I think it will work. 

Alright then - on to the next challenge. 


Thursday, March 31, 2022

Moving On

 It was Spring for a few days and now we're back to colder temps. So perhaps my late finished knitted items might get a wear or two? Probably not, it's not that frigid, but here are a couple of knitted stragglers. 

First up - a practice mitt. I don't have enough yarn to make another, but I wanted to try out this pattern for fit and ease of knitting. It's Honey's Mittens from Schoolhouse Press and it's a lovely, well-written pattern. I needed to reduce the height to fit my hand, which is regrettable because the full pattern is even nicer. 

There're additional instructions to add a 'cover' to the palm in case of wear, but that will be left off when I get back to make the mittens again. 

I saw a new-to-me type of yarn (blow yarn) while reading a blog and decided that I really needed to try it.  Instead of being spun the yarn is blown into a tube - interesting, yes? This particular blogger had used Drops Air for her sweater, so I ordered a wee bit of that to make something small. There are probably other yarns made in a similar way, but I went with what I saw. I used a free pattern from the Garn Studio site for a balaclava. The pattern was mostly knitted in seed stitch (moss stitch to non-US knitters), but after knitting the lower border I decided to continue on with plain stockinette - much faster!

As mentioned, the yarn is Drops Air - 65% alpaca, 28% polyamide (the tubing I suspect) and 7% wool (breed not specified).

I thought the yarn was quite nice - very soft - and I'll probably knit up a hat with the leftovers. I doubt that I will use this type of yarn for a sweater though. It seems to have more of a 'matted' look than the soft halo effect you get from a spun yarn of alpaca. Just my opinion of course. 

And so ends the winter knitting. I have started on a few sewn items for Spring, but that's a post for another day. Stay well everyone!

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Still wallowing…

 …in a puddle of angst — not quite the Slough of Despond, but debilitating enough I suppose. The world situation is worrying, the crazies are doing their damndest to take over the asylum here in the US, and Mother Nature is throwing around whacky weather all over the place. Yesterday was a sunny, pleasant 64F. (about 17C.) here — today it is 32F (0C.) and snowing. Arghh!

My refuge from all this has always been in creating — whether sewing, knitting, beading or anything else. Like everyone else I’ve had to deal with the passage of time and its effects  on physical abilities. Not always pleasant, but we deal with it. Now though, I’m faced with something not so easy for me to deal with — wet macular degeneration. Many of us will face the ‘dry’ version of age-related macular degeneration but around 20% will have that develop into ‘wet’ (so called because of fluid leakage from eye blood vessels) which can lead to a loss of vision. Not a total loss — peripheral vision remains — but enough to make me fearful of the day I may not be able to do the things I find comforting and joyful. Right now my treatment is medication injected into the eye itself to stop the progression — there is no current cure, although there is always hope. I can still do the work I love with added lighting and magnification, but as those modifications become less effective I find myself giving in to bouts of useless self-pity. This entry is one of them, I guess. It’s also my way of reaching out to anyone else ‘out there’ who may be dealing with this. 

Next post will be more upbeat I hope. I have a few things I’ve made and a few things I’m planning. The work goes slower, and I’ve had to let go of any hope of ‘perfection’ (does that even exist anyway?) but things are still chugging along in the workroom. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Sewing/Machine Knitting/Hand Knitting -- What, No Crochet?

 It's a small project, but I managed to squeeze 3 techniques into its completion. Behold -- mittens!  

The fabric for the body of the mittens was machine knit and supposed to be one half of a scarf (directional print, needed to be done in 2 pieces), but after washing and blocking the piece I decided that the yarn wasn't soft enough for around the neck wear. Not wanting to waste it, I thought it would work for mittens. I had already made up the Tova mittens from The Last Stitch from a felted RTW sweater and knew it was a good pattern.

I wanted ribbing for the cuff, and my knitting machine has no ribber, so hand knitting it was! 
So glad that I was able to salvage even a small piece of my machine knit fabric.

I have managed a little sewing too. I bought a few pieces of fabric from Fabric Mart and managed to sew one of them up before it hit the stash. Whoa, that almost never happens! The pattern I used was Preston from Style Arc. The fabric a double-faced knit (cotton/linen/Lycra), heathered linen on the face, and grey cotton knit on the reverse. I left off the pockets because I had to reduce some length on the pattern in order to fit it on the yardage I had. I will make them next time. It's a simple raglan, boxy top that's right up my alley for everyday wear.

And so it goes...


Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Slogging through January

 When I potted up this amaryllis bulb last autumn, I had hoped for a nice Christmas display.  Mother Nature has her own timeline though -- so, blooms to celebrate MLK Day -- and they are just as lovely.

Sewing projects have been scarce lately, but I've picked up the slack with some hand knitting. I finished the Alby scarf and am looking forward to wearing it.

I really liked working with the Finn Dandy yarn -- it felt so nice running through my fingers. The black contrast yarn was some leftover Loft by Brooklyn Tweed in the cast iron colorway. I had used it as the darkest color in the Aranami Shawl by Olga Buraya-Kefelian (not previously shown here) and was hoping to use the ball up, but no such luck. I'll have to keep looking for some small projects to use up my leftovers.

I like to use charts for my knitting projects, so I treated myself to a new tool -- the Maker's Board from Cocoknits. It's a bit pricey at $36 USD, but it works so much better than the flimsy plastic document holder from the office supply store I had previously used. I use the included ruler under the line I'm knitting from a chart, and the magnetized back holds it firmly in place. Despite the firm hold it is easy to move the ruler up the chart as you work.  Plenty of additional magnets and a needle gauge are also included, and of course you could stick any additional metal objects (needles, pens?) to the board.

Despite my lack of sewing I have still managed to order a few pieces of fabric for some eventual spring projects. Couldn't resist the shirting sale at Fabric Mart -- I really can't be trusted on any fabric sites. Some things just never change!


Sunday, January 9, 2022

Bits ‘n’ Bobs

And a Happy New Year to all. Can’t say I’m incredibly optimistic about 2022, but who knows?

I’ve enjoyed reading many blog “year-end round ups”, and while I don’t do that kind of summary myself, I feel pretty good about my production this past year. My focus was on filling gaps in my wardrobe, and producing some ‘every day at home’ wear that is a cut above Pandemic Year I Don’t Care Anymore. 

I ended up sewing several pairs of joggers, but tried to elevate them from ‘sweats’ with fabric choice. One of my favorites was Ponte Leggero Stretch by Telio. This is a lighter weight ponte with plenty of drape. The pattern I used was a modified Kwik Sew (RIP) legging pattern. I wanted a slimmer jogger, and the pattern also had no outside leg seam for an even more streamlined look. I split the 1-piece pattern down the center and added about 3/4” there and then an additional 1/4” to the inner leg seams. I have no idea if that is an official Sewing Police method, but it worked a treat. I should note that the legging pattern was not drafted with negative ease originally so I didn’t need to add much for the look I wanted. Drafted a cuff — plain rectangle, how easy is that? — and boom!, just what I wanted. Gotta love it!

I’ve started a small hand knitting project — Alby by the talented Bonne Marie Burns. My main yarn is Finn Dandy 2-ply sport by Bare Naked Wools. I’ll use a black yarn for the contrast stripes. Right now I’m working on the lacy edging — 

Not much sewing done lately, but one small project has been my “costume” for our family holiday gathering — a 20’s murder mystery night. We decided to not go full bore with costumes, but rather just use accessories to suggest our characters. My character is Greta Garbled and I’m using a gold metallic tinged turban to convey a little hint of glam.  

The pattern is the Surimani turban available through Etsy. Fabric is a black/gold knit that I found in my ‘scrap’ tote — I have absolutely no idea what I used it for originally, but was happy to find it.

A little machine knitting has been done also. I’m thinking that this 1/2 scarf will turn out to be a nice large swatch instead of being completed. I had punched the design card for the sheep in snow and combined it with a standard block design from my pre-punched design cards and was anxious to see how it would look, but a softer wool and more width would be better I think.

The wavy yarn at the bottom of the picture is waste yarn, not part of the design.

So, bits and pieces to start off the new year. Trying to keep busy to keep up a positive attitude. 😀