Thursday, September 15, 2016

Manzanilla Sweater by Joji Locatelli

I tried something a little different this time.  I took these photos on my phone instead of with my regular camera, and I uploaded them to Blogger from there.  The funny thing is they look pretty good on my phone, but the colors are totally different on my computer monitor.  They look more washed out and over exposed on my computer than they do on the phone.  Let me know what you think.

Anyway, this is my Manzanilla Sweater.  The pattern is by Joji Locatelli, from her e-book The Authentic Collection.  

The yarn is Malabrigo Silky Merino in the colorway Jupiter, and that is the perfect colorway name for this.  It totally looks like all the colors from a photo of Jupiter, emphasis on that big red spot.  I chose this yarn because that is what is recommended in the pattern, but I didn't realize when I ordered it online that it is a singly-ply yarn.  A little explanation if you aren't familiar with yarn construction:

When yarn is spun in a mill from wool (and silk, in this case), it is pulled out and spun into a strand.  Often, multiple strands are then twisted together to make the final yarn.  The final yarn can be described by the number of strands.  A yarn with 4 strands twisted together is a 4-ply yarn.  Sometimes, though, and in this case, just one, thicker strand is used, and it is called a single-ply yarn,

Ok, anyway, I have decided that single-ply yarns are not really my thing.  The small amount of twist and fuzzier texture means they pill easier in the finished garment and just take on a general fuzzy appearance, and, even worse for me, they pick up animal hair like velcro!  My Seacoast sweater, coincidentally also by Joji Locatelli, and knit in a worsted-weight single-spun yarn, is the worst for this!  I always look like I rolled around on the dog.  So anyway, much as I love this finished sweater, I know I will not love all the time spent with a de-piller, and I will carefully stay away from the single-spun yarns in the future.

Yarn discussion aside, this design is fantastic!  I love the cabled detail on the shoulders and sleeves.  I sized down one size from the recommendation based on my bust for two reasons.  I like a more body-conscious fit than is shown in the pattern, and I thought the yarn was super-wash, which has a tendency to grow (It is not superwash, in fact; are you noticing a pattern?  I really didn't do my homework on this yarn!).  In the end, the body and armhole fit was perfect, but the cuffs of the sleeves were quite snug.  While blocking, I really stretched out the cuffs, and I push them up right above my elbows, and they are fine now.  The only change I made from the pattern was to eliminate the split hem.  I used a regular ribbed bottom.

Overall, I am really happy with this sweater.  The fit through the body is perfect, and it will be a great sweater for fall.  I am considering making this again.  I would definitely use a different yarn - one that is plied and solid in color, to really show off those cables!  Maybe I will do the larger size, too, and just bring it in at the waist a bit.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

McCalls 7391 Lace-Up Shift Dress

Hi there.  Remember when I said I wanted to make McCalls 7391 after I finished my lace-up tee?  Well, I did it.  The fabric is a navy linen/rayon fabric from JoAnn Fabrics.  The laces are a braided rope-like trim, also purchased from JoAnn, but I can't find it online.  I also stitched the trim right on top of my hem stitching, and I love the extra pop.  The eyelets are the exact same ones I used for my tee linked above.

Ok enough talking.  Here it is:

 I found the fit to be ok for me.  Of course I did not make a muslin.  :-)  I ended up adjusting the side seams a bit - taking them in at the bust and letting them out at the hips.  Taking it in at the bust made my armholes a bit smaller, and they are perfect now.  If I hadn't needed the adjustment, I may have found the armholes a bit low.

This design has a subtle shirttail hem.  Very nice.

This has a loose fit, but I don't think it is unflattering.  It skims the curves and is very comfortable on a hot day.

I machine-stitched the trim at the hem with a simple straight stitch down the middle.  I am so glad I didn't hand-stitch it on.  It looks just fine and was much faster!