Saturday, May 20, 2017

Estonia in Ewe2Yarn Iceberg

Hello!  We have less than one week left until we officially leave Florida.  Things are, of course, a bit nutso here, but very exciting, too.  I finished this sweater a few weeks ago and am loving how soft and cozy it is.  

The pattern is Estonia by Vera Sanon.  It is a basic top-down raglan (no more of those for me in cardigan form, but a pullover is ok) in stockinette stitch.  The interesting detail is the Estonian Braid at the neckline.  The pattern also uses this stitch for the cuffs and hem, but I used simple 1x1 rib for those areas.

The fit of this is great - form-fitting but not tight.  The sample is shown in a semi-solid tonal yarn, so that is what I used, although it does look more variegated than I expected.  My yarn is Ewe2Yarn  100% merino in a colorway called "Iceberg."

Here is a better look at the Estonian Braid neckline.  It was less fiddly to knit than I expected.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

McCalls 7429

This is version 2 of McCalls 7429, actually in the full-length dress this time.  The first time I made this pattern, I found the skirt portion too short and tight, so I modified it to be a tunic.  This time, I lengthened the skirt pieces and cut the sides more A-line shaped to compensate.  

I started out by cutting the sleeves long, figuring I could adjust them when the rest of the dress was finished.  I decided that with the long sleeves, it was just too much white, but I did like the look of longer sleeves, so instead of cutting them short, I went with 3/4.

The fabric is a white cotton ponte from Pennie Fabrics in Sarasota, but white ponte isn't hard to find online.  

I am not sure about the hem.  The knot pulls the hem all different ways.  Sometimes it looks like the outer wrap is too long, but a little adjustment fixes it.  I am leaving it as is for now, but if I find that I am constantly having to adjust, I will just redo the hem.

When I envisioned this dress in white in my head, I thought it would be so classic and classy, and it is.  I wanted it to hit at the bottom of my knee, which it does.  It is form-fitting, but doesn't show a lot of skin.  Then, the first time I wore it, I noticed THIS as I walked through a parking lot...

Yeah, there is nothing to be done.  That wrap is at the just the right spot to show a LOT of leg when walking.  :-)
Here is a closeup of the knot detail.

I constructed almost all of this dress on my serger and coverstitch machines that I received for Christmas.  It was awesome!  It goes without saying that you don't need either type of machine to make this dress, though.  In fact, I made my first red tunic version before I had either one.

I hope all the moms out there have a great Mothers' Day!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Cashmere Princess Seam Dress with Embroidery Simplicity 2473

This is an updated (more like fixed) post from that time about a week ago that I tried to blog from my phone and no photos came through...  Yeah, sorry about that.  I hope you'll forgive me.  Anyway, here goes...

I made this dress to wear for Easter several years ago and just kind of rediscovered it while going through my closet to prepare to move.

The pattern is the out-of-print "Project Runway" Simplicity 2473.

The interest is in the embroidered waistband. I was afraid it might end up looking very "homemade" in a not awesome way, but I really like how it turned out, imperfections and all.  I played around with scraps until I found a design I liked and went to town.  I used a disappearing ink to mark the circles and then free-handed after that.

This was actually a candidate for the donate pile when I was clearing out my closet.  I have only worn it a couple of times.  It is that odd combination of warm fabric on a spring/summer style dress.  After I tried it on, though, I remembered how much I liked it.  With some tights and maybe a cardigan, it will be great in fall and spring.

The fabric is a super-soft cashmere. I had it for years before I decided what to make with it. It looks like it could use some pressing now.  Here is a closeup of the embroidery. I used plain old embroidery floss.

Well, I don't think I'll be doing much phone blogging after all, despite the ease of taking photos since I can't seem to make them show up on the actual blog! I hope you all are having a great weekend!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Vogue 1537 Dress in Silk/Linen

Hi there!  You may (or may not - it has been a few months) remember my excitement at Vogue 1537, a spring Kay Unger Designer pattern for Vogue.  Well, I finished it about two months ago, but with all the move excitement, I never got around to photographing and sharing it.  The coat is 95% finished as well.  It just needs a bit of hand sewing at the buttonholes (and buttons!), but once I missed the deadline on a perfect event for it, I lost steam.  It is too warm to wear now in Florida, but hopefully I will find the perfect excuse to wear it once we get to Pennsylvania.

So back to the main event - Vogue 1537.  I photographed this on a beautiful day, but I think the pale colored dress plus the white in the background was just too much for my camera and the photos are a bit washed out.  The detail photos at the end are an accurate representation of the fabric.  It is a silk/linen blend that I purchased at Penny Fabrics in Sarasota (sorry, still no website).  The lining is rayon from JoAnn fabrics.

The only shaping on the front is two french darts.  This style dart starts at the side seam around the waist and comes to a point at the bust.  This is a very flattering dart on my body shape.  It is easy to fit.  Here is another example of a dress with french darts.

The back has standard vertical fish-eye darts and a side invisible zipper.  I tried so hard to get that bottom band to be in the perfect position to cover my bra strap, but it always pops out, which totally ruins the look.  So far, I have only worn this dress with a little cardi over top, so you couldn't see the main detail anyway, but maybe I could look for a bra with a very thin band.  I can also envision some type of thread loop carriers like are used for bra straps, but that would be quite a pain to attach to my bra band and might cause strange bunching of my dress.

Here are the detail photos that show the fabric better.  After I wore this dress two times, I took it to the dry cleaner, and I kind of want to cry.  I was so meticulous with sewing and pressing this dress, and it came back distorted on the left side of the opening...

...and look what they did to the back left shoulder!  That isn't a sewing mistake.  The corresponding underside on the right is just as bad, but this is visible.  I don't know what to do in the future.  Just hand wash and press myself?  I like the crispness from the dry cleaner, but not at the expense of the shape of my dress!  Any ideas?  

Saturday, April 15, 2017

New Knitting Pattern in Knitty - Recital

Sorry I have been away for a while.  It turns out we are moving up the east coast as soon as school is over, and I quickly became overwhelmed with all the preparations to sell the house and move our stuff.  This is for the most part, a very good move.  Hubs has a great new job, and we are moving very close to all of my family, but we have definitely settled into Florida after almost 7 years, and we will miss our friends, our perfect little neighborhood, our church, and being so close to my in-laws and the BEACH 
There has been precious little crafting going on - a little knitting on one project and no sewing except for some things for my church.  My sewing machines have been unceremoniously placed in a closet for house showings.  Much of my yarn stash has been placed in a box and moved to storage, to declutter for above-mentioned house showings.  Most destructive of all to the creative juices has just been the all-consuming nature of preparing for the move.  Even now, with our current house under contract (YEA!!) and more free time as I just wait around for the move date, I am hesitant to get things out and start making messes again.

In the midst of this excitement, my second knitting pattern for Knitty was published, Recital.  Here it is on Ravelry.  My plan had been to have two other knitting patterns up on Ravelry before the release date, but, well, that just didn't happen.  Now would be a good time to finish up those patterns, though.  It makes no mess to type up instructions!

I love this little cowl-neck tee.  The yarn is Shibui Knits Staccato, a luxurious merino/silk blend.  It is perfect for these spring days when you are ready for short sleeves but want a little sweater warmth.  The construction is really fun, too.  The back is knit normally, bottom-up, but the front is worked from side to side, and the sleeves are picked up and knit down - no sewing in sleeves!  Possibly best of all, being a Knitty pattern, the instructions are free!  :-)  I hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Serger/Coverstitch Tee

This is the second tee I made on my serger and coverstitch machines that I received for Christmas presents.  (You didn't miss anything - I haven't photographed the first one I made yet).  I am still getting the hang of everything, but I am pretty happy with how this turned out.

The fabric is from Gorgeous Fabrics.  The description says that it is acetate/rayon/lycra.  I didn't really know what acetate is made from, so I just looked it up.  Basically, it is made from fibers spun from wood pulp.  The fabric's hand reminds me a lot of a thick nylon knit, like J. McLaughlin's Catalina cloth.

I think I used Itch to Stitch's Arenal top pattern as a base for this.  Any basic tee pattern that fits well can be modified to 100 different necklines, sleeves, and hems.  I wanted a boatneck for this version, so I made a facing to finish the neckline.  This is the part I'm not totally happy with - somewhere along the way, I stretched out the neckline.  I think it was when I serged the facing to the body at the neckline opening.  I am still getting the hang of the serger, and it think the tension wasn't 100% where it needed to be for a smooth seam.  You can see that the neckline stands away from me a bit.  Washing and drying hasn't improved this.

So yeah, that bugs me, but I'll live with it and wear this anyway.  I could always go back and widen the whole neckline to a ballet-type neck and try again.  Or, I can wear this under a scarf of cardigan to minimize the issue.  Or, I can just make another.  I have plenty of fabric.  I am thinking of using that extra fabric for McCalls 7538 as discussed earlier, though.

Who knows?  Time will tell whether I wear this often and what I decide about that wonky neckline...

Saturday, February 11, 2017

2016 Knitting Projects in Review

My 2016 Sewing Hits and Misses post was a hit, so I thought I would make a similar one about my knitting.  I find it interesting that on my blog, my sewing posts are more popular, but on Instagram, knitting gets more love.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy this little trip down 2016 knitting memory lane, even if it is already February.

First of all, I knit a lot more than I thought I did!  In the past few years, I have gotten so much better about picking projects that I will like to knit and wear, so I have many fewer unfinished projects laying around.  I also know when to quit, so I am more likely to rip something out halfway through rather than let it sit around half finished or finish it and never wear it.  That said, I some things are still more loved than others.  Here are my 2016 projects, least-successful to most.

18.  Infinito  I have not worn this one single time!  Why not?  The yarn is gorgeous, the design is wearable.  Who knows?  Sometimes these things are beyond analysis, but the wardrobe test confirms it.  This must be ripped out and reknit into something else.

17.  On the Moors with Jane Eyre Shawl  Love the color, love the simple design.  It is just too small to be wearable.  I can't remember if I did modifications that made it smaller than designed or not.

16.  Option Flats  These are really cute slippers.  The problem is they grow and flop around and need to be re-shrunk, and they are literal velcro rollers for the dog hair in my house.  Y'all, I sweep and vacuum a lot, and it is just depressing to still see the dog hair all over them.

15.  Manzanilla  I actually wore this yesterday, so not so bad I guess, but I do not feel my best in it.  The single-ply yarn is too fuzzy, it is too variegated for the cool sleeve detail, it is too tight in the sleeves, and I don't love the color - the perils of online yarn buying.

14.  Oak Grove Mitts and scarf    These suffered by being lumped together.  I really like the mitts, but the scarf is too long and skinny.  I need to rip it out and make something else to go with my mitts.

13.  Newsom  This is such a clever design, but the saggy raglan shoulders...  Grrrrrr

12.  Featherweight Cardigan  Oh Featherweight, I had such high hopes for you.  The problem with this the raglan shoulders.  I should really know better by now.  NO MORE RAGLAN CARDIGANS.  Hold me to it.  They slide right off my sloping shoulders and require constant tugging up.

11..  Art Deco Hat  This is a really nice hat.  I added that giant pom pom, which is ridiculous, and I love, but it is so heavy that the hat requires frequent adjustment on my head.

10.  Snoqualmie  Ok.  This sweater is GORGEOUS.  It is also HOT.  I wore it a lot during a winter trip to Pennsylvania, but I haven't worn it once this winter in Florida, so it loses points for being a less-than-practical creation.

9.  Gioielli  Gloves  I am really proud of these.  I just don't get to wear them often in the Florida weather.

8.  Cabled Tunic  Well, mine isn't a tunic, but that is what the pattern is called.  I wear this a lot.  The only downside is I don't love the sleeve shape.  I have extra yarn and really should fix that.  I bet I could do it in a weekend...

7.  Spindrift Shawl  Pretty colors and a nice, wearable size and shape.

6.  Lesley Pullover  A great basic pullover.  I really like the cotton yarn.  The only downside is it shrinks lengthwise in the dryer (and I love throwing this in the dryer), so it isn't as long in the body or sleeves as I expected.  I would love to make another in this same yarn in white.

5.  Clockwork in Brioche  Sooooo snuggly.  This is an awesome pattern to learn brioche, and I love me some Ewe2yarn.

4.  Jujuy  I love the colors I picked for this, and the big crescent shape is wearable.

3.  Georgetown  My most-worn sweater.  I throw this on over everything.  I will be using more of this yarn in the future.  It has a large cotton content, which makes it cool, but it has a wooly feel when knitting and worn.

2.  Lilli Pillli  I love this.  It is a beautiful design, beautiful yarn, and a really wearable shape.

1.  Cusp Poncho  I think this is my favorite thing I have ever knit.  I LOVE this thing.  It is comfortable, warm-but-wearable in Florida, and strikingly interesting without being too weird.  If it wasn't so distinctive, I would be tempted to knit another.

Here is 2016 knitting, broken down into categories:

1 pair slippers
1 hat
2 pairs gloves/mitts
7 Shawls/cowls/scarves
8 sweaters - 1 poncho, 3 pullovers, 4 cardigans

Overall, a very successful knitting year.  There are only 2 things I have decided today that I need to frog (rip apart) and re-knit into something else.