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.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Spring 2017 Pattern Picks - Vogue, McCalls, Butterick, Simplicity, New Look

I am so excited for some spring sewing that I thought I would do one big "Pattern Picks" post for all the new spring pattern releases... well, all the companies that I sew often and that have a seasonal release anyway.  That means the "big 4" - Vogue, McCalls, Butterick, and Simplicity + New Look, which I also often like.

First up is McCalls.  There are loads of great patterns from McCalls this spring.  For the sake of the length of this post, I'm only mentioning the ones that I truly want to make - so a super cute tee-shirt dress that I already have a perfectly acceptable pattern to make will not make the cut.  Ok?  Ok.  let's go.

M7540  I almost didn't include this one because I just cannot think of a legit function where I will wear this.  :-(  Super sad face.  I really do love this jumpsuit.  Click through to see the drawing of the back.  So cute!  I need a baby shower or something on my calendar to actually buy this pattern, though.  Is there any circumstance for which you would actually wear this?  Maybe I just need lots more dinner date nights with my husband.

M7537 I have actually already purchased this pattern and plan to make it in the berry-colored rayon challis below.  Call me crazy, but I am considering the ballon-y sleeve option.  Knowing me, they'll probably get cut off to short sleeves, though.

M7533 calls to me in this line drawing.  The modeled pic isn't doing much for me, though, so that makes me pause.

M7538  Someone restrain me, please.  Remember this fiasco? Ugh.  I envision it in this fabric, though, playing with the stripes and solids.  I bought soooo much of that fabric for some reason that I wouldn't even cry if it didn't turn out great.  

M7547  After much analysis, I decided that what draws me to this pattern is the pockets.  I wouldn't like the high rise aspect, so I should just use the pockets on pants that I know fit well.
M7549  I already bought this one.  I don't have any jackets anything like this.  The blue quilted version just really drew me in for some reason.  I have no idea what fabric I want to use with this.  Maybe a really pale pink chambray-type fabric.  Yeah, I see wearing that with white pants and jeans.  Isn't pink "in"?

The Vogue spring patterns are nice, also, but most are too formal or trendy for me.  I only got one, V1537, which I can't wait to make.  I have a couple of functions this spring that I think this dress/jacket set will work well for.  I am going to Pennie Fabrics in Sarasota in a few days with the hope of finding the perfect fabric for this pattern.

Of the Big 4 companies, I think I sew Butterick the least, but I found a few I would like to try this spring.

B6446  This is so cute in the gingham.  A bit too cutesy perhaps?  I don't know.  I haven't bought it yet, but it might just be casual enough for everyday summer wear.

B6449  I'm not sure I'll get around the buying or making this.  I already have several cute knit dress patterns I haven't even cut into.  I like the maxi version, but I find maxi skirts too hot for Florida summer, so I don't know.

B6448  I keep finding myself drawn to this pattern.  It's nothing earth-shattering, but something about the cut looks so flattering.  It might be that floral fabric that's sucking me in.  Gotta watch out for that.

B6461 I am drawn to these pants - the black version, NOT that floral version.  I would do a wider elastic in the waistband.  The seaming on the legs is interesting.

Simplicity and New Look.  Ugh.  That website.  I don't even know why it is so bad.  I think it's just too much on one site.  Vogue, McCalls, and Butterick are all owned by the same company, but they each have their own websites - so much better.

I only have one Simplicity pattern on my list, and it is 8295, and really, it is so similar to this dress that I made that, yeah, I won't actually be buying that pattern afterall.  Any version I want to make, I can hack it with the pattern I already have.

The only New Look pattern that is intriguing me is 6494 and it's not like I can just put in a pic of the version I like.  Oh no...  Anyway, bottom left is my favorite, but I have no vision of what fabrics I would want to use, so I doubt I will be getting this one.  Plus, I already have two shirtdresses.

Alright, well if you made it this far, I hope you found a little inspiration. What will you be sewing this spring?

Monday, February 6, 2017

Rakke by Brooklyn Tweed - both versions!

Rakke is a Brooklyn Tweed pattern with two size options - a wider shawl shape in fingering weight yarn and a longer, narrower scarf shape in worsted weight yarn.  Surprisingly (or not surprisingly perhaps), I knit both.

The first version I knit is the shawl version.  I used a very specially skein of yarn that my parents brought me from a trip to Scotland.  It is quite "toothy" as they say, not a super soft merino, and perfect for this design.  It really blocked out so nicely to show off the lace.

Y'all know how I love to do a 2-for-1 photo shoot.  Here is glimpse of my furry backpack, too.

The curved back of my giant sectional is the perfect spot to photograph my shawls - I'm surprised they didn't use that as a selling point when we were shopping... :-)

I made the second version of this pattern not long after the first.  I was visiting my family in Delaware and went to a fantastic local yarn shop - Sea Needles.  It is amazing what they can pack into a sweet little shop, and there is an equally great selection of needlepoint/cross stitch type crafty things there.

I bought 2 skeins of Madelinetosh Vintage in the mineral color, which wasn't quite enough yardage, so I made my scarf one lace repeat narrower and modified the lace chart to end a bit shorter than the pattern.  Mineral is not on the website's list of colors, which I assume means it is discontinued, and that is a true crying shame.  This color is GORGEOUS!!  It is a perfect match to my most recent Arenal top.  Side note:  this fabric is amazing.  This top has been in heavy wardrobe rotation, already going through the washer and dryer many times, and it looks like new.  I hate to admit it, but that polyester was popular in the 70s for a reason.  I'm seriously considering buying some of the other blue color.

Now this yarn is 100% washable merino, and you can see the difference.  It just does not hold the aggressive lace blocking as well as the first yarn.  It is still lovely (and softer), but the bottom edge is already starting to roll a bit.

I hope you enjoyed the double feature.  I am off to clean this disaster of a house.  Enjoy your Monday everyone!