Saturday, September 29, 2007


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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Progress Pictures and an Upcoming Move!

Thanks for the sympathetic comments about my raglan. I'm actually quite content with leaving the sweater as it is. After all, I really wished I had some nice sweaters when I was pregnant but I just couldn't justify knitting something that I would only be able to wear for a few months. I'm going to consider this a happy accident.

I do have some progress pictures for you from my Sunrise Circle Jacket. The Skye Tweed I'm using gives a row gauge of 5.5/in instead of the 7/in called for by the pattern. I was a bit concerned about this so I knit one of the sleeves/fronts first. I settled on the 33" bust size (when I would normally have made the 35" or 37") and it worked out well. I may have to shorten the sleeves later but that shouldn't be a huge deal.

I'm almost up to the raglan shaping on the second sleeve - this sweater just flies off my needles! In part, I think this is because I haven't made anything that knits up at a gauge of 4.5 sts/in in ages. It feels like Big Wool!

I'll leave you with a few unfinished sewing projects. The first, one that I totally ripped off of the awesome Pam of Flint Knits (please don't hate me for copying your style, Pam!) I think I'll trim this with some red bias tape. I'm going to make the romper but pair it with some red corduroy pants instead of a diaper cover.
Next up is a sunny little dress that Beatrix will only be able to wear for a few days if I don't put the zipper in soon. *sigh*

Finally, I have to say that two years of battling Blogger is sending me over to Wordpress. More details in my next post but the move will be accompanied by a blog contest and a free pattern (to bribe you sweeties to move your rss subscriptions!)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

October (Surprise!) Raglan

Remember how I told you how excited I was to be planning my first sweater in two years? And how it would be nice to make a sweater for my non-pregnant, soon to be non-nursing self? With wonderful merino I bought at a WEBS cone sale for $5/lb? This will not end well, my friends...

I decided I wanted a comfortable, hourglass shaped raglan for the winter. Minor problem? I don't have an hourglass body shape; it's pretty much a curve-free shape, in fact. I didn't think that would matter so much because I wasn't creating a tightly fitted garment, just a roomy weekend sweater. I sat down with my calculator and tape measure to work out the shaping and cast on shortly thereafter.

You see where this is going, don't you? Aaron says the sweater looks like a bell on me. I wanted a sweater for my not pregnant body and I created and knit a sweater that would only fit my pregnant body. *sigh* I'm not exaggerating either. I would show you the picture of me wearing it with a pillow stuffed inside but people, I can't have something that ridiculous looking sitting in my archives forever, can I??? You understand. Seriously, hip shaping for someone without hips? What was I thinking? My hips grew in pregnancy but really, we're talking an inch at best. As far as I'm concerned, that's not even worthy of shaping. I feel so stupid. I'm going to pack this in with the maternity clothes for the next round.

Pattern aside, I've been meaning to tell you about this yarn! I bought several pounds of it a few years ago for an aran sweater for Aaron. (heh) It was still in spinning oil but promised to soften up quite a bit upon washing. I can't say the knitting was enjoyable but it certainly wasn't bad. I was amazed at how my swatch softened and bloomed in the wash. I don't know if you can see the difference here but the swatch is nice and soft while the sleeves are greasy and have some funny stitch definition.

Juno blogged about a similar experience with WEBS coned yarns a few weeks ago, although she lost some important yardage in the wash.

I still haven't washed my new maternity sweater yet because I think I'm going to redo the cuffs to add a hem. When it's really done, you'll get FO pics.

In the meantime, I still need a sweater! I cast on for Kate Gilbert's Sunrise Circle Jacket, which is free from Interweave. I'm using Skye Tweed in Heath that I bought at the WEBS summer sale just like Tiennie, Nova and Katy (did I leave anyone out?) It was $3.29/ball and I've lusted after Jared's Skye Tweed creations for ages so I jumped at the opportunity. Skye Tweed is far more scratchy than I expected. While I love the finished look, I must say that it squeaks like acrylic and smells a little funny.

Row gauge is CRITICAL with this garment and I've had trouble making it quite to 7 rows/inch. I knit the sleeve in the round and made 6.5 but flat knitting gets me 5.75-6 so I'm not sure how I'll work it out for the front sections. Anyone else experience this problem?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

My First Successful Sewing Experience, Part 3 of 3

Pattern: Reversible dress and diaper cover from McCall's M2213

What I learned from this dress is that whenever possible, make dresses reversible!! Actually, I think I came to that conclusion when I made the red dress, which calls for interfacing, after making this, which is completely reversible. Interfacing is a pain.

This is a bit too big for B so she probably won't get much use out of it until next summer. The picture below is my favorite.

One note about yesterday's post... I didn't mean to be down on designer fabric or yarn. After all, don't forget that I bought it because I liked the print! I guess I prefer the control of the finished product that knitting affords. Designer fabrics can be quickly identified but, as Stacey so aptly commented, "Grey worsted wool - well, that could be one of 100 brands!"

I still have some sewing projects going on but the knitting will return to the blog soon. In fact, I've been holding out on you. I've been working on a sweater all week! I haven't made any sweaters in ages (and they all pre-date the blog) because I was either pregnant or nursing and I didn't want to invest so much time in something I wouldn't wear for very long. I think it's time to return to some sweater knitting! More details soon!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

My First Successful Sewing Experience: Part 2 of 3

Pattern: Top and pants from Butterick B5017
Modifications: I omitted the rick rack trim and used a loop of ribbon for the buttonhole instead of the loop of embroidery thread.

Of all the things I've been working on, I am happiest about this set. I love the two fabrics together, even if it's a bit loud. Frankly, I secretly wish that I could get away with wearing pants like these. It's such a shame that adult clothes aren't nearly this cute.

It was while I was working on this outfit that I realized why knitting is so much more appealing to me than sewing. I took the garment to the fabric store several times because it appears that I am incapable of buying fabric, interfacing and notions all at once. Twice, people came up to me and asked if the top was "a Kaffe Fassett". Now, I grant you that I used a Butterick pattern and a Kaffe Fassett print fabric for the top, but what I really wanted to say in response was, "No, it's an Elinor Brown. I made it." Call it beginner's pride.

I know there are some brand whores knitters out there who only have eyes for a particular brand of yarn and could likely identify a line of that brand in a knitted garment. However, I think that knitting allows for enough creativity to break out of the commercialized, brand-conscious world we live in. I suppose one could knit a sweater using the expensive yarn and exact colorway a pattern calls for but really, who does that? You don't - I know because I read your blogs.

With yarn, you can change the texture and density of the knitted piece. With fabric, the print remains the same no matter what you do it it. I know, I know, you can alter the shape or the drape but what's the first thing a viewer sees? The print. So no matter what the sewer does, it's still a Kaffe Fassett garment. This is, in my opinion, why knitting wins out over sewing in the long run. What do you think?

Monday, August 06, 2007

My First Successful Sewing Experience: Part 1 of 3

Pattern: Dress from Butterick B4712, diaper cover from McCall's M2213
Modifications: My armhole seams were pretty ugly so I added some bias tape to clean them up a bit.

While I made some nice newborn diapers and a great (and well used) baby sling when I was pregnant, my sewing track record is pretty ugly. Let's just say I wasted lots of time and money and leave it at that. Enter a live-in babysitter who can sew and who works at a fabric store... Emily gave me some great pointers on patterns, cutting and construction. For any other beginner sewers out there, this is what I've learned from the experience:

1. If you do not 1) use pins and/or 2) iron your pieces after each seam, you would be better off wadding up the cash you dropped on fabric and notions and torching it. It would be better to indulge your inner pyro than suffer the anger and frustration of a failed project. I know that sounds like a no-brainer but this was actually my greatest sewing challenge.

2. Transfer all of the markings from the pattern to the fabric. Of course you would do that. Why would you try to wing it? Trust me on this, I've tried and failed.

3. Follow the pattern instructions. When the pattern says to do something that you think sounds a bit too much, just do it. You will be grateful five steps later when you realize that you should have done what the pattern said to do way back at the beginning.

I like how the bias tape looks except in one spot. Do you see it here? I'm not going to rip it out and redo it but I'll never like that corner.

Check out the zipper! Not bad for my second one, I think. It's a little wonky at the bottom but you can't see it unless you're looking for it.
I'll have two more FOs in the next few days along with some notes on why knitting is better than sewing...

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Sewing Machine Ate My Knitting Mojo

Perhaps for lack of inspired knitting, perhaps because of the heat but whatever the reason, my sewing machine has lured me with its promise of quickly finished objects - near instant gratification compared to knitting. I say "finished" but the truth of the matter is that all of my sewn items need buttonholes or trim added so you won't see actual FOs for a few more days. You know what I mean by "finished"...

Here are some previews:

I've also been working on a pair of Anastasias with the Claudia's Handpainted (in Blue Sky colorway) that I won in Minty's blog contest a few months ago.

I think once I clear my knitting plate of second socks and gift knitting, my knitting mojo will come back. Until then, I slog along!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Warrior Baby

I wonder if all that prenatal yoga paid off? Doesn't this look like the warrior pose?

I can't resist posting this one because I think it's so funny to see this little baby head popping out of the cavernous hole that is our kitchen sink*.

What's with all the baby pictures? You guessed it, there's little knitting to report - only a super lame FO and a really cool garage sale find.

Yarn: Regia Cotton India, who knows what colorway
Pattern: 60-stitch, stockinette socks with about 4" of ribbing.

In the photo, one looks longer than the other but they're the same size in real life. These socks will go to my mom. Like I said earlier, I'm not so fond of the colorway but I did buy two skeins of Regia cotton to make socks for my mom so that's all there is to say. I'm tempted to cast on for the second pair soon just to get them done.

Next up, my $0.25 garage sale baby quilt. It's certainly a scrap quilt (and a tied one at that) but I couldn't resist it. It's light and soft and it's the kind of blanket that I would want if I were a baby.

* Concrete countertops look cool in magazines but let's not talk about what they're like to live with...

Saturday, July 07, 2007

FO: Debbie Bliss Classic Cardigan

I'm so glad so many of you liked the biscotti recipe! Oh yeah and from reading some of the comments from my last post, I think I ought to clarify that I'm up at 4:40 a.m. to shuffle along at a 10:00/mile pace, not to sprint at a 6:00/mile pace. I'm not a good runner, I'm just becoming an early one!

Pattern: Classic Cardigan from The Baby Knits Book by Debbie Bliss
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in Berry
Needles: US 7
Modifications: Because Debbie Bliss' baby patterns are notoriously boxy, I made the 12-18 mos size but used the 18-24 mos sizing for length. A few months back, many of you commented that you thought that a long, skinny baby would likely grow into a long, skinny toddler so I decided that it would be best to plan on that for next winter's crop of Beatrix sweaters.

Beatrix clearly has some growing to do before this will fit! This project has been about two-thirds finished for months now and since I didn't have much knitting time this week, I decided to take up finishing it here and there. A simple, shapeless stockinette baby sweater is hardly good blog fodder but at least it's out of my WIP pile.

This sweater pattern is an old standby for me but it is painful to knit. Every time I make it, I remember halfway through that I should have used raglan shaping and knit it all at once to save myself the seaming. I don't particularly care for how bulky DB's sleeves/shoulders are but I'm too lazy to do much math for something as simple as a baby sweater so I'll live with the bulk. The buttons on this sweater are a bit of a disappointment too. While I love these shell buttons up close, I think they tend to fluoresce a bit from a distance so if I could do this again, I would likely choose different buttons.

What do you do when your mom makes you wear a sweater that's too big for you?

You eat it, of course...