Tag Archives: slacks

Journal: 23 May 2014

Beautiful lace-weight yarn

Beautiful lace-weight yarn

Today I get to celebrate both my birthday and some long-overdue UFO [UnFinished Object] busting. First, for my birthday I finally convinced my folks that a) I really want and b) they are completely capable of picking out crafting supplies such as yarn. As a result, I got some really beautiful lace-weight wool, shown at right; the dark blue is a silk/cashmere blend that I am having trouble stopping myself from handling constantly, and the multi is 100% wool that will be lovely to work with. If any of you are trying to train your folks to buy you yarn, try a) pointing out that it’s no different than buying off-the-shelf clothes, in terms of taste in colors and feels, and b) specifying fibers and weights. I actually did not specify weights, so I kinda lucked out that they got me lightweight yarns while I am on a lace-knitting kick.

Gypsy skirt as of a year ago

Gypsy skirt as of a year ago

Second, I finally got around to mending (read: replacing the entire top half) of a gypsy skirt that I made at least a half-dozen years ago. The top tier of the skirt tore badly about a year ago, and it’s been sitting in my mending queue since then, waiting for me to find a matching fabric and then waiting even longer for me to actually get around to it. Well, some of my friends convinced me to join a website called habitrpg the other day, which is basically a to-do list with amusing RPG trappings, and it gave me just enough extra motivation to bust my mending queue and get this skirt back into commission.

Mended skirt

Mended skirt

I’m very pleased with how it came out—while I was at it, I replaced the yoke, which was starting to wear out and had been climbing my expanding midsection for a while; I added two huge pockets; and because the yoke sat lower I removed the awkward extra tier (matte black in first photo) which I had had to add a few years ago to make it reach the floor. For the curious, this skirt is based on Simplicity 4549, but over the years I’ve made a bunch of alterations—adding a tier (or two!) so it’s floor-length, replacing the closure with a laced closure, adding various forms of pockets…I’ve made a grand total of six of them and helped a friend with a seventh, and replaced the top tier and yoke of two of them now, so it’s fair to say this is one of my favorites. The huge pockets are made by cutting the fabric for the top section about 24″ longer than the pattern calls for (larger diameter, not height), then folding two (on

Skirt flared around me picnic-blanket fashion

Skirt flared out on the floor

opposite sides of the skirt) 12″ sections into 6″ folds right-side to right-side and stitching halfway up. Then, press the two pockets forward, and work the pockets together with the top layer of fabric for the rest of the seams. I’m a bit worried at the state of the fabric—I have committed the Biblical sin of mending old fabric with new, and suspect the second tier is going to give out ere too long. When it does, maybe I will replace the bottom half and have a my-grandfather’s-axe situation with this skirt, which would amuse me more than a little.

I’ve been chugging away on my new shawl, and hit to halfway mark (by stitches, unless I’m doing the math wrong) the other day. I’m still happy with how the colorway is knitting up, and the pattern continues to be both lovely in effect and pleasant to work with. I did choose to omit the nupps, because they are a little scary and don’t appear until late enough in the pattern that it would be seriously traumatic to screw them up and have to rip out my work; I replaced them with k1’s and am hoping for the best. And yes, I know I could practice on scrap yarn and then come back to the shawl, but that sounds like work. Anyway, photos:

Finally, I finally finished the slacks I’ve been working on for the last few months. Note to self: never again with the super-heavy-weight almost-canvas material, at least not by hand. I’m surprised I didn’t break any needles in this endeavor. Anyway, all’s well that ends well, and the slacks did indeed end well. I made an invisible (and also hidden) zipper closure with two buttons in the waistband, slightly extended the waistband vertically, added a deep in-seam pocket, and fully cased all my seams and tacked down the inseams and crotch seams for greater durability. Because of how heavy the fabric is, I made the pocket and waistband linings out of patterned black/dark gray cotton scraps I had laying around, which I think I am even more pleased with on aesthetic grounds (even though it’s hidden from everyone but me) than I am on not-having-to-sew-six-layers-of-canvas grounds. Photos:

Journal: 24 April 2014

Since my last journal post, I finished my green dress and my knitting, and then spent a while blocked and not really wanting to start anything new. Now I’ve recovered, partly thanks to getting a big box o’ yarn in the mail, and have way too many things on needles again, just the way I like it.

SerenityThing 1: During the dead period, I did still want to do some crafting, so I got out my needlepoint. Some backstory: around April of last year, I got myself a printed needlepoint kit from the store because I felt like learning a new craft. I rather enjoyed it, and finished the 5″x5″ piece in good time. I wanted to get a new kit and continue needlepointing, but I had a problem: the needlepoint kits you can buy in your average craft store are desperately twee—much too cute and often more religious than I am happy with. So I thought to myself, self, how hard can it be to design my own? Just take a photo, tweak it a
little bit, and……and many, many hours later I had a couple hundred lines of image-100_1437 (1024x768)processing Matlab code, a map for a counted needlepoint project, and a printout of the colors of floss I would need. Because I am a giant dork, my starting image was the thing painted on the side of the ship in the movie Serenity, pictured above at right. As of today, most of a year after this project began, it looks like the photo at left; the whitish areas are still to be filled in. This project has been agonizing. Largely in a way that is a source of lessons learned, and I’ve already tweaked my Matlab (actually, Octave, as I lost access to my matlab license in August) program to make the next project much, much easier. Still, I hate to waste all the effort I’ve put in so far and start a new needlepoint before finishing this one, so on I slog.

100_1445 (1024x768)Thing 2: I did a bunch of experimental tatting. This has already resulted in four pattern posts, so ’nuff said, but here’s a picture of a bunch of tatted scraps. There’s Cluny leaves, one nested ring, a bunch of Josephine rings, hearts, split rings, spiral chains, and some plain old ring and chain drafting in there.

100_1439 (913x1024)Thing 3: I started on a pair of slacks that I’ve been planning since before I started this blog. They’re in a heavy black material that is the best match I could find to the suit jacket I have, but the material is heavier than I really bargained for so it’s slow going. I’m even contemplating breaking out the sewing machine to finish it. Anyway, I’m using Simplicity 2860, modified to have a side zipper and in-seam pocket.

100_1443 (1024x768)Thing 4: I decided what to do with some of the pretty fabric I got last time I went to the store: I’m making a ruffle-front blouse from McCall’s M5929. I’ve used this pattern before to make a linen blouse that is roughly the dressiest thing I own, as well as reasonably comfortable, so I am rather fond of the pattern. We’ll see how it does in the floppier cotton. I’ve done the major seams, but have yet to do all the fiddly bits, which is the majority of this pattern.

100_1435 (1024x768)Thing 4: My huge box o’ yarn arrived, and I immediately set to work: the majority of the yarn is worsted-weight cotton with which I intend to make a number of potholders/trivets/dishcloths, as well as to use for skill-share parties to teach my friends to knit and crochet. The pattern I have for potholders does well with multiple, coordinated colors, so I’ve separated the yarn into bunches:100_1425 (1024x768) 100_1428 (1024x768) 100_1430 (1024x768) 100_1432 (1024x768)with some left over skeins that don’t really go with anything else.

100_1421 (1024x769)Thing 5: Because I can’t leave well enough alone, I decided to cast on a new shawl in sock yarn. I got a bag of 10 skeins of random colors of the Serenity sock weight yarn that I love so much, and am still thinking about what to do with all of it, but two of the skeins in the same colorway are just begging to be a shawl. It’s the “surf” colorway, and I am making Evelyn Clark’s Swallowtail Shawl rather than drafting my own pattern this time. I am a little short from the amount of yarn it calls for, and don’t see an easy way to reduce the pattern, so I am planning to do the edging in white sock yarn, depending where I run out. Right now I am about 15 rows in and liking the pattern pretty well.