Tag Archives: surf shawl

Journal: 7 June 2014

Since my last journal post I feel like I’ve gotten a lot done—mostly in that I finished the knit lace shawl that I’ve been working on. Also, wonder of wonders, I’ve completely cleared my backlog of sewing projects, although there’s plenty of yarn around and I manufactured a new sewing project out of thin air (read: my several cubic feet of scrap fabric).

First, the shawl. I have to give kudos to this pattern; it was a delight to work from start to finish. I did end up modifying a little: I am too much of a coward to work nupps on a shawl that’s already been in progress for a month, and I had enough yarn left as I was approaching the end that I added a few rows (repeated rows 3-10 of the “Lace Border” section). I mentioned on here that based on the yardage estimates I didn’t think two skeins would be enough, but I came in comfortably under and didn’t have to use the white yarn I bought. I’m a little tempted, actually, to rip it out and make something bigger that will use all three skeins—not very tempted, mind you, but a little. At any rate, I took a bunch of pictures of the finishing process and the finished shawl:

purple_front

Purple mandarin-collar shirt

Meanwhile I was also working on a Mandarin-collar blouse, which I finished shortly before the shawl. This is Simplicity 5098 style D. I’ve had this pattern for a while, and in the meantime went up a size, so I freehand increased the size and moved the marks while I was cutting; I’m rather proud that it all came together so well. Not much to say about this one, other than that this style of shirt does well with busy prints that would be overwhelming on a button-down or something—at least in my opinion. Perhaps I should mention, I took out the zipper that the pattern calls for and made the shoulder buttons functional, which is a pretty easy alteration to make.

purple_detail

Button detail

I finally pulled out the sewing machine again and finished my second tote bag; I don’t have any pictures because it looks just like the other one, but I’m happy to finally bust this months-old WIP. I had stalled out because my sewing machine was throwing a fit over stitching so many layers of canvas, and just didn’t want to deal with it any more—but when I got it back out after a long break, it was surprisingly well-behaved (read: I only had to rip out and re-do about half the stitching due to tension issues or thread breakage; I seriously need a better machine).

gray_capris

Flannel capris. Seriously I cannot emphasize enough how comfy these are.

Finally, I made myself a new pair of wear-around-the-house flannel flare capris. They are so comfortable; I am a little sad that I need to be presentable this evening, or I’d’ve worn them today after finishing them off last night. These are made from the same pattern as I used for slacks recently, but cut with each leg being one piece (front and back panels connected) so they have no inseam to rub and annoy. They’re also flared on the outside leg seams, have a side zipper and two-button closure, and an in-seam pocket on the other side, all made of soft flannel. If anybody’s interested I can put up a real tutorial on these, but it requires having a pants pattern that fits you already, and I guess not many people have made their own pants before? Anyway, register interest in the comments.

blue_patchwork

Pieces for blue patchwork shirt; front on the left and back on the right.

Finally, because I can’t sit still for long, I cut fabric and started in on a new patchwork blouse, this time in shades of light blue. Again I am using Simplicity 1462, the same pattern I used for the brown patchwork shirt which is currently my favorite item of clothing. Hopefully I will like this one just as much—it’s entirely from stash scraps, like the other, although with a less pronounced color gradient and overall fewer different fabrics. The sleeves came from a single quarter flat, so, note to future self: that is doable, although it required some creative pattern placement and I cut into the seam allowances in places to make it fit.

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: 12 May 2014

Since my last post, I finished two sewing projects, made another potholder, and made a little bit of progress on my new knitting project. I also did a fair bit of tatting design/drafting, most of which has shown up as pattern posts here, and a bunch of fruitless drafting for another knitting project.

ruffle_detail

Ruffly shirt detail

First, sewing: I finished the blue shirt I mentioned last time. I followed McCall’s M5929 with Mandarin collar and single ruffle options. I ended up having to modify the sleeves on the fly, changing from a banded sleeve to a hemmed sleeve with a pleat, because my arms have gotten a bit chubby in the last year and the bands wouldn’t fit. I was extremely short on fabric—I fit a 3 yard pattern into 2 yards, with the ruffle and plackets cut diagonally—and had thrown out the tiny scraps by the time I noticed this, so I couldn’t go back and extend or cut new bands. I’m reasonably pleased with what I ended up doing, which was to pleat the sleeves at the center of the hem and sew a button over the pleat. I was lucky with the buttons; they’re black with bits of blue in the middle, matching the shade of the fabric well, and I found 9 for a dollar, meaning I could space them closer together on the plackets and still have leftovers. More pictures (click for larger):ruffle_front ruffle_floor2 ruffle_floor

drape_front

Drape-neck shirt

More sewing: This was a ludicrously quick project; I believe it took me only two days including a bit of pattern drafting/alteration, cutting, and seaming and hemming by hand. It also didn’t take much fabric—I had about a yard and a half of this gray flecked stuff hanging around, and it fit the pattern easily. The pattern started as New Look 6483, which is one of my old standbys, and I made considerable alterations. I’ve been thinking about making a knit, drape-neck shell out of my Harlequin colorway sock yarn (teal, green, purple and gold stripes), so I’d already traced the front and sleeve of the pattern onto newsprint, removed the seam allowances, and slashed and extended the neckband and drape_shouldersleeves. drape_neckThe pattern has no main darts, only a bust dart to the side seam, which I flipped into the neckline, and then I put two more slashes from the neckline to the armhole. drape_backAnyway, when I decided to put the knitting on hold and do a sewing project instead, I taped these pieces to more newsprint, added the seam allowance back in, cut them out, and cut my fabric. Six seams and four hems later, it was done, and I’m pretty pleased—not my favorite shirt ever, and the fabric was not the best choice for drapeyness, but it’s certainly wearable and even a little dare-I-say glamorous.

I’m glad I made this shirt primarily because I spent an entire day just drafting and doing arithmetic for a knit shirt, only to decide my first idea was impossible and my first fallback looked terrible. At least the manual part—tracing the pattern, rearranging the darts and slashing the sleeves—were good for something, as it wasn’t much work to add the seam allowances back on and turn it back into a sewing project. The idea, for the curious, was to attempt a fitted, drape-neck shell worked diagonally. I still think it should work, but I can’t keep everything in my head to work out the details. My first fallback was to switch from knit to crochet, which I’ve been doing longer and thus find easier, but it looked absolutely terrible so I just got disheartened. I think at some point soon I will pull out the drafting and work out a worked-horizontally version, which should be a lot easier, and leave the diagonals for when I am a much better drafter.

potholder_finishedCrochet: I made another square potholder; ’nuff said really, but I have a pretty picture. This one I put a hanging loop on, just because I had some extra yarn left. I enjoy the fact that the colorway lined up to make nearly vertical/horizontal stripes, in a diagonally-worked piece, without my having to put too much effort into making it happen.

Knit shawl: Again, not much to say, but I’ve added a few rows to my new knit shawl project. It’s now got a full repeat of the colorway, so here are some pictures:

surf_1 surf_2

I never thought I’d be a fan of pink mixed in with pale blues and greens, but I think it works quite well in this yarn. I also, while I was at the store for buttons for the blue blouse and some other odds and ends, picked up a skein of the “soft white” color of the same yarn, with which I plan to edge the shawl.