Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Utter Fail

I just want to take a few moments to make some pattern notes on McCall's 7117. I attempted to make this dress a couple months ago in plain teal cotton. I was aiming for view C in a size 16. It totally failed.

The dress is made in panels and I ended up with two panels too many to fit the bodice. I had the number of panels that the pattern said I should have so I think there is an error in the instructions. I removed two  side panels and that fixed the bodice lining up with the skirt, but the dress was still too big.

I don't mind a bit of positive ease but considering that one of the versions of the dress is strapless it seems like it should have been able to hold up on its own and it would not have done that.

In contrast to the too big body of the dress, the arm holes were way small. They pinched and were uncomfortable.

I didn't take a picture of the dress because I was so annoyed that in a fit of pique I threw it away. Now I'm kicking myself because I probably could have kept fiddling until I got a dress that fit. Oh well. I will probably try to make this dress again because I still think it's super cute, but it will have to be modified.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Craft Beer Fest Dress

Yesterday was a great day. I went to the Everett Craft Beer Festival with my mom, step-dad, and boyfriend. I wore a really cute dress.

The Pattern is McCall's 7188 view A. I had been planning on making the dress in a heavier fabric for winter wear over a long sleeve shirt, but I was at JoAnn's on Friday and saw the beer patterned fabric and I just couldn't say no. I wouldn't normally go for an outfit like that, it was a small step out of my comfort zone to wear something that whimsical. 

I think it's a step I will be taking more often.

The best part of the fabric is that one of the bottles says "catfish" which was my nickname in school and the theme for my first tattoo. It was the deciding factor in buying the fabric and making the dress.

The pattern was easy to make, I got it done in the afternoon after work on Friday. The bodice is completely lined, which I like. Next time I need to remember to clip the seams before turning it right side out though because there is some excess bulk around the arms and neckline. I also want to wait until everything else is done before understitching the neck and arms because it made the zipper installation a little fiddlier than it needed to be. 

All in all, I am pleased with the pattern and the dress. I got a ton of compliments at the beer fest. One woman even gave me two of her leftover tokens because I had "the cutest outfit in the whole festival."

Friday, August 14, 2015

My Orange Cardigan

So, I did not finish the second sock this week. Shame on me, I know. But I did finally finish a cardigan that I started in February and I am pretty happy about that.

This cardigan took me forever to finish knitting because the pattern gave me absolute fits. It's Ann's Cardigan from the Knit Pick's website. The finished product is adorable, and I'm happy with it, but I had to modify the front and the sleeves to actually get it to work. 

The front I changed the rate of decreases to shape the v-neck (decreased every RS row instead of every fourth row) because when I followed the pattern I ended up with the front three inches longer than the back.  That could just have easily been my guage as the pattern though. I always check horrizontal guage but I rarely check verticle. Bad me, I know, but length is easier to adust on the fly then width (side note: it was a good thing I checked on this sweater because I had to go down two needles sizes before I got gauge so either I knit really loosly or the designer knits tight).

The sleeves were really what gave me fits on this pattern.

I'm really happy with the way they turned out, but it took me four trys to get them right. I ended up working my increases into every 10th row until I had 99 sts on the needle. The pattern didn't have steady increases and I think the furthest apart the increases were done was every 6 rows. The sleeves as written were seriously oddly shapped and I could have fit both my arms in one sleeve. 

I ended up just sort of guessing how to shape the sleeve cap, and I pretty much just got lucky that it worked. To shape the sleeve cap I: BO5 at beg of next 4 rows, work decrease (k2 ssk…k2tog k2) row 12 times every RS row, BO 2 sts beginning of every row 6 times, BO 4 sts at the beginning of next 4 rows, BO remaining sts.

The sleeves maybe ended up a little long, but I like to be able to cover my hands with my sleeves so that doesn't bother me in the slightest. 

Like I said, it may have been some extra work but I am happy with how it turned out. here is a picture of the back so you can see the lace design there.

I do have to take a moment to praise the yarn. It's Knit Picks Gloss Fingering in the colorway Masala. The color is a beautiful rich orange and the yarn is soft and warm. I would totally buy this yarn again. It's pretty reasonably priced for a wool/silk blend (and oh boy can you see the silk in the luster of this yarn). The only thing I don't like is that it's hadwash only because it might felt, but what's a little handwashing in the grand scheme of things?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Done with McCall's 6035

I am not a big fan of shopping so when I bought clothes I tended to find a shirt that I liked then buy it in about 5 different colors. Apparently that tendency does not go away just because I'm now making my clothes rather than buying them. 

And I can now definitively say that I am 300% DONE with this pattern. 

I don't regret making five of them because they are absolutely perfect for work. But I am way sick of the pattern. I talked about the green shirt here, and in that post I mentioned the blue and purple fabrics. I made the blue shirt almost immediately after finishing the green shirt. Then I went to the store looking for some other fabric and came home with the white and black cotton fabrics (they were 50% off and I am a sucker for sales) so I made the white shirt next. 

Going to work, whee!

From 7th grade through college I pretty much lived in all black all the time. I was really surprised when I started working on this shirt and realized that I didn't actually own any black shirts anymore. Then I realized it's because black is hard to see when you are working on it. Especially in a dimly lit basement. I had to go outside to get a picture of the shirt that didn't just look dark. 

Despite the difficulty, I think my love of black has been rekindled, so expect to see more black clothes in the future, especially as we head into the winter. Side note: what is it about shorter days and colder weather that makes darker clothing more appealing?

And here is the purple shirt. I took the picture the moment I sewed on the last button so it's still all nicely pressed and everything.

A few last construction notes: by the time I got around to the black and purple shirts I was tired of the clean seams, so I just overcast the edges. I don't like the amount of bulk it added to the seam, but I did like that it took way less time and effort to do. I'm calling it an experiment to see if any of the various seam finishes hold up better or worse to repeated washings and wearings. 

I also slip stitched the collar band and shirt cuffs rather than top-stitched them. I think they look prettier without stitches showing on the right side. I am honestly not sure why I didn't do that on the first three shirts because slip stitching is normally my go to for finishing collars. I was so over these shirts by the time I made them that I didn't take detail pictures. Sorry. I'll be better next time because next time I won't make fifty-million of the same shirt. 

Unless it's t-shirts. Then all bets are off. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

How to Make a Rice Pack

I've been seeing a lot of tutorials lately for making your own ice pack, but have you ever thought about making your own rice pack? They are pretty much the most awesome thing ever. I love my rice pack because it can used hot or cold, it's already soft and snugly so I don't need a towel to protect my skin from the cold, they don't get covered in condensation as they warm up and if it gets cut/punctured/ripped the only thing it leaks is rice, instead of creepy blue chemicals.

This is my old rice packs.

I've had it for years, but it's starting to get a bit of a fridgy smell to it, so today I thought I would make a few new ones. All you need is some flannel, a needle and thread (or sewing machine) and rice.

I had some super cute flannel in my fabric stash that I got on sale for only 2.99 a yd. I only had a yd because it was all the store had left and I figured I could make some pajama shorts out of it, but I wanted new ice packs more. I used about half the yard and got 4 rice packs out of it. You don't have to buy any flannel if you have remnants already in your stash.

So decide on your size/sizes and cut your fabric. I went with two packs that are about 18"x8" and two that are 8"x8"

The longer packs are great for draping cold across your forehead or the back of your neck if you get migraines like me, and hot they work wonderfully for backpain/cramps. You can use the same pack or both, it just takes longer to heat when you start with it in the freezer. I'm only bothering to making two because I had plenty of rice and plenty of fabric.

So, after you cut your fabric put two pieces right sides together and sew around three sides, leaving the fourth side open.

Turn the pack right side out.

Repeat this for all of the packs that you are making.

Now fill them with rice. Any grain actually works, I think my old one has millet in it, but rice tends to be cheapest. A note on stuffing them: about halfway full is plenty of rice, you want the pack to have some give and me flexible with you are using it. I used an entire ten pound bag of rice stuffing these four rice packs.

Now sew up that last side. You could do it by hand with a blind/ladder stitch, which is what I did (great tutorial on how to do that here). I just used smaller stitches than usual to make sure my rice couldn't get back out.

You could also just fold the ends in and stitch across on your machine.

That's what I did on my old rice pack because I didn't know the blind stitch when I made that one.

And here are your finished rice packs

They are a wonderful, quick, easy, and useful project. I hope you enjoy them!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Block Sock Block

Oh Second Sock Syndrome, why must you torment me so?

I had a goal at the beginning of the year to knit a new pair of socks a month. I did great in January. I made my socks Tea. Early Grey. Hot so named because the Yarn Harlot named the pattern Earl Grey after the sock yarn color, but, of course, the name made me think of Star Trek.

I used Knit Picks Stroll to knit the socks. I liked the color, and the socks are soft and comfy. But. This yarn doesn't have very good recovery. By the end of the day it almost feels like the socks have melted, they just don't stay up well. And it's not just a matter of not enough ribbing holding them up my legs, its like the entire sock just becomes floppy and loose. The rest of my wool socks I can wear for two days before they start to feel loose, and I've done other socks that were mostly stockinette stitch without them feeling so loose. So I'm forced to conclude that it must be the yarn. 

Which is a bummer because in February before I decided that I didn't like the yarn I decided that I had enough of it for one more pair of socks, so I cast on Patchwork Weasley Socks by Erica Lueder. I've knit other of her socks before and I love the patterns. I especially love the Harry Potter based inspiration (are you seeing a nerd theme to by socks? because it's not an accident). The pattern was fun, but knowing that I wasn't going to like the yarn in the finished project made me kind of reluctant to work on them.

That's why it took be from February until mid June to finish this one lowly sock. 

When I'm really working at it I can do a pair of socks in a work week. I feel like I had second sock syndrome with this sock, and it was still the first sock. Now I'm faced with actually knitting the second sock and I don't really want to. But having just one sock does me no good. So I'm making it my goal for the week to make the second sock. And I'm never buying this yarn again.