Monday, November 30, 2015

Bird Shirt

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I meant to keep posting over the long weekend, but I forgot to take my computer with me when Fiance and I went to visit his parents. Oops. I've spent the last week busily working on Christmas gifts. I want to show you what I've made, but I have no idea who reads my blog and I don't want to show pictures of finished gifts before the intended recipients get them. Instead, I guess I'll show you a shirt I recently finished. 

I had a really hard time getting a decent picture of me wearing it. Anyway, I'm pleased with how the shirt turned out. The pattern is McCall's 7193 view B, and the fabric is a polyester crepe from I found the crepe to be super slinky and difficult to cut out and work with. I actually hand basted every seam rather then just pin them when I was sewing it because pinning alone didn't keep it still enough. I normally don't like polyester but before sewing the shirt in a silk that would be three times as expensive I wanted to make sure that I liked the way it fit. I'm really glad that I made that choice.

I like the way the pattern fits, but after wearing the shirt for a day I would say I need to tack the top shut, it has a tendency to slid open a bit more than I want it to when I am sitting down (or maybe more accurately when I slump my shoulders). This will be a great date shirt, but it's far too low cut for work. I love the gathering at the sides, though, it's super forgiving across the tummy. Although I think it is a great shirt I don't think I like it well enough to make a silk version. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Dumbledore's Christmas Socks

Holy Wow! Two knitting posts in a row! I am on a role. Plus, I'm too broke to buy fabric, but I have plenty of stashed yarn, which may also be a contributing factor. :)

So, in my last sock post I said it might be a while before I did any more socks because it took me so long to finish that last pair. Yeah, I totally cast on another pair of socks, like, that same night. I was re-reading Harry Potter for the millionth time and Dumbledore's line about a good pair of wool socks being a great Christmas present got me wanting more socks, and I already had the pattern Dumbledore's Christmas Stockings by Erica Lueder all qued up, and I had some left over Madelintosh yarn from a sweater I made years ago. I was reasonably sure I didn't have enough in either color to make two socks, but between the two leftover bits I could get some nicely coordinated but not matching socks.

When I first wrote this post sock number one was done and number two I had gotten as far as the heel turn, but before this reached it's scheduled post date I finished the second sock. 

I'm very pleased with how they turned out. The sock pattern has two different charts that you can mix and match. I used chart A for sock one and chart B for sock two. They were a fun knit, and the yarn was great to work with. Merry Christmas to me! And now I really need to get started on other people's gifts. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Knotty Gloves

Having finally finished that second sock of doom I managed to wip through another knitting project. I really should be working on Christmas knitting. We exchange gifts with Fiance's family at Thanksgiving because that is when we go out to see them, with Christmas being spent with my family, and I haven't even started making gifts yet. For the first time in five years I think I might just buy presents. * gasp *

Probably not though. Fiance is going to head over to see them early (I have to work Wednesday to get my holiday pay) I think I can manage to finish everyone's gifts while he is out of town. It's amazing how much knitting I get done when I am bored and lonely.

That was probably how I got through these gloves so quickly, Fiance was out of town for work when I made the first one.

I was really pleased with how it came out. That cable design was the perfect mix of interesting and easy, providing a fun break to the ribbing without making it into a long drawn out knit. I do wish I had make the fingers longer though. They always seem long enough when I am working on them and then too short when the glove is totally finished and on my hand. Oh well.

The first glove was so much fun that I finished the second one in fairly short order. I don't make gloves often because I hate weaving in all the left over ends from doing the fingers, but this pattern was just so pretty, I didn't own any gloves, and I had plenty of yarn left over from my lace cardigan. Don't be surprised if you see a matching hat soon too. If I get bored enough it might even be in time for Thanksgiving seeing as it is already snowing at my future in-laws house. I need to be prepared for the cold!

The pattern is Knotty Gloves by Julia Mueller, the yarn is Knit Picks Palette in the colorway Hazelnut.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Welt Pockets and Wool Vests

Anyone else ever have one of those weeks that just totally slips by you? I really have no idea what happened, I blinked and I missed it. Well, I have plenty of projects to tell you about, so hopefully I will do a better job posting this week.

My biggest project has been a fully lined wool vest with three welt pockets for Fiance. I had never sewn welt pockets before and I looked up a bunch of tutorials, decided none of them made sense and just made stuff up until I got a reasonable pocket.

It took me three tries before I got one I liked. I'm really glad that I decided to practise on cheap cotton first because the part where you cut a hole in your fabric is a bit scary.

The first one the welt didn't cover the pocket entirely, the second one I somehow managed to sew the pocket shut, but the third one come out okay and with a decent looking welt. I felt a bit like Goldilocks.

I'm pleased with how the vest turned out. It fits Fiance well too, but he didn't want to model it for photos. I made a size down from the pattern recommendations. Yes, vests are meant to button over layers of clothing, but I thought three inches of positive ease was a bit excessive. This size gave him an inch. It fits in the arm holes, but is a big snug across his stomach, so I might try grading the pattern a bit when I make it again.

I will definitely make this pattern again because it's the same one I will use for his wedding vest, but I'm going to make it out of linen for a summer weight. 

The only thing I'm not happy with is one of the side seams. I think I managed to catch some extra fabric when I was sewing it up because it tucks in at the very bottom. When I look at the inside of the seam though it looks fine. I used a ladder stitch to close the lining which is so quick and easy that one of these days I might just take it out and try and fix that tuck.

All in all, both Fiance and I are happy with the vest. The welt pockets were fun to learn how to do and the vest itself was pretty quick and easy. It took me two days only because I started it at a friend's house who has such dim lighting that I couldn't see what I was doing with the black fabric so I had to stop and finish it when I got home instead. 

The outer layer is 100% wool, the lining is Bemberg rayon, the pattern was originally Simplicity 2346 but I changed the pockets, and left of that tie in the back. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Finally Finished Socks

At the beginning of this year I made a list of sewing and knitting goals. I wanted (and still want) to create a wardrobe of handmade items right down to basics like socks and underwear. I told myself I was going to knit a pair of socks a month.

Yeah, that totally didn't happen. So far in 2015 I have successfully finished two pairs of socks. It's November. Somehow I don't think I'm going to knit 10 more pairs of socks in two months.

But I am happy to say that I finished the pair I talked about in Block Sock Block back in August, the pair that I originally cast on in February.

As I mentioned in that post, I think the biggest problem I was running into was that I didn't like the yarn. I still have another skein of it somewhere, but I think I'm just going to throw it into the stash and forget about it for a while.

I'm not sure you can really tell in these photos, but I changed the pattern of blocks for the second sock. The original pattern is Patchwork Weasely Socks by Erica Lueder. I adore her sock patterns, but I also wanted to honor the spirit of Dobby with my Harry Potter inspired socks so I decided to not make them a perfect match, but still have them go together like Harry's socks with broomsticks on one and snitches on the other.

The really funny thing about finally finishing these socks was that I was immediately inspired to cast on a new pair. So now I'm working on Dumbledore's Christmas Stockings, also by Erica Lueder, and they are going much more quickly. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Normally I am super into Halloween. It is my absolute favorite holiday, I've always decorated and I've usually spent three months making a costume. I generally know what I want to dress as by November 1st for the following year.

But this year I just wasn't feeling it. I didn't even start to think about costumes until the week before, and then it was only to think that I wasn't in the mood to make anything. So rather then make anything new I pulled old costumes out of storage and tried to figure out what might still fit.

There is nothing like looking at projects that are around 5 years old to make you realize how much better at sewing you are now.

I ended up wearing an old black dress. It used to have long purple sleeves, but they were too tight. I honestly cannot believe it fit because I weight 40 lbs more than I did when I was in college, so I'm thinking it must have just been huge on me when I first made it. And taking off the sleeves made me realize that 1) I didn't do a great job sewing in a straight line and 2) I had no idea how to attach a lining/finish my seams. The inside of the dress looked horrible.

But the outside looked okay, so I wore it.

It was cold and rainy so I threw this felt cloak on and said I was Queen of the Night.

It took some digging around my facebook page, and the picture isn't great, but I found the night I originally wore the costume in 2010.

You can't see much of the dress because it was really only visible around the hem, the neckline, and the sleeves, but I can tell from the gaping at the neckline that it was way too big for me then. I was so proud of that costume 5 years ago. Now it's making me cringe a bit. I'm glad to see that I have come a long way.