Friday, 31 August 2012

delicious, a smorgasbord

New socks for Tim, with a secret ingredient:

Pink stripes!

The Vital Statistics
Pattern: Delicious Knee Socks by Laura Chau.

Size: Oh, can't remember of course. I think I ended up with 72 stitches, realised that they would be too big for me and decided to make them for Tim instead.

Yarn: Six of them from the toe up: Fiber Optic Yarns Foot Notes (80 per cent merino, 20 per cent nylon) in 'Black coffee no.9'; Grignasco Strong Print (75 per cent merino, 25 per cent nylon ); Zitron Trekking (XXL) (75 per cent wool, 25 per cent  Nylon) in 126 and then later in 81; Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball (75 per cent wool, 25 per cent nylon) in 'U-boot'; and Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Sock Yarn (50 per cent alpaca, 30 per cent merino, 10 per cent nylon, 10 per cent silk) in 'Blues in the Night'.
Needles: 2.25mm.

Start to finish: 10 June to 30 August 2012, so two-and-a-half months. Considering that the last pair of socks took me some two-and-a-half years, I feel as though I am making real progress here!

Stash/recycle content: All of them - the Foot Notes I previously used for the Honey Cowl, the Strong Print for a pair of socks, the Trekking (XXL) were both used in Babette (and came from the thrift store originally), Crazy Zauberball from Kerchief and Babette, and the Hand Paint Sock Yarn I got in a stash swap and used in both Daybreak and Babette.

Comments: I started off knitting these for myself but even though I seemed to be getting gauge they were going to be too big for me. And once I had finished the toe, I couldn't bear to pull it out so I knit them for Tim instead. Inspired by various projects on Ravelry, I really wanted to use up all the odds and ends of sock yarn that I have floating around from various shawl projects mostly. And really, woollen socks get worn under boots mostly so it doesn't really matter if they are multi-coloured. I followed the pattern up until the calf shaping started and knit ribbing after that instead. If I knit another pair, and I think I will, I might try for knee highs for myself. Oh and cast-on was my new favourite, Judy's Magic Cast On.

Oh, and I knit these two at a time, toe up! I'm very proud of myself. They did drag on a bit but there was certainly no second-sock syndrome difficulty. It might make it more fun to change yarns more often, although that would mean more ends to weave in ...

Verdict:  Deliciously happy. They are a great fit for Tim, of course, because I knit them that way! It was also fun to see the self-striping come out on the Trekking (XXL) which I had only previously crocheted with.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012


Wow, summer seems to have gotten the better of me. Routine totally out the window, sporadic knitting, hot weather that just melts my brains, limited internet access and a trip to the lake.

Back on track soon!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

the patient

I am patiently stitching away on Cladonia. I removed one 'blanket fort' stripe, unpicking one row and then unravelling the second. Replacing it with 'truffle hunt' required knitting one row and then Kitchener stitching to graft that row to the next across many hundred stitches. Tedious, and nerve wracking.

The second row I am approaching somewhat differently, unpicking the 'blanket fort' and following up with the 'truffle hunt' stitch by stitch. Also incredibly tedious but not so nerve-wracking and with less chance of mistakes (I had to actually undo my Kitchener stitching a few times where I had lost the rhythm), especially when it comes to incorporating increases, and infinitely neater. Then every hour or so, I get to knit a few dozen stitches with the  yarn that I have salvaged.

Yes, this is nuts but I have decided to finish this with the yarn that I have and I am stubborn.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

m2818 AA v.2

Palmer Pletsch for McCall's 2818
Alma Aguilar version 2

And here is version 2, with a differently cut yoke and the same gaping problem.

Again, fits very nicely across the bust - hooray! I cut the yoke across the princess seams just above the bust apex and the neckline even deeper and wider and it does sit ok if allowed to sit very wide on my shoulders (much wider than I would like, strapless-bra required wide) and I haven't done the understitching on the neckline yet and it doesn't have sleeves, which do tend to pull things into shape, but I have run out of fabric until I can find another French Connection butterfly print top on ebay and ...

It also occurs to me that this is a semi-fitted pattern. I'm wondering if that doesn't lend itself to a deep neckline. Anyway, I'm going to put this one away for (maybe) later.

(Final lesson learned - maybe those late-night dressmaking sessions are not such a good idea.)

Monday, 13 August 2012

m2818 AA v.1

Palmer Pletsch for McCall's 2818
Alma Aguilar version 1

This is what I have spent a lot of time working on recently - a lot of time adjusting the pattern with a full bust adjustment (fba) (it took me four tries but I got it right), then sewing a toile, then altering the neckline, then cutting and pinning and sewing and facing and interfacing.

And, I'm afraid, it has not wholly been a success. I have a litany of little woes to recount about this project; oh where to start? With a positive - the fba turned out very well and now that I am confident with that I will not hesitate to do it again. Hooray! This Palmer Pletsch pattern includes all of the lines upon which you need to cut in order to make the adjustments and it is really easy. Double hooray!

The greatest problem that I encountered here was with the neckline and I must note that I altered it in an effort to emulate the Alma Aguilar dress of my dreams and perhaps that is where it all went wrong? Anyway, the neckline gapes (see fuzzy middle image), that is, doesn't sit flat against my chest. This may be an issue with the original pattern, unfortunately I never completed my toile of that far enough to assess the neckline, I was too focussed on getting the fba perfected. I cut my neckline a lot deeper than that in the pattern, not sure whether a deeper neckline calls for tightening up elsewhere - would need to make a toile again to assess that but I am very over this sewing pattern. I also made some mistakes with interfacing and sewing the yoke and I had a lot of trouble with the facings and the sleeves aren't finished because I absolutely ran out of steam and ... in short, I've had it with this one.

I did have some fun with the back though - the pattern calls for a placket up the back and I was planning on using an invisible zip at the side but since I was upcycling a men's shirt I just cut the back pieces from the front of the shirt and incorporated the placket. I left the chest pocket on the shirt and you can (sort of, just) see where that is incorporated into the princess seams.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

shawl surgery

I'm not sure whether I have completely lost the plot but my Cladonia remodel has taken on the dimensions of full reconstructive surgery.

I ran out of yarn - the 'blanket fort' this time - and am feeling completely contrary about making the trip to Bainbridge Island to buy some more or paying delivery costs if I purchase it online (two things that I normally wouldn't blink an eye at). Part of it may be that as I was knitting the stripes, after the colour change, it did occur to me more than once that it might be an idea to throw in a 'truffle hunt' stripe here or there (see photo at right). But I couldn't really decide and I was a bit far along and didn't want to rip back the few rows so I just kept knitting; kept knitting until I was the cast-off edging and two-and-a-half rows short of 'blanket fort' yarn.

So last night, having saved myself from previously ripping back a few rows, I cut into my Cladonia, oh yes, cut in with scissors and removed a blanket fort stripe. I am halfway through replacing it with a truffle hunt stripe which is going surprisingly well (but that's because 200-odd stitches to be kitchenered together are yet to come). See photo below of great gaping wound:

And, I'll have to this at least twice more I figure in order to have enough yarn to finish, the triple bypass of knitting surgery.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

learning curve

Ah, inspiration. At what point does it turn into obsession? I appear to be on my way to finding out. As soon as I saw this Alma Aguilar dress I became, shall we say, completely preoccupied with recreating the bodice. I think it is just beautiful, not so taken with the skirt shape but I'm busy with blouses at the moment so that's ok (a dress is in the planning stage but that will be later, much later).

So I have been busy sewing and busy learning, mostly about how to sew a curve. It's hard work. The issue with sewing a curved seam (as in the seam between the yoke and bodice at left) is that the seam line (where you sew) is the same length on both pieces but, given the seam allowance, the edges of the pieces are different lengths. They are also different shapes.(You can get a bit of an idea from this Collette sew-along tutorial.)

My original pattern (McCall's 2818) had no such curved seam issues but I had to go and modify it, twice over, in an attempt to mimic the bodice of my inspira... obsessi... preoccupation. There was much clipping and notching and pinning and stitching and puckering and undoing and restitching and ... I'll show you the results next time.

(image credit)

Thursday, 2 August 2012

july reading

In the Woods by Tana French  - Hmm, a good read but could have stood on its own without all of the protagonist's psychological trauma. The psychological thriller angle just became too noisy and a bit pointless in the end. 

Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo - Less gruesome than the first two in the series and oddly enough, exactly the same plot device as In the Woods.

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson - Such a good read although populated by all too many unpleasant characters with even more unpleasant attitudes about women.