Saturday, May 26, 2007

Scraps of Fabric and Food

Some fabric to feast on:
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This will hopefully become a quilt at some point. I think I may be a bit ambitious.
Certainly ambition had something to do with my lofty ideas of making a new bag last night. Especially since I've never sewn a bag in the whole of me life. The bag's pitiful existence will be cherished by me and me alone, because I fear it's unbecoming looks may prevent it from being worn outside of the apartment.
Poor, poor houndstooth. You were so pretty. Then I happened upon you!

Yes, this may be hyperbole, and you may get a chance to sneak a peek at said bag, but I've yet to finish it up. Wait in anticipation!

As for the Detox, it's going decently. I'm never starving, but conversely, am never satisfied. My usual diet of cheese and breadstuffs is very much missed at this point. You can only have so many veggie, rice or fruit meals until you begin to go bonkers. Though, I did have a smashingly good Sweet Potato Fries meal for dinner last night. I highly recommend it!

Once again, knitting has fallen by the wayside. But what else are Saturday nights for but knitting and Mythbusters?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

And on a Totally Unrelated Note

Join me, if you will, in a 7 Day Detox Diet. I've been batting this idea around in me noggin for a while, but some of the other detox diet outlines say that you should be on it for a month. No cheese or bread for a month? I couldn't do it. Seven days seems plausible. Anyone with me? (this is, I feel I must add, brought on by the sad scene I went through this morning where the clothes I wanted to wear to work today wouldn't fit.)

On a slightly more related note, new obsession=quilting. I've been to Fabricland within the last week and bought myself some pretties to make a small one (well, two). I also picked up some snazzy herringbone and houndstooth for an eventual bag (perhaps this cool one. I would be modding it slightly, of course. Discerning tastes and all.)
I also picked up some fabric for a summer dress, and not knowing anything at all about sewing, bought more than I probably need.
Very soon in the future I'll be going to the ever-lovable Lens Mill Store to get some more fabric.

I apologize for the lack of picture posts. I just might give you a fabric sneak peak in the next one.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Proclaimation From On High

from the
by no means an exhaustive list

  • There’s nothing wrong with knotting.

  • Nothing is perfect but Allah (you know them perfectionist rug makers and their purposeful mistake inclusions?) - mistakes are just opportunities to expand your creative horizons (aka - refine disaster management skills)

  • Don’t use hand-spun for garments (sweaters, jackets, etc…)

  • Variegated yarns are a bad idea. Pooling looks like hell.

  • Gauge swatch = waste of time and yarn. (see point #2)

  • Blocking was sent to us by the knitting gods to act as a cure all. It's true. You can use less yarn, spend less time, save more money, and create a garment that fits through the sculptural powers of water and pins. Remember, it's easier to stretch something out than deal with a floppy, too-large-for-you handknit.

  • Buy the best you can afford and don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it.

  • Recognize that the stash is not there to be depleted, it’s just there to be.

  • Mohair - just don’t buy it. - and on a related note - make sure you’re not buying the scratchy yarn!

  • Don’t knit anything for anyone who hasn’t proven their appreciation for the handknit. If you do, there will be disappointment all around.

  • Tuesday, May 15, 2007

    Yes I did, I broke a Personal Fashion Rule

    And I broke this rule with the Pithy Hat:

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    Being a round-headed individual, I had, for the last 24 years, kept the rule that hats are not for me, as they accentuate the aforementioned body part. The lure of the quick-knit and the ideal project for an oft-neglected yet gorgeous stash yarn was too great.


    Pattern: Pithy Hat
    Yarn: Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 (about half a hank)
    Time to complete: an incredible 4 days (and it would have been less if I hadn't of frogged the beginning about three times)

    The yarn is so perfect - I love yarns with subtle colour changes. It adds beautiful depth. This yarn is also incredible to work with - soft, smooth and springy.

    The hat actually fit! I was quite pleased. But, will I actually wear it out?

    Tuesday, May 08, 2007

    Ester and Rowan combine to great success

    A few days ago, I completed my Ester.
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    Yarn: Rowan Summer Tweed (about 3 hanks, I do believe)
    Pattern: Ester
    Things I screwed up on: The cable repeats. But, being me, I just went with it.
    Things to note about Summer Tweed: stretches like madness. I made the smallest size (sticking with my knitting creed of smaller size=faster to knit, less yarn used, and can always be blocked out) - thankfully. The summer tweed is quite nice to wear, and touch, but it's stretching has got me concerned for the wearability of the garment. I also didn't want the shrug to be as loose and baggy as it is in the pattern pics.
    I have to buy myself a good pin to wear with it. My bee pin (being sported in the below photo) broke!

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    These photos were taken before I had worn it out that day. This was the Ester at it's smallest.

    Thursday, May 03, 2007

    Wee Spencer Christened the Anne Elliot

    Introducing my Anne Elliot

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    Yarn: Wendy Yarn - Peter Pan 2 ply
    Needles: 2.25 mm
    Pattern: My own, after the Guess Spencer (sketchy notes to be added if by popular demand)
    Things I'd change:
    More careful with buttonholes - they don't all match up.
    Sleeves should be smaller - they're a bit baggy as is. When I inevitably make a second Spencer, this will be more carefully calculated (instead of just "well, it took 90 stitches across the back...)
    Also along button edge - I've been knitting for years now and so have no excuse for this mistake, but instead of making the under-button edge garter, I made it stockinette, which of course leads to the wonderful curling-under that is quite visible in the photo.
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    The yarn itself is very stretchy, and blocked out quite nicely (except for the rust-stains caused by evil pins).

    What colour should I make next? I'm digging the golds and greys as of late.

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    Please let me know if you see any glaring errors. I didn't keep the best notes going along. I hope this isn't too convoluted.

    Sized for a 36" bust. You can read my suggestions for pattern-improvement.
    Gauge: 7 sts/inch
    Yarn: Wendy – Peter Pan 4 ply
    Needles: 2.5 mm
    Extras: seven 1 cm buttons, tapestry needle.
    Warning: crochet ahead!
    Hook: 3 mm

    You can block the Spencer to make the lace look nicer. Just don't use pins that will rust! (yes, I did).

    Double Seed Stitch:

    Row 1 - *K2, p2. Repeat from * to end of row.
    Row 2 – As row 1.
    Row 3 - *P2, k2. Repeat from * to end of row.
    Row 4 – As row 3.

    Clover Lace:

    Rows 1 and 7 – K
    Row 2 and all Wrong side rows – P
    Row 3 – K2, yo, sk1, k2tog, psso, yo, *k5, yo, sl1, k2tog, psso, yo*, rep from * to *.
    Row 5 – K3, yo, ssk, *k6, yo, ssk*, rep from * to *.
    Row 9 – K1, *k5, yo, sl1, k2tog, psso, yo*, rep from * to *.
    Row 11 – K7, *yo, ssk, k6*, rep from * to *.


    CO 82 sts
    work 1x1 ribbing for 1 cm (0.5 inch)
    work double seed stitch for 6 cm (2.5 inches)

    Begin clover pattern, and begin increases. Increase 1 st on each side on the Front Side of the work until piece measures 23 cm (9 inches) long.

    (I had to fudge the pattern for the increases. What I did was placed markers at the beginning stitches, and continued the pattern as normal within the markers. When there was enough stitches outside the markers - which is seven, I believe - I worked those in pattern).

    Shaping armholes:

    When piece measures 21 cm (8 inches) long, begin shaping armhole by dec 2 sts on each side of Front of work for six rows. Then dec 1 st each side until piece measures 28 cm (11 inches). Arm holes are now shaped.

    Continue in clover pattern until piece is 36 cm (14 inches) long.

    Front Panels:

    Work two. Just remember to reverse the neckline and arm hole shaping!
    At this point, choose which side you want the buttons on, and which side the button holes.
    CO 38 sts (this is what I did, but I recommend casting on a few more. I found the front panels to be a bit small).

    Do the same shaping for the front panels as you did for the back, save for the 6 sts along what will be the buttonhole edge. Here I just kept the knitting in sockinette.

    Button holes:

    You create the first buttonhole on the first row of double seed stitch, and from then on place the buttonholes at approximately 2.5 cm (1 inch) intervals.
    All I did was work 2 sts on buttonhole edge, cast off 2, and continue in pattern. Then on the next row, you just CO 2 sts over the space created by the 2 you cast off.

    Begin neckline shaping. (this is also when you begin armhole shaping!)

    Neckline Shaping:
    Cast off 18 sts to create beginning of neckline. You should have about 30 sts left.
    Now you continue to shape the neckline edge by dec 1 st along neck edge every Front side row. Continue dec in this manner until you have 12 sts left. Work until front panels are same length as Back.


    Make two.

    CO 70 sts.
    Work 1x1 ribbing for 1 cm (0.5 inches).
    Begin clover pattern.
    Work in pattern until piece measures 4 cm (1.5 inches).

    Begin shaping sleeve.
    Dec. 1 st each side of Front of work until you have 2 sts left (my sleeves ended up being 16 cm/6.5 inches long).


    Sew up side seams, shoulders and sleeves. Place and sew buttons.
    Pick up sts along neckline (sorry, I didn’t count them), and knit two rows in stockinette. This makes a nice edge for you to create the crochet trim upon.

    Neckline crochet:
    Starting at one edge of neckline, make 1 sc.
    Skip 2 sts.
    Make five dc in next st.
    Skip 2 sts.
    Slip-stitch this down.

    There you have the mini-shell that I used all the way around the neckline. Just continue the pattern til you get all the way around the neckline. I consciously kept my crocheting a little looser, because I was afraid it would pucker the knitting and look funny.

    Suggestions for improvements to pattern:

    If I were making this pattern again, I would add an inch-worth of extra stitches to the bust area (I would spread this out across the front panels, so I'd add 0.5 inches to one side and 0.5 stitches to the other).

    I would also attempt to do it in the round, at least for the bottom half. I only suggest this because I dislike sewing seams.

    I suggest creating a row of garter stitch on the edge of the front panel where the buttons will be sewn. This will make the fabric want to lay flat, rather than curl under like the original does.

    Here is a pathetic Paint diagram of the measurement I took of the Spencer. If you can measure your own gauge, you can fit the pattern to you and your own yarn/needles/tension.
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