Archive | August, 2011

Simplicity 2451 muslin

27 Aug

I only started to like swatching and blocking after a lot of time knitting, because my focus learning a new craft is always on gaining experience, practicing technique, figuring out what kind of projects I like, that sort of thing. I guess the same goes for muslins. The thought of making an entire garment just for practice  seems incredibly depressing, even though I know perfectly well that a stitch in time saves nine and all that.

Does this look like the sheets in your grandmother's spare bedroom? It probably was!

Well, I figured there’s really no way around making muslins for adult garment sewing, so here it is: Simplicity 2451, a pleated yoked skirt. I’m into it! And I see the value in making a muslin so I can make all the mistakes now instead of on the fashion fabric–such as, for example, sewing about half of the seams the wrong way out, as you can see on the yoke. I also realized that sewing muslins is fast, because you don’t have to press and finish seams.

The design and construction of this skirt are exactly like something I would buy in a store, and the shape is very flattering. It is about an inch too big around, so I’m in a quandary: do I a) stick with the same size and take a bigger seam allowance or b) cut the smaller size and hope the post-baby weight loss continues at its glacial but steady pace, or c) cut the smaller size and take a smaller seam allowance? I’ll also have to cut the fashion fabric longer, since there isn’t enough of a hem allowance for the fabric I have in mind.

And I should probably take advantage of this muslin to practice inserting a zipper, because the last time I tried to make myself a skirt everything went beautiful until I totally biffed the zipper and had to toss the whole thing. Stupid zippers!

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Pavement scarf + camo tote + some cliches

26 Aug

Neither of these projects quite merits its own: I should wait to post the scarf pictures until I have modeled shots, but I was getting impatient. This thing has been on the needles since about March, and I am sick of it. First, the tote. I got this camo fabric with the intention of making C some manly tote bags. He was skeptical, arguing that there’s no such thing as a manly tote. And I’m sorry to say that I now think he’s correct. I went so far as to alter the proportions here so it wouldn’t be quite so long and narrow, but even a squat tote bag still reads as somewhat feminine. Still, more grocery/ library bags are always welcome and C is very secure in his masculinity anyway.

Very roomy and good for hiding!

Yesterday–after a fantastic week that began with the news that I’d been awarded a special surprise fellowship I didn’t even I was up for–I got a fairly devastating reader’s report on an article I’d sent out. Well, rejection is part of the academic process and I’m cool with that in theory, but the reality of reading an anonymous stranger’s undermining of your entire project is still a bit destabilizing.

Holy cat hair!

I had pinned and blocked this scarf (Jared Flood’s Pavement) the night before, and as I tearfully freed it last night while fixating on several choice phrases from that reader’s report, I started thinking about the process of blocking: taking something that looks a hot mess and coaxing it into shape, letting it bloom so you can appreciate all its hard-earned complexities. The metaphorical relationship of text/ textile is fairly well established and frankly a little old-fashioned, but it was still nice to think about, that really there’s not much different between writing an article and knitting a cabled scarf: both are complex, lengthy projects that get quite tedious by the end; both require deft manipulation of the source material; both require extensive post-production processing; and both make my carpal tunnel act up.

A lovely stack of wool. Now if only it would cool off below 90 degrees.

OK, although I can’t really see myself crying over a scarf.

FO: Candy Cane Cladonia

19 Aug

Something odd happened with this Cladonia: it’s too small. It’s supposed to be 52 inches across the top and 19 inches high, but mine is more like 45 x 17. Maybe I started the lace too early, or maybe the yarn didn’t grow as much as the pattern yarn, but it is definitely smaller than I expected. A good blocking helped, but not quite enough.

Blocking. I didn't pin out the edging, but I used wires and pinned at the top and botton of the lace section.

And it’s definitely long enough for wearing around the neck, which is pretty much the only way I wear shawls anyway. I decided not to pin the edging because I just didn’t like the way it looked, and stiff points, in my experience, do not last in this kind of humidity.

Love the lace pattern! Geometric and non-fussy.

Gee, it’s hard to take pictures of yourself!

This is the best picture I could take of myself. I should probably do something about my hair, hmm?

I really loved this pattern. The lace was simple to follow and the stripes de-fuss the whole thing. Yes, the looped picot edging sucked, but I powered through.

This was a quick, easy, satisfying knit. I haven’t had much knitting mojo lately, and finishing this project gave me a nice little boost.

Please ignore the basket of laundry in the background. It's clean.

Pattern: Kristin Kapur’s Cladonia [Rav link]

Yarn: The yarn is a combination of undyed koigu and some yarn that was dyed locally in Salt Lake, which I got from Three Wishes Fiber when we were visiting C’s family over Christmas.

Notes and mods: No mods except that I didn’t pin the edging during blocking. I still can’t quite figure out the sizing, but I’m really happy with this. I was afraid at first that it would turn out too Christmas-y, and, yeah, it is a little Christmas-y. But I like Christmas! It’s a great holiday, and now I have a scarf to celebrate it!

Would I make it again?: I would absolutely make this again. The stripes make it a good stash busting knit, and it would also be excellent travel knitting.

FO: Colette Madeleine Mini-Bloomers

13 Aug

long and lean!

If you are looking at the picture of this lanky model in her wee little bloomers right now and thinking, “Wow, that does not seem like it would be a good look for Firstmute,” you would, alas, be right. I’ve been working on these things for almost two weeks with the intention of boosting my sleepwear collection, which currently consists of one cute chemise and lots and lots of boxer briefs that I filch from C’s dresser. I actually had visions of making a whole army of these and debuting them here in a nifty little pile.

At first everything was going great: I used fabric from a hideous thrifted Victoria Secret nightgown (imagine a full-length prairie nightgown in this fabric and you’ll get the idea), got the pattern printed out and lined up and taped, and even ordered a 144-yd roll of 1/4″ elastic for the occasion, since I’d decided I’d leave out the ribbon for simplicity’s sake. Everything came together smoothly, and there’s no reason for these to have taken two weeks–two hours would have been more the thing–but, as I said, I’ve been really busy with the chapter lately. Anyway, I finally finished them up this morning during a surprise nap by A, thought they looked pretty cute, tried them on, and … yeah. Wee little bloomers, just not a great look for me right now.

Not too bad on the hanger, a little unfortunate on the butt.

Oh, well. Time marches on!

FO: Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress

2 Aug

I traced this off on Friday, cut it out on Saturday and Sunday, sewed most of it last night, and finished up the hem today during naptime. It’s too big for her, as you see, but I think I’m in love.

You can see one of the pockets here.

The fabric is some linen (possibly linen blend?) that I got, along with a massive parking ticket, in the LA fabric district a few years ago. I was planning to make some sort of lined tote bag with it, but I think this is much better.

Boring button. Perhaps I'll replace it later.

The pattern–what can I say about Oliver + S that hasn’t already been said? The pattern was ridiculously clear, so that even I only had to rip out two seams. That’s practically a miracle. All the little helpful tips really made a difference.

She's really into sticks lately.

I only got confused once when I was covering the back of the dress with the back yoke. I think I was supposed to unpick the yoke seam, which is what I did. That seemed a little inefficient though, and I’m not 100% sure I did it correctly.

Sad baby.

Abby was a cranky little monster after her nap today, poor thing. We had a busy morning: dropped Chris off at work, went to the university library, hit up Gymboree, and then stopped at Publix. Plus, she woke up three times last night.

Pattern: Ice Cream Dress, Oliver + S

Fabric: Linen/ linen blend, unknown source

Mods and notes: No mods. This is a beautiful pattern. It’s probably a good idea to measure your baby, as they suggest, because I made a size too big. Also, listen to them when they say to mark the wrong side of your plain fabric. That would have saved me probably half an hour of turning the pieces over and over, trying to figure out which way to pin them.

Busy busy: I have a chapter draft due in three weeks, a class starting in four weeks that I have to write a syllabus for, and a house to keep. The crafting’s been a little slow around here, but I try to get my hands on something every day. Also, I’ve just discovered a knitting needle stuck in my hair. A bad sign for things to come, I think.