Category Archives: Knitting

Yes and no

Yes, I finished Jack’s sweater.  But no, I did not finish my dress.  Social engagements got into the way.  And there’s good and bad news.  First the bad news:  Jack has a really bad cold and is absolutely miserable today, so we cancelled the photo session.  The good news is that means I can finish my dress for next weekend’s photo appointment.  Yeah!

Jack’s sweater fits just ok.  Even though I added 1.5 inches to the length, it’s still a little short.  And it’s a little wide in the shoulders.  But I am so over knitting this sweater that it will have to do.  I will show you a picture of him in it later.  The poor little guy is not up to any glamour shots today.

I am planning to fix the bust problem by releasing the fisheye dart and lowering it.  If that works, then I will just finish the hem, vent and hand sew the lining to the zipper tape.  If not, then I will undo the side seams and lower the bust dart, but I think the fisheye dart alteration will do the trick.

Thank you for all your suggestions.  I did try all my different bras with the dress, even my pushy-uppiest bra and nothing did the trick.  Not sure why the fit on this dress is so different from my other dresses.  Oh well…

I hope you all get a chance to sew or knit today.

WTH!!!

People, can you see what’s wrong with the above picture (other than the crappy iPhone quality)?

Two nights ago, I tried on my tweed jumper (aka B5147) and was faced with double trouble.  Let’s just say the girls are not happy.  Now do you see what’s wrong?  There is major boob smooshing going on and not the good kind.

How did this happen?  This is my TNT folks.  Not some random pattern I picked up at a bar.  B5147 and I are going steady.  I thought there might even be a ring in the near future.  I feel betrayed!  Suddenly, B5147 doesn’t return my calls and now this!  Ok, my metaphor is losing steam here.  Seriously though…  My bust dart is about 1 inch too high (looks like I have low hanging fruit, hah!) and the fisheye dart looks too high too. 

What do I do in this situation???  Is it a simple matter of sacrificing the side seam allowances and then the dress will fall to the right level with some room for the girls?  Or do I have to actually release and lower the darts?  FYI, the dress fits everywhere else.  Just the bust is the problem.  Please let me know your suggestions.

I guess all the bad food choices and little exercise are catching up to my meager metabolism, not to mention the too little sleep I’ve been getting of late.  *sigh*  Gravity and aging are not my friends.

In disgust, I turned to knitting Jack’s sweater last night and was hit with another disaster.  My gauge swatch had lied to me and my knitting was 3.5 inches too narrow.  (Is there no loyalty with yarns and fabrics any longer?  They’re just like men!)  I had to frog the entire back and start over.   However, now I am confident I am on the right track with Jack’s sweater, although I am not entirely confident I will get either project done by Sunday when our photo shoot is scheduled.  :(  

Hope your yarn and fabrics are treating you nicer than I have been treated this week.

Feeling exposed

Saturday night I was happily sewing along on my latest rendition of B5147 in plummy tweed.  I had just finished all my darts (all six of them on the shell) around 10:30pm.  I thought for a moment about starting the darts on the lining when I realized that I didn’t have matching thread for the lining.  Quelle horreur!  Not only that, but I didn’t have a matching zipper! 

That’s the problem with having a notion stash my friends.  You just assume you have all the supplies for every project under the sun.  Well, guess what?  Sometimes you don’t.  So that was my deciding factor to pack it up for the night. 

On Sunday, Jack and I headed over to Purl in Soho to peruse the yarn selection for his annual sweater vest.  I know I said that I probably wasn’t going to make his sweater this year, but I booked the appointment for our yearly pictures and I just can’t stand the thought of not having Jack in one of my sweaters.  Call it narcissism if you must!  After last year’s debacle, I made sure to get a color fast yarn that’s easily washable.  I chose Cascade Superwash 128 in a yummy forest green and an equally yummy ivory.  I still haven’t decided how to use the ivory yet, but will kind of “feel” it as I go I think.  

Jumping into the future:  Since I am an instant gratification person, I had to cast on Sunday night to see how the yarn looked.  I’m using Ann Budd’s book for the sweater vest pattern with a few modifications.  Me likey…

in progress: back of sweater

 

Back to the past:  Unfortunately, Purl didn’t have a large selection of thread and zippers for my new dress, so Jack and I had to walk over to P&S Fabrics to get those items.  P&S is my go to neighborhood fabric/notions store.  While their fabrics aren’t necessarily the best, you can find some bargains there occasionally and they have a decent selection of notions, buttons and yarn.  I started to panic, however, when they didn’t have an invisible zipper to match my plummy tweed.  What’s a girl to do without an invisible zipper in this modern age???  (Read: I have no idea how to insert any other kind of zipper.)  Near the zipper section, P&S has a few grubby bins filled with one-off zippers, some of them regular zippers that you could use as an exposed zipper.  Since I was already envisioning this dress as more of a jumper than an elegant sheath dress, an exposed zipper might be just the ticket!  There were two that I liked in two different lengths, 18 in and 20 in.  The pattern calls for a 20 in zipper, but an emergency call to Carolyn confirmed that an 18 in zipper would do just as well; I’m not an amazon being only 5 foot 4 inches tall.  And as it so happens, the 18 inch zipper (the one at the top of the picture with the deeper purple tape) is the one I like best with my fabric. 

Of course I have no idea how to insert an exposed zipper.  And of course, I went searching on the internet for a tutorial on how to insert one.  The tutorial I like best so far of all that I found was on the Husqvarna site (click on the exposed zipper tutorial).  That’s the one I will use tonight.

I sewed the darts in the lining last night and started to attach the lining to the dress at the neck.  I had a huge moment of inspiration at that point and am adding more detail to this simple sheath dress pattern to make it my own.  But that’s a post for another day…

I know.  I’m such a tease.  ;)  

Happy sewing everyone!

Daydreaming

Thank you so much for all of the wonderful compliments on my coat the last two days.  You are all so sweet to take the time to comment.  I really appreciate it!  I am still in the honeymoon period with my coat, having worn it three days straight and still in love.  My eagle eye has not detected any flaws and my body feels super comfy and warm in its sweet embrace. 

But now that massive coat endeavor is over, what next?  A few posts back when I spoke of how fabric stash is in actuality theoretical clothes, I included my sewing list through the end of the year (I’ll recap again here):

  • Knit Jack’s mittens
  • Knit Jack’s annual sweater (maybe)
  • 6 lined tote bags for gifts
  • Finish my fall coat  COMPLETED
  • 5 kids pj’s for Christmas gifts
  • Find, fit and make TNT pants and jacket for a suit POSTPONED —  2011

Now that fall is here, I am yearning for my own sewn clothes to permeate my fall wardrobe.  I want tweedy goodness like tweed sheath dresses worn over turtlenecks.  How about  some suit jackets to mix and match?   Maybe a plaid skirt thrown in. 

Right now, I am considering the turtlenecks (BWOF 9-2010-121 turtleneck) from one of the last two issues of Burda that Karen made up.  And using my B5147  sheath dress pattern for a tweed and maybe a suiting. 

Mama needs some clothes!

Oh and I’ll probably get to all the other stuff on the list except for the pants.  That project is probably going to be complex like the coat.  And I will need a vacation and some wine fortification before trying that.  I’m still on the fence about Jack’s sweater.  Not sure if there’s enough time. 

Whirlwind knitting

I finished Jack’s hat last night.  While I love the spiral rib, the top of the hat is a little less than graceful.  Part of the lack of grace is due to shortening the height of the hat by 2-3 inches to make it a child size (upon recommendation of the Purl Bee).  But I also think the decrease rows look like a sudden change.  Not sure how I would rectify that situation though if I were to make it again.  Suggestions from any of the knitters out there (I’m looking at you Robin!)?  ;)  

Here’s a close up of the hat.

And here’s the hat with the scarf… 

I don’t know if you can tell from these pictures, but the yarn is a truly remarkable color IRL.  It’s mostly teal blue with speckles of sea green.  This color just glistens with life.  I used Cascade Superwash 128 chunky yarn and really liked knitting with it.  I love the warm spongy fabric it creates.  The yarn calls for sz 10 needles with a 3.5 st/in gauge.  For the hat I used sz 9 needles to get a tighter weave, but for the scarf I used 10′s. 

I guess now I have to make him matching mittens, but I just don’t feel like it right now.  I am itching to get back to my fall coat.  But alas, I have a date tonight, so the coat will have to wait until Friday night.

Happy sewing and knitting everyone. 

P.S.  I promise pictures of Jack in his new accessories soon, but I want to finish his mittens first!

Sewing interruptus

It dawned on me this week that I am a month behind getting Jack’s knitting done for the year.  Every September, I knit his scarf, hat and annual sweater.  Well, it’s October my friends and the cold weather is nigh.  So I put aside my fall coat in deference to Jack’s needs.  I already knew what scarf pattern I wanted to use; I’ve used it twice before.  Liesl from Disdressed and of Oliver and S fame wrote this pattern a couple of years ago and I thought it was sheer genius.  I changed it up a little this year to look a little more boyish, although I still adore her pattern as is.  It doesn’t take that long to knit at all, maybe just 2-3 hours, so it’s perfect for my busy schedule and perfect for Jack’s little neck!

Liesl’s pattern has you cast on just 2 stitches to start and then you M2 stitches every other row which gradually forms a leaf shape to either end.  That’s just one part of the genius of this scarf.  The “tips” of the leaves are how you pull the scarf end through the slit (the other genius part) you create in the scarf by splitting the stitches onto two double point needles.  I wrote about this scarf last year. 

Anyhoo, this time I knew I wanted it to look more boyish, so I cast on the same amount of stitches as the width of the scarf for a more square look.  I also made the middle part shorter as last year’s scarf was a little too loose.   While the square ends are not as easy to get through the slit as the leaf ends of the original pattern, they are still quite workable.

I tested the guesstimate sizing on Jack this morning and it was perfect!  No picture of him wearing it yet though.

I already cast on for the hat last night.  I trawled Ravelry yesterday looking for inspiration.  I wanted a hat that would be simple to knit and quick, but it also needed some design feature to give it a little more interest than just stockinette stitch.  The perfect pattern was the His & Her Knit Hats from the Purl Bee.  Jack’s head circumference is about 20 inches, so I am making the women’s size hat for him.

His & Her Knit Hats (image from Purl Bee)

So that’s what I have been up to the last couple of nights.  As for Jack’s annual sweater, I’m not sure I am going to keep that tradition going.  Last year’s sweater was great.  Until I washed it.  Remember that disaster?  I don’t think I’ve recovered yet. 

I hope to get back to my coat this weekend.  Happy knitting and sewing everyone!

Sewing mojo lost — Knitting mojo found

As you all are aware by now, I have no sewing mojo of which to speak.  But my knitting mojo has taken me by storm.  I made the charity hat recently which I strongly suspect as the catalyst for my renewed knitting interest.  Then Robin and I discussed possibilities for my next knitting project.  And while waiting for my yarn to arrive in the mail, I picked up a UFO from last Fall, the Mohair Lace Scarf.

I had just a small portion completed on the scarf when I left it to languish on my sewing notions box for many a month.  I picked it up this weekend when I should have been sewing and am now about 1/3 of the way done.  It would be nice to wear this scarf this winter with my brown winter coat.  I have to admit though that my progress on it has been spotty.  There has been a lot of frogging.  Here’s how it went this weekend: I would knit 8 rows and then have to frog 6 over and over again, making incremental 2 row progress for every hour of knitting.  Sound like fun?  Very frustrating, but I still managed to make noticeable progress. 

Despite my frustrations, I have to admit it is much easier to watch TV while knitting.  I couldn’t possibly sew while watching TV.  In fact, my preferred “background noise” while sewing is my favorite TV show, “La Femme Nikita“, which aired on the USA network in the 90′s.  I. LOVE. THIS. SHOW.  I have the entire series on DVD and have watched it from beginning to end so many times I have lost count how many.  I want to marry Michael.

Roy Dupuis, who plays Michael on LFN

But looking at that picture…  Who wouldn’t?  Ohhh, here’s a picture of him as he looked in the series.

As Michael in LFN

Gets the blood flowing, doesn’t it?

Tell me, do you watch or listen to anything while you sew/knit?  If so, do you have any requirements?  The reason I ask is that I can’t watch new TV shows or movies while I sew because I get too distracted, don’t make any progress and/0r make lots of mistakes.  Watching a show that I know very well and love allows me to have the background noise company without the potential distraction.  I can pick and choose when I pay attention to it and mostly concentrate on my sewing.

If I choose to listen to music, I really don’t have requirements beyond that it can’t be opera.  Don’t get me wrong — I love opera.  I used to sing opera professionally.  But because of my history with it, opera demands my full attention.  It would be like watching a show I haven’t seen before — too much of a distraction.  My favorite music to listen to is Kurt Elling (Jazz), Jeff Buckley (Rock), Jump, Little Children (Rock) and David Sylvian (can’t be categorized).

So tell me all about what media companions (music, tv shows, or movies) you choose to keep company with while sewing, if any.

Stalled

I have had two solid evenings this week to start working on the dress for my cousin’s wedding and have not done one thing on it.  The Vera Wang fabric stares accusingly at me from on top of the sewing machine.  In fact, I spent all of last night helping a friend learn how to knit and uploading old photos onto Facebook. 

So if you came here looking for sewing progress, you came to the wrong place my friends.  Apparently, I am MIA in the sewing room.  Apparently, my MO is to sew at the last minute, backed into a corner. 

This dress might end up being named Disaster Dress or Dress of Doom.  I hope not. 

How many times can I say I am going to start my dress before you guys start yelling at me to stop crying wolf?  If anyone can loan me some of their sewing mojo, I would much appreciate it.  Thanks!

Image from Sisknit on Ravelry

In knitting news, I decided on the Peasy pattern for my cardigan and already ordered the yarn.  It should be in my greedy hands by next week.  Yeah!

EDITED TO ADD: Just saw on Reethi’s blog that she’s participating in the Friday Night Sew-In.  This might be just the thing to get my mojo going.  So I am publicly saying that I’m going to do it too.  (Uh oh…)

Knitting?

I just finished knitting this super easy and quick hat for a charity project to benefit Young Runners.  My particular hat will be going to a young runner in Far Rockaway.  It’s a really simple pattern: 3 inches of ribbing, then 3 inches of stockinette and then several rounds decreasing every other round.  Even though it was such a simple project and was so fast to finish, I found myself really enjoying the knitting of it.  I guess I miss knitting more than I thought.  I think my last bit of knitting last year was all KWAG (spoof on the Selfish Seamstress’ SWAG but as knitting with a grudge) thereby making the process of knitting stressful due to time constraints and with no payoff to me.   ;)   As a matter of fact, I think my poor niece Haley never got her winter hat.   Bad Auntie!!!

Anyway, I was talking to Robin yesterday about my newfound knitting love.  You see, I know how great a knitter she is having seen many a gorgeous sweater that she’s made on her blog.  Robin regularly adjusts knitting patterns for better fit and tosses out terms like top down knitting or talks about how she creates spreadsheets on the changes she makes to the patterns she uses.  We’re talking knitting goddess here!  I’m a fumbling newbie with knitting compared to her.  So I turned to Robin for advice on my next knitting project hoping she could direct me to the perfect pattern.  I would like to actually wear whatever it is that I end up knitting, so the bar is high for this project.  Ideally, the pattern would be for a cardigan that wasn’t too difficult yet had some interesting detail like a simple lace or maybe some cabling.  Something that wouldn’t take two years of tedious knitting to finish.  Something that would be a great topper for a dress or top to tie a whole look together.  I would like to use a natural fiber that had some nice drape.

Robin and I talked for a good long while and she gave me some great links to some sweaters that she thought I might like.    These are all Ravelry links, so you have to join to view them, but here they are…

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/peasy

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lucky-cardigan

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/chic

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/tappan-zee-cardigan

I haven’t decided which one I will do yet, but I definitely have a great bunch from which to choose.  Incidentally, I passed by the new Purl store in Soho last night on my way to a dinner date.  It looks soooo pretty.  Unfortunately they were closed and I was just going to make it to the dinner on time, or I would have stopped in to buy some yarn.   I will have to decide before my trip so I can take the project with me.  You know what they say about idle hands!  Besides, my sister says that I always need to be entertained.  I’m not sure that’s a compliment though.

I was supposed to go out tonight with the girls, but Jack’s sick and I think I need to stay home tonight.  So instead,  I will start my new version of B5147 for the wedding which is *gasp* two weeks away while keeping an eye on the baby monitor and Jack’s breathing.

Un petit peu

Jack and I are en vacance and I had a moment to update you on some completed and gifted projects. The second set of PJ’s were a hit, Jack’s and Baby Haley’s. Here are some fuzzy snaps. I couldn’t get really great pictures with these ever-moving targets!

Baby Haley

Jack saying cheese!

Here’s the first of the two knitting commissions, for a beautiful girl named Hannah. By request, I used the same colorway as the original commission. I think the set turned out nicely. :)

Hannah's hat and mittens

I have started on the second (or third if you’re counting) commission but did not bring all the needles with me, so won’t be able to complete while we’re here.  :(   Here’s the hat in progress…

Baby Haley's Hat

It’s a slightly darker (brighter?) colorway than the other hat/mittens.

In other knitting news, I washed Jack’s 2009 Xmas sweater and there was serious damage done. I washed it in cold, with little agitation, and air-dried it. When I looked at it after the sweater had dried, I noticed that the blues had bled into the burgundy areas. I have no idea if this sweater can be saved now. Any thoughts on this from other knitters out there? It’s a cotton and supposedly washable yarn.

Bleeding heart yarn :(

In sewing news, I have to confess to going through major sewing withdrawals right now. I am seriously jonesing for some fabric in my hands and to hear the whir of my sewing machine. I can’t wait to get home and get started on a project for me. ME. MEEEEEEEE!!!!!! I think I’m jumping on the Selfish Seamstress train here. I want to only make things for me for a while.

Happy knitting and sewing to all of you who can do so right now.  I’m jealous!