Monday, March 31, 2014

Simplicity 1810: A Hospital Gown in Disguise

I actually made this dress a couple of months ago in a fit of winter hatred. I found the chevron-y, arrow-y printed fabric at Joann's near the new nautical fabric, which I have to visit every time I'm at Joann's, even if I don't buy any. I think this fabric was from the Lisette line? It feels like a quilting cotton, but it was in the apparel section, so... I made it into a dress. Seems to work just fine.

The pattern is Simplicity 1810. I do not remember buying it, so I'm sure it was a pattern-sale purchase, where I go in with a plan and the best intentions, and leave with a bunch of a) random, b) baby, or c) similar patterns to what I already own. I do like this pattern. Or at least, I like the idea of this pattern. In practice it's sort of sack-like. The built-in ties are supposed to do all of the waist shaping, which they do to a certain extent, but. It's tricksy to get the dress to lay properly under the ties, and it's still a bit sack-ish. I made a Small even though my measurements suggested Medium, and I think I could even have gone down to an XS. Why, oh why, is there so much positive ease in patterns from the Big 4? No one looks good swimming in their dress.

(See? So much extra fabric above the ties on the sides.)

Not sure that the pattern-fabric combo is my best work. It truly does look like a hospital gown without the ties... and even a little bit with the ties. Maybe it's the color?

As per my usual, I cut the dress too short. Luckily I found this Kona quilting cotton in a color that went really well. The fabrics were about the same weight/drape, so I added a strip of the Kona to the bottom. Ta da, not too short. Also, the pattern has facings, which make me cringe no matter what. The facings had to go. First I bound the edges in bias tape instead of using the facings, but that totally didn't work, so I ripped them out and drafted a full lining for this thing. Then I sewed the lining to the neckline and armholes and realized that I could not turn the dress inside out anymore. Fail. So in the end I just hand stitched the lining to the armholes.

Overall: I'll wear it this summer, but it's not my best work, and it's not too terribly flattering. But it's easy to wear, fairly comfy, and long enough! Score one for that.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Designs, designs

I may have mentioned this before, but a couple of months ago, I decided that there is nothing worse than long-term WIPs (works in progress, for those un-hip to the sweet knitter lingo), especially if they are partially finished designs. I raided my sewing room, and I found more half-done sweaters than I care to admit. I'm pretty sure I've found the last one, though, unless my hiding talents have gotten better. Found the two blue things in this pile about a month ago in the sewing room, and look! I finished them. Also, how diverse is this pile? Cables, stripes, slip stitch, intarsia. I am easily distracted by shiny new techniques.

The bottom two are complete sweaters that are in testing as we speak. Well... one is a sweater. One is a tank top. The sweater I actually started in cough2011cough, and it languished for literally years. I regret, mostly because in 2011 I had no idea what I was doing, so the bottom ribbing doesn't flow into the cables. Live and learn. The tank top I think I started in 2012, but set aside (by that I mean balled up and threw in a corner) because when I started the neckline shaping, I neglected to maintain the stripe pattern, and didn't have the heart to rip it back at the time. Stupid. It took me like one afternoon to finish that baby up and get the pattern written. But now I have two designs nearly ready to publish, and that makes me happy.

That slip-stitch and textured beauty on top is a cardigan that needs one sleeve and a collar, then it's done. I got that yarn in the mail last Friday (and today is Thursday.) That shows you how much I love that yarn. Dream in Color was generous enough to send it to me for my design, and I couldn't be happier. If I could, I would make a nest out of that yarn and sleep in it. I literally cuddled it like a cat for 10 whole minutes after it came in the mail. My husband came downstairs and said, "Are you hugging that yarn?" Yes. Yes I am. Isn't it gorgeous? I'm in love.

The thing in the middle? Secrets. It's for the home issue of Holla Knits! which I think comes out in June? But I am not at all positive. It could be July, or maybe even August. I don't think it's September, and I'm pretty sure it's not May. That's what I've got. Weak, I know.

Here's one more thing I found in the sewing room.

Turns out it's not going to work as a pattern, I don't think, because matching up the sleeve stripes to the body stripes was a real mind-bender, and I don't think it's possible to write it in a pattern. I tried. Yeah... I dunno. I like the design. (I think it's another 2011 creation. It had ugly cap sleeves when I found it, so those had to go. I like the longer sleeves better, and the open back is fun, if a little cold.) I might just keep it on the back burner until a time when a) I have run out of other patterns to write, or b) I have a stroke of genius about a better way to match stripes without the weird top-down short row intarsia thing I did here. It was tricky. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

(Slightly Sweet) Lady Skater

If you have read a sewing blog any time within the last year, you've probably heard of the Lady Skater dress. I'm pretty sure my Bloglovin' feed has at least one Lady Skater post a week, and not without reason- it's a great dress pattern that can be made casual or fancy, cap-sleeved all the way to long-sleeved, summer-y, winter-y, however you want. Plus the instructions are awesome and the whole thing takes like 2 hours total to put together, including taping together the printed pattern. I have been wanting to make one (ten) for myself for awhile now, and even bought fabric at Joann's, but I didn't get around to buying the pattern until last week, when I read about the Perfect Pattern Parcel. For those who have not heard of this, 1) it's genius, and 2) irresistible. It's five indie patterns packaged together, with part of the proceeds going to charity. The best part is that they let you name your own price. What the what? Of course I had to scoop that up. The Lady Skater was one of the five patterns, so it worked out perfectly for me. (As an aside, I now need to make the other four patterns, which were not even on my radar, but now they are, and I cannot live another week without the Ava peplum top.)

 I bought this heart-print knit from, ahem, the juvenile section of Joann's when it was on sale. In my head I thought, with a brown belt and boots, it's totally adult! Sort of. I love it, but it's just slightly sweet. I should remember not to wear it when I need to be taken seriously, not that it happens a lot, but.

As far as modifications go, I only did two. One, I lengthened the skirt by about 3 inches, because the pattern is drafted for women who are 5'5", and I'm 5'8". Plus I always make my dresses too short and I wanted to prove to my husband that I can NOT make them too short. So, I win. Second mod: I took out a 1 inch swayback adjustment to the back bodice, because apparently I just need to do that across the board on patterns. With those two mods, the fit is great, and it's so comfy. I want to live in this dress. Unfortunately, it's still cold here, so alas, I cannot. So sick of winter. Can't believe we left California. Harumph. 

Conclusions: Perfect Pattern Parcel is genius. This dress is great. Heart prints are for all.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

In which it takes me all winter to get FO photos.

I finished this sweater ages ago. Ages and ages. I have no excuse for not getting FO photos for literally months. But... here it is! My finished Agnes. It's.... ok. I'm not in love with it. Wanna know why? Ok. Twist my arm.

(Heck yes I wear my pink sweaters with red pants!)
  • Turns out I knit top-down seamless sweaters for a reason. I hated seaming all of the pieces. 
  • The shoulders are too wide. I feel like a doofus when I wear it. I actually can't wear it all day, because the wide shoulders + slightly too high underarm seams really start to bug me, and I get crabby and can't figure out why, then I change my sweater and everything is sunshine and rainbows again.
  • The ribbing on the bottom flips up really badly. I'm annoyed with myself for that, because before I cast on, I read other people's notes on Ravelry and they all said to knit the ribbing on a smaller needle. I took note of this, meant to do it, and then did not. It actually bothers me enough that I might unseam that part and re-knit the ribbing.

I think that's all. I did make some mods that I'm sure help with my feelings toward the sweater.
  • I moved the increases toward the edges. The pattern is written with 3 stitches between decreases and edge. I changed it to be just one stitch, and I like it way better, especially around the neckline. 
  • I lengthened the sleeves to be full-length.
  • I tapered the sleeves quite a bit more than the pattern called for, and I actually wish I'd done it a bit more. They are still a bit loose around the wrists. 
  • I lengthened the torso by about 1.5" (this is a typical adjustment for me).
I mean, I don't regret making the sweater. I just wish it was more perfect. It's hard to spend so much time making something that is not perfect. On a happy note, the color is pretty. I do love orchidy-pinks. Geesh, what a girl. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Strawberry Fields Forever

I started thinking about that song whilst knitting sock #1 of this pair, and now whenever I knit on them, that's all I can think about. They do look like strawberries, though, right?

 (Sock pair #3 of the year!)

 I knitted the first sock in literally two days. It took just about zero time to make. The pattern is just a plain vanilla cuff-down sock, and I'm sure that's contributing to the quickness, but geesh, two days? I'm not sure anything else happened during those two days.

The yarn is Plymouth "Happy Feet" that I bought several years ago for reasons best known to no one. Really, what was I thinking? This is the goofiest yarn I own. I'm making a real solid effort to knit (and sew) down my stash for previously stated reasons of "moving with all this stuff was stupid and I'm not doing that again when we move in September." So: strawberry socks. I actually like them more than I thought I would. It helps that they're going so quickly.

Specs: 60 stitches, cuff-down, on size 2s. I did a non-slip-stitch heel flap and a gusset, then my usual stumpy toe. Easy peasy. Great Friday Night Knitting.

(No buttons yet, so I closed it with a brooch and felt like a grandma.)

In other knitting news, I continue to work on my Everett cardigan mod. I am 90% positive that I will run out of yarn, so I haven't really been working on it much because I don't want to have to find more yarn once the inevitable happens. Solid logic. But I finished the body, button bands, and collar, and have started on sleeve #1. I do really like it as a cardigan. Anything to make my patterns more versatile, amirite? I am loving the Holla Knits KAL that inspired my cardigan. There are a few finished Everetts and a few more WIPs. Super cool to see my pattern finished by other people! I'm still fairly new as a designer, so FOs are few and far between. At least on Ravelry. There could be tons of finished Everetts out there, but if they aren't on Ravelry they are invisible.

And yes, my hands are blue. I washed a sweater today and that thing has enough dye in it to make everything white thing I own Grover blue. It has staying power, too. Last time I washed that thing my hands were blue for a week. Luckily I have nothing important to do outside the house for the next week. My friends will think I'm weird, but eh. They probably already do.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Socks, socks, socks

Last night, I finished Sock Pair #2 of 2014. The goal is to knit 6 pairs, so I feel like things are going well.
I finished the first sock several weeks ago (or more? not sure.), then the one sock + the yarn and needles languished in my knitting box in the living room. Lately I have had a real problem with clutter, WIPs, and just generally unfinished things, so on Thursday last I decided that one sock would not cut it, and I needed to cast on for the second right now. (Also, I had finished my other WIPs, and had nothing else planned for immediate knitting.) Then yesterday, I thought, "If that sock doesn't get finished today I simply cannot deal." The morning started with halfway though the heel flap, and the evening ended with a finished pair of socks. I literally did almost nothing else yesterday. I'm not sure it was the healthiest way to spend a Saturday, but there we are. 

The yarn is Knit Picks Stroll Hand Paints in the Dolly colorway. I got it at the Knit Picks Black Friday sale last Thanksgiving, along with the yarn I used for my first pair of the year. I really like this yarn- it's super soft, comfy to wear, and best of all, affordable. The pattern is Twilight (no, nothing to do with sparkly vampires) from the book 2-at-a-time Socks. Have I mentioned how much I love this book? Because I do. Ironically, I've never knitted socks 2 at a time. I just like the patterns from the book. I've made 5 or 6 of the 18 patterns, some of them twice. I like to have socks on the needles as my (what my hubby calls) Friday night knitting, meaning things I can knit when a) it's been a long day, and I'm tired, b) I worked on complicated design stuff all day, and I don't want to think anymore, or far and away the most likely, c) I've had a cocktail or two and anything else would be too hard.

Sock Pair #1 of 2014 was plain vanilla socks, Sock Pair #2 is these, and Sock Pair #3 is going to be more plain vanilla socks in the doofiest sock yarn ever.

(Pair 1 under Pair 2, with sock 1 of Pair 3)

I'm making a real effort to knit (and sew) down my stash this year. Moving last September was absolutely terrible, made even worse by the fact that we had to get rid of some of our furniture because the moving van was too full of stuff from my craft room. Seriously. I'm embarrassed. And since we're 95% sure we're moving again this fall, I do not want a repeat of last time. So we knit! And sew! And that means that sometimes, we make socks out of pink and green variegated yarn that we don't know why we ever had in the first place. 

It's actually not quite as goofy as I thought it would be knitted up. But still.. what was I thinking, I ask you. What? Ah well. Socks are socks.

Saturday, March 8, 2014


<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Apparently I never claimed my blog on Bloglovin?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

New Pattern: Over the Fence

Tomorrow, we're supposed to get something like 12 inches of snow. TWELVE. INCHES. Seriously, it doesn't snow in Delaware for two entire years, then we move here and it's like the state is getting all of the snow it didn't get for those two years, plus the next ten years' worth, all at the same time. Let me tell you how fun it's been: not fun at all. Anyway. I designed another sweater, because I need it. And I hate that.

During the testing process, I said that I didn't know what to call the sweater, because I never do. If it was up to me all my patterns would be called things like "Ladies' Cabled Pullover" and "Sweater with Two-Color Stripes", but that would make them hard to search for, and we can't have that. A knitter suggested that the cable pattern looked exactly like chain link fence, so I should call it "Over the Fence." 1) Dang it, she's right, and 2) Ok then. Done.

Over the Fence is a worsted weight all-over cabled sweater made for layering. The neckline is pretty wide, which makes it perfect for wearing over a button down. I find nearly all yarn itchy, so I like to layer my sweaters, but sometimes the neck is uncomfortable because there's too much bulk. Not so in this case! (As a side note to all you sewists out there, I'm wearing an Archer under the sweater. More on that another time.)

And now, the details!

Ladies’ 31(33.5, 35.75, 38.5, 41, 43.75, 46.25, 49)
To fit full bust size:
29-33(31-35, 33-37, 36-40, 39-43, 41-45, 44-48, 47-51)

Sample shown in size 35.75 with about 1 inch of negative ease.

Knit Picks Wool of the Andes; color: Turmeric; 9(10, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17) skeins

Get the pattern for 30% off until the end of the day on March 4th! No coupon code needed, just click the link below!
$6 on Ravelry, no account needed:

(Once again, I have cold face in this photo. I cannot wait until cold face is not a photo shoot risk.)