Tuesday, May 31, 2011

more sewing...

... but not for me.

When you are the only person in the entire extended family that sews, you can expect to get roped into things like this...

My niece (on husband's side of the family) is in the drama program at an arts high school. She was given a project to create a Restoration Era dress. Yes, that's correct. These kids have to MAKE a dress that would have been worn in the 1700's (or thereabouts). This is not a sewing or costuming class, this is for her drama mark. And it has to be done in three weeks. (I've got to believe there are some families freaking out right about now - if you don't know anyone who sews, you got to be up the proverbial creek...)
Anyhoo, I get a phone call on Thursday, begging for help. (She was put up to this by my SIL, but that's a whole other issue we won't get into. I'm all about helping the kids, parents be damned.)
So to make a long story less tedious, my SIL and Niece come out to my place on Saturday and we take a field trip to Fabricland.
Simplicity 4092,

And all the fabrics, threads, trims etc, that we'll need.

Back to my place, and I start laying things out and get the girl cutting. (It's her project!) She cuts out all the pieces, (thankfully, I have extra fabric, as I have to recut some of the smaller bits...)We start putting some things together, and she gets an idea of the construction techniques. I send them off (they live about 45 minutes from us) with all the trim that has to be sewn together (we're layering some ribbons and ruffles). I start the construction, taking MAJOR shortcuts (no facings - narrow hems, no boning, no lining, nothing extraneous!) It pains me from a seamstress point of view, but really, this is for a 16 year old. As much as I'm doing the basic construction for her, no one is expecting boning and lining!
I've got to say, it's looking pretty good so far! There are still the sleeves to add (with a major flounce and lace trim to the cuff...), and the blue overskirt (you really only see the front of the gold skirt.)
The gold underskirt is a separate piece, and as a waistband, I used the blue satin blanket trim we found - it's nice and soft and very wide, so it made a great waistband casing without adding too much bulk - this skirt is about 16 feet around!

You can see where I took shortcuts around the bodice - the blue upper edge is just hemmed, rather than faced, or lined.

But this fabric is perfect for our needs. At it's tablecloth fabric! Who knew? 60 inches wide, damask detailing, heavy weight (good body), and only $5.10 per metre! How cheap is that?
Of course, I was telling this to my MIL, and she hinted around for an actual tablecloth! Heck, why not? They have a huge table, and she likes the look of tablecloths, so I said I pick some up for her next time I was out - I'll customize the cloth to her table, and for less than $30, her 12 foot dining table will have a custom cloth.
But first,I have to return to the Restoration Era, and get this dress done! (At least, as done as I have to get it. Jess will have to sew on the trim, and hem it. Anything done by hand is to be done by her.

She's already planning on wearing it for Halloween this year...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

still sewing...

I love linen in the summer. I know it needs ironing, and as much as I hate ironing, I love linen more, so I do it.
I not only made a couple of tops out of linen, I bought some more fabric.
a beige linen with a black eyelet all over embroidery. This one still needs a hem, but it's a touch snug, so it's on hold for the moment.
Since I love the pattern, I adjusted for sizing around the bust and bicep and came back with this:

Love this. Green linen, gathered neckline, tunic length. Perfect with capris or slim jeans. And the colour perfectly matches a pair of my green flip flops!

So when Fabricland had a sale, I picked up a couple more lengths of linen:
 a denim-y blue for Vogue 8500, a cross over front, asymmetrically hemmed tunic
And a grey/green watercolour print for another summer top at some point.
And then, because I couldn't resist it, this orange cotton with a sparkle sewn into it. I've tried to capture the sparkle here with my star filter. Suffice to say, it's very pretty.

There's more sewing in my future, but I need to confirm some stuff this weekend, and then I"ll tell you all about it!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

you knew I'd do it!

(pre felting)

Felted flip flops. You know I'd make some.

They are remarkable fast to knit, and felting takes no time (Cascade 220 felts beautifully).

The fit is almost perfect - the top placement of the thong is a little further down the foot than I would like - easy to fix on the next pair.

And yes, there will be a next pair!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Victoria Day Weekend

Here in Canada, Victoria Day (the de facto celebration of Queen Victoria's birthday) is a holiday and is the unofficial beginning of summer. It's always the third Monday in May, and since that usually hits around the 24th, the usual name for the long weekend is the "May Two Four". (Beer pun intended).

While Victoria is not my favourite dead queen, (that would be Freddie Mercury) as a cottager, this weekend means fireworks, friends, beer and good food, all at the cottage.
(the view from our deck - yes we know how lucky we are...)

When you're reading this, I'll be running around, making sure I've got everything we need (sunscreen! bug spray - the black flies are nasty!) and waiting for my husband to get home so we can pack the truck and go
See you next week, hopefully with knitting progress.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ottawa cardigan

Ottawa is the name of the Fleece Artist wool I got at the recent Knitter's Frolic - the grey/blue/taupey brown blend I wanted for a cardigan.
After the utter fail of the last handpainted cardigan (I ripped it all back, and still have the yarn - I've tried many times to make it work, but Tim Gunn would be disappointed - nothing works...), I've been a little leery of handpaints for cardigans, but this seemed muted enough.
Can I say it?

From a distance, it reads as almost a single colour, but up close, you can see the colour variations.
I put it on a thread and tried it on, and I've got the fit perfect. Now it's straight knitting down to the hem, add some sleeves, then decide on an edge treatment, and if there's enough wool left, make some pockets.

Love it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

unblogged project

I don't think I've ever blogged this project. It's a hooded vest, a Berrocco pattern - Truman - and I used an Australian Merino that I got on deep sale at the Kitchener Knitters Fair a couple of years ago. It's a pretty plain taupe colour.
 Ignore the mess of my sewing room - I'm in the middle of a couple of projects.
 I had just enough wool to make the hood - I would have made it deeper if I had more wool...
The front rib pattern is interesting and adds some interest to the front of the vest, but to be honest, I'm a bit meh about this. I may keep it, I may give it away... It looks OK, but not great. Plus, I think I"m realizing that I just don't wear vests much. It's hanging around, while I decide what to do with it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Boss socks

A couple of days a week, my boss and I carpool. On the days he drives, I knit. Hey, it's a 30-45 minute drive! that's substantial knitting time!
He gets it, and always asks what I'm working on, and who it's for. I finished up a pair of socks, and to thank him for some flex time off, etc, I decided to give these to him.
He loves them, and is rather incredulous that someone actually hand knits socks. But that hasn't stopped him from hinting for more...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

sewing fail

Looks like an ordinary waistband on some summery pajama pants. But look closer - see how it's stretched out completely?
This is a case where marinating in stash is not a good thing. When I sewed up these pajama pants just before Easter, I dug around in my stash of elastic, and came up with a hank that had obviously been there a while. It went in fine. the pants were great. I took them to the cottage for Easter, and the first night, when I put them on, I thought, hmmm, they're a touch looser than I usually make them. Considering the amount of chocolate I'd been testing, (Can't give the kid untested chocolate, now could we??), I didn't think I'd lost and inch or more around the waist. Whatever, it was late, I was tired, I went to bed. The next morning when I got up, I realized it was not my waist. These pants were falling right off me! The elastic I used has lost all elasticity! My husband thought it was pretty funny, seeing me hitch these babies up all the time!
Luckily, it's an easy fix - new elastic, and they're as good as new. Which is good, becasue this cotton seersucker is incredibly comfortable.
The downside - getting rid of a ton of old hanks of elastic that's no good any more. Good think wool doesn't lose any thing with age...

Monday, May 09, 2011

Susan's wedding - my contribution

So the saga of Susan's wedding continues. You've seen the cake topper, and today, I get to show my contribution.
Susan's colour scheme is pale grey and vintage pinks, so I made a Swarovski crystal bracelet in those colours (she bought the crystals and had them sent to me - I made the bracelet and gave it to her when we met at the Frolic).

With the extra crystals, I just strung them on some bead elastic, Susan has the finishing glue for it that I don't have, so she gets a couple of extra bracelets to stack with the hex-weave one I made.

The colours aren't really showing here, and I can't retake the pictures, since the bracelets are in the hands of Susan now.
I'm kicking myself that I didn't take shots in the sunlight with my star filter, so you could really see the sparkle. These babies SHINE!

Susan seemed happy, and that's all that matters. She promised pictures of the bracelets all together.

Friday, May 06, 2011

The rest of the Frolic haul...

After securing my cardigan (okay, two cardigans), and sock yarn, everything else was gravy.
The Purple Purl had Noro and Alpaca on sale, and I've been looking for a combination of this for a men's striped scarf, so I would have been crazy to pass it up.
Especially since we got there early, picked our colours, and later on, that stuff at that price was GONE! We timed it well.

I also picked up another box of mohair locks at Wellington Fibres for gnome beards.
This time, a coppery, brown colour to go with the natural and grey locks I already have.
Then, the last thing I bought (and this was after Susan left, so she doesn't even know...) was this wire knitting kit.

I kept going back, and then said I didn't need it, but at the end, I succumbed, and bought the last copper wire kit. I may or may not use the large bead that came with it - it's not like I don't have a selection of beads to choose from at home...

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Frolic Goodies - part 1

As I said before, I was after STR sock yarn, and a cardigan's worth of wool. I succeeded in both of these endeavours.
Meet "I Mad Heart Ewe: Socks that Rock Lightweight - my husband's all time favourite sock yarn.

(Really, this wool is much darker and more intense that it shows here. Sorry, I really should photo-edit more...)

My husband, while he will wear rather bright stripey, coloured socks, is rather pink-impaired. All he asks is no pink, no purple, no pastels. For putting up with the amount of fibre that spills out of our house, this is a request I can honour. I've already wound it into two equal balls (I love my digital scale!), and once the socks I have on the needles are done, these are going on.

As for the cardigan, Susan and I spent a fair bit of time looking. My plan was something from Tanis Fibre Arts, but she was so popular and busy, that any colourway that caught my eye, was usually sold out of the quantity I needed. So we wandered some more. I wish I could remember what booth I found this Fleece Artist Ottawa wool at, but I can't at the moment.
It fulfilled my love of blues and browns, without being garish (anyone want to remember the Romulan sweater fiasco??). These shades are subtle - soft robin's egg blue, with a ton of grey mixed in, and a milky chocolatey brown the colour of the tea/milk/sugar combination young kids drink, thinking they're drinking actual tea. The crowning glory were the deer antler buttons we found to go with it.
The inner of the buttons has the bluish tinge that perfectly matches. I have high hopes for this cardigan. I've already cast it on, (please, no one can be surprised by that...) and I'm using the same sort of pattern as my green Rowan cardigan, which is one of my favourite fits. It's loosely based on the the Sunkist cardigan, by Kirsten Kapur (rav link, sorry), a top down, v-neck with eyelet raglan shaping, and a centre increase on the fronts.

At this point, I was happy. I had my sock yarn, I had my cardigan. But it seems I wasn't finished. There was another cardigan beckoning me. I love a laceweight cardigan for summer. I have the Featherweight Cardigan pattern, and have been looking for the right yarns for it. Tonal, not variegated, natural fibre, in a colour I love. Fleece Artist comes through again.

Two skeins (800 metres each) of a lovely laceweight, courtesy of Feather Your Nest.
Its Saldanha Two, a merino superwash, and according to the vendor, a limited edition wool. Whatever, it's a deep smokey olive green tonal colour that I love. Susan wouldn't even let me look at other colourways once I had this in hand, and she was right. It's perfect.
And of course, the button guy (must learn his name...) had the perfect buttons yet again. I know the Featherweight cardi pattern doesn't require buttons, but these matched so well, I couldn't resist.
Next up, all the other stuff that somehow came home with me...

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

please cross your fingers...

My son's school basketball team is playing in the York Regionals today. They've already won their Area, and for a team of Grade 5 and 6 boys, this is an exciting day.
For the parents, it's an exercise in STRESS! I'll be at the tournament on and off all day as the school where it's being played is close to my house. I'll come home and work between games, if there's enough time, otherwise, I can be reached by my BlackBerry, so my boss if fine with me not being in the office.
Talk about a great guy. (He's getting a pair of socks today as a thank you!)

This sitting on the sidelines stuff is HARD!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Knitter's Frolic 2011

This year's Frolic started pretty much the same as every year - Get there early for perfect parking, meet Susan, trade off a few things (this year, she relieved me of some fabric that I was never going to use, and she would), find a sunny picnic bench to enjoy the breakfast we brought, then get back in line for the opening.
Once in, our plan was to scan all the booths first, then go back for a more detailed look. Yeah, that didn't work. Our scans became pretty in-depth perusals right from the get-go! We wandered around looking at this and that, buying a little here, and a little there. I was after a cardigan's worth of wool - nothing specific, but I'd know it when I saw it. I was also after some Socks that Rock - now that I'm back onto sock knitting, my husband has requested another STR pair - it's his favourite sock yarn, and I knew Lettuce Knit would be there with a selection. (With all the STR I have in the stash, none of the colourways appealed to him.)
I had hoped to meet up with a few people, but the crowds made that difficult. I did meet up with occasional commenter A. Lurker, who spotted my yellow bag and flip flops as I was exiting the loo. That was pretty cool. And of course, I found Brenda, as I knew she'd be working at the Cabin Fever booth with Deb. I walked up, said "Brenda??", she said yes, I lifted my foot to show my footwear, and she knew right away!
(Deb on the left, Brenda on the right)

Brenda is really as nice and engaging in person as she comes across on her blog. I wish I had more time to spend with her, but she was working and I was shopping!
I saw a few of my fellow Guild members, but almost always from afar, and never really had a chance to meet up. Most disappointingly, I missed Marie fron Sel et Poivre. We've tried so many times to meet, and it never works - Marie - next time, we set a time and place!

While I have the stuff I bought to show, I'll save that for another day. My best thing all day cost me nothing. After a couple of years of singing the praises of my table top loom, I finally convinced Susan to buy a Cricket! It actually wasn't that hard to convince her, so I think there was an underlying WANT for her. I love the  Cricket - I wish mine was one - Mine is much bigger and less easy to cart around (I still love mine, but now I want a Cricket, as well!) I'm sure she'll love it, and the best thing about it (next to it's compactness), is the rate at which weaving eats yarn! Since she's moving later this summer, bringing a small package (loom) into her place that will potentially eat a large box of wool just made sense. (Or so I told her...)

Monday, May 02, 2011

Is anyone really surprised?

Of COURSE I bought the felted flip flop pattern! I mean really... HELLLOOOOO, It's me, remember?

Right now I'm probably going to use this taupe and dark green worsted I have hanging about, but depending on how well that goes, I have plans to stock up on Cascade 220 and go to town...

I'm working on a Knitter's Frolic post - i over-bought (big surprise..), over-enabled (wondering if Susan is still talking to me...), and under-met (Marie, where were you????)