Little Knit

The first successful attempt at knitting and purling in the same project is now finished. Having knit the cloth I knit the beginning and end of the final row together with the beginning and end of the first row creating a couple of short sleeves, which will allow A to wear it as a shrug with her spin dress.

Next up is a blanket and/or pair of socks, but I can’t find the tutorial or diagram that made sense to me before. The only cast on that makes sense to me is the e cast on which doesn’t seem to be recommended for 1×1 ribbing.  Any ideas?

If you are curious, this is Uluru from the Queensland Collection. (If you aren’t curious, it doesn’t really change.) Having used this yarn several times, I’m still enchanted with it. It doesn’t do for many garments, because it is a complicated mix of texture and color while being cotton, acrylic, poly mix, but it is lovely for shawls and little girl dresses.

Having never used this for anything other than crocheted lace garments its stripiness was surprising. The texture and fiber content lend themselves to learning because the color variation clarifies stitches and the texture helps to hide mistakes.  It also grips the needles nicely, which is something I’ve had trouble with in the past.  This wasn’t a problem even on my size 6 metal needles.

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Suki Robe to the Rescue

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When the tree fell on the family cabin it changed a number of plans for the following months.  There would be no camping trips and no hosting barbeques there.  The canceled 4th of July camping trip was the smallest and first camp event we had planned for the summer.  Our next was our annual college reunion trip.  My husband and I met during undergrad and are only one of 5 couples in our friend group who did.  All now have children and since we moved back to the area we have hosted the group for a camping trip in August.  Last year we didn’t make it due to the flooding that happened in this area.  (You get to camp by row boat.)  Instead we made a last minute detour to my in laws’, who are awesome people.  We all stayed at their home and hung out our big outings were to get the kids wet and feed them ice cream and then to see a classic fantasy film on the big screen.

Having to cancel again this year wasn’t fun.  We did have more time to make a plan though so we’ll be heading to the Poconos.  The catch is that camping wear isn’t the same as house wear.  About the only time you can count on me wearing pants in the last several years (Just yesterday, I wore Bright Blooms, to clear debris from the upstairs of the cabin.) is flannel pants that I keep because of those middle of the night trips to the outhouse.  My nightgowns predate at least one of my children, who liked to pick at the lace until it came undone.  They’ve been patched until they can’t anymore and one has seen so much washing that it managed to be washed back to mint green from the grey color it turned after being washed with some new blue jeans years ago.  They with that many people in a single house it is unlikely that I won’t be seen in my PJ’s.  We’ve been camping together for decades so I don’t need to be spectacular, but there will be kids running about and I don’t want the ratty lace across the bustline to give up the ghost entirely at the wrong time.  I bumped my Simplicity 9838 nightgowns to the head of the queue, but one is to have embroidery so that won’t be done and then I couldn’t source notions in a timely fashion for the other.  Enter the Suki Robe, which I’d been eyeing up, but couldn’t prioritize.  PDF’s are perfect because I don’t have to wait.  I’d purchased fabric when I purchased the fabric for the nightgowns, so off to production I went.  Nightgown’s probably won’t make it in time, but at least I have a lovely robe, to cover my make do nightgown for now and replace my Aran sweater, which is too warm for summer and is ready for elbow patches and a third round of mending the cuffs. (maybe it’s time for bias binding here.)

Robert Kaufman Petit Garden Flowers Navy in Cotton Lawn.  There wasn’t time to muslin this, but it’s loose fitting.  Following the pivot and slide FBA tutorial by Helen of Helen’s Closet I did a quick FBA and got sewing.  All of the seams are french seams. Made by Rae has a great tutorial on french seams for inseam pockets, which allows you to enclose all of the pocket seams too.  I chose the more complicated attachment for the neckline to continue the enclosed seams.  This is comfy, elegant and pocketed.  My night wardrobe is definitely getting a serious upgrade this year.  That said, I’m not thrilled with the coverage for times such as waiting to get in the shower.  If I sit down the robe opens to above my knees unless I sit like I’m a school marm from the 1800’s sitting on her hard wooden chair: knees together, back straight, feet on the floor.    I’ve also found that the pockets make my hips look lumpy, but I may have placed them too high as my marks wore off.  Still this is perfect for over a nightgown and a note about the pockets is all that is required for next time.

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Suddenly I Can

Do you know that point were you aren’t ready to go to bed, but your too tired to engage your brain in a task? That’s where I was when I decided to pick up the closest pair of knitting needles and a nearby ball of leftover yarn. I looked up this handy set of diagrams   from the Craft Yarn Council and I was off.  Knitting has been my Waterloo for over a decade.    I did manage to learn to form knit stitches once and to form purl stitches once.  The two just refused to come together.  Eventually, I gave up and decided to try a sock loom.  Really. I wrote a post about it in October of 2018.  I don’t know it was ever posted.  Using the sock loom helped me to understand the way the yarn flows and how the stitches are built.  The structure of the fabric became readable.  All of that seems to have been the key I needed to unlock knitting for me.  Now, to try following a pattern.

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Kid Made

O’s allowance gets spent primarily on roving and yarn. Sure he buys toys at the thrift store, but those <$2 purchases can’t compare to the quick $10 braid of roving. This is largely because, shopping is ugh! while fiber festivals are are yay! and trips to Joann Fabrics are regular necessities. Last time we were in the kids picked out more of the doodles fabric, but this time there was a twist. Yes, it was on sale, a prerequisite, but they were going to sew it. O is still working on his, but since A, being 5, was only responsible for cutting out fabric and sewing seams, she’s done. The theme was definitely pockets. She has 2 in seam pockets, a chest pocket and a kangaroo pocket.

The leggings, were a request and are Mommy made, because this stuff was taking forever and I needed a muslin for additional leggings for school this fall.  Because the kids chose their fabric first, looking through patterns will be a future treat.  Instead  I asked them to describe what they wanted to make.  A shirt?  Pants?  Dress?  They were in charge of the design decisions.

A’s dress needed to be twirly.  Originally, it was going to be like a mini version of the Cashmerette Turner only with inseam pockets.  Then she wanted to add a kangaroo pocket.  We looked at some of the dresses she has and she decided she wanted a tent dress like her bunnies dress.  The sleeves would be short for summer and after O requested a chest pocket she needed one of those too.  If she’d ever heard of welt pockets, they would have been on the list.

When A was younger she would get out the crayons, ask people to color with her and begin telling them what color she wanted where and how to do it while she watched (at least if they let her get away with it).  Her art director tendencies showed up occasionally during this project, when she’d stop by the sewing room and ask why I hadn’t sewn her dress.   I’d remind her that this was her fabric and her project.  Mommy would do the difficult parts since it was a first knit project.  The dress was waiting for her to sew.

O’s project is still in progress, but should be finished soon.  Both have an accessory project planned, which has yet to be started.

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Fraternal Twin Myrtles

Myrtle is easy to like. She’s drapey and flowy and cool with pockets and now she’s longer than ever.  These two were made about a month apart and both are made of rayon challis.  I’m not sure why it never occurred to be previously to make a Myrtle Maxi dress.  Perhaps it was just the fun of making knit and woven options.  The above version has dots in purple, deep burgundy, brown and white, as well as silver glittery bits that only show a bit when you move.  Those glitter spots would be what make me look like I have white lint on me in the seated picture above.  This was sewn during the Sewcialist match the Sewcialists Logo MiniChallenge for the color black.

If you wear dresses all of the time it can be hard to distinguish between casual and semi formal.  This dress fits perfectly into that category because of the black base color and the sparkle.  While the bright floral below is maintains a far more casual air.  This pure comfort with shaving optional is hard to “keep for good” as I’d like to live in them all summer.

Here she is in action out in the world.

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Granny Chic Meets Sleek Modern

In the last month and a half this grainy, wrinkled and clearly tired end of the day un-remodelled bathroom selfie is all I have to show of this dress, but here it is.

When you see a pattern on Instagram that you love and own, but never got around to making for which the fabric for the Upton your never going to make would be perfect for it, that’s kismet.

This linen look Dottie Angel (Simplicity 1080) isn’t on my make9 list, but it was perfect for visiting my grandparents in North Carolina and was a quick make despite the necessary alterations: lower bust point 1 1/4″, 2″ FBA, relocate tucks, raise back neckline 3″. My only confusion was reading the instructions. Everything would be easy enough to do, but why would you over complicate things in that fashion.

Holy Biastape Batman. I simply french seamed the shoulder and side seams after sewing my darts and tucks. The pockets and neckline are finished with singlefold biastape from stash and the arm scythe with a narrow rolled hem. The very narrow hem is wavy due to the french seamed shoulder and may be revisited at some point.

This midweight mystery fabric has quite a lot of stetch to it but, is quite drapey and wrinkles like linen. It came from Sew Green. Thanks again to them for giving fabrics and notions a second life.

Pre-Post Update:  This is comfortable enough to swim in (Cashmerette Ipswich underneath), which is something I learned after getting sun burn.   Our friends and hosts were awesome and planned an excellent sampling of beaches to introduce the kids to the ocean.  Our first beach had hermit crabs, fiddler crabs and spider crabs to chase.  Our second was excellent for relaxed swimming and hunting shells.  Our third was soft sand, waves and sand crabs.  My husband and I looked like we belonged to some very conservative religious sect with me in my Dottie Angel and him in his charcoal grey long sleeve tee and boonie.  No new sunburn though.

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Tools of the Trade

Sewing, Quilting, Crocheting, Knitting, Spinning, Embroidery. “The world is made of string.” This is what my husband says almost every time some esoteric fiber art or textile fact is dropped upon him. That string world doesn’t make itself though and as a maker you may be familiar with the number of tools that can accumulate for each string related hobby. Often a tool is discovered as the solution to a problem or simply on the way to something else. Don’t want buttonholes, try snaps. Can’t keep knit and purl stitches straight try a knitting loom. Occasionally, however, I will pick up a tool without having a plan to use it, yet. This is happens when a trusted source explains its wonders, then I find it on sale or it is gifted to me.

These trusted little scissors with their hook end are an example of this. Once as I sat pulling out stitch after stitch my grandmother asked me if I had a pair. That lovely little hook is for lifting up and cutting stitches. It can be a savior when it comes to fixing an error that requires removing fussy threads or lots of stitches.

In my spring push to thoroughly clean the house I came across some Solvy Wash Away Stabilizer in the drawer of my cutting table. I’m sure it has been there for a few years now and don’t know if there was originally a project for which it was intended, but when I pulled out A’s new jean jacket and the CutesyCrafts mermaid embroidery pattern that seemed perfect for it. I realized that my usual surface embroidery transfer method wasn’t going to cut it. There would be no window light box or flashlight under a glass table tracing. My carbon papers could be unreliable on the slightly stretchy denim and the waste canvas that was perfect for last years cross stitched jacket wouldn’t be of help. Still doubtful as I’d read reviews saying it stays sticky or doesn’t wash out I gamely traced the simple design onto the stabilizer with a fine tip marker and hooped it up layered on top of the jacket. Tracing did take a little finesse as the stabilizer could stretch ever so slightly in a way that paper doesn’t.

The stabilizer travelled with us to North Carolina to visit my Grandparents and Aunt. It was easy to stitch through and left no residue on the needle, though I could see that being a problem if you have sweaty hands or hot muggy weather and are working a more complex pattern. Most of my stitching was done in AC, but I did do some at the playground one morning without incident.

My favorite part was that with the design not on the fabric the lines didn’t need to be carefully covered and I could make alterations without worry. As far as the design. It is a lovely free pattern (from CutesyCrafts) and comes with color recommendations. I decided to shift the outline of the tale to a slightly greener color for better contrast with the blue background and used an variegated floss for the scales.

The design relies heavily on stem stitch, but used back stitch for the lettering, which I didn’t like. Wanting to diversify my stitches I tried other things with the letters only to find I liked stem stitch and outline stitched used in conjunction, then realize that it would be difficult to take out the other stitches due to the small size of them and the transfer medium. Live and learn. Finally finished, it was time to remove the stabilizer.

I carefully cut around each motif removing and setting aside the leftovers, which could be used on a small project or (apparently) dissolved to make a paint on stabilizer (Wouldn’t this be the same as starch?). My water was hot enough to make you want to take your fingers out quickly, but not so hot as to scald. The directions say the stabilizer should wash out in water in 30 seconds two minutes. Dipping the jacket in for about 5 seconds seemed to do the trick. I reached down to help brush the stabilizer away and didn’t feel anything. Bringing the jacket up out of the water showed no signs of the stabilizer and the cotton threads and denim felt normal.

And here it is all dried out again.

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