Sunday, November 27, 2011



I started working on these socks back in April, but eventually put them away because I encountered a problem that I couldn't figure out how to fix. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I didn't know what the problem was. Often, I find putting away projects is exactly the thing you should do. Usually, by the time I pull them out again I've either given myself enough distance to gain perspective, or enough time to gain patience, or enough projects in between to gain the skills necessary to fix the problem.

In this case, what I ended up giving myself was anxiety, because I couldn't figure out where I'd put them! Thankfully, after a few weeks of looking I found them tucked safely away in a bag of sewing notions. Silly me. Anyway, upon bringing them out again I was able to see that I'd failed to wrap my short rows. Now, maybe one should just know that this is always a step in creating short rows, but I still don't really understand why they simply write "turn" instead of "wrap and turn." Would those few extra words be so hard to include? Anyway, I digress.


I managed to fix the problem by changing the setup row for the cuff, replacing all the Rlinc and Llinc increases with M1s. By doing this, I pulled up the strand below the hole and twisted it, filling in all the holes. It looks fine! The hardest thing was then going on to make the same mistake on purpose on the matching sock.

Ultimately? This pattern was so great! It's precise, mathematical, and knits up exceptionally fast. The "origami moment," as they call it, where you put together the heel is pretty satisfying. And the ergonomic toe fits SO comfortably. I really want to pick up two different, solid skeins of Koigu and knit a striped version. (Check out the most popular finished objects from this pattern in Ravelry... most of them are striped and they are beautiful!)

On another note, thanks for all your sympathy and suggestions on yesterday's post. I hope it was clear that it was a moment of frustration - really, they're lovely cats and there are some days where they are the thing that gets me through. I feel as if I should write a post telling you all about what makes them wonderful, to counter-balance the complaining about the naughty behaviour. But that would make me an extra crazy cat lady, wouldn't it?

Please, don't hate me.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

So Much For Luxury...

OMFG you guys. You all know I'm a crazy cat lady, but I'm seriously at the end of my rope with these effing furballs.



My cat ate my Sorbetto Redux! Well, specifically, he ate the french seam on the right shoulder. The first item I've sewn, out of a silk blend no less, and actually worn proudly out of the house, and he ATE IT. FML!

This is actually an ongoing issue with this cat. Johnny Cash is a clothes eater. Specifically, my clothes. (Never the Mr's.) My clean clothes. (Never the dirty ones.) My expensive or sentimental clothes. (Never the cheap, crappy ones I don't care about.) Oh, and shoelaces.

All I can say is that I'm happy that so far he hasn't made himself sick (and yes, I do realize this is a serious concern), and that I'm trying to figure out the solution - be it cat grass, more toys, more playtime, catnip, WHATEVER. (Suggestions are more than welcome!)

Now, lest Hobbes look like a little angel in comparison, I'd like to take a moment to show you the most amazingly thoughtful birthday present the Mr. got for me the other day:


That's Aslan Trends King Llama & Mulberry Silk in the Andean Coal colourway. It's this gorgeous charcoal that almost shimmers metallic silver. The Mr. bought me three skeins and it's AMAZING.

Oh, and this is what it looks like now:


Thanks, Hobbes.

Note to self: that hiding spot on the bookshelf isn't as clever as you thought it was.

Anyway. The good news is that while Hobbes loves going mental playing with balls of yarn, he actually doesn't tend to eat any of it. So, I may have to spend a few thousand hours untangling this mess, but I won't have to spend a few thousand dollars for the vet to untangle his guts.

Silver linings...

We've been trying our best to keep our house tidy and the cats entertained, but with all four of us in a one bedroom apartment, this is a bigger task than you might think. And I'm trying hard to stifle my inner voice, which is screaming about how keeping cats indoors isn't natural or ideal for their well-being, and remind myself that we really do give them a good life and they're generally pretty happy little guys.

But they sure are lucky I don't believe in declawing. (Or de-toothing.)

Who, us?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Baby Knits

Recently, I spent a good chunk of my knitting time on a few projects which I couldn't talk about online, as they were intended as a gift for another web-savvy knitter. Well, two weeks ago that dear friend gave birth to a beautiful bouncing baby boy, and today I got to meet him and give him his presents!

First, a wee cardigan and a hat to match:


Second, an itty bitty bunny hat:


The bunny hat was at the suggestion of my husband. He spent the winter of his first year dressed up in a fleece snowsuit with bunny ears, and the photos are pretty priceless. We included a few of them in our wedding slideshow this summer, much to everyone's amusement. So, a bunny hat it was! I used the Bunny Beanie pattern, available for free here on Baby Center. This was a great little pattern and I highly recommend it. (Although it is a little light on the directions when it comes to attaching the ears, but after a little advice from my friend SnappyStitches, it all came together perfectly.)

The cardigan was made from the recently published Gramps pattern. It was love at first sight. This pattern is so cute and the copy made me laugh out loud. ("We think it’s hilarious how babies sometimes look like old geezers - so we created this shawl-collared grandpa sweater for your grouchy little old man!") I made the 0-6 month size, which by measurements is definitely more appropriate for a 6 month old baby of average size (otherwise, I pity the woman who bears a newborn who could fit it!). The pattern is well-written and I especially enjoyed seeing the shawl collar come together. (I used this tutorial by Cat Bordi for concealing the short row wraps and it was incredibly helpful!)

My only criticism of the pattern is to do with the button band/collar. They instruct you to pick up stitches starting at the bottom hem, working as you usually would (i.e. picking up from the outside/RS so the seamline ends up inside the garment). However, when you reach the part of the neckline where the collar begins, they instruct you to switch so that you're picking on from the wrong side (and thus the seamline will now be on the outside). I understand the reasoning - in theory, the shawl collar will fold over, concealing the (now) outer seamline, and will be more likely to reveal the seam from the inside. However, in practice, there's no way it's ever going to fold over that far. This is compounded by the fact that the uppermost buttonhole is right at the bottom of the collar - thus preventing it from folding over to conceal the seamline. Hopefully these photos illustrate my point (it's more obvious on the left side than the right). The first photo is with the top button done up, the second is with it undone.



Anyway, it's not the end of the world. It still looks pretty tidy and I imagine she can just leave the top button undone. If I ever knit this again I'll just leave the seamline on the inside the whole way around. I had to omit the cute elbow-patch and pocket details as I ran out of contrasting yarn, but I'd love to make another version of this sweater one day with all those little details included! I still think it's a completely charming pattern and highly recommend it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sorbetto Redux


As my silence may have hinted, I've been in a bit of a sewing funk. Everything just started to feel like it was taking too long and not fitting correctly. Add in some shifting of life's priorities (i.e. amping up the job search, among other things) and I just let it take the back burner for a while. But I wanted to get myself out of the rut so I decided to take this pretty cotton/silk voile out of the cupboard and whip it into a quick Sorbetto.


Well, "quick" isn't really the right word. In truth, this thing took forever. Yet again, I struggled with moderation, made a ton of mistakes (sewing bindings on inside-out, etc), and ended up feeling like my whole day got sucked into sewing. (Because it did. 9:30am I was printing the pattern pieces, 10:30pm I was pressing the hem. Although, in fairness, there was some eating in there somewhere.)


But, ultimately there was success. First, it fits! Second, it fit with much less annoyance than the last time. I still fall between sizes. However, rather than making the larger size (like last time, as recommended by Colette) and then having to add a pleat in the back, I simply made the smaller size (size 8) and... that was it. Ta-da! It fits. I still had to lower/shorten the dart, add some length, and take an inch off the hips... but otherwise, it's pretty darn good.

(Actually, I ended up having to remove even more length from the dart this time... almost 2". Is that a large bust thing? I can't imagine that length of dart being appropriate on anybody... but then again, I guess I really only know my own body.)

These guys always get very curious about my photoshoots...

In a perfect world, I would figure out how to do a small FBA on this, as it it doesn't have much ease in the bust. I would also probably lower the neckline a little... as someone who generally wears either scandelously low necklines or crewnecks/boatnecks, this feels a bit in-between. However, I may just get used to it. Time will tell! Lest I sound negative, I actually think this might be the first truly wearable item I've sewn (pajama pants aside).

I've put myself on a rather strict unemployment budget so if I remain inspired to sew then it's time to get going on my Lonsdale and Bombshell... because they're the only projects I have the fabric for! Unless I cop out and finally make that apron I've been planning, but I can't find a pattern I like and I'm not feeling up to the task of drafting. (Which I realize is totally ridiculous, considering the simplicity of the project. I just want one project that's a straightforward cut-and-sew, you know?)

However, there will be knitting updates soon. The two secret projects will be gifted soon (and therefore no longer secret) and a pair of long-hibernating socks is now nearing the finish line. It seems the more sewing I do, the more it affirms my love of knitting. Comfort zones, I suppose.