Sunday, July 31, 2011

Best Laid Plans

Well, I've signed up for two sewalongs and Gertie's bombshell course, but I'm suddenly looking at my August schedule and realizing that there's no way any of that is going to happen. I have a wedding to finish planning and execute! I was hoping to at least get the Lonsdale done early, but then I got knocked down with that terrible cold and, well, we all know how much gets accomplished when you're sick.

On top of that, my computer bit the dust the other day. Seeing as I'm unemployed, I'm not planning on running out the door and replacing it. The magical trinket called the iPhone will keep me connected, but seeing as I have no way of getting photos from my camera (SLR) to the iPhone, let alone edit them, even if I do manage an FO in the coming weeks, I won't be able to photograph it! The thought of using an iPhone photo to show it to you sort of breaks my heart. (That, and my assistants don't have opposable thumbs and thus can't take the picture, unfortunately.)

I'm actually sort of curious to see what happens to my daily productivity without a computer. Seeing as I have Netflix and wireless on my iPhone, I'm thining plenty of time-wastage is still possible. In fact, it's sort of sad that I'll basically be able to do all the time-wasty things (internet, movies, twitter) but not the productive things (Lightroom, Microsoft Office). However, as someone who has had a fitful relationship with the internet and technology, I'm interested to see if the limitations of the tiny screen/keyboard help me be more discerning with my computer/internet time.

So basically, if my web presence is a little quieter for the month of August, that's why. But, rest assured, I'm still here.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Three Year Cardi

a.k.a. the Asymmetrical Cabled Cardi

Finally finished!

I cast on for this sweater on my birthday, November 24th, 2008. It's a bottom-up design, and it went swimmingly until I reached the raglan decreases. At that point, it became apparent that the pattern has some problems (as further evidenced by the number of project notes on Ravelry which contain complaints about said problems). In the end, I knit this sweater from the armpits up FOUR times over three years. (And the collar one extra time for good measure.)

In summary: I'm so excited to finally be able to wear this freaking thing!


I can't seem to write a concise post about the errors/mods to save my life, so I'll just add those to the Ravelry page instead. Basically, i did it in regular stockinette (rather than reverse), added some width to the left front for coverage and both front edges for smoothness, added both some length and width to the sleeves, and figured out my own method for completing the raglan decreases.

I also went down two needle sizes for the collar after reading that some people had trouble getting theirs to stand up, although in retrospect that may have been overkill as it sucks in toward the neck a little too much and I prefer the way it looks folded down anyway (as above). I also ended up moving the buttons over, resulting in a much slimmer neck, in order to get a little more overlap/coverage on the front pieces.


The funny thing is, I usually get discouraged when having to rip back a project, but I did it so many times with this one that I kind of became immune to it. I'd happily knit away and then discover a problem and just think, "here we go again!" and rip it back. On the bright side, I'm now pretty awesome at picking up rows and figuring out where I am in a cable pattern. (Admittedly, my crazy love for the design and the colour of the yarn kept me going.)

After all that work, I only hope my assistants don't get their claws on it! (I did have to resort to blocking it on the balcony. These guys do love wool!)


The Details:
Pattern: Asymmetrical Cabled Cardi by Yahaira Ferreira
Needles: US9(5.5mm) (and US7(4.5mm) for the collar only)
Yarn: Cascade 220 in colourway 2425
Size: 39
Guage: 4.5spi (the pattern indicated 4spi, so this fits small)
Cast on: November 24, 2008
Bound off: July 24, 2011
Total # of stitches: 31,740 (give or take for fit adjustments)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sorbetto Love


Yesterday I decided to make this light and summery top, and I went full-steam ahead without a muslin. It's not perfect (as usual!), but I think the beauty of a simple, loose fit like this is that it doesn't have to be perfect. In fact, regardless of the fit dissection I'm about to delve into below, this might be the first piece I've made that could actually make it into regular wearing rotation. (Well, besides the pajamas.)

The fabric is some light-ish weight semi-sheer cotton I picked up at the Fabricana Canada Day sale. (Not sure what kind... heavier than voile, lighter than broadcloth/quilting cotton?) In addition to the fit changes, I added 1.5" to the length of the top and I'm quite glad I did. (I could see that this would be unnecessary if you were the type of person who enjoyed tucking things into high waists. I am not that person, however.)


Based on the measurements I cut the size 10, following Colette's advice to use the larger size if you fall between sizes. This didn't work out as well as it should have. The front was almost exactly the right size, but the back was huge and billowy and just way too large. Rather than pick out any seams, I decided to simply mimic the front by creating a 1" box pleat on the back piece. This ate up 2" of fabric and I'm now very happy with the fit through the body.


The only problem with this quick-fix pleat was that it messed up the fit of the shoulders. In the front, the shoulder straps sit a smidge too wide. In the back, after the pleat was put in, they sit a smidge too narrow. Neither of these problems is really noticeable on their own, but it means that when the straps attach at the shoulders they kind of want to tug each other in the wrong direction. As a result, the straps in the back look a bit like they're pulling (although they're not too tight) and the neckline in the front gapes a bit (from the straps being pulled in). (This isn't really visible in the photos.)

I think the solution on future versions would be simply to cut a smaller size and do an FBA. But ugh - between the loose fit and the fact that Colette cuts for a larger cup size, it seems silly. But I suppose using patterns drafted for a C-cup still isn't a perfect solution when one is an F-cup...

Regarding the bust, the only alteration I had to make was shortening and lowering the bust dart. I shortened it by 1" and lowered it by 0.5" and I think it's just about perfect. I've never made a darted front before, and after all my previous experiences messing around with princess seams and gathers, it seemed almost ridiculously simple. Love darts!


I'm definitely going to make new versions of this top and try to perfect the fit, because it's such a great base for embellishment. I'd love to have a whole collection of them around for summertime.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


I'm a little under the weather, so it took me a day (and, uh, Tasia kindly pointing it out to me!) to notice that my Comfy Crescent is a featured project on the BurdaStyle homepage!


I have to admit, I'm totally shocked! I'm sure you could tell from the jokingly defensive tone of my post that I really expected everyone to think I was nuts in my fabric choice. But the response has been almost entirely positive :)

Anyway, I'm a little sad that I'm feeling so gross, because I had a few solid days to dedicate to sewing/knitting and instead I'm sort of lying around moaning and sniffling. Well, I am still getting things done, just much slower than normal!

Happily, I received the Lonsdale Dress pattern in the mail yesterday, and picked up the fabric to boot! I've been fretting over the bodice fit, but I finally committed and cut a muslin last night, so we'll see how that goes today. I also brought my old dressform up from storage, which so far has just resulted in a few startled moments in which I catch a glimpse of her in my peripheral vision and think that someone has broken into my apartment. I'm sure I'll get used to her, though.

I also signed up for Gertie's Sew Retro: The Perfect Fit Bombshell Dress course over at Craftsy, and used some of my low-energy sicky time to watch ahead. I've watched about 11 of the 15 videos so far and I have to say, it's worth every penny. If you're the sort of person who learns best by being shown, video learning is pretty much the best thing short of having Gertie in your sewing room with you :) Plus, she seems to be very quick in her responses to questions in the interactive forum. I've bought the fabric for this dress as well (and I'm SO excited about it!), but I'm still missing some supplies and angsting about the boning. But more on that later.

Hopefully, we are embarking on a summer of dresses. Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Comfy Crescent


I know, I know... when it comes to clothes, the general consensus seems to be that "comfortable" and "stylish" are mutually exclusive. It's like that conversation in When Harry Met Sally:

Jess: So you're saying she's not that attractive.
Harry: No, I told you she is attractive.
Jess: Yeah but you also said she has a good personality.
Harry: She has a good personality.
[Jess stops walking, turns to Harry, raises his arms in the air]
Harry: What?
Jess: When someone's not that attractive, they're always described as having a good personality.
Harry: Look, if you had asked me what does she look like and I said, she has a good personality, that means she's not attractive. But just because I happen to mention that she has a good personality, she could be either. She could be attractive with a good personality, or not attractive with a good personality.
Jess: So which one is she?
Harry: Attractive.
Jess: But not beautiful, right

Okay, the brilliant wit of Billy Crystal aside, I have to respectfully disagree with the comfortable /=/ stylish thing. I know I'm more of a craft blogger than a style blogger, but while I may not be a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination, I do actually pride myself on knowing when I look good, when I look passable, and when I'm an embarrassment. The thing is... I just don't always care. However, I think this skirt is pretty damn cute. And comfortable. At the same time!


So yes, I'll confess: it's made out of flannel. Flannel shirting, not pajama flannel. (I'll further confess I don't actually know what the difference is, but that's what the tags said and I'm sticking to it.) More stylish folks than me may be laughing at me through their screens, but seriously dude... don't knock it 'til you've tried it. And don't worry... I'm not expecting this to be evening wear. Just something comfy besides bermuda shorts to wear on a lazy sunday.


I thought the fabric had a sort of denim-appeal so I did some contrast topstitching in navy and used a navy and brass zipper, although I thoroughly botched the insertion. I'm not sure where I went wrong (perhaps just the bulk of the fabric threw me) but one side sits noticeably higher than the other! Oh well, no big deal.

My previous Crescent (View B) was graded from an 8 at the hips to a 10 at the waist, with 1" removed from the top. I still felt this sat a little too high for my taste, so this time around (View A) I graded from an 8 at the hips to a 12 at the waist. This added about an inch around the waist (not the full 1.5" the pattern would have you believe, because I've also removed that inch from the top, so it's not fully graded out to the 12). It's perfection. Serious perfection. I couldn't ask for it to fit any more comfortably. It actually doesn't really sit much further down, it's just a more correct grade for the slope of my hip and so it just sits more smoothly.

Anyway, I love it. But in case I haven't sold my more stylish readers, let my try to convince you with my best snugbug impression (Patty always sells it, doesn't she?):


OH! And in other news, I hit a major blogging milestone the other day: I was recognized by a reader/fellow sewist! Commenter Alice spotted me out at the Fabricana Canada Day sale! Thanks Alice, you made my day! (Alice doesn't yet have a blog, but she tells me she's working on it. Keep your eye on the comments for a linky, as I made her promise to share the address once she's started one. How's that for peer pressure? LOL.)