The Task Is Done

Posted on | April 11, 2014 | No Comments

yarnOh the carnage!

With a little bit of help and moral support, I ripped out the almost finished husband sweater this Wednesday. I did manage to save the tubular trimmed rib cuffs at least. It’s a small consolation, but I’ll take it.

I should just jump right back in and cast on for round 3, but I actually have a deadline project in the queue. If I said that I was super excited about this design, I would be putting it lightly. I will tell you that it is a sweater and it’s the first hand knit sweater design to be worked on in over a year. I thought my book fatigue would have ended sooner, but I was in no rush.

The deadline isn’t until August though, so I guess it’s being used as an excuse. Well, it’s not like he will be wearing an Aran weight wool sweater in the next few months anyway…..

Why Couldn’t He Just Have Been Happy With A Hat

Posted on | April 1, 2014 | 3 Comments

The saga of the Husband Sweater continues.

On Friday, my husband returned home just as I knit the last possible stitch on his sweater. No, it wasn’t finished, I ran out of yarn as expected. I wish this was the worst part of the story. I wish that I could tell you that even though this particular color of yarn had been discontinued, I managed to order some more from one of the many fine internet establishments that still had a few balls in stock. I then wish I could say that the new yarn arrived in record time allowing me to finish up the sweater and proclaim to all the knitting world that I have conquered the beast that is the husband sweater and it fit perfectly.

But no, that’s not how this went at all.

Even though the sweater was missing a bit of a shoulder, I wanted to get an idea how it was going to fit so I put it on him for the first time a few nights ago. That’s when it all went horribly wrong.

Where do I even start? The sleeves were too long, the body was too wide, the muscle area was huge, and forget about the armholes. As a self proclaimed perfectionist, I was this close to the edge. I just stared in disbelief.

While I took a moment or two, he kindly took a seat as I buried my head in the nearest blanket. He then proceeded to make jokes of every kind, some which weren’t meant to be, such as, “is there such as thing as un-knitting?” He might have wondered around the room pretending to be the hunchback of Notre Dame as well.

“You can fix this right?”

Sure, sure I can. It’s called knitting it all over again!

Then as we said goodnight he started singing The Sweater Song by Weezer. I’ll tell ya, if he didn’t have such a great sense of humor and make me laugh, this sweater would be a burnt pile of rubbish by now. And if I didn’t have a sense of humor I wouldn’t be able to say, “well, at least I’ll have enough yarn to finish the next round.”

A Much Needed Lazy Weekend

Posted on | March 30, 2014 | 3 Comments

Rain, rain, rain. It’s all I have heard beating on my windows all day long. Sounds like tomorrow will be more of the same along with Monday. Usually, rainy days are perfect for crafting, but today was for being lazy instead. Although I prefer to call it resting.

I hate feeling so guilty about laying in bed till 11, ordering in food from a place around the corner (literally), and watching Sherlock all day on Netflix. Not lifting a finger to work on any of my unfinished projects sometimes makes me a little anxious. After all, this is my precious weekend time, the only time I have long stretches to work uninterrupted on whatever I want. But sometimes, I just need a little break and I really shouldn’t feel so bad about it. This is what weekends should be about, right? While I enjoy being productive, running myself ragged certainly doesn’t help my cause.

I did spend a few hours watching my Sew The Perfect Fit Craftsy class at least. You can never go wrong with crafty education when lounging around in bed on a rainy Saturday. Also I am super excited by their newest update. I can now download my classes on my iPad to watch offline. My commute just got a lot more productive.

What are your guilty pleasures when taking a little break from your crafty pursuits? Don’t be shy, we’ve all been there.

Planning a Wardrobe

Posted on | March 20, 2014 | No Comments

photo(12)Now that Albion is finished and my hubby’s sweater is almost complete, I’m busy searching for my next knitting and sewing project.

Planning out my wardrobe is making the task of selecting a new project a little bit harder than usual. Normally, I see something I like and I make it. If it’s out of season, it’s OK, I’ll just wear it next year. If it can only be worn with one thing, that’s OK because I want to make it. But when you have made a pledge to not buy a single item of clothing, unless it is second hand, planning is a little more important if you want to have some clothes come the spring time. It’s also important that the things I make work together.

To make it a little bit less overwhelming, I’m going to start with fabric and patterns I already have in the stash. I have fabric for two dresses, a shirt, and a skirt.

 

On Monday, I headed over to Mood during my lunch hour to collect a few swatches for inspiration. I picked up some floral printed corduroy last summer to make a Macaron dress, but I wasn’t happy with the color of the green sateen that I purchased for the upper yoke and sleeves. I found a few good candidates in a light grey and brought them back to the office for further inspection under better lighting (speaking of, the color of the swatches above are very off!) Today I went back to Mood and the fabric I decided on was nowhere to be found. Argh! While I suppose it is possible that it sold out, the chances just seem very unlikely. On top of my disappointment, Mood was so busy, it was hard to get help, and discouragement set in quickly. Maybe I’ll try to find a replacement tomorrow when I’m less set on a particular fabric. I hope to get my fabric cut no later than the weekend, after all, tomorrow is the first day of Spring and I’m going to need some new clothes to wear!

The Husband Gets a Sweater – Finally

Posted on | March 18, 2014 | 1 Comment

The Boyfriend Curse.

As knitters, we all know about the tale of the boyfriend sweater and all of the warnings associated with knitting one for our yet to be secured significant other.

About 8 or 9 years ago, my then fiance picked out a sweater pattern and yarn for me to knit him a sweater. Needless to say, he picked the most boring pattern in the entire world. It didn’t even have a drop of ribbing. I proceeded to knit up part of the back before I gave up and convinced him that it probably wasn’t safe to knit for him anyway until we had officially tied the knot.

Fast forward to present day and my now husband is only days away (if I don’t run out of yarn) from finally having his very own hand knit sweater! I abandoned his original pattern selection and I chose the Seamless Hybrid by Elizabeth Zimmerman for its interesting construction at the yoke. The miles of stockinette weren’t even that bad, in fact, it was wonderfully meditative to go around and around with my heather green Jamieson Shetland Heatherl.

So about that “if I don’t run out of yarn” bit. Well, I bought this amount of yarn to knit another sweater and now I’m getting dangerously close to running out before I can finish up. I’m about partway up the decreases for the armhole and I have a ball and a half yet. To complicate things, I just did a quick search for the color and it’s discontinued. Luckily, I see a few online stores that have a few balls still available. Stay tuned!

 

Albion!

Posted on | March 5, 2014 | 3 Comments

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Here she is in all her wooly glory! Meet Albion.

The sew along for Albion finished up today and my hubby got home just in time to take these pictures so I could enter it in the sew along contest. First prize is a brand new Bernina sewing machine, so I’m giving it a shot!.

This project took a bit of patience, which if you’ve been following along, you know what I mean. Taking a men’s pattern and converting it into a woman’s is one thing, converting it for a petite woman is another! After all is said and done, I’m pretty happy with my new coat. It’s comfortable, warm (glad I put that lambs wool in), and it fits really well. Success!
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The Details:

Pattern:

Albion by Colette Patterns

Materials:

Body - Marc Jacobs Wool Coating purchased at Mood
Lining - Cotton Flannel purchased at Beckenstein Fabrics
Interlining - Lambs wool purchased at Steinlauf and Stoller
Buttons - Wood Hand Carved Vintage Buttons

Modifications:

The sleeve was a major undertaking to get correct. I didn’t follow the adjustment method suggested by Colette, I found that the cap height got a little high and the muscle still wasn’t small enough for my taste. Instead I used a slash and spread method along the entire sleeve. I also made the sleeve opening a little larger and the length about 1 1/2″ shorter. No modifications were made to the armhole, I checked my cap to make sure it would still fit in nice and snug.
Small shoulder adjustment.
I added a zipper to keep the cold out, but reversed the directions so it closed the way women’s clothes usually do. I also added elastic loops and huge vintage wood buttons instead of toggles.
I made the shorter version of the jacket that wasn’t supposed to be lined, but I still wanted a lining (there was no saying no to the chance to use plaid!) I drafted a new lining pattern, adding a little extra in the armholes so it would fold over nicely. I also added 3/4″ to the jacket hem so I could bag the lining instead of following the instructions from the pattern.
I added a lambswool interlining to make the coat a little bit warmer. To keep the lining in place, I hand basted everything in place. It was my least favorite part of the project, but the most appreciated when I was kept warm while taking my photos!

Number of Muslins Made: 3

Number of Needles Broken: 1

Number of Times I Stuck Myself with Pins: 183 times

For more photos, check out my Albion set on Flickr.

Stasis Pullover or My New Favorite Sweater

Posted on | February 17, 2014 | 2 Comments

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I feel so accomplished this weekend! I finally started my Ravellenics project (more on that later) and I finished up my Stasis Pullover. With all of my updates about sewing lately, I hope you didn’t think I forgot about my knitting completely!

I can’t tell you enough how very, very happy I am with this project. It had been in my queue for awhile and when I was down at Loop in Philadelphia for a booksigning last September, I was more than happy to take some of this gorgeous Brooklyn Tweed Loft home with me.

The yarn was slightly delicate, but knit up into such a nice, stable fabric with a beautiful drape and hand. Sometimes when you block a yarn that has a nice drape, it gets away from you a bit when it is wet. Not this yarn. The sweater behaved very well, going right into place like a good little girl.IMG_1250

The knitting was simple, yet engaging. The fairisle pattern was simple to memorize, although I tended to get ahead of myself and miss the last row of a few sections for some reason. Thank goodness for duplicate stitch!

I only made a few minor modifications to the pattern. I changed the bottom rib trim to 2″ instead of 1″ and made the body about 2″ longer. I also made the sleeves about 1 1/2″ longer. I probably would have been fine adding a little less to the sleeve length, but I like cozy sweaters with long sleeves. With these mods, I did end up needing an extra skein of yarn (or at least part of one), thankfully Purl Soho carries it here in NYC and saved the day!

What did you accomplish this weekend? Anything fun?IMG_1266

Albion Progress Update #3

Posted on | February 15, 2014 | No Comments

Eureka! I have finally managed to perfect the fit of the sleeve! My muslin is finally complete after three weeks of fussing and I couldn’t be happier.

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Super grainy iPhone shot

Other than the sleeve, there weren’t too many other adjustments that needed to be made. I let out the hips slightly, nipped in the shoulders, and added some waist shaping. Easy peasy compared to the sleeve ordeal.

On Friday, I headed over to Mood and Beckenstein Fabrics to purchase my wool and lining. For the main body of the coat, I purchased a heavier weight wool coating from Marc Jacobs in a pretty purple/burgundy color. The color looked a little brighter in the store, so I’m glad I got a swatch on my first trip and brought it out into the daylight to see the true color.

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Even though I am sewing the shorter version of the coat, I decided I still wanted a lining. The pattern called for a cotton flannel and I wanted a nice, interesting colored plaid. Do you know how hard it is to find good options for cotton flannel? Surprisingly difficult! If I didn’t work and live near some fabulous fabric stores, I probably would have had to settle for a black coat with red buffalo plaid lining. Not that anything is wrong with such a classic combination, I just wanted something a little more off beat. Technically, I didn’t even end up with a flannel, but it’s still a really gorgeous plaid that matches well with the main fabric.

Next up I will need to preshrink my fabric and finish up my lining pattern. From there, it should be pretty easy sailing!

Albion Progress Update #2

Posted on | February 5, 2014 | No Comments

After almost giving up on my coat project two days ago, I think I’m close to solving my sleeve problem. Last night I did a victory round on my Stasis Pullover after I drafted my third attempt at a well fitting sleeve. I may be writing about nothing but sewing lately, but of course I haven’t given up my knitting!

I’ve been pouring over all of my sewing reference books, Craftsy fitting videos, and the internet for any and all solutions. When you start off with a pattern drafted for a man and try to put a petite woman in it, there are bound to be a few challenges to overcome. When I was in school, these fitting problems didn’t exist. There were slopers and draped muslins on dress forms with the tiniest waists you have ever seen. Everything always fit perfect and the forms didn’t move! I however, need to move and I’m not about to spend a fortune on good wool until this muslin is perfect.

Tonight I took out my old notebooks from my draping and pattern making classes at FIT. I used to be so organized, and I’m glad I was! There is so much information in this book that is invaluable, two years worth of pinning, drafting, cutting, and sewing. My life was so much easier then, I just didn’t know it! It’s amazing how much I’ve forgotten, and I’m really excited to be picking pattern drafting and sewing up again.

So it’s onward and upward. Hopefully I’ll have a very nice fitting muslin to show you in my next update.

Albion progress update #1

Posted on | February 3, 2014 | 1 Comment

photoI finally had some free time this weekend, sans husband, to spread all of my muslin and pattern paper all over the floor and make a mess of the place. I vaguely remember now, that one of the reasons I don’t sew too much anymore, is how hard it is crawling along on the floor in your small living room cutting out pattern pieces.

Now that reality has set in, I’m going to have to work doubly hard on this goal of mine for 2014. Attempting to sew a wardrobe with space constraints is not exactly motivating. This is another reason why I love knitting so much, it’s portable and doesn’t take up much space (unless you have a huge stash, but who’s counting.)

My progress was a bit slow this weekend. I managed to cut out my muslin for the main body and sew it together.  Since this coat is cut for a man, I made a few adjustments to the shoulders and added a little bit of waist shaping. Nothing major. The next step was to fit the sleeve. I knew that it would be too big for my little arms, so I modified the pattern before cutting out the muslin. The adjustment I worked keeps the length of the sleeve cap seam the same, so no adjustments would be needed on the armhole. (Photo of adjustment is at the top of the post.)

After manipulating several layers of paper that did not want to lay flat, I cut out the muslin for the modified sleeve and sewed it onto the coat. By this point I was a little tired, so I probably should have stopped while I was ahead. I will admit, my sewing was a little sloppy, but the sleeve did not look good at all. There were new drag lines in the front of the sleeve  and the cuff was too tight. So much for being proactive and making pattern adjustments ahead of time!

I quickly ripped out the seam (thank goodness for basting stitches), made length adjustments to the original sleeve pattern and will attempt sleeve two tonight. The thing that I need to remember most during this project is sewing takes a lot more patience than knitting and I need to be kind to myself for being a little out of practice.

 

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