Friday, January 23, 2009

Birthday creations

Maisie's third birthday is coming up in February. When asked what she would like, she always replies, "A purple cake with candles and Smarties." With Christmas just past, I don't think she really expects to get any presents. That leaves it up to us to figure out what she would like and would play with as well as what we actually have room for in the house. We don't need any more junk, clutter or any toys that aren't used.
Something she loves is to dress up. Any kind of a costume will do, including her brother's katate gi and sparring gear and anything that seems like a hat.

So I have decided to make her a costume collection and not only because it appeals to me. Over the last year I have tucked away a little sheer ribbon skirt and a pair of fairy wings. She will need a princess dress (who doesn't) and, of course, a cape. I am waiting to get some more fabric for the dress, so I cut out and sewed the cape. When her brother comes home from school each day, he checks in with me and I show him my progress. He even picked out the trim for it: a sequinned pink stuff that was chosen for it's contrast, sparkle and comfortability. He even tried it on for me so I could check the lining. He really is a good big brother.

I always ask him not to stand behind me and read over my shoulder when I am on the computer. I ask this, not just because it drives me crazy, but also because I might post something like this:
What a good sport!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Teal jacket and Ashy top

The Vogue 2923 jacket is finally finished and has been worn out ot my January book club meeting. I was a bit overdressed compared to everyone else, but dont really care. I gave a soft press to the ruffle to hold it in place, but it does what is wants anyway. That is probably better.
The fabric is a wool knit I purchased last year. I threw 1.5 yards of it into the washer and dryer to felt it a bit. I used the unfelted wool for the ruffle and faced it with a silk from Gorgeous fabrics. The jacket is supposed to have a lining in the front, but I couldn't get the knit and woven to play nicely and gave up on that plan. Because of this the seams had been trimmed and topstitched and could no longer be serged nicely. However the fabric does not fray or lose fibre, so I just won't show anyone the inside! I used bias to bind the sleeve hems and decided I liked it enough to use as the finish. The texture contrast is pretty. There are three buttons and thread loops holding it closed.

Underneath is a rayon/cotton/lycra knit top from EOS in a colour Linda called "ashy". It suits the colour, not really brown, not really gray, but a heathery mixture of the two. I did a neckline treatment that I saw on RTW and liked. I cut the top from a pattern I made from RTW, cut 2" off the neckline and sewed a 2" band back on. The band was cut to the size of the opening and had a CB seam. I left a small part of the CB seam open, inserted 1/4" elastic into it and adjusted the length until the neckband was gathered up slightly and laid flat on my neck. You can just see the gathers at the neckline in the pictures.

Friday, January 16, 2009

More Knit Talk

The reason I never did texture was because my knitting was backwards. This is my mother's term.I taught myself to knit in college to show her that cables were not too difficult. My Godmother made me a cardigan when I was a child. It was hard and scratchy and cabled. My mother ooohed and awed about it and I asked her (not in front of my Godmother) what was so special. She replied that cables were very hard to do.Some years later, while I was in college, I stuck my finger through a cable and realized how they were made. I had figured it out. Now all I had to do was learn to knit and I could show my mother how it was done! I got a book, and yarn and borrowed some needles and got to it.The funny thing is that no where in the book did it mention to change hands. By this I mean they never said to, once the row was complete, take the neeedle with the work on the right and put it in the left and start over. Being ambidextrous, I just knit back again from the right to the left. I knit each row and just could not figure out garter stitch. Someone finally clued me in and I started knitting the regular way.I was self taught with no one nearby to tutor me and I only knew the basics, but I was fairly prolific. The only problem was that I always wrapped my yarns wrong. So I went home to visit and my mother tried to show me something, she would have to take each loop off, turn it and put it back on the needle. If I tried to do any texture work, the slants were always in the wrong direction. Yarn overs were hard. I just didn't bother with them. I did a lot of Fair Isle instead.This year I decided to learn how to knit correctly. I got out some books to see what was what and knit a few scarves in basic stockinette and garter to practise. As usual all has gone well as long as I kept to knit and purl. I forgot one thing: I don't know how to count.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Teal jacket and other UFOs

My teal jacket is nearly done. I have to bind one armhole and add closures, which will be either button and loop or hook and loop.
I tried it on for my husband and pointed out that it is not too ruffly. His reply was "Oh, no. That jacket is all straight lines and angles." Now, you have to understand that he dislikes anything ruffly and nothing about me is straight lines and angles, so I am not sure how to take it. I just figure it is a good "girl's night out" kind of jacket. That way he doesn't need to look at it.

I am trying to knit every day and so to create some beautiful sweaters, scarves, dishcloths, whatever. This is not stash busting, but stash using. Some yarns I purchased specifically for dischcloths. Marji discusses her view on stash busting here. I have to say that I agree.

I have pulled out several works in progress. There are three little sweaters started for my daughter. One sweater that might still fit my son if finished soon. I even have one I began for him as a baby. He is now eleven. Most of my friends have finished having babies. I am sure some little guy will need this before I have grandchildren. I used to do a lot of colour work with nothing but basic texture. I think I got sick of weaving in the little ends. This one just needs the ends woven in and the front bands knit, then to be sewn together. The shoulder seams are sewn and the neckband is knit. I even have a little hat knit. This one will get done soon. I swear it. I am getting low in the gift cupboard anyway.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Not sewing, but still fibre

Needle felted teddy bear for my son. It is about 1 1/4" high.
This is my first 3-D needle felted object and I think it turned out kind of cute. I wasn't sure how to do this, but you can learn a lot just by trying. For example- keep your fingers out of the way.
I think I am going to like this hobby, but not as much as my son is!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Needle felted hat

This is my new hat. It is my first attempt at needle felting. I like it, but keep wondering if I will look back on it one day and cringe at my workmanship.

I eyeballed the design, did the needle felting using fleece from Vogue Fabrics and sewed the hat up.
Afterwards I decided to add some embroidery. This was NOT the correct order to do the embellishment, believe me.
I did a blanket stitch around the top seam of the crown and added some fly stitches to the little trefoil design that goes around the crown.
The hat is a teal boiled wool type fabric (wool/rayon blend) with the underside of the brim in a black/brown faux Persian lamb fabric. The lining is a lightweight polartec fleece.

Pattern is McCalls 3400

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Coat finally finished

I had hoped to get it done before New Year's, but just finished up the coat today while Maisie napped and the boy brushed the cats.

Here are a front view with the front open, a 3/4 view and a close up my son took which shows the colour and weave better.

I had a set back when I decided to interline the lining with flannel. It is very warm, but snugger than the mockup was. It doesn't help that I have gained about 20 pounds recently. I almost gave up on it, but really wanted it out of the sewing room. In the end it fits fine, even with the flannel.