Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New Sweater Blues

This weekend I began a new sweater. I decided to try making one of the sweaters from Knitting Lingerie Style (I don't remember the name of the sweater). I decided for this sweater to use some Candy Blue Cotton-Ease that I had in stash from around the time Lion Brand was discontinuing CE. At that time I bought about 10 skeins of this yarn, no specific project absolutely in mind, but there were a couple of things potential projects out there. After buying all of this yarn, I decided that I really didn't like the color enough to wear 10 skeins of it, so it sat around languishing for years. Well, I pulled it out this weekend and stared a tank, then frogged the tank. I then pulled out some left over Candy Apple Cotton Fleece and cast on for this sweater, deciding to try the Cotton Fleece as the contrasting color to my sweater. As I knit, I didn't truly love the color combination and I was very unsure of how I would like wearing a whole sweater of Candy Blue, but I kept knitting anyway.

I decided to modify the pattern. In the pattern shaping is achieved by changing to smaller needles a couple inches into the sweater then resuming the use of larger needles further along. I didn't feel like knitting worsted weight yarn on size 4 needles, so I added waist shaping. I didn't think my shaping through all the way, and as a result the narrowest point on the back is probably going to fall above the narrowest point of my waist. I decided that I wouldn't really care because I don't love the Candy Blue, and I am not sure that I like the Candy Apple contrasting color, so since I might never wear the sweater in public what is the big deal?

Well, I kept knitting right along and my skein of Candy Blue ran out. I picked up a second skein that I had sitting right by me for just this purpose and joined the yarn and kept knitting. This was last night. I was reading a book, and the knitting was just stockinette, so I really didn't bother to look down. I didn't look down until I had to leave to go to karate, then when I looked down this is what I saw:
Apparently, when I bought the 10 skeins of Candy Blue Cotton-Ease, I neglected to look at the dyelots. At the time I bought the yarn I was experienced enough that I should have known better, but I must have been in a cheap yarn feeding frenzy. It further seems that the CE that I have of this color matches the darker top color and not the lighter bottom color. If the CE matched the bottom I would simply tear out the 2 inches I knit and use a different skein, but since I can't do that, this sweater may be forever a UFO.

Friday, July 27, 2007

A-Line Skirt FO

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I know it's not a great photo, but it was Joe's first activity in the morning while I was on my way out to work. He was tired and a little cranky about having to get up to take the picture. You can sort of see the skirt but you can definitely see the fabric - isn't it a gorgeous print?! The pattern is New Look 6595 and the fabric is from the Joel Dewberry line. I found it at Sowing Sisters in Carlsbad. I used about 2 yards. I lined the skirt with muslin that I bought at Joann Fabrics. I've used this pattern before and I like the way it fits, although the waist is a little big. Typical problem for me.


Thursday, July 26, 2007


Do you ever get to that place when you are knitting where nothing seems to be worth working on? That is where I am now. I still haven't blocked my two newly finished shawls, that just seems like too much effort. I am slowly plugging away at the Mystery Stole. I am also working on a shawl that I am creating using Malabrigo lace weight yarn. I don't currently have any tops on the needles, though I am change that this weekend. I am going to make a tank from Knitting Lingerie Style, though I am going to use stash for that and the color I am planning on using isn't filling me with confidence.

Ah well, c'est la vie. Inspiration will come again. Hopefully, soon.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Helpful Cats

I have two skirts VERY near completion (one only needs to have the fabric around the zipper tacked down and one needs the hem done) and I have a top that's almost finished. However, you know what they say about almost.

Even though I don't have any FO photos, I thought I'd show a photo of how my cats "help" me sew. As soon as I put the cutting board down on the ground, it takes about a nanosecond for them to start walking all over it, my fabric and my pattern pieces. I went into the bedroom for literally 30 seconds to get my pattern and I had two cats laid out on my fabric!

I snapped this shot of Teacup last night while I was cutting out my latest project:

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It was amazingly difficult to get him to move so I could actually finish my cutting.

Regarding knitting, I'm...well...not doing much of it lately. My normal knitting groups haven't been meeting and although the weather has not been hot, I'm just not into it right now. It doesn't help that very few inspiring patterns have come out lately. Am I the only one who thinks the Interweave preview is a letdown? I'll admit there are a couple of potentials, though. I was impressed with the Knitty surprises, though.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Amy Butler Laundry Bag

I have a finished sewing object for your viewing pleasure, today. I'm quite proud of it actually. One of the things I'm most proud of is actually finding a use for this fabric. I love the fabrics, love the colors, etc, but felt it was a little much to make clothes out of. When I realized that I had enough to make this bag - which requires quite a lot of fabric- I got really excited about making it. Anyway, here it is:

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For those of you who can't view photobucket stuff, here's another format:

The pattern is from Amy Butler's book In Stitches. I really liked the pattern, although it was A LOT of work. Totally worth it in the end. I learned new things like making buttonholes and making a drawstring out of fabric. It's not perfect, but only the gods are perfect, right? I love it and I think it's almost too nice to put nasty laundry in. However, I'm not one to make things that have no use, so I've already put some laundry in it, including fabric to wash for my next project. I'll me making the view that the model is wearing out of a piece of remnant fabric I bought at Discount Fabrics in Normal Heights. By the way, for you local sewers, I did visit both of the fabric stores in Normal Heights and will review them at some point later this week.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

One of the advantages of living in New England is that a weekend jaunt to a foreign country is not only possible, but is easy and convenient too. While a This past weekend I took a jaunt up to Montreal. weekend jaunt to Europe is both financially and practically out of the question for me, a weekend jaunt to Montreal is easy. I brushed off my very rusty, and VERY elementary French skills and drove the 5-7 hour trip through New Hampshire and Vermont to arrive in this very European city during their Just For Laughs Festival, of which I don't have any photos. The weather was mostly lovely, the city very walkable, the people friendly, the food eclectic and good, and the beer (Maudite) was very good. Despite traveling with a fellow knitter, no yarn shops were visited. We spent most of our time walking around the old city.

I managed to get some knitting done while in Montreal, and after returning home. The Forest Path Stole is now finished. Well, the ends aren't woven in yet and it isn't blocked yet, but those things will happen soon. This means that I now have 2 shawls to block.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

LA Garment District Trip

I took today to drive up to Los Angeles, which is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from here, to check out the Fashion District there. Unfortunately, if you're into crafting in San Diego, it's really difficult to get what you need here, whether it's yarn, fabric, or anything for that matter. It's one of those things I've never been able to figure out. What's weird is that this is a huge city! Depending upon what article you read, San Diego is the 5th largest city in the country. At worst, it's the 8th largest. If you live here or have spent any significant time here, you know that San Diego feels a lot more like a small town than a large, bustling urban area. It is the strangest thing, and how we do it, I don't know. In most cases, it's a good thing, but when it comes to shopping, it's terrible! Literally, the only fabric store we have is Joann Fabrics. Well, we have Yardage Town, too, but the amount of polyester in that store can make you itch just looking at it. So, this is what led to me driving to Los Angeles to do a little shopping.

Let me just say that it was completely overwhelming. I felt like I'd just got off the bus from some backwater town and was in the city for the first time. I walked into Michael Levine's on Maple Ave., and I just stood there with my mouth hanging open. It wasn't just that they had a lot of stuff. Heck, Yardage Town has a lot of stuff. They had a tremendous amount of really, really gorgeous, natural fiber fabric. They had silk, cotton, courdoroy, wool, linen and everything else you could possibly think of. They had brocade, voile, crepe, chiffon, shirting imported from Europe, etc. There wasn't anything that couldn't be found there. They had some polyester, but it was completely outnumbered by the good stuff. I just wandered around, unsure what to do. I mean, until today, I'd never even seen most of this stuff. I just touched and fondled for about 2 hours. In addition to the main store, they have The Loft which is a room where all of the fabric is $2/pound. That's incredibly dirt cheap. Although I wasn't as in awe of the Loft, I still found a few things.

This is just one store, people. There were several city blocks with about 15 stores on each one. Michael Levine's was the only store I had time to visit in the Fashion District. I did make time to go to a shop in West LA called F & S Fabrics. Wow. Much, much pricier than Michael Levine's, but the selection was amazing. The first room that you walk into didn't have anything in it for less than $90/yard. Luckily, the back rooms had more reasonably priced stuff. However, even for things you can actually get here in San Diego, their prices were about $1 per yard higher up there than down here (this tends to hold for yarn prices as well, FYI). I was in there for at least an hour as well, just stumbling around unsure what, if anything, I should buy. I went up there completely unprepared because I wasn't sure what to expect. Anyway, here are some photos of what I got:

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The fabric on the left is a cotton/silk voile fabric that is absolutely gorgeous. It's imported from Italy and was $20 per yard at F & S Fabrics. It was my splurge of the day. I will not be using it for quite some time since I don't yet have the skills.

The fabric in the center is a cotton chambray fabric that is super soft and light. I figure someday it will be a blouse, but again, not anytime soon. It was $8 per yard at F & S Fabrics.

The fabric on the right is a cotton lawn fabric from Robert Kaufman that I got at Michael Levine for $7.75 per yard.

The next two photos are of stuff I found at the Loft:

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The left fabric is (probably) a polyester satin and the fabric on the right is a lovely espresso corduroy that will no doubt become a great skirt to wear with boots.

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I don't know for sure what type of fabric this is, but if it's not silk, it's a very good imitation. Anyway, the total cost for these three fabrics was $6. Yeah, that's the Loft for you.

Today, that main store was running a sale on silk fabric for $7 per yard. It seemed like a good price until I saw that F & S Fabrics charged $150 for silk, so it's a ggggrrrreeeat price. I got this:

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I have a pattern for a little wrap blouse that I thought would be cute in this.

I finally broke down and bought dupioni silk for a project to be named later. It was $7 per yard. At Joann's similar fabric is $29 per yard and up, so I guess I did well here:

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I think that about sums it up. Today was very damaging to my pocketbook, but really, really fun. The traffic was minimal, so the drive was actually enjoyable. The Fashion District is in an icky part of downtown LA, but that's not really a surprise. All in all, it's so worth going there that it's almost pointless to buy fabric in San Diego at all. I said "almost" because sometimes, you just want something new and you don't have time to make the drive to LA.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Sewing FO

I've actually finished four things now. This is the first one I've gotten a modeled for, though. I'm really happy with the way this turned out.

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The pattern is McCall's 4783. I LOVE the fabric (it's a Robert Kaufman print from Rosie's Calico Cupboard). I used about 2 yards. I lined it with muslin, hemmed the lining by machine and the skirt by hand. Joe did a great job making the hemline even. Most of it turned out very well. The zipper is slightly wonky (still working on getting that to look good) but overall, I'm proud of myself with this one. I wore it out to dinner last night, and it wore great!

I also finished my 1/2 circle skirt the night before and that one wasn't as much of a success. The waist was too big (even though I chopped 3 inches off the width before I sewed it!), so it doesn't hang very well. Plus, it makes the hemline vary. Sometimes it's too long in the back, sometimes, it's not. I'll probably wear it occasionally because I really do like the fabric, but it's not what I'd call a success.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Didn't I Used to Be a Knitter?

I did, indeed. There has been knitting, but there's also been sewing. I'm in the honeymoon phase with sewing, but unfortunately, I'm in the comfortably married phase with knitting. My relationship with sewing...well...it's like an affair, really. Yesterday, I had an unexpected day off, so I set about sewing a skirt all by my lonesome, with no one to bail me out of my screw-ups. And you know what? It went absolutely fine. Here's a photo of how my fabric started out:

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It was a black linen/rayon blend fabric, on sale for 60% off at Joann fabrics. After several hours and a few ripped seams later, it became a skirt. It still needs to be hemmed and otherwise finished, but I wanted to show you the lining:

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Tee hee. It's my favorite part. I really liked the way it came out. I'd hoped to have the hem measured by my DH, but he's got a test tomorrow. Alas, it's not to be. That also explains I only have a photo of a wrinkled FO to show you:

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When I left for work this morning he was asleep and tonight, we had a refrigerator crisis, so no photos. But the wrinkles are proof that it was worn to the office today. It's not perfect, but I think it's quite lovely if I do say so myself. Not bad for a first-timer. I can't take credit for the ruffle - that's Cora's expertise at work. You should see the hem on that thing. Couture all the way. There's no way you'd believe I did that.

Oh yeah, and the knitting. Behold the lace tee from Knitting Lingerie Style:

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At the moment, its small enough to fit my niece, who's not yet two (OK maybe not). But I must pray faithfully to the knitting gods that blocking will set me free. When I stretch it on my needle, it works out. We'll see...

D'oh, I almost forgot. My mom went fabric shopping for me! Will wonders never cease! She shopped the remnant table and brought me back a Robert Kaufman piece, among other things:

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That's Teacup being "helpful". And well, the refrigerator crisis? It died. Dead as dead can be. Freezer, too. So dead, that Joe was met with the stench of spoiled ice cream when he came home for lunch. Awesome. The good news? It's under warranty. The bad news? The repairman can't come out until July 19. I guess I'll be darkening the door of a lot of restaurants this week. Later!

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Clue 2

Clue 2 of the Mystery Stole 3 is complete now. The stole is about 150 rows long now. I have pretty much stopped reading the emails that go around with this group, there were just way too many, so I don't know if the shape I have pinned this to is the correct shape. The stole has moved quickly. I feel much more competent adding the beads now.

Here are a couple of details shots:

And a photograph of part of Plymouth, where I spent Sunday.


Friday, July 06, 2007

Rusted Root FO

It isn't blocked in this photo - doing so definitely helped with the fit. It was a little snug when I took the photo, but I have since washed and worn it and it fits great now. What was great was that, since it started out small, it didn't get all baggy as the day went on.

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The stats:

Pattern: Rusted Root, designed by Zephyrstyle, size 38" bust
Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Berry, 3 skeins
Needles: Size 7 Addi Turbo's for the body and Size 5 Knitpicks Options circulars for the ribbed edges
Modifications: I pretty much only kept the lace pattern and the edgings and changed the fit entirely. When the raglan seam was long enough, I cast on the remaining stitches I needed for the width using e-loop cast-on. I changed the waist increases and decreases so it was the length I wanted - I think I added 2 or 3 inches from the original pattern, but I can't remember.
Overall thoughts: I can't comment on the pattern much because I didn't do the puffed sleeves, nor did I follow the shaping. I do think it is a lovely design though, so kudos to Zephyrstyle for that.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

You really have to love having a day off in the middle of the week. Admittedly, there are also problems with the mid-week day off, you can't use that time to go away, for example, but it does make the week go faster. Despite living in Boston, where hundreds of thousands of people come to see the Pops and Fireworks, which is broadcast on televisions across the nation, I did not make it to Esplanade to partake. I did manage to catch part of the dress rehearsal on the 3rd, though there were too many people there for me to get any decent photographs of the performance. I managed to sneak some knitting time in yesterday and finished up my Sunshine sweater.

Thanks to Google I did figure out how to do a picot cast off, so I didn't have to eliminate that part of the design. I like the line of the sweater and believe that this is a good casual work type shirt. I modified the sleeves slightly. The pattern called for 3 inches of seed stitch at the bottom of the sweater, since I was making a short sleeve version I thought that 3 inches would be too much seed stitch (besides I hate seed stitch). I mirrored the amount of seed stitch that is at the bottom of the sweater. I don't think that I got the right gauge, but given that this is a cotton blend yarn, I figure that some negative ease is not a bad thing. I can not stress enough how much I LOVE Rowan's Calmer, it is so soft and light.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


After seeing a mention of the Mystery Stole 3 group on a fellow Circle's knitter's blog, I decided that I needed to sign up, so I did. We were told that we needed 1,200 yards of lace weight yarn and beads. I decided to use the laceweight yarn that I bought from Elann for this project, and I thought that I had beads in stash (I didn't really). On Friday, the first clue came out. It had 100 rows of lace knitting. I started on Saturday and quickly realized that the beads that I had wouldn't work. Their holes were all too small for a crochet hook to fit. This meant that I had to make a trip to Beadworks in Harvard Square to find beads that worked. Christine kindly lent me a tiny crochet hook and showed me how to attach bead using a crochet hook. With these hurdles beyond me, I began my knitting. On Sunday, the first clue was completed. The next clue will be coming on Friday, I think. So far, all is going well with this project. The beads took a bit to get used to, but now I feel pretty comfortable and confident with them. This won't be a knit on the T project though because I can see my little tube of beads being knocked over and beads flying all over the bus or subway car.

I have also been working away at my Sunshine sweater. I am knitting this piece continental style (usually I knit English). I decided to go with Continental because there is seed stitch on this sweater and I have heard rumors that seed stitch is easier/faster continental. I am nearly done with the body now. I am using some reclaimed Calmer from a crochet project that I didn't have enough yarn for. I think I have about 5 more rows of seed stitch, then I use the "picot stitch" to cast off. Unfortunately, I have no clue what the picot stitch is, so I will look at the pattern to see if there is any hint (there isn't), then I will go for google.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

A Little This, A Little That

It's pretty much a typical Sunday around here, although I have to work a little. That's annoying. That's OK, though, because it helps to finance my rather out-of-control crafting habits. Speaking of which, here's a couple of recent additions to my stash:

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I think the Asian tea-themed one is going to be an apron and the other two are going to be skirts. The pink one I bought to match an espresso shell that I knit last summer. The other is just gorgeous. I have nothing to go with it, but who cares?! Its an Amy Butler, of course.

I have been knitting as well. Last night, I finished Rusted Root and I'm thrilled with everything except maybe the neckline which isn't lying right. When I picked up the stitches around the neckline, I picked them all up since they were basically my cast-on edge. Since I was using a smaller needle, I figured that was OK. I think it still might be, but it really needs a blocking. I'm going to wear it anyway, until I get around to blocking it properly.

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Once I was done with that, I immediately cast on for the Drop Stitch Tank from Fitted Knits. I'm using Noro Lily that I bought in a clearance sale a while back. It is sort of taking the place of my Fitted Tank, color-wise, which unfortunately turned out to be a major disaster. Its kind of sad because the only thing wrong with it is that it's too short. Otherwise, it fits great. However, it looks terrible on me becasue it looks like a tube top. So, it is basically unwearable. Very sad indeed. Anyway, here's what I have on my Drop Stitch Tank so far:

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