Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Quick Mittens

A few years ago, I made a lot of sewn mittens from wool sweaters and other (usually recycled) materials. It was great how fast they were, but I didn't like the pattern design and I didn't like my finishing. Most recycled wool sweater mittens have you use a cuff and some are folded back up so it hides the awkward seam. I didn't want to be like everyone else.

Since then, I've gotten into the world of independent designers. Not people posting a free pattern on their blog, but real companies selling pdf sewing patterns of a professional quality. One of these designers has a mitten pattern that uses the mitten shape/design I like (thumb at the side).  And then it came on sale! Yes, I know, I could trace my hand...but what about all the different kindie kids that wear the spare mittens I bring for lunch supervision? I was going to become a mitten factory! I've got fleece, and wool sweaters, some thinner knits....Surely not every mitten opportunity has to be wool.

 I made this first pair, I don't remember what size. The outside is a fleece scarf from Value Village. I don't remember what the inside is. I think they were a little large for the kindies, but too small for me, so I put them on the mitten tree at the school.
I wanted a pair for myself. I found this black microfleece in my stash awhile ago. I think it was from Wazoodle back when they were Canadian. Not sure if I bought it or got it somewhere else. There's quite a bit of it though. I thought it would make great skating pants for Megan but she thinks they'd be too warm. Perfect for mittens then, right? The wool was a sweater that I had already used part of. I thought there was lots, but then found out there were raglan sleeve seams. In the end, I used it for only one side of the mitten. The inside is also the black microfleece.

These are quite warm. Not good for doing up kids' zippers and putting their own mittens on though. But they look nice with my black coat. You know, the coat for which I also knit bright green flip top mittens. The coat with no buttons so I can't wear it when it's cold, coat. Yeah.

I do want to make more. I think I serged these which was tricky around the thumb. Maybe I did most of it on the serger, but the thumb on the sewing machine. Now that we have the Consew industrial machine, I want to do more, but I need some finer thread.

The one drawback of the pattern is that it's sized by hand measurement, so if you're making for someone else, especially kids, ask around and find out what size kids' hands are.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Campfire Cardigan

This was one of those patterns that went viral. I don't remember where I first saw it--Instagram, Pinterest, blogs...At first, I thought "Ugh...oversized, the loose granny stitch won't make it warm..." etc. But then I started thinking maybe it would make a nice cozy cardigan, especially if I made it a smidge tighter gauge. And especially if I could use my stash. Not use my stash--not going to make it. So I had to find two yarns that would work well together.

I've had this elann.com "Highland Wool" for a long time. Back when they still had their awesome site instead of selling on Amazon. I paired it with some Noro "Kuryeon" that felt like a great match. I've had it forever too. Surprise!

 I love the plum colour!
Thumb holes specifically for my short arms!

The fit. Mmmm. Kind of hard to do a FBA on something like this. I know I did something to it so the fronts would be a bit wider. I think there's a link to suggestions in the pattern. And I made it longer. After my Einstein Jacket in 2007, I realized square things don't look good on me. I re-worked the sleeves quite a bit because I was running out of Noro and I wanted them tapered. And thumb holes! Why not? I think I tapered it a bit much but I needed to in order to make it slim enough for the hand.

The issue. It is WARM! But without buttons or a zipper, and because it does still have holes, it can't be worn in actual cold weather. So the days to really wear it seem to be few and far between. Add in the wild colours and the chance that I'm wearing something subdued enough to look okay under it?
I had some challenges with the hood because I had altered the sizing and shape a bit. Doubtful I'll ever use the hood but if I was camping and couldn't grab a hat, I guess I might.

 It is cozy though. And used up some well aged yarn. My yarn cubbies actually looked quite a bit emptier after. Enough so, that I combined a couple cubbies and bins, took one bin, and put all my serger cones in it. And some of the cubbies are still a little bare. I have a lot of odd balls and leftovers, which I keep in bins. I have some yarn that I bought multiple balls of the same colour, but they're in sealed bags, so why open them.  Maybe I'll turn another cubbie into sewing storage. Though I have enough storage for the sewing "extras"; it's the fabric that is filling up my storage space. I'll have to think about it.

Megan didn't like how I had been posing. Since she follows a lot of beauty bloggers on IG, I let her pose. She did pretty good! Thankfully she didn't steal the sweater. Actually, she asks me not to wear it most of time. It is a bit of a challenge to wear but I still like it.

The yarn totals were included in last year's totals. 615gr. I think I had five or six balls of Noro and a seemingly endless supply of the Highland Wool. I have a little bit left of it. Less than a ball, I think.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Green Mittens

I'm not 100% sure why I choose green. I do like the colour, but it means I can only wear them with my black coat, which I don't wear to my lunch supervisor job. They are Rowan Superwash Worsted, I believe, left over from custom Christmas stockings 2016. I made them two at a time on one circular--so that I could do the gusset shaping at the same time and not have to try to figure out what I did on the second one. However. Got to the flap business and apparently forgot that I do not have two right hands.

I fixed up the left one. I wasn't happy with how pointy the tips were, not my usual mitten style. But after re-knitting them a few times, I left it. And the thumbs are a smidge long. They are decent mitts though. We just had strange weather here. If it was really cold, I had to wear my work jacket as my black jacket has lost it's buttons. So I only wear it when it's warmer. When I wouldn't need 100% wool mittens.

I don't seem to have a finished picture. But they look basically the same, just one left and one right mitten. The totals were included in last year's totals even though I realized late on Dec 31 that I had goofed and it took a while to get back to them. I was almost done by the end of the year. They were 84gr.

Thursday, March 29, 2018


I needed new swimsuits for the cruise. And I decided, since the average age on this cruise would be about 65, that I would give a bikini a shot again. First I made a one piece using my standard pattern. The colour is rather bland, though quite shiny. I used turquoise thread for the top stitching.
 I sent this to my husband and asked if he still thought the brown was boring. LOL. I don't seem to have a whole body picture. But it's Kwik Sew 3779, the same as these ones. I think I still need to add to the lower width and figure out a straighter curve for the centre edges. And why does it pull funny along the elastic?
 I made some adjustments to the cup portion of the pattern for the bikinis.
 When your beer matches your fabric...
 I learned how to make the fabric covered elastic straps from Ohhh Lulu! The part on the straps is partway through this video though I used info from the other parts too.
 Does this pillow make me look frumpy?

 And yes, I had a bit of an incident with slippage. Luckily it wasn't at the main pool!

 Next, I wanted to replicate a reversible bikini top I saw online, but I had a few other tweaks.
 I couldn't get the lower band to sew on straight so I eventually hand basted it.
 I loved how it was looking, but it just didn't work out. The straight tops across the cups wouldn't lay flat on me (the model had been much smaller and therefor the binding/straps were closer together). I don't have enough height in my bodice to make all the angles work properly.
 I did some fudging, adding the little pink ruffle and an upper portion, gave up on the reversible idea.

Still cute, right? I know I wore it on the cruise, but I don't see a picture.

I thought I had made another top, but maybe not. Even though it was a 10 day cruise, we didn't swim much. The pools were really cold when we got onboard, and the adult only Solarium pool never warmed up.

Monday, March 12, 2018

"Simple Dress"

If by "simple" you can include hours spent googling and YouTubing, then this was simple. I have always wanted to make a new infinity dress. My original wasn't in the best material and then I cut it up for a dress muslin, which became a nightgown because it wasn't the best material. In my early searching, I can across a company selling many types of infinity dresses, including "Ivy". 
I liked many of the styles shown and recognized that really, this was just a rectangle with "armholes" and a long tie for the neck.

I chose this crazy patterned fabric, feels like a polyester knit. I went and got a similar feeling black to make the tie. Of course, on the cruise, there was no way for me to remember all the different ways to tie it. 

 The simplest way. Using the "armholes" as armholes. The long tie gets tied on one shoulder. I really didn't know what to do with the long tie after tieing.
 It felt loose and swingy and relaxed  though I was a little annoyed by the front being shorter than the back--but not short enough to be a "hi-lo" style. And it was prone to flying up on the windy deck!
 I tried it using the armhole at the centre front. I just don't think I have enough upper body length for the various criss cross wrapping styles. Right under my bust and it felt like my boobs were huge and it was a maternity dress. Further down and they were hard to stay in place because if I did them tight, it wasn't very flattering.
The back felt SO low. I'm not used to that!. And see how there's lots of fabric on my front but not on my back? Strange. I think I might have made one side of the dress with a wider piece--I should check that.
I'll probably wear it again, I just need to build some confidence my ability to do the different ties. And we either need a real summer, or another trip south LOL. Also, if you're trying to pack light, it's easier to get away with re-using one dress when it's a more basic solid colour LOL. This was a very distinctive dress on a ship of about 2500 people!

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

I Bought Yarn

I recently bought some white "Woollike" to finish up a Christmas stocking order from last Christmas. Thankfully, the recipient was born Jan 2 2018 :) This was my first (and so far, only) yarn purchase this year. I haven't really completed much either, except some dishcloths and one red scarf (for World AIDS Day). Thankfully I still have projects to show you from last year! LOL.

Yarn In:     100gr
Yarn Out:      0gr 
Balance:     100gr+
Costs:     $2.53/65 days= $0.04/day

Monday, February 26, 2018

Coral Socks

This is another project that didn't get blogged about when it should have. I think because it took soooo long to finish and I showed them on Instagram, I just never got around to posting here.
I started these socks probably August 2015. What? Really?
They were my purse knitting for a long time. Feb 12, 2017, I was still working on them. I had decided to knit them long and not waste any of the yarn. By Feb 21 2017, apparently I was done.

I can't find the photo anywhere on my phone or computer so I had to screenshot it from Instagram. And I'm too lazy to crop it. You get what you pay for, here.

I was able to find the ball band. It's Regia "Snowflake Color" in 07712. This line, is of course, discontinued. I can also tell you that I bought it from Soper Creek Yarn, and that the original price was $15.95 and the clearance price was $12.00. I can even tell you I bought it December 12 2013. What great fun the blog is, when things work! LOL. I will also tell you, since you can't see it, that I did a Fleegle Heel . I've used it quite a few times (well, it seems like a lot of times, but it could just be because I'm a slow sock knitter), and find it fits my thick feet quite well.  I started the ribbing right after the ankles and as I worked upwards, I gradually increased the needle size. I did not intend for the socks to match. They don't actually match precisely, one toe has more orange, but they're very close.

I included this yarn total in my totals for 2017. I have not bought much sock yarn--if any--since then, and I'm not very excited about the sock yarns left in my bin. Not enough of some, some are colours I really wouldn't wear but were "a good deal", etc. I really like the two other hanks of yarn I bought at the same time, but they're only 175m each, so not enough for socks. I'm currently knitting a pair of socks and the colours really make me yawn. Yeah, sure, sometimes we need more subtle socks, but they still don't do it for me. Sock yarn is one thing I see myself buying this year.