Friday, September 24, 2010

An Adventure

I have 3 or so more sewing projects to show, but here's a brief interlude. I thought the other day that I hadn't been on for quite awhile. This is sort of like Craig's List. I went to the hobby section and was browsing for knitting machines and yarn. I found an ad for someone looking for someone to repair her son's favourite blankie. How could I not respond to that?!

Alison brought the blankie over yesterday. It is indeed, a very well loved blankie (and we know well loved blankies here!). Her mother had made it when he was born, eight years ago. She had done some repairs, but it was falling apart again and she couldn't knit anymore. It was knit all in one piece, from end to end. There is an embossed/texture design of diamond lattice work, and the edges are in double moss stitch. The stitches that had run down from the cast off row I was able to ladder back up, hopefully getting them correctly into the pattern. The sides and bottom are a different story.
Alison said it was okay if it ended up a bit smaller or a different, not quite rectangular, shape. My plan is to cut off the bottom up to where the repairs are (a white blotch), unravel the top edge back to the start of the edging, and pick up stitches on the sides, in the first complete column that runs the whole length, and then knit a new edging outwards in one piece. By doing the edging this way, any future repairs will be easy. The yarn appears to be Bernat CottonTots. I say this because it is a cottony feeling yarn, with a single binder. Bernat Cot'nSoft has two binder threads that crisscross. Bernat is a popular yarn here, and Alison says it was infact light blue when new, and CottonTots comes in a light blue. It has lost some of the texture of the CottonTots, but I don't think it was a smooth yarn either when the blanket was new. There isn't any Patons yarn that matches. I'm pretty sure it's not Mission Falls 1824, that would have been much heavier, they don't seem to have a light blue (although their colours do change), and it would have been expensive for a baby blanket (although I know people who would use it). Sirdar is another popular choice, but nothing matches in the Ravelry database. Same with LionBrand. It's funny, when I first touched the blanket, I immediately thought of CottonTots and Cot'nSoft. Both of which I've used. It's fun playing yarn detective, although this was a relatively easy case, considering I was knitting 8 years ago in the land of Spinrite (home to Patons/Bernat). The use of a single binder thread simplified it even more.
I'm undecided though how to treat the edges where I'll be cutting off the ratty unravelled parts. Should I sew down the center of the column of sts I want to pick up next to, like doing a steek? What about all the ends then? Weave them all in, individually? Oh boy. I don't like to weave in ends when I knit because A) I often unravel, and B) I prefer to 'duplicate stitch' them to make them really hidden. Any ideas? I'm off to see if I can get CottonTots at Michaels or Zellers!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I love being able to make "sew" puns, LOL.

It might seem that I did way more sewing in the summer than knitting. Well, probably. During the school year, I take a self-imposed 'break' every afternoon once Meg goes to SK. Sit'n'Knit (and watch a soap opera). While the kids were home during the summer, this was impossible. I'd DVR the show, but the kids prefer to watch TV upstairs where the DVR machine is, so I couldn't watch TV till they went to bed, and I just can NOT sit through a "live" show in the basement and wait for commercials. So, I'd spend time sewing, going from my work table (the kitchen table) to the 'studio' downstairs and I'd get a few minutes quiet, but then be back upstairs before chaos.

Back when I made the first pair of t-shirt yoga pants, I started cutting the second t-shirt but didn't get to sewing it. I wanted to test out the first pair and work out kinks. Those were from a size L t-shirt, and the new ones are from an XL. They don't seem a whole lot bigger in the hips, but definitely seem bigger at the hem. The sleeves were a little bit longer, but the armholes were about the same depth. This time, the pants are not reversible as I did turn down the top of the sleeve (which became a wide waist), and to make it comfortable, they are actually higher in the back than the front. I thought with my large tummy, the front panel would be longer.
I see in the picture though, that there is some pulling under my bum. Maybe they should be pulled down just a bit.They feel very long, and very wide at the calf. I do have nice calves, so I'm not excited by this length (mid-calf). I could shorten them--I really do need shorts. However, I don't know if it's the colour or the fabric, but I think if I took them above the knee, I'd have to find a field-hockey stick to carry around as a prop. Total high school gym shorts look.Again, Rob said I can't go out in public in these, LOL. But I must say, this slightly thicker t-shirt sewed up really nice, using the elastic over-cast stitch. No seam rippling, none have broken either. There is a bit of a lump where the crotch seam meets the waist panel at the front, and I thought about topstitching down the seam allowances, but I had overcast them together. Maybe next time I'll try a stretch straight stitch, then top stitch down the seam allowance, just like my 'real' yoga pants. Although I guess, working from the wrong side, it's not really top-stitching, LOL.
(The t-shirt says "" and "Music makes you smarter" other love besides knitting is music!)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sweet Lily Shawl

I liked the idea of this shawl as soon as I saw it (there's actually several things I loved in that issue, IK, Spring 2009). I first tried it with the very-multi-coloured yarn I ended up making Moonlight Sonota in, and it was clear right away it wouldn't work. It needs a fairly monochromatic type yarn. I decided one day that this yarn would work; it's Tanis Fiber Arts Pink Label Laceweight--a Canadian yarn! I bought it at the fall Creative Festival in Toronto,
October 2009. I chose it because it was the most monochromatic yarn in my laceweight bin (other than cream and black solids), and also had 1000yds and the pattern needed 825yds.The first wedge was challenging...keeping track of the chart row and how many stitches at the other end to not knit. I think it took me a little more than two days to do the first wedge. Oh, wait, even before that there were issues, LOL. I had grabbed the yarn, needle, and pattern to take to an outdoor concert. Got it open and realized it started with a provisional cast on. I had no other yarn suited for a crochet cast on, nor a crochet hook. I fiddled for about 1/2 the concert trying to do the provisional cast on in the magazine, and gave up and tried to remember how I had done a crochet cast on in the past....using the needles instead of a hook. I got it sorted out. I figured the crochet cast on looks very close to the regular cast off. The pattern has you do something a little extra over the cast on and off rows, but I figured I could just do it over top.

After I had gotten a few wedges done, I took a good look at my progress. Something seemed off in the lace 'ladder' between the lily panel and the pointed edging. You can see it between points 1 and 2 (from the top), and between 3 and 4. I paid close attention to the chart, and I was doing exactly what it said, but it looked like a mistake. I started altering it so the lace ladder would continue unbroken.As I got near the end of the shawl, I noticed a big mistake. Okay, it was probably not much more noticeable than those other ones (that weren't "mistakes" LOL), but I couldn't live with it and had to rip out almost one repeat of the lily chart. Then, after I got that going again, I spread it out, and found the SAME error in the wedge prior. Oy. I was not ripping it out again.

Other knitters on Ravelry had made comments about the odd shape of the neckline. Indeed, it does scoop in. I think the biggest reason is that you do only 2 ridges of garter stitch at the cast on/off edges, but every time you knit all the stitches across the row, right to the neck edge, you do 4 knit sts at that edge. It would look better with only 2 stitches but there would still be a curve.After wearing for a day, I noticed a larger than expected eyelet:It all seems secure, so it was probably just an effort to correct a mistake in a previous row, LOL.

I was worried initially about it being too big...the model in the picture looks like a typical model, and the shawl really envelops her....and I'm short.

However, my version turned out QUITE a bit smaller than the original!Although I didn't get the whole shawl in the picture, you can easily tell it's not a big, wrap it around the neck, type shawl on me. Although it's nice and delicate, I've ended up with 56grams of the 123 grams leftover (it used 67 grams; the skein was labelled 115gr). Not enough for another identical shawl, but there are lots of patterns for 400yd shawls. However, I don't need another smallish shawl.

But it DOES look nice on my 'new' rocking chair in the kitchen! (This was a curbside find, re-painted and a new cushion. I'd been wanting a chair for this spot since we moved in but couldn't find any new that I liked/could afford!)

Thursday, September 09, 2010


I just wanted to start off with saying that this is my 400th post!! I started....4 years ago last month!

I recently came across this fab. blog:
The basic premise is that this young lady got laid off from her boring job and decided to not clothes shop for a year. She gave herself a budget of $365 and the mission of wearing re-fashioned thrifted items for the year.
I really like what she creates from the thrifted items. I have been glued to the computer trying to read the old posts as it's almost near the end of her year (she's on day 284). However, I don't think I'll be following in her footsteps anytime soon, for a few reasons:

1) She lives in California. Most of what she creates is suited to a warm climate, not Ontario. Sure, I love dresses too, but come October, they're not too practical. It's much harder to alter pants into something current and the right size.
2) She's young (30). She can wear clothes from the 80s and not look like she pulled them straight out of her closet. It's really hard to take something so popular in the 80s and wear it at my age, even with significant alteration.
3) She's slender. She can find clothes in more size ranges and take them in. When you're already at the larger end of regular sizes, that doesn't leave much room for alterations.
4) Lifestyle--I don't need beaded, sparkly, party shirts or dresses most of the year. I need casual clothes that don't look out of place in the school yard at 3:10. As well, I don't have the time needed to make an item every day.
4) Lack of resources. Back in Orangeville, there were two thrift shops two doors apart in the downtown (which had free parking). Here, there is Value Village which although large, is priced more like a consignment shop than a thrift store. There's one other thrift shop I know about but haven't been too. The Goodwill closed last year. There are some shops in Oshawa, but I don't get over there much. Last year I bought some items with the idea of making a type of cloth diaper. I needed large pieces of polyester. I bought a couple "muumuus" and was surprised at the price....definitely not $1 here! I had been thinking of altering them for myself since I'm not going to make the diapers now. Seeing her blog has given me the push to do it. Even if I pay $10 for a muumuu, that's still cheaper than the cost to buy the fabric new.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Way Back When It Was Summer...

I bought a pair of black and red yoga capri pants waaaaayyy back in late spring. I thought, gee, I have this huge cone of fine red yarn, I'll whip up a red tank top on the Singer 327. With the knit contour/leader, AND tuck stitch!

Well, I did some swatches, single and double strand. I liked the double strand but the definition wasn't there in the tuck pattern and it did seem heavy. So I went with the single strand, 2/24 I think the yarn is.

Some of the knitting went great! Some, not so great. I forgot that the tuck side is the right side and finally learned for myself why patterns for garments like this say to take one side off on waste yarn when doing the other side of the neck. The neck band took so long to pick up sts, and cast off.

I still haven't sewn it up. I toyed with doing it on my sewing machine. I don't' know. It might need armbands, I guess. Plus it needs hems. That aspect of tuck st as right side sort of sucks. Is there any other option? Knit the band, take off on waste yarn, still have to get those sts back on the latches, and the gauge difference means different number of sts...

It's freezing here today and I just don't know what to do about this top. Finish it and wear it like mad during Indian Summer? Go back to sewing for tops like this?

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Sew I've Been Thinking

Do you have any ideas, theories, ideology that you believe, but know it's silly, unfounded, or just plain dumb? In particular, ideas about clothing, sewing, knitting, etc?
I like dresses, especially with patterns. Not really wild patterns usually, though. And I don't wear them as often as I'd like. I like skirts with patterns, but I have a hard time finding skirts that fit and look good on me. Strangely though, I won't wear a skirt (or pants/shorts) in a pattern with a matching patterned shirt. Even if it does look like a patterned dress. Why is this? I think maybe I think it looks too "contrived", like I tried too hard, while a dress is just one piece to throw on. Silly? And, I'd really like to wear patterned pants, or shorts, but never do. Crazy.

I have another bedsheet that I want to use up for sewing. It's an old Sears one, a pale green with floral pattern (Rob says it looks "Amish"). The top of the sheet has a wide greeny-white band with dark green piping separating it from the sheet. Being doubled, I thought it make a good top piece for the dress---I'm thinking of doing the pattern you can see in the picture on this post; it goes straight across the chest. However, when I hold it up to me, it looks funny not having my whole bosom in the white part; the proportions are just not right. I could use this edge for the bottom hem, although that will limit how full the skirt can be, and it might feel too "sheetish". But let's face IS a sheet, and it DOES look like a sheet. Perhaps I should make the dress for one of my girls--could probably make matching dresses although Lucy would never allow them to go out in public as matching. Make one with the band at the top and one at the bottom? Still too matching (when I made their dresses this month, I suggested same fabric, different dress and she refused). Maybe I should make a pair of "sheet pants" and work on creating a pants pattern? I KNOW I'd never leave the house in them though, and as school is starting on Tuesday, there's only two days a week I could possibly not leave the house.

My other silly notion. When I'm at the thrift shop looking for sheets (or other clothing to cut up or modify), I don't want to take the 'nice' stuff because I feel that someone would really like to have that item as it is. There were some great sheet sets that I passed up because hey---some people actually use both sheets and they still looked like great sheets. A passed up a duvet cover for the same reason. Silly? Like when looking for wool sweaters to cut up and felt....someone might really like to have the 'nice' sweaters.

What are your silly ideas? I just found the "Stats" tab on the dashboard here, and can tell that there really are people reading my blog, LOL. So, let me hear from you!