Knitting and Love

The most amazing things have come into my life in the last month and half as a result of (or in conjunction with) my decision to knit again. I’m not an expert or long-time knitter, but last winter I knit three sweaters, two of them Elizabeth Zimmermans under the influence of Kate over at Fabrickated. Then I put down my needles. I was somewhat tired of knitting endless rows of stocking stitch, have no desire to get into complicated stuff, and wondered how many hand-knit sweaters I needed. Three seemed like enough to me.

But in September I found I had two desires — one to join a “knitting circle” as a means of having some sort of social life. All four yarn shops in Vancouver have an evening when they host anyone who wants to knit and chat. The second desire was to try out Colourmart (again I have to say under Kate’s relentless promotion of them in her blog). Just kidding about the “promotion” part Kate.

When I discovered Colourmart had no-fee delivery(!!) I jumped on it, and ordered some chocolate brown merino wool ostensibly to match one skein of red/purple wool I bought last year. I’ve since discovered the red/purple is too bulky, so I’ll sub left-over cream wool from one of my sweaters of last year. I’m using a free top-down vneck pattern I found at Ravely a few years ago.

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While waiting for the wool to arrive I started attending a knitting circle at Baaad Anna’s Yarn Store. There’s so much positive about this that I almost don’t know where to begin — but they all have to do with “community”. Every week there are between ten and twenty-five knitters (most, but not all, women) of all ages. I’ve had conversations with various of them about a whole slew of topics. Some have been knitting for 50 years, so there’s a wealth of help and advice available.

Since I couldn’t start my sweater, I spent the first few weeks swatching (see the pic above). But I’ve now discovered that the yarn store hosts some knitting for charity events. If I should want, I could knit purple hats for newborn babies (yarn supplied). Every second Sunday they have a charity knit and chat. They also knit stuff for other causes. I believe right now people are knitting socks for homeless people.

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If you look past the reflections in the window, you can see the knitters inside.

I want to keep attending, which means I have to plan several projects. LOL.

I checked out what the yarn stores had on offer for a fingerweight wool, because I think I might prefer handknits made of lighter weight wool. I found something gorgeous at one of the stores, but they only had two skeins. I went back a week later because I hadn’t found anything else, either there or at Colourmart. I was possibly a little pushy with the sales clerk. I “demanded” she call their head office to see if the yarn was available at their other store in another province, and to see if it could be ordered. No luck.

BUT while I hung around the store sorrowfully looking for something else I might like, the sales clerk was busy on her cell, checking out Ravelry. She found someone selling four skeins of that exact yarn out of her stash!! Can you imagine? I went home, contacted Heather from some place in England, confirmed she still had the 4 skeins and they were in perfect condition, and ordered them.

Then my introductory package arrived from Colourmart. They included a sample pack of yarns of various weights, plus some samples I had asked for. I knit up two of the samples and decided I wanted to order them. They’re a fingerweight blend of merino, cashmere, cotton and silk, one in Khaki green, and the other in burnt orange. I had put them both in my shopping basket but by this time (a month later) they had expired. Unfortunately they appeared not to have any of the khaki left in stock! I contacted them and asked if they by any chance had a cone of it kicking around anyplace. In response, they went through their warehouse and informed me they’d found a cone for me. So I’ve placed my second order with them. But again I’m struck by the helpfulness of people, and by my luck (?) in finding what I want.

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So I now have three projects lined up. That should take me through to the summer.

I’m wondering if knitting circles happen in other cities/countries? No blogger I’ve read has mentioned anything about them, but they’re such a resource. A couple of years ago I heard about them by way of a newspaper article about a retired woman who attended several every week and unravelled sweaters she bought at thrift store to knit for charity. It struck me that she was finding a way to get together with other people and do something she found meaningful.

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Shiny Duds

I’ve been having fun with a pretty long yardage of gold silk dupione that I found in a thrift shop a few months ago. If you follow my instagram account, you might have seen an unfinished version of the Tina Givens Bianca overshirt/jacket. I’ve finally finished it.

TG patterns are meant to be sewn up on the serger. Well, those that have a 3/8″ seam allowance are meant to be. Other patterns have a 5/8″ SA, and I have to say I can’t always find which it is on a particular pattern. There are never any instructions for finishing the inside — not even something as simple as “clip seams”.

Normally I’m happy to serge the SAs, but I wanted something a bit nicer on this puppy. So I spent hours making straight and bias seam binding, folding it over the SAs, and sewing it down.

I have a few bottoms that I rarely wear, partly because I haven’t had anything to wear on top with them. Now I do.

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Shiny, isn’t it?

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I had a few antique art nouveau buttons that I decided to use.

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I like the wrist detail, don’t you?

The only problem with this is that it really is dry clean only. I tried washing a small strip, and it lost all the shine.

So, as some of you know, I bought four TG patterns all at once after discovering this company and falling in love. I’ve now made 3 of them up, am planning for the fourth, and just bought another one because they were 40% off.  The pressure!

Trio trousers

Continuing with the two patterns I bought online from The Sewing Workshop, I’ve made a pair of the Trio trousers. And another Trio tshirt with doubled front and back in merino wool. This tshirt isn’t exceptional in any way really. It has raglan sleeves, a high round neck, and is meant to be tight around the hips so it grabs rather than hangs. It’s a nice alternative to the TNT long-sleeved tshirt I’ve made many variations of. But what is exceptional about it is the double layered fronts and backs that I was inspired to create. They make the tops so much cosier and warmer. Yum. I get the merino from Our Social Fabric, which sells 3-metre cuts of whatever colour they have. Usually it’s a lightweight fabric, probably used industrially for what we call around here “base layers”, which is a new word for under-wear, right?

I also got the fabric for the trousers there.

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The vest is a refashion of a poncho I bought off the back of a truck in Rome, Italy, in 1976. There are some things you can’t let go of.

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I just LOVE the trousers. You know how sometimes — all too rarely it seems — you get the style and the fabric exactly right? I’m not talking about good here, I’m talking about perfection. That happened here.

The pants are relatively loose, with short pleats on the fronts, and with two vertical seams down the pant legs, one of them curving. There’s a long, loose cargo pocket with buttonhole on each pant leg. I had bought this fabric in the summer, thinking it had a lovely drape and would be great for a pair of ultra wide pants for winter. The colour was, I thought, a perfectly acceptable neutral. Well, I decided to use the fabric for this pattern, and cut boldly and confidently because this was cheap fabric, probably some sort of blend. When I was almost done making them, curiousity inspired me to do a burn test. And yup, it burned like silk and smelled like silk. It feels luscious against the skin. It’s silk alright, and I’m glad I didn’t know that at the start. Here it is with the Hudson top I made earlier and posted about last time.

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The colour is a grey-brown, which I would still call an acceptable neutral. It goes with about 90% of my closet, so bonus! I can’t wait to make more of these — in linen, I think, for summer.

And p.s. I’m pretty sure I’ve got the first top on backwards. There’s a use for labels …

Earth and Sun

or maybe spotted bananas ….

I decided to make the ultra wide-legged trousers I wanted by simply using a drawstring pant pattern that I’ve used before and adding five inches to the sides, both front and back. The final waist measurement is 56 inches. I put in inseam pockets, and made a waist band rather than simply double-folding the fabric to make a casing. I took a 56 inch wide strip of fabric, folded it in half with wrong sides together and pinned it to the outside of the pants. I inserted 1 1/2 inch wide elastic and then inserted some mountaineering cord in front of the elastic for a drawstring. I’ve done that before and like it. The elastic starts the job, and I can pull the cord as tight as I want on any given day.

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It was a bit windy out there today. I bought the fabric especially for them, on sale at Fabricland. It’s a cotton/linen blend. I also made the top from an old TNT pattern and a small piece of wool that I picked up at a thrift shop. It might be a wool gauze. It’s very nice anyway.

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It turns out another small linen top I made last summer also works with these pants. Yea!

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That’s it. I’m glad to have some yellow in my wardrobe. I’ve gone some yellow jersey that might go with these pants. If so, I’ll whip up a simple t-shirt.

Why did I leave that plastic bag (filled with clothes pegs) hanging off the clothesline???

Shift in Earth

Isn’t this just the plainest shift you’ve ever seen?

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I made it with fabric left over from a pair of fisherpants, to wear with the pants. The pattern is neue mode S22859. I have no idea how I came into possession of it.

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So that’s the pants and shift together. It’s a very earthy look, isn’t it? I wonder if the colour is not good so close to my face (better for bottoms than for tops?)

It is my intention to dress it up, like this:

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I’ve been seeing long dresses paired with pants, but I’m not sure how I feel about this combo. Does anyone see cultural appropriation? I’m wondering if the shift should be either bigger/looser or tighter? I made no alterations to the pattern other than to lower the bust darts about half an inch, and shorten the sleeves because I ran out of fabric. I made the necklace out of glass beads.

Unexpected culottes and MMM17

So I have to tell you my first ever me made May crashed and burned on the rocks of illness. The first couple of weeks were interesting. My goal was to not wear exactly the same clothes two days in a row (all me-made). I found that  exposed me to more ways of combining clothes while still allowing me to feel the comfort of wearing the same few clothes over the course of a week.

Once I got a bronchial infection plus laryngitis, I began slathering medicated ointment on my chest and throat night and day. That ointment stained clothing, so I just wore a couple of ratty old RTW t-shirts night and day for the duration. End of me made May.

While sick, I did manage to make a pair of trousers that turned into culottes purely as a result of an accident. I had cut the front pattern piece down the centre and spread them 2 inches apart on the fabric, intending to use those two inches for an inverted box pleat. But when I started cutting out the enlarged pattern piece, I inadvertently treated it as two pieces and separated them at the ankles for about 4 inches before I caught myself.

So, culottes it was. I used a pattern from my stash, New Look 6132. I used some quilting fabric. I don’t like to make clothes from quilting fabric, but I had bought a piece because I liked the print and didn’t realize it was quilting fabric. Anyway, I thought this would be a useable toile.

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Wow, the depth of field of my phone camera is not great is it? In focus at the level of the camera, out of focus above. Strange.

The fit on these was surprisingly good. The only adjustment I had to make was to lower the front waist by an inch, and that’s pretty standard for me. In case you’re wondering, the print is paint-splash effect.  I’ve blogged about the shirt and the tunic in previous posts.

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I quite like them, although I am kind of self-conscious about my skinny lower shins. But they’ll do for summer casual wear, eh?20170606_175459

Okay that was an attempt to include a fully-focused picture. Which failed, obvs. Will try to do better next time ….

Keeping it Simple

I made a second version of Vogue 9193 trousers, using two small pieces of wool gaberdine that came together in one bundle. There was just enough fabric. I love the colour and drape.

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Look at that blue sky!

I like this pattern — it’s a bit funky and a bit sophisticated, I think. I wore these all day today and realized I have to tighten up the elastic in the waist. I had to keep hitching them up. The t-shirt is another of my TNT Butterick pattern that I’ve now made up about 8 times, I think.

It has occurred to me that when I’m choosing what to wear on any given day, the priority is colour. Often I choose grey and white in the mornings because those colours seem really calm. I think this combination of cream and green is also very calm.

I wonder how many people choose clothing for its colour? Is colour more important than the design (the pattern) and the fabric? Actually in this case, the fabrics for both top and bottom are pretty high quality, which is making me feel unusually upscale!