13 October 2012

FO: Scout woven tee 2 and an excursion

Hello hello!

So Autumn is definitely here. Brrr. Last night, I finally succumbed and put the heating on "just to get the chill out of the air". But I have loved being wrapped up in my big red kerchief. This weekend I suppose I must hunt out the rest of my warm things (hats and gloves etc) and sadly pack away my Summer clothes - the much longed for Indian Summer never happened afterall. *sigh*

But anyway, here's my second FO for the week. Another Scout Woven Tee:

Scout woven tee with sleeves

As you can see, I modified the sleeves to make it more seasonally appropriate. I lengthened them to a 3/4 length and added a cuff band (using the pattern piece from the Wiksten Tova).

Scout woven tee with sleeves

Apart from that, no other mods. The fit seems a bit looser than my first version, but I think that's more to do with the fabric choice. I used a not-great, over-priced polyester from John Lewis. Yes, I do know better but I just popped in for a zip, and it was pay day, and before I knew it, I had 2 metres of this stuff in my hand and was handing over (*embarrassed whisper*) £20. Well, as silly as that was, I do actually really like this top, and have worn it three times since I finished it early last week. But I won't be going back to John Lewis' Haberdashery department on pay day (or ever really, because £3.50 for a zip? pppsshhhhwaahhhh. no thanks).

BUT, have you seen their new collection of sewing tins?

Images from John Lewis

Ooh, I like a nice tin, me. (Mum, if you're reading, only 73 days until Xmas, hint hint)

Anyway, the sums for my long-sleeved Scout:
2m polyester (110cm wide) £20
Pattern free!
Thread £1.45
Total  £21.45

An excursion
Yesterday, I took a little excursion to the annual Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace (on til Sunday). I've been going every year for the past four years, and I really enjoy it. It is mostly quilt and knitting based, but over the years it's become slightly more dressmakingy too. There are usually some really interesting exhibits (but no photography allowed, boo), and the rest is just lots of window shopping. I briefly met up with Melizza of Pincushion Treats, but sadly wasn't able to spend too much time hanging out with her as I'd booked onto a few workshops:

L: English paper piecing; M + R: Machine embroidery
English paper piecing is brilliant - so simple and portable (hurrah for projects that can be done on the bus etc), and really lovely for using up all those scraps as you only need a really small bits of fabric for each little hexagon. Like knitting, it's all by hand. I know hand sewing isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I love it. I find it so relaxing and I get immense pleasure from watching an entirely by-hand project grow and turn into something (one hopes) both useful  and pretty.

The next class was a quick intro to machine embroidery. Again, really simple: basically, drop your machine feed dogs, use a free-embroidery/darning foot, and away you go! (Apparently, this can be done without a machine foot, but I know I'd just sew my finger, so personally, I wouldn't try it.) It's such a weird sensation - we did some practising and then made a small design which was used to back a small cosmetic mirror. My final mirror is on the far right above (the blue and white polka dot). I can't say I've mastered the technique - it basically looks like a child's scribble, but with thread. But I think with practise, it would be a great way to decorate cards or gift tags.

I also attended an hour-long session on tissue fitting, led by Celia Banks, a Palmer Pletsch qualified instructor. It was a super class. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take a pen and notepad to the show, so couldn't take notes. But I took away a couple of really useful gems of knowledge, which I think will help in my approach to fitting:
  • Always go by the high bust measurement. Celia demonstrated that using the high bust measurement will mean a better fit (with fewer alterations) around the neck/collar and shoulders, and that it's much easier to make alterations to accommodate our "cuddly lady bits". She also showed how very easy (and similar) full bust and small bust alterations are (the difference is only whether you need to add or subtract).
  • Always fit the back first. I must admit, this had never occurred to me. I look at the back, but always look to fit the front first (because that's the bit I can see!).
  • Tissue fitting is actually easy peasy.
Celia is a brilliant instructor - very clear, enthusiastic and she made it all seem so simple, straightforward and not scary. She kindly took my measurements after the session and said that I should use a size 8 when sewing from the Big 4. She runs lots of courses, which look brilliant. However, as she's based up in Manchester (boohoo), I can't see that I'd attend. She did give me the details of another Palmer Pletsch trained instructor (based just south of London), and I'm very seriously considering a session.

And of course, I couldn't resist making a few purchases while taking a turn around the exhibitors (but I was very good and stuck to budget):
From top-bottom: retractable tape measure (I spent more time deciding between the bear and the pig tape measure than I did on any other purchase!); 1/2m Echino linen blend for a tote bag; FQ of Melody Miller typewriters; 1m Nani Iro brushed cotton; 1.5m brushed cotton; 1.5m Liberty lawn in Melly A; 1.5m Liberty lantana wool in Miranda B (another 3/4 sleeve Scout tee?); some thread snips and the mirror I made.

Definitely no more fabric purchases for a good while!

I'm getting started on one of my Autumn skirts this weekend. I'm going to try the tissue fitting method, and (gasp) not bother with a muslin.

Hope you have lovely things planned for your weekend!

Speak soon!

9 October 2012

FO: knitted red kerchief, etc.

Well hello! It feels like an age since my last post. I have a couple of projects to reveal (one now, and one later in the week). And I have a couple of projects on the go: I'm steadily working away on my raglan sweater, which is beginning to look like a sweater! and I'm working on a(nother) Tova shirt - I'd cut this one out earlier in the year, but for various reasons didn't get around to sewing it up. And I've been doing a lot of thinking about my next projects. More on that later.

But first, I give you a big red knitted kerchief:
ever so slightly misshapen to the right due to some exuberant blocking!
I used the Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief pattern (free on Ravelry), and 2 skeins of Malabrigo Worsted in Sealing Wax. It's just the most yummy yarn for snuggly scarves, hats and gloves.

I just love how the colour varies from a blood red to a tomato to shades of pink.
It was pretty quick and easy to knit up. I had a little bit of trouble with the garter tab set up, but YouTube came to the rescue. I mostly knitted it up during my lunch hours at work, which was a nice change from the naughty habit I have of just squandering time on aimless internet trawling.

The shawl turned out slightly smaller than I'd hoped, more of a shawlette than a full shawl, but I'm delighted with it. It was pefect for my brief jaunt to Amsterdam over the weekend:

Full details on Ravelry. It's certainly whet my appetite for shawl knitting. But all the prettiest shawls seem to require finer yarn (and seem terribly complicated). And I can't really cope with temperatures below 10C/50F, so a nice worsted weight suits me best. So if you have any suggestions for a not too difficult pattern, please let me know!

Next projects
I've been reading everyone's Autumn sewing plans with great interest. It was also great to talk through plans at the Bath meet-up. I'm going through a "I hate all my clothes" phase (I know, I know, first world problems), which I think is a combination of several factors: the change in season, the fact that I've gone up a dress size over the summer and little fits (put the brownie down, and walk away), and I'm lazy when it comes to thinking about what to wear to work, which ultimately leaves me reaching for the same old boring "I work in an office" staples.

So what I really want to do is make some skirts, to liven things up a little bit. I've already touched on this in an earlier post, and I think I'll make the wool A-line skirt with the lovely teal wool I got at the Bath swap. But that can wait til later in the season - I really need some mid-weight skirts. And fast!

So I've decided on the Grainline Moss skirt (much lengthened for my 5'10" height), probably in a navy needlecord (which I'd saved for the Colette Beignet, but helpful comments have made me realise that given my shape, it probably would require a lot of extra fitting work). Looking at the skirts I already own, I should really think of pleated and A-line skirts. So, I'm thinking also of a lined Wiksten Tulip skirt perhaps in a dark denim (please can I just blatantly copy Roobeedoo's everyday Kelly skirt?). And also an A-line skirt from one of my small collection of vintage skirt patterns (perhaps the bottom right checked one?):

I'd also like a half-circle skirt. Perhaps in a wool blend with good drape.

The main trouble is that I struggle with choosing bottom-weight fabrics. Other than denim and corduroy, I'm just not sure. I know this is a big part of learning to sew clothes, but it's a bit of a struggle for me.

Other potential projects are a Banksia top (I'll be following the sew along), and maybe, just maybe I'll get the Darling Ranges dress to work for me. If not, perhaps this:

I'd earlier mentioned that I'd really like to make a coat, and even fell for the bright pink Burda number (08/2012), but I just can't get my head around the instructions one bit. I thought that perhaps I should ease myself into coat construction by trying a Minoru instead. So that's also something I'm thinking about.

And maybe I'll get over my fear of knits and try a Renfrew top.

And last, but by no means least, a very dear friend who I've known since school days, has just had a wee baby boy. And so I'm making this:
I spotted the pattern in a lovely little yarn store in Amsterdam. The pattern is in Dutch, which of course, I can't read. But the lovely lady there gave me an English translation (yay)! This will be my lunchtimes project.

So that's all for now. I'll be back later this week with my other FO.

Speak soon!