Friday, March 28, 2008

Pretty Girl

We had Easter with Len's family. I only managed to get two pictures before my camera batteries died, one of which was a nice shot, but blurry. So I've been playing with it, trying to make the blurriness look deliberate.



Equinox Done!

Two adult size sweaters in one season. That is surely a record. For me, anyway.


The picture is horrid of course. Taking a picture earlier in the day wouldn't have made a difference, since the sun was obscured by the {insert cursing} snowstorm.

Button Detail

That is a better representation of the colors, also a close up of a button. Unfortunately, I lost a button in the deep recesses of a bag of yarn, where it seems to have been eaten by a lint monster. I'm very proud of how this came out, I think this is the most thought I've put into a sweater and made it very much my own.

Comments on the sewing:
@: I always say: why start with something easy, when you can start with something way beyond your skill level and drive yourself insane in the process? Ha!

Miriam: I don't even know what a "feeder dog" is, which might also be part of the problem! I do love the obscure language of craft. Until recently, the machine hasn't had much use. I bought the thing to aid with steeks and hemming handwoven stuff (and notice how little of that I've done). Had I thought for a minute I'd take up sewing clothes, I'd have paid more attention to what I was buying (it's an el-cheapo Brother from Target). Oh well. I'll probably upgrade if I continue to do this.

Sharon: Don't worry. Despite all evidence to the contrary {insert swearing}, Spring is coming. Soon I'll be up to my elbows in dirt and have no time or energy for much more than three exhausted stitches of knitting a night. I have to say, though, this has been way more fun than I expected, and I keep thinking of things I could make. Not underwear, though. I won't go that far.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Not Easy

The dress pattern I have been playing with lately is not labeled "Very Easy", or even "Easy". It is labeled "Step by Step for Sewing Success!". I'm looking for success, so it seemed like the pattern for me. Yep.

It turns out. "Step by Step" is not the same as "Easy" and certainly not "Very Easy".

Neck Trim 2

That neck trim is hard, at least for someone who is just learning how to sew. This isn't so hard in knitting, but yarn is much more forgiving than cloth.

Neck Trim

There are a couple of little wrinkles up there, where the cloth didn't quite do my bidding, but given how really difficult this was for me, I can live with them.


Also. I still can't sew a straight line, which leads to problems like that one. I was talking to a co-worker about this issue. She remembers in her Junior High School Home Economics class having sheets with straight lines and swirls. They were graded on how many stitches fell outside the lines. I, myself, was so damaged in my own Junior High Home Ec. class by a fondue recipe which involved cheese and Sprite that I don't remember anything about sewing (except that it happened), but it does seem like a very good way to practice. I think I will make something up and sew lots of straight lines and curves. Fun!

I should have pictures of a finished Equinox on Thursday. It is drying right now. I'm very happy with how it turned out, but I don't see myself getting pictures until tomorrow evening. Instead, how about a picture of Fred giving tribute to Simon:

Judy Gives Tribute

Monday, March 24, 2008

100 Years Old

My Aunt Penny sent an article about a member of her weaving guild:

I thought you might enjoy reading this article about a weaving friend of mine from the Salem guild. She's a gold mine of knowledge and positive attitude. We often sit together at the meetings and I've picked up a lot of good hints from her.

I Just Happen to be 100 Years Old, That’s All

Friday, March 21, 2008

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful


Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dress Failure

It should come as a surprise to no one, except me, that I failed at the dress skirt. I was surprised because that seemed like the easy part. But when I put it together and sewed up the pleats, the waist ended up being the perfect size for a very skinny 10 year old (which is to say, not me). I took it apart and did it again, thinking I had connected the wrong dots. Nope. So I set it aside. Sewing, like knitting, should be something to do for fun (if not always for relaxation).

I had a mental breakthrough, though. It seems that I had misinterpreted the number of panels for the skirt. It seems there should be four, rather than two. I thought the extra pieces were linings, but this makes much more sense. Today, Erin at A Dress A Day posted about good beginning dress patterns, and several people noted in the comments that Vogue patterns do not make good first (or second or third) dresses, even if they are labeled "Easy" (as mine is). I feel much better. Vindicated, even.

I'll get back to that dress someday. In the meantime, I've taken up with this one:


Which is probably not much better as a beginner pattern. Oh well, at least I'm consistently boneheaded.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Machine Gun Bikini!!

Otherwise known as the naughty bits.

I've been cheating on you. As if sewing content in what is ostensibly a knitting blog wasn't bad enough, I am also working on another blog, this one is for work. I suppose if it is my job, it isn't technically cheating, but it has been so much fun I feel I've been neglecting this one. Even worse, I've put pictures up in Flickr no one but me can see. I feel a little dirty. Here, I'll make up for the transgression:

Census Volumes

These are U.S. Census volumes from 1940 and 1950 (mostly) -- the blue books are 1940, the black are 1950. You can also see bits of the 1902, 1960, and 1970 sets (we have through 1990, the 2000 Census was too big to print, so it's online). Very exciting, eh? In any case, the blog operates as an online bulletin board and since I'm the only one of the contributors with any blogging experience, it has fallen to me to play around with the templates and HTML code. It is a strangely compelling process, especially since I don't know much about HTML. If you have some strange desire to see the thing, it is here (I warn you, there is not much interesting about it).

I finished the Equinox knitting and wove in the millions of ends.

Equinox and Fred

Fred approved. I cut open the steek last night and have been working on sewing it down. I borrowed Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting via Inter-Library Loan. ILL is a wonderful thing, especially when you are dealing with an insanely overpriced, out-of-print book. However, it is only wonderful if you manage to take said book home rather than leave it on your desk, where it does you no good at all. Ask me how I know.

I thought I had more to say, but apparently not. So I will leave you with a video clip which makes me very happy:

We've watched every episode of Scrubs at least 6 dozen times. I'm sick of most of them now, but that bit still makes me laugh. The upshot of this episode is that, sometimes, if you've pissed someone off, you need to swallow your pride and give that person what s/he needs. It is very, very cheesy, and it makes me very, very happy.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Is it Friday Yet?

Not even close..

Tennis Court


These were taken at my old high school, where I am taking a photography class. The class is held in an area of the school where I had never gone as a wee young thing, so I can fool myself into thinking I'm in some other school.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dress Comments

I'm not sure the dress is taking bravery so much as complete recklessness, especially in light of Sharon's comment. Never let it be said that I let lack of knowledge or experience get in the way of doing something. Ah well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

In any case, I cut out all of the muslin pieces and drew in the tissue markings (not fun). Last night I did the rough draft of the bodice, and will work on the skirt on Wednesday. I have to say, it's addictive. I suddenly realized it was very late and I hadn't even considered dinner. Once I do the mock up of the skirt, I'll make a decision about whether I will go on to do the "real" dress, or if I will work on a few other sewing projects first. The reality is that this dress pattern has a lot of pieces, several of the seams are very curvy, and the techniques are totally new to me. Like, you know, sewing. If I slow down and really pay attention, I'm sure I could make a wearable dress, but, to throw out another clich
é, if it is worth doing, it's worth doing well.

Speaking of throwing caution to the wind, my Equinox sweater is close to done. Just a few more rounds on the yoke and I'll be ready to cut that sucker open. I'm very pleased with how it is coming out, and will post picture soon (when I take them, that is).

Update on The Great Cat War of 2008.


She looks sweet, doesn't she? I'm afraid her behavior hasn't improved. I can't say that Fred helps matters much, I think she eggs Judy on. Judy is now confined to a bedroom, with a Feliway diffuser. We heard about treats we can hide pills in, and are hoping those do the trick. Poor Judy. She isn't amused by the confinement. Not one bit.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Dress

Whoever or whatever is controlling the weather has a nasty sense of humor. I probably could have made it into work on Wednesday, but after the 200th snowstorm (slight exaggeration, but go with me), I just couldn't face crawling down the highway in my wee little Escort, while giant SUVs and their 4-wheel drive transmissions zoomed around me yet again. So I stayed home. And cut out the dress pattern pieces.

A couple of problems emerged, which may seem like an obvious outcome since I have NO idea what I'm doing.

1. The pattern (and most patterns) calls for the fabric to be 45" or 60". My fabric is 36". I have more than enough, but it means the pieces will need to be cut out perpendicularly to the way they should be, which could create a problem with draping (fabric has "grain", as it turns out). I don't think this is a big problem.

2. A much bigger problem is that it is (or will be) too small. Better I know it now, than spend much blood, sweat, and tears sewing this dress and then discover my need for a corset. So. It's a problem. A 4" problem.

1954 Vogue Pattern

Here's the picture again. The size issue is mainly in the waistline, the bodice should be fine, except where it meets the waistline. How hard could it possibly be to resize the waist? I would only need to add an inch per side of each piece. Another way to resize might be to add less per side, and make the pleats a little less deep. The bodice is four pieces, I'd only need to resize the two pieces which make up the lower half. It looks easy enough to redraw the angle. Yeah. I hear you laughing.

I'm going to buy some muslin (very cheap cotton) and do a quick and dirty mock up before diving into the real thing. You know how I know about muslin? Project Runway, of course!

MichMash: I love "Dial M for Murder"
(and really, anything by Hitchcock). The 1950's were so stylish. I wouldn't want to live in that decade, not exactly a great time for women, minorities or individuality, but I think Design (clothes, cars, household goods, etc.) was really at a peak.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Equinox and Sewing

Wow. I haven't posted anything about knitting since February 11. Not that I haven't been knitting, but so little about it is interesting blog fodder, or makes for interesting pictures.

Equinox Sleeves

Here is a bad picture of the Equinox sleeves (it isn't this bright). I'm making so many changes to this, I'm going to have to rename it: pullover to cardigan, number of colors used, and yarn used. Now the sleeves. The pattern calls for the sleeves to be knitted flat, but I've done flat stranded knitting before. I did not enjoy it. Not. One. Bit. Obviously I changed to knitting in the round. The other issue is the rate of increase. It's very slow in the color portion of the sleeve and increases rather a lot at the top portion. The pattern calls for every right side row (every other round), and you can see how well that worked for the left sleeve (a very nice thing about doing sleeves in the round is that you can try them on and see that even on an arm, it looks terrible). For the second sleeve I increased every third round, and that works better. I made another mistake, which isn't worth mentioning. At least not until I put sleeves and body together and discover just what a big mistake it is.

And my "stash fabric" has been spoken for:

1954 Vogue Pattern

This a reprint of a 1954 Vogue pattern, and exactly the reason I want to sew. I was a bit concerned that the fabric is too busy, however Len, who thinks most of what I'm knitting is too busy, thinks this is fine. Maybe he's gone blind. The envelope says this is easy. I think it will be a wee bit more challenging than the skirt.

If we get the 5-8 inches of snow (insert a lot of swearing here), I shall start the dress tomorrow.