Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Modified Flaum

This sweater was finished some time ago, but I didn't get a chance to post about it. It's a bit too warm for summer, except perhaps in San Francisco, because summer in SF is cold! This is my modified version of Flaum. I knitted this sweater before, as seen here. I liked it so much that I wanted to try it again with some Rowen cashmere that was on sale at yarn.com because it's being discontinued. I also wanted to modify the body so that it knits faster than the fisherman rib so I used a simple broken rib pattern. The end result is a less puffy sweater because the broken rib pattern is not as thick. I'm just as happy with it as with the original.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Pants! - V9303

I made some pants! I don't think I've made pants in over 35 years because they never seem worth the effort because it takes too much effort to get them to fit. Plus, these days, I just wear jeans or leggings, so it's easier to just shop for something that fits. However, I wanted to sew this Vogue V9303 pattern because I really liked the pocket details and the lower leg seam details and the pleat at the knee. Plus, it requires stretchy wovens and has an elastic waist, which makes them super comfy.

They are close-fitting pants, but not close like jeggings or anything like that. I used a lightweight denim fabric that has quite a bit of stretch. I did make some changes in technique. I knew that there was no way I could make the pockets look good by just turning in seam allowances so I made them as lined pockets. I used a lightweight knit for the lining. Also, I knew I could never make the zipper on the upper pocket look good by just turning in the ends and leaving the top side exposed, so I divided the pocket and used the zipper to join the pieces and the entire pocket is lined. Finally, I didn't sew the elastic to the waist band. I just encased it, and I used a 1.25" elastic instead of 1".

These pants fit pretty well, but it's a big effort to make them fit. I think that might be par for the course as far as sewing pants go. After wearing for a day, they did stretch out a tiny bit, but that's normal for denim. If I like them after much more wearing, I'll make another pair for winter with a slightly heavier fabric and a longer length.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

McCalls M7093

This is a cute top from McCalls M7083. It's a fairly straightforward pattern to sew. I chose the shorter version and omitted the pockets. The pattern calls for woven fabrics but I decided to do something different -- I mixed a knit with a woven. The lightweight knit is used for the main body of the top. The sleeves and front side panels are sewn from this very interesting sheer silk windowpane fabric underlined with some lawn weight cotton. I've had a small amount of the silk in my stash for a while and wanted to use it up. It has a bluish tinge, which goes well with the baby blue knit.

Even though I made the shorter length, I still had to shorten it some more. I shortened the back more than the front and reduced the drop angle of the front sloping hem sides. I did cut everything on the large side, since my knit is really thin and I wanted it a very drapey top. I used bias tape to finish the neckline, hem, and sleeve openings. My neckline is wider, but not by design. I had a little snipping accident when trimming a seam that left a hole so I had to cut away some of the neckline. I decided I like this wider neckline for a summer look.

The mixture of knit and woven fabrics came out great. I'm going to try this again and make an all-white top since I'm a big fan of white tops for summer.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Flaum - Finsihed at Last!

You've probably all thought I'd disappeared from the blogosphere because of the lack of postings for two months, but it took that long to finish this sweater. The pattern is Flaum, and I absolutely love this sweater. It's a good thing because the yarn is Valley Yarns Mount Holyoke which is 100% cashmere, and even at the Black Friday sale price, it's still pricey. The pattern has a really interesting construction method which leads to a shorter front than the back, and I love the high-low hems. The front pieces are also quite wide and overlap fairly well without the need of any fasteners. It also still looks nice and drapey if the front pieces do drift open. The reason it took so long was because of the fisherman's rib on the majority of the body and I made mine a bit longer than the pattern's length. I also decided to omit the pockets because they look a bit droopy to me.

I've worn this sweater several times now and love it so much that I'm going to knit another one using this Rowan cashmere that I bought at a clearance price at Stitches West. To make things go faster, and probably use a bit less yarn, I'm going to do the body stitch pattern in a broken rib.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Happy 2018!

Since it's still the first half of January, I figure it's not too late to wish you all a happy 2018! This slightly surreal photo was taken at the top of Mission Peak on my new year's day hike. It's actually very crowded at the peak, but looking over the top and into the fog and clouds makes it look other-worldly.

The next photo is my work-in-progress for the first sweater of 2018. The pattern is Flaum, and I love the simple modern look of this sweater. It also has a very interesting construction which makes the fronts slant inward and have a shorter length than the back. I'm knitting this with Valley Yarns Mount Holyoke, which is 100% cashmere -- I repeat, 100% cashmere. I'm starting the year right by knitting the most expensive sweater I've ever attempted. I sure hope it comes out okay! I did buy it during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend when WEBS offered a 20% discount. It's going to be slow progress for the rest of the sweater because the lower body is done in fisherman's rib, but I should finish sometime in February. I might make it a bit longer than the pattern's length, and I'll omit the pockets. Several ravelry knitters mentioned that the pockets were a bit droopy, and I tend to agree.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Vogue V8629

I finished this dress a couple of months ago and have worn it a few times and love it. It's from Vogue patterns V8629, which is now out-of-print. I really love this pattern because it's so easy to sew and very comfy and easy wearing. I sewed the no-sleeve version and omitted the pockets which meant that there were only three, count 'em, three, pieces to cut! The side seams curve inward for waist shaping and you can easily adjust them to get the fit you want. The pleats at the upper yoke provide a good fit at the bust line. I originally wanted to make the sleeved version because this is a winter dress, but I didn't have enough of this fabric which was left over from a skirt I made earlier. This is just as well, since I love wearing it with a lightweight black layer underneath. Unfortunately, the black makes it hard to see pleats in the photo and my black top looks blended in.

Some time ago, I made this pattern with a stretch woven but it just didn't work because the fabric didn't stretch enough and the dress was too loose because I needed the ease to fit it over my head. If you make this, choose a mid-weight knit that's more on the heavy side with a good moderate stretch. My fabric has two-way stretch, but one-way stretch would have been fine. In this case, the two-way stretch enabled be to cut the dress cross-wise because the border design is on the selvedges.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Simple warmer weather sweater

The weather is cooler now, but I did get a chance to wear this earlier in the month when it was quite warm. This is a no-pattern sweater that is just a simple shape with a lacy front yoke and a lacy rectangle on the back. I call the back section my "ventilation panel" because it makes the sweater comfortable in warm weather. The yarn is Zooey by Juniper Moon. It's 60% cotton and 40% linen. This is a comfy yarn for summer, but at 5 sts/inch, it can still be a bit warm because of the thickness of the garment, so the open panel is great.

I've decided that this simple shape works well for me for summer knits. It's not quite sleeveless but cool enough. It has about zero ease at the bustline, so it's almost but not quite fitted. There's enough drape with the cotton/linen to keep it comfy. I can use this sweater template for many styles by varying stitch patterns on the yoke, front, back, etc. Here are my notes on this particular sweater:

  • It's essentially knit as two rectangles with decreases and increases for some gentle waist shaping.
  • I increased one stitch at each side of the front and back at the point where the armhole starts. This marks the spot and also makes it easier to finish off the armholes.
  • I made the neckline as a wide crew, where the front neckline starts about 1" lower than the back.
  • The shoulders are slanted with short rows and 3-needle bind off joins the front and back. I believe I had 4 wrap and turns on each shoulder.
  • The front yoke lace section starts about 1.5" after the armhole starts.
  • The back open section starts about 2 rows after the armhole starts.
  • This particular lacy pattern is a looser gauge than the stockinette. For the front yoke, I used one needle size smaller. I used the same size for the back rectangle since it's only 1/3 the width. The top neckline bind-off keeps it scrunched in.

Here's the simple lace pattern, without including any selvedge stitches:
Row 1: k2tog, yo, repeat to end
Row 2: p
Row 3: yo, ssk, repeat to end
Row 4: p

I need to mention that for some reason, this yarn causes a ton of biasing. Since I knit the top as two pieces, the side seams keep the biasing in check. I have 3 more balls of this yarn in another color and I might try another top with the same shape. If I do, I'll do something besides all stockinette for the body and perhaps the biasing won't be so bad. All in all, I'm very happy with this top.

BTW -- There's still time to comment on my magazine giveaway.