Thursday, December 24, 2015

FO: Blueberry Cardigan

This is Blueberry Cardigan, knit using Valley Yarns Superwash Bulky. I absolutely love this sweater. I wasn't sure about it as I was knitting it -- the texture makes me think of some sort of alien life form in a sci-fi show and the grey is a little too much like a cement color. Now that it's done, I think it may be one of my most favorite winter sweaters. The texture looks better when worn and the sleeves remind me of the red queen -- I love the sleeves. I also love the stand-up collar, which is not in the pattern. It's knitted double-height and one half of it is folded down and sewn onto the neckline on the inside.

In addition to the collar, I made some other changes:

  • I made the neckline narrower
  • I used a 4-stitch I-cord on the fronts instead of a crochet edging. That gives a firm front and I could bury the button holes easily. The pattern calls for hook and eye closure.
  • I used a few rows of purl stitches on the sleeve openings instead of a crochet edging. I gathered in the sleeve openings also.
  • I added some waist shaping by doing some decreases from the underarms to the waist before starting the 2nd wider stitch pattern for the hips.
  • I changed the stitch pattern to a 6-row repeat instead of 4 rows. The two additional rows are just the simple ribbing, which makes the texture less puffy and also makes the sweater faster to knit.

The sweater is quite heavy because of the large amount of yarn needed due to the puffy stitch pattern. It's quite warm, and very easy and comfortable to wear.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Open Cardigan from Vogue Knitting Fall 2015

This is the Open Cardigan by Yoki Hatta, #8 from Vogue Knitting Fall 2015. It's knitted with Malabrigo Worsted, one of my favorite yarns. I made a few changes to the pattern:

  • I made it about 2 inches longer
  • I added a ribbing around the front and neck edge because I wanted a more finished front
  • I made the armholes narrower - about 13 inches instead of 16 inches circumference
  • I used short rows on the lower back to give a bit of a curve
  • I added decreases every 4 rows at the top of the sleeve trim to keep it from poking upward.

This sweater has a very interesting construction. It's put together from three rectangles. The 2 upper back and front rectangles wrap around and it sort of feels like I'm wearing a shawl. It definitely has an oversized look. In general, it's a very cozy sweater to wear and was a very easy knit.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Gathered Blouse sweater

This is the Gathered Blouse from knit.wear fall 2012. My yarn is Cascade Elysian, a washable merino/acrylic blend. I've had this pattern queued for a long while but I didn't want to tackle the large number of stitches for the gathers at the neckline. I finally started it when I went on vacation to Honolulu this summer because I figured it was good airplane knitting. The gathered section didn't really take that long to knit. I don't think I made any changes to the pattern except to do my own waist shaping. I was afraid the worsted weight yarn would make it too stiff, but it actually drapes well. The wide neckline keeps it from being too warm. I'll have to see how it wears over time, but so far, I'm very happy with this sweater.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

3D printed earrings

It's probably not obvious from this blog, but I love earrings. I don't wear much else in terms of jewelry, but I wear earrings almost every day and I have over 130 pairs. I had already purchased a couple pairs of 3D printed plastic earrings, but I figured it was time to try to design and print my own. This is the first pair I did. I stuck to something "flat" to start with since I didn't know what would work.

This is my second design. This time I went for a much more three dimensional look.

Both pairs were printed at my local UPS Store, using a Stratasys UPrint SE Plus. They came out pretty good. The red pair didn't come out as smooth as I would like and I think it's because there tiny bits of the soluble support material stuck onto the earrings at some of the finer edges. In general, I'm very happy with them and I'll be designing and printing many more pairs in the near future.

Here are the earrings shown worn on my ginormous ear lobes.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Sewing: V1306 summer blouse

Summer may be officially over but I'm still wearing summer clothes, especially since it was over 90 degrees here in the SF bay area today. This blouse is view A of Vogue Patterns V1306. I used a very lightweight lawn cotton. This is the second blouse I've made from this pattern. The first one was worn and washed enough that it went to its reward in the donation basket some time ago.

I omitted the front neck opening, and I made a longer curved back. I also omitted the lace on the front flounces and just sewed a narrow hem. I figured the flounces make the blouse look girly enough as it is. I used a narrow hem on the botom and the neckline and arm holes are finished with bias binding cut from the same fabric. I did french seams on the side seams.

The skirt I'm wearing is a "sweat skirt" from Uniqlo. It's super comfortable and looks surprisingly dressy for something cut from sweatshirt material. They're still on sale -- I stocked up and bought several because I love the look and fit so much.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Butterick B6208 summer dress

Summer isn't over yet, so I have plenty of time to wear this dress. The pattern is Butterick B6208 and my fabric is this great tiny checked linen with white leaf outlines.

I love this dress -- it is relaxed and comfy and great for warm weather. It's not very quick to sew up because the pin tucks, the front band, and the collar require a lot of care. Using a check or vertically striped fabric makes it easier to ensure that everything lines up properly. There is a nice dart that drops down from the shoulder to provide shaping on the bodice. The rest of the garment is really loose fitting, so I ended up taking it in at the sides quite a bit. I also had to cut a bit away from the tops of the arm holes.

One of the pattern versions calls for a tie and a small gathered area in the back, but I decided to install some casing on most of the back and use elastic to pull all the fullness in. I've never had much luck with ties to shape things -- they never seem to gather the waist so that it looks nice. Here's a close up of the linen check and leaf design.

This fabric is 100% linen, which basically means that I can stand here and breathe and it will wrinkle. I don't mind -- I love linen and I just embrace the wrinkles as part of the charm.

I like this pattern enough to perhaps make the tunic length with sleeves to wear in cooler weather.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

FO: Conic

This is Conic by Cookie A. I absolutely love this sweater. In general, I love these longer shrug-like sweaters because I find them really easy and comfortable to wear. This once stays on the shoulders really well and also drapes on the back very nicely. The front isn't that exciting, but that's fine by me. My yarn is the discontinued Cascade Cash Vero DK. The gauge is a bit higher than the pattern's fingerling weight, so I decided to just wing it with the sizing. I started at the top back by casting on enough stitches to get the recommended width to start with, then followed with the same decreases and increases. I figured the sweater might end up longer that way, but that would be fine. For the conic sleeves, I picked up 3 stitches for every 4 rows on the more slanted top and bottom sections and 2 stitches for every 3 rows on the middle back area. I reduced the number of sleeve decrease stitches a little bit and just went along until a good circumference was reached.

Here's a view of the cone shaped "sleeves". This sweater used up more yarn than I expected, probably because these cones are quite large.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Simplicity 1254 - a winter coat

Summer is coming, so of course I had to sew a winter coat. I do hang around in San Francisco quite a bit so I can wear it there because summer is probably its coldest season. This is from Simplicity #1254, and it's a Leanne Marshall design. As soon as I saw the pattern, I knew I had to sew it up. I searched da web and found this great pink and black wool coating from Denver Fabrics. I love its dramatic ginormous collar and I also love the fact that is uses a zipper closure so I didn't have to deal with buttonholes. The pattern shows the collar also worn as a hood, but that doesn't work very well. The collar is too wide and loose to stay on the head as a hood. As a collar, it keeps the neck really, really warm.

I made mine in between the short and long lengths. I top-stitched the princess seams and the collar edge because I think it looks more finished that way. I narrowed the bottom a bit because the lower half does flare out a lot, although it doesn't look that way in the pattern photo. The instructions for attaching the collar were confusing, so I just attached it the same way I attach standing collars on tops or dresses. Finally, I didn't attach the lining as specified in the pattern. I hand sewed it to the bottom and sleeve hems, and the body hems are blind stitched. Unlike other coat or jacket patterns, this lining does not call for a back pleat, so I just cut all the lining pieces a bit larger to give it ease.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

FO: Bell Yoke Tee

This is the Bell Yoke Tee, knitted with Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy, one of my favorite warm weather yarns. The gauge is a bit finer than specified, so I did my own sizing for the body. I also knitted it flat in two pieces. I used the smallest yoke size, and I think it could have been even a little smaller with 2 less bells on each shoulder. If you knit this, don't be horrified by how big the armholes are when you complete the body. They are ginormous but the finishing around the armholes has decreases and pulls everything in and keeps the bells looking three dimensional. I love the yoke on this sweater -- it reminds me of those yokes you see in Egyptian drawings, sort of.

I knitted this with a small amount of ease, which is looser than I what I usually do for a pullover of this shape. The back is a bit loose as a result, but the draping makes it okay. The neckline grew too wide very quickly though, so I used my favorite edging of a single crochet row followed by a reverse single crochet to pull it all in.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

FO: Copycat bolero sweater

Years ago I bought a bolero style sweater from Anthropologie that I've always liked and I still wear it on occasion. I thought it might be fun to copy the sweater in terms of its shape and fit. I had this Lily Chin Times Square yarn sitting in my stash for ages and there wasn't enough yardage to make a larger sweater so this was a good way to use it up.

I'm very happy with the final result but that was probably the most annoying yarn that I've ever knitted with. It has these gold metallic bits clustered throughout which look nice when done but the metallic thread unravels and gets tangled everywhere. The yarn is really comprised to two types of fibers twisted together and they keep separating and one of them stretches out and also gets tangled. The sweater is bit scratchy around the neckline, probably because the yarn contains nylon, which I always find scratchy. It's not bad for shorter term wear.

And, for reference, here's the original sweater. My copy came out a bit smaller in all dimensions, but I sort like the closer fit. The original sweater has ribbing throughout the body, which helps make it a looser fit. I decided to do short set-in sleeves instead of cap sleeves for better coverage over short-sleeved tops.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sewing FO for spring V8724

I finished sewing a dress for spring from Vogue Patterns #V8724. I've used this pattern a couple of times before and I made the other two dresses from more casual cotton knits. This black and white knit is a cotton/poly blend with a nice texture and a medium weight which holds its shape really well. I cut the neckline about a 1/2 inch higher and extended the top front bodice by about 3/4 inch. I also adjusted the side seams to get the fit I want. I decided to give this dress a little more detail by adding the black trim at the neckline. I love how the fit turned out but the fabric did turn out to be a bit scratchy. I'm hoping it will soften after a couple of washings.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Getting crafty with rosettes

I don't really consider myself a crafty person. I do my knitting and sewing of clothing items, but that's about it. Not long ago, I spotted this Rosette Art book at a local boutique/gift shop at half price and I was mildly interested. I'll admit, I probably would not have been as interested if it was sold at full price. What caught my eye was the mobile on the back cover. It gave me the idea to make a flat 2-dimensional quasi-mobile that I could use as a hanging over the bed in a guest room.

The book provides some printed card stock paper, both scored and not, to make quite a few rosettes. I also bought some additional paper because I wanted some more designs. It suggests buying a bunch of supplies, but I improvised with stuff I already own. I used white glue instead of a glue gun, and I used the end of a letter opener as a paper scoring tool. Luckily, I already own a paper cutter. The only tool I did buy was a one-inch hole punch since I figured there was no way I could cut one-inch diameter circles that looked good. I used fishing line to hang the rosettes from a wooden stick. I attached another stick in front to hide the holes and knots where the fishing lines attach.

The hanging definitely looks DIY, but in a nice way. Here's the bedroom where it hangs. The rosettes sort of echo the circles on the quilt.

Monday, February 9, 2015

FO: Driftwood Tee

This is the Driftwood Tee from Interweave Knits Summer 2014. I made mine quite a bit longer, and I added some waist shaping. It's knit with a bit of positive ease since it's lightweight and the yarn drapes well. I wanted a little more detail at the top so I decided to add in a slice of the openwork pattern on one shoulder. I put it only one one shoulder to keep with the asymmetry theme. My quasi sleeves were a bit too wide and flared out too much so I scrunched them in using an edging of one row of single crochet followed by a row of reverse single crochet.

I love the yarn -- it's Batiste by knit One, Crochet Too. It's 50% merino/30%linen/20% silk, feels luxurious against the skin and has a mild tweedy look. This particular color is called "lipstick" and there's a good selection of colors. This may become one my favorite DK weight yarns. I think the sweater is wearable in all but the warmest summer days.