January 26, 2014

I Knit a Hug

An incredibly lovely lady that I work with was diagnosed with breast cancer and very quickly whisked into surgery.  Just before Thanksgiving she had a double mastectomy.  I just finished and sent off the shawl - so I'm quite tardy in knitting her hug - but I did and mailed it.

I bought the yarn in early December and then trolled Ravelry and thought about what I wanted to make.  In my mind I saw a pale pink half circle shawl.  While I nailed the pale pink by using Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in Petal Pink - I did not get the shape I was going for - but I love the shape I ended up with. 

It was after reading Karen's post on her Pop Spots Shawl that I found the lace pattern I ultimately used.  Karen had 'pinned' the June Bunnies shawl pattern and I particularly liked the designers version where she staged the width of the lace.  Because I'm a fan of things being odd - believing odd numbers are more pleasing to the eye - I made sure that whenever I started the lace - there were an odd number of repeats between each stitch marker.  I worked 3 lace sections before finishing. (Mostly because 5 would have made it a blanket!)

close up of lace - clashing with the pattern on my dress
I thought I spent more time working on this than I did.  This was a quick knit once I got it started and sorted out. 

I really enjoyed knitting this - all the while I was thinking positive, healthy thoughts.  I am a process knitter.  Most people don't understand that.  I sew to fill my closet, to have unique and comfortable clothes to wear - I knit to keep my hands busy.  I do not take commission work - because that stressed me and makes me 'resent' the knitting.  The flip side of that is - I chose what to knit and when.  My hands are busy and only once have I wanted to keep the finished product when it was never intended to be mine. 
I hope the recipient feels all the love knit into this hug as she wraps it around herself.

January 21, 2014

Penny, Penny, Penny

Inspired by Handmade by Heather and Katie I rushed out and purchased the PDF copy of the Penny Pinafore.  I especially love this version and actually have some of that multi-colored zig-zag.  If I could get away with wearing a floral and zig-zag version I would totally do it.

Anyway - the first weekend in January - I spent some time putting together PDF patterns.  The Lola from the last post and Penny.  Something I read on Debbie's blog made sense and I trimmed all 4 sides of each page.  She had printed out a PDF pattern that was to print all the way to the edges and then you butt the pages together.  She said it was much easier to assemble the PDF.  So I did that.  I did find that it made it easier to fold the taped pages and set the assembled PDF aside - I'm a tracer. 

This fabric is a lovely, heavy knit that I think I bought from Emma One Sock, many many years ago.  I bought it with the idea of making The Musical One a dress, but she didn't love it and didn't wear skirts or dresses at the time.  Over the years, I've pulled the fabric out many times to sample patterns, but it had never been cut. 

Thankfully the print was not directional at all, because I had pieces running every which way.   I've worn the dress twice already since I've made it.  I think I need to do some color blocked versions, if I can find a couple prints that work well together. 

Like the Lady Skater Dress - this is a fun, flattering style that is easy to wear.  Like the Lady Skater Dress I added 6" to the pattern.  This time I gave it a 2" hem.  I sewed the entire dress up on my sewing machine.  With the exception of the pattern prep - which I did over 2 evenings - it took me a day to make this dress, from wrinkled yardage to a hemmed dress. 

I haven't done a bunch of sewing since that first weekend.  But I do plan on making some more dresses this month. 

I still want to make some more Anna's and I also want to work on Elisalex.  Soon, soon. 

January 12, 2014

Her Name was Lola

After seeing Lori's version of the Lola dress I had to have one!  Her's is spectacular - go check out the link if you haven't seen it already. 

I ordered the Lola pattern from Victory Patterns and then downloaded it.  One of my new work friends helped me print it out.  he's really nice that way.

The fabric is from Girl Charlee - which I really like, but sometimes doesn't last very long.  However, this print was so pretty - that when I saw it online I needed it.  I bought 5 other pieces at the same time - this is the first one to be sewn up.  I bought 2 yards and I will say - fitting this dress into the fabric was a bit challenging.

I left off the neck and hem bands and added 6" to the skirt pieces. Then I gave it a 1 3/4" hem.  Which looking at these photos might have been a bit too much. 

I recently bought these little black ankle boots at Forever 21 and I've never been really sure how to wear them.  Normally I would wear knee high boots or heel.  These little boots are cute and comfy. 

Changes to the pattern:

I took 1" off the center back panel for a sway back adjustment.  I follow the alternation in Nancy Zieman's Fitting Finesse, where basically you lower the back neckline as much as you need and then pivot and redraw the shoulder seam to match the new mark.  Sometimes I need to take another wedge out of the back - but this worked enough.  (the link it to Fitting with Confidence, but it's basically the same book - I asked Nancy at Expo a few years ago.)

I also lengthened the skirt by 6".  As much as like the idea of an easy sweatshirt dress, I still needed something that would be appropriate to wear to my conservative office.  I thought the hem band might make it just a bit too casual.

This dress feels a bit too big - but I think it's fine.  I wore it with a blue cardigan and blue jewelry all day. 

As long as we're here, my goals for 2014 are:

1.  just keep sewing, make things that I'll wear and continue to work on fit.

2.  use more fabric than I buy.  I know many people are inspired by their stash - I tend to be stifled by mine.  It just feels like too much.  However, I often buy fabric when I'm not sewing - but most of that is from JoAnns and it's not the best quality around.

3.  I'd like to make a coat.  I'd like to sew up some of the new patterns I've bought.

4.  In Knitting News - I have a bunch of shawls to knit this year for The Princess' wedding.  3 of them I'm designing.  There is a new baby coming so a momma shawl is needed.  I'd like to enter something in the fair again. 

5.  Be more social with my crafting.  Attend more ASG meetings, the sewing meet-up, and attend retreats when I can. 

I think that's good.  Happy New Year everyone!  Maybe the crafting be good. 

January 7, 2014

Final Make of 2013

On the day of my office holiday party, I decided I needed a new dress.  Mostly because JB did not like the sparkly Ottobre dress.  What's a girl who sews to do?
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I headed downstairs around 11.
Traced the long skirt pieces of Anna, pressed the fabric and started working on layout.
Ran upstairs and had JB measure how long I am from back neck to floor
folded all the pieces up and tried layout again
folded the pieces up once more (for a total of 4" out of length) and finally got it all to fit
Cut dress out.
grabbed bucket of serger thread, tested, rethreaded serger, tested again
it was now 1:25
we were suppose to be downtown at 3

I will tell you for the party - this dress wasn't even hemmed.
It's a nice heavy jersey and it didn't need a hem.
I put the entire dress together with my serger
the only place it saw my sewing machine was the neckline and armholes.
Because it was a party - I cut the back into a deep v as well.

This is how I wore it work.
Black ankle boots, jean jacket and a plaid scarf.
Oh - and I hemmed it - 1.25" (that's 5.25" shorter than the pattern pieces!)
Looking at these photos - I could take about 1/2" out of the shoulders
and maybe take it in just a smidge.
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