Sunday, January 17, 2021

Petal Pink

If you are a knitter, you have probably come across this wonderfully whimsical design.  Kate Davies Designs published the pattern in 2010, and I suspect I found it soon thereafter.  I remember being very excited about casting on, but I didn't have the proper circular needles, and I am not usually a fan of bulky yarn so I had nothing in the stash that was suitable.

And then there was a decision to be made about color.  Should I go for something neutral and in a palette that is owl appropriate?  

I will say that I almost never use suggested yarns for knitting patterns.  In my early knitting days, it was a lack of access, I suppose, and with vintage patterns, the yarn is often no longer produced and/or very difficult to find.  For the vast majority of my knit projects, I simply find a similar weighted yarn in a color that I like, and make it work.

But for some reason, with this pattern, I went looking for one of the suggested yarns: in this case, Rowan Cocoon.  I found it for a great price, and I decided that pink owls would be lovely, whether or not they exist in nature!

I had my needles and my yarn, but for whatever reason, I never got started on the project until November 2019.

After finally casting on, the sweater was completed very quickly.  It's amazing how little time it takes to knit up a bulky weight yarn!

I definitely prefer working with lighter weight wool, but how could I resist these little owls!

There was always a question of whether or not I would add buttons for eyes.  In the end, I decided against it, preferring that the little creatures be a little more challenging to find.

And that just left weaving in a few ends.

Here are the little guys prior to a wash/blocking.

And after a gentle bath . . .

Here is the completed sweater.

I finally wore the sweater and took some pictures.  The only real issue is the yarn.  I paired this with a black wool skirt, and boy does that mohair fuzz get everywhere!!  I am used to having Tino fur hang around my wool clothing, but this is a whole new level of fuzz transfer.  I may just have to find a tweedy wool to make a skirt that won't show the pink mohair quite so well!

Friday, January 15, 2021

Bright Pink Dye

This is another one of those projects that I pulled out when Covid first shut everything down and I thought I should put some effort into working with what I had on hand (and also finishing things that were abandoned somewhere along the way).

Back in 2016, I was a tester for the Ivy Pinafore from Jennifer Lauren Handmade.  I got around to finishing and taking photos of the flared version, and I also tested the fit on the slimmer version, but never actually completed the garment.  I got close, but it needed buttonholes and a hem before the garment was wearable.

When I first saw the pattern and went looking for fabric, this high contrast print caught my eye.  I was in the middle of a dyeing frenzy that year, and I remembered this blouse.  I was curious to see how overdyeing a print would work, and so I used the same bright pink fiber reactive dye on my print.  The color did darken the blue more than expected, but I was pretty pleased with how it all turned out.  [I loved the fabric so much I went back and purchased more, which I used in its original state for one of my favorite Donna Karan patterns.]

The pattern went together easily, but as I mentioned, the jumper still needed buttonholes.  But first, I had to find a pair of buttons that I liked.  And miraculously, I found a perfect match in my button stash!

The dress also needed a hem, which was a quick thing to accomplish.

And that's another UFO completed!

Which means I need to find a matching pair of tights, and she's ready to wear.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

2020, A Year in Review

I am tempted to say good riddance to the whole of 2020, but looking back, it wasn't a terrible year as far as my creativity goes.  And this includes plenty of moments when I thought I was being incredibly unproductive and feeling rather down about it.  And yes, I have seen all of the memes out there letting people know that they shouldn't be hard on themselves because the year was difficult for everyone.  But I require creativity in my life in some form; it is directly related to how I am feeling.  And if I am being productive in my creative pursuits, there is a really good chance that I am doing just fine.

Claire McCardell / Vogue 2475
Simplicity 3846 / Vogue 8685

Some of these projects were technically completed in another calendar year, and I did finish other projects in 2020 that were never photographed.  But for these purposes, I don't consider a project well and truly finished until it's posted to the blog.  Those are my rules!

Ronne Blouse / McCalls 7974
1940s Style Sweater & Simplicity 8019 / Butterick 6637

One of my intentions once the plague hit was that I would finish in progress projects that I had stashed away, and do my best to use what I had on hand.  The County I live in was pretty closed down for a few months, with retail shops shuttered.  And I actually managed to finish quite a few abandoned items that lived in pieces for years, and rediscover bits of haberdashery that I had forgotten all about.  Which is excellent!

McCalls 7929 & Simplicity 1166 / McCalls 5593 & McCalls 7974
Vogue 1696 / Simplicity 8248

I also went back to basics and rediscovered cross stitch.  I learned how to sew stitching cross stitch kits when I was four or five years old, and for many years it was my favorite type of hand sewing, but I hadn't touched the craft at all for almost twenty years.  I also finished two quilt tops, and even managed to start quilting on one of them!  I feel like an amateur, which is humbling, but I am determined that this form of hand sewing will become as enjoyable as the others are for me.

Vogue 8772 & McCall 8358 / McCalls 7370
Butterick 6412 / Simplicity 8445 & Simplicity 4070

So what are my sewing plans for 2021?  I have no idea.  That quilt project is something I would like to stick with and maybe even finish by next Winter.  And I do miss my super involved dress projects, so maybe I will have to come up with an over the top gown, just for fun.  But for the moment, I am really drawn to knitting.  Maybe it's the weather, or perhaps it's the meditative quality?  But whatever 2021 brings, I am looking forward, and hoping for the best.  Happy New Year, everyone!

Cross Stitch / Crochet / Quilting

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Some Preppy Snowmen

My annual Christmas themed project is always a highlight of the year.  I actually came up with the idea for this one last year, so I had an entire year to think about it!

And as many of you guessed from the construction post, the element missing on my dress was a tie.  (This was one of the main reasons I finally constructed my first collar stand!)  The tie itself belonged to my Grandfather or Uncle; I have quite a few of their ties.  Unfortunately, most of them are 1970s polyester, but I found myself drawn to this one.  It's not in the best of condition, but it works well with my dress print, so I made it work.

I have worn ties before with a regular old fold over collar, and it's manageable, but there is a reason men's dress shirts have one.  The stand allows for the tie to sit properly, while not bunching the actual collar.

I thought about adding a bound buttonhole to the collar stand since all of the other buttonholes are made that way, but honestly, I forgot my intention until I had completely edge-stitched around the whole thing.  Whoops.  I was so busy following instructions on an unfamiliar technique that I missed the change I wanted to make. 

But maybe my subconscious was onto something.  The buttons that I used for the dress have a built in shank and are rather large to use under a tie.  But they worked so perfectly with the snowman print, I had to use them.

In the end, I used a hook and stitched a thread loop on the opposite side to keep the collar shut.  That hook did come undone as I was knotting the tie around my neck.  That could be that I don't have a lot of experience with tying a tie, but it's probably more likely that I should have used a snap.  This is certainly an easy fix, although I am terrible at completing alterations to already finished garments.  Someday I will go back and change the closure.  Maybe.

I knew that I wanted a belt for this dress.  The only question was, do I use a contrast or not?

I decided that with a contrasting tie, a contrasting belt might be too much.  And, I might as well make the matching belt to have on hand.  I can alway use a different one, but if I don't make myself a belt while I am making the dress, it's never going to happen.

Looking at the photos, I think the self-fabric belt works quite nicely.

I was reminded that snowmen are not specifically Christmas themed, more of a Winter Wonderland sort of thing.  So theoretically, this frock could be worn outside of December, although I will probably always think of it as a Christmas project.  Or perhaps those sleeves will haunt me, and the dress will get another wear in the month of January!  (Did I mention how much I love the sleeves?!?)

Dress & Belt:  Made by me, Vogue 8772/McCall 8358
Tie:  Vintage
Shoes: Remix "
Earrings:  Gift