Thursday, July 13, 2017

So Faded...making my first hand knit sweater

When I saw Andrea Mowry's pattern for a SO Faded sweater I knew it needed to be my first adult sized sweater knitting project. I quickly ordered a curated collection of yarn from @Nicole_Huelco (Instagram name) yarn shop. 

The reason I was drawn to this sweater is because it was made with fingering weight wool, making this a perfect sweater for cool California evenings. Our weather is so mild here that making a heavy wool sweater would be a lot of work for not getting many wearings out of it. 
I started this sweater on May 20. It was a scary start. My stitches were very loose and I was worried that I would not get a nice, even stitch. I kept on going and my stitches evened out.

I surprised myself when I finished the sweater on June 30, still needing to weave in the thread ends. I thought it would take me months to complete. What was a really scary start turned out to be an easy sweater to complete. The pattern is well written and easy to follow. 

I knit the majority of the sweater with the continental knitting method and even mastered the purl continental stitch. The only time I reverted to throwing the yarn was when I was knitting the ribbing at the neckline and bottom of the body of the sweater and sleeves.

I like that the neckline sits a little lower on my neck. It is more flattering, in my opinion, on me than a crew neck sweater would be. This was because my stitches started out a little too loose, but I'm glad it worked out.

The pattern offers two options of sleeve lengths, either an elbow length sleeve or a long sleeve. I chose to finish somewhere in the middle with a three-quarter length sleeve.

My only regret is that I did not make the sweater one size bigger. I would have liked it to fit a bit more loose.

Now if the temperatures can drop about 30 degrees I can take this sweater out of the drawer and get some wear out of it. It has been in the 90's and 100's here in Southern California and we still have 2 months of summer!

Sweater Stats:
Pattern: So Faded by Andrea Mowry  Size 38
Yarn: Andrea's pick from Hue Loco online yarn shop 80% Merino Wool, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon
Colors: Girl Talk
             Pink Peppercorn
             Cutie Pie
Needles: Addi Turbo 24" and 32" Circular US 3 - 3.25 mm and US 5 - 3.75 mm 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Second Quarter Finish Along 2017

I set my goal for three finishes and only finished two! I am really falling short on so many levels. I spent the majority of May making clothes and June cleaning out closets and looking through 8 huge boxes of my mom's old photos. If you have ever looked through decades of photos you will know how long this takes. My mom saved everything, including the photos where her finger was over the lens! Ha! Ha!

Now my finishes:
You can see my hopeful list of three planned projects here. 
The first finish was this pair of socks. You can read all about them in this blog post

My other finish is a large Alternative Pickle Dish quilt. I love this quilt and the way is all came together. It's super scrappy thanks to my Stash Sewciety bee, who helped me make all the starry looking blocks. For all the details see the blog post I wrote about it in April. 

I didn't get to the quilting and binding of this other bee quilt, but plan on finishing it for the next quarter. All the blocks are made and sewn into a quilt top, so if it cools off I should be able to baste it and quilt it real soon.

Thank you to all the lovely ladies who help to keep the Finish Along going and also to the many sponsors.

Capitola Quilter

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Simplicity 8014

My recent love of garment sewing continues with this Simplicity shirt dress. The simple A-line, button up front and pockets are what attreacted me to this pattern.  The Anna Maria Horner yarn dyed fabric was a dream to work with. Having pre-washed the fabric, I am hoping not to have any of the bleeding issues I had with some of her fabric last year. My friend, Krista, and I talked about the "tablecloth effect" of this fabric and wondered if we could get away with it for garments. I'm hoping it doesn't look like I'm wearing a tablecloth.

The pattern was straight forward and easy to follow. But, let's talk about the sizing on patterns these days. Seriously, I know it's just a number but sewing patterns are cut so much smaller than ready to wear clothing. I don't remember this from sewing garments many decades ago.

As usual, I cut the size to fit the best through my shoulders and bust and then graded to accommodate my hip measurement. I am not one to make a muslin, but in this case it might have proved helpful, because when I tried on the nearly finished dress it was tight in the bust and way to small in the hips.

To correct the sizing without having to scrap the whole garment I settled for it being too big in the neck. Here's what I did:
The front finishes with a double fold the length of the front opening. On the left side I finished it with a single fold, first interfacing the front to give it some weight and stability to support the buttons.
On the right side, I finished it the same way the instruction said to finish the sleeves, also adding interfacing to give stability for the button holes and also to prevent any problems making the button holes. (To finish the sleeves the pattern said to make a double folded 1-1/4" hem, stitch 1/4" all around from the bottom of the hemline, then open out the "hem" from the inside, pressing the stitched pleat up)

I have to admit, I was pretty pleased that this worked and allowed me to still have a wearable garment.

Here are a few close-up photos of some of the details. I followed the suggestion of an Instagram friend and added red buttons. You can see that I paid careful attention to match the checks on the front, but failed to match the secondary pattern. I'm going to say it was a design choice to break up the lines in the front giving me a thinner look :-)
My Bernina buttonhole attachment made easy work of making the buttonholes. In no time I had eleven uniform buttonholes. I also sewed the buttons on with the machine and finished the hem with the blind hem stitch. Gone are the days when I dreaded all the hand finishing and my mom would do it for me. Mom was so good for that. She loved the finishing but not the actual making of the garments...the opposite of me!

Another change I made was to line to yoke with the same fabric. The pattern did not call for any lining but I like the idea of it having a finished look inside and out.

All seams were finished with my Brother 1034D serger. Sadly, it died this week and I have decided not to have it repair. The repairs are equal to what I paid for it two years ago and I have already gone this route with repairing it last year when the cutters broke. The good news is Mr. Romance said to buy myself a new one, so I will treat myself to a new and more reliable, albeit way more expensive, serger soon.

Monday, May 8, 2017

More Socks

I finished two pair of socks a while ago. 

The first was the striped pair.  I like the fun stripes in the yarn. I decided to use a plain aqua for the toe, heel and ribbing on the cuff. I made the after-thought heel on this pair, which was both fun and stressful. I had a little bit of difficulty picking up the stitches. I find I learn something evey time I make a pair of socks. This time I learned that if I use a thicker waste yarn, it's a little easier to pick up the stitches when it comes time to make the heel. 

The green socks are one of my Finish-Along projects for this second quarter of 2017. Holy cow, this year is flying by way too fast!
This pair was a simple, no frills, stockinette stitch. I tried to make them a bit fancy by changing the ribbing on the cuff.
I also dropped my needle size from a 2.5 mm 24" circular needle to a 2.25 mm and I think the fit is better for my foot.

I started another pair of socks last week and will have them finished soon.

Capitola Quilter

Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Gingham Tunic

I made a tunic. Please tell me it doesn't look like a tablecloth! I just love gingham fabric and found this twill weight gingham at IKEA last year. I pre-washed it and it really has a lovely weight and feel, like a high quality fabric, so I decided to make the Green Bee Lela Tunic and Blouse pattern.  I have had the pattern for several years. It was part of a swag bag from a retreat I went to...I think.

I wanted to make contrasting facings and this Rifle Paper Company for C&S fabrics was a perfect choice.  Another design element I changed was to cut the yoke and lower sleeve cuff on the bias. 

Ugh! See that little spot of orange at the top of the slit...the iron away marking pen didn't disappear. I'm probably the only one who would know except now you all know, too!

I cut a size medium yoke and then graded out the rest of the pattern through the hips to the extra -large size. I probably should have shortened it through the waist length and then I would have been OK fitting a large through the hips and adding back the length on the bottom. I wish independent pattern makers would mark the suggested waist and give a back waist length measurement. This is my biggest frustration with making my own clothes. I am so short-waisted and need this measurement to get the best fit.

I'm pretty sure I see another tunic in my future. Now that I know how it fits I can make a few adjustments and use up some more of my hoarded stash of garment fabrics.