Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Jaycee Cardigan

I finished this Jaycee Cardigan in July but I am just now getting around to writing a blog post about it. This last weekend we were away to our favorite Cayucos Beach rental cottage which allowed me to play fashion model on location.

This sweater, called Jaycee,  is a pattern by Isabell Kraemer and can be found on Ravelry.  I wanted a light weight summer cardigan for cool evenings and the early part of fall when the days are still hot but the nights can be cool.

I used Cotton Pure yarn from Purl Soho. The sweater is knit top down on US size 4 LYKKE interchangeable circular needles.

The pattern for the lace work on the yoke was easy to follow. Overall, the pattern was an easy one. 

I finished the sweater with some square buttons and a leather tag on the sleeve. I am still trying to find some knitting labels that can also be decorative. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Wild Silk

One night during an especially bad period of insomnia I was trolling on Etsy looking for things to help me relax and make me smile. I came across this "wild silk" piece sold by the Delhi Store. I immediately knew I had to have it and it had to become something fabulous. We had plans to attend our friend's daughter's wedding mid-August, and I thought it might make the perfect wedding guest dress. But she only had two yards available. I ordered the fabric and then went searching for the perfect pattern.

In case you are wondering what wild silk is, here is the description from the website:"Wild silk is harvested only after the cocoons are left by moths. so they are not killed in order to obtain the silk thread but the thread is cut in the process hence giving the fabric a charming unevenness in texture and color."

I knew I wanted a sleeveless dress because the wedding was in Boulder City, Nevada, where August temperatures can soar to well passed 100'F. I decided to make Vogue 9050. I never make a muslin, but in this case I did because there was no way I was going to ruin that fabric. I sketched the dress on My Body Model Croquis and liked the look of it on my body.
I am so glad I made a muslin.  I cut a size 12 through the bust and graded to a 16 through the hips. The adjustments I made to the pattern were small but gave me the fit I was looking for. I cut the neckline 1.5" lower and opened the slit in the front to make more of a modified V-neck. I shortened the waist length because I am very short waisted and also did a slight sway back adjustment to take out some of the fullness in the back waist length. The hips were super curvy to I straightened the side seams a bit to take out some fullness.
I knew I wanted a wrap because even though it was going to be super hot, the air conditioning can be cold if it blows on you. I was so lucky to find this piece of silk Georgette at my local fabric store. They only had 1-1/4 yard and it had a tiny rip in it, but I was able to use a little creativity and seal up the rip and concealed it by wearing the shawl folded on the diagonal.I also found a perfect button to use as a centerpiece on the dress.

And, Voila! Here I am in the baking was 108" when the church service began at 2 pm. But, how perfect is this setting amongst the cacti, to take the final photo.

I lined the dress with a polyester/spandex blend that really was a dream to sew with and was very comfortable to wear. I had enough of the fabric to make my first Ogden Cami, which should appear in another blog post soon.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Meet Peggy

My dear friend and neighbor of 32 years had a special birthday this month. We don't usually exchange gifts but since this is a milestone birthday for her I wanted to make her something special. 
I started by creating a purse for her using cork and a print from my Outback Wife stash. I made The Hampton Handbag by UpStyle Designs. This is my third time making a version of this pattern. It's always a pleasure to create using a well drafted pattern with clear and correct instructions.

My only complaint of the bag is that it is really small, but it is a good bag to use for special occasion when you don't have to carry everything but the kitchen sink in it!

I tested the Hidden Aganda Quilt by Angela Pingel earlier this summer and decided to gift the finished quilt to Peggy, too. I combined two favorite fabric Outback Wife and a lot of my Anna Maria Horner collections; added in some solids and ended up with a very dramatic quilt. 
I must admit, at first, that it just was not pleasing to my eye. But after working with it and quilting it I ended up loving the final outcome.
The drape is so nice on this quilt because the Outback Wife fabric is bark cloth. It is a heavier weight and gives a beautiful texture to the quilt.

Keeping it all in the family, I backed the quilt with another Anna Maria Horner print and quilted it with an easy meander stitch. I am still having issues with my new Juki machine. The thread must have broken 50 times when I was quilting this piece, causing the machine to need to be rethreaded EVERY. SINGLE. TIME! UGH, Can you hear my frustration? No one seems to know how to help me with this problem.

This asterick print by Lizzie House is the perfect shade of plum, which tied in all the pinks and blues in just the right way.

The finished quilt after laundering measures 53" x 67".

Peggy seems quite happy with her gifts and even wore her purse to church the next day.

Happy Birthday, Peggy!
We Love You!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Goldilocks and the Three Quilts

You all know the story of Goldilocks and the three bears, but have you heard of Goldilocks and the three quilts?
I've been collecting Alison Glass fabrics and particularly saving the handcrafted line and the sun prints for a special day when inspiration might strike.
While deciding on what projects I wanted to work on at my retreat in May, I knew I wanted to finally work with my AG stash.  I cut 9" squares of all the Alison Glass and planned to make a simple, sort of rainbow order quilt. I cut all the squares before I left for Wisconsin, so I was able to have a finished quilt top a few hours after arriving at Stitch Supply Retreat Center.

When it came time to quilt it I pulled out all the thread spools with colors of the quilt. I didn't use all of them but I did use a lot of the 20 colors that I had pulled out. 

Straight, horizontal lines, about 1/2" apart, seemed like the right way to quilt it. I had a little problem with puckering while quilting this piece, but I blame that on my lack of experience with my new Juki machine and the fact that I used voile to back it. All the lovely crinkles of the quilting created after laundering pretty much made the puckers disappear.

I used this great print of Alison Glass voile/lawn for the backing. It makes the quilt so light and super comfy. I also made a few matching pillowcases. I've heard for years how soft and comfortable lawn pillowcases are to sleep with. I'd made them for gifts in the past but never for myself, until now.

AT 68" x 84", it's a perfect size for my side of the bed. I think I have slept with it every night since I finished it at the end of May. The binding is another Alison Glass fabric, a near solid in bright pink.

This quilt is the one Goldilocks tried out first. She really liked it, but I had my heart set on it so this one belongs to Mama Bear.

Whenever I pull out a big pile of fabric I really dislike folding it and putting it away after I cut a square or two here and there. I needed to make a quilt for a baby shower gift. It's my sweet friend's second baby, so I usually like to make a family picnic sized quilt instead of a baby quilt. Since I had these fabrics still out in my sewing room I decided to use them for Lindsay's quilt, too. Combined with a charcoal yarn dyed chambray and using a free pattern by Faith Jones, on the Bernina blog We All Sew, I cut all the components for the quilt one day and then took a few days to piece it.  

I really didn't want to quilt this one myself, because it was quite large, so I called one of the long arm quilters I have used and asked if she could have it finished in a week. She started out by saying she was getting ready to go on she'd hurry and get it done right away. By right away she meant she'd do it in one day! I just love the all over motif she used because it has so many different combinations of swirls, bubbles and squares. This gave the quilt great movement.

Because I was running out of time I was not able to order fabric for the backing or binding. I had to find something at our local quilt store and they really don't carry my style of fabrics. It was my lucky day when I found this traditional batik, which had a very modern look to it. I used it as the backing and the binding.

Since this is the biggest quilt in the trio it would definitely be Papa Bear's quilt. Goldilocks gave it a try but I told her not to get too comfortable;  this one was going to someone very dear to me. At approximately 85" x 86", I'm hoping it will be the picnic/beach quilt for the growing family of my friend Lindsay and her husband, Scott and their growing family.

I grabbed the remaining fabrics and used the improv stripe method to piece a baby quilt. I spray basted this quilt, trying out a method my friend, Debbie, had suggested on her blog. I've never used the design wall to spray baste vertically instead of on the floor. It worked really well for this small sized quilt. I'll have to try it on a larger quilt sometime soon. 
I had a small piece of wool batting and some IKEA Nummers print for the backing. I managed to make it work, despite the fact that I barely had enough of the batting or the backing.


Quilted with Wonderfil Invisible Thread on my Juki 150QVP. I'm still having thread breakage issues, but for the most part "Justine" liked this thread.

This small quilt measures 34" x 47" after laundering. Goldilocks tried it out but declared, "This quilt is too small".

Dear readers, just because I like you so much, here are some lovely photos of flowers growing in my garden this summer.

And, in case you were wondering, the part of Goldilocks was played by Martha Stewart Labradoodle!

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Gambier Jacket

Since I first fell in love with knitting, about 6 years ago, I hoped I would gain the skills to make Mr. Romance a sweater. After finishing three sweaters for myself in the last year I knew I was ready to tackle something a little more complicated and worthy of making for Paul. 

men's gambier jacket

I first saw the Gambier Jacket on Instagram and knew this would fulfill my desire to knit for Paul. I love the color work, the bulky yarn and the fact that it reminds me of a sweater you might see Adam Levine wearing. It's very stylish and looks so warm and cozy, too.

men's gambier jacket

When I began knitting this sweater, I never imagined it would only take me 10 days to complete it. From start to finish, it was a most satisfying project.

I liked the example on Ravelry so much, that I decided to use the very same yarn the designer used when I made Paul's jacket.

I found the most perfect buttons to finish this jacket. They are made of fallen antlers that have been recovered in the forest. They really are perfect and the fact that each one is a little bit different makes them even more special.

antler buttons

Paul was a very willing model and hammed it up pretty good in several photos.

I had enough of the yarn leftover to make him a matching hat. I'm pretty sure that men don't wear matchy-matchy knits, but he'll have the hat to keep him warm when we travel.

It wasn't until I was editing the photos and deciding which ones to use in this blog post that I discovered a big boo-boo on the left front piece. I used the wrong color yarn in the pattern. What should be the honey colored yarn is grey in one of the diamond motifs.

After knitting this sweater, blocking it, admiring it several times, it wasn't until I was photographing Paul wearing it that I noticed the error. There was no way I was going to unpick the entire sweater, so I fixed it (visually) by stitching over the errors with the right colored yarn...cross-stitch style. It's not a perfect fix but it sure won't draw my eye to the error each time Paul wears the sweater.

 In this photo the honey and the white yarns sort of run together and look the same color
He's looking mighty handsome in his jacket AND he was a real good sport modeling this for me during our 90'F heatwave, last weekend. It's a good thing we did it then because it's 105'F this weekend.

I understand there is a Ladies version of the Gambier jacket . I think I need to make myself one now.

Sweater Stats
                    Size 46
               50% Canadian Rambouillet 50% Alpaca
               Colors: Ash, Snow and Honey
Needles: Lykke Interchangeable circular needles sizes 10 and 11
Buttons: Natural, fallen antler, Purchased at Alamitos Bay Yarn Co. in Long Beach, California