Sunday, March 01, 2015

Small things

The sun has set, the darkness has spread out and quiet, snowy Sunday is closing. We have had warm weather for some time now and I would love to say that the spring is here. I don't dare to say it out loud just yet, but look at these...
And it is March already! March usually brings lots of snow but since we have so much already, I am hoping that this March will be different.
I have been crafting small things. For some time I have admired tiny macaroon coin purses that have been popping up here and there in the internet. After I managed to find the required materials I made these two and I absolutely loved the process and the final products have kept me happy.
It was hand sewing, tedious small stitches one by one, but otherwise quite easy. First I thought that I could make one quickly, but after a while I realized that even though the final thing is small, and there was very little to sew, the final outcome would benefit for not trying to do it quickly.
The first one was, as always, troublesome but the second one was pure joy from the first to the last stitch. I have materials to make three more and I plan to do them soon.
Other than macaroons, I made this necklace to go with the brown tunic. Putting together this took quite some time since I made different set of beads first and then realized that they were not right at all and had to make another set for this one.
I am keeping the other ones too, since I plan on making more and I need lots of different beads to choose from when making a new one.
Thank you for your comments on the tunic. The pattern is my own. It is not genuine, I mean that there are many similar ones out there but I have made the pattern from the very beginning according to my own measurements. I have a few basic patterns that I can use over and over again, only making little adjustments or changes. I like to sew but don't get around to do it often enough. I have subscribed to the Threads magazine for years and I like it very, very much. There aren't any patterns but it is a source of good information.
And yes, I did wet-block the ribbing of Foxglove, I think that wet-blocking in knitting is like ironing in sewing. So far I have not found a good "big" knit yet, but I do hope that March brings something big and interesting with small gauge.

While I look forward to that, wool with you,

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New directions (all over again ...and again)

I had just barely started Foxglove when we spoke last. I kept knitting it for a bit, blocked the corrugated ribbing and took it off the needles to see that the size would be just right and it was. But then I started to get this uneasy feeling that something was not right with my plan. First of all I was going to make the cardigan longer and I kept thinking about the yoke with the delicate pattern and after a while realized that if I was going to make the cardigan longer, I might need to adjust the pattern a bit, make it bigger (which I did), otherwise it would be too small for a long cardi. That would have meant counting the yoke all over again which would have been doable (did not go that far) but then I looked at the ribbing, and it was too noisy for the pattern too, so off it came from the needles. Oh the frustration!!!! Then and there I could not just start all over again, I needed to take time out. I was not happy with the yarn either and that is keeping me from casting on again. I will need to check my stash (or get something new!).
So I was back to square one without any interesting to knit. I have a pair of socks on the needles out of very old yarn (the ball band gone ages ago) and the yarn is a bit too busy for my taste, but for some reason I keep knitting it occasionally. The socks must have taken the longest time ever for a pair to be knit, but oddly I keep them on the needles. The reason I am telling you about the socks is this pattern. It is very easy, it seems to go fast and when one repeat is done, the sock has grown a lot.  I start off my socks with 2,25mm needles and after the ribbing is done, I usually make few decreases and change needles to 2mm, but this time forgot to do so and yet, I keep knitting on them. The yarn is so full of colours that the pattern is totally lost but it does not bother me at all. Because it is the stitch pattern that keeps me going. I would not say that I love it but I like it a lot.
Since the stitch pattern was the only thing keeping my knitting alive during the frustration with the cardi, I decided to make a cowl with it.
I had some baby wool lying around and cast on almost 200 stitches and even though this is the most simple little knit, the soft yarn and the easy stitch repeat are all that my knitting life can handle at the moment.
The sun came out during the weekend and the sky was bright blue all of a sudden and I felt the need of sewing and made myself this small little tunic. This sounds very easy, and while I was making it, it really surprised me how easy it truly was. When I think about sewing, the prospect of making adjustments for the pattern and the cutting and the marking always put me off the task. Lately I have learned to take it in small steps. The pattern adjustments first, with no plans for anything else on that day. Then the cutting and the marking in their turn. Only then comes the sewing part. One seam here and another there, with no rush, and the garment gets done.
The process is not that difficult, but there are no guarantees for the end result, and that is the same as in knitting or any other craft. When the final task is done and you declare the garment finished and then try it on, you look at your front view, then sides and then the back with the mirror, you turn and tug the garment a little bit here and there, you look at the neck line, the hem... All that work and you can never be sure whether it is a keeper or not. Why don't I just go to a store, pick a garment, go to the dressing room, look at those good mirrors in sharp light, and in just a few minutes, I  would know if it is for me or not. Compared to that easy, I guess my sewing steps don't sound easy at all.
It is a huge Marimekko print (heavy cotton) and I used one printing repeat of the fabric. There was no way to match the pattern, but in the end I love the way it ended up looking. I could have done a better job but since it is very easy for me to get stuck on making something over and over again, I decided to just let go and finish the garment and think that the next version would be better.
I love lined clothing (it adds extra layer which is very much needed in this climate plus it cleans the inside) but really don't like sewing with slippery lining fabrics.
After all these years sewing clothing, I still can't do a good job with sewing zippers; I usually first sew the zipper with machine, then take it out, stitch by stitch being very careful not to break the fabric, and then use prick stitch to attach it by hand. Always in this order.
It needs a necklace to go with it, so I am thinking of making one. While I think about a new one I show you one I made last summer and I don't think you have seen it yet (sorry! if you have seen this already). This is not my usual kind, it is almost too flashy, but I have worn it and like it.
This is all at the moment. Simple cowl, odd socks and a plan for a necklace. There is a soft and gentle pull towards crochet all the time (there is a crochet dress in the back ground in the tunic pictures which is under construction, it might be gone next time we see, or then I might go back working on it...), I would love to make another Pax with Tunisian crochet, just to fix the previous mistakes, and of course, there is the need to sew as well.
Hope you have a good week!

Wool with you,

PS. Thank you for all the tips for not twisting the joining round. Or for how to fix the twisting!