Friday, September 12, 2014

Design Notebook: Pip

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A while ago, we got a shipment of Hazel Knits Cadence at the shop, and I immediately fell in love - it has the lovely, subtly shaded colors of Hazel Knits, but in a squishy worsted weight. As soon as I saw it, I thought of a hat design with a pointed lace detail and nupps. I hemmed and hawed for a few weeks before I finally broke down and got a skein in the colorway Braeburn, a reddish-orange with light green undertones, just like a Braeburn apple!

It was barely in my stash a week before I cast on and finished this little hat, which I'm calling Pip. I have tons of other things that I should be working on (and I have a bit of tendinitis in my right wrist that I'm knitting through with a brace, whoops), but this hat was just so easy and fast that I had to get it out of my noggin and... uh... onto my noggin.

I just finished a few minutes ago, and Pip is already taking a dip so I can block her. Hooray, hooray!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tailored Jacket: Building the Front


Houston, we have fronts! On Monday, I went out to my tailoring teacher's house to work on my jacket. I was there for about five hours, and in that time, I pressed everything, put together the back of the jacket, and built the front of the jacket, including in-seam pockets with a contrast flap.

The process was slow, but really wonderful and precise, thanks to my teacher's patient guidance and amazing iron. I had always heard about how pliable wool is for tailoring, but I had never experienced it with the level of iron that I had been working with. Spitting and inconsistent steam are a constant problem with most irons I've worked with - that, and for some reason, I'm totally allergic to the concept of using a press cloth. I hate how little control and visibility they add to the equation, so I weasel out of using one whenever possible. I always thought that meant I'm just a bad, lazy sewist.

So imagine my delight when I pressed my first seam open with my teacher's iron - no press cloth required because of the coating on the soleplate, hallelujah - and the ripply, thick seam gently opened and flattened with a generous burst of steam and a little bit of elbow grease. Seriously, it was magic.

Her iron had a detached boiler, maintained a consistent temperature, and let out concentrated gusts of steam by pushing a big orange button on the side of the iron. (It was also heavy: by the end of the day, my wrists were definitely aching.) Between pressing and physically whacking thick areas with a clapper, my seams ended up practically melting together on the front of the jacket. Like buttah.

I already knew I liked tailoring from taking the techniques class, even with boring cotton muslin - but this was a whole different (complex, exacting, wooly, crisp) story. And I think I'm in love.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, September 8, 2014

WIP: Anniversary Socks

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Years ago, when I was a very new sock knitter - and very new knitter in general - I knit Nancy Bush's Anniversary Socks from Favorite Socks. It was during an intensive monthlong EMT class, and I knit them during early morning lectures to keep myself focused when coffee wasn't quite enough. I remember thinking while I was knitting them that they were the most beautiful, delicate thing I had ever made, and I was secretly very proud every time I stopped at the end of a round to look at them.

Even in the years since then, I've never forgotten that feeling: the magic of making fabric on tiny needles with tiny yarn; those little holes and twists producing something even more lovely than the sum of their parts. And even though I moved on to different projects and my sock knitting lessened for several years, I still thought of those socks sometimes. And then thinking of them turned into a plan to knit them again. And then I picked out a yarn from my stash that I thought would work.

And then I waited.

So the other day, I finished my Waving Lace socks and immediately wanted to knit another sock, so I went upstairs and grabbed that Ella Rae Lace Merino that I made those grand plans for, and I cast on.

And everything about it was just as lovely as I remembered.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Tailored Jacket: Little Pieces into Bigger Pieces


For me, construction always happens in a funny sort of time warp. No matter your best laid plans and fondest wishes, the garment will act like a petulant toddler during certain tasks that should be easy.

(Sewing darts?? Really?? I thought we had this one down, jacket friend.)

And, equally perplexing, things that are obnoxious in other materials will sail along happily, nary a problem in sight.

(Easing cotton into cotton? I want to eat tacks. Easing wool into more wool? Um, literally the best.)


But before I could even begin the time vortex of construction, I had to fuse interfacing onto most of my jacket pieces. I'm interfacing the entire front of the jacket, all of the facings, and the neckline and armhole of the back bodice, so that was a lot of fusing! The interfacing gives a surprising amount of structure and thickness to the body of the jacket, which led me to my next adventure...

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The aforementioned dart problem! I was finding that the bulkiness of the interfaced fabric was interfering with pinning and sewing the darts in, so I ended up getting some topstitching thread and hand-basting the darts in to prevent the fabric from shifting underneath the machine. It didn't take very long, and it flattened out a lot of the bulk and made all of my darts sew in perfectly. Awwww yeah.

Also note the ridiculous pattern matching I did when I cut the undercollar. I had forgotten about it until today, when I went to fuse the pieces and was pleasantly surprised - they're both cut on the bias, but I arranged and cut them separately so that they're exact mirrors of each other. High five, past self!


And this is what I ended up with: two bodice fronts, two front peplums, a back peplum, and a bodice back. I'm going to be doing a full day of jacket with our tailoring teacher on Monday, so I'm trying to get as much done as possible before then. I'm hoping to get a bit of my lining constructed this weekend too, but we'll see how that goes.

As for that vortex: I thought I was going to get everything cut out and fused, and the darts, tucks, and princess lines sewn - all in about five hours or so. Instead, it's been about 10 hours of work over two different days. Hah! Hah! Time flies when you're deeply out of touch with reality!

Happy Friday! <3