Friday, March 25, 2016

wip: Sally Skirt - Cutting and Interlining

After a couple of round of tidying up, I'm finally back in my sewing room, actually using it as a sewing room instead of an oversized junk drawer.  Huzzah!  I'm desperately in need of bottom garments, and I'm itching to have a decent skirt in my wardrobe. 

So when Style Arc sent out an email on the 23rd with an Easter Project Discount for this weekend (ending on Monday, so hop to it (haha), pick something from their Etsy page, and enter HAPPYEASTER25 at checkout for a 25% off discount), I jumped on it and bought the Sally Jean Skirt pattern.  Considering that it was my birthday that day, I felt it was fate!

It's actually Lauren of Lladybird's fault, as she recently posted about this great corduroy skirt and I couldn't get the shape of it out of my head.  While Sally is perhaps straighter and longer (with different details), it definitely charmed me, so into the cart it went.

A bit of a stash dive yielded this black linen-cotton blend I bought ages ago when I still lived in Kingston.  It's a little lightweight, but workable.  But after cutting the skirt out, I thought long and hard about it and came to the conclusion that I'll probably be wearing this with tights or leggings.  I hate the cling skirts get with leggings and I'm not really one for slips, so I decided to line the skirt.  This time, I decided to try my hand at interlining.

I found some lining fabric in the Fabric Cabinet (supposed to be for the winter coat I never got around to this winter, but I think I'm going to go with a different option there) and cut out the big skirt pieces.  I probably won't bother interlining any other parts, although we'll see.  This fabric is a pain in the butt.  It wiggles and changes shape if you so much as look at it wrong, which is annoying for matching up to a supposedly identical piece.

But I got them lined up and sewed the matching pieces for all 4 main skirt parts within the seam allowance, and there's no weird bunching or missed edges, so thank goodness for that.  That's as far as I got tonight, but at least that bits done.  I'm going to spend some time on it tomorrow, but don't anticipate finishing it until probably Sunday. There is a front fly zipper, afterall, and I've only done one of those once. 

You know, I'd planned to go in an entirely different direction with this post, and only touch on the skirt as part of it.  Obviously my fingers conspired against me.  It's just as well, as I think I need to let the other topic stew a bit more.  It's about a bit wardrobe plan I have, so expect to hear about that soon.

Any Easter weekend sewing plans for you?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Knitting and Audiobooks

I've having a lovely evening in, knitting away and listening to Persuasion audiobook.  I really like this version, and want to find more from this same reader!

I have so many projects on the needles it's getting ridiculous, and with Christmas in April with my family coming up next month, I'm going to have more on soon.  But I started a two-at-a-time toe-up sock knitting class last Sunday, and my homework was to get to the heel so we can go through the heel turn together so I'm very monogamously knitting these right now.  Granted, they're going to be a gift for my brother, so it's just as well.  The yarn is pretty scratchy though and I'm knitting these tight, so my poor fingers are taking a beating.

Ah the things we do for those we love.  The brat better appreciate these (and not felt them in the wash like he did the hat I made him a few years ago).

Do you like to listen to audiobooks when you're crafting?  If so, any recommendations?  My other favourite right now is World War Z (the book, NOT the movie), which is a fantastic book for a full cast audioplay!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Coast Salish Knitting with Sylvia Olsen

Our local yarn shop likes to put on different knitting and crocheting classes and host different designer's trunk shows.  So when Sylvia Olsen contacted the owner about doing her trunk show and workshop at the store, of course she said yes!

Sylvia Olsen's trunk show and workshop
I joined them yesterday morning and am so happy that I did.  Sylvia not only taught us a different way to do colourwork, what she's named as Coast Salish colourwork, but also told us about Coast Salish knitters and the history of the Cowichan sweaters.  She is uniquely qualified to tell these stories as she lived side-by-side with these First Nation knitters and learned about their stories first hand as she also learned the entire process behind the making of these iconic sweaters.  If you're curious, she's written an interesting post about Cowichan sweaters on her blog.

Sylvia Olsen's trunk show and workshop
Not all of her stories are happy knitting stories.  She said that there was nothing fun about knitting to live, and trying to sell those lovely sweaters to dealers who would give these women next to nothing for their hard work.  She read us a poem she wrote out of one of her books that gave me shivers and nearly made me cry.

Knitting Stories, by Silvia Olsen
I was so fascinated by the stories she told that I decided to buy a copy of her Knitting Stories - Personal Essays and Seven Coast Salish-inspired Knitting Patterns.  I think you can get a copy from her business site she maintains with her children (who are all partners, knitters and designers).  Sylvia was even kind enough to sign mine!  It's a lovely book - I haven't gotten very far past the preface, but it's a lovely book largely comprised of stories, but interspersed with some truly interesting patterns (with her beautiful family modelling the samples).

Salish Toque, by Silvia Olsen
What is so special about Coast Salish colourwork?  Well, have you ever knit a stranded colourwork project, and had issues with it turning out too tight?  Or caught your finger in some of the strands? 

Salish Toque, by Silvia Olsen
Neither of those are a problem with Coast Salish colourwork.  Not only is there absolutely no strands to catch your digits on, but the final result is stretchy.

I'm not kidding you.

Salish Toque, by Silvia Olsen
It's a bit complicated technique, and I certainly can't explain it well enough to teach it here, but I picked it up fast enough to finish up my Salish Toque kit provided in the workshop.  I stayed up late last night to finish it, and couldn't wait for it to be completely dry before I took pictures!

My ribbing is a little loose
Sadly, my ribbing was too loose.  I've been working on loosening up my knitting, and I didn't realize that the colourwork would get so tight.  I'd go down at least a needle size or two for the ribbing next time.  That's okay though, cuz I just found a good technique for sewing in thread elastic on the inside of ribbing to tighten it up again on the techknitting site (she describes it for socks, but it's the same for a hat).

ZigZag Fingerless Mitts Kit
I uh, also bought her ZigZag Fingerless Mitts kit in a matching colourway, because I've been wanting a hardy pair of fingerless mitts for camping this year, and her sample of these in her trunk show was amazingly comfortable.

I have no willpower when it comes to yarn guys, it's bad.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Me-Made Garments in Everyday Life

Okay so I promised you pictures of how I typically wear some of my made garments when I was in Vancouver (for those who missed it - I realized while unpacking that I'd included two me-made garments without really thinking of them as me-mades - just normal clothing).  I took some shoddy mirror pictures of the outfits I'd put together for the last two days of meetings, as I normally wear them.  Both involve the same boring grey leggings and my black cowboy boots, but they're difficult to see in these pictures.

How I wear my Cardboard Cafe Cardigan
Here's how I normally wear my Cardboard Cafe cardigan.  I'll sometimes pair them with a black or grey t-shirt and jeans, but this is my favourite.  In fact, it's my favourite outfit period, and I'm considering replicating this tank dress in black (and other colours?) if I can.  It's probably the most wearable garment I own, and I feel awesome in it (especially with this cardigan.

How I wear my Cardboard Cafe Cardigan
It's uh, grown even more since I finished it last summer.  A lesson well learned about just how well alpaca grows!

fo: Woven Linden Tunic
Here's that unblogged tunic I mentioned before.  I was dicking around in my sewing room one day, wanting to make a woven tunic but not having any patterns I really wanted to sew.  So I pulled out my Linden pattern, did a few mods (lengthen the bodice, add some width to the hips and a bit in the bust, cut a larger sized sleeve, and did a split "waistband") and threw this together.

fo: Woven Linden Tunic
I ADORE the top, but there's a few issues.  I could use a bit more room at the hips, mostly for the ease of sitting, and the sleeves are still a bit tight at the bicep.  I also think I need to add a gusset to the armpit - I can get into the top just fine and there's a good range of motion while wearing it, but I have to do some serious wiggling to get out of the damn thing let me tell you!

A Wild Henri
And just for fun, here's me wearing my Amethyst Henri at Rendezvous (our winter festival) the last weekend of February, nomming on a bannock doughnut.  It was an incredibly mild day, so I rocked the sweater with a long-sleeve t-shirt underneath and my trusty Hampton toque.  I wear this sweater probably more often than I should, usually just with jeans and a necklace or black scarf.

Do you have any you-made garments that you don't really think of as anything but normal parts of your wardrobe?  I remember when I'd deliberately wearing garments I'd made because I'd made them (no matter how poorly they fit or the suited my tastes.  I guess this means that the New Years goal I set last year about only making things I'd love and wear has really paid off!

Sunday, March 06, 2016

fo: Father Cables Toque (with bonus fur pompom!)

fo: Father Cables
I finished knitting that Father Cables toque while I was still in Vancouver, but waited until I got back to block it and sewing on the fur pompom.  Seriously, this was a fun knit, and I'm a bit sad to be delivering it to our LYS.  I think I'll make myself one out of the yarn I indigo dyed last summer!

fo: Father Cables
Pattern: father cables, by Veronika Jobe
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Galway Highland in uh...natural?
Needles: 3.75 mm and 4.5 mm
My Ravelry project page

fo: Father Cables
Ack blurry picture! Oh well I tried.
If you want one yourself, it is a free pattern!  Although the cables are only charted, so if you have problems with that, definitely get someone to show you how to follow them because it's worth it, and in my opinion is much easier to follow along.  I'm also happy to help if you run into trouble!

Seriously, I need a version of this hat.  Maybe even in natural, or maybe a light brown.  The blue would be awesome though...I don't know, what do you think?

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Dressew Fabric Haul

I went into Dressew in Vancouver with a Plan.  There was a list, with metreage even!  Did I listen to it?

Eh, sort of. 
Did I get the pants material I was supposed to?  No. 
Did I get knits for t-shirts?  No. 
Did I get sweatshirt material for another Linden?  No.

I DID find some beautiful satin (the burgundy stuff on the right) for this housecoat, but it's not the cotton I'd planned on.  And I did get some wovens for tops (on the right pile) as well as some "drapy light-weight, dark-coloured fabric" for a friend.

The entire pile on the left was most definitely NOT part of the plan.'s supplex knit fabric that I've learned is great for workout gear (and difficult to locate), and I've been wanting to sew these running pants.  Plus that lightweight knit at the top will make a great running top (suggestions?).  I couldn't resist.

Did I mention I spent most of my time there uttering the phrase "I'm in so much trouble.  I'm in SO much trouble" as I wandered about the two floors of inexpensive fabric, buttons, zippers, feathers, notions, and everything you could possible think of in a sewist-dream of a store?

Although I was pretty restrained, looking at the piles.  I probably would've bought more, but between a tight timeline before I had to head to the airport (hense the lack of photos - although check out Sewaholic's post about this store here for an idea of what I was dealing with) and a very small suitcase to fit everything in, I was kept from going completely nuts!  And the only thing I bought that doesn't have a plan attached is that green and pink fabric.  I mean, how can you pass up a gorgeous silk-cotton blend for $5.99/m?  YOU CAN'T.  Don't know what I'll do with it yet, but I'm sure I'll come up with something!

How's your stash doing?

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Project Changes and Everyday Me-Made Garments

wip: Cabled Toque
I've abandoned all of my knitting projects to work on a complex cabled hat pattern.  I love me some complex cables!  Father Cables is a fun knit and will be destined for our LYS as a store sample (with a fur pompom, of course!).  I was actually supposed to knit another pattern entirely, but it's been restarted - no word of a lie - 4 times and despite my pride getting involved, I finally screamed and threw it into the corner of my sewing room.

A few months breather and a Ravelry pattern search, and I've restarted with this pattern.  Sometimes you just have to walk away.

I've gotten some good progress on it today - about 4 inches of it, actually!  Mostly because I love knitting on planes.  :)  I'm down in Vancouver BC for a work thing this week, and it's been great travel knitting (although it won't be conference knitting - too much attention required in all of those meandering cables).

Me Made Clothes in Real Life
Speaking of this trip, I just unpacked my clothes for the next couple of days and realized that I'd packed two me-made garments!  You know you have some successful makes when you don't even think about them as being anything but regular wardrobe staples.  The photo above shows my Cardboard Cafe cardigan in the background (to go with a cute little dress - one of my favourite outfits, actually), and an as-yet unblogged tunic.  I'll see if I can get photos of the outfits in the next few days, since it's kind of cool to see how garments get worn outside of 'finished outfit' posts!

And while I'm here, I'll be hitting up some fabric shops - particularly Dressew (Tasia of Sewaholic blogged about it here)!  Anyone in Vancouver want to go shopping with me on Thursday?!