Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Knitting Interlude

Pattern: St Enda by Alice Starmore
Yarn: Lion Brand Fishermans Wool

I have one seam left to sew on this baby.
Two days ago it still looked like thisSt Enda 3.22.09

It's for my daughter-in-law Megan, for Christmas.
Mark and Megan were here for Thanksgiving, and I got it out and checked the size on Megan before starting to stitch it together. Hard won experience has taught me that getting it right beats out the surprise factor every time.
The size is good - perfect actually - so I stitched together the sleeve saddles and armscyes and then knit the neckband on. To make the neckline lie flat and come closer to her neck - as I know the neckband has been a complaint/issue with these patterns, I knit the first two cable rib repeats with a size 6 needle, the next one with a size 4, and the last with a size 3. It looks great and I know it'll block out flat.
So, I have one seam left to sew, which I will do after dark tonight. Hence the daylight pics with that last side seam left open.

Hope all my American friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.
Now, while the football is on and dh is happily esconsed in front of the television, I'm heading down to the sewing room. I know Carolyn is sewing this weekend - anyone else?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sewing Bag and travel supplies

CarlaF commented
Looks like fun! One question, in the pictures, are you using a scrapbook bag to store your notions?

No, The bag I use is one specifically made for sewing gear and was made for BabyLock. About 6 years ago I took some training from Tacony on Babylock machines because at the time I was working and teaching in a store that sold BabyLock machines. The gift from Tacony to all who were taking the training was this bag. Amazingly, it's taken me until this trip to take the bag out of the packaging and fill it up. I really like having everything contained in one bag. The pics I took and put on flickr were really bad but I did that because I was putting it in checked luggage and I wanted a record of sorts of what was in it.
This is what the organizer looks like opened up. There is a back zip pocket that is perfect for full size patterns and a front pocket that will handle wider things. There is also a carry strap that I haven't hooked on - I have enough to carry over my shoulder without adding this heavy bag.

The closest I've been able to find on the net is this bag by Bluefig Notions

MeredithP wrote
So as you discuss your project, what kind of sewing gear did you have to take?
As you can see above, all the regular sewing tools.
I carried 4 pair of sheers. No rotary cutter, there aren't any mats nor room to use them.
It is not necessary to carry a machine, there are machines in the classroom. But, as I had visions of sewing in the room in the evenings and wanted a machine I knew, I did carry my Singer Featherweight. It fit in my regular carryon luggage. Heavy though.

My list to go looked like this:
  • Notions bag packed with everything from marking tools to thread, needles, pins, measuring tools etc.
  • muslin
  • sheets of wax tracing paper
  • pattern
  • fashion fabric, underlining fabric, interfacing, lining, fur
I'd planned to buy a separating zipper for my project while in NYC.
You are expected to have your initial muslin done before getting to class, and are emailed directions on how to construct it. I carried muslin with me and tracing paper as I didn't make my muslin until I was at Cidell's.
I also had grand visions of getting a lot else done, so I carried WAY too much.
  1. Like the houndstooth jacket to fit - (never opened the bag except to show the project to Mardel, Robin and Carolyn.)
  2. And the red silk dress that needs finishing that Susan was going to hand place the draped chiffon hipswags for me - never got opened.
  3. and the brown wool yardage and pattern that I thought I'd make a skirt from to go with my class project jacket - in that nighttime that I wasn't sleeping (ha!)
  4. And the purple skirt which needs the lining inserted and hemming, and the purple pants which need hemming, get the idea.
See the list of expectations on the previous post - Don't expect to go home with a finished project, there just isn't time. So why I thought there would be time for all these other things too, I'm baffled.

You can get by with the notions you need to sew and the fabric and supplies you need for your project.
aurelia.donka said...

ACK! I just saw a pic of you and Robin at Mood where you are holding a piece of red and white striped fabric I've been looking for. Would you mind e-mailing back the fabric info so I can call Mood and have some shipped out?

Aurelia, if you change your profile settings on blogger it'll give a reply address when you write a comment rather than "no-reply blogger" on the id info. The way it is, your profile is hidden so it's impossible to find if you have a blog, and there is no email information. (Your address won't show to anyone except the blogger where you left the comment, and then only if they get comments by email.)

That stripe you inquired about is a rayon jersey and is really a deep deep cranberry, not red.

Monday, November 23, 2009

More Sit and Sew And Travel

planes trains and buses

Thoughts on travel from a Midwestern girl who drives everywhere:

First, let me say I have a whole new appreciation for those of you who are rely on public transport to get where you’re going. It takes a lot of patience to maneuver the rails and buses. But don’t ever think that Americans aren’t helpful or that they are nasty to tourists. I had help everywhere I went from strangers as I tried to manage my luggage on and off public transport. Including a man who offered to tote my large suitcase up the stairs at Penn Station in NYC when an elevator simply couldn’t be found. LOL, half way up he stopped and said out loud “why am I doing this”. That bag was heavy.

I’m flying Southwest – where “bags fly free”. That is, if they weigh less than 50 lbs. If they weigh more than 50 lbs they cost $50 bucks. That poor man lugged my heaviest bag which weighed in at 67 lbs up one LONG flight of stairs.

So, I’m now at the airport waiting on my plane to return to my real life. It’s been fun and I’m So glad I did this.

If you haven’t seen the pictures from the girls night out at dinner in NYC on everyone else’s blogs, the whole group can be found at my flickr page.

Sit and Sew and my project

What to expect when you sign up for a 4 day Sit and Sew in NYC with KK and SK:

  • a lot of expert help.
  • a garment that will fit you when you finish it
  • to employ methods of construction that you are unfamiliar with, and some that take a long time. Expect to underline whatever you’re making, whether it’s a skirt, a pair of pants, a dress or a coat.
  • a constructive positive learning experience. No one is berated, no one is made to feel stupid (as I’ve seen in some other class situations), everyone is allowed to work at their own pace.
  • expect to leave class with a project that needs finishing. Don’t expect to walk into class with a complex project and be able to complete it in 4 days.
  • Exceedingly crowded work conditions
  • A stimulating environment that is really motivating and will leave you wanting to go home and sew...and sew and sew

Kenneth King is marvelous!
day 1 he demostrated a bound buttonhole made with the piping method
day 2 bound buttonhole using his grosgrain ribbon method
Kenneth King demonstrating bound buttonhole technique
He also wears the most intriguing clothes. He's the "20 bucks" man. He kept showing off these intricate incredible clothes that he finds at thrift shops - and it seems that his price point for everything is $20.

We all know that I love Susan. She demonstrated how to put in couture linings, and held several other tutorials including a handpicked zipper and other hand stitches.
We had the privilege of meeting both her kids this time around too. They both flew in to the classroom late Friday before heading out for a family evening at the opera.

fitting session
NYC trip 119
NYC trip Mardel 012

tight work space
Robin and Mardel
Me and Susan at worktable

When I get home I'll start documenting the process from conception to completion of my project.
Remember this?

After leaving the Sit and Sew yesterday afternoon I made my first excursion ever to the Port Authority (what a place!) to catch the bus out to Carolyn's. The directions were absolutely perfect, including which escalators to take to get to the right gate.
Carolyn and I had a relaxing evening chatting about - what else? - Fabric. LOL, and can we talk fabric! I got to wallow in her fabric closet. It's all it's cracked up to be...
And the jury is out on who has more - or less - right now I think we're in a competition to say "you have more than me". Whatever, if they quit weaving fabric right this minute neither one of us would be in danger of having nothing to sew for a long time to come.
Carolyn, a big public Thank you! It was fun and relaxing and we'll do it again sometime.
oh, and Carolyn is on a campaign to catch me up on having "followers". LOL, I was exceedingly late to convert the old blogger format to the new one, which allowed all those fun things on the sidebars including follower box which adds people to your blog reader. It's really pretty convenient I will say, and I wonder why it took me so long. So Carolyn, since you posted for people to add me to their list of blogs they follow I've gained more than 30 followers! wee...
Hugs, M

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dinner in the City!

So, getting on with news on this fantastic trip...tonight several sewists who regularly blog or post on Stitchers Guild or Pattern Review got together for dinner. Can you imagine that we found enough to talk about for 3 hours that it seemed like 15 minutes? It was a great time.

At dinner, from left Carolyn, Robin, me, Mardel, Claudine, LindsayT, and NancyK
Click on their name for links to each blogger.

It's late and I'm really tired, and I've got class again all day tomorrow, so I'm just going to leave you with this teaser pic and tell you that more pics will be coming and that you can probably read more from each of these amazing women.

Go see Mardels blog to see what she's doing in class. She's going to be writing about the muslin process she's going through. I can tell you, it's been really interesting to watch.
Don't know if Robin will be blogging tonight at all about the coat process.
Meanwhile, I've finally gotten my jacket cut out and have started the underlay process.
I hope to get to posting about the process tomorrow.

Thanks for all your thoughts and input on friendships that you've developed on the net.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's all about the muslin

too late at night, working on the next muslin

Ok, there are a myriad of posts to be written about this fabulous trip.
Tonight, ... it's been a day and a half, and all I'm going to do is post some pics about fitting the muslins.
First, working on the pant pattern for Cidell.
After 3 muslins and a few alterations, I'm thinking we have a pant pattern that will work so that MissCelie can make pants, which BTW, she IS tall enough to wear!!! Hear that MissCelie? I mean, how on God's Green Earth are we to deal with a MissCelie's Pants when all MissCelie wears are dresses?
And, speaking of wearing dresses, isn't this chic?

Date: Wed November 18
Robin of "A Little Sewing" picked me up at Cidells' and then we made the 11:44 AM train to NYC. Not without a little drama - guess who left Cidells house with the cell phone locked inside? hmmm? Yeah, well, moving on.
We had a wonderful time chatting a mile a minute. As we were about to get off the train at Penn Station the man ahead of us turned around and said "It isn't any of my business, but are you going to a knitting contest?" We both laughed. "nope, but we are going to a sewing seminar"
So, go ahead, and look over at Robins blog to see what we did as soon as we left Penn Station. Pictures notwithstanding, I'm not the only one leaving Mood with a stack of fabric.

Then Mardel got in.
dinner (or is that drinks?): I think Mardel is my twin of a different mother and it took until recently for us to find each other. We are having such a wonderful time.

Date Thurs Nov 19
More on muslins, this time it's fitting in class
Kenneth King pinning the sleeve onto my jacket muslin
look at his jacket - isn't it just fabulous?
Kenneth King fitting the muslin on Robin while Mardel looks on.

The class is Sit and Sew given by Kenneth King and Susan Khalje. Both are excellent teachers, both are talented at garment construction, and both are contributing editors to Threads Magazine. Both are also personable, and a lot of fun. We'll be blogging about this over the next few days, but I can already tell you, if you can swing it, it's worth it!

interlude at lunch time - the requisite picture with Kashi -(and see who's there to show me arou d Kashi's?
Me, Kashi, Carolyn (diary of a sewing fanatic)
Don't even ask, 'cause I'm not saying. Except that I will let you know that Kashi has some of those incredible Japanese cotton engineered prints left....

And, to cap off an excellent day, an excellent dinner with great friends.

So I leave you with this thought.
This is an amazing age, the age of internet. I've met face to face several friends this trip. And I use the word "friends" deliberately. These are women I've "known" through their blogs and through various message boards - principally Stitchers Guild and Pattern Review, and then private emails and eventually telephone conversations.
These are friends who're as important to me as many people I've known IRL all my life.
These are women who share my passion - sewing and fiber arts - but more than that, they share various life experiences that are common to us all. And we have become friends. Who would have thought that through the medium of the written word on a public medium that one could form lasting and important relationships?
These women are my sisters and friends. I'm grateful for their friendship. We've come a long way baby.

You're reading this blog, therefore, you're connected online. Have you formed friendships that you feel are important to you through this online medium?

Monday, November 16, 2009

It's been a FUN day!

Can I tell you how much fun we're having?
And what a delightful person Cidell is?
So, about today:
First, We had breakfast. I'd have gotten pictures but I was too busy eating.
Then we had a measuring session
measuring session (1)
Then Cidell left to go to work for the AM. I found out that I hadn't underlined all of the houndstooth, and not only that but I failed to bring the rest of the batiste with which I was underlining the jacket. Oops.
So I started my muslin for the brown jacket. And I got to use Cidells PINK rotary cutter - woohoo.
not only that, but I spent more than a little time looking through the Bunka books and the Pattern Magic books she has. Great Stuff!

Then Cidell came and picked me up and we proceeded to go to A Fabric Place, aka Michaels retail store.
Michael is wonderful in person. I introduced myself and he immediately knew me from being an internet customer. Renee turned to me in surprise and exclaimed "you buy enough here that he KNOWS you?!?" LOL, um... I plead the fifth, but in my defense, Michael immediately piped up with the fact that they know all their customers.
I found the underlayment that I needed for the jacket as well as some lovely lavender cotton shirting to go with the purple passion project items. In addition, that RPL that Sherry sent out the email about last week - great stuff.
We also caught up with a friend, Leslie, and went to have snacks.
Then we returned here to make a bit of progress on a pant pattern for Cidell. Because time was getting short, we decided to go immediately to altering a commercial pattern.
altering the pattern (2)
altering the pattern (4)adding for sway back (3)

Time for dinner. Three of us went out to a wonderful restaurant - Woodberry Kitchen - and the came back and realized we hadn't done the requisite picture session. This is what you get after some good food and wine.
Cidell and Marji (1)Cidell and Marji (3)

Click here for more pics. Tomorrow it's time to stitch together muslins and to make use of the Bunka books for the bodice draft.
See Cidells blog for more ...

Today, it's Baltimore

I'm coming to you today from Cidell's.
We're working on fitting a pant pattern for her and some general other stuff.

AND I'm about to start on my muslin for the Sit and Sew in NYC given by Susan Khalje and Kenneth King that I'll be joining along with Mardel and Robin.

At the sit and Sew I plan to get help re-fitting this jacket.
I began this project too long ago to recount and got distracted for reasons I can't quite remember. Anyway, I fit the muslin to myself, cut it apart and used the muslin as pattern and cut the houndstooth. Then I mounted the houndstooth onto the underlining - and that's as far as I got. Now I've lost 25 lbs, and have been exercising to the point that Anything fit to me as far back as 2006 will no longer work. I really want this to work. So, today I'm basting it together in the hopes that Susan and Kenneth will have some fitting magic that will let me finish this jacket. I'd like to wear it to Katies graduation next month.
After getting it fit I'll take the project home and finish making it there.

Because I have a project in mind for this class. And I lugged all the materials with me. And I've had conversation with Kenneth King and he's going to help me to sew with the fur. I've never sewn with fur before.
The project proposal:

So, look for a post later tonight on Cidell's and my Adventures of this coming afternoon.
Cidell has graciously agreed to document the whole pattern drafting and fitting process. It'll be fun!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

On the Road....and Sew Baby!

After packing, before getting on the plane on Thurs.
Pattern: Vogue 1035 - Alice and Olivia. Love the draft. This is the second time I've made this pattern, however these were cut back in the Spring, and I needed to recut and take in and take in, which distorted the line a bit. I finished these last week amid my sewing frenzy.
Fabric: A silk herringbone from Fabric Mart that wrinkles like the devil. These did not travel well. Heck, look at them just after packing, they did not fare well in the wearing just to pack.


Coming to you from Atlanta GA this AM. Unfortunately, due to technical problems, the pictures I wanted to upload will have to wait til this evening, Please check back. Good stuff in store.
For this week, I'll be playing "Where's Waldo" as I plane and train hop. As I said in an earlier post - time to meet some more of those sewing bloggers....

And, on to regular programming:

I bring you an interlude:
Sophie of the big brown eyes, my favorite big girl niece, this is for you.

insert garment pics

Pattern: SewBaby Twirl Top and Pant
Made as a class sample for a class I"ll be teaching at The Quilted Fox in February.
The pattern is simple and goes together beautifully.

What I love about this pattern: It's printed on tissue paper and is multi-size, yet each size is printed individually. No complicated deciphering of which line to cut, no tracing in order to preserve the next size in the envelope. This, IMO, is especially valuable in a pattern designed for a toddler where you are likely to want to use a pattern multiple times and sew more than one size.

Fabric: A selection of quilting cottons. This outfit calls for 1 yd of the primary fabric and then 1/3 yd of 4 coordinating fabrics.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Follow up to Knitting from Japanese patterns

First, the excuses: it was dark when I was finally ready last night for a pic or two. Dark this AM when dh left for work, Dark when I got home from work.
Pics will come, someday, I promise.


LisetteM asked:
  • I have a couple of questions about the Japanese knitting patterns. First are the sizes small? I recently read an article about a Japanese RTW line of clothing which only goes up to a size 6.
All you have to do is look at the schematics to determine the size. I tried on a bunch of the designs at the trunk show at Kirkwood knittery, and I have to say that the only thing that was consistently small were the sleeves. The diameter of the arms were really small. At least the patterns designed for the Habu yarns tend to be really goemetric and square, so they're sort of "one size....". Which means, If I felt they fit me, then they would be huge for the majority of the Asian population of women. I'm not exactly a small woman.
I do find that many of the Japanese patterns are written in one size only.

  • Second, are the Japanese knitting patterns different enough from the more easily available and easy to comprehend american and european patterns that gets you excited to go through the extra trouble?
Some are, some aren't. I have the books I got because I wanted the pattern for Am Kamin, and for the oak leaf pullover. To my knowledge there is nothing like either one of these patterns written in English.
And regards reading Japanese patterns, Kim, (knitinbrit) offered up these links:
Here's the book - Clear and Simple knitting Symbols

Very helpful!

I have found a lot of great info online. Have you checked this link out too?
How to Read Japanese Knitting Charts

BTW, if you haven't read Kims' letter to Dear Santa aka Cute Guy, then you should - it's hysterical.

And my own Cute Guy - probably has H1N1
Guess who's sleeping in the guest room tonight? - no silly, not him. ... I won't put him out but oth, I don't really want the flu at this point.

Just a thought, Have you met, IRL, any of the bloggers that you regularly read or correspond with?

I've met Kim. Time for us to get together again actually.
And I've met several other knit bloggers, including Jae, Lorraine (no longer blogging), Elizabeth, and I don't exactly remember how many others. A few, certainly. Oh, I've actually met the infamous Franklin, of Panopticon fame. Jae even came to stay with me on the boat this summer.

But, I think I can say without exaggeration, I've never met another sewing blogger. I talk regularly on the phone with several, but I've never met, in person, any of them.
I'm an idiot - I've met Summerset. Totally slipped my mind when I wrote that - but we got to meet in a fabric store! and then had a lovely lunch. She was on her way to Paducah to show one of her art-garments. Summerset, I apologize for my memory slip. It was wonderful.

Time to change this, time to meet more sewing bloggers?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

sample sample sample

Moving on to the next items in the purple passion project, this morning I'm deciding on treatments for the front of yet another skirt.

I know, all are pics of the same sample. Trying to get good pics. Sometimes it really helps me to see it in pictures to see what's working or not.

I used the patch method of making a bound buttonhole. This fabric is lightweight and the patch method is good for light-med weight projects.
But I'm thinking that
a. the lips are too wide. This whole buttonhole was marked on 1/4" wide overall, and is only 7 stitches wide. (Yes, I count stitches on my buttonholes - it's 21 st long by 7 st wide). Next one I'll make 6 st wide. I'm using a 1.5mm st length.
b. that I like the contrast piping for the front edge of the skirt, but I don't like the contrast for the buttonhole. It's just too much!

What do you think?

see how the stitching line is one stitch above the marking? Next one will be one stitch below the marking.

Hopefully later this afternoon I'll nab the hubby and we'll do a photo shoot of the finished garments. Productivity reigns here at Fiberarts Afloat.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Reading Japanese Patterns and

What a great little bit of knowledge!
It's amazing though, that this information isn't more readily available to Americans and that we need to take a class to find out something so logical and easy.

Yesterday I mentioned that I was taking a class in reading Japanese knitting patterns given by Takako from Habu yarns.
It was interesting! And she is delightful.
It's also so logical and easy to read the basic schematic armed with just a little bit of information. Takako explained that they (the Japanese) had to come up with a way to write patterns because they don't have the ability to abbreviate their written language the way we do. We can read K1P1 Dec 1 st eor and know what it means. They can't. So they came up with a way to abbreviate the directions on a schematic, in a box, and then they use a chart that can be easily generated on any excel spreadsheet, or for that matter written in any sheet of looseleaf or a spiral binder. Easy Peasy.

The following schematic is from one of the books that I own, not the schematic we worked with in class, and not a schematic designed for Habu yarns.
direction arrow
See the directional arrows? (I've drawn a red box around them, in the center of the page). Those are the direction that you knit. Which is interesting. They have you start then with either a provisional cast on and then later knit your ribbing on, or else do a regular cast on and pick up stitches to knit your ribbing. She did explain that they don't hand hold - no directions for which cast on, no directions for which method of decrease. Basically their patterns are written expecting you to know how to knit, and how to choose the correct techniques.
reading the box
See the box with those 3 rows of numbers? Again, I've drawn a red box around it in the upper corner of the schematices. That tells you your frequency of decreasing, or increasing, for shaping.
Starting reading from the bottom of that box, it reads on row 2 (of this section) decrease 3 st, one time). It's abbreviated 2-3-1

But, of course she is with Habu. Habu has incredibly interesting yarns, but they don't do anything that even remotely resembles texture work. So, what information I still lack is a key to reading those charts for cables and textures. Kim, I'm going to take you up on your offer of a key.

Now, I'm certain there is just as easy a key to understanding the schematics in books such as
Pattern Magic
And, have you seen the books Cidell just got? Ohhhh my, I'm covetous.