Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It's a good day to shop

As the weather gets warmer (and we get closer to launch) knitting becomes less inviting and sewing is taking a higher place on my limited time priority list.

I need summer clothes badly. And shoes I can wear.
I have the habit started 3 or 4 seasons ago of just getting rid of everything at the end of a season that I'm either sick of or what doesn't fit or what is looking worn. Last fall I was heartily sick of the few things that I'd been wearing all summer.
Need I tell you that my clothing options for warm weather right now consist of gym shorts and 2 dresses? The blue/red stripe Bottega Venetta knockoff with the smocked back, and Vogue 8386 in the grey/yellow dot knit. Actually, I'm surprised I didn't get rid of the knit dress, as I'm a bit sick of it already and I've only worn it 3 times this season (last week) (grin).

I have no shorts. I have a few knit tops, but they're all looking a bit worn around the edges, and they're all turquoise or pink.
So, I'm ready to whip out a few fast items so that I'm not reduced to wearing the same thing to work every other day when I'm at home, and wearing gym shorts when I'm not at work.

Hot off the machine: BWOF ??-????-??? skirt
in a fairly beefy navy linen

Don't remember the issue the BWOF skirt came from. I traced it off last fall, and didn't label it. RuthieK advised this week on SG to label your patterns as soon as you trace them. Good advice.
I also Can't remember how long ago I got this fabric, nor from where. I know I didn't have much of it, so I ended up having to face the hem. I chose to use another remnant - a seersucker, that's been kicking around here for awhile. I also made the pocket bag and the fly facing from the same seersucker. Then, instead of interfacing the waistband, I decided to face it on the outside with grosgrain ribbon. Back in the day I had instructors who taught us to use grosgrain as the waistband stabilizer inside the waistband. I just decided it would be a cute touch to have it show. So, it's topstitched to the facing side of the straight waistband, then I just hand stitched the fold to the seam allowance inside, as I normally would.

KayY asked about what I do to get the waistband square to the facing and fly front. I had to think, since I don't think I do anything special. But then I was demonstrating to a student last week in class, and the lightbulb went on when a student asked why I was offsetting the stitching line coming up to finish the end of the waistband. I generally come over one or two yarns of the woven fabric when stitching straight up to finish an edge, in order to accomodate the "turn of the cloth". Here's a pic, before the buttonhole and button were finished.

So, what am I shopping for?
Zappos my friends. It's been a long long time since I've gotten any new shoes. I felt like I was overdue.
See a theme here? Looks like I'm going to be ready to celebrate come 4th of July.

Just for good measure, and to be certain I don't get into comical territory, I added this pair in yellow.

So I've got a navy/white summer jacket/top on the sewing table now. And... look for details soon, a BWOF dress or two, or three. Many thanks to Cidell for her loan of two past issues of BWOF that I'm sure I have, I'm sure I do, but I can't find them.

I'm hosting the BWOF sewalong at Sew It Seams on Manchester in St Louis beginning Thursday evening April 30, 6PM-9PM. If you're in St Louis, consider joining us.

Let the summer sewing begin!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Swatching for the next Aran

I've been busy, both sewing and knitting. Today I'm only going to post about yarn and knitting, but I'll be back later this week to chat about sewing.
Below are the swatch samples I've knit, swatching for the next aran sweater.
If you click on each individual swatch it should take you to a much larger photo. If it doesn't, they're uploaded in my flickr album too.

Jamiesons Shetland Heather
2/9c - 100% Shetland wool - 16-22 sts/20-24 rows = 4" - US 6-8 - 50 gr ball - Approx 101 yds Currently $7.75/sk Approx cost to knit an Na Craga - 20 balls = $155
Definitely the heaviest of all the yarns. Probably the "scratchiest" to wear too. I've got this navy to knit dh an aran, and swatched it in Na Craga. The yarn is not suited, at least not for my needles, to one of the more subtle patterns with a lot of twisted stitches and single stitch meandering patterns, like Irish moss. I may end up knitting this up as Na Craga, or maybe Inishmaan. Complete color list here.

Alice Starmore Hebridean 3ply
about the Hebridean Yarn Stocking Stitch: 21 ­ 23 Sts x 28 ­ 32 Rows. 4.5mm ­ 4mm ­ 3.75mm needles.
Currently 5.50GBP. at todays exchange rate of $1.46, cost for 20 sk = $160.65

Easily the nicest stitch definition both before and after blocking of all my swatches. 100% wool but not scratchy. Colors are rich with depth. Drawback is that VY is selling off their existing stock of the Hebridean 3ply and according to an email I received from Mairie, after an inquiry I made, they have no plans to continue the 3ply line. Limited colors are available.
The Red Deer I swatched is destined to become an Irish Moss aran for me!

Rowan Felted Tweed.
50% wool, 25% alpaca, 25% viscose.
191 yards (175 meters) 50 grams (1.76 ounces)
22.0 = 4 inches US 5 - 6
Current suggested retail is $9.75
Fortunately, I bought this yarn at Chris's Needle Arts (Chris is closing shop) and got it for significantly less.

This is the lightest weight of all that I swatched, and would be the most suited to wear in an indoor environment where central heating is set at 70F. However, it is the swatch that I'm most disappointed in, in terms of the behavior of the yarn, and I'm least likely to actually knit an aran with this yarn. I'm thinking I'll go to Ravelry and find a pattern with a lot less required stitch definition.

Jaeger Shetland 80% wool, 20% alpaca
knits on a size 7 needle. Discontinued yarn. I bought it at closeout from Janettes Rare Yarns and have 30 sk of the dk green - swatch shown here, and 30 sk of the lighter sage green.
If I hadn't swatched this and done a direct comparison with the VY Hebridean 3ply and the Jamiesons, I'd probably be perfectly happy with the look of this swatch. However, in comparison to the others, it flattened out a Lot in the blocking. It also has a nice halo, which I assume is attributable to the alpaca. It is lighter weight than both the Hebridean and Shetland, however I believe it will be equally as warm a sweater.

I'm swatching all these to send to my son Mark, to whom I've promised to knit another aran sweater. The first one I knit for him was a wealth of knowledge gained and a learning experience, however not so successful in the actual garment.
I fulled it when it appeared that the sweater was huge, after I knit those extra side panels. Well, the sweater grew sideways and shrunk a bit lengthwise, and I ended up having to cut it apart, after it was fulled, and restitch it to the desired dimensions. I also, after refiguring the sleeves before knitting, still had to pull those apart to add more width. Like I said, a learning experience. So, he's got all these unnecessary seams, and a sweater that is pilling faster than he can cut the little suckers off. Totally bad yarn choice.
I told him to go ahead and wear that one while working in the basement workshop, where it's cold, and that I'd knit him another for Christmas this year.

I know Liana has had great success with the yarns from Bendigo woolen mills, which I've not tried. Does anyone else have any other great suggestions? Oh, that will also keep me at or under $150 for around 2100 yds.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Slipcovering a puzzle

Fabric: P Kaufmann outdoor cotton print
Settee backs are finished. Seats are mostly done. Waiting on some zipper tape.
see end of post for sources.

It's been a bit of a puzzle to figure out how to slipcover, not reupholster. The stripe is a bit bright, and although I love it today, I'm counting on the fact that at some point I'm going to be really happy to be able to change it out easily.

You can tell from the shape of the seat back, with that board that slides down behind the seat, that it was a bit of a puzzle.

I am happy to have been able to find
Vislon Zipper Tape-Molded Tooth
Sold by the yard; this very strong continuous Vislon zipper tape can be cut into any length. This is the perfect zipper for marine use. It cannot be made into a separating zipper.

at Seattle Fabrics.
Waiting on the zipper to finish the seats. Fortunately for me, there was only room in the car for the seat backs, so the fact that the seat bottoms weren't done yet wasn't a real problem.
Counting down....

oh, a footnote:
I'm sewing again, and am really excited. Today I began a navy linen skirt.
I'm halfway up the body (in the round) on the Apres Surf Hoodie. Pics to come.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Whooo Hooo!

Hi Marji,

Jessica Aframe here from the Taunton Press. I saw on your blog requests for a Threads Archive Collection. I wanted to let you know that we are in the process of producing an archive. The DVD will be available right after Thanksgiving. We will start to promote it on our website early fall. Will you please share this information with your readers?

Thank you,

Jessica Aframe

Senior Marketing Manager

Threads, Sew Stylish, CraftStylish


Phone: 203-304-3260

Friday, April 10, 2009

Shopping lists and recipes and Magazine back issues

The boat cushions are well underway. Yeah!!
Pics early this afternoon if I can get that organized. Today is the first day off work in awhile. Between the pant class I'm teaching, a zipper class I taught Monday, my regular job, and making boat cushions, I've been keeping busy.
MissD, you have a package coming as soon as this pant class is finished. ;)

And today I have 4 "kids" coming for the Easter weekend. And if my thinking is right, 3 dogs. Our quiet household is going to get unquiet, quickly.
So this AM I'm organizing the menus for the weekend, and going shopping.

I have years - boxes and boxes worth of cooking magazines downstairs. As I was going through my back Spring issues of Saveur Cooks this AM, I found out they have a website. (duh moment, of course they do.)


It's awesome.
I've known for quite some time that Bon Appetit and Gourmet recipes are to be found on Epicurious.com.
Taunton Press has just released a CD/DVD of all 15 years worth of Fine Cooking. for only $99.95.
Dh is getting it for me for Easter or Birthday or maybe just May Day.

I'm so excited (I know, doesn't take much, does it?)

And, now I can get rid of all those boxes of paper mags in the basement, without the angst that accompanies the thought of never having that info again.

Anyone want to start a letter/email writing campaign to Taunton Press to get them to issue 150 back issues of Threads on a DVD set?
Would you pay $100 to own a complete set of Threads on DVD? I would! In fact, I have, many times over, in that I've paid +/- $4 for each magazine, and have most of them, starting with issue #1.
The information in them is invaluable.
Leave a comment here if you would, and I'll pass this blog post on to Taunton, and while you're at it, dash off a quick email to PublicRelations@taunton.com

Back to writing the shopping list.
If I don't get back this afternoon with pics of the cushion progess, Have a Happy Easter.
And if you don't celebrate Easter, at least have a wonderful weekend.