Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fabrics Came in the Mail

Enabled by Carolyn, I placed an order with FabricMart. I have been hesitant to purchase from the US, as shipping can cost a fortune, sometimes not making it worth the expense. But FabricMart only charges what the post office charges, no extra, so that seemed reasonable to me. And I know that shipping charges can be steep, as I became painfully aware during the last year of my business when they were becoming my greatest expense.

So what did I get?

This is a stretch cotton woven plaid in purple and black. I have been looking for a black and white plaid that would work for a shirtdress, but you have to compromise when it comes to fabrics. The fabric in your mind's eye will probably not be out there; I remember Pati Palmer saying once that you should shop for fabric first, pattern second. This is because, for most sewers, a fabric will tell you what it should be. Sound crazy? not at all, just walk around a fabric store and see what the fabrics are saying. They talk to me all the time! Not that they say the same thing to everyone, that is the beauty of sewing; the same fabric can become many different things.

This second fabric is a bamboo knit in a gorgeous sky blue. I have been reading about bamboo and wanted to see what it was like. There is no way bamboo fabric is ever going to be here in my Fabricville; no sense waiting. This fabric is heavy and drapey and, if it weren't for the label, I would have guessed that it was a rayon knit. I have 2 yards, enough to make either one of these tops. By the way, Sandra Betzina has a new knit top in Vogue that is gorgeous, with a center panel that is gathered. I saw a top like this on my aquacise instructor and was smitten by it. The nice thing about this pattern is that it includes all sizes, so if I decide to make this for my daughter, I will have her size there too.

The last fabric I bought simply to make the parcel worth shipping. And it is the best of all. A 100% cotton shirting that feels so light and silky, it will be a delight to sew and wear.

Now to finish up the robe and put that aside with the nightie, ready for the hospital stay. I am still knitting the blue sweater, finished the back and am doing one side now. And as always, cruising the internet for the next project.

I discovered some wonderful blogs and you might like them too.
Lilacs and Lace

I discovered this blog from another, as we so often do. One blog led to another and this one popped up. Laura just won a Threads competition and her prize is a new Bernina sewing machine, which I am sure she will put to good use. Take a cruise down her blog, page 2 especially where she shows that she binds all her seams with rayon binding that she dyes. This is essentially Hong Kong finish and it is lovely to see, especially since the binding matches the fabric. This blog has kindled an interest in vintage patterns and can you ever get immersed in that subject!

The second blog that has captured my interest is
Wry Punster
This is a blog of an incredible hand-knitter. I can't find the post right now, but she has a sweater that is full of beads. Now I can't stop thinking about the possibility of knitting a sweater with beads on the yoke. So many ideas, and not enough time, right?

Oops, sorry, the beaded sweater is here on Laura's blog, this woman can not only sew, she can knit beautifully. And I can see these knits teaming up with vintage skirts and dresses so well.

Beaded Sweater

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sewing for Bedtime

I remember one of my daughters remarking that she knew I would be sewing something new to wear because I had an event to go to. She is absolutely right; everytime something comes up in my life, my first thought is what will I make to wear to it? I don't know why this is so, unless it says that my wardrobe is so pathetically lacking in a variety of outfits, that I feel compelled to make something appropriate.

And this doesn't even stop with daytime wear. Since I am on a list to be called for hip replacement surgery, I thought "what will I wear in hospital?" And then an old sewing friend of mine said "you better have a new nightgown and a robe that covers you up". She then went on to explain that the robe should be long, but shorter in front than in the back so that I wouldn't have any trip-ups. She said long, because she thinks that nothing looks quite so bad as bare legs shuffling along a hospital corridor.

So, now the kids' jammies are done, wrapped and ready to be posted, I must get this nightgown sewn up and whip up a robe to wear with it. My friend is right, I don't want to be caught in hospital reduced to their gowns or having to wear my own old tired nighties.

I just found out the hospital stay will most likely be three days, which probably means I need two nightgowns! Better get cracking, as I might get a call if there is a cancellation. One woman in the pre-op class was called last Friday and she is having surgery this coming Friday. And she had been expecting to wait a year for her surgery. While the expectation of surgery and recovery is not something I am looking forward to, I will be very happy to have this over with. I feel as if my life has been on hold for the past year, given the mobility issues of a bad hip. I understand now what people mean when they say they got their life back after joint surgery. Looking forward to it!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Who Knew?

I have had a revelation. Perhaps I have been in knitting limbo but I had no idea about blocking knit garments. When I finished my last sweater, I asked the question if anyone knew how to steam a sweater once it was completed.

Ann suggested that I ask Ann Rowley at Stitcher's Guild so I did. Ann asked what the fibre content was, and if it was wool, it could be steamed into shape. She suggested "wet-blocking" which would entail completely soaking the sweater in warm water in the tub, then lifting it out and pinning it into the dimensions desired and leave it to dry. And I thought I could just press this sweater! Hah!

A google search on blocking sweaters has been eye-opening. Even though I grew up with a mother who was constantly knitting, I don't ever remember her blocking anything. I don't think she did. I know that she pressed the pieces before sewing them together, but she didn't pin anything into a shape.

What I found here in this article, To Block or Not to Block is fascinating. So I thought I would pass it along to anyone else who knits or crochets. The advice is so valuable. I had absolutely no idea that you could mold the shape of your garment by wet-blocking. You can build in shape where required, such as a little bust shaping, and you can lengthen sleeves if they are too short. All of this depends upon your fibre content, I am sure, with wool being the most cooperative.

What a surprise! How could I have been around knitting and crochet for so many years and not know this? But I don't recall any patterns that concluded with instructions to block the garment before sewing it up. It must be assumed that we all know this.

Perhaps all you knitters know this already. And I am just late to the game. Or maybe I have just been blissfully ignorant of this technique. But, if it is of any use to you, I am happy to pass the information along.