Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sweater Blocking

I finished knitting this sweater a couple of days ago, and then began the rather lengthy process of threading in yarn tails and sewing up seams. I understand why people prefer to knit on circular needles, so they don't have much of this to do. But the weight of a sweater on circular needles is not something I enjoy, so I will have to sew up the seams on all future sweaters.

Having read a little about blocking, I thought I should do this with this sweater. It is advisable to block the pieces before they are sewn and I should have done this. But I shall see how this method works. I covered a styrofoam board with 1/4" gingham, thinking that I would use the gingham to measure the sweater. Not at all, I took out the tape measure and pinned the sweater to the dimensions written on the diagram. Now I will mist the sweater with water, get it fairly damp and cover it with a towel for a few days until it dries completely.

I am not sure how this yarn will behave, as it is a new kind of yarn and acts very much like rayon fabric. It feels wonderful in the hand, but is heavy and drapey when made up. The finished sweater may grow in the wearing, we shall see.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Vogue 8548 Finished

I am going to take this to a dry cleaners and have them steam press it, as I just don't seem to be able to get a good final press of the wool.

I am pleased with this coat, but there are a few things I would do differently. The pattern does not call for shoulder pads, and I think the sleeves would hang better with a small pad. The lining is attached by machine to the armholes before the sleeves are inserted and then the sleeve lining is hand-stitched in place. So I won't be undoing all of that to add shoulder pads at this point. I will live without them.

I plan on making this again, the version with the more open neckline and I have a houndstooth wool in mind for this. But I will make some changes. I will reduce the flare at the sides of the coat, as I am not keen on this on me. It looks great on the others that I have seen, but most of the flare seems to be on my back, and I would prefer to have less. Also, I will attach the bodice lining to the bodice front and then sew that piece to the lining of the skirt part of the coat, then attach the entire lining to the coat at the front edges. This will eliminate most of the hand sewing which was rather tedious. I think it will be easier to press as well, since I will be dealing with single layers, rather than the bulky seam at the empire waist.

The wool was a dream to sew, and top-stitching really shows up well on this. I particularly like the seams on the bodice being accentuated that way. A good pattern, even if it is out of print. You can still buy it on the Vogue pattern site, under their OOP pattern link.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year

Wishing all a happy new year. New resolutions? not here, not this year anyway. I am anticipating some upheavals soon, so no need to add to the stress. Every time the phone rings, I think "that's the hospital" with a mix of fear and relief. It will be good to have this hip surgery over with and the rehab period over as well.

Meanwhile, knitting has been progressing as we have been watching quite a few movies here. My husband is a Brit from Liverpool and my parents came from the UK as well, so watching British flicks is normal fare. We just discovered the series Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister. The repartees are hilarious and it is hard to believe this was written and filmed in the 80's. It seems as if nothing has changed. If you like political satire, try it. It is good to laugh at such things, and perhaps become a little wiser to the machinations of politicos and civil servants.

We made a short three day trip to Maine and stayed in Orono. There is a small lovely wool shop there, called Fiberphilia. I had hoped to find an apple green wool there for a cardigan, but there was no such yarn. And the shop here, LK Yarns, is also nice but smallish. So online I went and hopefully, the company I contacted will have the wool I want.

Anyone have sources for buying yarn online? I would prefer Canadian sources as the shipping from the US to Canada is very steep, often as much as $25 per parcel. Which means it is not worth buying anything unless you buy $100 or more.

I have a pair of LH Cruise pants cut out and ready to sew. I have never tried her Euro Pant pattern but took it out to compare. Basically the two pants are the same, with the Euro having wider legs. The crotch curve is identical and the Euro does offer an elastic-waist version, which is what the Cruise Pants are. I will stick with the Cruise Pant pattern as I have made this at least three times and there is no altering to do at all now. I even made a flat-seat alteration, taking a 1/4" tuck down the entire back leg. At my height, all extraneous fabric needs to be removed.

And just before Christmas, I was searching for some grey coating to make this coat - Vogue 8548.

I first saw this coat on Tany`s blog and I ordered the pattern, which took three weeks to come from Vogue. Then I saw the coat again on Erica`s blog and saw her line about pockets. Good advice, I will be adding side seam pockets to mine. The pattern is out of print but still available from Vogue.

There was no wool coating that I liked at our local fabric store and I really wanted a grey coat. I already have a black wool coat and the majority of my clothes would go best with either of those colours (or red, but I don`t want a red coat this year). Online again for a fabric search. I discovered that there is not much in the way of heavy wool coatings to be found. Most retailers have wool for jackets, but it is simply not heavy enough for a Canadian winter coat. I found lots of wools that are boiled wool weight, but that would be a cardigan in my neck of the woods.

I did find some at Vogue Fabrics and it seemed the right weight, although the colour was a little lighter than what I wanted. But I thought why not, I am not going to find anything more suitable at this time of year. And I want to make this coat for this winter, not for next. So that is next in the queue, after I finish the Cruise pants. So a quick trip to Fabricville for some grey satin lining, hopefully they will have Kasha, and thread and buttons. I have plenty of interfacing here, and will probably use weft insertion fusible for this project. I hope this will go quickly and I will have some pictures to show in a week or so. Enjoy your sewing adventures, and knitting ones too!

By the way, the wool coating arrived within two weeks and it is great, it has a brushed surface and has a slight bluish tint to it. Vogue Fabrics did indicate that on their webpage. I was very impressed with the shipping time. Usually parcels from the US take three weeks to reach Nova Scotia.