Thursday, April 24, 2008


I love it. It's the best thing I've made. It fits him perfectly (actually, I haven't blocked it yet, but if it stretches a little that won't matter. He wore it to work the morning after I sewed on the buttons (oh, for a workplace where this outfit is acceptable!) Isn't it just the bomb? I love how it's sort of quirky and rustic and... just cool.

I'm not sure what else to say about this. The pattern worked out well. Ysolda hasn't done the tutes for the sleeves yet, so I worked out the decreases that I'd need to make and spaced them evenly down the length of the sleeve, working them where the sleeve seam would be if there were one. Turns out I did my maths a bit wrong, so after five decreases every ninth row, I did another eleven (I think) every seventh row. Seems to have worked out okay.

Sure, the flash is annoying, but it shows the wool detail a little better. You can see the variations in the handspun. And the delicious warm aspect in the natural black colour.

In an update on the guy at work I taught to knit: he came into my office the other day to show me that he'd bought Debbie Stoller's Stitch'n'Bitch in his lunchbreak. He also indicated that he'd gone a little awry with the knitting I set up for him, so I suggested he bring it to my office and I could look at it. He rushed in, then closed the door and dropped the blinds so noone could see that he (or I, I guess) were looking at knitting. He's terribly self-conscious about it. Any suggestions on how to make it better?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rainbow Socks, a SeaRag Scarf and Learning to Knit

I finally finished the Charade socks I was working on. I was so unenthused about them that I considered ripping them with only half a sock to go. Mah mama volunteered to take them though, which gave me enough impetus to churn on. I'm not sure why I was so over them... I think the colours are lovely, but a bit blah to actually knit. It seems most of what I knit is fairly bright, this colourway was a bit neutral. Also the herringbone rib is not so stretchy, which made getting them on and off a bit tricky...

And now I'm off on Rainbow Socks. I'm enjoying them very much. The colours are more entertaining, and the yarn is very soft (it's Patonyle). They're fifty kinds of fun. I went away this weekend with some people from work, and I got quite a lot done. One of the guys there asked me to teach him to knit. Luckily, I decided to travel with multiple projects (god I'm a loser). A while ago I swapped with someone in my stitch'n'bitch for some fabulous Colinette WigWam.

The colours reminded me a bit of the ocean, so I thought I'd like to do some kind of deconstructed scarf, something that looked like rags washed up on a beach. I started off with some loose garter stitch, which wasn't really working. I showed it to another friend, saying I was going for something that looked like rags washed up on a beach. After a thoughtful pause while he weighed up how I might take it, he said carefully "Um... it looks like knitting to me." So I ripped it.

While browsing Ravelry I found a nice wavy dropstitch pattern, and have been running with that instead. It's the beginning of the knitting there. I'm very pleased with it. The pattern stops because I started teaching the guy I work with to knit garter stitch. I think he did very well, don't you? It's very even - he was worried it wasn't even enough, and stumbled on the idea of blocking by himself! Suggested that maybe when you finished a project there'd be a way of stretching it out to make it all even. I was very impressed.

I plan to give him some old needles and a spare ball of yarn tomorrow. I've cast on already so he can just go (I think we'd struggle to find the time for me to teach him to cast on, and he seemed quite eager to just keep going). I'm a bit worried that 4mm and dk yarn will grow so slowly compared to the wigwam on 8mm needles above that he'll lose a little interest. But I don't have any chunkier yarn and needles to give.

Now the real question is, since I was going with a bit of a casual, deconstructed thing, should I rip out the beginner garter stitch and keep going with my pattern, or should I keep it there in my scarf as a nice reminder of someone's first go at knitting, and my first go at teaching someone?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Buttons for UnStripy

It's done! I finished it while watching Wall Street last night (possibly the best film to come out of the eighties, from an art history student perspective. I'm sure Badly Coloured Boy got sick of me shrieking stuff like "Look at the interior decorating! The mock surface finishes! Everything is fake! The symbolism! The symbolism!").

Now I'm stuck as to buttons.

These are a great size, and I particularly love that they are made from scrap timber from the South-West (of Western Australia, for my interstate and overseas guests). So it'd mean the whole of the jumper is local, from sheep through buttons. But I only have three, and I think it needs four. And when I bought these a couple of years ago they were everywhere, including on ebay. I can't find any on ebay now, and I doubt the sort of low-budget, quasi-transient bead shops that were stocking them are still around or still have them. I did find some similar ones on etsy, but, well, they just aren't local. I found more! I wonder why these didn't turn up in last night's etsy search.

Well, I was going to ask y'all for opinions as to which looked better, the three large buttons, or the multiples that are (in my opinion) too small. But I don't care now! I'm getting more of those big 'uns!

These little ones are pretty neat though (kind of feminine, too). I've got eleven of them, and am saving them up for something special. Maybe my Stripy. That's right. I decided I loved BCB's handspun unStripy so much I want one. I'll put stripes on mine though.

Oh, and just because it's kind of cool, in searching for buttons I found this place, Cute As A Button. Sure, it's a little pricy, but they have red and silver leather buttons!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I was knitting a sock today at the train station, and I dropped the working needle. Against all odds, it slipped through these tiny little grate holes in the platform. I think my fellow commuters already find the powersuit-and-knitting combo a little strange, and I think then finding me shriek "Oh f**k! I just dropped a needle down that grate!" at 8am confirmed all dire suspicions. Badly Coloured Boy tried valiantly to remove the offending grate, but it was welded in place. Totally depressing. This is the second set of dpns I've gone through lately. BCB sat on the others and snapped one (different size, so no, I don't still have five usable needles).

I think it's a sign I should invest in some Harmony circular sock needles and learn magic loop, huh? I don't see no circs falling through a grate.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Where I've been at

sewing, kids.

I made the skirt and the jacket (it just struck me that this is a rare full-face-shot of me on the blog. Hm). The skirt will be discussed next post.

The jacket is Vogue 8414. I am very, very pleased with it. This was merely a wearable muslin, before I make another in some (very) metallic linen. It's plum corduroy, medium wale, from Spotlight. I really, really love corduroy. I haven't shown it yet, but I have a corduroy dress, too (rust orange, fine wale). There's not much to say about sewing it. It was cut and sewn together (complete with handstitched hems) in a day. It was a straight size 10 (a size down from the recommended measure) with no alterations. Normally I would make the back narrower, but I figured that the absence of inset sleeves and the loose style made that less important, and I didn't want to interfere with the pleats at all.

Here's the back, with its awesome little pleats. I'm sure someone better at fitting than I could tell me why I have those creases in the upper sleeve. I'm also thinking that next time I might draft and extra inch or two in the sleeve so they don't sit right in my elbow - it gives the sleeves a slight tendency to bunch up my arms rather than crease when I bend my elbows.

One of my favourite parts of the pattern is the loose mandarin (?) collar. I love the line it creates in profile against my neck (apologies for the blurries - BCB is not so steady with the camera).

The jacket is unlined, with self-facing, so I opted to cover the facing edges with bias binding (and one of the sleeve seams too). I'm still a bit of a spazz at sewing bias binding, so I'm pleased enough that this is attached to the garment and the facings caught. Wrinkles be damned. You can also see the only spot where I didn't catch the folded-under part of the collar facing. I'll handstitch that down today. I did ignore instructions to handstitch down the collar facing and opted for machine stitching in the ditch on the outside instead. I'm getting much, much better at machine sewing down facings these days. That skirt above was done perfectly, and I only missed that tiny part on the jacket.

It doesn't have buttons yet. I'm thinking maybe dark wooden ones? All up I think this thing is very cute, very appropriate for Perth weather, very comfortable and cosy; and I'm happy enough to make well, actually a couple more probably.