Saturday, April 21, 2007

Oooh, IK Summer preview is up!

The link is here. And it is looking like a great issue!

My thoughts:

I can't wait for the extra pictures because a few things I'll need to see close up to decide on, but here's what I think.

The On-Your-Toes Socks are socks. I will need a close-up to appreciate them.

The 1824 Blouson will be adorable on the girl who can pull it off. I am not that girl.

The Sleeveless Tuxedo Shirt might be cute on the same girl who can wear the 1824 Blouson. Not on me. Also, I hate the color used. It's not brown and it's not grey... it's drab. Ugh.

I like the Notre Dame de Grace Pullover, but it looks a little masculine to me. Maybe it's the color, could be something to do with the shape. I really adore the collar, though.

I LOVE the Josephine top, gorgeous, beautiful, adorable! I will definitely be knitting that. It looks like my beloved Brown Sheep Cotton Fine would work. What color do you like for this top? I like Perry's Primrose or Wild Sage, I think.

The Little Smocked Cardigan looks pretty cute. This is a maybe... there's a chance I'd love it and a chance I'd hate it (on me), and right now I don't know which is more likely.

The Wing Top looks really pretty from the back but I want to see the front.

Lutea Lace-Shoulder Shell could be cute with some waist shaping.

I really like the Wheat Ear Cable Yoke and the Lacy Yoga Bags, but am not too likely to knit either.

I LOVE the Origami Cardi, but I think it would look awful on me. This is usually the case for me with Norah's designs... they're beautiful but don't work with my body type too well. I'll look forward to seeing others' FOs though.

The Summertime Tunic is cute, but I'll need to see FOs before I even think about it.

I cannot imagine wearing gloves made from crochet thread, but the Motorcycle Chica Gloves are cute.

I actually really like the Luvtröja Måns sweater, but I don't have any guys to knit for (my bf would never wear a sweater).

The Hand-in-Hand Cable Sweaters are sweet. And if it comes in the right size, possibly something that would be good for my grandmother.

Love the Syncopated Caps! Definitely going to make this one.

My favorite in this issue is Oriel Lace Blouse. I will definitely be making this one as well, but I may change the neckline. I'm not crazy about wearing turtlenecks. The yarn is superexpensive (although beautiful) and way out of my budget. I will not be using it. I hope to find a sub... any suggestions? I was looking at Artfibers, but I don't know if they have anything.

Can't see enough of the Montego Bay Scarf to have an opinion on it, other than that the color is very pretty.

The Ogee Lace Skirt would make a cute swimsuit cover up, but the yarn'd have to be washable, for sure.

Love the Spiral Boot socks, but I would shorten them because I can't stand long socks.

What is the Lace Chuppah?

What I can see of the Pomegranate Blouse looks really cute, but not for me (though with added shaping... maybe), and I also like the Summer Wheat Top, but I don't know how I feel about those bobbles.

All in all, great issue! Can't wait to get my hands on this one!

Oh, I picked the Sideways Spencer back up, and have been working on it. I forgot how quickly it knits up. I've finished the left sleeve and side, and am working on the back. Of course, after I finish the main body I'll have lots of (ugh) stitches to pick up and ribbing to do... so I'm sure I'll slow down after that. I've also finished the waist shaping on the back of Rapunzel, and have ~5in done on it (I think). I'd take pictures, but my digi cam batteries are dead, so I need to get some more.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Perhaps I should have finished something else first

But I started on Rapunzel from Rowan 34 last night, and got a good 4" done while watching the new 007 movie. I just realized, though, that the pattern uses a discontinued yarn, Rowan Lurex Shimmer, which I do NOT have, and cannot find to match the yarn I'm using (Stacy Charles Merino Cable in shade 122, a deeper wine color than in the picture.

By the way, this yarn? SO SOFT. SO PLUSH. SO NICE. A little splitty, but wonderful. Not in the least bit itchy, so far as I can tell. It doesn't even feel like wool. The skeins are small, and it is pricey, but was half off when I got it. It knits up beautifully (the stitch definition is superb, while not making every mistake or wonky stitch stand out the way cotton does), and I am loving working with it. And looking at it. All the colors I saw at the LYS were just lovely; so lovely, in fact, that it took me about 15 minutes to decide on one. And I still think about shades 130 (that divine purple that is so deep and rich, while still being beautifully bright, vibrant, and jewel toned-ish, though if I ever actually saw a jewel this color, it would be the only one I'd ever wear) and 112 (a gorgeous, brilliant turquoise that seriously seemed to glow and looked very nice with my skin tone) with a little regret, though I adore the 122 I am using. Thinking back, the picture on the link does no justice to the colors at all. But I do think the color I have is best for Rapunzel. :-)

The Lurex Shimmer is used, doubled, for a "intarsia moss stitch" at the top of the jacket (I suppose the part that is obviously moss stitch). What do y'all think? Will it still be totally, completely gorgeous if I don't do any intarsia at all, and just use my Merino Cable for the whole thing? Or should I try to find something to take the place of the Lurex Shimmer?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

FO - VK Twist Top

Wow, what a quick knit this was! I finished this thing so quickly, I didn't even have a chance to blog about it.

Project details:

Pattern: From VK Spring/Summer 2005, Twist Top
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Ease in Bubble Gum, ~2 3/4 ball
Needles: Size 6 from the Boye IC
Mods: Not one

This was sooo easy to make, and I really love the finished product! It hasn't been blocked yet, but I just couldn't wait to show y'all. I'll post another pic or two after it's blocked and dried.

If I did it again, I'd use a different yarn. Not because I didn't like the Cotton Ease, in fact, I really like it. But this top feels quite heavy. Ideally (for me), this top should be in a lighter yarn with better drape. I would like to see it in a sport or even fingering weight yarn. But I'm no good at rewriting patterns so drastically, so I used what I had, and am still very happy with it. It will probably be too warm for summer in La, but it will do fine for spring... though it's currently 50 F and too cool outdoors for me to wear short sleeves. At least I won't regret the time it'll take to dry!

BTW... not to be crude, but the spot is on the mirror... not on the crotch of my pants. Just wanted to make sure that was clear! ;-)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Recognize this pattern?

I have this saved on my computer, but I don't know where it's from. Anyone?

I haven't done much crafting in the past few days. I've been too busy, and a little lacking in motivation. So, no real progress to report. I do still plan to have some FOs up soon, though... so keep watching!

Edited to add: I will definitely share any knowledge I get about the origins of this pattern, if I ever find out. For some reason, I'm thinking it may have been a Phildar pattern, but couldn't say that for sure.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Happy (belated) Easter!

I hope yours was as nice as mine. I had a nice, long weekend, with time to do some sewing and knitting... expect a knitting FO soon, and POSSIBLY a sewing one. I can never promise sewing FOs since I've had so many projects that didn't work out lately. But I REALLY, REALLY hope this one does!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

New Use for Buttons!

I don't make jewelry often, mainly due to a lack of supplies and time (since I focus more on other areas of crafting), but I thought of a pair of earrings that sounded really cute, and decided to try it out. I like the result! The earrings are not quite as "dangly" as I'd like since - don't tell anyone - I used picture hanging wire as I didn't have anything else to work with, but overall, I'm very happy with them, and can only imagine they will get better when I get more supplies! Ghetto, right? Haha. Well, as Tim Gunn would say, "Make it work." So I did. :-D

I think I may have found a use for all those random buttons I have! :-D

And thank you all for the comments on Gatsby Girl!

Oh, and I wore the LG wrap sweater today since it was chilly, but not cold enough for GG. It was so nice! I really love this sweater. I recommend it to anyone! I plan to take pictures wearing it completely finished, but I'm linking it as an FO for now, anyway. It doesn't look THAT different than the last picture.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

SWAP (sewing with a plan)

Lots of people on the PR board are doing a program called "Sewing with a Plan (SWAP)." I am really intrigued by the idea, because it consists of choosing a print, and using those colors as a basis for a wardrobe that coordinates. Of course, I need to get my sewing skills up a level or two, so that I'll feel confident taking on such a task!

But the idea of a wardrobe that goes together so well, so that you don't have to spend so much time thinking "Does this match? Will someone think a 5 yr old picked out my outfit if I wear this?" is just really... well, stress free, I guess. Like, I think of it, and my muscles relax. Haha. I wouldn't want every article of clothing in my wardrobe to be the same 2 or 3 colors, but I would love to have several outfits that I could depend on. Since I normally just grab the first things I see that might look ok together and go, this idea is really tempting.

And I already wear so much pink that it would definitely need to be one of my colors. Thinking of the colors I wear most, they are: pink, red, blue. I don't know about a neutral though (which I assume I'd need?), black is dependable, and Dusty thinks I wear black well, but whenever I put it on, I feel like I should be at my own funeral... I'm so pale, haha. Maybe chocolate brown or grey. I like both of those for neutrals. Of course, since it's summer, khaki is a good idea.

For anyone as interested in this idea as I, one of the members of PR posted her template, which seems like a good starting point for all the pieces you'd need to do. I'll link it here, but just want to point out it's not mine! SWAP wardrobe template. In addition to this, I would like to do a dress or two. Every summer, I dream of dresses, but never find any I like that aren't too fancy for everyday wear.

Since I'm starting so late, and I know this is going to take forever, my biggest problem is... should I focus on summery type things? I am thinking yes, since La's weather means that summer is the main season and pretty much lasts the length of 3 seasons everywhere else. Plus, I tend to wear the same colors throughout the year, though in the fall and winter I do wear some darker shades, but not all.

This is going to be a big, complicated undertaking, though I feel it will help simplify my life when it's done. But still... finding fabrics (because I hardly have any), and I really don't have it in my budget to ever buy a large amount of fabric at a time. And finding that much time to sew! It takes me such a long time to sew anything. I just can't imagine being able to sew so many pieces. And then there's patterns. I already have some patterns I'd like to use, and a couple more in mind. Actually, honestly, I have patterns for all but maybe 2 shirts and capris or shorts if I decide to make any, but most of those patterns are in the 3 Burda WOF mags I have, and their patterns only come down to a 36", while I use a 34" normally, so I'd have a lot of resizing to do. Plus a lot of pattern tracing to do, which I hate. Yes, I normally cut patterns. I just don't have the time to trace every single pattern. Maybe someday I'll regret it, but I really hope not! :-)

I'll post later with ideas for patterns, I think. I already have thought of a couple of tops I've been wanting for awhile, so I think I'll plan them into this.

Oh, and I'll try to match some knits in this, too, but as I already have yarn for several projects in other colors, they won't all go. Which is fine by me... variety is the spice of life!

Edited to add: Link to patterns I'm considering for my SWAP on Flickr. They're not listed in the order I like them or anything like that. And of course, I will be choosing from these, not attempting all of them! I left a pretty broad range because I have to find fabrics, and wanted to have options. Tell me what you think! :-)

Monday, April 02, 2007

Fear of the Unknown

I'll admit it. I'm afraid of sewing.

Silly, isn't it? I'll put several months' worth of work into a sweater that I can't really try on and have any good idea of how it is going to look for quite awhile without any fear, without thinking twice. A sweater I will have little occasion to wear, considering the climate. If it doesn't work out, I'll feel some disappointment, then rip without too much remorse and find something new.

But sewing? I don't know. There's something so committal about that first cut into a nice fabric you're totally afraid of ruining and/or wasting. Especially knowing I need to do all of these adjustments to the pattern before ever cutting into my fabric. Then, after you sew it up, if it's an atrocity, doesn't fit, and/or looks bad, what do you do with it?

A failed knitting project is a chance for a new beginning. A failed sewing project is a failure.

I really want to make a jacket. A nice, fitted brocade jacket. That fits ME, without being too long, or having sleeves too long, or being huge in the shoulders and tight in the boobs. I have the fabric, I have a pattern, I have fabric to practice with first. But thanks to my recent failures, I'm afraid to try any new projects. I want to make at least 2 sheath dresses, some tops, at least one nice pair of pants and some capris that aren't so long on me that I look like I'm wearing pants that are a couple of inches too short. I want to make up some of the darling 50s and 60s dress patterns I have, and I want to make a dress like the one I posted recently. I want to make use of the Burda WOF magazines I have. I want to have a wardrobe that is completely personalized, completely me, that fits perfectly and is exactly my style. But I'm afraid!

How do you recover from one or more failed projects?

Don't worry, I'm not giving up sewing. Just trying to get back in the game!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

About Time! (Gatsby Girl FO)

So the Gatsby Girl is done, and I don't think I've been happier with a finished item yet. Seriously, I really am happy with this knit. In theory, this sweater should not have been very flattering on me, but, though IRL it may be less flattering than in these pictures, I still think it is really flattering, especially for a sweater.

Project specs:

Pattern: Gatsby Girl from IK Fall 2006
Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed, color: watery (I think)
Needles: size 2 and 3 from the Boye set
Mods: Long sleeves instead of 3/4

I lengthened the sleeves, not because I didn't like the look of the 3/4 sleeve, but because my yarn has so much alpaca in it that I knew it was going to be a very warm sweater, and I felt that it would be more wearable and practical with longer sleeves. I don't like the look quite as much, but I am very happy with it. Many thanks to Jodi Green, the pattern creator, for helping me figure out the numbers for lengthening the sleeves.

The pattern was wonderfully written, easy to follow, and easy in itself without being boring... although the 1x1 rib sleeves were taxing at the end. In retrospect, I would have done a cable on the sleeves or maybe lace, just to make the sleeves more exciting.

The yarn is not something I would have chosen for this project if the ladies at the yarn store I visited had not suggested it and let me knit up a swatch in the store. I was shocked, because I thought the tweed would be too busy for this sweater, but I think it worked up beautifully. I do love the Felted Tweed, and already have obtained another sweater's worth. The fabric is lovely, the yardage is great, and it's nice to work with. The sweater is a little itchy, though. I don't think I'll be able to wear it without a shirt underneath.

The buttons are a little special to me. Someone gave me her great-grandmother's collection of buttons, and boy, do I love buttons. Especially old buttons. I like to think about what they were on before, but for these delicate little pearls, I just couldn't decide their history. I only found 4 of them, thought I could have sworn I had 6, which is the amount the pattern calls for. So, I mixed them with 3 rhinestone buttons I had, alternating every other button, and got the button holes crocheted, then found the other 2 pearls. Sigh. I like the mix a lot, though, and don't care enough to change it. I couldn't get a good picture of the buttons, too bad!

The color is really odd. When I bought it, I was convinced it was a greeny-teal color, but after months of looking at it, it looks totally green to me now, with only a bluish tint. Also, the lighting may have something to do with it... but I swear in the yarn store it was much more teal! I think the color's off in the pictures, anyway.

As usual, the pictures suck. I was able to get one decent one with the self timer on my camera, but none of the rest of those came out, so I did a couple in front of the mirror. Anyway, hope you like!

Edited to add: Link to Rowan Felted Tweed. I used the color "Watery."