Monday, June 25, 2012

A new project

I rewarded myself for passing my advanced exam by ordering new yarn for a sweater.  I've been wanting to knit a sweater for several weeks now, but I didn't want to start anything while I needed to devote all of my attention to studying.  I feel like summer is a bit of a strange time to start a big knitting project like a sweater, but it's been a long time since I knit anything bigger than a sock (my cowl doesn't count), and when I was in Denmark in April I found myself slightly envious of my mom's large, simple baby blanket project.  Anyway, we have air conditioning, and I'm not planning to work on this outside, so I don't see why the summer prohibition on large knitting projects should apply.

This sweater is in the Elizabeth Zimmerman style, knitted in the round from the bottom up, with the sleeves joined to the body at underarm level and a yoke (an unpatterned yoke, in this case).  The pattern is in a booklet my Aunt Inge gave me the last time I was in Denmark.  This little booklet has several gorgeous patterns I can picture myself knitting and wearing.  I chose this one because it looks simple (honestly, a bit mindless) but still has something interesting - a deep lace edging on the body and sleeves.  It also has some ruffles on one shoulder, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to leave those off.  I'm reading the pattern side-by-side with EZ's generic sweater pattern in Knitting Without Tears, and making a few modifications along the way.  The first one is to knit the sleeves in the round instead of back and forth.  This also means the sleeves have one less stitch than the pattern calls for, since I won't need the selvedge for seaming. 

I love knitting in the round.  I don't understand why you would knit the sleeves flat when the body is knit in the round.  In my view, it defeats the whole purpose of one-piece construction.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

June FNSI Results

My shorts were successful!  This was my third muslin for the "Giraffe love" pajama shorts I'm planning to make myself.  The first muslin was my March FNSI project.  I never got around to posting the second muslin because I was discouraged that it didn't come out quite right.  This time, I re-drafted the pattern from scratch, with a deeper "J" on the front pattern piece.  I also made the back waist a little higher than the front, and I tried out little side vents at the outside leg hems (not visible in the photo).  It worked!  I think they fit pretty well: they are comfortable standing and sitting, aren't to tight across the rear, and the waistband is at an appropriate height all the way around!

Now I just need to wash the giraffe and polka-dot lining fabric, and I can make the real ones!

Head on over to Handmade by Heidi to see what other people accomplished last night.

A UFO crossed off the list!

This week has been pretty relaxed, and on Thursday morning I got out my sewing machine and hemmed this tablecloth that's been on my UFO list for several months.  Robert's Grandma gave me the fabric when we visited last summer, and a few moths ago I got as far as cutting the large piece down to size, but I gave up on hemming it because the linen (?) didn't seem to want to crease for the hem in a nice way, and I was afraid of ruining it with a sloppy hem.  And I hate pinning.  But on Thursday, I got down to business, turned my iron to its maximum heat and maximum steam settings, and started pinning away.  My fears were totally overblown.  I did pin about every two inches, but that was probably overkill.  I was interested to notice that the grain played a huge role in how easily the fabric took the crease.  The long edges creased very easily, but the short edges were more reluctant.  This is why I thought it would be so hard - last time I had been trying to start on a short edge.  Luckily this time I happened to start on a long edge.  My machine was so happy to be sewing on "normal" fabric and thread again.  I was remembering my denim skirt (which the machine really didn't like at all) and my workout t-shirts (which stressed me out because they're knits).  This sewed up like a dream, on all my normal stitch and tension settings!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tablecloth progress, plus FNSI this week

I've been slowly working my way across my Aunt Inge's tablecloth.  I can get three little squares done in a 45-minute episode of the West Wing.  If you look carefully at the right side of the photo, you can see the center crease, so it looks like I'm almost halfway done.  I counted the squares, though, and I've done 57 and have 95 to go.  So not quite half way. 

I'm looking forward to the Friday Night Sew-In this week, hosted over at Handmade by Heidi.  I think I'm going to do the next pattern iteration of my giraffe shorts.  The fabric I've got for this version is lavender with little white polka dots, and I think it's really cute so I'm hoping they turn out well enough to actually use them (and of course I can't wait to get to do the real giraffe version!)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cowl finished

I finished my cowl week before last, but between going to a wedding last weekend and studying like crazy for my oral exam  (I passed today! yay!) last week, I've pretty much been taking a break from my life.  Blogging, housekeeping, crafting, even exercising ... everything took a back seat.  But now I'm done with that, and I have BIG plans:
  • rearrange some furniture in the living room
  • do laundry
  • start a sweater (which means I get to choose a pattern and buy yarn!)
  • sew my shorts (I think I'm going to start over with the pattern, so I can fully use the knowledge I've gained from the first two muslins)
  • sew my damask skirt
  • hem the tablecloth that's been sitting in my half-done project pile for months
  • sew a muslin for a sundress (I've already got the fabric for the real version - it's beautiful)
  • work towards finishing my embroidered tablecloth
  • start a quilt (I've got fabric and I drafted a 12" mini-Swoon block)
About the cowl:  I like it.  I enjoyed working with the beads, even though they were kind of fiddly.  I'm not wild about the yarn (Kidsilk Haze).  I think it's good for a small-ish winter accessory like this, but I wouldn't want to use it for something large.  I think the only time I'll get to wear it in the foreseeable future is during orchestra rehearsals, because they air condition the rehearsal hall like nobody's business.  I don't think I'm going to block it.  I probably should, but I'm really just too lazy, and I feel like once I've worn it a couple of times, the blocking will have "worn out" and I'll just be back to how it is now anyways.