In the pipeline

I’m pretty sure I’m jinxing myself talking about the projects I have planned, but I wanted to share anyway. I’ve been sewing up a storm for the last week, working on not one, but two dresses. The first is almost done and I’m hoping to have the second done by tomorrow.

Hollypreview
A highly cooperative model, I must say

Additionally, I’ve decided that I need a new dress for Easter this year. It seems like a good reason to make something a little more polished for the warmer months. I have several sundresses, but they feel too dressed down for church and I always loved getting an Easter dress as a kid. I have this really random polyester jacquard (I think) that I got at Hancock last fall. The scale of the pattern is much larger than I would normally pick, but it is pretty. I got enough to do a dress and jacket and picked up Butterick 5995 at the time I bought the material. I won’t get the jacket done before Sunday, but I should be able to get the dress done if I can keep on task.

Easterdressplan
The scale of the design is really more suited for furniture, so this will either be a disaster or awesome

Lastly, I have four knitting projects still on the needles and one giant crochet project, so of course I fell for the siren call of another project. That and pretty marketing emails are my downfall. Quince & Co, whom I have ordered from before and liked the yarn, has this adorable doll making kit for a little boy and his pet dog.

Quincedollkit

I’m going to try to knit up the whole thing for my middle child’s birthday. I have five weeks, so wish me luck.

A not crazy cat lady cardigan!

So for a bit of background, I have a gray cotton cardigan that I bought shortly after the birth of my youngest that brings the frump to any outfit that has the misfortune of meeting it. To add insult to injury, the cotton is so thin that as a top layer, its thermal value is worthless. So what’s a girl to do when she wants a warm wool sweater? Knit it, of course.

twylemdoneblog

The pattern search on Ravelry is bunches of fun, and one day poking around I found the Twylem cardigan from Vanessa Smith. Nothing about it looked too difficult and I really liked the cable motif. So I ordered a bunch of this pretty red Cascade 220 (non-superwash version) from my local yarn shop and got to work. The PDF for the pattern was well done and covered every aspect of the project without having to print out an excessive number of pages (12 or 13, I think). The majority of the garment is simple stockinette stitch and I knitted and purled like a champ all the way through two Brandon Sanderson novels on my laptop, excepting when I switched needle sizes by accident somewhere along the way, so I had to rip back a good six inches of the body to just where I had joined the front and back sections for the armscyes. Nonetheless, I still had the body of the cardigan done sometime in February 2014.

Being all clever, I decided to add the sleeves before finishing the front edges as I was bored with ribbing by that point and that’s when I ran into trouble. I was knitting the size 32 sweater based off of my high bust measurement as suggested in the pattern, which by the way was a great call on the part of the designer to put in the pattern. The sweater is a top down design with the sleeves intended to be knit in the round and seamless. I had never done that before, but even I was not sure that the pattern called for enough stitches to be picked up along the armscye (see my previous post on this sweater). The end result- I stuffed the project in the drawer and chose to forget its existence.

Of course, I never entirely forgot about it as I have all of my work in progress projects staring at me on my Ravelry page, but mentally I had consigned it to the same space as the one that needs frogging, to the extent of moving it out of the drawer that hold all of my unfinished projects. And then February 2015 got cold. Really cold (coldest on record for this region with the heating bills to reflect it). And I had no warm layers to bum around the house in. I suppose I could have just bundled up in my bathrobe like I’ve done in previous winters, but this year that felt too much like I should have hair rollers and a chain smoking habit, and I didn’t want to do that. The sweater I cast on this year was not going to be done in time, so I decided to buckle down and finish this one.

I’m glad that I did because the yarn feels nice to wear and I was toasty warm wearing it for the first time yesterday. The collar is double layered, so it feels cuddly around my neck, and I like the clean finish on the interior.

Twylemflat

Okay, time to put on my sewist hat. See that ribbing that is the inside part of the collar, it is too large. I used the number of rows directed, which matches the single layer of ribbing for the bottom front edge. Unfortunately, because the cabling pulls in tighter than the corresponding ribbing, the turn of cloth does not work as intended. The facing is too large and so it rolls out at the edge. It is not a terrible look, but still not quite as refined as I would have liked. Also, I dislike the seam between the cabled section and the bottom ribbed section. If I were to make this again, I would take the cable section all the way to the bottom edge, do the same interior treatment but only 23 rows vice the 27 knit here, sew together the bottom edges of the collar and facing, then do my tidy bind off. Fitting wise, I did a decent job considering I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning. I did none of the waist decreases because my waist has been not smaller than my ribcage for over a year, and it worked out well just doing the hip increases. As I failed to wash and my test swatch, the fabric has relaxed into a looser fit than I and the pattern intended, and you can see the upper bodice is a bit too wide with the seam between the body and the sleeve coming out onto my arm. It doesn’t affect the wearability of the sweater at all, but that’s something I should take into account on future knitting projects.

So all in all, I am very pleased with this project and hope that it’s the last bit of cold weather wear I have to deal with for a while. Next up, Easter dresses!

Stroking my ego

So I’ve had a post in draft form for two and half weeks, but never liked it enough to bother polishing and adding photos for publishing.  My husband even started asking me why “that nice seamslikework lady isn’t posting anymore.”  Thanks, dear.  And then a miracle happened today.

gertiejeans
I can get these on!

Last summer I started working on one of the Gertie patterns from Butterick, a pair of retro styled jeans. I used Nancy Zieman’s pivot and slide method based off of my measurements. And in trying them on, they were tight. Really, really tight because I forgot to add an inch of ease to my hips when altering the pattern. However, I could get them on and was pretty impressed with my work on the back lapped zipper, etc. Then it got tossed aside when I went on vacation and I didn’t return to them until this January. I got the bright idea to work on the UFO pile, so I added the waistband, and went to try them on to figure out what length I wanted to hem them. Except, they wouldn’t go on. I mean, I couldn’t get my thighs through them at all. Want to talk about crapping all over one’s self image, yeah, these pants have been the reason that I’ve been eschewing sewing in favor of knitting over the last several months. I didn’t want to re-measure myself and face the truth about my weight gain over the past three years.

Instead, I complained on the phone to my sister, who is amazingly supportive, and she mentioned the MyFitnessPal app and that we could do it together. I’m not going to pretend that I love counting calories or having to tell myself no, but a lack of discipline is why I gained the weight in the first place, so I’m working on it. I have a 50 day logging streak in MFP, and though I’ve had days where I busted my calorie limit (oh, Red Robin, you and your sweet potato fries are so tasty, but so bad for the bottom line), the trend has been in the right direction towards a healthy weight for my height. My trusty year old jeans are at point of ridiculously bad fitting, so I screwed up the courage to confront this project again. And know what? It’s awesome feeling. I was even worried about the waistband digging in tons, but it’s not (however, still tight enough that you can see it distorting my belly under my top above, oops). The thighs are snugger still than I would like, but who cares, that’s how excited I am about these pants today.

gertiejeansback
Yeah, no waistband closure yet, that’s how psyched I was to take pictures of this

As you can see these are definitely high waisted with the bottom of the waistband at my waistline, and from the rear shot, they make my butt look ginormous, but I’m pleasantly surprised by the nice fit through the legs and that I’m not seeing the wrinkles indicating that it’s too small through the abdomen though you can see them on the thigh. The denim seems to have no lycra content at all, but I’m sort of over the stretch denim thing anyways. Until college all of my jeans were 100% cotton and the fit at the end of the day was the same as the beginning. All of my current RTW jeans grow throughout the day, so there’s always a chunk of the day when they don’t look right, be it start too tight and end up fitting okay or as it is now, start off okay and then slide down my body as the waist gets larger from body heat relaxing the lycra.

 gertiejeanslengthdecision
So just to pick a length to hem them

My one concern about this project now centers on the leg length. I’m short and chubby still and I’m never quite sure what length with anything less than full length looks on me when it comes to pants/shorts, hence the folded to two different lengths. My mirror lies to me routinely, but the camera not so much, so now to pick which one doesn’t shorten me any more than necessary.