Monthly Archives: January 2014

Alpaca Hugs

Alpaca Sweater

Yarn: 100% Alpaca
Pattern: my own
Ravelry notes here

I think this is my favourite sweater ever. It’s so warm and cozy. I’m always cold, and this sweater makes winter almost bearable. I’ve worn it every day since I finished it last week, and I’m dreading the day when it needs to be washed!

The construction is seamless from the top down with cables running along the raglan sleeves, and joining up at the side seams.

Not much else to say about this one except that I want to make another!

Alpaca Sweater

Alpaca Sweater

Alpaca Sweater

Alpaca Sweater

Alpaca Sweater

Alpaca Sweater

Coppelia wrap top

I decided to try out Papercut Patterns to add some variety to my cozy knit tops for the winter. I fell in love with their packaging. It’s so adorable.

First up (but second sewn) is Coppelia, a wrap top. I made it out of super soft undyed organic cotton interlock from Organic Cotton Plus. Seriously, this stuff is insanely soft. I just want to cuddle up with it while I wait for winter to pass.

Coppelia Wrap Top Papercut

Coppelia Wrap Top

I had a few problems with the fit, but I think I managed to fix most of them. The sides and underarms were really baggy, so I pinched out 2″ at the under arm seam, tapering to nothing at the elbow and tapering to 1.5″ at the side seams. I think there’s still plenty of fabric in the armpits for a comfy, casual style.

Coppelia Wrap Top

The other problem was the neck band. There was major gaping the first time I sewed it on, so I unpicked it and tried again, this time stretching it a lot (especially around the shoulder area) as I sewed. I ended up taking off several inches, I think. Also, the angle on the band seemed to be angling the wrong way. Maybe I’m just not experienced enough to know why, but I ended up chopping it off in the other direction to make it work.

In the end, I’m happy with the fit on this top, and I’m already planning my next one. They’re so cozy and the style looks great with high-waist full skirts!

Coppelia Wrap Top

And now for a major fail:  Circle Top, also by Papercut. I know the style doesn’t work with a full skirt, but I was too lazy to change, so you can just use your imagination.  The top keeps sliding off my shoulders (and I have broad shoulders!), and there’s just so much fabric at the top that I’m not sure how to position it. I tried chopping off part of the top, but that didn’t help. The back is not very flattering. I thought it would look like a knitted circle sweater, but I guess in knitting things just work a little bit differently. I made this out of the same super-soft undyed organic cotton interlock, so at least this top can live out its days as a pajama/lounge top instead of being tossed out. Look how impressed I am with it:

IMG_4878 (535x800) IMG_4879 (535x800) IMG_4881 (535x800)

I really like the idea of this top, but in reality it just didn’t work for me. It’s fun to try new patterns, though. One out of two isn’t bad!

Shoes: first attempt

I made shoes! Well, slippers. And barely wearable ones at that. But it’s a first step, and I’m hoping to have a pair of wearable (outdoor) shoes figured out by spring.

uku2 shoes

Pattern: Round toe strapless slippers by uku2
Fabric: outer 100% organic cotton twill, lining 100% organic quilting cotton
Size:
9
Modifications: Rounded the toe to accommodate my square feet

The instructions on this pattern are amazing. Super-detailed, with lots of photos explaining how to measure your feet properly, and how to do modifications for oddly-shaped feet (which I have!) and you can tell she did a ton of research into shoe-making. I would definitely recommend this pattern for anyone considering making shoes.

The reason these didn’t turn out quite right is completely user error. I ignored the instructions to interface because I wanted breathable shoes (I hate sweaty feet), so they’re really floppy and don’t stay on. Next time, I’ll interface with self fabric, or maybe cotton canvas, to get a bit of stability without sacrificing breathability.

The other bit of instructions I ignored was doing layers of felt in the sole, stacking from the heel and tapering to the toe. I just did one layer of wool felt all the way across because I wanted more of a barefoot/minimalist shoe. I’m happy with how it feels, but I didn’t take into account the heel depth, so the back of the heel goes up too high. An easy fix for next time.

uku2 shoes

uku2 shoes

uku2 shoes

Measuring feet is really hard! I thought I needed to adjust the left foot based on my measurements, but it turns out I didn’t need to, so one slipper is bigger than the other at the heel. I attached some elastic straps to keep these things on my feet. I’m happy with them for a first attempt, though. At least now I can wear my hand-knit socks around the house without worrying about them getting snagged on the sharp screws on the stairs. Yay!

I have one more shoe pattern I want to try before deciding which one to work on and perfect. Anyone else thinking of getting into shoe-making, or am I the only crazy one?

Strata Socks

Sheepish Grin Knit Company

Yarn: Sheepish Grin Knit Company Sheepish Feet Deluxe in Asarum Canadense
Pattern: my own
Ravelry notes here.

I made these in October while I was at Knit City, it just took me this long to get around to photographing them. I really need to work on that…

For the pattern, I did stripes of various textures using basic knit and purl stitches (ribbing, seed stitch, stocking stitch, and garter) plus cables. The look kind of reminds me of rock strata, so that’s what I named them!

The first sock was super easy because I was just making it up as I went along, but on the second sock, I kept forgetting to switch to the next stripe, so there was a lot of frogging. Maybe I should have done random mismatching striped socks. I like my knitting to be mindless with minimal counting 🙂

The yarn is from Sheepish Grin Knit Company and it’s super soft and squishy – perfect for socks!

Sheepish Grin Knit Company Sheepish Grin Knit Company Sheepish Grin Knit Company

Sheepish Grin Knit CompanySheepish Grin Knit Company

Minoru!

Sewaholic Minoru Jacket

Pattern: Minoru Jacket by Sewaholic
Outer Fabric: 100% wool from a local garage sale
Lining: 100% Silk Habotai, dyed with Procion Dyes (details below)
Size: 6, graded to 0 in the waist and hips
Modifications: side seam pockets, patch pockets, and tab belt

This was supposed to be my fall jacket, but I didn’t finish it until late November, and I’m just posting it now. I’m so slow! I should really get started on some summer dresses while there’s still time…

Anyway, this is one of those projects that looks good from far away, but is all wonky up close. It was my first time sewing with silk, wool, and matching plaids (or checks? what would you call this stuff?). Silk is supposed to be the hardest fabric to sew with, and wool one of the easier fabrics, but these two were closely matched in difficulty. The wool kept shifting and growing, making it almost impossible to match up the plaids when I was cutting it out. And sewing in a straight line was pretty much impossible! I just had to keep going because seam-ripping seemed pointless.

I managed to get a fairly close plaid-matching on the side seams and hood, but I don’t think it’s possible to match both the front and back raglan seams, so those don’t match at all!

IMG_5086 (800x533)

Sewaholic Minoru Jacket

I added a tab belt with buttons for more waist definition in the front, but now I’m not sure I like it. I think the buttons might be a tad too low, so I’m thinking of moving them up a bit, or just taking the whole thing off. What do you think?

tab detail

I also added side seam pockets to keep my hands warm.

Pocket detail

And patch pockets for the look and to hold my keys when I go for a walk.

pocket

I placed the patch pockets too low, creating a bit of a problem with the hem. I had to stitch a bit lower so I wouldn’t sew right through the pocket. Actually, at first I didn’t notice, and I did sew right through the pocket. Oops.

hem

I made the inner pockets out of silk because I was worried the wool would be too scratchy, but it probably wouldn’t have made a difference. And silk is definitely hard to sew in a straight line! So much wonkiness…

lining

lining

The Dyeing Process

Silk Dyeing Attempt

For the lining, I decided I wanted to try dyeing with food colouring. I’ve experimented with wool and it worked, so I thought the protein fibres in silk would work the same way. Turns out that’s not true, and if I’d bothered to google it before trying, I would have saved the house from being turned into a vinegar steam bath.  It felt like a prehistoric swamp. I was so happy with the colour, but it all just washed down the drain. Unfortunately, not enough to be able to salvage the silk, so I ordered some more habotai from Dharma and tried again with Procion Dyes. The colours shift on silk, so it came out a lot brighter than I wanted, but after the first disaster, I was just happy it wasn’t bleeding, so I decided to go ahead and sew it.

The wool outer fabric I got at a garage sale last year for practically nothing. I also got a pile of other fabric, and had fun burn-testing them all for fibre content!

I absolutely love the pattern (very easy to follow instructions, especially with the sew-along) and I plan to make another Minoru for spring – in an easier to sew cotton next time!

Sewaholic Minoru Jacket

Sewaholic Minoru Jacket

Sewaholic Minoru Jacket Sewaholic Minoru Jacket

Sewaholic Minoru Jacket

I’ve been a busy little elf!

It’s been a while! I spent most of December making Christmas presents, and then the holidays were so busy I didn’t even have time to keep up on reading blogs, let alone posting. I have a bit of a backlog of year-end posts to read – it’s so fun to see all the outfits everyone’s made over the last year! I guess it’s a bit late to do one myself, plus I don’t think I have enough finished garments to pick 5 hits and 5 misses.

Anyway, here are the products of my labour for December:

Softies Only a Mother Could Love

Creatures made of various cotton scraps and organic cotton waffle knit. Pattern from More Softies Only a Mother Could Love. These were for my two one-year-old nieces. They enjoy chewing on the ears.

Softies Only a Mother Could Love

Alien giraffes made out of more scraps and some wool felt. Pattern from Softies Only a Mother Could Love. These were for my two four-year-old nieces.

I love how cute these toys turned out, but they were so fiddly to make. Turning the bodies right side out was a bit of a nightmare. If I ever make toys again, they will have to be giant!

IMG_4920 (800x533)

A camera strap cover with pocket for the lens cap. The wave texture on top is from this tutorial.

IMG_4928 (800x533)

A hat and some fingerless gloves. The hat pattern is a variation of Jared Flood’s Turn a Square.

Softies Only a Mother Could Love

Time for some selfish sewing! And, yes, that’s a Minoru in the background 🙂 Post coming soon! Along with several other FOs I need to take pictures of. Happy New Year!