Pattern Planning

This week, I’m switching out my needles for, well, needles. Rather than knitting, I’ve been sewing! I still hope to make a felted blue fedora before winter flees entirely, but for this week, a dress was in order.

Now I’ve been making my own patterns for quite some time now, and usually base them off an existing garment. This method works well for me, but the first few times I tried it I ran into an issue. To be honest, the first few times, I ran into quite a few issues, but I’ll just address one in this post. What I found myself doing, in the giddiness of creating my own clothes from scratch, was losing track of what pieces I needed to cut. To solve this, I drafted my patterns on a whiteboard before I actually drafted the pattern pieces on tissue.ImageHere’s the board for my latest project. It’s a fairly simple jersey dress, in a lovely print. I followed the same pieces as the template dress, and charted out visually what I would need to draft and cut, and made a few notations, like directions for gathering.ImageThe lines at edges of pieces denote gathers, which reminds me to cut the pieces to accommodate them. I’ll also use arrows to mark what pieces will be joined, and if there’s folded fabric, like the waistband above, I draw it like a tent. Additionally, I mark down how many of each piece a need – the “x2” by the bodice piece.

When I’ve mapped it all out, I actually start drafting the pattern and cutting the pieces. At this point, I go back to the board and check off each piece as it’s cut. That way I have a quick and easy way to ascertain my progress.

This method takes a little extra time at the beginning, but I find that it more than makes up for it in the end! Oh, and because you’re probably wondering, here’s how the final dress turned out:Image

Advertisements

Cloche Complete!

Hello all!

I’m super-duper excited about this post. I’m super-duper excited because I managed to actually use some of the yarn I bought and featured in last week’s post! Do you realize I have a post from months back talking about work-in-progess that is still in progress? I happen to have born seventeen days late on National Procrastinator’s Day (September 5th, for the curious). Fate herself works against me when it comes to getting stuff done, even when said stuff is super-duper fun knitting projects.

But! I did it! I knit and felted a lovely cloche, using the Stirling Cloche pattern from One-Skein Wonders. And I’m sure you’d like to see pictures of how it turned out, so here goes!

013

I didn’t take a picture of the hat knitted but not felted. Basically, it was a floppy saucer and I was worried about how it would felt. This is the first time I’ve shaped and felted (technically fulled) a project. To set the shape after giving the hat its hot, sudsy bath, I upended a bowl roughly the circumference of my head and put the damp hat on it. However, the brim limped against the counter, so I set the bowl and hat on empty peanut jar to raise it. Like so:

ImageThen, to give the hat shape as it dried, I wrapped two rubber-bands around where the brim was supposed to flair out. The pattern sorted this flair with decreases, but I wanted a more pronounced shape.ImageI’m very happy with how it turned out and feel much more confident with the yarn. I think I’ll use the blue yarn to tackle a felt fedora! Probably not for next week, but definitely up and coming!

The cloche is not actually completely finished, but only because my ribbon stash is lower than I realized and I didn’t have anything that complimented this hat. But here’s what it looks like on, as is:

012

It’s actually more felted than it looks in this picture. I needed to use the flash – yay rainy days – and it seems to really pick up the individual stitches.

So I’m happy, and can’t wait to put the final touch of the ribbon band. And I hope I’ve inspired any other procrastinators out there to get their craft on!

Wool in the Spring

004In honor of the impending spring time, I went out and bought a bunch of yarn for felting! …Okay, so wool and felt don’t quite say spring like chiffon and daffodils, but I had a gift certificate that needed to be used and a deep, desperate desire to make a felted cloche. I have a bit of an obsession with the classic 1920’s hat, and have two commercially made cloches. I’ve been thinking it’s high time to make myself one or two.

With cloches in mind, I’ve been looking at different patterns for awhile, and I finally decided on two and bought yarn – four skeins of Alafosslopi by Lopi*. It’s lovely Icelandic wool, in a heavy worsted/bulky weight. Two of the skeins are a nice burgundy/berry and the others are the light blue of a spring sky – see! It’s totally a spring project!

001I also got two sets of Plymouth Yarn’s* bamboo double-pointed needles. I love working with double pointed needles, and while I don’t have actual problems using my aluminum needles, I find bamboo needles easier on my hands and wrists, and less slippery.

I got a set of US5 and US10

I got a set of US5 and US10

But what am I going to knit?

The first is a felted hat from Twiss and Weber which I found on Ravelry. It has directions for both a fedora style felted hat, and a cloche. Not sure which I’ll do yet; Both look fabulous!

Image

(c) Twiss & Weber

The second pattern I’m using comes from One-Skein Wonders, edited by Judith Durant. The Stirling Cloche (by Cirilia Rose) is a classic shape, and calls for a cute ribbon band delineating the top from the brim. Confession time: I tried this pattern already, but accidentally used super-wash wool. Which doesn’t felt. But this time! This time I have the right yarn! It will be beautiful!

002So while the warming trend continues and the snow washes away, I’m up over my head – literally, ’cause, ya’know, hats – in Icelandic wool! And I wouldn’t have it any other way!

*I have no affiliation with either brand and receive no compensation for using/mentioning their products.

Breaking News: Afghan Invaded by Soveriegn Nation of Cat!!!

So today’s post was supposed to be a celebration of a finished project, one that was a major stash buster. And it still kind of is. It’s just that my cat totally took over the celebrations.

Image

He’s all “Oh you wanted to photograph the blanket? But what about me?”

I’ve been working on an afghan for the past few months, using odds and ends of my yarn stash. It’s a simple granny square mish-mosh, joined up with more granny-stitch pattern. Consequently, there are lots of different colors and textures. While I admire the careful planning evident in many afghans I see, I love the crazy energy of stash-busting blankets. Also, I harbor weird, vain dreams that the afghan will still be around in 40 odd years and my grandkids will pick favorite squares!

007

Maybe they’ll like the green one! Or the mixed yarn square! Or the funky eye-lash thing towards the bottom…

Or perhaps good ol' blue and white! Or the lion colors next to it!

Or perhaps good ol’ blue and white! Or the lion colors next to it!

But enough of that! I went to spread the blanket out to take pictures and before I could even turn the camera on, Mr. Luna Tic jumped up and made himself at home! I figured proof of a satisfied blanket-user wouldn’t go amiss!

Here's the whole blanket, with Luna in the center!

Here’s the whole blanket, with Luna in the center!

015

Look at the juxtaposition of textures! The skillful crocheting! Oh, who am I kidding? Look at that cat!

Eventually, though, the diva tired of the attention.

018

“Please, no more pictures.” he purred, demurely covering his face with one white-gloved paw…

In the end, I have a much lighter stash, a lovely afghan, and a contented cat. What more could a crafter ask for?