Friday, August 16, 2019

Willow Tank Hack

Early in the summer, I sewed several Willow Tanks, from Grainline Studio. They are part of this year's summer uniform. I pretty much wear one every day. More recently, I followed these instructions (more or less) from Fancy Tiger Crafts for modifying the tank into a gathered dress.

The fabric is a yarn-dyed linen. I cut out the pieces flat, not on the fold, to be sure to get the check pattern to match at the seams and darts. The only other change I made was to make patch pockets sewn into the side seams, instead of inseam pockets. Bring on the dog days of summer!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Another York Pinafore

Not sure if this is my fourth or fifth York Pinafore. No one I know seems to be able to stop at one. I wear mine year round--with leggings and sweaters in winter and with a sleeveless linen top in summer (no bra necessary). This one is in a medium-weight linen from Pure Linen Envy, colour "Byzantium".

Here are the mods I made to the pattern, which is from Helen's Closet (based in Vancouver):

1. I cut the bodice width to size L, while cutting everything else, including length to M.
2. I made my own single-fold bias binding out of cotton, and applied that instead of the double-fold suggested by the instructions.

That's it. So quick, so easy to wear. And those pockets can hold your entire life!
Best of all, it looks fab with my new Willingdon Cardigan.

Hope to write this up in the coming weeks. I promise it won't take as long as Ellerbeck.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Second Look

Blocking is done, and buttons are on.

This is not a staged Instagram-worthy photo. This is a throw-it-down-on-your-bed, like-the-way-it-looks-so-casual kind of picture. If you scroll back to the previous post, you'll be able to see the difference that blocking makes. Really pleased with this make; it exceeds expectations, and I can't wait for some fall weather.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

First Glimpse

August is not really when you want to be working on a chunky shawl-collared cardigan, especially when you don't have air conditioning. But, with the humidity gone and the nights back down to 13C (that's 55F), the house is staying cool enough to make knitting bearable. What you see below is a sweater with a collar and front edges that have not yet been blocked into submission. Nor have the buttons been sewn on or the ends woven in. In other words, everything will be much more beautiful in a couple of days.

The real challenge is going to be getting photos. My lack of an in-house model since Isabel left home is taking a toll on my design photography. If you know anyone approximately 5'2" and 100 lbs, who enjoys posing for the camera, send them my way!

Monday, July 29, 2019

When Underarm Grafting Isn't Quite Right

A few years ago I wrote a tutorial all about underarm grafting for bottom-up seamless sweaters. From the many links to it on Ravelry and elsewhere, it's been quite useful to a lot of you. It's a form of joining that looks very neat and tidy when executed properly PROVIDED YOU ARE WORKING IN STOCKING STITCH. So, what to do if you are working in some sort of stitch pattern? I have a solution. It's one I came up with on my own; to coin EZ's terminology, it's something I "unvented", meaning that someone else may have come up with this on their own but I'm not unaware of it.

I'm in the final stages of knitting a cardigan in a simple pattern stitch.
You can see that if I were to join the underarms by ordinary grafting, there would be an interruption of the pattern in two ways: 1) there would be a horizontal band of stocking stitch across the underarm area, and 2) the vertical lines of the stitch pattern would be "off" by half a stitch, as that is what happens when you graft two pieces of knitting originating from opposite directions (it doesn't show in stocking stitch). I know it's only the underarms, but let's get it right. Here's my solution.

Start by turning the garment inside out. You will notice that this beautiful stitch happens to produce a reversible basket stitch on the inside. Now follow steps One and Two from my earlier grafting tutorial. (Hint: open it up in a separate window, so you can see both tutorials.)

Step One: The stitches are transferred to dpns. It doesn't matter if the sleeve is above or below.

Step Two: Remember to pay special attention to the orientation of the extra stitches picked up on the end of each needle.

Now, instead of grafting, simply unite the gap with a 3-needle bind off. It will look like this from the wrong (working) side,

and like this from the right side. Notice how beautifully the vertical lines of the stitch pattern come together.

It's not the first time I've done underarms this way; I used the same method of closure a couple of years ago when I made this unpublished aran.

 OK, now back to that shawl collar...

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Sweater Spa

Isabel dropped in for a visit last weekend and brought three, yes three, sweaters in her little carry-on bag. It seems that it's easier to lug the sweaters across the continent and wash them in my old-school Whirlpool top loader than it is to deal with them in a studio apartment in California. So, she soaked them and laid them out on the dining room floor, where they dried in record time in last weekend's heat wave.

I had already given the one she had made for herself a bit of a repair job.

Good thing that visible mending is in, because there was no more of the original wool in sight.
P.S. Two posts in one day -- from someone who goes months without posting. This is what comes of spending the day alone in the house without interruptions!

Back to the Future

Here I am sitting in an un-air-conditioned house in late July, knitting. Remarkably, the house is comfortable, thanks to its 1918 construction (front porch, high ceilings, big windows) and position surrounded by large trees on a hill where it catches the cool breezes off Lake Ontario. Plus, I've returned to the lessons of my childhood, when air conditioning was rare--windows open at night but closed during the day, blinds and shutters closed on the sunny side of the house, fans on, and cold meals involving no cooking. The bonus? Our utitilies bill is low and our consciences can rest easy that at least in this one area we are not contributing to global warming.
This morning I've managed to join my little cropped cardigan.

The wool is Cascade Eco+ in a pale grey. Here you can see the body and the right sleeve, which have been blocked to verify length and gauge, and the left sleeve, which I did not bother to block. To keep myself entertained whilst working my way up my decrease chart (for raglans, as well as a V-neck), I'm re-listening to C.S. Harris's Sebastian St.Cyr regency mysteries, as narrated by Davina Porter. A perfect summer morning.