Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Slowly Roasting

But I’m trying hard not to complain too bitterly about it. It’s not like I could shift that big blob of HOT that’s stuck just off the BC coast! It is what it is. It also was 32C (90F) yesterday and heading for that again today. At least my hot weather veggies are enjoying it – as long as I can keep them from drying out too much. I picked my first cucumber of the season, the beans are flowering and the spaghetti squashes are bigger than softballs. The dye garden isn’t doing too badly either. So far I have a Ziploc full of nicely dried dyer’s chamomile. The Sauce Hollandaise variety looks like every other daisy-type flower you’ve ever seen:

 DyersChamomile

Their little faces are about an inch or so across. After I picked them they dried very quickly to crisp little buttons:

DyersChamomile_dried

(Luckily you can’t see the dried aphids!) I picked a bunch more last evening so hopefully now I’ll have enough for at least one test dyebath. As soon as I around to getting some yarn mordanted, that is.

There’s not nearly as much of the dried grandiflora coreopsis:

GrandifloraCoreopsis_dried

That is all I’ve got so far. There’s only 2 young plants so I’m not surprised at the lack of volume. Collection is ongoing. 

What’s next? I’ve been avoiding the studio as too hot even with the big swamp cooler/fan on. I’ve managed to cut out 2 dresses though not even begun to sew them yet. There’s the Mizono dress/jumper/tunic/bubble-thingy, V1410:

Mizono V1410

You can see it better in the line drawing:

V1410 line

The 2 views are the same dress but it has buttons underneath so you can adjust the drape to tunic length. I cut a size 12 (again, not remotely my pattern measurements!) and also re-drew the shoulders and armscyes to fit me better. I raised the neckline quite a bit too. You can see it gapping badly on the model! I figure I can cut it down if it’s too high but not add to it if I cut too low. I cut some self bias binding for the armholes and neckline instead of just turning under a hem and cut some big square patch pockets. (Because I love pockets!) Lastly I shortened it at the lower lengthen/shorten line by 2”. It’s still going to be pretty long on my 5’3-1/2” (and shrinking) body but I didn’t want to lose too much of the bubbled side seams. The fabric is a black slightly-crinkled rayon with lovely drape. I’ve had it in the stash for ages and it has changed its mind about what it wanted to become at least 5 or 6 times. Ha-ha! It’s committed now!

The second dress I cut out is Marcy Tilton’s Vintage French House Dress V8813:

MarcyTilton V8813

Here’s the line drawing, View A:

V8813 line

Mine is going to look very much like the photo because I’m using a red-orange stretch linen blend. This fabric tried to change its mind about what it wanted to be a couple of times but I didn’t allow it since I actually bought it specifically for this pattern! Heh. I cut a Medium and raised the neckline an inch. Again I can cut it down if I think it would look better as drafted but I’d rather have the extra fabric there in case. I think I might have to adjust the gathers in front down a little to compensate for my low bust, though I’ll judge that when I get there. Other sewists don’t seem to have messed with the gather height at all though I may also use a different technique to gather them than the instructions say.

Interestingly the Mizono dress is only 2 large pattern pieces but it still took more than 2.5 metres of my 56” wide fabric. (Like the way I slip from metric to imperial in the same sentence? I’m bi-measuremental!) The Tilton dress has her usual odd pattern pieces but this time not asymmetrical ones. I cut the pocket facings out vertically with the stretch running up-and-down thinking that that would stabilise them a little. They are rather voluminous! And Marcy does that with her knit version View C. I’m hoping to finish this dress in time to wear it to a family wedding next week.

Which brings me to a dress that my DIL bought from a thrift shop that fits her perfectly except for where it flares right under the arms. I thought it would be a quick repair but the odd way the lining has been stitched in as necessitated lots of unpicking and possible hand-stitching. I’ve been putting it off but since she’s planning to wear it to the same wedding, I’d best get my rear in gear. Today.

In other news, we took down the display at the Roundhouse Community Centre yesterday. Thom happily got his guitar back and he serenaded us while we packed up the rest of the items. We have re-submitted the cigar box guitar to the Crafts Council of BC for a show in Crafthouse in November. We’ll find out in a couple of weeks if Thom has to give up his guitar for awhile again! Meanwhile, he’s enjoying playing it again while he can. Who knew it would be so popular? On the way home from the Roundhouse yesterday (uphill in 30C heat) we stopped at a shady bench at City Hall to cool for a few minutes and a guy walking by asked about the guitar. Thom let him try it for a bit. (Upside down! It’s a lefty!) He wanted Thom to show him how to build one! LOL!!! Sure thing, bub. Five minutes, tops. Right? Ummm…no. Do your research. Take a class. Put in the time to learn. Just like I’m going to casually teach a total random stranger how to spin and knit a sweater? Just like that.

Anyway, to all my Canadian buddies, hope you and yours have a Happy Canada Day tomorrow! True North strong and free! (Free of Harper would be good too, but I’m not holding my breath.)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

In The Summertime

Thanks to El Niño, we’re having above-seasonal temperatures and below-average rainfall. It’s been soooo hot! Yeah, I know for some places 30C (86F) doesn’t really register as particularly warm but for us here in the Land of No Air Conditioning it’s melting. OK, I admit that some offices, shops, malls, movie theatres and cars have AC but most private homes don’t. We only maybe have a few weeks out of an entire year when it’s really needed. So we just suck it up, aim a fan in our general direction and suffer think cool thoughts. It’ll be back to normal again soon enough. Though the forecast says there’s no end in sight. Yet. Although it rained a little today. Not enough to actually water anything but it did make me drag knitting and my drying dye flowers inside.

Yes, I decided to pick the dyer’s chamomile and try it out. I’ve been hesitating because I’ve only had the plants for just over a year and I was concerned that they were the “Sauce Hollandaise” variety with white flowers so I didn’t think they would have enough yellow dye in them to work. But according to Harald Böhmer in his book, many of the white chamomiles have good yellow so why not these ones? So I’m attempting to collect enough for a test skein and it’s not a particularly fun exercise. This year the dyer’s chamomile sadly has lots of aphids on the stems with their attendant ants. Truly it’s a bad year for aphids on a lot of things. Ick. I chopped the stems down about 6” in hopes of eliminating some of the aphids and also encouraging new buds. It also made it easier to snip the flowers off the tips. (Picture aphid-gooey kitchen shears and ants running all over my hands and up my arms. Nope, on second thought, better not.) I hope some dried aphids won’t affect the dye colour! Happily the ants bailed out as the flower heads were drying outside so luckily I didn’t bring them in too when it started to rain.

Speaking of the book Koekboya: Natural Dyes and Textiles: A Colour Journey from Turkey to India and Beyond, I took it out of my guild Koeboyalibrary for the summer. This is the third time I’ve borrowed this book and it’s really starting to make much more sense now. The first time I read it I was overwhelmed by the chemistry and thought that many of the dyes discussed were only specific to Turkey. But now I seem to have acquired enough experience and read enough from other sources for the detailed information in this lovely book to become much more clear to me. Sadly I don’t own it myself - though for a mere $129.95 Canadian I could get a copy from Maiwa Supply! Nevermind. I’ll just borrow it again if I need to.

What else have I been up to? I finished my Alpaca Tweed Cardi:

AlpacaTweedCardi

See how nice the pockets worked out?

AlpacaCardi_det2

Though as I said before, the pocket lining could have been a little wider. And I used two of the carved bone buttons from India that I bought at Maiwa’s recent sale:

AlpacaCardi_det3

The collar is really nice and high so I won’t need to wear a scarf with it. I can also wear it unbuttoned:

AlpacaCardi_det1

The pattern is the Larch Cardigan by Amy Christoffers and the yarn is my handspun alpaca/wool tweed. I only used about 325g/approx. 1100 yds so I have nearly 200g left. I have a shawl in mind, with beads and I’ve found the perfect ones for the project. There may be enough yarn left to make another hat too. I’ll be well-outfitted for fall.

I seem to be on a sweater knitting kick these days. No socks! I figured my sweater collection needed enlarging and there’s no room in our drawers for more socks anyway. So to give a little concession to the summer season, I’m plugging slowly away on the Periwinkle Necklace Cami. It’s taking even longer than it should because I made a boo-boo and forgot to reverse the cables after the midpoint. Doh. A little trip to the frog pond and we’re back to where I screwed up. It’s getting easier. At least I can listen to podcasts while working on it now. I can hardly wait to get to the larger needles and the stockinette body!

Because the Periwinkle was impossible to work on while watching TV, I started Low Tide by tincanknits. It’s kind of a vest-ish short-sleeved cardigan and I’m knitting it in my recycled handspun Black Raspberry Wool. Thom referred to it as Red Tide when I told him the pattern name so it stuck. I also can’t decide what kind of garment it is so I’m adding Vestigan to its name. I’ve only done the right yoke so far. More to come on this one. You will note that I still only have 2 knitting projects on the go: one easier and one harder. I’m controlling myself from casting on more items from my Ravelry queue.

In sewing news, I cut out a couple of dresses but it’s really too hot to work comfortably up in my studio in the afternoons. These could take a little more time to get done. However I’m feeling quite enthusiastic so who knows? More about them next post.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Down The Garden Path

It’s been very warm here – 28C (84F) in the shade today – with some high cloud that diffuses the sun. And also keeps in the humidity. OK, it’s only 65% which may be low for some places but it’s quite sticky to me! I’ve been out in the garden clearing the paths.

Before:

GardenPath2 GardenPath

And after:

GardenPath4 GardenPath3

You can actually see where to put your feet! Amazing. The ground cover between the stones includes several kinds of creeping thyme, blue and white star creepers, alyssum and violets. I pulled out a bunch of weeds and pruned the higher-growing thyme back with the kitchen shears. They will need it again in a few weeks but it’s kind of fun giving them a haircut. Now if only the vegetables in the garden beds would grow as well, huh? 

In the dye garden the various types of coreopsis are starting to bloom. This one is the perennial grandiflora:

GrandifloraCoreopsis

I grew this plant from seed. It took 2 years to bloom! The flowers are quite large (you might have guessed by its name!) and I’ve been deadheading them as they begin to wither. Eventually I might have a single dyebath to show for it. Then there’s the threadleaf coreopsis, also a perennial:

ThreadleafCoreopsis

So far there’s only one flower out. I got this plant from my mother-in-law’s garden. For her they are reseeding like weeds! I hope to try using the leaves in eco-dyeing later this year but I’ll also keep the spent flowers to add to the grandiflora dyebath. Lastly there’s the annual dyer’s coreopsis:

DyersCoreopsis

They haven’t started blooming yet but there are buds nearly ready to pop. I grow these every year and love the colours I get from them, yellow, brass, gold, orange and rust. They are very susceptible to dye modifiers for all the different shades. I’m looking forward to seeing how the perennial coreopsis differs and whether or not they will produce orange/rust with an alkali. (I usually use a splash of non-sudsy ammonia.)

What else? Oh yeah. I finished my La Pine Dress (after a town in Oregon, south of Bend, where we camped once and visited “Big Red”, a huge 500+ year-old ponderosa pine:

LaPineDress

Yes, I know. Bad photo and it’s not even on Debbie Double this time. Lazy blogger. I love this dress! It’s so totally me. The pattern is Vogue 9112 by Marcy Tilton:

V9112

I made a Medium and the only modifications were: slope the shoulders, raise the underarm 1”, and face the collar. I think the two fabrics complement each other quite well: the green (a little darker than the photo) is a mid-weight cotton and the batik is a quilting cotton sporting pine cones on a mostly rust ground. I had 3 metres of the green cotton  in my stash forever but it has several dark streaks running across the width so it had to be made into something with small pieces that would fit between the flaws. The batik came from my last trip through Portland, OR, and it also had a flaw, a seam about 1.5 yards from one end of my 5 yard length. The batik goes right over the seam but I didn’t want it in any of my garments so it just became another thing to work around. Though there are lots of pattern pieces as usual for a Tilton pattern, they went together very easily. The only things to watch for are to make sure all the markings are transferred to the fabric and to make sure you know which is the right side up. I marked more carefully than usual and kept each pattern piece with its fabric until I used it. And for once I pretty much followed the directions verbatim.

It’s a good thing I pay zero attention to Vogue’s pattern sizing though! The Medium (12/14) doesn’t remotely match my measurements (oh, if only I was 34/26.5/36!) but this dress fits me perfectly. As long as the shoulders, armscyes and bust fit, the rest of the dress is more-or-less tent-shaped. It comes to about an inch above my knee at the shortest part of the hem so tall persons might want to take note. There’s no provision for lengthening or shortening on the pattern. I’m sure it could be done but it would be tricky with all the pieces. I’m glad I faced the collar. That gave it much more body and it holds up better than it would have with just the lighter-weight batik, even though the reverse side of the batik is good to show since the print comes through only a little blurred.

Now I want to sew more dresses! But first, I need to finish my Alpaca Tweed Cardi. Nearly there. There’s one pocket and the sleeves to set in and I’m done. So much sewing up of seams on this sweater! More on this project very soon. I also need to start something new that can become my TV knitting. The Periwinkle Cami is still not past the cabled necklace part so it doesn’t yet qualify. Too fiddly and too much chart reading. I just can’t sit and watch TV without something in my hands. Such wasted time! Oh yeah, there’s going to be enough of the alpaca tweed yarn left to knit a shawl too. I’ve already decided which one. So many things to knit I shouldn’t have any trouble starting something new, should I?

Off to sew a sweater…

Friday, June 19, 2015

Sewjo Mojo

I have been busy in the studio! Sewing!!! The dry spell seems to be over and my sewjo is back. Yay! It actually took me a couple of days to sort out all the heaps of fabrics and patterns. Some things have changed their minds about what they want to be – again! That’s what happens if I give them time to think about it. (Or maybe it’s me doing the thinking?) Anyway, if left to their own devices some pattern and fabric combinations tend to change partners. It’s quite confusing. Obviously I have to sew faster.

Another problem is that some of my sewing skills are a little rusty. It’s been awhile, OK? Ummm…something like no sewing since last October? Oh, I’ve messed with patterns and organised piles and maybe even mended a little but I haven’t actually sewn a garment for over half a year! Yikes. Anyway my latest make has a neckline binding that’s a tad loose. It’s quite wearable though. Here is my Red Squares Tunic on Debbie (as usual):

RedSquaresTunic

Sorry, the lighting wasn’t great either – it’s one shade of deep orange-red all over, not dip-dyed as it looks in this photo. And yes, the fabric had those cool square cut-outs in a border on both selvedges:

RedSquares_det

I think this photo shows the colour a little closer though it’s just slightly darker IRL. My old point-and-shoot camera doesn’t like to do reds properly sometimes. I got this piece of “designer” poly interlock the last time I went fabric shopping in Portland at Mill Ends. It was fun trying to figure out what to do to show off the border “lace”. I’ve already drafted my own version of Marcy Tilton’s now-OOP V8582:

V8582

I wear the first version from last year that I sewed in a charcoal knit so much. So this time I just added the drape on both sides, instead of only on the right. The hem is straight and I didn’t finish it but just left it raw. I kept the neck binding simple this time because there was already enough going on with the cut-outs. And I stuck a pocket on because not having a pocket handy drives me nuts! It looks straight while wearing but it’s actually at an angle to the hem.

Now to keep the momentum going. I’ve already ironed the fabrics and am starting to work on the pattern for my next make, another Marcy:

V9112, Misses' Dress

Vogue 9112. I LOVE this dress. It’s so me! And it can be made in quite crisp fabrics like the mid-weight broadcloth and batik quilt cotton fabrics I have in mind. More on this project soon.

In knitting news I’m finished the body of the Alpaca Tweed Cardi. It just needs the pocket borders knitted on and then the pockets stitched up. I’m most of the way through one sleeve and halfway on the other. I did end up frogging the first sleeve back to about 3” left before trying again to get the increases spaced properly. It took a stitch marker and a counter to remind me where and when to increase. Doh. Once I gave in and got organised it zipped right along without incident. I blame ABS (Aging Brain Syndrome). These sleeves are knit from cuff to shoulder, partly flat and partly circular and then they need to be set in. It’ll be awhile yet before I’m done this sweater but it’ll be a lot longer before I’ll be able to wear its alpaca warmth anyhow!

I also promised a peek at the Periwinkle Cami:

PeriwinkleCami_prog

Not much so far, eh? Just part of one strap. You knit start at the centre back, knit the first strap, carry on increasing cables to the centre front, then decreasing to the second strap and around to meet the beginning where the two ends are grafted together. The photo is just a little darker than the real thing but it’s such a pretty blue-violet. This “necklace” part is fiddly and takes concentration. Once that’s done though it should go much more quickly.

There’s several other knitting projects clamouring for attention too but I’m ignoring them for now. I’m really far behind on my garden tending chores but, now that my hip is feeling much better, I’m going to have to get back to it asap. We’ve needed to water nearly every single day – except today because it actually rained yesterday evening. And harvesting goes on:

GarlicScapes

That’s a bundle of my garlic scapes. Aren’t they fun? They are also delicious especially in stir-fries, egg dishes, mashed potatoes and pasta. They add quite a garlicy punch to a salad if you chop them very fine. There’s lots of recipes for scape pesto too but I haven’t tried them. The scapes keep well in the fridge for at least a month or more or you can chop and freeze them. One of the best perks for growing your own hard-neck garlic. And you even get regular garlic bulbs too! Win-win, I’d say.

Moving right along. Gotta go get some grub in for our Family Father’s Day BBQ and Car Free Day Walk on Sunday. Just our kids and the grandbeasties. It’ll be fun.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Are We Back In Business?

After giving Windows Live Writer, a no-longer-supported MS program and my supreme blog editor of choice, a while in Time Out it seems to have decided to cooperate! Sheesh. What is it about computers anyway?

So. Where were we? My ouchie hip is recovering but I’ve been very good to it. Lots of rest, ice packs (a small bag of out-of-date edamame works fab!) and no long-distance walking. I’m feeling more optimistic that it will be back to what passes for normal: i.e. not perfect but something I can live with. I cannot live happily without my mobility. And I’m not ready for replacement surgery. Yet. Still don’t know what I did so I don’t repeat the feat though!

Meanwhile we’ve been spending our spare time watering the garden. It’s been absolutely lovely outdoors! Sunny and not too hot thanks to cool breezes. However, the soil dries out very quickly and everything needs watering nearly every day. I’ve been picking loads of peas now. There are 4 different varieties of snap and snow peas and the tallest are at about the limit of my reach – up there:

Peas

They certainly recuperated from that nasty hail incident, didn’t they? And the basil has grown a lot more since I picked bunches for drying:

Basil

I swear this is the best my basil has ever grown! I really overplanted this year plus it shares this railing planter with some of my trailing lobelias. Maybe it likes to be snuggly? I put some different soil in there as well which has an ingredient that holds water better than usual. Dunno. It’s probably a combination of all the right things to inspire Happy Basil.

As I was sitting around of course I was also knitting! I’m nearly done the collar on the Alpaca Tweed Cardi plus part of one sleeve. I may have to frog some of that sleeve though because my increases are not consistent. I find it hard to count the rows in this fuzzy yarn and I’ve not been keeping very good track! I might just park what I’ve got and start the second sleeve to see if it looks any better before I pull anything out of the first one. Maybe it won’t be at all noticeable. I mean if I can’t tell that something’s wonky while looking at it close up then who else can? It depends more on whether or not I can live with it just knowing it’s wonky. The two sleeves also need to be matchy-wonky or somebody’s going to hit the frog pond.

And then I started knitting something new. I know! I still have an abandoned warp on the loom, a huge pile of patterns and fabrics and a heap of spinning I want to do but no, I have to start another knitting project. And it’s not an easy knit either, at least in the beginning. I’ll tell you more later – unless you go look at my Ravelry first. Not that there’s much to see yet.

I was also reading a lot while sitting around. I have a few more thoughts on the Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns book now that I’ve pretty much read it cover-to-cover:

  • If you really want to get the full effect, you really need at least one more book from this series. I’d recommend Alabama Studio Sewing + Design which I think has the most detail on their distinctive hand-stitched and embellished style.
  • The patterns that are new to this book are not provided on paper like they are in the other three books. The CD includes all the patterns from all the books in PDF format but they are in a commercial wide printer format, not already tiled as you’ve come to expect from indy designers. However, there’s an easy workaround using Poster in the printer settings in Adobe Reader which pretty much everyone uses to read and print PDFs anyway. There’s help if you need it. Remember to keep the scale at 100% and use cutmarks and labels to help reassemble.
  • The pattern size range has been extended for all the designs but even the XXL (16-28) is still not particularly large with bust 44-46”, waist 35-36”, and hip 43-44”. Luckily the stretchy nature of cotton knits helps the fit and also it wouldn’t be hard to extend the simple patterns where you might need more room.
  • I like the section at the back of the book which is an Index of Design Choices for all the styles pictured. It tells you what fabric weights, colours, stencils, paint, stitches, seams, threads and any embellishments were used.
  • There’s also a chart with fabric amounts needed for each design and including which book it came from.
  • The actual fitting and assembly information is still somewhat rudimentary. A very beginner might still have questions on some steps. The garments are pretty basic though and there is more detail in the earlier books if you have them available.
  • Pattern layout diagrams would have been helpful. (Not that I ever follow them!)

And that’s it for now from the top of my head. I have been back in the studio (it’s warm up there!) trying to re-sort out all my piles of patterns and fabrics. I thought I had them all organised into projects but no, they’ve changed their minds on what they want to become! Uppity critters. I have two items right off that I’m itching to make now that I can stand up and move around more easily. I need to sew. Soon.

But right now I’m plugging my ears to the siren song of my studio and heading out to schlep fish fertiliser on my garden. I’ve put it off and things are growing so fast that I really think they need the extra food. And I want to do this before I have a shower! Nothing like eau de fish guts as a personal scent wafting around. Yum.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

June Bugs

No, not the insect kind of bug. I'm bugged. Don't know quite what I've done to it but my right hip, the one with a usual twinge of arthritis, is currently doing more than twinging. It comes and goes without rhyme or reason. I mean, if I knew what set it off I wouldn't do whatever that was, right? When I tried to walk to the grocery store yesterday it was one big pain in the patootie all the way there and all the way back. Queue the ice pack. If I can't walk my usual 30k a week I'm going to go as squirrely as if you took away all my knitting needles! Bleh. Hope it goes away very very soon or I will be more than just bugged.

OK. Whinge over. Moving right along.

Pink water lilies - VanDusen Gardens

Let us talk of other things like, say, the two sewing books I got in the post yesterday. The first one is Alabama Chanin Sewing Patterns:


It includes a CD with all of the patterns from all three of Natalie Chanin's books (including this one) in a larger range of sizes. Yay! The book discusses how to fit your body and several different ways to modify the styles as well as showing many examples on different body types. I've been wanting to make a Chanin-esque tunic/dress for quite some time and this may just be the inspiration I need to get going on it.

The slightly sad thing is the book was damaged in the mail. Ouch! I'm not going to bother returning it though. It's still perfectly readable and I did check that the CD remained intact.


Next we have the latest Palmer/Pletsch publication Knits for Real People by Pati Palmer and Susan Neall.


The cover is rather dated-looking, I guess to follow the design of the other books in this series. (And is that Pattern Review's Deepika I spy?) However the interior is full of photos, tips and info from many well-known sewists including Marcy Tilton. The inspiration patterns even include many of the ones I already own! (Whether or not I've sewn them yet is another question.) It's going to be an excellent addition to my sewing library and a good reference for my Craftsy class with the Tilton sisters. I sew a lot of knits, probably at least 2/3 of my output, and they are always my go-to everyday garments. Can't wait to read both of these new books cover to cover!

What else? The weather has been really warm and sunny, for us anyway. My basil has done the best ever for me in its planter box on the upper deck. It was getting so tall and luscious that I had to harvest a bunch to dry for later. I always hang drying herbs on my cupboard doors in the kitchen:


The rest of the garden is growing pretty quickly. I'm still picking lots of "greens and reds" though these cool weather things are starting to bolt in earnest in the heat. We're getting raspberries and peas. Little cabbage heads are forming but I've mostly only been getting male flowers on the squashes yet. I try to help them along with my handy paintbrush when a female flower opens. Floral artificial insemination. Heh.

In knitting news I'm working alternately on the collar and the sleeves of my Alpaca Tweed Cardi. The sleeves are knit separately, partially flat and partially in the round, and then stitched into the armholes. In the heat of the afternoon it's nice not to have a heap of very warm alpaca in your lap, let me tell you! The collar is knit onto the body of the sweater using short rows. Instead of following the instructions to pick up stitches as you go, I picked them all up first. Much easier and I was able to make sure I had the right amount of stitches evenly picked up over the collar area. The only other difference was that I needed to wrap and turn on each short row (not specified in the instructions) or there were holes. But since the wraps don't show I don't need to pick them up on the return. It's kind of nice to have enough experience now to be the boss of my knitting! Saves a lot of grief getting stuck when things don't work out or aren't clear in the pattern.

I'll leave you with a couple of fun photos from last week. We took Thom's mom out to lunch at the Shaughnessy Restaurant at VanDusen Gardens and then went for a slow stroll around part of the garden. This poor beast is the Minotaur and the Blue Hare by artist/sculptor Sophie Ryder. He seems to have lost his blue hare somehow. I was trying to console him:



Sunday, May 31, 2015

I've Got Pocketses

Still posting directly from Blogger. :(

So. You'll be able to tell that I'm obviously still not back to sewing yet. I've been completely obsessed with knitting and having a ball - winding balls! Also stalking Ravelry and putting together yarns and patterns. Yes, I've purchased a few patterns. But I consider that a very small expense considering that I mostly knit from patterns I already own or from free ones. And I haven't spent any money on yarn. Succumbing to spinning fibre at Fibres West recently doesn't count. Heh. Especially since I've spun half of it up already. And look! I'm actually knitting with it too!

The Alpaca Tweed Cardi is currently my only knitting project and I'm challenging myself to put pockets in the Larch Cardigan pattern. It's a mind-bending puzzle! The sweater is knit bottom-up so first I followed the pattern and knit up 4" to the beginning of the sweater opening. Then I divided for the pocket openings and knit up just the centre-front pieces, decreasing for the slanted openings as I went and put the stitches on hold:



The rest of the fronts and back waited until I had knit the beginnings of the pocket liners up to the bottom of the opening:


Next step is to join the liners to the main needle so I can continue to knit the piece up to the height of the pocket openings:



One liner goes at the beginning of the main needle and one at the end. They'll eventually tuck behind the front sections. Knit-knit-knit (working hip shaping at the same time!) up to the top of the pockets:


I'm nearly there. Then the whole shebang gets joined into one again and I'll carry on with the rest of the pattern. Later I'll stitch down the liners at the back and pick up and knit some twisted ribbing along the opening to finish it off. Easy-peasy, right? The things I will do for pocketses.

When I unravelled my Ribbon Sweater I ended up with about 866 yards of fingering-weight 2-ply wool. I'm calling it Black Raspberry:


This is after I washed it to freshen it up and try to take all the wrinkles out. You can't really see it in the photo but there are several shades of red, black and kind of a forest green. I still haven't been able to track down the wool information. I don't even know if I dyed it myself or if it was a commercial colourway. Bad damselfly. However, I have decided what to make with it: the Low Tide cardigan from Tin Can Knits.

The other yarn that comprised the Ribbon Sweater was this:




The actual ribbon. After having been knit and living in a sweater for 10 years it has softened and scrunched. I washed all the sweater yarn plus some that hadn't been used yet to see whether that would also soften up. Not so much. There's 2 skeins in the photo: used on the left and unused on the right. In a hunt through the stash I found 5 1/2 more unused balls:



It's Lion Brand Incredible in the popular Copper Penny colourway. It's now discontinued but I have more than enough to knit a whole sweater. I thought I would try swatching for the Garter Stitch Swingy Sweater by Jenn Pellerin. It's a free pattern for an asymmetrical cardigan in garter stitch which could look cute. The colours blend really well in my wardrobe anyway. More on that when I get to it.

What else? Oh yeah. I balled up the Blue Star Ranch mohair yarn:



This yarn came from our late friend Max and his wife Hilde's farm from many years ago. It's been lurking around in its natural white state while I've never found anything I wanted to knit with it. There's 660 yds/255g and I've finally dyed it blue with indigo in honour of Blue Star Ranch. It's a little too prickly for around the neck even for me and I'm not particularly sensitive. I thought maybe a pullover knit on larger needles to layer over other clothes so it's not touching the skin. I'll try swatching for the Mohair Minimalist Top by Anna Kuduja and see what the fabric looks like. This free pattern is in only one (small) size but I'm sure it will be easy to adjust since again it's knit top-down.

The queue is getting quite long now! I need to learn to knit faster, huh?