Monday, December 10, 2012

Dark Days of December

Now that we’re into the darkest days of the year we’ve been brightening up the house with lots of lights, both inside and out. I especially love the multicoloured ones in the dining room on the wrought-iron railing of the staircase that leads upstairs. I love them so much that they usually stay up all the way to February if I can talk T-Man into leaving them alone.

It’s not that I suffer from the winter blah’s or anything. Actually as long as I can get light on my work so I can see what I’m doing, I enjoy winter. An excuse to stay indoors and play in my studio? Without hearing all the outdoor stuff calling me? What’s not to love? Of course we do get out when the weather cooperates. On Saturday we took a long walk to Granville Island along the seawall. We bought lunch and ate our taco salads on the wharf, carefully protecting it from large marauding seagulls and tap-dancing starlings. We also stopped for tea on the way home at our favourite tea spot, Pekoe. I finally bought a bigger tin of Royal Earl Grey because I got tired of refilling my little one every couple of months. It’s a particularly aromatic blend with both bergamot and jasmine. I don’t drink this one all the time but like a cuppa every now and then and I can’t get it at my usual Murchie’s. Gotta spread the love around, you know. Tea is my beverage of choice. I hate coffee and soft drinks. Bleh. And since I can’t have any wine right now, I’m drinking even more tea than usual.

In crafty news I finished the socks for T-Man:

Winter’s Dark Socks


Begun:  November 12, 2012
Completed:  December 5, 2012

Yarn:  Schachenmayr nomotta Regia Line Steps Color, colourway 5371 (black with stripes and dots of white), 50g = 210m, 2 balls.

Needles:  Blackthorn carbon fibre dpns, 2mm.

Pattern:  Damselfly’s Plain Socks on 68sts, 9” before heel flap, foot 8.75” before toe.

Comments:  I shouldn’t try to knit black socks this time of year! I dropped stitches a couple of times and didn’t notice for awhile. Ended up frogging back an inch to the gusset pick-up. I also managed to knit one toe too short and had to frog it back, join on new yarn and finish again. Oh well. He likes ’em and that’s all that matters, eh?

What else? Oh yeah. Spectrum Study Group has been making wool felt decorations to exchange. I got a lovely beaded brooch from Cathie of which I unfortunately don’t have a photo for you right now. However, here’s the heart that went to live with Kirsten:


Her adorable angel bunny was also made by me, knit completely out of handspun yarns and won at a guild gift exchange quite a few years ago. I was so glad she went to such an appreciative friend! The mother-of-pearl button on this heart is an antique one from Granny’s Button Box that I inherited from T’s granny. I also made two more hearts:


I’m keeping the little yellow and red one and the bigger blue and rust one is for the next swap. These were fun to make. I haven’t done any embroidery in donkey’s years so the first one is a little wobbly but I finally found my skills returning. I’ll need them because I plan to make a stocking for the Littlest Grandbeastie and incorporating some blanket stitches. I like the look a lot. Best get on that one asap.

However, first I want to finish up the project on my table. I’ve been trying to draft this pattern from “I Am Cute Dresses”:

Evernote Snapshot 20121201 120618

You can’t really see from the photo that it’s a little shift with an interesting asymmetrical yoke that is buttoned on the left. The buttons are stitched lower than the buttonholes so the yoke fabric falls in folds. Japanese patterns often don’t fit me well without some serious adjustments since I have a lot more fluff on me than the average Japanese lady! Even though the simple garments in this book don’t have actual patterns but are made by drafting your own following the given measurements and your bust size including ease, they don’t quite work for someone who isn’t quite as angular. I needed more room for my bust so I added some length at the centre front of the skirt piece. I also made the skirt a little wider to accommodate my middle and added inseam pockets. I got confused by the shoulder measurements in the diagram, whether using the cm or inches made no difference. So I winged it and then made a muslin which showed me that the front shoulders still needed to be adjusted for my sloped/rounded/forward shoulders. There still seems to be a little extra fabric at the bottom of the back yoke but I’m hoping the skirt will pull that down somewhat. The muslin results looked somewhat like the photo but with a little less ease and more of my shoulders showing. The armholes aren’t shaped but just a straight line from underarm to shoulder and they fit better when they end closer to my neck anyway.

I’ve cut this pattern out in some freebee lightweight stretch denim stripe fabric that I picked up when my neighbour moved out. There was just enough to work around a few flaws and since it was free I’m counting this as a learning experience. If it works I’ll have a cute casual tunic/jumper (needs a t-shirt underneath to hide bra straps). If it doesn’t, only my time was wasted. And that doesn’t count, does it?


Heather said...

I am a tea drinker too. Usually just Tetley's but last time I bought Dilmah which is very nice for an everyday tea. No tea boutiques on Lasqueti, unfortunately.

It will be interesting to see how the dress/tunic turns out. You are a much more adventurous sewer than me. Very inspiring.

pao said...

Ahhh, I have I Am Cute Dresses book too. I've made the Kimono style dress a couple of times, each time changing my draft of the pattern. And then altering the final product too. But I love the dress. And the flannel nightgown. You can see them both on my blog if you want. Can't wait to see yours - that's a more complicated one. Do you have any of the other Japanese sewing pattern books? I have several.