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Burda April 2009, 112

I’ve been wanting a stripey top for a while now and when I saw this fabric at Emma One Sock, I snapped it up, hardly noticing that it was ‘featherweight’.  There’s been a wealth of the ultra light weight knits around the web recently and they’re not kidding.  This one is barely opaque and very elastic.  All this I pretty much ignored when I cut my pattern in a 42.  I should have used 44 in the bust and hips.  Now, I guess, I should lose a few pounds.

The pattern is fast and goes together very well. One change I made was to use a neckband to further highlight the stripes.  I love it.  And the cuffs are so fun.

The only fussy part is lining up the stripes, so they match as much as possible. My hem is straight and the side seams match, but the sleeve and raglan seams don’t.  Eh.  It’s a narrow stripe, so the effect’s not too discordant.

How about I end with a fab titscrepancy shot?

What I did in Philly

Philadelphia is gorgeous and so friendly.  I came back from PR Weekend exhausted, fabric-laden and friend rich.

I missed the workshop and museum trip on Friday but caught up with the group for dinner on Friday.  I’ve been eating few carbs recently, so the pasta fare seemed pretty exotic.  On Saturday we hit the shops.  We started with the fabric district in Philadelphia itself.  I splurged on one piece only, which, of course, glitters:

I think it’s a wool with metallic thread, but the weave is kind of loose, allowing for fairly big spaces in the fabric.  It’s kind of a poor woman’s Linton Tweed.  It’s begging to be a Chanel jacket, but that’s so obvious, I’m reluctant to commit to it.  In the stash it goes.

After lunch, we hit London Textiles, where I spotted three pieces I’d bought from Emma One Sock already.  The prices were higher, but so was the quality.

Stretch cotton.  This time, it’s the poor woman’s Liberty print.  I tend not to sew up my real Liberty stash.  I’ve got pieces going back twenty years.  They’re so beautiful and some of them are memory keepers of who and where I was when I bought them.

Silky jersey.  I thought it was a good quality Italian viscose knit, but I paid anyway.  There’s a theme developing now regarding my color choices:

Pink, fuschia, red, cream, black.  (The purple was an unloved piece left over from the ‘ugly’ fabric swap.)  My favorite is the embroidered piece:

It’s loosely knitted in black with the cross hatch embroidery in the red color range.  It’s impractical and probably won’t ever get sewn up, but sometimes pieces need to come home with you. I also picked up some crinkled rayon faille in charcoal (the top one in the stack photo), which is chic and easy care.  If I ever have a job other than walking to school, it’d be a perfect work wardrobe piece.

Back on the bus to Jomar’s, I picked up some lovely linens and a (now tainted) wool jersey.

Very lightweight black, lightweight cream, dress weight coral – all linens, enough of each for big, retro dresses.  The wool jersey was, of course, fuschia and there was a lot of confusion over who had it first and who was waiting.  I wound up getting the last piece, but it seems that whoever found it first, didn’t get any.  Yikes.  A bit of a bum note, but not enough to spoil the day.

I had dinner with a lovely bunch of ladies and stumbled into bed.  There was a breakfast get together on Sunday, but I slept through it.  Once I was conscious again, I spent about 5 hours tromping through old city.  I went to Independence Hall, Liberty Bell and just walked and walked.  Every corner you turn, there’s some little historic plate or cute discovery.  The whole area is a step back in time and a condensed history of American independence.  So much fun.

Independence Hall

See that chair in the back, on the dais, George Washington rested his derriere upon it.  This is the room where they hashed out the Declaration of Independence.

It occurred to me that having lived in Colorado for so long, it’s hilarious that I found a couple of centuries of history so impressive.  I’ve lived in Asia and Europe.  Modern American history is a short blip in human existence, but when you live in a town where a 100 year old residence is a historic presence, Philadelphia is very impressive.  The upside with a young country is the great level of preservation.  It’s not usually crumbling or knocked down to turn in to a mall or something.  It’s available and appreciable.  I loved Philadelphia.  Go visit.

Everything is half done.

I committed to intswemodo2010 on Ravelry, basically 12 sweaters/tops/vests in 12 months. My first sweater is a beautiful lace number which is taking a very long time. To take a break, I cast on this:

Yarn: Tahki Yarns Sky in Leaf
The yarn worked out perfectly weight wise, although the color is a little light for my skin. I get darker in the summer, so it’ll look better then. I just have to figure what to wear with it. It’s too short in the body for my jeans, so I’ll need a skirt that sits at the waist. Time for a fabric diving expedition in my closet of shame. I can’t visualise what colors (other than white or brown or purple) would go well with this. I probably have prints that would suit, but they’re mostly floral and I think that’ll look twee.
It’s so relaxing to have a quick project that I’ve put a stop to stashing fingering yarns. I’ve got enough of that weight to last quite a few years worth of knitting.
On the sewing front, I meant to review a LBD. But the dress is so wrinkled looking in the photos, I’m too embarrassed to show it. Back to the ironing board.
Too make up for lack of sewing, I’ve resorted to classic make-up stashing:
These are from Lucy’s Fabrics: one of the prints is for my son (guess which one!) and the others are just basic cotton lycra knits. The gold one is a brushed knit, slightly beefier and would make a great dress or spring time hoodie.
This set is from Fashion Fabrics Club: quilted outerwear from Patagonia and a super wide Japanese wool/lycra knit. The last one had some beautiful colors that sold out in a flash. I missed out on a gorgeous deep rust and the black. Boo.
I’ve got some pyjamas and workout pants that just need hemming and I can share more of my glamorous life.

Say Cheese!

Every year, I pick a new skill to try. Some work out better than other. Five years ago, I started crocheting, which led me back to knitting. Today, I have two stashes in which I can be buried. Six years ago, it was Italian. I can barely say howdeedo and can’t even find some of my CD’s to re-start.
This year, I wanted to improve my photographic skills. I replaced my dodgy old camera with the new Nikon Coolpix d360. I dithered between getting a digital SLR and a regular digital camera and opted for cheap(er) and portable. It’s an awesome little camera, with a lot of options for customisation beyond its point and shoot capabilities.
Thing is, I’ve forgotten how to use a camera properly. I learnt with my Dad’s fancy SLR about 20 years ago, but since getting a point and shoot in the mid-90’s, haven’t given it much thought. So I got “Digital Photography” by Jim Miotke. It’s in simple enough language that I’m not getting bored and it has exercises to improve your skills. (It’s for both point and shoots and digital SLR’s).
Tonight, I made a mini light box. I’ve been sitting on this information for about a year and finally got motivated to make one. It’s incredibly simple and fast.
The effects are amazing:

I made mine much smaller than suggested for the minimum sizes and I need some more side lights. If you do try to make it, leave a good 2″ on the edges you cut. It leaves the box more stable and easier to tape the tissue paper.
I have a lot of new aspirations for this year, but this is the new skill set I’m building. One of my aspirations is to spend less empty time on the computer, so I’m planning to make my computer time more productive, ergo re-starting the blog.
Happy New Year!

FO: Burda WOF 01-2007 109

I bought this “harajuku in London” thermal knit from The Fabric Fairy, after I saw Stacy’s super cute thermal top from a sister print.  Off to Burda I went to find the right pattern.  I don’t remember paying any attention to this pattern when I first saw the January ’07 issue of Burda, but it looked perfect for a fun little top.

I made a size 42 and the fit is almost perfect, just a touch loose around the waist.  The shoulders are gathered with sewn over elastic thread in 5 rows.  I opted to use clear elastic in 4 rows to get the same effect.  This creates a faux sweetheart neck, which is flirty, but not too low.  
The hardest part was the front band and underlap.  I read and re-read it about ten times, before I got it.  
The front part is faced with interfaced self fabric.  
The back part has a flap sewn to the cut line. 
Then the whole neckline is finished with binding.  It came out a lot nicer than I expected with my fabric.  
I used donut shaped snap fronts as I didn’t have any with a good color match and it worked perfectly.  I’ll show the snaps and tools in a later post.
The sleeves have a high arch shape, but I finger eased them very easily.  Everything, in fact, went together very smoothly, bar two little issues.  
First, for a slouchy top, as they’ve styled it, it’s actually a little short.  It’s the perfect length for a T, but I should have remembered to add another inch or two for more cohesive look.
Second, the front overlap wants to pull open.  I thought this was because of my bust, but even on the mannequin, it pulls open.  I imagine pulling  the binding a little tighter on the neckline (between the snap bands and the gathering) would take care of this, by making the neckline hug the body.  I’m going to just hand sew the snap bands together, since they’re not necessary to take the top off or put it on.
This is a great pattern to pull out of the archives. 

Pattern:  Climbing Vines Pullover 
Source: Interweave Knits Winter 2008
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Rojo Vivo
On Ravelry: Climbing Roses
This was love at first sight.  The pattern is very similar to one from Phildar, which has a reverse stockinette base instead of stockinette.   IK made theirs in a tweed yarn, with a lot of ease.  It was cute but kind of slouchy and frumpy.  So, I made changes:
yarn – yummy, tone-on-tone Malabrigo
neckline – lowered by 2″ and the ribbing is now the same width as at the body hem (1.75″)
ease – 0″ ease.  I should have had more negative ease, but my swatch lied.  (All my swatches lie.  I just make them now so I know what won’t happen in my knitting!  Rat Bastards!)
vine pattern – I moved my from left to right of the front (accidentally).
vine pattern 2 – I repeated the lovely leaves on the left sleeve and it’s just gorgeous.  
It’s the first time I’ve knit clothing with Malabrigo and it really is dreamy stuff.  It felt so good, I didn’t want to put it down, even during the stockinette stitch.  All in all, it took 4.25 balls, so it’s a very economical sweater too.
I knew that Malabrigo grows with blocking.  Oh, but how it grew.  It went from size 41″ bust to 45″ bust and grew about 5″ in length.  It was ghastly.  I had two choices: cut it down to the right size and re-sew it (on a sewing machine) or shrink it in the dryer.  Given that slighly felted wool is easier to cut and sew, I tried the dryer first.  Five minutes in one minute increments and it’s back to its original size.  It’s not even felted.  The stitches and vine pattern are as distinct as before.  
I’m so happy with this.  I have a hard time finishing big projects and I’m chuffed with myself over this.  I just wish it would snow one more time so I can wear it.  It’s just too hot right now for a wool sweater, even such a pretty one.
I have more commitments than time, so I’m trying to scale back some of my project ambitions.  
These are two poly/lycra knits waiting to be made up into Vogue 8553, with the plain black as the trim.  I’m hoping to use this for spring, since the poly will be really uncomfortable in the Colorado summers.  If it still fits right, I can use it later in the fall.

This next one is a thermal knit from The Fabric Fairy, recommended by Stacysews.  I had to dig through my Burda WOF stash to come up with something just right.  

This is from January 2007 – 109.  Isn’t it adorable?  I love the gathering on the shoulders, to give it a sweetheart neckline.  Instead of zigzagging over elastic, I’ll sew over invisible elastic bands to get the gathers.  I always found the way suggested in Burda such a bear.  In 2o years, I haven’t been able to do without tears and disappointment.
Oh, and taxes.  My annual March whine.  Taxes.
I love this wool jersey.  It’s a panel print of orange giraffes outlined in raised gold.  It’s so funny.  I had to get a piece of another black jersey for the sleeves and used that for the neck binding, to tie the two shades of black together.
I think it works.  Because of the length of the panel, I made this into a tunic, the hem just skimming the top of my thighs.  Anthropologie says tunics are in this season, so who I am to argue?

I made a straight 44.  With the gathers on the front, I didn’t even need to do a full bust adjustment.  Still, I’m losing weight (an ounce here, an ounce there), so the shoulders and decolletage are a little loose.  I think I’ll have to start cutting a 42 at the top. And believe me, I’m not complaining.

This is the first version I made from cotton jersey – a soft nightgown for Christmas.  I used a picot edge elastic for the neckline and much deeper hems.  Is it too mumsy?  I am Mom, so that’s not too bad sometimes.  
I think it’ll be loverly in a knit flannel for winter time.  I feel my hair greying as I type.

On a cost cutting urge, I didn’t renew my FoPR membership last January.  I haven’t been sewing much this past year and I spend most of my time on Ravelry.  But I signed up again.  It’s actually a really good deal, and now I don’t go to my local sewing studio, it really is my only sewing community.
I just wish the message boards had Rav’s agree/disagree/love…. options and more variety.  This girl is super spoiled by the splendors of Ravelry.

My Valentine


Pattern: Corazoncitos Amigurumi Hearts (On Ravelry)
Yarn: Cascade 220
Time: 30 minutes

I have a new obsession: amigurumi!  I know I’m late to the party, but this is the kind of crochet I can get into.  
This was a gift for my son and has a safety pin on the back, so he can wear it.

Amigurumi World, Seriously Cute Crochet”  is a lovely book with very clear instructions and, yes, seriously cute crochet.  Meet Yertle:

Pattern: Tiny Turtle (On Ravelry)
Yarn: Cascade 220
Time: 40 mins
Isn’t he adorable?  It’s really addictive, even without recipients in mind.  Of course, if you know any kids, real or eternal, you even have a good excuse.
The author, Ana Paula Rimoli, has an etsy store, and patterns for zodiac amigurumi in the latest knit1.  And hers is just the tip of the iceberg.  Check out the links at the end of the Wiki entry for the topic.

Petersburg, Rowan 42

My commitments are showing.  I’ve finally finished a KAL project.  

This is Petersburg, originally done in Cocoon, from Rowan 42.  It looked really pretty over fitted, long sleeve tops, and the cables are really delicious.  They’re predictable, but not boring.  
I cheaped out by using Knitpicks Swish Bulky, only 4 hank
s, for the 38″ bust.  It’s actually a pretty resilient yarn – I frogged, tinked, cut, mangled and treated it pretty badly and it held up really well.  But, it’s just not in the same league as Rowan’s Cocoon.  
The KAL is this quarter’s project for the The Sexy Knitters’ Club on Ravelry.  I think it’s the first time there has been a technique topic rather than a pattern, which made it a lot easier for me to commit.  I’m excited to see what comes up next.
Next, I’m working on a top from Burda 12/08, in this knit:
Yes, glittery giraffes.  Oh, the subtlety.