Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Knitting News

I just made a new page for the knitting projects I'm planning for spring.  This warmer, sunnier weather has me encouraged!

I'm proud to say that of the 5 projects currently on the list, I only had to buy yarn for the first one - everything else is coming from my stash!

I finally finished Hubby's Very Warm Hat on Saturday.  Just in time for the warmer weather, LOL!  I was surprised by how tedious this one felt to me - once I'd finished the first hat, I felt like I should be done, so the second hat felt like it took forever! I did make it a little longer than I normally would, so that he can really pull it down over his ears if he wants to:

Or he can fold it back:

I think this ought to keep the wind out!

My Still Light dress is really starting to look dress-like now.  I've finished both pockets and one sleeve.  I may be able to finish the second sleeve today.  I've been doing all the finishing as I go along (although there's really not much to do), so once I cast off, I'll be done!  Exciting!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Is winter almost over?

Only the Groundhog knows for sure!  But just in case it's not, how about a little yarny giveaway?

I was doing some cleaning out and organizing today, and I came across this yarn:

Three skeins of Lana Grossa Gnocchi, in varying states of disrepair due to languishing in my stash box for the last two years.

I ordered this yarn accidentally - I thought what I was getting was going to be more like the Mondial Frivola I had previously used and loved.  And they are very similar, but the pom poms on this one are smaller and more, well - gnocchi shaped than the ones on Frivola.  I was unable to overcome my disappointment.

But my loss can be your gain!  If you'd like this yarn, just leave a comment on this post saying so.  On Friday (the day after Groundhog Day, so we'll know for sure!) I'll run the numbers through Random.org and post the winner.  So let's leave it open until noon on Friday, Feb. 3,  U.S. Central Time.  I'll send this anywhere in the world:  I'd like it to have a loving home!

Friday, January 27, 2012


. . .  I spent the afternoon making up my third Continental Blouse.  This should just about do it for now!

The fabric is Anna Maria Horner's Coreopsis voile in raspberry.  I fell in love with this print as soon as I saw it.  It calls to mind all sorts of things I love:  Neuland type, the artwork of Aubrey Beardsley (it's not all perverted), and the woodcuts of modern artist Nick Wroblewski, of which I'm lucky to own a couple examples.  What it doesn't call to mind is coreopsis - at least not any of the varieties I've ever had in my garden!  Beautiful, nonetheless.

It's going to be a while before I can actually wear this - the voile is very fine, so this top is quite lightweight.  I'm hoping to be able to wear it when we take our little "get away from winter" mini-vacation in a month or so.

This is the first item I've crossed off from my Spring Sewing list!  My plan is to start work on the Pussy Bow Blouse next.  I had to get a new printer to print out the pattern:  my (ten-year-) old one broke as I was trying to print it out last week!  I even dug out my paper cutter for the occasion!  So I'm hoping to spend some time this weekend assembling the pattern.  I don't know if I'm in the minority, but I really enjoy assembling PDF patterns!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I totally copied this from something I saw on Pinterest:

Zoya Avery and China Glaze Electric Pineapple*

The pin I copied used pale grey and vibrant yellow, but I like the unexpected combination of putty and neon chartreuse.  I did this because I was wearing Avery and got permanent marker on one of my nails.  I decided to cover it up with the chartreuse, and ended up loving this look more than I expected to! 

Alternate color combinations are now running through my head . . .

*Sorry for the cuticle dryness; I conditioned my cuticles later and took more pictures, but by then the light had gone and this one shows the colors the best.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fun with leftovers

Today I took the leftovers from my black silk top and the failed pink silk Jasmine* and made a two-sided scarf:

The finished scarf is about 7" x 44"

I'm glad to be able to use up the last large bits of these fabrics.  I tore off crosswise pieces (don't you love tearing fabric?  it makes me feel like the Incredible Hulk!) of the same width and sewed them together with a narrow seam, then turned it right side out and sewed up the ends with a stitch whose name I don't know in sewing, but it's basically like the mattress stitch I use to sew all my knits together.  Et voila!

I feel like a martini would go perfectly with this.  Too bad I still have a cold!

*speaking of which, if anyone wants it, I'll send it to you.  It's too big on me, and it would require fixing the left sleeve, but other than that it's OK.

Monday, January 23, 2012

New blouse, with qualifiers.

Two qualifiers:  first, I've had a cold for about a week, so I'm not on top of my game, looks-wise; second, it's still rainy and grey here, so you still can't see much detail in the photos despite having every light in the place on and trying to brighten the photos with an editor.

But I'm excited to share my new blouse because I love it so much.  The photos really don't do it justice - it looks and feels fantastic on.  First, untucked, with pants:

You can probably see that it's a little short.  As it is, it's probably better with high-waisted styles, which these pants are not, but I wanted to show it untucked so you could get an idea of the length.

The second picture shows the shape of the top better, but it was my test photo to see if I was standing in the right place for where I had the camera set up, so I'm not smiling.  I decided to show it anyway because you can see the shape pretty clearly, so I fixed my face a little:

I like this style of beard because it's the kind my dad had.  Although his was black, not blond.  Until it turned grey.  Anyway, what  you've never really been able to see in any of the photos are the double pleats on either side of the center front that bring the waist in nicely.  And here you can also see the very square shape of the shoulders, about which more later.

Finally, tucked into a skirt.  I really love this random polka dot print with this particular skirt.  I have a feeling I'll be mostly wearing this blouse this way!  You can't really see it (broken record, eh?) but there is a fair amount of black and cream in the patterning of the skirt, so I like how the top mirrors that.

Now take a look at the line drawing from the pattern, so you can understand what it is really like:

Much better, right?  That's what I get for making a top with black fabric.  Actually, that is really out of character for me:  I very rarely wear black, just because I don't think it's very flattering to my coloring.  But I really fell hard for this print.

The construction of this blouse is really easy, which is nice since I think it's done to its best advantage in silk.  I really love the construction of the sleeves in particular. I mentioned before that the sleeve heads have darts rather than gathers.  When I was making the top I discovered that you do put some gathering in after the darts are in place in order to ease in the sleeve.  Here's what the sleeve piece looks like:

The other cool thing about the sleeves is that after you've set them in, you make a little armature (for lack of a better word - is there a word for this?) to place under the pleats to help them stay supported:

So the shoulders get that really broad, square 1940s look.  Love it!

This isn't the kind of thing I will get a whole lot of wear out of (it's a little fancy for my daily life) but I'm very glad I made it and I love it to pieces.  I intend to try out the pants and skirt from this pattern as well. Lots of people have made the pants and say the fit is stellar.

But for now, it's back to the knitting.  And maybe another Continental blouse.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I finished my blouse this morning, and I'm totally in love with it!  Unfortunately, there's not much point in taking a picture to show you, since it's so overcast that none of the details will show up in a photo.  I am planning on dolling myself up and taking some pictures tomorrow though.  Anyway, it basically looks just like it did yesterday, with the exception of the hems on the bottom and cuffs, which I did by hand using a catch stitch.  I also sewed on a hook and eye to close the back neck.  I think the instructions skipped over how to close the back, but I can't say for sure:  I didn't really read them!  The illustrations were clear enough that I could just follow those.

And just for funsies:  yesterday I showed the blouse to Hubby, who dutifully admired it.  When I told him I just had to hand stitch the hems, he said, "But it's perfect like it is."

I said, "I can't just leave it unfinished; it will unravel at the hems."

His reply:  "Well, can't you just glue it?"

Muahahahaha!  He's a great source of entertainment.

Anyhoooo . . . Work on the Still Light is ongoing.  I did a few inches on the body, then put that on hold and picked up the first pocket.  But I've since put it down; I'm making yet another hat for Hubby.  He's been wearing his Windschief hat and cowl pretty much daily since I made them, but the temps have really dropped lately, and he says the wind is getting in through the "holes" in the knitting.  (Let me just say, he's talking about the little bit of space inherent in stockinette stitch - I'm a good enough knitter that my work generally doesn't have holes unless I want it to!)  So I decided to follow Evelyn's (of Project Stash) lead and make him a two-layer hat.  Evelyn has made a bunch of these lately as gifts.  I especially like her latest one in shades of blue.  I'm using the Valley Yarns Northampton I got in the free shipping deal a couple months ago, in a shade called Merlot Heather.  Evelyn has been using a pattern by Jane Richmond, I think, which makes the hat in one piece:  one end top-down and the other end bottom up.  I'm using Elizabeth Zimmermann's Very Warm Hat pattern, making the hat once, then picking up stitches all along the edge and making it again.  I really don't enjoy making hats top down!

Sorry for the quality - had to use flash and didn't edit! I'm just too tired!

This yarn is having a hard time deciding what to be.  I originally bought it to make a dress from one of my vintage knitting magazines (1966), but once I got the yarn I decided it was too stiff for that.  Here's a picture:

I was going to make the middle one with the flared skirt and dolman sleeves.  How cool are those illustrations?  I really love this book; I've never seen another like it. Here's the cover:

So then I decided to make a sweater for Hubby.  But when I did my gauge swatch, I discovered this yarn was much lighter than the original - I'd have to rewrite the whole pattern.  So now I'm thinking of making the Allegheny sweater dress from Brooklyn Tweed.  But I'm going to finish the Still Light dress first and see how close to spring we are.  Because I got my spring Rowan Knitting magazine the other day, and there are so many things I love in this issue, I can't wait to get started!

Over the last few weeks I've started thinking about what I might want to sew for spring and summer, and started a new page (just under the header) so I could keep track.  I've decided that with the completion of this silk blouse, my December sewing list is complete, since I want a Peony dress for spring and the short sleeved shirt for Hubby will also be a spring item.  Having that list really helped me keep on track with my projects!  I've also made a couple of changes to my winter knitting list, but haven't made a spring list yet.  I'm not really sure if I will.

On that note, I guess I'd better finally get started on my ironing!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Almost there!

I started sewing the 1940s blouse yesterday, and today I managed to finish all but the hand stitching of the hems.  It's not that easy to see the details in the photo though, because it's another grey day here:

I'm pretty happy with it.  The fit is good, and this silk was actually a pleasure to work with, as long as I worked slowly and carefully.  My only real issue was that I ran out of thread midway.  I cut the size 10 with no modifications, and the bust isn't as roomy as the pattern lets on, but I think for me that's a good thing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Next on the list.

Yesterday I took a little time to cut out the fabric for the 1940s blouse.  I made the pattern pieces over a week ago, but I'd been putting off cutting it because my fabric is a very slippery silk.  I finally decided to give it a go with the rotary cutter rather than scissors, and I think this may be the way to go for me with slippery fabrics.  I felt like a had slightly more control.

Once cut, I very carefully folded each piece and put them on my mantel, where they're going to stay until I have time to start sewing (which won't be today).  This is not a high-traffic area in my house, so I think they're safe there!

The black fabric has very widely and randomly spaced cream spots.  It will be interesting to see how this print translates in this pattern.  I'm looking forward to sewing this one because the sleeves have an interesting treatment at the shoulder: darted, rather than gathered.

Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Red Letter Day

After a couple hours work this morning, I finally got to the point where I could remove the pocket stitches from my Still Light dress.  Whew!  That's 124 stitches I won't have to deal with for a while!

I know it still doesn't look like much, because the stitches are bunched up on my needle.  This is my favorite 2.75mm needle, but it's only 24 inches long.  Needless to say, my hips are a *little* bigger than that!  And we're having a grey, dreary day here, so it's not very easy to see details in the photo with this dark yarn.

Now it's just straight stockinette for at least ten inches.  I'll likely make it longer than that though.  My plan is to do a few inches, and then do the sleeves and pockets.  Then I can use whatever yarn I have left on the length.

I've been keeping pretty detailed notes on my Ravelry page.  It seems that quite a few people have made a size between the XS and S, but I couldn't find any projects that told specifically how they got the hip measurement up to the numbers for the size S (if they did so), so I kept track of what I did in case it would be helpful to anyone.  I chose to concentrate my extra increases between the waist and the hip, rather than spread them out A-line style.  That way, I'm hoping, the look will come off more like a straight skirt.

I've now used four balls out of the nine I bought - which means I'm about 40% done!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Nothing new here.

I had meant to get a fair amount of sewing done over the weekend, but it turned out that Hubby had to use my sewing table (a.k.a. the dining room table) for a work project, so I ended up baking a batch of cookies, doing a fair bit of reading, and working on my Still Light dress instead.  Oh, and playing with Picnik some more:  you may have noticed my new header.

We did end up taking a very nice walk in Ping Tom Park yesterday.  It was chilly, but sunny - perfect weather for walking.  Especially when you need to walk off the banh mi you've just eaten!  Here are some snowy pics I took:

looking toward downtown from the south end of the park

I love the yellow branches, white snow and black benches.

I'm not really sure what this structure is!

The Windschief hat and cowl in action!

snowy rocks by the river

the "pagoda" next to the river

snowy underbrush

view of downtown from the north end of the park

I've been reading Fit for Real People, in hopes of figuring out what I need to do with my Peony muslin.  It seems to confirm what I was beginning to suspect:  I've been choosing the wrong (too large) size for myself.  Although my size 0 front bodice piece seemed like it would be too small when I pinned up the darts and then held it up to my body, my size 2 muslin is clearly much too big, and the difference between the two sizes isn't all that much.  So my next move is going to be to shorten and narrow the darts, after I've moved them.  The bust darts need to come down about an inch and the waist darts of course need to be moved an inch or so toward the side seams.

That's something that confuses me about this pattern.  I can't think of anyone who has boobs with their apexes so close to the middle of their chest, which leads me to believe that Sarai moved these darts toward the center as a design feature.  So far, I haven't come across any finished dress that hasn't had the darts moved out to the side, and conventional wisdom is that these darts should extend down toward the waist in line with one's bust apex.  I spent a fair amount of time over the weekend trolling the internet looking for pictures of finished dresses, but wasn't able to come to any conclusions about this.

I was going to move on and print out my Pussy Bow Blouse pattern and start assembling it - and now my printer won't work!  I think the universe is telling me I should go clean the bathroom . . .

Friday, January 13, 2012

ETA: I forgot the title!

Well, after writing all about my legwarmers yesterday, I picked up my Still Light dress instead and worked on it for a couple hours!  It's slow going:  I've used about two and a half balls out of the nine:

Two things I always forget about alpaca:  1) it's slippery and 2) it's inelastic.  Add those to the dark color I chose, and a simple design like this becomes a little tedious . . .

In other news, look what I did yesterday:

I remembered I had this Snapware container I had bought over the summer for storing nail polish.  It didn't work for the polishes - they were way too heavy and the container was too slippery.  But I wondered if my patterns would fit in there.  And yes, they do!  Perfectly!!

One level is for my Colette patterns, and the other level is for everything else:

And because I'm a little nuts, the Colette patterns I've already used are on one side, and the "virgin" ones are on the other.  And on the other level, the Lisette patterns are on one side, and everything else on the other.  This makes me happy.

This morning I got out my Peony stuff and sorted through it all.  I'm trying to psych myself up to get back to it over the weekend.  I've got my original size 2 muslin (doesn't fit); the size 2 muslin with SBA and darts shortened and moved (doesn't fit); and a size 0 muslin that I cut out and pinned the darts but didn't sew because I could tell they needed to be moved.

Honestly, I'm thinking it would be easier just to get a boob job and make my body fit the pattern, rather than continue trying to achieve the inverse.  Does anyone have any sage words of advice for me on this matter?  Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

All good things must come to an end.

And it looks like today is the end of the lovely, spring-like weather we've been having for the last couple of weeks.  Oh well - it's good weather for knitting!

Knowing that winter would eventually return, over the weekend I got started on my first pair of legwarmers:

This is my second go.  The pattern calls for the ribbing to be done with a double strand.  I couldn't really see the reason for this, but I did it anyway, hated it, ripped it out and started over with a single strand.  On the first try, I also used the needle suggested, a US 3 (3.25mm) and it was just too big.  I should have known:  I always use a 2.75mm needle with fingering weight yarn!

When I started over, I used my 12" circular.  That lasted about 2 rows!  I think my hands are just too big to hold on to those tiny things!  Now that I'm on the DPNs, things are going much more quickly.

In reading the notes for several other Ravelers' projects with this pattern, it seems many people found the legwarmers to be too large, and omitted one whole pattern repeat (15 stitches - not insignificant).  I went ahead and did the whole 90 stitches, thinking that I could use this end over my knee and decrease rather than increase half way through.  But last night I tried it on, and it stretches quite snugly over my calves, so there's no way it's going to fit over my knee!  So increases it will be!

The original pattern calls for alpaca yarn, and I do think it would be prettier in alpaca.  When I ordered, WEBS was out of all the colors of alpaca I liked, so I chose this Cascade Heritage 150, which I'd never used before.  I like it, but I do wish it were a little smooshier.  It's not very forgiving of tension issues, as you can see in the ribbing.

Yesterday I also traced the pattern for my next sewing project, but that will be a different post!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hubby's New Shirt

I managed to finish Hubby's shirt yesterday.  I had a couple problems, which I'll talk about, but the end product is pretty good:

It was already getting dark by the time I finished, so I had to use flash.  And the print is so busy, you really can't make out the details!  I think it doesn't look a whole lot different than the pictures I showed the other day, except that it has a collar now.

The fit is pretty good.  The half inch I took off the sleeves ended up being the right amount, so I'm glad about that.  The slimmer fit from the little bit of waist shaping is nice too.

One thing I'm not so happy about is that the very top back, across the top of the shoulders, rides up into the collar when he wears it.  I didn't realize it when I bought the pattern, but this shirt has no yoke, and the back piece is flat.  That is, there is no pleat to give extra room across the back.  Hubby has broad shoulders compared to his chest and waist measurements, so he needs that extra room in the shoulders.  I think this might not be the best pattern for him, and I'll probably look for another one for the next shirt.  But I do like the two-part sleeves.

Something that I found very interesting was that there was very little fabric left over.  I'm used to using Colette patterns these days, and I guess they are more generous in the suggested yardages.  I was sweating it a little, because I had to cut the two fronts separately and offset one by about an inch and a half to get the pattern to line up.  As it is, I don't have enough fabric left over to redo anything but a cuff, so I'm glad I was really careful in my laying out and cutting!

The only real problem I had was with edge-stitching the collar.  The piece was so thick, and I was stitching so close to the edge, that when I got to the corners the feed dogs didn't want to move the fabric forward and the stitches bunched up.  I had to redo it a couple times.

I know a lot of people try to avoid buttonholes like the plague.  I rather like making buttonholes.  It's cutting them open that gives me fits.  I always seem to slip  and cut into my stitching, usually on the one buttonhole that's front and center!  This time, I decided to cut them open with an exacto knife on one of my kitchen cutting boards, and that worked pretty well.  Do any of you have any good tricks for buttonholes? 

The only other thing I'm not so pleased about is that although I used a new needle, it did catch some of the threads and create pulls every once in a while, which you can see on close inspection because it pulls the grey into the black area, or vice versa.  Not really sure what I could have done about that.  Also, this is one of the heavier quilting cottons, and at the moment it's a little stiff.  I'm hoping it softens with more washes.

So, that one's done and crossed off the list.  As I fell asleep last night, I was pondering what to start next . . .

Monday, January 9, 2012

(Polish) Change is Good

It took me about five minutes to get tired of the blue nails.  I'm not really sure that periwinkle shade works for me.  So last night I took it off and tried out something that's been in my mind for a little while.  I started out with two coats of Zoya Christina, a sheer frosty white, and then topped that with two coats of Essie Luxeffects As Gold as it Gets:

LOVE!!  In addition to loving how it looks, I love that I've found a way to wear Christina that I like.  It was one of the first Zoya polishes I ever got, and I was pretty disappointed with it when I put it on.  It's supposed to have some silver shimmer, but it really just comes across as frosty white - very '70s.  It doesn't apply evenly either.  But I'm absolutely loving it with the gold on top.

This morning I decided to up the ante and add on some gold chrome tips:

Double love!  This is my favorite mani of 2012 (hahaha)!  On my right hand, I made some tip guides with tape and craft scissors (the "cloud" shape from Fiskars), but on my left hand (shown) I just did the tips freehand, and they actually look better than the ones I did with tape.  I'm pretty proud of myself to tell the truth - these are the first freehand tips I've done in at least 10 years.  I used to give myself French manis all the time back in the '90s when I had long nails, but it does take some practice.  Not sure I could do it on my right hand though!

One of the things I love about this is that the texture of the glitter shows through the gold tips on close inspection, so it almost gives it a hammered metal look:

Triple love!  Now I feel like I don't want to do anything because I don't want to mess up my pretty, pretty nails!  But I think I'll see if I can get Hubby's shirt finished, so I can clean up my dining room!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

New Polish

I recently picked up Nubar's White Polka Dot and Black Polka Dot, so yesterday I decided to try one out.  Here's 2 coats of White Polka Dot over China Glaze Secret  Peri-Wink-le:

picnik made the blue darker than it really is :-(

Word on the street is that White Polka Dot is an alternate name for a polish Nubar did for The Painted Nail called Moon Drop.  It's not a very bright white, but neither is it quite grey; it has a very slight silvery, opaly sheen.  The black one is just plain, shiny black though.

I found both these glitters a little tricky to apply.  The glitter particles are quite heavy, so they sink pretty quickly, and the clear base is thick.  It worked best for me when I put the cap back on and turned the bottle upside down for several seconds after every couple of nails.  Slow going.  But once you get it on your nails, the glitter is pretty smooth, so that's a plus.

I've got Zoya Raven and Purity on their way to me thanks to the two free polishes promo (ends tomorrow), and once they arrive I'm going to try the black and white polka-dotted mani.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Making some headway

. . . on my knitting list.  But I think I won't be able to finish all the December items before it's time to start Spring Knitting!  Although now that I live in Chicago, I have about an extra month of winter knitting.  In St. Louis, I always used to start Spring Knitting on Feb. 1 - here it's more like March 1.  And now that sewing is back in the mix, who knows how things will go this year?

Anyway, I began 2012 with another little piece for my favorite boy - some socks for Hubby:

Hubby loves handknit socks in the winter, but ONLY if they're made from yarn that has lycra in it.  This is some Paton's Stretch Socks I picked up at Michael's on sale in the fall.  These are going to replace the other grey socks I made him years ago that don't have stretch.

I quickly realized that I wasn't going to be able to be monogamous to one knitting project, even socks (which only take me about 8 hours in total), so I also started my Still Light dress.  But I'm calling mine Northern Lights, because of the colors:

This is DROPS Alpaca in a color called Dark Petrol Mix - the perfect name for it.  It's a dark blue-teal, with bits of turquoise and magenta.  The above picture was taken in bright sunlight, up close.  Most of the time it looks like this:

I chose this color because I think it will look great with the cognac colored boots I bought a couple years ago and hardly ever wear (can you say Seamless?).  But unfortunately, it's one of those colors that requires a fair amount of light to knit, which has limited my work time on this piece. Still, I've managed to get it to the point of removing the sleeve stitches - I was up to 368 stitches on the needle at that point!

Before I started, I did a fair amount of research on Ravelry about sizing.  I fall between the XS and S size, so I decided to do as others have done and increase to a number halfway between the two.  Not quite sure what I'll do when I get to the hip area, where I could really use the extra room of the size small.  I haven't read ahead in the pattern yet!  Fingers crossed!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Next Up

While you all were distracted by temari balls, I was quietly working away on the next item on my sewing list, Hubby's long-sleeved guitar shirt.  I spent a good while yesterday working on it, and got quite a bit done; all that remains is to do the collar, buttonholes and buttons:

Checkout that ray of sunshine!
It's 53 degrees in Chicago today!

I've been keeping track of the steps I do on the sewing list page.  I traced the pattern on Sunday, cut the fabric on Tuesday, and made and attached the pocket on Wednesday.  The pocket was a little tricky; although the pattern repeat looks uniform, it's really a little random, so I wasn't able to match it up exactly:

Hubby has short arms, so I did my first sleeve shortening.  I wasn't very scientific about it though, in that I didn't measure his arms or the pattern piece.  I just shortened them by a half inch, and I think it will be enough.

The sleeves went in differently from what I'm used to.  On all the blouses I've made for myself, the sleeves have been set in, using easing stitches at the sleeve head. This one didn't use any gathering for easing, and the sleeve head is sewn to the armscye first, and then the entire underarm and side seam is done in one go.   To help keep things lined up and neat, I hand-basted the sleeves in before machine stitching, and I'm very pleased with the result:

This pattern is McCall's 6044.  I think it's pretty similar in style to the Colette Negroni shirt.  I made Hubby some short-sleeved shirts about 12 years ago with a different pattern which had a more relaxed fit; this one is slightly shaped on the sides - a more modern look, I think.

I've been working slowly and carefully on this shirt, and so far I'm really pleased with the results.  I've been feeling that I've turned a corner a little bit with my sewing, at least in terms of attitude.  Looking at all the things I made in 2011 for my sewing round-up made me think about each of them, and I realized that the pieces I love most are the ones I really spent a lot of care and attention on.  I've been thinking that this year my goal is to have the attitude that I want each piece I make to be the best thing I ever made, at least in its workmanship.  I want to focus on quality, rather than quantity.  The feeling of finishing something is great, but that can be deflated a little bit if the quality is not up to snuff.

This ties in with my Seamless Pledge too.  I've always loved good quality, well-made clothes, but I've felt for the last couple of years that the quality of workmanship in the things I've bought from some of my favorite stores has declined.  I'm feeling less and less willing to shell out money for something that I could make a better version of myself.  So - there you have it:  my two cents!

I've been doing knitting this week too.  I started two new items from my knitting list.  Can you guess which?  I'll be back with those tomorrow!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Temari part 4: the finished ball

Here is my finished ball.  It's not the best one I've ever done, but it's OK!

One of the reasons I chose this design is that I really need to practice my spindles.  In this picture you can see the difference between the first one I stitched, on the left, and the fourth one, on the right.  Practice does indeed make . . . better.  Still not perfect!

And here's the final shot.  I had originally intended to do the whole thing just in ecru, navy and copper metallic, but once I got the ecru parts of the long spindles done, I really felt like it was all too much of a muchness.  So I grabbed some magenta for the outer parts of the long spindles, and I'm glad I did.  I like it so much better.

This design is pretty simple, but you can get even simpler.  Remember this ball that I sent my mom?

All you'd need to do is mark off your ball with a simple 4 division (even easier than simple 8!) and then lay different colored threads to either side of each marking thread.  The one on the equator is called an "obi" - isn't that cute?  This simple design is still one of my favorites.

Here are a few more of my older temari balls, just for inspiration.  I'm just showing the ones that are so simple that they don't really need any explanation, now that you know how to mark a ball.

same as above, but with a different decoration in the negative space

spindles, but woven while stitching

a simple 16 division, wrapped

 . . .  with a very wide obi

more spindles . . .  sorry it's so fuzzy - it's 4 years old!

So, has anyone tried it out?  Liking it?  Not liking it?  I think I'm going to set it aside for a bit and get back to my knitting and sewing!