boston and big islands

She’s baaacccckkkkkk!!!!

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Sooo… Hi! It’s been awhile since I made an appearance on this blog! Talk about stating the obvious! Let’s just say that a lot of life has happened in the last few months! In the span of about a month in a half, I got a new job and moved to a new city in a new country. I’ve been focused on settling in since then so needless to say, there hasn’t been much time for knitting and sewing! Fortunately, I had TONS of time to knit and sew in the months leading up to this big change! The sweater featured here? Knit and photographed in May but as this is only now getting some wear, waiting to post it was a good choice, nee? That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

2014-05-29 19.16.01So where am I now? Boston! Out of the lab and into a brand new career that I friggin’ love! However, while Boston is geographically close to Toronto, it’s been an adjustment! But did I mention that I love my new job?!  The downside, of course, is all of the friends I left behind. For the most part, my science friends had already moved on from their postdocs (though there are still a few that I already miss terribly) but the awesome sewing and knitting community I was part of in Toronto? Kristin, Andrea, Gillian, Catja? The awesome ladies of Eweknit? The list goes on really and they are all now too far away! So if you know of any sewing and knitting peeps in the greater Boston area, direct me to them or direct them here!

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So let’s talk about the sweater. Another Jared Flood design! Shocking, I know! This one is called Oshima and I was kicking myself for not getting to it sooner last year. How handy would that cowl have been in the Great Deep Freeze of 2014? 2014-05-29 19.14.56

What I feel like doing every time I put this one on!

I made this one out of the Berroco Ultra Alpaca (one of my go to yarns) that I picked up at the EweKnit boxing day sale. It’s a pretty straightforward knit with some slick finishes (tubular cast on and bind off) and a ton of squishy brioche stitch. And the cowl? Seemed endless but every time I put this thing on I just want to burrow down! Not a bad inclination for a winter sweater!

2014-05-29 19.14.01I could go on and on about Brooklyn Tweed patterns and my Jared Flood knitting crush but I think we can skip that this time around. Probably best to hit publish before I walk away for another 4 months! In the meantime, can’t wait to catch up!

cat cuddlesEnjoying a sleepy cat as I write this. Focus on the cat, people and ignore the tired face!

Sara

Ravelry notes can be found here.

 

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Delicious Liberty Myrtle!

Hello! It’s been awhile and let’s just say that a lot has been happening!  I’ll share my life news at a later date when everything is sorted out and I have time to breathe. For now I’m going to quickly share a dress that I made for a local shop I have been working at this summer. .. The Colette Myrtle!

_MG_6485Apologies for the headless photos…  was trying something new (*ahem* hiding a terrible hair day!)

As many of your already know, I have been working as a postdoc in an Immunology lab in Toronto for the last five a half years. An amazing time was had, lots was learned and all that jazz! I officially finished in June (yay! I am now “fully” trained!) but have more or less been working from home since March.  Applying for jobs, doing contract work for local biotech start-ups, etc. Basically, I have been sitting on my ass, all alone in my apartment. I was starting to talk to my cats waaaaay too often! So I approached my friend Claudia (well, with a lot of help from Angela!) and asked if she needed help over the summer in her seriously amazing store Eweknit. It was a great way to take a day away from my home and start to interact with people again!

_MG_6484Eweknit has been my go-to yarn store since it opened two years ago.  Seriously, for those of you that knit, check out their wares as this is one well curated and well stocked shop! Last fall, the shop started catering to the sewing addicted amongst us and now boasts one of the most impressive Liberty of London Tana Lawn collections I’ve seen! And recently, a few bolts of Liberty rayon jersey were brought in (details on these fabric lovelies can be found here). New pattern I was itching to try, new fabric that I could not wait to get my hands on…  it was a go!

_MG_6487Patience might have been a good thing here as I am not sure that one should ever muslin a pattern using Liberty! Nonetheless, despite some fitting flaws that could easily have been avoided with a little forethought and prep work, I am in love with this dress! I made the size medium based on my bust measurements (I would normally grade to a large at the hips but didn’t think it would be a problem here with the full, gathered skirt). Really, I should have automatically sized down to account for the drape of this fabric but I’m still happy with the result. Some would say droopy but I say bugger off to that!

_MG_6496I would even go so far as to say that I could have gone down to an x-small in the bodice.  The shoulders on this are a little wide, but this is not an unusual problem for me. My sister Kelley got all the shoulders in this family. But I like to remind myself that she’s old and then I feel better! Kel, I do hope you are reading this!

_MG_6497Bad hair? Check! Awkward pose? Sigh, check…

Words can hardly describe how amazing this fabric is. It felt more like cotton interlock than rayon jersey on the bolt but after being washed..? Silky, dreamy goodness! I have been living in this dress as though it were a nightgown! Who say your shouldn’t be fancy for your cats?!

_MG_6500I was sewing this for the shop so I didn’t make any modifications and while I find some of the steps in the Colette’s knit patterns unnecessarily complicated (the elastic gathering on the Moneta, anyone?!?), it went together with no problems. Some steps that I found a little fiddly with the slinky fabric were the hemming on the back bodice piece (the neck and the sleeves) and this could easily be overcome by doing a full bodice lining. The insertion of the elastic at the waist was also needlessly long and can be adapted in whatever way you prefer. Gillian skipped the gathered skirt on her version and instead just stabilized the waist in the usual way and it works beautifully! Overall though, I find this a clever little dress that appears to flatter most people. Case in point, see it on Angela!

myrtle7_480Let’s just say that our measurements are not the same and leave it at that! But it looks fantastic on her!

So who else is making this dress and what are you thoughts on the new knit-inspired patterns by Colette? Anyone going to give a woven Myrtle a try?

You can see and read more about this dress, the fabric and the pattern (shortly!)  here!

Sara

a Graphic Belcarra

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Some slightly unfortunate pattern placement…!

What’s this? A sewing post? I will say that after the Albion, my sewing machine and I needed a bit of a break from each other. Or a longish one as it turns out. Nevertheless, I have been dipping back in of late and have a few simple projects to share. Up first is my inaugural Belcarra blouse from Sewaholic.

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I made this one using a graphic silk/cotton blend that I bought at a fabricland sale long, long ago.  It is fairly delicious against the skin! Light and airy and positively perfect for the humid heat to come! I opted to mix and match the versions to get the details that I love. I’ve used the pleated sleeves from view B and the wider cuffs from view c.

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I realize that the print is busy and that the pintucks get a bit lost amid it all but this is the detail that sold me on this pattern so I couldn’t skip them! And you would be surprised at how often people comment on this feature so apparently they are not lost at all.

I was worried about the wide neck on this from the very beginning and have no idea why I didn’t take it in… especially given my narrow shoulders! Indeed, the neck is wide.  Almost unwearably so.  Oh well…  a little slippage is not going to stop me. However, I will be bringing the neck in substantially on the next version and to make that nice and easy, this little alteration was covered in their recent sewalong.

2014-05-29 19.12.02“Maybe if I stand really still, the neckline will stay put!”

My only pattern alteration this time around was to add a curved hem. I’m a fan of this finish as it allows me to accomodate my generous hips without wearing a tent! I made the shirt according to my measurement but I do find it a little too large so next time around I will be going down a size in addition to taking in the neck. Maybe in a solid so that those pintucks can really shine! And I should have shortened by bias tape for the neckline a bit as that would have helped it lay flat. As it is now, it tends to flip up a little. What can I say…  it was late and I was lazy!

And that about covers it. A quick and extremely wearable make! Another pattern win by Sewaholic! Any of you interested in giving this pattern a try?

Sara

Knitting with friends.

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Soooo…  this post was supposed to be up on Saturday! That was the deal I made with my fellow knitters, Andrea and Kristin.  They posted (found here and here) but six days later (I keep having to up that number as more days pass!) and here we are.  My bad! Apologies, Ladies! No excuses! Though honestly, I’m not sure that I have anything worthy to add after their thorough and thought-provoking tales!

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A couple of months ago, in a fit of pique over the crap weather that Toronto kept delivering, Kristin, Andrea and I decided that we might be able to pretend it was Spring if we started knitting for Spring. Bright colours, fun patterns and all that jazz. The Mizutama pattern from Olga Buraya-Kefelian was one that Kristin had been eyeing for some time so after a trip to our favourite LYS EweKnit, we were off!

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I’m not sure that I have much to add about the actual knitting of this pattern that Kristin and Andrea have not already covered in their posts. Suffice it to say that this was not necessarily the most enjoyable knit except that we were in it together so could complain and bitch to each other! Picking the yarn made for an eventful evening! We had trouble settling on a base and picking colours that were bright and flattering but were not already overrepresented in our Ravelry project page. The yarn selection at EweKnit is large so narrowing it down was no small feat! I kind of feel like I failed on all fronts but live and learn! I opted for a yarn that I had not worked with before; Raventwist Torc. This name is no joke, my friends! This yarn has some serious twist to it, which made it interesting to work with. I had high hopes that it would bloom a little when blocked but I didn’t find that to be the case at all. The result is that it feels a bit like I am wearing string around my neck, which is an overall fail in my opinion. The twisty nature of the yarn did endow the shawl with a slightly architectural look to it though, which is rather lovely. And the mix of red-orange, a colour that can be seen time and again on my Ravelry page, is awesome!

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Lined up (Kristin, Andrea and Sara)

Kristin and Andrea both went with Madeline Tosh Merino Light, which I have worked with often and continue to love. You can check out their posts to see what they thought of it but having fondled all three shawls, I much prefer the texture of theirs! So lovely to wear! And is probably obvious, the photoshoot was a blast! All is all, a successful knitalong! We’re currently repeating the fun with the Aisance cardigan but likely won’t have a group post until the Fall as wool sweaters are not high on the priority list as the weather heats up in Toronto.

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So. Now that we have saturated the interwebs with photos of our shawls, are you tempted by the pattern? Or to have a good KAL with friends? What colours most remind you of spring? Do you have a favourite yarn or fibre for shawls, scarves, cowls or anything else worn up around your neck? In the words of Kristin, let’s talk!

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An illuminated Hamilton fivehead for you all to enjoy!

My project notes can be found here.

Sara

 

Tackling the Channel…

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Pretending that I’m not wearing this sweater in 30 degree weather…

I just got back from a quick blog photo session with Andrea and Kristin so I actually have multiple projects to share! So rare! And I plan to get the rest of my stack of finished projects photographed this week before so many of my obliging friends depart the city. As in move far, far away. For good.

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Most of the projects that I have to share are knitting so best to start there and spread the sewing out a bit! So with no further ado… The Channel Cardigan (project details can be found here)! This gorgeous, squishy delight is brought to us from the delightful imagination of Jared Flood.

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Ignore the terribly wrinkled skirt!

This sweater was part of the Brooklyn Tweed Winter ’14 collection and I have been drooling since I saw the first photos.  Instant knitting lust! I was temporarily intimidated by the 5/5 difficulty rating but I quickly got over that. Then I was thwarted by my stash diet as this project is a bit of a yarn hog and I didn’t quite have enough in my stash to cover it. However, I had some yarn to exchange at Romni Wools and mixing colour lots on commercially dyed yarn is generally pretty safe so I forged on!

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Stable buttonbands for the win! Gorgeous, heathered yarn for the win! Awesome vintage buttons from
The Workroom for the win! So much winning!

This project was done using Cascade 220 Heathers in Peacock and while I was a little unsure of this colourway before I started, I am now in love with it! The purple and green strands make this yarn almost luminous when the light hits it (see above photos for most representative images of the colour). I’ve never worked with the Brooklyn Tweed Shelter that the pattern called for so while I can’t really comment on how it compares, Cascade 220 does seem to be a fairly common substitution. This cardigan is HEAVY though so the loftiness of the Shelter yarn might not be a bad plan if your stash diet and/or budget isn’t prohibitive! Today was 30 degrees in Toronto so putting this sweater on to take pictures was a little miserable! But next winter I am going to be a happy camper in this baby!

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As always, knitting from a Brooklyn Tweed pattern is a delight from start to finish. Their patterns are always well edited, are usually error free and explain every technique in excellent detail.  It’s rare that I need to look for tutorials online when I’m working from a Brooklyn Tweed pattern. My last couple of projects have been from Quince&Co patterns, which has only made me that much more appreciative of BT’s attention to detail.  Sadly, I have yet to encounter a Quince pattern that was error free.  Anyone else have that problem? I’ll freely admit that it irritates the hell out of me, even if the mistake is an easy one to figure out. But I digress…

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Elements that I love on this cardigan? The tubular cast-on. The raglan sleeves. The giant shawl collar. The dense and stable button band. The gorgeous belt loops. Gauge! I’m a tight knitter and therefore usually have problems getting gauge on projects. However, I tend to be spot on with  Jared Flood’s patterns, which is always a relief!

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Elements that I dislike? The belt! This sucker was a misery to knit and I find that the edges of it are uneven enough to drive me mad! I also wish that the belt loops sat a little higher on the body as they don’t quite hit my waist. Since that is a problem I could have and should have corrected while knitting, I’ll table the complaints for now! I also find the collar a little awkward as it is. Another button or two would be a huge help but since I don’t currently feel like undoing my work, I’m going to settle for a couple of snaps. It might also be that I knit a little too much fabric for the button bands; I definitely knit the side with the buttonholes a wee too long! Oh well…

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Not a clue what I was doing here!

All in all, I’m not sure which element(s) deserved the 5/5 rating as I think this was fairly straightforward make. The textured fabric requires more attention than straight stockinette but otherwise? Not a difficult pattern so dive in if fear has been holding you back!

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And a little fun from Kristin! The sweater looked fabulous on her!

So what do you think? Any interest in making this sweater? You all share my love affair with Brooklyn Tweed designs?

It’s late and writing coherent sentences is becoming increasingly challenging so I am going to leave it at that for now. If I think of anything else to say tomorrow then I’ll add it!

G’night Peeps!

Sara

Lemon Squeezey Pullover…

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Hello! I’ve had this post sitting as a draft for well over a month and I’m still at a total loss for words. How to describe this make…?! Nonetheless, today is a good day to talk about Amy Miller and her designs (more on that in a bit) so off we go! This is Sperry, done using Cascade Superwash Sport with a little Mirasol Nuna for the contrast stripes (project notes can be found here). Absolutely no complaints on the yarn front as both are excellent to work with, wear well and are very reasonably priced!

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I knit this sweater last August and have yet to wear it out of the house, which is why I am calling this one a fail. I can almost see Andrea, Kristin and Gail shaking their heads at that statement! They’ve all seen this sweater and told me I’m nuts but I have my reasons! Actually, just one reason, which you can see below. The stupid i-cord edge on this thing will not lie flat! Drives me absolutely bonkers!

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What do I like about this pattern?  Everything! Well, almost everything. It was well written with no mistakes that I could find. Amy describes this as a “top-down raglan construction with a quirky shirttail hem make Sperry fun to knit — cool stripes and a lightweight yarn make it fun to wear” and I think that sums it up nicely. Though the cascade sport is definitely on the heavier end of sport-weight yarns so I’m not sure I’d call this a lightweight make. Not to mention the fact that this is 100% wool! Let’s just call this pullover perfect for Fall/early Spring in Toronto and leave it at that!

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The fit on this is not quite what I was aiming for but similar to my Kara cardigan, this had the recommended positive ease a few months ago. My bad! And this leads me to my issue with the i-cord edge as I don’t think the tails on this sweater would roll as they do if the sweater did not fit quite to snuggly! Also, this was my first time working such an edge (please remember that I am relatively new to knitting!) and I should have gone up at least one more needle size.  Probably two.  If you look closely, you can see that my i-cord is too tight and it distorts the bottom edge of the sweater. This is all an easy fix, mind you as I can easily remove the i-cord and redo it! Problem is that I have yet to find the motivation to do so. Gail also suggested that I do a rolled edge instead and I think that’s actually a great idea… again, assuming that I ever undo what I’ve already done!

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I really, really love the colours, the stripes and the overall look of this pullover though so maybe that will be motivation enough to either fix it or to suck it up and wear it as is!

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Now. Getting back to Amy Miller. She has some excellent patterns to choose from and I’d recommend you give them a try! To make that nice and easy for you, she has a coupon code available for a a free pattern for a few more hours today (ends 5PM CST on May 7th) to welcome a new addition to her family! You can find out the details here.

Despite all appearances, I have actually been sewing and I do have a few makes that I will share soon! In the meantime, happy sewing and knitting!

Sara

My Late Latte Cardigan

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Back again with another sweater!  I did warn you that I was playing catch-up on the knitting front!  Unlike Kara, this cardigan is actually a recent stash-busting make. My knitting goals for the year (described here) were simple. No more yarn! And, for at second at least, I also vowed No more patterns! Sadly, that pesky Siren called Brooklyn Tweed quickly shot that second vow down! I’m not feeling too badly about it though as I’m pretty sure that Jared Flood and his gang can do that to the most resolute among us!  Anyway, this cardigan did use both a pattern and yarn that I’ve had for awhile.

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We take a break for some photo silliness.  My friend Anne was taking the pictures as I tend to be a bit *ahem* stiff in photos so it’s always best if I am comfortable with the person taking them. Hopefully without an audience! However, at some point I looked over and realized that her roommate Roland had joined us and my reaction was pretty funny.
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Some hand knit socks along for the ride!

But I digress. This is Slanted Sleeven from Ankestrick Patterns (my Ravelry notes are here). There were elements of the design that caught my attention straight off (the ribbed waist shaping and the contiguous shoulder construction to start) but I wasn’t really interested in knitting it until I saw this version from fellow Torontonian, Tammy (while you’re there you should take a look at her project page.  Her work is frickin’ amazing!). One look at the actual pattern though and all thoughts of making this were shot down.  Way, way down! I do NOT enjoy how this pattern is written as I find it awkward and cumbersome to get through. Don’t get me wrong. Everything you need to make this sweater is in there and I found no mistakes. It just wasn’t my favourite. My gauge was also way off, which was just another deterrent.

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Eventually I decided that I could use a simple wardrobe staple so out the pattern came.  The yarn I opted to use was Woodland by Classic Elite Yarns.  Once again, this was my first time working with it and it was certainly interesting! It’s a nettle/wool mix that felt a wee toothy to work with but other projects on Ravelry assured me that it would soften considerably with washing. I haven’t found that to be the case, but my tolerance for yarn with a little bite has gone way up since I started knitting and this one is not a problem. I also find the fabric it makes is a little stiff but I suspect that will change with wear. I wanted this make to have a good amount of positive ease but I think it’s safe to say that I went a bit overboard. Oh well! It’s comfy and I reach for it often… even with the single elbow patch (will get to that in a second)!

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My primary complaint with the pattern itself is the button band. It’s narrow and flimsy and gapes open even on this cardigan where there is absolutely no stress on the front when it’s buttoned up. This is not an unusual problem with buttonbands but it’s one that annoys me more than most. I often solve this using some grosgrain ribbon to stabilize the area (examples of this are here and here), but that wasn’t an option this time around. Anyway, this is something I consider more and more with my pattern choices these days. I started the Channel Cardigan by Jared Flood this weekend and I have high hopes for the button band on this one!

So. Back to the elbow patches. I’m finding this sweater a bit boring so thought that elbow patches might help. Thoughts? I sewed on the one (made from some dark brown ponte that I had lying around) and remain undecided! Opinions on their inclusion or the materials that could be used to make them, colour, etc are most welcome!

OK. Back again soon with the dreaded yellow pullover and OSHIMA (the fastest make in history and the sweater that I have been living in since I finished it)!

G’night!

Sara

The “Better Late Than Never” Kara Cardigan

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Finally!  I have seamed and taken pictures of my Kara cardigan and am ready to share!  I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I actually knit this beauty last July and have yet to wear it out.  It was my first foray into seaming and for some reason, I was extremely reluctant to dive in! A little intimidation and some serious finishing procrastination (in general!) meant that this sat for months in a ziploc bag in my overflowing WIP drawer.

2014-03-29 17.20.37I took it out and blocked it in the fall when Gail posted her extremely gorgeous version but that’s as far as I got. A little push from Andrea and Kristin and an upcoming visit from Gail in which I wanted to play twinsies and I found the missing motivation needed to finish this right up. Took no time at all, which only emphasizes how ridiculous I was being!

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Anyway, on to the deets (my Ravelry notes can be found here).  This is the Kara cardigan from Cecily Glowik MacDonald. I made this using the Cascade sport, which was my first time working with this yarn. Cascade never disappoints in my opinion and I won’t hesitate to use this particular base again. It was inexpensive with surprisingly nice stitch definition! This sweater was designed to be worn with a good amount of positive ease and I will say that the fit here is a wee more snug than it would have been had I finished it in July! A common theme this year but rather than whine about arthritis, injuries and an increasing departure from the marathon-loving athlete that I was, I’ll just say that I still love this sweater as it fits now! Andrea and Kristin have also tried this on and it looked great on both of them. My point is that I really think it’s hard to go wrong with this pattern!

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i-cord edge

I’m  trying hard to remember if I made any significant changes to this pattern and none come to mind. Again, such a procrastinator! I did finish the ribbing using an icord bind-off and I quite like the tidy edge. The only downside was that I had never tried this method before and I didn’t realize how rigid it was. It’s not terrible here but I do find it a bit tight at the back of the neck. A patient few minutes with some steam and gentle pulling has loosened it up though so all is well!

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Taking a nap?

It’s late and I can’t think of anything else that needs to be said about Kara.  I wasn’t joking when I said that I have been slow with the finishing touches on my makes these days so be prepared to be bombarded with sweater posts this week!

Cheers!

Sara

The Beast (aka Sara’s Albion Coat)

Hello friends.  I’ve been a bit absent on this blog of late.  Apologies.  I’ve got a few things to share but will admit that life has gotten in the way of the making of late.  That said, this project has sucked up a lot of my evening and weekend time in the last month! Four muslins and a fit bootcamp with Andrea, Kristin and Sarah for starts!  So.many.changes!    I may do a post describing the fit changes that I made but first…  my friend Anne modelling!

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If you’re at all familiar with the Colette Albion pattern (and of course you are!), then it’s probably fairly obvious that I made some changes. I had originally planned to make this jacket in its original form for my Brother (still plan to do so!) but didn’t think I had any need for such a coat in my own wardrobe. However, on a search for RTW duffle coats, these two gorgeous coats from Burberry popped up and I was sold!

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I really loved the casual style of the grey one with the extra pockets, relaxed A-line shape and cropped length.  I also liked the idea of making the neckline taller or adding a collar as this would make the coat far more functional in a winter and wind friendly city like Toronto!  However, I also loved the deep pleat in the back of the red duffle coat.  I think it makes a boxy coat just a touch more feminine.  Anyway, after coming across these, I decided that I did indeed need a duffle coat in my life! The sewalong that Colette Patterns was hosting was just the icing on the cake!

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Sadly, disaster struck in the form of muslin #1!  First of all, one should always pay attention to the actual pattern instructions when they are  making a muslin and not assume they know how everything goes together based on previous experience! I made the size small (this is a unisex pattern that was really drafted with men in mind) based on my upper bust measurement. Then I made the mistake of adding the facing to centre front.  Oops!  Turns out that the facings were for the lining only! Needless to say, this muslin was HUGE! The facings ended up being a serendipitous mistake based on my plan to extend them at the top and add a collar. That’s the absolute truth and I am sticking to it!

2014-03-09 17.20.28OK.  I’ll attempt to quickly sum up the muslin stage, which hurts as the muslin stage was a solid 3 weeks of work while the actual sewing was only a week. A crazy, crazy week filled with late nights and little sleep but who cares!  It’s done!  Anyway, my second muslin was a straight size XS but I didn’t love this one.  It still had a lot of the same fit issues as the small (extra fabric at the front due to my addition of the facings, droop-y shoulders, low armscythe, etc). However, I found the XS a wee tight in the arms and across the back.  So I took the size small muslin to the fit bootcamp and stood like a lump while Sarah and Andrea slashed away amid mad chatter involving numbers and technical jargon. They did a rounded back adjustment (a big one!  Yoga, you and I need to be better friends), a forward shoulder adjustment and pinned a bunch of fabric out of the front (starting at the shoulder seam and working down to the hem in a line parallel to the grainline).  Now that I had taken that extra fabric out of the front, I widened the darts that were now in the back yoke after the rounded back adjustment (Andrea, please feel free to correct my jargon as I’m not sure that is the correct term) to eat up some of the extra fabric and used the feed dogs to do some easing to eat of the rest of it.  Incredibly, everything worked out!

2014-03-09 17.22.22I was tempted to do a narrow shoulder adjustment but decided that I liked a slightly relaxed look to the shoulder and the addition of shoulder pads kept everything from dragging and sagging.  I did try correcting the sleevehead to match the forward shoulder adjustment as Heather demonstrates here but my muslin and all of the horizontal balance lines told me that was a no go. The original sleeve worked much better.  I also raised the base of the armscythe a half inch using a tutorial found in the June/July issue of Threads (thanks for pointing me in the direction of this, S!).  This was a challenge without a large work surface! Using the same tutorial, I also took in the side seam a half inch at the armscythe and removed a quarter inch out of both sleeve seams to match. I still find it all a bit low and restrictive but it’s not too bad now that the lining is in.  Gives me lots of space for layering with those big sweaters I so love to knit.

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I kept the patch pockets but made them a bit smaller to accomodate the cropped length and rounded all of the edges.  Similarly, I rounded the edges of the sleeve tabs to be consistent and just to soften the coat and make it a but more feminine.  I kept the side seam pockets (drafted my own to keep things small and tidy) and added a double welt pocket with a flap above the patch pockets, successfully ripping off my Burberry inspiration coat!  I used the flannel lining fabric for the pocket bags of the inseam pockets to avoid a lot of bulk.  I lined the patch pockets with a bright pink rayon bemberg (also used to line the sleeves) using some tips from this book. I used the same pink bemberg for the pocket bag of the welt, again in an effort to avoid unnecessary bulk.

2014-03-09 16.56.57 I wanted to add some leather accents using leather scraps that I had picked up awhile ago. They’re small, which limited what I could use them for so I went for leather bound buttonholes (using this method). These were a time sucker but I love them! Well worth the effort!

2014-03-09 17.19.49And then there is the collar. Sigh. I really wanted the collar to be the highlight of this coat and while I think it looks great, there are still things I wish I could change.  To start, I spent a lot of time trying on RTW coats to decide what kind of collar/hood combo I wanted.  In the end, I decided that I prefer having a stand collar that is separate from the hood…  I really, REALLY hate the feeling of having the collar being tugged backwards when the hood is attached and down! So I kept the hood as is and I will say that this is an excellent hood! The perfect size and shape!  I left it unlined and flat felled the seams as I didn’t want it to be a major feature and detract from the leather accents. I drafted the collar piece and on the muslin I was quite pleased with how it turned out. On the jacket?  Well, I have a few issues with it. It’s stiff! And I think it looks a bit like it should have a giant helmet attached to it! I honestly think it could support the weight of a helmet!

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Not at all irritated by the collar!

And on me, it looks like I have no neck but on my tall friend Anne, the collar looks great and she loved it so maybe I’m being hypercritical. I do love the leather accents on it!  I want to have mitered corners with the leather but by the time I got to making this, I was tired of the whole project and didn’t want to take the time! So I’m going to call the collar a success. Besides, the wool and leather will soften over time so I’ll feel less like I’m being choked by it!

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I used this buffalo plaid flannel for the lining of the body but used hot pink bemberg for the sleeves (easier to get it on and off). I’ll have to take a picture of the entire lining as the pink really is an awesome pop of colour!  I had planned to use the pink to make piping between the inner facing and the lining for another pop of colour. I have the piping but forgot to add it and again, was tired of the project at this point and didn’t want to redo anything unnecessary. Perhaps if I had not already graded the seams! I also added an inner welt pocket that holds my cell phone perfectly!

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I think that about covers it! Well, I did also add the deep pleat in the back but there’s not much to say about it. I’m not sold on the back tab that I made and I think I might make a bigger one with leather bound buttonholes. Certainly the entire coat needs better buttons as they are a definite feature. I plan to go digging through the vintage button collection that Karyn has at the Workroom to find something outstanding to finish this all off!

Finally, here are some pictures of me in the duffle coat.  The fitting was done on me but I really think this works better on Anne, which is funny as we are not built the same way.  She has broader shoulders, is much taller and does not have the generous booty of a pear-shaped woman!  Thoughts on the fit on each of us?

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All in all, I am pleased with the fit of this across the chest, shoulders and back. It looks a but big across the back on me here but I’ve only got a T-shirt on underneath. This is not a lightweight coat and is more likely to be worn over my usual winter layers and the fit accommodates all of that. Again, I think the collar is the wrong height and shape for me and the overall length… not so flattering.  It needs to be a bit shorter so that it doesn’t hit me at my widest point.

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In short, when I wear this I feel a little dumpy and irritated by things I wish I could change. When I see Anne in it, I think “shit, I made that!  I’m AWESOME”.

Make sure you check out the rest of the sewalong entries here!  There are some seriously gorgeous coats in this pool!

Sara

Linking up with:  Make It and Love It

2014 – Starting with a stash busting pledge!

I have a few goals for 2014 but I feel the urge to immediately and publicly declare that I am on a stash diet this year! Might have something to do with the new Liberty of London fabrics at the workroom! Must.Not.Buy!

OK. So it’s time to hash out the details of my 2014 stash diet. I was already thinking of something along these lines to accompany my ban on ready-to-wear purchases (more on this later) when my friends Andrea and Gail posted about their 2014 stash busting plans (posted here and here). Perfect timing! Made even better by my proximity and frequent meet-ups with Andrea as she can give me a stern talking to if she sees me cheat! Nothing like a little accountability. Andrea and Gail started a flickr group and lots of people seem to be on board. This has already grown to include a stash swap with the help of Morgan and I have seen some seriously gorgeous yarn and fabric posted already! It’s going to be a fun (and maybe sometimes a wee painful) challenge with lots of moral support when gorgeous fabrics come calling!

latge yarn bin 2

Let’s just start with my yarn stash as my rules for this one are quick and easy. No.More.Yarn. Period. No exceptions when it comes to buying with my own money. Occasionally friends ask me to make something for them and that’s still fine if the yarn is on their dime. The large bin I am showing is actually only about 2/3 of what I own as I have second short bin that is full.  In my defence (I’m honest and will admit that there is no real defence!), a very large part of this stash came in a single order from Germany. Yarn is cheap in Germany and my very accommodating friends Anne and Andre brought me a suitcase full last summer.  See below if you don’t believe me.  It was impressive!

photo (31)

Shall we now discuss my fabric habits…? In a few short months I went from buying on a project to project basis to the current disaster.  The bulk of my stash lives in these three bins. The two large ones contain all of my apparel fabric, as well as larger pieces of quilting cotton. The smaller middle bin is my collection of fat quarters (it’s not full!) and other craft related fabrics.

fabric bins

My stash hasn’t exactly outgrown these bins but my more recent purchases still need to be washed and moved into the bins. I have some strict rules about what can move into the bins and it all stems from a recent problem with carpet beetles. This was a seriously fucking awful period in this household that has been my primary stash diet motivator… it made me realize that a stash is not safe and I would much rather use what I have then lose it! Fortunately, I do carefully store my fabric and yarn to protect it from cat hair, so no damage was done but it could have been a real disaster!

fabric drawer

I also have a bit of fabric that still lives in a drawer. These are my very recent purchases that includes some Girl Charlee and Etsy fabric that came to me via Bitty.  This fabric was pre-washed by my lovely sister before shipping but doesn’t get to live with my binned stash unless it is washed by me and sealed immediately. Think the carpet beetle experience has left me a wee paranoid?!  But I’ve been using this fabric up quickly so having it nice and accessible has been handy! And finally, I have my most recent purchases that includes a small-ish pile of knits and a few woven pieces that are destined to soon become a La Sylphide blouse and two Archers.

fabric new knits 2fabric new plaids

Oops.  And two lovely pieces of wool crepe that were meant to be my Christmas outfit.  The pink crepe will become either a Chardon skirt or a quarter circle skirt using this handy new calculator developed by the ladies of By Hand London.  Thoughts on this?  The cream coloured crepe was originally going to be a quarter circle skirt as I have had this cream ponte skirt of Heather’s on my mind since she posted it. However, I think I would instead like to use it for the Rachel Comey blouse (Vogue 1247).  If I ever get my hands on the pattern, that is! (Update. I got my hands on the pattern!).

wool crepe

I haven’t been collecting fabric for long but I am surprised by what is in those bins every time I go near them so I think that an inventory would be useful.  I think I am going to follow this example.

So we’ve seen the stash but now it’s time for the rules.  I think the bottom line is that I would like to primarily work from what I own this year. This is going to be a big transition year for me as I move from a postdoc into a real job (scary! exciting!) and I have no idea where I will end up.  Therefore, saving most of my money seems like the smart thing to do. However, I know me and fabric purchases are going to be hard to resist! So I think I am going to follow Andrea’s lead on this one and say that I am allowed to buy a single piece of fabric after I have made five items using fabric that I already own.  And that’s only if I come across a really special piece of fabric or have a particular project in mind that I don’t have stash fabric for (Robson trench or Thurlow pants, for example). The exceptions to this will be lining fabric and/or any notions needed for a particular project. Gifts are also a possible exception. I am going to try and use stash fabric for any gifts but I can purchase if I don’t have anything acceptable. Muslin is also not on the diet though I have to be more careful to use what I own before picking up more.  I tend to forget what I have available so grab a couple of metres whenever I am near Designer Fabrics.  I’m going to keep a running tally of what I own in my wallet at all times so that I don’t overbuy.  Same goes for interfacing.  I forget what I have and therefore tend to overbuy.  To that end, an inventory of all thread and notions would be useful but we’ll have to see if I get around to making that! I’m undecided about my rules on travel fabric purchases.  Thoughts on what is reasonable?  I will say that any rules I make for travel will NOT include local towns that I visit for sewcialist meet-ups as that could quickly get out of hand! It’s late so I am sure I am forgetting some crucial rule or circumstance so feel free to speak up if you think my rules are lacking!

Patterns? I’m not too worried on this front. Bitty and I share patterns so that already keeps the cost reasonable and I’d say that our collection is not too crazy at this point. We’re making an effort to use the ones we own before buying new ones but we’ll have to see how that goes! I rather desperately want this wrap dress pattern but the shipping costs are holding me back so far. But the second Jen releases the Morris Blazer pattern it will be in my collection! I guess I should start saving one of my allowed fabric purchases for this one as I have nothing appropriate in my stash already!

Bitty is apparently far more restrained than I am on this front so she says there is no need for a Stash Diet. Good girl!

So who is joining us on this challenge? Any other New Years resolutions?

Sara