Monday, April 24, 2006

Sewing and sewing and sewing

is all I've been thinking about this weekend. I've looked at my yarn in a daze wondering how big of a needle I would need to get it through the sewing machine. Then I remembered I've used two to five sticks to make loops out of yarn. Knitting, hmm, I can't get my mind around the knitting lately. Instead of frogging, there's lots of ripping going on. Every step of the weekender bag requires at least two or more runs to come out acceptably. I'm not following the steps outlined in the pattern, because I still haven't made up my mind about what color piping I want to use as contrast. This is what I've done so far:
Sunday was zipper day. And let me tell you, pinning a zipper and then seaming it was just not working for me. Pinning isn't working for me most of the time, because as soon as I stick pins in the layers, they shift. As a result, I've been hand-basting everything before sewing it together, which is cumbersome as there are so many layers, but worth the trouble. I managed to put a decent looking zipper in! Hooray!!!
I actually thought I would finish it this weekend, haha! At this rate we might be looking at another two weeks or so. But it's fascinating to watch it take shape.
This is a view from above, with the zipper disappearing into the small side pocket.
BF's mom was admiring the bag and wondering if I worried about getting it dirty. Did any of you weekender makers treat your fabric with anything to make it stain-resistant? I probably didn't pick the most sensible colors, but I don't really care, I love the green and white print. While I was sewing, the handles landed in the wet soil of my potted palm and got dirty, but a quick rinse under the tap took it right off.
During one of the few moments that my brain wasn't occupied with the weekender, I succumbed to ordering this from the Kim Hargreaves website. Shipping is free until the end of April!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Weather-induced insanity

Normally I'm not a big complainer when it comes to weather as I figure there's nothing I can do about it anyway, except dress appropriately. But I'm really glad the Bay Area is having a short respite, because my online shopping has gone overboard. See, normally I don't enjoy shopping, going downtown is always accompanied by pangs of anxiety due to crowds, and I don't like accumulating so much stuff because of my nomadic lifestyle (less stuff means easier moves), but the rain has kept me staring at the computer screen instead of out the window, and for the last few weeks little packages have arrived containing old buttons and vintage fabric from ebay, more fabric from, an out-of-print book by my favorite photographer, Sarah Moon, and yarn!!! Not just any old yarn, but four skeins of Sundara yarn, ordered from Yahaira's new online shop, Pure Knits.
From top to bottom there are two skeins of cupid and two skeins of bisque sockyarn. Opening the package was like unwrapping a present, so beautiful in pink and brown tissue with lovely ribbon. I sniffed the yarn, thought about Purly dyeing and Yahaira sending it, two fellow knitters whose blogs I've been reading for a long time, looking unsuccessfully for a little Simon or Eddy fur in there, and just felt the love. It is gorgeous, and the first time since last year that I've bought yarn without a project in mind. So yes, while the shopping has been most gratifying, the crafting has been all over the place with not much to show for. My top-down Big Wool cardi is still only a few rows long. I've spend a lot more time recently with this:
Weekender Bag
The weekender bag by Amy Butler (really though, this is more purse-size by my standards, all the stuff I need for a weekend would never fit in there!). I may be in way over my head with this one, but it is so cute I had to give it a try. Underneath the pattern is my main fabric, from Amy's Sunbloom line. If you haven't been to her site recently, she's just put out a couple of new lines that are very pretty, with muted colors that I like much better than some of her very bright earlier designs.
It took me two weekends to find all necessary supplies for the bag, though I'm cheating with some. Instead of Timtex I got Peltex at JoAnn's. It's pretty stiff and should work just as well. The next problem was locating a 30" non-separating zipper, so I ended up getting a 36" separating one which I'll just shorten. I found it in the parka zipper section, lots of color choices there, though mine is just plain white to go with the green and white fabric. Cutting all the pieces out is taking a long time, and I've been secretly fearing my sewing machine may not be up to the task of chugging through a quarter inch thick layer of material. I'll find out this weekend.
I wanted to add a thank you to all those who left a comment on my Kathy cardi, they made me very happy. I'd gotten so many emails from people asking for sock patterns, after Grumperina had posted about my Mata Hari's, that I was quite overwhelmed. I sent over a hundred emails to people, but the comment thank you's suffered. So, thank you :-)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Kathy Cardi

It's been gloomy inside and rainy outside, adverse conditions for a photoshoot, but last evening offered a few dry minutes. Here is the Kathy Cardigan:
Pattern: Kathy from Rowan's 'Cork Collection'
Yarn: 12 balls of Rowan Cork in 'Chilly'
Needles: US 10.5
The pattern calls for US 11 needles which I got perfect gauge with, but really, my stitches looked a lot better with the 10.5's and the gauge wasn't that much off. There is often a bit too much ease for my taste in Rowan patterns, so it worked out just fine. I shortened the front and back by about 4" and added some length to the sleeves. The sleeves are knit using two alternating skeins. I had purchased the bag of Cork some time ago and needed two more balls, which I found on ebay. It wasn't the right dyelot but at this point I was happy to have found that colorway at all. The new balls were a little lighter, but the yarn is heathered and you can't tell. Finishing took forever, there were soo many ends to weave in. I re-did the sleeve cap because it was a little short, the three-needle bind-off didn't look good with the ribbing so I undid both shoulders and used backstitch. Now I'm glad I did, the yarn is pretty stretchy and backstitch provides a little more stability. I'm happy with this jacket. Though it wasn't a love at first sight project, once I started I enjoyed the process so much. Cork feels a little crispy at first and my stitches looked wonky, but it blocks out very nicely. It's so soft! And warm, though the fabric is light.
What now? I'm feeling lost, like a dancer who just finished a great show and now sits in her dressing room in stillness, wondering where the magic went. The next project is already waiting for me in its bag, but somehow I can't start just yet, I need a little more time to...I don't even know what. Maybe I should finish my skirt for Isew?Iknit! so I can start planning the next sewing project, a bag. I've picked a pattern but I may be in way over my head with this one. More about this soon.