Saturday, 26 May 2012

Owl Embroidery

Looks like another first to add to my list :)  I have completed my first embroidery!  It was fun, but like all small projects, it was over too quickly.  (Well, once I finished the planning stage anyway.. that bit took forever).

I based it on a vintage embroidery pattern I found online here.
I redesigned a chunk of it, adding some detail and refining the lines.  And here it is!

I really love the texture of embroidery.  Stitches used include lazy daisies, back stitch, satin stitch, seed stitch (which is a really fancy way of saying scattered straight stitches), stem stitch, scallop stitch, and chain stitch.  I liked using a variety of stitches.  They're all pretty basic though!

I just want to touch all the stitches!

I did this embroidery for my Mother for Mother's Day.  It's going to be put in a little frame.

My embroidery dreams are to make a set tea towels with obnoxious vintage designs like this one.  Happy fruits and veg!  And one day in the future I would like to try to incoporate it into a garment.  You have to be careful not to make it look granny-like though!
Check out this and this for some recent inspiration I have found.

I'll leave you with a close-up and a picture of the mess I made while designing it.
I call it creative chaos.

Embroidery... a hoot?  (I'm so sorry for this pun.)

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Finished! Vintage Skirt Pattern!

Well, after much procrastination I finally finished my skirt!  And I'm surprised to say I quite like it!
I used an old pattern from the 60s I found in an op shop.  
And guess what?  That's one finished from my "Till Whenever I'm Done Palette Challenge" :)

Somewhat awkward pic!

During the construction of this skirt, I really wasn't sure if I'd end up liking it.  There are loads of bits where I just felt like I messed it up.  The lining was super fiddly (urgh, lining fabric is such a pain, so slippery!).  The lining hem is all puckered and gross, and the zig zag seam finish isn't the nicest  (but I really can't think of any better way to do it without an overlocker)

Hemming was a real chore, the flared skirt had so much to ease in, so that was a bit puckery and gross too.  I used seam binding and catch stitching.  What's the secret to a good flared hem?

I messed up one more thing- It said to ease the skirt into the waistband, but I couldn't get it not to pucker.  There was just toooo much to ease in!  Since there are 8 gores, if you are a little off on each, it really adds up.  That's what I think happened.  Either during cutting, or sewing, or both.
What's stupid is on the original muslin, there were puckers too.  So when I added some width to the waistband, I left the gores the same, thinking that would fix it.  But it wasn't enough!
Dumb puckers, I dislike them so much I'm seriously contemplating getting the seam ripper out and doing some surgery.  What a pain!

All in all, I felt like a real novice on this project.  I need to get better at this sewing stuff!  I'm a little hard on myself, I know....

Let's focus on the good things now.
-The zip went in like a dream!  I used a method I found in my 70s Reader's Digest book.  It's hard to explain, but it was different to all the sewing instructions I'd found on lapped zips so far!
None of that stupid bump of fabric I seem to get at the bottom of the zip.  Yay!  (I could post a photo of the zipper instructions if anyone is interested).

-The skirt has the lovely flare at the bottom that I so wanted!  Mandatory twirling pics!

Fabric:  It's made in a polyester viscose blend crepe.  This stuff has a really nice drape, but it's the type of fabric that likes to pick up every bit of hair and fluff around!  I would love to use wool crepe, but couldn't find any.

I wonder if I'll make this skirt again!  I think it is a really cute style.  I'm also thinking I'd like to have a go at the little blouse (isn't the scalloped collar sweet?  At first I thought it was weird, but it's grown on me).

Here I seem to have inadvertently copied the model's pose from the envelope!  Hey, even my hair is similar!

Channeling the envelope..

Wow, I felt like I put a load of pictures in.  But I'm going to be honest-  I love seeing other bloggers put lots of pics in, so I shall too! :)
I also got a picture without my top tucked in.  Which do you like better?  I'm not sure!

(Taken later in the day, hence different light)
Ahh, feels so good to complete a project :)

Thursday, 17 May 2012

More Miette

Look- ribbing!

I have now finished the bottom off.  And I made some more mistakes/learning opportunities!
Once I got up to the lace pattern at the bottom, I realised I didn't have enough stitches to make it work- I hadn't taken into account that my stitch count had to fit into a multiple of 8 for the lace pattern!
Whoops!  I had 2 stitches more (or 6 stitches less, depending on how you look at it)!
I decided to undo my work back and add in two more decreases, in line with the other decreases I'd made under the arms.
Another lesson to remember for next time...

Okay, so problem solved right?  Although I did realise... my cardigan is going to be extra tight in the waist.
I already decreased a bunch from the pattern to fit my small bust.  But then I did the waist decreasing as well!  I'm thinking I should have decreased 8 stitches less.  I will be ruminating on this!  I don't want it to look odd and tight with stretched out button holes at the bottom.
If I decide to change it I will have to rip out maybe 30 rows.  Scary!!!  So I will make sure it's necessary first!

Now, this is for any fellow beginners out there:
Here is how I figured out the bust:
*caution- maths ahead!*
See my explanation of gauge swatch maths here.
Basically, based on my blocked swatch, to get the 2" negative ease in the bust I needed, I had to have 128 stitches at the bust.  So that's 64 on the front and back.  The back tops out at 63 stitches.  No need to change that!  So I simply stopped increasing the front at row 25, where there were 32 stitches on each side of the front (32 x 2=64).

Okay, onto the sleeves!  Here, Gail increased the size of her sleeves to accommodate her larger arms.  I need the opposite (I have noodle arms).  I did some more maths, and to get zero ease in the arms, I need to take out four stitches!  Here's what  I'm thinking- Row 1 has you K2tog at the start of the row, and ssk at the end.  I could just do this for the next two rows as well!  Thoughts, experts?

And I have one more question for experts-  The pattern doesn't mention double pointed needles, but trying to knit my first row on the circulars was annoying, and I had to stretch the knitting out just to knit the stitches.  So- I have to buy DPNs right?  lol!  One more thing to learn about!

Gail is gone on holiday guys, so I'm like a little lost sheep.. help me out guys! :D

p.s Stay tuned for me finally finishing a garment, lol!  I'm finally hemming the skirt I've been making!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

More Miette Progress!

Well, I've been knitting away, and my pile of knitting is looking more and more cardigan-like, hooray!

Here's me once I got up to the armholes, putting it on scrap yarn for a try on.  I decided I didn't need to add any since it wasn't tight in the armholes.  Yay!

There is a lot coming up I've never done before, like picking up stitches, knitting in the round, making button bands, blocking and more!
I'm so grateful to have Gail helping.  If it weren't for her I'd probably be in the corner whimpering, in a pile of yarn and regret.  lol!  She's been putting up more helpful posts.  And she's even finished hers!

Just like Gail, I moved the bust darts to the sides (I don't need shaping in the front!).
You can see Gail's post on how that is done here.
Here's where I'm up to now.  I'm about to start on the bottom eyelets and then the ribbing!  Exciting!

Knitting is fun, I think I'll be converted by the end of this project (assuming it doesn't blow up in my face, eep!)!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Miette Progress and No Taffy

Well, time for an update on the Miette.
Gail has been putting up loads of helpful info!
I'm almost up to the bit where I can remove the sleeves.  Then I can try it on, OOH!

I've abandoned the lifelines I'd been planning to put in.  Since the knitting has been pretty straightforward lately, I've had no need of them.  Plus, when I pull them out, they distort my stitches.  Please tell me that will come out with blocking.  Please?

Also, row 25 was a bit tricky where you cast on 10 stitches at the start and end of the row.

Here is what I think I figured out -please tell me if I'm right! (lol):
The instructions are to break the yarn, and cast on 10 stitches on the right needle. 
Now, there are cast-ons where you use the right needle (such as long-tail and backward-loop), but I don't know them and wanted to use knitting-on for both sides.  Knitting-on uses the left needle.

Row 25 is a purl (wrong side) row.  I cut the yarn as instructed.  But then I turned the work back to the right side.  I cast on 10 stitches with new yarn, on the left needle, using 'knitting on'.
after casting on new stitches at the end of row 24.
So then, when I turned back to row 25, my cast on was on the right needle as it should be!  I purled across the rest of the row, and I tied the loose ends together like Gail said (see below).

Then at the end of the row, I turned the work again and cast on 10 more stitches with knitting on.  Then on to the next row!  Am I doing it right?

So guys, please give me your feedback on my knitting questions! :)

Oh, and about the Taffy- I wanted to join the Colette Handbook Sew-along, so I tried to make a Taffy in time for the deadline.  And failed!  Woo!  But I would have finished it if it wasn't for that darn bias tape...They didn't have the right stuff in the store!
Here is a picture of my first test garment instead (I actually made two).
Had to cut the head off- it wasn't blog material.  lol!
When will I finish the real thing?  Well, whenever I get into a shop and find the right bias tape.  So probably not soon :(  But that's okay, it's coming into winter here anyway, so I don't desperately need a floaty chiffon!

Gosh, I feel like I've been a bit of a boring blogger lately.  Not many finished projects.  Having a blog sometimes feels like extra pressure to create cool things, you know?  But there's no point in rushing.  I'll just keep plugging along!