Thursday, 28 February 2013

A Failure of Style.

Firstly:  I started up a twitter account a while back to tweet someone (is that the term?  lol!).  Anyway, I'm a complete twitter newbie, and I'm not sure I'm a natural twit (hee hee, now I'm sure that's not the term).  But I'm giving it a go.  You can find me at @Jo_MakingitWell.  Are any of you twitter converts?

Secondly, I have enabled guest commenting on Disqus, so if you don't want to make an account, you can still comment.  But seriously, get Disqus, it rules. :D 

Anyway, let's get back to my failure.
Do you ever get swept up in a vision?  Well, sometimes these visions don't work out...  That is the story of my Liesl.

Okay, you can probably tell how little I care about it from these photos.  Apparently I didn't even bother to brush my hair?? 

I guess it's not sooo bad.  I just kinda hate it.  lol.  I was utterly charmed by the pattern at first, but as I was knitting it I couldn't stop vacillating about whether I liked it or not.  Bad sign.

I think it's still a really cute design in many ways, but I think the key here is the chunky lace.  This is knitted in 10ply, on 7mm needles.  It's just so holey and chunky!

What I do like about this style is:
-Bolero!  I think these are flattering on me.
-The allure of cuteness in the form of a bow.

The reasons I think this fails:
-The lace isn't delicate enough.  I feel like on my frame it's just clunky.
-The bright colour and the bow make me feel too costume-y.

Back view... the scallops are still very appealing to me.
It definitely kinda stings to make this kind of misjudgement on a knitting project, as I spent a lot of time on it (all the while trying to convince myself I'd love it).  At least it was a relatively short knit.  Chunky yarn + lots of holes + cropped style = pretty fast.

Honestly, I feel it looks "crafty" (not in a good way.  I mean home-made-y.  lol!).

Would you like an out-of-focus full body shot?  Sure you do.

I'm sorry Liesl, I don't mean to treat your photoshoot with such disrespect, but I'm just not keen on you!

I can still see the ghost of what I had hoped this would become, but I don't think I'll end up wearing it.  It's just too cutesy, out-there, and chunky.  (Wow, never thought I'd find something TOO cute).

The feather and fan lace pattern is still lovely.  I have found another pattern, "Ninian" that uses it.  It's a lot more delicate and I think it would turn out better. 

Anyway, I guess I've learned a lesson here about what does and doesn't work for me!  Maybe I've been a little harsh on the finished project, but well, you've got to be honest.

Go on, muster up a smile!
Don't worry, my next knitting project has turned out a bit better! 

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Learn to Knit, Love to Knit: The Review

I got a nifty book as a birthday present- thanks Husband!
Here's what I think of it.

First off, overall this seems like a great book.  For me, most of the designs are appealing.  They have pretty details and modern shapes.  I think many people could find something to like here.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

The In-House Patterns Cool Cowl Tank

Have you ever heard of a pattern company called In-House Patterns?  Alexandra runs a lovely blog and has many insights on fitting which have helped me greatly.  Check it out!  (I know you ladies love to support independent pattern companies!)

Anyway, I made the Cool Cowl Tank.  And I'm pleased with how it turned out!

Her pattern line is drafted for a D cup so as you can imagine, I had to make rather large bust alterations.  Luckily, she has a tutorial on how to do that with this pattern! I did make a toile, and it was frightfully large in the bust.  So it was highly worth it!

This pattern has a bit of ease in it, which is not how I normally wear my knits.  I think it looks fine though.  However if I make it again I probably won't be able to resist making it tighter :)  I think I could even go a size down all over- the shoulders are probably a bit wider than they need to be.

Cutting this was interesting-  I only just managed to fit this out of my fabric. I had to piece together the hem band by creating a second side seam. I don't think I would have been able to fit all my pieces if I hadn't taken a sizeable chunk of length out of my front and back pieces while fitting. (I took out 5.2cm (2") of length- partly for style reasons and partly cos I have a short waist).
This fabric shortage was due to the fact that the grain was really skewed. Check out the angle it was sitting on- this pattern piece is on grain! 

Also note my faithful hedgehog pincushion- made pre-blog.
Ooh by the way, did you spot my fancy pattern alteration around the shoulders?  Another gift from Alexandra's blog which I cured my saggy back armholes with!  (This is one of those alterations that seems to be needed every time for me).  Usually I form a dart but for a knit I thought that was weird, so I eased the dart volume into several seams, get it?)
I painstakingly pinned all along one of the knit grainlines for each piece, to mark where to line up my pattern piece.  Seriously, it took forever.  I cut everything flat-no folded fabric here! I feel like trying to cut a thin wriggly knit like this on the fold is just asking for trouble. Wrinkles on the underside, fabric stretching and skewing... Flat seems less stressful! Hopefully all this work ensures my garment sits nicely.

The cowl does seem to behave :)  It's a pretty detail, and different to the Renfrew's cowl neck-  it's built into the pattern piece and it has a lot more drape.
The print is cute right?  I bought it from Girl Charlee. It's a lightweight cotton jersey (no spandex so I'll be watching to see if it grows).  It's absolutely perfect for invisible seams.. the busy print hides everything!

The pattern didn't say anything about reinforcing shoulder seams with cotton tape, like the Renfrew top. I just did it to be cautious... lol.  Safety first!  I wonder if it needs it?

The instructions are very well written with clear diagrams. I love that it mentions the reasons you are doing certain steps, and also mentions the difference between serging (overlocking) and straight stitch options.
It has 6mm (1/4") seam allowances which means you don't have to trim, which is nice.  Of course, that also means if it's a bit small, there's not much you can do.  Thankfully though it seems to run true to size.  No troubles there :)
Keepin' it classy with my jandals.
On colder days, I can wear this with jeans and a cardy.  It's nice to make something so casual and versatile...
You can see the back armholes aren't quite snug here.  This was my goof because after getting rid of the back armhole excess, I forgot to shorten the armhole band to match.  Noted for my next version...

I added a centre back seam and tried to add a little shaping for my sway back, but I'm not sure it accomplished much.  lol.  The ease hides it I guess.  But it was useful for chucking some dart volume into, so no regrets.  Besides, you'll never see it in this print, hee hee.

So in conclusion, thumbs up to this pattern!  Here's a photo of me trying to pose.

 Go on and make one.  You know you want to ;)

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Stash Situation 2013

I've been thinking a bit about my stash lately.  It was part of the reflections I did at the start of the year.  Planning less, not buying any patterns, it's all about simplification.

I personally hate when STUFF starts taking over my life.  The hoarding of stuff, the storing of stuff...
My general philosophy is that if I don't love it or need it, I don't want to have it!

Saying all that, I have managed to acquire quite a bit of fabric.  Without further ado, here it is laid out:

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Almost-Too-Cute Crochet Scarf

Okay, maybe you've figured out I'm a giant sucker for cute stuff.  So I couldn't resist making this heart scarf when I saw it on Ravelry

I actually finished it a little while back, but didn't get around to photographing it.  We got a fancy new camera this week so it was a perfect opportunity to go check out a fabric shop (40% off sale!), and get some photos.
Note:  I did not buy a single thing at the store... what a good girl am I.

Except I wasn't a good enough girl to block it before wearing it.. naughty naughty.  I'll have to have a go at steam blocking it and see how much it improves its appearance!

My husband is a great photographer right? :D  He has been teaching me how to use it...

I pretty much did exactly as the pattern said, and it was really fun and easy!  Gotta love projects like that :)

A fabric store is the perfect place for photographs... so colourful!

I could hang around in fabric stores for hours.
I don't think this is the world's most versatile scarf, but I think it'll be fun when I do wear it!  It's kinda cutesy and kinda granny-chic.  But I'm very okay with that.  In the end, you just have to wear what makes you happy. :)

Friday, 1 February 2013

Fitting: Makin' Stuff Up

Well, it's been quite a while since I've done a post on fitting.
As usual, the disclaimer is that I have no idea what I'm doing, so take anything I say with a bag of salt :D

I did three toiles for Simplicity 3831, and ended up satisfied with the fit.  I think the floral pattern helped cover up anything dodgy, which is a bonus!  But most of all, it was comfortable to wear which was so great!  (Casting an evil-eyed glance at Vogue 8469)...

This pattern was interesting... I'd never done a small bust adjustment on a pattern without an armscye.  So after fruitless googling, I just went, "Ya know what?  I'm going to make it up.  You're not the boss of me!!"  And I did.  And my next toile didn't explode.  In fact, it looked better.

Anyway, here's a bad photo of my pattern piece:

I cut through both darts as usual, but instead of cutting to the armscye, I created a pivot point at the neckine.  I overlapped at the bust point tapering to nothing at the neckline, while adjusting the darts too.  This took out volume from both the darts and the bust point.  It didn't take any horizontal width out like a normal SBA does, but it didn't seem to need it.
This is a confusing pic because I lowered the bust dart later, so it's alteration on alteration!  (That's what that cut out box is!)

I also did something on the back bodice.  I noticed while wearing my toile that my shoulders felt restricted.  I finally noticed strain points at my upper shoulder blades (which seem to cause issues for every fitting).  Aha!  And then I made more stuff up.  lol!
Look at the before and after- I created shoulder darts!

Just agree that it looks better.  Also, it's more comfortable, hooray!
Here is how I did it:  I put it on my body double and noted where the strain was pointing to.  I marked it.  Then I slashed horizontally at that point and noted how the fabric dropped to alleviate the strain.  It opened up and created more length.  How to transfer this to the pattern?  Just make it up, dude.  A slash here and there....

So I cut horizontally across the pattern (just like on the body double), with a pivot point at the CB seam.  I also cut from the neckline, with a pivot point at the horizontal slash.  Then when I pulled open the slash the same amount as on the body double, the dart opened up and formed for me!

Update:  I found a reference to this alteration in Perfect Fitting by Sarah Veblen, and it's pretty much the same, except you don't pivot at centre back, you just leave the full vertical slash open there, i.e the length added at CB is the same as what you added at the dart.  Am I making this clearer or more confusing?  lol!

Okay, at the best of times my fitting posts leave me feeling like a rambling madman.  This one even more so!
So, do you guys ever just make stuff up when altering your patterns?  Does anyone know why what I did was wrong or right?  I'd love to hear it!