Friday, 17 April 2015

Completed: First Fair Isle

Hi guys! I hope all your overseas readers are enjoying the weather warming up....The winter chill is approaching here and I am not amused! Anyway, here's a top I finished a while back!
This was my first attempt at fair-isle knitting and it really wasn't too bad!

This came from a book I reviewed when I got it for my birthday last year, Learn to Knit, Love to Knit. I recommended it at the time, but now I say stay away! My first project from it was a bit of disaster; I've frogged it and hope it remake it into something I like.
The problem with this book is not only the poor fit on the first pattern I made- none of the patterns have schematics and I have no trust in it anymore. lol. 

So this is basically inspired by the book, but it is nearly all reworked by me. I just used the chart and garment style from the book; everything else I made up!

So what does that mean? It means custom stitch counts for every part of the pattern. I used a different weight of yarn from the pattern and also created my usual custom bust/hip/waist shaping. I also went for about 3" of negative ease, unlike the pattern. 
Some of the elements of the pattern are borrowed from Peabody, a pattern I knitted a long time ago.... which I have also frogged! I know! I'm killing my yarn babies, to make them into something I wear more often. I currently have 3 projects frogged, waiting to be reborn.
I borrowed a lot of the shoulder shaping and neckline from Peabody, as well as the sleeves, although I modified them a little.

I made the pattern without side seams, which is my preferred method of construction. :) So much easier!

The yarn I used was Valley Yarns "Goshen", which is a cotton/rayon/silk blend. I knew that fair isle was easiest and most suitable for wool yarns, because they are "sticky" and the fibres hold on to each other well. Being 100% stubborn, I decided my first try at fair isle was to be in this slippery, smooth yarn. I was concerned about the negative ease stretching it out too, and possibly letting the floats show through. First, I asked my knitting guru Gail what she thought, and she said you could do negative ease with fair isle. And you know what? It didn't work out too bad! It's not perfect, and I think it stretches a little at the bust, but I think it looks acceptable.

This is the closest shot I grabbed. Now if anyone is inspecting my chest more closely than this, I don't approve.

I think the fair isle pattern is really cute and I'm glad I started simple. I'd like to do more fair isle, but I'm not buying any more yarn till I work through what I have. Also, does anyone else find picking colours for colourwork quite the daunting task??

Guts! Pretty floats.
I honestly don't know how often I'll wear this top, but it was a good experience. And I KNOW I will wear it more than if I made it out of 100% wool like the sample in the book is. Why would I want a 100% wool top with short sleeves? First, it would run the risk of irritating the skin, as a lot of wools aren't skin-soft. And then my torso will be too hot in wool, or I'll be warm in wool but with freezing arms. I don't quite "get" the concept of a short-sleeved wool top. Then again, I do have a sensitive personal thermostat. 

The sample from the book. CUTE styling, except for the mega positive-ease.
I do need a pair of pants that actually fits me though... I have to wear these jeans with a belt to keep them up (that pesky pear-shape waist-to-hip ratio). You can see the belt buckle makes a funny lump underneath the top!

I went to the trouble of adding bust short rows, like I've done before. They're really quite invisible. It's just my knitting nerdiness coming out, but I like how they improve the shaping :)

Knit tops always seem to ride up on my backside and create wrinkles in the small of my back. I guess it doesn't bother me too much *shrugs*. Anyway, I'm pretty pleased with this top! It seems my love for knitting isn't going to wane anytime soon.

One of my favourite bloggers, Tassadit from Rue des Renards recently mentioned how some bloggers seem to hype up certain techniques as SUPER SCARY, and it can psyche you out! Well I agree with her: don't listen to those people! Fair isle is one of those techniques people seem to freak out about, but it's way less hard than it looks. And it's fun and it looks awesome. I used to listen to those people and get scared, and I probably have been one of these scaremongers on occasion, unintentionally! But I'm much happier now that I've learned not to fear techniques... well, most of the time.

Have you guys ever attempted a "scary" technique and found out it wasn't so bad? :)

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Completed: Creepy Cute Shirt Dress

Why hello there! Nice to see you guys again. I'm back to school and got swallowed whole by that, as well as getting sick on top of it all. So long time, no blog. And I haven't been sewing at all either (boooooo), but I have a few posts to catch up on.

I feel I look pretty dull and lifeless in these pictures, and well, it was because I was feeling a bit dull and lifeless. I'm feeling a bit better now, thankfully. And I hope I look better too... lol.

So anyway, I made a dress with tiny babies on it. If you don't think that's a good thing, I question your outlook on life. Actually, these babies are from an Australian book series, which I remember from  my childhood, featuring the adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie AKA the Gumnut babies. They're cute tiny Australian tree babies! I couldn't resist the weirdness of this print, even though my husband threatened to burn it.

Even he had to admit the dress was quite cute though; from a distance you don't even notice the tiny babies, it just looks like a nature print. Out and about, I did get an unsolicited comment from someone who recognised the Gumnut babies though- that made my day!

I didn't change much from the last time I sewed it, though I had to make the skirt a bit less flared in order to accommodate the pieces on my narrow fabric. This is my second shirt dress, but I want more, more! I just think they are so easy to wear, but make you look put-together, even when you didn't really put any effort in, hee hee.
I've gotten into the habit of wearing these shoes all the time, they're just so comfy! I'd love to wear cuter shoes on a daily basis, but nothing beats the practicality of these, though they perhaps do no favours for my naturally chunky legs. Haha, such a pear shape.

I did change the collar construction a little, and I'm very happy with it. I drafted a separate undercollar, and sewed it in two passes, which is fast, neat, and the points turn out really great! This lovely finish is thanks to Fashion Incubator's collar tutorials. Fashion Incubator is a great site, run by an industry professional. The tone can be almost disdainful at times (especially to lowly home sewers), but does have some very good content. Now if only I understood it all... lol!

In this picture I seem very bored with pockets, but in reality I'm very excited with them.

I made it a bit bigger at the waist, because I was worried that this stiffish cotton would make a difference, but I was totally being paranoid and didn't need to. Now it's a bit loose, but I like it with a belt, which fixes that problem. I have a history of being paranoid about making garments that pinch me at the waist. I just hate that feeling! I think I can trust my bodice block now though, considering I've used it a billion times. Okay, I think it's actually only 7, but that's not too bad. It would be easy to take in, but I have bigger fish to fry (in other words, I can't be bothered). I DO think it might be worth adding belt loops, but let's just see if I get around to that....

Another shot of the cute babies, with the buttons!

Yay naked babies dress. (I never imagined myself uttering that phrase). What do you think, is this a novelty print gone TOO FAR?