Tag Archives: coat

Distracted Knitter, Bad Sewer

Seamstress?  Sewist?  Whatever it is, the apartment is nowhere near clean enough to cut fabric in, and my Denver Fabrics order is supposed to show up tomorrow.  It’s going to be so sad to get a big box of wool and not be able to do anything with it.

The thing is, I’ve been spending too much time trying out my new knitting style.  I’m still knitting some on my fuzzy pants every evening, but I’m in love with my new way of holding yarn, so I’ve been knitting and ripping little scrap-yarn swatches over and over.  I know it’s pointless, but it’s addicting.  I’ve started to think that I need a new knitting project for all of that excess energy.  New knitting projects don’t require a clean apartment what with balls of yarn being more compact and portable than large pieces of heavy fabric that needs to be pre-washed, carefully dried, ironed or steamed, laid out, marked, cut, and basted before anything really useful happens.

You may recall that one of my current projects is a pair of mock-cabled pointe shoe covers to use as warm ups at dance.  I had bought some Knit Picks Wool of the Andes for them. When it arrived, it seemed strange that I should have so little yarn for such a big project. I then figured out what went wrong: I scrupulously calculated the necessary yardage based on a rough calculation of the gauge that I’d be using and the surface area of the completed project, but I forgot to account for the fact that I, apparently, have two feet.

(I find myself compelled to mention here that I have a degree in mathematics.  I had several very good and entertaining professors, but one of the most memorable moments was when Professor C. walked into class early and heard someone complaining about how this math course was so much harder than previous ones.  Professor C. responded, “This is not math.  Calculus?  Differential equations?  That was math.  This is mathematics.”  So here I say, I’m pretty good with mathematics.  But with math?  Not so much.)

Now, having realized this serious error in the math, I think I should use my pretty purple wool for something else.  I’m considering a beret and a pair of gloves.  I really like the Ashwyn Beret and Meret for lacy options, and the cables on Nine Dwindling Cables, Laurel, and Brambles are very pretty. Then again, the color would look nice with my Cornflower Cowl so I might do some skinny cables like those. Whatever I do, I’ll either be finding or making a matching glove pattern. I’m bad at making decisions. Feel free to tell me what to do or offer more pattern options.

(Also, am I the only one who feels like a creepy stalker type when I comment on another person’s blog?  It’s like offering unsolicited advice to a stranger on the street, but from even further away, which is somehow worse.  “Oh, hello.  I just reached through the internet to spy on you and comment on your life.  Have a nice day!”  Conversely, I love it when I get comments from random people whom I’ve never met before.  Maybe I’m just too socially awkward for this whole interacting-with-other-people thing.)

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Plaids, Linings, Buttons

I ended up ordering the cranberry, olive, pewter, and black plaid wool from Denver Fabrics to use for my winter coat.

I guess one of my goals for this year should be to perfect my plaid matching technique. I know all of the basics, but I can’t remember any project where I actually had to match plaid. I probably just read and assimilated the information from my parents’ old Vogue Sewing or Better Homes and Gardens Sewing Book. I did get pretty good at tailor’s tacks and matching darts on the dress that I made to wear to my cousin’s wedding this summer, so I think I’ll be all right.

I also bought some black lining fabric, and I’ll be using up some ugly yellow fleece as an underlining. The yellow shouldn’t show anywhere, and I need the extra warmth!

I think I’m going to be doing a slightly different collar from either version offered with the pattern, making it wider but keeping the notch, so it’ll be warm but still fall nicely. (I never look good in shawl collars.)

Then comes the question of fasteners. The pattern itself calls for buttons sewn on to the outside, and snaps used as the actual closure. I think I could live with that, but it always looks fake to have the buttons just slapped on the outside since there’s no buttonhole there, and it seems a bit silly. Besides, I have an insane fondness for bound buttonholes and was looking forward to another excuse to use them.

My options here seem to be a) sew the buttons and snaps as recommended in the pattern and take it for granted that no one other than me with notice/care, b) make bound buttonholes and sew the buttons on so that they’re functional, or c) make bound buttonholes, but close them off with scraps of fabric placed behind the buttonhole and stitch the buttons to this piece of fabric and place snaps to act as the actual closure. I’ll probably just stick with option a) since it seems like the easiest both in terms of application (I don’t have to make any bound buttonholes), ease of use (snaps are easier to do up than those silly inside buttons that I never ended up using anyway in my old coat), and the ability to change it later if I don’t like it (nothing is cut, so if I don’t like it and want to try the bound buttonholes, I can).  Plus, if I think it seems silly to sew buttons on when snaps are the real closure, where is the logic in adding fake bound buttonholes to the mix?

Another consideration: I’d like a detachable hood.  I can make a pattern for that with very little issue, but how it’s going to be attached to the coat is up for debate.  The original idea was to have it button or snap on.  If I do that, I need to keep in mind that any precipitation falling on the hood should run off the back of the coat and not down my back.  So, if I have the hood snap on the inside of the coat, I need to have a second collar layer to lie on top of the permanent collar.  Otherwise, I can have the hood attach to the outside of the coat under the collar, and the back of the collar will end up inside of the hood.  With a wider collar, this might get annoying.  Next thought:  What if I make the collar itself detachable?  I can make a wide notched collar, a narrow notched collar, and a hood, all to attach to the same snaps on the inside of the coat.  The only question here would be of structural integrity.  It seems that sewing the collar to the neck edge of the coat should add some strength to that seam, but I think I can achieve the same with facing and topstitching.  Final decision pending.

Now I just need to get my apartment perfectly clean and ready for fabric cutting (a feat in my small space, but the drop-leaf table helps, and I can use my bed if all else fails).  Then on to the muslin with shoulder and collar alterations!

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The Cowls! They Multiply!

I just finished a third cowl from the GAP-tastic Cowl pattern. I’m liking the Wool-Ease yarn, and I hope it holds up well in the wash.

Now, I’m working on a moebius cowl in the same stitch, with the same number of stitches cast on initially, but using Cat Bordhi’s Intro to Moebius Knitting cast on from Youtube. I had a skein each of the reds that I used for the first two cowls left over, so this is what I’m going to do with them.

Last but not least, I picked up two coat patterns at JoAnn’s New Year’s sale, McCall’s 5759 and Vogue 8346. (I also picked up two dress/top patterns. More on that later.)

I have this delightful dilemma where my pattern size is a 12 at the bust, 10 at the waist, and 14 at the hips. I don’t know if you’re aware, but it is exceedingly rare to find those three sizes in one envelope. On top of this, my shoulders are wide and either my shoulder blades stick out or my shoulders slope slightly forward.

I’m going to be making view B from the Vogue pattern. I’ve gotten pretty good at altering things, but I’m definitely going to be spending some time on the muslin for this. It seems pretty tailored, so getting it right is pretty important.

Now I get to find my fabric. Current choices include camel wool, red and black wool, cranberry plaid wool, and grey and black wool, all from Denver Fabrics.

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Doctor Who Marathons Breed Cowls and Fuzzy Pants

I knit up two last minute Christmas gifts in Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick using the very simple GAP-tastic Cowl Pattern from Ravelry. It’s not actually designed for this weight of Wool-Ease, but I cast on the recommended number of stitches and knit for the whole two skeins of yarn, and the cowls turned out huge and warm. Plus I was able to make both in two days, even with shopping and dance classes and family dinners and visits thrown in. I think working through the entire fifth season of the new Doctor Who with my parents helped.

(As a quick aside, that black and white table in the second photo is my great-grandmother’s enamel kitchen table where my grandmother and mother both learned how to make pie crust.)

I also made a good start on my fuzzy pants.  The fisherman’s rib pattern is super thick and fluffy, and progress is slow, but they’re getting easier now that I’m several rows away from the cast on edge.  The trick that I’ve found with the woolly nylon is that you have to pull out a good length of it with the yarn so the strands stick together and the tension doesn’t get uneven between the two strands that you’re knitting with.

I also pulled out the old sewing machine to stitch the elastics on a couple of pairs of ballet shoes (flats, not pointe shoes), picked up some purple felt for knitting needle cases, and made pie.

My next big project is to start thinking seriously about making a new wool coat to replace my L.L.Bean pea coat which is in its 11th winter right now. I love that wool coat. I’ve re-stitched the buttons several times, run it through the washing machine, shoved it in suitcases and dance bags, and worn it over both light layers and the hugest sweater known to man. I’d like to make something like it, since it’s such a flattering shape and fit, but I want something with a bit more neck coverage. I could just make a pattern from it, but McCall and Vogue patterns are both super on sale starting tomorrow at JoAnn, so I’ll probably pick up one or two new patterns and put something together using a combination of all the best attributes. I like McCall 5525 and Vogue 8346.

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