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process not product

Great potential for placement problems but too spectacular to resist

Great potential for placement problems but too spectacular to resist

I’m dead terrified of upsetting the Mistress of the Jar. So I’m not going to talk about whether or not my finished top would be appropriate for my response to the challenge she set us. It might be. It might not be. I’m more blogging about getting there, not what “there” might be. So I firstly want to have a little whinge about PDF patterns! Yes, in the big scheme of things they’re fantastic. It’s fabulous that you can download them instantly and it’s truly wonderful that so many designers do make them available at little or even no cost. Those are big gains indeed.

All of those gains, however, can disappear in a fit of the grumbles when you spend two days crawling around on the floor trying to match up all the squares to glue one of them together so you can actually use it. After that, there’s the usual having to trace your pattern off that so that you can then pin it – or weight it; whichever method you use, there’s an added step –  to your fabric and then cut out the garment. That might normally take [me] a day; but if you’ve just spent two getting to that point, all of that additional, ordinary stuff seems like a very great deal when you’re working on a deadline. And, let’s be honest, who ever works to anything but a deadline? Some might be tighter than others but we’re always trying to do more than we can realistically fit into the hours we’ve allocated for the task. We might plan to be ahead of ourselves but life gets in the way. That’s just how life is!

For me, there are other deterrents. We don’t have a decent floor in the place (the carpet is old and bumpy and if we continue to store pushbikes in the hallway and use the lounge room as a substitute gym in the winter, I can’t see that changing), the lino in the kitchen is a bit the same and there’s certainly not enough space in the kitchen for it to be a possibility even were it not, you know, the kitchen) and certainly no table large enough for gluing together large expanses of paper. That’s definitely a factor in my lack of enthusiasm for PDF patterns.

I like to think you’re all a great deal better organised than I am, even though I know it’s not the case, and that you’d never be battling PDFs and cutting out and sewing up your new garment a few hours before the party at which you need to wear it (because, heck, if you don’t wear that, then what on earth will you wear?). I’ve seen evidence around the blogosphere that there are others who are also of the school that thinks hems on knits are optional at a pinch; and therefore, knowing I’m in good company, I’m about to reel off a few of my heinous actions.

So what if I ended up using a shoelace as a tie because I didn’t have time to make a cord? Under a jacket, the shoelace wasn’t visible. So what if the garment wasn’t hemmed? I think most would agree that’s sometimes a deliberate choice for a very stable knit fabric. I might hem it eventually, along with sorting out a better way of achieving the desired gathers because I found the effect of the shoelace quite bulky and don’t imagine that a self-fabric cord would be any less so. The not-so-good fit across the back? It’s sleeveless but I’d always intended to wear it under a jacket. Given time, I might put a Chanel trim on the armscyes to tidy things up and bring in the profile to a better fit. Then again, I might not. The drape on the cowl? Far too deep to be a good look, but I take the responsibility for that because it relates to my absolute indolence with regard to measuring myself properly.

I know I’m a funny shape – I’ve had a lot of years to accept that! – and that my proportions make adjustments tricky. Still, I could have been more careful with starting out at about a size 12 across the shoulders on both back and front and then deciding how on earth I was going to ensure that the rest of the garment was big enough for the rest of me. You know how I was in a hurry? Yeah, well, that’s it, you know. I was in a hurry, so I did the best I could in what little time I had. I certainly graded from a smaller size at the shoulder to a bigger size at the bottom; it just might not been the right size in either spot. Oops.

Despite all the dramas and problems, the finished garment looked okay under the jacket. The colour is pretty and was appropriate for the evening (chosen carefully to reflect one of the favourite colours of the birthday girl) and if my top was a mess under the jacket, then only I knew. Another guest, someone who wouldn’t care about any of those shortcomings even if she’d known about them, said how nice it looked and particularly loved the cowl. 🙂

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2013 in Sewing

 

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is this really spring?

Springy enough but winterly warm

Springy enough but winterly warm

If it is – and if the swooping magpies didn’t suggest so, then the amount of sneezing and general misery associated with hay fever certainly would – then I think my knitting is likely to be put into some form of storage, the sewing machine come out of semi-hibernation and the seasonal swap take place. I don’t really sew much but I think I do more of it in the warmer months. That’s plain silly, really, when YoungB is always on the lookout for warm, knit-fabric sweaters and the frankensweater is yet to be made. On the other hand, it’s generally far too cold in the sewing room for me to use it during winter. It’s clear, though, because I checked on my Ravelry page, that I have been reasonably productive this year with knitting projects, many of which haven’t been hanging around forever but were actually started this year. Of course, some have been around for a good bit longer. By about now, though, I’ve run out of steam and I’m sneezing too much to be bothered with knitting.

Sewing seems to be the answer. I went so far as to purchase a couple of sewing patterns this year, with stash fabric in mind, but whether I’ll ever actually get around to making them up is quite another thing altogether. The PDF one that I have to stick together, then trace my size onto lightweight interfacing, then actually cut out on fabric, is just sitting there patiently awaiting sufficient clear floor space – and enthusiasm – for all of that to happen. The one that has to be ironed, spread out and then traced and cut out? Yeah, see previous comment about floor space or implied lack thereof. I have made up some shopping totes and lavender bags and no doubt I’ll make a few more of those sorts of things with Christmas in mind. But, you know, I’m tired (hence the lack of enthusiasm). It’s been an odd sort of year and it’s quite scary to think it’s nearly over.

YoungB is nearing the end of his first year at university. I don’t understand that at all. It’s only yesterday, surely, that he was starting primary school. Although, come to think of it, I do have some photos of his last primary school sports day and I can tell you he’s grown some since then. Actually, I have photos of his last assembly at high school. They were taken about a year ago. Oh. My. Giddy. Aunt.

We are presently in the throes of organising YoungB’s application for a year of exchange study in Italy. In the interests of assessing his language skills so we can get an idea of his proficiency levels (and what summer courses he might need to do to boost them if they’re not as they should be), I’ve been looking up a few applications and trawling the web for sites that might be of assistance. I tried out a few of them. I have a great verb trainer on my smartphone. It turns out I’m very good at knowing what the verbs mean, even some of the less common ones.

I’m not so good, and this doesn’t surprise me at all, at conjugating anything much beyond fairly oft-used verbs in ordinary tenses but not moods. I think I’ve said before that I get stuck when I’m faced with having to choose between conditionals and subjunctives. It was ever thus, hence my relative silence whilst I was living in Italy. By the time I’d worked out which of them I should be using, the conversation had moved on so far that it didn’t matter any more. YoungB is much more inclined to just jump in and have a go. I’m hoping he’ll have such a fantastic immersion experience that he’ll come back fluent in all conjugations, whatever the moods or tenses and whether it be spring or any other season.

Of course, that’s all very well. But needing a quick, undemanding project (read, something to fill my hands while we’re discussing all the implications of such an exchange at the kitchen table), I had to dash off today to buy some yarn to make a winter scarf for someone in the family. It will be a Christmas present though not required till next year; but if I wait till her birthday, the poor thing will have died of cold in the interim! So, you know, what I was saying about giving up knitting for a bit? Yeah, maybe not just yet.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2013 in Knitting, Musing, Sewing

 

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