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party pooper

The last time Karen hosted a Pyjama Party Sewalong, I finished mine in time but was defeated by technology when it came to showcasing photos of same. This year? I was going so well! All cameras charged and functioning, computers working OK most of the time. I’d bought the fabric, laundered it and even ironed it (yes, that’s quite possibly what caused any recent seismic disturbances in this part of the world). I had it laid out on my sewing table with the pattern and everything, all ready to cut out. It’s a pattern I’ve used on numerous previous occasions, so I knew the actual sewing wouldn’t take long at all. But then? Then we had unexpected visitors from interstate – a delightful couple of busy days, but although some knitting might have happened when I wasn’t driving, I certainly wasn’t able to do any sewing – and that was that. So, really, I think that had better be that. No more parties for me. I obviously can’t be relied on to do anything in time!

That’s not to say that, in between feeling very glum about the whole employment scene and not wanting to waste blog time moaning about same, I haven’t been busy. I’ve finally finished Youngest Uncle’s fingered mitts/fingerless gloves (at this time of year, good, natural light for sewing can be in short supply but the need for the finished article quite pressing, especially now that Youngest Uncle is home from a tropical holiday). I’ve knitted a beanie for myself. And I really am about 99% done with Middle Niece’s Easy Lace Cowl.

I ended up making Youngest Uncle’s fingerless gloves/fingered mitts using a knit-it-flat-then-sew-it-up pattern from the Patons Winter Warmers Book 483. It’s pattern 37, Knitted Family Gloves or Mitts. I used Cleckheaton Country Tartan yarn, which knits up beautifully, and made the Man’s size. I’m happy with the results and I’m sure Youngest Uncle will be too (I’ll be delivering them tomorrow).

Test-driven by Dr B, whose hands are very large. They'll certainly fit Youngest Uncle.

Test-driven by Dr B, whose hands are very large. They’ll certainly fit Youngest Uncle.

And, as I said, I knitted a beanie for myself. Strictly speaking, when I said the colours of that balaclava weren’t my colours, I was wrong. The colours are fine but those particular shades are perhaps not quite dark enough for me. On the other hand, although the beanie sports a similar colour palette, the shades are much darker; in fact, a little too dark for me. But let me remind you of YoungB’s witty wisdom that any colour is your colour when you’re cold. I’ve been wearing this beanie and loving how warm it is.

Cheerful, self-striping yarn again but this time a slightly flatter crown than my previous beanie

Cheerful, self-striping yarn again but this time a slightly flatter crown than my previous beanie

You won’t be surprised to hear that this pattern also comes from the Patons Winter Warmers Book 483. This time I used pattern 15, Knitted Cap and Scarf. I made the Lady’s size, used Bendigo Woollen Mills’ Murano and didn’t bother with the striping (given that the yarn provided that anyway). Once again, I loved the yarn but was disappointed that there was a knot. And this time, I didn’t see the knot coming, so ended up having to tink half a row. Oh, well, no biggie. At least I wasn’t knitting anything complex.

So that’s what I’ve been doing. I hope you’ve been keeping busy, too?

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2013 in Knitting, Sewing

 

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bringing a new look to the ancient: Pattern Pyramid Giveaway

Karen over at Did You Make That? is hosting a Pattern Pyramid Giveaway. It sounds like such a good idea I couldn’t resist joining in. Why don’t you join in too?

I seem to have done something wrong with the button, since it’s not sitting in nice alignment with the one for Karen’s Pyjama Party Sewalong (which was also a lot of fun that I hope you didn’t miss out on). I must not obsess. This is not giving me a headache. The information is there. I must not obsess. This is not… And then I looked properly at Karen’s button. It’s also not on the same alignment. See? I’m not stressing. I’m not.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2012 in Sewing

 

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only a bit late to the party

Well, actually, I think I missed it altogether! I know all the shouting and champagne happened a long time ago and we’ve cleaned the carpets and moved on since then, but I’ve only recently reached a stage where I can access my photos. So here is a record of what was my contribution to the great  Pyjama Party Sewalong:

Keeping my Boy warm

The part I like the best about them is the ribbon I used to indicate the back:

Love Chocolate

This is not in any way intended to indicate anything other than “not the front of the garment”. No other sorts of chocolate should be inferred.

How’s that for central precision?

The first photo I took to demonstrate how well I’d done with the central alignment was out of focus, so this one was taken more recently, in better light and with a different and better camera, hence the much colder colour. I think the earlier photos are perhaps closer to the real colour but it doesn’t matter. I did make the PJ bottoms and took photos and here they are.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Sewing

 

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but it isn’t red

Although I’m not participating in Me-Made-May, I’m trying to wear something me-made each day during May, partly to see if I can do it but without the pressure of having to. Today I wore my most recently made scarf. But, dash it all, it’s not red. Today is May Day and I can’t remember when I last didn’t wear a significant amount of red on May Day. I have red on my shoes, but the rest of me is mostly black. At least, my clothes are.

Later: I tried to add a photo of Boy wearing the PJ bottoms but, alas, that method didn’t work. So we’ll have to wait for Dr B to work a bit more magic before we have photos.

I can make some comments, though, about the bottoms. They were a quick, easy make. I would certainly make them again and will doubtless do so. There’ll be more winter PJ bottoms or summer boxers (or both) for Boy and I’m half-tempted to make some winter PJ bottoms for myself! It’s worth remembering, which I didn’t, that the pattern is for a knit fabric not a woven one. I made a women’s size 10 for Boy, which is ample enough round his backside and would probably not have been problematic in a stretchier fabric; but I forgot about his beefy quads. He has rower’s thighs (or cyclist’s thighs; but big) and, well, the bottoms are a bit strained. However, they don’t split or look as if they’re about to when he bends over (the standard test hereabouts) and they’re not squashing anything vital. So next time, I’ll make a 12 and he should be fine.

Of course they don’t look anything like the picture. They’re not shorts, they’re not made of a knit fabric and I tinkered with the pattern to make it just one pattern piece instead of two. I don’t think I’ve ever used the wide waistband the pattern uses so the appearance has always been like and yet unlike. My problems with the waistband relate more to my choice of elastic, I think. Back in prehistory when I did a stretch-fabric sewing course, non-roll elastic was the go. That’s elastic which, when stretched, returns to its original size. It’s difficult to come by; that is to say, I have trouble finding it. Most elastic I use seems to stretch and keep stretching and not return to its previous size and then it’s no use. (That was the drama with my wedding-outfit skirt.)

I zigzagged the measured soft elastic onto the wasitband. It stretched so much that the trousers were then falling off Boy so I had to unpick it all. Darn. At that point, I abandoned the attached elastic method and decided the old-fashioned tried and true method of threaded elastic would be perfectly all right, thank you. The elastic I ended up using is really too firm for night attire but it has the advantage of threading well and, because I made the channel with hardly any wriggle room, it won’t twist too much. It doesn’t have room to twist. In any case, Boy says it’s very comfy and just firm enough. That’s what I like to hear.

I was in a hurry – nothing new there – so I didn’t do the French seams or even pinked seams that I should have used. I just zigzagged around the crutch (usual practice) and left the rest as is. I know from having used the fabric many times before that it frays hardly at all and will wear well even without any finishing on the seams (the camo/helicopter pair lasted a couple of years with bare, unfinished seams). It’s lazy, I know, and I promise to try to do better next time. I can’t promise that I will because one shouldn’t make promises one is likely to be unable to keep, isn’t that right?

But you know my favourite part – and I really wish I could show you a photo of this now but it, too, will have to wait – is the black ribbon that indicates “This is the back.” It’s actually ribbon from some chocolates that were a birthday present (I hoard ribbon, it’s useful for lavender bags and the like) and what it actually says is, “Love chocolate.” Yeah, Boy is a chocoholic too, so it’s apt. Oh, and the PJ bottoms aren’t red, either. They’re green.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2012 in Sewing

 

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rowing pyjamas?

No, they’re not and there’s no such thing that I know of but we have just come home from a rowing function and Boy got straight into his pyjamas as soon as we had unloaded a couple of bags. I asked if he’d let me photograph him wearing them so I could be part of Karen’s Pyjama Party Sewalong reveal. He’s an obliging sort of chap, so he put them on and said they felt like 70s flares because they’re wide-legged. They’re actually straight-legged, not a flare in sight, but he’s accustomed to skinnier styles. He was also wearing the trial sweatshirt I made for him and you could just about get away with calling it a match with the PJ bottoms as they’re both green and although not the same green, the tonality is similar. I took a photo, just one.

The camera card is now full – we’re not sure why; I was fairly sure I’d erased images after the last upload but they’re all still there, plus photos from tonight’s rowing presentations – but I managed just one image of Boy almost in the frame. Almost! It doesn’t matter whether he’s in it or not, really, because we can’t presently find a way to upload images directly from the camera. This is a hangover from the computer problems of earlier this year; there are still occasions where things don’t work and can’t be made to without much inconvenience to everyone.

On the whole, we’d prefer to avoid the inconvenience to others element, so I won’t be pressing for too much action on the photo front just yet awhile. It’s a pity I can’t party with everyone else but that’s the way things turn out. Pillow fights? I think I’ll sob into mine. I have a few comments to make about sewing the PJ bottoms, mostly relating to frustrations with elastic, but perhaps I’ll leave those until I’m able to post a photo. The crotch seam turned out very well, I’m pleased to report. I think I should at least mention that. And that I’m presently rereading Legends of Australian Fantasy edited by Jack Dann and Jonathan Strahan.

Still in sewing mode: I couldn’t go to our final rowing presentation dinner without appropriately coloured attire. I didn’t have a dress or skirt that would have been comfy and warm so I grabbed trousers, a slinky little sleeveless t-shirt top and a jacket. They were all right as far as colour was concerned, but they were all the same colour and we do have the choice of black and white and grey, or just black and white if we can’t do much else. I decided that a scarf would be a good way to add a bit of colour. I didn’t have one, so I made one. In my stash I had a large piece of fabric I’d probably intended to use for a top. Some might argue that its background colour is not really white but rather cream. The flowers and stripes are black. In the dim light of the function centre, it was black-and-white enough to be obvious that I was aiming in the right direction.

I folded my fabric so that it was on the diagonal then cut across, eyeballing everything, so that I ended up with a truncated triangle. Yeah, really scientific and accurate. Not. (And probably quite wasteful of fabric, though I’ll make lavender bags out of the leftovers.) Actually, it was surprisingly reasonable in terms of size. Sure, one end is a little wider than the other, but it’s not so much larger that it looks ridiculous; and that might be related to sewing inaccuracy as much as cutting inaccuracy because I didn’t pin anything, just sat the machine and stitched. The fabric slid somewhat, so although I tried to keep the seam the same width, it probably isn’t; and although I held the cut edges, I’m sure that in one or two spots the cut edges don’t align precisely.

I sewed across one angled end, along the shorter side, turned another corner and sewed across the other angled end, leaving a gap to turn the scarf through. It turned through a treat, so I then top stitched the side and ends and left the unsewn side, well, unsewn. The longer side is about 82 inches, the shorter about 70 inches and the width around 5.5 inches. You know what? The lads think it’s very nice. You know what else? It is.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Rowing, Sewing

 

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burgeoning beanies

Last night I had a haircut. This happens infrequently enough to be an activity of note but the best part of it was that, when I pulled my purse out to pay, the hairdresser told me that Middle Aunt had already done that when she’d been there earlier in the day (she gets her hair seen to much more frequently than I do; and we’re all agreed, she’s much greyer than I am so it’s likely her need is greater than mine). How kind and generous is that?

Naturally, this calls for some little thank you gesture beyond the phone call I made when I came home (Middle Aunt was at choir practice, so I left a message with Youngest Niece). I thought another beanie might be the go. Oh, yes, it will just be the usual pattern, the L574 or 475 or whatever it is (I can’t be bothered looking; I mean, I’ve admitted it’s my go-to beanie for fast results) but I’m trying a different yarn this time.

No, I haven’t quite finished the pink beanie but I’m confident that I’ll finish it tonight (only about 10 ever-decreasing rows remain and the sewing up takes no time at all). While I will certainly cast on for the gift beanie, I think I need to be a little more serious about all the sewing on my list if I’m not to fail in the Pyjama Party Sewalong. I can knit on the bus. I can’t take my sewing with me.

We are presently enjoying an Indian summer but it won’t last forever and Boy will soon be wanting his sweatshirt which, I think, probably takes precedence over the pyjamas. The pyjamas he could manage without. The sweatshirt? That is a thing of direst fashion need.

Later: It is now 10 o’clock and Dr B is on his way to bed. Boy should be but isn’t. Me? I’ve finished the pink beanie (I tried it on Dr B and he says it’s toasty warm if not his colour), started the next one (on which I’m already making good progress because it’s on needles of a size I can manage) and have a load of laundry gently doing its stuff. I’ll hang it out tonight, I think, late though the hour, because I want some of the contents tomorrow. As to clearing the sewing room? It’s too daunting a task, I admit, to undertake in anything more than short bursts when it’s late in the day and you’re tired (it is and I am). You don’t make much progress doing it that way. It’s a task that might have to wait for a full-scale onslaught on the weekend.

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Knitting, Sewing

 

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but then again

Boy says, “Don’t listen to Dad.” Boy likes the beanie. He likes grey so it would ring his bells on that account though he might not necessarily be overwhelmed by the bits of pink. But he says it’s nice and what would Dr B know? OK, I feel a bit less worried about it now.

They are doing eco-weekend stuff, carting away the last of the willow they cut up last weekend. My colleague didn’t want the wood because, according to her research, willow doesn’t burn well, provides little heat and is inclined to spark. She has an enclosed Kent-style heater, so I would have thought the sparking not a huge concern but it didn’t worry me one way or the other. Youngest Aunt and Uncle would have taken it, no worries. But they don’t have enough space left to store it. So off to the mulcher it goes.

I’m making no progress at all with trying to clear the sewing table so I can start on the pyjamas. The minute I clear one spot, something else that doesn’t belong there ends up being dumped there “just temporarily”. I am somewhat overwhelmed by other people’s problems at present and I suspect that’s not helping my general attempts to make progress. I haven’t given up but I admit to feeling more than usually disheartened.

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2012 in Knitting, Sewing

 

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