Friday, 16 January 2015

Bits and pieces

1. I finished knitting yet another cowl. I know, I know, I am the most boring knitter in the world, even more boring than my sewing.

Yet another Gap-tastic cowl, this time in vintage burgundy bouclé and DK held together
I am on a mission to substantially reduce the size of my (thankfully, not very large to begin with) yarn stash this year. When I first started knitting at the very end of 2012/start of 2013, the impetus was being given a huge box full of my maternal grandmother's knitting accoutrements, untouched these last twenty or thirty years. I recently discarded much of what I acquired in the box because it was mostly remnants of cheap, unpleasant yarn, and I sold some other yarn. However, I kept two things: a pile of burgundy DK 25g skeins (13 of them, to be exact) and a similar tone of burgundy bouclé yarn that I tried but failed to knit once before. It's actually more red and less brown than this photo makes it appear.

I adore how this turned out. It's hard to tell from the photo, but the bouclé totally obscures the stitch so the cowl is just a gorgeous nobbly texture, and the interweaving of the two shades of burgundy looks so gorgeous in real life. So, even though this is really uninteresting because it's just Yet Another Cowl, I consider it a raging success, hurray!

Meanwhile, I am also plodding along knitting the shawl I started. It's going well so far, but then I haven't hit the lace pattern yet. Updates from the field soon.

2. Quilt progress: Back on 22nd December I cleared up all my WIPs and made sure that the only thing I carried into 2015 was the World's Slowest Quilt, which I originally started in April 2012. Since then I've: bought the remaining quilt top fabrics I needed; cut out all the pieces; made 36 quilt top blocks; organized the blocks/batting/backing sandwiches (I am making a quilt-as-you-go quilt, so I have to assemble each block separately); and started quilting. My quilting so far is really REALLY basic, I've just been outline quilting along the seam-lines of the blocks. I plan to try to get fancier with my quilting, including possibly trying out my free motion foot that came with the machine, as I progress further into my pile of blocks. (So far I have quilted 3 of 36, so I have time!)

Blocks waiting to be quilted (the very large pile) and already quilted (the very small pile)
I'm not disliking the experience of quilting -- there was something very satisfying about making all those lovely straight lines of stitches and pressing the seams open. However, I can't say I'm a massive quilting convert so far. Plus, to be honest I keep looking at the part where I have to connect all the blocks together at the end and going D: However, forward momentum has been achieved!

3. Partly momentum has been achieved because I am dragging my feet on my next garment project. Well, next but one -- first I have to make a boring but necessary pair of yoga pants, but then I am going to make a new shirt or two. However, in order to make it I have to muslin it and eh, I have a case of the don'twannas about the whole thing.

Here is the pattern, Vogue 9906 from about 1978-9 (ish), which I picked up from eBay in my mad pattern buying spree at the end of last year. I shan't be wearing a beret to accompany my version, but I am planning to make view B.

Vintage Vogue 9906
There are several reasons I have to muslin this blouse -- mainly that the bust fullness is provided by shoulder gathers rather than a dart so I can't do what I did with my previous shirtmaking attempts and slap a darted sloper over the top as a comparison. Also, the shoulder is forward and I always have to adjust, sometimes quite dramatically, for square shoulders, and I am not entirely certain how to do that with this pattern -- stick a wedge in it somehow, is all I know for sure.

4. Meanwhile, my sewing-related reading at the moment is dominated by tailoring books and the Alabama Chanin books (not intended for use together). I am still obsessed with making a jacket (although if I have the don'twannas about muslining/fitting a shirt, you can't imagine the extent to which I am digging in my feet over fitting a coat or jacket) and also, separately, with the whole embellishment/embroidery/slow sewing thing at the moment. I keep sort of marrying up all kinds of other, sometimes long-held obsessions with both of these things, with the end result that I have Grand And Epic Plans, in my head at least, for things to make and do in the future. Alas, I fear my ambitions and my abilities are, as always, separated by several miles, but Grand and Epic Plans are always the most fun in the creation stage.

5. And finally, since a numbered post is not a proper post unless it has 5 things in it, a minor personal update. Long-time readers may recall that since I have been quite seriously ill off and on for almost two years now, which culminated in me having to leave my job and return to the UK last summer. I was actually starting to feel tons better in the autumn, almost back to normal even, but then I relapsed spectacularly in mid-November and I've been miserably ill ever since. However, last week some new and different progress was finally made after I went to a long-awaited appointment with the Most Special Of All Specialists down in London. Among other things, the Most Special Specialists FINALLY gave me a diagnosis (except it has the word idiopathic in the name, which basically means: haha, we don't really know why this is happening to you! but never mind). There are several more hoops to jump through before I actually get the new treatment they prescribed, but I am very hopeful that things are looking up already health-wise for 2015. :D :D :D

Unfortunately, I then celebrated by buying 5m of fabric, but let's not focus on that. /o\


  1. Very cute just another cowl :)

    Ah. I am in project paralysis because I want a coat but do not want to muslin a coat. And then I read Kathys post and her muslin of a coat looks perfect which is "justification" that I should totally just sew mine up :-p

    OMG. I love the quilt I made. Seeing the pieces together was fun but I'll pass now and forever on the actual quilting part. Totally not fun.

    Can't wait to see what's made next!

    1. Oh. I forgot to say what I meant to say!

      You can trace off your darted sloper and, if I'm not mistaken, rotate the dart to the shoulder and make it suitable for a pleated or gathered top

    2. I love the idea of this quilt, and maybe I will love the finished thing, but at present with a stack of 33 blocks left to quilt I am feeling very indifferent to the entire project. Still, it's a good thing to have going when you're not feeling too well because I can just pick up and put down one block at a time, which is a lot better than trying to quilt an entire quilt thing.

      I tried the rotate-the-dart thing, but I got myself into such a mess that the comparison just looked totally wrong and wonky. I don't think I have any choice but to venture into fabric. On the plus side, I can just use some of the other pieces of my previous shirtmaking experiments for e.g. the back and sleeves so it shouldn't be too onerous. Maybe I will feel inspired this weekend and get started!