Marvelous Mustard Mitts

FallMittsOops, didn’t expect such a close up on my plump fingers, ah well!

So you may remember knitting wise I was working on a cotton short-sleeved sweater. Let me just say, starting a summer sweater at the beginning of September… Not my smartest move. The arrival of fall means close to zero motivation to knit anything summery. I begrudgingly managed to knit the back of my sweater and to begin the front part, but so much for my “I don’t do UFOs” rule, I NEEDED A BREAK from it!

FallMitts2Lucky me, my favourite knitting designer had recently released a free fingerless mitten pattern that had my name written on it: I’ve been meaning to knit myself a pair for about, I don’t know, two to three years, yet always chose to knit cardigans and sweaters instead. It’s like I thought it would be a waste of time knitting accessories when I could be knitting cardigans and sweaters, forgetting it takes so much less time to knit such small pieces. Yet I didn’t want to buy any mass produced ones, so my hands have been freezing when I take my bike in the morning (when it’s not cold enough to wear my winter mittens and too cold for bare hands).

FallMitts3But now my hands are saved! I stayed up late and missed some sleep so that I could finish the mittens on time to wear them this morning. About that, I guess you can imagine how hard I laughed inside when a colleague remarked on how tired I looked and how wild my weekend must have been! Nope, I didn’t dare telling him it was knitting that was responsible for my tired face…

FallMitts4Knitting these mittens was really the break I needed, they were a fast and easy knit (you can find a few technical details on my ravelry), yet produced a cute and immediately useful result. I was so happy to wear them today, and I think they pair really well with my shawl and jacket.

Now I’d like to at least finish the front of my summer sweater before I can delve into another knitting project, big or small!

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Romancing the Blouse

Green1

Looks nice untucked…

I love green. A few months ago, I realised that, every time I had to pick between various colours of yarn or fabric, I chose the green one. A few random people also asked me what the deal was with me and green and why did I wear so much of it (people tend to ask me the strangest questions!). Maybe it’s just that a lot of people do not wear green at all, because it’s not like I was dressed in green from head to toe or every day or whatever, I swear, but still, it made me realise I should try to avoid adding more green to my wardrobe. I think it has to do with the fact that my everyday jacket and shawl are green, so when I add a green garment to my outfit, that’s already three green pieces.

Green2

Looks nice tucked in!

Anyway, after knitting my green Miette cardigan, I decided not to sew or knit any green piece for some time. But now it’s been long enough, I think I’ve earned the right to sew myself some green!

Green3I got this beautiful fabric from the great swap organised by Saki at the beginning of September. I first debated taking it home with me (I was on a green ban and it was synthetic), but its drape finished convincing me.

It was not easy to sew, but I must say I love the result! You can see that the shoulder seams are a little bit wavy, but nothing really noticeable unless you’re looking for it specifically. The worse with this fabric was the way the colour faded everywhere I put even a (silk!) pin, I’m not even talking about covering the buttons! Yet again, I don’t think anyone will notice but me.

Green4The pattern is the Sencha blouse by Colette Patterns, with a peter pan collar I drafted following Gertie’s very clear instructions (in her book, but you can find them here on video). The pattern itself was not difficult to sew at all (it’s beginner level), only time consuming because I had to sew a lot by hand: partly (the sleeve hem and back openings) following the instructions, partly (overcasting the side seams and stitching the hem) because of the nature of the fabric and because I don’t own a serger.

Green5I chose version 1 for the front (the plain one, so that I could add a collar), and version 2 for the back (I wanted, no, needed the button back), in size zero. I chose the size according to my measurements, without checking beforehand (a what? A muslin you say? Interesting!), then I realised after tracing and cutting everything out that, ahem, it seems like I put on a tiny bit of weight during my two months summer holiday where I stopped biking everywhere every day, oops!

Green6Knowing I had chosen this simple project to get back on my feet after my last project flew out the window (or down the trash to be exact), I was kind of bummed, to say the least. But I decided to complete the project nonetheless, after all I’m biking again, so it shouldn’t be too long until I lose that damn holiday weight!

Green7And, who would have thought, the completed blouse does fit! I’ve already lost part of the unwelcome weight (yay biking!), and my Sencha is closer fitting than many versions I’ve seen, but I really like it that way. The upper back may be a touch too tight, but here’s hoping it won’t be anymore after a few more weeks of biking!

Now all I need is to sew myself a jacket or a coat of a different colour (and knit an assorted shawl or scarf) to avoid the monochrome look!

Ugh…

Oops!Thank you, Burda, for not including  any seam allowances on your patterns.

Thank you, a year ago me, for not adding said seam allowances on your traced pattern and not making a note of it.

Thank you, present day me, for assuming you already used to add the seam allowances on your traced patterns a year ago and for not double checking just in case.

So, I spent a few hours this weekend cutting the fabric for my next project, which was supposed to be a casual black gabardine version of this skirt. And, as I guess you’ve understood by now, I forgot to add the seam allowances… I’ve been adding them directly onto my traced patterns for a while now (or so I thought!), which is why I didn’t think twice and cut out everything without even checking. Only when I began interfacing the waistband did I notice it looked strangely small. Oops!

On the bright side, at least I realised my mistake before sewing the whole thing together! And the materials (only 1m of gabardine and less than 1m of lining) were pretty inexpensive, so I could throw them in the trash without too many tears! 😀

Apple Pie Skirt

Pommes2After more than a month without so much as touching my sewing machine, I was itching to get back to sewing, but with the start of the schoolyear I couldn’t for the life of me find the necessary time/energy.

Pommes1That was until last Wednesday, when I had the afternoon free and the apartment to myself, so no more excuses! I opted for a very simple project that could be completed in one afternoon, to get back in the saddle smoothly.

Pommes3I had that project in the back of my mind since I bought this vintage apple fabric a few months ago. I loved its colours, print and drape, but it’s one of those almost swimsuit-like polyester knits from the seventies, which I thought might look a little tacky as a dress. So I immediately pictured it as a very simple elastic waist gathered skirt.

Pommes8I tried to keep things as simple as possible: I used a whole width of fabric, so there is only one seam at the back and the selvages serve as seam allowances. I however found it pretty difficult to sew the elastic on: even when stretched out to the hilt, it wasn’t long enough to accommodate the width of the fabric. I solved the problem by making a few small pleats where there was excess fabric. Also, the elastic I chose has ruffles up and down, which made it difficult to sew evenly, but it doesn’t really show on the finished garment unless you’re looking for it specifically.

Pommes4The hem is simply turned up once (the fabric doesn’t unravel) and stitched with a double needle. I debated for a long time whether to keep this length or to chop it off, and finally opted for this more practical one (no risk of flashing anyone when getting on and off my bike!), which I also found cuter even though it’s possible that it makes me look a little shorter. I figured I could shorten it later if I ever had a change of heart.

Pommes5I was so happy to have a finished skirt at the end of the afternoon that I immediately planned an outfit featuring it to wear the next day (i.e. yesterday), which was the one you see in the pictures plus a golden yellow cardigan (and a scarf to keep the cold away!). After wearing it on my bike and at work yesterday, I can now attest to its comfort!

Pommes6

I was afraid a skirt with an elastic waist wouldn’t suit my figure. I’m still not convinced it’s the best choice for someone with such large hips and a short waist, but I think it looks okay anyway and maybe that’s just me being picky… It certainly won’t prevent me from enjoying my new skirt. It’s in one of my favourite colour combinations and it has apples on it, what more do I need?

And now I’ll leave you with an image that truly reflects my sentiments towards taking pictures of myself. 😀

Pommes7

WIP: Grey and Pink – Take Two

WIPIt seems of late that I can’t knit for the current season: I knit a merino fall sweater under the Spanish August sun, and here I am knitting a cotton summer sweater when fall is definitely ahead of its schedule here in Belgium!

When I began this sweater about ten days ago, the weather was so warm I was pretty sure I’d be able to wear it towards the end of the month. Now I’m not so sure, to say the least! But I still want to finish it before starting another project since I don’t do UFOs (I’d never finish anything if I did).

The pattern is from Phildar No. 86. I didn’t see the potential of this particular pattern rightaway because the colours really put me off. I’m not usually one to fear colours, but come on, red and orange… and green… and black?! I’d be surprised if even one person knit this pattern in those colours! I initially thought of black and white, then I remembered I wanted to add a few grey and pink items to my wardrobe, so I chose those two colours instead.

The start of the schoolyear means I haven’t had a lot of time to knit lately, but the sweater is progressing slow and steady. The stockinette stitch and simple construction mean that I can take it with me and knit everywhere, which has helped a lot.

Vuelta Al Cole Sweater

VueltaAlCole1There’s no more denying it, holidays are over. I came back from Spain a week ago, and I went back to work last Tuesday. I told you before leaving that I had taken the materials for a knitting project with me, Andi Satterlund‘s Chuck sweater. In my mind, this would be the perfect sweater for your first day back at school, so I was really excited to knit it in August in order to wear it on my first workday in September, with autumny skirt and tights.

Well, no such luck, the weather has been unusually warm for a Belgian September, so I had to wear tightless skirts and summer tees the whole week. I’m not complaining (especially after the ten months long winter we had here last year), but I still can’t wait for fall to start! I know it’s not very original of me, but fall is by far my favourite season: I love the (not too cold) cold, the leaves changing colour… and fall clothing of course!

VueltaAlCole3Anyway, this is my second time knitting one of Andi Satterlund’s patterns and this is my second time being blown away by:

– the amazing seamless contruction,

– how fast it knits,

– how good it looks.

There were a few steps I dreaded before tackling them, but every time I reached one, I just had to follow the instructions and everything made sense in the end.

VueltaAlCole2The genius construction means that, once you have finished knitting, you weave in the ends… and you have a sweater! No tedious seaming up, to me it’s like magic!

It took me exactly two weeks to knit this sweater, and that’s with the time it took me to frog and re-knit the whole first cable motif because I had made a mistake at its very beginning. I think my Miette was also knit in two weeks. Both have more or less the same gauge and the same cropped silhouette that make them such fast knits.

VueltaAlCole4I made a size S without a single modification and it fits perfectly. The yarn I used is Drops Big Merino. This was my fist time using a Drops yarn, and I’m definitely convinced!

For the waist bind-off, I initially tried a traditional one… and could barely get the sweater past my shoulders. I managed to put it on after a lot of effort and it was not very comfortable on the waist, either. So I decided to try Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy bind-off instead, and it worked like a charm. I used a traditional bind-off for the rest of the sweater, where less stretch is needed.

VueltaAlCole5This is the perfect fall sweater. It goes perfectly with most of my high-waisted skirts and I have a few other sewing projects in mind that would pair really well with it.

I can’t wait for the weather to allow me to finally wear it!