Olive Cardigan

This cardigan is almost one year old. I finished it right before last spring, which, for such an autumn coloured sweater, was maybe not the greatest idea. I was just starting to crave pastel and other spring hues, so it felt like I wouldn’t want to wear that cardigan a lot.

But strangely I did wear it a lot, and I didn’t even wait for September for that. I say strangely, but I guess the ever fall-like Belgian weather must have helped quite a lot.

I had bought the yarn (Drops Karisma, colour #57 olive) for this sweater in 2014, at my beloved local yarn shop, which has since closed. I had another much longer sweater in mind at the time, but when I decided to knit the Wainthropp cardigan, I didn’t want to buy any yarn unless I didn’t have anything suiting it in my stash. So I said goodbye to the long sweater and opted for the safest bet, yet another Andi Satterlund sweater, my eleventh if I’m not mistaken! 😀

I modified the button and neck bands: I didn’t like the garter stitch ones of the pattern, so I changed them for twisted ribs, matching the waistband and sleeve cuffs. As usual, I wrote down the details on Ravelry. The buttons are from my stash, once again salvaged from an old garment by my mother.

What more can I write about this cardigan from a designer I’m used to, knit in a yarn I’m used to? No much I guess, except that I’ve recently realised that, weirdly, I have a tendency to knit cardigans in fairly dull colours. It’s particularly obvious when you see them all together. My only bright cardigan was this one, but I’ve just got rid of it because it was too worn and damaged. It’s strange because I think of myself as someone who loves colour and is not afraid to wear bright colours even in winter, yet my sweater shelf says otherwise. Something to keep in mind the next time I buy some yarn!

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Joanna Dress

When I first saw the Lliria dress pattern, it was love at first sight. It has everything I like in a dress: the overall silhouette, the sleeves, the yoke, the gathers, I could go on… And when my friend Hibbis almost magically dug out not one but two 1,50 metre pieces of this lovely black and white floral viscose from a messy stand during our last visit to the Stoffenspektakel, I immediately saw it as the perfect fabric for my Lliria.

And it was. But man was it a pain to sew! I had already sewn with viscose, but never with such a shifty one, and paired with the curves of the Lliria dress, it was an absolute nightmare. The waistband in particular got so distorted that its two ends didn’t match at all once sewn up: I had to unpick and re-sew it, which was not fun at all, but I think worth it in the end. I also had to unpick and re-sew the hem a couple of times… and once more after my bike chewed up a piece of it during its first outing! 😱

The flat button is inside the waistband.

The buttons are vintage. They are the same I used on this blouse. And by “the same”, I mean five of them were stolen from said blouse. They were too perfect for this dress, and not that comfortable on the back of a blouse.

I’m really happy with the fit of the finished dress. I had to blend quite a few different sizes to get there: size 42 for the shoulders, 40 for the sleeves, 38 for the sleeve cuffs, 36 for the bust and waist and 42 for the skirt (with a size 48 length at first, but I had to chop off a few centimetres after the bike incident and I think I got back to the original 42 length). It’s kind of all over the place, but that’s what I thought would work after comparing the pattern pieces measurements to the measurements of well-fitting garments, and it did: it’s incredibly comfortable and I feel like a million bucks in it!

I also made a couple very small modifications to the pattern: I added side seam pockets and I interfaced both facings and sleeve cuffs. The only one of these changes I wouldn’t replicate on a future version is interfacing the skirt facings since it takes away some of the fluidity of the skirt. The rest I’m happy with.

Surprisingly, I’d say this is probably the most difficult pattern I’ve ever sewn, because of the type of fabric it requires coupled with the curved shape of some of the pieces, which made it impossible for me not to distort them despite all my precautions. But I’m sure it would have been much easier had I not used that particularly fickle fabric, or had I maybe thought to stabilise it with starch or something…

And the result is so worth it!

Aux robes pareilles

I don’t know that my second version of such a simple pattern as the Moneta deserves a blog post of its own, but I really love this dress and I was wearing it when I thought about taking pictures for the blog, so here goes.

You may remember that I had to shorten the bodice of my first Moneta dress after completing it. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to alter the bodice pattern pieces, too. And, contrary to what I was forced to do on the first dress (since it was already cut and sewn), I didn’t simply cut off the bottom of the bodice pieces. I shortened them properly by slashing and closing, and I feel like this allows for a better fit at the waist than on the first version: the waist seam is now horizontal, even at the back, so no need for a swayback adjustment after all.

What may also have contributed to this more horizontal waist seam is the fact that I used my preferred method of gathering the skirt (the same as for a woven garment, with three basting rows, but adding clear elastic when attaching the skirt to the garment) instead of the recommended one.

If I did alter the bodice pattern pieces, I didn’t think of altering the skirt pattern pieces at the time. And I realised that right after having cut both skirt pieces, argh! I remember thinking that the length of the first dress was okay, but not perfect, and that on the next version I’d definitely add some length to the skirt to compensate for the length I had lost at the bodice. I could have kicked myself when I realised I had forgotten to do so! I made a very narrow hem to get as much length as I could out of my already cut skirt pieces, and I think that the length I got is more than okay, but I must remember to add a couple more centimetres to the next version in order to get to my perfect skirt length (63 centimetres — this one is 60 or 61).

Those 2-3 missing centimetres sure haven’t stopped that dress from becoming one of my favourite ones! Aren’t those cherries the cutest? I had made this beloved skirt a bit more than a year ago in a lovely cotton poplin, and when I found the exact same print but on jersey (at Herbert Textiel), I didn’t think twice and immediately ordered 2 metres for a Moneta dress.

It’s a white fabric with a dark print, so it does show a tiny bit of white at some seams (see the sleeve seam in the close-up picture below — note that you can always click on the images to make them bigger), but it’s nothing you notice unless you’re specifically looking for it.

What’s crazy is that, out of the two metres I had ordered, I managed to get this dress of course, but also a matching cardigan! I cut and sewed them both at the same time, which was really fun and gave me the impression of being incredibly productive! In case you’re wondering, no, I don’t intend to wear them together, nor to wear the cardigan with the matching poplin skirt!

But when does one enter crazy cherry lady territory? I mean, people (okay, students 😉 ) have already started asking questions, and they haven’t even seen the cardigan yet, nor the three other cherry fabrics I still have in my stash!

Socks in Fox

I almost exclusively knit cardigans and sweaters. Sometimes a scarf, very rarely a hat, once a pair of fingerless mittens, another time a pair of slippers and, up until I decided to knit these, never a pair of socks.

The thing is, I hardly ever wear socks. I’m almost always in a dress or a skirt, so tights are what I wear most of. The occasions when I do wear socks being casual to say the least (i.e. mostly lazy days at home), I’ve been content with the same old pairs I’ve had since… my teenage years for some of them. Typing this, I’m realizing that this means I’ve had some of these socks for TWENTY YEARS! 😱 And, come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve bought any socks these last ten years. Please feel free to judge.

Aaaaanyway, so weirdly, most of my socks have started showing signs of age. And since I have pretty much entirely stopped shopping for clothing (making clothes is so much more fun!), when I realised I should stard to replace the ones I’ve had to throw away, I didn’t think twice and started browsing Ravelry for sock knitting patterns.

I was looking for something cute of course, but also fairly easy for my first time knitting socks. Lauren Riker’s Pawsome Pals seemed like the perfect choice: by far the cutest socks I found on Ravelry (with these ones, also by Lauren Riker — I opted for the Pawsome Pals because they are lower, so better suited for a first sock project I thought, but I did buy Lauren Riker’s whole “Look at Those Legs!” pack), and as it turns out they are plain stockinette with duplicate stitch added at the end, so easy peasy.

For the yarn I chose the cheapest option, also one of the easiest available, Drops Fabel. I quite liked knitting with it, and I’m fairly happy with the way it has worn out: it did felt and pill slightly at the surface in some places the first time I wore the socks (and white heels were maybe not the best idea), but it hasn’t changed a lot more in the year since.

I loved knitting these socks! They are knit from the toe up, and it was so neat seeing the shape of a foot appear almost magically. The only changes I made were adding a contrast black toe and omitting the writing at the back.

I had read about second sock syndrome, and to avoid that I knit the two socks simultaneously. I didn’t want to fuss with two socks/skeins on the same needles, so I simply bought a second pair of circular needles and knit each step on one sock, then on the other: toe, foot, heel, leg, cuff, bind off, ears, weaving in ends, white duplicate stitch, black duplicate stitch. That’s the advantage of knitting with cheap needles!

Unfortunately, the finished socks are not perfect. They do look very cute, if I do say so myself, but they are a little bit too tight. They are comfortable to wear (though I wouldn’t mind more space at the instep — you can even see it in the pictures), but pretty difficult to put on. Frankly, I can only blame myself: I didn’t knit a gauge swatch and my tension was way too tight. My duplicate stitch leaves a bit to be desired, too: I couldn’t stop the orange yarn to show through the white yarn between some stitches. Ah well, these were my first socks, and at least I left room for improvement for the next pair!