Thursday, April 29, 2010

knitting blahs

I'm in a knitting rut. And a knitting slump

I think it started with the ill fated skirt. Then it moved onto a pair of socks that I was knitting that seem a bit snug. Then I thought why am I always knitting socks?

Well, I can save you many days of soul searching and tell you that I am always knitting socks for these reasons:
1) I wear socks almost every day
2) I have a ton of sock yarn
3) socks are portable
4) I have a ton of sock yarn
5) Socks are easy to do while watching TV
6) I have a ton of sock yarn.

You get the picture.
Seriously I spent 2 days trying to figure out something non-sock to knit. And I realized, I don't wear that many scarves or shawls, and I can't knit lace or anything complicated while I watch TV (looking at you dollar and a half cardigan). I don't have a lot of yarn for mid-sized projects--either socks or one-skein things or sweaters.

I have three balls of Muench Touch me, and toyed with a velvety scarf. And I could not for the life of me think about where I might wear such a thing in MAY. And of course I *could* save it for winter, but please, I want something I can appreciate NOW, not 5 months from now (oy, really 5 months from now I'll be wearing a scarf--yeah probably). I also have some leftover yarn--Briar rose Sonoma I think--that I have mittens and scarf from, but was thinking I had enough for some sort of hat-like thing. Again, 5 months.

Then it hit me. I have 2 skeins of Malbrigio silky wool In a beautiful purple. Surely I could get a small shrug out of it and certainly it would match the bits of purple flowers in the dress I bought to replace the ill-fated skirt. Well, yes and no. Yes, I probably had enough to make a small shrug. Like the small one in Lace Style which is not pictured in that link... But the purple wasn't quite the right purple. The purple bits in the dress are more red. And if I could tell that before I pulled the dress out of the bedroom (and into the sunny living room) then you know it was off. But I also noticed that there was some olive green in it too (and black and white--mostly black and white with a few purple flowers with olive leaves) and I have some olive yarn.

The yarn is Elle Aran gold and it is acrylic. I've knit with it before though and find it to be a lot sproingyier than most acrylics. In fact I made a whole sweater from it, which I actually still like and wear on a regular basis (wore it this week even). Of course it was a dead match for the olive in the dress, how could it not be. How could my expensive really want to create something lovely from it yarn be so far off as to be funny, and my cheap (purchased at a LYS closeout sale) acrylic match perfect? Well that's the way of things. Plus I had enough for the retro redux shrug pictured in the link above.

I was intrigued. I was interested. I swatched. I started dreaming of how I would look the NEXT time I wore that dress (which is in 10 days most likely). And I cast on, more excited about this project than I have been since I messed up the toe on that last sock and it the wall with my sewing.

Although, if anyone has a non scarf option for the lovely purple Malbrigio silky wool--I have 2 skeins which makes about 300 yards (274m) of a dk weight yarn, leave it in the comments. Oh heck, if you have a scarf pattern that I can wear in early fall--say September let me know about that too.

Monday, April 19, 2010

two things I learned.

This is probably the space I should be telling you about the fabulous and cute skirt I made and then wore to a banquet and got a tremendous amount of compliments. And in fact I did wear something new to said banquet and got a ton of compliments.

First though I should say that as in knitting, in sewing I am learning all the time. In fact for this project I learned two very helpful things.

1) the grain lines on the pattern pieces should be straight and parallel to the selvedge edge. "otherwise your clothes will never hang right" so says the video I watched the clip out of. And as it turns out I always tried to get them straight but when I followed the video's helpful instructions: measure from the top of the arrow to the selvedge edge, pin, then measure the bottom of the arrow to the selvedge edge, I learned I can't eyeball straight. In fact my "eyeballing" was a good 2 inches out of whack. And indeed, this skirt went together so much easier than any halloween costume I've ever made.
Which makes it really too bad that I also learned:

2) Simplicity is on crack with sizing.
I usually wear a size--oh let's say 14. And I realize that sizes are different, look at the measurements blah blah. I did this and actually it looked like the simplicity 14 would be way too big int he waist, but ok in the hips. Well, my skirt doesn't fit. It is too short (which I could fix) and too small--which I maybe can fix. But seriously, I think I'd need an 18 in Simplicity and 14 in regular clothes, how is this not in anyway not messed up?
But it very well could be that I messed up. Perhaps I always thought I wore a certain size, say 14 because even though practically every other size 14 out there in the whole world fits me, I've been tricked by vanity sizing and I really wear an 18. But I must say... in vanity size (aka Liz Claiborne) I wear nearly an 8.

So, I slipped the skirt on when I was ready to put in the zipper and discovered that no way was it ever going to fit me. At least not unless I found a way to expand it somehow. Which was really too bad because up to that point things were going super smooth. I think I have a way to fix it. I think I can throw in another panel of skirt and then figure out how to expand the waistband and then I'll have a really short skirt that fits and I'll have to wear leggings under.

But I've learned my lesson for skirt #2.

And I also managed to find a dress for the banquet. By all accounts it looks good on me.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

tap tap is this thing on?

Whoops, I didn't mean to not update for almost a whole month. Being sick really put me behind on lots of other stuff around the house and I guess I've been a little off my game because until this month, I don't think I could have said that I didn't knit anything for more than a day. Coincidently, I also didn't watch much tv....

But I did finish (again) some socks:

They don't match and it bothers me just a little, but that's what happens when you get a knot! in your self striping yarn.
socks close

Also, if you have been reading for any length of time, you'll know I am terribly indecisive about ... well everything. So, you know some serious time has passed when I can announce with great decisiveness a new project.

After tons of looking through stores for just the right skirt, I finally caved to the four or five people who said--just make one. And so tomorrow, I'll be cutting into this:

To make view E of this: skirt. Although it shouldn't surprise you that I went on a day patterns were 99 cents and I bought another one, which I'll show later if I actually decide to make it.

I'm not all decisions decisions, I also bought material to make a second skirt because I couldn't decide at the fabric store!


This is also a big thing for me because I don't think of myself as an accomplished sewer. Sure, I quilt and make halloween costumes (and pjs) but real clothes that people wear? nope. But I think I can handle this. If I can't I have more shopping ahead of me.

Oh and I'm back on the knitting horse, knitting some socks (of course) and obsessing about the next knit project.