Thursday, February 28, 2008

Another Odessa

Odessa again2
Originally uploaded by runawaypenguin
I never actually showed you the first Odessa I made, but you'll have to trust me. I made one, and it looked remarkably like this one (same beads, same yarn, same pattern...). I was inspired by the many many iterations of this hat Teresa made, particularly the cream colored hat with contrasting wooden beads (Ravelry link for all six (!)). When I noticed that one of her hats had been made out of Wool Bam Boo, I decided it would be a great way to use up the scraps I had left from the Green Gable I finished this summer. Actually, that's a lie. First I inquired how much yarn it had taken, and then I decided it would be a great way to use up leftovers.

Both hats have been smooth sailing. When I made the first one I had severe problems locating size six needles. For one thing I hadn't yet gotten a set of size 6 dpn's, and for another I didn't realize that a 24" circular needle was A. the right size, and B. hidden in my closet, coincidentally attached to another as-yet-unfinished Green Gable. Since finishing the first hat I have realized both item A and B, so this time I've switched to 6's after finishing the brim, as instructed. I can't really tell the difference (besides the speed issue), although I no longer have the first hat in my possession.

I'm modifying the pattern slightly the second time around and I'm only putting 2 plain rows between each beaded row.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Nearly finished tam

Originally uploaded by runawaypenguin
What a coy young mannequin! And what a stylish hat she wears! I'm not marking this complete, however, until it has been thoroughly felted and blocked. This is looking less tam and more toque at present. The disadvantage to using a bulky yarn where it isn't called for is that it tends to enlarge the final product (imagine that). I've already tried felting it once by hand in a bucket but this method was clearly met with limited success. I could have sworn that the stitches had begun to loose their definition and become a fuzzy blob of woolen love, and as soon as it dried out the tiniest bit I realized that the only change I had made was to create a slight halo effect. Into the washer it goes!

You can see along the cast on edge that the brim rolls out away from the face; I've now made the same mistake two projects in a row by knitting in the wrong direction after casting on all of my stitches. I noticed fairly early in both projects and decided just to roll with the punches. I'm not sure if one or both of the hats will be for me, so we'll have to see what bothers me more: wearing it myself, or sending it off as a gift knowing it isn't technically my best work.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Fake Fair Isle Tam

B Tam02
Originally uploaded by runawaypenguin
I am loving these colors. The main color is Tahki Yarns Bunny in colorway 041, and the contrast colors are from Noro Kureyon colorway 92. These have both been sitting in my little box of stash for over a year. The Noro was one of the very first yarns I ever bought, but I never actually made bag I was planning. Even better than knitting out of the stash, though, is liberating myself from a soul sucking project. I originally bought 3 balls of the Bunny to design a scarf. I managed to knit a little more than a ball's worth of yarn, but the design had a major problem in addition to my whole I-can't-stand-to-knit-scarves attitude. I was trying to make a pattern stand out using just knitting and purling to create a texture. The repeat was just easy enough to make me zone out, but just difficult enough that I would mess up every time. No more!

Check out this and the other two tams in the Winter issue of Knitty.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

First skirt

First skirt
Originally uploaded by runawaypenguin
Over my winter break I saw these great episodes of a French documentary on Youtube about the making of a Chanel couture collection from start to finish (I posted the first episode below). I love how the focus is not on Karl Lagerfeld, but on the teams of women who actually create the garments. Their skills are incredible. It's interesting watching them trouble shoot as they try to transform a ten second sketch into a decadent piece of clothing.

I think the videos are a large part of why I started a few sewing projects over break. I have been trying to find an above the knee, office appropriate tweed skirt for a long time. I will try to post a picture when my camera is done charging, but I was specifically trying to match the feel of the skirt paired with the Tyrolean Cardigan by Sarah Dallas in Rowan Vintage Knits. One of my Christmas presents from my parents was the supplies for a sewing project, and at the last minute I decided to take a trip to Banksville Fabric in Norwalk, CT. If you are closer to Norwalk than NYC, it is definitely worth a trip. I have a feeling that there are probably a few similar places in the city, but they have a great selection of fabric. At first I was worried that there were too many colors in the fabric; it seemed very busy, but I realized that it goes with pretty much my entire wardrobe. Seriously.

The fabric was a little thick for my mom's sewing machine, so I ended up doing many of the seams by hand. This was my first invisible zipper, and while I didn't do a fantastic job of making it truly invisible, I think it looks pretty respectable. It was a lot less scary than it had been made out to be. It's funny but coming to sewing with the perspective of a knitter made everything seem really fast. For one thing, you don't have to make the fabric, and all you're thinking about is how to make the darn thing fit right.

For my pattern I used M3830, view D. I should have posted earlier when I still remembered how it was following the pattern. I don't have any books on sewing, and I didn't check any out from the library, so I just kind of made up how to put in a lining, but it ended up working out fine. One mistake that I did make was not following the grainlines for the lining; I had just been trying to put the pieces down in the most economical way possible. Since I ended up attaching the lining to the skirt inside the bottom hem I don't think it will be too much of a problem, it isn't like it's going to hang below the bottom if it stretches out unevenly.

I have a few more sewing projects in the wings, some finished and some waiting for me to spontaneously realize I know how to sew buttonholes. I know, that one could be a while.

Signe Chanel: Episode 1 Anticipation Part 1 of 4

I'm just warning you, these are addictive.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Koolhaas for Dad

Originally uploaded by runawaypenguin
It's funny, the day before I finished it I saw someone else walking around campus wearing one and I recognized it immediately. Also funny was when I showed my dad some pattern photos and he said, "What colors does it come in?" I guess the whole hand-made-present thing hadn't gotten across. Although it may have been the perfect question, because I didn't give him too many choices in the color department. Blue, or blue? Which would you rather?

I'm very pleased with how it came out. One of these days I will make a pretty hat and keep it for myself. This is a little large for me, but I think it will fit my dad perfectly, which makes it easier to send off.

Details (and a few more pics) on Ravelry as runawaypenguin.