Eye-Searing Aran Sweater for a Bleak January

I am perenially obsessed with all aran sweaters. Fitted, loose, cropped, baggy– yes please. I knit this very fitted Knitty Beatnik (a free pattern!) out of Madelainetosh MCN yarn in an unusually and beautiful pink/red/orange colourway.
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This is a bleak West Coast winter brightener if I’ve ever seen one.
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I’m really happy with the guage, fit and yarn. It was a lot of very detailed knitting with a ton of twisted stitched and cables, so I’m happy not to see any glaring errors.
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Top 5 Least Used Items 2014

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This is the second part of the top 5 posts inspired by Crafting a Rainbow. This is so much harder than a top five, because sometimes nice things just aren’t practical. I am evaluating on use, because I feel like evaluating on fails would highlight my learning techniques more than the finished work.
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Top 5 Rarely used/not practical items:
1. Wiksten Tanks in Pink Batik and Butterflies
I have literally never worn these out of the house. The neck gape and sleevelessness just don’t do it for me.
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2. Scout T with planes
I still love this pattern, but I no longer work with six year olds.
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3. Self Drafted Mixed Fiber Mittens
The fibers are dreamy, but these are oddly long and pointy.
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The last two items pain me because I loooove them, but…

4. Fingerless gloves in cashmere
I just don’t need fingerless gloves, no matter how beautiful, soft, and magical. sigh.
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5. Featherweight cardigan in Taiyo Lace
I do wear this, but it stretched out awkwardly, and is definitely too light to function as an actual cardi. I know when I come home from work it’s off in a flash, which is a bad sign.
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Top Five Most used Items of 2014

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I have been excitedly watching the top 5 posts inspired by Crafting a Rainbow. Do I even have enough sewn items to make a top 5 and a bottom 5? Probably not! I had better include some knitting! I think my top five should be more reflective of what actually gets used, as opposed to what I loved and forgot or put aside for a fancier time that will never come.
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Top 5 Most Worn Items:
1. Fragile heart Lace Scarf in Tosh Lace Oxblood
Really? I thought I would have to give this away for it to get any wear. Somehow, mysterious, this appears around my neck constantly to fancy up whatever boring blue/black outfit I’m wearing.
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2. Lady Skaters in Striped Bamboo Jersey and Vintage Wool Double knit
I wear the striped one way more often, but they both get special mention as they are totally ideal casual dresses
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3. Self-drafted Herb Witch socks
Hot damn these are the least fancy socks I’ve ever made and yet somehow my very favourites. Ribbed Socks forever.
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4. Dark and Stormy Cardi in Mad Tosh Spectrum
The yarn is pretty pilly, but I still wear this all the time. Is it super puffy and warm.
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5. Flannel Archer
This is so very comfortable, and yet a little bit dressed up. Like I tried.
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Honorable Mentions:
Ridiculously fluffly Noro Sweater
I wear this all the damned time when running errands and at home. I have come to love it dearly.
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Terry Lola Dress
This is new, with no post or decent photos yet, but clearly the next frontier in lounging
Photo on 2014-12-21 at 20

Grunge Muslin Upgraded to Wardrobe

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I decided to use the oddest of my Our Community Fabric stash to hack through a muslin of the Grainline Archer shirt. The flannel smelled very faintly musty and felt rather flimsy/gritty/odd. One hot vinegar wash later, it was soft (if pilly), sweet smelling, and good as gold. I used a little bit of embroidered cream quilting cotton as the yoke and inner collar stand due to short yardage.
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I made a dress shirt y’all! I really like it, despite its flaws. The collar was a nightmare but the buttons were easy.

And here is the lesson: I did not pre-wash the quilting cotton. So my shirt will be forever wrinkly in the yoke even if I regularly/ironed/bought a steamer/washed things properly. Lesson: PREWASH
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But it’s grunge/lumberjack, right? So I can still wear it in all its wrinkled glory.

Stripy Not-So-90s Bamboo Skater

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I was sure this was going to be trendy retro 90s throwback, I might wear a few times but…
Lesson: Proportions Matter. I wear this dress all the time because it is long enough and warm enough.
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Ok- it is a little Beetlejuice, but still wearable (the purple tights aren’t helping but I like them). Why do dresses that fit me never come in this length? Small flat-chested ladies do not want short skirts all the time! And long sleeves! It’s always cold here!
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Pattern: Lady Skater Fabric: Rayon bamboo mid-weight jersey from Fabricana (ooh la la)
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This is my second Lady Skater and I think the fit is better due to more appropriate stretch in the fabric. The bamboo is heavy, which gives it really nice drape and swing. The hem is a travesty, but I’m not fixing it.

Mint Sureau: Old Timey Comfort

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I have a backlog of sewing posts and a burning desire to take a break from less exciting things, so I am going to post to go through a few of my sewing life lessons in a row!

Lesson: I’m just not a perfectionist.  I know that because I love this dress:
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It’s so very comfortable and kind of soft and rumpled like an old shirt. I get so many compliments about the colour. This is primarily because I used an odd sort of heavy discount chambray. And didn’t do a small bust adjustment (I figured that out after the fact). Still: Much love.
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I sewed the little buttons on temporarily with peach tread, but I liked it so I left it. I am sure more accomplished sewing me is going to shake my head at this, but until then I’m wearing it.

SBA, Mint Sureau (in progress), and a Nest of New Fabrics

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I am working on/finishing a mint green chambray Sureau, and I have learned a little something about the importance of bust adjustments.  I made a muslin and decided it was close enough to fitting, so I did not do the recommended small bust adjustment. Honestly, I was afraid that I didn’t have the skills to pull off the adjustment without messing up the rest of the pattern.

My chest measurement is about 34, but my cup size is about an A. Deer and Doe patterns are cut for a C.

Lesson: do the bust adjustment.
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This dress is the most comfortable, flattering, cool thing I own. I’ve worn it to a dance party (semi-finished), and it felt like expensive pajamas in the best way. It is definitely the most complemented piece of clothing I’ve worn out in a long time. In the bright light of day, however, the bust is loose and the neck gapes.

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I still love it, but it could be better. I’m going to restitch the facing and see if i can pull the neckline in a touch. I’ll do real photos when it’s really done.

I started making a second Sureau from some really questionable bargain fabric, and used the small bust adjustment from Paunnet. I also lengthened the false placket a little to bring the neckline up. It fit like a dream (but the fabric was kinda awful). I don’t think I’ll ever make another fitted dress without an SBA!

It fabric new, I picked all these cottons and one silk up at a fabric collective sale all for 30$C:
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Red check cotton thin flannel 1.5m
Blue, Gray, and Disappearing white mid-weight flannel 1m
Red striped silk 2m
Mid-weight black interlock 2m
lightweight rose interlock 2m
Amazing Chinese rose watercolour print cotton sateen 3m
Classic blue chambray 2m

Lady Skater in Vintage Wool/Angora/Poly

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A few weeks ago I found a trove of 70s double knit wool and poly. This is my first creation: a moody fall Lady Skater. There will be more to come…

I’ll admit I made some big mistakes while rushing through this and had to recut the neck binding and bodice. I could probably do some more trimming, but I’ve been wearing it around all day, so it may have to wait.

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It was worth it though- I love wool dresses and this is no exception. My fabric was slightly less stretchy than the pattern called for, but I like the fit as is. I took in the waist a tad, but haven’t trimmed it yet as I decide if it is comfortable.

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The lighting is not fantastic- using my broken down old camera on timer was a little tricky. It looks pretty good. Art-Hipster housemate approves, which suggests I was right about the colours of these 70s knits being right on trend.

Treasures on Kingsway: West German Angora-Wool-Poly

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I have, undeniably, a great fondness for fancy animal fibers like angora and wool. I am also a bit of a cheapo with fabrics, and such fine things cost money. Usually these two considerations are at odds with each other, but not today!

Fabric Etc. has opened up just a few blocks from my house with the most unusual inventory: new chic quilting cottons, the usual suspects of textile fabrics, and a massive lot of West German poly-wool double knit and European polyester suiting shipped to Canada in 1973. Because the fabric is so old, the wool is a higher percentage in some of the blends. A few even contained angora fibers. Many of the colours were amazingly on trend, with a number of sort of Pendelton-like patterns. I choose one that was more obviously vintage, but has a very high Angora and wool content. This particular bolt was unlabeled, but a burn test suggested at least 30% natural fibers. When I get some bleach, I’ll try to confirm that.

Here is my cold war treasure. It’s so soft:
P1040395 A close up of the Angora Action:
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With such a vintage looking fabric I need a modern fun pattern. I think this fabric needs to be a Lady Skater Dress! Yes!