Paisley Particolour Gown

Um yes, I like dressing gowns. Besides, they are very 2020 Iso Couture.

I bought 2 metres of this gorgeous paisley velveteen a few years ago intending to make a skirt. However it isn’t where my style preferences are at for regular clothes at the moment and I had recently given away my mid weight dressing gown. There wasn’t enough for a whole gown but I had noticed the reddish colour in the print was a good match for the russet velveteen I have lots of. Then, in order that neither half be allowed to dominate and to put a pleasing colour near my face I liked the deeper of these two blue corduroy offcuts. There wasn’t enough of that, so I dyed the paler one to solve that problem.

See, they almost match now:

There was just enough of the paisley to get half the body, one sleeve and one pocket. Hurrah. I cut mirror images of all these in the russet too of course. The heavier corduroy was cut for collar facing and cuffs. The pinwhale gave enough for a belt.

After I’d cut everything and started putting the collar together, the pattern seemed to have some problems. Oh no! I had a version control issue and had cut the wrong one. Eep! Let’s see if I can describe the history in an understandable fashion

A Tale of Two Patterns

Once apon a time, I made a nice dressing gown from polar fleece and kept the pattern. Some years later, I wanted to make another but couldn’t find the pattern. So I took a pattern off the original gown, which didn’t work very well for the collar because the gown was both stretchy and well worn. By the next time I wanted to make a similar gown, I’d found the first pattern, but stupidly kept the second and worse one. I made up gown number three (Lady Macbeth https://montjoyeblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/13/lady-macbeth-gown/) with a bit of further improvement in the collar. Then, when I wanted to cut this gown I could only find one pattern. I felt that maybe I had captured the good points of both and only kept one version? Um, nope. The collar shape had looked odd to me while cutting and turned out to be bad when I started to try to put it together. I searched harder and found the first pattern, and then had to recut and piecen the upper sections of fronts, backs and collar facing. Argh. Currently, both versions are out on the cutting table. I really must condense them down to one and keep only that!

After all that excitement, I managed to get the collar put together. I’m getting better at this game.

I used very minimal added stabilising. There is no interfacing, the corduroy is stiffer than the velveteen already and I want this to be machine washable. I have taped the roll line, shoulder seams and back neck seam. I’ve also run a line of hand stitching to control the edge of the collar. The picture below shows the upper sides of the collar on the left and the underside on the right. You can also see the stitching for the roll line tape, plus a bit of stitching holding down the edge of the facing.

The collar was the hard part, the rest was pretty easy. I’m loving the colours though I know they won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Oh yes, it’s unlined, again for easier washing and of course it has pocketses.

My only regret with this is having ended up with the paisley on the left. I’d rather cross the fronts with the paisley on top, but I always wear a wrap garment with right side over left. Oh well, I’ll cope. That preference hadn’t occurred to me during cutting.

Doubling Spun Colour

I’ve written before about craving colour in winter. Well I ordered 100g of this lovely stuff as a sheer impulse purchase. DHG 19 micron merino in “Champs-Élysées” colourway. Yes I know it’s spring! but i ordered this in the depths of winter, i just didn’t get around to spinning it until now.

Buying based on only computer screen colours is a bit dangerous. It turned out to be more autumnal than I had thought.

I thought I’d like it better if it had a bit more blue in it, and I had coordinating merino tops left over from previous projects. I was also pleased to extend the quantity. There is a limit to how many 100g projects one can make use of.

I came up with these two singles, both 50g, or half the original tops

These plied together came out nicely but felt like I had pushed too far to the blue.

So I thought I’d try something different for the second half extension and hope I could work both in together. “Thought” she wrote. SO much thinking. So many options. I thought I’d use just the blue and green with a mixed colour tops from stash to mimic the orange of the original.

Then I thought that including a little grey would come closer:

I spun this up and the second half of the original mix but with the intention of plying some of the original with itself for part of this skein. Original mix on the left, extension mix on the right. I then spun the last of the original mix on top of the extension stuff so I would get a little of the original mix plied with itself, having belatedly decided I actually do like those colours. Argh.

These two plied together gave the middle bobbin in the pic below. Big success. I rather wish I’d done all of it like this. I then went even madder and decided to try to produce yarn that would coordinate with the two bobbins made so far without using any of the original mix, hampered by running low on the blue and green tops.

Fun with multicoloured spinning from stash.

Here are the three finished plied bobbins. Confusingly, the first is in the middle, second on the right showing a bit of the original mix at the bottom, third on the left.

and as skeins. Overall I ended up with 210g, or approximately 650 metres of 4-5ply yarn:

and with the third bobbin shifted to the middle

this last pic shows the colours best I think. My camera really doesn’t cope well with blues. They don’t quite match but I reckon I could manage a pleasing sort of gradient using them all.

I am thinking I might try to use these as the front of a vest like garment in some way. Maybe. The point was really to enjoy spinning colours and I so did, but I’d like to use the yarn too eventually.

Little custom spin rescue

Remember the Midnight Forest Hat? https://montjoyeblog.wordpress.com/2020/07/14/midnight-forest-hat/. It turned out that AdventuresInFelt was right and despite feeling wonderful in my fingers, it turned out to be too prickly for my forehead. I’m blaming the corriedale content. So, in order to be able to wear it I needed to make it a new edge in something non-itchy.

I’m in another phase of trying not to buy any materials, I have so much! I knew I didn’t have an exact match for the colour but I wanted to get as close as I could. I had some dyed black merino and some brown alpaca/merino tops that I thought might come close if I spun them together.

I’m really pleased with how it came out. If you squint, they almost look the same colour. The new spin is a bit thicker, which isn’t ideal but still workable.

It works nicely I think. Reads as the ground in the picture. Obviously I also changed the style of the edge. I wanted to use a bit more of the new yarn without adding length. I spun about 40g and used about 20g.

Another pic with it opened out. It does feel better on, though the weather hasn’t been cold enough to wear it for long. It’s ready for next winter.

Sock Pair #38

I mostly knit socks as portable projects for doing on trains or planes and while waiting for various things. These were started for a trip to New Zealand. I only made about half of one sock on that trip and after that, a certain pandemic has meant that I’ve had little need of a portable project. Eventually I decided that they ought get finished so I’ve been working on them a little at a time in between other things. I’ve pushed to finish the last half a sock this week before I embark on a big quilt-a-thon.

Pattern is my now usual Wendy Johnson toe up slip stitch heel, but missing most of the slip stitches and with a simple but effective interlace pattern called “Lizard Lattice” from the book “Japanese Stitches Unraveled” by Wendy Bernard.

Yarn is Fenwick Street Flashmerino in Silver Bear by Miss Click Clack Hand-Dyed yarns. It’s 85/15 super wash extrafine merino/nylon. It’s a slightly warmer grey than the picture shows, I was impatient and didn’t wait for daylight to post this. Hmm, looking at the photo again, I now realise that one cast off is way neater than the other. Oh well, that probably won’t be noticeable in wear.

New dress from old

Somewhere around 6-7 years ago, I bought some beautiful and pricey satin striped linen with intentions of making a skirt. 5 years ago something possessed me to make a dress out of it instead. It was quite lovely when I made it. A simple T shaped bodice with a fairly slim six panel A-line skirt which used very close to all the cloth.

However, it didn’t get worn much. The fabric is really a bit heavy for a sleeved dress, the neckline is a bit low for decency when worn alone and I felt a bit like a marshmallow in it. I don’t think it made it out of the wardrobe last summer, so it was ripe for a remodel.

I chopped out the sleeves

Then cut an extra pocket and some bias strips for binding from the excised cloth. The original had only a tiny pocket due to fabric shortage, which I had sewed on the left side by mistake. Frustrating! So now I have a larger pocket on my preferred side as well. Much better.

I sewed that lot on and put the whole thing in a black dye bath. It went purple, which wasn’t what I wanted so I tried again with more black dye and some yellow for colour correction. Now I have a long black singlet type pinafore frock, which I haven’t ironed, as is obvious.

Here is a detail of the neckline which I rather like, with a bit of the original fabric to show the colour change.

A pic of it on, and don’t I wish I could look like I did 5 years ago? but the years roll on whether we want or not.

I reckon I’ll enjoy it in this form.

Extendo Remodel Success

About two years ago I knitted a capelet. “Laced with Leaves” by Liz Langford Knits.

Really pretty but it so didn’t fit me like the image on the pattern. That looked like it came down to waist level but on me it very much did not. I am probably rather larger than the dummy in the pattern pic.

I only wore it twice and found it annoying. Very warm shoulders, cold everything else. I dubbed it the ‘Stupid Shoulder Frill” and started thinking about how I could make it more wearable, which basically meant longer. I even thought of just pulling it back and reusing the yarn. I decided to start by pulling back just the bottom border, but when I tried, the halo fluff got all jammed up and it wouldn’t frog. Instead I ran one of my tiny circular needles around at a nice identifiable row, then pulled the next row out half a stitch at a time to get the edge section off.

I had some of the original yarn left, with which I knitted another round of the leaf pattern with needles a size up from the pattern. That didn’t make it long enough, so I overdyed some merino yarn that was near the right colours but not quite.

Merino before
Merino overdyed with added possum/merino yarn

The resulting colours melded much better with the original variegated yarn. I also added in some hand dyed possum/merino yarn leftover from https://montjoyeblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/25/colour-coordination-win/ . Bonus, that hat should now look fine worn with this garment, whatever you want to call it.

With this I added a scalloped border and an extra band at the neck of the turquoise possum yarn to help tie in the stronger colours. Overall it is now about double the original length.

pinned out and in the sun to dry

I liked the extra weight of the beads in the edge of my last shawl, so I beaded this one too. Oh so many beads.

I am so much happier with it now. I suppose though it will go into the cupboard until I have somewhere to wear it. Ruddy virus.

This post was written with much frustration as I tried to figure out the new WordPress editor.

Glad Rag

I tend to crave colour in winter and Covid lockdown intensified this. I really wanted something madly multicoloured to spin, but I didn’t have anything that answered and couldn’t find the colour combination I wanted in anything orderable. Then I made the Cabbage Coat  instead, which filled the need for colour for a while. Eventually I decided to order individual colours and make my own madly coloured yarn. All of this is from the recently renamed “Fibre Arts Shed”. Feltfine as it was when I ordered. Granite alpaca/merino and dyed merino in scarlet, denim, mustard, and mallard

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This thought evolved into trying for increasing intensity of bright colours after starting with a neutral. Much, much thought, planning and spinning delivered this delightful madness. I’m pleased it worked pretty much the way I hoped except that the grey bloomed on wet finishing and ended up bulkier than I hoped.

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I had always intended to knit this up in the pattern “Turbinado” by Sharyn Anhalt. I made one of those earlier this year but gave it away to a friend as a birthday present. The knitting started with the grey and I wasn’t loving it until I got to the fully coloured yarn. Suddenly I was having much more fun.

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I was worried that the coloured yarn, being finer, would be too wibbly and not drape well. So I had my first go at adding beads to knitting. Happily the only beads I had of almost the right size were also a useful colour. I didn’t have a tiny enough crochet hook but I did have a tambour hook that was previously barely used.

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I put two rows of beads a couple of rows apart from each other and the cast off edge. I also beaded the tips of the picots in the cast off. So cute. They look like little creatures. Ducklings one friend said. The beads are not obvious in the finished garment but they do deliver the drape I wanted.

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Knitting finished and blocked, in time to use the last hour of sun on the back of my house.

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A detail showing the increasing intensity of colour

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Dry, and draped on the ironing board so I could sew in the loose ends. So pretty

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The colours themselves were chosen to go with the Cabbage coat, though I think the styles clash rather. Never mind, I like them both, whether I end up wearing them together or not.

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and on. It was so hard to manage the right light to show off the colours without overexposure at the same time as a picture of me I was willing to publish. This doesn’t do either really well but is the best I managed.

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repeatery for linkage

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Crystallize

Another new hat. I’ve used the American spelling because the post is named for the knitting pattern. Author Amanda Bell. I’ve liked it every time I scroll past it in my Ravelry favourites and the leftover off white alpaca merino blend yarn leftover from the recent cowl One for me seemed to be exactly right for it. It’s beautifully soft, the right weight and an appropriate and pleasing colour. It’s really not just one colour but pale grey and off white plied together, which gives it a bit more depth and interest. Not my spinning yet I can’t list a supplier or any other details. I bought it at a market several years ago and it wasn’t labelled with anything other than the fibre content.

The pattern has an interesting centre start

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After the first lace chart is finished, one then needs circular needles but I didn’t have any small enough. So I treated myself to a set of tiny Chiagoo “lace” interchangeables. I may never use the smallest sizes but I needed both 2.5mm and 2mm for this hat. They are so dainty! the connectors need to be small enough for the 1.5mm needles and the cable is so fine that it has steel innards for strength. They are delightful to knit with.

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Here is the hat straight off the needles

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then wet blocked on a plate. The lace would have opened up even more on a larger plate but I didn’t want it that wide.

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See, it really is a plate

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and on, sadly overexposed

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a better shot on, but not showing the pretty back/top

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This is the large size done on slightly smaller needles. I have a biggish head and can’t bear pressure from the band ribbing. So I wanted it quite shallow. If I ever knit this again I might try knitting the small size in the lace pattern, with taller sides, but then not reducing for the band.

 

Buttonhole tips

Machine made shirt buttonholes. Quick brain dump for a friend.

Thread: I often use a different thread from the that used for garment stitching. Something a bit boofier that will give better coverage. Vintage cotton thread can be really nice. I understand most people don’t have that in stash and even I often don’t have a good colour available. Modern cotton thread will often give better coverage than all purpose polyester. However, whatever you used for construction sewing will do.

Stitch length (yes really 🙂 ) Don’t go too close. Even a noticeable zigzag will make a functional buttonhole. If you try for a very dense satin stitch effect, any hangup in the fabric feed will be magnified in lumpiness.

Tension: increase the bobbin tension slightly, some machines have a little hole in the end of the bobbin case arm for this purpose. Or decrease the upper tension slightly if that is easier. This makes for a smoother effect, the stitch interlock is dropped to the back of the work.

Work a test buttonhole, or several until you are happy. Test on the same assembly of fabric and layers as your shirt bands. Check the stitch density, tension, how your machine behaves with your fabric, length of the buttonhole for your button. For that last you will need to cut your test buttonhole.

Positioning: The collar buttonhole is non negotiable of course. Then mark the widest part of the chest, where gaping is most likely and put a button there. For women, this would be the bust level. Then work out your preferred button spacing. The top button on the front band is often not far below the collar, but this is not a defined point so offers flexibility. I sometimes widen the spacing incrementally below the critical widest point. Visually, this works to even things out due to the usually higher vantage point.

Marking: If you have a fully automatic buttonholer as part of your machine, you will likely only need to mark the start of the buttonhole. Remember that this is not the same thing as the middle of the buttonhole that you were likely considering in the positioning phase, if you are doing standard vertical shirt buttons. If not automatic, then you will need to mark both start and end. It is also worth saying you need choose where the centre of the buttonhole will be, usually the centre of the front band. If you have edge stitched that band, the visual centre will shift inwards slightly. I use either a soluble marker or a chalk pencil, depending what will show on the fabric.

Cutting: buttonhole chisels are da bomb. Scissors can be used if you haven’t got a chisel. If using scissors, I suggest starting in the middle of the buttonhole and cut towards each end.

After all that, work out your button position by laying the shirt out with the bands neatly overlapped and stab a pin through the middle of the buttonholes (or the inner end for the collar band one, also cuffs)

 

That’s enough for a first cut. Pictures would be good but this is just a quick thing.

Midnight Forest Hat

I’ve had this lovely natural coloured alpaca/merino/corriedale yarn for a couple of years. It was Aussie Bale Project tops spun by Sharon Bowman and bought from her at the Bendigo wool show. I’ve been patting it for a couple of years. Time to see if there is enough for a hat.

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I used the same stitch count and basic plan as the recent red hat but dropped the needle size to 3.75mm. I wanted some kind of interest in it so I went searching through my books and settled on a cabled tree pattern. This has the bonus of giving me a little cable practice, it’s something I’ve done very little of. I messed with it though and made trees of three different sizes and graduated the tops to make them look more natural.

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After I was finished and found I had enough yarn left, pulled back the brim and reknitted it on 3.25mm needles to reduce the frillyness and improve the structure.

Then I blocked it. I might not have bothered but I had to wash the hat anyway as there was enough sheepiness left in the yarn to set off my allergies. I’m often amused by the strange assemblages of things I use for blocking. In this case, a poly hat blank base, built up to be taller with cut down file folders, the top filled in with an old tshirt and the lot in a plastic yarn bag.

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Here it is basking in what little sun we had

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Then I steamed it to soften that corner, and embroidered a crescent moon for accent. The camera really struggled with the very dark hat and the not as pale as it looks embroidery.

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I like it and now I can both pat it and wear it.

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