From April 2015

My second Oakridge

Sewaholic Oakridge
Sewaholic Oakridge

Well, it took me a while to finish it, but here’s my second Sewaholic Oakridge! I posted about the first blouse here, and cut out my second a few days later.

The fabric is from Fabricland, and it is a lightweight polyester. I wasn’t sure about the floral pattern, since it is a bit  bright & pastel for my liking, but it was on sale, so I bought it and hoped for the best.

Do I like the finished blouse? The jury is out, as I usually wear darker, more muted colours, but it does make a nice blouse, doesn’t it?

I didn’t make any further adjustments to the pattern after my first Oakridge, as I was happy with the fit of the first one.

I usually sew with heavier, stiffer fabrics (most frequently cotton), so I found that I had to adjust the tension on my sewing machine, which I usually don’t find necessary. Because the fabric was so much thinner than cotton, my seams puckered terribly until I lowered the top thread tension. I still find topstitching challenging, mostly when I reach a corner or edge, because the fabric doesn’t feed evenly, which leads to imperfect topstitching. I feel like I need to find some tutorials to deal with this problem, because I want perfect topstitching! I did find that using a piece of tissue underneath the corners was helpful, but I’m hoping to find other ways to deal with this problem.

For some reason, I had a mental block about sewing the buttonholes. Usually, the closer I get to finishing a project, the more determined I am to complete it, but this blouse sat for a full week before I finally sewed the buttonholes and put buttons on it.

Sewaholic Oakridge
Sewaholic Oakridge

I’m glad to be finished the second blouse, so that I can move on to the collarless version. I have a nice rayon to use for the next one, which is more to my taste than this fabric.

I suspect that the print will grow on me, especially once it warms up enough to wear skirts. The weather has been lovely here recently, but the last couple of days have been cold and wet. I think the Oakridge looks great with jeans, but I really want to wear them with pencil skirts.

Speaking of jeans, my next post will be all about my troubles with finding jeans that fit properly. I’m about to embark on an exciting journey, making my own jeans!

Invasion of the robots!

Robot hat.
Robot hat.

Please excuse this photo. I know it is lousy, but it’s the only one I have of this hat. The pattern is Robot Hat, and I had a lousy camera at the time, so you’re just going to have to put up with this bad photo.

I made this hat for my little guy when he was five years old, out of Knit Picks Swish worsted. It’s not my favourite yarn, as I find that it grows quite a lot after washing, but it is good for small projects like hats and mittens, because it is nice and soft and comes in a very wide range of colours.

Robot cowl.
Robot cowl.

This past winter, my son asked if I could make him a scarf and a pair of mittens to match his hat, which he still wears, four (going on five) years later. I’m glad he likes his hat so much!

I decided to make him a cowl instead of a scarf, because honestly, it doesn’t get that cold here, and scarves take eons to knit. I hate knitting scarves, to be honest, so he ended up with a cowl. Instead of typing everything out again here, take a look at my project page on Ravelry for the details on the cowl.

Robot mittens.
Robot mittens.

For the mittens, I found a free mitten pattern, then used duplicate stitch to put robots on the mittens. I could have knitted them using stranded colourwork, but I decided to try my hand at duplicate stitch instead, since I’d have to handle the floats all the way around the mitten, and it was going to be a hassle, as the robots are only on the backs of the mittens.

My Ravelry project page has more details.

Sweaters for my folks

Hayfield sweater for my dad, modeled by my husband.
Hayfield sweater for my dad, modeled by my husband.

Some time ago, I promised my parents sweaters for the holidays. Dad was recently retired, and asked if I’d be willing to make a turtleneck sweater for him to wear while out on the boat he had purchased.

I decided that I wanted to make sweaters that would go quickly, so I opted to knit with bulky weight yarn. For both sweaters, I chose Berroco Vintage, which is a good quality, affordable, and easy care yarn. I used it a couple of years ago (in DK weight) for sweaters for my grandmother.

Cable detail on Hayfield sweater.
Cable detail on Hayfield sweater.

The sweater pattern I chose for Dad is called Hayfield, and it was a quick and easy knit. The cables were simple enough to knit while watching TV, but interesting enough that I didn’t get bored while knitting the sweater. There’s nothing as dull as miles and miles of stockinette!

My one complaint about this pattern is that the PDF file was protected, so I was not able to make annotations on my tablet. I don’t like to print patterns, since they get tattered and it’s a waste of paper. I’m still using EZ PDF Reader, and have figured out a few ways to make the app work better for my needs. I tried making a new PDF with the pattern, but had the same problems with being unable to annotate, so I printed it and scribbled all over it so I could get to work on the sweater.

Midwinter cardigan for my mum.
Midwinter cardigan for my mum.

My mother requested a cardigan, so I looked for patterns that would be quick to knit. She liked the Midwinter Cardigan, so I purchased my supplies and whipped it up. This was a very quick knit, as it only took me 19 days to complete.

Again, this sweater was knit with Berroco Vintage yarn.

My one complaint with this sweater is that the hem curls up, because there’s only one row of ribbing. I usually like the look of stockinette, but unless you have a fairly wide border, the hem’s going to curl. Fortunately, it doesn’t look bad, and if I hadn’t pointed it out, it’s unlikely anyone would notice. With the braided cables on the front, I don’t know that you’d be able to add a wider border or ribbing or garter stitch. I’d be interested to try it, which I might do one day, since it’s a really nice sweater and I’d be willing to knit it again. I do have a similar pattern that uses a worsted weight yarn, so I might use that pattern but incorporate the short row shaping at the bottom of this sweater since I like the curved hem.

Cable detail on Midwinter cardigan.
Cable detail on Midwinter cardigan.

This photograph is a pretty accurate representation of the colour of my mum’s sweater. It’s a lovely heathered plum, and I wanted to keep the yarn for myself!

While knitting this sweater, I needed three row counters, as the cables on the front are mirrored and need to be counted separately, plus another counter is needed to count the rows of the sweater itself, not just the cables.

When you reach the underarms, the stitches are split into the two fronts and the back. Underarm stitches are bound off, then you knit the left side, back, then right side. After that, you knit the sleeves. While the construction of this sweater is a bit complicated, it is not difficult so long as you’re paying attention. This is not a project I would tackle as a travel project!

I visited my parents last month, and brought their sweaters along with me. Hopefully they will get plenty of use out of them!

Random photography

All of these photographs were taken in my neighbourhood, using a Nikon V1 camera.

New ferns.
New ferns.
Playing with exposure length.
Playing with exposure length.

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Ruby throated hummingbird.
Ruby throated hummingbird.
Northern Flicker on a lamp post.
Northern Flicker on a lamp post.
Finch in a tree.
Finch in a tree.
Robin on a misty morning.
Robin on a misty morning.

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Another baby sweater

Maile sweater.
Maile sweater.

I don’t often have the opportunity to knit for babies, since most of my friends have kids that are around the same ages as my own children. Because of this, whenever someone I know (even if it is a friend of a friend) has a new baby, I jump on the opportunity to knit tiny things.

My best friend has a very good friend whom she has known most of her life, and I’ve met him. He’s a very cool person, and very generous to boot. Last month, he welcomed his first baby to the world, so I had to knit her a sweater.

Maile sweater.
Maile sweater.

I’ve knit this pattern before, it’s the Maile sweater. My previous sweater was blogged here.

I sent the sweater off yesterday, and he doesn’t know it is coming. He also doesn’t know about this blog, so I figure it is safe to post about it.

I think this is my go-to baby sweater. It knits up quickly, and is really very cute. I could modify it for a boy if needed, by omitting the lace, or replacing it with cables.

My Ravelry project page is here.

Nineteen Twenty Shrug

Nineteen twenty shrug, back view.
Nineteen twenty shrug, back view.

I came across the Nineteen Twenty shrug pattern, by Liisa Nieminen a while back. It looked like a nice, easy project that would be very wearable.

The pattern calls for Sweet Georgia Merino Silk Fine, which is a bit rich for my wallet, so I decided to go with a less costly, but still very nice yarn from Sweet Georgia (BFL Sock, in the Cayenne colourway). I knit the shrug over the course of two months, even though it shouldn’t have taken me more than a few weeks to complete. This project was put on the back burner a couple of times, so I could knit sweaters for my mum and dad.

The pattern doesn’t come in a very wide range of sizes, but it is pretty simple to size it up or down if you need to. I found the two size options to be rather a bit on the small side, so I’m sure a lot of knitters would need to size it up by adding stitches to the width and length. I decided to live life dangerously, so I didn’t do a gauge swatch. My rectangle ended up much wider than it was supposed to… by about 6″, in fact. This turned out to be a good thing though, because the finished shrug would have been to small for me otherwise.

Nineteen twenty shrug, front view.
Nineteen twenty shrug, front view.

The construction is very simple. Basically, you knit a large rectangle, with the lace panel going up the center, then fold it in half, seam the edge on both sides, leaving the middle open. After that, you pick up stitches on the armholes and in the middle, and knit the edging on.

This is a very wearable shrug; it’s almost like wearing a shawl, because your arms are exposed, but it keeps your shoulders nice and warm. You don’t have to fuss and adjust it like you do with a shawl though, which is really nice.

I’ll be making a second soon. The next one will be bright green, and also in Sweet Georgia BFL Sock. I’ll be switching to a different lace motif for the second one however. I’m thinking about a leafy cable, or perhaps something Celtic inspired.

If you’re on Ravelry, here’s the link to my project page.

Oakridge blouse

Sewaholic Oakridge.
Sewaholic Oakridge.

I finally completed my first Oakridge blouse! I did my pattern adjustments a week ago, but didn’t actually sit down to sew it until yesterday.

I sewed the size 12, and graded down to a size 10 at the hips. I did a 1″ FBA, and made the bicep area of the sleeves wider using this tutorial from the Curvy Sewing Collective. I could actually grade the waist in a little bit more, as this blouse, while similar to the Granville shirt, is actually a bit of a looser fit. I like the way it fits as is though.

It’s a good thing I made more room in the bicep area of the sleeves though. I  added 1″, and the fit is perfect. If I hadn’t adjusted them, the sleeves would have been a touch too snug.

The fabric is a lightweight polyester crepe that I purchased at Fabricland.

Sewaholic Oakridge.
Sewaholic Oakridge.

The only part of the instructions that I didn’t follow exactly was the collar. The instructions don’t include any edgestitching, and this fabric isn’t easy to iron. I knew that I’d be constantly pressing the seamed edge of the collar tie, so I decided to edgestitch it, which will solve this problem nicely. The instructions have you hand stitch the collar to the inside, which I also did not do. Because I was already edgestitching the tie, I simply edgestitched across the part of the collar that should have been hand stitched.

All told, I’m very happy with my new blouse, and will be starting my second later today. I have fabric for two more, though I think I will make one of them without the tie.