Monday, November 18, 2013

Finished: Knitted Owl Sweater

So I may have found a new location to take pictures of my makes. I dragged the boyfriend out there and the conversation went like this:

Me: I want to be in the picture with the sign.
Bf: Yeah, we have time for whatever you want.
Me: Are you getting the sign?
Bf: Why are you doing so many hero poses?

What? You mean you HAVEN'T heard of my new movie coming out this fall?!

The boyfriend came up with the name and it's pretty awful, but then it kind of stuck since I'm terrible at naming things.

So yeah, I finished my owl sweater. If you recall, I almost finished it before ripping everything out and starting over. I'm really glad I started over. It's much thicker since I held the yarn double and I don't have to worry about wearing something underneath it anymore.

It fits perfectly and the pattern is written so well. I had zero problems reading it (which is the first time I have ever said that about a knitting pattern!) and it knits up so fast. Knitting this the second time took 2.5 weeks to finish.

I didn't even struggle when it came time to join in all the sleeves with the front and back to create the yolk or when I was learning how to do short rows (which are really easy btw).

I will say that the pattern called for a stretchy bind off and everyone on Ravelry said it was unnecessary so I was all cool, I'm doing a normal bind off then. Big mistake. It's pretty tight. I do think a stretchy bind off is the way to go.

Additionally, I'm not sewing buttons onto the sweater. I can tell that they're owls without them. I looked at all 6,919 projects on Ravelry and decided that, while fun and nice, the buttons didn't necessarily add anything to the finished sweater.

Also, I had just woven in 40 or so loose ends (don't ask) and I was done with the hand sewing for awhile.

You can see my back decreases pretty clearly and I'm so proud of how neat everything looks. I wanted to show you my armpits where I used a kitchener's stitch to seam it together, but the boyfriend felt it was unnecessary to take pictures of that. But really, everything about this is so nice!

This is also the first time I've ever paid for a knitting pattern, and I swear, if they're all like this, I will start throwing money at people. No more free patterns for me that no one bothered to proof read or even check to make sure the cable direction is going the right way.

Also, perhaps a bit unfortunately, because this was so easy and quick, the boyfriend now thinks knitting is easy and is compiling a list of things I need to make for him... Eek!

Oh, and in case you're wondering, my terribly wrinkled blue skirt that I'm wearing is the first thing I ever made with a sewing machine!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

More Updates and Inspiration!

So I made a promise to myself that I would stop putting up inspiration and idea posts because I NEEDED to show off some finished objects, but then, you know, I found some things I'm drooling over and I just had to share and, anyway, I have updates so I'm sorry, but you must be patient.

If you follow my instagram account, you'll know that I've been knitting a lot in between posting pictures of my adorable cats. (You were warned about the cats!)

I finished my owl sweater last Friday and I blocked it Saturday. Sunday it stormed so I couldn't photograph it and it gets dark at 4:30pm now so I suppose I'll take photos this weekend? I have nothing but amazing things to say about the sweater and the pattern, although I will skip the buttons/eyes. I think you can discern the owls well enough without them, and unless I find the perfect buttons, ones that are small and narrow and look like evil owl eyes that also blend in perfectly with the sweater, I won't sew any. And even if I do find the perfect buttons, I think I'll only sew two of them on. For camouflage or something.

I started on a second knit sweater and I'm about 25% of the way through, but it's seamed pieces and I'm thinking about ripping it all out and attempting to modify the pattern so I can knit it in the round. But that seems terribly difficult at the moment...

My first cozies!
Last year when I started knitting, I made quite a few coffee cozies to practice my purls, knits, and cables and switching back and forth between them all. When I posted the finished object, I noted that the designer's website had gone down, and now it seems her ravelry page has gone down as well. I was asked if I still had the pattern, which I didn't, but I did manage to write the pattern based on memory and looking at my finished cozies.

Writing knitting patterns is probably the hardest thing I've done in awhile. It was a nice challenge though, and I'm happy to say I've got all the kinks worked out and my testing was successful. You can check out the patterns here.

So I'm sure you've also noticed that I haven't been sewing. While it's true the colder weather tends to make me curl up in front of the television with a warm cup of coffee and some knitting, there's another reason, and it's a little silly. I don't want to finish my seams. I'm so tired of French seaming everything, and I feel like I'm just wasting thread. I don't care how nice it looks because it just means extra time for me and if I mess something up, then I've got two seams to rip open and repair.

So back in August I mentioned that I would be getting a serger soon. Well, I finally sucked it up and ordered the Janome 8002D. It has excellent reviews so I'm hopeful that once it arrives I'll get back in gear.

Ooh, and another reason I haven't been sewing is that I haven't been super happy with the way my items are coming out. I mean, I'm generally happy, but there are some fitting issues (beyond the finishing issues above) that I continually have problems with. One of which is my bust. I complained the loudest on my Mae blouse where I ruined the neckline. I couldn't figure out why I have so much gaping! But the gaping isn't unique to that blouse; I have gaping on most of my RTW clothing and, when home sewing, I tend to just tack it up and move on.

However, Sunni at the Fashionable Stitch has had this amazing series on properly fitting clothing. The short story is that I think I'm using the wrong measurements. I have a very small upper body and, by comparison, a large chest. I need to go down a size or two when I cut out patterns and perform a full bust adjustment each time. In theory, this adjustment should mean that I'll have a properly fitting garment. But it also means more steps that I don't want to take. Hmph.

I did cut out parts for my cape, sans adjustments. Hopefully it still comes out all right.

I also attempted to sew up a simple skirt as well, but something happened when I was matching the plaids... I sewed it up, the plaids matched, but there was all this weird fabric. So I cut it off. Then I realized there was too much of a curve, so I sewed the curve out and cut some more off... and then I realized that the back of my skirt was gone forever. (sob) If this was normal fabric, I could have just cut out some more, but it was plaid so I didn't have enough. Maybe I'll get creative and mix it with some other fabric?  Or maybe I'll go to the store and see if plaid's on sale again. Or maybe I won't do anything because I'm not really a fan of plaid.

And so now onto things that inspired me this week! Even though I've been making a lot of wiggle dresses lately, I'm starting to really like the fuller skirts (again). But before I commit to making more of them, I want to try out some of the dresses that have a bit more ease, that skim over your curves, that almost seem to float when you walk.

Sort of like the woman on the far right. 
But per usual, I'm inspired by almost everything.

I love those wide leg trousers! (But stay off the crocodiles...)