Chevron Socks

Still not tired of knitting socks.

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I’m planning to  release these as a pattern for sale. The chevron pattern itself is dead simple and found across time and space, but the sock has some nice little features, like a reinforced heel bottom as well as reinforcing at the ball of the foot. Also, a more anatomically shaped toe than what I usually find.

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Also, testing on these is open! Sign up here if you’re interested!

Details
Pattern: My own, coming  soon eventually
Yarn: Madelinetosh Twist Light in “Thyme”
Needles: 2.25mm
Ravelled: here

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Side Ruched Top

Here’s the second top I made using the sloper developed from a Craftsy class.

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I wrote previously what  a great moulage and sloper I derived from it, and my first garment. I used the same four classes:

1. The Bodice Sloper
2. Creative Darts and Seamlines
3. Creative Necklines
4. Creative Sleeves

Also, it’s amazing how Craftsy drops class prices to such fabulously low levels every few months!

It is a lightweight cotton (I think from one of the giant fabric shops in Nehru Place, New Delhi). I rotated the shoulder, half armscye and side dart into the waist dart, but didn’t use the waist dart since I have a tummy and don’t like to be fitted in that area. Then I split open the (unused) waist dart, and inserted wedges in the outer leg so that it could be gathered back to fit the central leg. I’m a bit bummed that the gathering is kind of invisible in this print, but at least I know it works!

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I also curved out the bottom to look more like a shirt hem. Also, since I didn’t want to bother with openings, I added 1/4 inch to each side (adding 1 inch ease overall) at the narrowest part of the waist so I can pull it over my head. Without closures, it feels a little snug to pull on, but once on the body correctly, it fits beautifully.

On the back I kept both, the shoulder dart and the waist darts, and extended the shoulder by 1/16 inch, easing it to fit the front shoulder. This provides a nice fit through the torso as well as leaving room for arm movement in a sleeved garment. Because this is a little more fitted than the previous one, I had to account for the horizontal waist shaping dart on both back and front. Since there is no waist seam, I compensated it at the neckline (the class explains how to do that).

The sleeves are short, almost cap sleeves, with gathering at the head to echo the side gathers and scooped at the bottom. Instructions on how to make them from here. I probably should have done facings, but loathe them, so simply added bias facing at the neck.

Now really, look at the fit on this one! I’m kind of stunned I made this, having been used to typical RTW fit, and lack of arm movement for so long! Even though it is a very simple top, it fits so beautifully! The only things I would change next time would be not to add a puff (in addition to the gathering) on top of the sleeve cap. And I should remember to centre prints.

Verdict: very happy! I think I’m actually gaining more confidence to use good fabrics from now on.

 

Scalloped Tunic

Here’s the first proper garment, made from my sloper! I used lessons from four Craftsy classes for this one:

1. The Bodice Sloper
2. Creative Darts and Seamlines
3. Creative Necklines
4. Creative Sleeves

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They are all by the super competent Suzy Furrer, and I’m pretty sure I got at least three of them at a 75% discount and one of them at a 50% discount. Excellent value for money!

The fabric is a thin summer cotton (probably from Nehru Place, New Delhi) and I followed  these instructions for the scallops. Seriously, the easiest scallops ever, without needing a million clips before turning.

In design choices, I rotated shoulder, half armscye and bust darts into a diagonal centre front dart (it’s a little invisible in this print, but you may be able to see an inverted V hanging off the neck at the centre front). I didn’t use the waist dart at all. It is fitted till just below the high figure point and then swings out. I calculated how much to add via insertions by seeing how wide the bottom needed to be, to fit in a whole number of scallops on the front and back. I think I went a little overboard though, and will take out two scallops from the whole circumference to recover it from maternity top territory. Luckily, this will be an easy adjustment, just a matter of bringing in side seams at the hem and blending to the existing seam at bust level.

The back has a shoulder dart (because it is sleeved), and the shoulder itself is extended by 1/16 inch and then eased to fit the front, to provide more room for movement in a sleeved garment. I omitted all other darts, and ignored the horizontal waist shaping on both front and back. I didn’t even compensate for ignoring it at the neckline, since it is a loose-fitting garment.

Guys, I am super pleased with this! I am planning to make a series of very simple tops, trying out a couple of new techniques in each. Nothing spectacular, but good enough to lounge at home or walk the dog. I kept this one deliberately loose at the bottom so I wouldn’t have to bother with closures, but it is intended to be well fitted from the full bust upwards. And it is! And look at that sleeve — it is the first draft, calculated off my garment sloper, but no drag lines! I think the sleeve cap could stand to be s-l-i-g-h-t-l-y less puffy, but that is the only fault I can find with it. Everything is well fitted, and yet arm movement is easy. I’m hooked!

I’m planning to make a few of these casual things to perfect the fit, trying new shaping methods and sleeves, before venturing into my expensive fabrics. For my next top, I’m going to keep the waist more fitted.

Verdict: very happy with this nice little tunic!

Selbu Modern Beret

Quick post for a quick project:

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I planned this to stashbust leftovers from my Natsumi and Arabella sweaters, and I still have some leftover yarn! What to do?

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I knit this exactly as written except for adding 10 extra rows (half a repeat) before beginning with decreases. I find that to get the kind of slouch I like,  I need to knit the hat straight till it is the length of my palm, from base to fingertips, before the decreases.

Details
Pattern: Selbu Modern
Yarn: Madelinetosh Merino Light; Pecan Pie and Dusk
Needles: 2.5mm for ribbing; 2.75mm for colourwork
Ravelled: here

Breaking the Mould

I’ve been a busy little bee, sewing up a moulage for myself. And it worked!

Longtime readers may recall that ages ago, frustrated with sizing in commercial sewing patterns, I had applied the principles of knitting to sewing — draft a Back and do an FBA to get the Front. This actually worked surprisingly well, and I used this pattern to make quite a few pretty things.

But it was never quite right. Woven fabric behaves differently from hand knits, and there was always a little gaping here, a couple of diagonal drag lines there, some falling shoulder seams too, meaning the garments looked nice, but not stellar like some of my best hand knits (yes, modesty isn’t really my thing).

So finally I took a class on Craftsy, The Bodice Sloper, to draft my own sloper. People, it is a fabulous class, well worth the full price (and even better if you get it at a super discount like I did). The instructor, Suzy Furrer is very clear, articulate and competent, and the lessons are full of little nuggets of information: did you know, the front neck is 1/8 inches larger than the back to prevent gaping and pulling? And that if you’re over a C cup you should fold out half your armscye dart in a sleeved garment to have ease for sleeves and yet create additional cupping? That there is even a horizontal dart-like ‘waist shaping’ which needs to be dealt with to avoid wrinkling in the torso? That there are actually two points on the front, from which darts can radiate? I certainly didn’t, and I am so grateful I took this class.

You start off by measuring yourself and drafting a moulage which is a skin tight mould of the body in woven fabric. The theory is that once you draft a perfect moulage, you can then add ease to it to create a sloper, which is a basic template of a garment. So why not start with a sloper? Because the ease built into it will not allow you to correct fit problems. But by starting with a body mould (the moulage), you know that whatever slopers you create off it (with small positive ease for blouses, greater positive ease for jackets and coats, negative ease for knits) will fit exactly as intended.

I admit to having my reservations — I wondered if I should measure my front and back circumferences separately. But I followed instructions exactly, and yeah it all worked out! The only place where I went off script was to follow the instructor’s answer in reply to a question from a body type similar to mine. It was a minor adjustment to the side seam length, but it was necessary to get a good curve at the armhole.

Once my moulage was perfect (only took two tries, and the process was quick and exasperation-free), I drafted up a blouse sloper. What freedom that no further fitting was needed!

Here’s the Creature critically inspecting the moulage…

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I’ve already made a couple of blouses from the sloper, one sleeveless and the other with sleeves (which requires a further, small modification to the sloper), and will be posting about them soon.

Now, finally, I’m going to reanimate my plans for a Cambie and Parfait. I had dreaded the amount of adjustments required, but now I can just copy the style lines and draft to exactly my own shape!

 

As Beautiful As I Imagined It

 

It is done! I think this is my most well travelled knitting, started in London, knitted in Bangkok, finished in Johannesburg and photographed in Nairobi. It is everything I imagined it to be, elegant and casual, warm and light. And beautiful!

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I wanted a non-baggy drop shouldered pullover, with gentle side shaping and a hi-lo hem. With saddles starting at the  shoulder …

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…and running down the sleeves.

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I’m planning to write up a pattern eventually, so watch this space if you’re interested!

Details
Yarn: Lana Grossa Chiara, 7.5 skeins
Needles: 3.0mm for ribbing; 4.0mm for the rest (held lever style for effective needle size of 3.5mm)
Ravelled: here

Wearing Handknits – UK

And we’re back with the second instalment of a series on how I’m incorporating my me-mades into a practical wardrobe, without doing anything special to feature them (let’s face it, most of us style blog photos to make the handmade garment shine!).

Temperature
These are the clothes I packed for a trip to the UK in late summer. The weather was pleasant — the daily range averaged for the duration of my stay was 22C to 13C — with a couple of warmer days where the maximum went up to 26C.  Of course, temperature controlled indoors make a huge difference! I find I need at least one layer less, both indoors and outdoors, when my skin gets the frequent respite of warmth indoors. I’ve spent the same temperatures in eastern Africa, northern India and Brazil and needed thicker sweaters, simply because there is no indoor heating and your body is constantly trying to beat the chill (however slight).

Occasions
I needed smart casual; luckily I don’t work in a sector where stuffy business suits are required.

Favourite Worn Outfit
Definitely this one (two handknits, and they work together!):

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Other Notes
All the pictures below are exported from the Stylebook app on my ipad. I find it such a great resource for planning, packing and logging! There is a very tedious bit at the beginning when you have to log all your clothes, but once that necessary step is over, you’re good to go. I didn’t upload all my clothes in one go, just a few at a time every day till they were all done.

Because the pictures of the garments were taken under different light conditions, some outfits appear not quite right, as if the garments don’t really gel together. But in real life they do  🙂

Some items, like socks, don’t appear in any outfits at all. But they were still used — at bedtime or when lounging — just as not part of an outfit.

And finally, because of the unusually warm days (well, for the UK anyway!) there are several days in there where I needed no sweater at all. But I’m still including them for the sake of completeness, because I packed sweaters that could have been worn with those outfits — for example, the rust coloured Milk Maiden was meant to be worn with the red top.

Packing List
Screenshot from Stylebook. I’m only linking the handmades here, if anyone has burning questions about the RTW stuff, please ask!

London (1)

  1. Rocaille, blogged here
  2. Border socks, blogged here
  3. Ginger, blogged here
  4. Zick-zack, blogged here
  5. Milk Maiden, blogged here
  6. Natsumi, blogged here
  7. Burrard, blogged here

Flying
My only consideration is to stay warm, hence the fugly colour combinations!

Meetings / Outings

Lessons Learnt
I am so glad I knit all those socks, they were very useful! Also, lightweight pullovers are the best. Should sew lightweight jackets. No need to carry boots for the UK in summer.

Wearing Handknits – US

A while ago, I promised to share how I’m incorporating my me-mades into a practical wardrobe, without doing anything special to feature them (let’s face it, most of us style blog photos to make the handmade garment shine!).

Here’s the first instalment of what, I hope, will be an ongoing series!

Temperature
These are the clothes I packed for a trip to the east coast of the US in early summer. The weather was slightly chilly — the daily range averaged for the duration of my stay was 20C to 12C — with a couple of warm days where the maximum went up to 28C.  Of course, temperature controlled indoors make a huge difference! I find I need at least one layer less, both indoors and outdoors, when my skin gets the frequent respite of warmth indoors. I’ve spent the same temperatures in eastern Africa, northern India and Brazil and needed thicker sweaters, simply because there is no indoor heating and your body is constantly trying to beat the chill (however slight).

Occasions
I needed smart casual; luckily I don’t work in a sector where stuffy business suits are required.

Other Notes
All the pictures below are exported from the Stylebook app on my ipad. I find it such a great resource for planning, packing and logging! There is a very tedious bit at the beginning when you have to log all your clothes, but once that necessary step is over, you’re good to go. I didn’t upload all my clothes in one go, just a few at a time every day till they were all done.

Because the pictures of the garments were taken under different light conditions, some outfits appear not quite right, as if the garments don’t really gel together. But in real life they do  🙂

Some items, like socks, don’t appear in any outfits at all. But they were still used — at bedtime or when lounging — just as not part of an outfit.

Packing List
Screenshot from Stylebook, apologies for the blur! I’m only linking the handmades here, if anyone has burning questions about the RTW stuff, please ask!

DC trip 1

  1. Chestnut Knee Highs, blogged here
  2. Knotty or Knice, blogged here
  3. Natsumi, blogged here
  4. Thermal, blogged here
  5. Dusseldorf, blogged here
  6. Nightblooms and Seedpods, blogged here
  7. Oshima, blogged here
  8. Arabella, blogged here

Flying
My only consideration here was to stay very cozy because spending 27 continuous hours in air conditioning is hideous.

Meetings / Outings

Lounging Informally

Lessons Learnt
I think I could have done with two less sweaters less. And probably skipped some of the necklaces! But otherwise, good multi-use items, leaving more space in my luggage for yarn. Because that’s the whole reason we travel, right?!