Quick up date

I’ve been making progress on my under-sleeves but it isn’t turning out like I envisioned.  I thought they’d look more like this…

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I’ve stacked one sleeve on top of the other to illustrate what I thought was going to happen.

But they don’t “work” that way.  This is how they really look.

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The wide white stripes are hidden under the two puffs.

 

Two things: if I had known the darker color would have been so prominent, I would have chosen a different color.  I intend them to be worn with this dress so I thought a few thin stripes of beige would be nice.  10388078_518065401630648_4649714315434521775_n

Now that I see they are primarily beige I feel like they would have been better in a pink or burgundy color or better yet, same colors but reversed.

The other thing is I can’t quite figure out why there is a wide white stripe hidden under the two puffs.  There are four possible answers.  One is the instructions are wrong.  The second is I’ve misunderstood the instructions (most probable reason).  The third is that the white stripe is intended to be added interest that flashes as the arm moves.  The final reason is conservation of wool.  If I knit the sleeves as all brown with thin white stripes, I will likely run out of brown and have a ton of white left over.

If I make these again, I will rewrite the pattern so that it looks like how I envisioned them or do them in a different color.

Cha Cha dance marathon

Two steps forward, two steps back.  I’m still working on my undersleeves.  Third time is the charm.

I unraveled my first attempt because it was going to be too small, like arm corsets.  In my second attempt, I decided to have it be two colors like the pattern suggests, I increased the number of stitches to make it bigger and I decided to use my new wooden knitting needles and not the circular needles (no reason for that other than simply wanting to see how they feel).  The instructions called for plain knitting which I interpreted as the stocking stitch (knit one row, purl one row, repeat).  One side is flat/untextured which is, in my mind, plain.  When I switched the colors, I began to see that the striping effect would be on the wrong side of the work, thus defeating the purpose of having stripes.  That is when I remembered that in Victorian knitting terminology, plain knit means knit all rows. If I knit all rows, the wrong side would be the side with no stripes and the correct side would be the one with stripes.  Duh.  Unravel again.

Attempt three.  And hopefully, the last one.  Scrap all my previous instructions for this project.  Correct instructions to follow once I finally get these things done!img_20170321_091316277.jpg

The one perk to this way of doing things, is the ribbing effect will serve to hold the puffs out in a round shape.  When I did them in stocking stitch, the puffs were flat like a hem and I began to think I’d have to stuff them to get them to hold out their shape.

 

The project Cha Cha

You know how projects can be: two steps forward, two steps back and a little side step or two.

The steps foreword happened with my Edwardian blousewaist.  I have sewn the main seams on the body.  img_20170319_202657443.jpgI like the way the embroidery and lace look but I’m definitely going to have to get a corset cover organized with this thing (and a proper Edwardian corset)!

My idea for dealing with the lace at the seams (bias tape) seems to be working.img_20170319_202636265.jpg

That lace isn’t going anywhere!

Two steps back: that happened with my knitted undersleeves.  I’m going to have to take them apart.  They are just going to be too tight.  I don’t know how tight they are supposed to be but I’m pretty sure they weren’t going for compression garments or arm corsets.  I had hoped that I could just follow the instructions and count on heavier wool and bigger needles to make up the difference but it wont.  Drat that means I will have to do some math to figure out how many rows and stitches I need.  Since I was starting from scratch, I thought I may as well buy a second color and see how it is supposed to look with the stripes.

And the side steps: I made an impulse stop at a thrift store and picked up some wooden knitting needles (like I need more) and this fabulous strip of sari fabric.  img_20170319_202724856.jpg

Oooh.  Shiney!

Obviously I can’t use this for Victorian wear.  And it is a bit much for modern work wear.  I’m thinking an over the top beach wrap.img_20170319_202948509.jpg

Well, have a good week folks.  Hopefully, I will be disciplined and be back in a couple of days with some progress to share.

Progress on the undersleeves

NOTE: DO NOT FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS! I LATER FOUND OUT I WAS WRONG.  LATER POST WILL HAVE CORRECTED VERSION.

I am using the following pattern to make knitted undersleeves.5b60a444dd9211ac82061bdc1ae5ec2d

I posted here about the first phase of progress.

Second phase.

Alternating the stitch on the needle and the cast on stitches did successfully create the first puff.img_20170316_083231250.jpg

In the pattern, they say to alternate the stitches on the needle and then attach the white wool and knit 2 together across the row, thus sealing the seam, creating the puff and getting the stitch count back to 36.  Then you are to knit one more in white, 2 in color and one in white.  Then another 23 are knit in color.  If you are only using one color like I am, knit 2 together for 1 row and then knit 27 more rows.  This will create a band.  I am assuming the band will sit next to the skin and will be the support that holds the two puffs in position.

I will let you know how that goes!

The reason the UFO pile gets so big

NOTE: DO NOT FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS! I LATER FOUND OUT I WAS WRONG.  LATER POST WILL HAVE CORRECTED VERSION.

It is plain and simple.  It is because I have to work.  No other reason.  If someone would pay me to stay home and make things for myself, there would be a much smaller UFO pile.

So with millions  of projects that have been sitting on the back burner for YEARS and dozens that have been sitting for months and a couple of handfuls that have been sitting for weeks, I have started a new project.5b60a444dd9211ac82061bdc1ae5ec2d

Here is how I’m doing them.  I have a set of circular needles and I am working both arm warmers at the same time.  I am using real wool, worsted weight, and a needle size recommended for the wool (4.5 mm 7 US).  I cast on 36 stitches with one ball of wool and then cast on another set of 36 with another ball.  I knit one row for one warmer and then one row for the second one.  I have done this with mitts and it is very satisfying to finish both at the same time!

I have been knitting loosely to keep it stretchy. But, if a person tends to knit tightly, they can get the same effect by using larger needles.  The pattern calls for a color change but I don’t have another color so mine will be monochromatic (white).  I am not adding to the stash by running out and buying more wool. The pattern is fairly easy to follow so far.  The Victorian patterns can be a bit vague.  To create the puff I had to read it a few times to get it but I think what happens is you knit 12 rows.  Then you change colors if you want and knit 24 more rows to create the length for the first puff.  This is where I had to use my imagination.

To create the puff I think you have to slip one stitch on the next needle then pick up the first of the cast on stitches (hence the word “commencement” in the original instructions.) Then slip the next stitch and pick up the next cast on.  Repeat until all the stitches and all the cast on stitches are on one needle.  The work thus far should be rolled up like a hem.  The wool will be on the wrong side of your needle if you are using straight needles so you will have to pass them back to the other needle.  If my mind is serving me well, I shouldn’t have this problem with circular needles. By repeating “knit 2 together” across the row you seal up the seam and get back down to the original number of stitches (36).

My mind is not grasping what the color change would look like with 12 rows in white and 24 in color.  Once created, one side of the puff would be color and the other side would be striped.  It seems to me, you wouldn’t bother having a stripe if that was the side worn next to the skin.  Damn it.  Now I want to see it with the color change (plots second pair with color change…plans shopping trip…UFO pile grows….)

 

Completed project and how to knit stuff people want

My son asked me to make him a neck warmer for Christmas. He wanted black or grey. This makes me think of the time a couple of months ago, when I despaired that no one wanted my knitting (nothing sold at a craft sale table I shared with a friend). I went to my computer and typed in the google line “No one wants my knitting.” It lead me to a blog which had some advice, which I will pass on to you*.

First: knitters like wild colors because they are fun to work with (guilty), but in reality, no one wants these items. They are, at best, outside peoples comfort zone for actual use and at worse, just plain tacky. And when I look at my décor in my house there are lots of neutrals with tiny splashes of color.  In my wardrobe, I have color because I like it, but they are either solids or subtle patterns.  No wild stripes or blotches of rainbow colors.

So back to the neck warmer: boring black or grey it is.

I bought real wool, because we all know real wool is warmer (and more expensive) than the synthetic stuff.  Which leads to more advice from the blog I read: buy the expensive stuff  because the cheap stuff looks cheap and no one really wants that. People may or may not factor the amount of work you put into the item.  If they don’t factor in the work, they just see cheap wool that looks and feels like crap.  If they do, they feel guilty because they are not going to use all your hard work-because it looks and feels like crap.

Okay-neck warmer: I used circular knitting needles and “guesstimated” the number of stitches needed.  I used my own massive melon for fitting so the thing ended up way too big for the boy.  We tried shrinking it and that helped, but it also made it too short.  So back to the drawing board.  I knit another, much smaller one.  img_20170108_102333797.jpg

The top one is the first one I made.  My boy will use that one on super cold days when he needs his face covered as well, but the second one will be the one he wears most of the time.  I made it in two layers (extra warm) and I made it reversible so he can have it be black or grey.

The boy actually does use these things.  And this leads to the third piece of advice from the blog: if the receiver of the gift has a say in what they want they are more likely to use and value the item.  My boy said “I want a black or grey neck warmer”.  I gave him a black or grey neck warmer and he likes it.  For bigger ticket items like a blanket or sweater or for more finicky people, it is better to take the person shopping for wool so they can see the colors and feel the wool.

So what is a knitter to do with this advice when she knows her wool stash is full of wild colors and cheaper value wool?  When I think of my stash, I could despair.  I could just give the balls away to a thrift store…something I may actually do to some of it. But now I am thinking, there are some things I would use that are wilder.  I don’t care what my housecoats and slippers look like.  I could make all kinds of housecoats and slippers in all kinds of wild crazy colors and patterns and I will love them.  There is no law that says I only need two or three of these things.  I bought the wool, I will do the work, I will want and appreciate what I made.

I could make project bags for all of my UFO’s and I could line them with left over fabric (kill two stashes with one stone.) I could make small items to give to others that they might use no matter what it is made of (coin purses or pouches to use in purses).  Kids toys can be wild.  I don’t have any kids to give them too (yet) but that is an option.

Finally, a commenter on that blog I read said she knits all kinds of things and puts them in a bag, then at family gatherings she opens the bag up and allows people to pick something out of the bag that they want.  Sure, people may pick SOMETHING to avoid offending her but at least there is a chance they will pick something they might actually use.  I could do that with the more subtle colors and nicer feeling wools I have in my stash.

So new year with new goals for my knitting.

*Sorry, I did not save the link to the blog I am referencing.  If I find it again, I will rectify that faux pas.

Sewing/knitting plans for HSF 2017

The new list of challenges for HSF has come out on the Facebook page.  Generally, I attempt to match up my own plans and ideas with the challenges rather than trying to come up with something to match the challenge.  That, perhaps, defeats the goals of the Dreamstress and her Facebook moderators but it keeps me from creating something I will never ever use.  The role of the challenges in my life is not give me ideas for things to create but to keep me moving forward and FINISHING things.  My life is full of UFO’s that sit idle because I got really excited about starting a project so I abandon a project that I started to get bored with. You should see the bags of unfinished projects behind my couch and in the storage cupboards in my laundry room.  Pitiful!

So here are my plans:

January: Firsts & Lasts – Create either the first item in a new ensemble, or one last piece to put the final fillip on an outfit. Edwardian Chemise because I want one Edwardian outfit.  If there is time, a Victorian Chemise (because I only have one and it is good to have a wear and a spare) 

February: Re-Make, Re-Use, Re-Fashion – Sew something that pays homage to the historical idea of re-using, re-making and re-fashioning. Turn one thing into another. Re-fit or re-fashion an old gown into something you would wear again. Re-trim a hat for a new outfit, or re-shape a modern hat to be a historical hat. Re-purpose the fabric from an old garment (your own or a commercial one) into a new garment. Attach black needle tat trim to Half Grand Surprise dress   In a past challenge, I made some lace with needle tatting. (Great pastime and I want to make more…time, time, time, I need more time.)  I had planned on adding it to my red and black 1880’s dress.  This will be a fast project which will give me time to work ahead on future projects.

March: The Great Outdoors – Get out into the weather and dirt with an item for outdoor pursuits. Arm warmers I have seen knit patterns for something like these…5b60a444dd9211ac82061bdc1ae5ec2d

I don’t think I will make these…I’ve seem something more fitted but I can’t find the pattern just now.

April: Circles, Squares & Rectangles – Many historical garments, and the costumes of many people around the world, use basic geometric shapes as their basis. In this challenge make a garment made entirely of squares, rectangles and circles  Canadian cloud.  I have been working on this puppy for months.  It is slow going and a tad boring so this could take awhile.  Having a goal of “April” seems reasonable.

May: Literature – The written word has commemorated and immortalized fashions for centuries, from the ‘gleaming’ clothes that Trojans wore before the war, to Desdemona’s handkerchief, ‘spotted with strawberries’, to Meg in Belle Moffat’s borrowed ballgown, and Anne’s longed for puffed sleeves. In this challenge make something inspired by literature: whether you recreate a garment or accessory mentioned in a book, poem or play, or dress your favorite historical literary character as you imagine them. Gambeson. My younger boy used to be into knights and I once made a chainmail coif for him.

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It seems the interest died shortly thereafter.  But, I might enjoy going as a knight to the Medieval Fair that happens every two years. So I will make a Gambeson that could fit either one of us.

June: Metallics – make something in silver, gold, bronze, and copper, whether it be an actual metal, cloth of gold or silver, or lamé.  Corset 1850 The busk will be in metal.  Total cheat.  Perhaps I will find a fashion fabric that will meet the criteria but I doubt that would be very authentic!

July: Fashion Plate – Make an outfit inspired by a fashion plate, whether it is a direct replica, or a more toned down version that fits the resources and lifestyle of the character you are portraying. If you want to stick to a period prior to the 17th century advent of fashion plates, either re-interpret a Victorian ‘historical’ fashion illustration as period accurate, or use an image from your period that depicts and idealized and aspirational fashion. Pink/grey/black/cream 1898 flared skirt and ball gown bodice for pineapple shawl I haven’t found the fashion plate for this idea but I will.  I have this shawl I made years ago that I have never worn and I need to create a dress I would wear it with.  This is a big dream project so it may not (i.e. probably wont) come to pass.  Dream big. The back up plan is some sort of accessory that could go with the Edwardian dress.  A fan?

August: Ridiculous – Fashion is sometimes a little silly, and historical fashions can look particularly odd. Make something that was considered outrageous in its own time, or is just utterly ridiculous to modern eyes.  Edwardian hat. As I mentioned, I want one Edwardian outfit and there is nothing so “out there” to our modern eyes as an Edwardian hat!  I wouldn’t mind a Bloomer Dress but that just isn’t in the plans for this year!

September: Seen Onscreen – Be inspired by period fashions as shown onscreen (film or TV), and recreate your favorite historical costume as a historically accurate period piece. Bloomers and corset covers in Victorian and Edwardian styles.   The Edwardian ones are needed for my Edwardian dress and the Victorian ones would be done if there is time.  I have some already-I just want my “wear and a spare”.  The “onscreen” part of the challenge will be easy…just about every period movie has an undies scene…”show the audience what they wear under all that.”

October: Out of Your Comfort Zone – Create a garment from a time period you haven’t done before, or that uses a new skill or technique that you’ve never tried before. Corset Edwardian. This goes without saying.  Corsets are a mental hurdle for me.  I’ve done one that stretched badly in one wear so I only use it when I wear my bathing suit or my tea gown.  Looser corsets were considered acceptable for active or lounge wear.  I will tackle a Victorian one earlier in the year.  Hopefully, it will go well and I will gung ho to try an Edwardian one.  The challenge will be the different aesthetic lines from my usual Victorian era.

November: HSF Inspiration – One of the best things about the HSF is seeing what everyone else creates, and using it to spark your own creativity. Be inspired by something that has been made for the HSF over the years to make your own fabulous item. Edwardian Coco suit. The suit will be called the Coco suit because I bought that fabric while at Coco.  My Inspiration is the many bloggers and costumers I see on line and at Coco.

December: Go Wild – You can interpret this challenge as an excuse to make something that incorporates animal print, or wild animals in some way, or to simply make something wild and over the top. Knit petticoat. A knitted petticoat is different!  I have yet to see any one make one of these!e4890f80a30fb38258693b97224dbf71.jpg

On top of these challenges, my goal is to get some of those modern UFO’s done and perhaps think about getting some small gifts made in time for Christmas.  I also have some ideas for the craft sale my girlfriend has a table in and some ideas of modern clothes for myself.