Knitting and a Movie
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
      ( 9:26 PM ) Rebecca  
So I doublechecked with the organiser, and it's OK to discuss the Mystery Project. This is something organised by Knitting Beyond the Hebrides, a great email list for people interested in Fair Isle, Intarsia, Aran, and lace knitting. (Since I like all of the above, it's a great list to be on.) This is a really fun project. Every week she's been posting a new step. We have no clue what the finished object will be, which makes it kind of exciting. Also, she's been incorporating different techniques into each step which give you different things to practise. I picked really obnoxious yarn since I was getting cheap yarn to use anyway. It's a variegated yarn that I would never have an opportunity to use otherwise. I'm not sure how it will turn out, but at least it's interesting to look at.

Anyway, FINALLY finished step 2 tonight.

Step One:

(The variegated yarn makes it hard to see the cables on the sides, at least in the photo. Oh well.)

Step Two:

And here's a closeup

Just got the instructions for step 4, so I think I will save step 3 for car knitting en route to Kentucky. Meanwhile I have to go see if I have knitting needles long enough for step 4, or if I have to pick some up when oot and aboot.

On Argyle news, I knitted 2 rows of the instep. I know this is far from blindingly fast, but I wanted to make sure I had the pattern figured out so the diamonds lined up correctly so I did it out on paper (knitting time for me is usually after the Witching Hour when your brain stops working correctly), and then I had to untangle all the yarn and put away the balls I am no longer using. (I have a ton of tiny plastic zipper bags that I've been using, so I stuffed the ends in and zipped up the balls I was done with.) Now it will go much more smoothly.

I think I'll bring Smooch to the kids' swimming lessons tomorrow and see if I can make progress on that.

I see the light at the end of the tunnel for the dress. I've been madly hand sewing, listening to a tape of Waulking Songs obtained from The Harris Tweed Association and then the Harry Potter first audio book. This has made being locked in my sewing tower much more enjoyable. The hem is almost done and then I can finally sew the bodice to the overskirt. (And then muddle with the whole underskirt assembly and figure out exactly HOW that is all supposed to go together, since this pattern has many confusing elements.) #


Saturday, July 26, 2003
      ( 1:50 PM ) Rebecca  
What does it say about you when you dream of knitting projects? In a dream the other night I was in a shop and I saw a tank top (very clearly) done in fingering weight yarn.... In the dream I said to myself, "Oh I could knit one of those for much less money!" Of course, I hate doing socks in fingering weight yarn, do I really want to knit a tank?

I'm still hoping little mice like in The Tailor of Gloucester will finish sewing the front of my dress for me but no such luck. I think the cat will have killed them all anyway. I am almost done with side #1, about one more needle-ful and I'll be done!

Meanwhile I got some Smooch pattern clarification from Alison so now I can finish the back. Need to have all my knitting ready for the drive down to Kentucky! #


Thursday, July 24, 2003
      ( 7:55 PM ) Rebecca  
If anyone wonders why I haven't had much knitting news in a while, it's because I am still slogging away at the dress. I have to hand sew the entire front seam of the overskirt (both sides of the front), so I have been having to devote my handwork time to that, for the most part. Sewing away in the attic, I feel like a princess in a fairy tale trapped in a tower. The good news is I am almost halfway through the first side. (Maybe this project will greatly improve my hand sewing skills and speed).

I have had a bit of knitting time to finish off the last repeat on the Argyles so they are ready for instep, and have been continuing on Mystery Project Step #2, which involves lots of short rows and tons of pattern repeats. So no exciting photos as of yet. Soon I will sew/knit myself out of the doldrums and have something to show, I really hope! #


Sunday, July 20, 2003
      ( 9:49 AM ) Rebecca  
Mare made me feel guilty about my poor neglected Argyles... so I picked them up for a while last night. The thing I find most frustrating (other than the fact that with all the balls of yarn hanging off they aren't extremely portable) is that every few rows I have to untangle all the yarn. I'm sure I'm just not crossing correctly... does anyone have any Intarsia tips they'd like to share to avoid this happening? I don't want to completely give up on Argyle.
I'm almost done with the straight knitting part and after I finish another pattern repeat (half diamond) I can finally start working on the instep. I've never knit socks flat before, it's kind of interesting.

I have the sleeves ready to sew onto the bodice. Unfortunately that dress doesn't lend itself to showing as you go... as it won't really be ready to wear any of it until it is all together. I need to blindstitch the front hem of the overskirt, but I can't really do that downstairs on the couch as with all the yards of fabric it will drag on the floor and get covered in dog hair. It was kind of fun hand-hemming the edges of the sleeves... handsewing is more like knitting to me, and although if you handsewed a dress you'd be working for ages, it is still fun to handsew little bits.

I also took a photo of Smooch so far.


Thursday, July 17, 2003
      ( 7:31 PM ) Rebecca  
And the Dress Goes On...
Made more progress on Smooch, hopefully will post photos later. The back is nearing completion (or at least it's nearing the armholes). Meanwhile I am behind on the Mystery Knit-Along so I need to get going on that.

The dress deadline is fast approaching. I broke down and bought polyester lining (ugh) because that was all I could find around me. Bodice is sewn & lined. Time for the sleeves. Having a bit of trouble trying to figure them out... the directions are a bit unclear. I THINK I may have ascertained what to do, but was taking a break. Also I need to decide whether I want grommets or eyelets. Handmade eyelets are definitely more authentic, but way more work. Can I handle it? Do I have time? We shall see....also DH used grommets for a band banner that was a PITA so perhaps grommets are annoying as well. At least his grommet tool he got was.

Found my pattern manufacturer online, if anyone is interested in Renaissance patterns, here they are, and you can find retailers through them. Was thinking of trying to ask them for advice, but I may have worked things out for myself. #


Friday, July 11, 2003
      ( 9:23 PM ) Rebecca  
Anybody want most of a yard of Prairie Braid foundation fabric? After my glowing recommendation? No???
I struggled and struggled with that stuff, I kept getting fabric caught in weird positions under the needle and having to use my seam ripper a million times. Finally, I had what I thought were two 20-1/2" pieces for the large border pieces and two 12-1/2" pieces for the short ones. Turns out I have two 10-1/2" pieces, one 20-1/2" piece, and one 19-1/2" piece because I was cutting when I was too tired I guess. Now how will I ever make a border out of these things? Guess I'll add them to the scrap basket and make some really interesting quilt blocks with em. They are very pretty, just drove me crazy and they are ALL WRONG. And I have absolutely NO desire to wrestle with that foundation fabric to get another couple of pieces out of it. I have better things to do with my time. Grrrr. #

Comments       ( 6:45 AM ) Rebecca  
True Confessions
So I am furiously trying to finish a freelance project, finish this month's quilt block for Saturday (well, I just finished the centre but I have to do the border which is a nightmare... it is Prairie Braid on special expensive foundation fabric which I wouldn't recommend in a million years... of course, the downside of the free quilt block class is they tell you all these expensive tools to use for cool border techniques... this time I thought it was pretty and it looked fun, so I bought the fabric, but I hate it.... I can skip finishing the border for Saturday at least but I know if I don't just DO it it will end up in my pile of unfinished sewing projects), run to the fabric store for dress supplies, and knit Smooch. (How's that for a run-on sentence!) Got the pattern on Tuesday, got the yarn on Wednesday.
Smooch has been fun to knit so far SORT OF. The picot edging on the bottom is beautiful but a pain... you cast on a ton of stitches and then proceed to bind off around half of them. I knit it a total of 3 times... I had heard it was confusing, tried following instructions on Alison's blog, messed something up and thought I'd just try following the instructions as written. I frogged it, tried following the instructions as I thought they were written, and ended up with WAY TOO FEW stitches. Frogged it again, and still ended up with 10 few stitches which I THINK were losing track and accidentally binding off too many stitches a few times or something. So I just snuck in an increase on the next round instead of a decrease and it LOOKS OK so far. I know this is horrible but it was so frustrating and this is for the back. I made it through the eyelet segment last night while watching the end of Charade with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. So far, OK, especially for the back. I guess this is why you do the back first, isn't it? So you can make your mistakes the first time. #


Saturday, July 05, 2003
      ( 7:46 PM ) Rebecca  
New Blog Title, Renaissance Dress Panic
I finally came up with a cute new blog title. I had wanted one, but couldn't think of anything appropriate. Finally I was thinking about how most of the time I mention whatever movie I was watching when knitting something-or-other, and the new title just popped into my head!

On that note, the last 2 films I watched (while knitting of course) were Chocolat (which I HIGHLY recommend) and Meet The Feebles (which I don't). Peter Jackson lured me in with the new Lord of the Rings trilogy, and made me forget all about Bad Taste. I rented Heavenly Creatures, which was disturbing but a great film nonetheless. Meet te Feebles sounded funny, but just fell very short.

I've finished my first sock-on-two-circular-needles finally. Maybe this method is faster, but I still hate knitting socks of that thin sock yarn. It just feels like it takes forever. I tried picking back up the HP scarf now that I got the rest of my yarn, but it is way too hot to work on a wool scarf in 90 degree weather. Did some more work on the Argyles (no, they are not forgotten) during the horrendous movie, but I managed to poke my left index finger with those tiny sharp needles so I took a break from them again. (I knit Continental and for some reason when I knit I always rest my index finger against my left needle which usually doesn't matter except when using sharp needles. It's a bad habit which makes me try to avoid them like the plague. That's why I like the Addis).

A knitting group I belong to is doing a fun Mystery Knit-A-Long where you get directions every week for the next piece of the puzzle, so you have no idea what you are knitting. Not sure if I am allowed to post pictures, will find out. Anyway, that was what I did during Chocolat, and I am desperately awaiting instructions for the next piece. It's really fun for me because I am so curious to find out what this is going to be. And anyway I got to learn provisional cast-on, so it's a good thing.

Meanwhile I am awaiting my Next Big Project (too hot to start that cardigan I am designing). I caught Smooch Fever from Wendy's blog and now I am waiting for my copy of Rowan All Seasons Cotton and some Gedifra Wellness yarn so I can have one of these fabulous tank tops myself. Also, that last cotton tank top I made got me hooked on knitting with cotton in the summer. I love wool but certainly not worsted or heavier wool yarn in the summer. Blech. I also finally decided on a shawl pattern that I received from the UK, and ordered lace yarn from J&S, so I am waiting for that as well. I figure lace weight wool may not be TOO bad in the summer. Both of these are portable projects, and we have that wedding in Kentucky coming up so I'll probably need them.

What? I have a wedding in Kentucky coming up? How did THAT happen? It seemed ages ago that my brother's wedding was in the FAR OFF month of August. I just received the invitation, reminding me that I have to HURRY UP and make the Renaissance Dress that I am making to wear there. It doesn't help that my sewing room happens to be in the attic, which is horrendously hot this time of year (even if you've been running the A/C for a few hours). Also I was procrastinating (of course) because that expensive fancy dress fabric is SO SCARY to work with. What if you screw up? The pressure! I was so afraid of it that I went to my mother's to cut it out (and at least I feel better because she made a few cutting mistakes, none of which will matter in the end). Then I had it sitting up in the attic waiting to be sewn. It also doesn't help that I didn't buy lining fabric when I was choosing fabric since I had taken SO LONG to find fabric I liked, I just wanted to go home. So I can't sew the bodice until I trek back to the store and buy lining fabric. Meanwhile I started on the skirt. The underskirt is a gold brocade fabric which is the most annoying fabric to work with. It is thin and stretchy and pulls if you have to rip out a seam because you accidentally sewed the pieces together at the side instead of in the middle. I finally got the underskirt together, but I need to get hook-eyes for attaching it. Then I knew I had to bite the bullet and work on the actual skirt. The fabric is a claret satin taffeta with black threads run through it so it has the most interesting sheen. There is no way I can take a digital photo and do it justice. It is gorgeous. I was afraid to touch it. It turns out, however, that it is WAY easier to sew. It glides through the sewing machine like magic. It is heavy enough and smooth enough without being too slippery. I'd work with this stuff again in a heartbeat. I think I will get more of it when I start making Victorian dresses (way down the line, but something I'd like to do at some point). I love it.

So now I have the underskirt together and the overskirt together (but the front is not hemmed yet) and I will make a shopping list so hopefully this will be my last trip to the fabric store for THIS project. Maybe I will actually get this done before the end of July, wouldn't THAT be nice! And maybe the dress will actually LOOK OK. This is the moment of truth of course. I've made jumpsuits for myself and pyjamas for the kids and curtains and whatnot, but never a dress like this. The fanciest dress I ever made was a velvet maternity dress for Christmas one year.



Tuesday, July 01, 2003
      ( 10:48 AM ) Rebecca  
Paradise Found
I emailed Berroco because I REALLY loved that Bluefaced Leicester yarn, and they suggested asking Webs, as they had sold the rest of the yarn to them. There was nothing on their website about the yarn, but I called them up yesterday and they just happened to have ONE BAG LEFT of the colour I fell in love with! I was SO HAPPY! The yarn came via UPS this morning, and it was way cheaper than it would have been at the LYS (that didn't have enough anyway). Here it is:

Here is the swatch for my sweater.

Probably won't be knitting it for a while, it's too hot. I'm just going to hoard the yarn for now. I was glad I got it when I could.




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