Monday, December 8, 2014

Oh...That Darn Vest!

I'm glad that my last post were of beautiful knitted garments by Louisa Harding. It's a great way to leave one's blog for nearly three months.  Who's going to be sick of looking at Ms. Harding's handiwork?  Not me.  Speaking of her patterns, remember that vest I've been knitting?  Well I finally finished it. It is mostly the same as the pattern, except I decided to make it longer, but I forgot to buy more yarn. I ran out of yarn for the neck and armholes and substituted it with some scrap ivory cashmere I had lying around. The knitted the neckline, but then I started to run out of my scrap yarn, and decided that crocheting a trim into the armhole would use less yarn. EXCEPT, I don't really know how to crochet. So I just made something up based on what little I do know, and came up with this final product. (It's amazing how my brain works when I'm desperate to finish something.)

I wore this yesterday to lunch with a turtleneck, and it actually looked better on me than the dressform. Now, that's a first. It is a bit potato-sacky-like I know. I did have a lot of problems with sizing from the pattern, requiring me to restart the pattern several times. Argh!

I think the crochet turned out okay, but it's not stiff enough to keep the armhole from turning in. Sigh.
I'm still self-reflecting when it comes to all my crafting, and I'll probably never stop. I've learned a few things about myself this past month:
  • I don't like making muslins out of muslin. I'd rather use an inexpensive fabric, and if it turns out, I already have something finished! (But if I have to do major marking, I still use standard muslin.)
  • I love bias taping garments, and have considered dyeing my own silk bias tape, especially now that I discovered Dharma Trading Company.  But did you sewists who are not quilters know that Liberty of London has its own line of bias tape? But sadly, buying a strip of Liberty London is just as expensive at about $8-10 a yard. So I've decided to pass for now.
  • I have always loved rayon challis, and to my surprise, it's mostly I bought some really inexpensive challis from Denver Fabrics, almost at the price of muslin, and I'm just going to make things out of that yardage for a while (but be warned that Rayon Challis is much stretchy and slippery). Also, polyester is much more sophisticated than back in the 70s, and a polyester charmeuse is a decent substitute for silk when making a muslin, and drapes a whole heck of a lot better. 
  • I have never liked wearing skirts with waistbands, which is why I love bias tape, and my new goal is to make waistbands out of the grosgrain ribbon I bought in Hong Kong. 
  • I have always loved Sashiko quilting, and I'm not even a quilter
So what else have I been doing with my time? If you've read this far down on my blog, I might as well share that I've been setting up my acupuncture clinic, and putting my sewing skills to good use. For the past year I've been studying to take the board exam, and passed in September, and then my life got super busy, and my fashion sewing was put on the back burner.

I did made reversible flannel blankets for my treatment table with matching pillowcases. I couldn't find exactly what I needed at the store, and flannel sheets were too big and too thin, so I made them myself. I quilted the two pieces of flannel together to add weight, and just serged the edges. I didn't bother to bind them to save time and money. I picked two balanced colors but made one side more girly, and the other more generic...but I don't think my patients really care about which side they're using. I just prefer the contrast. I really like these blankets, and might make some for myself and use them on the couch.

All the fabric was on sale at Joann's.

I also made two curtains for a section of the bookshelf (sorry no photos). The curtains hide all my gear and keeps the room looking tidy. I love spring curtain rods for this purpose.  Then there was a trip to Michael's to purchase actual craft supplies, for a custom sign for my treatment room door (the other side is identical, and reads: "Healing in Session." The fabric were scraps from FABM

Happy crafting!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fall into Winter Knitting Wishlist

If you didn't know already, jewel tones are in fashion this Fall and Holiday season, which includes luxurious furs dyed in these same colors.  Louisa Harding Luzia yarn, which is 80 percent viscose and 20 percent nylon knits into fur. I am completely fascinated by this yarn. But I really want to know how this feels on my skin. I'm not a lover of synthetics. Fellow knitters, please chime in!!!

I was thinking of making one of these shrugs for this year's holiday party.  If anyone else decides to make the above shrug, I found an errata for it on You can find the errata from Louisa Harding herself HERE.

I have been squandering my last couple of mornings looking at online knitting patterns, and drooling over these latest designs. What is it about those UK designers that I love so much? Louisa Harding patterns depict the many faces of romance. It's difficult to describe until you look at her patterns. Do a Google search, and you'll know what I mean or maybe you're already a fan, and in that case, please feel free to answer my most important difficult are those patterns? They look too fancy to be easy. Even though I'm tackling my first LH pattern, I have many on my wishlist that scare me.

Like I mentioned...look at the fur and trim colors on the runway. Since I'm primarily a sewists, I am seriously thinking of knitting my own fur trim. Anyone done this before? I would love to see your work. Here are examples of this season's fur and trim from Anna Sui...

The unfortunate thing however, like my Rowan fetish, there are too many books to collect, and yarn prices are at a premium. Then there's the yarn collection that I swore I would never turn into an embarrassing hoard, and it isn't...if one could look past two average box full or one big box full. It's all how one looks at life. Positive or negative? Half yarn-box full or half yarn-box empty?

Happy knitting!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Wimberry Update and Craft Supplies

My Wimberry vest by Louisa Harding is almost at its halfway point.  Maybe I shouldn't speak too soon since I'm about to start the shoulder and collar shaping.  I've been utilizing the life-line yarn at every new section, and I'm glad I did.  I had to unravel my work once,  but without losing a bulk of good stitches.  One of my G+ members from the East Bay gave me this great hint.  (Thanks Solonge!)  The back is knitted exactly like the front, so I'll be able to choose between the better looking half for the front of the sweater.  (If you look closely at the bottom of the lace, I've knitted a pink stitch marker right into the pattern.  I'll have to remember to break that off before I wear the vest. Oops!)  

This weekend, I was on the hunt for an outdoor grilling tool at my local Japanese market...which also happens to be right next door to our local Daiso store.  So of course, I had to go there too.  Daiso is a Japanese dollar store filled with little no-name home goods, and stationery supplies. They also have some unexpected items like craft and sewing supplies.  Besides picking up my usual supply of notebooks, I also found lingerie elastic, lace-trimmed cotton webbing, and a pack of cut felt in various shades of pink...all for $1.50 each.  

Daiso also has a small section of knitting supplies.  My current project needs to hold more stitches than my little Hiya Hiya holders can accommodate. So what should I find at Daiso for $1.50? Two large metal stitch holders. Love them.

If you live in California or Washington and haven't shopped at a Daiso, get over there!  Find Daiso Store locations by continent HERE.  Happy knitting!