99 Blue Balloons

So basically no knitting project I make down here will I actually use while I’m in the Dominican Republic.  Therefore I had the time to really commit to a project.  Because that is part of the joy of knitting, the action.  So I decided to make a dress.

In November, I with the help of my sister, went through my boxed up yarn and projects.  I didn’t grab the yarn then, but had a mental catalog that I had 14 balls of Wool of the Andes in Winter Night.  So I got my sister to put it aside when she was visiting my parents, I got my dad to send it to Matt and LB, and I got Matt and LB to bring it down when they visited for my birthday.

So the yarn was in my possession, however, I still did not have a clear plan.  A formfitting dress with cables, but what kind of color, what cables.  No patterns I saw on ravelry quite fit the bill, thought I did consider Kim Hargreaves’s Logan. For a bit I though about an aran style motif of cables and made a few design options with powerpoint.  In my search for cables, I stumbled upon the chunky cable and included it in my motif.  After some thought, I decided I just wanted that cable, I loved the way it ballooned in and out and worked the dress in the style of Logan.


At the same time, I took my measurements and decided on the ease I wanted (1.5 to 2 inches) and how long the dress would be.  That was all input into excel, because I love using it for my knitting calculations.  I did actually knit a swatch (using US 7s), in this case I needed to to know the number of stitches and rows in an inch.  I had decided that I would go with my preferred method for sweaters, top down in the round.  I thought about using a braided DSC_0105collar, but after knitting it I realized it didn’t work with the cables well, they competed for attention.  So I then decided on a scoop neck.  Of course that is not the normal neckline when knitting in the round but I believed I could make it work.

I first knit the collar in 2 by 2 ribbing on US 6s.  The first attempt, that I don’t remember exactly what I did, simply failed.  The second of not knitting all the stitches and then picking them up with short rows seemed to be one task, until I tried the piece on.  Fail.  The third hit on it almost perfectly, although I know some tweaks to make if I try it again (this time I just sewed in some folds to fix it).

DSC_0106Throughout the dress, I fattened and thinned the cables to change the width, always working with 20 cables for the body and 6 for each arm.  After the collar was worked out the third time I never had to rip back to make any major modifications, on the body that it. That is always something to be happy about, I remember when I had it knit to the splitting point of the body and arms and I put it on, I had to email my knitting pals to share the great accomplishment.  I did have to rip out one finished arm when I realized I knitted it on 6s and not 7s.

Another great thing was that although I did have to use a bit of the swatch yarn, I made the dress to the length I wanted and the arms to the the 3/4 length I wanted (using around 13.5 balls of yarn).  With the plumptness of the chunky part of the cable I decided to name my scrumptious dress 99 blue balloons (I have yet to count how many there actually are, okay now I have because I just could not leave that unanswered and as I classify it there are 236).

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Lost in Wallpaper

So since there has been such a lag, I forget how I stumbled unto SpillyJane.  All I know is I got looking at her mitten patterns and I knew at one point I would knit a pair.  Okay thinking back and hard, I have determined it was probably when I saw the Yarn Harlot’s Mittens with Pints On.  I do in fact have plans to make those, but those are not what I am posting today. Today’s I am discussing my sister’s birthday present (because in Southern Pennsylvania early November is about when you seriously start checking out whether your winter coat will work for another a year and you all your gloves have mates).  A birthday present that spent time in the Caribbean and even made a trip to Jamaica, even though nowhere in that time would winter mittens be useful.

So my sister in her usual manner let me know she would like mittens.  I decided to give her the choice of pattern and sent her a document with ten pictures, and of the ten she picked Decadence by SpillyJane.  Of course I only sent patterns I also liked, because it takes me greater dedication when I’m not enjoying the output of my needles.  Once she picked the pattern the next time I was at Fibrespace, I went wandering around the sock yarn section, and of course ended up looking at the Miss Babs colors.  I first found the orange which I failed to write down the name of the colorway in my last move or on Ravelry, but I think it is French Marigold or Firecracker.  I found the orange first, because its one of the colors I never use for myself, but always for my sister because they work on her and she likes them.  Then after trying multiple other options I settled on the colorway Denim which was a blue that contrasted just as I learned in my childhood art class.

Lost in Wallpaper MittenI then a week later, February 2011, I allowed myself to start knitting them, putting aside my bohus sweater.  I at some point go distracted, then the move, and the need to finish the cardigan for the toddler took priority.  After that I was in Community Based Training and only had part of my luggage, therefore I started a new project.  After that project ended up being too finicky, I put down my knitting for a while.  The cold weather always is a good incentive to knit, and it never got cold for me last year.  Eventually this spring I picked up the Mitten Undersideproject again and finished them in April.  Of course I could not share about them until my sister had received them, and that is why now is when I finally have posted.  I called them Lost in Wallpaper Mittens, because the top pattern really reminds me of a wallpaper panel. I highly recommend the pattern.

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Finished for real

So I won’t actually get to wear it for more than 5 minutes this year, unless I want to sweat buckets.  The 5 minutes to get photos, was hot enough.  So I did not meet my last set guideline and therefore was still working on it at Thanksgiving.  That ended up being for the best, because as I remember the night before I’m never wanting to be in a sweater when the house (whichever it is at for the year) is filled with the extra heat of a group of people.  Plus I got to wear something else I made and my lamentably not useful in the tropics boots (which being brown I could not have worn with my lamentably not useful in the tropics bohus sweater).  However, I now have finished it.  I now have tucked in all loose yarn.  I now have a sweater with a tag noting it as mine.  It now falls to an appropriate place and does not show my white underbelly.  It now has sleeves that I will not constantly be pulling down at because they just quite are not the right length.

I bought the Bohus Forest Darkness kit by Annika Malmstrom-Bladini back in January 2010.  I then proceeded to wait I bit before getting up the urge to work a sweater on 0s and 1.5s.  I also looked around to see what others had done and found The Yarnaid’s blog on her alterations to the pattern.  I agreed with her that I would rather work in the round and decided I would like it to be more fitted than planned.

At the end of January in 2011, I decided to get started.  I got started and then distracted.  Many projects superseded what I clearly knew would take a while.  And then I got invited to accept a Volunteer position with Peace Corps down in the Dominican Republic and brought it along although I had other projects overdue to finish first, like the purple elephant sweater and my sister’s mittens (to be shared next).  So come this past summer I still was working on the colored section of the yoke, and that was not quite transportable.  I can honestly say I did not pick up another knitting project, so fidelity did occur.  Although that does not mean I constantly picked up this one.  When I go to the part of the instruction to split up the sections I did spend some time thinking over whether I should knit it flat or in the round not yet splitting.  I was stressing about making irreparable mistakes but not just following the instructions, but that slim possibility sounded better than sewing seams.  So the front part when I was doing short rows was the only time I steadily purled stitches, which is awesome because I prefer the knit stitch action.

Dominican Man untangling yarnOnce I was on solid color, I felt fine bringing the project places.  One time was when I went to Juan Dolio with my friends to see a band, and go to the beach.  We were all on the guagua (a minibus) and I was sitting next to a Dominican man.  I was balling up a hank of yarn and almost done when the last part had gotten tangled (the yarn is fuzzy) and I so I brought it for the bus ride to untangle it.  It had created an Ashley as the women I would regularly knit with in the states would call it.  So I am fruitlessly trying to untangle at most 3 yards of yarn (the fuzziness and color being black made it difficult) and the man next to me says nothing, just takes it out of my hands and starts trying.  I of course get my friends attention so they can share the joy of it.  We got a picture, although you can’t really see what is going on because the yarn is black.

So now I will share how I knit it to fit the way it does, just skip the italics if you don’t need to know that.

When I separated the sections the front middle was 1.25 inches of solid black rows, and the sleeves and back were 3 inches.  The sections by stitches were front – 137, sleeves – 99, back 134.  I cast on 14 stitches on each side to connect the back and front while putting the sleeves on spare circular needles.  Around an inch from the armpits I began to decrease 4 stitches every 4th row for a total of almost 12 times (tweaking at the end to have uniform stitches for the front and back) for a total of 252 stitches.  Then I decreased the amount to 228 stitches by knitting a row, knitting 2 together every 20th stitch the next row, knitting another row, and knitting 2 together ever 19th stitch.  When I reached 10.5 inches from the armpit, I switched to smaller needles and did 2.5 inches of DSC_00151 by 1 ribbing and tried it on.  I was wearing a crop top.  Well not that short, but skin was showing.  That was at the beginning of October.  So I tore back.  I increased by 4 stitches every 3rd row (6 times) until I had 254 stitches.  I must have made a mistake one of the times to end up with two extra stitches.  It now measured 13 inches from the armpit.  I redid the ribbing, and it took forever in my mind so I got antsy and bound off at 2.25 inches, it looked fine and it was a week before my deadline of Thanksgiving.  The pattern recommended 3.25 inches, which to me seemed excessive since the ribbing was not the main draw of the pattern.

Showing sleeve length

Notice the left sleeve is an inch or so above the wrist

Finally I started on the sleeves.  I transferred the sleeves onto doublepoint needles and picked up the 14 from the armpit area, getting rid of the need to seam that later.  I decreased two stitches every 3rd row around 12 times, to end up with 90 stitches total.  I Sleeve Length Difference Shownthen worked it straight and decreased in a manner that was later reversed, so I will not detail it.  I did 2.5 inches of inches of ribbing.  I had finished both sleeves and thought I was done.  So I tried it on and found out the sleeves were a tad bit short.  So I threaded lifeline 11 inches from the armpit ripped back.  I decreased 2 stitches every 6th row until 14 inches and then every 4th row.  At 17 inches there were 71 stitches and I decreased every 9th stitch.  I then switched to the smaller needles and did 2.5 inches of 1 by 1 ribbing.  This time I tried it on after only altering one sleeve and determined it was the length I wanted.  I then carefully made sure I was going to undo the shorter sleeve, but I most have blinked and an elf switched it, because I ended up realizing after pulling out the ribbing and a bit more that I had just done it on the sleeve that was right.  So after refinishing that one and then the other, I tucked in all the yarn ends and sewed on the tag my sister had made me (that I thought I lost but, had really cleverly stored inside the sweater, sometimes I am too clever for myself).

DSC_0049I waited to the next morning, and went outside to get a picture of the finished product in use and realized, with the length I would be fidgeting with the bottom when I was wearing it, because it just wasn’t quite perfect.  The picture to the left is what happens if I wore my dominican jeans that site below my belly button and have moved my arms upward.  Since I had no pressing need to wear it, I decided to add length to the ribbing.  I thought I no longer had the right size (I had accidentally left a circular pair in my father’s car when I was in the states) so the last inch is a slightly wider rib, but I don’t believe most will notice when I’m wearing it unless an inch from my waist and scrutinizing it.  So in the end, I had 3.5 inches of ribbing for the waist.

Forest Darkness Bohus Sweater

I am quite pleased with the resulting sweater.  It’s not perfect, when the arm first splits, there is a portion of extra fabric.  And the sweater is more fitted than I originally planned, so it will be a deterrent against gaining weight.  But to me, looking at it, it is beautiful and wonderful. The pictures are slightly crocked, because I rested the camera on a wooden ladder run that seems to not have been completely parallel to the ground, or the ground may not be level.

Forest Darkness Bohus Sweater Back

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You know one unexpected benefit from living the Dominican Republic (I mean because there were many expected ones, more baseball, no snow), it has provided project fidelity.

ImageI just was looking at facebook, and have like Fibre Space.  Of course I do, it is a wonderfully put together shop with friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable workers.  So they are having a knit-along of Color Affection and I really was interested because of the pretty yarn I saw pictured.  So I followed the link and was looking through the finished projects , and spotted one that I first I was going to say I think I feel in love with, but no in reality I fell into adoration.  The knitter  worked the pattern in madelinetosh tosh merino light colors of brown, green, and cream as I see theme.  It just captured me.  But in the end what can I do.  I cannot run out to the store and get the right yarn.  I also cannot justify the cost of shipping, because there is no great need.  I brought my beautiful andromeda shawl down here, and have not had a day where I have worn it.  I currently would not think about wearing it now, since I already sweat enough in the day and it is only going to get hotter.  But amusing thing is in the post about the andromeda shawl, if you click on it to see the picture and happen to read the words, you will see that I made mention of trying for more fidelity and failing.

However, enough about what I won’t be knitting for now and shawls.  I have made progress on my great masterpiece.  I say great because I am going to knit a sweater on needles which size I usually reserve for socks.  My aunt compared the double pointed version of these size needles to toothpicks.  And of course the part right now is more enticing to knit than what comes next, it is the colorful yoke of a bohus sweater.  After I finish the yoke, it will be black stich black stich black stich black stitch and etcetera.  But because I don’t have anything new and shiny to distract me, there is a chance that even with needing a fan on when knitting so I don’t have the yarn stick to my sweaty fingers, I may reach my goal of a deadline.  I think I will keep that deadline off this post, just for now.  And I only tried it on because the directions told me to.


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Look a purple elephant!

I can’t believe I have never discussed elephants.  Perhaps because I feared retribution from Karla.  But with the amount of miles between us and her preoccupied with her life, I think I will.

Once in 2002 I went down to Philly with my sister and Karla.  I cannot remember the full itinerary of  the trip, just involved a deconstructed Volkswagen and a hunt for somewhere to eat in University City.  We were all hungry and driving around to find something that one of the others had seen but having no luck.  Finally I say maybe it was a purple elephant.  And my sister decides to explain to Karla that what I mean is it was a figment of imagination because purple elephants do not exist.  To which Karla responds with a crisp and cranky “I know”.

Purple Elephant became a phrase I would use in Karla’s presence to get a rise out of her.  Then one thursday, I saw Ashley knitting a stuffed elephant.  After Karla had Micah, I decided that it would be a perfect gift for him (I never made the beautiful argyle blankets I had planned for Micah and Erin).  The pattern is called Elijah by Ysolda Teague.  I should warn you when you start knitting you begin with the head and then the trunk and depending on who is watching the comments might only be adult appropriate.  I believe I used Lion Wool Yarn colorway Purple.

After I finished the elephant I shipped him to my sister and let her introduce him.  This is what my sister sent me:

Operation slip elephant in unnoticed is semi complete. We were at the Barnstormers and “suddenly” Micah was playing with this elephant.  Mike said “Oh, you don’t want him putting Erin’s toy in his mouth” I said “No, that’s his toy”.  Karla tuned in and said did Ashley make that for Erin, I said “No, that’s Micah’s”.  Karla said “Oh that was nice of her” I said “Did you see what it is?” “Yea a cute purple elephant…HEY!”  Once she said it aloud she got it.

So I forget how I came upon this pattern, but it was darling and involved colorwork, so I could not pass up the chance to knit it.  The pattern is Ella Funt by Pamela Wynne.  And as you see from the name it was clear who was going to receive the cardigan, or whose child to be more specific.  For this one I used Cascade 220 Sport (I’m pretty sure of that, but no longer have yarn labels to confirm).  I started it probably in June of 2011, knowing if I focused I could get it done before living the country in the middle of August.  I did not focus.  It was not just tying up everything in my life in the states and simply enjoying the time, I was also distracted by other projects.  It was summer so I was more drawn to sewing.  And so the project came the Dominican Republic with me.  I knit on it during training.  It made a good conversation piece with my Capital Host Family and Spanish Facilitators, helped me get some of the spanish knitting words firmly in my vocabulary.  Of course I did not exactly explain why the elephants were purple.  Just what I was making, what else I could make, how long I had knitted, and how did I learn.  It was sent off with a si dios quiere attitude (or a devil-may-care one, depending on your preference) because at the time I had no faith in he in the dominican postal system (a package I sent from DC on August 17th did not come into my possession until January 2nd, that is in fact when any package sent by US for me during the fall was received).

My sister did receive the package in a timely manner, but could not open it because Karla was in the house.  But later slipped it on Micah before Karla picked him up.  And look how much he grew in a year, and how cute he is.  What I cannot tell from the picture is, whether his size still deceives one over the fact that he feels like a 50 pound bag of cement to hold.

There ends the tale of the purple elephants, at least for now.

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A Shindig

I decided I needed some simple knitting to pass the time.  A sock pattern that did not require 5 elaborate charts (but when I finish that pair, it will be a beautiful thing).  So after not having a clue about a pattern I felt like knitting, I went through my queue on ravelry (what a wondrous tool).  I would like to point out I do only have a limited about of yarn, so that also limited the options.

Years ago, I was shown a pattern called Kaylee in reference to the character from Firefly.  Since I liked the pattern and the reference, I went about looking for a colorway that said Kaylee to me.  When I saw that someone was willing to sell Fairgrounds by Socks that Rock (this was back in February of 2008, oh how knitting plans are usurped by a shiny new project), I thought it was a perfect colorway.  It made me think of Kaylee and her very puffy dress during the episode Shindig.

Like I said some time had passed.  I committed to living in a foreign country for 2 years and could not bring all my yarn with me.  I happened to bring those two balls with me.  All my yarn without exact plans in the DR is sock weight, because even though I rarely wear closed toe shoes right now, socks still are feasible, or a shawl.  Plus socks are a nice transportable project.  So I looked again at the Kaylee pattern and just felt it just did not fit the yarn.  Luckily there were more options in my queue. I came across the Flying Lindy pattern and although I was nervous about the way the many colors would work, I decided I should at least give it a try.

So end of April I started knitting.  I took it on the trip to Laguna Limon, for some guagua knitting.  When I was sitting next to my friend Tristian, he asked what I was making and then when I said they were for him he kind of bought it, thinking they might be small.  To me the colorway was more the indicator, I saw it as feminine.  Not only did it end up being guagua knitting, it also ended up being stuck in el campo for another day because the water is above the bridge and it is not yet time for another trivial pursuit game.  At one point I was sitting in front of the colmado knitting, watching the fisherman make their nets.  It was interesting because both I and they have had enough practice with the movements required and don’t need to always be looking at what we are doing.

In the pattern once you finish the first sock, the author states that if you want to mirror the socks (and of course I do), just swap the order of the two charts.  Now, I could have figured that out, but I still appreciate that she included that.  I knit off and on, not aiming to finish because there was no rush, and yesterday I finished the socks.  I ended up really liking how the colors worked out, I feel they are more attractive in person, than when I look at the pictures, so trust me on that one.  My host mom thought they were great when I went out in the hall to take pictures in the better light.  My overall review is the pattern was well written, easy to follow, and had good charts.

I don’t know if I will keep them or not, they fit someone with around a size 9 woman’s foot.  I felt this picture to the left shows the colors most accurately.

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You just can’t take the craftiness out of a girl

It’s been a while since I posted here. Why would that be, oh I’ve been focusing on my other blog and living in the DR as a Peace Corps Volunteer.  But for anyone who knows me, do you really think I could spend 2 years without making anything.  I would have to have no free or travel time, and that is not the case.

I was inspired to figure out how to make these earrings by some super cool earrings I got at Jumbo.  Jumbo is a magical place for us volunteers, its well lit, has a food court with quiznos, and has a wide selection of items long the lines of Target.  I got the earrings on my first trip ever there and loved them.  I loved them enough to be wearing them in Cabarete on New Year’s Eve and lose one, who knows where.  I had even when having both earring wanted to figure out how, but it was not until losing one and asking Mauri who teaches courses on decorative arts where to get sewing patterns that I got around to finding the materials to do so.

I had found websites and a helpful video on how to make such each earring in the fall.  But not knowing exactly where to get the materials and a bum computer (the screen just showed white) slowed me down.

So with some new spanish words I got the wire, pliers, thread, and earring finding (I knew some of them before.  Then I cut off part of a wire hanger to make the coiled part of the earrings with the higher gauge wire.  The video suggests you use something to slide the hanger through, but I found it possible to coil with only my l shaped part of the hanged.

For the blue tear drops I went off of sight to try to make them look right.  They just weren’t perfect and with the dedication that went into the self-striping socks I counted wire loops on my original earring (148, with 48 being used twice) and then did my best to evenly space the coil.  I think the red turned out best.  After I cracked out a handful of that type I took a break.  But then when looking on the internet I found another style I really thought was cool.  And so I found myself trying to do it with a spiral.  I am quite pleased that I can now make these and wanted to share.

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Origami Messenger Bag


A fellow knitter had a bag her mother had made her on one Thursday night.  I was fascinated as she described how it was made.  Of course I failed to commit it to mind and luckily Kate remembered.  Kate once demonstrated for me on paper, which I lost when moving my stuff.  Kate was kind enough to provide her take on the directions again.

A barely connected fact, I used to do a lot of origami.  And look how life loops around.


I often pick up the photographic fruit fabric when I see it if I like the look.  I have worn through the straps on my green pineapple bag and was wearing out my apple bag, so I knew eventually I would have to work to replace them.  Of course the first replacement bag I made was for my mother and had not gotten around to any for myself yet.  One reason was it takes space to quilt the fabric and the table in my parents’ den works so much better.

So once I had gotten over the sloth moving created, I laid out the kiwi fabric and tried to make a square (one yard wide).  Without a great guide, there was some tweaking.  I then went about cutting the sage green fabric and batting to match.  To keep the fabric from shifting through the layers, I basted it.  Of course, typical luck, the first time I basted I had failed to iron the fabric and ended up with creases.  So there for I ironed it and then basted it again.  After that I did the joyous task of quilting the square and strap.  I will admit the lines were not perfectly done, but were good enough for me.


The next step was to make bias tap to bind the edge.  I found some white fabric that worked well for contrast and reacquainted myself with the directions from here.  Since I thought I would make another bag I made 318” of double wide, which of course took a while to iron.


I then bound the edge and went to look at Kate’s instructions again.  Setting the square with a point at top, I folded the one edge over two thirds and then the other side edge over that.  To tack it down I folded up the inside edge of the bias tape and sewed underneath.  This kept the seam unobtrusive.  I then folded the project in half with the overlap on the outside.  I placed the strap down between the fold and sewed about ½ inch in on each side.

Then I had a beautiful new bag.


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Fabric Venn Diagram

Sometimes I think people may be interested in how a project came to be.  Sometimes I may be incorrect.  I’m not sure if those two sometimes ever create a Venn diagram.  I sure hope not.  I do know that because of fabric now my niece’s clothing and min sometimes is an overlapping Venn Diagram.  As in I own dress and she owns dresses, and sometimes they are related because it was the same fabric.

So for some reason I had been telling a few of my favorite stories about my sister.  Only a few of the multitude (we are getting older).  I noticed that most of the stories were highlighting the times I felt she treated me badly.  (One was just to share why I giggle every time I go byBeauregard Street in Alexandria.)  Once I noticed that I felt I had to make it clear that she is for the most part an awesome sister, it is just certain stories are more fun to share.

The there were two stories I shared in conjunction with each other.  The link between the two was her alibi was to have misunderstood.  One was a repeatedly done when the night before I would have been at Lubertos (an excellent place to eat if you are nearDublin,PA) and got a cheese steak.  I would generally eat half and the chips and save the other half.  Then likely I would work the next afternoon at the pool and think about it for my next dinner.  I would go home and open the fridge and find it gone.  She had eaten it and when questioned “Oh, I thought you weren’t going to eat it.”  Not okay.  The second story was a dress I owned in high school.  She was away at college but would be home periodically.  She asked if she could borrow it and I said no I planned to wear it next week, which I did.  Then a few weeks latter I am thinking to myself I have not seen that dress recently.  I wait through another cycle of laundry and finally question my sister.  She had borrowed it, why did she think she could, “Oh, I thought you just meant that week I could not borrow it.”  But I was telling my sister I had been sharing the stories and she said what dress.  I said my white eyelet dress.  It didn’t ring any bells.  I have finally dug up the picture this morning (of course, I am uncertain of the other girls in the picture, I think one was Carrie).  After talking to her about it, I started thinking about how much I liked that dress and decided to recreate it.

I looked through patterns and then realized I likely already owned the pattern I needed.  And thankfully my dad looked through the drawers and found the pattern that was used for a couple dress when I was a senior in high school.  He found the pattern and to make sure it was the right one found a link on the internet that showcased McCall’s 3233.  Once he sent me the info on the pattern, I ordered some fabric from fabric.com.  I was looking for white eyelet, but none was available at the time, so I ended up getting Fancy Eyelet Ivory.  I think that ended up being the
better choice in the long run considering my propensity for paleness.  My mother actually asked me about two weeks ago if I was outside during the day.  I replied not usually considering work.  I do believe that anyone who explores the link will agree that the photo does not indicate any shinyness.  That off course was a bit misleading, but I came to accept the thread being shiny.

I had the fabric shipped to my parents’ house so that I could work on it the weekend I was up there.  I the morning of Saturday had to go out and pick up a zipper and that is how I came to buy patterns for baby dresses.  Since I had already cut out the pattern on the eyelet material I knew I had plenty of extra.  I would like to not since I had cut the pattern to the size used in 2001 and not folded it down, I added some extra to the seams.  I am slightly different physically a decade later.  The only other thing I changed was to add lining (next time I would just make a slip and not sew in the seams) and make the straps thicker.  My sister asked if I did that to avoid the hassle of turning thinner straps.  No that was not my primary reason.  My primary reason was that I did not want to be a hassle to wear a bra and I hate it when the bra straps show.  I also felt that this dress may have my most successful zipper to date.  This was the dress I was wearing when asked incredulously about making my dress to wear to the wedding.  And I was told it did not look home-made.  Of course I was asked if I made the design, and I replied no I bought the fabric as eyelet fabric.  I love the scalloped edges, even though those made me have to tinker with the pattern.  I’m sorry the picture is limited, but last night when I tried to take it with it on it made a shiny 7 across my chest and stomach, which was just too strange.  And I need to stand for the dress form to use it to show anything with a skirt.  The dress, as can be seen, is not a replica of the original, but has been inspired by.  The length is to right above my knees.

So as I said I knew I had plenty of extra fabric (I feel like so leftover amount is so often obnoxious).  What made it not obnoxious, was having a little niece I had a use for it.  I picked up McCall’s 5791 to makeErin a pretty ivory dress.  Funnily the pattern was called to be lined, so I did not have to remind myself to do it.  I had not though about the ribbon, but Tuesday night was able to decide on the beautiful orange ribbon that had lead to me purchasing yarn to make a scarf.  I made the scarf, but then decided I liked it better without the ribbon.  One issue was turning the ties a bunch of white particles erupted over my room.  I did once again French seam, I love that look.  Another was apparently I wound the bobbin thread wrong, so it tangled and I repeatedly had to remove the plate on the sewing machine to get it out.  Repeatedly, failing to think maybe the bobbin is the problem considering you just clean out the fuzz last weekend.

What was amusing was the width of the skirt before gathered.  It would have been indecently short on me of course, but had at least 30% extra when around my hips.  And I think anyone will know my weight is exponential to my niece’s.

Once finished I did think, too bad she is already baptized.  Such a pretty dress.

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A field of flowers

Hooray, with one post I can and must talk about two projects.  Because one led to the other.

I’ll start with my skirt first.  For the past few years I have been adding to a wardrobe a dress bought with my birthday in mind.  Last yeah I actually got two, one was more suited for the going out function and one was actually for the actual day.  Since I did not even wear the going out one for my birthday event, it did not even manage to hold onto the title with qualifications.  This year I thought well let me see if any patterns call to me and I find fabric for it.

I took a trip to G-Street and the fabric did.  It was just the cheerful print I wanted.  I bought the amount I thought would be necessary.  When getting it cut, the worker said oh we also have this in pink, I thank her but shared that I loved it the way it was.

With the big flowers and the brightness I felt it called for a full skirt.  I also was wise enough to buy material to line it, partly because a large portion was white and partly because I like lining my skirts.

I paired the bottom of McCall’s 5382 with the top of Simplicity’s 2648.  I wanted to wear the dress on my birthday (late March) and that meant to work.  I like the look of the top with the small sleeves, but I really wanted a full skirt.  I did of course know that as usual, I was making it more difficult.  In my defense, I present the following two points.  I like a challenge (perhaps more than I should).  Also what is the point being able to make my own clothing if I can not get exactly how I want it.

Since this was a period ago and I do not remember all the issues I will share what I do.  With the amount of fabric I had bought and the pattern on it there was limited available material for the top pieces because I wanted those pieces to only be white.  So I had issues when I tried to seam the armholes between the material and the lining.  I just thought I could seem more than I could and still turn it.  That was wrong.  When I went to remove the stitches I was too vigorous and ripped it the fabric.  Also gunk ended up the iron which ended up on the nice white fabric.  With the limited fabric, time running out (often I work up until the last possible outline), and still not entirely sure matching up the pieces would be simple I decided for the birthday at least it would be a skirt.

With the skirt I had altered it from being gathered even before it became a skirt and instead darts (I have highlighted those in blue)  in the front and back pieces.  That actually worked out smoothly, since I was partially winging it.  I went with that decision because I like the crispness of the darts to make the change in circumference more gradual than gathers.  Plus gathering annoys me because I cannot make it completely uniform.  With the blue dress of the previous post, I went with the gathers because the other option was pleats and I thought that would alter the overall look, plus drive me insane with the amount I would need to do.

To sum up, the dress became a skirt and was exactly what I wanted for my birthday outfit.  So bright, cheerful and springy.  Also good it was not a dress, because it was a chilly day.

So now for the second project.  I had several large scrapes of flower fabric left over.  When heading up to see my parents and sister, I decided I would give it to her along with a couple other things.  I felt she could use the pieces for something forErin.  Of course I end up needing to go to Joann’s for another project (next one to be discussed) and decide to look through the baby dress patterns.  There is a reason I was excited about a niece being a niece and not a nephew.  Not because I think girls are better than boys, but because little girly things can be fun to make.  More ruffles and embellishments than little boys clothing.  So I found a pattern that looked like it would work well, and somehow instead of giving the pattern with the fabric to my sister (she can sew) I decide to make the dress myself.

The pattern I used was McCall’s 6309.  I chose not to include the back ruffles because, frankly, I found them odd and stupid.  Just my opinion.  Of course, with the way things usually work out, there were spots where the fabric did not quite make it, but I figured I could make it work.

I decided to practice French seams and had to seam the back because of there being enough fabric, just not enough connected for that piece.  So after I have gone through the seaming of the wrong sides together, trimming, then sewing the right sides together and ironing the piece, I realize I had sewed one upside down.  Since it was not incredibly noticeable, I decided to leave it that way. I do like French seams, just look over at how nicely all the ends of encapsulated – no worries about fraying from contact and washing .  I figure practicing on small clothing will make them more rote, so the extra sewing will not seem as burdensome when my clothing.

The fabric failing at points to be enough led to me making a thinner channel for the elastic then recommended.  That was the hardest part of the project, getting the elastic through, it took at least 4 attempts.  The straps were easy to turn once I had attached a needle and
thread and gotten the initial turn done.  The hardest part was figuring out where the
squares to place the straps were with it all bunched up.  I of course would stretch it out, but having only two hands, stretching it out and then holding the pattern to it and estimating the seam allowance was tricky.  I probably should have marked it before the elastic.  Well anything can be a learning experience.

And that is how it came to be that my niece and I can now coordinate.

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