Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Moving house...

And job and state and kids schools and childcare and LIFE!

We are packing up and heading to Sydney - which is, if nothing else, a whole lot warmer than Tassie!


While this looks very organised, the disturbing back story is how many other tubs there are...

I would like to say this is a surprise, but to be very honest the first thing I thought of when we realised we would be moving house, likely to somewhere rather smaller, was what on earth I might do with The Stash of Doom!  Time to be a bit more disciplined about sewing up my stash only (mostly) I think!!!

Anyway - this blog might be quiet for a good few weeks while I move everything and everyone, get settled and get some internet action cranking in the new digs.  Happily for me, yarn club will still be sending me projects of awesomeness (poas, as they will now be known...), so hopefully I can at least keep up with some rather more portable knitting.

See you on the sunny side!


Week 7 of the Wardrobe Architect series focused on prints / patterns and solids.

I laughed when I read the title, as I knew my answers were going to be all along the same vein.  I just don't do prints/patterns very well at all.  The exercise which asked us to pick the 10-20 most worn items out of the wardrobe and see what percentage of them were printed?  HAHAHAHA.  If you don't count stripes, none of mine were patterned at all.

In a nutshell here is what I knew already:

  • I massively prefer solids
  • I do like textural variation (so slubby dye variations for example)
  • I love stripes
  • I don't mind an indistinct dot or something like a chevron (which is clearly just messed up stripes...)
  • All other patterns need to be small-scale and non-novelty and not in-your-face-patterny
  • I hate florals.  Even small ones.

What did I learn?  Perhaps that I should be more targeted in making sure I incorporate patterns into my wardrobe and that I buy fabric with pattern!  I also reminded myself that there are a few things I will really never wear as they are super patterny (I must have been feeling like I *should* wear more patterns when I bought them) and I should just get rid of those in the Great Moving Cleanout.

Some patterns I do like!

Week 8 of the series is on hair and makeup and beauty.  Not exactly my comfort zone!  Here are my answers to some of the questions from week 8:

  1. Which hairstyle was most flattering and comfortable.  Hmm.  I think long probably works best as it's versatile and "easy", though people often comment shorter suits me too.  Long it is!
  2. I don't like too much makeup - but always mascara and usually concealer or tinted moisturiser.  Everything else is mostly special occasion wear.
  3. No idea how they reflect my personal style, except they aren't super flashy I don't think.  I do need to probably wear more eye makeup when I go out as I wear glasses and it often gets lost.
  4. I want to own as few products as possible (I have too many now).  Just a core set which work for me would be good.
  5. I like products to be as natural as possible with as few ingredients and avoiding things like parabens where I can.
  6. Not sure which colours feel best near my face (not sure if she meant clothes here or makeup?).  Softer tones tend to work better for me - I will never be a red lipstick person.
  7. See 6 - bright yellow tends to make me look like crap, but not sure if we are talking makeup still...
  8. I currently spend about 10 minutes getting ready if I haven't showered (drying long hair takes time sadly) and am happy with that.  
  9. I wear perfume - currently Obsession by Calvin Klein for night and Miracle by Lancome for day.  I mostly wear those as they are just about the only two which people ever seem to be able to smell on me...

So that was weeks 7 and 8.  Probably areas which I already had a reasonable handle on and feel like I don't want to change awfully much, but still worth going through the exercises...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Wardrobe Architect: Weeks 5 and 6

So I have let this series slide a bit with all the whirlwind changes going on in real life (moving state...!).  However, I was finding it useful and once we have moved, I want to try and apply the analysis to the things I sew in my new life :)

So here is more...

Week five and six of the Wardrobe Architect Series were all about colour.  The first exercise required us to go and play with colours we liked and come up with a palette we are drawn to.

My first effort at doing this is below:


Apparently, I like blue :)

Actually, I don't think this palette is truly representative. The tool I was using made it hard for me to get to the colours I really wanted (as they aren't very colourful) and I am not sure the colours are really representative/true.  The grey-ness of palette 3 looks on the edge of lilac (definitely NOT a preferred colour!) and the mustardy colour I chose in P4 looks too yellow.

What I can say for sure is that I like these colours:
  • Black
  • Grey - pretty much all shades.  If I had to chose only one colour, it would be grey (hence I don't feel my palettes quite capture my preferences!)
  • Blue (clearly) - especially electric blue like in P2.  Nothing really bordering on the purple end, but I LOVE the teal / greeny blue shades.
  • Green, but only certain shades.  The ones above plus some kind of strong emeraldy colour seem to suit me (think electric blue, but green).
  • Cream and neutrals (you know, like grey...hahahaha).
  • Certain specific other colours like mustard - but they are more statement or fashion driven and much less about core preferences.
I don't seem to like warmer colours much at all.  If I had a red in there it would be a dark, burgundy-ish red.  I wondered if this is the hangover from being told redheads can't wear red or pink (which is total bollocks by the way).  I quite like some shades of pink too, though not as much as grey :)

Week six focusses on organising these colours into sets as follows:  neutrals, nearly neutrals, statement colours and metallics.  The theory is you can wear less and less (as a porportion of your outfit) of each category in descending order.  So you can wear just about all neutrals, but very little metallics or statement colours.  Week six didn't really add much to my skill set - I feel like I have the balance of colours and weights pretty much spot on (or for what I like anyway).  I also feel like there is some more subtlety to the balancing act - so you can't wear different saturations of colours together easily - like a light smokey grey just doesn't jive with an electric blue for example.

In my wardrobe and palette most of the colours go together well already.  The exception are things like the electric blue and stronger greens - I tend to wear those with black or possibly cream, which have enough intensity of colour to support the strong pop they give.

So that's enough on colour.  I am obviously quite boring but having recently trawled through and thinned my fabric stash, I can at least say that I have lots of the colours I like (am looking at you grey....)!!!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Jellywares Yarn Club - Gaptastic Cowl

I have wanted to make this cowl for so very very long (why have I not?), so I was super excited when the latest yarn club instalment had this as one of the recommended patterns.

Here is it as a wip:



I love it.  So much so that my terrible phone picture put this in soft focus.  OR, the camera is dirty :)



The Gaptastic cowl is a free pattern from Jen Geigley on Ravelry.  It's pretty much an awesome seed stitch big loop and the colour of the wool that Jodie from Jellywares sent in the latest yarn club instalment was the perfect colour for this pattern

The cowl itself is so spongy and soft and can be kind of adjusted to sit however you want.  Here I a looking like I just found a very difficult maths problem in the bathroom mirror:



And again, wearing it with my super power suit (in my work bathroom) as a non-wrapped cowl.  Again a truly fabulously bad photo, but despite that you probably get the gist of how awesome this cowl is (it truly transcends my crappy photo skills!)



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Carnaby Cape Pattern Test - Handmaker's Factory

I was lucky enough to get the chance to pattern test the Carnaby Cape for Handmaker's Factory a little while ago.

www.handmakersfactory.com.au

I was interested to see when I got the pattern that there were no actual cape pictures.  Instead a rather lovely picture on the cover as above, and some extremely clear line drawings as shown below.  

www.handmakersfactory.com.au
 The first thing I noticed when I finished the cape was how much it resembles the line drawings.  This might seem like an odd point, until you see how many pattern reviews have comments like "the sleeves seem longer than in the drawings" or similar. Score one for the cape!

The cape is an interesting take on the usual buttons-to-create-sleeves approach as it uses a tie belt instead.  The tie feeds through some rather lovely bound buttonholes, and I was super impressed by the clarity of those instructions.  The pattern calls for a medium to heavy weight fabric with some drape, which does not fray (unless you want to finish the hem with a bound edge or similar).  I used a ponte knit fabric, which strays a little from the description.  While ponte is a pretty stable and fairly hefty knit, I do think my version could have done with more drape in the fabric, so am pretty sure that any seeming "bulk" or lack of flow in the garment is my bad.

Here is my version, on a very cold Tasmanian winter day:



I really like how it looks, and the flow of the sleeve is particularly nice.  I do think I would have benefited from using a fabric more like the specification in terms of drape, though this matched in that it didn't need any finishing on the sleeves and the hem.  This was SO quick to sew, even with the bound buttonholes, I was quite surprised.

As mentioned above, I love the bound buttonholes being used for the belt tie.  The instructions for how to achieve these was awesome, and they look so good oversized as a belt feed.  I now want to bind all of my buttonholes!  I also like the treatment of the belt, which feels very RTW and I think is quite flattering. My natural waist is quite high compared to normal people, so I did move the belt holes up by about 1.5 inches, but otherwise I sewed to size and it worked well.


As the cape isn't designed for stretch fabrics, there is a buttoned opening at the neck.  I chose some rather lovely buttons from The Stash Cupboard to add just a little pop of colour and detail to my (super chic) grey cape.  The method for creating the button tab on the cape was pretty nifty, and not a sequence of steps I have sewn before.  Once I got my head around it, I was impressed with how it was constructed and plan to come back to those steps to recreate this opening on other garments.


All up a great pattern and a pleasure to test.  Nichola was very responsive to questions and the instructions are a nice mix of detail when required (i.e. the bound buttonholes) without being overly verbose.

I am just about to head North to live in Sydney and am wondering whether a super light voile-type version of this might just be the go for a summer cover up.  I have ridiculously Scandinavian skin (viking heritage!) and so am always on the lookout for a floaty lovely cover up.  Am thinking this might be 100 times more flattering than a caftan type of thing, with the great belting and button neckline...thoughts?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Captain America Pyjamas

A very special young lady was in search of some super hero pyjamas.

Here is a truly terrible picture of the result :)

My kids wanted to photobomb :( Note I did not make the power rangers outfit...

The bottoms were the Alex and Anna Winter Pyjamas pattern without the cuff and the top was a Skinny Flashback Tee from Rae.

I cut the sleeve piece for the top in two at what seemed like the right point for the contrasting arms, then made two new pattern pieces from that single sleeve piece (you just have to add seam allowances on for when you sew it back together - it needs to end up back at the same size as the original piece would have been).  

I cut a star out of some wadding stuff I had left over (I think it was Annie's Soft and Stable, though I can't imagine it would matter awfully, as long as the stuff doesn't fray or shed fibres everywhere) and appliqued that onto the front with a zig zag around the edge.  

I then made the stripey curved front  piece to go on, and came up with the super (I thought!) clever idea to make that a kangaroo pocket instead of just piecing it on.  Hence I made two layers in that shape, sewed them together and then sewed that onto the top, leaving pocket hole gaps on either side of the main rise.

I also had ENORMOUS amounts of fun making a shield:


I discovered that my Bernina 1130 is as stupendously good as I thought it was, given it sewed nicely (ish) through multiple layers of wadding and cardboard.  Where the stitching in the above picture looks a bit crap, it's mostly due to my having to rush to finish this, as opposed to the machine not coping.  You will notice I rushed so much that I didn't even change from white thread to sew the layers.  Does that bug me?  Kind of.  Is it still a kick ass shield?  Totally.  Did the four year old girl care?  Not at all :)

I have discovered via this process and the making of the Incredibles dress-ups that I quite enjoy costume making, so I might do more of that for book days and the like in the future!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Jellywares Yarn Club! It's where the cool kids are at...

I have followed the Jellywares blog for a long time now (as one of those silent, slightly stalky blog reader-but-not-commenter people).  Jodie lives somewhere remote in New South Wales, in a life which couldn't really be much different to mine (I have always lived in a City, though my current-and-forever hometown Hobart isn't exactly New York...).  Her blog is a gentle and natural narrative about life there and is mostly craft-centric (which pleases me).  She is also ridiculously prolific in her makings (also pleases me, I am not a patient reader!) and she sells gorgeous yarns too!

So when she launched a yarn club, I looked at the unfinished wool-related projects I have (crochet shrug, knitted beanie, knitted top and knitted socks) and thought - why not?  I love surprise packages of craft stuff in the mail, and I love distractions from all the WIPs I have lurking ready to depress me at a moment's notice :)

The yarn club was launched via her Facebook page here, though there is a post about it on the blog too.  Go check out the page and all the finished project photos popping up - I should probably get my ass into gear and block my first efforts...

I stupidly forgot to take a picture of the first, gorgeous parcel which arrived, mainly because I was too excited.  I got the knitting option (there is one for crocheters too, I do both so Jodie chose for me!) - and the first parcel included some gorgeous autumn-y yarn (Cascade Sierra - cotton/wool) with which to make several leaf shaped washcloths (I will post pictures of those once blocked).

Jellywares Yarn Club

The parcel also include some yummy biscuits and a beautiful bag in which to hold my project.  I was VERY pleased!

Meanwhile, I have made two leaf washcloths but not yet blocked them - and parcel two is already here!  This time I managed to catch myself because I dug in and took pictures:

Jellywares Yarn Club


Lovely indeed!  Jodie is a master of making everything beautiful - with additional little touches that make these club deliveries really nice to receive (go check out her blog pictures - she makes a ball of wool on a deck look so wonderful I want to give up my job and move to country NSW...).

Jellywares Yarn Club

Inside was the yarn for this month (Araucania - Alpaca, Merino, Silk).  Instead of one pattern like last time, Jodie pointed us at a variety of free options on Ravelry which would match the amount of yarn we have.  I haven't entirely decided which one to make yet (there is a very lovely tea cosy picture on the Facebook page which is tempting me!) but I think I am going to make a beanie this time - how gorgeous will that yarn be as a slouchy simple hat?

Jellywares Yarn Club

There was again a heap of beautiful extras in there - like this very cute crochet bunny gift tag - already stolen by my daughter!

Jellywares Yarn Club

Lace trim that Jodie dyed herself (seriously - she must be superwoman) in a beautiful rich indigo colour, plus (badly focused behind) a lovely card her friend made.


Jellywares Yarn Club


A mysterious easter egg...

Jellywares Yarn Club

which opened up to reveal heaps of very very useful stitch markers (how did she know I have bought at least 4 packets of these during my life as a knitter, but can never find one when I need to?).  I had to keep the daughter firmly restrained as she definitely wanted these "treasures"!

Jellywares Yarn Club


AND some chocolate shortbread.  Which lasted only long enough for this picture to occur.  Check out the amazing colour and sheen of that yarn - I have to restrain myself from starting now...

So - all up I am so happy I signed up for Yarn Club!  From now on I will post the parcel and finished items together I think, but I wanted to share the ultimate gorgeousness of the packages as a whole.

So why did I join when I have so much else waiting for me to finish it off?  Well a while back I read LLadybird's post on how she stays so prolific a sewist, and apparently it's because she doesn't really allow herself WIP/UFOs.  She starts something, she finishes it, she moves on.  Admirable, but I don't think it's how I craft (even though I would like to).  My life is such that I need something to cut out or trace in front of the telly, things to sew which are mindless for when I am tired but want to relax and stitch, stuff to knit or crochet on the bus (mindless) or on a quiet afternoon (more complicated).  Yarn club fits in with my need to stop knitting a whole jumper, take a break and knit a quick, rewarding, different project.  Like a palate cleanser or an amuse bouche :)

I embrace my wippiness (so totally a word...), especially if lets me keep getting parcels like this every month! Go check out Yarn Club - all the cool kids are doing it :)