Sewjourn

I wrote the draft for this right after I got back from camp. I didn’t publish it because I needed to hem and photograph some stuff. Obviously it took me until the Easter long weekend to get around to that. Whoops. So please excuse the jumping back and forth between then and now, if I try to make it more consistent I’ll procrastinate and then it’s never going to get published. Please also excuse angry face. I just cannot work the self timer AND manage a facial expression at the same time.

Like a bee on a cactus flower

I got back from another craft camp on Monday evening. It’s Thursday morning and it already feels so far away, like a dream. I think it was my favourite camp yet. Not the most exciting or thrilling but the one that I have most constantly, solidly enjoyed. And probably my most productive. Not the one with the biggest highs from that feeling where you make a new friend or cross some border of intimacy. But more comfortable and sweet in that way where you don’t have to think about it because spending time with these people is just so easy and as effort-free as being in a space with other people will ever be, for an introvert. And the food, oh my lord.

I don’t know that I have much to say about it. It was just really really lovely. I continue to be so grateful for these people and these pauses in my year. Chances to reflect and take time and really get into the making. Such a refreshing thing. This weekend I flew in on Monday and out on Friday so I had most of those days as well as the whole day on Saturday and Sunday, and it was just blissful. I need to figure out ways to make my normal life just a little bit more like camp.

It was also the camp where I went through the most thread. I think I sewed almost every seam in every garment twice, and I came home with a couple of things unhemmed because I was out of matching thread.

I flew in with a suitcase that was 100g over the weight limit. Then I bought stuff at the op shop. With some rearranging of my carry-on I managed to fly home with a suitcase that was only 200g over. Phew.

Here are the things that I made:

A Tiramisu dress, which will get its own post shortly.

I also half-made a blank canvas tee out of this same fabric.

I will discuss the fabric in further detail when I post about my Tira, but basically, it’s a bastard. It’s super stretchy with not much recovery. So the shirt is fine, if a bit… fine (read: nipply) but the binding was droopy. I was going to redo it but I ended up just folding it under and zig zag stitching it. I think this will just be an around the house shirt, sadly, and I won’t bother hemming it. But as a wearable muslin I’d call it very successful.

Another one of those Ottobre skirts that I like to churn out. This one in camel coloured sateen from Spotters. Crinkly stuff, curse it. I did back pockets on this one which turned out a bit dodgy but oh well. I neglected this one in my photoshoot so this is the only photo of it. If I can find some camel-coloured drill I might remake it in that, but all the brownish stuff I could find was muddyish colours which I didn’t like.

A red Kasia.I wear my blue Kasia all the time because it’s comfy and simple but not boring and also it has pockets.

The spots in the pockets are a Robert Kauffman quilting cotton that I bought ages ago for a project that I now cannot remember anything about. You need so little of the contrast fabric for this, it’s great. The main fabric is stretch drill from Spotters.

The last time I made Kasia I graded it up and then ended up taking out all the extra width. This time I just cut out the biggest size, which was then too small so I spent ages taking it apart and putting side panels in, and then it was too big. So I took the panels out and sewed it with just a 1cm seam allowance and it’s perfect. It was initially a teeny bit tight on the hips but it’s stretched out enough that it’s just spot on. I omitted the front fly shenanigans, and put in a back zip, as well as borrowing a pattern piece from a Lisette pattern that Sue had brought, and making a little kick pleat at the back.

It sticks out some, but oh well. It makes the skirt much more functional. Another time I would make the whole pleat from a thinner fabric, which would also give it a seam to fold along. I hemmed the red one a bit shorter at the pleat than the rest of the skirt, and it sits flatter vertically, because of that. As in, the pleat doesn’t stick out the bottom of the hem, although it does stick out horizontally still.

I wish I’d remembered to take out the pouchy bit at the back, though – the pocket panels are mirrored on the back and it’s puffy in the thick drill. I should have made the facings out of a lighter fabric, too, cos it’s bulky. But it’s perfectly wearable and I love it. I brought it home unhemmed because I ran out of thread. I also wish I’d done an invisible zip – it is actually an invisible zip, but I don’t have an invisible zip foot at camp so I just set it in like a normal zip. Oh, well.

Another Kasia, in black stretch drill, also from spotlight. Back zip for this one too and no pockets, I couldn’t be bothered mucking around and I just need something real simple to be a wardrobe standard. I just laid the pocket pattern pieces on top and cut it out like one piece, nothing complicated. I used a scrap from Jenny’s intimidating pile to make a sneaky kick pleat, though. (Which sticks out, too. Sigh.)

I might need another black pencil skirt with more interesting pockets. This one probably took me 2 hours ish, without hemming. When I did hem it this weekend I just sewed with a straight stitch because clearly I wasn’t getting around to the blind hem that I had intended, and I couldn’t find my blind hem foot anyways, or figure out how to deal with the kick pleat when blind hemming. So that took me all of ten minutes, plus I had to re-top-stitch the yoke because the poplin I’d lined it with isn’t as stretchy as the drill and it had gotten all wonky when I sewed it the first time, and I had puckers.

And I finished my blanket! Which has been to several craft camps now. I blogged the finished product here.

Such a lovely time. Thank you all for your company, and your food, and your stories.

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Sunbreak

I finished Sunbreak.

Ravelry tells me that I started it on July 19, 2011. I remember starting it at a Craft Camp. I used one of Kate‘s stitch markers for the centre and ended up taking it home with me. I returned it on the next camp, don’t worry. I think I finished the centre bit that camp, because I remember frantically making up little bobbins to do the rays, as everyone was packing up to leave.

For a while after that it looked like this

I couldn’t really knit it on public transport, so I watched a lot of Qi and That Mitchell and Webb Look while knitting this part of it. This part was sometimes hair-pullingly complex, but I can genuinely say (at this remove) that it was fun. I would do it again, no matter how lacking in calm wisdom I sound in this other post.

The reason it was so tangly was that I didn’t want a lot of floats behind the rays. Because the yarn is crepe ply, not wooly, they showed through and it was hard to keep them neat. So I basically did intarsia. Each little section of colour was its own bobbin. I remember getting very frustrated at how lumpy and imperfect it was looking, but I decided that a bit of bumpiness was ok. Eventually I got to the end of the short rays and it did get a lot easier then.

And then you knit each corner to square off the shape. It’s been long enough that I can’t remember the details of this, but I remember thinking that it was very elegantly designed. I remember a few head scratching moments of confusion, but I trusted in the pattern and it worked out lovely.

Then you block the middle bit like lace. It’s knit on fairly large needles, so it spreads out a lot. I didn’t get exactly the recommended size, so I just blocked it till it was even, and a nice proportion.

The centre is 76cm x 110cm. Flickr tells me that I blocked it in early February 2012. I started knitting the border, although after a whole blanket I wasn’t super excited about that. I decided to knit the longest sides first.

Then, on March 30, disaster struck. I know it was then because that’s the date of the email from me to the Clean Person at the hairpin, saying ‘HALP! I have ink on my knitting!’ A pen leaked on my bag and there was a splodge of ink, right at the beginning of the longest border edge that I’d almost finished. Clean Person Jolie was very helpful but although the ink was reduced, it was still present and I knew it would always bother me. So I ripped it out.

Then I didn’t knit anything at all for almost a year. I picked it up again in January this year. Because a summer of repeated 40 degree heatwaves is clearly the best time to knit. But also, I started it when I found out that my best friend was pregnant. It’s not for her kid, it’s for her. But he’s about to turn one and I thought it would be nice to have it for her by then. Not to mention that I intended to knit something for her 30th which was in February but obviously I am working on a year’s delay here.

So anyway. I turned up to craft camp this time with the blanket, two long edges, and half of a short edge. I finished the first short edge that first Friday there, and sewed on everything I had, so I only had one short edge to go. I was DETERMINED to finish it.

On the Sunday night I had the edge about five rows from completion when I gave up and went to bed. On Monday morning I steam blocked it and sewed it on. And then we had a little photoshoot.

I am SO pleased with it. I love it. The border gives it a nice heft, and it’s as snuggly as you could not-want in the heat we’ve been having. I am so pleased to finally be finished, and I’m really pleased with it as a piece of work, and proud of my own skill.

With the border it is 93cm x 120cm. I lost track of the amount of yarn I used, because of the shenanigans with the bobbins, but it weighs just over 900g, so I’d say I used 4 and a bit balls of blue (Bendigo Woollen Mills Classic in Tasman), and maybe a quarter of a ball of the yellow, which is an unknown yellow in Classic that I bought at their mill. Which is a shame because it’s a lovely colour, unlike all the standard yellows they offer which are palid and sad.

I’ll be giving it to its owner this evening and I hope she likes it.

Ravelry link.

Baby

My best friend had her baby. He is tiny and looks like an adorable goblin. He officially has a name, as of the weekend. And he has this jacket, which it’s possible that he might fit in about a year (he’s swimming in 00000s at the moment).

Pew-whatever cardigan. Lovely pattern, although the formatting on the pdf was a bit whacky and made it hard to read. But hey, it’s free, and more importantly the actual instructions are well written and easy to follow. Will definitely be knitting this again, possibly with embroidery or intarsia additions to the front.

I also finished of another Aviatrix hat, because it was on some needles that I wanted to use.

Also a lovely pattern, took me two day’s commutes to finish up.

I still haven’t finished the edging of that blanket, though. I’ve got two sides of the border done, and there’s been no movement on that front for a while. I did have my wisdom teeth out last Thursday, so I’ve been drugged up to the eyeballs, which I think is a fair excuse, but it’d be nice to have it to give to her maybe when her mum goes home a bit after Easter (Oh shit, that’s weekend¬† after next), or a similar time. We’ll see. That might be my knitting mantra – we’ll see.

Dreams

Dreamt about packing for craft camp last night. Dream me is more organised than real me. On the plus side, it was nice to have decided what fabric to bring without having to take time out of my day.

I realised the other day that Sewjourn is my happy place. Specifically the driveway. Ok, that sounds weird, let me explain. I can picture myself here:

Or here:

It’s a liminal space – in between, a gateway, a crossroads. There’s not much going on, so I can create it well in my mind’s eye. It’s quiet, and clean, and bright. And whichever way I’m going, I’m on the way both to and from something lovely. I’m heading back from the studio after a morning of making and chatting and laughing, to a delicious meal, or a quiet contemplative bath. Or maybe I’ve been reading in the house and I’m heading back to be with my crafty family. There is joy and love and comfort waiting for me. Probably I am still chuckling about something someone said as a parting shot as I slipped out of the studio, or I have my head down thinking about what I am going to make when I get back there.

If I am in my real life, and I need a breath of fresh air or a moment of calm, that is what I picture. This view:

Or this one:

I’ve needed it this week, too, that dose of calm, that deeper breath. There have been several infuriating meetings and the like. Good thing I’ll be back there soon, to restock my supply of calm.

I also dreamt that I went to the fat fashion swap in Melbourne. When I found out about it, I seriously considered flying in for the day to go to it. I am not going to do that, but maybe some of you would be interested. Here is the facebook page with the information.

In less literal dreams, I finished Abby’s blanket that I was knitting for my bestie’s child.

I did, of course, make an error in the lace. I got off by a few stitches, for a few rows, and didn’t notice for a while. I set my chin and refused to tink back, because I was on a deadline, and my bestie is of the ‘that’s how you know it was handmade with love’ school of thought. I kind of wish I’d fixed it. Or at least taken close ups of a different part of the blanket.

It’s actually quite hard to spot in real life – I’m not fooling myself either. While it was blocking I looked for it so I could fret over it, as you probe a sore tooth. It took me a good minute to locate it.

Blanket ravelry details here.

Said baby was due on Sunday, as I was blocking the blanket. It’s still not here, and I’d appreciate it holding out a little while longer. I finished a matching Puerperium cardigan on the bus this morning. I brought needles and buttons to work and I’m going to finish the finishing at lunch, and then drop the two of them over tonight.

I requested that the baby not come this weekend, while I am away. On reflection, though, that would be fine – the respective families are going to descend and wouldn’t get a chance to smuggle the much awaited brie into the hospital for a while, anyway. So this weekend is fine, just… wait a few more hours, baby. The knitting is not ready yet.

Quickly

I didn’t get that job. But I got some really great feedback and there’s another position at the same place that they’ve asked me to apply for. So I feel, all in all, that it was positive.

I started knitting the second baby blanket. I decided I was better off getting her the kid’s blanket, so she had something nice to wrap the baby in in the first few weeks. Sunbreak is pretty big and heavy, I think it’s going to be more of a playmat/cot blanket, so there’s less rush. I’m knitting Abby’s Blanket by Kristin Kapur. Like all her patterns, it’s wonderfully knitting, and a perfect blend of simple, elegant and complex. Loving it so far – I’m up to the second repeat of the lace. I’m knitting it from Bendigo Rondo, which is a machine washable one but is twist plied not crepe. I like it a lot, it’s soft and smooshy. The colours are their regular pastelly ones, but somehow are less flat than usual, I guess because the base is nicer? I think the ‘lime zest’ is the same dye mix as the ‘pistachio’ alpaca, but it’s much less insipid. I’m using Lime zest for the inside, I’m just going to knit until I’m out, and then Ocean spray for the border, and I’ll just knit until it’s a decent size. But I’m thinking of this as more of a car seat/wrap blanket, so it shouldn’t be too big to be unwieldy.

That’s been my evening couch knitting. But I’m knitting the sunbreak border on my commute. I’m managing an average of 3 repeats of the cable each way. 27″ down. 161″ to go. That’s still a good 5″ a day, though, so I’m feeling ok about the whole thing.

The centre of the sun

I’ve been diligently knitting away on Sunbreak.

It’s not finished yet. It’s 47″ by 37″. That’s 168″ of edging to be knit – well, a bit more, counting corners.

It’s taking me about a half hour an inch.

So another 5040 minutes of knitting. 84 hours. Plus seaming. Not that I’m counting.

The recipient is due on the 4th of March. I don’t know if anyone realises, but that’s three weeks away.

Well, 20 days. That’s 4.2 hours of knitting needed per day. At least. My commute is two hours a day, and I can knit for most of it. Even so, that’s a lot of stitches.

Well, it’s a first pregnancy. It’s bound to be overdue, right? RIGHT?

Some actual information:

  • I blocked it out pretty hard, as per the instructions. They tell me that the size I’m knitting should be 43.5″ by 51.5″ but I just blocked it until it was stretched, and then evened up the sides. The drape is really lovely, and the heavier middle and heavier cabled sides are going to make it even better, I think.
  • The pattern is amazing, and really clever, but I struggled with a few bits. It’s clear enough for the advanced knitter it assumes you are, but there were one or two points where I could have used a hint. Once I remembered that the bumpy side is actually the right side, though, it all came good.
  • Ravelry tells me I’ve been knitting this since the end of July. Six months, or so. Not too bad, really, especially as it reached maximum lap warming size about the time the first heatwave hit Adelaide this summer.
  • I say the recipient is due in March, but that’s not true. This one’s not for the kid. It’s for its mum. She’s my oldest friend, apart from my cousins, and I wanted to give her something that showed her how much I appreciate her, and all the warm sunny thoughts I have for her future.
  • I was going to knit another blanket for the actual baby. I still intend to. I think maybe someone should call a psychiatrist for me, or something.
  • Doing the centre was freaking painful. There was swearing. There was an email to the intended recipient that read ‘I’m making you a blanket, and it’s going to be shit’. There was ripping out and restarting and darning in of ends. And it’s not perfect. But I am so, so happy with it. Like our friendship, there are dodgy patches and a wonky seam and a couple of ends poking out, but the overall effect is stunning, if I do say so myself. Besides being cozy and warm.
  • Brb, knitting.

Knits update

Woah, Worpress. What’s up with making it snow on the page? It’s not 1995. This is not myspace.

Anyhoo. Here are some knits what I have made. The first is a WIP of a baby blanket. My best friend from high school is pregnant and man am I excited about that. So I decided to show off show her how much I care and knit sunbreak, but with the cable sun in the middle being colourwork. I knit the centre bit at craft camp in September, and as we were packing up and leaving I was winding little cardboard bobbins of yarn to start the intarsia.

It was… complex.

So, that bit was a bit of a nightmare. At one point I messaged her and said ‘I’m knitting you a blanket. Just so you know, it’s a bit shit’. The yarn is Bendigo Classic. I hate it, but I wanted superwash, and nice bright colours, so it was a compromise. Because it’s crepe ply and not very wooly, it wasn’t very forgiving of gaps and turns in the colour transition. But as it’s come together it’s looked better and better, and I’m weaving in the ends to close the gaps.

I’ve been done the colourwork for a while, and now I’m shaping the edge so it’s rectangular rather than round. I’m trying to weave in the ends as I go.

I’m pretty pleased with how it’s turning out.¬†Rav link.

The other one is my third fox stole. This one is for my sister. It’s been finished since September, as you can see by the fact that Suse took some photos of it:

But I didn’t sew eyes on it until last week. Obviously. I have to package it up tonight so I can post her her Christmas parcel.

Rav link. Pretty pleased with this one, too. The yarn is a mystery yarn from my stash. It didn’t quite make it the whole way, and I had to buy some Palette to finish his chin and legs. His nose and ears are leftover malabrigo from S’s cowl. And he’s pretty snuggleh.