Saturday, January 29, 2011

Snow and Knee Highs

If nothing else, Boston is certainly experiencing a real winter this year. 60.3"/153cm of snow so far this year, and we are likely to get more today. On average Boston only gets 41"/104cm of snow total. Good thing I just finished up a new pair of knee highs to keep my legs warm. Here they are in use:

When I made my Molly Weasley socks I discovered that by using a contrast yarn for heels and toes I can just eke out a pair of knee highs. So armed with this knowledge and some more experience customizing knitting patterns to my own specifications, I started another pair of knee highs.

Main Yarn: Rio De La Plata Yarns Sock Multicolor
Yarn Supplier: Webs
Contrast Yarn: Lang Yarns Jawoll Solid Superwash
Yarn Supplier: Knitting Treasures in Plymouth, MA
Needles: US 1/2.25mm

The pattern for these is just improvised, but these are my best fitting knee-highs I have made so far. I gave them a little extra length so that they wouldn't get tugged down as easily when I walk, and the calf shaping is more personalized than I have done before. Final result: they fit great, and they really do stay up well! It was totally worth the extra time they took, and there is nothing like a pair of hand-knit knee highs as an additional layer to keep you warm.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Tale of Two Hats

I wanted to make some hats for two of my brothers, and after digging around for a bit discovered just under 300 yards of Wool-ease. A boy-friendly color and easy care? Perfect!

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Solids in cranberry
Pattern: improvised ribbed hat (it isn't rocket science)

I know Salvbard prefers a folded brim hat to keep his ears warm, and given the recent weather that seemed a particularly good idea. This was a great stashbuster, and I am happy to announced that Ravelry says there is just one more partial skein of this yarn in my stash! Of course it is in an obnoxiously bright red...


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chiquita's Arisia Costume

Chiquita has really gotten into costuming in the last few years. This year she had a really specific vision of what she wanted in her head, but I let her know that she would have to do most of the sewing if she wanted it to happen. She is up for the challenge though.

There were a lot of firsts for her. This year we learned about staystitch, ease-stitch, and fusible interfacing. (And was fairly distressed by the smell when ironed.) She installed zippers too!

Pattern: Simplicity 4246 (A & C)
Size: Child 14

We already had a couple yards of green stretch crushed velvet that she wanted to use, so we used that rather than a woven fabric. Also Chiquita decided that she would rather have a zipper in the back of the bodice than putting in buttons and button holes. This meant that she had to adapt the pattern slightly. And since she couldn't find a zipper the right length, she learned how to shorten a zipper and use whip stitch as a zipper stay at the bottom.

This was also Chiquita's first experience working with chiffon. After only a few minutes she announced "I hate chiffon!"Don't we all, little one, don't we all. Besides the chiffon, the stretch crushed velvet also proved quite challenging. So I am so proud of her work!


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pirate Skirt

This year I really wanted to make something to wear to Arisia. I had been thinking about different designs, but after some shopping around realized I wanted something with a handkerchief hemline. Fortunately a friend sent me a link to the instructions for a handkerchief skirt she had followed for a dance costume she made. Perfect!

So next came fabric selection. The corset I wanted to wear with this skirt has black satin panels, so in an effort to match materials I knew I waned a satin of some type, though I was worried that it would have too much drape and would just lie flat against my body. After poking around at JoAnn Fabrics though, we came across some satin taffeta.

I had never worked with it before, but it was exactly what I was looking for. It had the silky shiny-ness of satin, but with a little more body and stiffness. Perhaps even a bit too much stiffness once the turned hems were put in, but throwing the finished skirt in the washer and dryer fixed that. Plus it came in very wide bolts (58"/147cm!), which allowed for a longer skirt.

The instructions at the link above were pretty good, although after following them exactly the first time, I found I had to have both layers face up and with the top layer on the bottom rather than how it suggests. I also just used 0.75"/2cm wide elastic, mostly because I already had some in the house.

I did not use the table of circle radius to hip circumference measurements, instead opting to do my own math, but it seems to be correct. It does not account for the fact that your circle will gain about another inch/2.5 cm to the radius (and thus correspondingly more to the circumference) after making the waist band. So if you are on the fence between two measurements, you can fairly safely go down to the slightly smaller one and it should still fit over your hips.

I would remind anyone making this skirt however, that you probably want to sew the elastic into a loop so that it sits high enough. I found that I preferred to sew the elastic to a circumference just smaller than my natural waist, otherwise the elastic would stretch slightly during wear and sit just on the top of my hips.

Over all verdict, fairly simple but really cute. I think I will end up making other variations of this skirt in different materials and lengths.