Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Week 5 Project 4 Cuffed shawl

When I finished the scarf I found myself with part of a ball of dark yarn, and part of a ball plus an untouched ball of the red yarn. I decided to try out using a larger hook on the yarn. First I worked a row of double crochet (in red), then for the next row I crocheted * 1 dc in each of next 3 dc. 1 Ch, skip 1 dc Repeat from * across ending with 3dc. I continued in a sort of chessboard filet pattern - the 3 dc at the end of each row, and then replacing the center dc of a 3 dc with a ch and doing a dc in the ch1 space. I love the airy, but warm (fluffy, with 18% mohair) fabric that resulted, and knew that it would make a great cuffed shawl. Of course now I was going to need another ball of the red...

The idea of a cuffed shawl is that you make a long rectangle - long enough to reach from one wrist to the other across your shoulders. Then you join the corners of each short end, making a cuff. When you put your hands through these cuffs, the shawl sits nicely across your shoulders. I love them. This one has the big red rectangle with sc in black along each of the long sides, and the cuffs also in black sc.

When Jerry left this evening to get Steven from scouts I was still crocheting. While he was gone I finished the crocheting, sewed in the ends with my new bone needle from Skinner Sisters . When he got home I was sitting here wearing my new shawl. He was surpirsed, and I am very pleased with myself.

One of the good sides of having to go to the US is that Linn Skinner could finally send me the books I wanted from her, along with a few other goodies. Linn is a good friend and a great teacher; one of my favorite thread people. International shipping just keeps getting more and more troublesome, so I try hard not to do it. This box might have been worth it, though. The bone needle made me feel like Ayla in Jean Auel's books, but besides that, it proved much easier to thread than I expected, and went through the threads like a dream. I love it!

Most of the books somehow fit into a suitcase, but two ended up in my carry on and got read on the plane. If you are interested in historical needlework, her new reprints are just super. I'm trying to figure out how to use the designs in the two I've read in ways that qualify for my challenge. The first design I want to use is credited to a Holbein portrait of Jane Seymour. NOT the Vienna one, but a very similar one, now attributed to his workshop, in The Hague.. Both seem to be based on the same sketch (also survived). The sketch doesn't show needlework around the cuffs. The two paintings do. The Vienna portrait shows a wide blackwork border, the Hague one a much narrower border that is mostly cross stitch. It's this cross stitch border I want to play with.

Week 4 Project 3 Denim Skirt

The second skirt turned out to be a real project, too. First I was going to just use a pattern I had bought. Then I decided to stay with the pattern, BUT first do the hem in scallops, following the embroidery on the denim. Did that, and it took a lot of time, but the results were well worth it.

Then I looked at the pattern, and realized that it was just two rectangles, and would waste some of the lovely material. Besides, my experience is that I need some of the bulk taken out of the waist. Mom and I discussed the matter, and we decided on one slit in back instead of two at the sides. So I sewed up the back, curving in a bit towards the top. I finished off the slit, and decided that there was still much too much bulk, so I figured out where the side seams would come if there were any, and made large darts there on both sides. Now I had enough space to still get in easily, but not a lot of extra.

The rest was easy. Iron in the channel for the tie. Make the tie. (Here I actually followed the pattern,a and made the tie in two pieces with some elastic in between.) Make buttonholes, sew the channel and thread the tie through. Now hem the whole thing by hand. Don't know when I last did that! But the skirt looks really good.

Friday, 12 January 2007

Week 2 Project 2 Bias Skirt

Yesterday I went out to a fabric store. The first skirt is almost done. I found this great linen/cotton blend with ruffles sewed to it all over, and decided to use a pattern for a bias-cut skirt. First, the extra ruffle down the front had to go. That made the extra V under the yoke look a bit wierd, not to mention that it was not going to cut well with the ruffles. So I made a piecework fabric and cut the V out of that. It looks good so far. I need to finish the casing for the waist elastic and the hem. I'll wear it tomorrow.

The second skirt is an embroidered denim. That probably won't count as a project. Unless I get carried away when I'm sewing it.

Thursday, 11 January 2007

Week2 Project 1 Crocheted scarf

I'm in Vermont right now helping my parents. Mom decided to try crocheting again after many years, so we both bought wool and hooks. What we bought is mostly acrylic, but has 18% mohair, so it actually feels nice, and is very fluffy. I liked some of the ideas in the books Mom bought - especially having slits all down the center of a scarf to pull an end through. But I don't like long chains, so how could I work from a short end and still have the slits? Another scarf in the book was split vertically into two colour areas, in spite of being worked from the short end.

Aha! If I worked that way, changing colours half way across each row, I could then decide to just go back and forth one side of a slit, pick up the other side and work up to the same height and go on as before.
Picking up turned out to be very easy - just do a slip stitch to pick up a loop before continuing in pattern. At the rejoin I work the dc to where two loops are on the hook. then I drop the working yarn, pick up the loop from the other side, yarn over with the new colour and through all three loops on hook. The only slightly tricky bit is being sure I start the next stitch in the right place. I want to try this with a less fluffy yarn when I get home. This fluffy stuff really covers any irregularities, and the scarf looks great. I also made one end pointed, so I have a choice between showing a square end or a pointy end.

I'll get a picture up when I get home. I've having a few difficulties with Mom's computer. Glad to be able to do this much here.

Monday, 1 January 2007

Week 1 starts

I've done some needlefelting today - just a few samples, nothing that I can use for anything really - unless I call the larger one a coaster. But it was fun. I wanted to show you, but am having trouble uploading pictures today.

Otherwise I worked on the avodat yad Hebrew alphabet band sampler. Very nice pattern, and I'm having fun playing with the threads. I'm using silks and metallics. Breaking some rules - I'm using Oliver Twist machine threads, and prefer using two strands for some bands, so have to double up a thread that is not meant for it. I quite like the way it moves in and out of a tweady look as well as changing colours. Lovely!

I leave for the US on Thursday. I'm taking my quilting with me. But that doesn't really count either - not until the whole quilt gets finished. But I suspect I can find ways of fulfilling the challenge even while travelling.