Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Last projects before packing

Packing? Yes, we're moving to a new town and new apartment about 2 hours north of here. So I have to stop the sewing and weaving for a bit until we get re-settled. At least knitting is portable!

I finished the orange-y scarf.

I also finished the Burda cardigan - #117 from the 8/2011 issue of Burda Style:

Here's my review:
Pattern Description: Loose fitting cardigan with raglan, two-piece sleeves and a softly flowing, "waterfall" type front.
Pattern Sizing: 36-44. I made the 44, which is according to my bust size. Normally in knit tops I make a 42, but I wanted to ensure this would fit comfortably over another garment without being snug. The resulting fit was a big large, which is fine over long sleeve tops in winter, but for summer wear I'd go down a size.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, I think it did.
Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were very easy - and for the first time I realized that Burda numbers the seams on the pattern pieces in order of their construction. How did I never notice that before? I used a 4-thread overlock for all the seams and a coverstitch for all hems. The instructions call for using a folded over piece of cross-wise cut fabric as a facing on the back neck, which I omitted and instead I turned under the seam allowance and used my coverstitch. I also used the coverstitch for the front edge hems, instead of doing the twin-needle hem in the instructions.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I wanted to replicate a RTW sweater and this was the closest pattern that I already had in my stash. The main difference is that this has raglan sleeves. The sleeves are two piece, which results in an underarm seam and another seam opposite it, running along the top of your arm down to your wrist. In my knit this extra seam just makes me annoyed because when I put on the cardigan I have to adjust the shoulders to line up this seam correctly.
Fabric Used: A lightweight, stretchy polyester/viscose/lycra (63%/34%/3%), purchased locally in Germany. My fabric has a pronounced knit texture on the right side and thus has wrong side but the variegated look of the fabric makes it less pronounced, I think (and hope).
  Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I omitted the back neck facing during construction and shortened the sleeves by 1 1/2 inches.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I may sew it again and would recommend it.
Conclusion: My fabric choice wasn't ideal for this pattern since it has a wrong side, and the coverstitch makes the wrong side look different than the right side, but I think both of those fouls don't hugely detract from the look. As far as fit (sorry there's no photo of me wearing it - maybe I'll add one later), the raglan sleeves are quite comfortable but I'm distracted by the three seams that result at the shoulder. When I first put the cardigan on I find I have to tug at it to get the seams in the right place. However, if the cardigan were made in a lightweight wool, I could see how the two-piece sleeve would add shaping.
I'll leave you with some pictures of the space in our new apartment that I'll be using for my sewing area:
It's not a huge area but I'll make it work. My sewing machine cabinet has wheels so although it will have to be positioned in front of the shelves to access the outlets, I can move it aside if I need to get to the shelves. The doorway leads to a toilet and sink and some storage space. What it lacks in space it makes up for in light - it will be wonderful after being in a dark bedroom where I had to turn on lights even during the day. But the best feature is that when I turn to the left I see this:


Monday, November 17, 2014

Project roundup

I've been sewing, knitting, and weaving, but not blogging about it, so here's a long post to bring you up to date:

I finished some Husband Socks:

The yarn is a "discount supermarket" yarn. I kid you not, I bought it at the Netto discount supermarket here in Germany. The yarn is a 4-ply, 75% wool, 25% polyester and it's decent stuff. Decent at least for socks anyway. The label just says "Sockenwolle" and that it was manufactured for SILAG Handel AG, which is just a company that supplies consumer goods, so I have no idea really where the yarn comes from.

The pattern is the Garter Rib stitch from Charlene Schurch's book Sensational Knitted Socks. If you've never knit socks but are interested, this is the best book, I think. The book explains the parts of the sock and has instructions for making a sample "first sock." The best part of the book though is that you can make any size sock, in a multitude of patterns, either top down or toe-up, and with 4 or 5 double point needles or 2 circular needles. And if there aren't enough patterns in the book for you, there's a second book, More Sensational Knitted Socks.

For these top-down socks I used the Old Norwegian Cast On, and for the heel I used Eye of Partridge.

I knit a scarf:

It was more about using up the yarn than about wanting this scarf, but I do like the way it turned out and have named it my "Snowball Scarf". I alternated two knitted rows of Schachenmayr SMC Sheila Soft Mini (a fuzzy yarn) with two knitted rows of Schoeller + Stahl Alpha (a smooth yarn). The 50 gram balls of the Alpha had less yardage than the fuzzy one so I just knit until I ran out of the two balls of Alpha. I cast on 25 stitches on size 11 needles and then joined the ends so that I could just loop the scarf around twice around my neck. It was easy, mindless knitting while watching TV, and I used up some stash yarn. Hooray!

I finished a weaving project:



The weaving for this scarf went very quickly, but the twisting of the 316 fringes...not so fast. I have this fringe twister* but it still takes time. The finished length off the loom was 69 inches but after washing in a tub of 40 degree water (per the care label on the yarn) it shrank by 3 inches in length. The yarn is a bit scratchier than I'd prefer but overall I am happy with the way the scarf turned out.

I absolutely love that you can alternate colors in the warp and the weft and make a pattern - hounds tooth in this case. I used my Schacht rigid heddle for this, so it's a plain weave but it has inspired me to warp my Schacht 4-shaft and make one in a twill. The yarn is Lana Grossa, which I purchased in the Müller drug store. Well, not actually a "drug" store since they don't dispense drugs there, but it's like a U.S. drug store without the pharmacy: perfume, makeup, personal products, homeopathic remedies, some organic foods, candy, stationery (pens, pencils, notebooks, etc), toys, household goods...and yarn.

Specifically, the yarn is Lana Grossa Meilenweit. It's 80% wool, 20 % polyester. I used 4 balls (2 of each color) with some leftover

I started another weaving project:

This one is also woven on the rigid heddle - no I did not get the 4-shaft warped...yet. The yarn is Drops 100% Alpaca. My goal for this is a softer scarf (and a colorful one!) but the alpaca may not have been the best choice for a warp yarn. I've had one occasion where one ply got cut by the heddle, and I didn't notice it until the loose ply got backed up behind the heddle, leaving one thin warp yarn. I was able to wrap the loose ply around the other one and carefully continued to weave. Fortunately this won't be a long scarf, but it's a lesson learned about using a soft yarn that doesn't stand up to abrasion in the warp. I kind of knew this already from reading weaving books, but I threw caution the wind on this project. I'm also gambling on having enough yarn left. I only had one ball of each color (orange, brown, and gray) so I purposely designed this plaid to use all three colors evenly between warp and weft. We'll see if my calculations were correct!

I finished sewing a top:

The pattern is New Look 6150, although I used the pattern from the Meine Nähmode magazine, a German magazine that republishes Simplicity and New Look patterns.


The fabric is a rayon knit, purchased locally. I was hoping to make a casual type top but the fabric is thinner and has more drape than I envisioned in my head. I see wearing this top under a suit jacket, though I don't have the occasion to wear suits right now.

The top was fairly easy to sew. I had some difficulty understanding the German instructions for the collar but fortunately Pattern Review came to the rescue. I wasn't the first person to have difficulty...even in English. If you're sewing the same pattern, or one similar, here is a link to a discussion on how to sew the collar.

And finally, I started a new sewing project. I'm making this jacket from the August 2011 Burda Style magazine:

I've gotten as far as tracing the pattern, which you know is not a  small task if you've ever used the Burda magazine patterns.

* I was not compensated in any way to pitch the fringe twister or the online store; however, I do like the items I have bought from them and think they have very good prices.