Wednesday, 21 May 2014

S.O.S. Someone send me a lifeline!

Do you allow UFOs into your life??

Don't worry, this is not some extra-terrestrial, sci-fi loving post. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

No, I'm talking Unfinished Objects of the project kind.

This sweater is fast making me want to throw it into a UFO pile.

Recently I encountered this problem in the process of knitting the front/back of my sweater.

The mother of all holes smack bang centre front.


And yes it took me several more inches of knitting to even discover this monstrosity.

Dropped stitch? Nup, all stitches accounted for.

The most frustrating annoying yarn known to man? Yep, that'd be it. See how you can see the stitch, it's just super fine? That's partly user error and partly the most annoyingly thick-and-thin yarn ever. This is already a lace-weight yarn (even though it often listed as DK, and it's recommended to use DK sized needles) and over the differently dyed lengths of yarn the thickness does vary. Particularly in that light grey yarn where the hole appeared. The grey lengths are particularly fine.

I truly do not know how I missed this, but miss it I did and a solution was needed.

Call in the lifeline!

In knitting, a lifeline is a temporary thread inserted through a row of stitches below an error. It "holds" those stitches so you can remove your needle/s and rip back past the error in order to fix it. This means you don't risk dropping any stitches and totally making a mess of your work. When you rip back to the lifeline row you simply pick all those stiches back up onto your needles and start knitting again.

I used waxed dental floss for my lifeline. Yep, dental floss. It works really well as the floss is finer than the yarn being knitted and has a bit of body - this means it doesn't simply collapse  and go all floppy when holding the stitches, making it much easier to slip your needles back in.

You can see its "body" in the shot above.

It can be a little difficult to pull out after you've reinserted your needles as it can snag or stick to the yarn due to its waxed properties, but it's well worth using and I've had greater success with this than using regular sewing thread or a contrasting coloured yarn.

This sweater is still making me feel like UFO-ing it. It really is.

I purchased this pattern and yarn in a rush of newfound adoration. So pretty... so cropped/high waisted! I don't do high-waisted! I'm long-bodied and a low-slung hipster wearing girl! I'm lengthening the body by 2 inches and its still looking short.

I've had several problems with the lace sections for totally unknown reasons and tinking (un-knitting) this yarn is a bitch. It kind of felts and gets sticky and makes the process thoroughly miserable. This sweater is taking forever!!!

I've only had one UFO in all the years I've been sewing/knitting. I was working on a gorgeous vintage dress from the 1950's, with acres and acres of material (it was one of those awesome swooshy skirted ones) when it all went terribly wrong...

I cut right through the centre front bodice whilst serging some seam allowances. *GASP*. There was just so much fabric to handle! I was rushing along! It was the most heartbreaking moment of my sewing life...

I ran screaming from the room and didn't return for several days. On return I sadly bundled up my half finished dress and shoved it in the back of a cupboard. I can't bear to look at it.

I have no room in my life for more UFOs. Finish this I will.

Do you have a pile of UFOs sitting shame-facedly in a cupboard somewhere or do you finish everything you start?

Sunday, 11 May 2014


Sometime recently I simply ceased to buy any RTW outerwear. Let's make this clear, it wasn't purposeful, it was insidious. It kinda crept up on me. I used to love nothing more than trawling the nearest giant shopping mall. Now I can imagine nothing worse. I never seem to find quite the right thing and between fights for parking and dragging a 4 year old around, it's not my idea of fun - at all.

That's not to say I won't buy RTW again, it's just been a while. I will seriously have to master pants/jeans soon if it's going to last as I live in jeans all winter.

If I was to avoid hitting the nearest shopping centre, I decided it was time to start making some cake. Well, as near to cake as I make. My perception of cake is mix-and-match, plain dyed neutrals, kinda boring but necessary. I don't do cake, not even RTW cake. I like frosting. Not necessarily sequins and feather boa frosting, but bright prints and statement fabrics. Jeans are definitely my default cake base for my frosting in winter.

Remember I was undertaking Colette Pattern's Wardrobe Architect project?? I lasted about 4 weeks into the project, not really doing the homework but reading the pieces and realised I am doing totally fine. EVERYTHING I make I wear. I enjoy all of it and mix and match be damned. And accessories? My printed fabrics are my accessories. It took me a while to recognise that. I don't "do" accessories in the traditional sense (necklaces, bangles, bracelets, earrings, scarves etc). I feel too fussy when I try to incorporate accessories. Weirdly I threw on a necklace and my ubiquitous hair flower today. Weird.

This is the Mandy Boat Tee from Tessuti Fabrics, made up in a gorgeously drapey 60% cotton/40% modal jersey knit.

I love me a free pattern! I already made up the free Fave Top pattern quite sometime ago and am quite the fan. I have worn it to death and you can kinda tell. The fabric was a viscose elastane blend and even after taping the shoulder seams it really did stretch out quite a bit over time, making it look a little tired. It also has a slash/boat neck and it has stretched so much it's turned into a not-so-desirable off-the-shoulder number.

Knowing the potential, for neckline stretch I actually removed 1.5 inches from the centre front and centre back of the pattern, bringing the neckline in a whole 3 inches total and it sits perfectly without showing off the bra strap.

I reinforced the shoulder seams by sewing cotton tape into the seam allowance. I also hemmed it about 1.5 inches shorter and might lengthen it a tad next time.

I had to cut this out flat. The print on this fabric was sooooooooo off grain as to be a bit cray cray. I just couldn't fold and cut the fabric and have any hope of the stripes coming out right. I simply traced off the cut-on-the-fold pattern and taped the front and back halves together and cut them on the un-folded fabric.

I did something even more naughty as well and cut according to the stripes of the print instead of in line with the "grainline" (I'm not even convinced it had one). I really thought it was all going to go to hell, but it seems to hang and drape just fine. We'll see after a few washes.

So it's an okay top. It didn't turn out quite how I expected. The Fave Top is just a bit edgier and more interesting. I get that the Fave Top is voluminous and sometimes gets in the way as a result but this one is simply a bit "blah". Hence to me it is very cakey.

It'll get worn though as we all need our own versions of cake in our wardrobes. And I can always make things more interesting by wearing it with my locally designed and made locket.

Happy Mother's Day to all you awesome Mums! Hope you are having as lovely a day as I am!