Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sewing for the Ball - Gold Accents

I love the color "gold", and it pairs very well with burgandy. I think it gives a wonderful accent. I found a faux silk dupioni (i.e. rayon) on sale at Joanns that I thought would work well. I bought the last 6 yards of it.

I needed a good chunk of it to act as a psuedo "godet" for the bottom of my ball gown. For added "flare" I did some simple knife pleats at the top and sewed those down before attaching it to the rest of the gown.

The gold also made a nice accented collar.

I even took the time to add some decorative stitching to help "stiffen" the collar up considerably, and add a bit of nice finishing touches.

And, of course, the obligatory kitten photo. Sammy is taking a nap while I work on some sewing.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sewing for the Ball - Interlining and Lining

I've been sewing like a madwoman lately, and haven't had much of a chance to blog. Consequently, many of these next few posts about the ballgown are a bit behind.

One of the things that needed to be added to my costume is interlining. Interlining can provide more "body" to light fabrics or insulation for "thin" fabrics. In my case, I wanted interlining to provide some support structure to the costume without adding too much bulk.

You can get some forms of interlining at big box fabric stores -- usually fusible interlining.  However, fusible interlining can change how fabric feels. It definitely has its uses, but in this instance, it would be the wrong type.

For this purpose, I prefer a woven fabric --- similar to "horsehair" interlining used in men's suits or coutil (used in women's corsets and waist cinchers).  It is sewn to the fashion fabric and treated as one piece.

The interlining is primarily to provide structure to the exterior of the garment. And because there will be an "inset" of fabric, it will also provide some support for that as well.

Here's what it looks like on the mannequin with the interlining. It looks relatively "smooth. The extra "wings" that come out of each armhole will hold onto the sleeves to help support and give it shape, as there is no shoulder seam for this dress.

And here's the lining portion.

And of course, the gratuitous photos of the cats as they sit on exactly what I'm working on instead of the huge expanse of table available to them.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sewing for the Ball - Velvet

This past weekend, I finally got sewing on my ballgown for the Goblin Ball. I was originally intending to sew it out of silk dupioni, but after looking at various pricing for yardage, it was a bit more than I wanted to spend. After some consideration, I decided to make it out of some velvet I had in my Stash. It wouldn't have the same "sheen" as silk, but it would still be a rich fabric good enough for a fairy ball.

The velvet is a deep dark burgandy, and is absolutely beautiful. The front and back are cut from a single piece of fabric that is about 5 yards long. Because the pattern pieces are so long, it requires a bit of planning.
My dining room table sits about 8 people and wasn't quite long enough for all of the fabric, so it required some finagling. I didn't quite fancy laying out all of the fabric on the floor and crawling around to pin and cut.

(It also required that wait until the kittens were otherwise napping to avoid any "help" - can you imagine velvet and kitten fur???)

After all of the pieces were cut, I used the serger to overlock all of the edges to make them nice and neat, as velvet tends to really fray at the edges. I love my serger, but if you don't have one then you can use pinking shears or an overlock stitch or zig zag stitch on your sewing machine to help keep your velvet fraying to a minimum. (If you've never worked with velvet before, check out this website for some tips and tricks.)

The kittens eventually did wake up and came over to help supervise. I gave them my mockup to use as a temporary bed while I pinned and sewed together the shell for the body.

More to come later....

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Katwise Gloves

I have been extremely busy with a bunch of different things (including a new job), so I haven't had much time knitting-wise. However, I did finish a set of gloves that were inspired by an amazing artist, Katwise, who creates a variety of upcycled sweater items (like other sweater coats and arm warmers).

I've admired her creative work for a while now. The following image is one of her gloves that she sold on Etsy.
©Katwise  -- Upcycled Armwarmers

So, I decided to maybe create my own version of her gloves using a three of my handspun yarns that were approximately in the same tonal ranges:

From left-to-right/top to bottom:
  • Silk Cashmerino - from Frabjous Fibers
  • Merino Silk - from Chasing Rainbows
  • Merino - I think this is also from Frabjous Fibers, but I got it at a Yarn/Fiber swap so I'm unsure of its fiber content.


I mimicked the serger effects by using Cascade Venezia Sport (in turquoise) as a "break" inbetween each color and making a few rounds of reverse stockinette before using a different yarn.

The pattern is my own, taking measurements of my arm along the forearm, mid forearm, and wrist so that I could decrease appropriately. I used a variety of textures to make each section slightly different: stockinette, 1x1 ribbing, slip stitch, moss stitch, linen stitch etc.

I didn't care where the colors fell as I wanted something a fairly organic in look.

I think I succeeded. Hopefully, I will get to wear these at ConVolution 2013 as part of "fairy" outfit.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Cleaning up my Ravelry Project page

As part of my "clean-up" of UFOs, I also turned to my Ravelry project page, which is just a mess with a variety of crafty projects that have been completed, but never photographed.

I'm such a lazy photographer. LOL. I really didn't want to take out my photography equipment, so instead I took my phone camera, some blank wall space, and started snapping a few images, JUST to get the page cleaned up and DONE!

So, here are some of the old Ravelry projects that needed finishing with just the photos.

1) A beaded scarf that I knit on the knitting machine back in 2011.

2) A knitted hat out of handspun completed back in 2011

3) A vest made out of handspun, also from 2011

4) I finished this cowl shortly after my time at SpinU, out of some of the handspun I made during SpinU. In addition to the photo, I also forgot to add it to my project page.

5) And one of the final projects was a woven handstooth scarf made out of a combination of handspun (remainders from the vest above) and some Cascade Venezia that I wove this year. 2013

I have a few more that I need to backfill, but some were gifts given to others, and I don't have photos, so I will just have to suffer the incompleteness of those projects.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Finishing UFOs

As I noted before, I'm working on finishing up some works-in-progress (WIP) projects, which makes me less antsy about the number of projects I have on the needles. (And I don't feel so guilty about starting new ones!)

This is a relatively simple pattern that eats up any yardage of handspun and shows off a lot of variegated yarn. It's knit in the round so there isn't any need to purl. (I need to write up this simple pattern one day.)


I had started this earlier in the year and then put it aside. I had almost forgotten about it, until I was digging through my knitting basket and found it. I had only a little bit of my handspun left, so I simply knit until all of the yarn was gone.


Here's how it looks up close.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Finishing a Knitting Backlog of WIPs

As I was cleaning out my large knitting basket, I discovered that I had a few too many projects on the needles. I tend to get a bit antsy at how many works-in-progress I have at any given point. Normally, I don't like having TOO many project on the needles, and now I currently had seven WIPs, whereas my comfort limit is about five.

I took a look at few WIPs and some were nearly complete, like a Scott Pilgrim hat. I had actually gotten really tired of knitting it; it was comprised of a series of welts. BUT, it was half-way done to being complete. I didn't want to frog it, but I also dreaded the idea of knitting all of those welts to actually finish the hat.

It's knit out of leftover Cascade Eco+  as well as some Lionbrand Homespun that I had been gifted. I discovered that the Homespun was much too slippery even on my wooden needles and I really disliked knitting with it. (Hence why it languished.)

However, I discovered that when I put it on, it was perfect for a slouchy hat. I just needed to start the decreases, so I did! Within two welts and some aggressive (and imperfect decreases), I was basically done. And the hat is surprisingly soft.


I'm going to try and get some headway into my current WIPs and see if I can't get it down to a more manageable size before I cast on something new.