Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Head in the Clouds: Aqueduct Hat is Complete

I've completed my latest hat after ripping it back because I discovered it was more worthy of a baby's head than an adult. That return trip was, honestly, worth it. I think this could be my best chapeau yet! The yarn is Classic Silk, left over from the High Society Hat. Naturally, I had to buy another skein just to finish this piece of art. I stuck to the pattern save for a purl/knit/purl part that I didn't I just I filled in those three of four lines of stitching with regular stockinette. I used millinery wire from Vogue Fabrics; it was thinner than the 1950s variety that I had gotten used to (I had a supply from a woman's estate). I doubled it up per Annie Modesitt's instructions in her book Knitting Millinery. I tacked it in using sewing thread (I should really try to match it to the yarn because I can still odd bits peeking out where I secured the wire to the hat). The hat feels a bit more snug than my previous works of art. At least I can be certain that it won't fly away in the wind!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Stuck in the Knitting Quagmire

It's been one of those rebellious weekends where I didn't want to sew because it was sunny and why stitch in the ditch when I could be outside basking in the sunshine knitting in the trenches? Of course, any knitting usually calls for some regressive work so all progress made in two days gets undone in a matter of hours...until you have nothing to show for your 48 hours off. Oh well, which is a long way to say that my Aqueduct hat is not nearly complete...although it was FOUR stitches from being done when I tried on the thing and found that it looked like a child's bonnet, which is not the look that I'm after. I compared my work to the picture in the Knitting Millinery book and they didn't resemble twins separated at birth. So it was off to the LYS for major frogging, and then yesterday I found I was off by one stitch, so I did some ripping on my own, and now I'm Officially Stuck because I dropped one of my markers and I'm not sure it's in the right spot and wouldn't you know the LYS is closed today and I likely will not be able to go there until Wednesday earliest, maybe Thursday to further work on the Little Hat That Could? I'm tired of it already which you know in the World of Sewing I would be more than done with whatever I was making and I would have worn it three times already. Really. I need to ignore the the weather and make some face time with the Viking Husqvarna just so I can feel like I'm finishing garments faster than a snail stuck in mud's pace.
So instead of getting a picture of my completed chapeau, you get a scan of Eugenia Kim's 2004 playing cards. Aren't they cool? You'll probably see more of these as other knitting projects get stalled like semis on the highway.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Making Progress on the Aquaduct Hat...

No sewing has occurred in this household in the past 14 days. None. Zilch. But some knitting and a whole lot of ripping has happened in the quest to use up the yarn leftover from High Society Hat no. 1. I'm making the Aquaduct Hat (seen above) from Annie Modesitt's Knitting Millinery. This has been a fantastic journey! I've learned a new stitch: the double V, which is basically slip two stitch knit-wise, knit 1, and then slip back those two slipped over the one just knitted, if that makes any sense. Anyhow, I've made steady progress, and I hope to finish this project this week. It's entirely possible since I'm making a goal of it, really. It could be something wearable in time for the book signing for "It Itches" (not my book, unfortunately, it's Franklin Habit's) or even my next hair appointment. I'm already plotting knitting project no. 4, but I really need to find something not quite so expensive as this Panda Dk yarn for the Gone with the Wind hat in "Romantic Hand Knits," but it's very difficult (in a keep my hands out of the cookie jar sort of way) to look anything not quite as pretty. Could you?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Simplicity 4878 Meets High Society Hat

I hadn't really set out to make a retro-style top, but when I paired it with this pencil skirt (which still doesn't fit me properly even though I've lost eight pounds), tucked it in, added my thrift-store Newport News spectator shoes, and plopped on my salmon-colored High Society Hat, well, I felt a little like a lost extra for the 1930s-era movie, "Public Enemies", which was filmed here in Chicago a few months ago.

Here are some notes on the top, made from Simplicity 4878. I really need to thank my friend Jennifer, who gave me the pattern because it didn't suit her.

I have to say I adore nearly all Simplicity patterns because they tend to fit my small shoulders nearly straight out of the envelope.

First off, I used a beautiful galloon-edged panel of fuschia stretch lace that I got from the Vogue Fabrics remnant section. It measure 1 5/8 yards long, 50 inches wide, making it a bit of a challenge to work with since I really wanted to use the selvages for my hems.

I was able to lengthen the torso by two inches, and then I placed the bodice back and front pieces with the hems on the selvage. I'm aware that the hem is a little curved on the bottom of these pieces, so it's not an entirely an accurate placement, but so what! I wanted ruffly edge at the bottom! I get whatever I want when I sew, ok?

I also wanted the ruffle at the collar. Instead of cutting this piece on the fold as directed, I cut one piece with the selvage at the fold.

Let's see what else? Oh I also had my heart set on ruffles at the sleeve hems. I actually cut the selvages and sewed them onto the circular sleeve parts. See how pretty it is! I didn't have enough for one sleeve, and had to piece together two odd sections. It's no very noticeable. I'm going to save all my selvages from now on, and I'd suggest you do likewise. You can do so much with them! I'll write another post sometime on all the uses for these gorgeous leftovers.

I also lined the top with the same $1.29 a yard pink mesh that I used for other recent experiments, such as this top. I think that worked out well.

My final assessment? I love this pattern. The raglan sleeve cut is perfect, and very comfortable with enough ease. I highly recommend Simplicity 4878. I made view D, but I'm eager to try E and F sometime soon. I love how I can team this top with a pair of jeans or a skirt. The 3-d lace pattern almost looks like a complex knit pattern from a far. The collar is a bit fiddly, but I can live with it if I don't fuss with it too much in the mirror.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thursday's Thought on Accessories*

From a book on eBay: " A dress or a suit in itself is nothing. It is the wearer's individual taste in the choice of the proper hat, jewels, shoes and other accessories that determines the smartness of the complete costume."

Do you agree? A dress worn with flip-flops certainly makes a different statement than one worn with stilettos.

This is from Marc Jacobs' latest collection...Some are talking about the obi belt, but I'm loving the boater.

In other news: Timtex (the most excellent stuff for hat brims) is back, YarnCon is around the corner, Loopy Yarns is having a party tomorrow night, and I'm reasonably happy even though I've yet to find more of Gedifra Wellness 2115, lot 9100. There's an absolutely excellent compilation of 1930s and 40s British knitting/crochet patterns on Ebay: click here. (I have this book and it's excellent.)

* By the way, the hat above actually looks like one of Vogue Patterns' current selection, but I think it's out of print.