Friday, January 14, 2011

New Blog: MaryBethMakesHats

Friends, please come follow me at my new blog.  See you there for all things hatty and Appy!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Setting up a new Hat-related Blog

It's been quiet I know...but I'm in the process of setting up a new blog one that has a more professional edge since I've got an app and a book to promote. I'm also writing some new knit hat pattern. For those who are all about couture millinery and wired brims, these are bound to be a treat. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sun Ray Ribbing Sweater from A Stitch in Time....Finally!

Here's a close-up of "A Jumper with Sun-Ray Ribbing" from A Stitch In Time: Knitting & Crochet Patterns of the 20s, 30s & 40s. I used the vintage pattern in this book (page 132)  for this sweater.
I'm swearing a pair of vintage (probably 1950s or 1960s) white gloves. While this pattern is from 1935, it could pass for early- to mid-1960s.
Yes, I'm gesturing at the foliage behind me. I loved doing the ribbing on this sweater, all 34 rows of it. I know it's a bit weird, but what can I say. I'm unusual in many ways.
I'm wearing this sweater with a favorite black poly skirt, which has a low waist. I temporarily pulled it  up to my natural waist for this picture. In the future, I'll wear this sweater with a pair of high-waisted pants (jeans?) or skirt.
The final picture....a tad bit washed out. Thanks to Lynn Coe of Knit1 for taking these photos!
Okay. I'm going to take questions, mostly from the Stitch in Time crowd on Ravelry.  Or at least what I would think they would ask if they could.

1. Wow. You worked with the original 1936 pattern. Wow. Why? 
Well,  I had the 1970s book and while it was tempting, I wasn't about to buy the new, updated edition, although it was tempting. And it still is.  On the other hand, I took it as a challenge to knit directly from an old pattern. While I've crocheted from 1930s and 1940s pattern, I've never knit. It just looked too intimidating! But as an intermediate knitter (!!), I now know enough of the lingo and short hand of patterns to be able to follow it on my own. When I had questions, I just asked fellow knitters in the Stitch in Time group...I have to say having a knit-along made it much to ask questions in the middle of the night. We were all on the same page, so to speak. I have to say the layout of this pattern helped me a lot. It had a lot of white space, which unfortunately, isn't true of the other patterns in my 1970s Stitch in Time. God bless whoever did the typesetting for this pattern. He or she deserves to bypass Purgatory in my opinion.
2. Were there any errata?
There is one in the buttonhole band in the second to last sentence. It shouls read K11 (30 stitches). Overall, the pattern was very good, easy to follow. I would say this would be a great pattern for a novice to do...particularly somebody who's interested in vintage sweater but feels a bit overwhelmed. It helps that the pattern is strictly knits and purls. I highly recommend it.
4. You used vintage yarn too. What are you, a purist?
Not at all. I was ready to use new yarn, but I really wanted to use the Evermatch Sport and Sock yarn...which I actually used to make a pair of footies. My mother gave me a skein from her charity knitting bag (she knits hats and socks for newborns and the poor). When I asked for more...she didn't have any more of the leafy green color I'd been using...but she did have an entire bag of yellow Evermatch yarn! I took it....I think I used about 10 skeins for this sweater...and I swear I have another 22 skeins left. My batch, in terrific condition, is probably from the 1950s or 1960s. It's funny now that I think about it but yellow was popular in the 1930s in the middle of that recession, just as yellow is again trendy during our yucky economy.  I'm thinking though I might tired of yellow. That said, I'm thinking of making matching ribbed skirt to go with the sweater. I have just the 1940s pattern....
5. How did your iPhone help with this pattern?
Gosh, I don't think I've been asked that question before, but it's a good one. But after I lost a print out of the pattern from the book on the bus, I simply sent myself an email with PDF scans of the pattern. I put those emails in a special folder in my email account, and I just referred to that. I tracked what row I was on my Knit Counter Lite version 1.2. What a great app! I could modify it track various parts of the sweater. Since my iPhone is practically part of my body, it was easy to track.
6. Would you make this sweater again?
I might...I like mastering a pattern. I do it often in sewing, so it was only natural to do it in knitting. If I slightly modify it, give a little time in between projects, and use a different's like a whole new pattern.  There's this new fingering weight yarn at Loopy Yarns here in Chicago that I want to try. I can't think of the name, but I know where to find it the store. I'm itching (pun intended) to make this in white wool.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hat Photography Done Right: Angela Jolie in Parade Magazine*

I like this Parade Magazine cover...the brim of the hat jut covers one eye. This is hat photography done right. At least once when I've worn a hat tilted just so...the photographer has told me to tilt it back to he can see my eyes! That was at my brother's wedding. The wide-brimmed hat looks like it's ready to fall off my head. I'm looking at the the picture now because it's on my desk. Even a silhouette artist told me to move my hat so she could see my eyelashes in profile.
What these two artists forget is that covering an eye creates a sense of mystery. Think about any time you've seen a man with a patch covering his eye. Instant intrigue. There's a singer in the John Burnett Orchestra here in Chicago. A big African-American guy, he wears a suit, sometimes a turtleneck sweater and a black patch over one eye. I have this idea he has this most fascinating past because he looks like an extra out of a James Bond movie. Consider too, any time you've seen a woman with a fan in her hand, coquettishly covering her eyes. She's flirting..... That's it, covering an eye, even partially, is flirtatious. It's bold, and definitely calling attention to yourself. In a sense, it's a wink frozen in time. A wink is done in total confidence. When people call me shy, they've never see me wink. And I love to wink, but I only do it when I feel completely poised.
So if you love hats and making them, here's a Burdastyle hat pattern for you. And the model's got it right in the main photo. Check it out here.
*I'm still working on my second Gone with the Wind hat. Great progress! I had to rewire it, but I'm almost done. Pictures to come.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Fourth of July

Got your sun umbrella? Check. Tote 1, 2, 3? Triple check. You're all set for the Fourth of July at the beach, fireworks included. These cute voile prints are on sale $1.99 a yard (!) at Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, Ill. I didn't buy today, but I still might....after the holiday. Over and out!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Slip is Showing:: Violet Beauregard Crochet Skirt from Stitch N' Bitch Crochet: Happy Hooker

The pattern: Violet Beauregard Crochet Skirt from Stitch 'N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker.  While I've labeled this as Violet 2 over at Ravelry, it's technically my third take on this great pattern. Number one fits dreamily, but I don't wear it all that much because I have this ultra-tight zip-up matching slip that's not very comfortable. No. 2, well, I didn't check the gauge until I was done, and it was too small. Much more appropriate for a 10-year-old girl but not a over-grown child like myself. That one I made in a taupe, brown and green colorway. It sits in my cedar closet, unused but not unloved. Back to the pattern: it's very simple. I love how the shell stitch gets larger as you approach the hemline. Now this is a great project to take to the  beach, so if you lose the crochet hook a new one won't set you back too much. Or if water gets on the skirt, no worries. If you worked fast enough, you might even be able to finish the project at the beach. Only drawback; the sunburn. The more engrossed you get in your project, the more likely you are to burn. Anyhow, I think I used the suggested hook and I made the size suitable for 40-inch hips.

The yarn: Berocco Seduce in four colorways. I actually won the yarn in a raffle at Loopy Yarns. It was all color, a dark gray. I started knitting a Berocco pattern, got bored with it. Then I got this idea to swap out the yarns for other colors, which thankfully Vicki, the owner at Loopy allowed me to do. I embarked on the drawstring raglan from Interweave Knits, Summer 2008 (the Margery Winter design, fourth one down on the page). The exact same colorway. Anyway I was working on a set of wood circulars, it was getting frustrating 'cuz the needles weren't slippery enough, so I set it all aside for a long time. Then recently I picked up the whole shebang. I unraveled it and thought! My! I can use it for another Violet skirt! And I so did. I should tell you this yarn is great for crochet, although it seems to lose its luster the more you handle it. I would take special care to wash it in something extra mild.  As finicky and expensive as this yarn is, I plan to use it again. 

As an aside, I should tell you I'm a total sucker for nearly any garment that looks remotely like it was produced by the Missoni family in Italy. The drawstring raglan did, and so does the skirt too. My deep passion for Missoni motifs runs deep and you will find a great supply of zig-zaggy bargello knits in my closet, which I plan to use some day soon.

The Slip: It's a purple one I picked up at a vintage shop in Evanston, Ill. I love it. In another era, I wouldn't have dreamed of letting the lace trim show. But it's the 21st century and we do things like that now, don't we? I was going to make a slip with a square of stretch charmeuse from Vogue Fabrics and lace...but this skirt, ready-made, was a better deal. I've forgotten how much fun it is to wear a slip. I've been wearing this purple one with other outfits now. And I'm so ready to go on a vintage slip hunt at local thrift stores (probably picked over, I know, I'll just head further south and east to get what I need, I will).
The Drawstring: You can't see it here very well, but the drawstring is a purple Baby Phat ribbon. I'll post another pic soon, now that my 3G iPhone has been updated with an even better camera. I could have simply made a drawstring with a flower thing per the pattern, but I really liked the ribbon. So I bought it. Hah!

The Result: I love it. I'd make it again, but three's enough. For now. There are other yarn love affairs to conduct this summer, which you know technically started yesterday and I intend to make last until Nov. 1.