Thursday, February 21, 2008

Coat shopping

My trusty old winter coat is falling apart. It desperately needs a new lining. I've been thinking about finding a new, cute coat that I can wear if I spend June and July in Australia. It will be winter there, and although probably not as harsh as it is in the US at the moment, I'll still need a coat. I looked on ebay for vintage coats, and found a few very cute choices.

The coat above, being sold by vintagepixiechick is so dreamy. Not only is it yellow (my favorite), but is also has a great texture (also a favorite), and a great 60s collar (love!) Unfortunately, it would probably be about a size too small for me. If only!

Millstreetvintage has a couple really cute 3/4 length swing coats. The solid blue one above has some great details on the back, and very cool large buttons. The blue plaid one below has a fantastic collar that can be buttoned up in a number of ways. I'm oh-so-tempted, but wonder if these, too, might be a bit on the small size. That's the trouble with being tall--sleeves are invariably too short. Though I'm starting to think that I just need to make long gloves a staple of my winter wardrobe.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Future home projects

I'm currently in the process of pairing down my belongings in preparation for a big move in June, but that certainly doesn't stop me from dreaming about the fabulously decorated home I will have one day when (if?) I settle down. I found these two great images on Flickr a while ago that feature wonderfully made framed embroideries. I wish I could post the photos on my blog, but they don't belong to me--so click on the links above instead. I haven't done any embroidery--just cross-stitch as a child, but I'm very ambitious when it comes to crafts so I can totally see myself trying to make a huge panel like in the first image. Finishing it, well, that's a different matter entirely.

Can anyone recommend some good embroidery books? I've had this oneon my wishlist for a while. It has some adorable 1960s looking designs, but perhaps I would benefit from something a little more comprehensive. I'd also love to see some more gigantic embroideries for inspiration. Please pass them along if you see any!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Demi--finally finished!

Demiis finished! Seamed, ends woven in, buttons attached and everything. Overall, I'm very happy with how this sweater turned out, and I think it looks adorable with the vintage plaid wool skirt I thrifted last year at the Salvation Army. My only disappointment is that the fit is off--it came out rather child-sized, which is probably due to my yarn choice, and lack of careful swatching. It's snugger than I had wanted (I was going for negative ease, but not quite so much) and it's also too short in both the body and sleeves. That being said, I'll wear it anyway. It's such a nice, classic style.

I used some natural-looking green buttons I had purchased for a recent failed sewing project. They actually were quite right in size and color for this sweater. I also learned a couple new knitting techniques that were very useful. As mentioned in a previous post, I bought blocking wires for this sweater. I had never been much of a blocker before, but I finally understand why this step is so vitally important. It noticeably evened out the stitches--especially on the cables, and helped the ribbed sections keep from bunching up. I also used a tubular binding on the neck edge--it's really nice, and not very difficult! It gives you a nice, smooth edge like you would find on many store-bought sweaters. I used the instructions from The Knitter's Handbook,but there are also several tutorials online.

In other news, I'm also having fit issues with Joy,but at least I realized this before I seamed her up. Below is what I knit on the back panel--it's a whopping 13 inches wide. Um, it's supposed to be about 18" I think I'm going to have to rip this out. I did swatch this yarn, but for some reason chose to believe it would be fine anyway. I'm knitting at about 30 stitches per inch, whereas the pattern calls for 26 stitches per inch. This is not ok. I will be moving up to the large or extra large size in order to accommodate this difference.

A note on knitting needles: I bought a huge set of bamboo double point needles a couple years ago, and use them for everything. I just tie a rubber band around the ends so the stitches don't slip off. The set I bought was really cheap (<$15, including shipping) and included 5 needles in each size from 0 to 15. Quite a deal. There are a few people online who sell these needles (also in circular and conventional styles). They aren't as nice as Clover Needles,but they're cheap, and it sure beats running out to buy a new set of needles for every project!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Continuing on the vintage theme

I finished the second sleeve on Demi, and started to block the pieces. I bought a blocking wire kit from knitpicks for this project--but I'm only sort of using the wires. It look a little too much patience to thread them through the stitches, so I just used them here and there. I took some advice from a couple other blogs and blocked the pieces on top of plastic bags over my carpeted floor. This has the advantage of not absorbing moisture (quicker drying time) and you can pin quite easily into carpet, apparently. I like it! The wires, pins, and ruler help to make the dimensions even--though I'm much more instant gratification than perfectionist when it comes to crafts, so I mostly just eyeballed it.

In other news, I started a new project! Joy, from the same book as demi--Vintage Knits. I'm using Palette yarn from knitpicks in a lovely dark blue-purple shade. I won't use beads on this one, as the pattern suggests, but will purl instead to form the chevron pattern. I'm a bit concerned that this yarn is too thin for this pattern, but it's so close that it might work.

I'm still thinking of making that Paul & Joe sweater from recycled yarn, but needed something with a pattern at the moment, so I can work on it while traveling. I just spied a sweater similar to the one I was thinking of designing on Flickr--same color and all!