[knitting] Genevieve Pullover – sort of

Hey I’m back! I told you I would try to make an effort and come back more regularly, so here I am! However I haven’t set any rules about the order of posts, so there will be knitting, crochet, sewing, embroidery, etc, in no specific order and when it suits me, because, after all, this is my little space 😉

seed stitch raglan sleeve jumper

So here is the raglan seed stitch I was talking about and which has taken up all my knitting time in the last few months! The inspiration came from one of my colleagues, Anne-Lise, she had the most beautiful jumper in a mustard colour and I had to have it. So I took advantage of needle show in Paris (l’Aiguille en Fête) in February and bought 8 balls of Drops Alpaca. The colour isn’t exactly what I had in mind, I wanted more of a mustard but this one is probably a little more bright and cheerful.

seed stitch raglan sleeve jumper

So I had the yarn, but what about the pattern? A simple raglan jumper isn’t very hard to conceive once you know the height of the armhole (20-21 cm for me) and the circumference at the neckline. Add a gauge swatch, some multiplications and voilà! You have a pattern 🙂 To help me with the neckline, I used the dimensions from the Genevieve Pullover by Cecily Glowik McDonald. I’ve bought this pattern eons ago, but still haven’t knitted it.

The body is knit with 3.5 mm needles and the ribbing in 3.25 mm, except for the left sleeve because I forgot to change my needles, as happens very often. Is it just me??

I hadn’t originally planned to do anything with the neckline but I realized after a couple of cm that it would stretch too much if I left it as it was. I then proceeded to pick up some stitches and knit a few rows of 2/2 ribbing. I still have to add a little something to be able to distinguish between front and back because there is absolutely no difference since I didn’t knit short rows at the back. I might add a handmade label 😉

seed stitch raglan sleeve jumper

seed stitch raglan sleeve jumper

Result: I love this jumper! And the good thing with knitting a well-known yarn is that I know it will last very long! I still have a jumper made from this yarn that was knitted in 2008 and it’s as nice as new 🙂
The yellow/orange colour is very bright, the sleeves are the perfect length – but I should have done something for the swayback. Most of all, I love seed stitch, even if it takes ages to knit!

Do you like seed stitch?

Recap

Pattern: my own, with the neckline from the Genevieve Pullover by Cecily Glowik McDonald /// Yarn: Drops Alpaca, colour 2923 /// Needles: 3.5 mm for the body and 3.25 mm for the ribbing

[knitting] a little update

oh dear, this section of my poor blog is completely abandoned! and let’s not talk about my Ravelry project page 🙁

A few years ago, I used to compile lots of information on both this blog and my Ravelry page and it was very useful for me: I knew which size of needles I used for which yarn, etc. And I miss having this info, so I’m trying now to give myself a little kick in the backside and come here more often. I’m going to set myself a challenge: I will try to come here a least every two days once the little one is in bed. I have no excuse not to spend some 20 minutes on my blog!

Let’s say I do this until the end of the year (December I mean). I don’t know if it will work, but at least I’m going to try. Everybody says blogging is dead. I don’t know if it’s true, but if that’s the case then it’s sad because I’ve learned so much from blogs!

Anyway, let’s keep it short and get to the heart of the subject: a little update on my knitting.

I’v recently finished knitting my raglan seed stitch jumper and I will not talk anymore about it since I think it needs a proper post with photos.

I’m back on my Miriam Cardi (by Carrie Bostick Hoge). I knitted it last year but due to its 3/4 length sleeve, it never really fitted in my wardrobe. So I’m lengthening the sleeves to have full length ones.

I still have the Polwarth jumper by Ysolda that is close to completion and staying in the basket of shame. I don’t have enough yarn (despite having the correct amount per the pattern) and since it as uniquely hand dyed, I have to think of a way to finish the jumper anyway!

After that, I’d like to knit another Folded by Veera Välimaki. I really love the first one I knitted in 2011 and I really need another one. I’ll be using yarn by the same brand – Holst Garn – but in Coast and in deep blue. I initially planned to use this yarn on the Moroccan Nights, but after two failed attempts, I think it needs to be used somewhere else.

So for now I’m knitting on the Miriam Cardi, it’s pretty mindless as I’m going round and round on the sleeves!

I’ll leave you for now and I’m planning to be back soon! and if I’m not back in the next couple of days, you can yell at me :p

 

[sewing] Pepernoot Coat – Waffle Patterns

After the semi-success of the coat I sewed last year, I wanted a new and warmer coat. I’ve had my eye on the Pepernoot Coat nearly since it was published, quite some time ago. I love the pockets!

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Materials

The Pepernoot Coat sewing pattern is avalaible in pdf and in English (also in Japanese if you have such skills) and it cost me 12.30 €. The size range goes frome EU 34 to 48. It includes the pattern for the lining – a nice touch, because it means you don’t have to worry about your patternmaking skills.

The outer fabric comes from Tissus Price; it’s not what I had in mind at the beginning. I initially wanted to make this coat in a blue-grey or turquoise wool fabric I saw last year on Bennytex’s website, but unfortunately – and not surprisingly – it was discontinued and there wasn’t much choice in store for wool or coat fabric when I started looking for it at the end of September. It made me wonder whether I was the only one planning to actually finish my coat before the cold days arrived! Anyway, I found this nice and warm polyester and viscose fabric. It’s thick and seems to be of a nice quality: it hasn’t pilled yet and I’ve been wearing it daily for 3 months now.

 

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I actually bought the quilted lining in a brick-and-mortar shop during my last working trip to Paris (Le Gentleman des Tissus). It’s my first time sewing such fabric and I really enjoy it: it’s soft and warm and gives a professional look to the inside of the coat.

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Nothing special for the thread, I just used it doubled for the topstitching as I was too lazy to order specific thread.

Modifications done after the muslin

Thanks to the muslin, I discovered that the sleeves were on the long side and more importantly they were super wide. I removed 4 cm in total. According to the measurements table, for my muslin I cut a 44 for the top part to the waist and graded to a 46 for the hips. Unnecessary! As you can see from the photos, a straight 44 for the whole pattern is largely enough. I could have gone down another size, but keeping it a little too big is great for layering underneath. And since the shoulders fit well, I think the coat doesn’t look too big.

pepernoot-coat

 

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I followed Mari’s advice and put snaps to help close the coat. However I rarely use them because the front band stays nicely in place. Oh well, these snaps give a nice finished touch.

The good part

The drawings in the pattern are beautiful and very detailed; the instructions are super clear: it’s been a long time since I’ve had such a pleasant sewing experience. Before I started sewing, I contacted the designer about using a quilted lining and she gave me a quick and nice answer.

Another plus: it wasn’t in the pattern pieces but I remembered to make a hanging loop 🙂

 

pepernoot-coat

What could be improved

The raw edges of the opening of the pockets aren’t finished in the inside and they fray; it means I sometimes have threads hanging from the pocket opening, not great. It’s really a pity because apart from that, there’s nothing wrong to say about this pattern. You could argue that I’m not exactly a newbie and I could have anticipated this and you’d be right!

To sum up

This was my first time sewing from a Waffle Pattern (I’m very tempted by the Caramel jacket/cape) and it was an enjoyable experience: I recommend this designer’s work! What about you? Have you tried any of her patterns?

[knitting] Chevron Socks

I’m back with a pair of socks, knitted rather quickly, considering my current productivity, because these were part of a test knit. Yes, what was I thinking about, I already had lots of wips and the deadline was pretty close but when I saw the call for testers, I just couldn’t resist 🙂 It’s probably because the designer of these socks is a very skilled knitter and she has good taste! Go and check her Ravelry page or her blog, you’ll see what I mean. Apart from the chevron pattern, made of knits and purls, what drew me to this pattern are the slipped stitches used at the back of the heel but also on each side. It’s very useful for these who tend to have holes on the malleola (you know, the two bony bumps of the tibia and fibula, where it’s very painful when you bang into something). The same reinforcement system is used under the metatarso-phalangeal joint (sorry, my job is popping up) to prevent holes under the foot.

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I don’t usually need so many reinforcements in my socks – just the one at the back of the heel – because I only wear my socks at home: my feet are very large and it’s already a pain to find the right size of shoes, I can’t afford to add layers or thickness to my feet 🙂 That being said, slipped stitches are not useful only for reinforcement, they’re also very efficient in the fitting, the sock stays in place really well thanks to the slipped stitches section.

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I like participating in test knitting as it’s a nice way to discover new designers and with uncia, you won’t be disappointed: the pattern is very clear, well written and I didn’t encounter any problem. During the test knitting itself, other testers commented on the pattern and helped with minor errors or unclear sentences to make sur every knitter has a very accurate pattern. The discussion with the designer was simple and quick, despite the difference in time zones because she is India!

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For this test, I treated myself to a skein of Malabrigo Sock yarn in Ravelry Red (always tricky to photograph). As I didn’t have much time, I directly went to a yarn shop – very unusual for me – and it was a great opportunity to visit a yarn shop which opened last year. She sells Malabrigo and Drops yarn among other brands : Mère Cerise. This nice shop is located in Lambersart (close to Lille) and the address is 364 avenue de Dunkerque. If you live nearby and you haven’t had the chance to visit, go and have a look, the shop owner is very friendly.

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Nothing special occurred during the knitting, apart from the fact that I had a had time remembering the chevron pattern. If I knit these socks again, I’ll move the slipped stitches part of the under foot away from the toes, since it’s not exactly under the joint.

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If someday you’re interested in participating in a test knit, there is a very active Ravelry group, listing numerous ongoing tests you can sign up for. The group is well organised and curated and before you commit to the test knit, you can have plenty of information on the type of project, the difficulty and of course the deadline.

[sewing] Bra #4

No need to look in the archive, I’ve never really shown you any of the previous version, and some of them have been thrown away! The first one came from Merckwaerdigh: I had bought a complete bra kit with all the fabrics and notions and it included a pattern. It was great for a first try because it involved some hand holding. In the end, the bra ended up not being wearable mainly because of the fabric that was too stretchy; I didn’t have the support I wanted. I recently checked the website to purchase another bra but I didn’t like the colours on offer.

 

The second kit came from BWear; it was a Craftsy bra kit containing all the elements needed to make a bra and a Classic Full Band Bra pattern by Beverley Johnson. It was a great experience to be able to feel the fabrics recommended for the pattern and shown in the Craftsy class. I don’t know about you but none of the fabrics shops around me carry Simplex, Duoplex and Powernet fabrics. The bra I made looked very good but was not wearable without some tweaking: the underwire was too long and so was digging in my underarm. Apart from that major issue, I didn’t like the pointy cup (or perky as B. Johnson says) but she shoes in the first Craftsy class how to round the cup.

The third try used the Watson bra pattern by Amy from Cloth Habit. It’s not a style I usually wear because of the lack of support for me. However, I didn’t use the right fabrics for this try so I could be wronged 🙂

And finally here is the latest experiment: the pattern comes from the Bare Essentials: Bra with no modification whatsoever. I used underwires from a dying bra that fitted me very well so I knew for sure the underwires would be the right size for me. I also unpicked the hooks and eyes and the rings and sliders (all the little things you can gather from an old bra).

 

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I’m very happy with it! It’s not perfect but it is fitting perfectly in some crucial areas such as the band, the bridge at the front (resting nicely against my rib cage). The straps are in the right position too.

 

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It was the first time for me using a stretchy channeling; it felt weird to start with but in the end the stretch factor was useful so I think I’ll buy this type of channeling again.

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I lined the bra because the outer fabric was too stretchy and I wanted support at least for the lower cup. The lining fabric is Simplex, a fabric not very stretchy but with nice support. The strap and bande elastic and the channeling and fabric come from The Sewing Chestbra1_07

Chosing the right fabric is very important for a bra, you can’t use exactly what you want, it has to bee stretchy enough in some areas and not too stretchy in others, which can be a little confusing for a beginner. For the back band, I used two layers of light powernet and it gives me support and comfort which is exactly what I’m looking for in a bra.

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The all over white colour is a bit bland but I plan to give some colours to my bras in the future!bra1_04

Pamela doesn’t have the same cup size as me so she needed a little padding. As I mentioned, the fabric used for the public side of the cups and the front band is a very stretchy, very fine and slippery fabric and I absolutely did not enjoy working with it. Since the stretch is different between the public side fabric and the lining, there are wrinkles everywhere on the outside fabric. I still have some of this fabric so I’ll use it for bottom underwear instead of bras.

Even if Pamela is padded here, you can see that the cups are a little too pointy for me.

bra1_01

Things that need to be changed for the next version:

  • making the upper cup a little larger, a wedge of 1/4” or 6 mm might be enough
  • rounding the apex

If you want to have a look at the fit on me, you can check my Instagram feed.

If you want to try bra-making, there are lots of information on Amy’s and Lauren’s websites, do check them!

See you soon for the next version!

[exhibition] Fashion Forward Exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs

edit: the exhibition is unfortunately closed, but you can find the book here.

At the beginning of the month of May, I took the opportunity of a week of training in Paris to visit a fashion exhibition. It was “Fashion Forward : 3 siècles de mode (1715-2016)” au Musée des Arts Décoratifs. It was stunning! The exhibition displayed more than 300 wardrobe pieces for women, men and children.

It’s always slitghtly moving to be able to look at dresses and shoes more the three centuries old, especially since they are very fragile. I’m not too keen on 18th century dress, I much more prefer texture differences on dresses from the second half of the 19th century.

The scenography of the end of the exhibition was really impressive and allowed visitors to take a peek at the back (and lower part) of the clothes. I’ll let you have a look at the photos!

 

 

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[knitting] WIP Wednesday #10

Today’s WIP is feeling absolutely wrong considering the temperatures outside! We’re having a heatwave in France this week and I’m not really sure I enjoy knitting a wooly jumper right now. Anyway I’d like it to be finished so I can start something else, like this beautiful Polwarth jumper by Ysolda Teague. I just don’t know which yarn I’m going to use, have you any idea, since the recommended yarn is out of stock?

Patons cabled knit cardigan

Patons cabled knit cardigan

This free pattern is Patons Cabled Knit Cardigan and I’m using the Universal Yarn’s Renew Wool, leftover from the (unblogged) Narragansett sweater I coincidentally just frogged 🙂 I’m knitting it in the 6-months size with 4 mm needles, instead of the 4.5 mm called for by the pattern. It’s intended for my nephew Alexei.

[sewing] Ottobre 1/2013 #13, school blouse

My little baby is growing! I’m nearly more excited than her at the prospect of her going to school! I’ve always loved school and I hope it will be the same for her 🙂

Along with all the papers and forms we had to sign was a list of things to bring for the coming year. Since the kids are only 3 years old, it’s still a lot of “baby stuff”: handkerchiefs, wipes, etc. She won’t be allowed to have a pacifier at school so she might find it a little difficult to nap without it. In this list, the staff was also asking for a kind of apron made of fabric. I had a never heard of it, when I was a kid I never had to wear this kind of protective blouse. I really wanted to sew this one for my daughter, especially since I haven’t sewn much for her recently.

I didn’t really know what the requirements were for this blouse, so I had a little look around on the internet. Here is what I came up with: it needs to be rather large and long (non restrictive), have elasticated cuffs and if possible should close at the back with snaps so that the teacher doesn’t spend the whole afternoon closing the kids’ blouses. The next step was to browse through my Ottobre magazines (I’ve had three years of subscription) and find something appropriate. I think pattern number 13 of 2013/1 ticks all the boxes! It looked like not many modifications were necessary: I simply had to lengthen the sleeves and use the heart-shaped pocket from the next pattern.

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All the fabric used comes exclusively from the stash and I’m very proud about this. The grey fabric was originally used for a skirt but is so stiff the skirt didn’t hang very well. The print cotton comes from Catherine’s stash and has already been used for a hat and a rabbit skirt last year.

tablier_1

These little pockets were quite annoying to sew, I’m not sure I’ll make them next time! But I think they give a nice touch of colour on this grey ensemble. The KAM snaps also come from my stash and I’ll need to buy some more very soon.

 

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Since the picture was taken, I have put the snaps on 🙂

In the magazine, the blouse is in gingham fabric, which is why – I think – the top bodice pieces are on the bias. If not for this reason, I don’t really see why the pattern makers would have done this.

I really enjoyed chosing the pattern and the fabric for this project, as well as sewing it. My little one really likes it too so I hope the teacher finds it convenient 🙂

I wish you all a nice back-to-school period!

Sophie

 

[sewing] Sewaholic Gabriola Skirt

We’ve seen maxi skirts make a great come back these last few years and of course I couldn’t resist after seeing all the beauties over the internet. There are more and more patterns being released and it gets easier to find exactly what you’re looking for. I knew I didn’t want a knit skirt so I had to chose between two candidates: the Gabriola by Sewaholic Patterns or the Fumeterre by Deer and Doe. Looking at the techical drawings, I found the first one to be more interesting and with a more flattering overall silhouette.

Sewaholic Patterns – Gabriola

Dee and Doe – Fumeterre

The skirt panels of the Gabriola flare out a little, which means the swoosh factor will be better than a simple elongated A-line skirt.

Gabriola

I found the fabric when we went to Bennytex with my friend Catherine. It is a stretch cotton, maybe a gabardine and I chose the matte side of the fabric, which I think was originally the wrong side. I hesitated between this solid colour and a print fabric but really wasn’t sure it wouldn’t be too much for me. The length of the skirt is already a statement in itself, so I thought I’d stay on the safe side.

 

As to the construction, there’s nothing very complex, especially since it doesn’t have pockets : a few panels, the yokes pieces, a zipper and the waistband. I’m not happy with what I did with the waistband – I should work on these, since I’m not really good at waistbands.

I still haven’t worn it a whole day, mostly because my tops don’t really go well with it. Since it’s a high waisted skirt, I would need a top that is fitted at the waist and not too long. Typically the kind of top I’ve stopped wearing after my pregnancy. I am going to think about it, I thought it could look good with a plain white t-shirt. What do you think?

Recap

Pattern :  Gabriola Skirt – Sewaholic Patterns / Fabric : stretch cotton, gabardine (?) from Bennytex / Size : 14-16 / Modifications : length shortened, waist cinched

  • What I liked most:

The overall line, the pattern pieces, the instructions.

  • What I liked less

The absence of pockets, the straight waistband, the difficulty in fitting the skirt.

I would add that I’m not used to wearing this kind of skirt, so I have to be very careful in the stairs, either when going up or going down,  but it’s inherent to this kind of skirt.

 

[podcast] episode 2: midnight blue

Welcome back for the 2nd episode of the podcast and thank you to all of you who left comments, I’m touched 🙂