Queen Anne’s Lace Gloves: Gloves for a Lady of Leisure

Queen Ann's Lace 1

Is it just me or does winter sewing seem to take longer than summer sewing? Maybe it’s all those thick fabrics, linings, and long sleeves. I do have a few things I’ve recently sewn that I want to write about soon, but I don’t seem to have pictures of them yet. In the meantime, my sister had one of her British Movie Parties about a week and a half ago and included manicures as part of the fun (we watched North and South; she had plenty of time to do everyone’s nails). So long as my hands were pampered half-way into being photogenic, it seemed like a good time to get pictures of the Queen Anne’s Lace gloves I finished up a few months ago. Serious knitters, avert your eyes; my blocking leaves something to be desired.

Queen Ann's Lace 3

The pattern is from Seamstress Erin (I’m so glad I’m not the only person in the sewing-blog world who thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to refer to oneself as a “seamstress”)

I chose to use Shibui Knits Cima as my yarn. The colorway I had was called “nude”, and I don’t see it on their site right now. It’s a lovely soft pink color reminiscent of ballet tights. I don’t usually think of soft pink as being a difficult color to photograph, so either it was protesting my photo setup or how I had Romeo behind the camera because it seems to have tried to turn a different color in every picture we took. This yarn has less bulk than what Erin used for her pattern, so my “fabric” is a much looser weave than hers, even though I was able to get the correct gauge.

Queen Ann's Lace 4Obviously, these aren’t serious winter gloves, so the looseness of the fabric doesn’t bother me. Where I’m going to wear them, however, is something of a conundrum. I do like them, but the light color is really impractical. I won’t be planning to wear them in any situation that may involve the use of an ink pen.

I would recommend this pattern to anyone looking to knit a dainty pair of fingerless gloves. I wouldn’t recommend this as a first lace project, since some of the stitches are a little complex. I also wouldn’t recommend this as a first project for the use of double-pointed needles; there are yarn-overs that are set-up to be on the ends of the needles and it is really easy to accidentally drop these. I found the errata the hard way, by realizing my stitch count kept getting off and finally figuring out that it had nothing to do with dropping those end-of-needle yarn-overs. Errata info is up on the Ravelry site (and I think she fixed the pattern if you buy it new).

Queen Ann's Lace 2

Guinevere came to the movie party with me, so she got her nails done too and wanted to show them off in pictures. My gloves are a little big for her, as you can see. She decided she liked watching Richard Armitage better as Guy of Gisborne than she did as Mr. Thornton, and that she prefers Jonas Armstrong as Robin Hood over Richard Armitage in any role.

How about you, any transitional season knitting projects going on? Do you find your finished sewing product production takes a nose-dive in the colder months, even though your time spent sewing increases? Do you want to weigh in on Guinevere’s opinion of Richard Armitage vs. Jonas Armstrong? How about an opinion of Mr. Thornton vs. Mr. Darcy?

Bordeaux Sweater: A Wardrobe Basic

Yes, I know. This outfit looks awfully similar to my last post. The only difference is the sweater, so that’s the part I’m wanting to talk about today. This is the Bordeaux Pullover from Valley Yarns. I knitted it from the yarn it was designed for, Colrain Lace. It’s a merino/Tencel 50/50 blend. It’s warm, but not too warm; soft, but not too fuzzy, and it has just a hint of shine.

3pc set 2.1

The pattern isn’t too difficult, but does have multiple cables at regular intervals, so it isn’t entirely mindless either. I can’t say I’d recommend it for a total beginner, since the directions are overall pretty minimal, but if you’ve made a sweater or two, you should be able to figure this one out. It’s knit top-down and in the round, so there’s no pesky seams to sew together when the knitting is complete.

3pc set 1

You can see the lacy texture of the pattern better in the back without the black Nettie fabric showing through. I admit to a bit of trepidation in making a sweater of lace-weight yarn, but with size 9 needles, it was actually pretty quick to knit up. This was my number-one go-to wardrobe piece through the entire summer. It was perfect to layer over sundresses in the mornings/evenings, and while black is probably the least exciting color to choose to knit with, it made for the perfect neutral. I wore it with this dress, this dress, this dress, and pretty much everything else I put on.

I mentioned in my last post how I thought the Tania culottes worked a little better with long sleeves, so here’s a pic of the whole outfit. The lighting was really weird the day we took these pictures, so my legs look even paler than usual (but still shapely)

3pc set 3

I wore this sweater so much this summer that I’m wondering about making another. Part of it’s appeal, though, is how it well it matches everything because of it’s neutral color. Maybe I’ll make an ivory-colored one.

Tania Culottes/Nettie Bodysuit: I Love My Legs

Nettie and Tania 1.1

Ever since Megan Nielsen released her Tania Culottes pattern, I’ve been curious to make a pair for myself. Like many separates patterns though, I had trouble visualizing what top I would wear with them. When Heather Lou released the Nettie bodysuit, then, it seemed like the perfect match. I planned to put these two together back at the beginning of summer, but it took me until August to get them finished. Then it took another month or so to finally get pictures of them.

Nettie and Tania 3.2

This is a bit of a different look for me. Personally, I love my legs. I’m not trying to be all vain by admitting that; I have plenty of other body hang-ups, but my legs are definitely not one of them. Just because I love my legs, though, doesn’t mean I think I need to have all of them exposed to everyone all the time. I prefer to keep my skirts below the knee. Shorts, however, are another matter. These culottes are something in the middle between skirt and short, so I’m okay with them being above the knee. The volume makes them rather prone to fly-ups, so I wouldn’t wear them in a windstorm. The bodysuit is a little bit of protection, but I’d rather not flash that portion of it if I can help it.

Nettie and Tania 6.1

The Tania pattern doesn’t go up to my size, so I graded up by drawing outside the lines of the largest size, about as much as the distance between the middle/largest sizes. That isn’t a very scientific way to alter a pattern, but it worked well enough for my purposes. I added about 3 inches to the length because I think as-drafted they would be too short for my personal comfort preferences.

I used a rayon challis from my stash for the culottes.The fabric stretched while hanging before hemming, and I did a better job evening it up on one side compared to the other. Only time will tell if this will bother me enough to make me eventually fix it.

Nettie and Tania 2.2

I think my Nettie is overall a little too big. I sized up as Heather Lou recommended, but then I used a 95% cotton, 5% lycra, (Laguna cotton, again) and it has good stretch and good recovery and probably didn’t need to be sized up. I think I’ll go with the originally recommended size for my next one.

Nettie and Tania 4.1

I’m not sure that the proportions of this outfit really work for me in the most traditionally flattering way. Maybe the longer length of the skirt compared to the original pattern as well as the short sleeves on the bodysuit aren’t really working together. I have thrown my favorite summer sweater on with this outfit (I need to post about that sweater) and it seems to work maybe a little better than the short sleeves here. I haven’t tried this outfit with tights yet, though as the weather cools down, I think I’ll need to. Overall I think I like it though. It gives me something different to wear as an alternative to my usual dresses or skirts.

Stash-busting stats: 41/50. 86 yards

A Trio of Lady Skaters

Snake Skater 3

Back at the beginning of summer, I made a couple of Lady Skater dresses for everyday wear. I had suddenly decided I had a significant lack of snake-print in my closet, so I bought this navy blue ITY knit. I added a few inches to the skirt length of the lady skater pattern, just like this other dress I had made last year.

I’m a bit annoyed by my print matching on this one. It isn’t mis-matched enough to look like I wasn’t trying, but certainly doesn’t match at the waist seam.

Snake Skater 6 Snake Skater 5

The side seams match prints nicely though.

Snake Skater 1

The Lady Skater dress is such an easy thing to wear during the summer that I made two.

Lady Skater 3

I gave them side-seam pockets which sometimes will work their way out of place and need to be tucked back in, but which are perfect to hold phone and keys for quick errands during the summer when I’m not wearing a jacket or coat with pockets.

Lady Skater 2

This fabric is out of my stash. I like the ditzy striped floral print of this ITY.

While I was thinking about these dresses, I realized I hadn’t ever blogged about this one from last November (as you can see from the old hair style). It’s also an ITY knit Lady Skater with a lengthed skirt. I wouldn’t necessarily have gone to the trouble to go back and blog it, but just look at the stripe-matching all the way across the sleeves. I have to show it off; not perfect, but so much better than one would usually find if looking for an everyday knit dress.

Stripy Skater 2

They match equally well across the back too.

Stripy Skater 3

It’s mostly matched along the sides too.

Stripy Skater 1

Only one of these counts for stash-busting, but it does count, so I want credit.

Stash-busting stats: 40/50. 84 1/2 yards

Can’t Keep My Opinions To Myself: Part 2

After last week’s post about things that annoy me in sewing blogs, I thought maybe I should go for balance and write about some things that I really like when I see them in sewing blogs.

1) I love when sewing bloggers use their local vernacular. Not necessarily that I go looking for non-English blogs, though between Google translate and pretty pictures, I don’t mind “reading” the occasional blog not written in English. Even in English, though, there are different terms for the same thing depending on  where one lives. Vest vs. camisole vs. singlet, for instance. My children’s favorite is British “trousers” vs. American “pants”. I happened to mention it one day and they all unanimously decided to call their jeans “trousers” from that point on. I suspect they’ve done that so they can giggle when people say the word “pants”, though they’ve never outright told me so. I don’t know why the vocabulary differences intrigue me so much, maybe because it’s one of those things that just shows up in natural writing or conversation, making blog-reading much less like catalog reading.

2) I love when sewing bloggers post pictures of themselves wearing what they’ve made. Inspiration can come from all over, so pictures of dresses on a hanger or on a dress form are not all bad. When the person who made something (or the person that something was made for) puts it on for pictures, though, that’s when the finished product really shows. This is where, for me anyway, sewing blogs trump fashion blogs. I don’t deny that it takes some skills to put together an outfit out of ready-to-wear and/or thrifted items, but I’ve noticed that in sewing blogs, more often the outfits that are put together look full and complete without having to add a different pair of shoes and a purse each time. One lobster brooch or maybe a hair clip is all they need to accent their outfits; shoes are just a bonus if we get to see them too.

Via Google Images

3) I love when multiple people sew the same thing. Whether it’s an interpretation of a theme, a color, or different versions of the exact same pattern, it’s fun to watch this kind of creativity. I know some people feel like they get tired of seeing too many of the same pattern all at once (usually I see this complaint in reference to newly released indie patterns, and usually from people who aren’t impressed by the particular pattern they are seeing). I actually really like this phenomenon, and if I do go through a phase where I’m not interested in seeing multiple makes of the same pattern, it’s pretty easy to skip those postings or to put them off until I’m more in the mood for them.

Via Google Images

4) I love when people spontaneously mention the tools they use in sewing. Not the sponsored-post/review kind of thing, but when they discuss their process and happen to mention specific things that work for them (or that don’t), that’s the kind of real-life information that can be usefully applied in my own experience.

5) I love when people call attention to things that inspired them. Links back to other bloggers, Pinterest, or even ready-to-wear sites all might be interesting. Yes, sometimes it can feel like I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole if I start clicking through on multiple links, but it’s fun to see the connections between an inspiration project and what someone else makes. Not to mention that it’s a nice vibe that comes out when people get credit for their creativity and inspirational qualities rather than having to wonder if someone is trying to take advantage of them.

Via Google Images

6) I love when sewing bloggers get things “for free”. Not in that “they don’t even write about their own projects anymore because they’re so busy doing advertisements for other people and maybe they’ve totally lost their blog voice” kind of way (which in my opinion seems to happen most often when people start to get over-committed to multiple projects/sponsors, not necessarily because they’ve agreed to connect with one or two companies in an exchange). No, I’m talking about when sewing bloggers get access to materials or something else they wouldn’t otherwise probably have, and that makes them want to put forth their very best effort to show it off. Whether it’s working in extra-nice fabrics, working with interesting pattern techniques, or making the most of a challenge handed to them by someone else, those postings often have a little extra passion behind them, and that makes them fun to read.

Via Google Images

7) I love when sewing bloggers make and wear exactly what they want to make and wear. One of the best things about making clothing rather than buying it is the ability to break the “rules” about what is “on trend” or what one is “supposed” to wear for one’s shape and size. Being able to hone a personal style without having to worry over-much about arbitrary codes that might be governing whether the items being sought even exist is an interesting freedom, one that exercised well in the world of home sewing.

What do you think? Are any of these something you have a passionate opinion on (even if it isn’t the same as mine)? Any things I probably love but missed on my list?

BurdaStyle 8/2012 #152: Preppy Green Shirt

After some of my recent postings, this seems like a bit of an anticlimactic project. I know not everyone gets excited about seeing kid’s projects rather than women’s clothes. It’s nice to finally get it off my desk though; it’s been sitting around partly done for pretty much the entire summer.

Green Shirt 4

This is BurdaStyle 8/2012 #152 the same pattern as the flannel shirt I made Romeo earlier this year. Ordinarily he’ll be wearing this shirt with a suit, not jeans, but he was feeling lazy when I asked him for pics, so he only changed his shirt. He may regret that decision later; Pete just looked over my shoulder and suggested that he looks so sharp we should start sending him to school in this outfit.

Green Shirt 2

The fit is good, but the workmanship is not my best. Don’t look too closely at those sleeve plackets please.

Green Shirt 3

Workmanship aside, the fit on this shirt is so much better than anything I’ve found him in ready-to-wear in recent years. I’m not sure whether the ready-to-wear shirts I’ve bought him have had drafting issues as the sizes increase, or if they are purposely fit very loose at the neck to accommodate boys who only wear a dress shirt once or twice a year and aren’t used to wearing things that fit that snugly on their necks. Maybe it’s just because he’s slender for his size and they would fit an average boy just fine. The problem he has now is that he’s wanting to wear neckties that actually tie, and if the neck of the shirt is too loose, it doesn’t look right at all. His goal is to learn to tie fancy knots like his Dad (who likes to watch YouTube video tutorials to learn how to tie knots such as the Trinity knot and the Eldredge knot)

Green Shirt 1

The fabric is a simple cotton broadcloth. No drape, but lots of structure. Green has been Romeo’s favorite color for years, so I had bought this fabric specially for him and it’s been waiting around in my stash while I found a shirt pattern that would properly fit his physique.

Green Shirt 5

Stash-busting stats: 39/50. 82 yards.

Can’t Keep My Opinions to Myself

I don’t think I usually rant on this page. So far I’ve kept it to mainly finished sewing projects and the occasional side-track. In my mind, however, I rant frequently, and since this is a subject that I keep pondering, I’m going to let it spill out here.

I read mostly sewing blogs. I read blogs where they talk about other stuff too, but even those seem to be written by people who sew some of the time. I’m on Instagram and Twitter (as @carihomemaker). I’m on Kollabora, BurdaStyle, and Pattern Review *though not always as regularly as some). In short, I read a lot about sewing. In those reads, there are a few things that keep being said/done that drive me crazy. I’m not going to say I never say/do these things; I know I have at least for some of them, but they still drive me crazy, even when I’m the one perpetrating. Please, can we all agree to limit our use of the following?

Click for source. I really want to make these now.

1) “I just ‘whipped up’ this project.” Have you ever tried to whip cream or make a lemon meringue pie without the use of a stand mixer? It is really, really hard work. It’s much harder than throwing together a 12th Jalie v-neck t-shirt or a 5th Lady Skater dress. If you’re standing there with a cold bowl and a whisk waiting for something to thicken as your fingers turn numb, the last thing you’re thinking is “this is so quick and easy.” I don’t know what the better phrase would be to describe our quick-and-easy sewing makes, but whipping needs to go.

Via Google Images

2) “This pattern fits me perfectly with no alterations whatsoever which makes it the best pattern ever made and everyone should buy it.” I get the excitement. It’s wonderful when a pattern doesn’t need to have six test versions done before it can be made up for real. That feeling when you put something on and it fits like a glove with no pulling, tugging, or adjusting throughout the day? Incredible. If, like me, you happen to be 5′ 3″ and around 185lbs, then my rave reviews in this format may be helpful (or not, depending on your shape vs. mine). If you happen to be 5′ 9″ and 125 lbs, however, you’re likely to feel quite the let-down when you try to duplicate my experience. I’m not saying that we can’t rave about patterns or discuss how wonderful that it was we didn’t have to spend hours on alterations; let’s just agree that having a body that fits a particular pattern company’s drafting block is not the same as that company having amazing pattern drafting skills.

via Google Images

3) “A ‘pop’ of color” If you read through books or magazines from the 1990’s, you’ll see multiple references to a “splash” of color. Somewhere after Y2K the trendy phrase became “pop of color”. This no longer seems trendy, fresh, or even relevant. I don’t know what it needs to be replaced with. Until someone decides, could we just talk about the colors we are using without using a sad, tired cliche. If we must give a further description, maybe we could talk about them in relation to where they sit on the color wheel? Please, everyone, stop popping colors like they are balloons.

Via Google Images

4) “Sorry that all I have are these iPhone pics to post”. I’m not saying that we all need to have professional cameras and arts degrees to be bloggers. I’m saying that if someone is running a hobby blog and they choose to put up pictures from their digital camera or weren’t able to put on makeup that day, they shouldn’t have to apologize. If they are feeling self-conscious about something that has contributed to their pictures not looking like they usually do, it doesn’t bother me to hear the back-story, but they shouldn’t have to go as far as to apologize. They have done nothing actually wrong or offensive. If they are professional bloggers with sponsors, they might owe their sponsors an apology, but as far as readers go, it should be okay to skip the apologies and go straight to “look at this pretty thing I made.”

Via Google Images

5) “You should buy indie patterns because the people who design/sell them are nicer” Nicer than what? People who work for a larger company? Who could even know that? I’m pretty sure there are plenty of nice people working at all kinds of companies large and small. Actually, I think the problem is deeper than just the debate about buying from indie vs. long-standing, established company. If support for indie pattern companies is based mainly on them being “nice”, what happens if someone has a bad day? What happens if they get sick and can’t return e-mails with an immediate, sunshiny response? What happens if customer expectations are way out of line and the designer has to say “no”? What if that happens in a public forum? Is that designer no longer nice? Can we no longer buy from them? What if one designer’s line ends up hitting a trend and another person’s doesn’t? Does that make the one who ends up stopping their line wasn’t nice enough? Don’t misunderstand, I love trying indie patterns. There are some awesome options out there. I’ve had lovely interactions with indie pattern designers (I’ve never met one yet who hasn’t been nice). But when someone puts themselves out there with a serious business venture, I would like to see the support mainly focused on the beautiful products they are offering, including customer service as needed. Selling patterns shouldn’t have to be a Miss Congeniality contest.

Via Google Images

As the sewing blog world grows, so does the potential for drama. I’m not intending to try to stir up a lot of drama here, but I can’t guarantee that some of my own thoughts haven’t been stirred by reading other bits and pieces of drama floating around. Anyone out there who agrees with me on any of these? Is there something else out there driving you crazy that I should have mentioned? Keep it clean, and share your thoughts below.