Knits and knitting

Whilst dressmaking and I are still in a love/hate relationship, I do have some finishes, mostly because knits are usually good to me and are easy to fit.

A couple of weeks ago I made a Tabor Tee from Sew House Seven that I can actually wear. I’m not hugely keen on the fabric now, but it was cheap; the thing worked out even though I might have liked a size down more, and I got to think about the stripe placement on the neck and arm bands which was a good exercise for me.

Secondly I made the top at the top of this post in one Wednesday night, including cutting out the paper pattern. It was a long night though – about 3 hours – mostly because my reliable sewing machine is straight stitch only and I had to use the demonic Walmart machine. Let it be known that this machine sewed a perfect zigzag on the scraps of the same fabric that I fed into it, but as soon as I wanted to hem my sleeves, the feed dogs ate the fabric. I tried three different needles (standard, ballpoint, Microtex) and still it was being punched down into the stitch plate. I trimmed off 3/4″ off each sleeve and used a wide bias tape I just happened to have the right amount of in the perfect shade to extend them slightly and went back to old faithful. It actually worked!

A bit more about this pattern – and the fabric. The pattern is from a subscription I have with Seamwork, and is the Rory top from last month. It’s literally 4 pattern pieces and 5 pieces cut out total and knit so no darts – EASY. I graded the pattern from a 6 in the bust (my measurements asked for an 8 but there was a lot of ease so I went down a size) down to a 12 in the waist, which has negative ease deliberately to pull it all in.There are hacks to add button closures on the shoulders but I am glad I didn’t attempt that on the first try with all the fabric eating problems I had, though I think it would be a nice addition.

You can see more Rory tops on Instagram here. I think it’s such a pretty pattern.

Because I reduced the bust size to be closer fitting, it gives it the added advantage of exaggerating the waistband gathers in the centre front, which I really like. My husband asked if that was supposed to happen, and I suppose maybe not as much as it does, but I actually like that, it creates a flattering shape, and completely hides my craft beer pudge I’ve developed this past year.

The fabric is Performance Pique from Spoonflower which is a wicking diamond weave light stretch fabric and is based on my Hank, Frankly quilt design. I coloured in my existing line drawing and uploaded it. I ordered a yard to make my husband novelty boxer shorts, and then Heather suggested (twice!) that I make a dress instead. When I sat down with the fabric as it is directional, I discovered I needed to either order more, or I needed to rotate my design 90 degrees to get it to fit a yard. So I made a rotation and printed again, which gave me enough fabric for the Rory top (not a dress, sorry Heather!) and I still have the original for the shorts plan. I prewashed the fabric and there was absolutely no bleed at all (or shrinkage as far as I can tell) which is just wild since everything I buy needs four colour catchers before it’s safe in the machine! I think technically the top shouldn’t work with the new print orientation since it is a 2 way stretch not a 4 way, but I can wiggle it on no problem.

Here’s a link to the originally orientated Hank fabric in case you want some! I also ordered some quilting cotton, just because.

I’ll be putting the dressmaking aside for a little while now. I have about 6 patterns I want to make and the fabric for them, but I also have commissions for magazines, and an emergency baby quilt to make, as well as my weekly blocks I’m perpetually behind on.

Also, I learned to knit last weekend at Stash Lounge! I can cast on (long tail… though I’m not entirely sure I’m doing it right), knit and purl so far, and this weened we will be finishing this cowl, so I’ll learn how to make buttonholes and finish it. 

I started another project to practice seed stitch. The class project has a full row of knit or purl, so I wanted to try building up speed and confidence by doing a k1, p1 and p1, k1 pattern. It’s hard to see because my yarn is variegated. My next class on this will be knitting a headband in the round with cabling in about 2 1/2 weeks time!

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