Foolishly trying to command fibre crafts.

This morning I played some more with a design for the crocheted squares:

I gave up on the random piecing together. It was just too hard. Instead I tried some rectangular designs:

Ohoo, the next one works, strips! Alternating strips of various blocks, reading from left to right, solves the problem I keep having with the second axis:

Happy with my solution I put away the squares and drove to the cabin.

I drove my own car and I thought about the blanket all the way. When I arrived in the little patch of forest I had come to the conclusion that although strips are nice and neat, I rrrrrrrrreaaaaaallly like the “randomness” of the Crazy Patchwork Blanket and the Babette blanket:
 pic and blanket by Olivia Rainsford, designer of the Crazy Patchwork Blanket

Right. My blanket needs to be “random”. Not strips. I’m ready for solutions.
Out comes the graph paper!

I’ve got 75 Large squares, 18 Medium, 25 Small and 38 of the adorable Extra Small.
This is how they fit together:
1 L = 2 XS
2 L = 3 S
4 L = 5 M

The difference between my squares and those of the two “random” blanket designs is that all their squares relate to each other and can be used to make squares, consisting of 5 or maximum 8 squares of various sizes. My M’s don’t play well in that regard…

Now thinking of upscaling them into SuperXXMs, like the one my pencil is pointing to. Both official designs use several really large squares.

They can be upscaled to an L easily, all I need to do is crochet one other round to them. But a XL might work better, seeing it plays well with both Ls and XSs. Besides, my Ls have a certain colourscheme.

Anyway. I’m at the cabin now and my weekend starts with pencil and graph paper. I brought the balls of acrylic and a bunch of little flowers with me. But I left all the squares in the city so I can’t play with composition nor enlarge M-squares!

I left them because I didn’t want “to make a mess in the cabin”.
How foolish of me:
Inside the cabin
Nope. Better not make a mess here. It’s so tidy, it looks like an IKEA catalog. Clearly neatly organized people live here! People who declutter daily. Is that a cat on the sewing chair? Again?!

Talk about foolish: the trousers I was sewing stumbled into unwearable right at the finish line.
bad at sewing trousers... bad at sewing trousers...
Something went wrong, I think it was the linen stretching during sewing or something? The front is too wide and the pockets are ruffling. I laid them aside to show my teacher at a later stage.

So naturally I delved right into sewing a dress shirt.

I’m picked up trying to perfect my basic pattern again. Once it’s done I’ll be cranking out shirts that fit me perfect and in the right colours and that go so well under handknitted vests!

I had tried the ultimate self drafted pattern right before Summer, the result of a pattern drafting class I took about a year ago. Many months of frustration while I had to wait wait wait before we would address a dress shirt.

Finally we did and I bought some cheap 100% cotton in the right colour and made a real dress shirt, right before Summer. But it went very wrong because apparently I had bought the wrong fabric: a very slippery cotton which made the measuring, cutting and sewing not very precise. I took my shirt to the last class of pattern drafting and got a lot of critique. Lots of helpful critique but the shirt itself was a failure.

Based on the critique I made some adjustments to the pattern and am now resewing it in a quality cotton.

But you know. Sewing. You need a brain and some luck for sewing.

I got salad brain and pinguins instead:
Sewing collar stand shirtmakingSewing collar stand shirtmaking
Sewing collar stand shirtmaking

Besides repeatedly getting fabric caught while sewing, the neckline is too high and too tight. That’s a pattern issue! My Slippery Cotton Shirt was too low so I made it a bit higher. Even put in a zip (instead of buttons) which goes right to the top.

Now it’s too high. Because the slippery cotton shirt lied to me and my teacher.
Can’t lower it though because of the zipper. Well, I’ll manage to lower it a bit, right down to the top teeth of the zipper. This only gives me a mere centimeter extra. But perhaps it’s enough. It does mean I can finish this shirt and perhaps end up with something a little bit wearable. Or at least tell me things about the pattern. And then the next shirt will be perfect. If I manage to sew with concentration.

Lowering the neckline meant that this nicely executed collar is now too long for its collar stand:
Sewing collar shirtmaking
So when I get back to the city after this weekend I need to do some collar surgery. Either try and take in the short sides of this one or sew a whole new collar. I do have some fabric left…

But I need it to cut a third sleeve. Because I sewed one sleeve placket on the wrong side. Sigh.
Let’s just say I’ve now got two left sleeves, from the elbows down. Not sure if I can get away with calling the draft vent on my right upper wrist “a design feature”.

We’ll see. I wasn’t kidding about the brain salad.
But at least I have penguins! And birds with hats and seals with mittens and handknit sweaters:
setting a lap zip in a dress shirt button band
What do you think about that zipper? I’m working on a foot treadle sewing machine, a Singer, that only has the straight stitch, no button hole stitch. I thought this was a nice solution, a separating zipper behind a lap as wide as the button band. It also has a zip guard at the back, so the zipper won’t touch my skin.

Other solutions for people without button hole facilities are snaps and loops and buttons. Those last ones can be stylish too:

from the Collette blog

(I’m soooo procrastinating writing this to you. I should use my graph paper, think up smart wooly things for my blanket!)


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