Things are taking shape.

Resting up from the workshop I’m knitting a lot on Cool Wool Serra Cardigan. It’s mindless knitting in the round round round and a good project for laying back and recuperating.

I had reknit the bodice from the arms down, and this weekend I just finished the sleeves. Now I can knit the bodice down all the way to the bottom. Besides good for resting this is also a good car ride project. On Thursday we leave for Germany for a few days, it’s going to be a 5 to 6 hour trip. So having a mindless knitting project is good planning.

The shaping looks good. I’m at the hip increases now but I’m doing only the ones in the front. I’ve got nothing in the trunk that needs additional cloth.

Before the workshop last Friday I finished sewing that top with the scalloped edge. Learned a lot!

topje patroontekenen schulprand French bustdarttopje patroontekenen schulprand French bustdart

Concerning shaping I now definitely know I’ve got to  stay away from shirts that hang down from the breasts. I look like I have a big belly.

Shirts like this go over the head, without an opening, and therefor they have little additional waist shaping. It now looks like my body fills out the shirt right from the tip of my breast to the bottom of the shirt. You know about the pencil-trick? Well, I could do 250 grams of yarn tricks in tops with this shape.

I learned about sewing scallops though. And about neck facings and about gathered sleeves. Those are easy! Even with my foot treadle. Just loosen up the tension on one side and you get an excellent gathering stitch. I want more gathering in my sewing.

For pattern drafting I narrowed in on good wearing ease and a better arm hole for my basic shirt pattern.

Here, this is where I was coming from:

A failed shirt with not enough wearing ease, a too narrow arm hole and too extreme shaping for two poor princess seams to handle. Not finishing this, no way. Never wearing this.

Still, even this failed shirt is teaching me valuable things.

And! There’s a concealed zipper at the centre front, that’s good. It’s lapped and neat and now I don’t have to make button holes nor sew on buttons. It made it into my basic pattern for a Tailored Ladies’ Dress Shirt.

Now I have to “unvent” something about that waist shaping and those princess seams though. Probably need more panels.

For knitted garments I’ve got the shaping pretty down, by now. Cardigans. Vests. I can do those.

Next cardigan will be Pumpkin Ale. The yarn I dyed for that is caked and all ready to go and will come with to Germany. But it’s not mindless knitting, this is a gotta-keep-looking-at-my-hands-kinda-project. Especially the start since the back is a cabled panel. Looking forward to it though.

The mushroom yarn is ready to go too! It will become a stranded vest with good shaping. I looked at Art Nouveau visuals. I chose the lighter colours I dyed. Now I’ve looked the free vest patterns I have in my library such as Ivy League Vest by Eunny Jang and Twelve Months of Christmas vest by Helen Burros andGreat Horn-Rimmed by Mary Scott Huff:

 pic by the three designers named.

I’m going to steek, y’all! Exiting as I won’t be able to try on the vests and check the shaping once I reach the arm holes. I’ve never steeked before.

I hope to develop a basic stranded vest pattern in this yarn weight for my body shape and then crank out stranded vest after stranded vest. Just picking colours from my stash and making charts with Stitch Fiddle.

One more puzzle to solve before I can begin is to incorporate the waist shaping and the bust dart into the stranded patterns… A nice puzzle. With rewarding outcome.

Looking at the thee vestpatterns above I’ve learned I should probably cast on about 207 stitches for the bottom ribbing. That’s fine, I can start that in the white and it will be a few hours of mindless knitting, no stranding required yet. I won’t be doing corrugated ribbing even though all these patterns have that. I want a calmer look for my vest. Calm, light, pastel. A Februari look.

This is my desk top this month:

februari-mood-board

I can start my stranded “shroom” vest as soon as I skeined up the two balls of commercial Shetland yarn that I bought at De Schapekop to go with my dyed yarn. The white and the blue one. They need to be skeined up because I need to wash out the spinning oil! I’ve got gloves to handle the skeining. Not getting that spinning oil on my hands and in my eyes again, I want to sleep at night.

After skeining I need to wash them HOT. Then they need to dry and be reskeined. All before Thursday so skeining and washing is on the calendar for today. I want to bring the white one with me to Germany. As my back up mindless-knitting-car-ride-project. In case I finish the Cool Wool Serra Cardigan.

I should probably bring a sock too. Even though I’m going to Germany, The Land Of The Sock Yarn and we’ll even visit the Lüneburg yarn shop called Stricxs which looks marvelous! They even sell Wollmeise. And I’m going there with the intention of buying souvenir yarn.

note to self: pack needles in various sizes. For when the unexpected knitting strikes.

So that’s the plans! I feel confident.

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Outfit for Autumn

This is what I’m wearing today:

handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt

A dress shirt I finished yesterday. It’s wearable, yay!

It’s totally the wrong colour, being warmish beige. But it goes well with my handspun Passe-Partout vest and the mosaic mittens from last winter KAL. With my most sturdy canvas skirt. With two pockets and a piece of curtain strip in the waist band. This baby will never stretch.

Very cute fabric:
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This morning I’ll note the changes I want to make to the dress shirt pattern and soon I’ll cut new fabric, in a colour that is on my Winter Colour Palette.

The shape at the underarm needs to be taken a little in at the sideseam. The side seam needs to go up a little higher, into the arm pit:
handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt
The sleeve then needs to be equally elongated to meet the new arm hole/side seam junction.

It sounds uncomfortable, bringing the arm hole higher up in the arm pit. The funny thing is: the closer the armhole is to the body, the more movement is allowed for the arm.

You’d think it’d be the other way around: big hole, big sleeve = wave wildly! With bat-sleeves being the ultimate freedom sleeve. But bat sleeves are a mistake, easily made.
It’s the other way around though, the better fitted the armhole is, the less you drag the whole shirt up when you move your arm.

But the thing is that with small, fitted armholes come small fitted sleeves. And that’s a bit of a problem. Because I have upperarms. They like a bit of room, to fit in all the flesh. Biceps! Let’s say biceps.

Finding that sweet spot between sleeve width and arm hole circumference is a puzzle I’ve been stabbing at for years now. I’ll give it another poke today because I think I’m finally getting somewhere.
handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt

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
Gargl.

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
Hmpf.
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!)

Sewing for knitting:

Over the Summer I’ve been sewing my new wardrobe. I had major plans: skirts, blouses, vests, pinafores. All in that colour palette and all flattering my body shape.

This is what I managed from May 1st until now:
Sewing skirts, learning to.Sewing skirts, learning to.

Skirts. Well, one skirt, actually. This is the progress towards developing one pattern that fits me well and has all the features I want (pockets!) and that I know how to make (sturdy seams, pockets, waist band, lining, hem, zipper, zipper seam allowance catching the lining).

I’ve got it down now. I can sew a skirt in a week, I feel.

So last week I finished a skirt in a fabric to compliment the Wollmeise Fliederbusch of my Colors of Kauai cardigan:

sewed a skirt, wet felted a bag

The idea was to make a bellowing skirt to flatter my Colors of Kauai cardigan, just like these, both from the very inspirational Jettshin:

But I didn’t have enough fabric. And a bellowing skirt doesn’t fit my body shape very well (lack of a waist). But now I do have this pattern that flatters me. So I cut the fabric on the bias and followed my own pattern:

sewed a skirt, wet felted a bag

Oops, cut it a bit too narrow! Never mind, I’ll just put in a strip of fabric, even if it has to be cut on the grain. Might as well since I’m not sure how well flimsy fabric on the bias can support a pocket so I’ll go ahead and put a little patch pocket onto that strip. There, all done.

Time to fit!
Ah. Uhm.

It seems that without a distinctive flare it doesn’t really work, this sewing with this knitting:

Nice lady, no doubt. But not quite the flair or femininity that Jettshin project photos show.

I don’t know why I thought this skirt would work. I talked myself away from the very goal I was aiming for!

“Yes, I’ll sew a bellowing skirt because that fits Colors of Kauai so well! But I’ll make it without the flare because arguments. Hey, I’ll even cut it on the bias for even more drape and droop!”

Yeah…

Well, the skirt works great on its own. It’s light and lined with pure silk and it flutters around my legs. It’s a nice Summer skirt for the city.

Wearing it without wooden clogs also helps to class it up.

Now I’ve got an incentive to sew another skirt to got with this cardigan. Which means fabric hunting.

But first I’ll try and sew a fitting blouse/dress shirt. I need those to go with the many vests I’m knitting. With any luck I’ll be wearing the combinations before x-mas.

(bag felting went well this weekend! I only want to switch the flaps between the two bags and then visit the shoe maker to get belts attached. So still very much in progress.)

sewed a skirt, wet felted a bag

Altered: the ecoprinted linen top.

From this:

To this:

I put in vertical darts at the front, under the bust. The existing darts at the back were elongated and I put in two new horizontal darts at the back to take away some of the extra fabric that folds up there because I have a bit of a curved inwards back.

I like to think of my back curve as a feature.
If I accentuate that curved back attention is drawn away from my belly and I can freely rock the rolls there.

Which is also why shaping at the underbust is important. To hint that my belly doesn’t start at the apex of my bust. Never wear a potato sack.

This is the part I added to the arm hole. I put in some pleats and stitching to match the front panel.

At the back it’s nothing fancy. Just press, cut, fold the edge under, press again and stitch the seam allowance to itself.

It’s a lovely top now. The ecoprinting is so fascinating to look at. Linen is a great fabric to work with.

Fabrics to show off my handknits

So what’s with me knitting all the cuffs? Why do I want them to be greys and purples? And why did I spend time to make a whole colourcollage of them??

Well…. I’m planning a new wardrobe.

Now that I’m living more in the city again and feel more active I want to dress up. Show off the quality yarns I’m using. With quality clothing.

This is my inspiration board:
Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 21.03.59
Clean lines, no ruffles. Functional garments. Natural fibres.
Nice details and well executed sewing.

Light coloured blouses and light coloured trousers/skirt (but not too light because I’m not planning on living a spotless life any time soon).
Wear a darker dress over it, a dress with pockets. A pinafore.
With a light shawl or collar on top, framing my face.

And!

I’m going to make all these nice clothes myself.
Boom. Yes.
Because that’s what knitting told me.
Knitting knocked on my door and said: “A good fit at the shoulders is everything. Mass produced clothes don’t fit anyone, you included. Better make things yourself. Using quality materials. You’ll love it.”

So, I’m studying sewing. Not planned in any reasonable way. I just stumbled upon a few things that interest me and now that they seem to fit so nicely together I can present it to you as if it were a well thought out plan.

It’s a two pronged approach. One prong is the fitting part: bodyshape, wearing ease, drafting patterns, altering patterns, draping fabrics, swiveling darts. The colour analysis helped in this. The knitting experiences help tremendously! I’ve been sewing some dresses the past few years and learned a lot from that.

The second prong is a subject I stumbled upon only recently: precision sewing. With that I mean tailoring techniques, haute couture techniques, pressing, hand stitching.
At this moment I’m buried into bespoke dress shirt making. This is the book I’m reading right now: Shirtmaking: Developing Skills For Fine Sewing by David Page Coffin:
51wyjnjldbl-_sx401_bo1204203200_

Besides all this self studying I’ve also been taking a pattern drafting course since September. It’s a great source of frustration, being out in the real world trying to make thoughts work. You know me: brilliant in theory but not quite as adept in conjuring reality…
As you can imagine, the course has been a good mix of thrilling theory and bonking into the reality of measurements, teaching traditions and spending time with people who need more time than me to grasp concepts and hold onto them. I, on the other hand, slow everyone down with stupid ignorant questions about sewing basics. I feel quite the clutz.

This month we finally got to draft our body block into a pattern for a shirt, a pattern with wearing ease and all that. I’m still putting it onto paper (how wide should the cuff be? What kind of collar? How to close a shirt when you don’t have button hole help on your sewing machine??)
Once I have my shirt pattern finished I can turn any fabric into a shirt that fits me nicely!
I plan to crank out one shirt after the other this Summer, all based on the same pattern with just design changes in the details.

Last Friday I was pro-active and bought a whole lot of fabrics for my new wardrobe:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens

These will become shirts:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens

On top is a grey lilac cotton that will become my first real shirt, the one I’ll be showing in the next drafting class, on May 23rd.
The light grey and the soft lilac at the bottom are linens.
The white one is silk. The silk is for the end of Summer, when I’ve got this shirt thing down and might feel like venturing into shaping and draping a garment.

Here’s four meters of mid weight linen:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens

It was supposed to be the colour Mauseschwanzen from my cuffs but it’s a warmer tone than that, as shown in the top picture where the cuff is resting on it.
Not sure what to do with it now. Will think about it a bit. I bought it with the plan to make a shirt and a skirt or trousers. That’s why it already has a zipper. A zipper that’s too long for trousers with a zipper at the front, which was what I was planning… Clutz alert in aisle 2 of the haberdashery!

Either way this linnen will be flowing around my legs in some form or other this Summer. Trousers with a side zipper (or at the back) or a long skirt (with a side zipper, or at the back). And its colour will go well with the socks I’ll have made from all the sock yarn that magically appeared at my doorstep this week:

DROPS yarn is having a sale!

These are some darker and stiffer fabrics:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens

All intended for things to wear over a shirt and a skirt.
On the bottom is a denim and it’s for a pinafore dress, with pockets, which will be useful on a daily basis.
The dark grey linen in the middle will also become such a functional garment. It’s quite heavy! I think I bought curtain fabric… in fact I’m sure I did. Not a clutz move though, curtains are excellent for skirts. They wear well. I also like to use upholstery fabric for skirts. So sturdy! Yet with fun woven in designs.
(as a side note, I just read on the web that quality bedding sheets are excellent for dress shirts. High count Egyptian cotton? Why not. Just because it’s labeled “bed linen” doesn’t mean it isn’t a piece of quality fabric.)

Sourcing fabric with the qualities the garment needs to have.
Wearing garments that are functional to your life, not just decorative.
Patterns that flatter the body shape and provide ease of movement.
Thinking about colours and contrasts that suit my own complexion.
Not paying much attention to the current fashion craze.
Paying much attention to skilled professionals who know how to create with their hands.

It’s been done for ages.

Designer and bespoke tailor Ivey Abitz looks at historic dress and translates them into her collections of wearable, functional fashion.
She designed one of my main inspiration pictures:


pic by Ivey Abitz

Isn’t it great?! You can imagine this wears like a dream, not restricting you at all. With natural white long sleeves under it… yes please!

Although I don’t want my skirts to be so frilly, I’m not into the layer upon layer look. But I love the light-darker-light sequence of the design! That is exactly what I’m doing for me too. I bloggeded about the contrast my face has and how clothing/shawls help to flatter it. I mangled some pictures halfway this post to try and show you what I mean.

The smaller piece of olive green grey linen is intended to become an exact copy of this vest:
a design by Marcy Tilton, to show off her quality fabrics.

So many precision sewing details! How the back seam is bound with stripey band. How the inner collar differs in colour. Its shape! The round bib-shaped stitching. How the stitching in the side seam matches the bib-stitching. The button holes. How the vertical seams for shaping in the lower part are hardly noticable.

This is a garment very suiting for my body type.
If the “bib” shape is made stiff with underlining and topstitching it won’t present the breasts so readily to any pedestrian. Instead it will guide away the eye from them, upwards.
Below the bib there’s lots of inconspicuous shaping happening, right at the underbust, where I need it, without the pedestrian noticing.

The bib covers the bust and sets the stage for the neckline which in turn makes a perfect frame for whatever I’ve got going on there: a blouse with an interesting collar detail; a sparkling necklace orrrrr….a handknitted shawl!

There we are.
All this sewing plans with a particular goal of show off flattering (and functional!) handknits that I’ll wear around my neck and my wrists. In quality yarns. In the right colours.
Because I love it.

Weird Wool Wednesday: sewing for knitting

This is our front room today:
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The picture may be distorted because that’s one HUGE table: 1 m x 3 m. That’s about one yard width and 3.28 yards long.

On the right sits mr. Marvelknits. All neat and tidy and organized.

On the left I sit. I’m sewing:
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Such a mess! And no sewing machine in sight.

I want to sew some blouses. To wear under my handknitted vests. It’s the right amount of layers. And vests are fun to make.
Untitled

But I cannot just copy a pattern from a magazine, cut it and sew it. Noooo, I have to redraft the whole thing, make seven muslins and learn all kind of new techniques from the internet first.
Untitled
I’ve been making my own pattern since Saturday now, every day tweaking and pinning and resewing. Learning a lot about armholes and sleeves. There are two different sleeves in this one.

I only need to make one or two more sleeves I think. Then learn about sleeve widths. And collars.
Then I’m ready to draft the final pattern and transfer it onto fashion fabric.

This one:
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Birds in tiny little shoes!

And these ones after that:
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Preferably in the next two weeks because April 29th there’s a new Fabric Fair in town and I want to buy fabric for summer blouses. I’m thinking whites…

Because then I can wear them with the white vest, the one with the green owls, here seen resting in its natural habitat:
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with my new favourite chocolate:
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Chocolat Stella 75%, a Swiss quality chocolate. Tastier than Tony Chocolonely!

Did you know chocolate recipes are different from country to country? We all have different associations with “good old fashioned chocolate”, depending on where we got to taste it first.
Especially Americans are in a league of their own and when they visit Europe and go to chocolate heaven a.k.a. Belgium they might not get the chocolatey experience they hope for.

It’s all a matter of taste and recipe and what chocolate you got when you were a child. I’m Dutch, I love the rich slightly bitter chocolates. British people love milky stuff that clings to the roof of their mouths. Americans love chocolate that’s a little sour and makes your mouth water.

But vests. I love vests. I have at least two spinning projects queued for vests. Both grey. I should make them asap since I will have four new blouses to go with them in two weeks. As soon as I finish making this pattern for the most perfect ladies’ dress shirt.

Ahh, I love well fitted blouses that allow for arm movement. A rare thing in a lady’s blouse. More common in a man’s dress shirt.

From the left over fabrics I want to make project bags, to go with my wardrobe:
Untitled

What a co-ordinated knitter I am!

Co-ordinated in all the right ways:
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My handspun vest matches Zarte Knospe!

PS
Don’t you go thinking that just because my husband knows how to arrange his things neatly that he’s any less weird than I am! We’re a match in weirdness.

And we share a love of good quality mugs and good, unusual tools:

nixie clock and googly eyes

That copper scrubby thingamajig is a thing in which you can clean your soldering iron. For which he has some more tools in the back.
because he has been making this:
nixie clock and googly eyes

A nixie clock. From PV Electronics

We already had one for years, from the shops. It’s in our sitting room:
nixie clock and googly eyes

With some good quality chocolate in the back ground. Just like good knitting.

And yes, that is a googly eye on its corner.

We’ve had a little fun with April the 1st. I had stuck googly eyes to various places.
They’ve been changing places since then and we run into them in unexpected places.
nixie clock and googly eyes
nixie clock and googly eyes
nixie clock and googly eyes
nixie clock and googly eyes

The worst thing: tomorrow morning the cleaning lady comes. I’ll HAVE to tidy up my sewing mess.

And do we allow the googly eyes where they are? I can’t tell if we have any respectable image left with our cleaning lady and whether googly eyes will better or worsen it.

No knitting, no Zorro. Housetour, cats.

I’m barely knitting this week now that I’ve got my dress form and silly fabrics to play with.
Sewing patterns are covering the knitting:

I’m also enjoying some serious down time now that I delivered the final engineers’ report for the court case, last week. That took an unexpected 1,5 extra days of stress I had not counted on. As you know I have to allocate my energy very precisely and this extra stress has taken its toll.
I’m glad to report I’m bouncing back already but I’m not knitting or blogging much.

On top of that there’s Pip.
Our two other cats couldn’t adjust to the presence of the kitten. They weren’t coping very well. Especially Poekie is too old for changes, she ended up being one tense ball of anger, positioned on her pillow in the middle of the room, growling and batting at anything that moved.
Which is such a shame because all Pip wants is to make friends and cuddle fellow cats. He’s such a happy chap! It was hurtful to see him trying and longing and getting nowhere with the two old cats who like their solitude.

He turned to me and we cuddled and played all the time. But I’m no cat and Pip’s too active for me too, especially when I have things to do. I was barely getting a chance to catch my breath and I really needed to, with the engineer thing and all.
My husband wasn’t his relaxed self either. He got anxious every time the cats were trying to sort things amongst themselves. He couldn’t do what cats do: forget about the ruckus we just had a moment ago and live in this moment, here, now.
Maybe we, the humans, are too old for this kitten too…

So we brought him to my brother. He and his wife have a cat who’s used to a little black and white chatter box. After a few days things seem to go well there:

We/they are trying for a few more days but the kitten already’s got a new name: Zorro! 😀

I miss the little bugger tremendously.
He had promoted me to MamaCat, he was chirping to me all the time, cuddling. Awww. I miss him so much!
It’s a very weird sensation, experiencing this tugging in the heart area, just thinking about him. I’m hoping to go visit next week. Not sure that’s wise though.

The past few days have been good for us. For me, my husband, Poekie, Lillepoes. Everybody has had a chance to sleep in, to loaf about, to eat without distraction, to play favourite games just the way you like them best and to generally bask in peace and quiet.

I’ve been playing with fabric. This is my sewing spot:

On the wall is the first wood block print I ever made, from a Cat agenda I had when I was… 14 years old?
On the computer there’s an audio book. Agatha Christie. And yes, I sew on an old foot treadle machine. Just the running stitch. It’s great though. Very precise and calming. Can’t do button holes though.

I changed an existing pattern for a blouse and now I’m trying out my new design in that funny x-massy deer fabric. Keeping it all playful, after all the stressy times:

There’s my personalized tape measure, made by a cat loving friend. Her cat was missing for a week, we were all so worried. And last night he turned up! Hungry, thin but oh so happy!
This cat is a shy, cross eyed, Snow Shoe (?). Such a beauty:

So glad he’s home!!

What’s it with cats today? I’m welling up again.

Next to my sewing table is the wool closet.
I so love nice furnitures, especially made of wood. I enjoy my surroundings every day. The materials, the craftmanship, how they look, feel.

My circular holder, with needle gauge little diver:

I’ve been planning to make a new circ holder for years now… sigh. One that’s more natural coloured. With the numbers of the needles on it.
Such as this pattern, Lobster, by Norah Gaughan:

Oh mannn, I now see I had this fav’ed more than 5 years ago. With note: “I want one like this, with numbers on it”.

I was thinking of just sewing a slab of felt to another slab of felt. I don’t see the point of knitting it and then felting it.
I’ve been designing on it a bit, over the years. Thinking what would be a nice shape to incorporate all these hanging circulars. I thought they may look like cat’s whiskers. But I couldn’t figure out how to give a cat a long stack of whiskers without it looking weird. Because I wanted the needle gauges on it. At least <2-2-2,25-2,5-2,75-3-3,25-3,5-3,75-4-5-6->6
For this year I put it WITH BIG LETTERS on my calendar. Alas, I didn’t make one. Perhaps try bold letters next year.

Inside the wool-closet:

They all seem to be sleeping.

Here’s the little table next to the door. Oof, that picture has a nasty yellow tint, the walls are green in real life.
Besides the colour this is me in a nutshell!

A painting I made of a very nice birch I know in the park where I used to walk. A calendar from Bergen I got from a friend. (Giving me heart tugs… Norway. Hopefully I’ll be able to return one day.)
Chocolate bonbons, in a crystal container because I like to pretend I’m a lady when I eat chocolates in private (I also enjoy the colour sparkles that the crystal gives on the wall). An empty tea mug ready for transport to the kitchen. Our phone called “nootje” (peanut I don’t know why… even though I was the one naming it.). Lillepoes’ yellow hair brush (the best!). The “click-clack” because we’re lazy/efficient when it comes to switching lights on/off. And the large glass heir loom vase that usually stands on my sewing table. With handy pincushion made by a dear friend.

A view to the front room. The door opens straight onto the street. To the left is Mina the dress form. I’ve given her my woolen jacket to wear, she seemed a little bare in just a bra stuffed with socks.

Here’s what I’m wearing myself:

That’s one blouse finished, in Stylish Cat Lady fabric. No buttons. I ought to put it on Mina and take pictures. But I’m too laze/busy with deer.
I am covered in handknits. I love beautiful, useful things.

Sewing before knitting.

I’m really looking forward to wearing my handspun vest!

That’s why I’ve put the actual knitting of said vest aside (??) to sew two blouses (dress shirts) to wear underneath it:

These two fabrics I bought today.

One colour is called “I’m such a STYLISH cat lady”.

The little deers in the other one are made of gold glitter! So that colour is probably called “Glittery Winter Lady and totally not knitting a x-mas sweater”.

I haven’t knit all day…

Skirt for my Skew

I made a skirt to go with my Snake Skews:

The fabric started life as a curtain from IKEA but as soon as I saw the colours I wrapped a rectangle of it around myself and measured how wide it needed to be to fit me instead of the window sill. One meter x 70 cm.

Prewashed and put on the floor it’s already nearly a skirt, as you can clearly see. There’s the top and there’s the bottom and there’s even a thingy for a vent at the bottom right:

I sewed it closed and put a zipper in and then started to shape the top with darts until it fit. Put a waist band on it and call it your new skirt!

I put in a pocket, so I can have pills and ear plugs with me at all times. Here you can see the side seam only runs just a little below the pocket, it doesn’t run to the hem.

I love it! It looks great with my Snake Skews and the eco printed shirt Sinterklaas gave me!

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I wear this with the green Polwarth handspun shawl I traded with a friend and then I’m a pretty picture of couture!

(I’m making believe sewing a skirt is simple but it isn’t really. Putting in a vent or a zipper or a pocket is fiddly as fudge. Luckily there are tutorials on the net.)

(Making a waist band that’s more narrow at the top than at the bottom requires some real thinking. I started out with a long small strip but that doesn’t work. It needs to be shaped. Shaped like a trapezoid or otherwise a round shape.
Stuck with only a long narrow strip and no more fabric I did “a nasty hack” that turned out well. By accident. Not by design or smarts.)(I hope to employ those next time, design and smarts.)

(A nasty hack to make a rectangle waist band into a shaped one: