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Sewing with less stress Front
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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon



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Friday, October 6, 2017

Car knitting

 I have a funny relationship with knitting.

I actually really enjoy the process of knitting itself but hate the process of sewing up, always looks so messy to me no matter how hard I try, and I have trouble getting gauge and keeping it there.

Very few of my sweaters over the years have been happy projects, which is turned me to sock knitting more than anything else, which has frustrated me because, let's face it, I am a garment sort of person.

So finally inspired by Ann Budd's excellent book on top-down knitting, where she gives more formulas than patterns, I brought some hanging-around-the-house yarn and tried to knit without a real pattern, just a sense of the starting formula. (Because someone always asks, there are never any affiliate links on this blog btw).

The beauty of top down seamless sweaters is, you guessed it, no seams to sew, and you can keep trying it on as you go to see if it fits, and if not you can self-correct.

I did just that with this wearable muslin of a sweater, ripped back the sleeves for example and made them wider once I realized my first attempt was too tight.

I had a lot of fun doing this sweater as we zoomed along the roads and finished it today - hence the lovely pose in front of the back of a hotel door with the sign of what to do if there is a fire.

I am excited to try to knit another one this way now - it's just too easy. If you look at the book I used the modified drop shoulder version as my starting point.

This picture reminds me of some travelling advice a friend of mine once told me.

This fellow travels a lot for work and he once told us to always make sure to pack decent nightwear. He was once in an actual hotel fire and had to evacuate down to the lobby. He said he was amazed at how everyone looked in what they had worn to bed under the bright lights of the hotel main entrance - obviously many people had packed under the assumption that no one would ever see them after hours on the road.

Anyway it's something interesting to think about, and the reason why I bought new slippers for this trip.

Wedding tomorrow, more later.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Grey basics for the suitcase

You know I like bright colours and quirky projects, I have been particularly quirky lately. However getting ready for a little road trip this last week down to a wedding in DC I remembered that packable basics have their place.

I also gave the colour grey some thought - it's a basic but not too dark - so check trans-seasonal. It goes with other basics, namely navy and black, and it's also a low key backdrop for bright pastels, which I love.

I also figure that with all the visiting and road trips I do, knits are my only option.

Since I did all this serious thinking only a few days before I was due to fill up the suitcase, I decided that TNT patterns were my only option.

Since I have made the little girls both velour Helene cardigans in the last few weeks, they loved them and I thought they looked cozy too, I decided to just go ahead and make myself a big girl version.

I used a grey version of the cotton mix knit velour I got at Fabricville for the little girls. It has a sort of silvery cast to it which I think is useful in case I go out to a restaurant or something in my travels and want to look smoother than a person who spends most of her time walking dogs and sewing.

My assistant has to be in every picture

To wear under this I made a pair of pull-on pants from the Jalie woven pull-on pants pattern, just cut a size smaller since I was working with a stretch crepe knit.  I really like the leg of these pants, straight leg and sort of wide but not overwhelmingly so, unlike so many similar patterns.

This left me with a top pattern to come up with and here I went for a new to me pattern but an easy one.

This is the pattern I used, a sort of athletic looking top I have passed over for a few years now:

It turns out that you don't have to have a zipper in this top and you don't need to carry a bike helmet. This is good because I am going by car this trip.

It also turns out this is a super pattern, the front is made from two folds seamed up only half way making a facing/lining along the neck edge. The whole thing cut to finish only took me under an hour which is about all the time I had to pull the last part of this little outfit together. I made it from the same crepe knit as the pants to make a sort of ensemble which is handy when you travel.

Here are my shots, the whole project, done with one eye on the clock. I am pretty happy with how this outfit turned out because I know it is going to be so useful.

A fun sew and not the last time I use these patterns.

I have to say that I am beginning to really appreciate the multi-sizedness of Jalie's patterns. My pants here are the same pattern I used to make little Billy's size 3 PJs, and the cardigan has now been made for four members of the family sized 6- 40.

BTW Daisy is not on this trip. Too quick and we will be at a wedding etc. most of the time. We really miss her but she is at home with my niece who is the midst of major studying this week.

They are spending most of their time right now reading in Daisy's favourite chair - and we got this update today:

I think she will survive the week without us.