I have been crafting a lot lately, but since nothing has really come of it, I haven't been blogging about it. I've been messing up dresses, sewing muslins, modifying skirt patterns, knitting socks, and neglecting the two cardigans I started in February.
I really wish I could tell you that I'd completed my first dress, Burda Style's Anda #7969.
This dress is really simple, but I keep messing up the finishing on the neckline. Despite the fact that I made a successful muslin for this dress, I have literally started making it three times:
Anda #1. Made from a drapy olive green linen-cotton blend. I followed the directions and finished the neckline and armholes with bias tape, even though it felt horrible and gave the dress a 70s ringer-T-shirt kind of look. The weave of the fabric was too loose, though, and the bias tape pulled off it. I freaked out, threw the half-sewn dress in a box, and called my mom. She promised to help me salvage the dress next time I visited, as well as show me alternate methods of finishing a raw edge.
Anda #2. I was too impatient to wait until I visited my parents again, so I read about finishing edges with a facing. I bought a thin green cotton covered in white dots. You know what the floor looks like when you accidentally tilt a three-hole punch and all the little white circles scatter everywhere? That's what this fabric looks like. It was cheap, but cute, and I didn't realize that I didn't have enough until I'd already cut out half the dress.
Anda #3. I bought a brilliant textured teal cotton from Fabricana in Richmond. I carefully drafted and cut out pieces of facing and interfacing for the neckline and armhole. Then I screwed the neckline up terribly when I sewed it. My mom happened to be in town for an afternoon, so I showed it to her. She declared it salvagable, but also declared that learning sewing and pattern modifying at the same time was a little ambitious. She recommends that I try some smaller things first. I thought the Anda pattern was a smaller thing! But she's probably right.
The smart thing to do would be to pull back, and make few smaller projects: bags, maybe a top, another A-line skirt. But I'm not sure I can leave the Andas alone!
So the other day I was taking the bus to work and musing idly about the amount of sock yarn I own. Some of it is destined to become light, (comparatively) floaty cardigans, but the rest is just hanging out. I should get someone to show me how to knit socks, I thought, with no great conviction.
Then I got to work and found this link from CRAFT zine sitting in my email inbox. It's a pdf of very basic top-down sock instructions. My idle musing was answered.
So I bought a set of Hiya Hiya bamboo sock needles from Three Bags Full, and now I'm ready to go. First up: the skein of Neighborhood Fiber Co Studio Sock that my sister mailed me for Christmas.
I started to make a Milkweed shawl out of it, but I realized pretty early on that the variegated colourway was a little wild for me (I loved the shawl pattern though -- it's really fun to knit!). So instead, I'm going to make LeDroit Park socks.
What do you do when you just don't like something that you've made by hand?
Usually, I don't have much trouble getting rid of things I've made. In fact, I find this process has gotten easier over the years as my apartment slowly fills up with the flotsam and jetsam of my creative life. For example, I have more scarfs than one person could possibly use, so it's not difficult to dispose of a few that aren't my favourites.
But I have to admit, I find it harder to throw something away when it has a face.
I made this tooth because I wanted to play with my new sewing machine. The pattern is from Softies by Therese Laskey. I figured that if it looked cute I could give it to my friend Dave, who recently has had both dental trouble and a birthday. But it didn't turn out as I had intended. It's lopsided, blank-faced and just not cute enough to give as a gift. I don't want to keep it. But I can't quite bring myself to throw it away. What do you do with a toy that no one wants?
In my Creative Resolutions for 2010, I declared that I wanted to knit some sweaters that were "lighter-weight and more suitable for year-round wearing." Also, I decided that I would try to knit something that was not teal.
I'm pleased to say that I have actually stuck to this resolution:
This organic, "naturally dyed" cotton is a warm, silvery grey, the exact colour of a weathered log on a beach. It's called "logwood", so I'm clearly not the only person to think this. This project is essentially a big stockinette tube, so it's incredibly boring to knit, and also kind of hard on my hands (cotton has no elasticity). But I'm powering through for three reasons:
i) I would really like to own another sweater vest. I only have one, and it's a pilly cheap thing from the mall. I'm really fond of wearing it over long sleeve t-shirts though.
ii) I keep seeing lovely bags and shoes made from light grey leather. It seems like a nice neutral for spring -- lighter than black or brown and fresher than white or khaki. Basically, I really want something in this colour, and since I can't afford a new Marc Jacobs bag, I'm going to knit something.
iii) I've never actually knit anything from the Stitch 'n' Bitch knitting books, even though I own two of them, and used the first one to elarn how to knit. I'm afraid some of the patterns are starting to look a little dated now, but these books were important--to me personally, as well as the knitting world--so I feel compelled to make at least one thing from them!
I'm slightly afraid that the end result is going to look more like "wacky 70s macrame" than "interestingly deconstructed." But I am continuing despite this, because it was a cheap and easy knit, and because I should experiment every once in a while.
I have much less to say about this, except that I've wanted to knit it for a long time, and I really hope that it turns out well. I made some pretty signifigant modifications to it, including raising the bust darts, shortening the raglans, and adding a little length in the body. The yarn is soft and beautiful. The mandrin collar might have some issues -- it seems a little floppy -- but it's way too late to fix that now (unless there's a way to frog from the cast-on edge ...).