Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Year of Mittens: February

I finished one pair of mittens for February, which means I'm right on my goal, but after a more productive January I feel behind now!

I knitted these fingerless mitts at a pretty leisurely pace and finished them just as February ended. They're going to be a birthday gift for The Man in a few weeks.

They were a pretty simple knit once I got going. The hardest part was following written-out directions when I am so used to charts. When I started knitting I never thought I'd say that! But the language just felt so cumbersome and random.

The back of the hand is patterned in a broken rib which has a great texture I love. These next two photos are post-blocking.

The palm side is knitted in a slip-stitch pattern that gives the look of a chunky rib and also has the effect of pulling the knitting in and shaping the mitt over the curve of the hand. You can see below how the palm side is a little shorter and it's drawing in. I'm not sure if that's intentional in the pattern but I like it.

I used Wool of the Andes Worsted in Garnet Heather. It took just over one skein, so I now have an extra 90% of the second skein hanging around.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Year of Mittens: January

I finished my first month in my Year of Mittens challenge!

For January I'm ahead of my goal of one pair per month! So far I'm having a blast making mittens! They're small and pretty quick and I can try out all kinds of new styles and techniques.

Each month, I'm planning to do a mitten review post of what I knitted. I'll give Ravelry links to my projects (where most of my detailed notes are!) and direct links to patterns if available.

The first pair I finished was made with thrums - little pieces of wool roving that you twist and knit into a stitch. This makes a super fluffy, warm inside!

Unfortunately, they ended up super duper huge for me, so I gave them to my husband, who loves them. 

I used Cascade 220 and Knit Picks Wool of the Andes roving. Pattern is a free Ravelry download.

Next I started a pair with a stranded colorwork pattern. I love this one so much! But it was a little slow with the finer yarn and needles and so far I've only made ONE!

The yarn is Knit Picks Palette and the pattern is Mittens to Order, a free Ravelry download.

This is still a UFO and I'll knit the other one in February.

After that I made a simple pair with colorblocking. I based them on this pair I saw on Pinterest

They are mostly Knit Picks Wool of the Andes worsted, but I threw in a little Cascade 200 and some Dream in Color Classy from the stash. I love these and they are my new everyday pair!

The pattern is loosely based on Mitts that Fit, which I've used, altered, and re-imagined a dozen times over the years.

I'm excited to keep making mittens!

Friday, January 11, 2019

UFO: Little White Dress Progress

Today's UFO January project is a little white regency dress I started way back in 2015.

I started out with a pattern from Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion and 4 yards of cotton dotted Swiss fabric. The design is a drop-front style, which was new to me. I love it because it's clever and I can do it up by myself.

My plan was to entirely hand-sew this!


This project has hibernated for a while as I've picked it up and put it down again. For this year's UFO January, I really wanted to get it done. The only thing left to sew is the hem!

This is the first time I've tried the whole thing on! I pinned in the hem to check the length and I'm really liking the whole look!

Arm movement range is moderate. I think I could drive and eat!

I threw on a red shawl just for funsies. I'll need a jewelry plan (and some gloves!) to complete the look. And of course hem it!

 A few construction shots. White on white is hard to see! I gave the skirt seams a clean finish with a faux-French technique. First I sewed the seam with a combination running/backstitch, then I pressed the seam allowance edges in toward each other and whipped the folds together to enclose the raw edges.

The finished seam is about 1/4" wide.

At the top of each side I made a placket for a modest overlap.

I've started hemming it, and I'm about 1/4 of the way around. So close! 

I probably won't get a chance to put this on and take nice pictures until an event in April, but it will feel good to cross it off the list!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

2019: My Year of Mittens!

In 2019, I'm knitting a year of mittens!

My goal for this year is to knit one pair of mittens per month. I'm hoping to try out several new styles and techniques, including lots of colorwork!

You can follow along over at my Ravelry if you're a Revelry member, or here at my blog!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

UFO January

It's UFO January! I did it last year, and this year I'm back for more!

My goal for January is to finish as many of my UFOs (Un-Finished Objects, or projects in progress) as possible. And I'm inviting anyone to join me!

What this includes: Historic sewing, Modern sewing, Knitting, Crafts, everything! If it's a half-done project, it counts!

What this doesn't include: Projects that are long-term on purpose. (Like my tiny knitted lace! I'll never finish that in a month!) Or projects that haven't really started yet. I might have all the materials and a plan, but that doesn't really count as a UFO.

WHY? Unfinished projects carry stress. Starting the year with a clean slate is renewing to the creative spirit!

What about stuff that can't be finished? My goal is to finish as much as I can, and sort the rest. If it's time to give up on a project, I want to make that decision now, and get rid of the project or take it apart for re-use.

What about non-UFOs? I'll probably sew a few things that aren't UFOs, but this is my main goal!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Baby Quilt for a New Niece

Over the summer I made a simple quilt for my sister's new baby.

My sister picked out the color scheme entirely. Normally I'd go for brights, not pastels, so I have to admit it was a little tough for me to design with these colors. But by the time I was done, I liked it. 

The pattern is just 3" squares, with every other square alternated between a print and a light grey solid. I had about 18 fabrics, but I could have had way more! I was hoping for a very scrappy/charm look and I was hoping for fewer repeats.

The binding was made of pieced scraps. I rounded the corners off - I love the rounded look on a baby quilt! Plus there's no miters to have to sew!

A little detail of the quilting. Just an allover meandering pattern like I like!

This is the first time I've ever bothered to do a pieced back, and it was purely out of need! I ran short of the grey solid but I had plenty of little printed squares leftover, so here we are. I was extra cautious laying out the quilt sandwich so that the pieced row remained straight.

I made an inscription block with her name and birth date. (I blurred out her middle and last name here.) I made the text in Word, picked a pretty font, added a little graphic, and printed it. I taped the printout to my work table and taped a piece of white cotton over it. Then I used a Tee Juice permanent fabric marker to trace around everything. I turned the edges of the block under and hand sewed it to the quilt after I quilted it.

So far it's getting plenty of use!

Monday, September 24, 2018

1870s Dress for an 8-year-old

A few months ago I made a new 1870s dress for my 8-year-old for our Victorian summer picnic.

First, The Foundation Garments. I made her a new very plain and simple chemise and drawers. I made up the chemise with a small cut-on sleeve. The drawers I made following Elizabeth Stuart Clark's instructions, but I sewed the crotch seam completely closed and also added a little elastic in back so they wouldn't slide down. She wore white, knee-high modern stockings with this.

Next I made the foundation bodice. I made it from cotton twill, stiffened with cords and a little boning. It has adjustable straps and laces closed in back. There are buttons along the lower edge to attach the petticoats and skirts. 

Here are a couple examples I used for reference. I omitted the front buttons on mine because it was a little quicker and I was on a deadline!

Adorable Antique Children's Corset in White Cotton with Center Front Buttons


To make the pattern, I wrapped her up in tape, over an old t-shirt, then (carefully!) cut the tape away at CB, marked my desired seamlines, and cut on each to make pattern pieces. I removed a little from the CB for a lacing gap, traced them onto paper, and added seam allowances.

Onto The Dress. Here's a few images I used for reference. The white blouse under a sleeveless dress seemed to be a pretty popular look.


Here's another, with short cap sleeves instead of a sleeveless overdress.

Le Monde Elégant 1869 April

One more, hiding between these two ladies. Similar blouse/bodice look.

Musée des Familles 1872

This catalog page from 1873 specifically calls these sleeveless, low-neck dresses "overdresses," implying they go over something else, like one of the waists on the previous page, or another dress.

For simplicity's sake I decided to make the blouse/overdress fake, and sewed the white sleeves and yoke right to the purple dress.

The dress has buttons all the way down the front, white on top and grey mother-of-pearl on the purple part. The bottom 5 or 6 buttons are non-functional.

The sides of the overskirt are pleated up a bit to make it more bustle-y. I tied a dark purple petersham ribbon around the waist at the last minute.

The purple linen fabric has a small white stripe. The faux-neckline and hem are trimmed with pleats made of bias strips of the linen. The neckline and wrists are trimmed with lace and there is a little white ribbon around the faux-neckline also.

The underskirt is white muslin trimmed with wide knife pleats. A little of the pleats stick up above a trimming of white petersham. This underskirt came out far too long initially, so I sewed a tuck to the inside to take up a little length, The tuck is hidden behind the upper part of the pleats.

I liked this dress a lot, and so did she! The bustling at the sides and back didn't come out perfect, but what ever does? She really enjoyed wearing it and my only regret is I couldn't get her to stand still long enough for a few nice, serious pictures. Hopefully she will still fit into this one next year!