My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.

 

Archives for January 2022

The Week in Review

I really enjoyed reading your sewing stories in the comments last week. I love that some of you have the same sewing machine as mine, or other similar era machines. They don’t make ’em like that anymore!

Because I live in a two bedroom condo (a large two bedroom condo, but a two bedroom condo after all), and one bedroom is packed with yarn (ahem) and I have a home office setup in the master bedroom with two desks (it’s a big bedroom), I have no dedicated sewing spot. I have been seeing at my dining table, which is 44″ round. With the iron set up in the kitchen.

Yesterday I put in two of the three leaves I have for my table and pushed it back a bit against the wall. This makes a much more spacious sewing area!

Sewing area!

My Swedish great-grandfather made that table. It is solid “tiger” oak and weighs a ton. It was my paternal grandmother’s table (her father made it) and I inherited it when she died. (I also inherited her four poster bed with the hand-carved pinecones on the posts, also made by her father.)

So last week I made two shirts. This:

Butterick 6689, after laundering, no iron. It looks much better on a person!

This was such a weird pattern and I made some changes to it. The collar was this weird pleated thing so I left it off. The pockets were also pleated so I just kept them plain. I used a medium weight denim for this. I discovered that I really love this shirt — it is very wearable! I think I’ll make it again with a plain collar. Or just a neck facing.

And yesterday I made this:

Simplicity 9113

This is a much lighter weight denim. I’ve not worn this yet, so no report on wearability.

I do still knit, by the way.

Alice Starmore’s Oregon Cardigan in the Autumn colorway

And Loki has taken up interpretive dance to amuse himself while I sew.

“Look at MEEEEE!”

We just barely escaped being hit my the huge nor’easter that enveloped the Northeast. We were just barely west of the storm line and got just a dusting of snow. But the wind was howling yesterday! Stay warm!

Sew What?

Knitting took a back seat for a couple of days last week, as I hauled this out of the closet.

I call him “Husky”

This is my beloved Husqvarna Prisma 990 sewing machine that I purchased on February 15, 1986. That makes him 36 years old! Look — I still have the receipt:

That was a lot of money in 1986!

I still have the manual, too.

I’m amazed I didn’t lose this at some point

I decided I wanted to get back into some sewing so I hauled Husky out of the closet, plugged him in and hit the on switch — and he immediately purred to life. A good thing, because the warranty was only for 25 years! I used this machine 5 or so years ago to make some doll clothes, but before that, I hadn’t used it since the 1990s, apart from stitching the occasional steek on a Dale of Norway sweater. Amazingly it still works absolutely beautifully!

I have some very precious fabric I want to turn into a shirt, but wanted to work up to it by practicing on some lesser fabric. On Monday I made this shirt:

Pintucks!

I used a lightweight chambray and Simplicity pattern #9044 and I am very pleased with the results. I may make this pattern again as I really like this shirt. I was pleased to learn that I had not forgotten how to sew. I just needed to check the manual to remind me how to do buttonholes. Husky makes it very easy to make buttonholes!

Yesterday I made this:

This has been laundered — could use a touch-up with an iron!

This is Butterick pattern #6099 in a very lightweight denim. This shirt was more difficult that the one I made on Monday, as it has that pesky front placket and cuffed sleeves.

That little continuous facing thingie is a pain to do properly.

Full disclosure: a million years ago I was a very accomplished seamstress. I could (and did, very often) make a Vogue designer suit in a weekend. I made a tailored man’s suit once, three wedding dresses, a prom dress (the recipient of that prom dress is now 45 years old — yikes!), numerous suits, party dresses, and everyday clothes.

I don’t plan to rise to that level again — I don’t think my back could take it. But I have a few more shirt patterns to try out before I cut into that precious fabric I mentioned above.

Loki is, by the way, a big help to my sewing.

“I’m here when you need me, Momma!”

Trust Your Instincts

Or rather, I should trust my instincts.

In early December I started knitting the Sandstone Peak cardigan that I showed in my last post. From the start, I was underwhelmed by the project. I cast it aside a week or so after starting it to knit 5 clocks and a cowl, hat, and handwarmers set. I don’t like to let WIPs languish so I returned to it and almost finished it. Still not really liking it. Well guess what? Upon trying it on, I like it even less, so I bundled it up in its unfinished state (it just needs the front bands knit) and shoved it in a closet. The fit is horrible, and the sleeves are way too tight for a cardigan I would wear over something else. So I’m chalking this up as a reminder to listen to my inner voice when something doesn’t seem right.

Anyway.

I cast on for a new long-tern project.

Gansey Goodness!

This is the Seaforth Gansey, from Alice Starmore’s book In the Hebrides (long out of print). In keeping with the discontinued vibe, I am using British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey wool. This is a relatively easy knit, the pattern made up of knits and purls and easily memorized.

In other news, I have some sewing projects on the horizon. I’ve got some precious vintage (well actually antique) fabric I plan to use, but first I am going to make something for practice since it has been as long time since I’ve done any serious sewing. While Loki was fast asleep in the bedroom closet, I got ready to cut out my project. But clearly the rustle of the tissue paper was too much for my boy.

The siren song of the tissue paper!

I am pleased to report, however, that with a minimum of encouragement Loki was persuaded to sit on a chair and watch as I cut out my pattern pieces instead of helping!

Such a good kitty!

So I plan to start sewing tomorrow!

Goodbye to 2021

Happy New Year! 2021 was a weird one, and very memorable for me, for both bad and good reasons. In February my father died, and in September I did something I had no idea I was going to do at the beginning of the year: I retired. For the first time since I was 16 years old, I do not have a job. I have zero regrets about that, but I do have a bit of survivor’s guilt!

Since last I posted, I did finish another clock, this one knit from Koigu KPPPM fingering weight wool:

Then I pulled out a Virtual Yarns kit from my stash room, and knit the Maude set. The cowl:

The hat:

And fingerless mitts:

I’ve got a sweater project that I’ve been workin on, off and on:

Sandstone Peak Cardigan

And Loki is of course helping.

I have a fun idea for some projects for 2022 . . . that are not knit! Stay tuned!