I spy

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With my little eye, a three-headed Dragon. 

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Sharper needles

It’s been almost two years since I got my very own craft room, and it took me awhile to get the room settled and to figure out what would work and what wouldn’t. Mostly I’ve been focusing on getting the yarn and assorted crafts organized, but lately I’ve been pining to get back into sewing, and so I bought a pattern: the Wiksten Tank. Inspired by fellow blogger Fringe Association, I made myself a muslin in the size closest to my measurements (out of some really old “Noah” kid print fabric) and then proceeded to tailor the pattern to fit me better.

I needed a small dart at the upper bust to eliminate some gapping, I reduced the swoop at the hemline, and raised the front neckline about 5/8″ and lowered the back neckline the same amount. I also had to drop the armhole opening a little and adjust the width of the back because though the tank fit across the front just fine, it was too wide across the upper back. This is what I love about being able to sew my own clothes — I don’t have to put up with poorly fitting garments!

As you can see in the pattern piece above, I also played with adding ‘princess seams’ to the front because in some fabrics (such as the stiff cotton I used for my muslin), the tank bells out like a maternity top. In a fabric with more drape it would not be an issue, but I plan on making a couple of summer tops in cotton and wanted just a little more shaping to the top. My first run at the shaping seams was too extreme, so I’ll make it a bit narrower on the next version.

All in all, I had a really good time getting back into the whole customizing thing. I got a second tank nearly done (just needs binding at the neck & armholes) and it’s not too bad. I have some gorgeous silky fabrics laying in wait to become fancier shirts that I can layer beneath light jackets or scarves, and I desperately need some casual tanks in my summer wardrobe. This pattern includes a longer version that can be worn as a summer dress (or nightie); for that, I don’t think I’d use the shaping darts or adjust the hemline (though I’d keep the bust dart).

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In which I win

Take THAT, danged yarn that didn’t want to keep its color sequence! I showed you, I did. Sure, there’s extra ends to weave in, but the socks match!

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WIP Wednesday

This week I’m going to show a new project that I just cast on. It’s a blanket, using four partial balls of soft, terry-like yarns in spring colors. I weighed the balls and arranged the colors so that I’ll use two as I increase and then two as I decrease this garter stitch square. The blanket will be small, good for a stroller or car seat.

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There’s a rainbow on my head

I spun this up ages ago. A couple years, probably, though I can’t find it in my Flickr account to verify. It’s Dicentra Designs and I just could not walk away from the rainbow cheerfulness. It’s been my eye-candy on the “I spun this” shelf, and would receive periodic pets and squishes. I mean, come on — look at how happy this yarn is!

Anyway – I decided to use it. In my steadfast refusal to do a gauge swatch for things that are easily adapted, I simply grabbed some needles and cast on 8 stitches and began a top-down hat.

I increased until the magic of Pi said I’d gone far enough, then just knit round and round.

After it seemed tall enough (as measured against a slouchy hat that the Girl has been wearing), I did an inch of seed stitch for no particular reason and then decreased out a few stitches and switched to 1×1 ribbing (with a strand of black elastic thread held in to help the ribbing bounce back).

Gave it a quick blocking.

And took a poorly-lit, oddly-framed bathroom selfie of it on my head.

The yarn (and resulting hat) is heavy; I spun it up fairly dense (insert usual disclaimer about not really knowing what I’m doing at the spinning wheel but doing it nonetheless). It makes for a very warm hat, and the added bit of elastic makes me hopeful that it may actually stay on my head. For now, it’s too warm to need a hat like this, so it will go in the hat box until we get a real winter.

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I told you so

The Hitchhiker is just lovely, like a watercolor seascape. Nineteen points done, mostly while listening to the rain and streaming an X-Files marathon and studiously ignoring the mopping (though I did sweep).

It appears I never posted a final picture of that Dots or Dashes cowl — it’s done, blocked, and in my gift pile (where it may or may not stay; I rather like the cowl myself). Here’s an action shot:

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Matchmaker

As a self-taught, cavalier spinner I never have a plan for the finished yarns. I just sit down with a lovely braid or ball of roving, and spin. I let the fiber tell me what it wants to be – lace weight, thick-and-thin, squishy. My default spinning thickness is rather thin, so my two-plies are usually in the fingering weight category. This took me a long time to accept, as I don’t knit with fingering weight yarns very often and I had no idea what to do with the finished yarns. Some of my earlier ones I don’t have labels on, so I don’t even know how much yardage is there.

Thus, I have several skeins of handspun sitting on my shelf. Lovely skeins, just awaiting the perfect project. One such abandoned beauty was this sky-blue fingering weight.

As you can see, I’ve tried a few times to knit with it. The yarn is consistent but thin (and of unknown yardage), soft with a nice drape. I tried socks (not sturdy enough), slippers (too thin), hats (didn’t like the resulting fabric, too drape-y), lace shawls (the lace got lost in the variegated colors). And so the yarn has been sitting patiently, awaiting an “A-ha!” moment.

That moment arrived last night. I was spinning, and it was turning out to a smooth fingering weight, and I was thinking that I was getting quite a bit of yardage out of the braid, and what the heck was I going to make??

And I remembered the blue yarn, and I thought, I really need to find a project for these skeins. The whole point of spinning is to be able to knit my own yarns, after all.

What I need is a project that I can use varying yardage for and adjust accordingly – something where you weigh the yarn and knit half, or something you cast off whenever you run out of yarn.

And I remembered that I have a bajillion patterns, and one in particular that I’ve always wanted to knit up. One that you could knit with any weight yarn (though it’s written for sock yarn), of any yardage, to get a scarf or shallow shawl. Something with drape, with movement, something that would allow the color variations to shine without being drowned in a lace pattern.

The Hitchhiker, by Martina Behm.

BOOM. A perfect match!

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