Jun 052013
 
Gestrickt habe ich:
  • Socken für meinen Mann: Ferse und Spickel des zweiten Sockens sind fertig, noch ca. 15 Runden und dann kommt die Spitze
  • Viola: bin wieder beim zweiten Ärmel, habe gerade die Abnahmen angefangen
Gehäkelt habe ich:
  • Apfelsinenwellen: bin bei Reihe acht des ersten Handschuhs, zwei Reihen weiter als letztes Mal
Gesponnen habe ich:
  • hellbraune Shetland-Wolle: ein kleines bisschen mehr
  • weiter an dem orangenen BFL auf meiner Bosworth Mini
Genäht habe ich:
  • habe angefangen, den orangen Rock zu nähen; muss leider den Bund wieder aufmachen, weil die Abnäher nicht weit genug sind

Des weiteren erwähnt wurde:

Mar 202009
 

Lo and behold, here are the pictures of the doll’s clothes (is this a doll or a stuffed animal?) I made between 1976 and 1981. (I wrote about the first of these clothes that I made when I told you how I learned to knit and crochet.) In chronological order:

monchichi4

Nice summer combination of sleeveless top and short skirt. Think of a day spent sailing on a lake.

monchichi5

Cozy and practical sleeping bag. Removable pack of tissues as a pillow. Notice the border in contrasting color. (The designer probably ran out of yarn.)

monchichi6

There’s a few year’s gap between the above models and this one. Here there’s actual seamless construction in a floor length sturdy gown with puffy long sleeves. The dress is buttoned at the back and features single rows of single crochet in a brighter color to add interest.

monchichi7

This model is meant to be worn at elegant tea or garden parties. A black skirt sets off the brightly pink top, again with long sleeves. The bow at the neck adds a little extra touch, and for those chilly evening breezes there is a nice black shawl to complete the outfit.

monchichi8

City wear in bright colors. This is an 80s model after all. A simple straight and sleeveless dress that can be worn with or without the matching short sleeved jacket. The simplicity of the piece draws the attention to it’s cheerful color, and the interesting texture achieved by irregularly placed rows of single and double crochet.

The next dress is actually my very first piece of sewing. My mother made herself a dress at that time, and since I was so interested she decided to teach me machine-sewing. The fabric is leftovers from her dress. She helped me measure the doll, and cutting the pieces, then I sew the front and back of the dress, and the hem. My mother helped me gather the skirt and then she sew it to the top of the dress. She also made the hat. (So this time my mother’s the designer, not me.) There was a matching shawl made from thin red cotton but I don’t have it anymore.

monchichi1

A light summer dress made of brightly printed cotton. Notice the matching sun bonnet with it’s pretty rick-rack at the brim.

monchichi9

Again a summer dress, lacy and flowing, fit for a party in a nice dusty pink. Unlike the earlier works this one is knit instead of crochet which gives the fabric a nice flowing drape.

monchichi10

This one is for colder weather, a wooly coat and matching hat. The moss stitch fabric is gathered at the cuffs. The double-breasted front is once again closed with bows. The crocheted hat has a ruffled brim that frames the face and a bow in contrasting yarn to add more visual interest.

monchichi11

Another evening gown, a straight top and skirt with embroidered detail at the neck and shoulders made from a sleek, silk-like material. This model also features a matching bag with embroidered detail, and matching shoes (not pictured because they didn’t fit the model).

It’s really interesting to me to see all these in one place. I find that I still avoid seaming as much as I can. I even used pinky shears to cut out the pieces for the green, hand-sewn dress so that I didn’t have to sew more than absolutely necessary. The preference for bows and yarn as closures is due tot he fact that I didn’t have any buttons. Later I took inexpensive snap-fasteners that my mother didn’t mind giving me.

The other reason for why I tend to knit as seamless as possible came to me just a few days ago when I used my little sewing kit that I got from my grand-aunt when I was 14. I needed a tapestry needle and when I took it out that I had another one tucked away in there which I hadn’t known about for twenty years or so. In my youth there was the tapestry needle. One. It lives (to this day) in my mother’s knitting basket. We were not allowed to take it without asking, and we had to put it back immediately afterwards. Of course I avoided asking for it as much as possible.

I thought tapestry needles were expensive and rare. I don’t know when I decided to buy my own, certainly some time before I moved out of my parent’s house, and imagine my surprise when I found that tapestry needles are actually quite cheap, and that you can’t buy one only, you have to take a packet of two. At the moment I’m the proud owner of about four or five of them, the two I bought myself, and two or three that came with the sewing basket I inherited from my husband’s grandmother who was a seamstress.

Of course the doll clothes you see above aren’t the only ones I made when I was young. But these are the only ones I still have. I kept them because I liked them so much. I remember making clothes for a stuffed ape in bright yellow, blue, and pink cotton, crochet dresses for Barbie dolls, purses, and hats, and such. All made from leftover yarn and fabrics. I’m not sure but the yarn in the first picture on the top might actually be leftover yarn from my third big knitting project, a Norwegian sweater with colored yoke. When I was a child, I didn’t know you could have a home without a sack of leftover yarn and fabric in the attic.

Jun 272008
 

Sorry, for leaving you hanging with the promise of a picture before disappearing. (In my last post I promised a picture of a finished stole.)There has been a lot of teaching this week which is good but a bit time-consuming, the weather has been a bit crazy so that every time I had the time to take a picture it was raining (in between the rain it was blazingly hot), and then, in the evenings, I absolutely had to watch soccer, of course. You know, the German national team has reached the finale of the Euro 2008. I’m not much into soccer otherwise but these games are really exciting.

Apart from that there’s the usual craziness that is June and July, kindergarten summer party tomorrow for which I spent one morning cutting out cardboard squares and attaching pieces of string to them while the other mothers talked about how disappointed they are that there kindergardeners are neither interested in playing tennis nor golf. I reminded myself that this was a good networking opportunity and told everybody that I’m teaching voice, guitar, piano, and recorder. I don’t know if I left a favorable impression though, I was un-showered, and without make-up since I planned to work-out later that day like every morning, and somehow these mothers and I never clicked. For the party I will have to bring the cucumber salad, and I volunteered to supervise the “Sackhüpfen” (sack race).

I also volunteered (I don’t know what has gotten me, I’m not the volunteering kind, usually) to scan the kindergarten group photo and photoshop something on it before having it printed on tees as gifts for the kindergarten teachers.

I wanted to write an elaborate post about the things I do for my son but then, here you have it in a nutshell: I hang with people that feel like aliens to me, I spend my time and energy on things I find boring and confusing, and I’m smiling all the time while I do it. I’m secretly hoping that it will rain tomorrow, though because then there will be the play, and the buffet but no sack race.

Last weekend I spent a most enjoyable day, and I have thought about the fact that I spent the best portion of that day all alone for the whole week. I feel seriously unsocial. I thought I’d spend a whole weekend bonding with my son, well, either that or arguing with him the whole time, because my husband was visiting a friend, and then, what happened was that my mother-in-law knocked at the door in the morning because she wanted to take my son to the museum. Off they went and suddenly I had a day to myself at home. I know myself and so I was certain I’d spend the day surfing the net, eating too much, and feeling terrible afterwards.

Instead I pulled out the sewing machine, and spend five hours on it, barely stopping to pee and drink tea. I even skipped lunch. I made myself a new knitting bag because I was coveting the Charming Handbag from Amy Karol’s book “Bend-the-Rules Sewing”, and also I was sick of the way my lace knitting in its plastic bag looked on the kitchen bench all the time. If you want to see hundreds of these bags, you can click here.

This is how the bag hangs int he kitchen when not in use.

I made the bag bigger by enlarging the template by 150%, I put a pocket in that is big enough to hold my lace charts (which makes the bag quite stiff), I lengthened the handles so that I can put them over my shoulder, and I added a button closure and a loop through which I can thread the yarn. If I were making it again I’d make the handles broader, and maybe use facing on them. Also I find that I really like bags that can be zipped up. I tend to lose things from open bags. Which is not an issue with this one as it’s destined to wander from kitchen to TV, to backyard, and back only.

Bag from the outside. (The color is truer to life in the picture above.)

Interior view. (Sorry for the bad pictures, every time I pick the camera up it starts to get cloudy or rains.)

I also finished reading “Spook Country”, and I enjoyed it so much that I promptly started reading “Pattern Recognition” for the second time. Sometimes I forget how much I love William Gibson’s books, and they keep getting better and better. Also I knit something like 130 rows of the Mystic Meadows stole since Friday. It is getting into that state where it’s annoying me for not being finished yet because I want to cast on for the next two shawls. So I’m trying this new tactic of not starting something new but taking that “being annoyed, and a bit bored”-energy to finish something first. Which leads me to furiously knitting lace while watching soccer. Which isn’t recommended usually, especially for beginning lace knitters.

So, how was your weekend? Wait. It’s already the next weekend, isn’t it? Any plans?

Jun 042008
 

I already felt a little weird, I got my new sewing machine last summer, bought a lot of fabric, and vowed to finally make some of the projects I had planned to make for months and months. There never was time, every week I said to myself, “But next weekend…”. Then my purse broke. One of the handles has come off due to constant overload, and so, finally last weekend I started making my new purse. It’s the “A Day in the Park Backpack Tote“, a pattern by Liesl Gibson. I had bought the pattern back in July, and then ordered the fabric and notions from u-handbag. And then it all sat there for ages.

Since I now have a nice little roto-cutter and mat and have practiced using it the cutting out was going far better than I had feared. After a mere two hours or so I was done. (When I told my sister that I had a new cutter she said, “You’ll love it once you get used to it.” And I, of course, thought “What’s there to get used to it?” Well, let’s just say this time I only cut off slivers of paper from the patterns, my straight lines were actually straight. Ahem.) It’s a good thing that I spent another afternoon before that tracing the pattern pieces and cutting them all out.

The pattern, while great, has about a gazillion pieces and everything needs to be cut out something like four times. And then you’d theoretically transfer all the markings to the fabric pieces. Hahaha. On Monday evening I started actually sewing the bag, and wished for a walking foot right away. No matter what I do, the pieces a) never are of the same size, and b) never line up properly. The only thing that could change that is either a walking foot or hand-basting which is totally out of the question.

I won’t bother you with the whole saga of my sewing process, but I learned that it takes me only about six minutes to transfer my nice kitchen into this:

And about the same amount of time to take everything back. That took me by surprise I would have thought it took longer to fetch the sewing machine, chair, ironing board, sewing box, iron, extension cord, fabric and pattern from different parts of the house.

Yesterday I really threw myself into it. Apart from the little things I have to attend to like drink water, teach, do errands, and look after my son, I sew and sew. I’m always amazed at how little of sewing is actually sewing. It’s more like ironing, pinning, and trying to figure out what to do next with tiny sewing intermezzos. And in my case the sewing goes quite slowly. But then I figured out that while I started sewing about 30 years ago in all this time I did only two skirts, two pairs of pants, two shirts, about four curtains and about three bags. So I’m more of a long-time beginner.

Back to the bag. I spent about 40 minutes trying to pin the front panel to the side panel. The instructions are very clear. They say that you should make sure that the tops are lining up. That’s a very good thought, only I couldn’t make them line up. Just. Couldn’t. In the end they looked like this:

So I did what every sane person would do – I chopped the fabric that didn’t match on the front and back panels off. It was about half an inch front and back. That of course could have posed a problem with the lining. You see, it’s not that pretty when the lining is actually bigger than the outside bag. In the end it all turned out well because I had the exact same problem with the exact same amount of extra fabric when I sew together the lining. Off it came. If only I knew what I did wrong. I didn’t trace the pattern pieces wrong, and I didn’t forget to add seam allowances somewhere because they were already included in the pieces.

When my husband came to tell me he was going to bed I responded with, “Only two more seams.” but then I just went on and finished everything up. I hammered the rivets in at 11.30 at night. Thank God for a soundproof annex. Oh, and if you think of making one of these bags for yourself, go ahead, I highly recommend it though at times the thought of that many pattern pieces drove me slightly crazy, but I also recommend getting the hardware with the pattern. Really. The rivets I have were no fun to put in and they might fall out anytime soon. Other than that I love this bag.

And thanks to Joleo (because she wrote something about inserting zippers which I can’t seem to find anymore) I hand-basted the zipper into the lining and was rewarded with a nice zippered pocket for once.

I can’t tell you how happy I am about my new bag. Of course it’s raining now, not the best weather for a fabric bag but then – there will be summer days and when I wore it today to kindergarten I found it very, very comfortable to wear and I break out into a smile every time I see the fabric.

(Speaking of smiles, please remember that you have until the 7th to send me your posts or posts that you read for our monthly just post roundtables. (It’s creativemother AT web DOT de.) If you don’t know what the just posts are about you can click on any of the purple birds in the right sidebar.)

Oct 222007
 

I’m so behind with blogging that I don’t want to do it at all. You probably know this feeling (otherwise it is hard to explain). Still I will write those posts. Only slowly. Sorry.

Though I haven’t been blogging much I have been busy as usual. Mostly knitting and a little sewing. To blog about the “psychedelic bag” now feels a little weird because it has been completed for a while now. I started thinking about it months ago, made most of it in August and finished it weeks afterwards.

For ages I have been thinking that my husband needs a bag. In fact, I’d say he needs a purse, only men don’t get to wear those without getting funny looks. But a messenger bag seems to be acceptable, I’m seeing men everywhere with bags that I’d call purse if they were for me. And it’s a good thing because I don’t know why a man is supposed to be able to carry everything in his pockets. Otherwise he has the choice between briefcase and backpack. My husband owns an enormous backpack that really works well if you want to take your laptop, your knitting, a book like the fourth Harry Potter, a notebook, and everything you happened to pick up while running errands, plus all the contents of my purse. At least that’s what I carried around in it the last time I borrowed it.

For everyday use my husband needs something to hold his wallet, keys, maybe a cell phone, and something to read. So I decided to design a bag for him. He was game and we went to the fabric store. Those of you who have checked out his blog psychedelic zen guitar know that he loves all things psychedelic (not psychedelic drugs though) and so his fabric choice holds no surprise.

finished bag

Before that I had literally spent days thinking about this bag’s design. It had to be big enough to hold a magazine, it should have interior pockets with and without zippers, everything should be easily accessible and at the same time safely kept inside. And there shouldn’t be velcro. So I made a sketch and I measured the magazine and the wallet and the cell phone and I almost wrecked my brain thinking about how everything should come together at the zipper. The main one that closes the bag.

So you can imagine that I was mightily pleased with myself when I almost finished this bag (for those of you who are new to this blog, “almost finishing” is a specialty of mine). Only to find that a) the flap is too short, b) the shoulder strap was fastened too high up and so c) it was impossible to sew everything together at the zipper. (Note to self: when making last minute changes such as adding strips of fabric to the top of the bag better take the time to think about which other parts of the design will have to be changed because of that).

So, of course, I decided to leave it as it was and sew everything shut by hand. That was very nice until I lifted the bag by the straps and with a horrible srrk-sound all the hand-sewn seams opened up again. Disgusted I threw it in a corner and put a heap of laundry on top of it. But then, eventually, I finished it. And I’m now quite pleased with it, also very happy that nobody will ever see the inside of that part with the zipper in it ever again (hopefully!). But every time I look at it there’s a little woman in my ear whispering, “But the flap is too short!” I’ll just go and tape her mouth shut.

For those of you who are interested in sewing details:

first time zippered interior pocket following Lisa’s tutorial
first time interior pockets
construction

the dreaded “sew everything together with too small seam allowances”-zipper