sewing fool

29 December 2008

Knitter's block vanquished

Yes, it's been a very long time since I posted a new project -- because it's been a very long time since there was a new project to post. A combination of different things (a difficult commissioned work that nearly has been abandoned but still oozes residual guilt, primarily) made me avoid starting anything new.

My co-worker NH gave me a lovely haircut a while back, and refused financial recompense. He's a knitter, too, with large feet (13EE!), and has never received socks before, himself. I came up with the following thank-you gift: a ball of lovely Austermann Step sock yarn, infused with aloe and jojoba to soften the finished-object-wearer's skin, a pair of socks made from the same yarn in a different colorway, and the pattern that I made up along the way as I knitted, so he could duplicate it with the gift skein. I like to knit both socks at the same time, toe-up, on one long circular needle; this saves me the aggravation of losing little DPs, mismatched socks and second-sock syndrome, and it lets me make the socks as tall as possible once the feet are done, an important consideration when knitting for big feet.

Now I just have to finish LB's Xmas socks, and I can move on to making a pair each for my newly-discovered birth mother AE (big feet - 12B) and her partner PJ (short but wide feet - 7EE). Socks, socks, socks! The rebirth of creativity is delightful. *contented sigh*

17 November 2007


My co-worker JMcG adopted a four-month old Chihuahua puppy last weekend as Broadway ground to a halt because of the stagehands' strike. He's been able to bond with his little darling, named Striker, and I made a wee giftie for the wee beastie using subway and lunch time (jury duty! what a week!) and scraps of yarn from my stash.

29 July 2007

Dopp kits

I made a set of dopp kits, or cosmetics bags, as going away on vacation gifts for a friend and his daughter. (The daddy got a second as a birthday present.) I used a commercial pattern, Butterick 6236 (items: large accessory bag and small accessory bag), and mostly followed the directions as written, but added pull tabs at the ends of the zippers, second side loops, piping at the zipper section seams, and chose to use grosgrain ribbon instead of nylon webbing for the loops and tabs. The fabrics, a striped denim (masculine!) and a plain denim (to set off the daughter's favorite color, pink), were purchased at, um, that great shop whose name I can't remember. Zippers, piping and ribbon from Daytona Trimmings. Black iron-on interfacing, to give the denim more support, from NY Elegant Fabrics.

23 February 2007

So I made a throw pillow

for my lovely, traditional sofa, which is off-white and rather quiet. It seemed to need a sartorial exclamation point, so I gave it ... this. The fringe is like nothing I had ever seen before. I plan to make some matching bolsters, with the fringe around the ends.

** UPDATE **

It seemed to me that the throw pillow was lonely, so I made it a sibling. So much time had passed since the creation of the first that I was unable to match the trim exactly; they are therefore fraternal, rather than identical.

So far the plans for the bolsters are still dormant.

21 February 2007

Simple sewing

One of the things I like best about being a seamstress is the Ordinary Project. People who don't sew don't know that easy little pieces can be as satisfying as complicated things. And for those of us who have high aesthetic standards, there is an infinitely soothing satisfaction in being commissioned to make a simple white dust-and-waterproof slipcover for a rack of sound equipment so that a taped-down plastic tarp can disappear.

For your perusal, a before shot: with tarp, and an after shot: with slipcover.

12 February 2007

On the needles

I'll have you know: I am knitting another pair of socks for myself. I started them on January 17th, and I am just noodling around, making things up and stealing like a magpie when shiny ideas catch my eye. Toe-ups, two at once on one long circular; Plymouth Encore Colorspun D.K. 75% acrylic / 25 % wool.

03 November 2006

Blue and red socks

I've knitted several pairs of socks.

The first pair was a birthday gift for BACH, and he was appropriately grateful (he is a very indulgent friend, and knows the value of handmade goods of any ilk). They were muticolored-flecked, mostly primary colors. I had no idea what I was doing but tried a logical approach, believing that the toe-up method would be a good choice because one can try the socks on as they grow, which is more exciting than slipping a tube over the ankle and thinking, Nope, not long enough yet; more boring ribbing to do! I found Stasia's Toe-Up guide on the web and was smitten. I adapted it slightly to use with one long circular needle, knitting both socks simultaneously, each from its own ball of yarn. It was a blast.

The next pair I made was a graduation present - for a PhD, no less! - for dear CJC in South Africa. To my sadness they were lost somewhere in the great postal wilderness of the world (although I have a fond hope that they were found by someone who likes them - and wears them in all their green, yellow and blue-flecked glory). The next pair was for flaky NLR's birthday; he's creative and Scandinavian, so I had high hopes for their reception and was disappointed by his tepid response. (They were done with a self-striping wool blend in burgundy, brown, and gold, and looked magnificent, but took for-EV-er on smaller-than-toothpicks size 1 circs.) I didn't learn my lesson, and knitted a very cute pair of anklets (another advantage of toe-up style being that one can stop knitting and call it an anklet, whether that was the initial plan or not) for Aussie ED. She was sweet about appreciating their handmadeness and admired the Koigu PPPM colors (a blend of pinks, mostly) but I had a suspicion she would probably never wear them.

I waited a while, and then turned to baby booties, which were quick, and Koigu (springy!), and warmly received by fellow knitter and new mother CAM. More time passed on other projects, and I finally began to understand that the person who would most appreciate my handmade socks was - well, me.

Seduced by Evelyn A. Clark's beautiful Retro Rib Socks pattern in Interweave Knits (winter 2004), I chose Lanett Superwash Merino, because I had a lot of it in stash, and chose to work the top ribbing band of the leg, the heel, and the toe in a contrasting color (the only contrasting color I had in the same yarn, in stash). It's not a toe-up pattern, and I loved the way the heel and toe came out when I finally got to them. I wasn't sure how much yarn they would take, so I knitted them one at a time - which meant in March/April and then July. Now that it's November and cold enough to wear them, I present them to you in all their glory, on my own long and elegant feet. While they are soft and comfortable, they are already pilling a bit, which makes me suspect this yarn is not meant for sock-making; I'll stick to yarns with a small synthetic percentage in the future.

In late September I bought two balls of lovely self-striping wool blend at my LYS. In October I knit them into a pair of Stasia's toe-ups, for myself. As I was beginning them, my boyfriend and I broke up. It was very therapeutic to make something just for me, and as luck would have it I fininshed them the day before my birthday. My natal day was cold, and I was delighted to wear them and share them with the friends and co-workers who admired them all throughout their growth.