Thursday, June 20, 2013

A picture paints a thousand words

I've been talking to my friend Maggie about sewing recently. We're trying to apply what we've learned about fitting knitwear to woven garments. She's the one actually sewing - I'm just pondering at this point mostly because I can't find decent fabric. Unless you want to quilt or a wedding gown, fabric stores cannot help you. I want to make a sundress out of a lightweight cotton, but I am increasingly convinced that it will be Christmas before I find appropriate material - and even then, the fabric will be printed with candy canes and holly!

Anyway, I came across the following fabulous picture on Pinterest that shows exactly how to upsize a bodice pattern piece. Cut right-angle slices into the bottom right of the piece up to the armhole and then spread out the slices and tape the tissue. This makes so much sense to me. Look at how the shape mirrors a larger body.

I suspect you'd need to make a couple of other changes to get a better fit. I'd need to make the bodice longer because I'm busty; I'd just add another inch or three to the bottom of the pattern. The dart would also have to be lengthened a bit to have the point end at the right position on the bust.

But what a great way to approach this kind of mod. In the past, I've added inches onto the side and always ended up with an A-line tent regardless of the shape of the original garment. This method adds inches exactly where you need them and we know from experience that that's exactly what is needed to make a garment fit well.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sarah Lund's Sweater

While most Americans won't have heard of "Forbrydelsen," they may be watching season 3 of "The Killing," the AMC television drama that stars Mirielle Enos. "The Killing" is based on the aforementioned Danish series which has garnered high acclaim in Britain and Europe. My favorite parts of both shows are the wool sweaters each lead actress wears - see my previous blog entry, Killer sweaters in The Killing.

The last time Tom and I met our British friends Jamie and Hilary for dinner, Hil talked about how much she'd love to own her very own "Forbrydelsen" sweater, the one with the undyed black and white wool. Hil is a tiny little thing - I thought I could whip up this sweater in short order and make her happy, too.

I chose Cascade Ecological Wool in Natural and Black but truth be told it really looks cream and dark brown. The original sweater is knitted in bulky weight, undyed wool at a large gauge. I'm not crazy about the loose-knit look of the sweater, plus the Ecological Wool is a slightly lighter weight, so I'm knitting the jumper at a tighter gauge. It looks tidier but still keeps the look of the original.

Hilary is only 36 inches around with zero lumps or bumps or weird proportions. I'd be knitting 25 sweaters a year if I was her size! I'm shocked by how fast I'm knitting this sweater. With just a couple of nights of TV watching, I've finished a third of the sweater. Oh, to be thin.

When I'm finished, I'm attaching a "Love for Aunt Julie" tag to this sweater, too, just like I did for my sister's baby sweater. What the heck? I've got 49 more of them to use up and I don't mind being Aunt Julie to all my loved ones.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Where have YOU been?

That is definitely the question. I've been missing in action for about a month, so I thought I'd show you what I've been up to during the merry month of May.

I kicked off the month by having a large, benign tumor removed from my wedding ring finger. I went to see a hand surgeon about the contracture that's developing in my left hand, a condition that can eventually turn your hand into a frozen claw (YIKES and DOUBLE YIKES for this avid knitter).

The doc looked at my hand and said my condition wasn't bad enough for treatment. Skeptical, I explained how I'd suffered for over 40 years with overt pain that starts in my ring finger and radiates up to my hand to my arm into my upper back. If I hit my ring finger in the wrong way or if my hands got the least bit cold (like below 60 degrees outside), the pain was unbearable. I've been to doctor after doctor and never received  a diagnosis or effective treatment - the first time I went to a physician for this malady was in 1975!

He checked out my finger and in ten seconds announced: you have a large globus tumor under your fingernail that's causing this pain. Go get an MRI to confirm this diagnosis and then we'll do surgery is next week.

Huh? Really? You couldn't see it, couldn't feel it, and yet it was there. The following week, my beloved Tom schlepped me to the surgery center and sat with me all day while the sadistic tumor was expelled from my body. Here is the after-surgery pic where my finger looks like a corn dog from the county fair.

He told me to take it easy on my hand, so I ventured back to knitting gingerly. The good news is that the ring finger doesn't do a whole lot in the knitting process, so it wasn't too difficult as long as I was gentle. But the bandages did slow me down a bit. Still, I managed to knit a complicated Aran baby sweater for my youngest sister, Nancy who is due in September. I hope she loves this wee little cardi. It's a Debbie Bliss classic Aran that I chose because it can be worn by either a boy or a girl. I wanted to create a true family heirloom, something that can be passed down through the family long after I've croaked. Plus I wanted to pay homage our British Isles ancestors who designed these beautiful cabled masterpieces.

I saw an ad on Rav for customized labels from Malaysia - they were cheap! So I made a label that speaks from my heart:

I hope Nancy loves the cardigan and look forward to seeing my new niece wearing it!

Finally, the beloved Tom and I took a little weekend get-away to the Shenandoah to look for my ancestors. What a glorious day! We had so much fun driving down country back roads to discover where my Matthews, Jobe, Kellar, Frye, and other families first settled in the 1700s. I even found the road where my family originally lived. Matthews descendants live on this land to this day.

We had so much fun that day, but we usually have so much fun. I really love this guy. We'll soon celebrate six years together - I'm blessed to be with my best friend and the love of my life. Thank God for good men!