One more christmas gift eked out, this one for my workplace pollyanna. Thankfully we exchange those on Saturday, so I still have time to finish one thumb.
Pattern is Can-Cans from Ravelry. Knitted in Knitpicks Palette yarn, which was really nice to work with and inexpensive. I bought three balls just in case, and didn't even use a whole one. And I did add to my practical knitting knowledge--now I know how to work a thumb gusset.
Went back to work on quilt blocks. I added one round to the blocks I already had done. They were honestly a little small (6") and I didn't feel like joining a million blocks together. So I have 30 finished blocks and 20 half finished. I probably need 100 to get a good sized quilt.
Best of all, the tape lace is off the backing, and beginning to be turned into a garment! It held it's shape fairly well, though next time I will make sure to have more points of connections on the tape itself, I think that will help reinforce it.

And just a little bit of relevant Christmas loot--Seamus's father got me an Amazon giftcard, with which I scored some new textile books (as well as a few science books and novels) The black work and whitework books are mostly design inspirations (not all that clear on technique, which is fine) the Fashion in Detail is my second, and one of the best series of books! And the Art of Manipulating Fabric we had at my school, and I always meant to purchase it. More pleating, quilting, smocking and cording how-to and images that you can imagine.

Holidays are Taking Over

Seriously, I haven't made anything that wasn't a gift in almost a month. As much as I like making things for people, I a) am afraid of getting so out of the swing I can't get back and b) feel vaguely guilty posting them here...it's not exactly exciting stuff I'm the first to admit. But forgive me, here are some gifts to come out of the Havinghorns factory recently.
The diagonal scarf for my mom is finished and blocked. It's nice and long and quite soft, so I think (hope) she will like it.

Also for her (well, for the house, so I guess for both of my parents) is a little table runner. I bought a pack of christmas fabric and made up this pattern, which was fairly easy. I'm terrible at cutting things out accurately, so quilting not made of strips or single shapes gets a bit hairy.
Machine pieced, hand quilted because I don't really trust this machine to quilt. It bugs out and breaks threads even while piecing.

Also been busy with ornaments, I've made 6-7 of the little granny square stockings, they're my favorite so far. The I-cord wreath was a bit of an experiment

These wreaths came out better--a sort of improvised crochet over an ornament hanger twisted into a circle. The fabric balls were made out of leftovers from the table runner. I remember having a ball like those on my tree growing up.
And last, but not least, for my Something Awful Secret Santa, a needle point 'smug' emoticon. Just because.

Christmas Gifts, and Something for Me

About 3/4 of the way through this Diagonal Lace Scarf for my mom for Christmas. It's been a quick knit, and has been getting me into the rhythm of lace knitting, though this is about as simple as it gets. The yarn is Caron Simply Soft, nothing pricey, but it feels nice, which I think is all my mom will care about.
Some tiny knitted things, I'll tuck a few in with presents to my parents, Seamus's parents...getting more comfortable with shaping and following patterns. I feel a bit like a baby following patterns (I really never have for sewing) but I really need to learn to do things structurally before I go off on my own.
It doesn't look like much, but this is the result of some meticulous muslin-botching-together and pattern drafting. If you've been following me for a while (I guess most of you have? Impressive!) you've probably realized that my pattern-development process is not very...organized? Orthodox?

Anyway, after putting it off of a while, I've drafted out this pattern for a cape for myself, I'm pretty happy with it. Hopefully when I get back from Thanksgiving I'll get it cut--grey wool with a plaid lining.


The scarf is done, blocked, and fringed. It's insanely thick, so I don't think he'll be wearing it until it really cools down. I did have him try it on for a photo though.
This is our seldom-used, seed covered back yard. In anycase, I'm glad it's long enough. The last scarf I made for him ended up at an awkard not-quite-long-enough length, so I erred on the large side this time. It's longer than I am tall, nearly 6' long.

My strips of plaid have finally started coming together. I went to fabric row over the weekend and picked up a golden yellow to use for the centers of the log cabins, and started throwing some together.
I love the barn raising layout, and I'm happy that the light/dark contrast is looking pretty good. Now I need about 100 more blocks! I hope I have enough strips.
And the lace keeps on going. I'm getting more even as I go, but some of the first ones are really lopsided...that's what I get for not doing more samples...

Very-Slightly-Late Birthday Present

The scarf is pretty much done, only a week late! But Seamus did get some other nice things for his birthday, so he didn't mind. Putting on a black fringe now, I'll take pictures of him wearing it soon.

The keystone/triple tau came out a bit oval-y, a bit bumpy. I've not done intarsia inside another pattern, it got a little messy, especially since it was worked in the round. Lots of tying on and breaking off. It's super thick too.

The box of plaid scraps is growing, I've separated it out into darks and lights. Still not sure whether I'll do foundation pieced scraps, or log cabins, but either way, I'll probably do it with a light/dark separation, and probably set it in a 'barn raising' pattern.
I've also been playing with some tiny little snail trail blocks. This is about as small as I can manage by hand. Any smaller, and the pieces start to fall apart as I sew them, or the seam allowances get really bulky.
I know there are ways to get even smaller by using paper foundations on a machine, but I'm thinking I'll use this to make the pocket of my vest, so I need to keep it to hand techniques. The Snail Trail block looks a lot like traditional horn pattern, so I think, done in solid silks, it'll be a nice pocket detail.

And finally, my latest thrift-finds. The book is a great guide to netting, bobbin, and needlelace. All the 'contemporary' projects in it are the usual ugly hemp/wool abstract wall hangings that seem to have dominated fiber arts in the 70's. But the stitch patterns and diagrams are good. I also found these turquoise doc martens, quite a bonus.

Other than Knitting

While I've spent most of the week continuing on Seamus' scarf (almost to the end of the 3rd and 4th balls) I couldn't work on it *all* the time. Knitting seems especially rough on my wrists, so I need to take some breaks.

The plaid shirts I collected so far were joined by a few more and cut down to 1.5" strips.
I'm sticking with blue/green/gray plaids, to keep it cohesive--they are seem to be the easiest colors to find in thin cotton (not flannel) shirts. I'm still not sure whether I want to do a simple diagonal strip block, or a log cabin. Have to wait and see what the light/dark ration is like.
Strip of each shirt, and the 7" paper foundation. I use phonebook paper because it's free, and it tears away from the fabric easily. It's the fastest way to make strip blocks. If I make log cabins I probably won't use it.
And, excitingly enough I started filling in my tape lace piece. This stitch is called the 'pea stitch' I think I'm going to alternate it with a looser stitch.
Right, now I'm back to knitting!

Scarf Keeps Going, and Growing

If I had known when I started knitting this how much of a pain this much 2x2 checkerboard was going to be, I probably would not have done it, but it looks so nice...
According to Seamus, the "Tessalated Pavement" checkboard represents life and death, triumph and despair, good and evil. Working on this for him has been interesting--normally I am used to pulling imagery and symbols from my own fictionalized 'library.' I have both general and fairly specific rules and meanings behind the colors, shapes and materials that I use in my garments and what they mean in the fictional world they are created for, and to the characters that they belong to. Making this for him means working with pre-exsisting symbols, from the very rich visual language that Freemasonry has developed.

The tape-lace experiment continues on:
The bias strips were laid and stitched down to a dark backing fabric-so I can see what I am doing. When the whole piece is finished, I'll cut the green basting stitches holding it down and lift it off the backing fabric. Here it is not yet sewn to itself, so you can see some rough edges.
Joining the separate pieces of tape together. There will be some raw edges on the reverse, I'm not totally sure yet how I will deal with that.
Anddd, all joined up and a it cleaner looking. Now I'm ready to start the lace. I'm not sure yet if I'm just going to do an alternating pattern in every other compartment, or a bunch of different ones...
I've also started hoarding plaid shirts for a quilt, this time, I swear, queen sized to keep me warm this winter. Pattern I'm not totally sure on yet, but tonight I'm cutting them into 1.5 inch strips. I will probably just end up doing a string quilt, but I could also do a nine patch or something with the strips...

Small Post for Small Progresses

Well, I finally have a day off, after a very busy work week. Our assistant manager went on vacation, and boot season is finally starting to happen, so we're getting busier every day. So not too much got done on the sewing/knitting front, but I've been keeping up steam at least.
The keystone for Seamus's scarf is taking shape. I really do not dig this yarn, it's so poofy, and I feel like it's always getting in my mouth, but it was soft enough for him to like it, and not acrylic, so I won't get that squeaky feeling when I work with it.

Back, with the checkerboard that looks a bit more like houndstooth in the knit. This is going to be one thick, warm scarf.
The quilt is pieced. Came out much smaller than I had hoped--only about 50 by 40 inches. I'll put a little border on it, I suppose, but not much, I'll just keep it small. Whatever I do next, I'm going to plan out to get a queen size. On this one, I was just winging it with chunks of fabric I dyed.
And something new, something art-related, hurray! Breaking out my Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Fashion in Detail (an awesome book) inspired me to get back to exploring old embellishment techniques, in this case, tape lace, or Battenburg lace. I pulled apart one of the few linen mumu's I've picked up from the thriftstore. The bottom half is remaining as yardage, the front top became thread (as the bright white of cotton thread would look weird) and the back was cut into bias strips to make the tape. We'll see how it goes...

Warm Things for Cooler Weather

Once the temperature dips below 80°, it's time to start wistfully stockpiling/making warm cozy things for the nippy weather that's sure to come soon. Only then the temperature jumps right back up and see-saws for two more months. Ugh.

The purple vest is finished! My first non-scarf garment, I feel quite accomplished. Starting with a new medium leads to some nice instant gratification.
Little cable around the neck. Dunno if I need to block it really, the silk just sort of hangs nicely.
Laid flat, you can see how simple the shape is, it's really just a big old rectangle with arm holes.
I made a "Fetching" fingerless mitt from Knitty to get the hang of putting in a thumb. Was much easier than I anticipated. I knew the gauge was wrong from the start, so they are huge, but no problem, my boyfriend Seamus has much bigger hands then me. Now to make the other, and move on to mittens and full gloves.
He's also getting a scarf for his birthday! I actually had to go out and buy yarn (usually I scour for appropriate sweaters to unravel) because I needed specific colors. This stuff is a little fuzzy for the colorwork I wanna do, but it'll work.
The body of the scarf will be black and white check, worked in the round, and then one of each symbol at the end. The designs are both symbols of the Holy Royal Arch, the masonic group that he's joining this fall. Considering how tacky a lot of the masonic stuff (rings, ties, shirts) is today, I think it's pretty classy.
Sample of the checkerboard pattern (also my gauge swatch)

In non-knitting news, I've picked back up my double-four-patch quilt. I put it away for a bit in frustration. I had sewn it with one seam allowance for one part, and a different one for the next step, so I had to pick out a lot of seams and re-sew.

Now I've got 2 more colors to go, then I can start putting it together. Two possible orientations:

I'm leaning towards the first, it looks a bit like plaid. Thoughts?

And finally, I scored a pretty incredible thrift find this week.

Yes, it is a child's bed comforter in a completely awesome moon-and-stars celestial print, something that's been rather trendy in the last year or so.
A la Christopher Kane Resort '11. But I've always loved astronomical imagery, I have more than one of those cheesy "Universe" picture books you find on sale at Borders. So I think it's going to have to become something cozy and warm. I'm debating about the shape now--drapey blanket coat, peacoat-ish style, cape? Not sure yet.

Selfish Sewing (or knitting, or whatever)

After years of only really posting up my school/"art" work or stuff to sell, I feel a bit bad, posting about things I'm making for myself. Heck, I feel a bit bad even making things for myself, period. Furthermore, I'm not sure if anyone'd be interested in the not-so-special things I make to wear, but that's what I'm working on right now, so it's either share that, or let many days pass before I post at all.

Whenever I tell people what I went to school for, they always think that's so great, I must be able to make all my own clothes! But up until this summer, I didn't have a single piece of clothing that I really had any hand in at all. I was far to busy working on school work to take a little time out for myself. So I hope you will understand and forgive my selfish work right now.
Mesh scarf for the winter, using up some grey wool I frogged out of a sweater a lonnng time ago. An extension of the filet crochet mesh I was playing with earlier in the year that never really went anywhere.
It did lead to a tiny neat little sample, trying the same stitch pattern out with some white wool I had left over and felting it. I like the hand of it, and am pondering the possibilities of using it for a patch-worked sweater/jacket/cloak in several yarns and sizes.
Not actually clothing, but something I've been meaning to make for myself for some time--a needle book. I usually have needles stuck all over my pincushion, as well as lost in my sewing box, my desk, my carpet, everywhere. So it was a necessary little project.
Fancy little patchwork cover, I sort love strip-piecing simple stripes and arrowheads and things.
Last week I started with the vague idea of making a drape-front vest, based on all those cardigans I've been seeing with straight-cut fronts that drape. The yarn is a great dark purple 100% silk that I pulled out of an extremely large sweater. Also shown, two sets of double-pointed needles I picked up from Philly Aids Thrift, now I'm obligated to figure out socks/mittens.
And progress tonight, one armhole in. The second will be made in a few rows, then the other front piece. It drapes really nicely, I'm happy. Kinda want to do a longer one, but in a larger gauge yarn, this is a bit much.
And lastly, I've had these Wallabees for a season, and never wore them much. I got them because they were a great sale, but I'm not too fond of the light sandy color, plus my jeans stained them with indigo.
So I dyed them red! Fleibing's leather dye is a wonderful thing. I love red shoes, and I don't have a pair now. Much happier.