Thursday, December 01, 2016

WWW-MMM and a New Month

Well, I skipped another day but I wore pretty much the same clothes as the day before. Here's yesterday's outfit:

You have seen nearly all of these garments before apart from:

  • Travelling shawl, MM
  • Mismatched wrist warmers, MM (samples from a spinning class!)

Dressed for: A walk in the rain to get my hair cut. Sorry you can't see the results yet but it was good to get my bangs out of my eyes.

I think I did fairly well in showing my outfits for the entire month of November. I'm not planning to stop altogether now but there will be less of these going forward. The clothes I choose to wear this time of year for warmth and comfort are not exactly fashion forward! You've already seen a large selection of them anyway and I will just be putting them on repeat/rearrange/repeat. However if I come up with something worth showing off I promise I will blog it. Assuming it's not so dark you can't see the details. We have had record rainfall this season so far and, along with the fact that it doesn't get really light out until about 8:30am and then starts to get dark again before 4pm, there's not a lot of opportunity for half-decent photos. And the situation is not going to improve until about February or March. Such is life in the rainforest. Why do you think all the important holidays happen this time of year? So we have an excuse to put up festive lights and bright decorations!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


I had a photo for you yesterday but didn't get a chance to post it so you get a bonus today. And yes, I do need a haircut. Tomorrow hopefully. Before I trip over it. My hair grows fast according to Pat, my long-time hairdresser. No kidding. It's also fine, thick, mostly straight and rather prone to wild tangles if I let it grow out. Neither clips nor pins nor elastics will stay in. At one point in my youth it was down my back nearly to my waist but wouldn't behave so it lived mostly in braids. Then I figured if I had to keep it in permanent bondage I might as well chop it off. Over time it got shorter and shorter until it was nearly a crewcut. That was sure easy to care for! Then I decided I was tired of the proportions (I have a small head) so I grew it out some. I'm very happy with the style I have now. However it still needs trimming every 5 weeks and I've put it off too long. It's nearly as long as it was when I got back from our cross-country trip! Time to lower my ears, as my old poppy would say.

Anyway here's yesterday's outfit where I'm covered in lots of wool:

  • Beaded beret, MM (handspun too, pre-Ravelry)
  • Grace's Frolic scarf, MM
  • Red-brown dress, MM (self-drafted, stretch knit)
  • Falklands Flare pullover sweater, MM (handspun too)
  • Brown twill jacket, MM (Katherine Tilton's B5891)
  • Happy Legs tights, MM
  • Pettipants, MM (a bifurcated slip!)
  • Self-striping socks, MM (pre-Ravelry)
  • Darkness gloves, MM (did I forget to put these in Ravelry?)
  • Red Blundstone boots

Dressed for: A walk downtown to see "Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them". Fantastic!

And here's today's outfit:

  • Woad Percy scarf, MM (dyed in my own woad)
  • Grey stretch bamboo t-shirt, MM (self-drafted)
  • Charcoal grey stretch cotton tunic, MM (self-drafted)
  • Black ruched capri pants, MM
  • Spring Sky socks, MM (dyed in my own indigo
  • Black Birkenstocks

Dressed for: Back to my friend's house to help thread her loom. Her house is very hot compared to mine!

Whew! That took some research. Gotta go have some lunch before I'm expected at my friend's house. Good thing she only lives a few blocks away.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Still With The WWW-MMM

I missed yesterday's outfit post because I was helping a buddy wind a warp and start to thread her loom. You didn't miss anything because, apart from the requisite raincoat and umbrella, I wore pretty much the same clothes as the day before. Today the sun was showing its face through the clouds and the locals were all out walking the kids and dogs, jogging and generally getting outside while the getting was good. You know, before the next batch of rain clouds moves in.

The outfit:

  • Blue batik vest, MM (Katherine Tilton's Butterick 5891)
  • Red-brown ponte dress, MM (self-drafted)
  • Black stretch knit "knickers" (as my friend called them), SB
  • Midnight On Catalina shawl, MM
  • Indigo overdyed knit socks, MM (pre-Ravelry)
  • Black Blundstone boots
  • Not shown: Issey Miyake jacket, beaded beret, fingerless mitts - all MM

Dressed for: A brisk walk and a bit of grocery shopping

Oh, and notice that I made sure you can see my new little camera remote. It works! Also, I need a haircut. Badly.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Finally A Finished Object

Lookit! I finished something! Yay! Pretty novel, huh? Meet Hermie:

I adore his eyestalks! And his claws. And his sweet whiskers. He is quite large too. You can judge the relative size by the fact that his shell alone is bigger than my fist. And if he was a real hermit crab he'd be looking for a new and larger shell very soon! I'm very happy with the results. Hansi Singh is an amazing designer but one needs to have quite an extensive skill set to make one of her "Hansigurumi" creatures. There is complex knitting, picking up stitches, stitch grafting, stuffing and assembly actions all going on - sometimes simultaneously. Not for the faint of heart for sure. But hey, I did it! Go me.

I want to complain that the title of Hansi's book from Interweave Press, "Amigurumi Knits: Patterns for 20 Cute Mini Knits", is very misleading. The patterns are not really cute (unless you have my sense of humour) and as written they are definitely not mini. The publishers obviously had their own notions. Hansi herself describes them as "peculiar" which is a perfect way to say they are more realistic than cartoonish. The yarn called for is worsted weight. You could of course use finer yarn and smaller needles for a smaller sized critter. But trust me, you might want to practise with the big stuff first! You also would have to find a smaller wire than chenille stems if you want to make the limbs posable. Though I think the giant size actually makes my hermit crab even more delightful. Can't miss him!

However, I missed yesterday's outfit post but it was a retread of the day before - minus the boots - so you didn't really miss anything. Here's today's:

  • Grey and black jumper, MM (self-drafted pattern, poly knit)
  • Oatmeal henley t-shirt, SB
  • Black knit ruffled capri pants, SB
  • Green striped knit socks, MM (pre-Ravelry)
  • Black Birkies

Dressed for: Teaching small kids to do spool-knitting. Only partially successful but fun!

In other news my camera remote finally showed up. Told you it was on the slow boat! And hello, it actually works. My photos may get more exciting. Or not. We'll find out soon enough, won't we?

Monday, November 21, 2016


Hello! Yup, I missed a couple of days. Saturday I was busy with family and Sunday it was so dark and rainy I couldn't be bothered trying to take a photo. Of anything. Today, however, is sunny! Yay. We had to get out for a walk and it was warm enough that I didn't need any extra layers over this:

  • Black Snake sweatshirt, MM (Katherine Tilton's B6101)
  • Olive green ribbed turtleneck, SB
  • Olive stretch pants, SB
  • Josef Siebel boots
  • Not shown: Undies (bra and panties), MM
  • Not shown: Green striped knit socks, MM (pre-Ravelry)
  • Shown but should NOT have been: the clothes hanger coming out of my head!

Dressed for: Shopping for bread at Cobs (their Cape Seed bread is totally yum!)

So. Nothing new to report. Still slowly plugging away on crab legs. Just some finishing up to do, a few eyestalks and whiskers and then I can assemble all the pieces. No more winding of blanket warps has occurred. A little further knitting on my Red Earth Candelia sweater. Not terrifically interesting at all. So I am now going to go move that hanger somewhere else before I forget it's there again.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Points On Sewing With Handwovens

Last evening at my guild we had a panel discussion about sewing with handwoven fabrics. There were some good points made and some very interesting garments modelled. I wasn't on the panel but I did manage to get my tuppence worth in! However I think a couple of things could have been mentioned that either were missed or that my opinions differ. So, for what it's worth, here are my thoughts in point form:

  • Handwoven fabrics are just fabric. More precious maybe! A little more spongy, stretchy or prone to ravel perhaps. Definitely narrower in width than commercially available yardage. But in the end every fabric has certain characteristics that you need to take into consideration before you cut and sew it. Just because it came off your loom doesn't mean it should be so terrifying to work with!
  • Fit. Fit! FIT!! The most important skill to learn is how to fit your body. Participants in the discussion said neither had a dressform. However I never learned how to make garments fit me properly until we made Debbie Double. She is invaluable! I can get behind her. I can pin into her. I can drape over her. It's like having another me to work with. I'm not sure a commercial dressform would be accurate enough at least for my non-standard-shaped body. But it would probably be better than nothing.
  • And speaking of fit, the most important part of you to fit is your shoulders, neck and armhole area. The bust can be adjusted and waist and hips are relatively simple to widen or narrow. Fit the most complex area first and the rest will follow. I have templates now that I use to quickly adjust any pattern to fit me much better than any standard shape. In last night's discussion, it was recommended to work with loose-fitting garments: bog shirts, drop shoulders, dolman sleeves - thus avoiding fitting issues. Those don't look at all good on my narrow rounded shoulders and I hate excess fabric bunching up under my arms. Some people can pull it off though.
  • I can't tell anyone what patterns to use for handwoven fabric - mainly because it all depends! On your sewing skills. On the fabric itself. On your personal taste and style. I guess if you're new to garment sewing it might be better to start with something easy with few seams. There are patterns that use every scrap of a certain width and length, many of them ethnic or "zero-waste fashion". These aren't always terribly flattering on some body shapes though. If you've been reading this blog for any length of time you'll know I personally have a predilection for long tops, jackets and vests and that I don't mind sewing quite complex garments.
  • One thought that was expressed last evening was to make garments that will have some longevity in your wardrobe. That could be easy fitting, simple shapes that will still fit you if you gain or lose weight or classic jackets and coats that remain in style for decades. I personally tend to go for artsy edgy pieces that were never in style so they can't ever go out of style! Though honestly I currently have a few handwoven garments that need some refitting or I will need to find new homes for them. They aren't working for me. But then they were made sometime in the '90's so I guess they don't really owe me anything after 20 years, huh? My weaving skills were better back then but my fitting and sewing skills are much better now.
  • If you don't know how a garment is going to work out and are afraid to waste your special fabric, make a muslin first. Preferably using fabric with somewhat similar characteristics. Even better, make it a wearable muslin. Two new garments are better than one, right? All your fitting changes can be tested out and you can see what the garment will look like on you and then any further tweaking can happen on the real thing.
  • You don't need a wide loom for garments. The finished fabric only has to be as wide as the widest pattern piece. Or if that's still too wide for your loom, consider piecing either decoratively or subtly. Remember that fabulous Japanese kimono fabrics are only 14" wide! Or you can also use commercial fabrics in conjunction with handwovens. One of my favourite vests (you can tell because it's looking a little shabby!) uses a slubby commercial silk back and collar bands with woven fronts. I added a patch of the handwoven fabric on the back to tie it in:

  • A rule of thumb I like to follow is "plain fabric/complex garment vs.complex fabric/plain garment". If you have very elaborate fabric with a close-fitted tailored garment, the lines get lost and it makes pattern layouts very tricky. Of course simple fabric/simple garment is always an option but don't expect anyone to notice that it's handwoven and hand-sewn!
  • Drapey fabrics are usually easier to wear than stiff fabrics. Fine fabrics are easier to sew and press than very thick ones. If your fabric is thick, consider using a finer fabric for binding or facings.
  • Use good quality fabric for linings. Consider a fusible knit to underline a fabric with long floats, a loose sett or slippery yarns that could distort easily.
  • Handwoven fabrics have well-deserved reputation for ravelling at the cut edges. Make sure you handle them gently and finish the edges as soon as possible in the sewing sequence. Serging, French or mock-French seams, Hong Kong seam finishes are all good methods.
  • Use the same threads and needles you would use on regular woven fabrics. You don't have to use silk threads on silk fabric and there are reasons why it's probably not a good idea. Match the colour as closely as possible and if in doubt go darker rather than lighter.

And I could go on and on. But I'm done for now. Happy to get that much off my brain anyhow!

Moving on to today's outfit, which was inspired by the socks:

  • Green "sweatshirt" dress, MM
  • Same old brown turtleneck, SB
  • Green stretch pants, SB
  • Same socks as yesterday but this time you can see them, MM
  • Painted coppery Birkenstocks

Dressed for: Grocery shopping. My locusts kids are coming for dinner tomorrow.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Another Day, Same Old Me

You don't seem to be getting tired of me photographing my daily outfits yet. I'm actually amazed at that because although it's gotten a lot easier for me (even though my remote still hasn't shown up) I don't really think I'm sharing anything very novel or exciting. It's just me wearing my normal clothes on a normal day! Or as Popeye would say, "I yam what I yam". Thanks bunches for the encouragement though. Otherwise I'd give this up in a heartbeat. Or maybe not...

Anywho, here's today's offering:

You've seen all this before except for:

  • Rainbow Dark cardigan, MM (and Thom made the toggle button)
  • Brown Blundstone boots
  • Not shown: knitted Socks Naturally, MM (dyed with botanical dyes, some from my garden)

Dressed for: This evening's weavers' guild meeting

In other news, remember all the mistakes I've been making in my knitting? Yup. Did it again. I managed to find yet another mistake in my sweater that caused me to rip it back 2" to where I divided for the sleeves and body. Guess I shouldn't have done that part while under the influence of a migraine and a chattering five-year-old, huh? I have trouble counting stitches at the best of times. However I'm now correct and back up to where I left off now so all is well. Gee, if this keeps up this simple sweater is going to take as much time to finish as the last complicated one! Go figure.