Wednesday 15 January 2020

Sorbet Sunday - my flavours

I was well and truly bitten by the crochet bug last year (it feels like "this" year as I still haven't documented everything here).

I'd long been thinking about a simple crochet t-shirt or tank, and then I saw this amazing knitted tape yarn at String Harvest. I knew it had to happen.

I found a pattern that looked ideal: Drops 202-30 Sunday Sorbet. A free pattern from the Garn Studio website

Of course what I don't yet know is how to properly read a crochet pattern. I saw the note that this gauge of yarn would work, but failed to notice that it would then be worked with double strands. The pattern is intended for something much chunkier.

I also struggled for a while with the US vs UK terminology and my first few swatches were very tall and narrow. Hmmm. The whole top is just treble crochet (UK term). Once I got that straight I realised my swatch was exactly half the intended size....

So I just took the instructions for the size L (the third of six sizes) and doubled everything!

That kind of worked as there was no pattern for the number of rows, only the number of stitches. the colour changes and the armhole/neck shaping was introduced once the garment had reached a certain length.

To that end, the pattern seems to have an error. the modelled version on their website clearly shows the white band starting before the armhole, yet the pattern would have had that colour introduced much later. I asked a question on their website and while they were very prompt to reply, they didn't really resolve my dilemma. So I just switched colours when I thought it looked good.

In case this is the first of my blog posts you've ever read. I should let you in on a terribly kept secret: I love beige!

My favourite colours are all the neutral beige/brown/greys. I may as well be a donkey reincarnated as a crafting human.

If you like something a bit more colourful, these Cotton Lily yarns do also come in some pastel like colours. Here I've used, from the bottom up, Champagne, Egret, Ivory and Light Taupe.

Cass from String Harvest was really helpful and sent me a few photos through Instagram of my various colour selections laid out next to each other. Thanks to those pictures I shelved the idea of using a much darker grey for the bottom band. Nice service!

Once I'd figured I was doing twice as many stitches as the pattern intended, I also figured I'd need twice as much yarn (see, I kind of understand this crochet thing!). I put in a second order for another ball of the three colours other than the Ivory. I used up exactly both balls of the bottom two bands, about half of the one Ivory ball and about 1&1/4 of the top Light Taupe.

I had it finished at Christmas time and tried it on to find the armholes were too tight up under my arms and needed dropping an inch or so. I also thought my Light Taupe top band was a bit thin and sickly looking.

It was a relatively quick fix to unravel the shoulder straps, add another 5 rows of treble crochet to the front and back necklines then start the shoulder/neck reductions again.

It turns out you really can make this stuff up as you go!

I wet blocked it and then steam ironed it. It was firmish when I first put it on but it certainly grows when worn and is just perfectly comfortable and as close to not wearing anything as is decently possible.

Which is just what you need when it's hot, smoky and windy! I do have a short depth of field focus on these pictures but how bad is that bushfire smoke background. It's just awful.

Any more details I've forgotten? Oh., yeah, size 2.5mm hook. Countless hours, as in I didn't count, but it took ages. :)

My daughter was taking the pictures which always means horizons that are wonky and the funny end of shoot shots when she refuses to stop...

Saturday 4 January 2020

Vogue 1456 for mum

I'd like to say Happy New Year, but with so much of our country on fire it seems too hard to find much joy in the start of the year. And since I wasn't ready for the year to finish so abruptly anyway I'm going to keep catching up on last year until these fires are out and we can all easily breathe some smoke free air.

I made my mum a shirt/blouse/tunic thing as her Christmas present...

It's only now that I've discovered that all my pictures are a bit blurry and appear to have focussed nicely on the background, not the subject. Oops. Anyway my mum might appreciate the soft focus, so let's talk about the garment.

The pattern is Vogue 1456 which is a Sandra Betzina tunic described as follows:

Tunic (semi-fitted through bust) has mandarin collar, seam detail, no side seams, draped side-front pockets, shaped front hemline longer than back, wrong side shows, hemline darts, and narrow hem. A: Notched and stitched hem on sleeves. B: Sleeveless.

It all came about after I found the fabric first. I visited Astratex for the first time in September, and I'm afraid to say it just shut its doors in December. They were having a half price sale and I bought this unusual, swampy coloured, rose patterned, crinkle/seersucker cotton gauze knowing my mum would love it. I was right.

We talked about what it should become and the decision was a sort of light jacket/tunic kind of thing. I toyed with altering some existing patterns but then Spotlight had one of their $5 Vogue pattern sales and this one made it's way into my stash.

I mostly made up the View B in a cotton from my stash first, making it in a size D - which is a little above my bust size. I figured it would be a loose fitting thing and would probably be about right for my mum. Not quite. I'm not sold on it for me as a garment, so my desire to see things finished is battling my disinterest in the thing itself. It just needs a zip and collar but that could take a while.

Anyway, for my mum I went up a size to the size E, sewed the View A with the extra pleats in the front and sleeves. I also added about 3/4" to the mid upper back by slashing and spreading the pattern. Instead of then having a centre back seam line, I just slashed and spread the upper back panel vertically upward from the waist seam, and then sewed some vertical darts to take that width back out. That way I could still cut the back piece on the fold and I still I had my old-mum-rounded-back issue taken care of.

Sadly, I hadn't actually bought enough fabric for the sleeved version of the tunic. But luckily, on the day of Melbourne Frocktails, the fabric shopping tour was visiting Astratex and the 50% discount was offered to our shoppers. I couldn't attend but I put in an order with one of the shopping trip organisers and she snaffle dup another 1m cut for me. Yet it seems to be ever so slightly darker. Only the collar and back panel were cut from the second piece of fabric, but there's a definite shade difference. Grrr...

There are lots of darts and pleats all of which had to be marked on the fabric and with this seersucker like fabric that meant thread tracing every pattern marking. Once that was all done the sewing itself was quite easy and straight forward. The pleated folded front panels are fun and there are pockets hidden inside the pleats (which are almost pockets in themselves as well)

The sleeve is finished with a little V notch. They're perhaps slightly longer than the elbow length that my mum had requested and here they're worn with the cuff turned up once. If you zoom in on the picture below you can see the notched cuff.

Finding lightweight open ended zippers of this length was tricky and I ended up ordering half a dozen from Zipperstop. This one turned out to be perfect, but there was another lighter one that probably matched the fabric better. Unfortunately that one had a stark white end on it even though the puller and teeth were a perfect beige. And two of the others, including the one that best matches my view B tunic, are inexplicably 10" longer than they're meant to be. Maybe that's why I can't be bothered finishing it.

I didn't line the tunic and in the semi-sheer, gauzy light seersucker it's perfectly cool to wear. I think the crinkle texture and the colour make it sufficiently opaque to be worn without any consideration of undergarments colour or type.

It was so very hot over the Christmas break but I think this top fits the bill perfectly for when you want to be covered but not wearing something heavy or structured. This version of the pattern and this fabric came together to make a garment that I really quite like.

You're welcome mummy! :)