Occasionally, in between all of the wool stuff, I sew things!

This is one of those times. I don’t really consider myself a quilter or a sewist, although I am a person who quilts and sews – the skills don’t come as naturally to me as knitting and spinning. I really do to be in the right sort of mood to take on a patchwork project, and the stuff I enjoy most about sewing is all the handwork stuff.

But I had some fabric I wanted to work into a project – when I celebrated my birthday this year, a stack of Fox Fields fat quarters found its way into my house.

(I may not have discussed this before, but I have a weird sort of love for Tula Pink’s work. Every time I go into a fabric shop and get smitten with a print I’ve never seen before, it turns out to be one of hers.)

They sat on my craft table for a long while, as I tried to figure out what to do with them. It seemed like a lot of potential, and I felt like I needed to pick the ~right pattern~ to do them justice. I toyed with doing something fussy and complicated, but after finishing my maple leaf pillowcase, changed tacks entirely.

The background fabric also turned out to be Tula Pink, from a different collection – I swear this wasn’t on purpose, but it coordinates so well, and I really do prefer using neutral prints to solids as background.

Squares

I cut everything out all in one go – I really, really dislike cutting fabric, so once I’m in the mood (and get my tables cleared off so I can cut) I need to get things finished, or my projects stall.

Corners

The sewing I did in stages. I don’t have a table or an ironing board that is the right height for pressing, and my cutting table is too short, so if I commit to a marathon patchwork session I end up with a sore back from all the pressing and trimming. I did groups of three to five blocks at once, and tried to ‘save up’ the pressing and trimming stages to do them as efficiently as possible. I even brought a few to the kitchen counter to trim there, as that height is perfect for cutting without being hunched over.

I finished the top over the weekend – it took me a good five days to assemble, even after all the blocks were finished. It’s a big one – 72″ square. Which, it turns out, is too big to photograph on my balcony, even with an assistant. I couldn’t find a spot far enough away to get the whole quilt in one shot!

modern maples top

modern maples top

My plan is to baste it this weekend. We’re going on holiday next week, and I’m hoping I’ll have some time to get in the first bits of hand quilting while we’re away.

I also have a lot – a lot – of fabric left over. I’m going to have to figure out a way to use it all!

leftovers


Over the summer, I was browsing the shop update for one of my favourite independent yarn dyers – always dangerous – when I fell in love with a sweater quantity of some yarn. Specifically, Indigodragonfly yarn in a base called “Octobaa” (it’s an eight-ply superwash yarn in sport weight), in one of my very favourite colourways. This colour is called, “Is The Money Okay? Did They Hurt The Money?,” named after Anya from Buffy (and also a line from one of the best episodes!), dyed in this gorgeous greenish teal, and it’s been on my inner wishlist for years, now.

Octobaa

I really wanted it to be a Pomme de Pin. I swatched the way I usually do (guessing needle size, blocking and then washing & hanging my swatch) got gauge, and planned to cast on. But I struggled a lot with choosing a size – the sizing and ease suggestions are a bit unusual for this pattern. There are several inches between sizes, and so ending up between sizes, I had an option between zero ease (less than I’d usually knit) and six inches of ease, which was way more than I wanted. Because this pattern is an allover lace design, I eventually decided to knit the smaller, hoping that with more aggressive blocking I’d be able to get the size I wanted.

I wasn’t totally sure that my sizing plan would work, though. So I decided to knit up a sleeve – a commitment, but not as much of a commitment as the whole sweater body – and wet block it to be sure that I could get the fit I wanted.

Pomme de pin

On the one hand, I am glad that I did that.

On the other: I knit a whole sleeve in all over lace and had to frog it and start again.

I blocked the sleeve a couple of weeks ago, and was really disappointed with how it turned out. The lace actually wasn’t that bad to work, and I loved the look of it, but the fit wasn’t what I was hoping for.

I had options – I could have tried to do math and work out a way to knit this sweater to fit with 1-2″ of positive ease, but I didn’t really feel up to it. I gave it a good week to reflect – did I want to try the bigger size and see if the ease felt right, or start another sweater entirely?

Eventually, I decided to frog the whole thing and start again with a different pattern. I came over all smitten with Empire, with a few modifications – I wanted to knit it with a slightly longer body, and full sleeves.

(Doing this required getting one more skein than I’d originally bought. Fortunately, in what can only be described as a yarn miracle, one skein – just one – of the colourway I used was available in the Indigodragonfly shop, a full two months after I bought my original sweater quantity. Clearly, it was waiting to join its’ siblings at my house.)

Empire in progress

Empire in progress

I’m cracking ahead on Empire, now, and I’ve just started in on the bust increases for the body. This yarn and I are much, much happier, even if it was a bit of a journey to get to this sweater.


Treats

weekend crafting

I’ll be spending it at home with family, making lots of treats and hopefully getting in a little crafting time.


More Posts


sniffly knits
18 September, 2014

sniffly knits

the pillow that took forever
12 September, 2014

the pillow that took forever

finished sweater: walpole
5 September, 2014

finished sweater: walpole

knitting update
21 August, 2014

knitting update

What I Did With My Summer Vacation (or: dye camp)
15 August, 2014

What I Did With My Summer Vacation (or: dye camp)