Bluegreen Cardigan

All the colors I've used for my Bluesand Cardigan

All the colors I’ve used for my Bluesand Cardigan

I’ve been collecting skeins of Traveller for a while now and it was about to time to put them to good use. They’ve been sitting in their bags waiting for the right project to show up – there are heaps of beautiful striped and colorwork patterns out there, but most of them need just few grams of each color and instead I wanted to use as much of each skein as possible. I love these shades of acid greens and pale blues and I’m very happy with this custom gradient set I was able to put together – I’m so in love with these colors that I didn’t want to waste any meter of them. My search came to an end when I came across Rililie’s Bluesand Cardigan. This garment has an open front and longer bac, has an A line shape, the hem being larger than the bust. The hem is rounded and features a lovely texture which is repeated in the sleeves section too. Of course the protagonist of this pattern is color – three different colors are used to knit big chunky stripes and more pops of color are visible in the pocket lining and icords.

Front view

Front view

I found Bluesand Cardigan perfect for using all of my different skeins: my idea was to use a color for each stripe, but I also wanted to keep them well separate so I thought to add a neutral hue to use in between stripes and to knit edges and details too. This mauve gray – Petrified Forest – goes very well with all of the other colors, keeping them separate but at the same time putting everything together.

Back view

Back view

Now for the details. The pattern comes with two different options for knitting the shoulders and I’ve opted for the hybrid between saddle shoulder and raglan sleeve (saddled raglan). Being knitted top down, this version is basically the opposite to Ysolda’s pattern Blank Canvas, which is knit bottom up instead. I really like the look of this kind of shoulder construction.

Saddle shoulder + raglan sleeve

Saddle shoulder + raglan sleeve

To accommodate the use of my neutral in between stripes (2 rows) I’ve reduced the depth of each big stripe to 22 rows instead of the 24 recommended for my size (S/M).
I casted on for size S but I then followed the increases for size M and knit the last few rows as follow:
Row 56: N SS SB
row 58: SS DB
row 59: change color (2 rows stripe)
Row 60: separation
I ended up with 58 sts for the sleeves, which is what I wanted, or close enough anyway.
Once I picked up the sleeve stitches and the underarm ones, I had a total of 68 stitches on the needles. Usually, at this stage, I like to have about 72 or so, but looked like everybody whom knit this cardigan was happy with the sleeves size, so I kept going. I worked 36 rows in Borthwick Castle to get about a 7 cm stripe – same width of the body stripes- to account for the difference in row gauge in between stockinette and texture stitch. I spaced the sleeve decreases every 12th round twice and then every 10th round x 6. Due to the lack of more Petrified Forest, my sleeve ribbing is just a few cm long, but I’m happy with the result anyway! I also spaced the body increased every 8th row, all at the same distance.

Sun straight in my eyes!

Sun straight into my eyes!

Here some specs about skeins weight and amount used (in color sequence from the top down):
Petrified Forest = 128 gr + 125gr, basically none left!
The Village Green = 136 gr (48 gr used)
Mauritius = 126 gr (49 gr used)
Borthwick Castle = 126 gr (36 gr used in body, 35 gr used in sleeves)
San Fran Bay irregular = 120 gr (40 gr used in body, 22 gr used in sleeves)
What Cheer = 121 gr (41 gr used in body, 25 gr used in sleeves)
Baffin Bay = 125 gr (44 gr used in body, 20 gr used in sleeves)
Sherwood Gardens = 125 gr (67 gr used in body, 31 gr used in sleeves)
Casco Bay = 29 gr (15 gr used for pocket lining + pocket icords).

Color sequence!

Color sequence!

I didn’t bother using too many different size needles. I’ve just used 3 mm for the edgings, icords and pockets linings and 3.5 mm for the body and sleeves. Also, I worked the Icord bind off like so: (k2, ssk) instead of (k2, k2togtbl) as i like it better this way. It took 17 gr of yarn for the body section (at this stage I had only 21 gr left of the second skein of Petrified Forest and I still needed to knit the sleeves, but I managed to squeezed them in!).

This photo is a bit too dark and shadowy but I really like it...

This photo is a bit too dark and shadowy but I really like it…

I love the idea of having pockets, even if they fall pretty low and they are a bit out of reach. The linings are knit alternating 2 rows of PF and 2 of Casco Bay, the darkest blue in my gradient set.

Striped pocket linings plus some weaves in ends still visible - I never trim them completely.

Striped pocket linings plus some woven in ends still visible – I never trim them completely.

I’ve also added buttonholes to the front of the pockets, just underneath the icord edge and I’ve had some fun creating this lovely covered button following this great tutorial by Kate Davies. The button is simple to make and takes only few minutes, plus the result is so gorgeous I want to make a whole collection of them, in every color and size!

I can't wait to knit a beanie and sew a button like this on top!

I can’t wait to knit a beanie and sew a button like this on top!

I really enjoyed knitting this long cardigan and I’d like to have the patience to knit a second one, maybe in different shades of pink and red. If I had to do it again, I’d shorten the body a tiny bit so the pockets would sit higher and be more useful. If you are wondering, Traveller performed great after the blocking, it has grown just few cm and once dry sprung back to the original length causing no issues. Unfortunately at the moment I’ve to be less selfish as I’ve a couple of things to knit for my sis in law and my other nephew, so I’ve to sit aside the idea of casting on a second Bluesand Cardigan…

 

I'n not naked, I'm just wearing shorts!

I’n not naked, I’m just wearing shorts!

Anna goes tropical!

Maxi Anna, maxi joy!

Maxi Anna, maxi joy!

I was dyeing to sew the maxi version of the Anna Dress and I finally did it! I chose a lovely light cotton voile in a pink and purple tropical print – I love these colors even if at the beginning I thought this messy print was a bit too much for my liking. But I was wrong, yeah!

I really love this dress!

I really love this dress!

As you may remember from my previous post, I’ve done quite a few adjustments to the bodice (cut in a size 8), the skirt instead fit perfectly (I cut a size 8 at the waist and a 6 for the hips) – the only adjustment needed was to remove about 12cm from the hem. I seriously wish I had legs long like the pattern pieces!

Are you getting used to my legs, yes?

Are you getting used to my legs, yes?

The bodice it fully lined in lilac cotton voile and I also added a short skirt lining to cover my ass – the shell fabric is pretty sheer and I don’t love showing my undies to everyone! I’ve also added a nice white trim to the lining hem to finish it off.
Adding a trim is a good way to hide the overlocker edges ;)

Adding a trim is a good way to hide the overlocker edges ;)

For this version of Anna, I’ve gone for the tight high split, sewing it an extra couple of cm down, just because otherwise the lining would have been too short to cover my beauties.
Back view

Back view

I’ve used French seams in the skirt pieces – my first time with them and I’ve to say they are easy and pretty – while I didn’t bother doing so for the bodice as every seam is hidden by the lining. My split is machine stitched – come on, don’t bang your head in the wall like that! – because I didn’t feel like hand stitching this thin fabric and for the seam allowance I’ve just folded and stitched it down, to resemble the french seams nearby. I’ve also understitched all the seam allowances along the neckline and armholes, to keep the lining from showing off and I’ve also secured the lining to the shell stitching in the ditch along the waistline.
Split - do you know a way to reinforce the point where the split starts?

Split – do you know a way to reinforce the point where the split starts?

Before hemming the dress, I hung it on a coat hanger for a day to let the fabric relax. Bad idea, very bad. The voile stretched not just lengthways, but also at the neckline! The lining was already nicely sewn in so my only option – unpicking stitches?  No thanks! – was to sew two darts at the back to eliminate that horrible gaping. The front isn’t too bad so for the moment is gonna stay that way.
Back darts

Back darts and I need a hook and eye!

I really like this dress and the lightness of the fabric is perfect for this pattern – it flows and moves softly around my legs, making me feel like a princess (or Angelina Jolie maybe?). Let me tell you the truth: it’s the first maxi dress I own and I feel great in it!
Legs, legs everywhere!

Legs, legs everywhere!

The girls at BHL have just released a brand new pattern – you may already know her, but this is Flora! Isn’t she gorgeous? I’ve ordered the pattern straight away and I’m excepting its arrival in few days. There will be a sewalong too starting on April the 2nd, who’s in?
Also these ladies I’ve another great project on the go – digital printing custom fabric on demand! Yep, you heard it right! You can read all the infos on the BHL blog and help them to get started on Kickstarter. I think it’s a great creative idea and I can’t wait to see it happen!

Grettir il Terzo

Grettir the third. Oh yeah!

Sunset behind me...and the neighbor watering her plants O_o

Sunset behind me…and the neighbor watering her plants O_o

I know, I know, I’m boring. It’s already the third Grettir I show you in less than 10 months, but hey, it’s a gorgeous pattern and with all the different color combinations you can use, it’s always a joy to knit.

I kind of like this shot!

I kind of like this shot!

 

Back side...

Back side…

This time I’ve done it for my younger nephew Pietro who asked for one immediately after seeing the one I gifted to my sister last Xmas. He chose the main color himself and I think it’s very appropriate for him – Brooklyn Bridge (if you were wondering which yarn I used, it’s of course Traveller by CY!) is a lovely mix of dusty blues and grays. It’s a variegated yarn but the colors blend into each other nicely and the variegation isn’t too sharp, perfect for a colorwork sweater. For the yoke I used Bare Traveller as lightest color and Casco Bay for the darkest one. I decided to use Lookingglass for the medium color even if I had just few grams left from other projects and in fact I run out halfway through the yoke. I tried to find some more, but no one was able to help me – Lookingglass is a discontinued colorway – so I came up with a solution that wouldn’t have meant frogging my work and eliminate Lookingglass from the color scheme either. I’ve incorporated to the design a fourth color: Petrified Forest, a warm gray that goes pretty well with all the others colors and picks up the gray side of Brooklyn Bridge. I was worried I wouldn’t like the result, but once I looked at the finished jumper, I breathed a sigh of relief: it’s perfect!

I really like Brooklyn Bridge...

I really like Brooklyn Bridge…

 

You can see here the extra color I needed to add...

You can see here the extra color I needed to add…

But the drama didn’t end there. When my nephew decided on the colors, CY was very low on the Traveller stock and decided to take it off the site for a while. But the squidlets are so awesome that they dyed for me a three skein batch using some “emergency” skeins put aside just in case. Mine it was totally an emergency as I really wanted to finish this Grettir in time for Pietro’s birthday. Once I got the yarn I started with the body and then I provisionally casted on the sleeves so I could knit the yoke. By then Traveller was back in stock and I bought the fourth skein I needed to finish the sleeves. Of course something had to go wrong. My skein should have been here in Australia by the beginning of February but some idiot decided to send back to US the yarn and I had to wait until mid march to put my hands on it. Pietro’s birthday is long gone now and back in Italy spring is already in the air….I hope he’s gonna love this sweater anyway….I’m so glad I finally finished this Grettir! And do you know what? My other nephew asked for one too so there will be soon a fourth one!

My button! :)

My button! :)

 

The wrong side! Loving it!

The wrong side! Loving it!

Adjustments on the Anna Dress

My week end has been all about sewing – if you don’t count the several loads of washing, the shopping, the cleaning – and here are the results of all my efforts to get a better fitting Anna Dress.

My first Anna was a straight size 8 – no adjustments whatsoever and neither a muslin to try the fit. Of course that dress isn’t perfect, but what I dislike the most about it, it’s that I look pregnant if you look at me sideways. Look!

I swear I'm not pregnant!

I swear I’m not pregnant!

The main problems was the front bodice riding up, resulting in uneven waistline and  hem, a choking neckline and shoulder seams slipping towards the back. To understand why this was happening and how to fix it I bought a book! I love books and I read good reviews about “Fit for real People” by Palmer and Pletsch, so now it’s in my personal library. The photos are a bit dated but the book is full of useful examples and explanation on every sort of fitting issue and I’m very happy to have purchased it and I highly recommend it to every beginner like me – all those photos and pictures are great and you can “easily” individuate your body problems.

So …. This is what I’ve modified in my Anna Dress. First of all I’ve double checked my size and I cut again an 8 as my bust and waist fall exactly in this size. And then:

  • I lengthen the front and the back bodice pieces by 2 cm as the first Anna waistline was a bit too high for my liking.
  • Reading the book and comparing the pictures in the book with my photos, I found out I sadly have a very round back (I won’t give up knitting thought!). Basically my shoulders have moved forward and my upper back is a bit rounded, causing my bodice to ride to the back and making the front neckline to tight and also creating some gaping at the back neck. To alter the pattern I draw a perpendicular line to the grain about 10 cm below the base of the neck, cut all the way to the side seamline and then raising the upper back of 2 cm. This created a slightly curved centre back seamline which I can follow to fit my back curve.
  • To reduce the centre back gaping issue I’ve also followed Gingermakes tutorial, slashing and overlapping the tissue of about 1 cm.
  • My hem being longer at the back is also caused by my lack of derrière. Mais oui, my ass isn’t big enough to fill the Anna dress properly and I require less length at the centre back. I’ve started fixing the back bodice first and later on I’ll check the fit on the skirt panels too. I’ve basically draw another line, perpendicular to the grain, about 5 cm above the bottom of the bodice and cut it all the way to the side seamline and overlapped the bottom to the top piece by 2 cm. All these adjustments distorted the grainline – straighten it! – and also the seams – true them!
  • And lastly, as after all these alteration my shoulder seams weren’t lying in a straight line from the base of the neck yet, I went for a forward shoulder adjustment too! Oh yeah! I moved the entire seam forward from the neck, removing 2 cm from the front bodice and adding an equal amount to the back.
Ok, here I look veeeery hunched but IRL I'm a bit better looking! :)

Ok, here I look veeeery hunched but IRL I’m a bit better looking! :)

The elastic says "you're nearly there, waistline!"

The elastic says “you’re nearly there, waistline!”

The front looks good, does it?? :))

The front looks good, does it?? :))

This is my second muslin and I’m pretty happy with how the bodice is looking now, but before cutting in my lovely floral cotton voile – summer maxy dress on its way! – I might remove another cm from the lower back. Owen took these photos and he said that my shorts waistline isn’t straight and therefore the bodice doesn’t look straight either, but should I trust him? What do you all think?

Hello Georgia!

Here she is! I’ve finished my Georgia Dress and I love her! Do you know why!? Because it is a knockout of a dress!

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After making a muslin for the bodice only, I cut a size 6 at the bust slimming down to a 4 for the waist and hips. The bodice went together pretty easily, also thanks to the super helpful posts by the ladies from BHL (see all the blog posts about their sewalong here).

 

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Fitting the skirt was a bit of a pain instead. The main problem is that when I sew I’m usually alone and I don’t have anyone who can help me with the fitting-pinning issues. So for this Georgia I had to finish the dress with the zipper first so I could try it on, inside out, and do the necessary adjustments. I had to take in quite a bit from the side seams – which meant removing the zipper and sew it back in again – and from the back seams.

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I’m pretty happy with the fit even if maybe I could have gone for a sway back adjustment too, as the photos show few wrinkles on my lower back. Next time, maybe, for the moment I’m just to happy to have this new dress in my wardrobe to think about new adjustments!

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For the hem I’ve used some black satin ribbon as I really like to have a nice detail on the inside of the dress too and I’ve overlocked all the seam allowances for a clean finish.

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I’ve also stitched the back straps down onto the bodice as they were pulling the bodice piece up and it looked funny. I might do the same for the front as well, one day.

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So, where is your Georgia?

My Arrow

The last clue of the Follow your Arrow MKAL was released a couple of weeks ago and my shawl has been sitting around waiting for a sunny day to get photographed since. Today it’s finally that day! :)

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I’ve used CY Skinny Bugga in Crown of Thorns Starfish – a beautiful mix of soft magenta, purples and rusty oranges – and Bronze Moth – an unusual color for me which I surprisingly love, a semisolid gold brown. The two of them together are magnificent!

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Ysolda’s MKAL has been lots of fun, mainly because you could choose every time in between two different options and this allow you to re-use the pattern heaps of times mixing the clues together and creating lots of different shapes.

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For my shawl I’ve chosen the ABBBB combination and I’m pretty happy with the result. I really love the knitted-on border – it’s the same kind of edging used in Bristol Ivy’s Winnowing, which I’ve done twice already – it’s a bit more time consuming than a regular bind off, but certainly worth every hour of knitting. Basically the border stitches are worked at a 90 degree angle to the shawl and the border is joined to the shawl by a joining decrease as you knit the border rows. Once the shawl stitches are all been used up, you’ve reached the end of the border too and you need to cast it off. Also, Ysolda’s edging is asymmetrical and ends with a lower number of stitches, creating a lovely half moon shaped border. I’m happy to have chosen this kind of  cast off as it gives some symmetry back to the shawl.

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So, have you finished your Arrow? Which clues have you followed?

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Georgia Dress – The Bodice

The last couple of weeks have been pretty busy and I’ve started (but not finished yet!) few different projects. I’ve three things on the needles and I can’t wait to get them done to show you. I’m very excited about them!! But today I  want to talk about my Georgia Dress instead!

The Georgia Dress sewalong started at the end of January but only today I finally had the time to cut into my fabrics and have some fun! The fabric I’m going to use is this floral cotton sateen for the shell and some black one for the lining.

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As I had about a meter of black, I thought to use it for the bodice muslin too. Thanks goddess I did it! The fabric is more stretchy than I though and I had to go down a full size to get the fit right. I’ve also to say that I’ve measured myself twice, in two different days and my measurements changed of about a full size. Is it normal or should I start to worry?? Anyhow….I decided to start playing with the biggest size first and check if I’m hopeless in taking measurements or if it is my body changing like a monster. I traced a size 8 for bust and waist, going down to a 6 for the hips. I sew the cups together and tried the bodice on: failure! It was too big in circumference and there was a bit of sagging at the bobbies. So I recut a size 6 for bust and waist, slimming down to a 4 for the hips. I’ve sewn the cups together again and the fit was way better. I had to make few more little adjustment though – the neckline was gaping so I took in about 1 cm from the top of the centre front seam tapering to nothing at the bottom and I also removed about 0.5 cm from the fullest part of the cups, along the seam and in between the notches, reducing their volume but not their coverage.

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I was worried about the elasticity of the fabric so to stop the neckline gaping even more, I’ve stabilized it with bits of interfacing. Better to be safe than sorry!

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Finally, I couldn’t resist so I’ve sewn together the nautical style straps too and I’ve basted them to the bodice. I’m in love with this dress already and I can’t wait to get it done!
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Did you join the sewalong too? How is your bodice going?