Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Day Off

I am looking forward to the end of this semester. Come January, I won't be running around campus like a crazy woman and I will finally have some free time to devote to crafting and writing exciting posts for this blog. I had a taste of this magical free time on Sunday when a planned trip to New England was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. (To all of my readers who are in the path of Sandy: I hope you are staying safe!) Rather than doing more schoolwork, I decided to make use of this unexpected time to do a little knitting.

Luckily, I had a project all lined up to cast on during my travels. The pattern is the last in a long line of ideas for what to do with 800 yards of fingering weight Merino/Bamboo/Nylon yarn that I purchased on Etsy a few years ago. I can't tell you how many patterns I looked at or how many stitches I swatched before it finally hit me: there is a Ysolda shawl pattern, Sherilyn, that I have never knit and would be perfect for this yarn! I can't say no to a new Ysolda pattern.

So I cast on the shawl and knit about 60 rows on my day off while watching 'Elementary' (which is entertaining, but nowhere near as good as 'Sherlock' or Jeremy Brett's Sherlock Holmes series from the 80's). After recently surviving midterms week, it was so nice to not do anything serious for a whole day. Only two more months and I will back to a balanced schedule with more time for knitting. I can't wait.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Husband's Cap

My husband's birthday is today. It's one of those quiet birthdays with no big round number to celebrate, so we just did a few fun things over the weekend with his parents. Despite the quiet festivities, I've been looking forward to finally giving him his birthday gift. (I'm really terrible at keeping secrets from him so the suspense has been killing me.) I made him a newsboy cap!

The pattern is from the book Hat Shop, which I blogged about previously. The cap was a lot of fun to make and I particularly enjoyed working with visor board for the first time. I love making hats: they're quick to sew up, don't require many materials, and are great-looking accessories. And given the amount of visor board I now own, it's probably a good thing that I like making caps.

Husband likes his cap and I, personally, think the cap makes him look even more handsome that usual. So the next question is: how many caps do I have to sew before hats come back into style?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Secrets Secrets Are No Fun

It's difficult for me to blog about exciting crafty things right now. Classes are in full swing, so I don't have a lot of time for crafting, and the few things I am working on right now are secret can't-show-on-the-blog projects. It's not a great combination.

Thankfully, I'm getting close to finishing the yarn swap project for my friend O (above). I've tried 3 different patterns with this yarn and have finally found one that is working. It's been a frustrating experience, but has taught me some new things about working with cotton yarn. I promise details and photos once the project is finished and has been sent off to my friend!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012


I was at Oktoberfest in Milwaukee recently, which was a German festival centered around food, beer, and music. There is strong German heritage in Milwaukee so the festival was quite large with many adults and children enjoying the atmosphere. Beside doing some polka dancing, my favorite part of the whole experience was seeing all of the people in dirndls, lederhosen, and other traditionally German garb.

A few of the women in dirndls were part of a group (above) that demonstrated traditional German dances, but many of the women in dirndls were just there to enjoy the festival. Their dresses were all so beautiful and it was interesting to see how different the dirndls were for how similar they are in shape (the dirndl is defined by a wide skirt that is gathered at the waist and a fitted bodice worn over a white blouse). Needless to say, I came home from the festival with a serious case of dirndl envy.

I'm not going to be buying a dirndl anytime soon, but given my new-found sewing skills I can probably make one. A quick Google search turned up a few dirndl patterns and I eventually settled on the Folkwear 123 pattern. I'm hoping to make my dirndl before next year's Oktoberfest as I don't have a lot of free time at the moment.

The pattern itself looks great. In addition to pattern pieces and instructions, there are several sheets that explain the history of the dirndl, how the dress was worn, and traditional dirndl embellishments complete with instructions for making these trimmings. The dirndl is such a beautiful and historic dress and I'm really looking forward to making one for myself in the coming year!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

New Book for Better Sewing

I talk about books a lot on this blog. Perhaps my need to share great resources with you is related to some of the reasons why I’m currently in library school, but really it’s that when I get excited about something I want to tell you why you should be excited about it too. My exciting-thing-to-share today is the lovely new book Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, which is really inspiring me to improve my sewing skills and add more vintage style to my wardrobe.

This book was just released at the beginning of September, which perfectly coincided with my need to spend a little birthday money. The timing was quite great, especially considering how well the techniques covered in this book align with the things I still need to learn about sewing. In the little time I've had to read it thus far, I've learned a lot!

The book is a modern take on Vogue's New Book for Better Sewing. Gertie's book rehashes these vintage (and couture) techniques for making high-quality clothing without a fancy sewing machine. There is a lot of information on tailoring clothing, drafting patterns, making pattern alterations, and adjusting fit. A bunch of techniques are also covered in detail, from inserting a zipper and making a buttonhole to stabilizing a collar and lining a garment. I've been doing a lot of quick and easy sewing, and this book is just what I need to level up my sewing.

Beyond the wealth of technical information, what really appeals to me about this book are the patterns. The book contains 10 basic patterns (2 skirts, 2 blouses, 4 dresses, and 2 jackets), most of which have at least one variation shown and explained. The patterns are all vintage inspired but made for the modern sewist. I honestly want to make almost every pattern in this book, they are that stylish.

And speaking of stylish, the book itself is quite beautiful. Gertie is an excellent model for all of the clothing and the illustrations are simply gorgeous. I also appreciate that editors did not skimp on the photography in the techniques section. It's great to find a book that is super informative while also being very visually appealing.

I'm still only part way through reading this book in detail and I foresee many happy hours with this book in the near future. So thank you to my mother-in-law for enabling me to purchase this lovely resource!