Yarn Tasting: Alafosslopi

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Istex Alafosslopi, an Icelandic bulky-weight yarn, and it also comes in worsted-weight called ‘Lopi Lite, or Lett Lopi’.   It is single ply, very rustic, and in a palette of beautiful colors , tweeds, as well as many natural fleece shades too.  I must say, it is not spendy in the least…which I like. I like a lot.  Like so many super rustic yarns like this, one wonders how it could ever feel good and natural against one’s own skin, then one becomes surprised after the blocking is done and all those woolly hairs just loosen into a beautiful halo, find their place in the fabric, become relaxed and compliant, ultimately  giving a light & springy feel with lovely drape. I wouldn’t call this yarn “soft” by any stretch of the imagination, nay, it is full-on wool, pure, and even old-world feeling, yet I am thinking it to be the perfect yarn to prototype my next design with.

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The next design in fact, which I think will be my magnum opus  of basic knitted wardrobe items… my  favorite of favorites… a cardigan vest!  This pattern will have some really good options (which I will save for its debut) , and will be perfectly suitable for men, women, & children alike. The third in my  Calidez designs, it will be compatible for sport-thru-bulky  weight yarns and any kind of fiber.   I can’t wait to be finished with these and show you!

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As you can see in the photo there has been some ripping out going on, that is because after I finished and blocked the vest, it was not right… it was nice, it was classic, but I  felt it necessary to re-proportion the shaping in the armhole and neck opening, to make it perfect according to my own idea of a perfect vest shape. So here I am, in the middle of the whole thing, knitting up two samples at once, knitting…. ripping out…knitting again: repeat.

I might add that I have come down with a nasty cold (I hardly ever get sick) from the stress of election and a general frenzy of Things Going On, but regardless, I am as happy as can be because my Knitting Track is proving to be a heavenly thing, and I am obsessed with it!   The  leveled sections are a work in progress, but it is all a wonderful path As It Is, and I see a hazy vision of something keenly interesting in its future.   Late yesterday I walked the wooded track while knitting the dark grey bit of the vest above for one and a half miles… it was an enchanting knit-walk five times around the wild shaped figure-eight in and about the tall trees at dusk. I felt like a knitting pixi.

In spite of my cold, I was out there this morning in the supremely gorgeous weather, digging, scraping, leveling & tamping a section of the trail in and around some massive Douglas Firs, while also moving quite a bit of stone from the earth.  While digging around I found an old Olypia beer can, with a pull tab which (after some research ) I discovered dates to early 70’s, which I imagine was discarded from a hunter, so I placed it on a rock near where I found it, along the trail.  The first archaeological find while creating the knitting track,  a crumpled up vintage aluminum beer can…lol!

Lots to do and life is good.

Sweater Descent #2

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I have gotten another package from Kilcar in Ireland,  a lovely bunch of Studio Donegal yarn ! Worsted-weight,  one-hundred percent merino wool, and aptly named …

“Soft Donegal”

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In Sweater Descent #1  I wrote a sort of introduction for what is now my series Sweater Descent Project…

Descent is a word which takes many directions in meaning, most typically it means to ‘move down’ or ‘lower’ as in a physical place of going, as ‘down from a high place’ as from the peak of a mountain. It has metaphorical meaning to me as well, which I absolutely groove on, like ‘making easier’ and ‘moving into a secure low-ground of the known’.  Of course there is the meaning of ‘lineage’ or ‘clan’, and far-off distant cultures or bloodlines one may have come from.  But for me, primarily  the relationship of the word refers to mountains, and walking, and in my case knitting while walking about the mountain on which I live.

And now for Sweater Descent #2

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This post also being a yarn-tasting theme , I would like to show you my yarn acquisition, and I am watering at the mouth truly, envisioning this in my second very own  Calidez Cardigan !   A rich depth of color, explosion of tweedy flecks, I am totally smitten with the color range of Studio Donegal “Soft Donegal” and see great potential for using this yarn in future designs.  But for now all there is left to do, is cast on!

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ps. I thought I would mention too, that Emma is one-hundred percent better, and managing the stairs all by herself with new addition of rugs!  And thats us… off to the Knitting Track!

The events of the day…

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Emma has gotten herself somehow mysteriously injured, and has been hobbling about for a day and a half.  I suspect she may have slipped and fallen on the stairs while we were away at a neighbor’s for dinner on Saturday, because Sunday she just could not move hardly at all.  Today she is a little better, at least been able to walk a little ways although very stiff and sore, far beyond her normal senior-dog arthritis.

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Emma sleeps in our bedroom upstairs, but in recent months she has been getting very unsure of herself on the stairs and has been needing help up and down because of the slippery hard-wood surface. Last weekend I cut up a big old rug for the turning area of the stairs, which helped a lot for that was where she was slipping the most, but the straight sections were still needing to be covered–insert Emma’s injury Saturday evening.  So Sunday morning I went into town and I bought a smattering of small throw rugs, sewed them end-to-end to make runners, cut more rug matting, and created a patchwork of rugs on the whole stairway, which is now very cluttered, and a bit odd, but no longer slippery.

I was so worried last night I slept on the couch downstairs next to her to give her moral support, and joy of joys, today she is much better and at least able to walk around a little outside but won’t be able to climb the stairs for a while yet. Wish her well,  she’s looking up, and I’ll give her a good pet from all of you.

Knitting Track News: I have measured with this wheel the feet distance of the whole knitting track.  The actual ‘track’  is a sloppy figure-eight looping through woods very near our house, total of 1448 feet. Not a big deal, I know , but as the track itself is over 1/4 mile around, so three times around the track plus the walk to and from the track is 1 mile…. and folks, that is not nothing ! 5x is 1.5 miles, 7x is 2 miles, you get the idea.   Just think of the knitting I can accomplish while working up a sweat!

144 finished feet done & dusted, about 1300 feet to go. I did about 60 feet just today, and I’m tired! For now it may seem perpetually under construction, but one day I will be finished and it will be a great accomplishment !!

See my recent post How To Make A Knitting Trail  ,

or all knitting trail & knitting-while-walking related posts HERE.

Calidez Cardigan & Donegal Aran Tweed

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At last, my very own cardigan, and it is so special because it is from a wool I’ve wanted to knit forever, and in a pattern which I designed to be my favorite sweater recipe. . .

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Calidez Cardigan knit up in Donegal Aran Tweed!

I made it with Autumn neckline.  The pattern has four seasons of necklines in case you weren’t aware:  winter=full yoke depth,  autumn=3/4, spring=1/2, summer=very low. . .

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I had so many choices to color match buttons because of all the flecks of tweed in the yarn, but in the end, I only had more shell buttons, but I will find some more, in russet and change them out later.

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When it came down to it, I am purely smitten.  Donegal Aran Tweed knits up beautifully and has a real ‘slinky’ feel to it when knit up at  3.25 sts to the inch, although I was so tempted to try a smaller needle size, I chose the larger, appealing to a drapier cardigan, however, because of the fact, it is very stretchy and a wee bit baggy, but like in a good way. Next I will try a slightly firmer cardigan fabric, as well as make a size smaller. I still can’t decide what color to go with for my next, and I do think it will have to be a Soft Donegal,  and I am thinking to go wild, and get this color.

Well folks, that’s it for today, posting from very rainy Mt Veeder!  I couldn’t be happier than with a just-finished cardigan to wear, and you can see details of this project on Ravelry here.

Everything in it’s place, and life is good. Oh, and I’ve been enjoying listening to some beautiful Irish pipes while knitting Irish Wool . . .


Yarn Tasting: Donegal Aran Tweed

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What have we here? A cardigan (for moi) which I will be finishing in the next couple of days! Some time ago, back in  this post , I talked about knitting a cardigan from Studio Donegal Aran Tweed. I actually cast on and knit most of the body of a steeked body cardigan  before dropping it and coming to the conclusion that, although I have written a brief steeking option on the Calidez Pullover, which this was to sample, I really wanted to design my first flat-knit seamless cardigan pattern. So after struggling with that inevitability , eventually I ripped it all out and wound it back into a big ball.  Well, as you all know that recently I have finally designed that cardigan, I can’t escape the desire to make one after another, in all the Studio Donegal yarns, and already I’m looking at the color shade cards I have to see what color I might try next.  The shade on this piece of knitting is # 4742.

Really folks, Aran Tweed has a spirit about it which speaks to me like no other that I’ve felt. It is really a very classic wool, and does have a bit of ‘wooly scratch’ factor, and I don’t recommend it to knitters who are ambivalent about 100-percent wool, but it is ever so light, fluffy, and possesses a great homespun feel. Most of all, it is indeed very tweedy & colorful, and just extremely beautiful.  

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I am considering trying for my next yarn tasting, Soft Donegal which is 100% Merino wool, and although a lot softer , it doesn’t have the crispness I love so much in the Aran Tweed, nor quite the selection. If you could put your hand into the photos of the two shade cards, you’d agree, Soft Donegal is very very soft, and a little finer weight too. Just a smidge.  Aran Tweed is  heaviest weight of all the Donegal yarns, I’m getting 3.5 stitch per inch,  whereas the Soft Donegal will probably be more like 4.5.  Regardless, I think I’ll explore both with my new Calidez Cardigan pattern, there is no closing the gate to my sudden rush to make every hand-knit cardigan I’ve craved to have & wear for the last ten years.  I am eyeing so many of them, I just can’t decide!

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You can see Studio Donegal’s website to see details about Aran Tweed,  Soft Donegal , and Knitting Wool.

By the way, which are your favorite colors?

How to make a knitting trail.

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October is the best trail-making month in the year, as the ground is just moistened by a couple of rains at the most, but not muddy. I have been doing a lot of walking in the woods,  both with and without knitting, always with Emma, and we have staked out where we want it to go, our ‘knitting and sniffing track’ !

Oh! But I have left you a little lesson on how to make a knitting trail in the woods for yourself, if you have handy … a bit of woods. 

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First, stake the trail out with sticks and walk it for a few weeks, or months, refining path to contour the land well, satisfied that it is a pleasure to walk , perhaps even while knitting.  Be sure you love walking your trail as it is,  before you disturb the soil and take tools to it!

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I go ahead with the long-handled pruners and bow saw, clear debris in the way that causes tripping, etc. during the first walks.  Then walk some more weeks.
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When you’re ready to commit, begin!
Rake aside duff, sticks, fir cones,  remove big rocks, etc.
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Scrape aside the composting layer gently,  (to be raked back over) to expose dirt.
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Pick, hoe, and scrape, loosening soil beneath the compost layer, and leveling side-to-side by eye.  Or , if you want a really level path as this one will be…
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 use a level straight edge to check that it is roughly level  side-to-side (not fore & aft).  Tamp earth down, firming walking area only.
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Finally, lightly rake compost layer back over tamped, leveled trail.  It should look like the original forest ground, essential to replace plenty of compost over raw soil, and even a sprinkle of the raked-aside debris of small sticks and little cones.
 I have worked out a method whereby I am working both start and finish in a 20-foot section which moves along as I work, then finishing my work by covering the soil as I close up the gap so that there is no more raw dirt, and lay my tools down for next work session, whenever that can be.
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 There is a lot to do yet before I will take out the measuring wheel and see how it measures up in distance. It will look like this for many weeks , perhaps through the whole Autumn it will be a work in progress.

And now if you will excuse me, my coffee break is over, and time for me to go back out. I am so very excited that I am finally making the Knitting Trail ~~~ joy of joys!!

Calidez Cardigan

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It is here, the design I’ve been working on for a really long time … Calidez Cardigan  !

A simple, easy,  cozy & classic raglan cardigan,

 sampled here in beautiful tweedy bulky weight yarn…

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From the my pattern Calidez pullover, I have felt compelled to make a cardigan version, and now it is here….  Calidez Cardigan on Ravelry

I am really excited about this design, having all the elements I’ve wanted in a ‘go to’ pattern for myself ; varying necklines, multiple gauge yarns, knit seamless and flat  so that it can be knit in plant fibers, like linen & cotton … and handspun, which I am keen to knit my own into this cardigan!

Next I am working on more options for this pattern, and will beef up the pattern with an update, such as a gusset for the underarm (forthcoming), and well, I am sighing great relief this morning as this baby is done & dusted!

Anyway, you can find my nieces modelling their own Calidez Cardigans which were prototype tests for the design, for their Autumn Sweaters, back in this post.

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Forthcoming…

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Do you see it there?  In the other room? It is just out of the sink soaking, then pressed in fluffy towels, now drying on the bed ‘blocking’ for a day,  while I polish up the pattern for it.  A pattern that I’ve been working on for  a really long time.    

Forthcoming….photographs…. then pattern…. glory of glories !

Knitting In The Wild

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We have been walking through the morning hours of Autumn.  Miles of yarn and prints of dog paws, and shoes, side by side. More chaotically spaced actually, mine straight forward, destination ahead, focused on the rounds of lace, of sleeves, of precious warm cardigans, and Emma’s  prints with her own agenda, as the wild life is speaking to her and new smells are exciting her in zig-zag directions and renewed vigor giving her incentive to come up to the peak with me these days.

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Our walks journey through Autumn,  with the arrival of rain, we seem to be experiencing  a gradual awakening of our dormant selves,  as is with the succulent green mosses everywhere … our joy of joys.

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To the peak we have walked a few times this Autumn already.  On the ridge right before the peak, like a comfortable old bed,  there is a soft pine needle layer from an eerie forest of stick-like old trees composting on the jutting toothy rock beneath … it is so dreamy to walk through, I just had to hang my knitting on it and be silly.

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Everything is in its place, and life is good.

Fields of Gold

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Went out for a lovely knitting walk in the late afternoon today, and caught the golden fields at their height and most fragrant as the rain has come, and it won’t be long before they become dull and brown and beaten down by the strong winds up here on the ridge.

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Leaves falling along one of our newer trails, a shortcut home through the edge of black oak woods (can you see the sticks ahead which mark the path?).  Emma and I have really upped our game, and are walking religiously since day one of Autumn , and I’m knitting bunches as we walk.  Grateful that Autumn has greeted us with some cool weather and…. did I mention that it rained last night?   Everything is in its place, and life is good.

Sweater Success !

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Another sweater success!   However we rather fell out of tradition this time not photographing  in Calistoga , but yet again at the castle which is my niece’s favorite photo place.  Few words this post , but I promise to be more talkative of details about the cardigan when pattern is ready, and it is forthcoming shortly!

All Sweater Successes Past & Present

Ravelry project details  here,  and   here.

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I just took scissors to another thrift shop mens linen shirt, and made it into a loose draping toss-over shirt with the original cuff placket still showing after I cut off the cuff.

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I simply cut off the sleeves about 1-1/2″ longer than I want, made a pleat, and then pressed it all into a half-inch hemmed cuff.

This time I tried popping off all the buttons on the button bands and simply sew’d the button band over the button-hole band, because as I don’t ordinarily iron, and loath gaping button bands in front, and at the bust-line especially.  Its kind of funky an interesting detail,but worth the experiment.

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And I left a little open at the bottom.

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I was thinking I’d go over it with shell buttons and just sew them on for the faux affect, but then I will wait & decide later, for some shirts are nice to have just pure linen.

The learning curve on this one was,  1. never buy a shirt with front pocket flaps thinking they’re easy to take off (the seam ripping was torturous and long). Although the holes from the previous stitches show now, they’ll go away in the next few washings. Or maybe never.

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And  2. custom bias tape rocks!     With the same kind of fabric, and it can be made easily.  (This I had to use some linen from my stash, as it must be on the bias), but it is a great way to finish a neckline which is curving, for one really doesn’t want a ripply rolled hem like I did on this one.  This is the little bias tape tool (admittedly I don’t really know what that swiveling part on it is for)… pull the fabric through and iron and neaten the folds to the middle as it comes out~~ voila!

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Then I simply sewed the raw edge of the neckline to it and folded it on the inside to sew down.  Simple, tidy, and sews up so professional looking.  I found a good video tutorial on how to make bias tape here

I didn’t have enough cut from the length to make the usual front insert or cuffs, so this is an experiment of how I can change the look minimally.

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The nicest thing about white linen is the transparency so visible when held up against light. The warp and weft of flax threads speak a language I can understand, sort of  like the neat pleats and double-folded hems are sharing with me their secrets, all which make the shirt feel crisp and just a little bit like a veiled treasure.

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I’ve been on a trend lately of simple collarless shirts, for in cool weather they just invite a nice lace cowl, and I am slowly acquiring quite a few of those, more recently craving to cast on with some fine flax lace yarn.

To see all of my New From Old projects, click HERE.

And lastly, is it my imagination or are most of my photos in this post really fuzzy?

Equinox Walk

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Happy Autumn Equinox everyone!   It is in recent years, my favorite day of the year. This morning the equinox occurred at 7:21 in the morning, and I planned to get to my secret knitting spot on one of my trails, overlooking a vineyard and hazy Mt Diablo in the distance, only about a ten-minute walk from my door at the most. Here are some more photos of our little early morning walk out to greet the new season…

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Emma enjoyed the scent of the fresh wildlife tracks from the night, and I enjoyed the brilliant angled light fuzzing through the trees. We then reached our secret spot on time, about 7:20, here standing on the big stump of a very large fir, gives a wonderful vantage point of the area we live in.

The light at sunrise had an amber glow and the air is cool. I thoroughly love this little loop in the woods next to my house, at first light.  Tomorrow and often in the days following, I think I will come here to greet the sunrise and feel Autumn’s transitory beauty. Perhaps a thermos of tea and sit on the stump here, knit, and thoroughly enjoy the season as the leaves slowly turn.

I also have a little new knitting going on, but I won’t give details for another week or so…

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Enjoy your first-day-of-Autumn and happy knitting!

 

Ready & waiting for Autumn.

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Its a glorious time of year! Although the temperature is oppressively hot and a layer of dust covers nearly everything, there is an anticipatory glee happening all at the same time,  for we are days away from the Autumn Equinox!

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And perfectly on schedule, two cardigans come off the needles and sit folded, well-mannered and patient, waiting for the eventful day (hopefully soon) they meet their people~~ Miss Sixteen & Miss Thirteen…

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I’ll not say a self-promoting word about what pattern these are knit from or anything like that, I’ll just say that I’ve spent the better part of 6 weeks merrily throwing stitches for these plain & simple sweaters. One last detail to do, the hand-made label…

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And now they are indeed done & dusted. I always feel a huge sense of accomplishment at this point in the year, all ready for the rains to fall, whenever it will be, who knows, but I look forward to that first sprinkle like candy falling from the sky.

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Next time you see these babies, they’ll be on my nieces in Calistoga, for the traditional annual Autumn Sweater photo session.  Autumn is on its way, and life is good!

Knitting In A Room

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Mid day light seems to pour though windows, filtered through a mulberry tree and various shrubs, into this quiet warm room. There is my favorite knitting chair, **temporarily transplanted from its mountain home to this echoey clean & empty place, kept company by my knitting basket, cup of coffee-to-go, and myself.  Oh, but is that a sleeve cradled in it’s seat?

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Oh, perhaps more than just a sleeve, it looks like maybe three sleeves and two bodies, which means only one thing…

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It is nearly time to join all the pieces together to make a couple of lovely cardigans to greet the Autumnal equinox.  My usual first weeks in September are all about this stretch of frenzy knitting into my favorite season of all.

I also wanted to share with you something very fun I ran across on a series of internet clicks I wandered down this morning, ending up at an old mill in UK.  Here is a room with spinning, and all the rhythms and sounds associated with milling yarn put to music, a lovely little video for you all to enjoy as I have, called ‘A Short Day At The Mill’…

And here is another similar, but with more footage called ” A Long Day At The Mill ”

** Knitting chair & basket is occupying a corner space in a room of the house Jeff has been renovating for nearly 6 months (with a little bit of my help) and finally, it is empty & glowingly ready to find a new owner, as I knit while waiting for real-estate agents to show intermittently.   No worries, I am not moving, nor is Jeff, this is but his old house in town that he lived in when we met in the summer of ’94.  
Bye bye old house, it was nice revisiting your rooms, and I will miss you.

Golden

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Earliest morning light greets me as I go into the dark kitchen to make a pot of tea. Certain times of year the rising sun aligns and finds a tiny window through acres of trees and pierces through to light up this antique oak ice chest in our kitchen, a real stonehenge-like occurrence near the equinoxes.   I really am fascinated with the play of light, and how it changes dramatically the perception of objects, and even emotions about them, or a room. Light moves swiftly as the colors that are created from it are a palette seemingly endless and varied.

A few minutes later you can see the light washing out a bit, and a shadow of a fir tree from the woods in front of the kitchen window…in a sort of woodsy magic shadow puppet show!

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Another really nice shirt.

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Okay, I’m on a roll, I fall asleep dreaming about taking scissors to over-sized and hardly worn shirts, and refashioning them into one-of-a-kind personalized shirts.   The original, a Talbots brand women’s tunic, in gorgeous jet black in lightweight Irish linen, found at a thrift shop somewhere for a few dollars.

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Refashioned into what is becoming my signature look, a boxy throw-over style inspired by my favorite brand FLAX,   with practical as well as flirty finishes…

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This style collar is hand-sewn inside of the edge of plain neckline hem, then folded over to make a very nice look.  However, after I added the decorative length to the bottom, I felt that the sleeves were too short and I wanted to use those rectangular pieces in the end for cuffs, so I undid the collar and reworked the pieces into wide faced cuffs able to be folded up, with a single wide  pleat into the sleeve.

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I had a lot of length to work with , cut it in half widthwise, and from those  I made;   1. the insert down the middle, having taken out the button placket,  and  2. with left over pieces I sewed together into one piece , then worked to fit shirt body  with narrow little pleats spaced out and pinned around 16 times around circumference (intentionally not too neat) to fit the bottom hem. Result is a slight charming skirty edging…I suppose this is officially called a ‘peplum’ finish.

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 Having decided not to cut off the existing narrow hem of the neckline, after cutting off the button bands, I just made a hemmed piece over the insert.

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A very funky little bit, but that sort of detail is what makes each shirt one-of-a-kind, in that I must improvise with what little sleeve and body length I cut off. You will find this to be true also,  when you begin to take scissors to old shirts to make new shirts.

More thoughts  on the collar…

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The really nifty thing is that collars are like shirt accessories, as are buttons, a separate collar piece hand-stitched to the inside makes a dashing old-fashioned finish, in white, blue plaid, or whatever, ( especially including some old lace ones I have ~~thanks Sorcha!) .  Just switch them out like they did in the bygone era, for both women’s dress and men’s shirt collars in those days were meant to be replaced per occasion or just when worn out. Collars and cuffs took the beating of the wear, and were often replaced (as I learned from Morrie ~ thanks!)


Anyway, there was no shaping involved in this type of collar, nor was there a collar stand, I just whip-stitched two rectangular pieces and they folded over making their own stand. (I actually moved them around, and tried on basted before stitching them on secure.

Its always a bit of a gamble and some shirts just are ruined, but after doing it a few times, you’ll be surprised to find how easy it is. Much easier than sewing a whole garment from cut yardage, and far less spendy in many cases.  By the way, if & when I make or find the perfect collar for this shirt, I will post it.   If you can find this book by Odhams Press (dated 1930’s)  there’s a chapter called ‘New Collars for Old Dresses’ and I highly recommend learning this old-fashioned skill of refashioning.

There was some discussion in the last post  about making big brother/sisters outgrown shirts into refashioned ones for little brother/sister. I don’t have any kids clothes around, but would love to hear from any of you out there who are keen to try.

That about wraps it up for refashioning of  Shirt Two, and now I ought to be knitting Autumn Sweaters.

See all posts New From Old , including my tips on what I have done ~~ HERE

 

A really nice shirt.

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I love making new from old.

Upcycling something  from a $2 mens thrift linen-cotton shirt… into mine.

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( I did get a little sloppy on the rolled hem at the neckline ~ I was rather in a hurry. )

I love simple utilitarian clothing, pleats, and especially lovely buttons. I have a jar of these natural shell buttons which have accumulated from years of thrift shop shirts, and I keep them just for this sort of occasion.

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Only a few simple steps to transform from men’s button-up shirt to a rather casual boxy throw-over shirt,  which I love in linen, because after several washings, the boxiness begins to drape and all the sloppy bits will blend in with the original shirt’s crinkled old hems.

This is how I do it:  First I cut off the neck under the collar stand, the cuffs, and button bands, and as much length as you don’t need. From the cut-off length in body and sleeves,  you can make middle insert in place of button band, cuffs, or other details such as a collar.  This time I cut down a little from the stand in front  so the neckline in front of the new shirt rests a little lower.

Note:  How many extra bits you are able to make all depends on how long the shirt is and how much you can cut off length in body and sleeves after trying on and marking the length you would like it to be, plus hem allowance.

My thing lately is to take a strip off  cut-off length (the length grain will have to be inserted cross-grain fashion, which is a nice contrast, and sew it on to cut front pieces raw edge, using French seams.

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I made a collar and lined with some other cotton/linen I had handy, but ended up hating it, so ripped it off.

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Finishes:  The neck was way too gaping as the front insert was rather wide, as were the sleeves, so I pleated those loose areas after it was all finished, and sewed shell buttons on purely for aesthetic, not really doing anything, as you can see also on front pocket.

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Over all it is a really fast way to upcycle and  make a really nice shirt for myself in less than an hour.  The best discovery I found in this make-over shirt is how buttons on pockets are really a lovely accent just sewn on, or to cover the opening of a pleat.   I just love shell buttons & linen!

Edit in, per request :   Link to all projects “New From Old”

mid-august

jenjoycedesign© August

August is such a stale time of the year. No cool breezes, no moisture, perpetual aqua blue skies, and a lot of anxiety about wildfire. The grasses stand crisp and golden, and so picturesque, but really it is just in suspended limbo until the rain comes, there in the bleaching hot sun day after day while even the moss in the forest turns brownish and, like the grasses, is frozen in lifelessness for months.

Mid August is even more stale than when the month arrived, and by the end of the month I am usually quite fried,  dreaming of verdant countrysides in far off lands.  I must snap out of these lazy wishful days of summer. I have been far too lazy and not working on my well-intention’d project of knitting trail.  A knitting trail?  What trail?  Right. My point exactly. I did take a shovel to a stretch of woodland over the last year, and even though it’s only been a little more than some sticks along the way and a narrow bumpy path, Emma and I have been walking it on occasion ~~ thus far we have named it ‘the knit track’ , and which is about a sixth of a mile circuit, not including the distance to and from the track, which makes it about a half mile, and if one goes around the ‘track’ many times, it adds up.   It is intended to be a mindless walk so I can  knit-while-meandering  and Emma can smell the wildlife in the quiet pause of the afternoons.

Although the knitting trail already has one or two benches, I’d like them to become delicious secret woodland  spots, where one might carry out a pot of tea and accomplish quite a bit of knitting.  That my friends, is what my vague design is.  So how to sharpen those vague lines, and get this thing going?   I have been taking pencil to paper and scribbling out ideas, and I really do want to make this thing happen, here & now, in the face of the suffocating Mid-August!

There are quite a lot of trees to limb up and brush to clear (trees keep falling too, this drought is wretched!)  and general hard sweaty work to do within in the few acres which is the trail site, but nothing a woman (and her dog) can’t accomplish. This is something I’ve wanted to do since we built our house here and moved in 2005.  So Emma will supervise, and I will work, and we will get this woodland Knitting Trail done & dusted.

But first I’d like to call upon you brilliant readers of this blog, and please don’t be shy, give me some ideas about what you think would make a Knitting Trail special. The sky is the limit… and plenty of space in the comment boxes too.

Fair Isle Success!

jenjoycedesign© Wee Hearts in Virtual Yarns Hebridean 2ply

Wee Hearts in nine different Fair Isle Hebridean 2ply colors!   Actually this hat is a study on one of Alice*Starmore’s colorways , a colorway from her design “Mary Tudor” from her 2013 second edition of Tudor Roses ,  using her own yarn, as sequenced in the chart. You could say this hat was a colorway test for Mary Tudor Cardigan, although I did change some colors around from the chart, because of a mistake I made.   I really came out of the study with a better understanding of how the blending of foreground color changes against background color changes can be in modern Fair Isle.

Now I am wondering, do I have time for one more?  Not really, I must be on to Autumnal Sweaters!