Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My First Sewing Project is Complete!

My husband gave me a sewing machine for Christmas and I loved the idea of it.

Learning how to use it proved to be a little more difficult.

So I signed up for a 4-week class at the local high school's "continuing education" program to get me farther than reading the instruction booklet did.

The class was great. We had to bring with us our sewing machines (duh), a beginner pattern, fabric and the sewing essentials (scissors, seam ripper, measuring tape, etc.) and for three hours over the course of four Monday nights, Alicia, from Sew-It-All, spent time with each student walking us through the often confusing process of sewing our projects.

When someone in the class got to a point where others could learn, Alicia would say: "If anyone would like to learn how to make a button hole (zipper, dart, etc.), gather 'round." (OK. She doesn't really say "gather 'round like Tim Gunn...")

I signed up for the next session of sewing classes because I haven't scratched the surface of what's to know about this craft. But just as knitting was overwhelming when I first started, I'm hopeful that I'll
eventually turn a corner. I have to -- I've already bought a few more patterns and some really fun fabric.

Here's my first project, finished last night at class. (Thanks to Terry for the perfectly matching monkey sock slippers!)

Sock Monkeys on Pogo Sticks PJs

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Blue Sweater is Officially a FO

I loved this yarn when I saw it at the Knit and Crochet Show in Northern California a few years ago: Lisa Souza's Sock Merino and Kid Mohair. Lisa suggested that I knit the two yarns together for a sweater, which was a great idea. My friend Marissa bought the same yarn combo in a beautiful green. After the fact, we both wish we swapped colors, but now that I'm finished, I'm happy with the blue.

The pattern is the T Shirt Sweater from Ella Rae Book One:

T Shirt Pattern

Pattern Book

The pattern was easy. The front was fast to knit, but I made some adjustments. Of course, I never wrote the adjustments down, so when it came to knitting the back, I stopped at where I knew the adjustments began and stuffed the whole thing in a bag for "later."

Well, "later" turned out to be almost two years. I finally picked this back up again a few months ago and was determined to figure out what adjustments I made and to repeat them on the back.

This was the first sweater I had to seem together. (The two previous completed sweaters were top downs with no seems.)

Damp sweater waiting for blocking

Knitty.com helped a bunch with their articles on mattress stitch and shoulder seeming.

I also used blocking wires for the first time. While a total PITA to put the wires through the knitted fabric, the edges dried nice and straight, vs. the scalloped way they normally dry when just using pins.

Drying on the blocking board

Overall, I'm pleased with the results. The waist shaping is a little too high on my body vs. where my waist really starts to shape, but a little steaming might fix that.

Blue Sweater completed

Since I've started knitting, I've been on the lookout for the "perfect simple sweater" pattern that I would make a few times in different colors with various changes to neckline and sleeve and bottom stitches. This pattern is a good base for my perfect sweater. With a little reworking of the waist shaping, I'd definitely refer to it the next time I start a sweater.