It’s a new year already, and it amazes me how much I’ve got done but yet to finish. This past year I’ve managed to start a variety of patters but all but one is still in the works. They all are close to being done but something has kept me from managing to complete them. This year I hope to change that and I think I have started out on a good foot thanks to dinosaurs and cold weather.
The wee girl does not like to dress for the weather. Even when it’s cold and she’s shivering she will still flat out refuse to wear coats, hats, socks, etc. As an attempt to entice her into dressing warmer I thought I’d make sure it was stuff she’d want to wear. First I tried getting her into a hoodie by turning it into a dinosaur hoodie. I used this tutorial from Ginger & George. It works sometimes, like when she wants to go rawring and stomping around in it.
Then I tried I knitted her a hat, a dinosaur hat at no less. Well at lest she will wear the hat.
The pattern turned out super cute so I decided to release it. This is my first knitting pattern and with that and I’m a left handed knitter I learned tons! Julie from Feather Press Knits has been and continues to be a huge help. The Dinosaur Hat is available on both Etsy and Ravelry.
I am making progress! Even if I haven’t managed to get my tutorial out yet (just need to finish testing). The next set of patterns are graded and are staring testing so here is a sneak peek at the Parkette Top and Mini Me Parkette Top.
The Parkette Top is based on the Park Top but with shorter sleeves and clean finish neckline and the Mini Me version will fit sizes 3 months to kids size 8.
So with out further ado, a quick pic of the first sample.
I am working on some new stuff! First up is a Two in One Dress/Skirt tutorial, perfect for warm weather. I am also expanding the Park Top family with two new styles; Parkette and Angel Wing Parkette. Based on the Park Top they share the same fit but with shorter sleeves. To make it even more fun I’m releasing Mini Me versions for kids too.
Hoping to get the tutorial out this week! (Sneak peek at the new top then too!)
I am sporadic at best in posting but I did want to say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year.
A quick update: The last few months have been very busy full of birthdays, holidays, and family visits. Most recently we have begun to prepare for a 2 week trip home for Christmas at the same time packing and getting ready to move house starting the day after we return. The studio is already packed so all I’ve been able to work on is my knitting. The move will hopefully help me get more done as the wee girl has been preventing me from spending much time in my studio due to her joy of playing with my machines. Needless to say I spend most of the time stopping her and not getting much done. Our new layout will hopefully help some of this.
Here’s looking forward to productive new year! Cheers!
Although I learn to knit years ago it was only recently that I picked it up again. Not that I was ever very good. I only managed to learn to knit, purl, cast on and off but thanks to Julie’s help I have managed pick up some new skills, like cabling! It wasn’t nearly a hard as I thought it would be!
Project #1 was the Burberry Inspired Cowl Neck Scarf by Julianne Smith. Mine turned out a bit different since adjustments had to be made to accommodate the bulky yarn I wanted to use (left overs from a hat I made for a baby shower but had to use a different yarn). This pattern was supper easy, even for me, and it knitted up fast.
Now that I could cable I started to play around with it.
Repeat pattern to desired length, seam ends together.
It’s the perfect length for the wee one.
After this I was out of yarn so I decided to make some out of scrap knit. It is really easy to do, just cut the scrap in a zig zag or spiral if using an old t-shirt and pull the resulting length to make them curl on themselves. (see image below)
Project #3: I ended up making another cowl with my knit yarn. This one is much like project #2 but wider and more cables.
Cast on 22 stitches
Rows 1 – 10: stockinette stitch (knit odd rows, purl even)
Row 11: knit 1, slip 5 onto cable needle (hold to front), k5, k cable needle, slip 5 onto cable needle (hold to front), k5, k cable needle, k1
Repeat pattern to desired length, seam ends together.
The trickiest thing was dealing with the “yarn”. It stretches over the needles so I ended up having to use a much larger gauge needed then the end product looked like I did.
All in all I am very happy to be knitting again and even happier to have the skills to make more then just scarves. Now on to pictures and pdfs!
The changes to the patterns mention in may last post went well and are on their way to Kinkos for printing as I type.
Kakurenbo Dress – Re-named the Sock Puppet dress (the front style line reminds me of sock puppets.) For the wee ones birthday I made her an altered version with one of her favourite fabrics – Ikea hippos. I altered the pattern to be a halter dress with the horizontal style line moved up 1/2″ and voila! it works! It hangs much nicer in the woven then in the knit. For the new pattern I also changed the front style line, it is no longer mirrored and as I mentioned it reminds me of sock puppets. I am really looking forward to making the new sample.
The Nejiri Dress – I made changes to the twist as well as making a variation that is a tank top.
These three patterns are going to be a part of my next release. I have decided to release patterns in groups/lines rather then individually. I think it will work better as far as work flow goes for me. This group will be all inspired by the Pattern Magic drafting books I mention in my last post.
I have two tutorials that I’m working on. Both are how to draft types. I they have been tested but now need the instructions and illustrations made.
There are some other odds and ends I’d like to get to but between family visits and birthday parties it has been hard to find the time. Hopefully November won’t be as crazy, thank goodness Thanksgiving is in October.
To start thing off right/wrong this is not the post I thought I was going to make. It was going to be a short and sweet post about the new patterns I was working on and their inspiration but in the end it didn’t turn out that way. In fact not a lot turn out the way I was expecting. I will warn that this is a long winded post but there will be pictures.
So this is how thing started…
On my last visit home I found my current favourite dress at Joe Fresh. It is a black knit tank dress with a racer back and double layer front (one is lower cut then the other). I would love another one since I wear it all the time, problem being, the nearest store is about 1,500 km away and the summer stock is gone. So I decided to make my own version but with a twist, literally. Enter one of favourite pattern drafting books, Pattern Magic by Tomoko Nakamichi. I have been wanting to try some of the techniques in this book since I got it and this seemed the perfect opportunity.
One of the techniques is called “Nejiri” (meaning torque in Japanese) and involves skewing the pattern so that the fabric will be twisted on the body but still sitting were it should. (i.e. side seams are still straight). I thought this would be a great variation for the front of my dress. The drafting was fun and it went quickly once I got my head around how to create the twist. While I was looking through the book I thought the Kakurenbo (meaning hide and seek) technique of concealing flare in curves would be really cute on a little girls sun-dress. Once again the drafting was fun and went quickly one I got my head around then instructions.
That’s where I was going to end the post along with some pictures of the samples. Well things didn’t continue that’s smoothly.
For starters on my way to Kinkos to pick up the pattern I realized that the outer front pattern piece wasn’t modified enough to achieve the affect I wanted. Doh! I got ready to cut an realized what fabric hogs both patterns were, so I didn’t have enough of my planed fabric. Doh! In the end both patterns didn’t turn out quite as expected or hoped. Doh!
“Failure is Always an Option”
One of Adam Savage’s better know quotes, he has often talked about this concept be it on Mythbusters or other venues like the Makers Fair in 2009. (His TED talk on Obsession is also really interesting.) I thought of this as I realized that the day wasn’t ending with me propelling fabric across rooms or into walls. I didn’t even have the urge to do that. I decided I think I learn too much.
It is amazing how much the right psychology can completely change a situation. Instead of being terribly frustrated I was excited at what I had learned and eager to try again.
I often draft in my head; try and figure out how I want to draft something long before I put pen to paper (or stylus to tablet as the case may be.) It can be very helpful in finding errors before they are made. In fact this is why I knew the pattern wasn’t done before I picked it up. But I couldn’t do that this time, the concepts were too new so I had no frame of reference for how it would turn out. I love that sort of thing though. Novelty, challenge and something to learn. The sort of thing that you can either know or get.
What I learned:
Nejiri – I ended up making two versions, the printed dress with the twist on both sides and the pink dress with just the outer front layer twisted (the original design).
1 – The twist isn’t big enough to be very noticeable, you can hardly see it in the photos or person. It would also help if the twist was more focused around the waist. As it is, it gets lost on the skirt.
2 – The twist needs tension work. It is fine on the pink dress as the back and under layer control things but this isn’t the case for the printed one. You can kind of see in the photo the side seams uncoiling at the hem since the hem has no tension on it. (This dress was generally cut looser so the whole thing tends to want to unwind.)
Kakurenbo – Pink dress for Mina. The proportion was off some how…
1 – Like with the Nejiri, the effect wasn’t drastic enough. The skirt still has some wave to it but when using such a drapey fabric I think there needed to be more. I may try it in a woven fabric and see how it fits.
2 – This kids knit dress was one of the hardest things I’ve sewn in a while! It did go smoother if I sewed with the skirt on the bottom and bodice on the top.
After all that, even if it didn’t turn out how I wanted I have a much better understanding of how these patterns work. I am starting to get it not just know it, something that wouldn’t have happened if everything went right. In retrospect failure was the best option.
So despite my lack of posting I have been quite busy with projects.
As alluded too in my Coffee Cup Sleeve Tutorial post I have children’s pyjamas in the works. As well there are tights, t-shirts, panties/bloomers and a dress. All are ready or nearly ready for grading. On the adult front I’m working on some dresses (halter dress, sun dress and wrap dress), a halter top and of course I’m still working on the Sunrise hoodie. All the patterns are in various states of drafting and/or correcting. One would think this wouldn’t be the best time to add yet another project but but I really wanted a new bikini…
After not finding what I wanted in stores I decided to make myself a new bikini. I had some great fabric I could use and some not so great fabric I could sample with so I gave it a shot.
First up was the drafting. Although I had a bathing suit block from school it would have to be graded and adjusted before I could use it so I decided it would be easier to start from scratch. Using instructions from Pattern School.com I made patterns for low riding bikini bottoms, bandeau top and two styles of triangle tops (fitted and gathered). After sampling, correcting and sampling I was ready to start the final bikini.
With some careful cutting I was able to easily match the print on the back of the bottoms and bandeau top during construction. Aside from having tension issues on my coverstictch machine and agonizing over the placement of the print it was a relatively quick project over all.
I must admit, this is my favourite bathing suit I own and plan to make more. I also plan on making it my next release! I am aiming for the end of July.
On wards and up words I guess. Fabric is on the way for the next round of samples. Once done, the grading can commence.
Since the Monogram Hoddie is done it is time to start my next baby pattern. There are three patterns in the works; leggings, t-shirt (crew neck and cross over shoulder) and fitted pyjamas (top and bottom). Two of the three are unisex so more boy friendly patterns! The shirts are almost done, still need to make adjustments for bands/ribbing and the I still need to make the pattern for the bottoms but I’m getting there.
The Park Top will be released with a v-neck variation and that is up next for sampling. It will likely be the first women’s wear release. Even though this one is supper quick easy to sew I’m am trying to work out the clearest instructions for the v-neck.
I decided to start a new pattern for women. A low cut v-neck wrap dress. After re-making this dress for myself the other day I thought it would be good one to release. It is one of my favourite dresses since it is so easy to wear. The first one I made (from bamboo jersey) I wore all through my pregnancy and after; it still fits too!
Finished the samples for the Sunrise Hoodie and the Park Top. Next up corrections. Somehow there are always those.
Typically they are rather minor, missed notches or something being miss-labeled. Other times they are bigger and can’t be foreseen till the sample is made. The Sunrise Hoodie is having the centre front lowered slightly due to the effect the zipper has on the fabric and the Park Top is having the angle of the neck ribbing changed so that the ribbing lays nicely. All easier to do now then after grading.
(yay for Photoshop processing that make bad photography viewable)