Wednesday, 28 August 2013

A Sensible Shawl - Jane Austen Knits

I finished this shawl a couple weeks ago and now that it has been recieved by its new owner, I can blog about it!  This was a request from someone I've worked with before (I made these mitts for her last year) and I was thrilled to have an excuse to buy a couple issues of the Jane Austen Knits magazine which I've been eyeing for some time!

The pattern is "A Sensible Shawl" (Ravelry link) by Celeste Young and it was really, really easy.  Once I figured out the first couple stitches of the border pattern, anyway.  This shawl has tabs and ties - it's intended to wrap around the body and tie so that it stays on by itself for hands-free wearing.  You start with one of the i-cord ties, which moves right into the first tab, which flows into the body and border (knitted simultaneously) and then back to the second tab and tie.  And then you're done!  No seaming, and since I used 100% wool I could splice the yarn together as I added in new skeins, so I only had two loose ends to work in when the knitting was finished.

It's nearly all garter stitch, but the border saves it from complete and maddening boredom.  I probably wouldn't knit this one often, but it was a nice restful project and perfect for times when I didn't have a lot of mind-power to spare for my knitting.

(Photos by my sister, who has deserted me and gone off to college!  I guess I need to find a new photographer....)

Friday, 23 August 2013

In progress

I am at a point where nothing is finished but many things are started.  And that's okay, except I have so many other things I want to start!  But for now you can have pictures of some works in progress.

A shawl, and a book.  A couple weeks ago I petitioned Facebook for some reading recommendations and ended up with about fifty titles.  This is the first!

The fall planting of peas is coming up.  (There are tiny lettuces and the beginnings of some carrots, too, but they are not very photogenic yet.)

Three tote bags cut out and ready for sewing.  These are all destined for the shop.

Apple jelly, with fruit from our own tree.  This batch is finished, but the work of harvesting and preserving all the fruit has just begun!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Farewell to Penzance

Full cast
The Pirates of Penzance closed on Sunday and I have been suffering slight withdrawals since then.  I truly loved this show, the directors, and the entire cast, not to mention the pretty clothes I got to wear and the delight of singing such gorgeous music over and over!  On the other hand it's also been nice to have time to catch up the gardening and do some serious knitting and not have to be out until 11 every night.

We had a little bit of fun ;-)
And if it must be over, at least I have loads of pretty pictures to look at!  These are a few (and by a few I mean dozens, but I narrowed them down from over a thousand!) of my favourites from the show (and I'll point out the costume pieces I made as they show up, too.)  All the photos are by Richard Lim (and under his copyright) and we were fortunate to have a photo CD from the show!  He is fabulous, even if he does think I "glare" at the camera when I know it's around ;-)

Pour, oh pour the pirate sherry!

Frederic sees young women for the first time in his life.

Oh false one! You have deceived me!

A rest after climbing over rocky mountains.

A man!

Take any heart - take mine!

Captured by pirates.  (Our pirate king - isn't his costume fabulous?)

He is the very model of a modern Major General!  (And I made his coat and breeches.)

Ruth, begging not to be left behind again.

Dear father, why leave your bed at this untimely hour?

Go, ye heroes, go and die!  (This one's from a dress rehearsal when my costume wasn't quite finished.)

Ruth, Frederic, and the Pirate King plotting revenge on poor Papa.  (I made Frederic's striped trousers.  They're fall front trousers with four buttons and a couple of snaps holding them closed, and were apparently a beast to get on and off at his quick costume change!)

 Ah, leave me not to pine alone and desolate!

He has done his duty; I will do mine.  Go ye and do yours!  (They are all in a state of collapse after holding out a hum for a whole minute...)

My daddy, the police Seargent.

With cat-like tread (tarantara)

He thought he heard a noise...  (and the nightshirt I made him.  There's some creative piecing at the bottom of each sleeve, since I had barely enough fabric to cut this out.)

Oblivious to his danger...

The pirates have (temporarily) triumphed.  Also, an excellent view of the breeches and vest I made for our Frederic.

And they all lived happily ever after!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Safe for Knitting

Some weeks you are so busy creating blog-worthy things that you run out of time to take photos and blog about them!  That's what happened to me the last few weeks, as I spent all my time working on costumes for The Pirates of Penzance and never got a chance to show you any of them!  I didn't even get any pictures as I worked, and they're all living in people's dressing rooms at the theatre now.  I'm going to try to get some action shots this week at rehearsals though, so I can show them off here.

In the meantime, I did finish something for myself!  For a while now I've been wanting a bag for my knitting which has no velcro on which to snag things, and finally decided to make one myself.  I rummaged in the stash and came up with nearly everything I needed.  The only materials I bought specifically for this project were the interfacing and the magnetic snap.

I learned how to insert a zippered pocket!  The stitching is a little uneven but not bad for a first attempt. (You may recognise the pocket fabric from a couple of quilt backings in the past...)

I did a search for tote bag tutorials online and found several I liked, from which I combined elements.  The one I followed most closely is this one from Warehouse Fabrics Inc., though I changed most of the measurements and made some other changes as well.  I think I made my bag a couple inches deeper than this one, and I lengthened the straps and made them of two different fabrics (not following the given directions at all), put the zippered pocket on the inside, and changed the dimensions of the other inner pockets.  But I did follow the construction techniques given for most of it and found it quite easy!

The main fabric I got at remnant price at Hobby Lobby - it's a 100% cotton duck (or similar weave) from the home dec. section.  I got over three yards for under twenty dollars and this bag used less than a yard.  The yellow fabric on the inside of the straps is also a cotton duck remnant.  The bag is lined with part of a $2-sheet from the thrift store, and the plaid fabric was a remnant as well (I got it thinking I'd make napkins but there was only enough for three, which is a strange number of napkins, so I re-thought.)  The zipper was salvaged from an old skirt and the button came from a quart jar full of buttons I purchased at an antique mall for about $5.  I did buy heavy-duty interfacing and the magnetic snap.  I think I spent about $16 on those but the snaps were a package of 4 and I have enough of the interfacing for at least two more bags so that cost is fairly low also.   And they were both totally worth the expense.  The interfacing made the bag much sturdier, and the snap will be much more long-wearing than the functioning button and buttonhole I at first intended!

Here it holds three separate knitting projects, my Pirates score, wallet, glasses case, lotion, and a couple other small things and doesn't even look full!
So I have a brand-new sturdy bag which holds all my knitting, a book or so, and has pockets to contain and organize my wallet, my phone, a couple writing implements and any other little odds and ends I might want to cart around with me!  And it probably cost me under $20 and about 4 hours of sewing time.  I've been using it constantly for the last two weeks and it still looks crisp and new (the photos were taken today.)  And it has no parts which will attempt to eat my knitting.  So I call that a success!