Friday, May 18, 2012

The "Go-Go Triangles" Dress

Originally posted on the Sew Weekly for the "mix it up" mixing prints challenge.

Cheers to mixing it up!  A weekend wedding was just the kind of fire I needed under my butt to make this dress I've had in my queue since this time last year.  Although it was freeezing, I stripped off my jacket and ran into the sun so Sam could take photos while the sun was still shining.  Lucky weather for a Dutch spring wedding - we haven't regularly seen the sun in a while!
The Facts
Fabric: 1.5m Batik & .75m quilting cotton, .5m quilting cotton for bodice lining, acetate for skirt front lining
Pattern: 5/2011 Dress with A-line Skirt
Year: 2011
Notions: zipper, some bias fusible interfacing tape
Time to complete: 3 days
First worn: 05/12/2012
Wear again? yes!
Total price: Not sure, probably around $20.

Price breakdown: The Batik was a gift from my friends (a gift certificate for Quilt et Textilkunst in Munich).  The Timeless Treasures quilting cotton for the sketchy blue parts of the dress were from the Fat Quarter Shop or Hawthorne Threads (~$9/yd). The Amy Butler quilting cotton for the lining has been in my stash for at least 4 years.  The acetate was leftovers from the Plaid Starlet Suit Jacket.

This dress goes down as my fastest dress ever.  I was so happy I put it together so quickly and with as little mishaps as possible.  Everything came from my stash this time and it felt good not to have to run to the store.  It all came together just in time for the wedding - even a day early!  I guess I must have learned something in the last several months after participating in six challenges. The wedding went well (although it was still quite cold for May!) and my dress was comfortable and matched the blue/teal color theme of the day.  Many guests were wearing teal blue it was hard to believe none of us knew what the colors of the decor were going to be... the invite was red and white!

yes! I picked the right colors!!

As for the pattern, I recommend it for those with a little experience and even the adventurous beginner.  I adapted a little bit by changing the zipper to a lapped one, and I added a lining to the front and side triangles.  It really helped with dancing whilst wearing nylons - no cling or bunching while busting a move.  I lowered the neckline slightly - ooh you can't see it because the knitted cowl is covering it...Ah well, the cowl a pattern by Laura Chau called Dipped Infinity Scarf which is super easy and pretty IMO.   Take my word for it that the neckline is a boat-neck and the straps are quite thin but still mostly covered my bra straps.  I modified the back to adapt to my shape before the zipper was installed, and that was it!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Block of the Month: May

This month's two quilting blocks were soooo (seeewww) easy.
Minty fresh!

Hypnotic Log Cabin Whirlpool

My favorite of the two is the block I'm calling minty fresh because it features teal and minty blue-greens for the theme.  Other from that, it's a "wonky log cabin" as Amy Gibson likes to call it.  I loved making this one, and found the process of using the scraps from a dress I just finished (post coming soon) to be a great way to clean up the area after finishing a larger project. I don't know why it's specifically satisfying, but in some way using up every little bit of fabric you love in a quilt block, just makes it even better.

Standard Log Cabin

your friendly neighborhood log cabin

The red block actually came first and is a more traditional log cabin-type block.  I just cut even strips using my bag of red scraps and the center of the block was a leftover center from the Christmas coasters I made for my knitting groups.  This month's blocks were definitely beginner-friendly blocks!

If you'd like to join in the fun, these quilting blocks are part of Craftsy's free online video course here.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tutorial: Fair-isle Floats

In this tutorial, I'll share with you what I do to weave in a long float when I'm knitting in fair-isle.  This technique effectively splits the float in two making a smaller, less snag-prone float when you're knitting with multiple strands.

The basis for this tutorial is that I hold the two colors in my left hand, and I knit continental-style when I'm working with two colors.  If I'm working with three colors, the technique is the same except I bring in the third color that I hold with my right hand, and twist the threads to keep the floats small.  This technique is especially helpful for accessories such as mittens or hats which are prone to snagging with earrings, fingertips, etc.

Thanks for watching!  If you lose track of this post, you can always find links to my video and photo tutorials under the "tutorials" tab on the opening page underneath the header.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Postcards from Outside My Window

Originally written for Rock + Purl's Blog here

Outside my window there is a canal.

I moved to Amsterdam at the end of December 2011.  I photographed the view outside my window every month, and it helped me adapt to my new home.  These photos I organized like postcards to share with you.

December & January
We chose this apartment because of the view.  The balcony and main windows look out onto a canal and everyone loves to visit it.  Later in January, the canal turned to ice, but not knowing how deep it was, I did not try to walk on it.

Cold winds made beautiful patterns on the frozen water.  People from the neighborhood swept the snow to the center of the canal and people skated merrily, had snow fights, and bruised their butts when they fell.

What a crazy burst of color!  I bought some bulbs, 3 for 3 EUR to decorate my window.  They bloomed faster than I could have dreamed.  The hyacinths had the most wonderful scent.

This month was confusion.  Cold, wet, and rainy, splendid sunny days, clothing ranged from winter coats to shorts.  The grass stayed green, the skies wavered between blue and grey.

Big changes are coming. The weather seems to be shifting toward warmth, but the only constant is change.  I'll be packing and getting ready to move once again...  I hope my next view is as nice as this one.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New Pattern: Alhambra Hat

The Alhambra Hat is my latest self-published pattern...

The color-work motif is inspired by the curls and diamonds on the archways and walls of The Alhambra Palace in Spain.

The Alhambra Hat is a beanie that begins with a ribbed brim. Choose your own adventure and create a 4”/ 10cm ribbed brim turned up once halfway or a 6”/ 15cm brim that’s folded double. After the ribbed  brim is complete, a fair-isle motif covers the main part of the hat decreasing to a point at the top of the hat.

This project is suitable for the adventurous fair-isle beginner!

This particular prototype is modeled on a 22" head and features a 6" brim folded double.  It was knit with Wollmeise 100% Sock Yarn.  The blue is a color I dyed myself from a Wollmeise 100% Natur as the base.  The purple is Fliederbusch.  The pattern is now available on Ravelry.  Yay!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Color Challenge: Orange

Yesterday, April 30th, was Queen's Day here in the Netherlands, and the color of the day was definitely and resoundingly ORANGE resulting in a personal color challenge.

The day before, I skimmed through my closet and found not a single orange thing.  Not one!  I used to have an orange shirt from my University of Miami days (school colors: green and orange), but I guess I deemed the shirt too short and gave it away.  I fell asleep with the thought that I still might find the orange shirt, but I didn't.  So, I found myself on Koninginnedag sans the famous color.

I brainstormed... looked in my fabric stash and yarn stash and found a couple of contenders in the fabric section, but they were either too peachy or not a good solid orange color! The yarn stash fared a bit better.  I found the remnants of a skein of Wollmeise's limited production worsted weight yarn "Molly" in a razzle-dazzle orange.  I found my winner.

Wollmeise's Molly yarn in super-orange
  So, I quickly (2 hours is quick for me!) knit an orange headband.  Using garter stitch for the underside, and a lace pattern I've been playing with for an upcoming shawl as the main motif, out came this wild orange headband!

Orange-Glo Headband for Queen's Day
headband for Queen's Day
I really like the color.  It suited the occasion perfectly.  Happy Queen's Day, everyone!