Category Archives: knitting

From summer to fall / Alder shirtdress by Grainline

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I made this dress sometime in late August and I love it so much, but somehow didn’t find the time to take pictures and blog about it. A lightweight airy shirtdress is the perfect thing to wear in our hot humid long mediterranean summer. Since I made it this dress, paired with white snickers, became my uniform.

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Now that the weather here is starting to get a little bit colder I thought it would be nice to wear it with tights and my favorite hand knitted sweater20161028_084227_resized_1

 It is difficult to photograph the dress. The fabric has a tiny black and white plaid pattern that confuse the eye and the camera. It’s a shirting cotton with small precent of silk blend I found in a local fabric store. It’s light and soft and feel nice on the skin.  I think the dress is much prettier in real life.

Also, and you’ll have to excuse me, it’s a bit wrinkled. I did iron it but I wore it for a few hours before taking the pictures. Well, OK, I tell my self its real life and not a magazine, right?

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I planned to sew the Alder Shirtdress pattern from Grainline studio for a long time.

In recent months I learn pattern making course and I practice drafting my own patterns. I wondered to myself what to do: I wanted to draft a shirtdress pattern myself but I only had this dress on my mind (you can’t blame me, it is a beautiful pattern). Finally I decided to challenge myself and work without the pattern. I wanted to incorporate all the design details that I love about the Alder: the pockets, the collar and the side panels. My version is without side darts and the A line skirt is a little wider. So I made it and I’m quite satisfied with the result. Now I plan to buy the Alder pattern as a gift for a sewing friend. Think it’s fair.

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I sewed the buttons in fuchsia pink thread and it gives small dots of color that really pop the eye and make it happier.

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The butterfly is  a brooch I received from my grandmother sometime before 30 years or so. It covers a tiny tear in the corner of the front panel that I could not fix. I don’t mind, I think it adds a bit more joy.20161028_084645_resized

 A back photo. From distance it seems gray.

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If I summarize my sewing adventures of this summer, I can tell I’m very pleased I was able to sew two things that were on my wish list for a long time: this dress and the bombshell swimsuit. So even though I didn’t sew a lot  what I made came out good and was worn a lot and I practiced many new skills.

Now it’s time to start thinking about my plans for the coldest days. This is a glimpse to my winter inspiration board on Pinterest.

What about you? Planning something interesting for the winter ?

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The boys in my life and the clothes I made for them lately

  Sewing menswear is a bit challenging. Not because the sewing patterns are more complicated, but because it is much harder to find good, contemporary and wearable sewing patterns for men. The Internet world is full of amazing women’s patterns, but what about the deprived men?

A quick search for “shirt ” in the very popular Burda site gives the following results: 471 options for the women’s section but only 16 patterns for men (some of them are nice but some are for strange costumes like here and here or for pajama tops). This means that for every 100  patterns for women they release only 3-4 patterns for men, 20% unwearable (unless it’s bedtime or halloween…). Well don’t catch my statistics, but this really demonstrates the situation.

So I’m on a search for good patterns for the men in my life. And I did found some indie companies, like Thread theory and Walden, and (if you knit) brooklyn tweed with the BTmen collections, that take men more seriously.

Meanwhile, meet the boys in my life and the clothes I made for them:IMG_9265

For my big man: Avast sweater by Jesse Loesberg, A free knitting pattern from 2006 fall Knitty magazine; and  Strathcona T-shirt by Thread theory made with some medium weight knit fabric.

For little men: a raglan sweatshirt with a pocket, refashioned from an adult size shirt that big men didn’t wear anymore. The pattern is here.IMG_9276I made the sweater for Gidon as a birthday present 3 year ago. You can see more on my Ravelry page. I loved the design and it has many little fine finishing details and that braid pattern above the hem.  This garment is very much loved by his owner. It’s practical, cozy and was worn a lot in the past few winters.

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The shirt is new. A simple fitted t-shirt made with a medium weight knit  (some sort of french terry) in grey and dark blue, very soft but with no drape and just a small amount of stretch. Perfect for menswear. The pattern has many finishing options: long or short sleeves, finished with hem or a bend, henley placket or crew neck, and since my man is a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy I believe it will be a very useful pattern. The fit is just right for him.
I bought the whole Parkland wardrobe builder from Thread theory. It also includes a pair of pants and a nice cardigan and I’m so excited to try them.
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This shirt is refashioned from an old adult size sweatshirt that Gidon didn’t wear anymore. I disassembled the sweatshirt: front, back sleeves and neck bend and use the fabric to sew this kid’s size raglan shirt. The hems and the details on the sleeve are from the original shirt, and I also used the original collar bend so it took just less then an hour to finish. The little pocket is made out of the fabric that was stitched to the inside of the sweatshirt for decoration. I looooove it. and so doe’s my boy.

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They seem very happy. Don’t you think?

Michal

WIP: Spring lines sweater + a great podcast about gauge

 

Hi

My spring lines sweater is progressing slowly. Here are some photos of the work in progress.

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Up till now it’s a fun project and what pleased me most is that my gauge was almost perfect (well, this rarely happens, don’t you think?).

Then I remembered this very good podcast, the first episode of KNIT.FM where Hannah Fettig & Pam Allen talk about gauge. It a really great podcast if you want to deepen your knowledge on the subject:  what is it?  How to knit a gauge swatch? How to measure your swatch? Does row gauge matter? What if you can never “get gauge”? And a lot more.

Yes, I know some people (not knitters of course ) may think it is strange to listen to people who talk about gauge for half an hour. But Pam and Hannah are so nice and talk at eye level.  I listened to it while cooking dinner and enjoyed very much  🙂

SLOW FASHION OCTOBER, week 3: LOVED

IMG_9203_1All though the temperatures are still high around here, for me this time of year is the time when I can start knitting again. The nights are not so hot anymore, sometimes you can even feel a cold breeze, last week was slightly rainy (yes….I love rain) and you can breathe again.

To celebrate the opening of my knitting season and share my thoughts about LOVED for slow fashion October I thought I’ll write about some of my most loved knitted items.

  When considered my choices I asked myself a few basic questions:

  • How much I wear this?
  • Why I love this?
  • How I felt during the process of knitting it?

So here they are:

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  1. Pattern: Strokkur by Ysolda Teague, yarn: Istex Lett-Lopi, wool from Iceland.

I loved this knitting pattern when I found it on Ravelry, it reminded me of the cozy Nordic sweaters many people used to wear when I was little, but in a good way. What is pretty about this design is the fitted shape, as opposed to traditional islandic sweaters that are usually bigger and bulky. I also like the delicate fair- isle pattern that circles just around the collar. Knitting this sweater was an enjoyable experience and I’m very much attached to it.

It’s my warmest sweater. At first I was a bit concerned that maybe it will be too hot for our weather and I won’t use it enough. Happily for me, in practice I wore this sweater every single week in the past few winters (that in Israeli terms were very cold).In winter months I reach for this one whenever I can’t decide what to wear, and that is exactly my definition for a most loved garment.

It’s true that the yarn is a bit itchy, but I wear it with a shirt underneath so I don’t mind. In addition it became softer with the constant wearing and washing over the years. If you look closer, you can see it’s already slightly worn out.

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  1. Pattern: Lady marple by Nadia Cretin-Lechenne, yarn: Cascade Yarns, Alpaca Lana D’oro in olive oil color.

I knitted this cardigan last year because I needed a warm cardigan. Immediately it became my favorite cold weather layering piece. I love the vintage style that reminds me 30s and 40s English sweaters, but in a contemporary color. The yarn color name is “olive oil” but to me it seems more like a shade of mustard.

I long thought of combining this color in my wardrobe but wasn’t sure if it will look good on me. Gladly I discovered it suits me nicely and also work well with many clothes I have in my closet.

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  1. Pattern: Abigail by Cecil Glowik MacDonald, yarn: Filatura Di Crossa, Gioiello.

This is a very simple cardigan knitted with a very light and soft fingering weight yarn. I received the yarn as a gift from Gs mother. I probably wouldn’t buy myself pink and purple with tinny sequins but as soon as I made the gauge I fell in love with the color of the fabric I made and I knew my mother in low made a perfect choice for me.  The simple shape of the cardigan emphasize the beautiful yarn.

I wear this cardigan all the time. I think it’s one of my most useful garments. I wear it in transition seasons, in warmer days of winter and in the summer days when the air condition is freezing me.

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  1. Pattern: Nashira by Julia Crawford from knitted Bliss, yarn: Neighborhood Fiber Co., Loft.

The yarn I used for this scarf is a lace weight hand dyed yarn that is a blend of mohair and silk, dyed by the independent American yarn artist Krida Collins.

Generally I don’t knit scarfs, and I’m a little intimidated by lace weight yarns since I’m a slow knitter. I always prefer to knit sweaters, and I don’t wear many accessories. This one is an exception. I loved this yarn so much that I decided to devote my time and to make something nice out of it.  And it was a long process. It took me a whole summer of knitting (in the air condition of course) to finish this scarf.

The design is a beautiful lace pattern, not very complicated but you need to focus and be attentive not to mess the pattern. Until than I didn’t have the courage to knit a lace pattern (probably based on some unsuccessful attempts many years ago). Knitting this scarf slowly and patiently was a great lesson for me and also strengthened my confidence in my abilities. I’m very proud of this delicate scarf and I think it’s one the most beautiful garments I own.

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This week I made a gauge and cast on for a new sweater: Spring Lines pattern by La Maison Rililie.  So a new WIP was born.

Slow fashion october

IMG_20150918_152311A few days ago I read about slow fashion October the concept by Karen Templer from FRINGE ASSOCITION, and I’d love to take a part.

Since I’m a little late (it’s week 2) I’ll write my introduction and SMALL theme shortly in this post.

I’m Michal. I sew and knit in my free time (after the kids go to bed….).

Being slow in a fast world is something that I think about a lot in regard to many aspects of life. Since I’m knitting, and more than this when I started sewing, I realized how much work it takes to make a garment.

I know I’m lucky because I enjoy this so much, but somewhere in the world I know there are people, many people, that have no choice.  People that have to work very hard in very unfair condition in order to make the cloths we want to consume but don’t want to pay a lot for.  Knowing this makes me feel uncomfortable to buy this cloths. Add to this all the environmental issues of our over-consumption, and you have a big dilemma.

So what all this means for me?

In the past two years I made a decision to buy less cloths. At about the same time I started being interested in teaching myself to sew. Now, if I want to summarize my progress toward a more conscious wardrobe, here are my reference points for the moment:

  1. I certainly bought significantly less. Sewing for myself also reduced my desire to buy industrialized cloths (yes, still sometimes I’m tempted, but can count on my fingers the things I bought this summer for example).
  2. I tide my closet of cloths I didn’t use regularly (but still have too many and must try not to accumulate unnecessary things)
  3. The thing I’m most proud of is that almost every day I wear something made by me. As for now I think that more than 30% of my everyday cloths are handmade.
  4. I also try to be slow in the process of making. Lately I think more on details, good finishing, and try to use better yarn and fabric. I decided to work slowly and focus on quality in order to make better garments that I could wear for a long time.
  5. I try to plan my sewing and knitting projects and focus on things I need and like.
  6. I choose my patterns mostly from independent pattern designers (because I like them more and also because I believe they deserve my money more than big commercial companies)
  7. I try to learn new things and improve my skills in order to become a better sewer or knitter and wear my handmade cloths proudly.
  8. Lately I try to be more conscious and learn more about where my yarn and fabrics came from. I have to admit this is the hardest part of the process and I’m still new and wish to deepen my knowledge in this field.

That’s it for today. I’ll be back next week to share some of my most loved handmade cloths.