I spend a lot of time drawing from old embroideries in my sketchbooks.
I love the combination of embroidery, crochet and lace making on this tablecloth(?). This was part of an exhibition of traditonal handwork at L'augille on fait in Paris a couple of years ago.
Like many other knitters, I developed intarsia fatigue after Kaffe Fasset's appearance. Fairisle knitting never appealed to me much because of how quickly and easily it could be done on a machine, leading to lots of cheap and ugly patterning.
But now I have finally discovered the joy of fairisle! I owe this partly to Kate Davies and her wonderful Neep Head hat. (She models it beautifully on her blog so I won't post pictures of me wearing it.)
And partly to the discovery of the pleasure of using real Shetland wools. These beautiful wools are soft but wiry enough to make colourwork knitting a breeze. They come in a huge range of solid and heathered colours. Combining colours is endlessly fascinating.
These yarns are pure wool and wouldn't be strong enough to run through a knitting machine easily. They are best hand knit. I've tried:
Spindrift from Jamieson's
2-ply jumper weight from Jamieson and Smiths
2-ply from Alice Starmore's Virtual yarns
and Rowan 4-ply Scottish (used to be called Harris) tweed
They are all beautiful and I would love to have some in every colour!
Yes, I've been knitting a lot of tams. I've knit many other things too, but tams are such a great way to explore colour and patterns and perfect wear at this time of year. I've even worn one to bed on cold nights!
That's enough tam time for now. I don't want to give you colourwork fatigue. But if you are interested pick up a copy of Alice Starmore's recently republished Book of Fair Isle Knitting. It's a great history and technique book as well as knitter's eye candy.
Just a quick final word for those of you who don't know, I'm working at Loop several days a week now. You can find me there every Monday, Tuesday and alternating Sundays. Please say hello if you read my blog. My yarn passion of the week from Loop is this Misti Alpaca sock yarn:
All my favourite colours in one gorgeous yarn! Yum!
I've got so much I want to blog about but no time at the moment. However, I was so excited by this Latvian Mitten project that I had to link to it and tell the world immediately.
Maybe it's my inner Canadian, but I love mittens. I've been planning my own mitten post for a while. Let these wet your appetite...
Just a small sampling of the 3000 Mittens the Latvians have knit for the NATO summit.
This idea of mine to post on a single topic, over a month, is not working out.
My interests and activities changed and I didn't make the time to shift gears and post about sewing from Japanese clothes books. Sorry.
I think I'm going to return to my previous format and post about what I'm currently interested in. I will come around to more sewing info eventually, but you might as well know what I'm up to now.
With my discovery of Ravelry, my interests moved back to knitting and crochet. They were already on their way there but this helped get the fire going. I've been doing a lot of knitting from other people's patterns and dying my own yarns.
This one is called Sweet Ernie.
And I made a beret called Honest Ernie with removable flower pin.
I love neckwarmers, cowls and shawlettes. Especially in my hand-dyed cashmere.
Along with the dying, my paints have come out again, too. I'm just mucking around at the moment. Getting warmed up.
Much more to come!
This is the third post in my month of dressmaking series. I wanted to discuss choosing a pattern that is appropriate for your shape and wardrobe. But when I started to do this I realized that I only really knew what worked for my top heavy figure. However, I'll share that with you and point out some other places to look for ideas.
I'm not a big believer in Trinny and Susannah style fascism. I think everyone comes out of this show looking like identi-kits. It's much more important to enjoy what you're wearing than displaying your cleavage to maximum potential. Please take anything I say with a pinch of salt and wear what makes you happy. Because this Japanese style of clothing is layered it can look good on all sizes but it's also very loose which can put you into the tent category.
The following pictures come from Pomadour's eBay site. She sells all these Japanese books, including two pattern books with multi-sizing. The covers follow.
The first book is designed for a larger size than usual (Bust 96 cm, Waist 88 cm, and Hip 108 cm, a pear shaped UK size 16-18, American size 14-16, European size 46-48) and shows everything modeled on a shorter, heavier model.
Most of the designs are pretty similar to the other books but there are a few scary ones like this.
A tunic with a draw string across the hips and ankle strap sandals is brave territory if you're not tall!
The next book is interesting because it shows the same styles modeled on a variety of figures with slight variations in length. Their biggest model is still not very big by European or American standards (that's her on the right, about a UK size 14-16).
But I like the look of this book because it shows how making small adjustments like changing the length can flatter (or otherwise) different figures. Take a look at the pictures below and on Pomadour's eBay site to see what I mean.
Personally, I think the girl on the right would do better with a shorter dress length, don't you?
For my own figure I need to avoid dresses like this:
which go out at the chest and carry on. My chest is my largest point and this really gives me a tent silhouette. Much better are dresses like this
which fit close over the chest and can taper in the bodice to the waist. I usually have to drop the waistline a few inches though as I'm long in the body. I also add bust darts, once again to avoid the tent effect. I'll be showing you how to make these pattern adjustments in the next few weeks.
I'm delighted to say that the Flickr group I started, for sewing women's clothing from Japanese pattern books, is growing and there are a good number of photos showing people modeling the designs.
If you feel these photos don't inspire you because many of the models are younger and thinner, check out Flickr's Women over 40 looking fabulous. This is a great inspiration to me.
There is a great article about sewing from Japanese patterns on this blog.
For all you knitters and crocheters, I've just joined Ravelry. What took me so long, eh? It's amazing!
My next post will be about choosing fabric for your patterns.
Welcome to the beginning of my new posts on monthly projects.
This month, February, I will be dressmaking in the studio. I could easily blog about dressmaking all year long but I'll calm down and complete a project this month.
I love to make my own clothes! I know sewing clothing seems anachronistic in these times of plentiful, cheap, ready-to-wear, but I believe there are still good reasons for making your own. I won't pretend that economy is one of them as my collection of fabric would mock me.
For this month's project I am going to work with a ready-made pattern. Albeit, in Japanese. Like many of you crafters I have a collection of Japanese craft books. I get mine from Pomadour at EBay. Look under the category for Clothing Pattern Books.
There are many to choose from. The Pochee magazines are particularly good.
I'll be back in a few days with more. I'm nursing a stomach flu today.
I think we agree, the past is over. George W. Bush
Quilting thoughts continue...
But I did find some great fabrics at Equilter. I don't usually look at their novelty sections so I was surprised to find some I really liked. These will do nicely.
I have more to say on quilting but I will leave it for another day. I have to finish this damn book. Almost done. A week this Friday and I will have sent the manuscript away and I can play with fabric and dolls again.
Today's inspiration: Crazy quilts without embroidery. I don't like the Victoriana thing but I like the patchwork. Quilts like this one:
Likes: The day when everyone in my family goes back to work/school and I'm in the house alone. That'll be tomorrow!
Dislikes: Facial spots. I know they're a kind of polka dot but...I thought I was too old!
He was a man of few words.
And he didn't know the meaning of either of them.
Thank you all for your replies and suggestions regarding yesterday's post about eclectic fabric use in Japanese quilts. I found some amazing fabrics through some of the suggested links. I went particularly crazy over the Japanese fabrics at the International Fabric collection. Just look at these incredible cottons:
They make me so happy!
I saw some fabrics of the type I was asking about, but not many.
I'm thinking of beginning a hand-pieced quilt of my own. I'm thinking of undertaking something over a few years. I've never considered such a long project before but I really want a beautiful large quilt for our bed. And I like to hand-sew.
I'm considering different patterns at the moment. I love snowball and I like polka-dots and stars. I have a book published in 1990, called The Passionate Quilter, which I cherish!
I think it is a well conceived and constructed book. I have always loved the quilts in it by a woman named Setsuko Obi.
This one is called Flowerings I and is all hand-pieced and quilted.
This is a closer picture of some of her piecing and quilting in Flowerings II, made in 1989 from vintage Japanese fabrics. I can't find anything more about her. Does anyone know anything?
I will be musing more on starting a quilt over the next few posts, so let me know if you have any suggestions for places to visit, things to see.
Today's Inspiration: Well inspiration is still strictly forbidden but I have to mention Setsuko Obi, don't I?
Likes: Board and card games. Best thing about this time of year is the endless rounds of games. Apples to Apples, Carcassonne (with my exciting new extension pack) and Canasta are my favourites at the moment.
Dislikes: Working when I've got creative ideas I'm dying to play with!
If you are what you eat, I must have a couple of fat bastards in me.
Goodness, these are coming out of me fast and furious.
I hope I have enough friends at Christmas to give all these purse thingies good
Gosh, I'm good at wasting time!
I like these felt dolls.
Found at The HeatherLouise Factory .
Speaking of felt, check out Myriad Natural Toys for a beautiful selection of 100% wool felt. Including this selection of plant dyed colours.
I had a lot of trouble finding 100% wool. Thanks to the amazing Lyn for the help.
Today's Inspiration: Anna Maria Horner , she's a good blog writer!
Likes: Stripes, not quite as much as polka dots, but not far behind.
Dislikes: Broken toilet seats