Nightwear: Butterick 6838

I combined views A and C to make a knee length gown with sleeves in size Medium. The pattern looked dated but at 50 cents from my local charity shop was worth investing in for a bit of fun. My old gown had worn out and I felt it should be replaced before I go on holiday next year. Wouldn’t want to frighten the locals if there’s a fire alarm.

Conservative and traditional

I used a soft Indian cotton from a different charity shop to make the gown and a remnant to line the sleeves and front and back yokes. I amended the pattern only by softening the V into a curve on the front yoke. I ignored the instructions by not basting anything and by stitching the yoke facings in place on the machine, stitching in the ditch rather than by hand, for speed and strength.

The pattern is easy to use and gives a good fit. If you have a wide upper arm you may wish to add some width to the upper arm circumference which is not generous in the amount of fullness.

Gown in Indian checked cotton
Not so traditional after all

The photo isn’t quite true on colour but no amount of editing seemed to fix that. The ric rack isn’t that intense and is actually more a pistachio shade.

Just Socks – A Review and a Finish

I purchased the Just Socks book, published by Lion Brand Yarn, from one of my local op shops/goodwill stores because I love woollen socks and they are close to impossible to buy in clothing stores these days, especially in women’s’ sizes. When I spot woollen socks for sale (especially fine ones for wearing with shoes, not boots) I generally buy several pairs.

Cover of Lion Brand Barn Book Just Socks

I am not a happy or an accomplished knitter but I can usually work from a knitting pattern if I have to, as long as it’s not too complicated. This does rely on the pattern being reasonably clear and correct.

Not one to fear leaping boldly into a project that may stretch my capabilities, I started with the Intermediate level reversible cable socks in the Just Socks book. The socks turned out OK but I did have to watch some online videos and borrow a book from the Victorian Handweavers and Spinners Guild library to source detailed instructions on the short row method that this pattern uses. I struggled with the instruction Continue until no double wrapped stitches remain. As I am an inexperienced knitter it would have been helpful to me if the pattern had set out how many stitches to knit on each and every heel row so I could count along. I did my best but one of the socks had a couple of holes I had to sew closed because I had overlooked a wrapped stitch and didn’t pick it up when I was increasing to shape the heel.

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Reversible Cable Socks in 12 ply 100% Wool. The wool is greasy, meaning the lanolin is still present, making the socks sturdy and handling the wool a dream.

The heel shaping instructions didn’t seem right though. They read:

Row 1 Knit 22, slip, slip knit, knit 20, slip, slip knit.

Row 2 Knit 1 row.

Repeat these 2 rows until only 16 stitches remain.

Traveling Sock pattern p 22 of Just Socks.

The first problem was that I had 47 stitches on my needle, so one stitch was ”extra”. The second (and more serious problem) was that the instructions said to continue until 16 stitches remain. I did, and the result was an elongated and misshapen heel that I had to cut out and redo, after checking afterthought heel patterns on the internet. I believe there were some decreasing steps missed in the pattern. Or I misread the instructions.

I wonder whether this pattern was test knitted as described before the book was published. If you are an experienced knitter please comment. Did I miss something or did the editor?

Based on my experience I could not recommend this book as each pattern was contributed by a different designer and there is little evidence that the patterns were sufficiently tested or standardized for gauge.

Ombre Scarf

This scarf uses Bendigo 3ply for warp and weft and includes an ombre wool blend in the weft.

I love the drape and softness of this scarf but my next project will be focussed on achieving a better selvage. In attempting to avoid draw in I have gone too far in the other direction and have loopy selvages. My weaving mentor suggested weights on the selvages and I will also look at the angles and how snugly each pass fits at the edge.

A scarf knotted to show the colour variation at the ends

Keep going, keep making, keep improving.

A Tribute To Kay Faulkner

Queensland weaver Kay Faulkner passed away unexpectedly on Friday 31 May 2019. I learned of her passing from a post made to her blog by her children and I am deeply saddened.

I am saddened that the weaving community has lost such a skilled and passionate member, saddened that her children have had to deal with the sudden loss of their beloved mother and saddened that I will never again have the opportunity to appreciate the community and learning opportunities that Kay offered via the classes she taught at her home studio.

I can’t speak of Kay’s full professional and artistic life as I met her first in 2017 when I was a participant in her linen and lace class. She taught that class from her home studio in Birkdale, Queensland but frequently also taught and presented at workshops and conferences locally and at international weaving events. She brought weaving into the public eye and will be remembered for promoting dying and weaving as a teacher and an artist.

In recent times, Kay wove the wool and silk cloth to be used on High Court judges’ robes. This work put her and the art and craft of weaving into the media spotlight in Australia in 2016. I had the opportunity to see and handle one of the samples of this cloth and the pictures can’t communicate how supple and light the cloth felt in my hands.

Kay is survived by her son Andrew and her daughter Helen. Her loss will be keenly felt by her immediate family, and also those to whom she was a loyal friend. The loss extends to the wider weaving community both in Australia and overseas.

A version of this obituary has been submitted to the editor of the Victorian Handweavers and Spinners Guild for possible inclusion in the July 2019 edition of their newsletter Treadles. At the time of this blog post the July Treadles had not been published.

Makeup Bag

I whipped up a makeup bag on Sunday.

Rectangular fabric bag with a metal zipper. There are eyebrow pencils and other makeup items lying on top of the bag.

Designed to be just a bit longer than my eyebrow pencil

It barely took 15 minutes to throw together and the hardest part was locating a zipper foot for my sewing machine. The accessories for my machine are currently AWOL and will probably turn up at the bottom of a stash box one day. The benefit of having a spare sewing machine (or two) is having additional accessories. The drawback of owning more than one sewing machine is sounding like a person who can’t control her impulses but I figure they don’t make ’em like they used to. Besides both of us use them.

Though only only of us sews makeup bags.

How many sewing machines do you own?

Thrum Scarf

I had a lot of warp yarn left on the loom after my friend finished her wrap, but not enough to make another scarf without making some adjustments.

I decided to take the remaining warp off the loom and add more colours to it. I used fisherman’s knots to add in three new warp colours (navy, pink and cerise) from my stash to make a new warp. I put the coloured yarn in randomly thought I did check for patterns that might inadvertently creep in. Sett was 15epi.

I chose a Lincraft yarn 100g, 100% wool $1 from the op shop for weft. It’s a pale green shade to calm the vivid warp colours. I like the colours of the warp in the fabric, but felt they were too riotous for a fringe. Instead I went for a hemmed finish using the Java tone of Bendigo three ply that is also in the warp.

The finshed scarf will be a gift for an overseas friend.

The hemmed ends of a handwoven scarf with a painted cabinet in the background

There is a slight iridescence here that I really like

M’s and O’s

Cloth up of woven cloth

The Simple Weaves book has a pattern for guest towels in M’s and O’s that I thought would be perfect for the Cottolin yarn I bought in Sweden a few years ago. It was perfect.