Category Archives: Journal

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.

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.

Doubleweave Class with Kay Faulkner

This year I again took a week out to focus on a new structure under the expert tuition of Kay Faulkner. This time the structure was doubleweave, something I had long wanted to try, entranced as I was by the marvelous deflected doubleweave items I had seen online.

Accommodation in the Birkdale area is a mild problem in that almost all options require you to have a car to get to class. This year I shared accommodation with Barbara, a fellow linen and lace graduate who lives in Queensland. We were able to spend time discussing all elements of weaving, day and night and enjoyed sampling the many restaurants in the area, with Barbara very capably driving us everywhere we needed to go. I know she reads this blog so thanks Barb!

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I enjoy the intensity of a week long class structure and the ability to move from loom to loom to try different applications. This time was easier for me as I had with some familiarity with both Kay’s looms and her teaching style. The winner project was window panes, which still seem like complete magic, even now I know how they come together.

The editor of the Victorian Handweavers and Spinners Guild newsletter declined my offer to write an article about my experience of the linen and lace class I attended at Kay’s studio last year, on the grounds that it might be seen as promoting a competitive source of weaving education. Dear readers, may I say that I thoroughly recommend that you attend one of Kay’s classes if you are able to get to Birkdale (in the Brisbane area) and can afford the time and the (very reasonable) class fees. I do not feel at all disloyal to the Guild in making this recommendation.

Shogun Bathrobe

This gentleman’s robe is made in a robust flannel and is based on Butterick Classics pattern 6968.

I made a few modifications as the pattern I purchased from my local thrift store was a Medium and my beloved would typically wear a size L or XL, depending on cut. He also wanted a shogun-style robe which to him meant belt loops over the hips and no patch pockets. Patch pockets would be a risk – one bad interaction with a door handle and the patch pocket would be but a shadow of its former self.

Adjustments were.

  • added belt loops. You don’t want your belt dropping in unguarded moments.
  • the belt has an inner core of calico for strength and to increase longevity.
  • pieced front band. The band is not matched. I don’t care and nor does my beloved. This was a design choice.
  • no cuffs on the sleeves. Cuffs on a robe just get in the way, in my experience. Unless you have domestic servants. We don’t. We have to do our own dishes and then cuffs definitely get in the way.
  • added 1 inch of width from shoulder to hem for increased coverage and comfort.

Flannel robe in kimono style tied with a belt below the waist

Gentleman’s Robe

Transparent Weave Summer School Class

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Transparent, indeed

This year I joined the Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria summer school workshop impressively titled Sheer Delight- Transparent Weave Inlay Techniques.

We warped our looms with a fine linen and learned how to use inlays in different colours and textures to make pictures or room dividers.

I’m generally more of a weaver of household items and I enjoyed being taken to a new place with my weaving. It’s probably not a technique I’ll use again soon but I’m happy to have a new technique in my repertoire.

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The Good Old Days

Here’s a little throwback to the good old days of quality workmanship and pride in your product, in the form of cotton bias binding. I bought it at my local thrift store. 

Bias binding is something I look out for in thrift stores as it’s generally a polyester cotton blend when I buy it new and that is not my preference. The older bindings also tend to be better more stable, either due to starch or simply a tighter weave.

Bias binding and its accompanying label

Love these stripes

The binding is made by WM. E. Wright Co in Massachusetts. This company stood by their product.

This material is fast colour and perfect in workmanship. Should it be faulty in any way, making the article on which it is applied unusable, we will reimburse you for the reasonable cost of your labor and all materials used in making the article.