Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mystery Books

Cindy asked me who was my favorite mystery writer after I confessed to loving this genre.

P.D. James is who first comes to mind. I love that her mysteries are complex, wonderful stories with very well developed characters. Inspector Dagliesh which most of her novels are about is a policeman that writes poetry; reading each book is like reading about a friend you have known for years (and I have). I'm anxiously waiting for the next one, I worry because Ms James is now in her eighties. She also wrote two novels with female detective Cordelia Grey, but she never pursued this series, which received critical acclaim.

My next favorite is Elizabeth George who writes the series for Inspector Lynley. I love these books for the same reasons that I love P.D. James. Ms. George novels are grittier and more emotional with just as captivating stories and characters.

I have read many different authors that I enjoy, you can link to my GoodReads page on my sidebar if you are curious. You won't go wrong picking up a book by either one of these wonderful mystery writers!

Slouchy, comfy knits

I was thrilled when I saw the spread of slouchy cardigans in the latest Lucky magazine. I know some of you are thinking along the lines of Trini and Susanna and Stacy and Clinton...fitted is best. But I love these relaxed looks anyways!!
Here is one from Lucky

and a great pattern to make your own from Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine

Here are a couple of wonderful cardigans from Lucky

and here are patterns from Debbie Bliss magazine (Fall/winter 2009)

And here is another possibility, this one from Filati Knitting magazine in their latest issue.

Of course if you don't knit there are wonderful sweater knits available and there is always Ann Taylor Loft...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Seven things about me

A number of bloggers have invited their readers to play along because they cannot bring themselves to name seven people for the newest award making the rounds. I have decided to play along.

1. I left Cuba when I was 13 years old along with my family for Spain. It was to be a temporary stay until we were granted permission to come to live in the United States. It was a grand adventure for me even though I was sad to leave, family, friends and everything I knew behind.

2. I love mysteries, whether they are tv shows or books.

3. Shoes are my weakness, have been since I became aware of fashion, back when I was around 12.

4. I cannot excuse or tolerate snobby people, I quickly cross them off my list.

5. In my senior year in high school I was voted "Class Braintrust" in the senior poll, I was the valedictorian. I certainly pursue brainier activities more than physical ones.

6. I love to dance. I don't get to do it often so I compensate by dancing around the house when I'm doing chores. I hope no one is looking...

7. Gardening was my no 1 passion (after reading) before crafts (sewing, quilting, knitting and crocheting) took over. It is a tragedy to have so many interests and not enough time to indulge in all of them ;-)

I hope you enjoyed my revelations, play along if you like!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Textile Studio Madison Avenue Dress

I have had this pattern a long time, I loved the simplicity when I first bought it and I love it still. As you can see I shortened mine quite a bit, I wanted to be able to wear it with flats in the summer and boots in the fall, and I thought this length would give me more flexibility. I still see making this in a stretch velvet in the longest length, very elegant.

I had never worked with patterns from this company so I needed to find out about the fit, but I figure in this easy to work knit from Emma One Sock and because it was a simple design I couldn't go too wrong. I like the fit. One thing I would do different is a forward shoulder adjustment, this is the first time in a pattern where the shoulder line is so off.

Something else that showed up when I took a picture of the back is the wrinkles at the waistline. I don't have swayback, so I know that's not the problem. Any ideas? Could it be that having the shoulder seam off is causing problems in the bodice?

Other than adding to the waist length I made no other alterations. I did notice that the fit is snug at the waist/hip area; I went up a size from their recommended size, to give myself some insurance and still had to make 1/4" seams in that area.

As far as construction I added 1/4" elastic in the shoulder seam allowance, I usually use clear elastic but I'm out so I used what I had in hand.

I also stitched down the neckline facings, they were flopping around driving me crazy. The directions have you stitching in the ditch to tack them down but it wasn't enough. I always remember Connie Long telling us in her knits class at G Street Fabrics that there is no reason not to stitch down the facings.

I have some fabric leftover which I'm going to use make a simple top so stay tuned!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sewing plans for the weekend

Before I lose the opportunity to use the computer during the weekend (both the main computer and the laptop are monopolized by the boys and husband) I wanted to let you know that I modified the Textile Studio Madison Avenue dress and the fabric is now drying on my shower pole.

I was inspired to pull this pattern out after seeing the cute top that Shannon made. I've had this pattern for years! I'm making the short dress with a fabric from Emma One Sock which I have also had for a while.

I hope you all get a chance to sew this weekend!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Pink Quilt is finished

It's done! Yesterday I finished the binding that is all done by hand, I rather not fiddle with trying to catch both sides of the binding when sewing it in the sewing machine.

The back is interesting...I decided that I would use the left over fabrics from the quilt top, pieced in a random pattern and I quickly realized that I didn't have enough, so I introduced the blue fabric. I like to think that I constructed the back in the way quilts used to be made, with whatever fabrics were available.

I quilted in a new way for me, 1/4 inch away from seamlines in a criss-cross pattern, I really like it. I used Gutternmann's cotton thread for the quilting which I had never used before (always bought Mettler's) and it worked great; the fact that is sold at Joann's is very convenient!

I went window shopping on Friday and I'm so excited to start fall sewing! I won't say which pattern I'll start with because it always seems to change; let me say that I have several patterns already modified so I might start there.

This past week to take a break from the troublesome lace tunic I started Valley Yarns Staghorn Cabled Tunic. I bought this pattern at last years Stitches East with the Northampton yarn called for. So far so good! Sadly this year Stitches East is in Connecticut instead of Baltimore =(

Keep on sewing! I'm enjoying looking at everyone's plans, and hope that one day I'll put one together...

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I'm going on a bike ride

A couple of days ago my husband said to me that very same thing and then he says "I have truly turned into Calvin's father!" and we all knew what he meant. My entire family loves Calvin and Hobbes, so it was fun to look for a scene to replicate. What do you think? Isn't it perfect?

Sunday, September 06, 2009

What is it about this pattern....

that defeats me so?

I started the Square Bodice Pullover last summer, I got so frustrated that I contacted the designer, Shirley Paden, by email, who very generously sent me her original pattern and charts which she had submitted to Interweave Knits for publication. That information helped a lot and I was able to finish the back. When I started on the sleeve the shaping that goes on was so confusing to me as regards to incorporating the stitch patterns as the sleeve became wider. On Ravelry I found Amy (AmyA) who also very generously sent me by snail mail a copy of her notes for the sleeve, her version of this sweater is gorgeous.

Last summer I was too frustrated to attempt the sleeve one more time and since fall was around the corner I put it away. I studied Amy's notes and finally saw the light, especially how to effectively add pattern stitches as the increases were added.

So here we are, I have charted, I have knitted and yesterday I realized that about 9 inches from the bottom things went wrong. Was it my chart or was it a mistake when knitting?. Well, I'm frogging it and once I get to about the same spot I'll see what happened.

The bottom row above is fine but then things get different

Now I'm not a lace girl. I do admire the work but usually for garments I like more modern and simple looking designs. However I fell in love with this pattern(the yarn is Paton's Grace which I really like), and although it might put me off knitting lace from now on, I will finish it. Wish me luck.