Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Socks For Everyone!

Cool weather is here! That means it's time for warm wool socks!

I really enjoy knitting, and socks are the perfect, portable project. And perfect gift! You can make only so many pairs of mittens for one person, but everyone needs more than one pair of socks. And there are so many different kinds of socks. Thick warm slipper socks, dainty lace socks, fun colors socks, ankle socks, knee high socks, ribbed socks, striped socks... The list really is endless. It seems like every few days or so I find another pattarn I just *have* to try. And knitting is a stress buster for me. So my socks go everywhere with me. Doctor and dentist's waiting rooms are good for at least a couple rows. I even take them to parties. Is it irreverent to knit during church? So many patterns, so little time... Sigh.

So here are some of the patterns that have caught my attention in the last few months:

SANJAY's Sixth Sense Sox.These are made from Sockotta, a cotton wool blend in bright summery colors. It is an easy ribbing pattern that was pretty quick and easy to do. Once I got into the pattern, I didn't have to think too hard or count too much. The pattern is one from the Six Sox Knitalong I belong to. I haven't had a bad pattern from there yet.

I started these in the spring and took them along on the morning I went in for surgery at the Mayo Clinic. Good thing I had them. I sat in that little waiting room for a couple hours, I swear. And after they had the IV hook up thingy in my arm I tried really *really* hard to knit without bending my elbow.

I finished these in June, but just now got around to sending them to my friend. Her name is Linda. Or Gwyneth. Or Sanjay. Or just G.

Daye's Unst Socks

I made these socks as a part of the KOTR Knitalong. All the socks we knit there are from nancy Bush's book Knitting On The Road. These are the Unst socks. I made them from Lion Brand Sport Weight Wool Ease. I just wanted to try this pattern. I didn't want to buy any new yarn for it (actually I DID want to buy new yarn, but I made myself a promise that I would shop only in my stash for the rest of the year) Daye had said she'd like to have socks, and one of her favorite colors was purple. Since I had the purple woolease already in stock, I decided to go with it. I like them. I think she will too. Her name is Wendy. But I never call her that. She's also called Daeg, which is pronounced "Day" but the E on the end adds elegance to the name, don't you think?

Yngvar's Sensible Men's Socks

Made from a Canadian sock wool blended with nylon in heather gray and solid black for stripes and heels and toes.

These are socks for my friend Yngvar. He's like a brother to me, only better, because he never complains when I ask him to do me a favor. I'm not the only one who thinks so. Last january, another friend from Winnepeg and I were shopping and I said I'd like to do something nice for Yggy, like make him socks. But I didn't have any extra money right then. She said she hadn't gotten him anything yet for 12th Night, so she bought the yarn. And I'm making the socks. And making the socks. And making the socks. This simple pattern should be quick and easy, right? No. I cast on 80 stitches on size 1 needles and am still working on them. Plain gray is BORING. I have to break it up eith some lace and bright colors. But they'll get done soon, Yggy, I promise!

Fina's Celtic Swirl Socks!

Work in Progress. Made with Baby Ull from Dalegarns. 100% merino wool in fingering weight. I have a friend. A tall friend. Last year I began a pair of socks for her, made from a very nice self striping yarn in a chevron pattern that showed off the stripes quite nicely, and took the first one over to her house to have her try it on. Hmmm.... She gallantly forced it on, but clearly it was bit small. She could barely pull it on over her heel. So I went back home and put those aside for a while, not sure if I wanted to frog them and try to adjust the chevron pattern to be a few stitches larger, or if I just wanted to start fresh with a new pattern entirely. Fortunately the cat took the dilemma out of my hands by doing the frogging herself. So a week ago I found a fun pattern that I thought might appeal to my friend. I almost stuck to my rule to not buy any more yarn. I had one ball of red wool in the weight I wanted and one of off white. My friend wears a large size shoe, so I knew I'd need one more ball of red. Ok, I figured buying one ball of yarn to complete what I already had wouldn't be cheating. But wouldn't you know it, my local yarn store doesn't carry Brown Sheep's Nature Spun. Can you believe it? I could have ordered online. But by golly, I wanted to start these socks NOW! I ended up buying three skeins of the baby ull. Gosh darn it. But at least that's ALL I bought.
I carefully made a swatch and did all my figurign to be sure these would fit my friend, and according to my calculations, they should fit. But the stranded color work mades knitting a little less stretchy, and I want to try these on her befoer I say they are a success.

So, my knitting is going along nicely. I have more friends that I'd like to make socks for. I just love to knit socks. I want to try so many different patterns. But I'm not sure how all of my friends would like hand knit socks. Hard thought it is for me to believe, some people don't like hand knit items. And one friend is allergic to wool. And some of my friends already knit their own socks, and better than I do.

Mostly I knit because it's therapy for me. And with my job right now, I need lots of therapy!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Game On

They're up! Both the gown and the cloak are officially up for aucti0n! It's a good feeling to have it done. I decided to offer the gown at a starting price of $9.99. I hope to have alot of people be interested in it. But I did put a reserve price of $90.00 on it. That's what it cost me to make it, and I'll be de-double-darned if I'll take less for it. If it doesn't sell I'll donate it to the next Kingdom auction or raffle. It's a pity that my dress makers dummy leans a bit to the side. The poor thing looks drunk. It makes the pictures look less than good. They all make the dress look like it's about to take off. Either that or fall over. Sigh. The gown is truly beautiful. I like how the waist is smoothly nipped in, and then swells up into the bust. Very flattering. Hard to believe I used to actually be that size!
Let the games begin!

OK, Now I'm Done

I was laying in bed this morning at 5:30, thinking about the dress, and I came to the reluctant conclusion that this dress just begged for sleeves. I had some scraps of the silvery green fabric and the satin I'd used for the underskirt, enough to make sleeves. So I got up and got them cut out and one sewn before I had to go to church to teach sunday school. Then I had to go to my mom's to help her out, and then, at last, I was able to sew theother sleeve. And I really think they complete the outfit. The dress can be worn without sleeves, or with the sleeves. And they can be worn either way. The lining makes a very pretty sleeve too.

Now, I'm going to go to ebay and get this dress and the cloak I made to go with it listed. Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

At Last! It's Done!

I began the chemise at 2:00pm and finished sewing it at 9:00pm. That's way too much time for something made out of four rectangles! Of course, I couldn't make a plain chemise. Oh, no. I had to add ruffles, and lace and trim. Silly me. But it does look nice and I'm very pleased with it. It would look even nicer if I had an arm to put in the sleeve for pictures. The sleeves are extra long, so they can poof out and hang over the hands. I made some dark green velvet arm garters, that can be worn over the bicep to hold the sleeve in place and make it poof out.
So, tomorrow this goes up for auction on ebay. It has taken me three weeks to make this. Probably a total of 25 or thirty hours. But that's only a guess. I've looked at what is currently for auction on ebay, and there are several gowns that look really nice. The main theme seems to be "Pirate Wench" type dresses. I don't think my gown fits into that category, although it could be something that Miss Elizabeth Swann might have worn. I consider this more of a court gown. It would be really nice for a fancy costume party or an SCA event, or a Fantasy Convention. Friends stopped over last night and one of them has already asked me to make one for her. Since she's close to six feet tall and barely a size 7/8, this one won't fit her. This one will fit someone who is around 5'5" to 5'7" and a size 11/12. Maybe an 11/12. Is that what size has a 32" waist?
Well, if you were over at ebay and have come here to see more photos and see how the dress was made, feel free to scroll down. Most of the recent blog entries are all about this dress. Feel free to leave a comment. I'll be answering any questions on ebay. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Ready, Set, Hem!

I finished sewing the lacing rings on and now I'm in the process of measuring the hem. It's almost done at last! Yippee!

After the hem is done I'll sew the chemise. At first I thought I'd make the chemise out of a semi-sheer cotton that I bought up in Winnipeg at an Indian store, where they sell sari fabrics and salwar kameez and really cool jewelry. But I was planning on making myself another chemise out of that, and I think the buyers on ebay would rather have a shiny silky fabric chemise. Besides, since I won't be making sleeves for the dress after all, it might look cool to have big puffy sleeves in a shiny satiny fabric trimmed with the left over strips of green velvet. I don't have any shiny white fabric, so I'll have to go to the store and buy some. That will raise the cost of materials up to around $90.00. So should I start the auction at $89.99? I just can't settle for selling the dress for less than it cost me to make it, especially since I've spent hours making it. I've seen some really nice looking things sell on ebay for what must be a lower price than it cost to make . That is sad. Really, really sad.

But this dress is beautiful. With people looking for halloween costumes and some fancier SCA events like 12th Night coming up, there should be plenty of people willing to pay what it is worth.

Lacing the Bodice

So, I've been plodding along with my dress for ebay, and the more I do the less I want to sell it. If I had made it in my size, I would keep it. But honestly, considering that I go to only about 5 or 6 SCA events a year, how many court gowns do I need?

I have stitched more of the dark green velvet along the open edges of the underskirt, and it looks pretty sharp against the seafoam green satin underskirt. And I finally made up my mind about how to close the bodice. I chose to go with lacing rings stitched down on top of the green velvet bodice edging. I like the rings because they won't make the fabric fray, and they won't ever fall out and leave a gaping, ugly hole. If they do come 0ff they can be sewn back on, like buttons. I have some nice gold cord that can be used as lacing. So once I've sewn the lacing rings on (slow going, sewing all twenty of them on by hand) I can hem the skirt and underskirt. Then just sew the chemise and I'm done! Can I finish by Saturday night?