Monday, October 23, 2006

When will I learn?

If you read yesterday's post, you'll know that I have trouble estimating the difficulty/time suck of sewing. I attribute this to my lack of sewing experience. I sew only a couple times a year, usually costumes for Halloween, and when given a choice of similar costumes, I always choose to make the most difficult one. Because it looks better. When Nina was in 1st grade, she was Snow White. Every pattern company makes at least one Snow White costume. Instead of choosing the pattern that had blue sleeves with red ribbon attached to the outside, giving them the "feel" of slashed sleeves, I chose the one that actually looked like slashed sleeves. Each sleeve took 5 hours to construct.

There was the year (2003) Nina wanted to be a Renaissance Lady and Sophia wanted to be a Flower Fairy

Aside from the fact that satin is a pain to sew with (until you discover why you own pinking shears), I had to make a corset-like thingy with stays, install grommets, and sew on a bazillion yards of metallic trim. Tip: look at the price of metallic trim before you have it measured and cut and you're handed the slip to take to the cashier.

The next year, we had a Sorceress and a Princess:

Again with the satin, but this time I had to work with satin and sheer fabric. That was the year I first used my pinking shears.

Then, in 2005, I took the girls to seethe movie Bride and Prejudice and they fell in love with the costumes. They wanted to be Indian girls for Halloween. So my friend Monica had her mother buy Salwar Kameez fabric in India (where she lives) and bring it with her that summer when she came to Minnesota for a visit. (Here's and interesting aside: "Salwar" is the name for the pants and "Kameez" is the name for the tunic. Notice how Kameez sounds like Camisa, which sounds like chemise? Don't you love how languages are related?) Unfortunately, no one made patterns for traditional Indian clothing at that time, because people don't sew for themselves in India. They go to a tailor, get measured, and a couple days later, they pick up their outfits. So I had to wing it. (Naturally, this year we found a pattern. I also noticed there are fish patterns, which didn't exist the year Nina was 2 and wanted to be Rainbow Fish. Still no pattern for a violin costume, though) I found a website that showed how to make a tunic, and I cut out the pants using the pajama bottom pattern I use for the girls' PJs. I think I spent less than 2 hours on each costume, which has to be a record. Michael sent these pictures to the people in India who do work for him, and they were delighted. Monica's mom was pretty tickled, too.

What does this have to do with knitting? Well, I'm a more accomplished knitter than seamstress. I keep thinking that means I can better estimate how long it'll take to do something I haven't done before (as opposed to knowing I can do a fruit cap for a baby in one evening). Last night, I decided to work on the finishing for Nina's afghan. I had already sewn 5 strips of 4 squares together. All I needed to do was sew the strips together and weave in all the ends. (That's so funny to me now. "All I needed to do...") I started at 7 o'clock, figuring it'd take me a couple hours.

At midnight, this is what I had:

I gave up for the night when I realized I'd sewn one of the squares in the 4th strip upside down. Looks like I'm in for another couple 4 or 5 hours.

I did make this first, though, for the Dulaan Project:

It looks a little lumpy because I have one of Nina's cami tops stuffed inside to give it some body.

Simple Hat
Yarn: Cascade 220 worsted weight wool, doubled
Needles: Knit Picks Options circular needle, 8 mm (U.S. size 11), using Magic Loop
Gauge: 2.75 sts/in; 4 rows/in (not that row gauge matters so much)
Size: approximately 19" circumference, to fit a child 6-10 years old
Pattern: My own, based on excellent sizing guidelines in the Yarn Harlot's book, Knitting Rules!

CO 54 sts. K1P1 rib for 4 rounds. Switch to stockinette. Knit till hat is 6" from cast on edge. Decrease as follows: *(K7,K2tog), repeat from * 5 more times (48 sts); Next round: *(K6, K2tog), repeat from * 5 more times (42 sts); continue decreasing in this manner, knitting 1 stitch fewer before the K2tog each round. After the final decrease round (which will be K2tog all the way around), cut the yarn, leaving a longish tail (maybe 8"), thread the yarn through the remaining 6 loops and fasten off. Or you could knit an I-cord for a few inches and then tie it in a knot. Whatever. I'm taking the "think simple" advice to heart.

I'm working on a way to line the hat with polar fleece to make it warmer, but my prototype didn't quite work out. Gotta work on that.

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