On Saturday I went trail-riding with my husband and sister. I swear humans were meant to travel on horseback. I love the smell of the horses and the swaying of the horse as it walks. Cars go fast, but horses nurture my soul.
On Sunday my husband took me out for breakfast, and then we went shopping for a cake plate. We returned home with this beauty and I set to making a cake.
My sister joined us after lunch and she and I worked all afternoon on a deliciously creamy lasagna and on my birthday cake. I had chosen to make an Ube cake to remind me of my travels in the Philippines a few years ago. First I used powdered Ube to make Halaya, or Ube jam, then I used that jam to make a delightfully purple cake. The cooking took all afternoon, but we had the most wonderful meal.
My youngest sister (who went riding with us) knitted me a teapot cozy, and my middle sister made me a Lord of the Rings journal! What a piece of art!!
It was a delightful birthday, and I thoroughly enjoyed snacking on cake and giving slices away to friends and neighbors.
Ideally you would make the undergarment first and the outer garment second. But the lure of pretty fabric was too much for me, so I made my 1920s One Hour Dress first. Having made the dress I recognized the need for an appropriate undergarment to smith any wrinkles and reinforce the correct silhouette. This is, after all, the 1920s, and the garçon look is all the rage.
I started with the same 1 hour dress pattern I made using the tutorials from The Closet Historian and a few yards of white cotton batiste. The cotton batiste is more stiff and less drapey than the rayon used in the outer garment, though still very lightweight. I did a quick fitting and took the side seams in by 3/4 inch each side (this makes the final garment 3 inches smaller in total compared to the outer dress). I sewed up the side seams using French seams and sewed the pleats in place. My batiste was 45″ wide (vs. the 60″ wide Rayon I used for the dress), so I used the full width of the fabric for both front and back of the slip.
Time for another fitting: I angled the neckline to be 1 1/2 inches higher in front than in back. This also makes the garment more comfortable around the underarm. Finally, I created 1” wide straps from the batiste.
The last thing to do on my slip was apply lace. I had bought 5 yards of cotton lace several months ago with the vague idea of making a blouse or a petticoat or something. I used the lace to finish the neckline and hem and to cover the raw edges of the side pleats (the lace is on the outside of the slip, whereas the lace finishing is on the inside of the dress). In the end I had about 2 inches of lace left, which was super satisfying.
I am quite pleased with the finished garment. It’s simple but effective, and the lace is so lovely. If I was making this again I would stack the side pleats so they weren’t quite as wide (it would look like a knife pleat on either side of the seam with a box pleat stacked on top).
The fabric of the slip is rather sheer so I won’t post full photos, but here is a side by side of the outer dress without a slip (left) and with the slip (right). It doesn’t make a huge difference, but does help control wrinkling. And since the dress is made of a delicate rayon, the cotton slip will help to minimize contact between my body and the dress, keeping the dress clean longer and extending its life.
Yesterday was the first day of fall and I got an itch to make something to mark the occasion. I raided my stash and came up with about half a yard of cotton flannel and a few yards of lace. I thought about making a quilted scarf, but decided on a shawl since it would be faster and easier to make and because I love wearing shawls. Plus, a shawl can do double duty as a scarf.
I started by cutting the flannel into the largest square I could manage, then cut that diagonally down the center to make two triangles. I chose to piece one edge rather than cut the entire shawl smaller. After the piecing was done I aligned two straight-grain edges and seamed them together by machine. Then I ironed the seam and felled the seam allowance down by hand with a running stitch. This was the entirety of the construction of the shawl. Next up was finishing and decoration.
The top of the shawl is on the straight grain, so I finished this edge with a machine overcast stitch. Then I added lace to the edges. I used a lace from my stash that had mysteriously been cut into multiple pieces. I joined the lace as inconspicuously as possible to make one long piece, then zig-zagged it to the very edge of my shawl. I stretched the shawl edges slightly as I applied the lace – partly to account for the lace shrinking in the wash and partly because I thought this would make the shawl lay more nicely. Because I stretched the fabric edges I ran out of lace about a foot from the end, so I substituted a similar lace from my stash.
This was a very fun and quick project, and I am excited to wear it more this Fall and Winter. It’s not perfect – the stripe colours don’t align perfectly, and I had to use two kinds of lace, but the overall effect is quite nice, and it was made entirely from stash leftovers. I’ve never had a woven/sewn triangle shawl before. I think the combination of the plaid and the lace is striking and very cute, and it’s very soft and warm.
In knitting circles lace is spoken of with reverence. We are told that knitting it is hard and demanding and that mistakes drive one to madness.
I tend to hold the view that a lot of things in life aren’t really as hard as we think they are, lace included. Sure, some lace is harder than other lace, but in the end it is only one stitch after another. Right?
Wrong. Last night I began to understand the reputation lace has earned. It kicked my butt (I would have thrown it across the room, but I was afraid my stitches would come off the needles and make my problem even bigger).
Stockinette stitch is looking really good right now.
I am knitting my first lace! I cannot tell you how excited and terrified I am right now. Let me tell you the whole story.
Remember a few weeks ago when I told you about the yarn shop my boyfriend found for me and how he waited patiently as I took far too long inside? Well, I bought this beauty.
Isn’t she wonderful? She is 400 yards of handpainted 100% silk from Venice. It was love at first sight. How could I say no? Why would I want to say no?
So I bought her and took her with me to her forever home. At first I wasn’t sure what we would do together. It’s always interesting getting to know a new personality, but I was not surprised to find that we got along perfectly. There was a slight bump in our relationship when I realized the pattern I had picked for her (which was going to be perfect and which I still hope to knit someday) required more yardage than she had. But I’m not the kind to shame a girl for being too short, so after a bit of a pout I started looking at our other options so that we could have a long and fulfilling partnership.
I searched and searched and pulled up gazillions of tabs on Ravelry, but nothing seemed quite right (also, I had to pay for all the patterns I found, and I tend to be a bit of a cheapskate am on a budget). But then as I was reviewing the notes for a promising pattern I had a realization: I don’t need to buy a pattern. I am a smart and sensible woman. I can make my own!
I decided to knit a half pi shawl inserting this lace pattern once I had finished the first few increase rounds (also, starting with only a few stitches and increasing means I don’t have to swatch. Sounds like my kind of knitting).
I started off excitedly increasing in the correct places and for 1 glorious hour I thought my stitch count and my lace pattern were going to dovetail perfectly. It was with sadness I realized life was not going to come together quite so gloriously, but I am soldiering on. I have tinkered with stitch counts and lace charts. I even made a spread sheet! This lace is going to happen by hook or by crook!
My favourite types of wit are irony and sarcasm. Sarcasm is wonderful because it can seem perfectly innocuous – until you listen to the tone of voice it is spoken in. Many people have heard me in sarcastic utterances and thought I was for real. Apparently I have a dry sense of humor.
And irony, now there is the best one of all. I find the process of taking a concept and turning it on its head to create a new concept fascinating. Especially when the concepts contradict each other. I find that irony pops up a lot in life – like when a 16-year-old girl swears she will never be like her mother. In fact, she will purposely grow up to be unlike her mother. Who does she end up turning into? Her mother. Irony. When I was little I was a tomboy. I disliked many girly things, and at the very top of my list was lace. Lace was one of the awful things of life, and I avoided it as much as possible. I could never find a pattern I truly liked, and even then, the fabric did not hold up well in the event of an impromptu game of anything (I grew up with 3 brothers and 2 sisters. There were lots of impromptu games). Now that I am older I enjoy making lace. I dream up new designs for it and wonder if there is a better way to incorporate it into everyday life. I tat lace, and I’m hoping to learn to knit lace in the near future. Irony.
Like most girls – well, like most people – I dream of someday getting married. I don’t see this happening anytime soon, since I am about as single as they come. But that doesn’t stop me from dreaming. I dream about my wedding dress, and the music I will include. I dream of the time of day (or night) when my wedding will take place, and plan who to ask to be my bridesmaids. Now you know me: I will be making something for my wedding. I’m not brave enough to make my wedding dress. I’ve thought of tatting my bouquet so I can save it for forever, but there’s something about real flowers that is impossible to capture in another medium. One thing I have decided, though: I will knit my wedding veil. Would you like to see it? This is Goldenregen, designed by Herbert Niebling.
I think it is some of the most beautiful lace I have ever seen. And I want it for myself. It will be beautiful, and I will be beautiful in it. Now I just need to learn how to knit lace….