Friday, April 1, 2011

March Just Marched On By

March, where'd you go? That was the quickest "longer" month I've ever lived. It seemed like February would never end, then March just stepped in and ran right back out. Time is a very peculiar thing, isn't it?

Sewing: I'm just about finished with my pants. All that's left is to finish are the waistband and clasp. I laundered the pants and even though I pinked the seams, they were a frayed mess when I took the pants out of the dryer. Perhaps I should have zigzagged them? That, or I think I need a serger in my life. Until then, some fray check is in order, but if anyone has another suggestion, please, do share.

Future sewing project: A couple years ago I bought several yards of a durable cotton blended fabric from the $2.00 sale bin at Vogue in a wonderful dark gray. As soon as I saw it I heard the words "trench coat" in my mind. It was only very recently that I found the perfect pattern for the coat, McCall's 5525. I found the pattern at the Sewing Patterns online shop and to my luck, they had the pattern on sale for only $2.99. I'm making View E (largest pic). So now I've got my pattern, my fabric, my lining fabric in a lighter gray poly and some interfacing. I still need to buy the proper thread and the perfect buttons.

I just love a classic trench coat. This is one I have been wanting since forever and a day: the Burberry. They created the trench coat for military use around 1900 (a claim also made by Aquascutum, though theirs is dated earlier). I don't foresee having a Burberry in my closet any time soon, so for now, I'll just settle on having similar buttons.

Women's trench coat by Burberry

Why all this love over a trench coat? There's just something about the components that appeal to me: the clean, simple lines of the construction, the wide lapels and collar, the belt and the buttons, the tabs, the flaps. For more details about the Burberry trench coat classics, have a look at this blog entry from the late "I Am Fashion" blog. I was curious about trench-inspired styles for coats and jackets and found these little beauties over at  ModCloth:

Here is an example of a minimalist approach from Aquilano.Rimondi. I love the shape of the sleeves.

And who says this timeless wardrobe staple had to stay within the confines of outerwear? This trench coat-inspired skirt from ModCloth is simply darling and fun!

I'm going to plan this trench coat project very carefully. A bit of studying and practicing is in order, but yet I wonder if I can pull this off without a serger?

Knitting: I finished my Ravelry Malabrigo March Knit-Along Clapotis, right on the deadline. It hasn't been blocked yet, and at first I wasn't going to, but I decided to go ahead and block it. These are pre-blocking pics.

I'll post the blocked Clapotis pics soon. I really enjoyed knitting this pattern, especially while watching the now-canceled "Legend of the Seeker" television series.

Both seasons 1 and 2 are on Netflix Watch-Instantly and while I do remember seeing something for that show while it aired and thought it was interesting, I never tuned in. Many felt as I did, I suppose, since it was canceled for low viewership. The first few episodes weren't that great, but it got better as the story line progressed. Honestly, though, I doubt I'd have watched if I hadn't also been knitting. Plenty of "give me a break" moments and eye-rolls were had while I watched LOTS, for sure. But for some reason, "mindless" knitting and "easy" television shows or movies go so well together. The writing in LOTS wasn't half bad, and the action scenes were riveting enough to keep up my interest. The costumes were pretty boring but the ox blood leather outfits worn by the Mord-Sith were one of the show's highlights.

I ran out of episodes of the show before I could finish the Clapotis, so I switched my viewing over to the Masterpiece's "Downton Abbey", which was so brilliant for many reasons, but mainly for the arrogant and exasperating matriarch Violet, played by the inimitable Maggie Smith.

Knitting FO update: This was the first cowl I made, using Lion Brand Hometown USA yarn in the Washington Denim colorway. It's a little over 100 yards or 1.5 skeins, and I used US size 17 needles. The pattern is called My Kind of Cowl, perfectly named for staving off the bitter cold winds that punctuate typical Chicago winters (and late falls and early springs, for that matter). New to knitting? This is the perfect project for you. Grab some chunky yarn and this free pattern and cowl it up so you'll be prepared next winter.

Current knitting: Now that the Clapotis is done, I'm eager to get back to the Indigo Playmate cardigan sweater. Unfortunately, I broke one of the Harmony wood needles I was using so until the new tip gets here that project will be on hold. Plus, I had several projects on hold, so after serious thought--okay, really? It was a round of "eeny-meeny-miny-mo" that got my Kalajoki socks out of hibernation.

After finishing the one sock last July, I just ran out of steam with this pattern. I picked it up again the following September but whatever spark that was there fizzled out and gave way to something else. This project is knit from Patons Kroy FX yarn in the Cascade Colors colorway. It's a fingering weight 75/25 wool-nylon blend and comes in skeins of 166 yards and can be found at Michael's or Jo-Ann's for around $3-5 per skein. I find the yarn rather splitty when knitting with it, but other than that it's decent sock yarn that gives a pretty durable sock, so I've heard. I'm using a Knit Picks nickle-plated US size 2 circular needle, magic loop method. Here's to finally overcoming Second Sock Syndrome!

Spinning: Last summer I started spinning yarn on a spindle that I made using a wooden wheel and dowel I bought at Michael's for under $5. I made a plying spindle with a dowel and rubber door stop that cost $2 at Home Depot. Soon after that, I bought a pet fiber animal and named her Harriet. I'll talk more about her and the spinning next time. Until then, watch out for the pranksters today, enjoy the weekend, and...

...Why not make an origami rose :)

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.  ~Henry Ford

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