Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ch ch ch changes.... Chevron Chenille chardigan

In pursuit of cotton chenille... 
I originally bought 3 colors in one brand and two in another to make a Fair Isle type sweater, before realizing that the kiddo would fall over from the weight of cotton stranded.
Then a scalloped-hem Easter bolero, but frogged because k5tog is no fun in a yarn with no give. 
Finally, a chevron cardigan, but K will not wear it without pink. The company that made the 3 colors is out of business, and the company of the other 2 sells some but not many solids, and seems to cycle out colors regularly… (Did I mention that an internet search led me to a store that had the prints for $1 each? I ended up buying enough for sweaters for dd and two goddaughters. Zipping along on Children’s Tunic in a sz 10, with another one in sz 8, possibly a cardigan.) 
Searched high and low, settled for another chenille that was not quite the same weight or texture, before stumbling upon a Raveler's trade stash of that discontinued color, which she sent me!

comparable colors in two brands:
Cottage Knits blue : Crystal Palace French Blue 8095; Casco Bay 123 is not quite dark enough, but okay. Dd suggests turquoise (CP 3503 Blue Pool or CB 127) would be good too.
Cottage Knits grass: CP 2342 Fern is a bit too yellow; CB has 236 which is too yellow and 210 which is too blue, both totally different.
CK lemon: CP 3646 Yellow is too light, but 3505 Corn Silk is too gold; CB 110.
CP 8211 pink is discontinued, but CP 1219 Bougainvillea is close; CB 117 might be best match but not blue enough.
CP grape is discontinued, but CP 9660 Royal Purple; CB 221 is a bit too dark but okay.
CP orange is discontinued, but CP 2230 Mango; CB 115. 
(Henry's Attic Cotton Chenille 900 is a good gauge match but of course comes only in natural -- if you want to dye your own.)
note that the ball bands suggest sz 6 needle but I did this in sz 8 -- a slightly more drapey, looser resulting fabric.

-- This sweater took most of 6 skeins, one of each color. I kept the color-striping to 4 rows mostly, but if you choose to have fewer colors you might need two skeins of one or another.

Chevron Pattern: (multiple of 12,+2)  k1, *k1, yo, k4, s1-k2tog-slip, k4, yo* k1. Purl next row.
--> s1-k2tog-slip is a double decrease that doesn't lean; feel free to substitute another as you prefer.

Long-tail cast on 148 st. Purl 1 row, then start chevron pattern. Place markers at 32 st and 116 st (as chevron pattern develops, you have 2 1/2 repeats for right front, 1/2 6 1/2  for back, then 2 1/2 repeats for left front.) 
Continue until 12" at a point. Divide for back and fronts: chevron as usual but onto holder until first marker. Chevron the back to the second marker, then chevron onto another holder. 
CO 1 st for seaming on each edge, then continue back as established until it measures 20". Bind off.
Right front as worn: Cast on 1 st, then start to decrease on the neck edge: every 4th row (color change), k1, yo, k1, ssk, k1, s1-k2tog-slip, k1, k2tog, k1, yo. Continue chevron pattern
to end of row. Work until same length as back, then bind off.
Left front as worn: work decrease on opposite neck edge.

Sleeve: Long-tail CO 46 stitches. Purl 1 row, then chevron until measures desired length or 15". 
Stockinette without chevron patterning (k 1 row, p 1 row) 2-3 rows, then bind off..

Sew seams, then stabilize shoulder seam with seam tape if desired. Pick up stitches all along neck edge for hood -- starting approximately 1 inch from shoulder seam, 100 stitches. k2 instead of k1 at start to keep the edge.  Work even (if desired, can increase at center back after about 2 inches, then decrease back at 8 inches) until hood measures 10 inches from nape. Stockinette 2 rows then three-needle bind-off on the wrong side, or keep in chevron then interlock-seam or kitchener.

Button bands: Using sz 6 or 7 needle, pick up 42 stitches along left front edge. 1x1 rib for 4 rows, then bind off. 
For buttonhole band, pick up 42 st along right front edge. 1x1 rib for two rows. 
Row 3: k1, p 1, k1, bind off 2, rib for 9 st, bind off 2, rib for 9 st, bind off 2, rib for 9 st, bind off 2, rib to end.
Row 4: 1x1 rib, cast on with backwards e over all bound-off st. 
Row 5: 1x1 rib. Bind off in rib.

Sew on buttons. (after I spent a crazed amount of time at the button rack to get options that were not quite right, we decided I should make rainbow buttons from polymer clay.) 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Birthday Tea -- dress, drinks, and yums

For HRH K's birthday, riffing off a suggestion by her namesake Auntie Franne, we decided to have people over to tea at Alice's Tea Cup, a pretty, darling little series of tea shops in the city.
Likewise, it was decided that there must be tea dresses, with gloves. She drew it, including the gloves, and specified that there should be a v, and a collar that comes up the neck like Snow White's.
She selected the fabric from my stash, and away I went with the drafting. The overall shape is similar to the father-daughter dance dress, but a bit looser and with darts in concession to the woven vs knit fabric. The bodice is the basic shape of the Fairytale Dress from o+s but cut with a v-neck, and snaps instead of a zipper; the skirt is an easy-peasy 24" long circle skirt, gathered to fit the lower edge of the bodice -- thank God for 60-width fabric. The gloves took some doing, but basically a hand traced onto light jersey and edged with the same embroidered organza as the collar.

Tea noms included chicken fingers, scones (berry, pumpkin and s'more), finger sandwiches, lemon tartlet and cake, all on a tall stand, with two kinds of tea (and apple juice) to slip it all down with. And some of the unlikeliest fairy-dust wielders to ever.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Catch-up uniforms post!

Did I not post about this like a dozen times already? Just adding this for the sake of completeness:

Long-sleeved peter-pan collar blouses for wearing underneath the jumper in cold weather, variations on the old standby Burda pattern. Left is broadcloth with large clear buttons so she can do them herself, and right is a cotton knit (with floats on the underside, I have no idea where I got it or what it's called) with snaps. Not in this pic is another broadcloth one with pearlized shank buttons; the knit one is my favorite but I have no idea where to get more of this fabric.

This is the final iteration of school pants: in wool-like polyester, similar to the fabric of my uniforms long ago. Based on the Burda pattern still, but with fly shield, adjustable elastic waist, back welt pockets, knee reinforcements, hook fly, and belt loops. I think he has enough pants now! Just hope there's enough length in them so I don't have to make more next year. Already let the hem down on the first pair....

"Sunday best" graduation dress

I have had this McCalls M6312 pattern in my stash forever and ever, and planned out the fabric and bias tape from my stash as well. But it never got cut and sewn until now because I kept finding other patterns I wanted to do more... good thing this past few weeks have been a bit crazy so I didn't have much choice but to go with what I had instead of spending hours looking at new patterns and fabric.

My friend Margaret gave me this fabric more than a year ago. It was going to be a dress for me but nah.
As I was cutting it I knew it was going to be wide.... Also the instructions, or more specifically the order of assembly, seems kind of weird. But it came together and looks decent enough for a day when she needed a special occasion dress, and got a few compliments as well. I definitely have some bigger pattern alterations when I make this out of coordinates, though.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

On a dime specialty cakes are the best, and worst.

A quickie mortar board cake put together in about 30 minutes... since, y'know, zero time and no notice. The chef of this restaurant comes to us needing cake for that night. Not the first time, but he got us on Page Six last time so it's okay.

He comes at 1 or so, shows me a blurry phone pic, needs it by 4. Sure, but I still have other cakes to finish and I'm leaving at 2:30 to go set up a wedding cake for my boss' brother.
Cake baking not included (Dude, you're paying for what we've already got to give you.), but carved, covered, iced and decorated in between other projects. Whoo!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter with Oliver+s year 3!

(Forgive the awkward, first time blogging from my phone.) Continuing in my 3 years of O&s patterns, I give you the Garden Party dress!  Since Easter weather is so  unpredictable (even literally the night before, which was when I bought, printed and assembled the pattern, and cut and sewed the dress)  I added length to the sleeves and a little gathered cuff just for fun. Yes I am that crazy person who does this as an all nighter before working the next day-- approximately 5 hours start to finish. The butterflies is from City Quilter and the sage green cotton challis is stash from the NYC fabric district... Paron maybe?
I loved the way it came together, and the  gathered detail. Mods for the future: lengthen the bodice (maybe two gathered sections and two bands) for a natural waist, and change the back opening to accommodate that.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Dalek cake sort-of tutorial!

Exterminate!!! No fancy way to beat this Dalek, just eat it. I started out with the idea of making a Dalek cake because -- well, because it's a Dalek and I love Doctor Who! A fellow geek's birthday was the perfect excuse.
First, chocolate cake layers: 2 each 4 inches, 5 inches, 6 inches and 7 inches, and 1 8 inch layer. In retrospect, the 4 inch layers rose so much that I could have gotten away with less in each pan, but the dome provided a good enough base for the round top that I trimmed the corners and was done. The second 4 inch layer was trimmed flat.  
For stability and flavor variation, I divided the cakes into sets of three (each set on its own cardboard base) -- with the top three being filled with peanut butter frosting, the middle three with coffee frosting, and the bottom three with chocolate frosting. When stacking, instead of centering, I kept the back edges close (but not quite flush) to maintain a backward slope that was flatter than the forward one. 
Four lollipop-stick dowels went into the bottom set, to support the weight of the top two cakes. (if I do this again, maybe three in the middle set as well.) After chilling, I put them all together as a stack and staked the entire thing with a sharpened 3/8 inch wooden dowel to go right through to the drum. 
I carved the bottom 5 inch, 6 inch and 7 inch cakes into the required slope and tapered the front of the 8 inch to a point.

Manipulator arm, gunstick, and eyestalk on lollipop sticks. I added tylose to the black so the plunger shape would dry unsupported. (The light receptors were on half-sticks for support as well.)

Crumb- coating the whole thing with vanilla frosting, then a sojourn in the freezer. It was hot that Saturday!
I covered the 4 inch top part with a small piece of purple fondant to get the dome perfect, then the majority of the "skirt" with a separate piece, like a cape, overlapping at the 5 inch "shoulder", with the seam running up the back. The gray strips for the base and shoulder were rolled out thicker. The ropes for the neck could have been more angular, now that I look at it objectively.

I made 36 of the "buttons" out of gray fondant and sprayed them silver. In retrospect, chocolate pistoles or candy melts sprayed silver are the perfect size. Not sure how 56 would fit, Tardis Data Core... 14 sections do not look right, even 9 was a pinch. Granted, I put a black control panel in the back to hide the ugly seam. 10 would look good if the back seam was perfect.