An MK Muslin

Like sewing, machine knitting can require a little testing to get it right.

This post is about machine knitting. If the subject doesn’t interest you, you are welcome and encouraged to skip to your next blog.

Otherwise  to read my full post CLICK HERE


A thank you

Before I start posting sewing/crafting projects for 2017, I especially want to thank you all for the compliments on my Christmas Day Blouse.

I was pleased with it and stunned by DH’s gift.  Your collective outpouring of compliments was totally unexpected. There were so many, I cannot thank each of you personally or enough.


…and now back to sewing.


Along with the patterns for 2018….

there are some things I’d like to do.

For starters, I want to purge those pattern boxes.  I have patterns I haven’t used in years and I’m not planning on using in the foreseeable future.  There was a time when I had plenty of space. Years of hard work, moderate living and an indulgent DH has changed the storage situation. For Christmas, I got a new set of bath brushes which I truly wanted. First issue was where to put them so they were at hand but not in the way.  So many things are now like that.  It doesn’t make sense to hold onto things I won’t use.  Frankly some should go in the trash but others can be donated and I may even give a few away on SG.  Never hurts to do something nice.

In previous years I’ve tried to deep clean the Sewing and Stash rooms all at once in a one week period of time. I hurt too much to do that anymore . This year I tried cleaning a quarter of one room at a time in one month. I didn’t get it done. In fact, I didn’t completely finish even  the room I started, the room with all the machines! In thinking about this needed  task, I’ve decided I to break it up differently.  I will miss having both rooms sparkling clean at the same time. It is a pleasure to see all my fabrics and supplies clean, organized and ready to use. Truth is, it is more likely to get deep cleaned if I do one-quarter of one room each month. I think I’ll make a date on my calendar.  Last week of the month sounds good. Can’t go anywhere at the end of the month anyway. (No money. Typical condition of most Social Security Recipients. Please don’t call me an  entitlement. I know how much we get. I live on it every month and I know how much of my earnings went into that fund. It wouldn’t be a line item in the budget had previous administrations invested instead of spending the money. You borrowed from me. Time to pay up!)

Although, I do plan to do more going and less sewing next year.  I look back and I was really cranking out the garments. It was a feverish pace driven by my need: To Fit.  I believe that’s under control and plan to explore other things.  In fact as soon as the tree is down, I’m putting up the knitting machine. It gets expensive to heat this whole house in the winter.  By not sewing and heating those rooms, I save a great deal but I’m terribly bored because I’m also not going out in sub-zero weather. I’m old, not crazy. Sitting at the MK is a great substitute and still allows me some creativity with color and texture. I’ve yet to explore painting on knits and I have all the paints!  Definitely want to turn my attention to more embellished sewing projects. Basics are essential and I can now whip them up when needed.  Especially with ejvc reminding me to stop and evaluate my closet. It’s time to indulge in fun sewing.   I’ve picked up my pencil and a new Zentangle book.  I’m working towards reviewing the basics.  It is remarkable to me how drawing Zentangles starts the creative juices flowing. Remarkable. Exploring nature is always inspirational and with it comes some quality time with DH.  Tolerable Spring weather is 5 months away which only seems long when we are looking forward. Consider the last 5 months. Since August or end of July.  How quickly has that flown?

Yes I’m hoping for a good year. With health issues under control, creative projects at hand and good times with DH and our friends.

As you head out or stay in for New Year’s activities, know that I wish you the same. I would wish the entire world a Happy New Year.

Patterns for 2018

Looking back also makes me look forward. What do I want to do in 2018?  So I browsed my catalog for patterns and created a huge todo list.

Not surprising all the Fit For Art Variations

are on that list. I have loved the base patterns this year and will want more for next year.  The were so easy to fit to me — even with my new fitting requirements. I did make a few tweaks after the initial muslin and garment. The kind of things that happen after you wear something for a while and realize it’s off by a smidge. I also love these patterns because they are very conserving on fabric. With a little thought, multiple fabrics can be combined into very lovely garments. So yes, these are high on the todo list…

..Followed by a few more Silhouette Patterns.

OK so, 3413 is questionable. It’s a yoga pant with a side stripe which I thought would be fabric conserving i.e. get the fabric requirements under 2 yards. Given my track record, I think I’m more likely to develop a yoga pant I can love and make a similar pattern draft by using 5682. I refer to the fact that SP pants that fit me finish with little tents around my ankles.Not a current look or one that I love. I think as well it makes me shorter. Who wants to look shorter and fatter? Not me. So starting 2018, 3413 is a maybe.

#96 I want to use for a terry, bath wrap — using real terry cloth towels. I haven’t bought the towels yet so we’ll see.

#75 is an interesting cape/vest combination.  Peggy has shown both pieces worn separately as well as joined as the envelope represents.  It is intriguing to me.  I suspect it will be a one and done. But I’m not against such explorations.

#600 OTOH, I’m hoping to make my woven block. Yes, I’ve been that happy with 195 T-shirt especially after I rotated the dart to the armscye. There are so many things I can do with 600 including fit other patterns.

#425 is an interesting #600 variation with darts rotated to a center front seam. It is a look  I’ve seen pop up in various configurations in many RTW collections. Not only that, it is a perenial occurring every year at least the last 5-7 years.  It is passed ‘trend’ status and become classic. I think in part because it is a romantic, feminine touch. A few years back I tried the Otto Version(2007-05 #8 and Raglan 2017-02 #17). Alas, my fitting problems had reached the point none of my Otto makes looked like they fit. Sadly, I have not recovered from that period of time and honestly, if I can make 425 fit me, I see no reason to trace an fit and Otto.

#350 has the same interesting side panel as does SP’s knit raglan pattern 314. Sadly, it doesn’t have the raglan sleeve. It is definitely in the princess-armscye draft that I discovered last year is easy to adapt to my body.

I will take another stab Louise Cutting and Loes Hinse patterns. I’ve loved them for so long. Last year, every time I acquired a new bit of fitting knowledge  I’d try to fit them. Always without success. the way I’m feeling at the end of 2017 is that they may go the way of the Big4. (My biggest problem with the Big 4 is the inconsistent block. Even their descriptors, fitted, semi-fitted etc have no clear definitions. Every Big 4 must be approached as a brand new Indy -without a consistent style or vision.) Anyway, Louse and Loes are on the list.

Then there is this girl, McPhee

She’s a Canadian that creates the most interesting, simple patterns. I’ve collected several patterns over the years, but not once cut fabric.  The problem with ‘simple’ patterns, is they don’t have enough seams. They are therefor as impossible to fit as was Diane Erickson’s 3-fold Vest

Man I worked that one to death. I didn’t post because it was such a failure for me. Just as I thought I was getting somewhere with Diane’s pinch and fold directions, I realized I was creating an armscye princess. Question: why do to all this work to create a pattern I already have several fitted variations?  So I quit. Haven’t tossed the fabric. Still hoping I can upcycle it. Point being that while I am intrigued with McPhee, I may never comment again on her patterns and may indeed add them to the donate list. Somethings aren’t worth the effort I have to make. Of course and as always, YMMV

Next on the list, no surprise and also probably in-between makes of the above, are several pants patterns.

I very much want my Jalie and Style Arc pant patterns in rotation. Truly hoping my newly acquired fitting knowledge will make that possible for them and some other classics like the FFA Eureka, and the JSM block.  These are all well drafted patterns with specific styles and even fabric uses. I haven’t been able to use them because my body changed but I didn’t know specifically what I needed to change to make my patterns fit.

Did I skip over Connie Crawford?

A few years ago when I first fit her blouse block, I went bonkers acquiring Connie Crawford patterns.  I was surfing Ebay looking for an OOP Camp Shirt (2112). Even wrote her about it. She told me she had recalled it for a drafting error and issued an even better pattern. I thought 2112 had all the perfect elements of my ideal camp shirt while her other pattern, left me cold. But back to what’s on the list. Connie developed patterns for the large woman and she updated her draft as she learned more about what the large woman needs and wants.  It’s a good attitude but it means that her earlier drafts won’t fit the same as the later ones and each pattern must be started as a brand new indie. Fitting the block did not do what I wanted and I found myself having to do multiple muslins to fit each pattern.  I didn’t get too far because I still didn’t know what all my problems were.  2017 I picked out the patterns with armscye princess seams. incredulously, they were easy to fit. Knowing what I do now, I’d like to tackle some of the other patterns Connie published because they are flattering for the larger woman. BUT don’t be surprised if I toss a few of these. Life is too short for some headache’s.

Lastly, there are a few dress patterns I’d like to use, a handful of misc styles, and some interesting designers to explore.

I doubt I get all these dresses sewn. I don’t wear dresses very often. Mostly in the summer when they are cool dressing. I made a few dresses over the last few Christmases. They were worn once and hung in the closet forever. I upcycled them last fall and realized a dressy top and skirt would serve the same purpose and be more adaptable.

I think this pattern is just kewl and I want to make it.

Along the same vein, I’d like to explore some of the ideas of Holly McQuillan, Modelista and Studio Faro. (Please forgive me if I’ve made spelling errors.)  I’m sure some others will come up during the year. I’ve already signed up for Silhouette Patterns POM. I mean every time Peggy does  a POM broadcast I want to buy the pattern. May as well get a discount, eh? I’m considering the Sewing Workshop sew along but I don’t love their patterns. SW patterns are interesting but few and far between suit my life style.  They are all expensive one-and dones for me although I find myself greatly admiring what others have done with SW patterns. And I’m still considering joining FB. They have a bad reputation of compromising your privacy without notice. I believe they have been successfully sued several times but that’s like closing the barn door after the horse is out. You’re still going to be chasing horses (who don’t like to be caught until they are tired and hungry rather like teenage boys.)