The Moral Highground Cardigan

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Aaaaaand I finished another cardigan! Remember when I kept wingeing that I has such a backlog of knitting projects that were lingering 3/4 finished or waiting for seaming? Well, in a round about way I made a promise to man up and go ahead and finish that backlog.

And would you believe it: I just did! I am now officially without unfinished knitting projects!

This cardie is the last of the lot (and it hardly qualifies as a backlog given that I only started it in July).

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The pattern is from a German knitting magazine called Rebecca. However, the I added the cable panels to the centre front rather than ribbing because I wasn’t sure I wanted a button up closure. I figured if I feel like buttons I can still add some at a later stage and won’t need buttonholes because I can fiddle them through the gaps in the cables.

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So far I am happy with the coziness as it is. I used Malabrigo Rastita in the Jupiter colourway (from this shop). It is is just the most wonderful yarn, really babysoft (it’s 100% merino). I have really sensitive skin and most yarns are slighly itchy for me, even when others think they are perfectly fine, but the Rastita really is beautiful. And I needed a lot less than I thought I would so I might even be able to make another project with the rest.

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The pattern doesn’t have any shaping in itself, it’s basically rectangles for the front and back, but I think that’s a great canvas for all the cables.

Buoyed by my success in finishing my knitting backlog I even started, finished and made up ANOTHER cardie since! (And as soon as I remember where and what the sun is I shall post pictures – these ones are from the end of 2016 when we still did have sun…). So you see, I feel I’m well and truly on the moral highground with my knitting now. Let’s hope I won’t fall off, ey?!

Knipmode/Fashion Style: The Dressing Gown Wrap Dress

Good heavens – this is one of those projects that really looks a lot better in real life than in those pictures – I promise.

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While it seems I got straight out of bed, put on my dressing gown and (strangely) a pair of boots, I actually like wearing this dress. I think it has a Missoni vibe going on and the rayon knit is oh so soft and has just the right weight for a wrap dress.

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I used my tried and true Knipmode wrap dress pattern. What I like about it is that there really is no option for any wardrobe malfunctions. The skirt wrap is so generous that it will not undo, even when sitting down speedily, as I am wont to do. And the the bodice will not gape, even on the less well-endowed and needs no adjusting at all.

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See – no gaping!!

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In the meantime I also had my hair cut, snow has arrived in my part of the world and so everything is in place to march boldly into the new year!

Dewsbury Sewing Meetup: 2017 just got a whole lot more interesting!

Now, Dewsbury isn’t all that close to southern Germany. In fact (and embarrassingly) I had to look up where Dewsbury is – so when I read Ali’s post about the next sewing meetup on 25 February and remembered all the reports about last year’s meetup and the fun everybody was having I cried a little tear about how sad it was that I couldn’t come.
And then as you do I convinced myself that flying over to England was a totally stupid and completely unfeasible idea, that it would cost hundreds and take days.

Only then I discovered that in fact I could leave my place of work on the Friday, have lunch, take the subway to Nuremberg airport and be in Manchester 2 hours later on Friday afternoon. And the flight would set me back all of 30 Euros.

And so: I’m coming!!!! I’m actually coming to the Dewsbury sewing meetup and I’m already SOOO excited. So much so, in fact, that going back to work today was hardly noticed although I always dread the start after the Christmas break.

So I hope to see as many of you as possible in Dewsbury. I will have to be very select in my fabric shopping as I’m travelling with hand luggage only (or I will have to wear several lengths of fabric as scarves or skirts on the flight home ;-), but I’m coming for the chat anyway.

It’s going to be my first time in Yorkshire, apart from a couple of very quick visits to York, so I hope to do a little bit of hiking on the Sunday. Any tips on Shaun the Sheep inspired landscapes are welcome – the more stereotypical the better!

Tutorial: Prepping shifty fabrics in gelatine/ Dünne Stoffe im Gelatinebad vorbereiten

In one of the Facebook groups that I visit there was a discussion recently as to how to tame shifty fabrics when cutting and sewing them and I mentioned that I prep my fabrics in a gelatine bath, a trick that I heard from first from Lizzy and that has become a firm favourite ever since.
As this way of taming new shifty fabrics seemed new to most readers in the group I though I could make a quick tutorial. As the group communicates in German, this tutorial is bilingual – a first for this blog ! 🙂

In der Facebook-Gruppe Burda Schnittmuster Nähhilfe wurde kürzlich diskutiert, wie man sich die Arbeit mit dünnen, fliegenden Stoffen erleichtern kann. Ich habe damals von meiner Gelatine-Methode erzählt und weil viele diese Methode nicht zu kennen schienen, habe ich mir gedacht, ich mache ein schnelles Tutorial. Ich blogge ja normalerweise auf Englisch, aber hier habe ich mal einen Versuch zur Zweisprachigkeit gemacht 🙂

THE AIM: The aim of the whole process is to make shifty fabrics go a little bit rigid so that cutting and sewing is easier. I would’t use this method if I needed to see the drape of the fabric during construction, because the whole point of the method is to “un-drape” the fabric.

DAS ZIEL: Ziel der ganzen Methode ist es, rutschige, dünne Stoffe ein bisschen fester zu machen, damit das Zuschneiden und Vernähen leichter geht. Deswegen würde ich die Methode nicht verwenden, wenn ich während des Nähens sehen möchte, wie der Stoff fällt, denn die Methode will ja gerade das Drapieren des Stoffes verhindern.

1.

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I use standard gelatine for baking and cooking. I pack is good for 500ml of liquids.
Please note that this gelatine is made from pig by-products. If you are vegan or don’t want to use pig-based products for religious reasons then I assume you might use plant based gelatine instead. But please be aware that I have never tested that and I don’t know if it’s going to work the same way.

Ich benutze ein Paket der normale Gelatine zum Kochen und Backen. Ein Paket nimmt man normalerweise für 500ml Flüssigkeit, oder ihr könnt 6 Blatt der Blattgelatine nehmen.
Achtung: Diese Gelatine ist vom Schwein. Wer vegan ist oder aus religiösen Gründen keine Schweinegelatine verwenden möchte, kann vermutliche auch pflanzliche Gelatine nehmen. Ich kann mir vorstellen, dass das genauso funktioniert wie hier beschrieben, aber ich habe es nie getestet.

2.

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You couldn’t tell from this picture, but what I do is sprinkle the gelatine on top of about 4 – 5 litres of hot water, straight in my sink. Leave it to soak for about 10 minutes and then mix it well with the water.

Alles geht ganz normal weiter, auch wenn man auf diesem Bild eigentlich gar nichts sieht: Man verteilt die Gelatine auf ca 4 -5 Liter heißem Wasser. Ich mache das direkt im Spülbecken. Dann 10 Minuten quellen lassen und gut mit dem Wasser vermischen.

3.

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Then I add the prewashed and dried fabrics. This amount of water will comfortable prep 3 2-lenths of fabric. Leave the fabrics to soak for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Dann kommen die Stoffe in das Wasser. Ich hatte hier 3 Stücke zu je 2 Meter und das Wasser hat dafür dicke gereicht. Lasst die Stoffe ca. 10 Minuten im Wasser. Gelegentliches Umrühren kann nicht schaden.

4.

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The next step is optional: drip-drying the fabrics. I only do this during the winter months because I don’t want gelatine water everywhere. In the summer, I hang my fabrics in the garden and go straight to step 5.
Den nächsten Schritt mache ich nur im Winter: die Stoffe abtropfen lassen, ich mache das in der Dusche, denn ich mag nicht überall im Haus Gelatine-Wasserspuren haben, die ich dann mühevoll wegputzen muss. Im Sommer hänge ich meine Stoffe im Garten auf und gehe direkt zu Schritt 5.

5.

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This is the most difficult part of the process: Hanging the fabrics to dry. It is important that you try to avoid any creases, because creases you get at this point will get set in gelatine. They are very easy to iron out, but the heat of the iron will make the fabrics go soft and shifty again and thus it defeats the process of making them rigid in the first place. So: Try and hang them up as straight as possible and as on grain as possible so that you can use the fabrics for cutting without any changes. It really is worth your while to take a little bit of trouble over this.

Dieser Schritt ist der schwierigste: Man muss die Stoffe so aufhängen, dass sie keine Knitter und Falten haben. Zwar kann man diese Falten leicht ausbügeln, aber die Hitze des Bügeleisens macht, dass der Stoff wieder weich wird (und er wird auch nach dem Abkühlen nicht mehr hart), und dann hätte man sich den ganzen Gelatine-Prozess ja auch gleich sparen können. Also: Stoffe knitterfrei aufhängen und auch den Fadenlauf gerade ausrichten, so, wie man die Stoffe später auch zuschneiden möchte. Es zahlt sich wirklich aus, sich hier ein bisschen Mühe zu geben.

6. Ta-da! Ready. You can now fold and store your fabrics. They are now papery, a bit like a soft pattern cutting paper. I have stored fabrics for several years and the gelatine effect does deteriorate a little over time, but it’s still better than untreated fabrics.
Don’t forget: Ironing will undo the effect, so you have to cut the unironed fabrics and sew as much as possible with as little pressing as possible.
When the garment is finished you can simple wash out the gelatine using your normal washing method. I have never had any negative effects on the fabrics from the gelatine treatment.
Ta-da! Fertig! Ihr könnte die Stoffe jetzt verwenden oder für später aufbewahren. Sie sind jetzt in etwa wie das Seidenpapier, das man zum Durchzeichnen von Schnitten verwendet. Ich habe so verbereitete Stoffe für meherere Jahre aufgehoben – der Gelatine -Effekt wird mit der Zeit etwas schwächer, aber es ist immer noch besser, als die Stoffe gar nicht vorzubereiten.
Bitte denkt daran: Bügeln macht die Stoffe wieder weich! Das Ziel ist also, die Stoffe ungebügelt zuzuschneiden und soviel wie möglich zu nähen ohne bügeln. Wenn das Projekt dann fertig ist, kann man die Gelatine ganz normal herauswaschen – ich mache das zusammen mit der normalen Wäsche. Ich habe es noch nie erlebt, dass die Gelatine-Behandlung einem Stoff geschadet hätte.

 

So there! I hope this was useful for you. If you have different ways of taming shifty fabrics, why don’t you spread the word in the comments.

Ich hoffe, diese Methode ist nützlich für euch. Wenn ihr noch andere Arten kennt, wie man den fliegenden Stoffen beikommen kann, dann erzählt doch davon in den Kommentaren.

Welcome to 2017!

Dear readers, I hope 2017 is treating you kindly?! I think most of us collectively breathed a sigh of relief for seeing the back of 2016, so I hope 2017 is going to be a lot better!

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I’m seeing in the new year with a new cardigan! I’ve manned up big time and finished all my backlog of knitting projects! This cardi was a case in point: it only took about a day to finish what was left of sleeve 2 after the project had been sitting around for the best part of 2016 while I had got distracted with shinier things.

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This is the Watson cardigan by Amy Butler. I got attracted to it for the combination of lace and stockinette stitch. This is the first time that I have used an English knitting pattern after only ever having used German knitting magazine patterns. In case you are not familiar with the difference: the knitting magazine patterns tend to be a lot less carefully written out. More or less you get a set of instructions telling you to use this pattern for x and that pattern for y cms. That means that the instructions for a garment may be a few lines long. All that works well enough for fairly boxy garments, and I’d never known anything different. The Watson cardigan has a few pages worth of instructions, partly giving a row for row account of what to do. There really isn’t any making it up as you go along possible, because you are shackled to the pattern a lot more than I was used to. I found that a little disconcerting at first, but by the end of the project when everything went as instructed to the last stitch I think I’m a convert!

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The body is knit in one piece and the sleeves are grafted on after the body is assembled and knit in the round – so there was absolutely no handsewing to do after I had finished the second sleeve! So really there was no excuse for letting it slip for so long!

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So here’s me with my determined face, promising to myself in a half-hearted new years resolution-kinda way that 2017 will be the year where I finish one knitting project before I start a new one.

AND I’m going to blog the last few makes of 2016 that I have pictures for – so I hope to see you soon here on this blog!

How are your new year’s resolutions going? Have they stood the test of week 1?

Burdastyle 10/2016 # + True Bias Ogden: Culottes with silky top

Oh culottes!! If only I could make my mind up about them! My love/hate relationship with them goes so far that I don’t even know whether to love or to hate them at any given time. I mean, it would be great if I loved them: they are such a great garment in principle. The beauty of skirts with the practicality of trousers! Plus they are having a fashion moment and for me to partake in that is a rare pleasure.

But then: do they really look good, in real life, not in the “cool city girl” life that clearly isn’t mine? Not sure…

A case in point are these culottes that Burdastyle has been going crazy about for a couple of years:

https://i1.wp.com/www.burdastyle.de/chameleon/mediapool/thumbs/1/8e/111-102016-B_300x400-ID391407-e05327e4d1dd13f4dc23877165e4cd19.jpg

http://www.burdastyle.de/burda-style/damen/7-8-hose-hosen_pid_188_15151.html

Aren’t they just the coolest thing?

Well, here is my version:
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(BTW: Don’t get any delusions about the quality of the weather here in Germany. These pictures were taken a few weeks ago. We are well into autumn dreariness right now…)

It’s all a bit more art teachery, isn’t it? Clearly, they should be worn with heels rather than with flats. A slightly drapier fabric would be good as well, rather than this rigid denim from deep stash.

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But feast your eyes on my new favourite make: the True Bias Ogden cami! I already made about 5 and they are revolutionising my underwear drawer.

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As you all know I like to prove the versatility of my makes! Look, the Ogden is fully pull-outable!

And just in case somebody should think I don’t pull out all the stops for my blog photography here is proof to the contrary!

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Always in action for your viewing pleasure!

But back to those culottes:

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I made them with slanted pockets rather than with single welt side pockets as in the pattern. I did make another version that I don’t have pictures of with the welt pockets, but I did not like the way the pocket bag feels against the leg, so I went with slanted pockets.

The front and back creases are sewn in, not just ironed. I made a little mistake there by sewing them just a bit too wide, so they look a bit severe. I really should have sewn just a needle width away from the edge of the crease.

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It’s especially obvious running down the back where ironed in creases would have been sat flat, so this looks a bit unnatural. Well, lesson learnt, I’m not loosing any sleep over it.

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I love me a gold zipper, so they got the hardware salvaged from a previous make. Obviously, there’s a little metal confusion going on, what with the gold zipper and the silver belt, shoes and top but hey, this is how I roll ;-).

And indulge me with one last picture: I’ve been clearing out my wardrobe recently and have given away a lot of me-mades that just weren’t got worn. But one of the items that is still going strong is the white topper from Burda’s 1950s Vintage edition:

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I still love it and wear it regularly, both as a jacket in the spring and a top in the autumn/winter.

So what do you think about these culottes? Yay or nay? I’m still undecided – but I have a few bits of fabrics in my stash that would be just right for another pair. So should I – or shouldn’t I?

Merken

Trump, Brexit: Thank God there’s sewing!

Like probably 80% of Europe I’m looking at the new US president in shock and disbelief. But if course it’s not my election and therefore none of my business – but what I am really profoundly sad about is that I absolutely did not believe this could happen.

I had no idea that life in America has become so bad, so impossible, so difficult for so many people that they decided that waking up to Trump is the end, not the beginning of a nightmare.

And I feel I should have had an inkling that this would happen, after all that’s what friends are for, to feel and empathize when a friend is hurting.

See, I have always thought of “us” in Europe and the US as friends, as peoples who, inspite of smaller differences, basically share the same values – but now the realisation dawns on me that maybe that is  no longer the case.
I for one was always happy and proud to live in and be part of “the West” and of course whatever “the West” stands for was always epitomized in the US. But “the West” that Trump represents is a different country – at least for me.

 

And then there was Brexit. Now this, for me, was personal!

If I still lived in England, as I did for 5 years in the late ’90s, Brexit would have meant me! I would have been the economic migrant that would have gone on that list of foreign workers. I would have been the one to be criticised for using the scarce resources of the NHS. I would have been the one who would not have been sure if I would be able to stay in the country where my children were born and where I paid my taxes, I would have been a pawn in negotiations. I would have been one of the reasons that the UK left the EU, just to be able to get rid of me (because, let’s be honest, it was never about the sovereignty of Parliament in the face of the EU bureacracy…)

So yes, Brexit really hurt!

For an Anglophile like me 2016 hasn’t been a good year!

So I’m glad there is sewing to occupy my mind on a day like today that has profoundly shaken me up. My next sewing job might be therapeutic enough: bagging my new winter coat.

Here’s to new beginnings!

 

Tialys

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