Selfish Knitting: Wavy Peplum Sweater

This peplum sweater was truly a labour of love. The yarn started out in several other projects before I found the right pattern for it, and even then it underwent some unknitting. However, the final result is one of the most intricate pieces I’ve ever knit.

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Not going to lie, there were some problems within the pattern. I recommend reading this first. However, those corrections don’t even cover problems within the cable chart, which took a while to figure out. Luckily, the pattern is a 16-row repeat, and I was able to memorise it. If you want to take this project on, I definitely recommend patience and a stiff drink.

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I made a few changes to the pattern, namely making two fronts because I couldn’t understand the instructions for making a back with the zip down the middle. So I have now resigned myself to styling my hair after the jumper is on, as the neck is too tight to maintain a hairstyle. I made a Size Small, then blocked it quite severely. I wear a UK 8-10 (US 4-6) and it fits well. It was found in the Creative Cables book.

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I made this last year, as is evidenced by the heels I’m wearing. Lately, I’ve been styling it in the same way as my previous knitwear share (ie, black skirt with flat boots), but I dug out these photos for a bit of variety!

A little announcement: My coming series!

As I sit here at my sewing table (ie, my desk with a sewing machine on it), I am feeling rather excited about a new project I’m taking on. However, I feel as if it deserves a bit of backstory.

So, when I was a little girl, I had a Gene Marshall doll. My mom bought her for me, along with a couple outfits. At the time, I didn’t really understand the doll or her clothes. They were vintage-style, and my own leanings were decidedly modern at the time. However, I had a dream on Samhain night about this doll. The dream was vivid and weird, as they so often are. Since then, I’ve been planning to sew versions of her clothes for myself. I’ve sourced a few fabrics, selected a handful of patterns, and started on one outfit in earnest. I hope to have it completed this weekend.

Though this brings me great excitement, I am a bit nervous. It’s been years since I’ve sewn anything, and longer since I was happy with a project. Perhaps I cut too many corners in my 20s; perhaps I rushed things. But now, I’m determined to do things properly. Interfacing, lining, hand finishing.

In addition, I’ve also made some rules for myself. (Type A personality alert.) One is that I’m going to be operating on a one in, one out basis. This won’t necessarily mean that I’ll be getting rid of like-for-like items, but it will mean that, with the completion of each piece, I’ll be selling or donating something else.

I’ve also decided to shop my wardrobe where possible, find secondhand or true vintage items when able, and also to shop others’ stashes before buying new fabric. So, purchasing new fabric will be a last resort measure. Already, I’ve had some success with this on eBay, and I’ve found metres of vintage cashmere, silk, and wool which others are de-stashing. My reasoning for this is twofold. One, I don’t want to create additional waste or demand for production. Two, this article from The Guardian horrified me, and I’ve decided to stop buying new wool as a result.

These conditions may mean that the finished product is a slightly different colour or texture, but I think this is okay. Also, the fact that I am not a doll with a doll’s figure will mean that the clothing will naturally look slightly different. This will be for reasons of practicality as well as aesthetic. For instance, I will not be lifting the ban on wearing heels. Therefore, everything will need to be of a length that works with flat shoes. Nor will I be changing my hair colour or buying expensive accessories that are hard to store; I’m working with what I have.

My purpose for embarking on this creative endeavour is to add some beauty to my life. Gene’s clothes are often Dior-inspired, and the colours and shapes look like a joy to wear.  At present, I usually wear leggings with a big sweater around the house, and dog walking clothes outside of it. I am not overly glamorous, though I used to be. Not to mention that these days, I need something to hold my attention between writing and pet stuff, so that I don’t get too obsessed with the news. Getting caught up is easily done.

Thus, it is with glad tidings of great joy that I announce my new series: Becoming Gene Marshall. I hope that it helps me gain confidence in my sewing as well as revamping my wardrobe with things I love to wear.

 

Selfish Knitting: Bevin+Creative Cables

Ah, Mercury Retrograde! I may be in near constant disagreement with everyone around me, electronic things act strangely and I’ve been advised to never sign a contract. However, it is a good time to finish up all the lingering projects.

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This silver delight is a good example of this – I started on it in July (or maybe June), completed the sleeves and half the back and then stopped. I have no explanation for this. A couple weeks ago, I picked it up again and finished it off.

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This jumper is a combination of two patterns. One is the Bevin jumper, and the other (the cable pattern) is from Creative Cables. I started out making the Creative Cables pattern verbatim, as it were, but the sleeves were very long and the shape wasn’t overly flattering. So I unknitted and started over with the Bevin pattern as a sort of skeleton, as I’ve used it before and found it very flattering.

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This all went very well, and I essentially made two back pieces, with the front’s neckline castoff occurring about two inches lower. It looked like it would be a square neck until the ‘pick-up and knit’ portion. I used the Debbie Bliss Luxury Silk DK and am very pleased with the result!

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