Tuesday, May 14, 2013

wiksten tova, take two

I've been wearing my first Wiksten Tova. All. The. Time. So making another just made heaps of sense.

This pattern is simple and so easy to tweak and modify. I added the sleeves this time but slimmed them, added two inches in length and made a deeper cuff. The shoulders were a bit broad for me, so I took 1/2 inch off either side which actually made the sleeve cap fit better. And the inset pieces overlapped too much in my first one so I cut the edge of each inset piece back a bit - and on an angle - and I really like how it sits now, with just a slight v opening. I excluded the collar again and finished the neck edge with bias trim. Next time I'll round out the inset corners and probably turn it into a dress.

Of course, a pattern only gets better with the right fabric. I can't say enough about this Robert Kaufman Essex Yarn-Dyed cotton/linen - it's soft, has an awesome heathery texture and sews like a dream. I ordered 6 yards to make a shower curtain with and managed to have just enough left over for this shirt (the kids like the idea that I can stand in front of the shower curtain and become a floating head. These are the things we think about around here). The black band at the bottom is the Brussels Washer rayon/cotton - not as soft, but helped give the shirt some definition and now the hem has a better drape.

My Tova love means I'm totally crossing my fingers that Jenny Gordy publishes more sewing patterns. Me and hundreds of other sewers out there, right?

Thursday, May 09, 2013

a little more canada

The new studio space still isn't fully organized, but thankfully that doesn't affect my knitting or reading. The pinky-red cardigan is coming along (meaning I'll finish it just in time for the hot weather to arrive). I've been fine-tuning this cardigan pattern so once this one is done I'll finally be able to share the pattern, although it will just be the one size. I'm not mathematically inclined so I don't know the magic of how to figure out sizing up without actually knitting it physically. Perhaps that will be my knitting goal for the next year: learn official pattern-making skills.

As for reading, I've added more to my Canadian list. First, See the Child by David Bergen. I enjoyed this one more than A Year of Lesser, but I'm not about to go grab more of his novels. I do love Bergen's sense of place; I felt like a neighbour in town every time I opened the book. The characters were real, full of flaws and driven by emotions even when they knew better. Loss, longing and the complicated relationships of family were constant themes that kept me engaged. I'll just take a break for now.

I have had quite an affair with Elizabeth Hay this past year, but The Only Snow in Havana is the first non-fiction work I've read of hers. I was not disappointed. There's just something in the way she writes that I really connect with. In this format, I found her prose lyrical, thoughtful and often surprising. Also, it didn't hurt that it was essentially a musing on being Canadian and how as Canadians, we are tied to the fur trade or, at least, a collective need to keep warm. It sounds simple, but it's oh so true. I figure it's my very Canadian-ness that actually makes me a knitter - I'm fated to care about bundling up. Overall it was a pleasant detour from my fiction streak, and another happy Hay read.

For more knitting and reading, catch up with today's Yarnalong.