Sunday, April 2, 2017

Spring Sewing and a Couple of Blackwood Cardis

Hey there! Hope you're having a good weekend. Spring is definitely here, and I'm loving it. Summer and winter don't have a lot of variation here in San Francisco weather-wise, but spring and fall never fail to delight me. You can just feel the energy of things coming to life, the quality of the light, the brighter colors. I find myself looking out the window at work and thinking things like, "I should take sailing lessons"or "I wish I was 25 again, hanging out in the park with my friends, and making daisy chains or doing something spontaneous like deciding to explore a new neighborhood or trying to find a hidden stairway or a mural or even a favorite tree."

Okay, so in addition to pondering my misspent (or brilliantly spent) youth, I've also been thinking about spring sewing plans somewhat, but these thoughts only stay in my head for a moment or so before I move on to something else. Seriously, my attention span is shot. I'm definitely not the same woman who read all three volumes of Proust's Remembrance of Things Past. (ETA: My husband read this after I posted and thinks this sounds like I'm bragging, being pedantic, etc. I can see, after posting. SO did not mean it that way. Just can't believe I once had that kind of focus.)... So instead of talking about future plans, I'm going to focus on a couple of completed projects and hope I can remember all the details.

The Blackwood Cardigan is the latest from Helen's Closet and it's a very practical and versatile close-fitting cardigan pattern. I like Helen's blog and her energy a lot. She also uses such lovely fabric, and her makes always feel fresh but still practical...if that makes sense.  I initially hesitated because I already have the Oslo cardi pattern, by Seamwork, but am so glad that I finally caved. The Oslo makes for a more dramatic, oversized sweater, which I do like to wear with a handful of things, but most of the time it sort of feels like it's wearing me. The Blackwood, on the other hand, is a bit more unassuming and therefore more versatile. It also comes together super quick--especially if you have a serger.

I picked up two inexpensive sweater knits from Fabric Outlet for around $10 per yard plus 40% off. (A pic of my most recent haul is posted at the top of this post.) It's a thin knit that snags easily. It's also perfect for this pattern. I went for the long version on both. I had a little trouble with the collar on the army green below. You can see how the bottom curls up because I stretched it like mad to get it to meet. It was just sloppiness on my part and looking at this picture makes me want to grab my iron and steam that shit out. For the black version, I took the extra step to baste the collar before serging and it really paid off. Basting is the best!

At some point I'll probably make the shorter version, but, like a lot of people, I've been loving cozy, long cardis these days. For me, this is really a year-round pattern since I live in cardis at work. (Of course, I wouldn't wear it to work with only a bra underneath like my saucy dress form. :))

Okay, here are the deets before I forget:
  • I paid close attention to Gillian's testing post because we're close in height. She shortened the sleeves by 2" and left the length as-is. The khaki version is just a tidge too long but still definitely wearable. For the black one, I cut sleeves by 2", shortened length by 1" and it feels like a better length. 
  • FBA: I tried that cool "dirtycheater" method even though I'm most definitely a candidate for the full version; I just wanted to try a new method. Verdict: Definitely a good one to have in your backpocket for knits. Also, I'm thinking it might work well with striped fabric since you would still have a chance of the stripes matching. Actually, I don't know that for sure. Any seasoned FBA'ers out there that would like to share their thoughts?
  • Sorry to not have any pictures with a human. I think this is a step backwards for me, but hopefully I'll feel like getting in front of the camera sometime soon. 
  • Size XL with the pattern adjustments noted above.
I had other things I wanted to talk about--Spring sewing plans, some ideation for long-form sewing experiments, etc.--but hopefully with the lighter days and renewed energy, we'll talk soon. 

Have an absolutely lovely week!

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