Cold days call for warm colors.

I took a break from knitting for a couple of days to turn out some sewing FOs in cheery colors.

First up, a shirt in very ORANGE!! cotton. I’m kind of torn about this one. At first I felt like it was a cheery, citrussy, summery piece, but then I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and had thoughts of those orange vests people wear to pick up litter on the freeway. (Orange is not really in my comfort zone as far as clothes go, but I’m trying to expand my horizons.) Furthermore, Rahul was very critical of the A-line shape and said it was “smocky” and made me look “tubby.” I didn’t like this, and he said, in a very logical way, “But you aren’t tubby! My point is that it makes you look tubby but you’re not. I just thought you’d want to know if it looks bad.”

“But I like it!”

“Well, then don’t listen to me! If you like it, you should wear it!”

This exchange was completely infuriating because it was making me really mad, but at the same time, I knew I was being illogical and unreasonable. I showed him about five tops from Lucky with a similar shape and he said he believed me, but that still didn’t mean the top was flattering. I realized that my desired outcome was basically for him to change his mind about the top, which wasn’t going to happen. It doesn’t feel good to realize you’re being a pitch-perfect negative female stereotype in the “Do these jeans make my butt look big?” genre.

Here’s the shirt.

Pattern: The Titus Summer Blouse pattern from Renegade Sewing, from Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley. I think the pattern was made up by one of the store employees–I haven’t seen any references to it online aside from other people who bought it in the store. When I was back at home for Thanksgiving, my bestest childhood friend Sarah showed me two or three of these blouses she had made from this pattern and I loved it so much I ran out and bought it right away.

Fabric used: Some kind of orange Indian cotton with a red warp and yellow weft, or vice versa–is this considered a chambray? The pattern calls for 1 7/8 yards and I was a little bit short of this–1 3/4 yards or 1 1/2 yards. If you’re short of the main color, you could easily use a small amount of a contrasting color for the yoke, either the lining or both sides.

Started: 12/29/07 (cutting out the pattern and fabric)

Finished: 12/30/07 (sewing everything together)

Size: Small (I might want to add a tiny bit of width in the yoke next time–the shoulders seem slightly too narrow on me.)

Mods: Changed the cutting layout to allow for the amount of fabric I had–slightly less than what was called for in the pattern. The pieces seemed to be laid out in a very simplistic way–the U-shaped yoke pieces are facing the same direction on the layout, so you waste big squares of fabric in the middle of each U. I rotated one of them 180 degrees and moved it up and closer to the other yoke piece so that the “U” shapes interlocked. I guess if the fabric had a nap, that might cause a problem? Two of the four yoke pieces just serve as lining for the other two, though, so as long as the two pieces on the outside were pointing the right way, I don’t think you would have any problems even if they were cut upside down.

Notes: This is a very simple and easy pattern, a great confidence-builder for a sewing klutz like me. It only has three pattern pieces–yoke, sleeve, and body–and basically everything is gathered, so it’s easy to ease pieces into other pieces when you’re putting it all together. Despite its simplicity, I managed to sew quite a few pieces together inside out or backwards and spent a lot of quality time with my seam ripper. Maybe I should have used pins.

I used some of the leftovers from the ORANGE!! blouse to make some adorable coasters. I love them!

Pattern: Pulled Thread Coasters from Simple Gifts to Stitch, by Jocelyn Worrall

Fabric used: ORANGE!! cotton, 10 x 15″ piece; blue botanical Anna Griffin Blythe cotton from Purl Patchwork, 30″ x 5″ piece

Started: 12/30/07

Finished: 12/30/07

Notes: I love the book this pattern came from! It has so many utterly simple but really cute ideas–a sophisticated pleated vinyl purse, a clamshell change purse that you squeeze at the sides so it opens like a snapdragon, a wide-wale corduroy leaf pillow cut on the bias so the corduroy wales mimic leaf veins. And of course this simple but lovely coaster pattern. I got it from the library but I might have to buy it for myself at some point.

These coasters are made by pulling threads out of the warp and weft of the fabric with a seam ripper at marked intervals, revealing stripes of the contrasting warp and weft colors, then cutting the resulting fabric into squares and backing them with a contrasting fabric. It’s a very fast and easy pattern; it probably took me less than an hour to make these six coasters, including time spent carefully picking out threads.

The complementary-color combination of blue and orange cheers me up every time I look at it.

Here’s a glimpse of a little knitting WIP. It’s sort of kind of orange. Close enough, anyway. It’s the Heartstrings Flared Lace Smoke Ring (I first saw this pattern on Eunny’s blog) and I’m knitting it in Elann’s new Kidsilk Haze clone, Silken Kydd, same silk/mohair fiber content at half the price, on size 6 needles.

This colorway, Baked Apple, is already sold out. I bought it to see if it would make a good substitute for KSH in Liqueur, but it’s not that close. Baked Apple is more of a russet red, on the orange side of the spectrum, rather than a burgundy or wine color.

I’ve never knit with Kidsilk Haze, but I think the mohair in this yarn is probably not as high quality. It feels perceptibly rougher in the skein than KSH or Artfibers Tsuki (comparison of KSH and Tsuki here), although I don’t find it itchy. I think the hairs are probably longer, thicker, and crimpier than KSH. The silk is very lustrous and strong, and the color of the yarn is nicely saturated.

This yarn seems to be neverending. I guess that’s a good thing, but I feel like I’ve been knitting and knitting and my knitting gets larger but my skein never gets any smaller. I cast on for this project while we were staying with Rahul’s parents in Missouri, on the day after Christmas, and the pattern is actually easy enough that it’s my new TV knit–it’s a very repetitive ribbed lace stitch pattern, in the Pomatomus family, so I just need to glance at the chart at the beginning of each row.

Aside from making things in bright colors, I’ve been listening to this song about the “Paul is Dead” urban legend to keep myself cheerful.  It’s the happiest song about a conspiracy theory I’ve ever heard.

Happy New Year!