Quick Catch-Up

Still plugging away at the Goldstream Peacoat. It’s been a big job! Bigger than I expected going in anyway. I’ve ended up hand-sewing a whole lot more than I originally planned both because I have more control over the stitches and because it got pretty darned hard to get this beast under the presser foot! I ended up having to move a bunch of stuff off my sewing table because it all kept ending up on the floor as I wrestled the coat around on the sewing machine. I have to say that Janny the Janome held up very well to this thick fabric plus layers of interfacing. As long as I could get the thing under the presser foot it would sew through it. I only ran into an issue (bobbin thread nests) as I was doing the topstitching on the fronts and around the collar. Probably because I was turning the whole coat around with the needle down. Not perfect but done.

Here’s a couple of teaser photos so you can see the lining. Debbie Double is wearing the coat inside out!

Coat lining with inside pocket
Back facing with my label

Lots of critters in them thar woods, eh? I edged the lining with flat piping made from the sleeve lining fabric and I think it looks pretty neat. Now I’m sewing the sleeve linings which are the last pieces to assemble and sew in. By hand. Of course. All that’s left after that are the buttonholes and 3 buttons. Also by hand. Of course. It’s still going to take a few more days before this thing is completed. I’m kind of ready for it to be finished now.

One other thing I did was to begin a new pair of socks to try out my wee ChiaoGoo Shorties. They work quite well for me, at least on this simple basic sock. I used some DBG Confetti yarn that I totally love because it wears really well but is now discontinued. Boo-hoo. Self-striping socks are so old-fashioned now, aren’t they? I still like them though. What I don’t like is the stitch marker! The thickness leaves a bit of a ladder in the knitting which you might be able to just detect there above the pink marker. Changing it out for a thinner one now. Besides pink is my least favourite colour.

Self-striping socks on a 2mm tiny circular


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Crafty Woman

The Peacoat Project is coming along. But how about a wee digression? Mostly because I’m kind of tired of semi-couture tailoring! And I do mean a “wee” digression. See?

ChiaoGoo TWIST Shorties

Apparently ChiaoGoo means “crafty woman” in Chinese and this is a really small set of interchangeable knitting needles. I heard all you going “Wait! What?” But I’ll show them to you first before I give you my reasoning behind this purchase. They are absolutely adorable!

All this is packed into that little red pouch: 6 sets of needle tips from 2mm-3.25mm in two lengths (2” and 3”) in their own little case, a needle gauge, 4 keys, 6 resin stitch markers, 3 cables (5”, 6” and 8”) 2 teensy-tiny little cable connectors, and 2 end stoppers. The TWIST connectors are the “mini” size, the smallest anyone makes and all are compatible with ChiaoGoo’s other mini items. Don’t believe me when I say how small these are? Evidence!

Mini connections

And I have really small hands too. They are beautifully machined from surgical stainless steel and the cables are flexible coated woven wire. I’m going to have to be careful with the tiny connectors so they don’t get lost but luckily replacements are also available separately. Also stoppers, tips, cables, etc. The connections are quite secure when you use the keys that look suspiciously like T-pins and the transitions all seem smooth.

Which leads me to the “why” of this needle set. As you might know I have a pretty full set of Addi Lace Clicks as my go-to interchangeable needles. But they only go down to 3.25mm needle tips and the shortest cable/needle combo is 16”. Good sizes for hats but not for sleeves or socks. I found this helpful chart online for the Shorties set:

Source: fiberific.com.au

It shows how many different lengths you can obtain by combining tips and cables. There was some talk about the company increasing the available tip sizes but that doesn’t seem to have happened. That would have made these more useful for sleeves in larger gauges. I don’t know what the hold-up is but it could be that the wee connections are just too small to support heavier tips. ChiaoGoo does also have a mini set with 5” tips from 1.5mm-2.5mm and 3 longer cables plus pieces are available separately too so smaller obviously works fine! And there’s a small-cable to large-tip adapter so if they could come out with a mini-small adapter you could add heavier tips that way. I’ll wait and see how it goes. Anyway, I thought this Shorties set would cover an empty space in my rather vast knitting needle collection. Life is too short to put up with crappy tools, amirite?

I generally knit socks on 2mm dpns (my favourite being the Knitter’s Pride Cubics) and I don’t enjoy Magic Loop at all. So the smallest size of these would be perfect. I also knit on 2 socks at the same time so I can either use the stoppers when I switch to the second sock or if the circumference is wide enough, use a differential (one of each tip length). We’ll see how it works in practice though, huh?

All that said, I wouldn’t recommend the Shorties for just any knitter! As I’ve mentioned, my hands are very small so the tiny sizes of these needles aren’t really a problem for me. I often work in fine yarns and small gauges so the tip sizes are in my ballpark. But your hands may cramp up trying to grip tiny needles or you might prefer knitting with heavier weight yarns so these would not be for you at all. They also seem to be rather scarce so you might have trouble finding a vendor. I went through Amazon.ca and it took about a month to come. From Germany! Go figure. Though since then I’ve discovered a more local source for the stoppers and connectors and such. They don’t have the Shorties kit though.

Anyway I’m looking forward to casting on something and trying them out! However, I still have 2 knitting projects to finish first. And let us not forget, The Peacoat! Today’s progress:

Handmade shoulder pads

Cotton muslin cover over 4 layers of cotton quilt batting. I made them slightly asymmetrical and with the longer side to the back, they fit well. Next step – getting the sleeves in. And a plethora of catch-stitching inside.

“It’s the coat that never ends. It just goes on and on, my friends!”

Comfortable

When I was madly sewing trying to finish up the bra project, I had a moment when I realised that I was finally feeling for all the dials and levers and changing the feet on my 6-month-old sewing machine without thinking about it! It didn’t feel awkward or new or deliberate anymore. Just Jenny and I working together like she’s an extension of my hands and brain. It’s taken nearly 6 months to get to this point so it’s not like it was instantaneous or anything. I had to unlearn my 40-year-old Pfaff first. I guess it’s like driving a new car – except that I don’t drive. Kind of glad we’re bonded now. I have lots more items for us to to make together!

So now that I’ve crossed bras off my list for the foreseeable future, it’s back to sewing for The Bearded One. Somehow I’m finding it much easier to justify buying fabric for garments for him. Possibly because I have way too much in the fabric stash already for myself! He has been wearing the heck out of nearly everything I’ve made him so obviously he’s Sew-Worthy, right? He says he wants to have a handmade wardrobe too. Awww…isn’t that sweet? OK then. I have patterns and I know how to use them.

We had already recently bought more sweatshirt type fabrics on our last foray to Dressew so today I cut them both out ready to sew:

North Star and Finlayson

The brown fleece-backed knit on the left (it’s a little darker IRL) is for the North Star pullover (below left). I like the fleece side on the inside for warmth but probably will make the inner collar that sits next to his neck with the fuzzy side out and maybe the pocket bindings as well. The strip of batik binding is for the inside neck edge which definitely shows when the top is worn with the zipper partway down. I have a very cool brown zipper with bronze-green teeth for this one too. The other fabric, the navy French terry on the right, is lighter weight and will work well for the Finlayson sweater (below right). The shawl collar is very thick where it attaches at the lower front neck due to the many layers converging so it doesn’t work well with a fabric that’s too thick and heavy. It looks really nice when done though but I’m pretty sure the instructions for upper and lower collars should be reversed. The slightly smaller collar piece should be the one that ends up on the top at the centre front so the larger piece curves over top of it when it’s folded. Am I making any sense? I did let Morgan know my feelings on this way back when but didn’t get a reply. Perhaps either I’m not getting my point across clearly enough or she prefers it the way it’s written in her instructions. I’m still sewing it my way anyhow.

There will be more on these projects soon. I’ve also started assembling the many pages of PDF printouts for the Goldstream Peacoat. This is my entry for the #So50Visible challenge from Instagram’s @SewOver50 group. You are supposed to sew a pattern that features a model who is obviously older. There are prizes for randomly chosen entries! The peacoat can also be tagged with #sewmenswearforeveryone sponsored by @sewcialists so I hope to get a two-fer out of it! I’m still pretty nervous to start this one though. But I’m going to power through. Right now I’m really enjoying piecing the pattern together. It’s the easy part. Heh.

State of the UFOs

The barebones list I made last time was pretty boring, no? Besides the sewing that I’ve already discussed, here’s the rest in clockwise order from top/left:

  • The never-ending Deciduous Pullover. It seems to be stuck on the sleeves. Plus I’m playing “yarn chicken” with the main colour. I need to suck it up and finish the darn thing.
  • Blue Dragon Socks (Shur’tugal by Alice Yu). Love the yarn and the pattern but I can’t read while knitting this because there are many crossed stitches. I’m nearly at the heel turn on both socks now so it should go a little quicker after that.
  • Grey NZ Coopworth yarn on the Louet S-90 wheel. I want enough 2-ply sport weight for a sweater for me. So far there’s only 1 full singles bobbin and this bit. To be fair I have been spinning somewhat more recently (a New Year’s Resolution) so there is hope.
  • NZ Corriedale in Aurelia’s Fernwood colourway on the Louet Victoria wheel. It’s laceweight, or at least it will be when I ply it. No idea what I’m going to make with it since I only have 250g of this in total. A lot for a shawl but not enough for a sweater. I just wanted another spinning project that wasn’t the grey Coopworth.

In other news, we finally got some actual snow!

February is still winter.

That might teach me to feel smug that the first lot managed to mostly miss us, huh? The above was yesterday and there’s a little falling now with perhaps more still to come overnight. We’ll see. I always think it’s hilarious that we West Coasters let 4”/10cm of snow shut the city down. Wimps. The rest of Canada is laughing themselves silly.

So you might have noticed that I’m posting more now that I’ve found a platform that works for me! I’m feeling a lot less frustration. Obviously that was what was holding me back before. Thank you, WordPress. And thank you, my friends, for following me over here! Your participation really means a lot to me. Otherwise I’m just talking to myself. Which of course I do. Heh. But it’s more fun with your company.