Several years ago, Slate magazine had a euphemism contest. (Euphemistic language fascinates me: why are we so reluctant to speak frankly about bodily functions and excretions?) Slate’s competition had readers come up with euphemisms for stupidity. The winner was “Sometimes I think my head is just for looks”. I’ve modified it for my winter so far.
Those are seven hats that I have made this winter. And one cowl. I am noticing a lot of navy Malabrigo (Paris Night is the name of the colourway, actually). I bought six skeins of it when I thought I might make a cardigan. I made several hats instead. And a cowl. Only three items were duds: the cowl (not cozy enough), the sock yarn hat on the left of the group photo (too slouchy) and the hat to the right of the turquoise one (too loose).
I am a member of the 52 hat challenge group on Ravelry, although I only lurk and try to keep to one hat per week. I managed well enough in January, until that long, slouchy sock yarn hat took two weeks instead of one. Such tiny needles! So many rows of ribbing (40), then the hat (80 rows!). So tedious! No more sock yarn hats for me; I will have to find something else to do with the sock yarn I have, that does not involve sock making. I still have a hole in my right index finger from those tiny needles!
I have been busy with skirts this winter. I was unhappy with A-line skirts, so decided to try interesting shapes and details in pencil skirts. I had, in all honesty, been avoiding the dreaded skirt vent. My sample at Seneca had taken me 4,5 hours to make and I was not anxious to repeat the experience. I decided to face this nemesis, and found a brilliant tutorial. I now only make skirts with back vents! Sometimes two of them!
Vogue 7937 has two back vents. I made it twice, in navy wool and a heathered brown wool/lycra suiting called Montreal. There are no lining pieces in the pattern, so I had to draft them. On the navy lining, you can see unpicked stitches where I got it wrong and had to use the (thankfully excessive) seam allowance to fix the problem. This is a Vogue Basic Design pattern, and is a terrific basic pencil skirt with interesting details. Since most of my fabrics, which are increasingly becoming clothing, are blue and brown, these skirts get a lot of wear.
These three skirts are all from Lekala, which provides PDF patterns with personal measurements. Lekala has hundreds of patterns, many of which have interesting details, something I am always seeking. The merlot skirt (three top photos) has curved seams across the front, pieced side panels and a back pleated panel for walking ease. I did the quilter’s trick of lapping the pieced areas, forgetting that the poly suiting would have to be topstitched. So, my seams align but my topstitching does not. The second skirt (made with the other yard of Montreal wool/lycra suiting) also has curved panels across the front and a pleated panel at one side. It is difficult to see in the wool, but the lower centre photo is my attempt to show this panel. This skirt has a centre back vent. The third skirt is a basic five seam skirt, three front panels and two back panels, with a back zip and vent. I would like to remake the merlot skirt in a better fabric for the purpose. The poly blend was very disagreeable and I am not pleased with the result. The only skirt here that gets regular wear is the brown one, but only because the 5 seam skirt has proven difficult to match with the few colours I wear. It is a houndstooth check in camel, purple and green. I have some purple jersey bought for the purpose of making some kind of top to go with this skirt.
This last skirt is my new favourite. It is from Burdastyle magazine, 3/2015.124. It is a pegged skirt, meaning the hem is narrower than the body of the skirt. There are pleats along the waistline, which can be problematic for me in dresses, but I seem to get away with in skirts. Yay! I love the shape of this skirt and it is surprisingly flattering on. It has a back vent and zip and is great fun to wear. I last wore it with Jalie 2921 in a fabric called Nimble dots, purchased from Marcy Tilton in 2014. (If you think I have a thing about hats and skirts, wait until I detail my thing about tie neck tops!) The skirt itself is a beautiful wool suiting lined with purple bemberg, both from Downtown Fabrics.
Wool makes the skirt (or the hat!), as far as I’m concerned. It is no coincidence that the skirts that get the most wear are made with the loveliest wools. It is worth the expense for the ease of construction and wear.
Remember: spring is just four days away!