February 2019 | Mismatched Buttons (A Monthly Journal)
A flurry of PhD craziness took over the beginning of February, but I’m delighted—and nervous—that the training wheels are off: I’m now a fully-fledged, confirmed PhD candidate! After an intense time, which included writing and submitting a 10,000 word confirmation document, preparing and presenting a 20 minute presentation on my research, and as an addition to this performing an essay artwork to a large audience that included the confirmation panel, I spent a lot of time for the first few days after on the couch watching TV (I think… to be honest, I was so tired I can’t actually remember those first few days very clearly).
With much of February taken up with those sorts of things, my making dropped away quite significantly, but I do have a few things to fill you in on, dear Reader, starting with a manic deep-dive into navy and white camping clothes…
Navy and White One: Stripey Emerson Shorts for Te Wai Pounamu Touring
For our belated summer holiday, my husband and I have transformed his van into a temporary camper-van and are doing a two-week circuit of Aotearoa NZ’s South Island: the very beautiful Te Wai Pounamu. However great my me-made wardrobe is looking at the moment, it’s sadly not particularly camping approp, as most garments are of the delicate-wash-line-dry variety: not conducive to the rigours of quicky laundromat washing and tumble drying.
As my first pair of Emersons were such a success, I decided to make a more robust pair for our time away, and so this linen cotton stripe from The Fabric Store was given some very tough pre-washing love to get it ready for the joys of camping. This pair of Emersons has simply reinforced what I already knew, this is an awesome pattern! And with this pair I thoroughly enjoyed jonesing out on matching the stripes like the nerdy perfectionist I am. One area I’m particularly proud of is the pattern-matching across the front of the shorts and through the pockets. The pattern comes from True Bias, and I made a straight size 14 without any mods.
So after wearing these shorts a fair bit, I think I have one … observation. Not a complaint at all, but I would recommend (and intend to go back and do this to my two pairs) anchoring the elastic along the back of the waistband a little better than as the pattern directs. It has a tendency to want to creep about and twist horizontally within its casing. I imagine this is a fairly quick and easy fix, with a couple of lines of stitching running around the waistband, but its easier to do when the shorts are on my machine, instead of having it as one of those niggly chores that I’ll procrastinate about for weeks and weeks.
Regardless, both my pairs of Emersons give me a great deal of joy. I want to make a longer pair of pants for Autumn, but my wish-to-make list is so damn long, it’s anyone’s guess whether I’ll get them made. In the mean time, I’ll enjoy what remains of the good weather in my fair-weather Emersons.
Navy and White Two: Elbe Serpentine Hat
My second camping-approp make was an Elbe Serpentine Hat. New Zealand is notorious for not having much by way of an ozone layer (thanks 1980s and CFCs!) so us folk down here ‘neath the ozone hole need to be sun SMART.
The Serpentine Hat, by Australian designer Elbe Textiles (who, being Australian thus also ozone-deficient, gets the need for wide-brims) seemed just the ticket for the late-summer camping. I made mine out of heavy-weight navy linen and mid-weight bone linen from The Fabric Store. The pattern is a good’un—easy to follow and producing a very clean and tidy hat. The pattern recommends interfacing one side of the brim with a heavy-weight interfacing, which I duly did. However, I completely underestimated how heavy-weight my interfacing should be. I used the heaviest weight available from my local, without it being actually rigid, but it wasn’t enough to prevent some very severe brim flop that renders the hat almost unwearable.
On recommendation from a friend, I’m going to pull it apart and interface the other side as well and (wait for it) double-interface the navy side. So that’ll be three layers of interfacing. Stand by, dear reader, to find out whether it’s worked. If you’re planning on making this hat, definitely test the brim as best as you can for flop before you sew the crown on, as I’m essentially going back to the beginning to sort out this issue.
Otherwise, though, it’s a nice little hat! I can see how it should sit, and I like how it should sit. I made a size large, for my ginormous noggin, and its nice and comfy. I think I’ll add a couple of eyelets and some sort of cord so it can be more safely worn around windy Wellington, but that’s the only change I’d make.
Navy and White Three: Gable Top
And thirdly, my unfinished Gable Top. I’ve had my eye on this classic Jennifer Lauren Handmade top for a while because of that slash neckline.
Slash necklines have always been attractive to me because they feel like, depending on fabric or outfit, they can be either elegant or playful, and their retro nature makes it a classic shape.
I also have very developed trapezius muscle—the triangular muscles between neck and shoulder—and I think because of them I don’t really like wearing a high crew-neck. The muscles push the neckline higher up my neck making my neck look quite short. The slash neckline, or similar necklines, on the other hand, compliments the shape of my traps and gives me one of my best high-neckline-top options.
Anyway, I ran out of time to get Gable sewn up before we left for our camping mission, but she’s first on the list when I get back. Once it’s finished I will have completed my first Make Nine 2019—yippee!
So Nice, I’m Knitting it Twice!
Learning colourwork knitting has brought such pleasure to my knitting practice, and I love my first project, a little janky though it may be. This Hoarfrost Hat was designed by The Petite Knitter. In hindsight, I probably wouldn’t recommend a four-colour stranded pattern to first-timers, but it is totally doable, as long as you’re patient with the slightly steeper learning curve. If you have a colourwork project under your belt, I can’t recommend this pattern highly enough! It’s satisfying and achievable over a couple of slow-knit weeks.
As I want to iron out some kinks in my technique, I’ve decided to cast on another. I have enough of the four skeins I bought to alternate the colours and knit at least two (and possibly three) more, which I intend to do. For my second, I’m using Honey as the background colour, with blue as the minor accent and the pick and red for the tonally gradient sections. I cast my second hat on while at the cricket, watching the Black Caps being soundly beaten by India … but it was still a lovely, mushy-brain day out in the middle of hectic #phdlife.
I’ve switched to Continental knitting, or picking, for this (I’m traditionally a English knitter, or thrower) and it seems to have quite fundamentally changed my guage. I’m curious about this change. I’m going to see how it goes and will write more about it once this hat is finished. Let’s see how this pans out…
Until next month, then, you fine, fine people, you!