I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the holiday season is upon us! With that in mind we’ve got a Holiday Sew-Along Series planned for you with two of our best gift patterns, the Stowe Bag and the Portside Dopp Kit. Both of these bags make great gifts for the handmade appreciators in your lives, and with our sew-along schedule you’ll have them sewn up with time to spare. This week we’ll be sharing the schedule as well as the supplies you’ll need to make each bag so that you can get your supplies ordered in time. Even if you know how to make these bags already, we’ve broken down the steps into 3 easy sewing sessions a week so that you won’t be overwhelmed come December! So with that, let’s get to the schedule.
Portside Dopp Kit
I hope you’ll join us on our holiday sew-along journey! Every year I have grand plans of handmade gifts but I never get started early enough. Hopefully this is the year that changes! If you have any questions about the format of this just let us know below and we’ll do our best to answer. Otherwise stay tuned for the supply lists later this week!
I’m back today with some Tamarack Society progress to report on…I finished basting my coat! It took me quite a while longer than normal, though I’m not sure why. I did go about the construction in a slightly different manner so I thought I’d share what I did differently and why I did things this way.
The first, and most obvious, thing I did differently for this Tamarack is to sew the side seams of each layer together before sandwiching with my quilting. This creates a lot more fabric to work with in the quilting stage but the reason I did so is because of my quilting pattern, which I’ve mocked up below.
The majority of the bodice will have these zig-zag stitching lines and to me it seemed easier to quilt one entire line at once rather than as 3 separate pieces and then trying to line up the stitching lines at the side seams afterwards. Since I’ll be shoving this entire piece through my machine at once and rotating it a few times while under there, I wanted to make sure I basted well enough to really hold things in place. Hence the serious basting grid going on here!
I did the same thing for the lower portion of the coat — sewing the side seams of each layer before sandwiching. Again this was because I don’t want to try to align a million stitching lines when I go to sew the side seams. Typically this is the sort of thing where I think “well that’s why we have arms, to hide things that don’t perfectly line up across the side seams!” but I’m sort of in a ‘go big or go home’ mindset on this coat at the moment.
The sleeves are basted as well, though I haven’t made a firm decision on the quilting pattern yet so those will likely be the last pieces I work on. I’m deciding on diagonals or straight across so I’ll quilt these after I see how the top and bottom of the body look together.
I’m hoping to get started on the quilting this weekend so I’ll report back on whether my pre-sewing the side seams was a good idea or not. Fingers crossed it was!
Hello everyone, meet my Exeter Cardigan! According to Ravelry it’s been almost a year since I finished and I’m only just introducing you to each other, how rude of me! Especially considering how much fun this sweater was to knit and how easy it is to wear — I’m almost embarrassed I didn’t share this sooner.
First a bit about the Exeter. It’s a double breasted, shawl collar cardigan with a ribbed collar & cabled lace pattern for the sleeves and body. Oh yeah, and it has pockets. The pattern called for Brooklyn Tweed Shelter but I went rogue and selected Quince and Co Owl in Bog. Not only is the yarn great for cables, but the color was perfect for me (living that green life) and I think the drape is really nice. The Owl is still really lightweight and although it’s an alpaca / wool blend with some longer fibers in it, I don’t find it itchy against my skin which is nice.
You can get a pretty good feel for the texture of the yarn in this photo. Definitely a few longer hairs and a good tonal marl type thing going on which I think looks really good with the depth of the cables.
There are a few beautiful Exeters on Ravelry that omitted the yarn overs that create the lace pattern inside the cables and at first I thought I wanted to do the same because typically I’m not much of a lace person. I swatched but honestly it didn’t look great in this yarn and once I knit up a swatch with the yarn overs as written I thought, how dumb of me to question Michele, the Master of the Cable! She was right all along, which I’m sure any sane person would have realized straight away.
I don’t have any great photos of this, but I followed Elizabeth McMurtry’s instructions for making the lace pattern come out of the cables. You can see how much that mattered in these photos (none because you can’t see it AT ALL in the finished cardigan) but it was still fun and satisfying to do for the perfectionist mind. If I had a photo of the back hem you could probably tell but somehow I missed that bit photographing.
I made a small modification to the collar which was to make the back slightly less pointy. Honestly a year on I don’t remember how I did it, but I did. Now about the construction of this sweater. I loved it but while I was knitting people everywhere I went were having their minds blown. See the point where the rib knit and cabled knit meets? That’s seamed. Oh yeah!
Here’s a photo of my finished fronts. The reasoning behind this is super solid — the rib and lace have different gauges so of course you have to seam! I think it also made me feel like the whole project was going a lot faster than it was in reality. If you asked me how long it took to knit this sweater I’d say it was a relatively quick knit, though consulting my Rav project it actually took around 4 months from start to finish. So it was a pretty hefty project, though nowhere close to the saga that was Jon’s fisherman’s rib sweater.
The last thing I modified on this cardigan is to omit the lower buttons and buttonholes. I don’t know if I’ve ever closed the last button on anything I’ve ever owned so I decided to just do away with that whole lower situation. I stopped in at Soutache one night before knitting to pick up some buttons and am so happy with my selections. In the interest of transparency, every time I go into Soutache I think I know what I want but the owner pulls ones I would have never have found on my own and without fail they are the perfect button for the job. You can see the outer buttons in the photos above, but this photos shows the back of the buttons. When attaching buttons to a cardigan I always go through a smaller button on the wrong side of the garment. This smaller button functions as an anchor and ensures you aren’t just sewing your front button onto one strand of yarn. It’s much more secure and will last much longer without any damage to your cardigan.
That’s it for info on my Exeter, I’m so glad you have formally been introduced. There’s a reason a few people have knit this pattern twice and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Michele is a cable genius, this cardigan is classic as hell, fits really well, and is so so cozy. I can wear it as a jacket in the fall / spring, under a jacket in the winter, and in extreme AC conditions during the summer, which is really all you can ask of a cardigan.
One of my favorite things to do on Pinterest is collect images of inspirational design details on a board, appropriately titled Design Details. Every now and then I scroll back through to see what I’ve been subconsciously collecting a lot of and this time I noticed a lot of images of sculptural pleats. Some of these pleats are quite soft; the upper right for example is a completely unpressed pleat in what looks to be some sort of melton wool. Contrast that to the extremely sharp pleats of the blue skirt to the right, it’s amazing what a pleat can do!
While all of these images are quite extreme in the realm of pleats, I think there’s definite inspiration here to take into your everyday wardrobe. The image in the top center would be lovely on a skirt or blouse in a smaller controlled area. I might not want that diamond detail on the far right blouse right across my chest, but it could be a fun detail for a sleeve or coat. And doesn’t the pleating on the green dress in the bottom center remind you of an extreme version of a paperbag waist? I find it really fun to think about ways that I could interpret these into more of an every day look. Or if you’re bolder than I am, how to just wear something like this day to day!
These images remind me a lot of the exercises in the Pattern Magic series of books (shown above). I’ve been slowly collecting these books as they’ve been released and love thumbing through them but never did anything with the info contained inside. Of course now I find myself itching to apply this info to create my own statement piece!
We’ve been steadily working on our Tamarack Society jackets in-between our other work so I’m here today to show off our progress so far!
I spent most of last week getting ready for Camp Workroom Social so I didn’t have a ton of time to work on my Tamarack but I did sew up my pattern in this pre-quilted fabric we had left over from developing the Tamarack pattern a few years ago. I wanted to double check that it worked in a quilted fabric since there’s quite a bit of quilting and I changed the pattern substantially. I’m really happy with how this worked so I’m going to cut my fabric this weekend! I also plan to test out the double welt pockets on this sample before I go to town on my actual garment since it’s been a bit since I installed a pocket with a double welt.
Lexi has been doing a lot more Tamarack sewing and is cruising right along! Her body is quilted and assembled, her welt pockets are in, and she’s bound the edges of the body. I cannot wait to see this with the sleeves in! Lexi also has something really cool planned for the sides of the jacket but I’ll wait to tell you more until she’s to that part.
How are your Tamarack Society jackets going? I’ll be catching up on the hashtag this weekend since I had no internet at camp. I’m so excited by what I’ve seen so far though, you guys are killing it!
Today I wanted to share a few in progress pics from the Tamarack Society Instagram hashtag! You all have so many awesome ideas and I find it super inspiring. I’ve just made a quilted muslin of mine and will hopefully be cutting the actual fabric this week. If you haven’t joined in yet but have been thinking about it there’s plenty of time to get started. I’ll likely be working on mine till mid-November and there’s no hard finish date.
What are you looking for?