Join Janet on her adventures as a designer, writer, maker, and farmer in montana. no two days are ever the same. you might even see a bear or two.

A Week of Accomplishments

A Week of Accomplishments

I like challenges. I like challenges even better when I succeed at them. In the past week, I got my industrial serger up and running. I finished a bag pattern that had stopped me in my tracks on two previous attempts. And yesterday, I made myself a prototype Rhapso-T.

The Rhapso-T has been on my list ever since the pattern came out about six months ago. I am heartily sick and tired of not being able to find quality clothing that fits. I know what looks good on me and it isn’t always what’s currently in style (low rise skinny jeans being a great example). I’d rather spend the time—and even a bit more money on good fabric—making things I like. I know enough at this point to be able to hack a commercial pattern, but why should I do that when I can draft a pattern based on my own measurements?

The Rhapso-T pattern comes with a sheet that has a basic front/back and sleeve pattern on it. I had that printed at the blueprint place in town so I could use it as the master and trace the pattern from it:

RhapsoTDrafting.jpg

Once I had the pattern pieces, I cut the fabric. (Tuna fish cans make great pattern weights.) The first one or two Rhapso-Ts were intended all along to be test garments—muslins—for checking the fit. I used some plain white knit fabric I got off the remnant rack. Unfortunately, at only a yard, the remnants were just big enough to cut the front, the back, and one long sleeve. That was enough to get the information I needed, though. The first knit was fairly light, as well, which I didn’t like. It was too sheer. The second knit was a heavier rayon blend.

All of the serging I’ve been doing lately has been on wovens, and now the industrial serger will take over that job. I’d like to keep the domestic serger set up for serging knits. Serging knits requires stretch thread and ball point needles, so I had to unthread the serger, take out the regular needles and replace them with a ball point needle (just one, because I am using a three-thread narrow stitch with only the right needle), then rethread with stretch thread. The stretch thread is kind of a pain. It gets static-y and wants to cling to everything. Using thread nets helps a lot:

ThreadNets.jpg

I didn’t use the gray thread, but I had it set up as a second needle thread in case I decided I didn’t like the three-thread narrow stitch.

Once everything was set up and the tensions adjusted, it only took about 10 minutes to put the prototype T-shirt together so I could try it on. I was very pleased with the fit through the shoulders, although the armhole needed adjustment. I recut the pattern pieces, lengthening the amscye by 0.5”, and put the second prototype together. It fit perfectly. It fit so well that I even experimented with putting a bias binding around the neck opening. I liked the weight and drape of the heavier knit a lot better, too.

[As much as I love Zede and Mallory’s patterns, they tend be to a bit light on specifics. The patterns don’t specify fabrics or yardages. I understand that they have worked so long from bolts and rolls of fabric in their workshops that they probably don’t think about buying fabric from a store, but until I made these muslins, I had no idea how much fabric I would have to buy. I can safely say that two yards is plenty for a long-sleeve T-shirt. I could probably get a short-sleeve shirt out of one yard, and that means I can buy remnants when I see them.]

The next order of business is to unbox the Janome Coverstitch Pro. I could hem knit garments on my Janome sewing machine with a twin needle, but a coverstitch machine is dedicated to making professional-looking hems like the ones you see on commercially-made T-shirts. I have it; I might as well use it. I also need to play a bit with the length on the second muslin to see where I want it to fall. I deliberately cut it longer than I thought I would need. Shirts that are too short are by far my biggest problem with ready-to-wear.

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Unfortunately, the job search hasn’t been quite as successful. I’ve applied for two positions and been turned down for both, even though I know I aced the editing assessment on one of them. It was incredibly easy. (The other one was very difficult and it didn’t surprise me not to pass it.)

All I can do is keep trying and trust that the right job will come along at the right time. Or I’ll figure out what I am supposed to be doing instead.

I’ve been working through updating some of my patterns on Ravelry. I had half a dozen with errata that needed to be incorporated into the pattern. When I upload a new version, it automatically gets sent to all the people who purchased the pattern originally. One of the nice side effects of that process has been a number of e-mails from knitters thanking me for the updated pattern and letting me know how much they enjoyed knitting the sweater. A few have included pictures, and one or two told me they in the process of making a second or even third one. So often, the designer only gets nasty or cranky feedback from customers. It’s nice to get positive feedback once in a while.

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I discovered Stargate SG-1 on Amazon Prime last night, so I watched the first episode and knocked out this:

Scrubby.jpg

It’s a dishcloth from Hobby Lobby Yarn Bee Scrub-It yarn. I will try it out today and see what I think. The yarn isn’t easy to knit with, as you might imagine. It’s kind of tough on the hands. Knitting it was a good project, though, while I watched Stargate and lamented all the good things that the NBC conglomerate has wrecked in the past decade or so, including the Sci-Fi channel and the entire Stargate franchise and, most recently, Craftsy (now Bluprint).

Fun With Geometry

Fun With Geometry

Bean Counter

Bean Counter