January 28, 2011

Vogue Patterns Sewing Magazine & Kathryn Brenne

It's been quite some time since I looked through a copy of the Vogue Patterns Sewing Magazine and I am pleasantly surprised by the quality of the layout and the articles, especially the technical articles. Looks like the creative director and editor have been doing some editing and refining. Looks great on paper!




There is a great feature article on Carlos Correa,  the in-house designer behind the Vogue Patterns brand and how he is updating their collection of Mens Sewing Patterns, with a contemporary look and styling. 




Mr. Correa has introduced two pieces, a Single Breasted Jacket and a Classic Trenchcoat and I hope there is more updated patterns for men to come. Both patterns are classics but with updated proportions and fit. If you look at the other mens patterns in the Vogue catalogue, you'll see what I mean. 
These two patterns are a great resource though, especially when one admires a C$4500 Burberry Trench and wished there was a sewing pattern that would provide a similar fit and styling. Mr. Correa provides it! Let's hope we see more!




The current issue of Vogue Sewing Magazine also features a wonderful technical article on altering patterns for women with a fuller figure by Kathryn Brenne.




Kathryn Brenne is based out of North Bay, Ontario and is a designer, technical writer and owner of The Academy of Fine Sewing & Design in North Bay, Ontario. 




This is Kathryn's workspace and teaching studio where students from around the world fly into North Bay to attend one of her many workshops on Fit, Pattern Alteration, Sewing with Leather and more. Kathryn also hosts guest designers and instructors to her studio including Koos Van Den Akker, David Page-Coffin, Jon Moore and Ron Collins, to name a few.




I encourage you to visit The Academy of Fine Sewing & Design website and have a look at Kathryn's upcoming schedule of classes. A truly amazing lineup!



Kathryn is also a contributor of technical articles and adaptations of designer patterns to Vogue Patterns Magazine in New York, having many of her garments featured on the front cover. One of my favourite Kathryn Brenne adaptations is of Vogue Pattern V7907, a jacket designed by Marci Tilton. 




Kathryn chose an aubergine Wool Crepe fabric for her version, which she prepared before cutting by felting the fabric in her washing machine. Using the Needle Felting appliqué technique, Kathryn then added colourful strands of wool roving to the jacket fronts using a Bernina Needle Felting accessory on her sewing machine. Quite amazing. I saw this in person a few years ago at a knitting retreat and it was quite stunning. And the finishing, as with all Kathryn's garments, was superb!



For an example of Kathryn's excellent technical writing, click on this link to Kathryn's article Adjusting For A Full Bust from the Vogue Sewing website.


Have a good day! I hope it's productive one for you and I encourage you to make the time to do something creative! You mind and body will love you for it!




I'm currently working on several projects, including working a Union Jack pattern by hand, using the Intarsia hand knitting technique for multiple colours. The pattern is God Save The Queen from the book Pretty In PunkI'll post the finished project shortly. 




Be well!


Patrick.

January 24, 2011

2010 Knitting Projects Recap

`It's nice to look back on the previous years knitting projects that I completed and reflect on choices, what's still waiting to be completed and those garments and accessories that I enjoy wearing and that I enjoyed gifting to others.


Here is a collage of the efforts, both hand knit and machine knit:




The year literally started with Casting On for a pair of socks on New Years Day, which were my colourful "Not Just For Pride Day Socks". This is my own basic pattern which fit my big feet just fine.







Knitting Olympics!
The subculture that is the world of hand knitting creates it's own events, often piggy backing on those going on around us. So I participated in the 2010 Ravelympics, a personal-best contest for members of the online knitting community called Ravelry. Participants chose a knitting project ahead of time, prepared their materials, and started knitting during the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. The idea was to show support for your Olympic team. I thoroughly enjoyed it and watching all the great sports. 




We had the duration of the games, 2 weeks, to complete the item. I completed mine, while watching the final Canada-USA Hockey Game and closing ceremonies! 




I chose this sweater, long in my personal cue for knitting projects. The pattern is Beau, from the book Rowan Vintage Knits, designed by Kim Hargreaves. The yarn is Beaverslide Fisherman's Merino from Montana. 






I was thrilled to finish another sweater, Lars, designed by Martin Storey from Rowan Magazine no.36 (my favourite Rowan Magazine issue.)


I started Lars in 2009 while at Princess Margaret Hospital undergoing chemotherapy. Knitting was my sanity while being hospitalized and not being eat or drink for 4 months. 


This sweater I had long debated ripping out and starting over, as to my eye, I could see a difference in the tension of the knit fabric of the garment sections I worked on in 2010, compared to the Back section I managed to finish over a couple of months in '09. My tension got tighter as my strength and muscle mass returned, and my critical eye would not let me overlook this difference. I got over that and now wear this pullover constantly. I wear it like a personal shield, a good luck charm of sorts. I love the yarn, which is "Plaid" by Rowan. Highly recommended. Great for out walking the dogs.


I also completed a few lace shawls worked on my Superba Knitting Machine, each project worked on mostly at night, as a way to unwind before bed.

                              


I completed the "Lace Ribbon Scarf" by Veronik Avery, from Knitty.com. The yarn is Blue Heron Egptian Cotton. 

                                              

I had wanted to knit this patterns since seeing it published a couple of years back and I was very pleased with the results. No, I did not keep it for myself but I will definitely make another. 

                                            

The pattern is written for hand knitting, which I adapted for a knitting machine.



All the stitch transfers to create the eyelets, the yarn overs, K2tog, Ssk's were all worked using my two hands, not using any electronics or automatic transfer carriages. 




I just like to note that because people tend to think that items made on a home knitting machine are always completely automatic and that's not always the case. Especially for some stitch effects and when working with certain yarns, like mohair for instance.


Which is the fibre I used to make the "Easy Lace Stole" by  Arlene Lorenz-Panzer in Nuernberg, Germany. 


My friend Wanda had included this as a "favourite" on Ravelry and so I thought it would be a nice easy project to work up in some pretty hand dyed Fleece Artist Mohair gifted to me by my friend Rae Brenne, who owns Stix & Stones Yarn Shop in North Bay. 


This is how it turned out.



The rest of the projects I made were for warmth and comfort for the coming Winter, which is here in full freezing!!! effect, I may add. Let's not get into this "I bet it's colder here" game. Cold is cold. And nothing beats animal fibres like Wool and Angora for keeping the head and neck warm. Sometimes in multiple layers but I truly feel for people who are allergic to natural fibres or dyes, as they are missing out on the wonderful thermal qualities these fibres posses.


                                           
I completed my Fresco Fusion Hat first, named for the lovely yarn "Fresco" by Classic Elite. The pattern is an adaptation of the Vintage Cashmere Hat Pattern by Pierrot Yarns of Japan.

                                        
I worked this by hand circular, on Double-Pointed Needles in alternating rounds of Black and Grey which created a nice muted effect. The Angora content, which is rabbit hair, fluffs up while working with the yarn, but is not too outrageous for a man to wear and this baby is as light as a feather and super warm!



For the neck I knit up a simple scarf in Rowan Colourscape Chunky Yarn from the Needle Emporium in Ancaster.


A simple textured stitch that showed off the great colour transitions in this yarn, all finished with some Single Crochet around the edges.



Do I have a crazy dog who loves her Daddy or what?!?! Always giving me kisses! She is the joy in my world!

Checkerboard Dog Blanket
Kismet does not sleep in my bed but she and her house companion Charlie love to be up on my bed at various times of the day.


To help keep my bedding clean and free from all kinds of Flora they drag in from the garden, I decided to make a blanket or throw to cover my bed with.


No buttery soft Merino or Silk for this project. Good ol' 100% Machine Wash/Dry, dog friendly Acrylic. I had a few cones of this medium Grey in my stash, bought ages ago at Romni Wools in Toronto, and as I had been neglecting my Passap Duomatic 80 Knitting Machine, I decided to whip up a blanket using that brand of knitting machine.



After some initial swatching, I settled on this Checkerboard Racked Half Fishermans Rib Stitch, gleaned from a Singer brand knitting machine stitch book. 3 panels worked of 26"W x 78"L and then joined using a Serger, with the differential feed set to create a lettuce edge/wavy seam. 




I'm happy with it and it keeps the bed clean. And the dogs don't mind it at all! 


Next up was Koolhaus Hat by Jared Flood. I've made 3 of these to date and love wearing them. 


I had a few skeins of left over Beaverslide Merino from the Beau Sweater, so this was the perfect choice. 



I wear this hat everyday. It's held up great and is nice an warm.

And I hope you are staying warm! I wish you all the best in 2011 and may it be a productive year for you, whatever your passion. 

Please know that I continue to be in remission, that my food swallowing issues that were bothering me in the summer have subsided and that I am doing well. For this I am truly thankful.

Hugs all around and happy knitting! 

Patrick.