Monday, September 19, 2011

Cool Weather Cardigans

I needed some fun, easy sewing to do this week.  Fortunately I had cut out three of the Draped Front Cardigan from Pamela's Patterns more than a month ago.  The middle of the week brought us delightfully cool weather and I was ready to handle the sweater knits for these cardigans.  It was simple to sew one a day and now I have several new outfits for this lovely fall weather.

First up, leopard sweater knit version.  It's soft and so cozy to wear.  I didn't snap a shot but this cardigan also looks wonderful when it is belted closed....even on my rectangular body.  I'll catch a shot of that styling one of these days and post it for you.

The next version is a navy and green sweater knit, again from Fabric Mart years ago.  It's terrific with jeans and must be mostly wool since it is quite warm but still lightweight.  
Blue and green herrigbone patterned wool knit

The last one is sewn from wool jersey that I washed once...and discovered that the moths had gotten to that piece of fabric.  I was able to cut it out single layer.  I had one Swiss cheese-y piece of fabric at the end...and I might use it to make some embellishments. This last cardigan is a little bland without "something" which is why I posted it with a scarf.  Any other styling suggestions?

Pamela recommends using lightweight Heat and Bond to bond the turned in facing before doing the topstitching on these cardigans....unless the fabric is too lightweight to support it.  I did not add the Heat and Bond to any of these cardigans.  But that last one needed some support for the 1" turned in facing.  I looked over my decorative stitches on my Viking 770 machine and used stitch 1-14 as a tone on tone decorative stitch.  I like the weight and stability it added without any extra bulk.
Nearly invisible decorative stitching

After three sweater knits in a week,  time to swiffer the sewing room floor and also clean out this bobbin case.  Dust bunnies anyone?

Since I love having this blog as a way to do some personal recordkeeping, I also wanted I'd share the books I've been reading in the last month.

Was anyone else as crazy about "The Little House..." books as I was?  I received a copy of "The Little House in the Big Woods"for Christmas when I was nine and became a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan for life.  This book is sort of a "project memoir."  Wendy McClure isn't attempting to write a biography but is exploring her fascination with the novels by researching the author, her family and her various homes.  It was funny (buying an Ebay butter churn and making butter at home) and sweet (describing her childhood desire to explain her modern world to the real Laura.)  I enjoyed reading some things I did not know about the books and the people.  But I wanted to enjoy it tremendously and that didn't happen.  Actually, that's the theme of the book in some way.  Our imaginations and love for Laura Ingalls Wilder are so great that inevitably the real, messy details of a genuine life are disappointing.  So I wouldn't want to discourage anyone from reading it, but to perhaps lower your expectations and you'll feel satisfied.

Here's a British novelist who I am crazy about and am always eager to read her latest release.  I think of these as elegant, thoroughly readable, modern family novels.  In her latest, Joanna Trolloppe tackles the shifting allegiences among families when sons marry.  Whether you are the daughter-in-law or the mother-in-law, you'll probably be examining your own relationships along the way.

I was influenced this summer by a lovely friend who is always listening to portable books.  I've never been too attracted to what I used to call "books on tape."  (doesn't that date me from another century?)  But I gave it a try this summer with two fabulous results.
Mr. Lucky and I listened to this book in the car over the course of several long road trips.  It is the story of Louie Zamperini, an Olympic medalist at the 1936 Olympics and WWII B-24 flight navigator.  His plane crashes into the Pacific and he and his two companions spend 46 days adrift in a liferaft.  The descriptions in this section are frightening and also mysteriously beautiful at times.  Then they are "rescued" by the Japanese and suffer years in POW camps.  Laura Hillenbrand (who wrote the wonderful "Seabiscuit") does the most wonderful job of combining painstaking research with personal, drmatic narrative.  At times the scenes were so intense that they were hard for me to listen to...if I had been reading I believe I would have skimmed over them.  But the experience of listening to this book made me focus on all of it and I'm so very glad I did.  The subtitle, "A story of survival, resilience and redemption" is the perfct description.  

I heard about this book, "Let's Take the Long Way Home," on NPR one day and took it out of the library, this time in the "play and go" format.  These are small pre-recorded book players.  You insert your own battery and headphones and you have a very small portable book in your ear.  I listened to it while walking and in my sewing room and kitchen.  Very, very handy device.  The book itself is a lovely memoir and tribute to the deep friendship of two women and the pain of losing a very special friend to cancer.  I guess I'm at the age where I'm experiencing and seeing those losses which made this book so true but also so very sad.  Gail Caldwell and Caroline Knapp were writers, dog lovers and friends extradonaire.  The book is instrospective and unflinching as it tackles their deep love for one another and Knapp's harrowing experience of dying within weeks of stage four lung cancer.  It's a difficult story and I ached for Caldwell's loss but I was inspired to make sure the friends in my life know their meaning to me.

Well, after a week in which I had to draft and send an answer to a hurtful, unjust accusatory email, it's a delight to be blogging about good things and sending them out to you, kind and gentle readers.  Here's hoping everyone's week is a good one.


  1. Wow--3 cardis! They are probably just the right weight for your Florida weather. And, 3 to add to the JAM. I haven't heard of that little bookd device you talked about. I must check at my library.

  2. All the cardigans look perfect. I also made my prototype out of a similar color tan and want to style it will watch for suggestions to yours.
    BTW, great seeing you last weekend!!!!
    Tina in Va

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  4. Three lovely looking cardigans! Cozy but very elegant looking - and in making three you're going to have one to go with just about anything in your closet! I listen to 'books on tape' a lot - I download them from Audible and listen to them on my i-pod on my daily walk - it's an excellent way of catching up with some literature and getting some exercise. Oh, and btw, I don't know who would have sent you a nasty e-mail, or why, but I am thinking good thoughts for you.

  5. Your cardigans are lovely! I keep meaning to try some books on my Ipod when I am running.

  6. Wow, you responded quickly to the the sudden turn in the weather, making three beautiful cardigans. They are a very flattering style for you

  7. These are all lovely cardigans - the last one is a good basic and looks like it would match with lots of colourful tops and dresses. I too loved the Little House on the Prairie books - I read them to my young daughters so they would appreciate what they have - but they were too young - I remember their only toy was a corn husk in a scrap of fabric for a doll and they used a pigs bladder for a balloon! I also enjoy Joanna Trollope - thanks for pointing out this one - haven`t read any of her books for a few years. ( perhaps a good novel for xmas for my mother-in-law ??)

  8. All three cardigans are lovely. I can imagine wearing them all the time. In fact, it's on my list (:
    I always enjoyed the Wilder books. It's interesting how the author managed to paint such a rosy picture of what was a very challenging life. Anyway, the pioneer life always seemed simple and ideal to me.


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