Acadia Easy Folded Poncho

Have you ever felt The Fibre Co.’s Acadia yarn? It is a luscious mix of merino, baby alpaca, and silk, and it is heavenly. I do feel like I say that about all of our yarns, but I guess I wouldn’t stock them if I couldn’t be obsessed with them. Right? If I am just meh about a yarn, it usually doesn’t make the cut to be in the shop. If you have been in the shop, you know we don’t have a huge space so we need to be VERY picky about what we bring in.

We brought in this yarn a little less than a year ago (March was when it arrived) and we didn’t knit up any shop samples until after we got back from the TNNA (June!). We had sold a few skeins, but we knew that once people saw it knitted up they would fall head over heels in love with it like we did. Then came the herculean task of finding a pattern. Someone suggested the Easy Folded Poncho pattern from Churchmouse Yarns & Teas and it was like a match made in heaven.

I convinced Jenny, our sample knitter (not yet full employee at the time!), to put down her own projects and whip this up before fall. And whip it up she did! We chose the Driftwood color, since my secret plan was for this to eventually end up in my closet and that is the color I wanted! Ha! Jenny knitted the cowl version, which required about seven skeins. If you wanted to do this without the cowl, you probably only need six skeins. If you are thinking of knitting the poncho sans-cowl, I just want to tell you that the cowl is my favorite part.  It is warm and soft against the neck and I think it makes the poncho look a little more finished. If you don’t take my advice, however, I have no doubt your poncho will still be just as lovely.

All Photos by Ashley Shea Photography

The best part about knitting this pattern in this yarn is that the drape of the yarn is amazing. The pattern comes in one size and everyone who has tried on the shop sample (all shapes and sizes) has looked amazing in it.  This yarn is magical, I tell you. The finished poncho is light yet warm enough for spring and fall or even those chilly nights in the summer. If you layered up underneath (remember we are in snowy,cold NH), I don’t see why you couldn’t wear this all year long.

The pattern is pretty easy to knit. It is all stockinette, so it’s perfect for watching a movie and keeping your hands busy, and construction isn’t difficult either. The downside of this pattern is that it is a very long pattern. If you are a true beginner I would be mindful of not burning yourself out on such an endeavor, unless you realize what you are getting into and take your time. The money and time will be worth it when it is done, but just be aware and maybe don’t make this your first or second project. 😉

Have you knit with Acadia before? Are you as obsessed as we are? Or are you one of the knitters of the nearly 3,000 finished versions of this pattern? If so, tell us!

Liberty Sureau

I know it is just after Christmas, and the temperature here in New Hampshire is nowhere near being able to wear this now, but I am still posting this today. Let’s say it will bring us back to the warm, yet crisp days of fall before we settle in for the dark winter. This is the Deer and Doe Sureau. It is a two piece dress with a faux placket and the options for sleeves or not. I choose not. It has been awhile since this pattern’s heyday, but I have to say, I understand why it enjoyed such popularity when it was first released. Because of the faux placket and simple construction, once I had worked out my own fitting tweaks (and jumped over the pocket hurdle), this dress was a pretty quick and satisfying make.

The skirt is gathered, which normally I am not a huge fan of, but figured I would give it a go. Looking at the photos, maybe I need to give gathered waists another chance! I am quite smitten with this dress on me. Who knew?!?!

Liberty Sureau by Pintuck & Purl

As far as fitting, I did some research before embarking on this pattern. I had seen around the interwebs that people had trouble with a gaping neckline. I whipped up a quick muslin of the bodice after performing my usual sba (small bust adjustment—since D&D is drafted for a C-cup) and sway back adjustment, and tried it on. After seeing the results I took a 1/4″ wedge out of the front neckline tapering to nothing at the waist. It seemed to work well enough. I might have been able to take out more, but I didn’t want to go overboard.

The only other thing that I didn’t personally love was the neckline facing. I am usually not on Team Facing, ever. I would prefer binding or lining my garments. Since this was the first time making this I figured I would play by the rules. The facing extends around the whole neckline, which is then topstitched down. Once I attached the facing, I wanted a cleaner look so I handstitched it down. Even with the handstitching, I find that it is still a bit fussy. Apparently I will never join Team Facing. I find them fiddly and annoying. Give me bias binding any day.

Liberty Sureau by Pintuck & Purl

The one other thing I did was add pockets. Actually, let me rephrase that. I added “a pocket”. This dress has a side zipper. I had every intention of cutting the dress so that I could move the zipper to the back, but absolutely forgot when cutting. I figured that I could just add them into the side seam. If you have been reading this blog, or know me  at all, you know that most of my makes are right before a particular deadline. This dress was no different, trying to get it done for Maker’s Days in September. Since I was in a time crunch, I did not think through my construction of the zipper-sided pocket. Needless to say, when I sewed it up, I only had one functioning pocket. Yes. I had sewn the other one shut while attaching the invisible zipper. I decided then and there that I only needed one pocket. And that was that.

For this dress, since it was to be for a special occasion (Maker’s Days was our one year anniversary celebration!) I decided to go big for the fabric. What is the top of the line for me? Liberty of London. If you have never heard of this company, you should get to know it. It is an old-school London based store-front (it’s an actual department store) that has (and has had for over 125 years) their own line of fabric. Their style is tight florals or designs that lean on a vintage-nouveau feel. Sometimes even a Where’s Waldo look, in a really cool and pretty way. Their Tana Lawn (which is what I used here) is a beautifully soft cotton that is a dream to sew with and to wear. It is not an inexpensive fabric, but worth every penny.

Liberty Sureau by Pintuck & Purl

All Photos by Ashley Shea Photography

Should I make this again, and I really want to try the sleeved version, I have a few things that I would change. I would move the zipper to the back and add two pockets, and change the facing to bias binding or line the bodice instead. Anything to keep me away from those facings.

Deer and Doe Sureau

The pattern itself is well drafted and I do love the look of the dress. This is only the second Deer & Doe pattern that I have sewn, but I love the fit and style of my Belladone dress, so I am assuming that we are a pretty good match. I will tell you that the pattern directions are still a bit on the sparse side (similar to the Belladone), but there is enough there to get you to a new dress. I would suggested this to a beginner who has at least one other garment pattern under their belt. If you are looking to start your first dress in 2017, this would be a great pattern!

Have you sewn the Sureau? Are you on Team Facing or with me on Team Never-Facings? Do you have big sewing plans for 2017?? Come on, tell us!

Foxfield Hat in Cumbria Worsted

Foxfield Hat in Cumbria Yarn by Pintuck and Purl

Winter is here! We are gearing up for a storm in the Northeast tomorrow, so I thought this would be a perfect time to share a quick, easy pattern from The Fibre Company. This is their Foxfield Hat knitted with their Cumbria Worsted yarn in the Castlerigg colorway, which is a beautiful grayish purple. This yarn is 60% Merino, 30% Masham wool,  and 10% Mohair in a generous 238 yard skein. The yarn was “inspired by England’s stunning northwest region with its deep blue lakes and sheep-grazed fells and valleys” and the color range speaks perfectly to that interpretation. The colors are subtle and muted, but in a very earthy and slightly rustic way.

Foxfield Hat by Pintuck and Purl

The yarn is a pleasure to knit with. I currently have two projects on my needles, one with Cumbria (a Christmas present that I am frantically trying to finish) and a Lopi (the rough Icelandic wool) sweater. Whenever I go back to the Cumbria, it is like wrapping up in a warm and soothing blanket. Blocking this yarn makes the fabric even softer than what you would imagine from the yarn’s fiber recipe and rustic look.

Foxfield Hat by Pintuck and Purl

The pattern comes with two different stitch options for two different hats. We chose the smaller stitch pattern, for a softer (and quicker) finished project. I am dying to make the bobble version (now that I have conquered the bobble in one of my current projects–I will share after the gift-giving takes place). I think this hat would also be great with a pom pom added to the top. There was plenty of leftover yarn to be able to do that, but instead we decided to knit up a matching pair of mitts (to be blogged about soon!). So cozy!!

Foxfield Hat by Pintuck and Purl

I think this is my new favorite winter yarn. After I am finished with my current WIP, I am hoping to put a sweater in Cumbria in my queue. If you are searching for a rustic looking, yet softer feeling worsted weight yarn, you should give this a try. Make a hat (or two!) to try it out and then I am sure that you will fall in love as well!

Cumbia Worsted by The Fibre Co. Castlerigg

All Photos by Ashley Shea Photography

 

Sydänmaa Mittens in Swans Island All American

Pintuck & Purl's Sydanmaa Mittens In Swans Island Yarn

Time to break out the mittens! I’m not sure if your outside temperature numbers are dropping, but here in New Hampshire, it is C.O.L.D. What is the only silver lining that I find this time of year, since I don’t ski, snowboard, snowshoe or any other snow-or-winter-related activity? Knit and wear mittens! Actually, I didn’t knit these; the fabulous Jenny, from our staff, knitted up these lovelies. I am wearing and will continue to wear them. Obviously when they are not on the shelf as a sample in the shop. Mostly.

Swans Island All American Wool Sydanmaa Mittens

These are the Sydänmaa Mittens by Hanna Leväniemi, which is a free pattern on Ravelry. Yes, you read that right. FREE pattern on Ravelry. If you have been searching for an interesting, not-too-crazy cabled mitten with fun construction, then these mittens are for you.

Swans Island All American Wool Sydanmaa Mittens

If you are looking for yarn for said mittens, then you need to take a look at Swans Island All American Collection Worsted. The yarn is a combination of 75% Rambouillet and 25% Alpaca. Both of these are sourced right here in the good ol’ USA. Yep, this yarn is 100% American Made. It is spun in a New England mill and then brought to the Swans Island Company dye house in Maine and lovingly infused with color. The colorway we chose here is called Atlantic, and it is perfect. There are just enough green tones to conjure up images of my beloved local beaches.

This rustic, yet still sophisticated yarn often gets overlooked in the shop as it doesn’t have bright colors or crazy packaging. It is one of those unassuming yarns that once you start to work with it, you wonder why you have’t knit with it before. And then you want to knit all things in it. The stitch definition is amazing and it is surprisingly light for all its rustic beauty. It is perfect for a pattern like this, really showing off those cable stitches.

Sydanmaa Mittens in Swans Island All American Wool

All Photos by Ashley Shea Photography 

Now, the scratch factor. I think this may be a personal decision, but once this yarn was blocked I thought it softened up beautifully. I don’t find  the yarn scratchy and would wear it happily next to my skin. I know there are others that would disagree, so I think mittens are the perfect starter project for this yarn. If you can wear the mittens, then you are ready for a full sweater’s worth of this yarn. And trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

You can find a nice selection of the Swans Island Company’s trademark  subtle colors of the All American Worsted in the shop here (and soon online!) and then make your own pair. The mittens as shown were knitted up with one skein, with some left over. So, come on, what are you waiting for?!?!?!

Swans Island All American Yarn

Emery Dress in Les Fleurs Periwinkle Birch Rayon

Emery Dress in Les Fleurs Rayon by Pintuck & Purl

Have you guys seen the Rifle Paper Co. fabric, Les Fleurs, from Cotton + Steel yet? If not, come out from under your rock and take a look! It became the darling of the sewing world as soon as it was released and hasn’t stopped yet. I, being a HUGE fan of Rifle with many notebooks, calendars and a recipe box to prove it, immediately knew that I would use the rayon substrate for my first make. If you haven’t sewed with C+S’s rayon, let me just say that it is an amazing substrate. Is it as easy to sew as a cotton? No. But no cotton will drape and hang the way that this rayon will. You do need to be a little extra cautious while working with it, but the end result is absolutely worth the shiftiness while cutting and sewing. There are three different colorways of this rayon fabric, called Birch:  a beautiful red, a navy and the one I chose, a periwinkle.

I hemmed and hawed over which pattern I would sew with this fabric, but in the end, the Emery dress from Christine Haynes Patterns won out. The perfect opportunity to make this came in the form of a wedding, but a wedding that was coming up FAST. I wanted something that was flattering on me, easy to make and…that I perhaps already had the pattern pieces traced and ready for? Yep, the winner. There is something to be said about not choosing a brand new pattern when you are in a time crunch. If I had more time to muslin a new pattern, the runners up were the Sewaholic Cambie dress and Christine Haynes’ Sylvie dress. One day!

Periwinkle Birch Rayon Emery Dress

Even though I had the pattern ready to go, I did need to do some pattern changes before construction. Since I was changing a dress with sleeves to one without, I couldn’t just leave the sleeves off. I mean I could have, but that wouldn’t have been the proper way to do it. As this is drafted, there is extra ease added into the bodice for sleeve movement, so I took that out from the shoulder area and also raised the underarm seam to prevent any bra-showing. I also did my usual change from gathers to pleats for the skirt. When I first wore it at that August wedding, I was so grateful for the gorgeous weight of the fabric, its breathability and the fact that it was sleeveless. This dress is the trifecta of perfection.

Rifle Fabric Emery Dress by Pintuck & Purl

I followed the directions fairly closely when constructing the dress. The only time I veered off was for the neckline and the armholes. Since I didn’t line the dress or have sleeves, I just bound all the raw edges with 1″ bias tape made from the same rayon. I trimmed down the seam allowances to 3/8″, stitched the seams with the raw edges together, pressed it to the inside and then hand-stitched the bias binding into the dress. I could have done it all by machine, but I was heading home and wanted to be able to work on it while watching TV. I love the look of a nice clean finish.

Emery Dress in Les Fleurs Rayon by Pintuck & PurlAll Photos by Ashley Shea Photography taken at Applecrest Farms

The hem is also hand-stitched, which took forever. I was doing fine on time (because obviously I always need a deadline) and on the day of the wedding I only had to hem the bottom. That hem took me almost 3 hours to stitch! Granted I was doing it between customers, but man that was a big circumference. I finished with about 30 minutes to spare before we had to leave for the wedding. I love to push that envelope! 😉

All in all, this was a very quick make! By removing the lining and the sleeves, this dress became wearable in about half the time it normally takes, which makes sense since I removed half the dress! Haha! The bodice insides aren’t as pretty as with the lining. I used bias tape to bind the waist seam and could have bound the rest of my seams as well, but because I wanted it done faster, I just pinked them. I am completely okay with cutting those corners. Sometimes you have to give in. Now, I have this beautiful floral dress to wear everywhere.

If you are looking for the Cotton + Steel Les Fleurs collection fabric, feel free to give us a call! We still have yardage left in every print! Call before I take it all home. 😉

Emery Dress in Les Fleurs Rayon by Pintuck & Purl