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Monday Morning Mirth December 20, 2010

Monday Morning Mirth

Every year I pretend to be a New Yorker, a New Yorker at SantaCon in a pretty red suit with all my friends…

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2nd Chance Wednesday December 15, 2010

Since the near zero temps are still hovering around the City, I’ve gone diving into my closet for the most likely candidate to huddle in.

It had to be:
– wool (but of course)
– dense
– long(ish)
– pretty (aw!)

Number one with a bullet was a Fair Isle alpaca number that I DID NOT KNIT (shocking!) but got years ago at the Andersonville Midsommarfest. A husband-wife team travels to So. AM and brings back sweaters and caps and when I saw it in their lovely booth, I had to have it. It is doubly warm and toasty from all the stranded action of the fair isle patterning (don’t laugh at the model in this picture!)

But I, diva of the wardrobe (packrat), must certainly have more than one candidate for the deep freeze and indeed, I came up with, hmm, several.

The one I really wanted to wear was in a basket hidden away on top of the armoire that holds my hand knits. It was the original sample for the Mrs. CB Camp jacket, a release from awhile back, made from a dense wool from a small farm called Sheepy Valley. Why was it neglected? It was too big for me and it seems to be standard procedure over here to simply abandon the ill-fit and keep them for years (packrat).

Being wonderfully wooly, thick and sporting some really pretty buttons made it really an attractive candidate for not only the cold but for one of my other favorite hobbies.


I’ve been sewing and tailoring knitted stuff off and on over the years and this one was a good candidate for that because the yarn it’s made from is very grabby, in the same way fiber that would steek successfully is.

the Rub

This sweater fit OK through the shoulders but was too big at the hem.

So it was also a good candidate for a simple seaming session where the excess size was removed from the body of the sweater.

The front pockets, which were sewn on, would have to be un-seamed for a few inches to get clear access to the new seam line. Simple, right?

But me, being me, did what I always seem to do: I tugged and pulled on what looked like the seam thread, clipped, and was left with:

indeed, my now traditional, gaping hole.


But since this garment is made from such fuzzy-wuzzy barn yarn, it was the perfect candidate for a simple fixit. I’m including this step just in case you find yourself in this predicament…

The Simple Solution: attach a strand of leftover yarn to the area under the hole and darn together using the Duplicate Stitch technique. My hole was a simple unravel of a row, so I could just fuse the bottom to the top. (Here’s a more detailed tutorial for a bigger hole, but uses the same principles).


Now that my hole is history, I flipped the sweater inside out and marked where I as going to remove the excess fabric.

I like to use corsage pins to hold the pieces together, and I used a darning needle to mark the point where I’d begin. This is a pretty lazy approach – but then again, this is grabby yarn and there is going to be minimum slippage of the work when it goes under the presser foot of the machine. For the more faint-hearted, basting the pieces together holds them in place and makes a wonderful line to sew on.


I sewed up the side of the sweater, alongside the edge of a pattern group, then merged into the body of the piece right at the waist. Regular sewing thread was used in the largest stitch size my ancient machine offered.

Then, I sewed another line, about 1/8" away from the first.


And here’s the fun result:

I trimmed the excess from the sides about 1/8" away from the second seam line.

From l. to r.: Trimmed flaps, wrong-side, then right-side; top view of seam; side view of seam at far right.

A blast from ye olde steam iron "sets" the new fibers and makes them all shake hands…

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Monday Morning Mirth December 13, 2010

Monday Morning Mirth

Nothing, but nothing, my friends, keeps Chicagoans away from their Jollies!

With so much holiday cheer to be found around town, one must just put on a happy face and about 20 lbs of down, hermatically seal the wrists, ankles and neck areas, and get to it!!

This lovely young lady is styling a wonderful grey number while enjoying the annual Christkndlmarket in Daley Plaza. Notice that quite a few folks aren’t even bothering with a cap (I think it was about 19 degrees, but who’s counting?)

Not these fellows who are workin’ it: the excellent head gear includes a dancing Santa Cap and wiggling Xmas Tree (notice the wonderful German beer in hand that makes many of the plaza walkers burst into song). I am tempted, even espcially drawn to the glog called Glühwein served up in a little red plastic boot, but like many others, I actually only have one thing in mind:

No, not the spirit of christmas, the loveliness of the tree, it’s what these ladies and about everyone else is clutching if they’re not holding a drink in the cold cold air:


Every year, I enjoy the hot sausage in the cold air; every year I almost buy the one called Leberkaese, until I realize, it looks like a giant slab of spam.

And with sammie in hand, I remember the real reason for the Christkindlmarket:

And I am especially delighted to find such lovely Sheep in the City:


I love the way they convey the hopefullness of the season (left) and the hopelessness of getting everything done (right) and even the fact that they don’t mind that they’ve been joined in the nativity crèche by what appears to be

A darling little French Poodle! So very holly jolly!

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