Graduation Dress

April 29, 2016

Last week I had my Bachelor degree ceremony. Officially I've had my degree for a while, and I've already started my Master's level, but due to an endless stream of paperwork, and lots of stuff that needed to be organized, it took until now to have the official ceremony. Now I'm not entirely sure how this is in other countries, but getting your academic bachelor is a Big Thing over here.

The ceremony itself turned out pretty neat. There were lots of my (former) teachers, who know me quite well personally, as well as one of my closest friends at uni, who was in exactly the same boat as I. I got to talk about my research in front of an audience and a giant microphone stand which clearly was not made for people with gnome ancestry, and everything always feels a lot more official and celebrative when you get it printed on fancy paper and wrapped in a silver-coloured cylinder (I suggested a cylinder of pure wool to wrap the master's degree in, we'll see what they'll do with my advice).

I have to admit that beforehand I wasn't really feeling it, partly because in general I'm just not really into such formal things, but mostly because I guess I'm already a bit past that moment. I felt a huge burst of happiness the moment I knew that I had my degree, but because I've already moved on with other studies, a ceremony seemed slightly redundant. So to pump myself up for the event I did what I often do; making something for myself to wear.

I started brainstorming as to what I wanted a week or two before the date, so that, in true procrastination style, I started the weekend before and had to force myself to finish it in two days.  My main criterion was that I wanted the dress to reflect me; something that would be in line with the type of clothing that I wear.  I debated which pattern the use for a while, and in the end made another version of the Seda dress. I was in two minds about it at first, because there is also a part of me that just wants to try as many new patterns as I can, as I still have so much to learn in sewing. But there is also a lot to be said of the advantages about finding and subsequently sewing up many versions of dresses that tick all the boxes. Then I pictured Seda with a floral main fabric, combined with a neutral yoke. I really couldn't get the image out of my head. Another pro of this route was that, because I was pressed for time, it was a good move to go with something which I knew was going to fit me well. The Seda dress I made for Christmas fits me exceptionally well, just out of the envelope. So with that in mind I started cutting the fabric for this one. Because I had made it before the process was really speedy, and I finished it without a moment of stress.

The fabric used for this dress is cotton poplin. For my previous Seda the main fabric was heavy and thick, as I made it with winter in mind. The poplin used for this dress is a lot lighter, and transforms the feeling of the dress. I'm very chuffed about the bias tape, which I made from the neutral fabric. I'm now considering whether a bias foot is a good investment, does anyone of you have experience with one?

 I'm very happy with the finished dress. It feels very 'me', and when I finished it I basically couldn't wait to put it on, and was sad(-ish) to have to wait until the end of the week to wear it. I guess this is a pretty good indicator to whether the project is a success or not. Aside from simply how the dress looks, I think the construction of this dress is the best I've done so far, and after having to spend frustratingly long weeks on another (yet unblogged) dress, it felt really good to be able to follow that up with a speedy project. We took these photo's on the way back home from the ceremony, so that explains the somewhat jubilate mood in some of these pictures.

I cannot promise this is going to be the last Seda dress. The pattern is just so versatile, it suits me very well. I have to confess that I've already been thinking up different fabric and colour combination, but I'm first going to explore some different waters before returning to this one.

This project has really motivated me to make a list of sewing projects that I want to make soon. I felt so happy and proud when I stepped up on that platform to get my degree in my self made dress. Not pictured are the knitted cardigan and shawl I wore when I was there, so my outfit was (almost) completely handmade. This doesn't happen all to often: I mean, I wear my knitted projects all the time, but this is a whole new level for me, and it made me feel chuffed. I have a tendency to wait for special occasions as an excuse to sew something (case in point), but I'm now looking forward to start sewing more and more everyday wear clothing.

I hope my next blogpost will follow at a shorter interval. I do notice that the better weather and longer light make it easier for me to take project pictures when needed, even though we've had snow (!) and extremely low temperatures this week. Although I do worry about the climate, it was a good excuse to bring out ALL the knitwear again! I hope the weather is treating all of you well,

Happy Weekend!


Afmaeli Lopapeysa

April 15, 2016

Hello world! What can I say? I enjoy my master courses tremendously, but they do take some work.
 Lets show you the last thing I finished before mid terms: my Afmaeli sweater. After I finished my Jenny at the Fair I was a bit lost as to what to knit next. I was a bit restless in my knitting, so to speak. I started a couple of things, but nothing felt quite right and was subsequently able to keep my focus. This hardly ever happens, I have a to-make list of unspeakable length. When I'm at the tail end of a project, I start planning about what my next project is going to be. This time though, I didn't find my flow in any of the projects I decided on. I decided to turn back to an old love, one that always feels right; the lopapeysa.

Designer: Védís Jónsdóttir
Yarn used: Lett Lopi
Associated reading: Shell Shaker by LeAnne Howe

The pattern, Afmaeli, was designed by Védís Jónsdóttir in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Istex. It is one of the most popular Icelandic sweater patterns on Ravelry, probably in part because it is a free pattern, but mostly because it is just a really attractive design. For the yoke, two options are given, one with a normal uni colour background, and one with a multicoloured background. I opted for the latter, because I never say no to a good rainbow coloured yoke.

I used a black heathered Lett Lopi for the main colour. I had it in my stash for quite a while, initially for a different sweater. As any knitter with an addiction for icelandic wool, love for colourwork and a fondness for yoke sweaters will readily admit, you tend to have a stockpile of scraps and leftover balls from previous sweaters.

I really enjoyed knitting this lopapeysa, which was a relief after my initial indecision. I loved, loved, loved working on the yoke. I mean I always love working on yokes, however this one is special. I have yet to see a colour combination in which I doesn't suit this sweater, but I especially like the yokes with the multi coloured background effect.

I did make some changes to the pattern. For one, I included shaping. This is not included in the Afmaeli pattern itself, but it is easy to add. I copied the waist shaping from the Grettir pattern, as I'm really pleased with the shaping there, and it fits really well. I did not use the short row neck shaping from Grettir's pattern. I know most people really love them, but they don't always work out for the better for me. I think this sweater fits better in the shoulders and in the back than my Grettir sweater, which makes me wonder whether I should just give up on short row neck shaping all together. Another thing I changed was make the yoke less deep. I'm quite short, so to keep the proportions and not end up with a comically deep yoke, I skipped some of the yoke rows on the chart. This was another easy change as they include quite a lot of main colour rows in the chart, before you are supposed to start the colourwork. I skipped most of these rows. Finally I changed the stitch count on the sleeves, so my sleeve would have a complete pattern repeat, instead of a miss-matched one, which the original pattern ended up with.

 Spring weather has arrived in these parts. While the pictures don't suggest it, the forest is still quite barren, but there are little signs that this is about to change soon, and the first new greens are creeping upwards. Sunny weather will soon take over. This means that this sweater won't get many outings until the colder weather returns, but when it does, I'll make sure that this one will be worn a lot. Enjoy your weekend,


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