Archive for May, 2010

Fugly Pants and Circus Pants: A Cautionary Tale of Online Fabric Shopping
May 5th, 2010 | Link

White linen pants

Once upon a time I found some white handkerchief linen at Discount Fabrics, and I thought it would be perfect for a pair of drawstring pants I wanted to make from one of my Japanese sewing books (One Day Winter Sewing, 2008). So I bought it, and I made them, and they turned out pretty well and they’re super comfortable, but of course white handkerchief linen is kind of sheer, and the resulting pants can’t really be worn outside the house in sunlight without violating decency laws (even in San Francisco). So the white pants became pajama pants, and I went looking for some different fabric to remake them from. was having a flannel sale and a seersucker sale, so I thought I would pick up some flannel and make a pair of cool weather pajama pants, and some seersucker for summer. And herein lies my cautionary tale. I saw a cheerful and cute flannel that looked like little chrysanthemums on an aqua background, so I bought it–neglecting to first check the scale of the photograph and the actual size of the flower motifs. So when I received the fabric, I discovered that those cute quarter-sized-looking flowers were actually huge:

Flannel pants with huge floral pattern

I like to call these “fugly pants” because they in no way match my style, and between the size of the flowers and the rigidity of the flannel they look huge. Ugh. But they are comfortable, and even though E. winces every time I put them on I have been wearing them to sleep in.

The seersucker was another story. The scale is what I expected from the photo, but the colors are brighter, and with the striped pattern… well, I call these “circus pants”:

Brightly striped seersucker pants

The seersucker is cool but not quite as comfortable as I would have thought – the puckers are kind of stiff and scratchy. I’m hopeful that a few washes will take care of that, and take some of the stiffness out of the flannel.

So I now have several pairs of pajama pants, but still nothing I’d want to wear outside the house. But I have some black linen/rayon blend fabric with some textural interest that has lovely drape, doesn’t wrinkle as badly as the pure handkerchief linen, is cool and light, and is neither sheer nor fugly. So I might be revisiting this pattern one more time. On the bright side it takes very little time to put these together–there are just two front pieces and two back pieces; the waistband is folded over and has buttonholes for the drawstring. On the other hand, maybe I should use the linen/rayon blend for a pattern with a bit more shaping…

Habu Kit 78 (Kusha Kusha Scarf)
May 2nd, 2010 | Link

Scarf pic

In the interests of (trying) not acquiring new stash until I’ve used up what I already have, and also being crazy busy and so doing the smaller, simpler projects first, let me present the Kusha Kusha scarf from Habu. I bought it as a kit from Knit Purl when I was in Portland last September. It’s a simple stockinette pattern, with a few stitch decreases at the beginning and further tapering about two-thirds of the way through that is achieved by gradually decreasing the needle size rather than the number of stitches. The main point of interest is that it’s knit with two lace-weight yarns held together throughout, one stainless steel and one merino wool, and then felted slightly to finish.

The results are (1) interesting texture and waffling along the edges, caused by the wool yarn shrinking during the felting while the stainless steel does not, and (2) if you crunch the resulting fabric into a ball with your hand, the stainless steel yarn holds some memory of the scrunch, so you can get some sculptural texture.

I didn’t fully follow the pattern: after the first transition to smaller needles the instructions say to drop the merino yarn and only continue with the stainless steel. I tried it, but I didn’t like the abrupt change in color (the merino is black, and the stainless steel is about the color you’d expect from stainless steel) and I had a lot of the merino left, so I decided to just keep using both yarns until I ran out.



My name is Shannon Hale. This blog is on indefinite hiatus, but it contains archives of the last 10 years of posts about bookbinding, knitting, sewing. and other random things in my life.


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