Thursday, February 26, 2015


I have so enjoyed blogging at Rhinestones & Telephones for the past 7 years.  The new year brings a new look and a new blog. While most of my posts are still available here, many have been archived.

Please join me at my new online home:  A Stitcher's Diary.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Clementine Gets an Outing

Remember Clementine? I knit her during this year's Fall Essentials Sew Along (FESA) and finally gave her an outing this week.  Clementine is self-drafted using this handy sweater generator and is knit with 2 strands of sport weight wool held together.  I wanted something slightly boxy, so I entered my bust measurements as 4" larger than normal.  I was even able to add some angora trim to the cowl neck - lovely!

I work in a business casual office, so I had no problem wearing this to work.  I wear a lot of layers in the cooler months, as temperatures from my house to the bus to the office vary greatly.  With temperatures hovering around -24C (-40C with the wind chill) of late, Clementine was just the thing to keep the chill off.   The yarn falls into my colour palette and it easily goes with most of my wardrobe.  I love the heathered teal colour and Wool of the Andes is always a pleasurable knit.

I have no idea why it took me so long to sew a Dolores top.  I sewed a size 12 and the only alteration I needed to make was to the lower sleeve width - I added an inch to that.  Apparently I have fat arms?  I dunno.  I also added a waistband as I like it snug to my body to prevent any rogue drafts from getting in there.

In any case, this pattern is excellent and sews up a treat.  Zoe provides clear instructions but, like a renegade, I went about it my own way.  I made 4 tops in one day and I'd guess it takes about an hour and a half from cutting to finishing per top.

Check out my practically perfect stripe matching! I normally don't give a rat's patootie about pattern matching but I did try a bit with this pattern.  I did manage to get the stripes to sew into perfect chevrons on the shoulder seam of the kimono sleeve.  Sewing knits are turning out to be rather arthritis-friendly, which is a huge bonus.

I plan on sewing a white version and an amethyst version of this top and then I think Dolores will have a well-deserved rest. Knit tops like this are a definite personal uniform staple for me.  This is a pretty typical cold weather outfit for me; definitely on weekends and sometimes as office wear when I can't be bothered wrestling with a dress and tights.  I've been having some gross side effects from the methotrexate, so I had to stop that.  I'm currently without pain control and waiting to start a biologic once I finish getting about a zillion immunizations.  Biologic treatment compromises the immune system, so I need to give myself a fighting chance.  I am  keeping a positive view that this new medication will reduce my pain and, hopefully, put my arthritis into remission.

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Top: Dolores Batwing Pattern | Riley Blake Jersey Knit 1 /2" Stripes in Grey

Jumper: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport Yarn in Baltic Heather

Pants: RTW

Sunday, December 28, 2014


Another trip down The Secret Garden lane today.  This dress is in homage to Martha, Mary's kitchen maid turned lady's maid.  Martha is one of my favourite characters in the book.  I hadn't read (or even really heard) anyone with a Yorkshire accent before reading the book and I remember stumbling over her speech until I got used to it.

With apple cheeks and practicality, Martha teaches Mary what it is to be young; how to play and imagine, as well as how to be self-sufficient.  I remember feeling shocked when I learned that Mary couldn't dress herself at all! I couldn't imagine such a thing.

To be raised so quickly within the household hierarchy would have been almost unheard of within great country houses at the time.  However, with he unexpected arrival of a child into - what is perceived to be - a childless household, someone had to be recruited to look after her.  

I loved when Martha's mother bought Mary a skipping rope and Martha taught her how to use it.  I have vivid memories of learning to skip and distinctly remember the feeling of victory when I successfully learned to jump in.  It was always embarrassing to be the only girl in my group of friends who couldn't do it.  

Growing up, I was mad for skipping games: Had a Little Sportscar, Tell Me Your Birthday, and peppers.  Like Mary, I used to take my orange plastic skipping rope with me and skip around my neighbourhood.  When I was in elementary school, we had a university skipping team that came to my school and put on this amazing demonstration.  Double dutch, handstands, changing partners, all one while the ropes were spinning.  So amazing!

I really love the Lady Skater pattern.  It's the only one I use when sewing knit dresses as the fit is terrific and I love how the skirt drapes.  The fabric is from the first batch of ponte knit I bought from and is warm and soft to wear.  It's an easy dress - perfect for work or home.  Plus, it's forgiving as I've gained weight since starting Prednisone.  Hopefully, we'll find a long-term medication to treat my arthritis and I can start to taper and discontinue the steroids.  

Blue print here, pink print here.
In the meantime, I bought two more rose printed ponte knits that will be sewn into Lady Skater dresses.  Although it's mild now, winter will hit well and truly in the next week or two and having warm and cozy dresses is an essential.  

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Dress: Lady Skater
Leggings: Target
Boots: Target