Thursday, May 24, 2012

Finished Project: Maude

For several years now I have wanted a utility apron, especially when I am at work.  I am always searching for a tape measure, a crochet hook, a darning needle or scissors. How much easier it would be to be like the employees at Home Depot and have these items at my fingertips.  I have searched Etsy from time-to-time, just to see what is out there in the handmade utility apron world.  Maybe that is why I fell in love so quickly with Julie Weisenberger's pattern, Maude.  Utility apron and pinafore all wrapped together! Pockets! Cross-over straps!

I picked out Louet Merlin worsted for my yarn for a few reasons. 1. it was a recommended yarn for the pattern. 2. my LYS had it in stock 3. I had never worked with it before (merino! linen!)

So I swatched:

And got gauge on US 8s.  The photo above shows the swatch upside-down. I started with 7s, found the fabric and gauge was too tight for my liking, then switched to the 8s, and knit for a longer period of time. I liked this gauge a lot more, AND it was right on for the pattern. I took careful measurement of both sections, then handwashed my swatch, and let it dry over night. The next morning I measured it, and I was ready to cast on!

I started with my pockets:

I chose a lovely green with rusty-accents for my pocket linings - I love how it contrasts with the purplish color of my project yarn.  This is leftover yarn from a Stephen West shawl I haven't yet blogged about, but finished at the end of March. So bad! (BTW, I found that I was off by 1 stitch when attaching the main color - I think it is a pattern error, as I have heard other people having the same problem.)

It wasn't until I had cast on and finished the bottom ribbed edge that I realized how much stockinette stitch I was going to be working through. Luckily I had just finished a lace shawl as a test knit/sample knit and was ready for some truly relaxing knitting.

I knit and I knit and I knit, then I put the pockets in. And I knit and I knit and I knit. I did decide to alter the neckline to a more v-neck shape since I think it is more flattering for those of us with big busts. I cast-off three stitches at the bottom of the neckline, then decreased at the neckline every-other row, 3 times, then switched to doing a decrease at the neckline every fourth row until I was at the recommended stitch count for the straps.

I loved using Julie's tutorial for the bias bind-off which gives a super clean edge, and used it for both the front and the straps. It is great seeing a designer put so much extra work into a pattern and a website to help make a finished project shine.

When I was done with the body and had sewn the shoulders together (I prefer to sew bound-off seams together for a much stronger shoulder. The seam actually provides architecture to help keep the straps from sagging.) I then moved on to sewing down the pockets. I inserted a DPN in a straight line through the purl bumps on the inside of the fabric so that I would a guideline, then whip-stitched my pockets firmly so that they are actually functional.

My finished project?

So much fun! I love that you can see my pocket linings.  If I were to make any other changes to the pattern I may have made the front panels a little wider (big bust) for more coverage. And possibly shortening the straps, but lengthening the body.  In effect, making changes for a long-waisted person, even though I believe I am long-hipped right now (at my current weight).

Pattern: Maude by Julie Weisenberger
Yarn: Louet Merlin Worsted, in color steel, 100g/156 yards. 4.5 skeins
Size: 43
Needles: US 8s
Mods: as listed above - v-neck.

For blocking I lightly spritzed the whole project with water, then using a clean, damp tea towel, I ironed the project with lots of steam and almost no weight on the fabric. Wrinkles disappeared and tension evened out remarkably.

Of course, now I have seen this version of another of Julie's patterns and I am in love.  But I am on to another pattern with new yarn, so I MUST knit a few projects out of stash before I buy another new project.

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