Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Back from Vacation

I just returned from a wonderful vacation at the Delaware shore.
My vacation attitude was best summarized by this line from the Jimmy Buffett, Zak Brown song, Knee Deep,  ”only worry in the world, is the tide going to reach my chair” My beach chair was parked at the high tide line so I could keep an eye these two "sea urchins".
They had to be forced to take a breaks from playing in the waves and digging holes in the sand. I wish I had their energy. We were dreading a beach vacation in the hot humid weather the east coast is experiencing, but it was tempered by cool ocean breezes and we could actually were able to sit comfortably on the porch of the beach house in the evening. We returned home to a crunchy brown lawn and parched looking perennials. My fig trees are the only plants in the yard thriving in the hot weather and they will have a bumper crop, if I can just keep them watered until the fruit ripens.

Sewing related activities during the vacation included a trip to all the quilt shops in the area with DS, BFF and SIL, who are all quilters. My DS has a AccuQuilt,
a fabric cutting machine that uses dies to quickly and accurately cut the strips, triangles and other shapes used in quilts.  On the one rainy day of the week, we sent the guys off to the local nail salon to get pedicures and we used the Accuquilt to production cut quilt shapes. I have saved my good silk work blouses for years with the idea of making a quilts from them to “document” the fabrics and colors worn during my career 1979-20??. This is only a small sample of my old blouses.
Originally quilts were made from clothing scraps, and historians learned a lot about the fabrics and dyes of those times from studying the quilts. But nowadays, quilt shops have fabrics designed specifically for quilting, complete with  marketing and advertising campaigns, classes, and glossy books to encourage sales. I am a bit saddened by this trend. These fabrics are not anything like the natural fiber fabrics used currently for clothing.  I cut apart my blouses, preserving the large sleeve, front, and back pieces. So while SIL and BFF were cutting up the latest quilt fabrics, I was cutting triangles and strips from silk broadcloth and shirting. I recently read a post by Lauriana of petitmainsauvage  She buys circa 1980's silk blouses like mine from thrift stores and repurposes them. I thought “Honey, I wore those blouses, you ought to see my collection!" But she is right about the blouses being made of wonderful fabrics, and lots of it because of the blocky styles.

On my inspiration board for fall are these wonderful garments that combine traditional tailoring and knitting. I just love them.
They are from the Winter 2010 collection of VAWK, a Canadian based design team that includes Sunny Fong – winner of Project Runway Canada’s Season 2. The knitting is the work of 24 year old Jacqueline Schiller, who was discovered behind the counter of a yarn shop and commissioned to do the knitting side of things two weeks before the show.
The knitted pieces appear to be attached to some of the garments with needle felting. I wonder if I can justify the purchase of a needle felting machine for this project.

I have a coworker who is a fantastic knitter. She looked at my sketches and the pictures and suggested the yarn type and weight that would achieve the look I was after. Part of my confidence in pursuing this project is the knowing what a great resource she is. I found the perfect yarn, a wool thick and thin bulky roving, that matched my wool fabric, while on vacation.  I practiced my knitting during after dinner chats on the porch. I need the practice. The last time I knitted a garment, I was in high school.

The article Knit One, Sew Too by Susan Lazear, which appeared in the Fall 2007 issue of Notions ( a publication of the American Sewing Guild) is a great source of information and inspiration on using a sewing pattern and incorporating knitting in the finished garment. I may use some of Susan's ideas with some of the sweater knits I bought in recent years from EOS and Denverfabrics, and thought there might be others of you with similar fabrics aging in your stashes.


  1. I buy those silk blouses to make linings for my bags, that is after I have cut off, strung up, and saved the buttons. That Accuquilt is quite the rig.

  2. Your holiday looked enviable. Love the Vank dress. So much sew I've send off the picture to my old school friend who knits and crochets (but does not sew)to ask for her help in recreating this.

  3. Wow, I'll love to see how your creation turns out, I love to both knit and sew.

    Glad you enjoyed your vacation, I enjoyed my time at the beach also.

  4. I didn't realize the combination of knitting and sewing was in. I've had some black yarn, a black knit, and a lace overlay pulled together to make a cardigan for about a year now after seeing something along that lines at one of the stores in town. Guess I should get to it.

    - Myrna

  5. It will be interesting to watch this project come to fruition. The knitting and sewing is an intriguing element to the garments you posted.

  6. Very interesting inspiration pictures!

  7. I love how the women sent the men to go get pedicures! Only women with hobbies would understand this.

  8. How exciting that you are going to take the leap into knitting! I love the idea of mixed media, and being a knitter and a seamstress, I will be watching your progress with great interest! Now to go check out the fashions!
    Welcome back, Audrey!

  9. I was wondering where you were! I am glad it was vacation! I checked your blog every day to see one of your latest, inspiring, gorgeous creations. Your new adventure will not disappoint. I feel like a little kid waiting for a present!

    About 10 years ago I learned how to knit just for trims, as I could never find suitable trimmings for chanel type jackets.

    Now, stop blogging, take more vacation time, and let us see this project come to fruition! (BIG SMILE)!! ~Valerie

  10. What a fun idea! Mix weaving threads sewn garments, this has to be wonderful. I'm glad you had a wonderful time relaxing on the beach, your two "sea urchin" look so full of energy ....

  11. I am sure whatever you come up with will be sensational! Glad you enjoyed your holiday, I am quite envious.

  12. Yes I have often wondered about adding knitted sleeves to a tailored jacket . Maybe one day???

  13. Your vacation sounds fantastic! What a great idea to have saved your blouses over the years for a quilt -- it will be an interesting fashion "retrospective" of the evolution of your tastes and styles over the years. I am completely in love with the knit/sew designs -- what a great way to combine the two. I can't wait to see what you create!

  14. Thank you for posting those glorious garments with knitted trims. They are gorgeous and I would also like to partner with a knitter to make something. My stepson's girlfriend is a great knitter and I bet we could work out a deal - she knits for me and I will sew for her.

    And I look forward to seeing what you do with that lovely stack of silks. What a beautiful color palette. It saddens me too, seeing fabric sold just for the purpose of being cut up and sewn back together as a quilt. I always loved the concept of making a quilt from worn clothing.