Noro Mitts

Heaven. Soft, fluffy heaven.

Noro Silk Garden Yarn in color 359
Noro Silk Garden Yarn in color 359

That’s the only way I can describe the Silk Garden Yarn from Noro. It really is a shame you can’t reach through the computer screen & touch these lovelies.

It was so hard narrowing down the gratuitous yarn photos to just these two.
It was so hard narrowing down the gratuitous yarn photos to just these two.

The colors are gorgeous. Whitish gray, light charcoal gray, a touch of brown, green & a hint of gold.
Noro Mitts

I made the pattern myself & will hopefully get around one day to translating my notes into a free pattern.

See the thumb shaping?
See the thumb shaping?

My hands have been uncommonly cold this winter & I felt it was about time for a new pair of fingerless mitts to wear at work- my last having been nice, but not nearly as warm as these. So I dove into using my one skein of luscious Noro & was pleasantly surprised to find I had a little left over.

They turned out to be just a little too thick & long for fast typing, but they're sooooo soft & luxurious feeling. It would be impossible to not wear them anyway.

They turned out to be just a tad too thick & long for fast typing, but they feel sooooo soft & luxurious. It would be impossible to not wear them anyway.At Foster Beach

I hear tell there’s some Noro Silk Garden sock yarn too. One of these days it will be mine! MINE!!!


The Importance of a Good Lining

I rarely wear some of my favorite dresses. They fit & need no mending. I can even wear them most places, including work. Frosting Fortnight is helping me confront the reason I don’t often wear these dresses.

Pretty in Polka Dots Dress

The problem is I used cheap-as-sin polyester lining. These are summer dresses.

The Eames Sheath

Linings help form the foundation of the garment. Using a poly lining is like using as cheap of materials as possible so you can build your house larger than you could otherwise afford. You took the time & care to make the house just the way you want it, so it should last. On a smaller scale, the same can be said for your self-made garments. Too much time goes into planning, cutting out the pattern, stitching everything together, & getting a good fit. Using a cheap lining is like taking your hard work, smacking yourself in the face with it & tossing it all in the trash.

The Busty Bunnies Dress

Your clothing may not need to endure hurricanes or tornadoes, but it should stand up to occasional abuse (like old washing machines & children playing dress up). Cheap poly linings can fray before you even wear them the first time.

After a couple of washings the lining has started to fray near the zipper & come apart at the seams by the waist.

In the southwest it’s common to build houses out of adobe, a wonderful material that regulates temperature so your house doesn’t get too cold or too hot. In the southwest it’d be a bad idea to build a house that’s all windows & doesn’t have any blinds. Your air conditioner would have to run double time to keep up with all the sun rays being turned into microwaves as they passed through your glass walls. Likewise, poly linings make things too darn hot.

The slipperiness of the lining helps me get it on over my head- no zippers or buttons. But because the lining is made of polyester, it’s too hot to wear in the summer, which is the perfect time to wear a white dress.

Quality linings, like silk, can be too expensive (although on you can often find silk on the cheap). And if all you have in your town is a chain fabric store, chances are you won’t be finding any silk remnants. In that case you may have no choice but to compromise.

I took the quick route on hemming the lining by just serging the raw edge. After washing the dress maybe three times the line of serging has started to pull away & the lining is fraying.

Rayon is a nice alternative. It’s cheaper than silk & breathes well. If you’re opposed to rayon because it’s a bit squiggly & harder to control than cotton, give it a shot anyway. Rayon really isn’t much harder to control than a cheap poly lining. Just take your time & use a big, clear space to lay everything out. Pattern weights, pins & a sharp rotary cutter are your friends.

After my very poor lining decisions earlier in the year, I decided that if I’m going to use synthetics, they have to be satin. Even cheap satins are more heavy-duty than those $1/yd bargain bin linings. They can hold up to more wear & tear without coming apart at the seams after just a few washings. Plus, they’re absolutely fantastic when it comes to polishing your glasses.

Mad Men Inspired Dress

Still, satin doesn’t breathe & even a winter dress lined in poly can be too hot. If you’re like me & you HAVE to make something when inspiration strikes, but the thought of trekking to the fabric store is too painful you might have to use whatever cheap synthetic you have on hand. In such cases, I like to line the bodice in cotton & only do the skirt in poly. We retain a lot of heat in our torsos, so that’s the area that needs the most breathability. If your skirt is nice & big (room for air circulation) a poly lining might not matter so much when it comes to heat retention. And if you have poor circulation in your legs, you might want that polyester there.

Quilting cotton lining the bodice & poly for the skirt has made for a breathable & comfortable dress. It’s also held up to numerous washings without any tears or visible weakening of the seams.

I’m still learning when it comes to linings. If you have any other suggestions on good, alternative fabrics, please let me know (do those breathable poly linings really work?). Also, in the knitting community silk is seen as something that retains heat. In sewing circles I’ve only heard it mentioned as something that is breathable & good for hot weather. Anyone know what the real skinny on silk is?