Monday, February 16, 2015

Triple Plait Scarf, Mycra Pac Field Trip & More


TOC:


Triple Plait Infinity Scarf

Despite the fact that it's been a fairly insipid winter here in the Bay Area, I've been doing some knitting.

(Seriously, we've been having the most gorgeous spring-like weather, while the east coast is being pummeled with snow. But before you get too jealous, know that we are in a major drought. Think about avoiding showers (or taking really short showers), and not watering any plants, or doing fewer loads of laundry or dishes, and maybe you won't envy us so much. And to those of you in the horrible weather, I hope your misery ends soon!)

I saw this pattern on Pinterest, was compelled to buy it, and immediately started shopping for yarn. You can see my Ravelry review, but the summary recap is that I used Noro Silk Garden yarn in a black-to-brown ombre and I lengthened the braids.

Blocking it flat
(The white yarn is waste yarn for the provisional cast-on. This is thrown away when the live stitches are picked up and the scarf is joined into a ring.)

Field Trip to Mycra Pac

Have you ever heard of Mycra Pac?

Mycra Pac is a local company that makes high-end, boutique ready-to-wear. They mostly make raincoats. In fact, their signature raincoat, called the Donatella, is sold world wide. It features an a-line shape, raglan sleeves, a pleated hood, is made from a single-thickness of fabric, and is reversible. Their coats come with a coordinating bag and you can fold up your coat, placing it into the bag, or squash it into a suitcase. Because they are made from a single thickness of fabric, they are very lightweight and they resist wrinkles, so are perfect for travel.

Here are a couple examples of the Donatella. Note how the pleating gives the collar a lot of body—it can be worn different ways and forms a hood when it's raining.

But that's only one style of coat that they make. They actually make different styles of coats, not all reversible and not all for rain, and they make other things (such as vests) and accessories (such as hats, scarves and bags).

I've loved Mycra Pac for a long time and I own a couple of their raincoats, purchased on sale at a local boutique (which has sadly closed).

Mycra Pac is a very rare institution. They are a local company. Their offices are in the East Bay where they design their garments and make their samples. Most of their manufacturing takes place in San Francisco. What a gift to local sewers! Since they manufacture locally, we can sometimes get our hands on their fabrics, either from one of a couple local fabric stores, or from their outlet. (It's quite rare, but it happens.)

Anyway, I've heard about the Mycra Pac outlet for years, and I've been aware of their outlet sales, but I had never made it over there. Their offices and outlet are located in Moraga, CA. Moraga feels like it's far from San Francisco, but it really isn't. (Though if you drive over there during rush hour, you can get caught in some of the worst traffic in the entire Bay Area.) If you go during non-commute hours, it's only about a one-hour drive from my house in western San Francisco.

My friend Georgene, Sewing Diva, has been drafting patterns for Mycra Pac. She suggested that I come visit one day when she's working.

I was thrilled to take a day off work to go visit and have lunch with Georgene! I think pattern drafting could have been my calling in life, so I find it fascinating to see a real environment where it happens.

Anyway, it was a great visit. I especially enjoyed looking at all the beautiful garments in the outlet store.

I even bought one, though I had a heck of a time choosing just one! (Georgene was most helpful.)

I hope you enjoy some of the pics I took of the racks of beautiful coats for sale in the outlet.

See that red and black coat on the third from the right?
Does that fabric look familiar?
They didn't have my size, or this red one would have come home with me

I considered the coat with the green fleece sleeves...

...but I bought the one with red sleeves.

Thanks, Georgene, for a great visit! I really enjoyed meeting your wonderful colleagues and seeing where the magic happens!


Sharpening Kai Scissors

I love my Kai Scissors. I've owned Gingher and Fiskars (among others), and those are nice, but I prefer the Kai. They cut through fabric like buttah.

I have 3 pair of Kai shears, and some smaller Kai scissors as well. Two of the shears had become dull, due to my misuse of them. (I accidentally tried cutting through a hidden pin with one of them and I'd lazily used the others on paper. Many times.)

I was aware that Kai will sharpen their scissors for a nominal fee, but I searched all over their website looking for details and couldn't find any information. On Stitcher's Guild, I asked if anyone knew the details, and it turned out that Margy did.

Here's the info, which is current as of this posting. Please check to make sure that the details haven't changed before sending off your precious scissors:

We sharpen our Kai Brand Scissors only.

The 5000 series scissors are $5.00 each.
The 7000 Professional Series are $7.50 each.
The price includes return postage.

You can include a check or money order for payment, or include your contact information for us to call you for a credit card.

Kai Scissors
13716 24th Street East
Suite #103
Sumner, WA 98390

thank you,
http://www.kaiscissors.com/
1-800-481-4943

I know that Kai has a booth at Puyallup and many folks bring their scissors to the Kai booth in person for sharpening (though I don't know if you pick them up at the show or they mail them to you afterward), but I didn't want to deal with that. So, I first ordered a third pair of shears, so I wouldn't be without both pair. Once the new pair arrived, I wrapped the older pairs in bubble wrap and mailed them off.

Sure enough, they called me for credit card information and promptly shipped back my newly sharpened babies. I shipped them my first pair, from the 5000 series (green handled) and they placed that into original packaging. They placed a cover over the tips of the second pair, from the professional line, and securely wrapped them.

I sent the bottom two pair for sharpening

It cost $12.50 and I am very pleased!


Weird Metal Thingies

Do you know what these are?

I saw these at a local fabric store over 3 years ago. I had no idea what they were for, but I really liked them. They were placed into little bags - 8 sets for $2. I bought 2 bags, then I went to eat lunch and studied them. I decided I had to have more, so I went back and bought all 11 bags that they had.

But I have no idea what they were designed for.

They are made from pewter. The bar that connects the two balls is threaded, so it's rough to the touch. One ball is soldered on and the other ball screws on and off.

I don't think these were meant to be worn in a body part, though they remind me of jewelry for piercings. (I can't imagine anyone wanting to wear pewter in their skin.)

In the three years since I bought them, I pull them out every so often and try to figure out how to use them.

I took them to DOL 3 years ago and showed them to Diane Ericson, hoping she might have some insight.

She didn't.

I've made various samples over the years. For example, I thought maybe I could put them down a center front seam. But the rigid (and long) bar distorts the fabric.

I thought maybe they could be used along the right-angled seam of a purse. But I was still a bit dubious.

Adding to the challenge is I don't have that many of them - there are only about 100 of them and I can't get more.

I am happy to report that I finally had an inspiration. I've been working on a little project that uses them.

I'm not ready to show it yet, but it's kinda weird.

It's pretty weird.

I emailed Margy, describing the weirdness, and she replied, "Cool!"

But I am wondering... does anyone actually know what these are or what they were designed for?

I'm curious, how would you use them?

61 comments:

  1. Can't wait to see what you've imagined with the metal bars. I love your creativity! Yo look,beautiful and well these days!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Nurse Bennett! I have to say, I decided that this would be my Year of Health and I'm working hard at it. :)

      Delete
  2. You have been really busy. ... Knitted scarf is great....but what are doing in a coat shop? when you make the best jackets and coats!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, Cheryl! But I always appreciate beautiful, well made clothing and these garments are beautifully designed.

      Delete
  3. That scarf is beautiful and so unique! Californians have all the fun shops & boutiques, don't you? The metal things looked immediately like body piercing parts to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Andrea! Yes, we do have a bounty of wonderful boutiques here! Though some have, sadly, closed in recent years. I'm pretty sure these aren't used for inserting into the skin, but they do have that look.

      Delete
  4. They look kind of like cuff links! I would put a button hole on one side of a vest or jacket and a grommet style hole on the other, and then stick the screw end through the grommet hole so it's guaranteed not to fall out. Or maybe you could use one as a collar pin? They look a little short for that though. http://tinyurl.com/omg53d3

    Really cool, now you made me want some of these thingys I have no name for and never knew existed. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Jamie! They do sort of look like cuff links, except they bar is pretty long for a cuff link. But that's an interesting idea!

      Delete
  5. Hey! I made that scarf last year and I love it - I wrap mine twice around my neck and used a red worsted Tussah silk. My details are on Ravelry. It was a fun knit, and I love yours, too. Thanks for the KAI info, that's a really great deal. I love the left-handed Pro series.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooooh, I'd love to see yours, Robyn! I love the idea of a red tussah silk! Pics, please? :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks for asking! Hopefully this doesn't break every rule of blog etiquette. As a non-blogger, I beg forgiveness in advance and will share my Ravelry link on your blog. I'd try to directly post a pic here but it would probably end up HUGE and mess everything up (if I even could...) I highly recommend the yarn!
      http://ravel.me/Evolwife/tp

      Delete
    3. Omigosh! I DO remember seeing your version! And I LOVED it. In fact, I even looked for that yarn but could not find it. Beautiful!!!

      Delete
    4. I think you would love this yarn. It's most easily available directly from Shalimar. The dyer is Kristi and she offers it through direct updates on her blog or Etsy shop. I think there is an update tomorrow! The base is Haven. I have single skeins in my stash that I would happily send you as a tiny thanks for all you've shared with me! But I don't have red (anymore!)

      Delete
    5. Thanks for the heads up, Robyn! I will check out the Shalimar sale tomorrow! (And thanks for your generous offer!)

      Delete
    6. Oy, Robyn, you enabler, you! I just ordered some Enzo in the American Beauty color way! I wish she had the Haven, but not this time.

      Delete
  6. Lot of lovely things! Those ball thingies are very like interscrews, which are used in book binding to hinge portfolios and albums. Except that they have a screw end with a slot across it. I am quite sure that I've been asked for something like this to replace a bit on a handbag but I can't for the life of me remember what it did. Something to do with the handles, but what? Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting, Mrs C! I google "interscrew" images. There is a similarity though interscrews have a flatter profile. If you used these to finish a book, and then placed that book on a table, you'd be at risk for scratching up the table. But very interesting! (And I love learning a new word: interscrew. Auto correct, btw, doesn't like it.)

      Delete
  7. I'm with Mrs C - bars for attaching handles to handbags? Or are they too small for that?
    Cosy scarf

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do think that they might be parts for a purse, Ruth. In fact, Star says as much further down in the comments.

      Delete
  8. Coats and more coats...can a girl have too many? Those little ball bars might be used as feet for purses? The fact that we have not seen them in fabric stores says they are not that popular or even needed. Maybe they are tiny chopstick rests to keep the tips off the table cloth? Love your scarf!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! Why shouldn't I buy a coat here and there? ;) LOL on the chopstick rests!

      Delete
  9. Maybe these connectors could work connecting sections in a leather belt or sections in a necklace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very very interesting, Mary Helen! I can see I should have asked for ideas *before* using them!

      Delete
  10. I agree with another who answered your request. I also think that they may be intended as links on such as a cuff.
    I agree with you that they are intriguing.
    Somewhere in the recesses of my brain, I can recall having seen these threaded through an eyelet hole. I think that is was a cuff.
    You might find that they are an old fashioned tailors' notion.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have two Mycra Pac coats myself, both bought on ebay. I'm going to put an outing to their outlet on my wishlist!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Lynn! Yes, Mycra Pac is definitely worth a visit!

      Delete
  12. I think you have an engineer's mind Sham. You often talk about scouring a hardware store for interesting finds for garment closures, etc. I'd like to be a fly on your shoulder as you discover such items. Love your new raincoat. Karen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Karen! I think I do have more of an engineering sort of brain than a sculptural, artistic sort of brain. Of course, I wish I could do that sort of art!

      Delete
  13. I have similar metal bars on a purse. They are used to hold multiple folds of leather together with the bar going thru the middle. I'm sure they could be used for other purposes too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now, see, THAT makes sense, Star! I'd love to see a piccie. :D

      Delete
  14. Wow, such wonderful eye candy with the coats!! Made my morning!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, Linda! I felt the same way when I walked into the outlet! I guess I didn't expect quite such a selection.

      Delete
  15. Great inspiration and information Sharon...thanks. I had never heard of Kantha quilts before Your last blog and so spent many hours of excitement on Etsy choosing one from India! I too have many Mycra Pac coats as I love less than 10 minutes from their Moraga base. Please please stop by my studio if you are ever that close again ....would love to see you and show you where our creativity takes place. Thank goodness the last comment solved the metal bar challenge ...otherwise I would have been thinking about it all day long!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, SHOOT!! I wish I'd known, Jane! I would have loved to have stopped by! I don't know when I'll get to Mycra Pac again, but I will keep that in mind! Living so close to the outlet is dangerous, indeed! I look forward to seeing what you do with your Kantha quilt!

      Delete
  16. Oh, and the scarf! I think I saw that on Ralvelry and said to myself, "I must make one of those! Love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cool! I am now in love with the idea of the one Robyn made from red Tussah silk!

      Delete
  17. Yes, like Linda T, I love seeing those coats. And that hardware? Like others, I'm thinking French cuff links, maybe a variation with a thicker fabric. Or maybe just cool decor on an edge of a garment..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like how you think, Martha! I hope folks won't be disappointing by how I used them. :)

      Delete
  18. I could see the metal thingies being used to shape fabric in a garment, say a long loose pleat that curves around the front of a vest. Or maybe used to hold the side seams together like Elizabeth Hurley's safety pin dress.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Again, some of you guys are far more creative than I am!

      Delete
  19. Nice to see both the Kantha and the scarf from the last meeting! - Heather

    ReplyDelete
  20. I love love love Mycrapac. So jealous that you know one of their pattern people!
    I've got a LOT of their coats, and their fabric in the stash too.
    I still wear Roberto Robledo's coats from way back in the 80's. I think He and Babette are where they had first inspiration.
    I'm going to the next sale, with my 86 y.o. Mom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very cool, Susan! I can see how it would be so easy to amass many of their coats!

      Delete
  21. Thank you for the Kai sharpening info! I use them too, starting at Sawyer Brook where we use the green handled ones every day. I bought myself a pair of the black handled series about 6 months ago, and was very dismayed very soon afterward to find a spot on where they catch and literally stop cutting - I must also have stupidly cut over a pin or something! Knowing they'll be properly sharpened will allow me to part with them temporarily. I learn something every time I read your blog! Oh, and I love the scarf too -

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Janee! I think you'll be happy with your sharpened babies!

      Delete
  22. The Kai people could ...ride their bikes to the SewExpo in Puyallup from Sumner, which is pretty much the next town over. I do love to talk to them at the 'Xpo; they are stand up folks. Next week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very cool! I look forward to checking out their booth. I might add some smaller straight scissors to my stable.

      Delete
  23. I believe the weird metal thingies are used to hold down mens' shirt collars when wearing a tie. They go through small buttonholes in the shirt collars and behind the tie. I have no idea what they are called.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting! I'd love to see some photos of these.

      Delete
    2. Yes, if the bars were a bit longer, they would be identical to the eyelet collar bars I used to sell in the '80s with eyelet collar men's dress shirts. The bar fitted under the knotted necktie and were quite stylish.

      Happy highways,
      Kelley~

      Delete
  24. Those would be collar bars, and they are longer (interesting sidetrip through goo-an internet search engine you might know. Tie bars and tie bars) than those nifty thingies shown here.
    I'm not giving up on this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SJ, thanks for your determination!

      Delete
  25. Fun scarf, perfect choice on the coat and I can't wait to see the weirdness ;)

    ReplyDelete
  26. I had no idea there was a Mycra Pac outlet on my side of the Bay -- I need to get there! Lovely scarf as well. Thank you for the Kai scissors info!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HOW CAN THAT BE??? Definitely check it out. I have a lot of their fabric and several of their coats. But it's just so tempting. :)

      Delete
  27. Ta-da! If you'd like to see a photo of your metal bars in action, check out the Oscar red carpet slideshow which shows a nice shot of the the dress Sophie Hunter (Benedict Cumberbatch's wife) is wearing, in which your little bars are acting as shoulder seams. Now, I wonder if that is really what the bars are for, or did the clever dress designer repurpose some hardware?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fascinating! I tried zooming into some of the pictures to see detail, but it does look similar! Those look like they are gold in color, but it looks very close. Thanks for that lead!

      Delete
  28. Google "men's eyelet collar" and you'll see the longer tie bars in action. I left a reply earlier but I think it failed somehow.

    Happy highways,
    Kelley~

    ReplyDelete