Saturday, November 30, 2013

49 before 50: Knit The Stash

The purple ink has hit the pages of my "49 before 50" notebook at last!
Rather than commit to a formal programme of reporting my outcomes against targets (which sounds far too much like the day job) I intend to blog about my goals as they start to gain momentum. So today I want to tell you about my intention to Knit The Stash.
I have been pretty good about keeping my Ravelry stash pages up to date. I have not documented leftovers, which are mostly sockweight and mostly intended for the Barn Raising Squares blanket (a legend of yesteryear if ever there was one!)
There are two gaps in my Ravelry stash account: 4 balls of self-striping Online Supersocke 100 (admissable, because I love them and think about knitting them almost every day) and two packs of colourful cotton dk in Attic-24-inspired colours for that blanket I said I would CROCHET way back in... um, yes. This yarn is stored in its very own plastic box under my bed. It feels like a guilty secret because... really? CROCHET?!
My promise to "Knit the Stash" is therefore an example of careful wording: I said I would knit, not crochet!
So... what's in there?
Garment-sized:
Enough AlbaYarn for three full-sized garments and several smaller colourwork projects
Yarn Pony Mustang in 4 colours for a stripey cardigan
J&S 3-ply Chunky to make a delicious forest green jacket (the Aidez pattern?)
Skein Queen Voluptuous for my planned Lush (Tin Can Knits) cardigan
Teos Handspun for an unidentified garment - possibly the Antler cardigan?
AlbaYarn - yum!
Laceweight: Four single skeins of laceweight, plus two skeins intended for a cardigan (ha!)
DK / Aran
Two odd skeins of beautiful hand-dyed dk for hats
One skein of Coldharbour Mill dk leftover from my Learn To Knit cardigan
Three balls of Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran in black (a stash staple)
Six 50g balls of Rowan Scottish Tweed in Sunset Orange (aran or dk?  I am not sure.)
Luxury Oddballs:
Seven shawls-worth of luxury hand-dyed yarns (silk, camel, mohair...)
I definitely don't need to buy any more of the fancy stuff!
Sockweight:
Enough sock yarn for 16 pairs (including the afore-mentioned self-striping goodness)
Two colourways of Sock Hop handspun, which is too good for socks, so... shawls?
The ingredients for two pairs of imagined fingerless gloves using my remaining Yarn Yard Small Skein Society shipments.
Other:
...and I have the yarn I have set aside for my Kex Blanket - until I finish that, it still counts as stash.

Of course, there is another side to the stash, and that is the pattern collection! I have gathered together a large number of "must-knit" designs, particularly sock patterns.

Ha! Who remembers the "Socks From Stash" club?! I thought it was time to have another go at that approach.
The sock yarn stash... oops!
 In 2013 so far I have managed to knit 12 pairs of socks - woo hoo!

That included some manly monsters, so I reckon 12 pairs before I am 50 is pretty achievable and would absolutely smash the sock yarn stash into submission.

I decided to match patterns to stashed yarn... and I made a list! I even plan to label the yarn with the pattern-names - go me!

However... this worthy ambition was knocked on the head by the launch of the 2014 Knitting Goddess Sock Club, in association with Rachel Coopey.
My love of CoopKnits patterns is well-documented, and what a treat to have a guaranteed-gorgeous sock pattern and the matching yarn pop through the letterbox once a month!
The special twist to the 2014 sock club is that it is themed around favourite fairytales and includes a colourwork option within each design - how perfect! Sorry, sock stash, you are not the quick win I thought you were going to be!

So perhaps I need to simply commit to knitting 12 pairs of socks in the year, including as many of the Sock Club as I can manage?
OK, that's another 49 Before 50 target to inscribe in violet ink!

So how else can I make headway on reducing my stash?
Probably the best thing to do is to make some decisions about what I want to knit and just get on with it!
Skein Queen Voluptuous for the Lush cardigan
My next garment will be the Voluptuous Lush cardigan.
I will soon be casting on a new pair of socks.
And my next shawl / scarf will use one of my luxury skeins, to be set aside for future gifting.

But most importantly, I will not expose myself to temptation by visiting online yarn shops late in the evening when I am feeling a bit tired and vulnerable. Window-shopping is fine - just don't press "Buy It Now"! ;)

You may be wondering WHY I want to knit up my stash?
It's not that I want to be rid of it. I just want to have LESS of it, lying dormant in those plastic tubs by my bedside.
I can honestly say I am excited at the prospect of knitting every one of those skeins, when I consider them one by one, but when I see them all together it feels like far too much STUFF. And we all know I don't do stuff!
 And that goes for fabric too.
"Sew the stash" anyone?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Week in Knitting (and a Dress in action)

It has been a hard hard work week.
So it is ironic that I had the cheek to take woolly-hatted selfies in the office at lunchtime yesterday when everyone else went out!
This is my Stovetop hat for The Girl, second attempt.
Her head is smaller than mine, but size Adult Small would have fitted a pixie.  I brought this upon  myself by using smaller needles than recommended... because they are the ones I have.
I really need to invest in a wider range of sizes of dpn.
For the record, I am using 3.75mm and 4.5mm, instead of 4mm and 5mm.
For my second try, I cast on 92 stitches (between a Medium and a Large) and then decreased one stitch after the rib, to bring it in line with size Adult Medium.  I think this is going to be fine in girth, but I might need to tweak the pattern to ensure it has sufficient slouch.
The kilt pin?  I split and dropped half a stitch  - it will be easily fixed later.
 
And in case you were wondering what I was wearing:  this is the Camber Dress worn with my lime vintage cashmere cardi and a silk scarf.  As you can see, it creases when sat upon all day.  You should see the rear view - eek!  Saggy baggy bottom!  But it is warm and comfortable and reasonably smart.  I just have to walk backwards out of rooms (while bowing and tugging my forelock, obviously!)
Next up:  an abandoned attempt at designing a tea cosy.
The stitch pattern is taken from the cape in Learn to Knit Love to Knit.  I am really glad I tried it out before investing in the yarn for the cape, because I really don't like the texture.
I would have persevered for the duration of a tea cosy, but it was coming up too small.  Again.  Tsk!
This was to be a gift.  Once I finish the hat, I need to get back to this project.

The last thing I worked on this week was my Alicia Mitts.  I have almost finished the colourwork on Mitt Two.  It looks exactly like the first one, so I didn't bother with a photo.

Oh - have you seen the Torirot Mystery Mitten KAL coming up in January?  I really like the sound of this one, and will be using some of my JC Rennie stash of mini-skeins.  Fun!  If you join before 15 January 2014, the pattern is free using a code which is easily found on Ravelry.  Too late for gifting this Christmas, but in plenty of time for next year!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Catching Up

Thank you all so much for your birthday wishes and multiple thumbs up at the idea of blue hair :)
The Girl sent me a set of inspiring blue-haired pictures - fab!
Will I, won't I? We'll see.
Hair the colour of my birthday flowers?
In addition to spoiling me with flowers and chocolates, FL surprised me with a beautiful birthday present:  a cherry red leather bag which is neither a satchel nor a messenger bag, but has elements of both.  It has loads of pockets, inside and out, and is lined too.  He hasn't seen my 49 before 50 list, but one my aims was to buy a grown-up bag that would last me forever - and now I have one! Yay!  I ticked something off my list on Day One!
If you are waiting to see my complete 49 before 50 list, you will just have to be patient because I haven't set purple ink to paper yet. That's part of my plan for this weekend.
And I have a hat decision to report: The Girl really likes the Stovetop hat - the one with cables and a pompom. This is great news, as I like that one too, and I don't have to stop at knitting one, do I? I ordered some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in plain black as I trust it to be soft, warm and fairly easy to look after.
In reading news, I am immersed in "You Can Buy Happiness... and it is cheap" by Tammy Strobel of the Rowdy Kittens blog.  It is all about simplifying your life, a subject dear to my heart.  I know I probably don't need to read a book about it, I just need to DO it, but it helps with motivation to have a guide by my side.
Stovetop underway
I also need to crack on with Christmas-card-making.
And I rather fancy making a warm skirt. I own two. I am getting bored of them already, and it is only November.  So much for paring down my wardrobe ;)
Firewood-enhanced view
I am delighted to report that the ice has melted away, and that I got my snow tyres fitted this morning.  We are stocked up with firewood and basic foodstuffs, so I feel more able to relax at the prospect of winter.
I changed the dog's blanket and ordered my Yule soap from Future Primitive: so life smells truly sweet!
Right... knitting time!

Friday, November 22, 2013

FO: Hector Socks by Rachel Coopey

 Stats:
Pattern:  Hector socks by Rachel Coopey from her book A Knitted Sock Society,

Yarn: YarnAddict 100% easy care merino sock yarn, from the p-hop table at the Yarn Yard knitters' retreat at the convent in York (January 2013)

Process: 
I decided to knit these in the 72-stitch (medium) size for FL's Christmas present (sssh!)
When I cast on the first one, I was careful to note that I cast on the first stitch at the beginning of the purple stretch of dye.  The colours fell evenly across the dpns:  purple, lime, turquoise and blue, one colour on each needle.  It was so evenly dyed that the colour gently spiralled down the leg in fairly constant stripes.
However, my first attempt at sock two was a disaster. 
It was pooling in great muddy puddles of colour.  Yuck.
I hoped that it might sort itself out if I just kept knitting... but no.
So it had to come out.
For the life of me, I still don't know what went wrong - maybe one section of the yarn wasn't quite as evenly-measured when it was dyed?
So on my next attempt I made sure that the colours were progressing across the needles one by one.
And it worked.
Although the socks are not identical, they both have similar spirals.

It's a really fun pattern to knit.
The leg is lacy, but not too girly.  Once you get past the heel turn, it is a simple but interesting rib, which works up really quickly and doesn't need too much attention.  Perfect knitting for a waiting room or watching tv in the evening.

I will definitely knit this pattern again.
The finished socks are super-stretchy and really soft - perfect for FL, though he might tell me they are too short for winter!
Yes, that is snow.  Sigh.
I took these pictures on Tuesday morning.
And where are my winter tyres?
On the back seat of my car.
That will teach me for being too lazy to go out and get them fitted at the weekend.
So my car has had to be left at the foot of the hill, and I have to hike over the fields to the house in my wellies.
And what about FL's car?
On Tuesday night he got stuck half-way up the farm road, wedged into the snowy bank with fused electrics.  As he struggles to walk far, this was a problem.  We had to call a friendly tractor-driver to come and pull him over the hill... oh, sorry - yes I do mean in his car!
Why are our lives so complicated?!



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

49 Before 50 Starts Today!

So here I am, 49 years old.
Pffffffffffff!
It's just a number, right?  But it feels like an awfully BIG number.  40 didn't bother me.  My 40th birthday was the first birthday I had after coming to live with my FL.  He and the kids blew up a whole heap of balloons and filled a room with them.
9 years later, the kids have left home but my darling FL is still here:  "But only just!" he says, in as lugubrious a tone as he can muster.  Shoosh man, there's nothing wrong with you!
Anyway... I decided to make a "49 before 50" list at a point in my life when I feel like I need to stop drifting.  In the past year, I have noticed my hair getting greyer and my face getting saggier, and my level of general fitness taking a nose-dive.  There is no escaping my age:  it is finally catching up with me.
Rather than giving in to a spiraling decline, I am determined to become a stronger person, not just physically, but mentally too.  I feel a little too fragile, rather too vulnerable to disappointments:  they hit me too hard.  Time to get a grip!
Notebooks from The Magic Notebook, Hector sock, purple pen
When I sat down to write my List, 49 things didn't sound like much.  I thought it would be easy to fill page after page of my new notebook with enthusiastic purple-inked ambitions.  But days and weeks passed, in the run up to my birthday, and it felt harder and harder to pin myself down.  What did I really want to do?  I didn't want it to be a list of 49 pointless blog-fillers.  I wanted to be true to myself.
And there we have it:  Number One - Be True to Myself.
That's the big one, the one I will find the most difficult to tick off as accomplished by the end of the year.
Why?
Well... I was listening to the Yarnivore podcast the other week, and the presenter Sadie was talking about her sister-in-law:
"She works in an office.  She has to dress like she's rich.  Blue hair is not in her future."

Blue hair is not in her future?
Marge Simpson hangs out the washing
Goodness me, that hit me hard in the solar plexus!
I have got to 49 waiting for the right time to dye my hair blue / purple / green / shocking pink.  When I was a drama student I was afraid I would miss out on an acting part if I had blue hair.  Then I started work as an accounts clerk in an office where women were not even allowed to wear trousers, never mind embrace the Crazy Color!  Squish, squash, splat - that's me right there, under the boss's foot.
And it perpetuates itself, this repressed state of mind.  It takes over.
And I have had enough.
So my 49 things are my 49 ways to take back a little bit of control over my own life.
To have FUN.
It's allowed, you know?
You knew?
Why didn't you tell me?!
Will I dye my hair blue?  Who knows?!  That's not the point.  The point is:  I can if I want to.
KAPOW!
Welcome to my 49 before 50!



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Hat for Brownies

I received a text from The Girl last night: "Would you be able to knit me a black hat (for myself)? I'll pay you in brownies..." How could I refuse? Here are some of the options:

Drizzle

Hipster - Tincan Knits

Sitka Spruce  - Tincan Knits

Sock Head  - Kelly McClure

Stovetop - Tincan Knits

Saturday, November 16, 2013

FO: Merchant and Mills Factory Dress in Dotty Chambray

Ta da!  Just what every woman needs in the middle of November:  a thin chambray dress!
But this particular dress lends itself to layering, so I didn't actually freeze to death taking these pictures in the garden this afternoon.
 Stats:
Pattern:   The Factory Dress from Merchant and Mills in size 8 (the smallest size)  I bought the cardboard version a few days before they released the multi-size paper pattern.  I would have bought the paper one if I had known, but the cardboard one was a new experience and very high-quality.
Fabric:  2.5 metres of dot-print chambray from Cousette Tissus, about £20 total
Other: Woven fusible interfacing from stash (from the English Couture Company) and thread.  Oh - and one of my "Half Agony Half Hope" labels, as usual :)

 Process:
I cut this out two weekends ago, and sewed the bodice last Saturday.  Today I finished the skirt section and hemmed the sleeves.  I enjoyed taking it slowly.  I was in no rush to wear a summer frock, but having cut it out in a rush of Merchant and Mills enthusiasm, I didn't want to leave it languishing in a drawer, half-made.
It was a very straightforward make.
I didn't make any changes to the pattern or suggested construction method.
The only part which caused me to stop to think was the sandwiching-together of the facings and collar.  The diagram explained more than the instructions, and the combination was sufficient.  I thought I was going to end up with puckers and pleats at the back neck, but everything worked out perfectly - huzzah!
Once again I was impressed by the drafting of this simple style. 
The line drawing suggests it is a great big baggy smock dress with a dropped waist:  the sort of dress which usually drowns me.  But the waistline hits my high hip, and has just the right amount of ease to give flow to the paired tucks at the front.  Those tucks give the skirt a slight tulip-shape, even though the pattern pieces are cut straight.  The back skirt is narrower and plain (no tucks), which is flattering... but impossible to capture in a photograph on a windy day!
You can just about see the side-seam pockets in this picture.
I love those pockets! They are in exactly the right place to sashay around the garden, hands in pockets, pretending to be  a model!
Speaking of which...
Oh dear, Roo!

Worn with: 
Seasalt striped tee (from way back), Norie knitted hat (a Shetland Trader pattern), White Stuff ankle boots, and my granny's glass beads.
Verdict?
Much better than I expected when I saw the cardboard pattern pieces!  I was afraid I would look like a sack of potatoes, but once again the designer has worked her magic to draft a figure-skimming style.
The result is a really comfortable dress, perfect for home and holidays.
I would absolutely love to make one of these in a Liberty Bloomsbury print. 
The turn-up sleeves remind me of my Portfolio tunic, but the open collar and dropped waist hint at 1920's/30's vintage style.  I couldn't resist wearing my flapper beads!
I don't think I would risk using a heavier fabric.  It definitely suits a lightweight cotton.
But - ooh - imagine it in a drapey wool jersey for the winter?  With a polo necked sweater underneath?  So many possibilities!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Week in Knitting: 3 HO's don't make a pair

This week I hit the halfway mark on 3 of my 4 current knitting projects. Woo hoo!
The biggest piece of news is of course my Kex Blanket.
Look at my cute baby! ;)
The wrong side
I decided to take the opportunity while it was off the needles to lay it out on a single bed, so you could get an idea of the size of this project.  He's a Big Fella.
The right side, with single bed for scale
The finished blanket will have the same two sections all over again, plus a 10cm border all the way round the outside.
Storage of my work-in-progress is becoming an issue.  At the moment, I can still squish the whole thing into my ISLY-inspired bag.  But for how much longer?!
Next up, I finished the first Alicia Mitt.  This picture was taken at the weekend, before I added the thumb.  I am really enjoying working with the J C Rennie Unique Shetland yarn.  It knits up into such a wonderfully even fabric, and is perfect for colourwork.  Yum!
Finally, I finished the first Hector sock.  I decided to bite the bullet and aim for a man-sized sock, even though the colours are... um... quite bright?  It is a really stretchy sock, and FL's main problem right now is the pain in his feet and ankles.  He appreciates socks that are soft, warm and easy to get off and on.  These are all 3 of those things, and I reckon he carry off a more flamboyant sock-statement with humour and aplomb!
Hector the Brave

Saturday, November 09, 2013

A Convalescent Saturday

A perfect Saturday
The past few days have been more than a little taxing.
FL had a funny turn in the early hours of Thursday morning, which sent him bouncing around the bathroom with a great deal of crashing and moaning, and woke me at the other side of the house.  I found him sitting on the toilet, struggling to breathe and unable to tell me what had happened.  I got him his inhaler, which helped.  But it took an hour to get him into the sitting room, where he promptly fell asleep propped up on the table.
I spent the next few hours just listening to him breathe. 
It sounds crazy thinking about it now, but I didn't think it was an emergency.  He had seemed so well in the previous few days, and was now so peacefully sleeping.  I thought he must have slipped, and that the shock had brought on an asthma attack.
When he stirred, I said "If you don't wake up by noon, I'm calling the doctor!"  He just shook his head and fell asleep again.  We had that same non-conversation a few more times over the next few hours.  At 2pm, he revived enough for me to help him through to the bedroom.  As he got into bed, he said "Roo... I think I took two morphine tablets instead of one.... zzzzzzz!"
Inside, looking out
And that confession finally woke me up.  I rang his doctor, who at first suggested I take him to the surgery, but I knew I couldn't get him as far as the car.  So they offered to make a home visit.  A home visit?  They do that?  I didn't know.  I thought it was a choice of going to the surgery or calling an ambulance.
Next year's firewood
At 7pm, after a battle with her Sat Nav (which sent her to the other side of Bennachie), the GP arrived.  I told her the whole sorry tale.  When we woke him, he seemed a lot better.  He was able to sit up, with help, and to take a few supported steps  He managed to speak in whole sentences.  She said he had a slight temperature, and after listening to his chest, gave him some antibiotics.
He was given strict instructions to drink plenty of water and try to eat.
The first attempt was unsuccessful.  Hooray for my trusty washing bucket!
The doctor said if he didn't improve, he would have to be admitted to hospital the next day, just to be on the safe side. 
But by Friday morning, he was sitting up,  nibbling on the edges of a slice of dry toast and looking slightly sheepish as he checked his packets of pills.
Me?  After a sleepless night, I was on the laptop trying to meet a work deadline on the other side of the kitchen table.
In denial, much?
The doctor saw him again, took some blood and prescribed more antibiotics.
There were of course some bad jokes.  Yup, he's getting better.
I have to eat this before I can have cake?
So..what happened?  We still don't really know, but we think he may have become feverish on Thursday night due to an infection and had confused his late-night pills.  The morphine overdose hit him when he tried to get up to go to the bathroom, causing him to fall, causing the asthma attack.
And now here we are on Saturday.  Breathing easily.
Phew!
 
After being cooped up indoors for two days, he wrapped up warm and we drove across the fields for a very local outing.  He couldn't get out of the car, but was able to watch me race the dog into the woods.
I  took these pictures to show him where we had been.
It's dark now, and we are snuggled up in front of the woodburner.
Another crisis survived.
Today's lesson?  "Don't ever get complacent, kids."

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

A Week In Knitting

I can see it is going to be difficult to keep up the pictures as winter sets in: I will not be at home during daylight hours except at the weekend.  These pictures were all taken on Sunday.

This week I started a new project, the Alicia Mitts by Dani Berg from the Hitch e-book.  There is a knitalong on Ravelry, but so far I am the only participant - come on people, don't leave me on my own!
I am using JC Rennie's Unique Shetland, a wonderfully sticky sheepy wool that comes in an extraordinary range of colours.  I bought 4 sets of 5 mini-balls (10g each) from Wee County Yarns.  My first combination didn't work out:  the tones of the lightest green and the base grey were too similar.
First attempt - too pale!
But I am really pleased with my second attempt (top picture). It almost looks like a counted cross-stitch design.  Hmmm... there's an idea!  Could I knit a cross-stitch pattern?
Moving on, my Hector sock is coming along nicely.  I am enjoying the swirling stripes of colour, which turn into more regular stripes on the heel flap.  The geometric lace only goes as far as the ankle, where it transitions into an unusual rib.
I am working these over 72 stitches and it is definitely super-stretchy to a man-friendly degree.  I suggested to FL that they might be for him after all, and he said "You know me - I'll wear anything!".  Not exactly a vote of overwhelming enthusiasm, but unless I come up with another plan these might be his Christmas socks.
I also worked on my Kex Blanket.  By the time you read this, I will have finished the second horizontal stripe, which means - dun dun duuuun! - I am halfway through the main piece.  Which just goes to show that all it takes is stamina.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Roo's Life List

Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh
It is 10am on the last day of my holiday-at-home and I am only now sitting down to write my "49 before 50" list.
I have started it many times, here and there across the week, scribbling notes on knitting patterns and the corners of newspapers. No doubt it won't be finished today, but that's OK.  High on the list has to be to buy a notebook to contain all these thoughts before I lose them.

Cornus alba "Sibirica" at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh
 Reviewing my scattered notes, I am struck by the underlying theme of achieving balance between my work and home personae.  On the one hand, I have written "Design a sock", while another note says "Update my CV".  At the moment, those directives are in opposition to one another.  I have shyed away from creating a "Linked In" profile for my day job identity because the person I would describe would not be "me".  And at the same time, I avoid joining F-book in case my knitterly self is discovered by work colleagues.
This is not healthy!  So for the time being my list says:  "Make connections".  And there I go again - writing in secret code even though I am my only audience!  Tsk.
Walk on a beach.
Keep a sketchbook. 
Finish my quilt.
I refuse to write "Get fit", but I will say "Perform 49 deliberate acts of exercise in the year".
Similarly "Eat healthy food" will be described as "Be vegan for 49 days in the year".
Both those goals are set low, in the hope that they become the start of a life-habit.
Because that's what this is about:  setting out as I mean to go on.  It's not about punishing myself or restricting myself, it's about exploring better ways to be me.
And having fun. Note to self:  life is not a life sentence.
I am going to make a new page on the blog where my list will live.  And I aim to write a weekly post on progress.
But right now, I am off to buy some funky stationery.  If ever there was a good excuse to purchase a beautiful journal and some purple ink, this is it! :)


Friday, November 01, 2013

FO: The Redwood Camber Dress by Merchant and Mills

Two sewing FO's in two days?  Whatever is the world coming to?
Having got my sewing groove back on Wednesday with the Camber Top, I spent a restless night imagining my next project, the Camber Dress.  If I could have stitched it in my sleep, I would have done!
Stats:
Pattern:  The Camber Dress by Merchant and Mills in size 8, with sleeves from Simplicity 6238 (from the 1960's)
Fabric:  2 metres of Robert Kaufmann Shetland flannel in the colour "redwood herringbone" from The Eternal Maker
Other:  Just thread, from stash.
The Design

You may be surprised to hear that although the top and dress share a neckline, yoke and sleeves, the main parts (back and front) are cut from separate pattern pieces.  The dress is an altogether more shapely affair, which the pictures on the envelope do not fully capture.
The description reads:  "A simple dress with tapered A-line silhouette and short fitted sleeves for an easy-wear classic."  All true.  But there is more to it than that.
Like the top, the dress has a bias-trimmed round neckline which exposes just enough flesh to be flattering and feminine, without scaring the horses.  Perfect for an aging neck.
The lined yoke construction encloses every possible raw edge of fabric and lies completely flat.  No gaping, back or front - it's a miracle!
The sleeves fit into the armholes without any fuss or puckering.  When I made the top, I used the original short sleeve, but for this dress I took the 3/4 length sleeve from the 1960's pattern Simplicity 6238, and blended it with the Camber sleeve at the top.  This was easily done, as they were almost identical in width.
The back of the dress is narrower than the back of the top, with more defined waist shaping.  The dress front has subtly different darts and an almost imperceptible curve at the side hip, which then tapers gently to the hem.
It is a really clever cut.  If your fabric has just a little bit of body:  a crisp linen, say, or a slightly felted wool, the gentle bell-shape of the skirt will become more apparent.

Process:
Having just made the top, I knew what I was doing with the yoke and it all went smoothly.  Evidence, if ever it was needed, of the importance of making a test garment.
"Easy to make"?  Yes, if you have made it before!
I used a lightweight cotton to line the yoke, because the flannel is pretty substantial.  This worked well.
I shortened the dress by 8 cm and then turned up a 3cm hem.  The original length was below-the-knee on me (but I am only 5 foot 2 so that's no surprise).  I used a satin bias tape to bind the hem and hide away any raw edges.

Verdict?
Ok, I am going to gush now...
Cheese Louise, I love this dress!
I set out to make an everyday winter dress, probably for homewear around the farm.  But despite the Little House on the Prairie-style brushed cotton fabric I chose, I have ended up with a garment that is eminently suitable for work.  If I didn't know it was cotton, I would suspect it was wool.  And if I didn't know I had made it myself, I would guess it came from Toast or Cabbages and Roses and that it cost something with three digits before the decimal point.
It is simple, but memorable.  It is figure-skimming without being baggy, shapely rather than shapeless. 
Does FL like it?  Not so much.  It falls into the same category of clothing as the shoes I am wearing with it:  comfortable, practical, classic, and under no circumstances "sexy".  Perfect.
If I sound like I am blowing my own trumpet, that is not my intention.  Because my contribution to this garment was just the making of it.
"But that's the difficult part!"  I hear you cry?  Not at all.  I cut it out and I sewed it together.
But Carolyn N. K. Denham did all the hard work, for which I cannot thank her enough.

Will I make it again?
Just you try and stop me!
It would be amazing in cerise felted wool.
Or maybe a rich forest green velvet or needlecord?
Or how about this checked linen / cotton mix from Tinsmiths?
Or this watercolour stripe from Liberty?
In my desire for a simplified life, I can imagine this becoming my uniform dress.  Could I have a whole wardrobe of Camber dresses for every day of the week?  For every occasion?
Oh dear.
I think I have a problem!