Saturday, 13 February 2016

FO: Burda 6855

So, after semi successfully making jeans for myself a few months ago and making a couple of pairs for Cassie I decided it was time to have another crack at it.  My last pair were ok, but they had a few fitting issues most of which I was fairly certain would be solved by sewing the next size down.  Because I'd used a Burda mag pattern, the thought of retracing gave me a fit of the vapours so I bought Burda 6855 to try instead.  This pattern looks mostly the same, but features darts instead of a back yoke.

For reasons I have no hope of understanding I went ahead and cut out the same size as the previous pair and while the fit is considerably better around the crotch they are, shockingly a bit too big!  The problem wasn't immediately apparent, except for around the knees (literally the elephant in the room!) but these were completely unwearable on the second day as they stretched out a bit.  Unfortunately I'd thrown them on and hurried out the door to drop Cassie only to find my trousers kept making a bit for freedom as I walked.  This problem was not helped by the fact I was wearing Felicity on my back so the waist strap of the carrier was pushing down on the tops of my jeans too.

The observant among you will notice that I used the same fabric to make Cassie jeans a couple of weeks ago.  She doesn't seem to be having any problems with hers stretching out, but her clothes generally get a wash after every wear because toddler so I think mine will be ok as long as they are strictly on a wear once and wash policy.

Other than that, they are pretty good.  The fly went in with no trouble, the length is not bad even for my stumpy legs and I even got the buttonhole sewn with little to no drama.  Next time however I will make the smaller size no matter which ridiculous part of my brain is telling me not to!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

What's in Progress?

After my recent whine about my difficulties getting a new knitting project on the go, it seemed only polite to let you know what I'd actually ended up working on.  I was too busy trying not to name names when it came to the patterns that had frustrated me that I stayed tight lipped about what had finally broken me out of my funk!
After all that melodrama I finally ended up knitting Effervesce by Purrlescent.  These socks have exactly the look I was going for with tiny little travelling cables.  They look really intricate and complicated but really they are dead simple and are knitting up really fast.  I cast on on 22nd January and I've just turned the heel down on the second sock less than 3 weeks later.  While I'm aware that's not super fast, I have socks on the needles which I cast on in December 2012.......

These socks never have you crossing more than one stitch over the next so by cabling without a cable needle I'm finding that I'm not being slowed down too much.  The only issue I've had is that I decided to use magic loop (I'm ordinarily a DPN type of girl) and I've been through 3 sets of needles before I found some where the bump in the join wasn't driving me bonkers.

I'm hoping to have these done in a week or so and then the plan is to knit Lissy a sweater. I'm kind of feeling sock fever kicking back in though so she'll have to behave herself if she doesn't want to go back in the queue!

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

FOs: Simplicity 1566

Not a willing model on this occasion!
Follow me back into matchy matchy land where this time I've been making matching hoodies for Felicity and her new cousin Alice.  After keeping us all waiting, Miss Alice arrived on 2nd Feb and is completely perfect and we all love her very much.  I made these hoodies before she was born and therefore before we knew she was a girl so these jackets are completely boring gender neutral.
Simplicity 1566 is pretty much all you need to dress a small person and I've made Views A and F so far with great success.  I'll probably make the short sleeved versions of both of these and the little trousers are quite tempting too so this pattern is worth whatever I paid for it without a doubt.

For the hoodies I used white fleece with a cable pattern somehow incorporated into it.  It's really cute and snuggly and I didn't hate working with it quite as much as I'd feared!  It did get quite bulky in places and I did have a bit of a job persuading my overlocker to suck it in at the beginning of seams, but it squished down nicely once it got going and I'm pleased with how it looks.  So pleased in fact that I didn't actually bother to photograph the insides, preferring to just describe it with words!
You can see the tiniest peek of the binding here, just above the zip
I'm also quite pleased with my first ever separating zips, they very nearly match up and that's enough for me.  The binding around the neckline and zips looks super smart, I chose a cheery paisley I had in the stash.  I can see me making more of these in a lighter weight fabric as a little summer cover up.
View A is also already a total favourite and I'm already sewing up my 4th version as we speak!  The first one was made before Alice was born and I made it using an old t-shirt of my brother's.  I was really pleased that he recognised it when I gave it to them.
I decided that the snaps I used at the shoulders were really a bit too bulky so I bought a load of the open ring type and an applicator before sewing up any more.  The day after Alice was born I gathered up some slightly more girl friendly fabric scraps and whipped up the other two shirts.  My girls both have t-shirts made from the purple birdy fabric and I have a dress made out of the other stuff.  I made the second size up so she'll have to grow a bit before they fit, which is fine but I really can't wait to see her wearing them.  So far the new mummy and daddy have been really good at sending me photos of Alice when she wears anything I've made so I know I won't miss a thing!

Monday, 8 February 2016

Vintage Pledge 2016

Sewing vintage patterns wasn't something that I was al that interested in up until recently.  Vintage always makes me think of images like the one above and, while those clothes are very beautiful, they are also not my style at all.  However after my successes sewing up some 70's patterns last year I've decided to sign up to the vintage pledge this year (clicking the image above should take you through to more details).  The pledge I made was pretty straightforward, to sew up 2 vintage patterns in the coming year.  While I reserve the right to change my mind at any time, here are the patterns I'm intending to make.

This dress is completely up my alley and I'm really hoping I'll love it.  The envelope states that it is recommended for knits, but the suggested fabrics also include wovens and it does have a zip in the back so I figure I'm going straight for the middle by using a stretch woven.  My fabric is black with neon skulls on which I've been saving especially for this dress.

I bought this one a few months ago for 2 reasons.  Firstly it's a multi sized pattern which is quite nice as most of my vintage patterns are not and my skills aren't really up to grading up or down a size and secondly those little sleeve caps just look really cute.  The front zip is an element that I'm not entirely sold on, but I could probably move it to the side if needs be.  I'm not 100% committed to fabric, but I have a some blue viscose with little clocks on which is tempting me at the moment.

So that's my plans, I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else makes this year!

Monday, 1 February 2016


After finishing my Knotted Pine hat I immediately started to suffer from some kind of knitters block.  I was really in a knitting mood but I had no idea what to knit next and every time I thought I'd decided on a pattern it just turned out to be wrong.  Ordinarily I've mentally moved on to the next project well before the end of the previous one, but this time I just couldn't get it together.  Some of these stumbling blocks were completely legitimate, but I fear most of them were just me throwing a tantrum.  My three day process to start a new project went something a little like this:

  • Cassie wants a new hat, I'll let her pick so I don't have to think about it.
  • Cassie picks a hat, I have the pattern and yarn I think will be suitable.  Job done!
  • Knit a swatch. Nope.
  • Get bigger needles, knit swatch.  Nope.
  • Add strand of Kidsilk Haze to bulk up yarn.  Knit swatch.  Hmm, Maybe.
  • Start to knit brim.  NOPE!  Rip back, all is lost, back to the drawing board.
  • It's cold, I need some mittens and I have loads in my queue.
  • Pick pattern, find yarn and needles.
  • Read through pattern, find will to knit ebbing but I really want these mittens.
  • Find myself irrationally irritated by the fact that the size of these gloves is determined by gauge.  If I knit a smaller size I expect it to be less work than bigger ones, not the same amount of work on smaller needles.
  • Bite back irritation and cast on. Not sure what size they'll end up but they'll fit someone.
  • Realise I don't like the cuff as written, go for a 2 colour rib instead.
  • Knit a few rows and realise my heart is just not in it.  Rip back.
  • Wander off to the sewing machine in disgust, sew 2 Lady Skaters to make myself feel better.
  • Maybe I'll knit socks, I have yarn and a pattern bagged up together ready to knit.
  • Grab project, realise I don't really like the pattern any more but I'm definitely still feeling the yarn.
  • Hit my faves to find a better pattern.
  • I'm in a cabley kind of mood, that pattern looks cool.
  • It calls for sport weight, I have 4ply.  Bugger.
  • Look for something similar.
  • Find a pattern I like, it's German but with an English translation.  Sorted.
  • Ok, so the pattern is in English but the key is in some sort of abbreviated German.
  • Consider looking the terms up, get no further than that because, ugh.
  • Back to Ravelry.
  • This pattern has little cables like I'm looking for, will work with the yarn I've chosen and is in a language I understand.
  • Consider not casting on because this is seeming a little too good to be true at this point.
  • Stop being idiotic and cast on.
  • Cue Hallelujah Chorus because the planets have aligned and I'm actually knitting something!
Please tell me I'm not the only one this happens to.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

FO: Burda 9440

This is the second go round for this pattern, having made it a few months back out of some rather fetching dog print cotton sateen.  Cassie loves those trousers and they make me smile whenever she wears them so I cut out a second pair almost immediately after making the first.  Unfortunately they've been nothing but a sad pile of fabric shapes for far too long, kept company only by a very similar pile of much larger shapes intended to be a pair of jeans for me.
After leaving it so long to make these I was a little concerned that she would have outgrown them before they were sewn, but I think she will get some wear out of them before they are too small.  There looks to be plenty of room all down the legs, the only issue is the rise at the back.  The poor child has chronic builder's bum in nearly all of her trousers so I clearly need to look into some kind of adjustment or I'll just have to make all of her tops really long instead (not even kidding, I recently purchased Mini Briar which has a great butt covering mullet hem!).
Aside from the cutting out, which occurred so long ago it basically didn't happen, these took but a few hours to make.  I didn't bother adding a zip this time as it proved superfluous on her previous pair, but my plan to just sew the fly and leave out the zip was ill thought out and I'll have to look into a better way of doing it next time.  I had a horrible time sewing the buttonhole until my machine finally realised I wasn't kidding about throwing it out of the window and eventually sewed something almost like what it was supposed to.  Cassie is very taken with her pink heart button though.
In fact Cassie is very take with these trousers full stop. When I picked her up from preschool on Monday she announced very loudly for all to hear that she LOVED her trousers.  That was a proud Mummy moment for sure!  I'm not sure how much she'll love them when she realises that I'm making a matching pair for myself.  Hopefully I've got a couple of years before she thinks that there is nothing more embarrassing than having matching clothes with your mum!

Monday, 18 January 2016

FO: Knotted Pine

Ok, I'm not even slightly going to beat around the bush on this one, I freaking love this hat and I think I may actually just live in it from now on.  I love the central cable panel and the way it is surrounded by more cables and a cute rib column.  The short row shaping on the brim is completely delightful and I'm even rather enamoured by the half twisted stockinette which adds a lovely texture even though twisted stitches are kind of annoying to knit.

The pattern is Knotted Pine by Alicia Plummer, a designer who has multiple patterns in my Ravelry library and favourites but this is the first one I've actually knit up.  A few knitters had remarked in their project notes that they found the pattern hard to follow, but I can safely say that I had no trouble whatsoever.  The pattern is very brief and to the point but all the pertinent information is there.  I used KnitCompanion, as I usually do, and really I should have stitched the charts together on there instead of flicking between them but I'll leave that for next time.

I actually cast on for this for the first time when I was on holiday in December, but I'd forgotten my smaller needles and then I got lost on the charts and decided it was best to rip out and try again at home.  Luckily I did because it turns out that my gauge swatch had been telling me some whopping great fibs.  According to my swatch I needed to go up a needle size, so that's what I did and after dithering about what size to choose I went for 22" because that's how big my head is.  It was quite clear before I even finished the ribbing that the thing was going to be massive so I went back down to the suggested needle size and changed to the 20" size.  It fits really nicely now so I definitely did the right thing.

The yarn is Lang Yak, which was sent to me from Switzerland during a recent swap, and I'm a big fan now.  It's really smooth and warm and the colour is lovely.  I haven't washed it yet because I was so desperate to get this hat on my head, but apparently it gets even lovelier after a wash.  I only used a little more than one ball so I have the larger part of the second ball left to make a hat for a small person.  Hmm, now which pattern to choose.....