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Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Pippi Pinafore Dress

Often I'll see a new pattern pop up and think 'that's nice I'd like to make it some day' and make a note to pick it up soon or keep an eye out for a sale in the future.  Every now again I see a pattern that I have to buy right now and jump it right to the front of my queue because I need to be wearing that, like, yesterday! The Pippi Pinafore dress was one of those, when I saw it announced on Jennifer Lauren's blog it just ticked all the boxes for me.
I've been wanting to make a dungaree/overall type dress for a while but I've been putting it off because I really do prefer dresses with some sort of waist. Pippi seemed to be just that, a dress with an overall sort of look but with a nipped in waist and I really liked the pockets too.  I had some lime green/yellow (I'm not really sure?!?!) viscose linen in the stash that I wasn't too attached too if it turned out to be no good so I clicked 'buy' printed out the pattern, stuck it together and got stuck in!
This pattern is fairly simple, there are quite a few pieces and a fair few steps to sewing it but none of those steps are at all difficult.  The directions are pretty clear and detailed and I did enjoy sewing this dress.  I did have a minor problem with the button band at the waist opening because I'd got it backwards somewhere and I had to make another.  I nearly made it backwards a second time so either the directions for that part are a little wonky or I got all turned around somewhere.  The piece is lined and I used contrasting fabric so next time I'll just use the main fabric for the lining too and then I can just sew it the other way round if need be.  The other bit that I found a bit of a pain was sewing down the waistband lining, I just could not get it right and I think that may have been down to the lining fabric not stretching in the same way as the main fabric so I'll try lining that with the main fabric next time too.  The pockets and bib are also lined but they caused me no problems this time so if I'm short of main fabric I can use any fabric for that without worrying.
In the end I was so pleased with the way this turned out and I will absolutely be making another really soon.  I'm happy with the way it fits, because you can just place the buttons on the straps wherever is most comfortable you can choose exactly where the waist sits once the dress is made.  This is a real advantage in my eyes because you can really get it just right. I like the way the straps poke through buttonholes at the top of the bib because I think this is a little more stable and the straps are less likely to slip down than if the were just buttoned.  The dress is comfortable and is a great style for any season just by changing what you wear underneath.  I think this particular version is more of a summer dress, mostly due to the colour but I'm looking forward to making one in a light denim or corduroy for colder months.  All in all I like this one a lot and I'm glad I went ahead and jumped it up the queue, it was a fun project to sew and I'm pretty happy I finally found something to do with that obnoxiously coloured linen!
Whooops, strap was twisted!

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Deer and Doe Bleuet

Let's ignore the undecorated state of my landing, it's the brightest spot in my house!
A quick whizz back through my old posts reminds me that I cut out the pieces for this dress in January, I finally sewed it up in a couple of days at the end of April.  Out with slow fashion, I'm bringing in slooooow fashion!  To be fair there was a new family baby announced shortly after I cut out the pieces so I've been preoccupied with a slightly epic blanket (more on that soonish) but I'm sad it took me so long to sew because I flipping love this thing.
The pattern is Bleuet and as I mentioned in the January post this is a new version of an older pattern which I'd really been on the fence about.  The updated version kept the elements I loved- the bow at the back especially and changed the features I wasn't too sure about - the sleeves and the collar.  This time I opted to sew the view with cap sleeves but I can definitely see me sewing a sleeveless version too. The sleeves are lined by folding the piece in half, so lovely and simple to do and they look really pretty.  The collar is a 'proper' collar with a stand and after having sewn a fair few collars in my time I can say that I much prefer to sew collars with stands.
Sewing this dress was really simple, no dramas at all.  The bow was really easy to attach and everything else slotted together perfectly.  I'll admit to not really enjoying sewing on 14 buttons, I didn't bother with the one on the collar stand because I'll never do it up and next time I'll probably leave off the 2 below that now that I know I don't do those up either.
The fabric I used is a lovely print cotton I've had for a little while.  I originally was going to make a Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress with it but the fabric was too narrow for the skirt pieces.  I like that I have made another shirt dress with it and I'm really happy with my fabric/pattern combo on this one.  I did end up having to cut the hem facing, under collar and inner collar stand from scraps of black cotton due to said narrowness of fabric so I didn't quite get this dress out of 2m but with wider fabric I'd have had no trouble.
Overall I'm really pleased with this dress and I can't wait to make another - I just need to teach Cassie to sew on buttons first!

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

February

With February all but done, what have I done?
As detailed in my last post I finished shawl 2 for this year's Boo Knits Challenge, Spirit of Friendship. I've still barely taken that thing off, we are experiencing some extremely cold weather right now and it's been marvellous. I finished that on 13th February so I was feeling in a valentinesy sort of mood and I cast on a red silk Forever Yours using Knit Picks Luminance.
I only bought 50g of yarn and this pattern is designed for a smaller skein so it seemed like the perfect project. The pattern had repeatable sections to help you make the most of your yardage and I've been making use of the super helpful shawl calculator to help me plan out how many repeats of each section I can do. I'm now on the final chart before I cast off so hopefully I should have another shawl to show off very soon.
I have however put that project on a short hiatus on Monday because, as I mentioned, it's a bit nippy here and was set to get colder during the week. With the promise of temps of -5 degrees C and below I decided that I needed another hat more than I needed another lace shawl so I cast on Holm using DROPS Puna and put Forever Yours aside until that's done. I had intended to start this hat a couple of weeks ago but I'd started reading through the pattern and decided that it hurt my brain too much and put it off for a bit! I'll talk more about the pattern once the hat is done, but I'll say that it's actually been really simple so far, it's just that the pattern looks a bit intimidating at first glance.
As in January I have done no sewing whatsoever, the dining room is still full of stuff and despite my good intentions I haven't got round to finding homes for it all yet. Honestly though, I'm a total Winter Olympics addict and I can't sew in front of the TV so I was always going to be knitting mostly this month anyway. We've all been ill at various times over the last few weeks too so the sofas have been getting lots of love! Hopefully February went ok for everyone, roll on March!

Monday, 26 February 2018

FO: Spirit of Friendship

A couple of weeks ago my Facebook 'On This Day' thingy popped up and reminded me that this time last year I had already completed 4 shawls for my Boo Knits challenge. At that points I was just finishing up on my second one for this year and I felt momentarily demoralised until I thought about and realised that all 4 of those shawls were pretty small. They are all beautiful and I do wear them with joy but I do prefer a much larger shawl and those take much longer to knit. Today I present you my largest shawl so far, Spirit of Friendship by Boo Knits

Not only is this thing pretty big but it is really soft and drapey and warm, a real hug of a shawl. While I do love my 100% silk shawls, they block out so nicely and the lace stays looking tip top for ages but every now and again it's nice to knit something that I can throw on when it's chilly in the house or to keep me really toast during a particularly wintery school run. So for this shawl I chose to use DROPS Baby Alpaca Silk, partly because it is warm and soft with some strength added by 30% silk content, but also because it was really inexpensive during the DROPS Alpaca Party in December! I went for black because I don't actually have a black shawl yet and I wanted it to go with anything.

Knitting this shawl was super simple and the pattern was very intuitive. The simple lace panel keeps things interesting with the stockinette sections keeping things moving along quickly. Beading only happens once you hey to the lace border but there are quite a lot of beads in that section so those border rows do take much longer to complete. I chose to use size 6/0 Miyuki black lined crystal AB cube beads. The have a lovely rainbow sparkle to them and I thin they look really special.

All in all I'm really happy with this one and honestly I've barely taken it off since I blocked it. The only real problem I have with it is that it's making all my other shawls look tiny!

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

FO: Chasing Rainbows

Unfortunately January has not been as productive as I'd hoped.  A few weeks ago we had the carpet in our living room replaced with a wooden floor, a decision made necessary by our animals who continued to dig up the carpet by the door to the point where we couldn't actually get the door open some mornings.  This meant clearing out the entire living room into the dining room, which is also my sewing room and there is so much junk still in there that there is no hope of me getting any sewing done until I find new homes for it all.  The living room looks fab though, so there's that.
I have however managed to finish the first of my Boo Knit shawls for this year and I'm about half way through the second so it's not all bad news.  In my last post I had started my bright pink Chasing Rainbows so I won't go into a lot of detail here.  My plan was to make a nice big shawl, I ended up dpoing 5 repeats of the main body pattern rather than the 4 that the pattern calls for and that seems to have worked out just nicely.  I finished with a whole 6 grams of yarn left at the end so a 6th repeat would not have been possible without buying more yarn.  Also I think it would have been bordering on far too large at that point.
Although it may be a bit much for some I'm absolutely in love with my bright pink/neon yellow colour combo.  The pattern suggest that you use a different larger bead for the points of this shawl and I originally had no intention of doing that.  However when I had placed my bead order at Bead Stampede I'd spent enough to qualify for a free packet of beads and the aqua cube beads I received seemed like they might be the perfect way to finish up this super bright project.  They are not overly noticeable unless you look closely but I know they are there and all those bright colours together cheer me right up.
The yarn I used is Juniper Moon Farm Findley lace.  It is a 50/50 silk/wool mix and it has blocked out really nicely.  Obviously only time will tell how well it holds a block but at the moment I would very much consider knitting with it again.  They have a lovely bright purple and also a yellow which is right up my street.
All in all I'm really pleased with this shawl and would definitely knit another, possibly in a less eyeball searing colour combo but possibly not!
And to close I offer you this pic of my children 'helping' me photograph this shawl.  I simply asked them to grab an end each and hold it up so I could get a shot of the thing stretched out and this is what they did.  I ask you!

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

January

Now January is well under way I have a few projects on the go and my plans for the month are made and written down in my planner so I have no excuse!  So today I'm just doing a quick run down of what's on the needles, be they of the knitting or sewing variety and what I might start once those projects are completed.
First up is this month's main project, Chasing Rainbows by Boo Knits.  This is my first project for this year's Boo Challenge and I feel like I'm starting the year with something of a bang!  I've wanted to make a great big, very bright Chasing Rainbows for a while and this Juniper Moon Farm Findley Lace yarn is just bright enough as far as I'm concerned.  The beading on this shawl is only on the lace border and it's a while until I hit that section seeing as how I want this shawl to be nice and big but I've picked out some nice subtle beads to add a hint of class to proceedings...
Only kidding, these beads are ridiculous neon yellow and I freaking well love them.  The combination of beads and yarn is almost painful to the eyes and will be great for days when I look like crap because no one will be looking at my face!
Now lets calm this down a bit and talk about my second knit project that I have going on.  It is a green man jumper in endless broken rib that is stealing my will to live.  Stu wanted a jumper, I've been putting him off for years because I thought it would be boring.  I finally gave in because he was starting to grumble, he picked a pattern and yarn, I started knitting and you know what?  It's boring.
The pattern he chose was DROPS 174-22 otherwise known as Riley.  As usual with DROPS this pattern is a wall of almost nonsense which my previous DROPS experience allowed me to translate in to something approaching sensible directions.  At least I think I think I have, I won't be too confident until I've finished the neckline because that bit was extra perplexing.  I've got about 12 feet of boring khaki ribbing to suffer through until I get to that point though so I'm not going to worry about it any time soon.

Sewing wise I've just cut out all of the pieces for a Deer and Doe Bleuet dress.  I'd had my eye on this pattern for a while because I was completely in love with the little bow at the back, but something about the sleeves was putting me off.
A few months ago the pattern disappeared from the website and then a reworked version was released with completely different sleeves.  The new version was right up my alley so I snapped it up and hope to have it sewn up soon.
As well as these projects I'm hoping to knit myself another winter hat because it's super chilly right now and maybe get a start on another shawl.  I'm also hoping to sew another Sew Over It Heather dress in fleece backed jersey really soon, in fact I'm super cold right now and I'm wishing I'd already sewn that up.  Have a word with yourself past Hannah!

Monday, 8 January 2018

FO: Temptress

Intended to be shawl number 12 of last year's Boo Challenge I actually didn't really have high hopes for this shawl.  I'd already completed enough regular shawls for the challenge and I was using yarn leftover from Dare to Dream so I knew I'd end up giving it away because I don't need 2 shawls made from the same yarn.  So it wasn't with too heavy a heart that I put this project aside, first to join in the Boo Knits halloween MKAL, then to knit little cardigans for my sister's bridesmaids, then to knit everyone winter hats and then to knit Dragonfly Wings when I realised I still needed to knit a triangular shawl to complete the challenge.
Eventually I ran out of reasons not to and picked it back up again and I'm so glad I did.  This is a slightly more complex pattern than some others I've knit, with lace patterning on both the knit and purl rows for a portion of the shawl.  I was really worried that I'd miss those rest rows but it's not too onerous at all as it begins with just the centre section, followed by the centre 3 sections and then finally the entire border has you knitting full on lace on every row.  It's a lovely effect, so totally worth it.  The only issue that I really had was when I couldn't find my 4mm Hiya Hiya sharps and ended up using some mega blunt Knit Pros instead.  Do. Not. Recommend.  The decreases on the purl rows were particularly annoying to complete without a nice pointy point and I would estimate that each row took about 12 times longer than it really needed to.  Clearly the answer would have been to wait for replacements to arrive before continuing but apparently I just prefer to struggle on!  I know where my limits are, however, and realised that a picot bind off with those needles would most likely put me off knitting for life and just went with a stretchy bind off instead.  I have no regrets.
So, I hope you'll agree that this turned out to be beautiful and so I thought it would be a lovely birthday present for my mum.  Her birthday is 4th January, so inconsiderately close to Christmas and I always struggle to choose her a gift so having this finished just in time was fantastic.  She really liked it (thankfully) and it means I'll still get to see it from time to time as as I see my mum all the time.
























Yarn: Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace in Wine Gum with size 6/0 Miyuki beads Metallic Forest Green Iris.  Model: (At her own insistence, I might add) Felicity