Wednesday, 20 May 2015

What's WIPing and a new challenge

Not much new is happening on the crafting front here at the moment, I'm either plodding along on the same projects or in the preparation stages of new ones.

In knitting, I'm nearing the home straight on my Nathalie. I've finished the main body, which is great news because it was starting to get a bit unwieldy. I've just got the sleeves left, which I will probably do two at a time just to be sure they're the same length. I'd been worrying a bit about the size of this thing, it's always looked sort of massive, although I think it is because the lace part sort of crumples up when you wear it and takes up less space than it seems. I thought it was time to put Headless Hannah to good use and pinned it on her and see what I thought.

Not bad huh? Roomy, but not enormous. I'm happy with that.

In sewing, Cassie's little hat hasn't really had much of a look in. I finally got the hat top and sides of the lining to come together in a way I was happy with but I keep catching my eye on less fiddly projects. I really should get on with it though because we're heading off on our holidays in a couple of weeks and it would be nice for her to have it. We're staying in England though, so maybe I should be making her a raincoat!

I'm also just about to start cutting out for my first proper overlocker project which is a jersey dress from an old Burda mag (2/2007 to be precise). It's taken me a while to get round to tracing it because the pattern pieces are much bigger than my table and I'm too lazy to deal with that sort of nonsense, on top of which I need to add seam allowances. I do like a lot of the patterns in the Burda mags, but sometimes I wonder why I do this to myself!

And finally, in addition to all this I'm also preparing for the upcoming Outfit Along, which is basically a challenge to knit an item of clothing and sew another to make up an outfit. If you fancy taking part head to either of the blogs in the banner above or the Untangling Knots Ravelry group. I've already cut the pieces for a muslin for a dress and I'll be swatching for a cardigan soon. I'll share the details once I know whether my chosen patterns are a go. The fun starts at the beginning of June!


Monday, 18 May 2015

FO: Burda Style 3/2014 #115

What's this? As if posting every day for the last 7 days wasn't enough, I'm back for more? It's true! Partly it's because I've got into the habit now, but mostly it's because I haven't been idle while blog week was going on and I have an FO. Firstly though, a big thanks to everyone who participated in blog week, either by posting or by reading or commenting. It was a really fun week, the focus was a lot more on us as people this year so I really feel like I've got to know you all better. Right, crashing on....

Is this thing on?

I made jeans!

Not particularly well fitting or spectacularly cool jeans

But jeans nonetheless. I'm viewing these as one in a series, leading me up to a perfect pair. The pattern, from last March's Burda Mag, has been on my to make list for ages. It's the sewing lesson pattern, which means that the instructions are considerably better than usual, although there were still a few headscratchers in there. I took my usual approach of following them as far as I could and googling anything that was unclear. The front fly being a particular example, although I'm still a little unhappy with that.

So, bad news first, things that need improving for next time:

  • My sad frowny crotch, the length and depth need fiddling with.
  • My knees. A lot of my jeans have baggy knees so this isn't a surprise. I removed about 3" from the length but I think I need to look more carefully about where I need to take it from
  • The fly. It went in easily but the zip pull shows a bit so I need to be more careful next time
  • The waistband. Just ugh. This was my second waistband as the first one was too short and I think I'd lost the will to live before sewing on the second one.
  • The buttonhole. Let's just not talk about it.

Good stuff!

  • I made jeans!
  • The insides look great. I got to take my overlocker for a spin and I loves it. Finishing seams is so fast now!
  • The length is pretty spot on.
  • I'm really pleased with my pockets and top stitching. I only did one row of top stitching, I'll add a second next time.
  • They didn't take me very long at all. I'm definitely starting to find this whole sewing thing a bit easier now.

I'm counting these as a win overall, most of the issues can be covered with a long tshirt, except for the kness but as discussed I often have baggy knees so no one will notice! They're pretty comfortable so they'll be perfect for work and kicking around with the kids....speaking of whom, I'll leave you today with the the biggest pout in the South East, this child cracks me up!

It's MY broom!


Sunday, 17 May 2015

Day Seven: Your Time, Your Place

Where and how do you take time out to knit and/or crochet? Maybe you don’t take time out at all and instead have your needles twirling as you try to juggle a multitude of other tasks with no ‘spare’ time to think of. Maybe you enjoy nothing more than to crochet whilst winding down from a yoga session, chatting with some friends in a nearby cafe.

Whether social or solitary, tell readers about your crafting time and space, and where you either most enjoy (or can simply find a few snatched moments) to turn yarn into something even more beautiful.

I think that the timelapse videos that I shared on Friday tells you pretty much all that you need to know about where and when I do my knitting. Essentially I just keep a project close to hand, but safely out of reach, so that when I spot an opportunity I can just go for it. Sometimes I only get a few stitches done before one little girl or the other desperately needs me right now this second, but often I'm very lucky and they play nicely together for large stretches of time.

Excuse the bum butterfly, we're potty training!

Now that the weather is starting to improve I'm looking forward to a spot of outdoor knitting. On Fridays my parents look after my girls in the morning while I work and then I join them for the afternoon. It's nice to sit in the garden, watch the kiddies play and knit, knowing that there are other people around to keep an eye out for toddler shenanigans if I get too engrossed in my stitches.

When the girls are not home, or Stu is home to keep an eye on them, I usually take the opportunity to do a bit of spinning or sewing. Knitting I can easily do with them around but the spinning wheel is too much of a temptation for them and I don't need them anywhere near the iron. We've pretty much turned the dining room into a bit of a craft nook, with a healthy dose of junk that doesn't fit anywhere else, but it's a reasonable little space and I appreciate not having to put everything away at the end of every session.

Although I don't always get as much uninterrupted time for making as I'd like I'm frequently surprised by how productive I can be. I mostly knit projects stitch by stitch rather than row by row, but I've accepted this and if I waited until I was sure I could complete a complete row then I would never finish anything. Picking my needles up, even if I just knit one stitch, is far more productive than never picking them up at all. I'm sure there's some kind of life lesson in that, but I'm just here to talk about knitting!


Saturday, 16 May 2015

Day Six: Polls Apart

Almost every blogging platform offers a way to easily put together and host a poll, and polls, surveys and questionnaires can be a great way of engaging with your audience and readership. There are times when readers do not feel that they want or have time to think, compose and post an answer or response to a post, but short polls can often be completed with just a few clicks.
Importantly, survey findings and poll results can give bloggers an absolutely wonderful source of information to blog about. Whether you are looking at basic statistics of the percentage of knitters, crocheters and those who enjoy both or the results of a more opinion-led set of questions, you will be gathering a greater understanding of your readers and may find out some surprising results.
Much as I was tempted to have a bit of fun today and ask frivolous questions about what your favorite toast topping are (because toast is very important!), I feel like I would be missing a golden opportunity to find out a bit about people's blog reading habits.  Let's go!

Friday, 15 May 2015

Day Five: Something a Bit Different

It’s the annual challenge to blog in a way different to how you normally blog. You may choose to create a podcast, or vlog, create a wordless post, a beautiful infographic or write in verse. You can post on any topic you like, but be sure to post in a style different from your usual blog presentation. There’s not too much guidance for this one simply because the more varied the posts are on this day, the wider the sources of information for other bloggers will be.

I had the idea for this a while back and was really pleased because I'm normally trying to think what to do for this topic right up to the last minute. I'm really pleased that it actually fits in nicely with Day 7 when we'll be looking at the spaces which we knit in. Using the time lapse option on my iPad camera I pressed record to capture what happens when I sit down to knit. I took a few videos over the course of a few days and here are a couple of them.

Timelapse5 from Hannah Smith on Vimeo.

Timelapse4 from Hannah Smith on Vimeo.
In future I'd like to capture me knitting a small project like this, it would be so so fun to watch it grow before my eyes. I'll definitely have to wait until the girlies are out though, if you've just watched my videos I'm sure you can understand why!

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Day Four: Bags of Fun

Time to delve into that most treasured collection of tools notions and oddments as you are asked to spill the contents of your knitting or crochet bag, caddy of other method of organisation and put your crafting unmentionables on display.

As someone who struggles to keep WIPs to a minimum I, of course, have a collection of project bags in use at any one time.  I like to think of them as a little family, made up of different shapes and sized and all useful for different things.  Not only do their contents vary wildly from bag to bag, but also from project to project as I empty out everything I needed for the previous project and begin anew when I cast on again.  Most will contain a tape measure, all the needles I'll need and as much of the yarn for the project as will fit.

  1. KnowKnits Goknit Pouch, my primary sock bag.  Has useful poppered loops for keeping the yarn in check and attaching to belt loops.  Starting to get a bit worn now.
  2. Handmade sock bag, unlined so the needles poke through, probably needs replacing. 
  3. Handmade sock bag, this one is lined and is actually quite nice.
  4. Bag for smaller projects that are larger than socks.  Good for hats, gloves, cowls and shawls.  This one alone contains permanent bits and bobs because it is quite fiddly to open and close so there's little danger of the kids getting in there and getting hold of my scissors and stitch markers.  Sooo many pointy things and choking hazards in this bag!
  5. Large project bag.  Another handmade bag, it even has wadding in it to make it stand up nicely and to minimise needle pokeage.  I can fit a sweater and all of the yarn in here and I'm quite happy to fling it behind the sofa when the kids are getting grabby because everything stays nice and snug in there.  This one is also quite tricky to open due to the wholly unsuitable ribbon I chose for a drawstring (it's a string that really doesn't draw) so it's quite secure.
While I don't actually keep much in my project bags, I keep this little box of tricks close to hand....well on a high shelf nearby really.  I got this for a few quid off Amazon and really it has pretty much everything in it that I like to have to hand.  The only things I added were one of the little key thingys for my interchangeable needles and a yarn ring for colourwork.  It doesn't have a tape measure because I threw that away.  Much as I was tempted to keep a tape measure that had inches that were actually an inch and a half and we all have days where that would cheer us up I'm sure, it seemed irresponsible to keep it around in case it got used by mistake!

So despite having a multitude of bags on the go at once, I'm actually realising I'm more organised than I thought.  Go me!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Day Three: Experimental Photography and Image Handling for Bloggers

I often struggle with this topic, photography is not my strong point and the places I have to take photos are a bit rubbish.  So with that in mind I thought I would take some of my old project photos and have a little fun.

Meet Thomas Waghorn, postal pioneer and resident statue near the train station in my home town of Chatham.  Poor old Thomas is one of those unfortunate statues who is wearing a traffic cone on his head more often than he isn't.

Maybe he'd like a nice woolly hat instead, this one is sort of cone shaped so it shouldn't feel like too much of a departure.

Or how about a balaclava shaped like a chili?

Ooh, now this one is definitely you, Mr Waghorn!

Hmm, maybe not, but that was far too much fun and with my new photo messing skills I will totally be sending my knits around the world before too long.  Watch this space!