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Sunday, 10 June 2018

Salted

Despite vowing not to have too many projects on the needles at any one time every now and again I put something aside for what seems like a very good reason and then it gets forgotten until I suddenly wonder whatever happen to it.  This project is one of those projects.  According to Ravelry I cast Salted by Alicia Plummer on in May 2016, long enough ago that I now have absolutely no idea why I stopped knitting it or really any idea about knitting most of it. I vaguely remember putting it aside while I was working on the lace at the top and then picking it back up a bit later to complete that and then I thought I’d put it aside again because I got bored with working the first sleeve but on picking it back up again I can see that I had only actually worked 2 rounds on the sleeve so I clearly didn’t give that a fair go!  Embarrassingly it only took me a very few days to finish off the sleeves so I’m a bit perplexed as to why I didn’t just get on and finish it 2 years ago.  Of course I hadn't noted on my project page which size I had been knitting or which needle sizes I'd gone with so a good bit of that time was spent working out what I was actually supposed to be doing which wouldn't have been a problem if I'd just got on and knit it in one hit.  Seriously, get it together 2 years ago Hannah!

Unfortunately the answer to that is lost in the mists of time but as I was looking for a quick project to fit in before the OAL started it seemed like a perfect moment to actually finish this off.  I must say that June wasn’t really the best time to be the proud owner of a newly completed sweater but the yarn (DROPS Belle) is a cotton, viscose, linen mix so not too overly warm.  The weather we have been experiencing recently has been a little….. changeable shall we say with some days managing to show case all 4 seasons in a 24 hour period so I have managed to get some wear out of it.  On the day I took these pictures we were experiencing a rather exciting thunderstorm which led to me taking this picture just as a very loud bang happened!
LOOOOOL!
There’s not really much more I can say about this, I think it was pretty straightforward to knit but I don’t remember most of it.  I know the sleeves were fine though.  I opted not to bother finishing the neckline in any way (the pattern gives you the choice) because I thought it looked fine when I tried it on and I just wanted to finally finish.  I’m really pleased with how it turned out, it’s a bit slouchy and casual but not too much so.  I like the lace at the top a lot and I’m really in love with the colour.  I think this will be a really useful in the Autumn when it’s just starting to cool down but hopefully I’ll get some use out of it on cooler evenings throughout the summer because now I’ve finally finished it I really do want to wear it!

Friday, 8 June 2018

Tilly and the Buttons Frankie T-Shirt

After a bit of waffling over whether to or not I recently bought Tilly Walnes new book Stretch.  I felt like I didn’t really need an introduction to sewing with knits, I’m already pretty competent in that area, but some of the patterns looked up my alley so I went ahead and got it.  My first project was going to be the Joni dress, a fit and flare affair with a twist in the upper front bodice, but it suddenly got really warm here and I decided that a dress with sleeves was not what I wanted so I went for the Frankie baseball T-shirt instead.

I first went about trying out the pattern in some slightly horrible red fabric that I wouldn’t be sad to lose if the size was wrong.  Unfortunately it turned out fine and now I feel compelled to actually wear it on occasion even though I don’t like it!  I have no problem with the way it looks but the fabric is really shiny and think and feels sweaty and weird.  When Stu was hanging it up to dry he commented how surprisingly heavy it was for a t-shirt, it’s really very odd.

Frankie no.2, however, is much nicer.  I chose this yellow fabric, which is described on The Textile Centre website as a sports jersey because I’m in a bit of a yellow phase at the moment.  It’s lovely and soft, smooth on the outside with a loopy texture on the inside a bit like sweatshirting but not warm at all.

I had little trouble with the construction of these tops.  I pretty much glanced at the instructions, noted the order of construction and went for it.  I’m sure the directions are brilliants and very detailed but I had no need to wade through them so I didn’t really read them.  The only issue I had is that the neckline on the yellow one is a bit puckered but that mostly happened because I did my topstitching a little further from the neckband than I normally do and I will unpick it and do it more carefully at some point when I can be bothered.  It’ll do for now.  The raglan sleeves were really easy to stick in and even the curved hem didn’t give me any trouble so I’d say that this is a really easy project that can be completed in an afternoon.  I can see me making a few of these, I think it would be especially nice under something like the Pippi pinafore I made a few weeks ago due to the slightly fitted shape.

All in all this is a nice little wardrobe builder of the type I’m sorely in need of and a few of these will certainly help towards my goal of sewing some more seperates.  Hopefully the rest of the patterns in the book will be as useful as this one but I’m already pleased I bought it.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Challenges past, present and future

Just a quick catch up post today, I've got a couple of finished projects to get up over the next few days but I thought I'd pop in with a few thoughts and plans for now.

Me Made May finished a few days ago and although I initially wasn't going to bother this year I made a last minute decision to participate.  I felt like it wasn't really too much of a challenge and that I didn't have too much to learn that hadn't already come up over the last 2 years, but I thought I'd feel left out if I didn't do it so here we are!  In a lot of ways I didn't really learn much I didn't already know, i.e I have loads of dresses and not enough separates.  This year seemed to really hammer home that point and I'm really resolved to actually deal with that situation over the coming months.  I think the weather here this May was incredibly variable so I wasn't able to coast through the month in sun dresses and little cardigans and found myself having to mix self made and shop bought separates on cooler and wet days.
This leads me nicely on to this year's Outfit Along which runs throughout June and July.  In a nutshell the idea is to knit a garment and sew another garment to make an outfit.  In previous years I've sewn dresses and knitted cardigans and made some lovely outfits (except for last year I sewed a dress, hated it and then lost all motivation to finish the coordinating cardigan) but this year I figured it would be much more useful to do a top and bottom combo.

The official patterns this year are the new pattern from Untangling Knots, Waters and the True Bias' Lander Pants.  These aren't really for me so I'm planning to knit Lycka from Knitty S/S last year and the Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans, although this is subject to change!  Before the OAL began I decided to try out the Ginger pattern to see how much work needed to be done in terms of fitting.  I finished that pair a couple of days ago and they are just straight up too large so I'll be trying them again in a smaller size and see if that does the trick.  If not I'll go with my plan B which is to make a Grainline Moss skirt instead and keep working on the Ginger jeans in the background until I get the fit right.
Ordinarily I like to shoot for 2 outfits during the OAL, it's 2 months long so it's doable but the next Boo Knits MKAL is happening in July and I won't be missing that so my personal OAL deadline will be the end of June.  The MKAL is entitled Dreamscape and calls for 3 colourways of fingering yarn using a mixture of solid, semi solids and speckles.  The 'official' yarn is Skein Queen Wiggle and there are some really beautiful kits available for this MKAL but I decided these were a little pricey for me so I ended up ordering this combo from Knit Picks instead.  Obviously I have no idea how this is going to turn out given that this is a mystery knit a long, but these colours are all making me happy so I'm good.
So I think that's all I've got going on knit/sewalongwise at the moment unless anyone has any recommendations!  (Seriously don't, I just can't help myself!)


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!