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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


Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Happy New Year

Wow it's 2018 already!  I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas period and is looking forward to a brand new year.  We had a lovely christmas, the girls are at an age where the magic is very much still present and that makes it so much fun for everyone.  Also they looked completely adorable in their matching Christmas dresses that I made for them (Butterick 6434 in case you wanted to know)
2018 should be a good year.  Cassie will turn 6 which means that she will be sooo grown up apparently!  Felicity will be 4 in a matter of days and so she will be starting school in September.  That will mean that I will be able to go back to working during the daytime after 6 years of working mostly evenings.  That will be a very good thing!

As it's the beginning of a new year I am naturally looking ahead to the projects that I want to complete this year as well as those that I don't really want to complete that I really should (sweater for Stu I'm looking at you!).  This year is probably going to look much like last year, at least knittingwise as after successfully completing the Boo Knits 2017 challenge with one shawl to spare I decided to go ahead and sign up for the 2018 challenge.  It's very similar to last year's challenge to knit 10 Boo Knits shawls in a year except that this year we need to finish 11.  I finished 11 in 2017 and I still completed many other projects besides so I'm thinking this shouldn't be too hard.  Here are 2017's Boos in all their glory.

Unfortunately I did have one left uncompleted which won't count for either challenge.  I finished knitting it today, 2 days after the deadline.  TWO DAYS!!! So hopefully I'll have that blocked and blogged by the end of the week and hopefully by them I will have decided which shawl I'm going to begin this year's challenge with.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

OAL 2017

June arrives tomorrow and with comes the OAL, or Outfit Along, which is a really fantastic challenge that I love to take part in. The idea is to sew one garment and knit another to make an outfit.

For the last two years I have knit cardigans and sewn dresses and this year will be no different. If this took place in winter then I would probably sew jeans and knit a sweater but for this time of year I'll stick to dresses and cotton cardigans. This year the official patterns are the new Untangling Knots cardigan Anaheim and the By Hand London Kim dress. I'm really loving the cardigan and I'm going to knit that but I'm not wanting to make the dress so I spent a bit of time perusing my pattern collection to find the perfect dress for this cardigan.

In the end I settled on Colette's Hazel dress. I've made it twice before and really like it but I've been wanting to make one with stripes for ages to really make the most of the seaming on the bodice. I've chosen a black, white and green striped cotton which i hope will look super and for the cardigan I've gone for a simple black cotton because it matches my fabric and also because little black cardigans are so useful for me. I can't wait to get started! The OAL runs from tomorrow until the end of July and I hope to be finished long before then and maybe even complete a second outfit. We'll see how it goes though.



Sunday, 7 May 2017

Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress

Fresh from making the Sew Over It Nancy I decided to make another of their patterns that I've had for a while and not made up yet, the Vintage Shirt Dress.

I've been wanting to make a shirt dress for a while and I have several patterns in my stash, but I started with this one because it is relatively simple compared to some of the other I have.  I decided to make the sleeveless version of this for several reasons.  Firstly because it will be nice for the summer but also easy to slip a cardigan over if it is chilly, secondly because it would be quicker to make, thirdly due to the sleeves too tight issues I've had recently and lastly because I just prefer the look of this dress without sleeves.
I bought the PDF of this pattern, so my first job was to print it and stick it together.  Because I was making version 2 I went ahead and printed the file entitled PDF 2, a not too taxing 32 sheets to assemble.  However once I'd finished I realised that I was without several key pieces and upopn further investigation I reallised that I'd just printed the 2nd PDF of 2, both of which were needed.  Cue me begrudgingly sticking together another 32 sheets.  After all that I made sure to trace all of my pieces so that I would never have to go through that again if I needed a different size!

With regards to size I ended up choosing the size 10 which is the size I'd used for Nancy and Heather.  They'd both fit fine everywhere instead of the sleeves but I wasn't sure if that was due to a larger amount of ease included in those looser fitting patterns.  This looked as if it might fit closer so I considered sizing up but ultimately stuck with the 10.  I'm glad I did because I would even say that this is a shade too big.  It certainly doesn't nip in at the waist as much as I would like so I need to have a look at the fit as a whole before I make another to see if I need to size down or whether to just bring the waist in a little.

This was a very quick and simple dress to make and I'm really pleased with how it looks, except for one tiny little error that I made very early on in the process.  Can you see it?
Can you see it now?
Yep, I chose this lovely cotton fabric with cute little cottages, farm animals and adorable dog walking men and the first thing I do it cut it out upside down!!!!!
I could say this was an entirely selfish move because it's the right way up for me to see when I'm wearing it and because the print is quite small no one has actually noticed until I've pointed it out, but I still feel like a massive doofus.  Mostly I'm hoping that people will be too mesmerised by my super sparkly buttons to notice!  Ah well, it's a talking point, to be sure and no one else will ever have one like it which is entirely the point of sewing one's own clothes I suppose.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

2017 Boo Challenge: Almost Autumn

Hiya!  I'm gonna keep this one short and sweet because I've knit this pattern before and there's not all that much to say.
I previously knit this in grey Knit Picks Gloss Lace and, while I do love it and wear it, it is a bit small and the yarn hasn't really held the block as well as I would like so I knew I'd knit it again before too long.  This time I used Fyberspates Gleem Lace in the Lundy Island colourway which is absolutely beautiful.  The overall effect is a light greeny colour but there are lots of subtle shades within that which I really enjoyed as I was knitting.  The yarn, 50% silk and 50% BFL felt really lovely as it ran through my fingers and the finished shawl feels equally lovely and has blocked wonderfully.
Last time I only included one repeat of the main lace pattern, so this time I decided to do two to make a bigger shawl.  If I'm honest I was a bit surprised about how huge this actually turned out but having wrapped it round me I'm definitely feeling the love for it's hugeness!  I'm not sure I'd want to make all my shawls this size because it did feel like I'd be knitting it forever but I'd definitely like a few more bigguns in my collection.
The only thing I don't love about knitting this pattern is that you only start adding beads in the last few rows.  It's not really a complaint at all, but I do so love adding beads and the anticipation was starting to get a bit much towards the end.  The beads are Toho size 6 in gold lined black diamond.  I had a bit of trouble picking beads because of all the colours in the yarn, but these are fairly neutral and the sparkle of them keeps them from being lost entirely.  I like to switch between having my beads stand out and be the star of the show and having them act in a supporting role like here.
I can see me knitting this again in the future, I've had a lot of compliments on this one and I'm contemplating making the next one as a gift for someone special.....  For the mean time though I'm one clue in to the Just Be You MKAL and I've cast on another Boo Shawl for the gaps in between clues so my needles are pretty busy.
P.S.  It's my birthday today!  Happy Birthday to me and May the Fourth be with you!