Wednesday, 27 April 2016

FO: Simplicity 1693

Seeing as it was looking like spring had truly sprung here it seemed like it was a good time to start working on my warmer weather wardrobe in earnest.  The 2 t-shirts that I recently finished made a good start but I thought I'd go one better and make a sleeveless top in a floaty light fabric next.  Of course that was around about when the weather took a nosedive, so sorry about that England, this shitty weather is all my fault!  Seriously, it snowed yesterday I have no words.
Luckily this little top looks pretty good with a cardigan, is a perfect layering piece and so should get worn all year round.  The pattern, Simplicity 1693, is a one I picked up quite recently and had to sew up almost immediately.  I liked that it would be quick and simple to sew and I can see myself sewing up some of the other views fairly soon too.
I was a bit undecided on the collar for this version, I considered leaving it off but I thought that might be a little plain.  Then I thought maybe I'd make one in self fabric so it was just a subtle detail but in the end I figured I was making a top in orange fabric with floating lanterns on so I'd left subtlety at the door before I even started.  I'm really pleased with how it looks now, the contrast of the collar and ribbon detail works well, if I do say so myself.
Unfortunately the collar itself did give me a bit of a headache.  I dug out a scrap of black viscose I had leftover from a doomed project I recently abandoned and on inspection I decided it might be a bit heavy to work with the orange fabric.  So I ordered some black chiffon and got on with assembling the rest of the top while I waited for it to arrive.  To cut a long story short, the chiffon arrived, I cut it out, it shifted all over the place, my collar looked like I'd made it with my eyes closed and the viscose started to look like a good idea after all!  Other than that the construction of this top was really straightforward.  The neck and armholes are both finished with bias facings, I made some self bias tape which went round the armholes but it was a bit floppy and annoying so I used some black stuff I made ages ago to go around the neck.  The top is fastened with a loop and button at the back, but I can get it on and off without undoing it so I'll either just leave out the opening in future or stitch it shut at the top instead.
Despite thinking that I'd have been better off knitting myself a pair of mitts like my SILs rather than sewing this, I'm glad to have it in my wardrobe ready for when it warms up again.  I may make my next project a sweater though, rather than the summer dress I had my eye on!

Monday, 25 April 2016

FO: Commuter Mitts

I know I've mentioned it before but my Sister-in-Law is completely knitworthy.  As well as being generally awesome she always sends me pictures of my knits in use and often posts photos proudly on Facebook for all to see.  While I don't knit for appreciation and accept that I mostly hand my hard work over for it to never be heard of again, I do love getting little updates like that.  So, when Rachael asked if I'd be able to make her some gloves to keep her hands warm while she is pushing her pram I was only too happy to say yes.
About 3 years ago I made a pair of Dashing mitts for my brother and, as he was refusing to lend them to his wife in case she stole them permanently, I thought I'd make her a pair of her own.  Those of you who are familiar with that pattern will recognise that the mitts above are not all that Dashing at all.  My row gauge, which I'll admit I never measure, must have been way off because by the time I got to the thumb it was clear that they were nearly elbow length.  Not necessarily a problem, but it's April and not really elbow length glove weather.  So I ripped those back, stuck with Knitty and cast on a pair of Commuter Mitts by Stephanie Sun instead.
I've also knit these before, a couple of years ago for my sister (who is ably modelling this pair for me, thanks Jess).  I really like the way they look and  being able to undo the cuff and button it over the fingers is a nice touch.  I didn't bother with the little buttons on the underside with the last pair I made because Jess didn't think she'd actually bother ever using them, but I thought Rachel might really find them useful so I stitched on a pair of tiny hidden apples for her.
All in all, I'm really pleased with these.  They were a quick knit and economical too, made using some Cascade Hollywood leftover from Lissy's Abate sweater.  Rachael seems happy as well, a Facebook post praising their sparkly purpleness and hidden apples appeared with gratifying haste, cementing her status as one of my favourite people to knit for.
Soooo sparkly!

Monday, 18 April 2016

New Look 6216 (again)

With half an eye on MMMay I thought it was time to break out New Look 6216 again and make a couple more basic t-shirts. The grey one I made last year is still one of my favourite things to wear and I think these 2 will get a lot of wear too.

When we were at the Knitting and Stitching Show last year my sister bought some fabric to make her own version of this pattern. Because it looked like she was never going to get round to it I offered to cut out the pieces for her and while I was at it I thought I may as well cut out some fabric for one for me too. I figured that way we could make them together so I could demonstrate without actually messing with her project.
I bought this stripy blue fabric with this particular pattern in mind and I'm really pleased that I did. The stripes themselves are really sheer and slightly sparkly making this shirt a little bit fancier than your ordinary tee. Despite being very careful not to do so I managed to cut the back out slightly wonky so I was worried that the stripes would make that really obvious. I didn't quite have enough fabric to cut another back so I just left it and it looks just fine. My sister's T-shirt turned out nicely too, I'll have to see if I can get her to send me a photo to show off.
My second version was originally going to be another Briar tee, but in the end I decided I wanted a really, really quick project to complete while the fabric for my next project was in the wash. Obviously Briar is hardly a time consuming project but this doesn't even have sleeves to sew on and I already had the pattern out so it seemed even quicker. Of course it all went a bit wrong, but you can't plan for that unfortunately.
To make the project even quicker I thought I'd try adding a hem band, eliminating hemming and creating a cleaner finish. In principal this was a good idea but I need to fiddle with the length of the band a bit next time because it didn't look great. No biggie, I thought, I'll just cut it off (I'd overlocked it and I wasn't unpicking) and the shirt will just end up a little shorter. So I started to cut and got distracted by something or other.... insert your own toddler disaster of choice here... and had to go back to it later. Upon resuming I couldn't seem to find where I'd started cutting despite looking all the way round until I realised I'd have to look further afield and discovered I'd actually cut halfway around one of the sleeve bands. Oops! So I had to lop both of those off too and then sew them back on again before actually cutting off the hem band and hemming the bottom.

The end result is slightly shorter than planned, with slightly shorter sleeves and a wee slim sleeve bands but it looks much better than I'd feared. The fabric is the real star here, it's super glitzy and also really soft and squishy. It all worked out in the end, thankfully and now I have two more t-shirts to keep me from wearing nothing but Lady Skater dresses for the entirety of May!

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Me Made May


Despite the fact that I very much disapprove of the phrase 'me made', I do however like the idea behind it and as I move slowly towards my goal of a handmade wardrobe I thought it would be nice to sign up this year.  So, throughout May I have pledged that I will wear at least one handmade item per day with bonus points if one of the kids is also decked out in something I've made.  I'm pretty sure that I shouldn't have too many problems finding something to wear each day, I have a Lady Skater dress for every day of the week for heavens sake, but it will be interesting to see how much variety I actually have in my handmade wardrobe.  And while panic sewing is not encouraged I will be leaning towards every day staples in the projects that I do have planned between now and the end of May.  The only exception being that I may make a dress for a wedding reception we are going to mid May.  Just because I don't have anything better to do I will be attempting to take a daily outfit shot which I'll be posting on Instagram (find me here if you fancy it) but I won't bore you to death with it here.  So, all the best to everyone else joining in, I think it's going to be fun!

Monday, 4 April 2016

A trio of Briars

Despite finishing all 3 of these tops a few weeks ago it's taken me until today to get photos of all them. Frankly the only one of us who was up for a prolonged photoshoot was Cassie so all of the rest of the photos are of her.

There's not a lot more to say about Briar and me. I wear the first one I made all the time and this version is becoming a wardrobe staple too. The only thing I've realised this time is that I need to reduce the sleeve length a little in future. I didn't really notice this with the first one because the fabric was really lightweight and bunched up a bit. The fabric for this one is much thicker so the sleeves do hang down a bit too far for me. It's quite Spring like round here now though so I'll most likely be making the short sleeved version over the next few months anyway.

Moving swiftly on to the girls T-shirts, both of which I made using Megan Nielsen's Mini Briar pattern. The first thing I will say is that both of these are really roomy. The pattern sizes each cover 2 years so I used 2&3 and 4&5. Both of my girls fall at the bottom end of the age ranges so there is a lot of room for them to grow. Aside from having to roll the sleeves up 3 times they are perfectly wearable and the girls love their cat shirts.

I'm looking forward to making us all some more Briars, the Mini version comes with loads of templates for cute appliqu├ęs (kitty cat elbow patches? Yes please!) which I'm excited to try out. For the moment though I'm getting stuck into jeans making again and hope to have a new pair to share in a few days. See you then!


Tuesday, 29 March 2016

What's in Progress?

Like pretty much the rest of the planet, as far as I can tell, I've been feeling basically terrible for the last few weeks. When I last posted I thought I was beginning to shake it off but I was very, very wrong! A couple of days later I had the shivers and a fever and it's really only the last few days this I've been confident enough to say that I'm on the mend. If anyone else has been suffering you very much have my sympathy because UGH. So mostly I've just been pottering around doing a bit of one project here and a bit of another there when I've been feeling up for it.

In knitting I've been slowly beavering away on the Tauriel pattern by Josiah Bain. I was hoping they'd scratch the cable itch I've been suffering with but I've found they've been requiring a little more concentration than I've had to give recently. Now I'm feeling better they are going a bit faster so hopefully I'll finish them in a week or two. The yarn is Knit Picks Stroll Glimmer which unsurprisingly is a little glittery and is doing a lovely job of cheering the magpie in me right up.

In sewing I'm whipping up (in the very slowest sense of the phrase) another pair of jeans. They're a sort of stone colour, which is a bit boring for me so I decided to jazz them up a bit with some pink top stitching. I'm not regretting it so far. I'm just about to stick the zip fly in so there's not too much to do now.

I've also been spinning, finishing the spinning on a project that has seen me get married, become a homeowner, buy a spinning wheel and have 2 children! This has been spun from 2 batts from Shunklies in a colourway called Monsters Inc. I still need to ply so there's plenty of opportunity yet for more procrastination but I'm hopeful it'll be done this year.

Speaking of procrastination, I did immediately start spinning up these lovely batts while the other singles chill for a day or two. The plan is to spin the first one then ply the Monsters Inc and then I'll spin the second batt and ply them both. I'm really hoping that I can make the finished yarn as pretty as the batts are (Snow Glow by Nunoco), it was almost tempting to just never spin them and keep them to look at.

And today I'll leave you with this pair of Easter bunnies who have been having loads of fun doing Easter crafts this week. I'm loving that they're getting big enough for making little projects like these masks and I'm having great fun planning more things for them to do.


Monday, 14 March 2016

FO: Simplicity 1174

While I have a trio of Briar/Mini Briar's I should be sharing today I haven't managed to get them all photographed yet so I'm skipping ahead a bit to a very special little project.

Today is the day that my precious firstborn turns 4.  This is a massive shock to my system, surely she was only just born!!!!  However, birthday girls need birthday dresses and Cassie is now old enough to choose for herself what she wants so I let her loose in the 'kids' section of my pattern filing cabinet and she very firmly chose Simplicity 1174.  Specifically the version with sleeves and it was very very important that I did not leave off the bows.

Unfortunately we've all been suffering from colds over the last couple of weeks with mine turning into some kind of horrible sinus thing so I kind of left it until the last minute.  Luckily this pattern turned out to be very simple so I managed to put it together in a couple of days even though I felt like an alien was going to come bursting out of my face any second.
Towards the end I was kind of hoping that she'd change her mind about the bows because I am far too lazy for that kind of nonsense but she insisted, of course, and actually they were not that much effort.  I really like the way they look now and I'm glad she insisted.  I'm also completely in love with the fabric.  It's a cotton from Doughty's which I purchased on a whim when I was ordering some denim.  I've got a bit over a metre left so be prepared to see it again!
Projects like this are the kind that really keep me going.  Cassie loves her new dress so much that she wore it for her little family party yesterday and then demanded that she wore it again today to go to preschool.  Making my little girl happy on her birthday is just the best feeling and I hope that she'll continue to ask me to make things for her and be proud to wear them as she gets older.