Saturday, 3 October 2015

FOs: Spinning edition

It's been spinning central round here recently. With my sewing machines out of action and the enthusiasm which comes from picking up something that you haven't done for ages I've really quickly finished 3 skeins of yarn. I'm also most of the way through another 100g, but that's for a swap so that's all I'm saying about that today.

This is the fibre I was chain plying in my last post, all finished around four years after I started spinning it! Rather gratifyingly it's turned out to be just lovely, when a project takes so long from start to finish it would be so disappointing for it to be disappointing. I'm also pleased it turned out so well as the hand dyed top that I started with was really lovely and I'd have hated for it to be a bit meh. It came from FeltStudio's Etsy shop, which I can highly recommend, I love the colours and the fibre is always beautifully soft and open and fluffy. I've spun (and finished) this sparkly BFL blend before to make this hat and loved it just as much then.

A trawl through my archives found this photo of the top in 2011!

This yarn is much thinner than one however, I'm estimating it to be around a light fingering weight and I've got around 350m. Maybe some sparkly socks or something pretty for around the neck?

The South American fibre sitting on bobbins awaiting plying in the last post is also finished. At that point I had a second 100g awaiting spinning. I've now finished the whole lot, so that's nice.

There's not a whole lot to say about it that I haven't already said. I'm quite pleased with the way the colours barber pole together and the striping of the purple and orange strand is nice. Overall I think I prefer the purple sections and I'm considering dyeing up some more fibre in similar colours.

This yarn is around a DK weight and again I've got around 350m. I'm quite keen to try and squeeze out a little sweater for Lissy, but I'll definitely have to get going before she gets too much bigger or I won't have enough yarn.

While the spinning phase is continuing I'm really hoping to get my sewing machines up and running this weekend. I hate having a half finished dress hanging around as well as two more projects that are cut out and getting mixed up and sat on by my cats. It great when your clothes are all hairy before you've even made them! I hope everyone else has a nice weekend :)


Friday, 25 September 2015

What's in Progress - Craft Edition

As promised here’s a little rundown of what I’m working on right now.  Without further ado, lets go.

Knitting.  I’m working on a couple of things at the moment, I’d been trying to work exclusively on my Driftwood because it’s definitely getting a bit autumnal round here but I managed to misplace my 4th and 5th 5.5mm dpns which made life a little difficult.  I probably wasn’t looking very hard for them as Stu found one a few days later and then Felicity suddenly appeared brandishing the other a day later, but hey ho, I can get on with it now.  It gave me a few days to work on my super sneaky blankie project, which I am loving knitting and hating not being able to share for now.

Sewing.  I loved the New Look 6262 pattern that I made up recently so much that I’ve already gone back for round 2.  This is actually the dress that I originally planned to make but I couldn’t quite squeeze all the pattern pieces on the fabric.  Because the first dress was a little too roomy I’ve cut the smallest size this time and as luck would have it I have enough fabric for the slightly smaller version. Yay!  Progress on this has been entirely stalled  by the refurbishment of the dining room so it’s sitting by the sewing machine with only one side of the zip sewn while I wait for a power cable that will reach my machines.  Then I just need to whizz up the other side of the zip, do the facings and the sleeves and the hems.

Spinning.  Yes, spinning!  I bet you forgot I did that!  One of the main ideas behind the dining room redesign was so that we could make it really safe for the girls, allowing them the freedom to come and go from that room.  Up until then we’d had a baby gate at the door to the kitchen which blocked them from the kitchen and dining room.  So far it’s been great and I’ve found that they largely stay away from my wheel now it’s less of a novelty so I’ve really rediscovered spinning over the last few days.  That’s not to say that I haven’t had a few disagreements with disgruntled toddlers about whether they should be touching the spinny thing but we're definitely getting there.  Cassie and I have come to an agreement that she can touch any of the bits that aren’t moving and she seems quite content to sit opposite me with one finger on the back of the bobbin holder and Felicity has become a bit more wary since she stuck her finger in between the spokes which I was spinning.  And that folks, is how you prick your finger on a spinning wheel!  I’ve mostly been spinning up some South American fibre that I hand dyed a wee while ago, I’ve done the first 100g with 100g left, and that is just having a little sit before I ply it up.  In the meantime I’m plying some singles that I spun at least 4 years ago and has been sitting in my corner of shame ever since.

The fibre was a lovely braid of BFL and sparkles that I got from FeltStudio and I spun it up on one of my drop spindles.  I really loved the colours and didn’t want to mix them so I had my first stab at chain plying on a drop spindle.  Let’s just say that it did not go well but I was determined so I set about pre-chaining the singles so that I could add the twist in a separate step later.  Believe it or not that turned out to be really tedious and I did about half of it over a few sessions before I gave up entirely.  Fast-forward to yesterday and I finally realised that I have some beautiful yarn just sat there waiting to be finished and that I was stupid to keep putting it off.  I didn’t need to keep pre-chaining it, I could just break it off, run the pre-chained stuff through the wheel and then have another go at chain plying which turns out to be much easier for me using a wheel.  I’m so happy this is nearly done although I do feel intense shame at having it left so long.  And so, after barely spinning at all in ages I should have 2 skeins of finished yarn to show you in the next few days, how exciting!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

What's in Progress - Home edition

There's lots going on here at the moment, hence this is a WIP post rather than and FO post!

The biggest work in progress that we have currently is our house and we are giving it some well deserved TLC at the moment.  Some day I'll write a whole post about it, but the short version is that we bought the place nearly 4 years ago for a pretty good price because it needed work doing on it.  Mostly this was all cosmetic because it was looking pretty dated, but there were also things that we wanted to do to improve it even if they weren't strictly necessary.  This summer we did some sums and spoke to the bank and got a small mortgage extension so that we could replace the aged back boiler, get a new bathroom and landscape the front garden.  We were also going to get a new front porch but that turned out to be a really expensive job so Stu decided to try and spruce it up a bit himself and then the entire thing basically crumbled off the front of the house. The previous owner had basically bodged in together with things he'd found from god knows where and we definitely feel like we're better off without it now.  So the last week or so has basically revolved around workmen and the preschool runs with very little time for much else.
Stu also decided that now was the perfect time to make some big changes to the dining room too.  Why not eh, in for a penny, in for a pound or so they say.  Our dining room has basically been a library/craft room/home gym/crap storage room for years so we've completely rethought the whole thing so we can actually use it for those things, rather than all the different stuff competing for space.
Basically we've taken down the bookshelves that took up the whole of the far wall and replaced them with high up shelves after weeding the book collection severely.  We've also added a lovely long worktop with an extra wide bit at the end to give me a bit more space for cutting out fabric.  Stu has also bolted some sort of contraption for his exercises to the wall meaning that he can move his weights bench out of the way too.  This has all freed up enough space for use to actually use the dining table for eating and is a great space for the girls to play too.  Right now I'm sitting at the table typing this on my laptop while they play playdough.  There's still a lot to do and loads of stuff to find permanent homes for.  The first priority is to find an extension lead so that I can get my sewing machines plugged in as soon as possible, I've got a dress with one side of the zip sewn in and it's making me twitchy not being able to finish it!
"I like this thingy Mummy"
I have managed to squeeze in a little craft time so I'll be back soon with a What's in Progress - Craft Edition really soon.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

FOs: New Look 6216 and Grainline Moss

Hello everybody, today I'm here to share with you the most boring piece of clothing I have ever made. Settle down and feast your eyes upon my grey t-shirt!
I swear this looks way less wonky when I'm not awkwardly posing for the camera!

It has everything you'd want out of a grey t-shirt. It's grey, it fits and it goes with most of my stuff. Hooray! It was also really quick to make and uses hardly any fabric. Double hooray! I attempted to make it a little more interesting by adding a pocket but I didn't do a great job of sewing it on and the placing was really weird so it ended up covering the side of one boob before disappearing under my armpit so I took it straight off again. The pattern also has a long sleeved version and one without the sleeve bands and I can see myself trying those out soon too. More boring t-shirt posts coming up soon then, please contain yourselves.

Just to try and marginally raise the interest level of this post I thought I'd throw in another recent FO. Made from a pattern I've used quite recently and leftover fabric from my last project this is also quite boring but probably a step up from a grey t-shirt.
Check out how nicely the dogs line up at the top of my fly, a happy accident!
 After finishing Cassie's trousers I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had enough fabric left to make a Moss Skirt for me. Seeing as I only bought 1 metre I was really quite impressed. I made the pocket linings and the inside of the waistband out of some scraps from another project though because my metre didn't quite stretch that far. I'm really pleased with this skirt, apart from a little whoops with the pockets it's really neatly constructed and the front fly is much better than on my last one. I used a proper jeans button on this one too as well so it looks really fancy. It looks pretty good with my very interesting grey t-shirt too. Hooray for outfits!

Friday, 4 September 2015

WIP: Driftwood

Don't mind me, just hanging out in my half knitted jumper!
I’ve been charging along on my Driftwood and I’ve now been able to try it on and see how I like it.  Obviously the addition of sleeves and the neck band will make a world of difference but it’s looking ok so far don’t you think?  This has been a really quick and easy knit so far and it’s been nice to see it growing before my eyes, not like those knits that seem to just not get any bigger no matter how much time you put in.  I always think that stripes help with that, especially where plain stockinette is involved because each stripe is a milestone that helps you see you’re making progress.

So that's that.  I'll be putting this aside for a few days to do a bit of test knitting and to put a few rows in on a very secret blanket project I'm working on.  In non project news, Cassie started preschool yesterday.  Safe to say it was a resounding success and she's very happy to be going back today.  When we first arrived there she suddenly lost her nerve and I thought she might not want me to go, but as soon as she say the table with the play dough on she was off and didn't look back.  I was really pleased how easy it was but pretty sad that she didn't even say goodbye.  Then I had to deal with a Felicity fit because she was upset that she didn't also get to stay and play with the play dough!  When we went back to get Cassie she actually burst into very loud tears when she saw me because she didn't want to go home with boring old mummy.  Oh well.
My big beautiful girl :)

Monday, 31 August 2015

FO: Burda 9449 for Made Up Initiative

A few days a go I pledged to make a pair of trousers for Cassie as part of my donation to the Made Up Initiative and I'm pleased to say that they are done and boy are they cute!

I used Burda 9440 which includes shorts, trouser and cropped trousers to fit ages 2-7.  Cassie chose the full length trousers because she like the flowery fabric on the pattern envelope.  She had a little trouble understanding that hers would be different, but I was happy she chose the longer ones as Autumn starts to loom.  All in all there's not much to say about these, they're pretty simple kecks for a child and I'll be making a pair of these for the girls every time there's fabric left over from making trousers for me.  I did, however, learn a few lessons during the course of this project.

  1. Trust your instincts.  Before I began I wasn't really sure why trousers for a 3 year old needed and elastic waist and a zip fly.  I went ahead and sewed the zip in (twice, Burda directions struck again!) and she can get them on and off without opening them no trouble.
  2. Don't get cocky.  Just because you've sewn several waistbands on to fly fronted trousers doesn't mean you can completely ignore the directions.  There was a reason the waistband was so long and checking before chopping off the excess might have been a good idea.  Subsequently there was no room for a buttonhole but because these don't need to open a small snap did the trick. Phew.
  3. When using a safety pin to guide elastic through a waistband channel it is generally good idea to remove it before sewing the channel shut!
  4. Upon finishing a project for your child they will declare loudly that they don't like and cry while you try it on them.  Do not expect gratitude.
So that's that.  I can't wait to see what everyone else made.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

FO: New Look 6262

I was tempted to call this project a WIP as I'm really seeing it as a first step towards a much better dress, but after I'd taken photographs of it I realised that I really like it, despite it's little problems.  I always feel a bit like I'm being super picky and negative when I point out all of the flaws in the things I make or that I'm being too self deprecating.  However, I want to keep getting better and to make better things and acknowledging when things aren't perfect is definitely a part of that.  Also I don't want anyone looking at my photos and wondering if I really think I made this dress in the right size!
And really, that is all that's wrong with it.  Normally I don't mind things a little loose, it gives me a bit of room for chocolate biscuits, but this is a little big all over.  The bodice is just a smidge too long and the extra room all round makes the back of the dress droop down.  This is mostly helped by wearing a belt to hold everything where it should be.  The bust darts are a little too low as well giving me loads of extra room just under my boobs.  Sexy!  I think most of this will be solved by making a smaller size although I'll get my ruler out next time just to be sure.

Oh and then there's this.
The world's least invisible invisible zip (invisizip?).  I rarely use invisizips (yep, I'm running with it) because I have no real problem with people knowing I have a zip in my clothes and I have a massive stash of ordinary zips.  This pattern called for an invisizip and I thought I hadn't done one in ages and I could use the practice if I had a suitable one in stock.  The only one I had that matched was much shorter than I needed, but a quick pinning and trying on told me that I would be able to get in the dress if I used the short zip.  So far so good.  And then I got out the requisite foot for my sewing machine and everything went wrong.
Yep, I appear to have ended up with the drunk version which apparently thinks that its ok to have the bar thingy that attaches to the machine way over to one side!  Apparently my tiny brain was completely unable to compensate for it's wonkeyness and my stitching ended up all kinds of nowhere near the zip teeth.  The whole experience was a bit too trying for me, especially as the zip teeth also weren't feeding through the grooves properly either and the thought of doing it again was making me stabbity.  Its really neat and even, despite the fact that it shouldn't be seen, so I've decided it stays.

Other than that, this is a really pretty dress and the fabric is lovely.  It looks really different from close up and far away.  Up close it's all about the humming birds and butterflies (or 'blies' as Felicity calls them), but from a distance the leafy pattern is the star of the show.
So, moving on, my next sewing project will be fulfilling the pledge I just made for the Made Up Initiative, which was launched by Karen of Did You Make That?  I was really happy to donate to the National Literacy Trust as reading has always been a big part of my life and as I pass that on to my children I know that not everyone has that.  So with my children in mind, I've pledged to make a pair of trousers for Cassie before 10 September.  I've traced the pieces today so I hope to update soon.