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Monday, 3 September 2018

FO:Lycka

So, let's begin with a little update on this years Outfit Along.  Nope, didn't happen, I failed to complete either garment by the end of July making it my worst attempt yet!  Last year I sewed a dress and disliked it so much that I never bothered to finish knitting the cardigan.  This year I started knitting a top and bought fabric for my jeans which I prewashed and it just looked awful when it came out of the washing machine.  I still cut all the pieces out of it for my jeans but I'd just lost all my mojo at that point and the pieces are still sat on my sewing bench waiting for some attention.  I kept knitting, but then had put it aside to do the Boo Knits MKAL.  Once Dreamscape was finished I started knitting again and now, nearly a month late I can present one half of this year's OAL project.
The pattern I chose was Lycka from Knitty and for once I actually used the yarn called for in the pattern, DROPS Safran in a lovely hot pink.  I liked the heart shaped look of the front and almost went for red just like the pattern photos, but I decided that pink was just as 'heart-like' and goes with more of my clothes.
This is a really simple knit, I love hi-lo hems and the buttflap part was a quick and easy beginning to the pattern but is easy to omit if you're not into mullet hems.  The lace is easy to memorise and to knit and the whole thing comes together really easily.  The front and back are knit separately so obviously I made a bit of a fuss about seaming up the sides because I haaaate seaming but it was over quickly and it looks pretty good so clearly I'm getting better at it!
Full disclosure: I did not bother to block this so the buttflap is a bit curly at the moment but once this has been round the wash I will give it a cursory blocking just to see if I can fix that.  If I can be bothered I'll pop a quick row of crochet around the armholes because the stockinette back of them curls inwards while the lacy front does not and I may consider doing the same around the neckline just to stabilise it slightly.  These are only minor niggles and I'm not sure if I will actually bother or not.

I like the way these look with my skinny jeans and I will get round to sewing my Ginger jeans to go with them really soon.  I'm also hoping to finish my OAL 2017 cardigan in the very near future too, I may even wear it with the horrible dress I made to go with it just to say I completed the outfit so you can all look forward to that!

Friday, 31 August 2018

Panic at the wedding!

A couple of weeks ago two of my very lovely friends got married after many years together.  The bride is an exceptionally talented florist and she was doing her own flowers so I expected the venue to be beautiful (it was) and I wanted to make a special dress to wear for the reception.
I eventually settled on New Look 6447, view C with cap sleeves and full skirt and chose some very lovely rose print viscose from the stash.  Unfortunately it became clear once I'd finished the bodice that it was going to be a little too small.  I went ahead and attached the skirt and inserted the zip just to be sure (of what I have no idea) but, yeah that sucker was not doing up!  Ordinarily I would have completed the dress because it is only a little too small and once I'm back walking the kids to and from school everyday the extra summer fluff I've accumulated will hopefully disappear.  But as I had 3 days to go until the wedding I put it aside for later and started searching for a pattern I could put together quickly.  I will finish that dress soon and post photos once it's done.
Enter Colette Seamwork.  I will say that I probably don't make enough Seamwork patterns to really justify paying for it every month, but in this case it was really useful to have that option.  With patterns that are designed to be made quickly I was really hoping to find something I could use.  In the end I settled on Catarina, a pattern I had never considered before at all but looked quick to make and definitely a bit fancy in the right fabric.  Fortuitously I remembered I had some bird print crepe de chine at the back of my wardrobe, unused because even though I loved the print I'd decided it was a bit shiny for the kind of clothes I normally wear.  Perfect for a wedding though!
Decision made I stayed up late taping the pattern together and got sewing first thing next morning.  As predicted this was a really quick project.  There is a lot of gathering needed before attaching the skirt to the bodice and obviously I hated every second of that but even that didn't really take too long.  Once the skirt was attached I slightly deviated from the instructions which ask you to remove the basting from the gathers and sew in clear elastic, stretched so as to gather in the waistline further.  I decided that sounded like absolutely no fun at all so I overlocked the edges of all the waist seam allowances together, leaving a small gap and fed some ordinary elastic into the resulting channel.  It looks fine and seems easier so I'd definitely do it that way again.
For a last minute panic dress I'm really pleased with how this turned out.  I was worried it would be too long and the skirt too voluminous for me but actually it looked just how I hoped it would.  I would say that the bodice is a little large, as the original dress was too small I picked a larger size than I might otherwise have done.  However, even though the bodice does gape away from my body at the underarms, there are no closures on this dress so I do wonder if it might be difficult to get on and off if the bodice actually fitted correctly so I probably would err on the side of too big with this one if I were to make it again.  Oh, also I didn't make the waist tie.  Basically I couldn't be arsed.
I had a fantastic time at the wedding, so much so I failed to take any photos of me wearing my dress, but it was absolutely perfect for the occasion and I was so glad I managed to make something myself rather than falling back on a hastily purchased Amazon Prime dress which has definitely happened at least once before!

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Stella Baby Blanket

I seem to be getting to an age where family members are popping babies out left right and centre! This is great, I flipping well love babies and I am so grateful that my daughters have lots of lovely cousins. I do seem to spend a lot of time knitting blankets though!

Rainbow blankie the first

Having knitted a fantastic rainbow blanket for my eldest nephew last year, I was still feeling a very strong rainbow vibe when Stu's brother announced that he was going to be a daddy. Much as I love The original rainbow blanket I didn't want to knit the same one again so I spent some very peaceful hours searching blanket patterns before settling for the Stella Baby Blanket by Kate Gondwana. I also decided to go for a 'dark rainbow' this time using black stripes instead of white between eash rainbow stripe.

The centre part of the blanket knitted up really fast, and by the time I had completed a whole rainbow I could have actually stopped knitting and had a nice baby sized blanket. I still had a fair bit of yan left however and I like to give a larger blanket that can be used throughout childhood so I decided to add another rainbow. For the centre rainbow I had made each rainbow stripe 6 rows high, with the black stripes 2 rows high but for the second rainbow I only made the rainbow stripes 4 rows high, partly for visual interest and secondly because I didn't want it to be too big. This was definitely a good decision because the finished blanket is quite large, the rows towards the end were incredibly long and I ended up having to buy more yarn twice! I think the final row took almost an entire ball of DROPS Paris to complete.

The end result was totally worth the work, I love this blanket and the new mum and dad were really happy with it too. I’m sure my new nephew loves it too but he’s far too busy being tiny and scrumptious to have an opinion right now! Despite the long rows towards the end, this was a fun knit and I'm even considering knitting another for myself but adding a 3rd rainbow with even smaller stripes. I'll wait a while though, just until the memory of managing over 2 metres of circular knitting needles fades a bit!

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Dreamscape MKAL - Tada!

Well, like pretty much everywhere else we have been having a very hot summer here and unfortunately crafting has taken somewhat of a back seat.  This is not the only reason I haven't finished much over the last couple of months, but it is the biggest reason.  There have been weeks at a time when it's felt too hot to move, let alone knit or sew, but when it comes to a Boo Knits mystery knit I always do my best to suffer through it because they are always so much fun.
The pre release info for Dreamscape advised to use three different skeins of 4 ply yarn mixing semi solids, short stripes, solids or speckles.  At that point I will confess that I wasn't sure I was going to like this one, I do so love my silky, lacy and beaded shawls.  However I needed to knit it to qualify for this years Boo Challenge, plus I knew I'd enjoy knitting it up and that someone would love it once it was done so I went ahead and picked my yarn.  I know I wrote about my yarn choice in a previous post but I've included a picture again because it's pretty!  It was pretty hard choosing yarns without a picture of the finished item to guide me, but by about Clue 2 I was pretty sure I'd chosen well.
Although it was super hot and I had to knit most of this with 2 fans pointing at me, I really enjoyed knitting it and was always glad to pick it up and see what was next.
It's funny that I was worried I wouldn't like this and now it's up there with my favourite shawls!  I absolutely love this one.  Obviously my amazing yarn choosing skills helped, but the pattern uses the different colours and pattern in a really great way and is a great canvass to showcase some interesting yarns.  My only really complaint is that this was a summer knitalong and now I have a lovely cosy shawl which I may not get to wear for a little while yet.  I shall very much enjoy wearing this, however, when the time is right so I don't mind waiting at all.

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!)