Thursday, 31 December 2015

FO: Coco

This is a post about mixed feelings. I suspect by the end of it you will have mixed feelings about how much you'd like to poke me in the eye and I will probably still be unsure about this dress.
As far back as when Tilly and the Buttons released the Coco pattern I was not really sure whether I liked it or not. The idea of it seemed attractive as I'd not had much luck sewing knits and I was seduced by promises of how easy it would be to sew. Although I'd seen really lovely versions popping up all over the internet, every time I'd consider getting the pattern I'd see another version that I just hated. Obviously that is the case with any popular pattern, but I kept hesitating.
Eventually there was a sale on and I just went for it and then continued to procrastinate about actually making it because I was still more than half convinced that it would be awful. Fast forward at least a year and I finally decided to go for it. I had some inexpensive ponte in the stash and I knew that it would only take a few hours to sew on the overlocker. I figured what better way to find out once and for all if I like this pattern than by sewing it?
WRONG! I literally can't decide if I hate this dress or love it. I can't even say that I sort of like it or am indifferent to it. One minute I will look in the mirror and think 'dear god woman what are you wearing?!?!' and then the next I'll catch a glimpse of myself and think that I should really make a another one of those lovely dresses.
So, what's to love? Despite thinking I'd hate the funnel neck I did add it simply because I think it's a neater finish than turning and stitching. Turns out that I absolutely love it and it is by far my favourite part of this dress. The dress is lovely and comfortable and really snuggly so I know I'll wear it loads over the winter. What I don't love is the way it sticks out away from my body more like it's wearing me insteadof me wearing it. The dress is designed to be easy fitting, but I'd definitely prefer a slightly closer fit. To my eyes it looks much better with a belt, but I need to stick a couple of extra holes in this one so I've been wearing the dress without. It may be the case that I could just make another in the next size down and then I will love it for reals but I can't decide if it's worth the bother because I'm still sort of convinced that I might hate it........ and here we go again. Seriously someone poke me in the eye and give me something proper to worry about!

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Selfish Knitting

With all of the Christmas knitting finished (in a mad panic I might add, the little Julian vest went straight off the needles, into a giftbag and off to the recipient without even a second spare to photograph it.  Oops!) I thought a spot of selfish knitting as in order.  I have plenty I want to knit for my girls and their unborn cousin, but a bit of me-knitting was too tempting.  Luckily there's a knitalong for that!

This year everyone is knitting one of Andi Satterlund's cardigan patterns and the deadline is Valentines Day.  I'm thinking I should have no trouble hitting that deadline because I'm already here:

After a lot of thought and procrastination I finally plumped for the Hetty pattern (although Myrna was a close second) and I am really pleased with how fast it has grown.  I was a little worried because I have a terrible track record of making a right pigs ear of all over lace patterns, but this is a 6 stitch repeat with stockinette for 6 out of the 8 rows so it's been fine so far.  To be fair I have had a lot of time to knit, both Stu and I are off work until after new year and the girls have been kept very busy with all of their new Christmas toys so I've just been parked on the sofa knitting away.  I wonder if I can get it done before the year is out and add to to my 2015 FO total?  Best get back to it.....

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Christmas 2015

Hi everyone and Happy Christmas!  I hope you all had a lovely time doing whatever you do at this time of year.  We had a lovely time celebrating with my family, made all the more special now that both girls are old enough to really get into it all.  They have both been completely spoiled and our house is now full to bursting!
Aside from the girls my favourite part of the day was watching opening their handmade gifts.  I din't manage to make gifts for very many people this year, but what I did make went over well and that obviously makes me very happy.

For my Mum I made McCalls 6796, with full length sleeves and that wonderful drapey collar.  I used a lovely sweater knit so it is really lovely and cozy. This was mostly a really quick and easy project until I got to attaching the collar.  The instructions made very little sense to me so I did what I thought was right and ended up with the seam on the outside.  I unpicked it (no fun at all seeing as I'd sewn it on my overlocker) and resewed it so that the seam would be covered by the collar.  It could still be seen at the shoulder but that was easily seen to with a spot of handsewing, which I did at the same time as sewing on the button.  After having read a few reviews of this pattern I realise that I did actually sew the collar on correctly the first time, the idea being that the seam allowance is then sewn down on to the inside but I far prefer the way I did it in the end. I'm really pleased with this sweater and I think it is pretty perfect for my mum who also seemed to really like it.
The main bulk of my Christmas knitting, quite rightly, went to my as yet unborn niece or nephew.  I gave this modest package to my brother and SIL yesterday and they seemed really happy with it all.  I've told them that they can expect some more items, but they'll have to wait til baby arrives because I'm sick of knitting gender neutral things!  So what did I make?

For size reference!
Mosaic Blanket by Purl Soho.  I love this blanket!  It was super simple but looks really impressive.  The chart is easy to memorise and I just needed a quick glance at the beginning of every other row and despite this being quite a big blanket I did not get bored with it at all.  The only thing I will say is that the blanket makes your eyes go a bit funny if you look at it for too long but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.  I knitted it from DROPS Paris which is 100% cotton so it is quite weighty, but it will be easily washable and, because my brother and SIL live in a flat which is approximately the same temperature as the sun, is more appropriate that a wool blanket.  I also bought it in the Cotton Supersale in the summer too so the 13 balls I thought I'd need didn't break the bank at all.
Quynn by Woolly Wormhead.  Third time I've knit this, not much to say.  SIL says this is her favourite hat pattern so I think I'll be churning out a few more of these over the next couple of years.
BabyDROPS 17-11 in DROPSCotton Merino.  These are pretty cute, the pattern was mildly flummoxing but when I realised that the sole was knit flat from the front of the toe and sewn in place all became clear.  Not sure I'll knit them again though.
BabyDROPS 21-35 in leftover handdyed sock yarn.  These turned out a bit weird because for some reason I thought they had a foldover cuff and I didn't want that so I halved the number of rows for the cuff.  They don't have a foldover cuff so these are really short.  I like this little sock pattern, although I'll use a neater short row method,  though so I'll knit some more the right length soon.
Julian Vest by Raya Budrevich in DROPS Big Merino.  I'm already knitting another one of these so I'll talk about the pattern a bit more when that's done.  I'll just say that this is adorable and absolutely flew off the needle.  I'm completely in love with the yarn too.

Right, I'm off to eat leftovers and finish knitting one last present for this evening.  Happy Christmas!

Monday, 21 December 2015

I love little hats!

With Christmas on it's way it's the time of year where I get knitting hats for my nearest and dearest.  This year is no exception and I have gone a bit crazy knitting little hats for little people and because they knit up so quickly there will definitely be a few more.  These hats are mostly for Cassie and Lissy's little gang of friends, but I won't say exactly who they're for just in case I have secret readers!
First up is Ruskin by my old standby Woolly Wormhead.  This was originally intended to be for my niece/nephew (due next month btw - sooooooo excited) but it became clear that it was going to be way to big so rather than rip it and start again I thought it would make a lovely christening gift for my brother's nephew instead.  I was actually surprised by how much I like this little hat.  It's kind of plain and boring but I think it looks classic and cosy.  I used DROPs Big Merino for the first time and I'll have no problem using it again in the future, probably to knit another one of these!

Just for fun let's see another Woolly Wormhead pattern, this time it's Moochie and for extra excitement I made two of them out of the same yarn.  The first one was made for one of Cassie's friends and she immediately demanded that I make her one exactly the same.  I'd used exactly half of the ball of yarn (DROPs Big Delight) so who was I to argue. These hats are ridiculously cute and I think the slow colour change in the yarn makes them.
Let's wander out of WW territory for a moment.  This is a Chouette by Katy Tricot Designs.  I've had my eye on this pattern and also Zaika by the same designer so when I was planning little gifts for all the littlies I had the perfect excuse to get both patterns.  I actually ended up knitting this hat twice too, although I only have one to show for it this time.  This is what happened in my head:
  1. I got the recommended size needles out of my needle box as well as the next size up because I often need to size up. 
  2. Knitted swatch
  3. Decided gauge was near enough and knitted with recommended needles
  4. Finished hat, realised it was a little small, ripped back
  5. Cast on with larger needles
When I finished it the second time and miraculously managed to use exactly the same amount of yarn I realised that perhaps what had actually happened was:
  1. I got the recommended size needles out of my needle box as well as the next size up because I often need to size up. 
  2. Knitted swatch
  3. Decided that perhaps the next size up would be better and cast on
  4. Finished hat, realised it was a little small, ripped back
  5. Cast on with the same sized needles as the first time like an idiot
This hat is now for a smaller child than originally intended and I can authoritatively state that it is very quick to knit indeed.  Thankfully.
I still need to pick some buttons for this one
Last but not least is this little Regan aviator.  I've made a couple of these before and they always go down well.  The yarn is some DROPs Love You 4 which was leftover from Cassie's Lotta Bolero that I made last year (incidentally I used the leftover grey from that held double for the Chouette above).  That cardi has long been a felted mess courtesy of my husband, seriously it really is time I set up a memorial page for the knits he has murdered, but I had enough left for a little hat.  This was a simple little knit except for an episode where all of the needles mysteriously fell out of all the stitches.  Neither daughter seemed to know anything about it apparently, so it must have been a rogue gust of wind.  Luckily it was a case of sticking the stitches back on the needles and dealing with about 10 dropped stitches and then there were just a few rounds left to go once I'd made it known to the world at large that mummy was very much not impressed.

That's it for now, but there's a family baby due in just a few weeks so you can bet your arse there's plenty more wee hats to come!

Thursday, 3 December 2015

FO: Lady Skater x11billionty!

After an incredibly long hiatus my sewing machines are back up and running, which should be pretty obvious seeing as my last post was about a sewing project.  I've just got a bit out of order because I'm finding it a bit of a task to get things photographed in a timely fashion.  Now it's winter it is incredibly dark inside my house and it's far too cold to go outside so I'll make my excuses about the quality of my photography in the coming months and we'll say no more about it from now on if you don't mind?

Once  was back in business I did begin by trying to finish the New Look 6262 dress that I was halfway through when the great sewing machine rearrangement happened, but I really wasn’t feeling it.  I did install the second half of the zip because it annoying me that it was left like that, but I couldn’t make myself knuckle down and finish it off.  What I needed was a quick and easy project to get me back on track.  Something that would take very little time but was guaranteed to turn out great and get me feeling like sewing again.  Basically there was no way that this project was ever going to be anything other than a Lady Skater, in fact I very nearly cut out the fabric to make 2 at the same time but I was raring to go (raring to sew!) after the first one.

At this point there’s not a whole lot to say about this pattern and me.  This was the first time I used the full length sleeves and I will need to shorten them just a little next time.  There was a minor incident resulting in me having to cut the sleeves twice after I forgot that I’d actually cut off the top of the pattern piece when I’d used cap sleeves with the intention to stick that bit back on again come winter.  I knew that piece looked weird when I was cutting it out but the bit of my brain which remembered what I’d done remained silent on the matter until it was too late.  Luckily there was enough fabric to cover this, but I had been hoping to have enough left for a tshirt for Cassie L

The fabric is a poly jersey from The Textile Centre on eBay and I’ve managed to tempt one of my colleagues in to buying some of the same stuff in the green colourway (mwahahaha!) because it really is quite nice.  I love the retro-ness of it and it’s lovely and snuggly.  In fact I’m almost tempted by a green version myself.
No idea what's going on here, but my face is hilarious!
Although I should totally be getting on with my poor abandoned NL 6262 I’ve got the walking foot and a ballpoint needle in my machine now so I’ll probably bash out a couple more jersey projects while the machine is set up.  My sister is coming round on Saturday for a bit of help making her first t-shirt from some lovely fabric she got on our trip to the Knitting and Stitching Show in October and I’m really looking forward to seeing how that turns out.  I'm also planning a major scrap stash bust where I'll be sewing up lots of little tshirts dresses and leggings, basically anything that I can squeeze out of the leftovers that I have kicking around.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

FO:New Look 6216 again

Today's post was meant to be about my latest Lady Skater dress but I've completely failed at getting a any good photos of that so instead of boring you all to death with yet another Lady Skater I'm going to bore you senseless with another previously made pattern.  This time it's New Look 6212, which you may remember from the time I presented you with a post that was mostly about a grey t-shirt.
Just to mix things up a bit (or maybe because it suddenly got bloody freezing here!) I made the longer sleeved version this time.  It's still a grey t-shirt though, I really know how to keep things interesting around here!
When I bought the fabric for this I was planning on making another short sleeved version so I only got 1 metre and it was a bit touch and go on whether I'd actually be able to squeeze this one out of it.  Because the sleeves are cut on it uses up a lot of width and means you can't really jiggle the bits around until they fit and the only way I was able to do it was to have a seam up the back.
My stripes are a little off, but I don't think it's too noticeable and is certainly better than plan B which was to cut the back out of different fabric.  Other than that this whole top took me two evenings to make, including tracing the pattern, which is always a bonus.  I did most of it on my overlocker, although with hindsight I should have stuck the neck band in with my sewing machine, it's quite wobbly in places.  I sewed the hems with a lightening bolt stitch because I still haven't got the settings quite right for twin needling and my hems keep popping.  It's not my favourite finish, but it really doesn't notice if I don't look too closely.  Next time I might just draw up a little band for the end of the sleeve because I think that will look neater and I'd like a little more length too.  I think I'd also avoid a stripy fabric in future because I think that the lengthwise stripes on the arms do look a bit weird.  I still really like this top and it's quirky sleeves, but I'm not sure it's a feature I want to replicate.
This pattern is a total winner and I know this won't be the last time I use it.  Next time I'll go crazy and maybe not use grey though.  Maybe.
P.S. I may have a teensy weensy bit of a hangover in these photos so that's my excuse for the terrible bed hair.  Not gonna apologise though, the night before was the first time I've hit the town since having Cassie so it's hardly surprising that I got a bit squiffy!

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Autumn Swap Yarn

After I found out I was pregnant with Cassie I joined a Due Date group on Ravelry and became friends with the most wonderful group of ladies I can imagine.  I love that we are all still chatting regularly, supporting each other through the ups and downs of motherhood.  Every now and again we have a swap, sometimes we knit hats for the kids and sometimes we like to treat each other with yarn and candy.  A few weeks ago I posted about the package I’d received from lovely Gio in Switzerland (she has just welcomed her third beautiful baby boy, congrats Gio!) and I can now reveal what I sent to Dawn in the US now that it has definitely arrived.

Because Dawn arranged this swap she knew that her package would be coming from me so I tried to make up for that by sending her something really special.  Seeing as I was on a bit of a spinning kick it seemed entirely right to spin her some yarn of her very own.  I wanted to spin up 200g, because experience has taught me that 100g very often yields a skein of yarn with and unhelpfully small yardage and a quick nose through my stash turned up nothing helpful so I hit Etsy for inspiration.  My old favourite Nunoco didn’t disappoint and I soon had a 2 braids of their chromatops, in Azzuro and Fandango, winging their way to me.  My plan was to split each braid into thirds for a 3ply and then swap one strand of each colour to get a pair of coordinating yarns.  Here's a quick and dirty representation I did before I decided to go ahead.

Of course I wasn’t sure if this would work as nicely as I imagined it, but I’m really pleased with the outcome.  The fibre was an absolute pleasure to spin and the colours are so bright and lovely that I’m beginning to wish I hadn’t resisted the urge to get some for myself!  The yarn itself is a soft and smooth sport weight and each skein has a pretty generous yardage.  I can’t wait to see what it becomes.

To accompany the yarn I sent some of my favourite treats that I’m hoping aren’t too widely available elsewhere. I forgot to get a picture of those before I sent them but they were all lucky to make it into the envelope without me eating them!

I had great fun putting this parcel together and I'm really proud of the yarn, in fact i'm thinking of spinning something similar for myself quite soon.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Lion Bonnet photos

Rather miraculously, after previously refusing to allow it to even touch her head, Felicity actually wore her Tiny Roar Lion Bonnet for the entire duration of the school run yesterday. When we got home she was very clear that she had no intention of going inside without a fight so I took advantage of the situation and did a little photoshoot on the doorstep. I had a terrible time choosing which pictures I liked the best so here's the lot. I would apologise for the total Lissy overload but I won't because I think she's just the cutest!

I'm really hoping that this means she loves her hat as much as I do now. I'm a total sucker for little clothes with animal ears on so I really get a kick out of having a little lion around.


Pattern: Tiny Roars Lion Bonnet by Mimi Codd. Yarn: DROPS Cotton Merino in Yellow and Cygnet Wool Rich Aran in Brown.


Saturday, 31 October 2015


I've had a few weeks off so I'm just squeaking in right at the end to share what I've been up to this month.  I've mostly been working on secret projects, which is not ideal blog fodder but here's what I can share.
After finishing a secret spinning project, I decided to be really good and finish up another old spindle project that's been kicking around for years.  I'd got to a point where the spindle was full so I spun the little chunk of fibre that was needed to finish the stripe I was working on on to the wheel first, then wound the spindle spun fibre on to the bobbin and now I'm spinning the up the rest.   I can't wait to finish this.

Despite having a very strict spinning plan and banning myself from buying any more fibre until phase 1 is complete I did have a blip when I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace a few weeks ago.  I was literally just leaving when I spotted the Spin City stall out of the corner of my eye.  I'd been eyeing up Louise's fibre on Etsy for a while and I couldn't resist these two lovely braids.  Her shop can be found here now, her spindles alone are well worth a look.  My only other purchase was the Sewaholic Seymour raincoat.  I'd nearly downloaded it a few days previously but decided to treat myself when I saw it on the Fabric Godmother stall.  My sister, Jess and I had a really nice day out together, even though I didn't buy much, it's always nice to be surrounded by so many people who love making stuff as much as I do.

This is yet another Woolly Wormhead hat for Cassie, this time Lollie from Twisted Woolly Toppers.  The style of the hat is a little shorter than I'd normally go for as it doesn't quite cover her ears, but it's made from bulky yarn so it will keep Cassie warm unless it's really cold.  The yarn is DROPS Peak, which is a bit acrylicky for my liking and I probably won't use again, but it is ridiculously pink and therefore completely awesome for this particular pink enthusiast!

It's swap time again for the Due in April 2012 Ravelry group.  I got this awesome package from Gio in Switzerland and I am so excited to knit with Yak yarn!  I've got a few projects I need to finish first but it's definitely going to jump the queue because its calling to me very loudly.  The chocolate also keeps calling, I've been rationing it because it's really yummy but there's only so long I can make it last!

And lastly, have you seen Eskimimi's latest pattern the Tiny Roar Lion Bonnet?  I couldn't resist her call for test knitters last month because it was so cute.  The pattern is really great and has a couple of helpful videos (seriously, I'm going to be applying icord to the edges of EVERYTHING now!) but unfortunately Lissy wants nothing to do with this hat.  This is literally the only time she has agreed to wear it so I haven't got any good photos.  It's got plenty of room in it though so sooner or later I will catch her wearing it!

So Happy Halloween to those who halloween and have a nice weekend to those who don't.  I'll be back as soon as my swap parcel arrives in it's location and I can finally share it's contents.

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 :)