Thursday, 30 April 2015

In Progress

I've got no FOs to share at the moment, so I thought I'd have a quick look at what I'm working on. Let's go!

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week VI

With only a couple of weeks to go I am in full planning mode. Last year I took a bit of a fly by the seat of my pants approach and ended up not actually finishing the whole week. To be fair to myself I had a 5 month old baby and a 2 year old so I may have been being a little optimistic about the time I could put in. This year, however, I have a bit more time to myself as the girls keep each other entertained a lot of the time and I'm back at work which gives me ample thinking time when we're not too busy. I even have a notebook. With post its in it. I mean business!

Drops 136-1 A.K.A Nathalie

This cardigan is a bit of a behemoth, but I am nearly at the point where I split the whole thing and work on the upper back and fronts separately. Working in smaller chunks will make it seem a bit more manageable and make it seem like it's going quicker, but doing the bottom part seamlessly means that there will be much less sewing up that if this had been done in pieces from the beginning. Win, win, I feel. At the moment this looks massive, but I've rechecked my gauge as I've been knitting so I'm trusting that it will be fine. Once I've got less stitches crammed on my needles I'll wrap the while thing round me, see what I've got and reassess the situation.

Simplicity 1413

I picked up this pattern recently in order to make Cassie a summer shirt and if all goes well I may consider running one up for Stu too. Nothing like matching Daddy/Daughter clothes. Not sure Stu would appreciate the fabric I've chosen for Cassie's version though!

I love it! I've a feeling this isn't going to be my neatest bit of work, but hey, it's for Cassie and she doesn't stay still long enough for anyone to notice that her collar is a little puckered.

Simplicity 1453

I bought this pattern intending to make at least the dress and the little top but I jumped straight in with the hat. It seemed like a quick little project to satisfy my need for an FO. Unfortunately pinning the hat top to the side just about did me in and this went in time out for a couple of days. Intellectually I understand that it doesn't fit together at the edges until you take seam allowance into account, but I just couldn't get it right. In the end I stopped fussing and just went ahead and sewed it without pinning and whadd'ya know I nearly had it. It took me a little bit to get into the swing of it so I had a little excess at the end and unpicked, but next time I will totally nail it.

So a few irons in the fire, but nothing unmanageable so hopefully I'll have FOs to share really soon.


Thursday, 23 April 2015

FO: BHL Victoria Blazer

Wowee! I made a blazer! Granted this is a really simple pattern, oversized and boxy so fitting woes are minimal, only a partial lining etc, etc, but I'm really quite pleased with myself. I went off piste a little to make the lining go in a little easier and now I'm feeling super smug that my sewing skills are improving enough for me to even consider not doing exactly what the instructions tell me.
So, not only was this pretty easy I'm also mostly really happy with how it turned out. I like the style on me, I'm pretty happy with the fit and I love how it's kinda all business on the outside and party on the inside! I'm not super in love with the fact that I managed to sew the bottom of the lapels into the bottom, but by the time I realised it was too late and I know how it happened (clumsy cutting out) so I'll do better next time.
The changes I made were:
  • Set the sleeves in dead last instead of before sewing in the lining
  • Sewed the entire lining in by machine, turning it right way around through the armhole, instead of a gap left in the back
  • Attached the lining and the shell at the armholes using an overedge stitch
  • Topstitched the outer edges of collar, lapels and cuffs as my fabric didn't press too well, I think they look a bit crisper now.
  • Topstitched all around the collar and lapels where they join to the jacket to stop the lining from poking out so much. Next time I'll use understitching as well to really keep that lining where it should be.
Blue Steel!
I've kind of got a bit of the blazer bug now, probably because I wore one the other day and Stu kept taking the piss out of me, so of course I now feel the need to wear ALL the blazers. I can see me making at least another one of these and I have my eye on one in jersey from Burda mag last year. Next up though is a cute little shirt for Cassie and I'm also knitting away on my DROPS Nathalie cardigan, hoping that I can finish that while it's still spring.

Friday, 17 April 2015

What's in progress?

Now that Lady Kina is finally done it's time to move another cotton cardigan! I've had DROPS 136-1 otherwise known as Nathalie on my to do list for a while. I bought the yarn, DROPS Bomull-Lin, the actual recommended yarn no less, last year during a sale and it's been taking up so much room in my stash since then that it was definitely time to use it.

The pattern, being a DROPS pattern, looks a little overwhelming. Their approach to pattern writing leans towards walls of text with loads of stuff all going on at once. It's actually really straightforward once you break it all down but I highly recommend sitting down with a pen and paper and rewriting the instructions into steps that are most intuitive for you.

Sewing wise I'm currently working on a Victoria Blazer from By Hand London. I'm using some grey and pink pinstriped suiting for the shell and some slightly horrendous snakeskin shines stuff for the lining. My sister asked me why I even own that fabric and I have entirely no idea. It seemed like a good idea at the time and I sort of like the idea of it as a lining, like a secret touch of bad taste on the inside!

I'm just about to sew up the sleeves, then I need to attach the collar and lapels, insert the lining and set in the sleeves. Hopefully that will be achievable this weekend and then I'll have the perfect garment for the sunny but slightly windy weather we are having here at the moment.



Wednesday, 15 April 2015

FO: Lady Kina

I know, I can hardly believe it myself!  Despite feeling like I was knitting magical stitches which somehow didn't actually add any length at all, I was still using up my yarn at an alarming rate.  After finally admitting that I was going to run out quite shortly (and realising that I was quickly losing the will to keep knitting) I tried my cardigan on and decided that actually I was perfectly ok with the length it was.  Sometimes being a shortarse has it's advantages.  I probably should have done this a bit earlier because I didn't have enough yarn to make the bottom band quite as wide as it should have been and then I completely underestimated what I would need to cast off so we have yet another garment that has been bound off with completely different yarn.  Maybe I need to make it my signature design element!

After all that I'm not 100% how I feel about this cardigan.  I was sort of worried that I'd gone mad when I picked the pattern and that I wasn't going to like it at all, but that's not the case.  I like the way it looks, but I don't entirely love it, if you know what I mean?  Partly it's because I started knitting this before the Great Gallbladder Disaster of 2014 and as a result it is a bit too big for me.  I'm also not quite convinced that the gathers at the back are working in my favour.  They look nice at the front but I feel like I don't need that room around my shoulders and it's giving me a bit of a humpy looking back.

The whole thing needs a light blocking too, the front bands look sort of nibbled currently but I'm pretty sure that's nothing that can't be fixed.  Once that's done I may pass it around the ladies in my family to see if it looks better on any of them than it does on me.  I'll happily keep it and wear it, but it seems sad not to give it to someone who will love it if possible.  I find that sometimes knits are just destined for someone else, I'm sure that's not just me?
Pattern : Lady Kina by Muriela
Yarn: Drops Cotton Light and a teeeny bit of Cygnet Wool Rich Aran to cast off because DUH.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Wha? Another FO?!

Apologies knit fans, I've got more sewing for you today. I'm at that stage with my Lady Kina where my stitches appear to be falling into a black hole because it just is not getting any bigger. I'm on my last ball of yarn, however, so that means it will be finished soon one way or another! This is the reason I took up sewing in the first place, sometimes knitting just moves too slowly and it's nice to have something that can be completed quickly.

That was totally the plan with this top. The pattern came in the latest Great British Sewing Bee companion book, Fashion with Fabric. I loved that it looked really simple, quick to complete, could probably be squeezed out of very little fabric and be a pretty good wardrobe staple. Well stick a tick in all those boxes because this did not disappoint at all.

This took hardly any time at all, I'd have finished it all in one day if I hadn't twisted something when I sewed the final side seam and decided to call it a day before I did anything else dumb. It was an easy fix and I'll just be extra careful not to do it again next time. Despite the pattern stating you'll need 1.5m of fabric I got quite a lot of change out of 1m. I'm not sure how wide it was though. The fabric itself was a random metre I got on sale and I've got no idea exactly what it is. It's definitely pretty synthetic judging by the way it statics itself to my skin if I wear it without another top underneath. I almost always wear a tank under everything while I'm still breastfeeding, so that really isn't a problem.

I'll definitely be making a few more of these, it takes so little fabric that I can choose something a little bit special without feeling like I'm splashing out. I really like the mullet hem, it's a nice detail that doesn't look as bonkers as I'd feared. I like that this is quite loose and floaty, I can get it on and off without opening the button so I might not bother with that next time or I could size down for a more fitted look. Next up though I'm going to attempt to make a blazer before I brave returning to a jeans muslin with some serious fit issues. And you never know, maybe I'll finish that Lady Kina sometime this century too!


Tuesday, 7 April 2015

FO: Sureau Dress

I hope that everybody had a lovely Easter weekend. We had a really great time, we saw both of our families, amassed an enormous pile of chocolate which I will be rationing out over at least the next few weeks, met my MILs new puppy and I even found some time for a bit of sewing.


I'd long had my eye on a few of the patterns from French designer Deer and Doe and I finally decided to drop some of my Christmas money on two of their patterns, Sureau and Belladone. Because it's still not entirely warm yet and because it looked really simple I used the long weekend to sew up a Sureau.

I honestly would totally recommend this pattern, it came together really quickly and the only problems I encountered were entirely due to my own stupidity. My sister and SIL are both learning to sew at the moment and I would happily let either of them loose on this pattern. I was a little concerned about the amount of gathering that needed to be done, I know gathering isn't at all difficult but I seem to suck at it. It was no problem though. There are a couple of areas where I've ended up with slight tucks but I decided that I don't really give a monkey's. I'm also mostly pleased with the fit, it is a little loose in the shoulders and perhaps a bit long there too. There is plenty of room in the rest of the dress, but not as noticeable as in the shoulders, so before I make another I'll have to work out whether to cut the next size down or just adjust the shoulders a little.

The fabric is a light and fairly floaty viscose, despite this being a sleeved dress I can see me wearing it well into a British summer. I will have a go at making one without sleeves before long though.

The only problem with this dress, and it is currently a bit of a big problem, is that I can't actually wear it. I put it on yesterday thinking how cool I was in my super dooper handmade dress and then it suddenly dawned on me that there was no way I'd manage to nurse in it, so I just took a few pictures and reached for my current uniform of jeans and two tops! So disappointing, but I guess I've learnt my lesson and my next big project will be a wrap dress or a shirt. Obviously I will be able to wear this soon, Lissy is 15 months now and I will be slowly weaning her before long, but it was a bit of a disappointment to not be able to wear something right away when I finished it. This may explain the fact that I have a major case of bitchface in all my photos. Apologies for that, I'm very nice really!


Monday, 6 April 2015

FO: Looking for Spring

Have you seen this hat?

The Christmas before last I gave my sister in law a handknitted hat, the pattern was Snowbaby and it was one of my earlier colourwork projects. I'd originally meant it for me but, much as I loved it and was proud of it it just didn't look that great on me. I've since realised that beanies don't work for me, I need a bit of slouch or my head looks weird. However, I immediately had a feeling that the hat would look awesome on Rachael so I gave it to her. I was, of course, totally correct, the hat suited her perfectly and she loved it. Because she is an awesome human being, and totally knitworthy, she not only wore it but took a photo and put it on Facebook for all to see.....and then it was never seen again. Rachael duly called all the places she thinks she could have left it, but sadly had no luck and she asked if I could knit her another. Which I have gladly done.

I wanted to make her something similar without actually knitting the same hat again. Although the weather is warming up a bit, Rachael and my brother are heading up Ben Nevis next month in aid of Monkey World (sponsorship page here if you feel compelled or want to know a bit more) so I wanted to make it reasonably warm. I settled on Looking for Spring by Jolene Mosley In two different shades of purple and I'm glad I did. This hat looks really professional and the colours are subtle but striking. I was a bit concerned because it did not fit me at all a when I tried it on. It was snug, although not too too tight but came down well over my eyes. By a total stroke of luck it fits Rachael perfectly, she says she has a long but thin head, so that worked out well! Hopefully I'll get some pictures of her modelling it up the mountain to share because that would be really cool.


Thursday, 2 April 2015


We've been fairly busy here since my last post. Work has been pretty tiring, I work in an academic library and exam time is looming is its a fraught time of year for us. We've also all had a horrible cold recently too, which means snot everywhere with two toddlers in the house! There's been plenty of good stuff too. Cassie turned 3 and we had a lovely time celebrating with her.

She was so happy and excited, but also very polite and grateful when receiving her gifts. She made me very proud indeed.

Instead of a proper cake Cassie asked for tiny cakes this year, so I made these cute ice cream cone cakes and simple chocolate cupcakes too. They were yummy and Cassie's attempt to push an entire one into her face will go down in family history!

My brother also had his birthday and we had a nice day out at the zoo to celebrate. It was all of 6 degrees C so we didn't really linger too long by any of the animals, but the girls were pretty interested in what they saw so hopefully we'll visit again when it's a bit warmer.

Craft wise I've got a few irons in the fire. I've been slowly sewing away on a Sureau dress, which I hope will be done in a few days. I've been knitting a bit on my Lady Kina cardigan, but I put that aside to knit a quick hat for my SIL. That is currently swimming in the sink so that I can block it and I'll do a post all about it when it's dry. Really I should now pick up the cardigan again now but I got this big bag of yarn in the post this morning so my casting on fingers are twitching. I wonder how long I can resist?