Monday, 22 February 2016

FO: Abate

Ignoring the siren call of more intricately cabled socks I nobly cast on a sweater for Felicity at the beginning of last week.  Abate, by Alicia Plummer is a pattern I've been meaning to knit for absolutely ages and teamed with sparkly Cascade Hollywood yarn has turned out wonderfully.
This was a very quick knit, taking only 6 days (it was also the half term holiday, so I had both kids home the whole too) out of my sock knitting schedule.  It wasn't a particularly exciting knit after all those cables but sometimes you just need to zone out and go round and round and round without thinking.  The sleeves and waistband are both cast off using EZ's sewn bind off which was new to me and therefore a little exciting and the collar is turned in on itself and the live stitches sewn down on the inside to provide even more excitement.  I may have to revisit the collar, however, because it keeps flipping to the outside and I can't tell if it's because of the way I sewed it or if it's just because it comes up a little too high for little Lissy and it's getting pushed down by her face.
I made the smallest size, age 2 and expect this to last a good long while.  The sweater is designed to grow with the child which is brilliant.  It is very clear that Lissy has loads of room to grow in to it but it doesn't actually look like she's wearing a too big sweater.  I was a little worried that she would be swamped by it because she is very tiny (still only 23lb) but she looks great.  She also seems to like it, which is very important now that she's hit the age where she has an opinion on what she wears. I was fairly sure I couldn't go far wrong with purple and sparkles but I never presume to know the mind of a 2 year old, that way madness lies!

Monday, 15 February 2016

FO: Effervesce

Wow, so Ravelry is telling me that the last time I completed a full sized pair of adult socks was in 2012!  I've always loved knitting socks, but for some reason I haven't really been feeling it for a while.  I didn't realise that we were taking quite that long though!  Of course I haven't stopped buying sock yarn in all that time so hopefully my sock mojo is here to stay and I can start working my way through some of it!
What's to say then?  This pattern (Effervesce by Purrlescent) was just the ticket to get me going on socks again.  I was looking for something a little intricate but not requiring every ounce of my concentration.  These little cables were pretty intuitive and a quick glance at the chart at the begining of each round was all that was necessary.  I love the effect of the cables as they dwindle down to nothing just before my big toes.  So pretty and because the socks mirror each other each sock is a little different which makes knitting the second sock a little less tedious if you suffer from second sock syndrome!
I went for the middle size as some of my handknitted socks have come up a little snug in the past, but these are nice and stretchy and I could probably have got away with the smallest size.  The foot chart, however, was exactly the right length for my foot and I didn't need to add any rows before starting the toe.  The yarn is John Arbon's Exmoor Blueface which I bought a couple of years back.  I bought 2 skeins, the first in Navy to send to a Ravelry friend in a swap and the peacock for me.  It feels really nice on my feet and I'm still loving the colour I chose.  It's slightly fuzzy so the cables aren't quite as crisp as they could be, but who cares.
I'm definitely fully back on the sock bandwagon and I'm itching to knit my next pair but I promised Lissy a sweater so I'm going to try and bust that out as fast as I can so I can get back to my socks.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

FO: Burda 6855

So, after semi successfully making jeans for myself a few months ago and making a couple of pairs for Cassie I decided it was time to have another crack at it.  My last pair were ok, but they had a few fitting issues most of which I was fairly certain would be solved by sewing the next size down.  Because I'd used a Burda mag pattern, the thought of retracing gave me a fit of the vapours so I bought Burda 6855 to try instead.  This pattern looks mostly the same, but features darts instead of a back yoke.

For reasons I have no hope of understanding I went ahead and cut out the same size as the previous pair and while the fit is considerably better around the crotch they are, shockingly a bit too big!  The problem wasn't immediately apparent, except for around the knees (literally the elephant in the room!) but these were completely unwearable on the second day as they stretched out a bit.  Unfortunately I'd thrown them on and hurried out the door to drop Cassie only to find my trousers kept making a bit for freedom as I walked.  This problem was not helped by the fact I was wearing Felicity on my back so the waist strap of the carrier was pushing down on the tops of my jeans too.

The observant among you will notice that I used the same fabric to make Cassie jeans a couple of weeks ago.  She doesn't seem to be having any problems with hers stretching out, but her clothes generally get a wash after every wear because toddler so I think mine will be ok as long as they are strictly on a wear once and wash policy.

Other than that, they are pretty good.  The fly went in with no trouble, the length is not bad even for my stumpy legs and I even got the buttonhole sewn with little to no drama.  Next time however I will make the smaller size no matter which ridiculous part of my brain is telling me not to!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

What's in Progress?

After my recent whine about my difficulties getting a new knitting project on the go, it seemed only polite to let you know what I'd actually ended up working on.  I was too busy trying not to name names when it came to the patterns that had frustrated me that I stayed tight lipped about what had finally broken me out of my funk!
After all that melodrama I finally ended up knitting Effervesce by Purrlescent.  These socks have exactly the look I was going for with tiny little travelling cables.  They look really intricate and complicated but really they are dead simple and are knitting up really fast.  I cast on on 22nd January and I've just turned the heel down on the second sock less than 3 weeks later.  While I'm aware that's not super fast, I have socks on the needles which I cast on in December 2012.......

These socks never have you crossing more than one stitch over the next so by cabling without a cable needle I'm finding that I'm not being slowed down too much.  The only issue I've had is that I decided to use magic loop (I'm ordinarily a DPN type of girl) and I've been through 3 sets of needles before I found some where the bump in the join wasn't driving me bonkers.

I'm hoping to have these done in a week or so and then the plan is to knit Lissy a sweater. I'm kind of feeling sock fever kicking back in though so she'll have to behave herself if she doesn't want to go back in the queue!

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

FOs: Simplicity 1566

Not a willing model on this occasion!
Follow me back into matchy matchy land where this time I've been making matching hoodies for Felicity and her new cousin Alice.  After keeping us all waiting, Miss Alice arrived on 2nd Feb and is completely perfect and we all love her very much.  I made these hoodies before she was born and therefore before we knew she was a girl so these jackets are completely boring gender neutral.
Simplicity 1566 is pretty much all you need to dress a small person and I've made Views A and F so far with great success.  I'll probably make the short sleeved versions of both of these and the little trousers are quite tempting too so this pattern is worth whatever I paid for it without a doubt.

For the hoodies I used white fleece with a cable pattern somehow incorporated into it.  It's really cute and snuggly and I didn't hate working with it quite as much as I'd feared!  It did get quite bulky in places and I did have a bit of a job persuading my overlocker to suck it in at the beginning of seams, but it squished down nicely once it got going and I'm pleased with how it looks.  So pleased in fact that I didn't actually bother to photograph the insides, preferring to just describe it with words!
You can see the tiniest peek of the binding here, just above the zip
I'm also quite pleased with my first ever separating zips, they very nearly match up and that's enough for me.  The binding around the neckline and zips looks super smart, I chose a cheery paisley I had in the stash.  I can see me making more of these in a lighter weight fabric as a little summer cover up.
View A is also already a total favourite and I'm already sewing up my 4th version as we speak!  The first one was made before Alice was born and I made it using an old t-shirt of my brother's.  I was really pleased that he recognised it when I gave it to them.
I decided that the snaps I used at the shoulders were really a bit too bulky so I bought a load of the open ring type and an applicator before sewing up any more.  The day after Alice was born I gathered up some slightly more girl friendly fabric scraps and whipped up the other two shirts.  My girls both have t-shirts made from the purple birdy fabric and I have a dress made out of the other stuff.  I made the second size up so she'll have to grow a bit before they fit, which is fine but I really can't wait to see her wearing them.  So far the new mummy and daddy have been really good at sending me photos of Alice when she wears anything I've made so I know I won't miss a thing!

Monday, 8 February 2016

Vintage Pledge 2016

Sewing vintage patterns wasn't something that I was al that interested in up until recently.  Vintage always makes me think of images like the one above and, while those clothes are very beautiful, they are also not my style at all.  However after my successes sewing up some 70's patterns last year I've decided to sign up to the vintage pledge this year (clicking the image above should take you through to more details).  The pledge I made was pretty straightforward, to sew up 2 vintage patterns in the coming year.  While I reserve the right to change my mind at any time, here are the patterns I'm intending to make.

This dress is completely up my alley and I'm really hoping I'll love it.  The envelope states that it is recommended for knits, but the suggested fabrics also include wovens and it does have a zip in the back so I figure I'm going straight for the middle by using a stretch woven.  My fabric is black with neon skulls on which I've been saving especially for this dress.

I bought this one a few months ago for 2 reasons.  Firstly it's a multi sized pattern which is quite nice as most of my vintage patterns are not and my skills aren't really up to grading up or down a size and secondly those little sleeve caps just look really cute.  The front zip is an element that I'm not entirely sold on, but I could probably move it to the side if needs be.  I'm not 100% committed to fabric, but I have a some blue viscose with little clocks on which is tempting me at the moment.

So that's my plans, I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else makes this year!

Monday, 1 February 2016


After finishing my Knotted Pine hat I immediately started to suffer from some kind of knitters block.  I was really in a knitting mood but I had no idea what to knit next and every time I thought I'd decided on a pattern it just turned out to be wrong.  Ordinarily I've mentally moved on to the next project well before the end of the previous one, but this time I just couldn't get it together.  Some of these stumbling blocks were completely legitimate, but I fear most of them were just me throwing a tantrum.  My three day process to start a new project went something a little like this:

  • Cassie wants a new hat, I'll let her pick so I don't have to think about it.
  • Cassie picks a hat, I have the pattern and yarn I think will be suitable.  Job done!
  • Knit a swatch. Nope.
  • Get bigger needles, knit swatch.  Nope.
  • Add strand of Kidsilk Haze to bulk up yarn.  Knit swatch.  Hmm, Maybe.
  • Start to knit brim.  NOPE!  Rip back, all is lost, back to the drawing board.
  • It's cold, I need some mittens and I have loads in my queue.
  • Pick pattern, find yarn and needles.
  • Read through pattern, find will to knit ebbing but I really want these mittens.
  • Find myself irrationally irritated by the fact that the size of these gloves is determined by gauge.  If I knit a smaller size I expect it to be less work than bigger ones, not the same amount of work on smaller needles.
  • Bite back irritation and cast on. Not sure what size they'll end up but they'll fit someone.
  • Realise I don't like the cuff as written, go for a 2 colour rib instead.
  • Knit a few rows and realise my heart is just not in it.  Rip back.
  • Wander off to the sewing machine in disgust, sew 2 Lady Skaters to make myself feel better.
  • Maybe I'll knit socks, I have yarn and a pattern bagged up together ready to knit.
  • Grab project, realise I don't really like the pattern any more but I'm definitely still feeling the yarn.
  • Hit my faves to find a better pattern.
  • I'm in a cabley kind of mood, that pattern looks cool.
  • It calls for sport weight, I have 4ply.  Bugger.
  • Look for something similar.
  • Find a pattern I like, it's German but with an English translation.  Sorted.
  • Ok, so the pattern is in English but the key is in some sort of abbreviated German.
  • Consider looking the terms up, get no further than that because, ugh.
  • Back to Ravelry.
  • This pattern has little cables like I'm looking for, will work with the yarn I've chosen and is in a language I understand.
  • Consider not casting on because this is seeming a little too good to be true at this point.
  • Stop being idiotic and cast on.
  • Cue Hallelujah Chorus because the planets have aligned and I'm actually knitting something!
Please tell me I'm not the only one this happens to.