Sunday, 23 October 2016

Why Blog?

I apologise for my radio silence over the last month. I have wanted to add bits and pieces to my blog but I have been foiled!! I found out a couple of weeks ago that Blogspot have removed their app for Ipads. This means that there is no way of adding a blog easily to this site for me anymore. I use my Ipad an awful lot for blogging, it's so easy when I have my photos already there and easy to get to. I am rather dismayed that they chose to abandon their app, as are many other apple users I must point out.
The fact that this has happened pretty much a year to the week that I decided to update my blog from it's old site and spent a long time transferring things over and creating a new site was rather upsetting too. I spent  a lot of time thinking about what to do to solve this sticky situation, wondering whether to open another blog using another service. I don't want to because of the upheaval, but I have rather been forced into it.
So for those who follow my blog directly  please head over to...

There is a little box in the margin to add your details in to follow me there. If you come here via Ravelry I will change my website so there shouldn't be much change other than it looking different.

If you're here through Bloglovin I will be there under the Wordpress banner too.

I am hoping this is the last time I feel the need to move around online, I really love talking about the things I make and really want to continue to do so, and I love that you guys want to read it too. Over on the new site I have been chatting about the Scout t-shirts... so there's your incentive to head over there.


Thursday, 29 September 2016

Insert fanfare sound here

                            IT'S HERE!!!!        

                                                       IT'S FINALLY FINISHED!!!      

 And I've been wearing it quite a bit. Yes it's the Campside Cardigan which (according to Ravelry) I have been working on since 27th March... That's like forever ago!!

It was meant to be one of my summer cardigans, I was hoping to have it finished around May, but nope... This thing just kept on going. If I was the kind of person who needs to find a reason why things go wrong I would say it was because I had little knitting time due to a hefty work schedule. If I was the kind of person who needed to give excuses for why my plans fell flat I would say that it was too big to carry around to do any portable knitting with. But I am the kind of person who will simply admit that I had more exciting things going on and more exciting makes to be making.

I also wish that I could say it was a pleasure to work on this cardigan in the moments I had working on it... But it wasn't... This cardigan was a right pain in the arse! Though in its defense it only became said pain once I hit the sleeves... My god those sleeves took an age!

So let's get the specs out of the way first...

Pattern : Campside Cardigan
Designer: Alice Plummer
Found on: Ravelry
Size: 2
Yarn: Lang Omega in light grey
Modifications: knit in a larger size than needed as went down to 4.5mm needles. Width added to arms and shortened whole thing busy missing off bottom repeat.

So this is what the cardigan is designed to look like... I stole this picture from the pattern page.

The picture on the right is obviously mine... Or a freaky double photographed by the designer... You decide.

I was massively drawn to it as it just looks so striking with its beautiful eyelet pattern running down the body. I also love a long cardigan and thought it would be perfect pulled on over a pair of skinny jeans and a floaty top. I also really wanted it to be the same grey as the pattern showed, if it ain't broke right?

The yarn I picked is as soft as a baby mouse! It is beautiful! I cannot stress that enough, I would use it again in a heart beat. But when knitted up on the recommended needle size I felt the fabric was really loose and gappy... Others may have Lund different but I think the silkiness of the yarn meant it just didn't puff up nicely. Obvious solution for this was to just go down a needle size. From here on I confess I didn't really do any sums, I just thought 'go up a size from the one I want... Yeah that'll be fine'. So I ploughed on hoping for the best. And because it's a raglan sleeve (I really loved knitting that part) I had no idea it would fit me until I got to this point...

Yep, that was hairy! But I'm really happy with the fit in the end. I also made the somewhat random decision that I wanted looser sleeves, so I just added 4sts under the arm and then continued to decrease as per the pattern. Because I was a bit twitchy about having enough yarn I thought it prudent to knit up the sleeves first and then continue down the body... I think that's why it just took so... Freakin... Long to finish them. And you know what?! They were too short in the end so I had to unpick the cast off and knit another inch on each of them.

Once I got going on the body again it was pretty quick to finish it off. I missed off the last pattern repeat (like so many people did) simply because I thought there were maybe too many eyelets, but I decided to just hem it at that point and have it a little shorter. 

I absolutely love the chunky ribbing around the neck and down the front, it really brought some lovely shape to it and again I enjoyed knitting up that part (even though the stretchy bind off went on forever!). And as much as I twisted like a seven year old who was told to do extra maths homework... I love this finished cardigan!! It really is exactly what I hoped I would end up with. So in the end I have a lovely autumn (ahem) cardigan to wear over my skinny jeans and floaty tops... With a scarf too.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Winter's coming... Knit faster

It's that season again where Gravity has its wicked way with the leaves, and you sneakily still pretend you're a steam train when you can see your breath in the air even though you're a grown up with a proper job and stuff. And while the frost hasn't properly kicked in, I'm definitely ready to prepare for when it does! And that means knitting planning.

I mean, honestly, I think I love the process of planning just as much as I do the making and wearing of the knitted (and sewn) goods. Sorry the sewing sneaked in there cunningly disguised in brackets... But this is a knitting plan so the sewing can shush for now.

So before I get cracking on the winter plans, I have an update on the 'seems to have taken forever' campside Cardigan I had in my summer knitting list... It is finished... Honest! But ends need to be woven in and blocking needs to take place before I show you it... Soon.... Very soon.

Soooooo.... Winter!

I spotted my first jumper several months back while killing time browsing on Ravelry, it's the Coronis jumper from Pom Pom magazine published in Autumn 2014. The pattern is luckily for sale separately on Ravelry so I got very excited!

Photo from Pom Pom magazine.

I love the rings on this jumper so much, if you look closely there is a third colour inside the lighter stripe. And while I'm not keen on having a cropped jumper (I wouldn't wear it), there are lots of versions where people have added a stripe or two more to lengthen it. It seems such a versatile pattern as it can be made with lots of ease or pretty snug, longer sleeves or shorter, longer body. It can be very easily adjusted to be your own perfect fit.

For my version I am using Rico baby soft yarn in navy and anthracite, but for that third colour which I want to pop, I've got a ball of Wendy Merino in bright red! 

Ok the navy just looks black but it is a lush dark navy... And my God is it soft!

I'm also planning on lengthening the body and having it reasonably fitted... Undecided on the sleeve length... Let's see how much yarn I've got left.

For my next trick I wanted to go in the opposite direction and have a casual but loose fitting boxy kind of jumper...

Let me introduce you to Sophistical by Cheryl Niamath. This one is a different construction than I'm becoming used to as each part is knit up separately and stitched together... But I'm wondering if I can bypass that.. Maybe. But the big bonus here is its a free pattern! I also love the detailing on the front where small shelf like tucks give it a nice feature.

I have stashed away some Cascade 220 Aran for this one in a lovely pale stone grey.

I'm not planning on making too many changes to this as its meant to be big and baggy... So what could possibly go wrong - she says with some healthy apprehension.

Onwards to my third and final winter contribution... Flaum!

Yes this is indeed a big cocoon of squishy goodness! I found this beauty completely by accident and fell in love immediately. The pattern is by Justyna Lorkowska and is on Ravelry with a million amazing examples from other knitters... I was particularly smitten with marieb's version so I decided I was going to copy it stitch by stitch. So I now have the exact yarn combination she used...

And this is a first for me, knitting with two strands at once! This is Drops Alpaca in the colour way Perlgrau, and Drops Brushed Alpaca Silk in Light Grey. Put together I'm imagining a lovely pale digestive biscuit colour... Maybe closer to Rich Tea finger.

But again... No adjustments as its huge and squishy... But I'm very excited about this one.

And ok... I know I said three projects... But I've got to have a wild card just in case I have time... And this one is pretty wild. Meet Profit Six by Megh Testerman...

It's meant to have a very sci fi feel to it... Which is maybe why I decided I must have one (big sci fi geek here). But as it is my wild card I have no plans for it or even a colour picked out. We shall just have to see if I get round to it.

So thank you for sitting through this very excited chatter about my knitting plans... Now I must go and weave in some Campsite ends if I am ever to get that one finished

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Project bridesmaids

I don't know whether you know... I may have mentioned it before (ahem)... But this summer I made two bridesmaids dresses for my sisters wedding. Let me introduce you to them.

Oh and for full disclaimers sake I am mostly using the photography skills of other people... Some are guests and family... But I need to credit 'Fallen Star Photography' who took most of these. I'm using them with my sisters permission... She bought them and stuff.

So anyway...

Me and Kirsty wearing the dresses on the big day!!

I'm super proud of these, but my god have they been a headache to make. Between fitting to someone else who doesn't have my usual fitting problems but a whole new set of them, to the joy that is stretch lace (grrrr). But they got done, and they got a mention in no less than two speeches (the groom seems to have hired me to kit everyone out in the event of the zombie apocalypse).

But down to details... How about I give you a summary before going into particulars...

Pattern: Simplicity 4070
Size: Various (there were two of us and I mashed sizes together for both of us)
Fabric: faux rough silk in gunmetal grey, light grey stretch lace, and light grey lining
Other notions: teeny pale grey buttons, red shoes, and bouquets

Now those details are done... Onwards to the sewing process!!!

So the pattern is Simplicity 4070, version F but without the lace overlay on the skirt. I made sashes instead to break up the line between silk and lace.

Sorry... Fuzzy picture

As I have very little experience sewing for a fuller bust I made a toile for Kirsty, just for the top half to get the bustier and the lace part right. Other than that the fitting was really easy... Except for the zips, I fell out with the zips.

Because I used invisible zips, and have never managed to actually make them invisible, I decided to hand pick them... And I may have stabbed myself... Maybe more than once. But they were invisible! Yay!

While the fit, in general, may have been easy... Working with the fabrics, less so. Well the faux silk was very easy, it was the lace that caused me issues.

I decided to French seam the bodice as I really didn't know how to finish lace (these are my very first forays into sewing with lace). I am really pleased with this decision, but it was super fiddly! And I don't believe I have ever sworn at my sewing machine quite so much. But once the French seams were done my next problem was how to finish the armholes and neckline. No facings possible, and bias binding  felt would have been too bulky for the delicate fabric.

I solved this by using very fine satin ribbon, stitching it by hand and using it just like bias binding, flipping it to the inside and trimming the scrappy bits. This was entirely an experiment, but it worked!! Once pressed it worked just right.

I thought the back opening might have been an issue because of how fine this edging was. I closed the lace above the Zips with a row of buttons...

But there wasn't much leeway for button loops, so I did some googling and you-tubing and I now know how to make thread loops... Very delicate but five of them on each dress took a bit of time.

The dresses are fully lined, most of which was down to hand stitching seams closed... Again it was a bit time consuming.

I sort of made up the sashes, I just cut out two very long oblongs and stitched them together, graded the seams and flipped it inside out... Yet more hand stitching to close them up. Simple but effective.

I hemmed both of our skirts just above the knee, But decided to do this by machine using bias binding... They did turn out a bit wibbly but they were still good, the silk had a great shape and swirl to it. I really loved that when the light hit it in a certain way it almost looked red, which matched our shoes and the roses in our hair. I really felt so smart, Kirsty liked hers too... And she got a free hand tailored dress out of the deal... Win win!

The day was great, and I felt really proud that the dresses worked out how I wanted them too... Also I love this group picture... He he he!!

Monday, 12 September 2016

Could someone please explain to me....


Also, for the purposes of this post, please forgive my weird Hobbit feet... Much thanks

And yes, I am aware the cropped length does not help with the Hobbit feet... But mine aren't hairy... So there!

Aaaaaaanyway... Pyjamas! So I swing between being the sort of person who picks the pattern and fits the fabric to it, and the sort of person who falls in love with the fabric and then fits it to a pattern. These pyjama bottoms are the latter. While doing some eBay browsing I came across these adorable bunnies, was forced against my will to buy a few metres (ahem), and only then decided on pyjamas.

I mean look at them!! They're so scrappy!!

I used the Margot Pyjama pattern from Tilly Walness' 'Love at First Stitch' book, which I highly recommend for the beginner sewist. Because I am a bit more seasoned than that I skipped past the pages which diligently explain how to place patterns and cut the fabric out. But would you believe that these are only my second 'remotely resembles trousers' pattern, so I did pay attention while sewing leg a to leg b. 

I used just my hip measurement to pick the size as its a drawstring waist, and there is no other shaping at the top... Easy peasy! I only ran into difficulties when I realised that the 45" wide fabric was not long enough! But Tilly had the solution already spelled out for me... Cropped bottoms! Again... Love! Love! Love!

They are sooooo comfy, the fabric is light and airy (because that's exactly what I need going into winter!) and really soft... And did I mention bunnies!

What I don't like about them is the drawstring hole. Either I mis-read (half-read.. Ahem) the instructions, or there is only one hole at the front for the drawstring. A solution to this would be to simply add elastic to the waistband before sewing the hole closed! Or trying to manufacture two holes (maybe button holes on each side of that middle seam).

So in conclusion... Pyjamas are awesome! And I want more!! Also...

Apparently I'm a little teapot... But with no spout... Ok a wonky sugar bowl.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Something Blue...

If you follow me on Instagram (I'm under makingwithneedles if you don't and you're interested) then you have seen a few photos of my big summer project. I actually managed to churn out two bridesmaids dresses of good enough quality to get away with it. 
Well I won't be talking about those today! I'm still trying to get around to photographing the little details on those, but I promise I will show you them soon.

Today I'm showing off the last minute wedding side project I made especially for Chris. About a week and a half before day zero she sent out an appeal to the bridesmaids and mother saying that while she had something old, new, and borrowed, she didn't have anything blue. 'Don't worry about that' I said, obviously thinking I didn't have enough on the go already, 'I'll sort that out for you'.

I did have an idea, and figured it wouldn't take too long...

So I made her a little patch to sew onto the inside of her wedding dress skirt. I thought she could unpick it off again afterwards and keep it.

Now I've never done any embroidery before so I needed to source some materials. I found a nice light blue satin, some dark blue and some silver embroidery thread, and an embroidery hoop.

Then I just traced out what I wanted and popped the fabric into the hoop!

Of course I also had no idea about which stitch to use, so after some googling and some you tubing I went with the back stitch... Nice and neat and also very delicate. I added some hearts using the satin stitch in the silver thread (wow check me out! It's like I'm a professional using all the right words and stuff!!), and then edged it with some lace ribbon type stuff (aaand the professional language goes out of the window).

Then I presented it to Chris... And here comes the funny part! Those eagle eyed people will notice in the top photo that the date says the 27th August... But in the following photos the pencil outline says the 28th... Yeah I got the date wrong (sister promptly fires head bridesmaid).

So I had to take it back... Unpick the finishing.. Unpick the eight while not allowing the rest to unravel... Re-stitch a seven... And sew it all together again.

Let's have a look at that photo again... Because I didn't have time to handwash it and let it dry overnight, you can still see an outline of the eight under the seven... Oops. When I take it off the dress I shall wash that out!!

She was very happy with it though... And showed it off on the day for the cameras... Head bridesmaid re-hired!

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

And now for something completely different

I lied.... This is not really something different... Well compared to the oodles of sewing I've just done I guess it is... So it's not a complete lie, more a half truth... Am I getting off topic here? Sorry 

So yeah... Socks!

My latest finished pair were actually completed over a week ago, but it's been too hot to wear socks so there was little inclination to photograph them. I have only laziness to blame, soz. 

But anyway, down to details!

These little beauties are the Petty Harbour pattern by Rayna Curtis (available on Ravelry). The pattern is easy to remember making these good portable knitting. It's a really nice broken rib which also gives a nice elasticity to the socks. I knit them up in the smaller size and they're perfect for my size 5s.

But they are yet another imperfect pair, not because of making a mistake, but because of yarn chicken... Which sounds like you'd need to go see a vet. Yes indeed, while my choice of yarn (Grundl Hot Socks) is very lovely, gave me perfect gauge, and a very pretty denim blue colour... What it did not give me was the extra  30cm I needed for my final four rows. Yes, the right sock is shorter than the left!

Ok it's a bit longer than that. I think a minor irk I have with the pattern is to blame, and this is only my irk because I apparently don't understand my own feet! While happily knitting away at sock #1 (see above), I did not think about checking the heel flap length against my own heel, which apparently needs less flap than the average heel. This has made it a bit too big for me, meaning by the time I got to the end of sock #2 (seen above in its infancy), my extra 30cm of yarn was happily chilling out in sock #1.

Ah well, they still both fit fine.

You can kinda see the extra heel going on in this shot.

But mistakes aside (mistakes that not one member of the public will either notice or give a monkeys about), I really enjoyed knitting these ones. That pattern kept them interesting, and the denim blue keeps them classic looking.


Monday, 29 August 2016

Is it a kimono? Is it a 40s wrap? Who knows?!

The bargain bin in Fenwicks haberdashery has a lot to answer for. I seem to feel more daring with the fabrics I source there. A while ago I found what I can only describe as woven tweed like coat fabrics in navy and cream/brown, there was also only 1m 20 of it. In spite of wondering what the hell I was going to do with it I had to have it, so it sat in the fabric pile for quite a while. Then I had a thought, kimono! So I just went with it.

In my mind I pictured a sort of thick cardigan that would be a great coverup for slightly chillier days over the summer and maybe even into autumn. It was entirely experimental and I'm really chuffed to say it worked!!

I used a Butterick pattern (6176) which is meant to be made up in a loose flowing fabric. I also shortened it before cutting version b, there wouldn't have been nearly enough fabric, but I also wanted it to hang just at my hip.

The only other adjustment I made was to narrow the body, but this was after I had stitched it up. It was just too bulky under the arms, but I didn't want to loose any of the sleeve length so I just stitched another line up under the arm, this has left a drop sleeve kind of effect which I really like.

You can see the original sleeve seam just down from the shoulder.

Because the fabric frays very easily (it is a loose weave) I finished the edges with some bias binding, but the inside sleeves I zig zag stitched over with both layers of fabric together to make it a bit sturdier (I would normally have ironed them flat and done each side separately).

What I really love about it is the vintage wrap feeling to it, even with just a t shirt and jeans it feels glamorous! And it's lovely and warm too.

For an entirely experimental bit of sewing the whole thing was really satisfying. It was one of those really exciting projects that you take a step back from at the end and just say YESSSSSSSSS!!

I think experimental sewing might be the way forward, I see much more of it in my future.

Friday, 26 August 2016

The cutest little top in the world!!

I decided to be a bit daring with this blouse, well daring for me anyway. I spotted a lovely blouse a while back while browsing what people had done with the Scout T-Shirt pattern (from Grainline). On this particular version the blogger had added lovely dramatic sleeves. I'm very sorry that I can't refer you back to the original as I have completely forgotten whose blog I spotted it on, but it lingered in my mind. So after thinking about it for a good couple of months I decided to bite the bullet and make my own (slightly less dramatic) version.

As I don't have the Scout pattern I used New Look 6483 again

I extended the sleeves on version a. and then created that cute little cuff by cutting a rectangle wider than the end of the sleeve...

Then gathering it to fit the end of the sleeve... It's a really easy tweak which I think is really effective...

And if those sleeves aren't cute enough can we take a moment to look at the fabric! This was an amazing eBay find, it's a Korean cotton with adorable little bicycles and swings on it!!

Then when it turned up it had the name of the pattern and the designers name on the selvidge. I absolutely love it! It seemed perfect for this top... Although being cotton it does what cotton will do, it creases when worn...

Yep... Crinkle'r'us. But really, with bikes, swings, dinky little trees, and flared sleeves, is this not the cutest top you've ever seen? No? Well it's certainly the cutest I've ever made.