Saturday, 30 January 2016

Arriving late to the party

I am not a person who likes to be late, anyone who knows me will know this. But I have been very late to the Hollyburn party. This does not please me! You know what does please me though.... This awesome skirt!!

I cannot fault this pattern... I really can't! It's a very popular Sewaholic pattern which can be downloaded in very few sheets of A4. You simply select your size based on your waist and hip measurements and off you go!! The pockets are easy to put together, and are awesome. The whole thing sews up really quickly, and adding a lining is just stupidly easy! And you know what? It's awesomely flattering!

Yes, this is my awesome skirt!

I made it in a very practical black suiting stuff which is slightly ribbed in the style of corduroy. It was easy to sew with if you can overlook the sewing with black in a slightly dim room. I have rectified this with a very bright lamp (used to light the photos which is why I look like I'm within a yard of the very sun itself).

Can't see the stripes... Come closer

Yes, very nice. Because it's winter and tights are very much required I needed to line the skirt of awesomeness... So the lining also needed to be awesome... Cue polka dots!

And legs... This is a simple black and white polka dot lining fabric but it gives the skirt a hidden level of awesome!

In a nutshell.... Buy this pattern... It is awesome!!

Monday, 25 January 2016

My new favourite jumper

So after moaning about not wanting to finish off my owls jumper I am pleased to announce that I got my finger out and got it done! Motivation is a great thing, and because I was going to be traipsing around the North to buy fabric for some very special dresses, I wanted to wear my new snuggly jumper. So upon my return from work on Friday I set too with a darning needle and a packet of buttons and...

Ta da!!! My finished Owls jumper!

This is a speedy knit, and even though I only picked it up for an hour or two here and there, two weeks later and it was all knitted up... A week later and I'd actually finished it.

The only changes I'd made were to use less decreases and increases on the back, but I kinda wish I hadn't now as it feels like the decreases are in the wrong place, leaving a baggy bit...

But that is after 2 days of wearing it so it did stretch out a bit. If you look closely you can see the stripes I used to blend the two yarn colours together, it looks subtle enough that it's not an obvious change in colour (bullet dodged) but it was a pain in the ass to do. Without this striping this pattern is obscenely easy to do.

I love the yoke construction, the owls over the shoulders are really flattering, and while I thought the bulky yarn would feel too... Well... Bulky, it's actually just lovely and snuggly!

I will definately make this again (usingthe same dye lot for all of the balls of yarn), but I might go for the full decrease increase process on the back next time.

The eyes I am really in love with. I had a pack of vintage buttons already in my stash that I knew would be perfect. I think they look like the owls have stars in their eyes...

And I think it was absolutely worth spending the time to sew them on, they really make the owls come to life. I did only have 20 buttons though so the eyes run accross the front and over the right shoulder only. I like to think it has a jaunty angle feel to it.

The wool is lovely but it snags easily, so I'm going to be really careful with this jumper, and wear it shed loads.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Work in progress

I'm at that stage in the jumper knitting process where I'm just so close to finishing it that the only thing I want to do is start another jumper. Could anyone tell me why I have this urge? Or is it just part of the jumper process?

Anyway the nearly finished jumper mentioned is my Owls which I started just after new year.

And when I say nearly finished I mean last few steps until finished. I have tried it on to ensure it fits ok, and I was very pleasantly surprised to see that the attempted colour blend (mentioned a couple of months ago due to two very slightly different shades of yarn) ends in the body and sleeves parallel to each other... Which I of course intended to do... Ahem.

At the moment this jumper has no armpits as the way they are connected to the body via the shoulder yoke thing requires a Kitchener stitch to complete the join... Which I haven't done. There are also a million and one ends to weave in because of the aforementioned colour blending... Also not done. On top of all of this I want to sew button eyes onto all of the owls, but I know how tedious this is going to be... So it remains undone.

So to sum up, I have finished the fun part and reassured myself the jumper fits, and therefore is a success, and I'm putting off the boring finishing off... What am I doing instead I hear you all ask? Well I have begun my cropped sweater by AndI Satterlund, in a super soft merino wool.

Main body black with purple edges... This is all new and exciting, but I will get back to my owls... I promise!!

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Copy and paste

This top I actually made before Christmas but it hadn't been photographed so it didn't end up on my list of stuff I made in 2015.

I made this to use up the leftover material from my Christmas party skirt, I was left with less than a meter and was unsure what I could do with it. I decided to copy a t shirt I bought a while ago (which is just the right length and has just the right bagginess), I managed this by tracing around the t shirt and addin 1/4" seam allowance...

It was a bit rough but it's a simple shape. Of course as it was a t shirt I traced, and I wanted to make it out of rayon, bust darts must be added. The easiest thing was to trace the armhole and bust of a previous pattern and to widen the pattern pieces.

I think it's a pretty decent copy too. I needed to shorten it as there wasn't quite enough fabric, but it still works nicely.

The neckline and armholes on the original are finished with matching bias binding, which I didn't have enough fabric to make, so I just used navy blue cotton, they don't lie as flat as I would like but it's ok.

The bust darts turned out ok too. But next time I might actually try adjusting the pattern properly.

For my first attempt at a traced pattern this is ok, I think I'll use it again, but next time just a direct copy using more Jersey fabric. But this is a great way to use up any leftovers from pretty much anything.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

The return of the secret pyjamas

So if you were eagle eyed in the last post you will have spied that I made another Monetta! Well wouldn't you? it's a lovely pattern. This one I made in a very versatile and not entirely boring black textured Jersey.

And of course I discovered just how hard it is to photograph black clothes... On a dull afternoon... Indoors (these photos are heavily edited!)

Changes to this dress were that I raised the waistline (turns out a mite too high), and I added a collar from the bonus collar pack (which is free to download). Short sleeves, and a higher hemline!

I had a few issues with the collar, I wanted to make the tie front version which is really cute. But this fabric has not the properties required for this to be a success. This is how Colette patterns envisioned it...
Photo from the Colette website

This is how mine turned out...
Photo from my sewing desk

It just would not lie flat!! Not even a little bit! So I decided that I would keep most of the collar, but modify it. So I opened it flat, cut off the bottoms, and tucked the raw edges in and hand stitched.

It's a bit wobbly because of the tucked in fabric not being the correct way to do it, but at least it sits well. The textured fabric was a great match other than the collar. It has a houndstooth 'print' texture on it which makes it more interesting than just plain black.

Unsightly back crease the result of where my hand are... It's not normally there.

I clipped the hem to sit just above my knees which is a really good length, modest but not dowdy.

And I love it, even if it was too much of an effort to smile for all of the photos (oh dear).

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Travel knitting

I'm back again. I feel like I'm on catch up from before Christmas when I was busy making loads but I didn't finish most of it until after Christmas (holidays are great for getting stuff done).

While I was busy making all the gift socks for what felt like the whole world, I was plotting and planning some selfish knitting. For a week before Christmas I travelled South to spend time with my parents, and I wanted to take a project with me to knit while on the move. I decided jumpers and cardigans were too big, hats are too small, but a shawl/scarf would be juuuuust right.

Enter 'Maluka' by Bea Schmidt, a free pattern on Ravelry

Photo from Ravelry pattern page

This beauty is a 4ply shawl constructed by knitting the lace in one long stripe, then picking up stitches and knitting short rows to create the crescent body.

I opted to make it in a beautiful blue alpaca (yes it sheds a little but it's soooo soft) using 'Drops Alpaca' yarn.

I also decided that the mock cable that the pattern describes was just ridiculously over complicated so I just regular cabled those six stitches. This caused two problems... 1. It changes how the lace looks, it's now a much more solid lace, which is ok... And 2. It's very difficult to get a metal cable needle onto a plane. I only ever use holding needles which are giant safety pins, and I was scared they would be confiscated... So I got creative...

Turns out a kirby grip (Bobby pin, hairlslide, whatever you like to call them) makes an excellent cable needle!

For the remainder of my holiday my view was very much...

Sofa, check... Christmas tree, check... Mulled wine (not shown here), check... Knitting, check and check.
I continued knitting throughout the Christmas break, finishing it just before New Year's Eve. This is a fairly easy to remember and easy project, it kept me busy and happy while travelling and while watching TV at my parents. It comes very recommended.

One minor adjustment I made to the pattern was to make the whole shebang longer and the crescent shallower, making it more scarf-like by adding extra repeats on the lace and less wrap and turns on the short rows. I really like the shape that came out at the end.

This scarf wasn't essential, it serves no need.. But it was a great project to travel with and I have a soft fluffy little shawl to wear now.

Monday, 4 January 2016

New shiny scissors

While I am without sewing machine after snapping my last needle (I know I left it until the last minute to stock up), I have decided to at least cut out my next project, which is a slightly different experience than usual.
So back in the beginning when I had just started playing around with sewing my mum bought me a sewing kit, she sews herself so she really knows what is important in a sewing box. Part of this kit was, of course, some sewing shears...

I have been using these shears since about forever ago. But last year I wasn't paying attention properly while cutting a thick fabric (can't remember what), and I hit a pin, but rather than notice the solid lump I tried to cut through it which resulted in...

If you look closely on the top blade, there is a nick. This catches on everything, but as it is closer to the hinge I have still been using the tip of the scissors to cut fabric. I have been doing this for ages. But this year for Christmas I got a brand new shiny pair.

AND they're Fiskars! Which are awesome! AND they came with some baby scissors!! I have just cut out my first pattern using my nice shiny new shears, and I can't believe I spent so long using the nicked pair (I'm not implying that I stole them, but that they are damaged, in case you were already diling the police). And I really love my baby scissors, which I have used loads already!!

Things I have learned... Always have brilliant shears, and be careful of pins!