Thursday, 21 January 2021

The Cupboard was Bare

 My 13 year old asked me to help her sort her clothes drawer out between Christmas and New Year because everything was too short in the arms and legs. She was excited and said, "Let's look in the drawers under my bed for the next clothes I am going to grow into" Imagine her disappointment when the procedure she was so used to over her whole childhood turned up absolutely nothing! For 13 years we have had a steady stream of second hand clothes from friends and family but it turns out that this wanes as you head into your teens. The only thing she had left was a Joules denim skirt and some long sleeved T-shirts. 

  What was a girl to do?

We headed to the studio and rummaged in the fabric chest. She chose this fabric and asked for a short sleeved shirt. 

I knew I had a vintage pattern that might fit the bill. It happened to be the right size so she cut out the fabric.

She was going to sew it herself but it was a pattern for an experienced sewer, the kind that were found up and down the country in the 1950's

In fact, I found it quite tricky myself! However, she really likes the finished shirt.

There was also some soft stretch denim I was going to make a pinafore for myself with but instead we made a pair of jeggings by drafting a pattern from her best fitting jeans to date and then adding some length and of course seam allowances. These were a real success. 

I even made a flat felled seam on the inside leg to make them look spot on.

Next up we found some slinky grey viscose from Michelle's Lockdown bag and made another Linden top with other bits and bobs: some cream stretch Liverpool jersey and lovely knitted ribbing. 

We found some more things we would like to make, namely leggings that fit her leg length but at least she has some trousers for the colder weather.

I liked the animal print myself and proceeded to make a quilted mat to place on top of the oak worktops above the dishwasher. It protects the wood in the wettest/messiest part of the kitchen.

It is a good job I can sew now that we definitely can't even go out and buy her new clothes that fit. Thankfully Father Christmas bought her a new pack of undies for her Christmas stocking, thank you for small mercies that's all I can say!  

Stay Safe. Jo xxx

Sunday, 17 January 2021

Eden Raincoat

 Hurrah! I finished the Eden Coat by Tilly and the Buttons which I started making at the start of January. I won't give you a blow by blow account here but suffice to say it is a thing of beauty. Enjoy the pictures from our back garden.

This coat malarky is an investment in time and money but I thought in lockdown, what else should I spend my time doing? The pattern is only available as a digital download and I couldn't face sticking together a mahoosive amount of A4 paper, not when we need the paper and ink supplies for home-schooling so I tried something new. I emailed the A0 copysheets to a pattern printer called sew pattern printing that I saw on facebook. I had them sent through the door. I highly recommend this(£2 an A0 sheet)as a way to print out large or complex patterns.

The waterproof fabric is from flamingo fabrics this one is called Gustav Klimt. I cut a size 5 from the size chart. If I am honest, I had already over reached myself budget wise with the pattern and outer fabric so I simply used up a piece of Ponte Roma for the hood and body lining and a piece of skirt lining for the sleeves to make them slippy, both which I already had. The only mod I made was to lengthen the sleeves and add a piece of ponte roma to the end of the sleeve lining. In the words of the late great Victoria wood: I like something to wipe my nose on!

This is the full features version with storm flaps, zip and poppers and pleated pockets but you could try a simpler version to gain confidence.

It is a triumph and one of the best things I have ever made. A 'home and dry' start to my 2021 crafting resolutions. 

Thanks for dropping by. Stay Safe, and dry wherever you are. Jo x

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Random QI

Today is a slightly unusual topic but Quite Interesting for a blog post. A friend of Andy's is a metal detector fan and asked if he could have a few afternoons in our fields. He turned up some pretty amazing stuff which we keep in a jar called the 'Kenley hoard' Put your tongue in your cheek when you read that label! 

Let's play a game of spot the artefact. Can you see a....?

 a thimble
a hallmarked silver brooch from the 1850's
a picture frame or pocket watch surround
a belt buckle
a hallmarked silver spoon
a captains naval badge
a flower pin badge or hat pin
a cider key
a musket ball
coins from 1852 and 1865

The musket ball top right is rather sinister to hold because it is so heavy and the guy said they weren't used to shoot animals so that one has a hidden story to tell.

I had not heard of cider keys but apparently some farm labourers were paid in barrels of cider which they could either drink or sell on. Those little round keys, centre bottom right were used to un tap the barrel.

I am not aware of anyone from my family tree in the Navy so the captains badge is a mystery too.

Anyway, just a little peek for you. 
Quite Interesting don't you think?

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Knitting - lots and lots of yarn from the basket. I have not bought wool for so long now but it feels good to use up what I have. A second child version of the sheep hat and the stripy snood are for the present box and the fairisle one is mine; all mine.

The snood used up the last of the tapestry wool I had been hoarding for several years, I cast on 120 sts and just kept knitting until all the colours ran out - so satisfying. Again, I lined it with some jersey to stop it being itchy. 

Baking - Toffee apple loaf cake from a blog called Jane's patisserie. Meg loves this blog and is slowly working her way through all of the loaf cakes.

Loving - our kitchen window sunsets.

Needing - to get the dog to a groomers but not at the moment. Beano's ears were so shaggy. In the end I washed him, put conditioner in his ears and cut the hair from the bottom of his ears myself. Come to think of it, I need a haircut. I have had one trim in 2019 and the ends are like an over brushed Barbie doll.

Starting - to sew together some scrap strips ready for a quilt of some kind. Just the usual - no plan, just sewing until I think it might work out into something.

Watching - as the girls started to catch the bug and sew some together too. We try and do school work in the morning and then head out to the studio for a change of scene in the afternoon.

Loving - this nine patch cushion Meg made for her bed.

Joining - the church cleaning rota. The girls got to work sweeping the pews and I did flowers on the altar. It is such a shame that there will be no service on Sunday for people to see them.

Preparing - the bottle of vodka with the gin kit my brother bought me for Christmas. Fingers crossed.

Losing - my way with some crochet last week. I was trying to make a jumper but the gauge was all wrong and I wasn't feeling it so after 12 motifs decided to cut my losses and make it into a little project bag. It now houses my rotary cutters and replacement blades.

Thinking - about getting a tumble drier. I really don't want to run electricity like that but drying washing is becoming so tricky no that I don't live near a launderette like we used to. I used the Christmas bunting as an indoor line the other day because the sun was shining on the bi-fold doors.

Delighting - you with some wintry views from our fields today.

Feeling - lucky to be able to stay safely at home.

Jo xxxx

Monday, 4 January 2021

Tapestry Yarn Cowl FREE Knitting Pattern

I had an itch to use up some stuff, I get this itch a lot like a kind of creative eczema if you will. Some craft supplies just hang around for years 'just in case'. But in reality, lots of materials are often given to me as a way to ease the conscience of the giver that they are not being wasteful but the sentiment is always friendly and also welcome.

Two hauls of tapestry yarn are an ideal example of this scenario. They have been in my yarn basket for more than four years. I see it as a challenge to find the most creative way I can use them. I looked at them for quite a few evenings. I started to knit them into a stripey little hat for a baby and then thought, "Who wants to give a newborn an itchy head?" and proceeded to unravel it.

Then I designed a fairisle pattern over 24 stitches on a piece of squared paper to make a neck warmer. The same itchy problem would occur surely? but I planned to line this garment for comfort.

After knitting the pattern chart four times I also realised that by lining it, I would not have to sew in the gazillion ends - just tie them off! I knitted them in a little to move the ends away from the very edge.

I lined it with a left over piece of jersey fabric but you could use fleece, an old sweatshirt or an old T-shirt.

Sometimes I followed the chart, sometimes I made a mistake and just carried on with that mistake and other times I added an extra plain row to use up a length of yarn or break up the contrasting colours- that is the beauty of a pattern over 24 stitches, so many multiples of 24. My favourite was the little rows of Tulips.

Essentially, it is so random that you just keep knitting the chart over and over adding a few plain rows here and there and repeating your favourite phrases.

The short rows are worked horizontally then designed to be worn by seeing the patterns in the fabric vertically as the snood wraps round your neck. Short rows were needed to use up short lengths of wool. I do however think there might be an interesting pattern to be had from knitting it in the round until each colour is used up. I'll put that one into the creative filing system for another day.

A black and white filter also shows how you need to select your yarns with contrast in mind. This makes the colours stand out. Putting green and blue next to each other doesn't necessarily give the desired effect unless it is say: pistashio and navy for example.

The colourways vary on each set of 20 rows as each little skein runs out but there are no dramas here, just the joy of creating colourful work using contrasting yarn.

I have loved the wonder of making something out of nothing. Here is the chart if you want to play along too.

Thanks for calling in. Enjoy.Jo x