Saturday, 15 December 2018

Welcome to

Making - A pom Pom wreath at a craft group I run. It always surprises me how much fun people have making them.

Baking - A Bakewell tart without a marzipan taste (YUK!) Our family tart has lemon sponge and lemon curd.

Buying - The last few Christmas presents. 

Building - Our new house which now has walls, floors and windows as well as s bifold door. The oak beam is from the original cow shed that was knocked down in the early 1990's. My dad saved it especially to put in the new house build, he would have loved how it looks now.

Thinking - About some house decor. What will we choose? exciting times ahead.

Loving - Walking into town to watch the Christmas lights being turned on, drinking beer and bumping into friends.

Wondering - How much longer Big Sis will still believe. She is 11.

Eating - Mince pies (and jam ones for Little one who does not like mincemeat)

Growing - Lots of holly with berries at the farm. I always remember my Grandad putting me in the loader bucket on the front of the tractor to cut the best bits from the top. I had a go at a wreath.

Getting - Our tree decorated.

Watching - The Winter colours shine out on rare sunny days.

Disliking - How much pressure many women put on themselves at Christmas time.

Wearing - My new going out top which I made in sumptuous stretch velvet.

Enjoying - Writing Christmas cards. I think if you don't like doing it then you shouldn't put yourself through it.

Deciding - What my new years crafting resolutions might be.

Feeling - Winter Hygge

Best Wishes to you all. Jo xxxx

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Winter Bedtime

We are not a PJ wearing family. We don't wear them in the daytime for relaxing purposes. You have to be pretty ill in this house to not get dressed. It really is just too darn cold at Three Stories not to be wearing a few layers. Big Sis requested long sleeved pyjamas to keep her warm in bed for the coming season.

She chose the fabric from Abakhans on our first trip to the store when it opened. It came to the grand total of £4:70. I guessed it would make a long sleeved set. I did however add some navy jersey leftovers to the length of the body and the sleeves to give it some longevity in both physical and chronological terms.

I chose a couple of tried and tested patterns that I already had cut out: a long sleeved T and a pair of leggings. They were ideal as she had requested slim fitting trousers that didn't ride up her legs under a duvet.

The cuffs are currently turned back but will enable her to take them down as her arms grow. They are made on the overlocker mainly where the whole set took about an hour and a half to sew. (cutting not included)

I tried to make the neck a little slacker than usual for comfort but I think I may have gone a bit too far but she says it is fine. Lucky me, unpicking three stitch zig-zag is a nightmare. I know I have done it before!

Secondly I made a set for myself. This fabric was a five pound wonder piece from Abakhans too in a really pretty pointelle fabric. Unlike my girl, I couldn't squeeze out a long sleeved T so I went for my 'go to' pattern NewLook 6217 and used the top from that.

I made the bottoms by drawing around my best fitting PJ trousers allowing for a front and back crotch when cutting.
The old ones are five years old now and flapping up around my ankles so it was time for a change.

We are both very cosy having treated ourselves to dressing in our nightwear at 6:30pm whilst taking silly photos in front of the camera. Thanks little one for the photos...Such fun!

Happy Crafting. Jo xxxx

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Coffee Sweater

Coffee is addictive and so was this sweater. I couldn't knit it fast enough. The easy top down pattern means knitting all the way - none of those pesky purl rows that make me lose my tension. I knit the yoke and cream body in a week of evening knitting. It fitted well across the shoulders, another advantage of top down knits is the ability to try it on as you go. This one is based on the free Ravelry pattern The Simplest Sweater.

Pattern wise, I wanted to incorporate some of the brown balls of yarn which were in the stash bag too. I have forgotten to mention here that the wool was all unwanted therefore given to me for free. I turned to my Knit Nordic book for pattern inspiration and coffee featured again...

'Fana' is a pattern over 12 rows so I made sure I ended the waist decreases on 132 rows, a multiple of 12. It worked a treat, was easy to do and gives it the proper woolly Nordic feel of a winter sweater. Who would have thought a cafetiere pattern would work on a jumper? The coffee palette works well and I used the border part to add detail to the cuffs.

I noticed that on Ravelry I had made pattern notes from the first time I made this sweater back in 2010, I wrote that it would be better with ribbed hems rather than rolled hems so I picked up some stitches around the neck and sleeves to finish it off. I used five balls (500m) of cream Lopi Iceland Fleece Alafoss and some part balls from three different coffee browns. It was knit on 6mm needles.

I am always inspired by the patterned knits at Cozy Things. Kristen has a really good fit to her sweaters, this is achieved with a bit of maths along with a gauge square. There are many more of these sweaters in me. I would like to try one in a finer yarn next. For now though, I have three warm sweaters on rotation this winter.

This jumper is warm, make no mistake. Inevitably, it is itchy on the cuffs and neck but nothing a brown turtle neck underneath can't solve. I have also followed a tutorial on washing it in six tablespoons of hair conditioner in the bath which seems to have softened it up. No machine washing for this one!

Thanks for dropping by. Jo xxxxxx

Sunday, 2 December 2018

All Done #23 Silky Scarf

My All Done posts feature a project that finishes off a fabric or material that would otherwise get hoarded or unused. I have achieved this heady outcome 23 times! Today I found six squares of crochet from my Summer dress make. 

After I made the dress, and whilst on holiday, I found it to be too long so I removed three squares from the front and three from the back. The length was much better on me but this double run of three squares was hiding in the bottom of my knitting bag. I decided to make a quick Christmas present by joining them.

There were two remaining balls from Wool and the Gang. I made three more squares, added it to the run, then double crocheted two rows to neaten the edges. There was still nearly a whole ball left so I embarked upon a subtle shell border to use it all up. 

The yarn is 100% Tencel, this is a super soft sustainable yarn made from eucalyptus trees which is perfect for use around your neck because it creates a silky delicious drape. It is lovely and long.

This gift is for my next door neighbour. She is so good to me with babysitting when I want to go to my dance class when bloke is on a night shift. I taught her to crochet about four years ago and she threw herself into it but she had to stop because she had problems with her dexterity. She really deserves this.

I added a label printed on velum which you might find useful to bookmark from here or here.

I love seeing what everyone is making for Christmas presents. Let the making begin... 
Jo xxxx

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

The Neapolitan Blanket

Everso aptly named by Jennifer from Thistlebear, my baby blanket which echoes the palette of a Neapolitan ice cream tub is complete. 

Gentle strawberry, chocolate and mint colours ripple into a pleasing baby blanket.

I left the wavy edge and finished it with two rounds of double crochet and my favourite border, crab stitch. I could have been all girly and added a shell edge but the wavy edge made that quite perplexing.

This project has well and truly allowed me to fall back in love with my evening yarn time all over again. After a run of bad luck with the needles this one made me feel successful once more.

No rhyme or reason, I just added another two rows of whichever colour came out of the basket. Yarn wise I used Sirdar Country style which was in a donated bag given to me last year. I have one whole ball of mint and one whole ball of pale pink left to make a little baby knit to go with it: maybe a cardigan, hat or booties.

Such a soothing photo. Happy days!

Jo xxxxx

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Best Dress Tunic

 Hello! Well, here is Burda 9380 take two. This version has a few little alterations which makes for the most comfy best dress tunic.

I have made my older girl this pattern in jersey here. Little M wanted one too, in fact it was her I chose the pattern for in the first place but I got side-tracked experimenting with knit fabric.

 My youngest girl will wear virtually anything colour wise so long as it is modest and comfortable. I don't know why. She hates wearing sleeveless or strappy tops or having bare legs - it may stem from  always being very slim, maybe she is trying to pad herself out a bit - who knows. Anyway, I knew this dress had to be lined so that she would find it comfortable with leggings as a tunic.

I also predicted that she would not like cotton sleeves which got stuck inside her cardigan sleeves so I made them in jersey and the main dress in cotton. This red fabric is a light cotton weave ideal for hard wearing children's clothes matched with a coordinating jersey.

I turned the raw edge of the jersey hem over once and ironed it down with hem tape then used a decorative stitch to 'overlock' the raw edge on the inside and leave a nice finish on the outside. I have used this technique a lot lately because my overlocker has been playing up. The hem tape stops the hem stretching and rippling so it looks sharp.

We added the iron on motif just because we had it and it matched the colours. Minerva have lots. I have a selection at home for ironing over holes in jeans.

She loved it and said it was soooo slippy on the inside. 
That is a good thing!

A great pattern with so much potential for using up bits and pieces.

Thanks for looking. Bye for now. Jo xxx

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Stretch Knit Two Ways

Whizzing up two useful tops in stretch jersey couldn't be easier. Both patterns are tried and tested ones for me so it was nice to just cut and sew for instant success. 

This is the top from New Look 6217. I have made this many times in both stretch, crepe and rayon. My recommendation is to go down a size when making the stretch knit ones otherwise the neckline is too wide. They make great pyjama tops too to go with your favourite trouser bottom pattern.

It is an intermediate make because there is a neck binding but it is easy to do with this fabric because it is quite firm and doesn't roll away from the sewing foot. The sleeves are folded over once and then sewn with a patterned stitch. 

This fabric colour works well with denim, grey and black. It doesn't crease so would be ideal for holiday clothes or lazy people who don't like to iron - needless to say I love it!

The second top I made from my two metres of fabric was the one hour top from Fancy Tiger crafts. It is a free pattern download from their website and apart from sticking the PDF pattern together it really does take an hour from cutting to wearing. I already had the pattern all pieced together. 

I did not use a serger/overlocker for either of these makes, buying four spools of thread in yellow seemed an extravagance too far. Instead, I selected a decorative stitch from my machine which would look good on the right side, stretch and finish the inside edges all at the same time. 

Here you can see the raw edge, right side finish and the inside all unpressed. I used a press cloth with this fabric to avoid any melt.

There is not a neck binding on this top so I would highly recommend it for beginners. You simply turn the neck edge over and sew as described. I did tack/baste the neck in place just to make sure I was concentrating on the sewing line and not on turning the hem over as I was sewing like I did on the straight cuffs and hemline.

Another winner, this one has seen me through Autumn. I have a mustard and grey checked wool skirt which will be the perfect partner for work wear. 

This stretch knit is a nice weight making a good autumn or winter fabric. It appears to be sold out but the link is to a similar fabric. Thanks Minerva for letting me review this fabric.

 Thanks for calling in as ever. Jo x