Tuesday, 6 December 2022

I knit a really ugly thing...

  I have knit the ugliest, most disastrous thing ever.

I chose the yarn at Woolfest way back in April and in my head, it was going to be a colourful, unique tank top.

If only I reaslised by taking a closer look at the picture, after so much unpicking, that it was asymmetrical. The little fan was only on one side and the shoulders are not equal in size until you add the side panel, which incidentally is knit horizontally. Blah! Blah!

I carried on because a) I am a capricorn and b) I was actually enjoying the colourwork and how the yarn was knitting up. After sewing it up, I thought it might be better; but it was worse. In the instructions it suggests not even finishing the large grey shoulder and only adding rib to the smaller colour work shoulder?? 

It had a 100% chance of actually going in the compost bin until I tried it on. The sizing was pretty good. It looked better on, so for now, it has a 50% chance of survival. I have had to put it away for a while because I couldn't give it any more of my enthusiasm. Maybe in the new year I will work on the armholes.

On the plus side, my mum has been coming up with some amazing knits. She made me this Kate Davies sweater which I love. I have enjoyed wearing pink for a change.

Mum has also knit me this tank on request. It is Sirdar 9306 which I knit for myself quite a few years back, but after lots of wear it went too bobbly to wear in the end and didn't make our house move. It is a fantastic garment for putting over the top of virtually anything. Cord shirts are notoriously difficult to put a sleeve over the top of comfortably but with these mahoosive armholes it is not a problem.

I made the babycord shirt from Newlook 6449. It is a dress pattern, but I like the fit and the details so it works well as a pattern hack for a shirt.

Lastly, here are the snowflakes I showed friends how to crochet at craft club. It is true...every snowflake is unique...even it is from the same pattern!!

Thanks for dropping in. I am off to cast on a sock or add to my new crocheted jumper. Maybe I will finsh some success. Jo xxxx

Tuesday, 29 November 2022


Can I just squeak in here with a November...ing post by checking through my phone photos just in time? I have been so busy working this month but that is all good.

Walking - I have been trying to remember to walk more. Since freelancing with a sewing job, I am finding I am stuck on my backside more than I would like to be and because I am like a dog with a bone when I start something - I just want to plough on with my projects. Thank heavens for our dog Beano who makes me get up and go for a walk.

Baking - with yeast. Meg loves making these cinnamon buns but they take soooooo long. It is a special treat and she has to catch me on the right day for me to say, 'Yes! you can spend virtually all day making a bun!'

Loving - the Dahlias from Beth's wedding garden. They just kept coming until mid November. She picked so many which she dried after she had used them in her last wedding booking of the year. The dried ones appear in her Autumn and Christmas wreaths. They are stunning.

The white ones are passed on to me as they don't dry to a good colour. I have the too light and too dark rejects! The ones below were just beautiful.

Twinning - with Megan on the train on the way to the NEC Birmingham for a craft show. The girls and I really had a fab day out. They enjoyed spending their pocket money for doing farm jobs and I loved having a browse.

Crafting - up a zip necklace. I saw these zip pulls at the craft show and the vendor let me rummage through a tray to find 18 in different colours. We negotiated £2.50!

Buying - some fabric at said show. Meg bough the blue one for PJ's (it is so soft) and I had a metre of the vintage simplicity models for.....something.

Bottling - up more homemade wine. These are my blackberry, quince and damson batches. I have 26 now that I have made this year...maybe 25 by time of posting!

Helping - my big girl who wandered into the studio wanting to know how to put a zip in. She had sorted her craft drawer and wanted to make project bags for each type of craft. If they ask I help, if they don't ask to craft I leave it. 

Starting - a craft group in our local village hall. It is called the Schoolroom (because it once was) Lots of happy crafty people.

Leaving - you with the view from my kitchen table as ever. Lots of low-lying fog in beautiful ethereal layers lately. 

Thanks for dropping by. You can catch my sewing video tutorials on YouTube here if you fancy it. Jo xx

Thursday, 17 November 2022

Just been Sewing and Sewing and Sewing

Hello there, it's been a while but I have been busy sewing some epic patterns; ones that take a week or so, then at the end of the day I couldn't be in a sitting position anymore, I just needed to stretch my legs.

I have been making the Dawn Jeans by Megan Nielsen. I chose it because there were good reviews of the fit and sizing accuracy. The finished garment measurements are the measurements I always take when making jeans - I always ignore the 'womens' size numbers because they are too variable from country to country. Who am I making these jeans for? A size 12 woman somewhere in the world or myself. That is how I like to think of it. Dawn is from an Australian Designer.

I LOVE all the details of making jeans. You can't make them in a rush, you have to split the process up into chapters. I chose topstitching, button fly, handstitched sashiko pockets and belt loops - I hate making belt loops but I found some new techniques to conquer my nemesis.

I even treated myself to a leather label once I knew that the jeans were fitting well. If I made them again, and I will, I will do a zip fly rather than a button fly. If you are young with a flat stomach then fine but with a little tum the buttons peel open when you sit down. A zip would remain closed in a straight line I think.

I messed around with the angle of the back yoke to stop the gape I get in shop bought jeans and split the waistband with a join in the back so I could get a better fit. This worked a treat. Did I mention that I filmed the whole process for Minerva as part of my freelance work? It is a surefire way of making you sew something really well.

I could have done with a quick sew break after making, filming and editing a video for these jeans but next up on my list, with a looming deadline, was the Hovea jacket also by Megan Nielsen.

It is an easy fit jacket pattern which I think the marketing team have missed out on with the cover image. Both jackets are quilted on the cover but there are so many other ways to make this jacket lined, unlined, long, casual or cosy. I saw some really different ones on the Minerva website with very different looks. It would be easy to overlook this pattern if you thought it was just for a quilted coat.

Anyway, again I needed to film this process so I chose a tricky fabric to quilt on purpose to share some techniques for makers. Gauze has a bubbly texture which can easily be distorted if you don't use a walking foot to feed the fabric through your machine evenly.

I also made it reversible. This jacket is the easiest construction ever but the process of quilting is time consuming rather than hard. Off the back of my jeans making knowledge, I used felled seams to enclose all of the raw edges on both sides. It worked a treat on the shoulders and sleeve head and I used bias binding to bind along the side seam and under my arm.

These two garments have kept me away from blogging for a few weeks but I did get to see the view from my sewing table every evening reminding me to stand up, stretch and come back to the project the next day with a fresh mind.

Off to check in with you folks now.... Jo xxxxx

Tuesday, 25 October 2022


 October in our house has been a fine mix of indoor and outdoor activity. Foraging, putting the garden to bed, sewing and making of course and general small holding pursuits.

Foraging - these parasol mushrooms for a tasty soup.

Matching - our salad to the weekly vase of flowers. There are carnations I grew from cuttings, scabious, dahlias and a few more choice stems.

Arranging - home grown flowers for Harvest Supper. I do love a bit of flower arranging.

Curating - some of my fabric scraps into ready cut garments. There becomes a stage where there are more scraps than I can mentally deal with. A good old cutting out session matching pieces with like-minded companions, committing to cutting them out and bagging them up ready to sew feels like a big step forward.

Watching - the changing view during October. It is the best time to look out of our kitchen window and appreciate where we live.

Celebrating - My youngest becoming a teenager with a death by chocolate cake decorated in mint aero. It was requested. I delivered. 

Catching - a few rainbows this month. Some of them were absolute screamers.

Collecting - conkers. I don't know why. Meg does it every year. She marvels at the texture and colour and then I find them all mouldy in her room about two months later. That is how it has worked here for 13 years.

Scooping - up tonnes of crab apples. It was a full on family job. We all had aching backs afterwards but they are in the sheep field. Now, sheep can eat the odd apple or two but too many is not good for them and you just can't trust sheep not to gorge themselves on something that is right there under their noses.

Putting - the greenhouse to bed. I picked the last few tomatoes this week and have swept through. The pots, troughs and sinks have all been emptiedI started off two years ago with the three geraniums at the back, took four successful cuttings last year and this year I have taken 24 more. Hopefully these can then go back into the Belfast sinks at the front of the house next summer.

Finishing - off with my two latest Autumn makes. A cosy Paige Hoodie by Chalk and Notch and a refashioned skirt made from a rather unsuccessful dress attempt.

A very brown and orange post today but a reflection of the Autumnal season I feel. Thanks for stopping by. Jo xxx