Tuesday, 12 November 2019

All Done #25 - Drops Karisma

I had a girl with no winter hat! Can you believe that? She had a lovely hat from last Christmas but it is now too small. Time for an 'All done' project to use up my Drops Karisma scraps.

There was not much left over after making my Rainbow sweater...

and the recent knitting bag...

but enough to make some stripes with some Drops Nepal for a hat. Nepal is softer than Karisma so it is a good choice for the headband. I wondered around Ravelry looking for an aran pattern to use up the leftovers. I came across this wonderful winner of a pattern. It is called the Scrappy Ski Hat. They would make excellent Christmas presents by the way.

She loved the hat shape which is in Adult size only but I knit the band on 3mm needles to make the right size for her head and returned to a 5mm circluar needle as stated in the pattern for the main hat. Drops Karisma is a DK and Drops Nepal is an aran yarn so it turned out to be a sloppy beanie shape which she really liked. The pattern has been used many times so if you look through previous projects you can find someone who has made the size you want and copy their cast on. To use up the final scraps, she made her own pom pom.

She happily wore it for the rest of the day indoors on Saturday and it spurred her on to have another go at her scarf. She is a left-hander but manages to knit right handed. Clever girl.

A photograph of such woolly proportions that it melts my heart. All Done now with Drops Karisma, not a tiny bit left. Get in!

More on the Drops Nepal story later.... Jo xxx

Thursday, 7 November 2019


Loving - An autumn colour palette

Baking - Spiced Apple cake. Eaten hot with cream and then cold with a mug of tea.

Eating - Toad-in-the-hole. Luckily, the adults in our house like the crispy top and the children like the soft Yorkshire pudding bottom.

Buying - New Boots. My Fly boots were five years old with the smoothest sole which was getting a tad dangerous in wet conditions. This style of square toe allows for hand knit socks inside - perfect.

Disliking - How the garden looks at this time of year - so slimy.

Knitting - Nooooo!!! I got to row four on the sweater I am trying to knit but it was wrong. I really thought my 7th time would be lucky because 7 is a lucky number right?

Leaving - Brownies. We have arrived at the momentous occasion where both girls will be at Guides on the same night. Hooray! it is the small things that help a week along.

Making - painted pebbles and pumpkin pincushions.

Growing - lots of different types of succulents from cuttings. I now need to pot them up individually because some need more water than others.

Deciding - On a staircase design. It is a mighty difficult thing to choose I will have you know.

Building - no building for me this month but I did make a seat pad for the church pew which is in our new kitchen. The fabric is from Minerva which was ideal for oven gloves, seat pads and an apron all packed away for when we move.

Going - To a Firework display.

Collecting - a new vintage pattern. My collecting has slowed down  but sometimes you spot a gem in a charity shop.

Avoiding - Starting anything new. I have some projects which need the final materials to bring them to a close.

Sewing - a bed runner quilt together by hand in an Orla Keily design (see above)

Thinking - That I finally have my work/life/money balance right.

Feeling - At one with being inside a lot.

Joining in with Christina this week. Have a great Friday. Jo xxx

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Diverse Diversions

None of my most recent projects have been planned in any way, they have just morphed out of the yarn basket in the shadow of not being capable of making a sweater that I really want to make for myself. They have all been very pleasant diversions while the sweater is not working out.

This project is just something I have fancied for ages, not a priority and I could live my life without it but I really love it. It is a knitted bag from Interweave Favorites Accessories with a touch of embroidery.

The pattern is for 4ply but I had some Drops Nepal and Drops Karisma left over from two of my own lovely sweaters and you may already know that I like to use up yarn I already own. With this alteration, I have made myself more of a carpet bag than a cutesie handbag! Full length knitting needles fit easily along the bottom length.

Doing colour work stops me becoming too much of a knitting bodger which I can sometimes get lured into, hence the problems with the sweater I think. The colour of the stitches immediately tells me to stop and go back to sort out the problem if it turns out to be the wrong colour stitch or of course the revealing pattern shows that something has gone wrong too. I like this.

The bag is worked in the round. Because it is lined, I just knotted off the colour ends and left them well alone. 

The bag is washed on a hot machine cycle to gain a light felted texture before it is lined. However, I have learnt something useful here. I washed this bag on 40 degrees with a 1200 spin and it didn't felt at all. This means I can now wash both of my jumpers in the machine which I have not been brave enough to do. 

I didn't bother with the gazillion french knots - I didn't think two nights of sewing french knots would enhance my life or my knitting bag experience. I am happy with it as it is.

I wonder how many more crafting diversions I can make. A colorful scarf, two bras, and a carpet bag are all very diverse diversions.

Thanks for dropping by. Jo xxx

Wednesday, 30 October 2019


I fancied a bit of a sew a few weeks ago and I couldn't really muster enough motivation to have a cutting out session or indeed tidy away the kitchen table so that I could spread out some fabric so I rummaged around in my lingerie stash box and found a bra all ready cut out.

I surprise myself sometimes, there was a little freezer bag stuffed with all of this and a little note saying 'All ready to sew' 27/2/19. I do not actually recall doing this but it was indeed true!

I had even learnt from my last mistake of sewing a tricky piece the wrong way round which involved the hideous task of unpicking three stitch zig zag. This time, I had it all labelled lace edge, bridge edge and arm edge. 

I have been learning to make underwear for a long time now and I keep notes in a sewing notebook so that I can refer to sewing machine settings and elastic lengths between breaks. I have never used non stretch lace before so it was a new skill for me this time round. The lace was a piece I found in my grandmas old sewing box and I didn't want to throw it away, it was so small, however it was perfectly beautiful for this project.

The bra came together really easily and was such a pleasure to sew.

I made a kind of matching pair of knickers but my machine did not like this slinky fabric as much as the firmer tricot that was used for the bra but I persevered and they are comfy.

I was enjoying myself so much that the following week I delved a little deeper into the box and found another one all cut out but from a different pattern. 

This one was not so much of a breeze. The gauzy stretch fabric shifted about a lot against the slippy lining fabric. The centre bridge is a bit of a s***t sandwich but it is perfectly wearable.

I think I am done with this Kwik Sew pattern now. I have made a few which got me started but I much prefer the shape of the Malborough pattern in the first bra. 

To keep costs down, I always plunder parts from old bras that are leaving the drawer. A worn out navy M&S one was leaving to make way for my new spotty one but I have squirreled away the best bits for another time.

All of my underwear fabric and notions are from The Sewing Chest

Hope you have enjoyed my little sewing journey. Jo xxxx

Thursday, 24 October 2019

All of the colours

My knitting mojo has left me and wandered off some place else. I have tried five times to start a new sweater and I have just had to put it away for a while before I totally loose the plot and bury the wool and the pattern in the garden. After each knitting failure, I made a few crochet motifs to cheer myself up. The scarf became more enjoyable than the sweater so it came together quickly 24 flowers later.

The pattern is called Summer Palace by Jane Crowfoot. I bought it at wonderwool in Wales in the Spring after seeing a beautiful sample shawl on a mannequin. My friend Chantal said she loved it but she can't crochet. I sneakily bought the pattern while she wasn't looking therefore this scarf is her surprise Christmas present.

This is it before blocking. It looks better after blocking but I have a feeling that I might have a few too many stitches around the edges because I went off pattern for the border.

I did make some changes. I used acrylic DK leftovers instead of 4ply for a 'brights' version to stash bust some leftovers. I made two rows of motifs to get a chunky scarf rather than an ethereal shawl. I think she would get more wear out of this style.

The edges were better after blocking and the 3D flower motifs pulled out some spaces which gave them better definition and allowed for the border to have some room.

Tied as a scarf it is really nice and chunky around the neck.

These tags are new. They were 40p from the Minerva Crafts sale. I just popped them on the end of an order I was making so it seemed a good buy. They are lovely quality and a real finishing touch to a homemade gift.

First of my making presents done ready for December. Whooo!

Thank you for all the dress love you expressed on my last post, it really was appreciated.

Thanks for calling in. Any making plans? Jo xxxx

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Winter Vintage Pattern

 It has been a long time since I have delved into my vintage pattern collection and I fancied a winter dress, something cosy, that I could wear to work. I have never made this pattern before but it looked perfect. When I say this, it looked perfect this time last year when I actually cut it out however, I never got around to sewing it up and then Spring arrived!

It is such a treat to have a dress all cut out in a bag with the zip, thread and darts already marked. I took about an hour and a half to sew up. The fabric is a thick ponte roma jersey from Abakhan and cost me £14 for a two metre piece. I knew I would be using it to make a retro winter dress so the pattern seemed ideal. Navy and green are my favourite colours.

Sewing with Ponte Roma is a great way to get started with sewing jersey because you can cut it with pinking shears and it does not fray. Also, there is a little stretch for fitting but nothing that causes problems under the sewing machine. The dress has a zip and raglan sleeves which means it is not a swinging sack. There is also further shaping with a combination of waist and bust darts. I moved the bust darts up a fraction.

Worn with navy tights and my green clogs I am the epitome of the phrase 'blue and green should never be seen...' but I love it.

Beano thought it was a good combo too!


It is indeed the dress I imagined in my head when I bought the fabric and it will be a winter keeper for a good few years to come. I wore it to work on Friday and it was super comfortable.

Thanks for dropping by. Jo xxxx