Wednesday 28 October 2015

First Socks

My Minerva sponsored materials this month come in the shape of sock yarn. I know folks, I have embarked on my first pair of socks. I don't know if I particularly want to wear hand knitted socks but I wanted to master Double Pointed Needle knitting. It was one of my new years resolutions.

It is a bit fiddly to get started but it soon gets easier when the knitting gets longer. 

I have gone from crocheting a thick wool project to 4ply so it feels very dainty but I enjoyed it.

I am using the beginner sock pattern from Ravelry. So many people have done it and said it is a good pattern for beginners but then I hit some problems and switched to this rather super blog post tutorial by Susan Anderson.

I knit one way back in late July when we were staying with my Aunt and Uncle in their caravan. My aunt started a pair too but she has been hooked and got way ahead of me.

So here is a tah dah! from both of us.

My Aunt sent these little stunners in the post for Little M for her birthday.

The colours of Autumn, I think. I even managed to match up the yarn pattern quite well too.

They are a bit of a tight fit on me but Big Sis loves them so she has put them under her pillow to wear in bed. Would I make some more? Yes I think so but I need to be a bit more generous with my foot length measurement next time. 

Here we are playing cozy toes before bedtime.

Thanks for the Autumn inspired yarn Minerva there are so many shades I want to try in this yarn.

Any Tips or pattern recommendations? 
There are a lot of beautiful sock knitters out there.

Jo xxxx

Sunday 25 October 2015

Bettine Dress #2

So after the surprise that the Bettine dress, by Tilly and the Buttons, does look fine on a larger person other than the ones she uses to model her patterns, I decided to make another one in cotton this time.

The fabric is a fabulous quality, 100% cotton, which I purchased while on holiday in Whitby in May. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, I just fell in love with it. It has been languishing in my stash this year because when I got it home I couldn't workout what to do with something that had such a large, strong, repeating pattern on it. A blouse would have too many seam lines and darts, trousers seemed a bit outrageous and I really don't need another skirt.

I made this carefully, following the instructions properly. I do that sometimes. It makes me feel like I am good at sewing. I love the pockets but left off the sleeve tabs. I have enough of a reputation for being a bit of a task master in this house without the need for epaulettes!

The pattern does suggest that large prints work well because you don't cut into them for darts or shoulder/arm seams and I will definitely second that. The only pattern matching I did was to have the pattern symmetrical on the neckline and follow that through onto the skirt.

A final photo with a smug grin for a woman feeling pretty happy with her new dress.

Thanks for stopping by. Jo x

Friday 23 October 2015

Harvest shawl

I have finished a Harvest Berry Shawl from Moogly. It has been on my Ravelry wishlist for a while now because I was looking for another shawl to make as gifts this year. I have made five Elise Shawls over the last two years so I fancied a change.

The yarn is Rowan Creative focus. It is 50% wool and 50% alpaca. I had near enough two balls left from my Miette cardigan from last year. 

The pattern makes up quickly (three nights) but it is not my favourite because the edge is quite scruffy. I tried to double crochet all the way around to straighten it up, but in the end went for a frilly edge to disguise the fact that the sides are not straight due to the pattern repeats, even really aggressive blocking didn't sort it out.

I like it nonetheless and it will be a great gift for someone I have in mind. My mum has since given me her two left over balls in purple to have a go at another one.

This is my shawl pin but I think I will order a few more for pressies so that each shawl comes to the new owner with a pin.

One for the present box.

Thanks for popping in and leaving such encouraging comments of late. I have some really kind blog friends who I look forward to hearing from each week. Love Jo xxxx

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Colour change

I like to change my wardrobe over from season to season. It is a great way to kid myself that I need to make one more dress without seeing all the ones I already have all at once! It also feels like shopping for new things - I forget that I had this skirt or that top until it makes another seasonal appearance.

This lovely array of bright colours has gone to the big drawer in the sky, on the top floor under the spare bed for a rest.

Cotton dresses, cotton skirts, little shrugs, short sleeved tops and flimsy blouses changed for...

An autumnal mix of corduroy, velvet, wool, lined skirts, purple, navy, green and black.

I also got out some jumpers and cardigans. You know, old friends who I needed to get acquainted with again. My Miette cardigan in Rowan wool, my shetland top down jumper and my Noro chunky scarf. 

It also inspired me start a new crochet project as I remembered I had the last two balls of the Rowan wool in that beautiful petrol colour.

Seasonally I rake out a 16 year old Laura Ashley box cardy I bought with my first teacher wages in 1998. I want to recreate that in my lifetime - I adore it. It has been darned on the elbows, got bigger as the years have passed and I am on the third set of buttons but I still love it!

Do you swap your clothes over seasonally or do I just look like a real loony now?

Jo xxx

Saturday 17 October 2015

A star is born

Well two more stars actually to add to my total of five. I am happily hand sewing, paper peicing and adding machined borders...  How come my scraps box seems to have got full again so quickly??

Busy today, out dancing, see you again soon. Jo x

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Bettine:Don't judge a book...

There are two surprises in this project. 

Firstly, the pattern. The Bettine dress by Tilly and the Buttons. I liked it but I always find Tilly's marketing a bit frustrating as the models are always absolutely teeny. I am never sure if it is for me or not? Anyway I went for the Bettine dress thinking if I made it in jersey it would flow and drape over my bottom rather than stick out at the sleeves and hips.

The pattern turned out well, it was so easy to do. I didn't do the pockets and I removed the cuffs after they didn't quite sit well, flopping down in the drapey fabric. But I was surprised how well it looked cut in a 12. It would definitely look fab in larger sizes made with jersey too I think - Tilly should show more of a range of different sized models.

The second surprise, the fabric. This fabric is my sponsored fabric from Minerva but when I opened the bag my heart dropped. I loved the pattren and colourway online but it had a real nylon feel to it therefore I was disappointed, that is the downside of online fabric shopping BUT when I made the dress it was superb. It has it's advantages...

The whole dress fits in my hand. It won't need ironing and I can dry it on a coat hanger in the airing cupboard. The fall of the fabric stopped the pattern from sticking out at my hips and sleeves so I was definitely convinced.

I really like it, it will be a firm work favourite I think. Might make another one. I have some fabric in mind from my cupboard.

So two surprises. Fabric and pattern. I am glad I took the plunge. I have found another pattern in which this fabric would work for but more on that later.

Have you bought this pattern? Have teeny weeny models put you off buying a Tilly and the Buttons pattern?
Leave me a link to yours if you have made one.
Jo xxxx

Monday 12 October 2015

Birthday time!

We celebrated Little M's sixth birthday this weekend with a bake off party and some light crafting.

The children made cakes, decorated them and made a wooden spoon dolly. A bigger hit than I thought it would be. They loved doing them.

Mmm, yes she could melt her own butter with that smile. Don't be deceived, she is a feisty little character full of guts and determination.

I let them loose with the decorations and piping bags.

On Sunday we went on the train to Birmingham Museum and Art gallery for a day out. It was good, the children liked different bits of the day but on the whole I liked taking them to the big city. 
Such great experiences for two country mice. 

We saw: people with different accents, people with different coloured skin, people without a home, street entertainers, people playing music, food going round on a conveyor, women holding hands, busy places, quiet places, friendly faces and so much more. We must do it more really, I think it is important for them.

I am not sure they totally got my synopsis of the Pre-Raphaelite art movement but there you are! A good day out all round.

Thanks for popping by. Have a good week. Jo xxxx

Friday 9 October 2015

Winter Project link party

I am joining in with Jennifer over at Thistlebear like many others to share my winter crochet project.

My cabin blanket has been going really well. I have only been making squares when I am there so it has been on the go since April 2014. That is fine but I ran out of wool up there two weeks ago so I brought it home for a bit of a re-think.

I have made 38 lacy squares but no plan - as usual!

I ordered some more Stylecraft DK this week to mix in with the colours and have enough for a border. I love this soft blue and was really pleased with the colour. The colours were inspired by the nature and blue/grey skies up at our farm hang out.

It is still going to take a while. All those ends, blocking the squares, choosing where to put them and then of course making a sturdy border. The blanket is quite lacy so it needs something to hold it altogether.

There are some lovely blankets on the links, not least Jennifer's hensfoot blanket which looks so cosy. Go and take a look.

Here's to some progress on this project. 
Jo x

Wednesday 7 October 2015

Starting at square one

You have to start somewhere, right? I cut out my entire box of scraps in the summer holidays into patchwork pieces with absolutely no plan whatsoever. That's me.

I have made my first block. Hand sewn with paper piecing in the centre and machine sewn around the solid colour border. I think I will re-evaluate this when I have made about 20. I think I will probably have to re cut the borders with my rotary cutter for joining accuracy but I need not worry about that right now.

I have managed two more since I first started writing this post.

A purple one using my blouse scraps.

and another red and blue one using the rest of my owl apron fabric.

This project is a slow burner but mighty satisfying.
Jo xx

Monday 5 October 2015

Sew Jersey

My sewing class have been trying to get to grips with sewing Jersey on their machines. It has 'stretched' them to understand all the dials on their machines - stitch length, stitch width and stitch choice.

I made a slouchy T from the October edition of Prima magazine

If you have this free pattern, be warned, it is mighty wide. This is a size 10. I usually cut a 12. I still took a curved chunk off the sides as you can see in the photo.


But it is slouchy and comfortable, a real home T-shirt for doing my Mundane Monday jobs. My class also learnt, often the hard way, that the neck binding on a T-shirt elevates the garment from pyjama top to daywear! They tried really hard on scraps first learning about the stretch ways of jersey. If you can master a jersey neck binding - the world is your oyster. 

Here are some useful links:
Happy sewing - I am off to have an hour on my jersey Bettine dress before I do the school run.

Jo x