Friday 29 September 2017

New one on me

Here's a new one, I have knit a cardigan that doesn't fit anybody or any body in our family!

The pattern was from ravelry here and I thought it would be a really useful knit. 

It is too small for me and two big for either of my girls. This now goes into the present box for Heidi's friend.

Well, there you are. What else can I say, it's a good 
job I love knitting. Jo xxx

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Minerva Merchant and Mills Shirt Dress

You know the months are flying by when you miss a deadline because you think,"that is not until the end of September!" and there it was, gone. My Minerva post is late this month for no other reason than I didn't realise it was the 22nd of September already!

The Merchant and Mills Shirt Dress is not for me. I think I am just too small. I don't mean it is a garment for larger weight ladies but it is for tall people with stature and presence.

My pal Elie looks fabulous in it so it has become hers. Here she is larking about on her first blog shoot while we test out how much to cut off the hem, hence the raw edge. In the end we took 4" off it to make it more of a tunic style. We also took lots out of the width to give more shape rather than a baggy dress. Elie received it for her birthday on the 18th September with some funky tights after I had made the alterations.

Although the pattern isn't for me, I must say that the grey chambray from Minerva is a delight to use. It would make a brilliant shirt dress or shirt of any kind.

I used the last of it to make a Grainline Studio scout tee. It was a good match for my new favourite skirt. It will be a very useful garment in this solid colour especially moving into Autumn as this skirt will be put away soon.

Thank you Minerva for letting me try something new. The fabric is fantastic...

Jo xxx

Sunday 24 September 2017

Quick Quilt

Over the school summer holidays I made a quit topper. It was a stop gap sewing project. I could make a square here and there between being with children. 

We have a family rule in our house which is everyone does what they want between 3 and 4pm. It works in the holidays and also at weekends. When the girls have played with each other all day, by 3pm Big Sis especially wants to be on her own. I might put my self in that category too! Bloke likes to listen to the football on the radio and I knit or sew. The girls tend to read or watch TV for an hour. Essentially, everyone leaves everyone else alone for an hour.

The quilt is for my dad for his birthday in October. The brown squares you can see were already cut out and came in a bag from a work colleague in January. There were other squares cut out too so I just filled in the gaps with some blue to make a man-quilt. The nine patch blocks are filled with single pieces the same size from a fat quarter pack from Amy from Love made my home. The hand stitching on these blocks mirrors the nine patch block so it all blends together.

Overall it is a pretty traditional looking quilt but I wanted to make it for him. You can see the potential for making a great design if you look at the nine patch block diagonally butting up to the next one but I was just stash busting so I kept it simple. All washed and ready to wrap.

Thanks for popping in. Jo xxx

Thursday 21 September 2017

Underwear Drawer Pattern Hack

From a pom pom beret to knickers, that's goes:

One of my crafting New Years resolutions was to find a go-to knicker pattern. I had tried many ways to get the right fit but to no avail. Two years into my experiment and I felt something drastic might have to take place.

I had tried using a free pattern from So Zo as my starting point. It was OK but the cut was a little square for me. I messed around with the pattern for quite a long time. I probably made about 5 pairs in total. Some wearable, some I just made with old t-shirts for practise. I did learn that I liked fold over elastic around the legs and picot edged for the waist from this whole experience so I don't consider it a waste of time.

Next I decided to try cutting up an old pair. I liked this shape to use as a template. This had varying degrees of success. I made a good pair with lace at the front and jersey at the back but the lace did not wash well and the shape was still a bit wrong.

I succumbed to a bought pattern to resolve the issue. I chose KWIK SEW 2100 I made the blue pair from here based on my hip measurement and I could have held a party in them, they were way too big and then I lost confidence in the pattern sizing.

Finally I decided to do a pattern hack of the most drastic kind. I hacked the pattern and I hacked at a pair of knickers at the same time. I compared them to each other and thought I would just cut the paper pieces - the pattern was not any good to me in its current format. I ensured the pattern and the old knickers were closely matched. See how much I cut off piece 1? All of the words 'seam allowances' has gone from the leg arch in the end. I would never have done that to the pattern without the real garment to give me the guide to do so. It would have taken me four more failed pairs snicking a bit out of the leg arch each time.

Yay! I made knickers that were just right. I was careful to measure all my elastic and write it down so that I can repeat the pattern. I have an unusual array of colours, elastics and technique samples from making so many experiments.

My goal this year was to efficiently make five pairs of knickers at a time when I need them. I can do this now that all the planning and testing has been done. I am ready to cut my best fabric and elastic so I will keep you posted.

One New Years resolution very nearly ticked off my wish list.

Jo xxx

Tuesday 19 September 2017

Tide Beret

Inevitably I made a hat to go with my mitts and scarf. It used up all, and I mean all, of the yarn.

In fact, I used up so much of the yarn that I have a'tide' ring around the back where I had to scratch around looking for a little bit more of the drops delight. I found some but it was only the green section but I still like the effect.

It is quite tricky to photograph the back of your head all by yourself I can tell you! With a fringe that needs a trim, it was difficult all round to get a good picture. 

The pattern is the Tide Beret from Knitting from the North by Hilary Grant, my current favourite knitting book. 

I made the pom pom to cover the centre where I ran out of Drops completely and had to finish the centre in Beehive 4ply. That wiped me out of yarn altogether.

It is just a really interesting thing. I loved making it and with the weather changing, I will enjoy wearing it with my other makes.

Thanks for dropping in. 
Jo xxxx

Saturday 16 September 2017

Tips for Cutting Out

Today is the day I have swapped my spring/summer clothes over for my autumn/winter clothes. It seems earlier than last year but it needs doing. Everyday I open the wardrobe, dresses that require bare legs are staring back at me and it is just too darn cold. Nearly all of my clothes are handmade now and it has taken about three years to get to that. Some things are past their best so I did some wardrobe weeding too. This is most of what I am keeping.

After finding out my wardrobe wants, I chose some projects for the coming months and got snipping.

Here are a few of my cutting out tips:

1. Always have the pattern to the right of your scissors (if you are right-handed) you get a more accurate cut. If you cut it the other way the paper and fabric separate and you start guessing the cutting line.

2. Measure yourself and key points on the pattern. The crotch on these would have meant the waistband was nearly touching my bra so I made an adjustment. Make a muslin if it is a new shape for you.

3. Stop and think if any of your adjustments will effect other pattern pieces. I needed to also adjust the pocket which was going to join onto the side I had just shortened.

4. Transfer all of the markings with chalk or tailors tacks onto the wrong side of the fabric. You are a fool to skip this and do it at the sewing stage. You will need to get all the paper pieces back out of the packet again. Do it now!

5. Don't ignore notches. I cut mine into the seam allowance but you can make little triangles pointing out or mark with chalk if you think it won't rub off. I cut inwards because I use an overlocker to finish my edges and I can still see them through the stitches whereas if I make triangles pointing out the cutting blade cuts them off and I am non the wiser.

6. If you know it will be a while until you sew it. Label your pieces, especially the ones that look similar.

I have shared this routine of mine before but I like to cut out in batches. Over the last three days I have cut out trousers, a skirt, a jacket, child leggings, child skirt, polo neck top, a dress for Little M and some napkins. I have no idea when I am going to make them but they are all bagged up with the thread and notions for when I fancy a sew.

Have a great week. Jo xx

Ps. the dog has already eaten a reel of cotton since I took this picture. Pesky hound!

Wednesday 13 September 2017

Fourth Time Lucky Socks

There is a lot I love about these socks: the yarn, the stripe matching, the kitchener stitched toe and the overall comfort of hand-knitted socks.

 I managed to catch a photo between the erratic heavy showers.

Made from Drops Fabel given to me from a good friend knitted on a mixture of DPN's (double pointed needles) and the addi sockwunder circular needle. I managed to find my rhythm with this pair. 
The pattern is by Susan Anderson.

Thank you for taking your time to visit here as always. I have cast on another pair, of course.
Jo xxxx

Monday 11 September 2017

Routines and Rainbows

Not a great deal being finished here but life is getting back into its usual routines. Weekends are always a bit of a mixed bag but always busy.

A little knitting - that I keep having to unpick...

Fixing fences - where the ram keeps getting out but under a double rainbow it didn't seem so bad...

Parenting - building confidence in new skills...

Baking for the week - the girls have a packed lunch every day...

Being dog owner is testing our patience - he has eaten my DM sandal, Big Sis's new pencil case along with its contents, a pair of her knickers and he has started gnawing at our church pew in the kitchen. That is a list of this weeks varied smorgasbord. 

Last week also saw me start knitting another pair of socks, binding a quick quilt, sewing a dress I doubt I will like and a lot of stranded knitting being unpicked row by row.

Feeling a bit Ho hum! Keep looking at the good stuff... 

Jo xxxx

Friday 8 September 2017

Mini Sutton Blouse

The fabric pieces are getting smaller! This is a 50cm piece which was in haul from a work colleague back in January who was moving her mother into new accommodation. It is a pretty cotton remnant.

I showed Big Sis the Mini Sutton Blouse picture and she swooned. Perfect: it uses about 50cm of fabric depending on length.

A really enjoyable sew which will last her for next summer too.

She is wearing it with a long sleeved T-shirt at the moment because everyone likes to wear something new don't they?
Jo xxxx

Wednesday 6 September 2017

Circle Wave Infinity scarf

I am really breaking the back of some knitting projects that have been around for the last six months. I have finished my infinity scarf. Seven lots of a 56 row pattern repeat. I LOVE it and was made to go with my matching gloves.

It was quite curly even though I tried to keep my yarn changes loose. So I blocked it while it was damp.

I grafted the ends together, which is a new technique for me, making an invisible join - like the toe of socks really.

It still had the sinister look of a coiled up boa constrictor.

I decided to add two rows of double crochet to the edges and block again. This helped but I think it will always be a bit curly which is fine because it stops the inside being visible when it is twisted around my neck.

The two projects together have used up two balls of donated Beehive and two balls of Drops delight from my stash cupboard. Now for some fantastic photos which Big Sis took...

I have a little bag of scraps left over from these two projects so what do you think...a matching hat next?

Thanks for stopping by. Jo x