Monday 30 October 2017

Man Socks

I have made another pair of socks, this time with a ball of Regia Tweed 4ply. They knit up on 3mm needles as a mans sock. I have been travelling round knitting them in little pockets of time since I cast them on around the 1st September. It has been my portable knitting fix. 

It is that time of year when photographs start to get harder to take with regular light conditions so the ones below are quite varied as they have been taken on different days throughout September and October. Anyway I have been knitting these...

On a canal boat trip...

On my break at the office...

At the cabin, knitting with a view...

In a coffee shop between work appointments - raspberry and coconut in case you are wondering...

second one started in a coffee shop waiting for my friend...

more cafe knitting, every Thursday I have an hour to kill between work appointments...

I finished them on Saturday night and added some Rico sock stop latex glue to the soles. Why? because the last pair I gave to my brother for Christmas were bordering on dangerous on his wooden floors!I wouldn't rave about its application but it was OK. 

 These are going into my Christmas present box. I have been using this Kitchener Stitch tutorial to finish the toes of my socks. It is a really good tutorial and so easy to follow.

The next pair has been cast on but I am going to try something a bit different now that I have the hang of this pattern.Today I am linking in with Sum of their stories Handmade Monday

Knitting in different places is how I get a lot of knitting done in case you were wondering. Where do you knit? 
Jo x

Friday 27 October 2017

School House Tunic

I am choosing different patterns at the moment. I have put on some weight, just a little, but the downside of making custom made clothes is that one year they fit and the next they don't because the margins are so close. I have chosen a few patterns with wiggle room of late. Not all have been successful.

I spotted the School House Tunic at Minerva. Tummy skimming with simple lines, I thought I would give it a go. I am trying to champion making garments from solid fabric colours rather than all snazzy prints. You can end up with a wardrobe fit for nothing if you are not careful. How else would I get to wear these fantastic tights that my mum bought me without a single colour fabric?

I made some modifications. I sewed up the front placket so that I did not have to wear anything underneath. I made full length sleeves and chose the elastic cuff option which is in the pattern. 

I think I will have another go at this in a denim chambray but I definitely need to go down a size to achieve the look I want. I took quite a bit out of this one along the sleeve and side seam and I could go some more. In the end I tried a tie belt at the back to give it a tad more shaping while still keeping the looseness.

The instructions are great if you are a beginner sewer and there are no fastenings to deal with. The fabric has a lovely texture and it is easy to work with, there is a bit of give which makes matching notches easy.

The good thing about sewing with solid colours is that I get to incorporate some of my home knits and crochet items to make it more me.

Thanks Minerva for a fine solid colour fabric. 
I must remember to do this more often. 

Do you always buy patterned fabric or do you try solid colours too?

Thursday 26 October 2017

A Sewn Egg Basket

I have made an egg basket but you could use it to store cotton reels, sewing notions, knitting bits and bobs or anything in really.

Here is a badly photographed tutorial that explains how to assemble a sewn egg basket from an idea seen on pinterest here. It is not my design but the destination site comes up as 'not secure' so I don't want to link in you folks as there was quite a bit of dodgy advertising on it.

Firstly, I printed out the pattern and then blew it up on a photocopier to get a bigger size on A3. I added extra for seam allowances and extra to the head piece for joining to the body.

Next sew wings, right sides together, leaving an opening for turning

Sew heads to the bodies using a 5mm seam allowance

Quilt wadding to the body linings. I did mine by eye but you can do any style you like.

Pin felt face pieces on the RIGHT Side of one of the outer pieces.

With right sides together sew an inner and an outer leaving the bottom open for turning. On reflection you could sew more of the bottom and just leave a space to turn it out.

Sew wading to the base with a cross. With right sides together sew two bases together and turn out through a gap. Hand sew up all turning gaps.

You now have the three components to hand sew together. First sew up the hens body along the front, over the head and leave the back bone open. Then sew up the tail. Use strong thread and a small slip stitch or bury small picking  stitches in the wadding. 

Finally hand sew in the base and add two button eyes.

Hooray! one happy hen. One for my present box which is coming along nicely. Thanks for dropping in. Jo xxx

disclaimer: this is NOT  my design I am merely adding an English translation to the images shown on pinterest which have instruction in Chinese. 

Sunday 22 October 2017

It was meant to be...

2017 has see me make a substantial dent in my stored up craft stash. The yarn is obviously going at a slower pace than my fabric but I had a weak moment a few weeks back. It reminded me why I had been, but why I shouldn't, buy impulse bargains. 

I saw three balls of this beautifully soft alpaca in a charity shop in my lunch break for 50p a ball and I bought it. On the drive back to work I had that old feeling I used to have. I wondered why I had felt the need to buy wool with no reason. What was it for? Who was it for? What was such a paltry amount going to make anyway? etc. etc. I felt like I had slipped back into an old habit.

On my return to the office, my manager told me that he and his wife were going to have a baby which they had wanted for a long time. He even told me it was going to be a boy due in December. BINGO!

My manager keeps bees and I found these in the bottom of my button jar to finish this tiny baby sweater. I mean it was meant to be wasn't it? It did remind me however that buying random bargain bits of wool is not a thing I want to keep repeating so I reckon I just got lucky this time. The pattern is free from ravelry here. It is called Garter Yoke Cardi which is an easy top down knit.

With one ball left, I was determined not to put it in the cupboard for a few years so I made a hat in stocking stitch whilst being dive-bombed by ladybirds at the cabin. 

Next, I looked under the sofa. I found two balls of DMC denim cotton which was in a goody bag from DMC at the CHSI craft show in February. It made the perfect pebble vest. I LOVE this pattern. It knits up in two evenings and can use any combination of buttons from a jar. I like the way you can just fold your baby into it like a fajita. 

I have plenty of other knitting I need to be doing but I got a bit side-tracked with baby knits because they are so quick and easy to finish.

Thanks for dropping by. Today I am linking up with Sum of their stories for handmade Monday. Lots of inspiration in all crafts. Do pop over.

Jo xxxx

Thursday 19 October 2017

Bra Making with KWIK SEW 3594

It has been a heavy week here with too many things happening at once meaning I have only experienced teeny pockets of sewing time, however...

I have been meaning to make another bra for a while now but have been sidetracked with finding a knicker pattern. This bra is made from KWIK SEW 3594 I know what the modifications are for a good fit so the pattern is ready to cut and sew.

This fabric is a tricot fabric with a stretch. It came in a complete bra kit from an online company called The sewing chest. The website looks a bit odd but every product I have ever had from Kelly has been fantastic and delivered on time.

The kit came with floral tricot, power net for the side band, cup lining, bows, picot elastic, shoulder elastic, back fastening and the hardware parts - all for £10.05 which I thought was jolly good value.

I added my own band elastic because I know this one is comfortable and I also underwired it with my own chanelling and some wires recycled from an old bra. 

I have all the machine settings written in my little notebook for the three step zig zag and stretch stitches required. Luckily, I did this when I made my first one.

I squeezed out a pair of matching undies too using up some knicker elastic from my stash. I am really pleased with the whole set.

I hope to delve into my underwear craft box and make up some more kits from my own stuff because I am hoarding quite a lot of supplies which people have either given me or I have recycled - see?

So more sewing to come I think. I do have another pattern to try but I haven't got the sizing right on it yet. It includes a lace edge trim because there is always something new to learn in sewing.

Jo xx

Monday 16 October 2017

Mink and Pink

A friend bought these for me last Christmas. She is not a knitter or crocheter so you have to think they were nice choices but it has been hard to find a pattern that they will all actually fit into. 

DMC Natura is a cotton yarn with a matt finish, this one is medium weight but it comes in other gauges. It does split a bit but it has good stitch definition. 

After the triumph of Heidi's Road Trip scarf, I decided to try holding two strands together to give it a whirl myself using a 5.5mm hook. I don't have a crochet project on the go at the moment so I dived in with no plan whatsoever. Who me?

I tried to spread the colours out but wanted to definitely have a pink edge so that I could wear it with my pink cords.

I added the dangly bits which included a couple of bells and as many flowers as the last scraps of yarn allowed. I added the button on the long edge so that I could wear it in different ways using it as a hook for the scarf.

I liked the way it looked mostly pink by using only one ball to create this effect along with the mink and brown.

Success I would say. I really like it and it was fun to make. It only took two nights of crochet. You can find a similar pattern here.

Jo xxxx

Wednesday 11 October 2017

Our Best Ice Cream recipes

 We have an ice cream maker and it has been making weekly batches of ice cream from May onwards. Here is a little round up of the best flavours we have tried.

Chocolate ice cream in June. With the last of the girls Easter Eggs. I know, they lasted that long!

Blackcurrant ripple ice cream in June. Using up the last of the fruit from last year out of the freezer before the next lot were ripe and ready to pick.

Strawberry and Rose. A flavour I thought the children would balk at but as long as the rose water is subtle it gives the strawberry flavour a real summer taste. This is a lazy recipe which uses ready made custard and is so quick. We picked 4.5 Kg of strawberries from our allotment this year.

Vanilla. The hens are not laying so we are out of eggs but I bought some specially for this. This ice cream uses four eggs with the whites whisked to volume and then the yolks and cream folded in gently but not in the machine. We are currently picking autumn raspberries and eating stewed plums.

Buying an ice cream maker was not a whim gadget purchase. It has been a great way to use up our freezer gluts of allotment fruit. Whatever I made with frozen fruit in the past, the children complained it was just soggy fruit. You can't blame them, it was true but ice cream is a great way to use it, taste it and enjoy it. Obviously we are racking up many more calories but hey ho. 

Do you make ice cream? Share your favourite flavour combinations.

Jo xxx