Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Toe Up Sock Slog

I feel I have eventually mastered the simple cuff down sock.(five attempts!) I totally understand the ribbed heel, heel turn and decreases for the narrow part of your foot. However, I would like to know how to make toe up socks because this makes more sense to me in terms of yarn consumption. 

I have some half balls of sock yarn which are screaming out for some stripy sock action but with cuff down it is hard to decide how long to make the ankle without fear of running out of yarn at the toe. Instead I got a book out from the library, bit old fashioned, but I had a go at some new techniques from the back of the book.

This is the figure of eight cast on for the toe, it means there is no toe seam. I learnt how to do it from the book and on Youtube here.I trawled ravelry to find a toe up pattern that I thought I could try. I chose the vanilla sock pattern. It was good apart from it not being very clear where to put in the waste yarn for your own sock size. I made a template to measure a toe line and a place to stop for the heel. The template fits inside the sock as you knit.

Unfortunately, I knit the foot too long. When I added the afterthought heel to the sock; it was flapping around my toes. I drew another line on my foot template and tried again. In hindsight I needed to stretch the sock to the line I had chosen and unfurl it so it didn't go past the line. Both of these errors made the sock too long. This did, however mean that I had to frog BOTH socks back past the waste yarn because I had made them both ready for the heels to go in. 

Anyway, the second time I made the foot shorter. 

Why do I still get that ladder when using DPN's??
Can you see the new one is the one with the red waste yarn in. I was quite a way out but it has shown me where to draw the line on my foot template for next time. This had been a long sock slog - way more than I wanted - but it is good to learn new things. They really are a tester pair for using my lovely yarn soon. 

Figure eight cast on toes feel good and is great for using up little ends of contrasting sock yarn.

Each heel is different on these socks. I have found the size that is the right depth for my heel. One is too deep and one is just right.

Each cuff cast off is different. The hidden one is too tight, gripping my leg with a cast off in rib and the other one is a Russian cast off which is nicer and much more stretchy.

Twisting the second colour up inside the sock feels OK when wearing  but it does leave a gap in the stripe where you start and finish so I probably won't do that again.

I learnt a lot here. Mostly that my next ones will be a combination of all the best bits from these slog socks.

Jo xxx

Monday, 27 November 2017

Sewing for Pleasure

I have hit a sewing wall where my girls and I do not need anymore clothes - we just don't have the room to hang them or the days in the week to wear them. What is a sewing girl to do?

Therefore, a few happy hours have been spent this week making PJ bottoms as presents. I have small pieces of fabric left over in my stash which are not suitable for day wear but are of good quality.

They are stacking up and need to go. I did not buy any of them, they were all donated by friends who know I sew. These ones are made using a basic pattern from the Ottobre magazine but there are many ways to self draft your own pattern if you search pinterest or Youtube. 

I have added a few details: crochet lace around the leg cuff, a little label and crucially, a ribbon tie at the front that makes them adjustable. You could customise them in all sorts of ways.

Teamed with a marl T-shirt I saw in a sale bin for £3, they make the perfect present.

Thanks for dropping by. Jo x

Friday, 24 November 2017

Psst! Christmas Skirt

My Christmas skirt from last year was a triumph. I wore it so much in December and it saved me from having to wear the dreaded Christmas jumper which I so loath. However, as much as I love it, I can't get it on this year: it is too tight around my waist!

This Christmas themed post is a little earlier than I would like to mention Christmas but if you want to whip one up you need some time to buy some lovely contemporary fabric. This fabric is from Minerva and has a linen/canvas weave appearance and it is a good weight for a winter skirt. It also comes in a scandi red colour.

I made view A from New Look 6106 because I am short which made it just the right length on me. I really like this new pattern, it is a keeper. I took my time with this one and added some nice touches. The pocket linings are made from a cream jacquard lining (this lining is actually earmarked for something else but I nicked a bit off the end) but you could use any odd piece. I didn't line the whole skirt because it didn't seem worth it just for seasonal wear.

The linen look piping added to the waist yoke was a success and I wish I had done the same on the pockets, hindsight is a wonderful thing. I very nearly got the stags' bums matched up too!

I also added hanging ribbons which is a new years resolution I made last year. It only takes a minute but gives me the ability to hang my clothes up properly. 

A super skirt to wear with black tights and a 1950's jumper. Bring on those Christmas events...

Leftovers? Our new napkins for Christmas day using the narrow hem tutorial from CJ made back in October.

So can I convince you to make a Christmas Skirt? Jo xxxx

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Knickers, Quick, Tick!

Tick! I have been able to tick off one of my new years resolutions for 2017 this week. Quickly and successfully, I have made three pairs of knickers. The personalised pattern I had been working on during 2017 is all confirmed. Cut. Sew. Ta dah! Three pairs in 90 minutes.

I have found some firm favourites during this sewing marathon. I like a high leg, fold over elastic for the leg arcs and jersey fabric. I have used up nearly all of the odd bits of elastic, lace and suitable fabric I had for experimenting with. This fabric was a small piece of jersey donated along with the wool haul I had last week.

I can start 2018 buying just the right supplies to keep me in underwear indefinitely. 

I enjoyed having a bit of variety to play with: the ric rac and two different widths of stretch lace elastic to explore knicker depth and fold over or picot elastic for the legs. They are super comfy and pretty to wear.

The phrase I usually use sounds a little creepy with this content: but thanks for looking!

Jo xxx

Sunday, 19 November 2017

As knitting unfolds

I love the way some projects unfold in front of your very eyes and what you see is immensely pleasing. Take this yarn for example. I was given it, I probably would not have chosen it, but it created the most beautiful ombre right there on my needles.


I only had two balls so I mixed in more grey than the pattern asked by using it to make the ribbing and neckband. It looked superb.

The pattern is from Sirdar. I added more plain grey to eek out the wool and I made more decreases in the sleeves because they looked a bit sloppy to me. I knit the back of the jumper in two nights such was my delight. But then an old chestnut reared its ugly head... How was I going to get the same (ish!) colour run on the front. 

I did not know if the balls were the same dye. I was having deja vu. I knit the back from the unbanded ball thinking I did not want to get caught out if it had a bit missing. For the front, I wound the banded ball into a new ball to find the same colour run to start. I kept winding. I kept writing down the colours as the ball revealed them. I kept winding but it didn't happen. That colour run was never repeated. AGGGHHHH! 

In the end I found a run that was close so at least it would not look like a trifle! I repeated the whole process of jeopardy for the sleeves as well. I mean, in the end, it was actually quite a lot of fun.

I must be one of the few knitters that like to sew up garments. This feeling has come since I learnt to do it well using mattress stitch, shown on the right hand side bar. You can see that the sleeve seams are 'seemingly' invisible. Suffice to say that my friend's boy, Bertie, loves his new jumper. 

Catch you soon. Jo x

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Gift Making

Hey folks! I am feeling much better; I rested up over the weekend. I did not know how poorly I was until I didn't feel like that anymore. This week I am taking it easy on the home, house, family front - if it is on the floor,then it might have to stop there for a while. Today I did a half day and then promised myself some sewing. 

Little doorstops were already cut out and ready to go. 

These little door stops were easy to make. They have bags of rice inside to weigh them down. It is just a triangle sewn on to a cone shape and then gathered at the bottom.

The base is an interfaced circle which has been satin stitched on the machine then hand sewn over the hole. 

The pattern came from this book. It has some nice present ideas in but the instructions are not always very clear. They feel like they have been translated into English therefore a little disjointed in places, however if you see it in a bargain bin for a pound it is definitely worth it for the ideas.

Just getting back into the flow... Hope you are all well. Jo xxxx

Friday, 10 November 2017

Everyday Nowhere

Trust me folks, I am making something everyday but for as long as my blog has been alive, I have never had nothing to show you but today we have reached that milestone. 

I have nothing to show you. I don't really have any thoughts to share with you either. To avoid moaning I will just say that work, home, family, illness and events are all bulging at the seams. My sewing seams are not bulging though; I have had a jacket on my dress stand untouched for four weeks.

My crafty soul is being tended to with knitting at the moment. I am in that sort of mood where I don't care who I knit for or what I knit as long as the end of everyday casts off with some restful knitting.

I had another bag of yarn given to me by a work colleague last Saturday along with some super cute vintage baby buttons. The original contents of the box filled the table but I sorted it out straight away and really thought about what I might use rather than simply hoarding it all. I took a baby knitting bag of yarn to my neighbour and the rest to the charity shop.

I just want to knit and knit and knit...

We are off to stay with family this weekend and I sure am looking forward to it. I will get rested up, try and kick this sinus cold and catch up with you guys next week. Have a good weekend all. 
Jo xxx

Monday, 6 November 2017

Poncho Crochet

Are they in? Are they out? No one ever really knows but I have made myself a poncho. 

The wool was a mahoosive 500g ball of acrylic/wool aran which was picked up in January at work after we had a haul of wool donated to the education centre. The caretaker kept some for the Age Concern knit and natter group but they did not have room to store it all so we were allowed to take some home if we thought we would use it. Of course I would use it! 

I started off using this pattern but as is my way, I very quickly went off piste and just made it up as I went along because I didn't understand the transition row between the yoke and the main part.

So I started messing around, in more ways than one, to create a pattern that made the increases along with a subtle pattern change.

I made chain 1, double crochet 1 for a few rows and then did a row of half trebles to make the increases. This got bigger each time I did it. Do you see, I started with one row of half trebles, then two then three and so on. This enabled me to get a wide enough opening to move my arms freely.

I had second thoughts about the tassels and then decided that it wasn't a proper poncho without them. It used every scrap of yarn from the ball. In fact, some tassel groups only had 3 strands instead of 4!

In my head ABBA is playing. It is very cosy for working at the computer in our office. 

I must turn my attentions to some knitting disasters for a while, I have a pile of things that have gone wrong and making a poncho is not really getting to the crux of the matter.

Jo xxx

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Home Sewing

When our drawers are bulging with clothes, as they are at the moment, I turn my sewing attentions to homeware.

Caroline at CJ made sent me some Cath Kidston fabric in a giveaway and it was a little stiff for making clothes so I knocked up some place mats. I had my reasons. I knew the little pockets would encourage my girls to lay the table and I wanted to try out my new bias binding foot which came with my new sewing machine.

The plastic holder is adjustable depending on the width of the bias so it makes adding bias a breeze in one machine pass. Gone are the worries that I might have slipped off the edge on the blind side.

My new machine is working really well. Here is my little tip to share today. I use washi tape to stick the needle packet to the side of my machine so that I always know which type of needle is in the machine. I don't want to sew stretch with a jeans needle or quilt with a normal needle and I could never remember what I had last left in it. Now I just check on the side!

Happy crafting. Jo xxxx