Saturday 31 March 2018

Knitting Finish Line

A few projects have crawled over the finish line lately. They were all languishing in the basket waiting for the final finishes. A few days off over Easter has been a blessing.

The pom poms finally arrived for these hats. They are knit in seriously chunky metallics by Cygnet yarns. You can knit one in a night. I made a pattern up for each one which was dependent on using up three balls of wool: two grey and one pink. I used this FREE pattern from Ravelry called Calzetta. Big Sis' started with 48 stitches and has a small intarsisa pattern on and Little M's started with 42 stitches then used up the last of the pink in stripes.

My cousin is having a baby in May. I made this cardigan from a vintage pattern but messed around with the yarn choices a little. The body is knit with Patons DK cotton which has a mercerised firm feel. The arms and neckband, which will touch the baby's skin, are made using Cottony by Cygnet yarn - it is soooo much softer.

I had a few packets of these vintage buttons given to me last year in a big bag of old craft stuff from an elderly relative. There were ducks, butterflies, flowers and these cute elephants.

OK, I can distract myself no more with quick fix projects - back to that moss stitch on the back of my winter sweater!

Hope you are having a relaxing weekend. 
Jo xxx

Thursday 29 March 2018

A Surprisingly....

....Woolly post for this time of year but our kitchen floor is still freezing cold and those girls' white socks won't wash themselves. 

These are a pair of natty homemade plush slippers using a kit from Prym. You can buy a pair of pre-prepared soles along with a paper pattern all in a little kit. The way you add the top is up to your creative self. There are instructions for crochet, knitted or quilted tops but of course we went for something different - we are a bit like that!

Big Sis had a Jack Wills sweater, albeit second hand, and she loved it - then I seriously shrunk it. We decided the best way to pay homage to her favourite jumper was to turn it into slippers.

You need to trace off the pattern not cut it out otherwise you'll cut the instructions into small pieces - we know because we did that! I ensured that the knitted pattern would be the same(ish) on each foot. Next we lined the boiled wool to stop it feeling itchy and added pull on grosgrain ribbon loops.

Choosing a needle to complete the hand sewing is crucial. It needs to be sharp enough to go through a few layers but have a big enough eye to take some tapestry wool or your chosen thread.

 It took just over an hour to sew them.

 I really would have liked to have been making something more Spring like but there you are - we are still cold!

Thanks for dropping by. Jo xxxx

Monday 26 March 2018

Cable Twist Bed Socks

Cafe knitting is still going strong. They know me now on a Thursday. Walking in, they bring me a cappuccino without me even asking. It is the best coffee I have all week. It is good to have a craft-on-the-go project in a zippy bag. Every Thursday I have an hour to kill between work appointments and sock knitting fits the bill perfectly.

These cable knit socks were easy to do but gave a little knitting interest. The yarn is actually Sirdar snuggly four ply which was given to me about six years ago in a gargantuan quantity, probably about ten balls. My mum and I have used it to knit little girl things over the years but my girls have outgrown this kind of pink now so I am using up what is left over to make bed socks as pressies. 

The pattern is FREE from Colourful life and Christina's sock patterns are easy to follow and I highly recommend them.

I got distracted on sock number two and started some new projects. I had to hunker down and do a few more rows wherever I could. I even had a beer in a cafe whilst waiting for a friend one Friday evening. 

Got there eventually! These ones are going into the present chest ready for Christmas(Smug!)They are sporting these rather natty paper bands sourced free online which you can find here.

They are for my friends daughter who will be 18 this Christmas. I have made many things for her over the years, some of which I have had to stand a bit of friendly teasing for, so this band makes a fun finishing touch.

I am sure she won't mind me modelling them just this once, they were so snuggly, it was hard to prise them off.

Thanks for dropping by. Jo xxx

PS. Not knitting related but please, please go and look at a make on this blog - it is awesome!

Friday 23 March 2018

Kalle Shirt Dress

As part of my new years resolution to try out some Indie sewing patterns, this month I have chosen the Kalle Shirt dress by Closet Case from Minerva to share with you.

First up, I must confess, I made a huge cutting error right from the start. The pattern is very versatile and has a selection of choices on one sheet. I accidentally cut the front of the dress and wait for it... the back of the tunic - it was so short at the back I didn't know what to do especially as it has a shirt hem. It is a bit ironic as the dress has a hem with a long back and short front - mine was the other way around! Anyway more on that later...

The 100% cotton fabric was a joy to work with and is just right for a UK summer dress and for this pattern. It is a lightweight cotton canvas with plenty of  movement and drape. It would make a great skirt, shift dress or capri trousers too. I cut it with pinking shears and hardly used my overlocker because most of the seams are cleverly concealed on this pattern.

To construct the yoke you use the burrito method, apparently. It is mighty tricky to understand the instructions for this unless you label your cut pieces adequately...Which is what I did the second time! You birth the whole dress through the neck hole and have an encased double yoke.

I took my time with the collar: to ensure that they were absolutely even I measured and drew on a sewing line with a 5/8" seam allowance. I recommend doing this with any collar. Ta dah! perfectly symmetrical collars.

Really impressed myself there...

Again marking your pieces will enable you to have the under collar on the bottom and the upper collar on the top. The under collar is slightly smaller therefore it stays rolled underneath as shown.

Now back to that hem. I tried cutting them both to the tunic length but in truth it was too short for what I wanted before I had even turned it under. In the end I had to kind of make a bit of a feature of it and have a different hem. I had some left over from clever cutting out therefore I added a band to give it the length I wanted along with some top stitching. The grainline is going the other way but it looks like it is supposed to be like that.

I am satisfied with the end result, if a little miffed with my initial mistake.

As part of my 2018 craft resolutions - I used the buttonhole foot to make five button holes. It is so easy and on my machine, it is all automatic. 

Overall it is the dress I want for airplane travel for our holiday to France in May. A cardy and tights will see me through until then.

Thanks Minerva. Jo xxxx

Closet Case patterns
In my opinion...
I am tagging this one as one of my 2018 resolutions. Closet File patterns are American so I don't always feel too confident about sizing; measuring yourself is a must. The instruction booklet is photographed and clear for intermediates. I think it is a step too far for beginners. No tracing is required but the pattern has layered multiple styles on it which is how I made my error. The pattern is on tissue paper with seam allowances included. The packet is not over complicated or costly. They are expensive but give long lasting styles and in this case more than one garment on this one which I feel is worth the investment. The modelling imagery does not rely on overly slim models which I like too. 

Monday 19 March 2018

All Done #19 Jersey dress and T-shirt

Before Christmas we made a very enjoyable visit to Bath. We came across a fabric shop, I don't remember the name only that the proprietors were really miserable and totally none engaging, however Heidi saw this fabric and really wanted it for another jersey dress. They are her favourite type of garment to wear. When I make jersey dresses for her, she wears them until she has outgrown them - so it feels like good value.

This McCalls pattern is really good. She likes the top of view F and the bottom of View A. Using some new knowledge from the book Sewing with jersey Knits by Wendy Ward I whipped this up pretty quickly.It looks really fun. 

I made a neck binding by sewing it open right side to wrong side and then bringing it forward and encasing the neck edge and folding in under. That way you top sew it from the right side and you can see the exact finish you are going to get. Essentially you sew it twice - once to attach the neckband to the garment and secondly to top stitch it in place neatly.

You could use a solid colour for the trim for a different effect.

I had some left over for junior too. I went for my go to t-shirt pattern from Ottobre to use up the remainder.

This one has a different neckband. You fold the neck band in half and sew right sides together then press it into place with the inside seam facing down. It is then followed by a three step zigzag top stitch to hold the inside seam down but still remains stretchy.

All done #19 with these little birdies on clouds. No little bits left over. A success all round for everyone.

Thanks for dropping by. Jo xxxx

Thursday 15 March 2018

WATG Crochet and other WIP's

I have embarked on a mammoth crochet task which I have always wanted to achieve: to crochet a dress for myself. I have started on the 'Hot in Here' dress in duck egg blue tina tape from Wool and the Gang. It is from their new 2018 Spring/Summer collection.

The kit comes with yarn, pattern booklet, label, needle and a crochet hook. I must admit to not getting on very well with the wooden hook especially as the yarn is flat. I swapped to one of my own metal ones and it was a much smoother ride. The square below is my first one on the wooden hook, however the following five on the metal hook are a much better tension.

The blocks are a combination of double crochet, treble crochet and double treble crochet which makes quite a large block. I need 32 of these to make the tunic/dress. This is obviously a dress that has its occasions - mine will be for poolside wear on holiday. I know Tina Tape is lovely to wear against the skin because I used it here.

My other WIPS include the excitement of getting some of my quilt together. It is a fabulous concoction of colour, just what I wanted it to be.

A by-product of this dresden star quilt is another quilt in the making - less floral, more geometric. I have a shoe box of off cut strips from my big topper. When our evening dinner is cooking I can make one in 20-25 minutes. I have made seven without really thinking about it. Sometimes I make one while I wait for the girls to settle down to sleep. It stops them bickering in the next room when they know I am next door with half an ear out!

I have second sock syndrome on these socks. I am finding new things to do instead cracking on with sock number two but at least they are cast on.

There is also some intentionally slow knitting. Moss stitch is not the speed machine I am used to but comforting nonetheless. This Beatnik sweater has a deadline of Winter 2018 so plenty time for me to grow to love it, pick it up, put it down, take a break, have a mad week on it - that kind of thing.

I am also sneaking in a little baby knit for my cousin who is having a baby soon. This project has that will-I-have-enough-yarn about it feel but I am pressing on.

Will keep you posted. What WIPs do you have on the go?