Thursday 26 April 2018

Style Arc Annika Top

My Minerva make this month is a mid season item trying out some different fabrics: ponte stretch with georgette. Style Arc patterns are new at Minerva. They are for the experienced sewer due to the scant instructions however the final garment has a great everyday feel. The whole collection is very wearable for all shapes and sizes which I think is very important.

The Annika top is made in two parts in two different fabrics. I chose a stretch ponte roma fabric for the top and a co-ordinating georgette for the bottom which is a challenging fabric to work with but you could use a light cotton lawn to make it easier.

These are the full instructions so you need to have sewn a few clothes in order to glide your way through them. 

One of my craft resolutions for 2018 is to use more of my sewing machine feet so I had a go with my rolled hem foot to finish the chiffon. It is good on a straight edge but needs a little more practise on my behalf for curves where the fabric sometimes slips away from the needle. 

Even when the weather picks up in the UK there are still days where a light sweatshirt is ideal so I am looking forward to wearing this right now. 

A job well done! A really wearable staple garment in my favourite colour green. Thanks Minerva.

I must say thank you for all of your wonderful comments about my quilt, I was bowled over. I am very proud of it and you have all made me smile with pride.

Jo xx

Sunday 22 April 2018

Meet Lucky my King Sized Quilt

I have named this quilt 'Lucky'. I like to name my quilts on their completion because they become part of me; they grow their own personality. This is called Lucky because I have been so lucky to have been given such lovely fabrics by some fantastic people.

I spy some fabrics from some great bloggers: Christina, Amy (formerly of Love Made My Home),CJ and Helen

I spy fabrics from my Auntie Shirley

I spy fabrics from a work colleague whose elderly mother went into a home and couldn't take it with her

I spy fabric from my neighbour who has carpol tunnel and is unable to sew anymore and another neighbour who was having a clear out from her 1980s Laura Ashley off cuts.

I spy fabric Bloke bought me for my birthday and some of his old shirts

I spy fabrics given to me by companies as samples at shows.

I spy little snippets of all the clothes I have made for us over the last few years: bits of Liberty, school gingham skirts, pump bags, skirts, dresses and so much more.

Lucky takes on a different look at different times of the day, I like popping my head round the door to take a peek in the early evening especially.

It is made up of 252 dresden star blocks. You cut a rectangle 14cm X 20cm and then cut it on the diagonal. Next you use (or make out of card) a dresden template to make the shape in the middle plus seam allowances. 

There are 1008 pieces in this quilt. 252 x 3! 252 blocks with three pieces in each.

It is hand quilted with embroidery thread. It took four whole skeins in total split down the middle all from Helen Phillips. Time wise that is just over one week of evening hand sewing. The stitches are big to make it: a)possible, b)take out slack and ripples and c)look handmade.

The backing and wadding is the IKEA quilt that was already on our bed. The quilt topper was a few inches smaller all around so I sewed it on with the machine with the help of Bloke holding the weight of it before any hand quilting to keep it steady.I cut off the excess and original binding. The new binding is some I already had from Frumble, I went for the red. I used my binding foot which was a god send.

It is heavy. I don't know how heavy but trust me it is heavy. It keeps us very warm. I took this photo from some scaffolding in the farm yard (a long story) so the background is a dry muddy yard with my family holding it up. It was the only way to photograph such a heavy and large scale object.

Cost: it didn't cost me anything...just my time, love and patience. I did lots of thinking whilst doing it and that, to me, is priceless.

A mahoosive thank you to everyone who contributed, even if I missed you out on 'I spy' - if you did join in with this creation give us a little shout out. Can you see any of your fabrics?

One last thing - I TOTALLY LOVE IT!!!!!!!

Thanks for taking a look. Jo xxx

Friday 20 April 2018

Longshaw Dress

I have picked a slightly maverick pattern to try and it has been a happy surprise. It comes from the new book 'A beginners guide to sewing knitted fabrics' by Wendy Ward.

My pal Christina sent me some unwanted viscose jersey. It is a drapey fabric with lots of stretch and movement in all directions - a tricky customer but I loved the navy blue spots especially as I can't get in my similarly patterned vintage tennis dress anymore :( 

You can see how inaccurate you could be with this fabric. I wanted to have a double layer on the front to avoid any knobbly bra texture on my frontage and this is what I thought would be two pieces the same! I used the cutting mat and my rotary cutter to trim the one on the back down to match.

I sewed the two front pieces together within the seam allowance and treated it as one front piece. My pinking shears chewed the fabric like toffee so I didn't even try to put this one through my over locker, it is just the kind of fabric is eats for dinner.

So what was so maverick about it? Well, this is one of the skirt pieces?? You cut two and join them together then the 'wings' at the side folded in to make integrated pockets and waterfall sides.

For the neckline and arm binding I went to my favourite technique. You sew the binding in a ring and pin it right side to wrong side of the dress which feels strange. Sew it on to secure it. Next bring the binding forward rolling it over the raw edges. Take the dress back through the machine with the right side showing so that you can neatly top stitch it in place.

It has a really neat finish and the fabric feel fabulous.

The pattern uses the Winnats tank top and the Longshaw skirt from the book to make a dress

I finished it on Wednesday night, had it on after work on Thursday for a try out then wore it with navy leggings to work on Friday for an office day. I really like wearing it, definitely worth trying something new for a change. Here is another beautiful version.

Enjoying the sunshine? A massive mood lift here as you can see.
Jo xxxx

Wednesday 18 April 2018

Me Made May 2018

My pledge for Me Made May 2108 is very specific this year...

I Jo, of Three stories High, sign up to participate in Me Made May 2018. I shall endeavour to wear my WATG jumper again during May 2018... The arms stretched way out of shape and are dangling over my hands, I made them too long in the first place! I will unravel them and re shape and knit them to save the worlds cotton resources. 

There is preparation, motivation (that is where you folks come in) and a touch of angst in this project which is why I have set myself this challenge. 

No mater how lucky you feel, or how half full your glass is you can't just unravel a couple of sleeves and re-knit the yarn. I know I have tried...the wobbly wool looses all tension especially on large needles. Meh!

You have to put in some time and know how. I knew this before but somehow thought I was a special human being and it wouldn't happen to me!

Firstly, I wound the wool onto a chair, then tied it in a few places to hold it steady.

Next, I put it in the sink for a little bath and stretched it out, I appreciate that this image looks like a toilet but rest assured it is the sink.

I hung them up to dry.

 Some small kind arms helped me get it back into usable balls. 

I won't lie to you it has been a faff but I loved wearing this sweater so much on holiday last year in France and want it back in the mix. Next up some knitting....I am going to change the sleeve shape so that it doesn't flop over my hands. 

This is what Me Made May does for me, it forces me into a corner!
Jo xxxx

Sunday 15 April 2018

Wardrobe swap over

I know when I post a new knitting or crochet make, especially neck attire, you must wonder what I do with them all. This is my personal shawl or triangle shaped collection. From left to right: my Autumn wander granny triangle in sock yarn leftovers, a Victoria shawl by Cherry Heart in Rialto yarn, another granny triangle in regia sock yarn, a roadtrip scarf in DMC cotton and finally an Elise shawl in Shilasdair yarn. Any other shawl item you have seen on this blog has been given as a gift.

I also have three lighter cowl shapes which I like: a navy Alice button Cowl in Katia Tupe, another in DMC cotton spring colours and a Churchmouse Yarns flower thingy in Jawoll magic sock yarn.

It is that time of year where I swap my clothes over from winter to summer (in very loose terms!) I wash, dry and defuzz my winter knits and pack them up. Away with the cord and velvet, winter coats, woolly hats and scarves. 

Out come the dresses, cotton tops and my white trousers which were all hibernating in the drawers under the spare bed. They might not get a look in quite yet but I am so ready for a change.

I am mighty impressed with my cardigans in an array of colours which I have mostly collected from charity shops. Perfect for wearing over handmade dresses.

It has been time to take stock of what still fits, what alaterations are needed and what I would like to sew or recycle.

Do you seasonally swap your clothes over or am I just bonkers?
Jo xx

Friday 13 April 2018

It's only fair...

OK, I have found out you can't make a jersey dress for just one of your children and not the other. After a visit to the Ironworks Sculpture park near Oswestry in the cold, I tied in a little diversion to Textile Express: a cavern of a fabric shop in North Shropshire. Little M chose this jungle jersey because she fell in love with the mother sloth carrying the baby on its back.

I made the smallest size from McCalls M7079 and took it in with a wide seam along the arm all the way to the hem. Should the jersey hold up well during washing, I have the opportunity to let this one out next summer. She just loves it...and so do I. The fabric was a bit of a brain teaser because I kept thinking I had it the wrong way up every time I spied a sloth upside down!

On a drearier note, I am so miserable about the weather. I have had two full weeks off work and not been able to go in the garden or allotment once. Not a thing has been sown or weeded. 

The dog is so wet and muddy, that is when he will even go outside. Often he just sniffs and goes back to his basket and then chews the skirting boards because he is so bored out of his head. I know how he feels. I have been sewing at a breathtaking rate just to fill the days. I would say I have enough blog posts to last me until June! What is a girl to do?

 The children are bickering more than usual because they just want to go outside. A glimmer of blue sky and they try their best to have a play on their scooters. To halt the arguing I have had lots of children to play here because we have a big house but that creates the carnage of indoor play which seems relentless. 

Poor Andy has been dealing with all my dad's sheep in a field and yard that look like the Somme. My dad is too ill to look after them. Family health sadness adds to the grey metaphor. The Ewes are taking their time lambing this year; maybe they are waiting for fair weather too. 

Aghhh! Make it stop! 

The sweet little dress cheered me up even if she did take it off once I had taken the photo so that she could put on some warmer clothes!

 I think we are forecast better weather next week and I am forecasting more positive vibes here too. Jo xxxxx