Wednesday 30 January 2019


'Skiddaw' sounds like the sort of word you might use if you count a really long row of stitches and loose your place but it is in fact the name of this sweater which is a place in the Lake District. I started it proper in September 2018.

I tore this knitting pattern out of a magazine from somewhere, I am guessing I was not the owner of the magazine for me to do this! I knit a gauge square many times in many yarns but hadn't managed to find the right yarn for this much desired pull over. There is a cable detail running along the back of the sweater making it a knit that I thought would hold my attention. 

I have used Araucania 100% Nature cotton which I bought from a Black Sheep Wool yarn mountain at a stitch and craft show maybe four years ago now. I bought it for totally selfish reasons - I didn't want anyone else to have it for £9.99 when it was supposed to be £99! I had no idea what I was going to do with 10 skeins but it seemed enough to play with for a bargain price. 

The construction is really unusual. It is knit cuff to cuff in one whole piece making the design of the jumper a boxy swing style. This construction prompted me to hunt out the hand dyed yarn which had variations in colour. I decided that knitting cuff to cuff (vertically if you like)and interchanging the balls would show off the variations wonderfully without the overall look being disjointed which has happened to me in the past when knitting pieced garments with variegated yarn. Thankfully, it worked in a wave kind of way...

If you want to get your head around what it involves, it goes something like this:

1)You start at one cuff. 
2) Increase to make a sleeve 
3)Then cast on for the front and back so there are loads of stitches on a circular needle. You knit the front and back as one long row. 
4)Next you split for the neck. Knit the back on its own for a while.
5) Pick up the front stitches from a holder and knit the front for a while.
6) When the neck is wide enough you put all of the stitches back on the needle and knit the other shoulder. 
7)You start to get excited when the pattern indicates that you cast off the body and are decreasing the sleeves all the way to the other cuff. 
8)Finally you rib the second cuff. 

It is a huge garment to have slopping around whilst you knit, like trying to keep an octopus on your lap, but it only requires sewing up along the side seams at the end. There is a good schematic diagram showing the finished measurements for each piece which made it easy to pick the right size. It is supposed to have a large ease silhouette.

I love this sweater, but I don't know how long it will hold its shape because it weighs 800g. It will need careful washing because I think it could grow with the weight of water in it as well. I will be kind and careful with it to give her the best chance possible. I hope to be wearing this for many years. I'm glad I finally found a pattern yarn match.

What are you knitting? Any finishes around the corner?
Jo xxx

Sunday 27 January 2019

A Junior Cleo

My Big Girl requested a new dungaree style dress/skirt. The one I made for her last year has become way too short. She has had a denim pinafore as a constant companion in her wardrobe since she could walk. I didn't have a pattern for one in her size but I had made the Tilly and Buttons Cleo pinafore twice for myself - surely I could make one for a preteen?

A bracing walk during work lunchtime took me to Abakhans in Shrewsbury, I found a good weight denim and brace clips with metal buttons all for a reasonable price under £10.

She chose some fabric from the quilting scraps box for inseam pockets before I had the chance to tell her the pattern doesn't have pockets but we amended the pattern and added them in anyway.

Using her old dungaree skirt for size, an Ottobre pinafore pattern we had used in the past, a tape measure and the techniques of the Cleo Dungaree dress, we made a smaller version all of our own.

There is room to grow in this one with a very deep hem and straps that can be made longer. Hopefully this one will last more than a year. I love these pictures, they really show her style, personality and outlook. "Come Back Bruce!" he wasn't as keen on being our photo prop as we thought he would be...

Jo xxxx

Wednesday 23 January 2019


It is getting harder to write blog posts lately unless you want to hear about how many white walls I am painting.  Building our new house is all time consuming but not always the most interesting conversation piece - the proverbial 'watching paint dry' kind of sums up how interesting it is. No one wants to listen to a new-build bore.

I still like to make something every night though - not to completion - just a row of something here and there, a patchwork block or an hour on a garment or something for my gift box.

I am really enjoying spending an hour on a garment and then walking away from it for another day. This means that more complex things can be made in small stages which is very satisfying. These Carolyn PJ's took nine hours in total but it didn't feel like that. One day the collar, another day the trousers, another hour the sleeve inserted and so on. The finished garment is top quality and will be a real keeper. The fabric is a cotton lawn which is so comfy in bed.

I also chose to make the Ness Skirt by Tilly and the Buttons and this was certainly an intermediate make. The instructions on Tilly patterns are always exceptional. For the first time ever I properly understood how to make a zip fly! I now need to find a better belt to finish it off. This fabric is my Minerva Blogger Network make for March.

I have also been putting plans into place for the future. The Nautilus swimsuit is printed out and taped together. I am scratching my head because after measuring myself, the chart looks like a game of Bingo: my crotch, hip, waist and bust all hit different sizes so I am left wondering which size to plump for. I have not chosen fabric yet but that is on the horizon for Spring. 

I am knitting a shawl collar cardigan for my godson for his first birthday in May so no rush there, just pick it up and put it down in my basket when I please. My girls are making too. Little M is knitting a cowl and Big Sis has crocheted one from the pattern on the sidebar with Sirdar Bigga yarn (discontinued).

There are always socks on the go too of course. I have been helping my mum knit her first pair of socks which makes a change from her sorting out my knitting difficulties. It was nice to show her how to turn a heel.

There are curtains for our new house to make but all in good time. You see, I am making something everyday because it makes me happy but everything is currently in motion.

I hope you are getting to do a little bit of what you like to do this week too. 

Thanks for dropping by. Jo xxx

Saturday 19 January 2019

A Cracker of a T-Shirt

Thank you for visiting my ing post. They are always very popular.

Today I have new T-shirt to show you. I am lucky enough to part of the Minerva blogger network which has kept me in fine fabric and wonderful wool for a good few years. Sometimes I get the opportunity to try something new through them and an exciting email appeared asking for volunteers to join a book review collaboration with Wendy Ward, this was way back in April 2018. 

Her new book Sewing with knitted fabrics is a comprehensive encyclopedic offering of useful knowledge on sewing with stretch jersey fabrics along with a capsule wardrobe of patterns. 

If you sew for yourself or your family you may find that making woven cotton dresses and skirts starts to become a little limiting after a while. I found this and once I had decided that I wanted to make most of my everyday clothes it became apparent that I needed to be able to sew jersey for T-shirts, tops, leggings, PJ's, loungewear and underwear.

The book contains paper patterns for tracing in the back. All of the patterns are interchangeable so the T-shirt pieces double up as a T-shirt dress, crop T-shirt, Long sleeved T-shirt and a natty patchwork detailed one. There is a creative element of building your own design each time which I really like.

Minerva asked me to try a pattern from the book and sent me a top quality piece of Art gallery cotton jersey. I like a new learning challenge as you know so I went for a T-shirt with a shirring waist detail. I have not done this before so I referred to the section on winding a bobbin with shirring elastic and had a go on a practice piece first.

Previously, I have used trial and error, blogs and Youtube to learn to sew jersey but I wish I had had this book back then. The knowledge section of the book is really good. It is written for home sewers of a beginner level, however as a more experienced sewer, I still found it very stimulating but easy to understand.

The T-shirt was a triumph. It is worth mentioning that I made this entirely on my normal sewing machine without using my serger. The techniques in the book guide you to useful stitch selection, length and width choices which made sewing easy.

Ah, my summer tan has faded now and I am back to being the colour of a raw pig!

Thanks for stopping by. Jo xxx

Sunday 13 January 2019

Making - My cotton jumper

Baking - For lunchboxes, we do it every week. This week we made a chocolate orange traybake.

Eating - Pheasant. We have a supply of free pheasants and luckily the girls eat it. Casseroles are usually what I make but I have experimented with a rather successful pheasant bolognese sauce.

Building - Painting and painting and painting and painting. Three coats needed in every room. I painted for 22 hours last week!

Learning - How to grout. I tried doing it like a builder with a small trowel but decided to use what I already knew and made a great job with a piping bag and a sponge! I will show you the finished version later...

Thinking - What other building skills I could learn to save money.

Loving - Having my birthday to look forward to in the dreary month of January.

Wondering - Whether to go down another size after my first attempt at the Nora top by Tilly and the Buttons.

Getting - Really stuck into the Carolyn Pyjama pattern - a real investment in sewing nightwear.

Buying - A new Swimsuit pattern to try this year.

Watching - My girls continue to enjoy long walks even when it is bitterly cold.

Disliking - How much chocolate and sweets we have left over from Christmas. I just want it all to go away.

Wearing - All of my knitted garments with pride. They are such an investment of time but have such longevity. The socks inside my boots are pretty cosy too.

 Enjoying - Making a stack of Birthday cards for the coming year with this months Minerva Blogger network. 

Deciding - What to clear out of my wardrobe, it needs some attention.

Feeling - Mostly cold on the outside but warm on the inside.

Do join me in an ing post, they are great fun to put together. You can always link back to here.

Jo xxxx

Wednesday 9 January 2019

because it was easy...

Over the Christmas holidays I didn't really have a yarn project that I could get stuck into with the limited amount of brain space I had available so I plumped for some simple granny crochet.

After assembling a little pile of sock yarn scraps in harmonious colours I made my third granny triangle scarf from the pattern on the left sidebar. 

Not a scrap of brain power was required but it allowed my mind to rest each day after Christmas preparations.

I managed to use the rainbow yarn throughout the scarf so that the bright colours appear like little jewels. This one does not have a beaded edge but it was blocked which created a wonderful drape. 

If any of you have a stash busting craft resolution - and I bet lots of you have - try the granny stitch shawl on the left in any yarn gauge.

Happy Crochet. Jo xxx

Saturday 5 January 2019

A Square at a Time

I have been dipping in and out of a quilting project which is a slow burner. At my most confused times, I like to distract myself and
make a block. When all other sewing is just too damn difficult, sewing 5cm squares together is where it's at for me.

Sometimes if everything is really overwhelming I like to just cut out lots and lots of squares and put them in the cake tin. It is soooo satisfying to use up every last scrap of fabric from the pieces I have saved. Sometimes I amuse myself with a fussy cut square getting an image in the centre, like this little birdie.

Each block has 64 squares. I was wasting a lot of thread sewing them individually therefore I started to chain rows together and then join two rows at a time horizontally. They came together much faster.

This quilt is for my goddaughter, she is 12 at the moment but she will be 18 when it is finished. No tight deadlines on this project,a year maybe to make the topper.

Christina from colourful life sent me a little pile of colourful scraps which I have enjoyed cutting, recognising some of the fabrics from her amazing family quilts. 

In faster sewing news, I made a draw string bag to accommodate our family game of Tumble, you may know it as Jenga. While putting away new games we noticed the box had split again and they were all loose in the bottom of Heidi's wardrobe.

Thanks for dropping in. Jo xxx