Saturday, 26 September 2020

Knitting Waterlands

Long story but I am sure some knitters tuning in have been there. I bought some ridiculously expensive wool to make a specific short sleeved sweater for Autumn. I started the damn thing three times, my mum started it for me as well and I just couldn't get the pattern going. Meh!

I hid £50 of wool in the yarn basket for a while but it was still on my mind - so many pennies! During lockdown earlier in the year seemed a good time to face up to it and take my time to choose something lovely to knit while I had some extra time.

The Waterlands pattern from Pom Pom magazine issue No 31 had always looked very wearable to me apart from the three quarter length sleeves. The pattern was not for 4ply (which mine was) but I thought I would give it a go and sort of make it up as I went along; a dangerous thing to do with such luxury yarn. 

The risk was minimised however by the fact that you can try on this style sweater as you go along because it is knit from the top down. I can report that I tried this on soooooo many times while I made it. There wasn't really the option to knit a complicated sweater in expensive yarn that didn't even fit - that wasn't the outcome I was looking for.

I paired the Adrifil alpaca with some 4ply drops flora and some raspberry wine 4ply I used to make this. It was a good combination for the colour and stitch work, for this sweater required both things to be happening at the same time on the yoke. I loved knitting it at this stage.

I added extra increase rows to allow for thinner yarn and then did some major increasing towards the end which gives it a gathered effect. I tried it on and was happy with the chest size and arm openings. There are some short rows worked at the back to stop the neck sagging too much. This also gives the added bonus of knowing the front from the back!

Back View

Knitting endless grey in the round with 4py was a bit of a schlep but watching TV at the same time helped. By now I was well and truly off piste and out there on my own in the knitting galaxy.

I made a decision to make a really deep ribbed hem to ensure that it sat well over my hips, it wouldn't curl up, and it matched a sleeve plan I had hatching in my head.

So the sleeves - I din't use the pattern at all. I decided on 3x rib sleeves because I missed out on doing them on this sweater and liked the slim silhouette they gave a baggy sweater shape.

Oh my! Ribbing sleeves is quite a commitment. Again, I had to follow my instincts and knit try on, knit try on... I wrote down every row in my note book so that I could make sleeve number two. It turns out I love them so much I would do them again on another sweater even though they took some time.

I am absolutely in love with my new sweater, it is one of the best things I have ever made. The yarn is so soft and light but cosy and warm. Oh and in case you are wondering, I had to buy four more balls of grey, making a total of nine!

I think sometimes you have to see knitting as a hobby of time not as a really expensive jumper. I have been enjoying knitting this since April which is pretty good value I think especially as we haven't been able to go anywhere else for entertainment.

Thanks for dropping in. Jo xxxxxxx

Monday, 21 September 2020

Needles and Thread

 She is good, very, very good. I have realised of late that I am no longer as good at embroidery as I used to be because my eyes are not so sharp. My ten year old however is a demon stitcher. Look at this beauty.

Her first attempt was actually this unicorn on a rainbow but as my youngest goes against the grain of most fashion imagery, she shows a contempt for unicorns that would never ever be necessary in her future life. She was adamant - it was a horse on a rainbow because unicorns aren't real! You go for it girl.

She has persevered with french knots and now has that safely under her belt along with splitting off strands from the main thread which she found tricky at first. She also learnt the hard way about cutting the tail off too short when she got to the end of her thread.

She is off again with a new design featuring a hedgehog.

My eldest daughter, who is thirteen, has taken her stitching to a different place. I returned from work last week to find she had covered a snag on her jeans with some freestyle embroidery. How cool is that? She says it isn't finished yet but I was most impressed.

She returned to them another day to enhance the pockets. 

I have ANOTHER hole in my jeans. This week I decided to use a ready made patch I bought in Italy on holiday last year along with a little homemade applique. The lace covers the long rip repair and the owls strengthen the repair vertically.

Thanks for popping in, I am off to make an appointment at the opticians. Can I do that yet I wonder? These girls have made my eyes feel old and worn out!

Jo xxx

Monday, 14 September 2020

Just in Time Stevie

 This Stevie dress, which I have made over the weekend in little half hour slots, has arrived in my wardrobe just in time for some late summer sunshine.

I have made this pattern twice before but this time I made a few changes. 

The first one was very good and I have worn it a great deal but I was so excited when the pattern arrived through the letter box that I made it in a hurry. I didn't overlock the seams, I just used pinking shears and sewed it up. In all honesty I thought it would just be a pattern trial. It is sods law that it was one of my favourite dresses which I have worn loads so the seams have all frayed and I have repaired holes which appeared under the arms. The fabric is fading a little too on my first one but it has seen me through three summers. The second one was in some fabric I didn't really like very much in the end so it went to the charity shop.

I would have worn the first one more to work but it was a bit short. This time I made it longer.

I always wished I had bothered to put pockets in my first one therefore I added some this time.

On my first one the sleeve cuffs didn't hold in place very well so I did a small line of stitching on the upper and under arms to keep it turned up. 

I made the back neck tie version on the first one. The linen mix fabric was too heavy when it was tied in a bow at the back which pulled the front neck line across my throat. It also gave me a strange lump at the back of my neck when I wore a cardigan. Sorted. This time I made a hand stitched loop and added a button.

The one thing I did keep the same was the feel of a linen mix fabric. This one is a floral extravaganza which reminds me of some 1970's bark cloth curtains... but in a good way. I can't remember where I got it from unfortunately :( but it makes a great dress. 

Thank you for stopping by. Jo xxx

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

 Loving - this bunch of Lisianthus given to us as a new house welcome.

Eating - waste free dinners. I consider it a personal triumph that my children will eat courgette soup. The courgettes were given to me and the croutons were the dry ends of our bread.

Listening - to one of my favourite comedy programs on radio 4. Listening to Tom Wrigglesworth is one of the best antidotes to world news.

Buying - a clock (last month) from the antique centre with a timer on. 

Repairing - my jeans again. A hole is appearing every month at the moment but I am enjoying adding to the 'artwork'.

Picking - damsons from a tree in the field. This is Andy's response to the question, "Show us your plums!" I made jam and he made three gallons of wine.

Mastering - the art of making a waffle.

Enjoying - the appearance of a rainbow. I saw it as a sign because the building inspector came two hours later and passed off our new house for building regulations.

Making -  a cushion for Beano to have in his cosy corner in the utility.

Hosting - a Sunday dinner for our friends and going all out on the table decor.

Selecting - flowers from my friend who is in her first year of growing and selling cut flowers in the UK. 

Preserving - apples as chutney. 

Having - my first day on my own without the children since March. I was a little concerned that being out in the middle of no where in our new house on my own would feel lonely but it was fabulous. 

Finishing - a pair of stash busting socks using three different bits of sock yarn leftovers (all drops fabel) but still managing to achieve pattern matching. Win win.

Feeling - happy. In fact I told the dog on our walk this morning. He was happy too. 

Thanks for popping in. Jo xxxx

Friday, 4 September 2020

Current Best Bits

I am not sure where to start but let's start with 'Welcome to our new home'. For those new to this space, we have been building our own house for four years. This month we have moved in even though it is not quite finished because we unexpectedly sold our old house. That kind of sums up my last month.

I thought I would show you a few of the rooms which are taking shape nicely. This is the lounge. It originally had a white wall around the window but every time a tractor went past the dog jumped up at the window and the wall was one big brown smear so I plumped for the brave choice of a navy blue wall and I am thrilled with the warmth it provides. Everyone who visits says, "That is a great colour!"

The girls are getting used to having separate bedrooms which they have never had before. While I lifted heavy boxes of house contents, they packed up the tiny contents of their dolls houses.

Our old furniture fitted well into our new home. Our Kitchen table however was sticky and out of colour with the legs, it had been for years. My dad had rescued it from his Great Aunts farm yard in the late 1950's then sanded it down. Unfortunately he had used linseed oil as the final finish and it always had a tacky feel and a slightly green tinge. Yak!

Andy and I took turns to sand it back then give it a couple of coats of beeswax; it now looks and feels superb.

Other favourite parts include: the light fitting Andy made for the Kitchen from a piece of girder we found in the shed and the island my friend kindly made for us using recycled apple crates with the last of the oak worktop.

The best bits continue with our bathroom window which I absolutely love. Again, it was all white until I plucked up the courage to use fern green around the window. This little display is only really appreciated when you actually stand there and look at the freshness of the green. I enjoyed learning how to make macrame plant hangers then surrounded the window with all the white and navy enamel ware I found in the old sheds outside.

Finally and most importantly the best thing about our new house are the views. Of course there are worst bits but hey let's just concentrate on the best bits shall we?!

Thank you for popping by my new space. It is soooo good to have the internet back.

Jo xxxxxx