Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Margot Pyjamas

The sewing mojo is strong right now and although I have a half-finished Kalle Shirt I wanted something simpler and quicker to sew. I really want to use up some of my old stash and I need new pyjamas so I settled on the Tilly and the Buttons Margot Pyjamas. I've made a test pair before and they were a good fit but I didn't like the drawstring waist or the order of construction so I changed that this time round. I opted for sewing a pair of shorts first as I didn't have enough fabric to make them full length. After managing to sew the wrong pieces together twice I finally got them done. I was happy with the sewing but they just didn't fit well.

The waist was plenty big enough, and the front had more than enough room but there was just not enough ease across the back. They were fine to move about in but really uncomfortable to lie in which is a major problem for pyjamas. I think I must have put on a little more weight since the last pair I made or it could be because these sit much higher with having an elastic waist instead of a tie. Either way I revisited my unpicker and let out what I could with the seams, put splits in the sides and made the elastic waist bigger so they would sit lower on my hips. They could still do with being made shorter by about an inch but it's not a big deal so I'll adjust the next ones.

As is typical in the UK the brief warm weather has since vanished and been replaced by freezing cold so I haven't properly tested out the changes. I had cut out a long version at the same time as the shorts. I didn't need  a lot of extra ease so I sewed these up with a smaller seam allowance and again made the waist elastic a little looser so they didn't come right up to my waist. These fit really well. I should have hemmed them a little shorter as they are quite long but that's ok. I think I need a pair for every day of the week!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Me Made May 2018

I've been thinking that I would like to take part in Me Made May this year. I've just done a big spring clean of my wardrobe getting rid of the things I don't wear and assessing the things I do. I am very much comfort driven with my clothing choices. Primarily my health plays the largest influence. I have issues with my immune system where it decides completely harmless things (for example gluten, dairy, certain chemicals in beauty products, etc..) are evil and completely over-reacts. One of the symptoms of this is my skin has a lot of breakouts and on bad days it's hypersensitive to the point where the seams on my clothes are painful against my skin. This massively affects my fabric choices and which clothes I want to wear that day. I've also a lot of scarring which means I choose clothes that give coverage and I'm almost always cold because of poor circulation so I tend to choose lots of layers. I go for practical over pretty every time. I'm a homeschooling mum of a five year old so my typical "uniform" would be jeans, a vest top, T-shirt or long sleeved top, and a cardigan or jumper.

I don't strive for a 100% me made wardrobe. I like to buy from charity shops and refashion if needed or if I do buy new (which isn't often as I hate shopping for clothes) I try to make careful choices I know will be worn until they fall apart. There are large gaps in my wardrobe I already know of as I haven't been sewing very long. I started knitting first a couple of years ago and that's my main love, then last year I started to finally sew one or two things. I hope to increase that this year and have a lot of plans although not yet all the skills.

So for Me Made May: I endeavour to wear at least one me made item everyday. I would like to document this with photographs to assess my wardrobe further at the end of the month. I would also like to sew at least one new thing, refashion one thing from my pile of waiting items and finish one WIP.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

April makes: Hats and Socks.

It's been quite a productive making month when I stop to think about it. I have a couple of finished knitted objects to share first. I finally finished a pair of socks. I seem to be very good at knitting one sock but not the second at the moment and still have a couple of pairs in hibernation waiting for a mate. I have to say I don't love knitting socks but I do love having a nice pile to wear in my drawer. These were a bit experimental. My tension seems to be very tight on the last couple of pairs I've made which is making the cuff a bit too tight and across the instep stretches a little too much compared to the first few pairs I made. So with this pair I played around with the cast on stitch count and leg stitch count. It did help with putting them on but I like negative ease in my socks and it was making them too baggy so that one wasn't a winner. The other sock I cast on using both needles and whilst that also fixes the problem I don't like the way it looks. It causes ripples in the fabric of the cuff. My next experiment will be with using a different needle size to cast on I think.

The yarn was my first time using Knit Picks Felici. This is the Spaceman colourway. Because it's self-striping I decided to try a short row heel out of some West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply. My first try was a German short row heel but it wasn't very well executed and looked terrible so on the other sock I tried out the Smooth Operator Sock heel which is essentially a version of an afterthought heel. I loved knitting this one. The instructions were really clear and it was fun in a scary way to cut into my knitting. I didn't get the size right straight away because I was too lazy to measure my heel so it was a bit baggy but I ripped out the German short row heel on the other sock and managed to get the SOS heel fit much better. It will definitely be my go to short row heel from now on (although I still prefer a heel flap). The toe is my usual one from the Hermione's Everyday Sock pattern as it fits me really well.

The Felici yarn is super soft and lovely to knit with so I'm interested to see how it wears. I do handwash my socks but I'm also fairly rough with them wearing them with boots and trainers all the time so I'm always looking for yarn that can withstand all the rubbing. I hope these wear well because I would love to knit with it again.

For my train trip up to Edinburgh Yarn Festival I cast on a Sockhead Hat for wearing around the house as it had been so cold. I used some leftover Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply and did a bit of a fade from the Spiced Plum to the Tweed Imps colourway. I cast on less stitches than the pattern and didn't do the fold over brim then knit for 9 inches after the ribbing. I should have made it shorter in hindsight as the yarn really stretched out with blocking but it's fine for around the house. It's made a comfy, light, slouchy hat which is what I was aiming for and used up some of my leftover scraps. Yay!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Neverending Knitting

In the past few years I've been using Instagram to document my creating however with all the changes since Facebook took over I enjoy using it less and less. It's making me consider posting on my blog again. I stopped because finding the time to write posts was proving difficult and a post to Instagram was much easier. I'm still not sure if regular blogging will happen but I think I'll give it a chance.

I've got what feels like too many projects on the go at the moment. My main knitting project is my Sammal Cardigan by Joji Locatelli and I'm very happy with the way it's going but it's a massively slow knit. It's fingering weight yarn and the sand stitch pattern makes for very slow going. I've stopped knitting the body to get the sleeves done because I thought that would help psychologically. Once I go back to doing the body and cast that off it will be all finished. I won't need to then knit the sleeves. I'm looking forward to getting it finished as it's been on the needles for months. It had a big hibernation in the middle because it was such slow going. I'm just trying to do the final push and get it done. I've got a long queue of cardigans and jumpers I want to make right now so I'm ready to get onto the next thing.

I've also got several small things on the go. A hat, some mittens, lots of socks and it just feels like it's too much. I'm trying to get some of the smaller things done so I have fewer WIPs and can focus a bit more. Plus it feels like maybe spring is finally here and I'm less inclined to work on hats and mittens once it gets warmer.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

WIP Wednesday

I'm finally down to three WIPs again - woohoo! I've finished some things and put one set of socks I'm not enjoying knitting on in hibernation with my jumper which I'm putting off dealing with because I have a horrible feeling I will need to frog it as it's now going to be too big. *breathe* Anyway three seems to be the most manageable amount of projects I can deal with without something languishing.

I'm still working on a another pair of socks which have been on my needles far too long. Again I'm just not loving knitting them but I'm so close to finishing I'm forcing myself to get them done and I've set a deadline of The Bloke's birthday at the start of December. I think after this pair I'm going to start doing some sock experimentation. Part of the reason I'm not loving the socks I've got on my needles is I'm struggling with it hurting my hands. I think it's the tiny needles and my tight tension so I'm going to try going up a needle size or two and reducing the amount I cast on. Hopefully that will make me enjoy it again. The pattern is Emily's favorite socks and the yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply. I'm still loving this yarn, and the pattern is making lovely socks but I've discovered whilst knitting these that I don't enjoy mindless sock knitting. Weird I know. I don't mind with anything else but I'm just finding these really boring. Maybe I would enjoy it more if it wasn't a solid yarn colour but then again, maybe not. Anyway I'm looking forward to these being done.

I cast on something new for myself as a reward for finishing some gift knitting. This is the Cannetella Hat by Woolly Wormhead. It's turning out to be a bit of a labour of love as I really wanted to use the gorgeous yarn I got from The Wool Kitchen on Etsy however when I came to wind the ball I found a lot of breaks and then when I started knitting I found a lot more shredded parts. SO, so sad. I'm not sure what happened but I know it wasn't something I did, I didn't snag it or anything. My best guess is a moth or carpet bug has got to it. We live in a really old house that has a ton of them and I clearly left this laying around too long. Usually my yarn lives in zip lock bags because of this exact reason but I did leave this on the shelf for a bit to admire it. At least the other skein I bought is completely fine as I've also started knitting with that and so have had the chance to inspect it. So this hat already has a million joins in it and I'm only just past the ribbing but I LOVE IT. How beautiful is this yarn knitting up? It's like those little flying embers you get above the bonfire that float off into the night sky. I want to knit on it all the time, even with the constant yarn joining. I'm trying to restrain myself a bit though until my Christmas gift knitting is done.

My third WIP is also using amazing The Wool Kitchen yarn in the Ziggy colourway and some Fyberspates in Dove Stone. It's a Hitchhiker Shawl that I'm making for a gift. It's a really easy knit as it's pretty much all garter stitch. I plan on making the full size with 42 points but I should still have a little yarn left over for myself I think. I'm going to make a few additions to the pattern as well as the stripes. I started adding a YO instead of KFB to try and add a bit more stretch to the edge and it helped a little but it's still curving quite a lot so I might try experimenting with something else as well. I'm going to add some eyelets near the bottom too and probably a small block of the Ziggy colourway. I'm loving how the colours are working and it's keeping it interesting to knit on. Hopefully I will get it done in time as I know progress will start to slow down now the rows are getting longer.

I have at least one more gift I want to try and knit before Christmas but it's going to be tight time-wise. I'm not the fastest knitter. Plus I had wanted to make some little woollen baubles for decoration. They might still get done yet as I have everything ready to go and they're so small they shouldn't take too long. I'm desperate for more Christmas decorations this year as a lot fell apart last year they were so old. Also, I have no idea where we will fit the Christmas tree. I really wanted to get a tall one but I don't think we'll have the room. It's going to be a squeeze to fit one in at all! My only free space now is in front of the radiators which is no good for a real tree so I either need to buy a fake one or get a small real one I can put on a table. It's not Christmas without the smell of the fir tree though.. dilemma. Anyway I have plans for a Christmas Eve cast on party with my mum so it's all good. Happy Holidays and Happy Making!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The first big handmade wardrobe success

I haven't blogged for a couple of weeks but I made a garment! I'm insanely pleased that I got my Blaster Cardigan finished. I learnt a lot and best of all it's actually wearable.

The pattern is by Andi Satterlund and perhaps wasn't the best choice for a first cardigan to knit as I did struggle with following the instructions and had to rip parts back a fair few times. The finished article is fab though and I have my eye on quite a few of her other patterns that I'd like to make now I have a better idea what I'm doing. There are a few lessons learnt I'll take forward though. The fit being the main one. When I started knitting it I was between sizes and Andi advised I take into account not just the bust size but the waist size too. This was a good point I hadn't considered so I went for the medium size which it turns out was the wrong choice. It fits fine but there is absolutely no negative ease. I suspect this is because I've lost more weight in the time I was knitting it as the finished cardigan is pretty close to the measurements the pattern said it would be and it didn't change shape when I blocked it. Oh well, next time I'll go for the smaller size when faced with the same dilemma. There are a couple of other things that could do to be tweaked but I don't yet have the skills to know how to do it. The shoulders are a touch wide, and the body is slightly too long and doesn't quite hit my waist where it should. It's easy enough to alter the length but I don't know how to narrow the shoulders, however this might have been solved by knitting the smaller size.

The only other thing I'm not keen on is there seems to be a lot of excess fabric under the sleeves. Again I'm not sure how to alter that and maybe if I'd managed to get the negative ease I was after this would be needed to get a good fit but it makes it a little baggy on my version. On the whole though I'm really happy with it. I did make some changes to the sleeves to make them taper in more and end where I wanted. I also tried Jenny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off which was great so I'll certainly use that again. I was pretty impressed with the Drops Cotton Merino yarn I used given how purse friendly it is. It was easy to knit with and didn't mind all my pulling back. There were more knots in the first couple of balls than I'd like but the second two were fine so I must have just been unlucky. I actually ended up using a ball less than I expected so I have quite a lot left. It blocked well and is a good colour but I don't know how it'll wear yet. I'm hoping because of the cotton content it should be fairly hard wearing. It's certainly comfortable next to the skin and I'd use it again as I think it'll be lovely to wear in the spring and summer.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Progress Update

This week I have decided on a new tactic. I have too many projects on the go so I'm joining the Yarn Hoarder WIP KAL. I am going to focus first on my Blaster Cardigan as the KAL for that ends November 1st and I'm sooo close to finishing. If I can get it done on time that would be great. I've been knitting on it a fair bit over the weekend and I've managed to get onto the second sleeve. I pulled back and re-knit the first one making a few changes to the decreases and length and it fits perfectly so I just need to get the other done. I already had buttons I was going to use for it but I took a trip to a new local fabric store and came home with some more buttons so I'll decide which to use when I'm through knitting. I really can't photograph this well when I'm taking quick snaps with my phone, it just doesn't pick up yellow very true to life. I'll take better photo's when it's all finished though. I'm reserving judgement on the fit until it's blocked. I think it's going to be a little too big around my body although the length is good. I've possibly lost a bit more weight since I started it or maybe I just should have done the smaller size to start with. Oh well, I don't mind too much. I'm still chuffed with how well it's turning out for a first large knitted garment.

After that I want to concentrate on my Building Blocks Shawl. I'm already behind on the clues so I've decided I'm not going to rush to finish it. I'm in the middle of the brioche section and I'm loving it. I had a feeling I would like brioche knitting as I'm all about texture and I really do. I foresee lots more in my future. It's a shame the two colours used in this shawl are fairly similar so don't show off the brioche as well as they could but it's oh so squishy! I've really loved this MKAL I'll definitely be doing another. Stephen West has made it so easy to follow. The pattern is written in lots detail and he's made little tutorial videos to go along with it so even a novice knitter like myself can join in. I've learnt loads already and I'm only halfway through. I'm really not looking forward to weaving in all those ends though!

I've made a bit of progress on my sewing. I've copied out and altered the Dottie Angel frock pattern and cut out my fabric for the muslin. I tried a different method using a tracing wheel and copy paper but I don't think it's for me. It's just too hard to see the markings in our bad house lighting and I don't really have the space to lay it out very well. I think it might be a good way of transferring the other pattern information like pocket placement though so I might try a combination of cutting around a paper pattern and transferring markings. I also tried using a rotary cutter which was great so I'll certainly do that in future instead of scissors. I haven't actually started sewing it yet though. I got out the sewing machine and got it threaded so it's all ready to go once I get some free time.

That's all my crafty news. I'm now going to clean the bathroom and listen to some new to me sewing podcasts I've heard mention of. Oh what a glamorous and exciting life I lead. Ta ta!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Winter Sewing Plans

It feels like it's been a bit of a wasted weekend so far as everyone in the house is full of painful head colds and no-one has slept very well so we've done nothing active and just rested all day. I know it hasn't really been a waste as we've been recuperating and I've managed to get a bit more of my Stephen West Building Blocks Shawl done. I've watched a couple of podcasts and mentally thought about what I want to knit once my gift knitting is all done. Recently I've been itching to start sewing again too. I only have very basic sewing skills and last year I decided I wanted to get better so started collecting together tools and patterns and fabric. Then I made a pair of pyjama pants and got no further. For the last couple of weeks though I've been wanting to have another go. My weight loss seems to have slowed a bit and I'm a similar size (although different shape, thanks mum tum) to what I was pre-pregnancy so I'm thinking I might have lost as much as I'm going to. Even if I go down another dress size I don't think that would make anything I make now dramatically too big so I think it's safe to start thinking about making my own clothes again. With that in mind I've spent some of today looking for inspiration.

One of the last things I began to make but only got as far as cutting out a muslin for was the Dottie Angel Frock. I bought the pattern as soon as it came out (Simplicity 1080) but was feeling quite ill and unhappy with my shape by that point so gave up on sewing. Last week though I started compiling a sewing wishlist for winter. Basically I pretended I had uber sewing skills and thought about what I would make myself. One of the things on my list was a shift dress/tunic I could layer up over jeans or leggings. As I already have this pattern I thought this could be a good starting point. I'm starting from scratch again with it and I know from other versions I've seen that the pattern is not without issues. Plus I remember from reading through it last time that the instructions are really complicated and confusing to follow for a inexperienced seamstress. So rather than follow it as is I'm going to attempt to adapt it as it is essentially a fairly simple pattern.

There isn't lots of complicated pieces to it but there are some things I know I want to change straight away. For one I don't like the neckline. Too low for me at both the front and back, and really I feel the back should be higher than the front, it just makes more sense. I'm also not in love with the way the ties are placed. They look awkward and pretty unflattering. I'm going to omit them for my test run and then have a play around with it once it's sewn together. The sleeves are another question mark for me. I've a couple of tops with sleeves like this so it is something I do wear on occasion but I want to be able to layer this with jumpers and cardigans for winter and I know trying to put anything over them can make for unattractive bulges of fabric. I'm going to leave them as the pattern for now and see how they look but I might end up taking the sleeves off. Hopefully when I get better at sewing I'll know how to change the sleeves to a different style altogether but for now I reckon I can copy the shape of something in my wardrobe. I have a grey dress I'm thinking I could use as a silhouette to make changes to the pattern. So the plan for next week is to get it out and draft a copy of the pattern I can make changes to. Wish me luck!

Monday, October 10, 2016

One stitch forward, two steps back.

Today has been a pretty bleh Monday. It was always going to be a bad day. I woke up last Friday with a pulled muscle in my neck which seems to refuse to get better or respond to painkillers so I haven't had a good nights sleep all weekend. Never a good start to the week. On top of that my knitting has hit a slump too.

The first clue for the Stephen West MKAL came out on Friday which I was very excited about plus I got some extra knitting time so I cast that on and loved knitting the first section. However when I started on the second section the M1 stitches started to be an even more noticeable problem. I'd tried doing them the way Stephen suggested and for future reference that doesn't work with my tension. They were creating a ladder even though I pulled the yarn super tight and so I stopped knitting on it. I then let it sit there Saturday and Sunday to see if I could live with it and in the end I just decided I couldn't. 

I can live with mistakes if I don't think it's too noticeable but I knew I could do it better. I also decided to check my gauge and found that although the swatch I did was spot on now I was knitting the pattern I seemed to be two stitches off gauge. Annoying. The fabric as it is looks fine but given that I have other niggles with it I'm just going to start over. The problem with THAT is I don't have smaller needles to try. I'd already been thinking about treating myself to a set of interchangeable needles so I just bit the bullet and ordered some. I'm hoping they will come tomorrow as I'm itching to restart.

As that project had to go on hold until the new needles arrive I got my Tea with Jam and Bread Jumper out. I did a few more rows but then realised when I was knitting it last time I must have forgotten to change colours. Urgh. The instructions saying when to change were at the top of the page and by the time I had knitted down to the change point I had totally forgotten. I'm well past it now and after thinking on it over night I can't face pulling loads back just to change colour. So I now need to rethink it. I was planning on using the same sort of colour stripes as the pattern but now I'll need to do something else instead, I just don't know what yet. One stitch forward, two steps back. At least my socks are coming along OK.

Friday, September 30, 2016

All the pretty..

I need a yarn diet. Since deciding to learn to knit my own clothes I have jumped in the deep end and bought a ton of yarn this month. It makes me guilty. The thing is most of it really is to make gifts for other people or clothes for myself so I've not been randomly buying things I love (although the temptation is very real). Everything has a destiny and a lot needs to be done before Christmas or Birthdays so I know it won't sit around wallowing in stash. But look at the pretty things!

Araucania is one of the few yarns I have used before and I loved it so I snapped two skeins of this up on Ebay from someone destashing. The Fyberspates yarn is new to me but I love it already before I've even knitted with it. It's just my sort of colours with no "fluffiness" so stitch definition should be great. Some combination of these are destined for the Stephen West Mystery KAL. I'm keen to learn new techniques and from looking through his other patterns it seems like there will be a lot of that plus the idea of knitting something unknown is kinda fun. It starts on the 7th October so not long to wait for the first clue!

The Noro was in my LYS on sale. I don't know if I'll like knitting with it but I love the texture in the ball. I plan on using it to make a scarf or shawl for myself but it's not at the top of the queue. It'll have to wait for some WIP's to be finished. The Royd Moor Yarns I got off the internet so didn't see it in person before buying it. It's quite woolly so I'm not yet sure what it wants to be. When I bought it I was thinking scarf but I'm pretty wool sensitive on my neck so it's not going to work for that. I'll keep it until another idea occurs to me, It's lovely colours.

Last but not least I splurged on some fabulous Wool Kitchen yarns. The hand dyed colours are so amazing I could just buy them all but I bought "Ziggy" which is destined to be knitted into something for Christmas and "Ground Control" I intend to keep for myself. I'm thinking it might make an amazing winter hat. Speaking of winter hats I'm going to start a cute little hat for The Kid. I'm planning on making a Clayoquot Toque for him as learning stranded knitting is one of my knitting goals and I thought this should be an easy-ish way to start. Plus he really needs some winter hats!