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.