Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Elephant Boy for a gift

Pattern: Boy Elephant by Little Cotton Rabbits
Yarn used: Sirdar Cotton DK and 4ply & Rowan 4ply

I do love these knitted animal patterns from Little Cotton Rabbits, they make such great presents and are very fun to make to boot! This will be my fourth one, previously having made a bunny, an elephant and a monkey. (One cat is still in progess in my wip basket).

This little elephant is for my friends little boy who is approaching his first birthday. I picked colours to match his room because that sort of coordination makes me happy! 

The pattern instructions are excellent and make the whole construction process really easy to understand. I have mine printed out and put in a folder, with each page in a separate plastic wallet so it is quick to flick through them. Occasionally I found I wanted to get back to the top to check on a stitch instruction or compare the finished sample photos. Julies details include what the toy looks like in different yarns so it is easy to make the choice that is right for you. 
I wanted this little guy to be made entirely of cotton yarn so he was soft and easy to spot clean.

I have a soft spot for his ears, the moss stitch is really floppy and you can turn his ears inside out. 
I ended up doing his eyes twice, french knots are something I haven't yet mastered in wool and they didn't give him the right look the first time around. At least you get the chance to play around and make it look perfect. It is easy to redo as you go and if you are like me and something just doesn't look right, it has to be fixed there and then. I was much happier with his face once I had started the eyes again.

The jumper turned out really well, I was thrilled with it! It is based on a Cornish Gansey  and the pattern is beautiful. I like it in the cotton yarn because the stitch definition is perfect.

Add on a pair of shorts and my boy was fully dressed and ready to go to his new home.
The jumper and shorts are both included in the pattern.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Cozy Winter Hood & Mittens

We have seen some snow this week, not much by some standards but enough to warrant the typical melt down of national transport routes overnight and the frantic search for winter woolies from storage. 

This prompted me to make L a pair of mittens from the Oliver + S book 'Little Things to Sew'. I made some for her when she was a baby and they were a quick and simple project.

Using some red fleece fabric from an upcycled Ikea throw I made up a pair of mittens. Then seeing as they didn't take me very long (plus I had the book out anyway) I cut out the Cozy Winter Hood as well. I think the original blanket cost me under £2 so this is nearly a freebie project!

The hood is such an adorable make. It keeps her ears nice and toasty and thanks to the ribbon ties, it doesn't fall off. I made the medium for both hood and mittens. The mittens are a bit big on her, but the hood is perfect.

I used quilting cotton for the lining, it was a recent Christmas fabric from Makower which goes really nicely with the red fleece.

I think I managed to make an error when sewing it together and I need to get it down on here so that I don't make the same mistake again. (I do refer back to my blog notes when I am making a pattern again just in case I had any issues).

The fleece had no obvious right or wrong side so I must have sewn it to the center panel the wrong way up because when it came to sewing the inner and outer shells together, the edges were fractionally too long one side of the ribbon tie and too short the other side. I have made this before, here, and didn't have this issue, but that fabric was obviously one way up. So I had to wiggle and contort the edges a bit as I went along. I don't think it lies as smoothly as a result of my mistake. But it still works.

She is looking very mummy-made today with her Oliver + S School Days Coat on too. I think there may be a home sewn tee on under all those layer too!

How fabulous is the light?! Shooting outdoors in the snow has to be one of my favourite settings to take photographs. 
As you see, just a light scattering of snow but at least she is snuggly warm!

Patterns: Cozy Winter Hood & Mittens both taken from the LTTS book

Saturday, 7 January 2017

2016 Recap

We are just finishing up the first week of 2017 and it is time for me to reflect on what I have achieved over the last 12 months. I find that these annual posts give me a much needed boost this time of year. December can be hectic and it can feel as if there isn't time to get everything done. I often end up looking back in disappointment at not ticking off enough of my to do list. But, as ever, in gathering together all my projects, my spirit is lifted at the realization of all that I finished.

I have a very long list of clothes I wish to sew for me! I am not going to get everything made no matter how much time or money I have to spend on sewing! This year however, I did well. It is obvious that I never stray far from one colour scheme, but blues and greens make me happy and so they shall always feature heavily in my garments!

Ottobre Tee, Thurlow Shorts, Archer Shirt, Moneta Dress, Qwist Hat, Barley Hat, Moneta Dress, Traveler Tunic, Gallery Tunic, Striped Knit Sweater

I made up three patterns that had been languishing in my stash forever! The Colette Moneta dress, of which I made two and totally love them. The Sewaholic Thurlow shorts got as far as a test muslin. With a few tweaks, they will make a really great pair of trousers/shorts. I am looking forward to revisiting that pattern soon. Lastly, the Lisette Traveler tunic. My most worn item of the year by far.

For Boo, who is growing out of the reliable Oliver and S patterns I love, this year has been a voyage of discovery. Seeking out patterns that go above the age 12 sizing but do not yet hit the small ladies. Yes, I have entered tween size territory and it is terrifying.

Luckily Simplicity/New Look do a range of half sizes which means that she will still fit into the 8-10 category. These styles also seem to be the sorts of things she likes to wear so I am keeping an eye on the new releases and snapping them up. The purple dress below, the blue and green knit dress and the peachy cardigan with faux tee are all from the Simplicity range and are great patterns.

I finally got to sew up some City Gym Shorts and they are just as wonderful as everybody describes! I will be making some more this year (hopefully for me).

New Look 6296, Flax Sweater, Kwik Sew 4113, Simplicity 1382, Grannys Favourite Cardigan, Simplicity 1025, O+S Sketchbook Shorts, City Gym Shorts, O+S Butterfly Top, O+S Rollerskate, Ottobre Vest & O+S Nature Walk Pants, Ottobre Tee and Skirt, O+S Art Museum Vest, Kwik Sew 3816 Bodywarmer

L got a few new things, she is still happily riding the wave of hand-me-downs but to give mummy her O+S fix she did get a couple of new items. A Hide and Seek Dress and a Bento tee as well as one of my favourite makes of the year, the pairing of a kitty Music Class blouse and some chambray Puppet Show shorts.

O+S Hide and Seek Dress, O+S Bento Tee, Sew Liberated Tee's, Vintage Sirdar Hat, Flax Sweater, O+S Music Class Blouse and Puppet Show Shorts, Jalie 3461
Alas, poor Jay, he got a shirt. Just the one. 
I must try harder....

But he does love this shirt, his second Negroni, so I didn't fail completely.

 Some of my favourite makes however weren't for my family at all. They were made with love for somebody else. The essence of why I make things in the first place. To make someone smile.

These mice were a commission for my lovely friend Nicole. If you are unfamiliar with the book Mouseton Abbey, go and have a look, it is delightful and these mice were based on some of the different characters within the book.

I used the Dickensian Mice knitting pattern by Alan Dart and adapted it to recreate some of the main characters. I made some notes on my ravelry page for those who are interested.

For my school friend Victoria who had her gorgeous baby boy last year I made a couple of O+S Lullaby Layette Pants and knitted up a Puerperium Cardigan in a soft bamboo cotton yarn. This was a lovely item to knit and I would certainly make it again for any newborns on my gift list!

My goals for this year go something like this:
  1. Continue to learn and get better at crochet. Still very much a beginners craft for me but this time next year I hope to have developed in this skill.
  2. Sew a new coat for myself. I have the Closet Case Files 'Clare Coat' in my possession and the fabric to make it. I am just so tired of my other cold weather coat that I need an update.
  3. Try out more of my Thread Theory patterns for Jay and make him more than just one thing!
  4. Having been bought the O+S Building Block book for Christmas (thanks Hubby!) I want to make a few things from that and involved the children in the design process.
  5. Have fun and don't stress. (maybe this should have been up at number one!)
Happy New Year to you all. Thank you to all my sewing and knitting friends from all over the world. You continue to be a source of inspiration and joy to me through your wonderful creations and comments on IG and other channels. Have a productive, healthy and happy 2017!

Katy xx

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Sweater Season

Pattern: King Cole 3951
Yarn: King Cole Cotton Soft 

This sweater took me forever to knit up! It is the first adult garment I have ever invested my knitting time into and there is a vast difference between knitting up a child sized garment and tackling an adult one. So I discovered!

I wanted a snuggly striped knit and liked the shoulder detail on this one. It is knitted flat and pieced together which is something else I wanted. I have knit a lot of garments in the round, but if I had to take this out and about with me as a whole piece, it would have been a big bag and not very convenient. It was much easier to take a sleeve wip out with me. I knitted a lot of this while on days out. It is well traveled already!

It has a drop sleeve with a button placket on one shoulder and on the bottom hem. It is a quite a heavy draping knit and I could probably have gone down a size. The bracelet length sleeves are great (no dipping into my food prep while cooking).

The only downside to working the pieces flat and creating stripes is the matching up afterwards. I did my best!

After this epic knit, I wanted to try a simpler pattern (and for speed, because Boo was still left without a warm layer for our holiday). So I cast on another Flax Sweater. The version I knit for L was so useful and such an easy thing to knit that I knew I could do it. I started shortly before our hols and finished it while I was up there. These photos are literally fresh off the needles!

This wool was cheap and nasty stuff (one of those big balls of aran from Aldi incase you are wondering) but it has made such a lovely sweater I will forgive it. We all love the little multi-coloured sprinkles all over it.

This is only my second Flax but It went so much quicker this time around. I did leave off the garter stitches along the sleeves because I was in a hurry. Either way, with or without the stitch detail, this pattern is a keeper. You can do so much with it.

Collecting agate with daddy

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Qwist and Barley Hats

Back in the New Year I treated myself to a pattern bundle over on Ravelry with the hope that I could get a couple of the items knitted up. I chose the Texture is the New Black collection by Melanie Berg. The details on all the pieces are beautiful and I knew it would be a learning challenge for me. 

I especially wanted to make the Qwist Hat and Mittens. Well I didn't get as far as I hoped, but I might have enough of this variegated yarn left to try the mittens.

This hat actually turned out to be a little big on me. I guess my gauge was slightly off. I love how it has turned out though, and yes it was a labour of love. The pattern is well written and all the different stitches explained within the text of the pattern. I had never done the twisted slip stitch before and struggled at first but soon got the hang of it.

The resulting pattern makes for a really beautiful and interesting design and I love the way it is incorporated into the ribbing around the brim.

The yarn is from Hedgerow Yarns on Etsy. It is a 4ply Alpaca/Merino Sock yarn. Lovely and soft with a gorgeous colour mix.

The Qwist Hat definitely took me a longer time to make than most hat projects because it requires more concentration, but I think the finished item is well worth it. The stitches are a joy to look at. 

On to my second knit.... The Barley Hat by Tin Can Knits. On the other end of the difficulty scale to the Qwist Hat really. It is one of the beginner knits from their Simple Collection.

I really love this hat, it fits perfectly. I have worn it a few times now and it will be the first one I reach for when it gets chilly. 

It has a garter stitch section which adds an interesting break in the plain stocking stitch. I chose to add the extra inch in length so it would be slouchier.

I used Cascade 220 superwash yarn for this and as with everything I have used it for, it produces a beautiful item with great stitch definition. It is soft and warm without being scratchy.

I intend on making the rest of the family one of these hats each, they are so quick and simple to make that I feel it is an achievable goal before winter arrives!

These photos were shot on our holiday to Scotland, so much beauty everywhere. A stunning time of year to visit that area. I will leave you with some photographs of when we visited the Queen's View.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Jalie Eleonore Jeans

Pattern: Jalie 3461 'Eleonore'
Fabric used: Stretch Denim sourced from Ebay
Size made: 'H' which is 104cm height

I have plenty of patterns I could use to make jeans for the girls, in the past I have used the Oliver and S After School Pants with great success and the Clever Charlotte Raven Pants. This time around I wanted a skinnier leg and after a bit of searching for something that would accommodate both girls (without having to buy two sizes in the same pattern) I stumbled across the reviews for this Jalie pattern.

I have about 4 Jalie patterns now and from what I have made I have been really impressed. So I bought this with the added smug thought that I could actually make a pair for me because the sizing starts from a girls age 2 and goes all the way to a ladies size 22. This pattern has some serious longevity!

These aren't the first pair I have made, just the first that I got photographed. My eldest wore her test pair all through summer, those were made to check fit and cut to above the knee. They were superb shorts! I also made her a full length pair and they fit her well with a few adjustments. I have learned through all my trials with this pattern that the results differ wildly depending on the fabric. Specifically the amount of stretch. 

The requirements are for light/medium weight stretch twill or denim with at least 20% stretch across the grain. 

I have discovered how massively important that is because a couple of my attempts have been too snug. Boo has a pair of red ones sitting on my sewing table which she can get on, but they require no elastic and she really can't move around in them! There isn't enough 'give' in the stretch denim I used for them. Not all shops list the percentage stretch, which makes it tricky to buy the right fabric. I would only buy fabric for this pattern again if I was sure of the stretch because otherwise it is a waste of my sewing time.

But, thankfully these were fine! I used an indigo stretch denim that I bought off Ebay with the intention of making myself some Ginger Jeans. I will get those sewn up one day. That's a promise to myself!

These are pull on jeans with a wide waistband, yoke, faux fly, faux front pockets and patch pockets on the back. They are topstitched everywhere and for that I would really recommend you go out and buy proper topstitching thread. They look so much better for it.

The seams are all pressed to one side and topstitched, making everything really sturdy and hardwearing. 

I followed the instructions for the double topstitching across the back yoke and really like the look. The pockets were designed freehand. They sit in just the right place on the back of the jeans. There is nothing worse than a back pocket sitting too high or too low!

I am glad these ones will get some wear and will keep this pattern at the front of my stash for future use. I re-measured both girls recently and noticed with a sigh that I if I were making these exact jeans again for L, I would be cutting out the next size up. 

So, its a great pattern, one I would highly recommend and one I will make again. But remember what I said about the stretch if you are making them too!

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Flax Sweater

Pattern: The Flax Sweater by TinCanKnits 

I have a list of knitting projects that I wanted to get done before our trip to Scotland. This included a jumper for each of the girls, plus one for me and I have managed 2 out of 3. So thats good going!

 If you are new to knitting this is the perfect pattern to start with for a top down seamless knit. It is part of The Simple Collection. A collection of 8 knits with the beginner in mind. The various patterns include a hat, scarf, cowl, socks, mittens, a blanket and a cardigan. I have already knitted up the Barley hat and love it.
There are two versions of the Flax sweater; one using a thinner fingering weight yarn and the version I chose which uses aran/worsted yarn. The instructions are clear and easy to follow. I have made seamless knits before and always come up against the same problem, which is the underarm join. I get holes! I have searched for the technique to combat this but can't find a clear video, so if anyone knows the answer let me know! I would be so grateful.

This is a lovely cuddly sweater. The merino wool is absolutely divine. I found knitting with it a pleasure and would buy this particular yarn again in a heartbeat. There were no knots or joins in the balls of wool at all and I went through about 6 balls.

The garter stitching on the arms makes it a very squishy knit. The fit is spot on for her at the moment but if I were to make another I would size up so she has growing room.

I like that the pattern knit up so quickly and would love to make one for Boo as it is a good layering piece. 

I have been very busy knitting away recently, and have a few more things to share with you soon. The leaves are turning golden brown and everything is feeling very autumnal now. Which means Christmas is not far away! Eeek!

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Lisette Traveler Dress

I was browsing the fabric shops on the web one day and came across this chambray which is dotted with little navy birds. I thought it would make a really nice shirt dress so pulled down my Lisette Traveler pattern and my Grainline Alder Shirtdress pattern. Neither of which I have made before but have been meaning to for a while.

The Lisette pattern won purely on the basis of a 'First In First Out' ruling. I am glad I did make this one in the end because it is getting too cool for a sleeveless dress and this will be great over autumn/winter with some warm leggings on underneath.

Although you can't buy the Traveler pattern anymore on the main sites, I am pretty sure it can be tracked down on Ebay. See the original page listing here. It is a fantastic pattern with 3 views. I went for view B which is more of a tunic style shirt. I do like the pretty sleeves on view C, which reminds me of the Deer and Doe Bleuet (but without that great little back bow detail).

I nearly went for a standard collar over the mandarin style, but in the end made it as pattern (something I tend to do when making a pattern for the first time). I think next time I will swop it for the proper collar though.

This may have lingered as an unmade pattern for so long because I assumed it was going to take ages to make. Boy was I wrong! This one was such a pleasure to make. I did the construction in short bursts, mainly because it was still the school holidays and I didn't want to leave the girls to their own devices for too long. Doing it with the pace of a sew a long meant that I took my time and concentrated on each stage, especially making sure my topstitching was nice and straight on my plackets.

The sleeve hem instructions baffled me but with a bit of help from the lovely and reliable sewing gurus on IG I figured it out. It was as simple as going back and unfolding the pattern sheet to find the hem allowance, which I hadn't made a note of earlier when tracing it off. I always miss details like this, so typical of me!

I didn't alter anything about the pattern and didn't blend sizes as my measurements seemed to be quite uniform. Thankfully the length is perfect for me and I really like where the sleeves hit when they are turned back.
I love this shirt and so does hubby, so I have left the pattern out to make again soon. Once I get some clothes in the girls drawers again I should be all set!