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!

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Noodlehead: Road Trip Case

The summer holidays have come to an end and while there hasn't been a whole lot of activity in my sewing room, I managed to make something that had been on my list for a while. The Road Trip Case by Anna Graham of Noodlehead.

The pattern itself is a great little portable organizer which could be used for so many different options depending on your hobby or craft.

There are several different ways you could sew in the pockets, one of the options fits in a rubber band loom, and if you are lucky enough to have one of those in your home, you will appreciate somewhere to keep all those pesky little bands.

I chose to sew across the long pocket to create 4 little pockets to hide treasures in. The options for the pockets are to have flaps over the openings, or to create an elastic casing and fix it with a loop and button.

We have quite a few children's knitting supplies scattered around the house so it seemed like a great idea to put them in one place. And the good news is, that since taking these photos, my daughter has a renewed interest in her knitting doll. I think it had become invisible on her shelf, but having a new bag means that it is in the spotlight again. For now at least!

I won't pretend to have done an amazing job with the finish of this bag, but I was happy with the end result and think I would handle the vinyl, zipper and binding better on a second attempt.

The overall size of the bag is not too big, mine is approx. 13" x 8".  I would say it is the perfect size for a child to handle. It will be coming on holiday with us as it will be just right for taking all her bits and bobs in the car. Her sister may want one too so its a good job I have some vinyl left over.

The vinyl pocket is brilliant. I love the idea of being able to see the contents at a glance. If I were using it for me, I would be able to pop a knitting pattern in there and work from it at the same time.

The zipper is nicely nestled between two strips of binding, making the pocket look professionally finished. I used a different length zip to the requirements and just cut it down to size, but to avoid any hassle with attaching the binding across the zipper teeth, I would try to find the correct length next time.

I finished one pocket flap off with poppers ....

...and the other end with Velcro. I like both fastenings, the poppers were easy to add on because I have the right tool so they took a fraction of the time to install.

Overall, we love this pattern. The instructions are well written and it wasn't stressful to sew up. I can see me making another one so they have one each. Anything that avoids sibling squabbles in the car on long journeys is a must!

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Summertime Lunchbox Tee

There is lots of summery sunshine to show you in these photos!

I haven't been able to get into my sewing room much over the holidays, we have been busy having lots of fun! This morning however, I woke up with the steely determination that today would be the day I could get something made on my machine.

After a quick browse, I decided on a Lunchbox tee for L and spotting the offcuts of this knit fabric I knew I could put the two together.

The first time I made this for L was in November 2014, post here and I made her the size 3. Here we are in August 2016 and my little dot is only falling into the measurements for a 4!

I had to add length, I probably should have added more if I am honest, this girl only grows in height. Otherwise she stays the more or less the same! The advantage is of course that these sewing patterns last longer.

I added 2" to the length of the front and back pieces. This pattern is so good for a quick sewing fix! It took me no time at all to cut out, with length alterations, and put it all together. I should have gone for an extra 3", it still shows some tummy.

The pattern is meant to be cropped but I prefer a little more coverage.

 The cuffs are a lovely feature of this tee, they finish off the arms perfectly and are quick to sew (no need for a twin needle at this stage!).

The boxy style gives good freedom of movement for playing and keeping cool in the heat. I speak from first hand experience because behind the camera, I am wearing my Bento tee (the ladies version of the Lunchbox) and it is a dream to wear.

It felt good to make something again, I have a few things planned for when the school term starts again in a few weeks but for now, we are enjoying the summer holidays. Lots of days out and lots of ice cream in the sunshine!