November 20, 2014

November Outfit

I have a combination outfit for you today! I knit the cardigan in the summer and made the skirt recently. I think they go really well together.

Let’s start with the cardigan! I really wanted a cropped cardigan to wear with the few high-waisted skirts I have. I used Debbie Bliss Mia from This is Knit. It took about 8 balls.

I didn’t much like the selection of patterns on Ravelry so I just kept it simple and used the Barbara Walker recipe for a top-down set-in-sleeve construction.

Do you notice a button oddity there? I sewed on four buttons but cut the top one off (I can’t remember why – there was a reason at the time). I’ve changed my mind and think it looks better with the top button… but now I can’t find the one I cut off! I’m sure it will turn up during some excavation or another.

As for the skirt, I used a sturdy failsafe pattern, the Colette Ginger.

I didn’t change anything from the last time I made it – I grade from size 6 at the waist to size 8 at the hip. Rather than making a separate lining, I overlocked the lining and shell pieces together. It’s not as nice a finish, but I’m hoping it will help maintain the shape better over time.

I must concede that my original navy Ginger, made in September 2012, needs to be retired. Everytime I put it on, I take it off again because it just looks worn out. It is completely misshapen and the lining has disintegrated on the inside (pre-overlocker sewing!). It was a good and faithful skirt.

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November 17, 2014

FO: Dark and Stormy

Filed under:Cardigans,Finished Objects,Knitting,Stash Down — Aileen @ 12:01

This cardigan has been a long time in the works. Well, the actual knitting didn’t take very long but I had intentions for about five years! How very satisfying to finally get down to it.

Pattern: Dark and Stormy by Thea Colman.

Needles: I think 4.5mm.

Yarn: Berrocco Ultra Alpaca that I bought in Chicago in… 2008? It doesn’t feel like that long ago but it was six years. I had 7 skeins and I think I only used about 5. Maybe 5 and a bit at the most.

I really enjoyed knitting this! I stalled out at the very beginning some years ago when I first cast on because the set up is a bit fiddly. You cast on at the top and work down – it’s basically a top-down raglan – and you have to establish the cabling. The beginning is definitely not TV knitting. Once you get going, though, it is.

The raglan shaping is not totally straight – it’s staggered to give a better shoulder shape. I wish I had measured a little more conscientiously because I could do with a bit less fabric there. It fairly bubbled out, actually, when I had finished, but I was able to steam it into submission.

I adore the cabling down the back.

This is a seriously warm cardigan, thanks to the alpaca. I really like the colour of the model in the pattern and think it would be a more perennial wear if worked in something a little less smothering like merino. Also, whilst I think mine looks fine now, I wonder about how defined my cables are going to stay, given the beautiful but massive halo of the alpaca.

Buttons courtesy of my first ever visit to the Knitting and Stitching show! They may even pre-date the blog. I remember buying them and thinking how perfect they were. Sure, it might have taken me ten years to knit them a cardigan but the chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time, amiright?

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October 29, 2014

October Outfit

I decided to bite my stagnant photography in the behind and went on a photoshoot-splurge today. Stand by for many, many belated FOs and outfits. Today, we’ve got a three-for-two! It’s the Bruyere shirt dress from Deer and Doe paired with the Sara leggings from Named.

Let’s start with the shirt!

If you click through on the link to the shirt pattern, you’ll see the style lines much more clearly than on my shirt. It has a waistband with a pleated skirt coming out of it. I really like this idea because it leaves it open to you how long you want to make the skirt. I kept mine to the original length which is more suited to being a tunic.

As you can see, there’s a really nice amount of ease all around the skirt. In terms of sizing, I cut a 36 for the neck and shoulders, 38 for the bust and tapered out to a 40 for the waist and hips. The fit across the back and shoulders is perfect but I need a tiny bit more room in the front so when I make this again, I’m going to add about an inch to the centre front between the neckline and the waistline.

The way the button plackets and the collar are finished off is great. There’s a front facing so everything is enclosed and it gives an amazingly clean, but easy-to-control, finish to the centre front points. I like the sleeve plackets but I think they’re a little narrow to be able to control with total precision. I think for the next time, I will add a bit more width to the piece.

What about those leggings, hmmm? I dared myself to make them. What an insane colour. I was hoping it would be darker than it turned out and then put off making them up because of it. By happy coincidence, it matches the fabric of the shirt perfectly so I had to make them!

I was really inspired by Novita’s version and used her adjustments as a guide. However, they turned out pretty short! Who knew that you need to bend your knees! I still really like them though.

The fit looks pretty good across the back but I had to take out about 6cm of excess after I put in the zip. Unfortunately for stretch materials, especially for fitted pants, it’s impossible to truly judge the fit until you have the zip in. Rather than take everything apart, I just removed the excess at the zip, which is why it doesn’t lie totally flat.

For my next go at these leggings, I didn’t remove any length at all. I left the front pieces alone but removed the 6cm evenly through the back pieces. They’re a little snug at the waist but I think given fabric’s tendency to loose its elasticity, they’ll probably wear in to be a good fit. Fingers crossed!

Here’s what they look like with just a normal pullover (from the shop… forgive me…).

If you’re interested in having a go at skinny pants, these are a really good place to start. Generally, I’ve found the Named patterns to be excellently drafted and well-fitting. These leggings take into account the stretchy nature of your fabric so don’t be put off by the finished measurements. They’re very straight forward to make, with just two pieces for the front and two for the back. There’s the centre back zip – I just used a normal one because my bum is usually covered. The only thing that makes them not a lightning-fast make is the top stitching down the front and back seams. You could totally forgo this. I personally like that detail so I did it both times.

I got smart on this pair and instead of just tacking down my facing like I did on the peach ones, I stitched in the ditch at side and centre front seams. This means I stitched right into the seamline from the right side to invisibly attach the facing. Errr… it’s not very comfortable. I could barely close them! They fit much better since I took out that stitching and just tacked the facing down like a normal person.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking with me and I’m really excited to share all my FOs from the last few weeks with you!

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October 12, 2014

Progress

Filed under:Cardigans,Knitting,Sewing,Stash — Aileen @ 14:09

You guys, I am almost finished my Dark and Stormy cardigan! I am very excited about this prospect. I finally got around to winding a final ball and picking up the stitches for the shawl collar and button band.

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I was going to buy some wooden buttons to put on it but I’m going to see if the reindeer antler ones I got in Iceland that time will suit it 🙌

I have another two, smaller, things that I have been knitting but I’ll save them for another time. I also did a ‘big shop’ for winter sewing. I barely have a spare second to spend browsing in shops in town now, so I ordered a few things. I find the less I buy in person, the more focused my projects are. I literally spent two months considering all my options before ordering. Here’s the fabric:

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On the left is a stretch twill for a pair of high waisted skinny pants. Think 50s. The light blue is chambray for another popover shirt. The dark stuff on the right is a light navy wool. I got 1.5m so I’m a little torn regarding its destiny. It will probably be culottes though.

I have some lovely leftovers from last year, so I’m hoping to add a straight skirt and a little jacket to my wardrobe. I’m getting to the stage where, after a few years of almost constant wear, I need to retire a few things – about two of my original blouses have lost shape and colour, and my original navy Ginger skirt is a wreck. So I’m looking forward to replacing them.

I think I’ll share a separate post on patterns – I picked up a few new ones in various sales and I have some trusty ones you’ll have to pry from my cold dress hands before I give them up!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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October 7, 2014

Knit all the things!

Filed under:Cardigans,Finished Objects,Knitting,Mittens — Aileen @ 11:30

It’s that time of year again! After a glorious Indian summer, I think it’s safe to say that Autumn is well and truly upon us. Autumn and winter are my favourite seasons in Dublin – we often get dry, clear air and long dry periods. Spring can be bitterly cold here and summer is frequently heavy, cool and humid. So I’m ready to enjoy my favourite season!

Things have been busy, going back to school (I teach evenings, 20 hours a week) and starting a chamber music residency. The residency is fantastic, but time consuming, and involves traveling to Galway once a month. So far this has entailed getting the first train down, playing for 2 hours and then getting straight back on the train. I hope for the next session, Alb will come with me and we can stay over a day or two.

Anyway, there’s been plenty of knitting! I’ve been working on a cardigan. This guy is deep stash.

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The yarn is Berrocco Ultra Alpaca and I bought it when I was in Chicago in…2007? I think?! The pattern is Dark and Stormy by Thea Colman and I actually casted on for it years ago. It sat there, with the needles and everything. Thankfully my gauge hadn’t changed! I finished the sleeves yesterday and just need to pick up for the shawl collar. I love it already. The yarn is a beautiful colour blend – it has traces of blue and red throughout so I think it will match many things.

Recently completed is a new pair of mittens!

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I’m so happy with these! I used a pattern from the Selbuvotter book and about 75g of cream Jamieson Shetland and ~35g of navy. My other pair totally bit the dust last spring thanks to a hole that I neglected to mend :(

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I really like the decreases on the tops!

I have some knitting for men to do next but after that, I really want to do another deep stash sweater!

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