September 9, 2014


Filed under:Books,Reviews — Aileen @ 17:12

Hello again! It turns out that giving two recitals, learning lots of new music AND escaping for a few days doesn’t leave much time for other things. So, until I get some outfit posts organised, I’m going to be talking about some Autumn inspiration.

First up, I’d love to review a book I got ages ago, called Simple Chic by Machiko Kayaki. I ordered it sight unseen, hoping that because the title is in English that it was an English translation. It’s not. It’s in Japanese! But upon careful study, that’s actually not a huge problem. Maybe it’s not for a total beginner but if you have some coffee and a good sleep, it’d probably be fine.


The book features primarily dresses, with one pants, two tops, a coat and a suit. I’ll show you each one.


The first is a simple sleeveless tie blouse and the pants. Unfortunately this is the best photo you see of them but you can get a better idea of what they’re like from the instruction schematic:


Next is a little black dress (I’ve just traced this off!).


It’s such a pity the garments are largely made up in dark colours but I understand if they want it to be more chic-everyday.


No. 4 there actually looks more like this:


Isn’t it nice? You’d never guess from the photo. Next is another sleeveless top and another type of shift dress.


Then there are two more summery sort of frocks.


One of my favourites is unfortunately practically invisible in the photo! It’s a pleated skirt with pockets.


It actually looks like this:


I really like this one, it’s got a cool beatnik feel to it and I think would be great with leggings.


Then there are two more Asian style garments, a blouse and a dress.


Here’s that coat I was telling you about.


I love how the illustrations portray it, a bit of Sherlock Holmes going on I think! Then there’s a two piece dress that I adore. This is certainly in my future. They put the skirt in by itself as an extra pattern, which I think is a bit silly, but anyway, it’s still nice.


There’s a fairly shapeless long sleeved dress – I wonder if you could use the sleeves on other garments?


And lastly, there’s the suit. The skirt is a simple A-line so you could use it by itself.


There you have it. The patterns are on sheets and you need to trace them off. They don’t have seam allowances included, which I rather like, as you give more or less leeway as you desire. The sizing IS fairly limited. I reckon they mostly correspond to UK 8-10-12. However, the instructions are clear about what the finished measurements are so it’s easy to tell what size to pick.

Another thing I really like is that they instruct for most things to be lined. The instructions for this is really clear, both how to trace off the lining pieces and to install it.

Overall, it seems like a really good book of nice work basics and I’m looking forward to working my way through it!


February 12, 2013

An FO, a WIP and a review

Filed under:Finished Objects,Hats,Reviews,Sweaters,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 12:42

The FO! A quick garter stitch hat using a basic $2 pattern I found on Ravelry for worsted weight. I used up old cashmerino aran leftovers (grey) and some essentials soft merino (orange).


I had about 10 cm of grey at the end so that’s a win. Still have 2.5 balls of the orange though.

The WIP! It’s navy, it’s big… It can only mean one thing: a jumper for my Dad.


Considering I only casted this on yesterday, I’m doing ok. The yarn is Tivoli Celtic Aran super wash. They’ve changed this yarn so it’s not quite as Brillo-pad as before. Only another 12″ of body to go…

The review is of a neat little book I got the other week. It’s called ‘Cast on, Bind off: 54 step-by-step methods’, by Leslie Ann Bestor.


It’s a neat, square book that would fit in most handbags. The inside covers have a really quick and clear index – cast ons inside the front, cast offs inside the back. And, as you can see, it’s spiral bound!


Each cast on and off is divided into a section, such as all-propose, ribbing, decorative, temporary, etc. each section has a nice preamble and illustration for possible uses.


Each method is clearly described with photos for each step.


I paid about €13 for it from the Book Depository. It’s a really good, concise reference that has made me reconsider my beginnings and endings!


November 25, 2012


Filed under:Finished Objects,Pants and Shorts,Reviews — Aileen @ 08:00

I posted a while ago about a mock up I made of the Clover pants. They turned out really well and I ended up wearing them quite a lot during warmer weather. I went on to make two pairs. Here’s the first in a charcoal wool suiting.

A quick recap! The pattern is the Clover pants from Colette and I cut a size 6 at the waist and tapered out to a size 8 at the hip. This made putting in the zip a little more tricky because of the curve but it turned out fine. I used not much more than 1m of the suiting.

Luckily they required very little fitting – I took in the centre front seam a bit and let out the centre back seam about half an inch.

They’re very comfortable. For a first pants pattern, they’re quick and easy and a great place to start.

The other pair I made is in a navy wool cashmere. I squeezed this out of a metre and didn’t do anything different.

It is impossible to see in the photo but the texture of this fabric is far more matt than the suiting, so it tends to pick up lots of hairs and bits of fluff. Again, it’s a really comfortable pair, quite snug and they go with everything the black pair don’t.

My only qualm is that they leave my feet exposed so I’m limited to milder cycling days. Obviously I wear shoes! but these days, the weather has been more wool dress/tights/boots.


November 23, 2012

Passport Dress and Jacket

Filed under:Dress,Finished Objects,Reviews,Stash Down — Aileen @ 13:00

I finished this up at the end of September but never had a good moment to take photos. This morning I was woken by brilliant sunlight and thought, today’s the day! It’s a little unseasonal but I think these things are good to remind us that it won’t always be this cold; there shall be more days when we drink tea in the sun and say things like, this is heavenly…

Pattern:Passport Dress and Jacket, Simplicity 2209 (Sew Lisette).

Really, worth every penny. Perfectly pitched in terms of difficulty. There are a few things where you have to take your time but the nice details – like the darts in the bodice and the pleats in the skirt – are fun and easy to do. The jacket, too, is well laid out for someone like me, who’d never made one before.

I noticed how only in the Simplicity book (the one you pick patterns from in the shop) are the Sew Lisette patterns listed as Petite. They definitely are: I’m very narrow-shouldered and love the patterns purely for the fit in this area. I didn’t have to make any adjustments.

Fabric: 100% cotton from Ikea, about 1.5m. I used white bias binding around the armholes.

So! The jacket! This was my first jacket but err… I didn’t even make a muslin. I did measure my pattern pieces very, very carefully though and was pretty confident about the size. Thankfully it turned out as intended.

I bought a button for it. When I took out the jacket this morning, I realised I had never sewn it on. Figuring this was as good a time as any to sew it on, I went to locate it and then spent a good three-quarters of an hour searching. I still have no idea where it is which is why I am modelling with a pin through the buttonhole. Sigh!

Fabric: 100% linen from Murphy Sheehy’s – I bought 2m hoping to eke out a little skirt to go with it but the panelling on the jacket took up the whole lot. I recall it being a good price, about €15/m. The lining is a seersucker polyacetate from The Cloth Shop and I have no idea what I paid for it, maybe something like €8/m. So, a little on the expensive end but a nice dressy, light jacket is hard to find.

As I said, I didn’t have to make any adjustments to the fit. The collar took patient basting and stitching but it came together well. I’m glad I interfaced where the pattern said to because it gives the front really good structure, especially with the linen.

The instructions do not including how to line the jacket so I basically made it up as I went along. I know there are lots of good tutorials out there but I didn’t get around to looking at even one of them! It was pretty straight-forward, actually. I just cut the pattern out again and sewed the facings on to it before I attached the facings to the body.

The instructions do include how to finish off the insides for leaving it unlined which is nice to have should I want to make another. I could see myself making another to go with an outfit for a certain occasion, something I would only occasionally wear, in which case it probably wouldn’t be worth lining. This one, I think I will definitely wear a lot.

Overall, I think it’s a nice outfit and the jacket will work with lots of other clothes I have. The pattern is really straight forward and if you have never made a dress or a jacket, would be a good place to start.


June 10, 2007

Well, look who it is

Filed under:News!,Reviews,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 11:14

Did you see it yesterday? The bit in the Times?! Of all the things I thought I’d be in the paper for – robbery (of wool), arson (no wool left), mutiny (“knitters unite to overthrow unsheeply government”) or maybe my piano playing (“pianist in woolly one-piece faints during rectial”) – I wasn’t really expecting such good publicity 😀

The sock wants to be in the paper too

If you’re curious, you can have a proper look at the whole thing here. You’ll have to squint but I think it’s readable.

Did everyone have a good time yesterday during World Wide Knit In Public Day? I didn’t have time to drop into the festivities in the city centre but you can read about them here. By all accounts, a great time was had by all. Since I knit in public nearly every day anyway, I wasn’t really into the urgency of the event, but I didn’t want to let the day pass unmarked. So I cast on for a new project!

Orangina Work In Progress by Stefanie Japel
Humble beginnings of Orangina

I’m not sure if it is safe for me to knit lace right now. The pattern has a four row repeat – two of which are purl rows – and I still got hopelessly lost in the second repeat. Usually I can figure it out pretty quickly and just tink back to correct it. Not this time. I ripped it out and managed to re-cast on the wrong number of stitches. I got going eventually though. Sheesh.

Lastly, you may or may not have heard, but KnitCast is back. Marie Irshad started one of the very first knitting podcasts back in the day and I have missed her cheery interviews during her hiatus. How kind of her to return just when I’ll have finished my exams! Happy days!