Category Archives: Epic disaster

FO and a WIP (sort of)

I’m over the jetlag and now I’m just tired! I also have a massive case of the Blahs, where nothing will ever be fun again, you know the feeling? Kind of like the third week of January. I realise how silly this is because 1. Spring! 2. I finish work in 4 weeks and I’m a free woman for the whole summer; 3. I probably won’t be this tired for the rest of my life even though it feels like it right now.

Anyway! I have a FO to show you. I brought this with me to Japan and didn’t knit a stitch on it. This was mostly down to not having my phone and thus not having the pattern. I could have looked it up on Ravelry but events did not conspire to motivate me.


The pattern is ‘Mairin’ by Ysolda Teague and the yarn is Fyberspates Scrumptious 4-ply. I think it’s a 50-50 silk-wool blend. It’s sooooo nice to knit with, very drapey and not too sticky. Part of the reason I didn’t work on this was also because I really didn’t think I’d have enough yarn to finish. In the end, I had maybe 5cm. Too close for comfort!

The pattern is really good and has the perfect balance of interest versus plain. I really like the cables and how the cross. This is the whole thing:


But it’s not that big and sits pretty well around the shoulders.


Have you heard of Me Made May? It’s an annual effort to wear something you’ve made every day and document it. I’ve been taking part and you can follow my efforts over on Instagram. You’ll find me there as ‘knittingneels’.

So my other WIP I started whilst in Japan.


I blindly knit the entire body of a V neck jumper. It is 4 inches too wide. The upside is that I love the yarn: Mia by Debbie Bliss, a 50-50 wool cotton blend. My lesson to be learned is don’t do maths on the road!

Neckline woes

A series of neckline problems in my last few projects culminated on Sunday with this one.

Quite a while ago, I stumbled upon a bridal fabrics sale in Hickey’s and bought a metre each of very fine quality ivory and black silk, as they were marked down from €60/m to €20/m. I thought they would make very pretty tops, given their luxurious sheen and amazing drape, but always passed on making them up for fear of failure.

Last week, I decided to bite the bullet and dreamt up a little tank top with a pleated neckline. I scoured the internet for pattern resources and failing to find any to suit my fabric, made my own. I took the basic block from the pattern that I used for this, an old Burda magazine pattern. I like it because it works really well for drapey fabrics. I did a little research and decided my best plan of action was to move the dart at the side to the neckline and turn it into the pleats. A little tracing and a quick muslin proved I was on the right track.

I dislike seamlines showing on armholes, especially for light fabrics, so I cut out some left over habotai lining to line the whole thing. I sewed the lining to the neckline first of all but quickly realised that the weight of my pleats were always going to pull the lining to the outside, no matter what I did. I undid my stitching and was clipping the curve in the seam allowance along the front when I did the unthinkable: I snipped into a tiny fold that had caught up into the curve and there it was. A hole in the front.

Really, in a situation like this, only knitting can be the remedy. So I retreated and knit (and watched Fatal Attraction, an old Michael Douglas movie that has a frankly terrifying Glenn Close in it) and when I felt calm enough to approach the top again, I saw three things clearly that made me quite happy. The first is that the hole is not very big nor very far from my original seamline. If I make the neckline a little wider, I will be able to encompass the little hole into the seam allowance. The second is that the original neckline was so narrow that it needed an opening – widening the neckline eliminates having to deal with that. The third is that this situation made me face the reality that no amount of fussing around was going to make the pleats lie properly with the lining and that I should just use a narrow bias.

Obviously, I am going to need to redraft the neckline but it’s not a big job and at least my top will be rescued. Phew!


Switzerland came and went – this was my third time now so it was much, much easier. I know the airports, train stations, town plans, where to eat, where to shop, all the things that take up time and mental energy. As always, we all had a great time. I met lots of new people and made new friends. It was the first occasion I had prepared work pretty much all by myself without much external input so it was rather gratifying to see that work out as I intended. I have some video of my concerto performance but I am still trying to figure out how to extract it from the clutches of my phone! When I do, I will try to find a way to share here.

Since my return, I have been split in three ways: practice in preparation for some small things I agreed to in September and October, knitting and sewing, and attending to the summer list of chores. You know those chores. The ones where, during the year, you open the door, throw something in and quickly shut it again. I’m doing pretty well on all fronts. Since I’m quite sure you don’t want to hear about how OCD-fulfilling I find practising with my eyes shut or how I spent an entire day covered in dust building shelves, here is some crafting news…

I spent a decent amount of time swatching, mocking up patterns and cutting out. Most of this resulted in the answer, no, this won’t work. I was hoping to get a wearable muslin out of my first Archer shirt but it’s too small across the front. Perfect everywhere else, though, so I cut out a revised version from some light blue chambray I’ve had for a while. I fell foul of two summer sales; one at Fabric HQ where I bought this lovely tiny floral print, currently cut up into a short sleeved blouse….

…and this marvellous white-on-white cotton, which is slowly making its way into the world as a pleated skirt.

I would normally have finished this in two sittings but a few things held me up. Firstly, I wanted to have a side zip but also pockets. Although manageable, this takes time. Then, when I was pressing in the pleats, I noticed that the fabric is extremely see-through. I dithered over what kind of lining to use. I could use an acetate, which works well if I wear tights but is horrible against the skin. I could use a cotton voile or gauze, which is nice against the skin but sticks to tights. The optimal is silk something but silk satin is very expensive, so what to do? While I dithered, I started working on a green silk Pendrell to go with the skirt. I’m recycling this, which was a bust and I never wore. Anyway, I was in Hickey’s for the second sale I mentioned, when I overheard a funny conversation. A woman wanted to cover lampshades in silk but didn’t want it to be expensive (?!). After refusing many types of silk, the saleswoman dug out some silk habotai lining. At €9.95/m, this was acceptable to the woman. I was standing at the counter with my red georgette, looking at this lining and knew that I, too, had my solution. It’s pretty sheer but it does the job. I hope to show both soon! All they need are hems and hooks and eyes.

So, that red georgette. I went into Hickey’s to see what was in the sale. I cannot explain why I always want to make a summer dress in August but here I am again. After much mulling, I decided to go with Hazel because I love the way the shaping in the bodice can be illustrated with stripes. I was after a cotton or linen something with stripes; I found a cotton ticking for about €9/m in the sale. While I was there, I spotted the red georgette. It’s polyester and is like a crepe, with a matt dimpled texture and a really good, grippy drape. I got 1.25m and I am 99% decided on a pattern.

The knitting has been disappointing. I spent a lot of June working on a black cardigan only to run out of yarn a whole sleeve to go. I got more but naturally, it’s a different dye lot. I was really hoping it wouldn’t show but it does! It totally does! I have two options. I could try and hunt down more of the original lot on Ravelry… or I could rip it out and knit a different pattern with less cabling. I think I will rip it out because even though I am only one sleeve from being finished, I’m not really in love with it. Facing this reality means that I am not that upset about the prospect of ripping it out. In the meantime, I’ve cast on for a pattern that I’ve loved for years – Helene from Quince & Co. I gave it a go when it first came out but poor yarn choice meant that I never completed it. This time, I’ve gone with the original linen recommendation. I’m using this, Katia Lino in ‘Biscuit’. I think this is the first time I have ever washed a swatch… but it was very revealing. A typically scratchy, stiff swatch…

…was transformed into a drapey dream.

Looking forward to sharing the skirt and top soon!

A leeson and a rescue


I did nearly finish my dress at the weekend, like I said but it wasn’t how it hoped. Four inches wider than I’d hoped! You can imagine my frustration considering that I’d made a muslin! …but doubts crept into my mind. It was last winter I’d made the muslin and I didn’t have a clear memory of any alterations I’d planned. I have also lost weight since cutting out my fabric. So my lesson is this: if it’s been a while, to re-measure the pattern pieces and keep notes of what adjustments I made. Sounds obvious, right?! Anyway, I left it hanging for a day and refused to do anything until the heat of my rage had passed. The following night in bed, I realised that I could just open the side seams and take it in. Now, I’d be a bit more wary if this wasn’t such a basic pattern. I was really happy with the fit across the back as well as the princess seaming on the front. There really was just an excess at the sides. It was an easy fix and I am thrilled with how it fits now. In other news, I’ve been planning my autumn and winter knitting, crochet and sewing. This year is my most organised yet! I hope to integrate my favourite hobbies to make a few interchangeable outfits.

Something of a failure

I think it’s fair to say that, with regard to sewing, I’ve had a good run of late. Sure, I’ve had a few blips but almost everything I’ve made in the last year, I wear regularly. Not this one. It’s the alternative view of the here – and wear it loads. I got some denim at the K&S show and thought it would be really nice for the other view.

This was more tricky than the other view. There are many sections to the front and the piping needs to be very carefully applied. I took my time and was very pleased with how it turned out.

The back, too, turned out very nicely and I’m happy with how the piping lined up.

The problem lies with the pleat. It looks fine here but when on, it sticks out at the most ridiculous angle. No amount of pressing and re-pressing could get it to behave. I think it is a combination of the thickness of the hem and the fact that the pleat starts at the widest part of the skirt. Either way, it doesn’t work. I have left it to one side but am considering redoing the hem in a way that will make it less thick. Sigh!

Alb and I are in Galway this weekend. I had a really nice time mooching around town earlier. Whatever you’re up to this weekend, have a good one!