April 1, 2013

Easter Monday top and some other stuff

I hope everyone’s enjoying the long weekend! I’m sitting out in my shorts and flip flops with a coffee and my knitting, squeezing every last drop out of the sun! Next week I go back to cycling in 5°C weather.

Here’s what I’ve been working on this week. First up, some crochet doilies.


I find the whole Japanese zakka ideal very inspiring. When I saw the new Debbie Bliss book for home in This is Knit, I knew what I wanted to bring with me on holidays. I have a lot of crochet motif resources myself so I spent some time perusing and settled on this design from a Japanese magazine. Lisa and Eimear helped me pick out the colors.


The yarn is a Rico Essentials cotton and I used a 3mm hook. These turned out a really nice size so I can use them as coasters, tea pot mat, that kind of thing. They were really easy to pick up and I could complete one in less than an hour.

My main project has been this.


I didn’t like how the Pomegranate sweater was going. The lace chart, though beautiful, was to fiddly to follow without total concentration. I realised after putting it down to consider my progress that, really, all I wanted was a plain sweater in this colour. I immediately cast on for a top down raglan à la Barbara Walker. I’m at the waist now.

And the sewing FO for today is the Madeleine blouse from Deer and Doe.


I’ve had the pattern for ages and have been dying to try it out. It’s perfect for light fabrics – I used a cotton voile from Hickey’s. I made some modifications. For a start, I cut out at least 2 sizes smaller than the recommended size after checking out the finished measurements. This was a good idea!


There are a lot of gathers. I did the ones at the shoulders but did pleats instead at the cuffs. You might notice, too, that I didn’t do the collar like in the pattern. I thought it would be too fussy for what I wanted. I also didn’t have interfacing light enough for my material so I just left it. I used my bias tape maker to great effect and made enough binding for the neckline and the little bow. I didn’t have quite enough to tie the bow so I just sewed it in place by hand.

Paired here with my denim shorts from last summer, it’s a nice outfit for the weather today.

Home tomorrow! I’ll bring as much sun as I can…


March 13, 2013

Stitching in general

Filed under:Hats,Knitting,Sewing,Stash Down,Sweaters,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 10:58

I love learning new things. Of course, part of this is making a lot of mistakes, getting stuck and having to figure it out.

Fitting. Lots of fitting.

Basting and re-basting. Discovering that my hand-stitching does not hold up under the weight of the fabric. I could probably persist but I think some plain old top-stitching will sort this out.

It is difficult to learn new things about the same things – therein lies the challenge.

Searching for a better way to work decreases in an uneven rib. Still not perfect but better than it was.

A birthday hat for a friend. Challenged myself to learn a new cast-on for rib and I love it. Challenged myself to do something a bit different for her with a honeycomb texture. It didn’t quite work out but now I know what will work and it’s better than what I imagined initially.

I’ve been living in this since the weekend. Yes, it’s a small blanket. Yes, it’s the dreamy cloud that is Malabrigo Lace and yes, it has already started to felt into itself! The pattern is Quill. I wear it doubled over with a shawl pin and then open it out over my knees when I’m sitting in the evening.

Over the last few years, I have become increasingly aware of people saying the same thing to me: That’s amazing! Do you sell what you make? I have had many conversations about this with people in different areas – dress designers and tailors, fellow knitters, non-crafty friends and strangers alike. On one hand, it is difficult to price attractively that rewards your time, skill and materials. On the other, there will always be a market for high end, hand made, well made, unique things. So, I suppose it’s about balance, marketing properly and being aware of the value of what I make. I am thinking about these things an increasing amount as I move into a new phase of my life. I am finished my music studies and I have music work that I love and that is about as secure as it can be right now. Alb encourages me to consider all the things that I can do and not get boxed in by doing just one thing. The more things I can do to make a little money, the better. It sounds like the perfect summer project if you ask me.

What do you think?


March 4, 2013


Filed under:Socks,Sweaters,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 14:50

I’ve been working on some things for myself since finishing my Dad’s jumper (which fits really well!). First is a pair of navy socks from some plain old Opal yarn.


Yes my feet really are that tiny. I take a 3.5UK. It means I always get shoes in the sales!

The other thing is a sweater, Pomegranate, in Rialto DK. The colour is beautiful and will go lovely with my million navy items. I don’t like how I worked the rib decreases here though, so I’m going to rip back and rework it.


That’s it for now. I started sewing my green dress today so hopefully will have photos soon.


February 20, 2013

How much do you love me?


If you’re Liberty silk, the answer is very, very much. A simple long sleeved blouse from a recent Burda magazine. It’s moving slowly but only because I’m not on midterm break anymore!


And of course, if you’re my Dad, the answer also is very, very much! A patiently-awaited jumper that I cranked out during midterm. It’s about to get it’s neck band and then it’s done. He’s off to colder climes soon (I love climes, don’t you?!) so he’s going to need 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!