May 29, 2013

Getting there

I finished up my Welsh Country socks.

Pattern: Welsh Country socks from Folk Socks by Nancy Bush. A great book full of practical and pretty socks, accompanied by fascinating reading about their origins.

Yarn: Brown Sheep Wildfoote. I am going to stick my neck out and say that this washes even better than Opal sock yarn. It is a true workhorse of a sock yarn and I love it. I buy mine here at This is Knit and it’s cool knowing that I’m supporting local business both here and in America (Brown Sheep is also a family run business and when I worked at TIK, were great to deal with).

Slogging away on my Biston shrug.

It reaches roughly halfway across my back now and I’m nearly finished my second ball of yarn. I was kind of worried because somewhere in my head, I thought I only had four for the whole project but it turns out I actually have six. Phew! I love this yarn – light and airy but still warm.

I was working on the blouse I’m making for my Mum’s birthday today. Ok, her birthday was almost ten days ago but I had the muslin ready to try on for the day itself. Only minor adjustments were required and for some reason, I added extra room to the centre front at the neckline. There was obviously a crossed wire! The rest of my adjustments were perfect but the wider neckline had to be fixed. Mum unpicked the collar for me, I cut a new collar and stand, trimmed down the centre front and restitched it. I got most of it done in one sitting last night and finished off the collar this morning.

I rather enjoyed all the topstitching as when neatly done, it gives a lovely finish. The pattern is the ‘Amazing Fit’ shirt pattern from Simplicity and definitely lives up to the name. Most of the finishing that I show here is detailed in the pattern but unfortunately not with enough clarity to make it straight forward for a beginner. There are many, many tiny things that you can do to make a better finish; I’ve been gathering little bits of extra information with each shirt I sew to the point where I feel now, I am close to getting a very good finish. Not quite there yet, but getting there.

Once I got the topstitching done, I ploughed on with a cuff. Cuffs are very time consuming but important to do well. I think that the more exact you are, the easier it is to get two that look the same! I will find out soon if I was exact enough this time!

One more cuff and the buttonholes remain. I’m really looking forward to seeing her put on the finished thing!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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…

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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?

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March 4, 2013

Ka-nitting

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.

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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.

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

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February 20, 2013

How much do you love me?

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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!

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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.

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