September 27, 2012

Autumn plans

Filed under:Finished Objects,Plans-Ideas- Designs,Sewing,Skirts,Stash — Aileen @ 12:25

A little later than intended but here we are. I have been thinking about my Autumn making for quite a few weeks.

First up is the tartan I got in Edinburgh. One of my initial impulses was to make a bottle green cardigan to go with it. I haven’t really worn green since school; it’s just not a colour I gravitate towards. But these two were meant to be together. I’m planning on the cover sweater from the current Knitscene. The pattern is only on the front so it keeps the sweater from being too visually heavy I think.

Aside from matching the tartan, I think it will go with a lot of other things I wear a lot, such as jeans, my black wool Clover pants (photos soon! I’m so happy with them!), my grey wool Ginger, the denim Proper Attire skirt… and so on.

Next is a charcoal herringbone wool I picked up on Saturday for a pleated skirt and a steely-coloured Jamieson & Smith shetland wool. The top I’m planning on is Biston from the new Brooklyn Tweed release. It’s the kind of cardigan or shrug that will go over pretty much anything.

I imagine this shrug will be something I reach for to go with the grey Ginger, my grey wool dress, the black wool Clover pants, and I imagine it would look pretty good over skinny jeans and boots.

I love the wool so much that I am debating getting more for a winter jacket. The last few winters, I have hunted for a well-fitted wool jacket and failed. Oh, they exist but not in my price range. And there’s the thing where if I did pay something like €300 for a jacket, would I be brave enough to wear it? A jacket in this wool is a significant investment of my money and time. It would cost me in the region of about €90 to make, including a silk lining. I am interested in a more long-term tailoring project and am willing to take every precaution to guarantee a successful outcome… should I go for it? What do you think?

So, over the last month or so, I have taken advantage of sales and bargain bins to accumulate some stash for autumn sewing. It looks like a monstrous pile but they’re all folded up so don’t judge!

From the bottom up:
– Almost invisible black cord. It was €6/m on sale in Hickey’s and because it was the end of the bolt, I got 3m for €15. Not sure how that works but it’s good enough for me. Destined for wide-legged pants (I’m thinking Juniper from Colette) and hopefully some sort of skirt from leftovers.
– More charcoal-black wool, the same I used to make my Clover pants from. These are for pants for my mum. Again, it was the end of the bolt so I got an extra 75cm for free.
– Olive cotton drill. At a ridiculously wide width, I paid something like €7 for about 1.25m and shall have another pair of wide-legged pants.
– Blue polycotton and white cotton poplin for blouses. These are deep stash resurrected since I have no plain blouses. This situation is currently in the process of being corrected.
– A smidge of green silk from Rubanesque. I want a posh, simple top with cap sleeves for playing/working/going out.
– .75m olive green cord, 150cm wide so enough for a skirt. Bargain bin at the Cloth Shop, something like €9. I’m thinking of maybe the Moss mini skirt but we’ll see.
– That’s actually a big white sheet that got mixed up in the laundry and then tidied away. Such is the extent of my tidying.
– On the very top is another Violet blouse in a navy polycotton with a white poplin collar.

You may notice an emphasis on plain! There are few white or solid-coloured blouses in the queue. Also, I realise I need some comfortable-yet-respectable clothes for being at home, hence the two pairs of wide-legged pants. I can’t wear tracksuit bottoms anymore, I hate them.

Lastly, here’s a quick shot of a navy wool/cashmere Ginger skirt I knocked together since the weekend.

It was €17 a metre, I bought two and with some cautious cutting got this skirt and another pair of Clover pants out of it. This is my third Ginger skirt so it didn’t take me very long at all. I hope to get proper photos of it soon; the drape of the fabric is just lovely.

Tomorrow’s Friday!


June 28, 2012

Some plans and new things

Filed under:Plans-Ideas- Designs — Aileen @ 12:27

Did you see that the new issue of Wool People has gone up? With Jared Flood at the helm, each issue has a cozy, slightly old-fashioned but still modern feel to it. This one doesn’t disappoint. My favourites include the sweater in the middle here and also the shrug to the left here. Check out the lookbook at the end of the announcement post to see the full collection. Understandably, all the designs use his own yarn but I think those two patterns I picked out would be just as lofty and snug in the Jamieson Shetland. I’m pretty sure I will cast on for the sweater soon; I think it will make a great jumper for autumn.

I can’t help but turn my thoughts to autumn knitting already! Even my sewing plans, whilst still firmly in the throes of several cotton projects, have started to expand to include some wool pinafores. A wool pinafore! With a light wool cardigan over a cotton blouse! Or a light wool tunic over jeans, tucked into boots, with a woolly jumper on top. This is my problem: my sewing and knitting unite now to give me endless options and it will probably be next summer before I complete anything!

So, there are lots of things coming up. Don’t forget the Tour de Fleece is starting on Saturday! Check out for all the stage details. I am quite sure there are many teams being organised through Ravelry – join up if you want some fun or just follow the threads if you need some inspiration. I won’t participate but I will certainly spin along to some of it. I have lots of Hedgehog Fibre and Laura Hogan fibre to keep me going. It’s great to see Laura back dying and spinning again! Her batts are like butter. And check out the Hedgehog site – Beata is going from strength to strength these days. She has moved into a proper studio that you can visit now. It’s definitely on my list for a road trip soon!

I can’t remember if I mentioned it here before, but the Constant Knitter moved into a beautiful new premises on Francis Street. There’s a studio upstairs where they hold their classes, and they have expanded into selling fabric and teaching sewing classes, too. And speaking of new fabric outlets, The Cloth Shop has opened a new shop just at the top of Sth. William Street – they have one already in Limerick. They sell Colette patterns, as well as a really good mixture of dress and home decor fabrics. Oil cloth, many types of jersey, wools, cottons, and – something that pleased me especially with the closure of Trimmings – a good variety of different weight muslin. These range from light to medium canvas to heavy burlap. Excellent for making bags or mats and not easily found.

I love This is Knit and Murphy Sheehy’s (and Rubanesque, and-and-and…) dearly but it is nice to have variety and choice. I read somewhere recently that everytime you spend money, you cast a vote for the kind of world you want to live in. I try and spread my pennies around to all of the local businesses that I love!

Sorry for the lack of photos, I’ve been very busy lately. Hopefully today or by the weekend!


June 21, 2012

Mostly about knitting

Spurred on by our chilly weather, I finished up my Bedford sweater at long last.

Such is today’s gloom, modelled photos are unfortunately out of the question :( I can’t really complain though as I know other parts of the country have seen torrential rain whereas we have only had clouds. Grey, suffocating clouds but dry ones nonetheless.

I was pottering about with the camera when I realised that I had never shown this shawl properly. I don’t really remember when I knit this, though it must have been after Christmas. I knit a cream version for my teacher and liked it so much that I made one for myself afterwards.

I used 1 skein of the delicious Studio Donegal Soft Merino (which you can peruse here) and something like 4.5mm needles. They were a bit small. I think 5.5mm would have resulted in a loftier fabric and a bigger shawl. That said, I love it dearly, wear it often and have another skein in the light blue for another on the bigger needles. You might spy the silver shawl pin there – it was a souvenir from Cafayate in Argentina, locally made by a lady silversmith. It was about €10. We were very picky about what we bought to put in our suitcases as we were travelling for nearly 5 weeks but this, I regret not one jot. Every time I use it, I think of the woman who made it, of our wonderful holiday and am reminded that here, we have absolutely no concept of what the middle of nowhere is.

What else? Oh, I really wanted to try out the Jamieson and Smith Jumper Weight yarn that This is Knit has started carrying so I knit up a beret using my own pattern (Beret Easy… I’m feeling a bit old right now). Quick and easy, it was perfect for watching basketball during the week. All that remains is for the inner band to be sewn down.

It’s a very nice yarn. A bit scratchy perhaps but I expect it will soften up a lot when I wash it. It is lovely and sticky, making it perfect for colourwork. Have you seen Kate Davies’ Sheep Carousel yet? I believe the digital pattern will go for sale in a few days. This is the point where I think we abandon all other notions and cast on for it immediately!

I should probably explain why I haven’t been knitting in the last year or so – I have had tension problems with my left arm and shoulder. I am pretty much cured for now, which explains the recent surge in production! It was a combination of a number of things, such as sitting more for teaching, being stressed and playing a LOT from February to April. I had a number of days where I was sitting and playing for more than five hours (for competitions or rehearsals). Days where I sight-read a lot tend to leave me very stiff. Anyway, I started taking more breaks, stretching more, doing some yoga and just stopped working so much, and it’s healed by itself. I knit and spun very little because it aggravated it a lot: I am happy to be back to my old self. I really missed it and oddly, found myself not wanting to be interested because I wasn’t able to pursue it. Sewing is great but really, it’s not knitting!

Speaking of which – you may have already heard about the big debacle concerning the Ravelympics? (If you don’t know about the Ravelympics, it’s basically a big worldwide knit/crochet/spin-a-long to the Olympics, with most communication going through Ravelry) Well, the commission for the US sent a cease and desist letter to Ravelry because the Ravelympics use the Olympics brand or logo or something. I don’t think they do exactly, but it’s enough to cause rancour. Not just that – by running such a harmless event, we are disrespecting what it stands for and the athletes that participate. I’m sure you can find out all the details on Ravelry. Whilst they probably do have some sort of legal point, I don’t really understand their point generally. It’s free, it doesn’t generate profit… mostly, it just stinks of one group of people saying, this other minor, insignificant group of hobbyists is not taking this seriously enough! they’re having FUN! you can’t have FUN at the Olympics! Also, isn’t the whole point of the Olympics to be inclusive, international and for-the-fun-of-participation?

Well, whatever the outcome, I’ll be knitting along to the Olympics like I always do. I haven’t joined a team yet but I think I will participate in two events regardless: the frogging trampoline and the sweater triathlon. I’m going to rip out my Pole sweater and the sweater I want to knit is Amy Christoffer’s Larch cardigan. I have the yarn, I want the cardigan, I have marathons that need watching. And those races where they’re not outside the stadium but they go round and round and eventually they ring a bell and they all run faster? I love those. Regarding the Pole, I love it and adored knitting it, but I never wear it. I think it will live a happier life reincarnated as Heidi Kirrmaier’s Nanook.

I will probably get sucked into the Sock Put and quite possibly the Hat Dash – and the Mitten Medley is far too tempting! What will I do! A month is not nearly long enough to decide!

PS: Have also been sewing but too dark for modelled photos – the Lisette Market skirt (here), yet another pair of shorts but longer this time (here) and working on an Amy Butler top and a pencil skirt for my mum (here). I have been practising, too, I swear – there’s always time for the fun stuff.


January 8, 2012

Bits and bobs

Soon after my last post, I ran into some trouble with my sewing machine. In short, it ground to a halt and no amount of jigging about would fix it. I opened it up to find a cog had partially disintegrated so off to the repair shop it went. I’ve been busy with other things!

These tray cloths were started in November some time. I finished these fruits and wanted to stitch another before I sat down to hem them.

Pictures like these remind me that it won’t always be winter, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

The fruits were taken from a Sublime Stitching book and the others, from Doodle Stitching (motifs collection). I return to both of these resources time and time again. The motifs collection particularly is cute and interesting to stitch in equal measure.

I finished my hap shawl also. What a giant this turned out to be!

I ended up using the whole skein of tan and about two-thirds of brown. I’m not sure what I’ll use the rest of the brown for. I might make some felted coasters. The shawl is very scratchy and hairy, but it’s unbelievably warm. I find something very comforting about its sheepy smell when I pull it around me. The pattern is an oldie-but-a-goodie, this one, one I imagine I will make yet again in the future.

And here’s something that I acquired over the holidays.

Both are from etsy. I went searching initially for a simple sleeveless dress pattern – something I could use a few times over and embellish differently. In the course of my searching, I came upon the blouse pattern. I love pintucking in blouses and haven’t been able to find one in the shops that fits well enough to part money for. I love the short-sleeved version, too. Nice to wear when you want to wear a t-shirt but need to be a bit more dressed up. I am really looking forward to sewing all of these up!


December 8, 2011

A bags of it

Filed under:Plans-Ideas- Designs,Sewing,Sweaters,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 07:33

I made a bag – the Folklore Bag from 101 One Yard Wonders.

I’m not a huge fan of sewing bags. They tend to be as complex as a garment and often a lot more fiddly. I figure that if I’m going to put in that much time, I might as well have something to wear out of it. I decided to give this a go anyway. The pattern pieces were clear and the instructions were easy to follow. I like the pleats, which are on both sides, and the shape means it is deceptively spacious.

It was my first time using a magnetic closure. It wouldn’t have been in any way problematic if I hadn’t set it too close to the seam. My edge stitching around the top is pretty wobbly in those spots as a result. Other than that though, it is definitely a closure I will use again. It was easy to install and pretty cheap – I think they’re €2.50 in Trimming’s. The fabric, I got in Murphy-Sheehy’s and I have enough left over from a metre to make a wee purse along the lines of this.

All in all, it was a straight-forward pattern and if you’re into bags, you’ll probably enjoy sewing this one.

There has been a heck of a lot of knitting going on. I have nearly finished the body of my Dad’s Christmas jumper.

I like the yarn, the ‘pattern’ is easy but there’s no getting around it: knitting a man’s jumper is a LOT of knitting. He tried it on last night and it fits fine, thank God.

I’m knitting something else, too, but it’s for a regular reader (hi Mum!) so I can’t tell you what it is. The more avid Zimmermann fans amongst you may recognise its unusual shape.

Regarding my recent bodice drafting experiment, the body turned out fine but I had problems drafting a sleeve and collar. I really should be more sensible and do drafting only in the morning, after coffee. I don’t want to move on to drafting another pattern until I fix this one so the tartan skirt is on hold for the moment. In the meantime, I have cut out a straight-forward skirt using a left-over wool/cashmere and satin lining from this dress. I’ve been wearing the dress a lot and it’s extremely warm. Given our recent spell of cool temperatures, it pushed me over the edge to cut the skirt out and sew it up. Very gratifying, too, to use up the rest of such delicious fabric – I still have enough wool/cashmere to make a scarf or some luxurious slippers and enough satin to make this beautiful top from the December Burda magazine.

I hope everyone’s festive crafting is going to plan and if not… I send lots of coffee karma!