December 29, 2011

Humble beginnings

Filed under:Favourite Things,Shawls,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 13:30

This is one of the first Christmas presents I ever remember getting. I was maybe 5. It’s missing the peg for holding the spool, but otherwise still works perfectly.

It has a magic mechanism that forms the stitch without needing a bobbin. My mum cut out two pieces of mauve fabric, pinned them together, and told me to sew along where the pins were. It’s envelope shaped. There may have been a hem along the envelope flap. Mum sewed a buttonhole and helped me sew on a big button. Then, she cut up many, many strips of scrap fabric and put them into it. I spent the entirety of Christmas sewing all of these pieces together and keeping them in the bag. Simple, happy memories! I’m a bit sad that the mauve bag hasn’t been found but it’s nice to still have this wee memento.

I have been enjoying some monogamous knitting over the holidays – another 3/4 hap shawl out of the Plutolopi I got at the K&S show.

It’s hairy, it smells of sheep, it’s warm: I love it. I have one skein of each colour and there is loads in each – about 300m – so I might go for a more gigantic shawl than usual.

I hope you’re enjoying the week. I always find the time between Christmas and New Year’s very floaty indeed. Lots of knitting, sewing, ravelry and pinterest in one’s pyjamas (with or without chocolate/coffee/tea/mandarins). Let’s enjoy it while it lasts 🙂


December 24, 2011

Oíche Nollag

Filed under:Finished Objects,Sewing — Aileen @ 16:26

The time is upon us. For all you crafters still frantically stitching away, you can do it. You have what it takes. And if that’s not enough, remember that Christmas Day is a full 24 hours long. Anytime before midnight cannot be deemed ‘too late’. I, for one, am amazed that I finished my gift knitting yesterday. I’m not bragging – I’ve had my moments some years for sure. I’m never this ahead of schedule so I’m just hoping it’s not the dreamy period that comes before realising a project has gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Anyway, here’s a project that I printed and cut out before I came home for the holidays. It’s a free pattern, Sorbetto from Colette patterns. If you check out the link, you’ll see that it’s actually supposed to have a pleat down the front. That kind of pleat doesn’t appeal to me but I’ve seen people who have inverted the pleat and it looks lovely. Sadly, I didn’t have enough fabric so I just omitted the pleat bit altogether.

Fabric: Cotton from Trimming’s, not quite 1m, 45″ wide, and a 3m packet of white bias binding from Hickey’s.

Time: Probably about 2 hours altogether.

I did my usual trick of doing something completely arseways. I sewed the bias binding on the neckline really painstakingly only to discover that I’d done it upside down and back to front. Once I followed the instructions (sigh) there was no problem.

I foresee myself making many permutations of this top, it’s so comfortable and very easy to make.

Oíche Nollag is a bit different in our household; we have an old-fashioned tea at 6pm, go to evening mass and then do presents afterwards. For a knitter, this is a double-edged sword but for once, I’m ready. Best wishes to you all, regardless of what you celebrate. And to all of you counting down the inches – godspeed and good luck!


December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve Eve

Filed under:Epic disaster,Finished Objects,News!,Sewing,Sweaters — Aileen @ 20:14

You guys, I made it. My dad’s jumper is done. My mum worked her steam iron magic on it and it is wrapped and under the tree. My mum’s secret jumper – an Elizabeth Zimmermann Ribwarmer – is done, too, and it is wrapped with the rest of her present.

I have experienced the seven circles of stupid with these two projects. The Ribwarmer is wonderfully straight-forward. It is two pieces knit exactly the same in garter stitch. One is reversed and they’re seamed down the centre-back. Easy, right? I knit the neck tab (an extra piece that forms a small collar) on the wrong side on the first piece. I knit the second piece correctly but assumed it was incorrect upon comparison with the first piece. I freaked (this was yesterday). I took a scissors and cut the tab off the second piece, cast off the cut part, picked up stitches, knit the tab on the other side. Went to seam the two pieces up and discovered they were now both wrong. Ripped out newly-knit tab, took out cast off, reknit onto previously cut stitches. Cut other tab off, cast off, picked up, knit new tab.

I knit one sleeve on my dad’s jumper too long. By about four inches. Then, when I was trying to tidy up the collar, where I’d sewed it down, I snipped what I thought was where I’d secured my sewing yarn but what in fact turned out to be the first stitches at the base of the collar which unravelled quicker than I could scream…

I’ll let you dwell on that while I find the link to some finished photos of my shorts – because that’s the most sensible thing to sew on the solstice, right? Here’s the front, the back, how frayed the fabric ended up after much sewing and re-sewing, a pocket. They fit perfectly. In fact, I love them and I cannot wait to wear them.

The dress and skirt are both waiting for their linings to be seamed and then they’ll be finished. I saw this idea earlier today and I think I might steal it! The grey dress I am a little disappointed with. It turned out exactly how I pictured it in my head; it just doesn’t look as cute on me as I’d hoped. I’ve had a good run! And it’s not like it’s unwearable… in hindsight, it was probably never going to live up to my hope.

(If you like the photos, check out the tutorial here. It’s very easy.


December 16, 2011


Filed under:Sewing,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 13:36

I can’t help myself. Sewing with checks and plaids are like making and assembling a giant puzzle. Every seam is absorbing. I’m sure I’ll get over it but for now…

I took my Amy Butler Anna pattern and made some adjustments. It fits nicely at the bust but there are gathers and I didn’t think they would look good in this fabric. So I made a wee tuck in the pattern piece to take them out. I took it in around the waist and included a zipper instead, and I took out the button closure at the back and cut the back yoke as one whole piece. I cut the yoke pieces on the bias, too.

The fabric I got at the Knitting & Stitching Show and the lining, from Murphy Sheehy’s. I’d been hoping for something a little more turquoise but the royal blue works well. The yoke is just tacked in place for now, I’ll get to it later.

For some strange reason, I was drawn back to the shorts that I started at the beginning of August. I think I put them away because I didn’t want to do the zip. Anyway, after a false start that involved sewing in my most perfect zip yet without the waistband on, I got going.

Attaching the waistband took longer than anticipated. It’s quite curved and I wanted to match the lines up as well as I could. I had to rip it out once but I got it right in the end. The back is a little out in spots but most of it is alright.

I rather like the back pockets.

A zip, waistband facing and some hems are all that remain. Maybe I will jump on the shorts-with-tights bandwagon when they’re finished (what’s with that, by the way?)…


December 12, 2011


Filed under:Finished Objects,Sewing — Aileen @ 11:20

We’re into the last two weeks before Christmas… no pressure! Just cranking out the acres and acres of stockinette and garter. The body of my dad’s sweater is finished so it’s on to sleeves today hopefully and the other mystery item is well over half-way so I’m on target, I think. Unfortunately, all of my photos of them looked exactly like my previous ones so I’ll just show you what else I’ve been doing.

A pleated skirt in the leftover herringbone.

I drafted the pattern in the sewing class I took a few years ago and my first attempt was not very good. When I went to cut it out again, I realised that this was because I had drafted the wrong seam allowance for the lining. Sigh! Anyway, I fixed that and it went together very easily. I got the body and lining together yesterday and a zip put in.

My yoke pieces don’t line up exactly but I can live with it for now. It’s quite loose but since I intend wearing it with at least three layers (tights, blouse etc) tucked into it, I’m not too worried about it. I’m awaiting help from my mum to mark the hem length. I have a feeling I cut it too long – but better than too short, right?

The last week was busy playing for exams scattered around the city. Saturday took me to Dundrum for the morning. I had an hour to spare at about 10am so I wandered down to the Cath Kidston shop to see what kind of oilcloth they had. I have been thinking about making a saddle-cover for my bike. I don’t think I’d leave it on my bike as it would surely be stolen but on rainy days, even when I dry it off with a tissue, it’s still damp and it would be nice to have a cover on hand. I came across this tutorial and I think it will work a treat. I found some blue spotty oilcloth in the remnants basket for €8.16. It’s only 40cm but it’s about 160cm wide so I actually have quite a lot. I made this yesterday.

It was supposed to be for my organ shoes but it’s a really tight squeeze so I think I might make another, bigger one. The pattern is the Lawn Cosmetics Bag from 1,2,3 Sew.

I absolutely cannot wait for the holidays. I am done with this term. Only nine more work days but more importantly, still twelve knitting days remain!