Monthly Archives: December 2013

Eve of the Eve

I’m home for Christmas. In talking with others during the weekend about Christmas, it struck me just how varied and personal each and every one of our Christmases are. However and whatever you celebrate, I wish you a peaceful yuletide and safe passage should you be travelling.

Now, blessing imparted, let me tell you what I’ve been busy with. I had very little making required for present-giving which, though unstressful, have the rest of my making an unexpected demented edge.

Firstly, prompted by a dismal day wherein I mortified myself with my very worst playing in front of a panel of distinguished musicians, I retreated to This is Knit. Truly, there is no place more comforting. I bought the biggest, woolliest wool I could find and cast on the moment I got home for a giant cowl. It was an epic knit.


… and one that practically consumed my head.


Unfortunately I kind of like turning my head from time to time so I ripped it out and have almost finished a longer and shallower version!

Secondly, I decided last week that it would be fun to make an outfit for Christmas day: something festive but rewearable, something fairly snug but unrestrictive. I’ll show you the whole thing when I wear it in the day itself. For now, here’s a peek at the skirt.


I was about to finish the top I made to go with this but craziness took over. I ordered this cheap jersey to make a muslin but when it arrived, it was surprisingly pretty. Queue crippling expectation to make a good job of the muslin (thus defeating the purpose of the muslin, which in my book is where I get ALL my mistakes out of my system). Thankfully, despite my many (many) mistakes, it has turned out quite wearable. Better photos soon, I hope!


As for my tiny piece of required knitting, the ribbed hat I knit for my dad feel out of my bag in the taxi to the train and I didn’t notice until pulling out from the station. Curses!!!

Christmas Eve is usually a busy, satisfying day here with plenty of hoovering, baking and last minute visits and errands. However you fill your day, have a good one and stay out of the weather if you can (a depression of 926 is due to pass just to the north tomorrow!).

Monkey top, totally see through and a question

‘Monkey top’ is our household name for a raglan two-tone t-shirt. A long time ago, Alb had a top that had dark brown sleeves and a light brown body. I joked that it made him look like a monkey, since that seems to be the standard cartoon colouration of a monkey – brown arms and light brown body. All joking aside, he has pretty good shoulders (read: pointier than a knife) so it’s a style he prefers. I like it too, but it is really hard for it to look good on a woman. My shoulders are nothing more than where my arm meets my body and a raglan sleeve does nothing to enhance that. I really wanted a two-tone top to match my green Moss skirt and the more I thought about it, the more I realised that the style needed to be raglan. What to do?

For a start, once I went searching I realised the dearth of good raglan patterns out there for women. I found this Burda pattern for raglan tops with a nice array of options but eventually I came to the conclusion that it’s more respectable-woman-with-shoulders than clinging-to-my-teens which, to be blunt with myself, is more the look I’m after.

It made sense, then, that I found the perfect pattern in what is essentially a tweens pattern. Browsing the Girl Charlee site (very popular for knit fabrics but based in the US so I don’t bother ordering what with customs etc etc), I found that they have a large pattern selection, most of which are downloadable. I dithered for weeks over the Curved Patrick Raglan but eventually bought it.


What I did was cut the largest girls size for the top part and largest boys size for the chest and length. After some thought, I added an extra 1/4″ to each seam for the body, increasing the finished width from 34″ to 35″. I adapted the sleeves, which comes in two pieces – short sleeve with additional ‘undersleeve’ extra, and just joined the undersleeve to the short sleeve. To this, I added an extra 1.5″ because I have long arms. I cut the largest girls size for the whole sleeve but if (probably when) I make it again, I’ll use the largest boys size for the width.


I was skeptical about the neckband but it turned out great. On the whole, it’s a good pattern. It’s a little pricey but considering that if you have kids, you do get a lot of sizes. I’m assuming most people buying it are not hijacking the largest kid’s size for themselves.

I should have said, the fabric is from Land of Oh Etsy shop. They’re based in Korea. Reasonable prices, fast shipping, highly recommended. I used their cotton interlock which is soft but not too stretchy.

So, the see through. I’ve been working on a silk chiffon top. I used Deer & Doe’s Blouse Airelle as my base, turning the V-neck into a round one and adding a big long neck scarf to tie into a bow. Sounds good, right?


It is completely transparent. I mean, it’s lovely and the scarf-bow thing is really snug, but I might as well be wearing an invisible blouse. Usually I just wear a tank top or vest under these kind of things but I feel very undressed in this. It never occurred to me to underline it as I did not think it was quite so sheer. I’ve been thinking about it all morning and my conclusion is that I should underline it. Thankfully, I sewed on that whole scarf bit by hand, so it will be easy to unpick and resew without damaging the fabric. In such a situation, I’m tempted to think, God, I should have just bought the one I saw in Dunnes… but I know that in the end, this will be nicer and last much, much longer. I found the crinkle silk chiffon in Hickey’s Henry St and they still have some if you, too, want to embark on a three month long, french seamed, invisible elephant.

Lastly, I need your opinion, people. I want to make a winter coat. A basic, every-day coat. I’ve never made a coat before so I just want to keep it simple. My musts are: navy, plaid lining, outside and inside pockets, knee length. No need for a hood. I acquired the most amazing navy wool melton (a really tightly-woven wool, more like a felt, traditionally used for sailor’s jackets!) and a matching navy/white plaid cotton to line it with. My first thoughts were to make a duffle coat but now I’m considering the Veste Pavot from Deer & Doe. I think a duffle would be great if I tended towards regular rambles through undergrowth or seaside adventures, not to mention satisfying my inner Enid Blyton. However considering that the main things I do are cycle to various works, cycle to town, walk about in town, walk about in supermarket, maybe something smarter would be a better use of my fabulous melton. Thoughts?

Gangster pants and old mittens

I’ve had students doing exams recently so I’m popping by with some phone photos until I make time to take better ones!

I finished up a pair of lined navy pants last week. There was a minor crisis when I realised, after I’d sewn in the lining and finished it up, that there was no denying the waist band was too large. So… I dismantled the whole thing and set it right. I’m glad I did because I’m very happy with the outcome.


I’ll talk more about it, my modifications and wonderings, when I show better photos. Pants are strange things. Needless to say, I made them to go with my new brown shoes and when I put them on, I realised I looked like one of Al Capone’s henchmen.

The other thing I have to show are mittens I finished during the summer. Actually, I spun the red yarn for the mittens last winter and knit them up fairly quickly. However, I found they were just too thin to wear on my bike and decided to give them a lining. Of course, this took me ages to get around to and when I did, made them so tight that my thumbs would go numb. Eventually I ripped them out and did a better job during some summer lull.


They’re pretty great. I used my own ‘hands up’ pattern and just extended it and worked sock toe decreases for the top of the mitten. I used Drops alpaca for the lining and knit it on 2mm needles. I picked up stitches along the top of the cuff on the inside.

That’s it for today!