In the meantime, though, I have finished another knitting project: a summer top:
This blog seems to be turning into something of a knitting blog, doesn't it? I'm sorry about that! I will try to rectify this and focus more on sewing or other crafts in the coming months. Now that I have access to my sewing machine and table again (yay!) this should be easier.
In the meantime, though, I have finished another knitting project: a summer top:
The pattern is 'Admit' by Nora Gaughan. I made quite a few adjustments to the pattern. The pattern itself is fairly simple, there's not waist or armhole shaping so the only challenging bit is the yarn overs on the front and back yoke, which are combined with 'right twist' and 'left twist' stitches that I had not encountered before. Not being a fan of the unfinished and unshaped armholes, I did some shaping and added cap sleeves using this tutorial for knitting 'afterthought sleeves' by By Gum, by Golly. Also, because I wasn't sure how much yarn I would have, I started with a provisional cast on at the waist and then knitted down at the end to the desired length, finishing with a few rows of purls as for the neck edge and sleeve edges. Unfortunately because I didn't use stitch markers (because I am lazy and arrogant) My stitch count was slightly off... in that my back yarn overs were one stitch too far to the right, which eventually somehow led to a three-stitch difference between the two sides. This may not seem like such a big deal, but it meant that the yarn overs had reached the armhole on one side while still continuing on the other side. I attempted to fix this when I found out by decreasing twice in rapid succession, but I'm afraid it does show a bit in the end result... luckily it's on the back and I won't be able to see it myself!
All in all, I like the double v-yarn overs, but the rest of the pattern is not great. In the original, the hem isn't finished in any way to prevent curling and as the recommended yarn is a cotton, it's not very easy to block either. The unshaped armholes may have looked ok on a thin frame, but 'ok' isn't good enough for me. Also, as the armholes are also unfinished, they had a tendency to curl inward. I also found the armholes very tall. If you like the look of this pattern, I suggest using another shell/tanktop/whatever pattern and adding in the double-v pattern. The yarn, on the other hand, is great: it's Hjertegarn Cotton Silk, a cotton-silk blend that is a delight to work with and to wear. Perfect for summer garments! I expect this top will grow in time, given the yarn, and give a slightly looser fit.
It's May, and that means Me-Made-May is here, the annual challenge of wearing more selfmade items so that all that sewing, knitting, refashioning etc actually feels productive! In the past, I've not participated in Me-Made-May, even though I was aware of it. I always felt that I didn't have enough handmade clothing to justify it. And actually, this year is the worst year to participate, because I had to donate a lot of clothes that didn't fit anymore after losing weight (I am particularly sad about this dress, which I was very proud of and which had the most beautiful fabric. In hindsight I can see it doesn't fit very well but I still loved it!).
However! I decided that there will always be excuses. I can always come up with a reason that this is not a good year. That is not why Me-Made-May was invented, though. It's not about being perfect. It's not about having a different handmade item to wear every day otherwise you are a failure. And it doesn't matter if currently a lot of my selfmade items are sweaters which are too warm to wear in May. What matters is that I challenge myself to dive into my wardrobe and make the most of what I have. Participating will also make me more aware of the gaps in my wardrobe and what I should focus on making next. I like knitting or sewing unusual patterns and want to find a way to incorporate that in my wardrober more. I know a lot of sewing blogs call this 'cake vs frosting'* problem (i.e. needing more basics but sewing more frilly dresses), but I don't really see it in those terms. If I want to make only 'frosting', I'll just wear frosting!
So here's what I'll do: Because I don't want to turn this blog into a 'what I wore today' blog (also, I don't have the patience), I will instead keep track of what I wore when. If possible, I will take a picture of each outfit. I will post two evaluation posts, one halfway though May and one at the beginning of June. My goals are:
- To wear all my weather-appropriate handmade items at least once this month
- To count how many handmade items I have in the various categories (sweater, dress, etc) to get a better picture of what my wardrobe still needs
We'll see how it goes! I'm looking forward to it!
Unrelated: that 'Burda dress 122-A 07/2013' that's in my WIP-list... where the hell did that go?! I have unpacked all the moving boxes now and have not found the pieces to that one yet. What on earth did I do with it?
Coming up this weekend: a finished summer top!
My latest project to be finished is a toy mouse for - you guessed it, a friend who had a baby! For those keeping count, that's 7 babies in just over a year. I guess it's the age group I hang out with. Anyway, because I occassionally have not-so-smart moments, I only took a picture with my phone before wrapping the gift:
The pattern is Boy mouse in a cabled sweater by Julie Williams, which can be bought as a pdf via Ravelry. It is part of a range of patterns, also including rabbits, bears, elephants and foxes and girls of each species. You can check out more on Ms Williams website, Little Cotton Rabbits. I highly recommend these patterns. They are well-written and illustrated throughout with clear photographs. The construction of the mouse was ingenious, with some interesting shaping of the head and feet. The entire mouse is roughly 25 cm tall, though I made the legs and trousers a bit longer. And, happily: the mouse was made entirely from scrap yarn from my stash!
Now for the things I could improve on: I could not figure out the complicated increase method Ms Williams recommends, so I followed her recommendation for an easier one and that worked out fine. I messed up a bit on the sweater, but since it's only a toy it doesn't matter much. I did not read the instructions properly and made the sweater on the same needle size as the rest of the mouse instead of 0.5 mm smaller, so the sweater is oversized (as you can see in the picture, I rolled up the sleeves a bit). I also thought that instead of cabling the whole sweater, I would just cable one column of stitches - and promptly forgot about it the moment I joined the four pieces of the sweater to work on as one. It's a miracle those two cable twists even ended up on the front. And finally, I really need to work on making nice eyes for toys for young children, when I don't want to use safety eyes or buttons. Any tips are welcome!
A while ago, I finished a set of gifts for my fiancé: a matching hat and scarf set. The problem is, they are black, and as such I had a hard time taking a good photograph! I finally decided it was better to upload this post with mediocre pictures than not to upload it at all, so here they are:
I made him a hat some years ago, from a pattern he chose, but he was never fully satisfied with it. He failed to notice the cable pattern on the hat when chosing the pattern, and it was also slightly shorter than he wanted. So for our winter holidays 2017, I promised to make him a new one, and a matching scarf. In the end I finished the hat before the holiday and the scarf on holiday, but they both got a lot of wear anyway. The pattern is copied from a hat we saw in a warehouse and that appealed to him instantly. Basically it's the following pattern repeat (worked in rows, not in the round):
Row 1: [K1, P3]*, repeat * to end, K1
Row 2: P2, [K1, P3]*, repeat * to end, K1, P2
It's slightly more interesting than a straightforward rib, and the scarf is fully reversible:
The hat was a different story. He wanted a very warm hat that absolutely no wind could get through. Having recently finished the Bee cap (Dino cap), I had the bright idea to line the hat. This would probably have worked out better if I had used a different, thinner yarn for the lining. Using the same yarn, Garnstudio's DROPS Alaska, for both the lining and the outside makes the hat very bulky. Even more so because my fiancé wanted this hat to have a brim. So, the brim is now four layers of Aran-weight yarn. At least his ears are definitely warm!
In other news: I removed the vintage jumper I was working on from the WIP-list. Not because it's finished - quite the opposite. This weekend, having almost completed the back, I discovered that my gauge was way off. No wonder I had doubts about the fit! I'm not sure how it happened, because I always swatch. I had to completely unravel the project. Right now I don't have the energy to start it again, so I'm just removing it from the list completely. I may start a smaller knitting project soon instead.
Today I am showing you a quick project I did while on holiday with yarn left over from the Saxon the City stockings: a neckwarmer!
I like small, portable projects like this to take with me when I travel. After my knitting needles were confiscated at an airport once (a set of really nice bamboo double-pointed needles) I daren't take any project in my hand luggage anymore, or I would probably have already finished this on the flight there! I did not use a pattern, since this is a really simple concept. The neckwarmer is diagonally knit in garter stitch. This means that I started at a point, then increased one stitch at each end of every right side row until I was satisfied with the width, and from that point on decreased one stitch at the start of each right side row and increased one stitch at the end of that row. Once you have the length you want, you just start decreasing on both ends of each right side row. The neckwarmer has three buttonholes. The fourth button is a fake! Here is a series of pictures showing how to button it:
This was very easy, fairly quick and the end result is both good-looking and practical! If I were to make something like this again, I would perhaps make it slightly less wide. The yarn is leftover Garnstudio DROPS Lima, a 65% Wool, 35% Alpaca DK weight yarn. I still have some more balls left over (I think the yarn requirements for the Saxon the City stockings were off! I was left with so much even though I knitted three full pattern repeats extra per stocking) so originally I had intended to do a full-length scarf. I had trouble coming up with a nice pattern, though, so in the end I went for this. I will have to see what I do with what is left now!
You may have noticed it has been very quiet around here. This is partly because of a two week vacation abroad, but mostly because I moved! The move has finally been completed and we are down to six still-packed boxes. The move has brought with it a few DIY projects, some of which I happily outsourced (like making curtains) and others which are being added to my WIP-list one at a time. The first one is to make cushions for our new chairs. Also, yet another friend has had a baby so that gift is on the WIP-list as well. And finally, I started a knitting project for myself to make the Young and pretty sweater from Susan Crawford's A Stitch in Time Vol 1. Good news: all are stash busters!
I finished some smaller project, though, which I will upload this weekend. Stay tuned!
Some time ago, one of my friends had a baby (I have not kept track of how many babies have been born in my circle of friends in the past year or two, but its a LOT) and this time, it was a girl! So I finally had a way of using up some pink yarn that was languishing in my stash by making My gift for you by Taiga Hilliard Designs:
The light pink yarn is DROPS Karisma and the dark pink is DROPS Lima. This free pattern worked up really nicely, but I did change a few things. Instead of the rib-like pattern at the end of the sleeves and hem, I used moss stitch. I also added some extra rows of garter stitch on the button band using short rows, as garter stitch is not as tall as stocking stitch. And obviously I used two colours and a random pattern for switching them. The recipient was very happy with it, and I will heartily recommend this pattern to anyone!
Wooow it’s been a while since there’s been a post here! As per usual, this is not because I forgot about the blog, but because I didn’t finish anything. Between the holidays and moving house, there just hasn’t been a lot of time for arts and crafts! But, spurred on by the 17 in 2017 challenge I am participating in on Ravelry, I did finally manage to finish a project that had been on my wishlist since 2011: the Saxon the City stockings from Stitch ‘n’ Bitch: Superstar Knitting.
Stitch ‘n’ Bitch: Superstar Knitting by Debbie Stoller was one of my first knitting books, bought for me by my mother while we were on holiday. I was struggling with my second ever knitting project at the time, a (far too small) poncho and matching fingerless gloves in a white-and-orange acrylic yarn. I’m not sure how I decided on that project, because I don’t like orange, I don’t like acrylic, and never wore (or wear) ponchos. Looking through the book, there were a few patterns I was immediately enthusiastic about, including the Saxon the City stockings by Julia Frank.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to start these straight away – I did not know how to do short rows or cables and in fact, I’m not quite sure I had grasped increases and decreases yet. But it went on my wishlist and stayed there for a number of years, until I decided to buy the yarn for them in December 2014.
Aaaaand I didn’t cast on until last summer. Of course.
First things first: while I finished the knitting of these back in January, and indicated they were finished then on Ravelry, I did not post them here yet because I thought they would need fabric tops to hold up with a garter belt. However, I wore them today with garter belt sans fabric tops and it worked fine. There are minor bumps in the stockings where the clips are, but I can live with that. With the garter belt, the stockings stay up nicely without slumping or sagging.
Second: though I am very happy with the end result, I am not very convinced of the pattern. The designer introduces the pattern by saying that shortly before her wedding she decided she needed to make herself stockings and that this pattern just sort of happened organically. Which… I’m sure that’s nice, but there was no mention of then going back and reworking the pattern to actually make it work in practice. I will list my issues with the pattern here (and don’t worry, I will also have a section on ‘where I screwed up making these’).
And third: where I messed up.
The socks were knit in Garnstudio DROPS Lima, a 65% Wool, 35% Alpaca DK weight yarn. It is slightly itchy, but I am confident this will diminsh with wear. It took 10 balls of the main colour and two balls of the contrast colour (keeping in mind that I knit three pattern repeats more than the pattern recommended). All in all, I am very happy with the end result. It was well worth the wait and the months of work. Also, these count as my first knitted socks! I sure jumped in at the deep end!
Happy New Year everyone! (it's still the first week, it's allowed)
Today is a two-for-one deal! A friend of mine had the cutest baby ever recently and so two gifts that I finished over a month ago can finally be revealed to the world. I tried to choose patterns that would match her aesthetic, which led me to knit the Gingersnap jacket by Kristen Rettig and sew a fox onesie:
The Gingersnap jacket is a popular jacket on Ravelry with over 200 projects and I must say, it's popularity is well-deserved! It was a very nice, easy knit and because of the striped pattern it's a good stash buster (at least, it was for me!). The only change I made was to add one extra garter stitch row on the button bands every 12 rows, because garter stitch is not as tall as stocking stitch. Adding extras with short rows makes the button band pull less. I think I made a mistake in how I picked up the stitches at the back of the neck, which is why it looks a bit odd. I'm not very good at picking up stitches. If at all possible, I leave any stitches where I will have to pick up later on stitch holders, but I forgot to do so in this case. I made it in Katia Merino Aran, a perfectly serviceable yarn.
In this case, I didn't find the jacket quite sufficient. I though this baby was the perfect excuse to make something very cute I wouln't normally have a chance to make: an animal onesie. I am sorry to say I don't remember which pattern I used, and as the original is somewhere in a box in storage right now (did I mention I'm in the middle of a move?) I can't look it up. If I ever find out/remember, I'll add it here. What I do know is that a fox was not an option in the pattern: this is in fact an adaptation of the zebra pattern. The white belly and the tail are my own addition, and I redrew the ears. The main body is made in felt, and the outside of the ears, feet and tip of the tail are a faux fur. Lovely end result; so, so horrible to have to cut it. I was vacuuming black fluff off of everything in my living room for a week.
As per usual, I made both these garments in a slightly larger size so that the kid can grow into it. In this case, I made the 12-month old size because that makes it perfect to be worn next winter.
In other news: the move is under way. I was very tempted to simply burn down all my possessions and start from scratch, but in the end everything was packed and moved to storage where it is waiting for the final leg of the move in the first week of February. And finally, I have decided to join a Ravelry group '17 in 2017', where I made it my goal to finish 17 projects using supplies from my stash this year. Wish me luck!
Some time ago, I finished a gift for a Secret Santa exchange. Since the recipient should have it by now (and it's anonymous, so they wouldn't be able to find it anyway) I can share it here. Because the recipient was into Victorian era LARP, I knitted a vintage opera shawl from a 1874 knitting pattern from "Handbook to the work table". The result is this:
The shawl is knit with two types of yarn, one thin and one thick. I used DK and fingering, but I think next time I would use DK and laceweight. I had to use a filter here to show the diamond pattern in the photograph. As you can see, it has a clear good and bad side. Because the whole thing is knit in garter stitch, it doesn't curl. I did block it, so that the diamong pattern is a bit clearer as shown below:
The shawl is knit in DROPS Baby Merino and DROPS Merino. It was quite a challenge to persevere with this. Starting at the long side with 300 stitches (over 2 meters after blocking!) meant little progress for a lot of knitting for the first half of the shawl, and the black made it hard to see where to pick up stitches for the diamond pattern. However, I think the end result is very nice. There is something special about knitting something that people a century and a half ago actually wore. Hopefully I'll be able to knit more vintage patterns in the future!
Hi, I'm Mina and I have a stash problem. This is my way of trying to fix it.
Last yarn purchase:
Last fabric purchase: 02/03/2017