I am starting a new job soon, so I probably won't have quite as much time to work on crafts. There are two gifts I still have to make before the end of the year, though, so I will try and make progress on those!
The last (for now) of the baby boom gifts has arrived… this seamless pink sweater:
This sweater was made using the excellent (and free!) Seamless blue pattern by Felicia Semple. I have only one remark about this pattern and that is the lack of sizing options. She gives some directions on how you can turn this sweater for a 2 or 3 year-old into a smaller size (6 months or 1-2 years), but these are not as well tested and rely on gauge rather than stitch counts. I would love to see a full range of sizes, because it is a beautiful pattern! I don’t mind that it ended up far too big for a newborn, as I work on the principle that kids can grow into things and then out of them in order to get maximum use out of an item.
I'm also very happy with the neat stranded knitting on this. Especially on the sleeves, the transition from pink to white is a bit tighter than the single colour knit, but it's much better than my previous attempts!
I am starting a new job soon, so I probably won't have quite as much time to work on crafts. There are two gifts I still have to make before the end of the year, though, so I will try and make progress on those!
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.
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!
This weekend, I finished the knit summer top I cast on recently:
The pattern is ‘Anjou’ by the Berroco Design Team and is freely available. The yarn is Rowan’s Tetra cotton and was given to me by my mother. I used two skeins of the pink yarn and four and a half of the grey. I am very pleased with the yarn, which is easy to work with, comfortable to wear and had no snags or knots in any of the skeins. The pattern worked up really easily. I adapted it for working in the round. I started off making a medium size, but realized pretty quickly it would be too big. Being, shall we say, somewhat averse to unravelling and starting over, I simply decreased more often to the waist to reach size small and continued in that size from there. This does mean that below the waist, there is a bit of a bulge in the side seams, but not enough that it bothers me. The sleeves don’t have any ribbing: the natural curling of stocking stitch is used as a design element. I made sure the seam of the sleeves (only a short one, 10 rows) was visible only on the right side of the fabric, which is hidden by the curling.
I am quite happy with this top. What’s more, I have enough yarn left (four skeins of pink and 1.5 of grey) to make a second top. I am thinking of the notched hem tank top by Purl Soho. That pattern was written for a linen, ribbon-like yarn, which I think the tetra cotton would be a good substitute for. But first I must finish some other WIPs!
This weekend - and just in time for a party next week! - I finished my long-sleeved knit dress:
This pattern is pattern 45059 from Bootstrap fashion and made-to-measure. Overall, I am very happy with the fit. There are just a few adjustments I now know I have to make when ordering from Bootstrap fashion again. Notably, my bust apex is higher than their standard pattern, and my shoulders are slightly wider. Luckily both of these are options Bootstrap fashion offers!
The pattern instructions have you use bias tape around the neck edge and the edges of the faux bolero (as you can see in the pictures on the pattern page). This dress was my first time working with stretch fabrics and I felt it was a bit ambitious to combine that with bias tape, which I am not the biggest fan of at the best of time (I love the way it looks, but I always have difficulty getting it on nicely). In addition to this, I couldn't figure out how to use bias tape on the neck edge when there is also the fold of the faux bolero bow. So in the end, I cheated, omitted the bias tape and just sewed the neck edge my own way:
Being my first time working with stretch fabrics, it was also my first time working with twin needles. Unfortunately, this did not go great. Of course, I practiced on a bit of waste fabric first. And things went well! Nice, even stitches, no worries. So I moved on to the dress, hemming the sleeves and the bottom of the dress and stitching the neckline, aaaaaand... problems. Skipped stitches and tunnelling appeared frequently. Apparently, this is mostly due to me not having used stretch twin needles. I thought all twin needles were made for stretch fabrics! Let this be a warning to you all.
As you can see, there is a slight mismatch between the two colours along the zipper. It's a 1 mm difference and after a lot of thought I decided against redoing it. Unpicking stitches does not do this fabric any favours.
All in all, this dress may be my favourite homemade item yet! I am in love with Bootstrap fashion patterns (which I believe are Lekala patterns? I'm not sure how the system works), I am delighted that I chose the highest quality fabric the shop offered instead of going for the budget one, for a first project with stretch fabrics it's a great success and I learned a LOT. And, perhaps most importantly: I think it looks amazing on me.
The latest project to be finished is my Bauhaus sweater:
This pattern by Ann Weaver was published in 'Knitting Architecture: 20 Patterns Exploring Form, Function, and Detail'. The original pattern is for a cardigan, but I prefer sweaters so I omitted the button bands and then just knit the whole thing in the round. This posed some slight problems with the colour blocks on the back. Knitting in the round, you can't knit intarsia, so I did a wrap-and-turn at the end and beginning of every round so I could knit back and forth. Unfortunately, that wasn't quite as invisible as I had hoped:
Having seen that the join would be visible in the side seam, I decided that for the last colour block, when I had joined the sleeves to the body, I would do it differently. I decided that on one round, I would make the wrap-and-turn behind the sleeve and on the other round in front of the sleeve and that way, there would be no long thick join.
If, reading that, you can see why that is a stupid idea, you are smarter than I am.
Because there were so many stitches on the needle, I didn't realise until after I had finished the blue block that this method meant that one shoulder contained twice as many rows as the rest of the sweater. I had created a hunchback, but on the shoulder. Not my proudest moment. So, I unraveled the whole block and knitted it up again with all the wrap-and-turns in the same place. It's on my back, so at least I can't see it myself.
While that problem was entirely my own doing, there were a few other things I felt were more a problem with the pattern. One of these is that the end result was a bit baggy. Here on the left is the sweater before taking in the sides and on the right the final version:
While there is some waist shaping, I wonder why: It's only 4 stitches. I mean, why bother? Either leave it without waist shaping, in which case it would be expected to be somewhat baggy around the waist, or do some proper waist shaping. What's the point of just 4 stitches? As per usual, I didn't think of doing anything about this as I was knitting. The cardigan looked fairly close-fitting in the pictures, I was making the smallest size and my gauge was good. And while the above wasn't bad - it would have been a perfectly serviceable sweater - it's not what I had in mind. So I did some minor alterations to the sides, by taking in up to 7 stitches on each side. On the inside I sewed down the seam and trimmed it. In the pictures above, you can see on the left-hand side between the shoulder and back the row of wrap-and-turns I was unable to avoid.
Another issue I had is that the squares seem smaller, proportionally speaking, in real life than they did in the pattern. I'm not sure if this is a result of me using the same yarn for both the squares and the sweater itself (the pattern calls for a lace-weight yarn for the squares, which is a nice effect for a cardigan but not very practical for a sweater), but to be honest I don't see how it could be.
Finally, the top of the blue square stretches to both sides because of the many decreases for the yoke in that row. Perhaps it would have made more sense to do gradual raglan-style decreases to avoid this problem.
The sweater was made using DROPS Air, a great, soft and very VERY warm yarn. It is very light, meaning you get a lot of meters in 50 grams and that a big garment like this isn't uncomfortably heavy. Modifications I made (apart from what was already mentioned) were lengthening the sleeves by about 6 cm and knitting only 8 cm of collar instead of 10 cm. The end result is a sweater I am looking forward to wearing a lot next winter.
This is a bit of a story, which finishes with me starting a new summer dress.
I don't usually buy new patterns or fabric, since I still have so much stash (kind of the whole point of this blog). However, some time ago I came across the Indiegogo page of Bootstrap fashion. They were running a crowdfunding campaign to expand their Design Center, with which you can mix and match pattern pieces to create your own sewing pattern. They also sell made-to-measure patterns from Lekala. One of their rewards was 35 of these patterns for $35 - a bargain! So, I pledged, and received my $35 in-store credit (plus $2 extra)... and naturally, had to buy a pattern to test things out.
First off: while I haven't tested a pattern yet, I have heard great things about this service. What they do is, they have a huge database of sizes for each pattern. You enter your measurements and any adjustments you want made (for me, a small bust adjustment and proportionally long legs), and the program matches the best fit from all the pieces it has. So, the patterns aren't actually drafted to your measurements, but because they have so many pieces 'behind the scenes', they can produce a great fit for a large range of bodies.
Second: the customer service is amazing. They answer all questions quickly, like I said they gave me $2 extra credit even though they did not reach their crowdfunding goal, and they seem extremely professional. If you are on the fence about trying a made-to-measure pattern, just give Boostrap fashion a whirl. They're worth your custom.
The first pattern I bought was this long-sleeves knit dress with contrast top. At the same time, I received a 20 euro discount coupon for an online fabric store. Perfect timing, right? Sort of. I bought what I thought was a suitable knit of organic cotton (and a length of discounted linnen with a beautiful flower pattern, I'm very happy with that one). Unfortunately, it wasn't quite what I had in mind... For the dress, I was looking for a sturdy 4-way stretch. What I got was a thin, flowey fabric that is nice, but totally unsuitable for this dress. It's my own fault: I didn't check all the details properly. If I had done some thinking on the weight per square meter, I would have realised it would be too thin. Let this be a lesson to everyone who buys fabric online: check twice, buy once.
I did end up finding fantastic fabric in the one fabric store I know of in my home town (about twice as expensive as the organic cotton, but so be it...). In the meantime, though, I was left with the thin knit fabric. At first I thought I'd make a muslin of it for the dress, but it felt like such a waste! So I decided to make a second dress: dress 122-A from Burda 07-2013.
The whole dress is made double, because the fabric is so thin. I am making the top in dark pink, the front and back of the skirt in light pink, and the sides will have a dark pink outside and light pink lining. I am thinking of doing some reverse applique there: cut out flower shapes in the dark pink and have the light pink show through. I washed the fabric yesterday and today traced and cut the pattern pieces. I will now have to wait until tomorrow to buy matching thread.
I will end up with two dresses in the same colour scheme - the Bootstrap fashion dress will also have a light pink skirt and a dark pink bodice - but other than that, the two are so different that I don't think anyone will notice. And if they do... well, I guess that means I have an almost coherent 'style'!
Finally, I want to share a sneak peek of something else I've been working on that is not so much a project as a self-led course in sewing:
With the aid of Tomoko Nakamichi's Pattern magic, and my parents' old curtains, I am trying my hand at pattern drafting. I will do a full blog post on my experiments and experiences in due course, but I can already say it is a lot of fun and very educational!
No, I hadn't forgotten this blog exists - I just hadn't finished anything in the past few weeks. Well, I finished a baby jacket, but I didn't take a picture. Unfortunately, the pattern wasn't great, so I won't be using that again.
Since then, I've kept working on the projects I've got going, particularly the Bauhaus sweater. Pretty soon, I ran into a bit of a snag with regards to the two quilts I'm working on: they are both made with scraps, and one of the fabrics I wanted to use scraps from hadn't actually been used yet. It was a lovely, brightly coloured cotton that I got in Japan along with several other fabrics a few years ago (all of which are incorporated in the quilts). Some of these other fabrics were used for the Vogue V1102-hybrid dress and the summery split skirt I made last year.
So, last weekend I decided to just make a quick summer dress:
The pattern is nr. 133 from Burda magazine 6/2013 (I omitted the pockets):
As you can see, in the picture, the dress falls quite narrowly along her body. I made a size 38, based on my bust measurement, and, well...
I should have known, I guess. Burda patterns tend to run large, the same way that Vogue patterns tend to run small, but, well, I lost weight over the past few months and a size 38 was already a size smaller than I would normally have sewn, so I thought it was safe. It's very comfortable, was easy to make, and I am happy with the end result - but I have decided that if I want to wear this as anything other than a house dress, it needs to be belted.
Now that I've finished this, I have freed up the scraps to be used in my quilts, so I hope to make some progress there soon!
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