cream shawl WIP

Knowing when to stop

Recently I’ve found myself struggling with the knitting pattern I’m working on. Its a knitted cowl with some lacework. The pattern offered two options for the length and I really loved the look of the longer one so that’s what I went for. However as its a cowl rather than a scarf this meant working the long edge so each row has 130 stitches. This was not great for my motivation as it felt like I was making no progress. Also, with it being my first attempt at any sort of lacework I was finding it quite tricky to follow the pattern and occasionally I would reach my stitch marker for the end of a row but instead of being at the end of the row on the pattern I was mid-motif. When each row was taking almost an hour this is not something I wanted to unpick! I decided to stick with it but after a while it was becoming more of a chore than something I was doing for fun.

Blue heart cowl

So I  made the decision to shelve the project, perhaps till I am a bit more confident with lace. Maybe if I come back to it again I will remember why I started it in the first place – I do still really love the pattern and the yarn but I just did not want to continue with a project that was more stressful than my day job!

I decided to try another knitting pattern with a small amount of lacework – it is a shawl that is basically a flat knit with periodic holes in it. Having started this new pattern I am remembering why I like knitting. It is fun and doesn’t require too much concentration allowing me to watch TV or chat to my friends as I go! I also seem to be making reasonable progress – look what I have achieved in a week! (along with work on my other projects)

Have you ever reached the point where you have to shelve a project because it just isnt working for you? How did you decide when to stop?

H.

Knitting and Crochet blog week

I’ve decided to take part in the knitting and crochet blog week run by EskimiMakes. This sounds like a great opportunity to expand the way I approach blogging and also a chance to focus on creating some new and exciting blog posts to fill a whole week.

Knitting-And-crochet-Blog-Week-6-Eskimimi-Makes

For those of you who have not heard about this before. It will take place from the 11th til the 17th May 2015 and invites knitters and crocheters from all over the world to take part in a community blog week. There are a number of topics to blog about over 7 day period:

  • Day One (Monday 11th May): If You Were Yarn.
  • Day Two (Tuesday 12th May): It’s All About You.
  • Day Three (Wednesday 13th May): Experimental Photography And Image Handling For Bloggers.
  • Day Four (Thursday 14th May): Bags Of Fun.
  • Day Five (Friday 15th May): Something A Bit Different.
  • Day Six (Saturday 16th May): Polls Apart.
  • Day Seven (Sunday 17th May): Your Time, Your Place.

For more information about what these topics might entail check out this recent post explaining them in more detail!

I’m really excitied for this opportunity and am already beginning to think about my posts.

H.

Megan Dress

It’s been a week since I finished my latest project and it’s just as well as the weather we have been having is amazing so its already been getting a fair few outings. I am slowly working my way through “Love at first stitch” and so the next thing to make was the Megan dress. A quick search on the internet will show you loads of gorgeous versions of this dress, which seems to be the perfect shape on everyone so I was really excited to make mine!

Megan dress in fun blue and white chevron print

Megan dress in fun blue and white chevron print

To be honest, I started this dress about a month ago. Firstly I traced out the pattern for the bodice in a size 4 and cut out a toile from some really cheap plain white cotton. I pinned it together with all the darts in place and it looked terrible. The arm holes were gaping open and whilst it fit nicely across my chest it seemed to fit terribly everywhere else. So I turned to google and soon found out that what I needed to do was to cut a smaller pattern size and do a full bust adjustment. So this is exactly what i did – I eventually got the bodice toile fitting perfectly! At this point I decided I needed a break and set to work on my Anémone skirt.

After completing the skirt I was keen to move back to my Megan dress, especially as the weather was warming up and I had the perfect cotton that would be fun and bright to match the season! As the toile was complete there was not much fitting left to do. I removed all the pins and drew in the darts with a marker pen so that I could use the fabric toile as my pattern piece.

The fabric I had chosen to use I had originally purchased with the idea of making a top and so only had 2 m of fabric. The pattern calls for closer to 3 so i decided to first lay it all out and see if I could fit all the pattern pieces on. Luckily for me the zigzag pattern does not really need to be “the right way up” so I was able to fit it all in by putting the front and back bodice pieces on facing in opposite directions whilst still orientating the grainline correctly.

Squeezing all the pattern pieces onto a piece of fabric which should have been too small

Squeezing all the pattern pieces onto a piece of fabric which should have been too small

Once the pattern pieces were cut out the dress came together relatively quickly last Saturday. Sewing in darts was a lot simpler than I thought. I don’t know what I was expecting but I was really surprised at how quick it was. Also gathering is my new favourite thing – expect more of this coming soon!

gathered sleeve on Megan dress

Look at all the pretty gathering on the sleeves – so much fun!

The only thing I am not to happy with this the neckline. It seems to sit proud of my shoulders and I’m not quite sure why. I think it might be something to do with the way I altered the bodice for the full bust adjustment. Perhaps I also need to change the shape of the facing pieces or use a lighter weight interface? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Neckline on Megan dress sitting proud and I dont know why?!?

Neckline on Megan dress sitting proud and I dont know why?!?

This was also my first project where I felt I really ought to give pattern matching a go. I didn’t really know how to go about this so I thought I would just try really hard on one seam. I felt the most important place was the front of the dress where the bodice joins the skirt. I measured the seam allowance on the bodice pattern piece and marked where on the zigzag the seam would be. I then tried really hard to align the corresponding pattern piece on the skirt with that part of the zigzag. I am quite pleased with how it turned out. Its not perfectly matched but from a distance its not amazingly obvious! The back however, is a different story. I’m not sure how it managed to get so horribly mismatched!! Oh well, this is Britain, I will be wearing a cardigan most of the time!

The details:

Pattern: Megan Dress from Tilly and the Buttons book: Love at first stitch

Fabric: 100% Cotton Craft Monotone Zig-Zag Print Fabric Material in navy and white from the textile centre

Notions: YKK invisible zip in dark blue, Guterman thread in white, medium weight interfacing.

Alterations: Full bust adjustment for bodice. Skirt shortened by approx 4 inches

Megan dress

Megan dress

Colour Combinations

I am sure everyone knows the feeling when you are inspired by a new pattern that you just have to try straight away but cant decide how to make it just right for you. Well sometimes its down to the texture of the fabric or yarn but more often than not I find myself pondering over the colour for so long! There are certain colours I return to time and time again but often I want to try something new but am unsure of how it will fit in with the colours already in my wardrobe.

I decided to create a new pinterest board to keep track of some of my favourite colour combinations so that when I cant decide what colour to do my next project I can just open it up and see what has inspired me before. Also, if I know what I want it to match I can look for colour inspiration with those combinations in!

Do you have a method of choosing what colours to create your next project in or do you always go for the same combinations? I would love to hear any tips!

Just for fun, here are some of my favourites! What are yours?

H.

backstitched embroidered bike

A journey into embroidery

About a month ago I saw an offer for a new sewing magazine to get the first 3 issues for £5 – bargain! I wasnt really sure what to expect but when my first copy arrived I read the entire thing from cover to cover twice! The first time there was lots of “oohs” and “ahhs” and exclamations of “where’s my sewing machine! I want to make it now”. The second reading I was more restrained as I’ve set myself a task when it comes to sewign to not have more than one project on the go at once. Instead, I turned down the page corners of everything I want to try – and pretty much every page is turned!

However, I couldnt resist but do something from the magazine before the next issue arrives in a couple of weeks. So I managed to convince myself that embroidery does not count as sewing and so it was perfectly legitimate to start something new!

I have never embroidered before but is something I have always liked the look of and thought about trying. So it seemed like the perfect coincidence that there was an entire article on backstitching – one of the mst simple embroidery stitches. There was a tutorial of how to do it and a pattern that only uses this one stitch. There was also promise of more stitches in the next issue!

On my trip to Hobbycraft a few weeks ago I had bought an embroidery hoop and a blank canvas bag in anticipation of starting this new project so I could quickly get to work.

The pattern was for a bicycle which I placed underneath my taughtened bag and traced using a blue pencil (as recommended). I think this was the trickiest part as it was quite hard to keep the pattern still underneath the fabric. At least now I know for next time I should try pinning it down or something.

Once I had started stitching I realised that this is in fact a really fun new hobby as it is quite relaxing and I enjoy the precision element to it. Also, you can do it whilst watching the tv! and better still if you go wrong you can just undo the  one stitch that needs changing unlike in knitting where the whole thing has to get unraveled!!

Anyway, I think it turned out really well for my first attempt and am really looking forward to trying some more stitches to produce the amazing range of textures and styles you can see in embroidery. I think I will fill the whole bag with my practicing!

Backstitched embroidered bike in embroidery hoop

Backstitched embroidered bike in embroidery hoop

Backstitched embroidered bike on a tote bag

Backstitched embroidered bike on a tote bag

backstitched embroidered bike

backstitched embroidered bike

Anemone Peplum

Anémone skirt

Over the Easter weekend I finished making my second skirt. This time the pattern came via a friend of mine from Deer and Doe. The pattern comes in both French and English and is quite versatile with two different lengths and the option to add a partial peplum or buttons. I opted for the shorter skirt with the peplum so as to make it drastically different from my Delphine skirt. I enjoyed making the skirt however in places the instructions were a little sparce. However, with the odd bit of googling I managed to make it through and have a totally wearable garment (although it is a little small on me – not through any fault in the sewing but rather the large gap between starting to make the project and its completion. During this time I had a birthday and with that came lots of meals out and cake!)

I am quite pleased with the skirt. I love the pattern on the fabric, although the fabric itself was quite tricky for me, as a brginner, to work with. It had quite a bit of stretch in it and so some of the seams have puckered a bit, especially around the invisible zip. Despite this I feel my second attempt at an invisible zip was a fairly succesful one – you cant see the zip and it functions as it should – what more could you want?

I made no attempt whatsoever at pattern matching as the pattern is so busy you would hardly notice anyway which is great seeing as the skirt is constructed from multiple panels so that would have been a lot of seams to match! It was also my first garment that had a lining. I enjoyed this aspect of making the skirt quite a lot as it allowed me to make any adjustments to the lining as a sort of trial run before starting on my actual fabric. For the lining material I went to the local market and bought some plain white cotton for £2 a metre so I could mess it up as much as I liked and not feel too bad about wasting precious fabric. I think if I were to make this skirt again I might choose a fabric that holds itself a bit better to make more of a feature of the peplum. This could also be done by choosing a less busy pattern. I would also probably make the skirt a little longer as it looks great with tights but I would be a little afraid to go out in it with bare legs in the summer!

The details:

Pattern: Deer and Doe, Anémone skirt. Short version with Peplum.

Fabric: Midnight flowers abstract floral print from the textile centre

Notions: YKK 41cm invisible zip in dark blue and Guterman thread in pale grey.

Alterations: Graded pattern between size 38 waist and 36 hips

embroidery floss necklace

embroidery floss necklace

It definitely feels like spring is here and all the flowers that are popping up everywhere make me want to brighten up my wardrobe. My winter wardrobe is often quite dark incorporating jewel tones such as the blue of my geometric cowl or the red of my delphine skirt, but spring calls for bright blues and pale yellows!

After taking the time to think about some of the great ideas I found when searching through my favourite pins I decided to have a go at making the embroidery floss necklace that I had pinned onto my craft board

Embroidery floss necklace

Embroidery floss necklace found on pinterest

I took the time to click through and find the original post which was actually on Mollie Makes and had some nice simple instructions.

I decided I wanted to make my necklace a little more discrete and so opted for only 24 threads instead of the suggested 137! I thought such a big change might really alter the style of the necklace but I ‘m really happy with how it turned out and I think if I had made it much bigger it would have looked a bit ridiculous on me.

Check out how it turned out and let me know what you think:

The final stage of making the necklace is to cut off the end. This gave me about a 20 cm length of all the embroidery threads. Of course I wasn’t going to through these away so I folded them into quarters to give me a 96 thread bunch and tied it up to make a tassle. I strung this onto a much longer piece of thread to make another necklace so nothing went to waste! You could also make it into a keyring if one brightly coloured embroidery floss necklace is enough for you!

tassle necklace made using the leftovers from my embroidery necklace

tassle necklace

To make your own:

You need

  • 6-10 skeins of embroidery floss
  • scissors

Find the instructions on Mollie Makes but if like me you want to change the thickness don’t be afraid as it seems to be quite easy to make this necklace your own!

H.

 

beginnings of knitted cowl

Bank Holiday Weekend WIPs

I hope everyone had a nice relaxing bank holiday weekend. With 4 days off work there was plenty time to fit in lots of crafting around all the housework. On Friday I decided to give myself a whole day without chores. I mainly spent that time sewing as I have been working on a skirt for some time now and progress has been slow. So I set my mind to it and by the end of the day the skirt was finished! I wont show you it now as I want to take some better pictures and give it the full post it deserves seeing as I have spent nearly two months on it!

On Saturday we went on a little trip out to the shops to sort out some bits and pieces and as we just happened to be driving past Hobbycraft it would have been rude not to go in, especially as I had a voucher that I had received for my birthday. I decided to buy the rest of the wool for my sunburst blanket so that I could start on the final round of the individual grannies. I decided to stick to the plan and bought a dark blue. When I got home I was eager to check out my purchase in combination with the other colours already in my blanket so quickly completed a few squares and I’m really happy with the result.

completed granny squares for sunburst blanket

completed granny squares for sunburst blanket

I also decided to buy an embroidery ring as this is something I have always thought about trying but not really known where to start. However, a couple of weeks ago I got the new “Simply sewing” magazine and there was a section on embroidery and a simple design to practice simple backstitches so I thought I would give it a go.

On Sunday we went out for the day so unfortunately not much crafting took place and then on Monday I managed to squeeze in a bit of knitting around the housework. I am currently working on a cowl, that is knitted in the round so it seems to be taking forever as each round is 320 stitches and so I am only on round 11 despite feeling like I should be making a lot more progress!

beginnings of knitted cowl

beginnings of knitted cowl

 

How have you been getting on over the bank holiday? I cant wait to see all the progress everyone has made.

H.

Easter weekend

Today is a bank holiday which means a lie in, plenty of cups of tea and lots of crafting! I have a few projects on the go at the moment which I plan to progress over the weekend.

The first is a skirt which I have been sewing for some time now so my main goal is to get that completed. I also have the beginnings of my first dress so I hope to make some progress with that.

Aside from my sewing I am working on a knitted cowl and my crochet blanket. So lots of crafting over the weekend.

The weather is not looking to great at the moment so no other plans as yet. Hopefully there will be some sun tomorrow and I can go outside and enjoy all the spring flowers that are coming through!

H.