Pinterest screengrab

Pinterest Inspiration: Chinese New Year

Pinterest inspiration is my place to show you what I’ve been falling in love with recently over on Pinterest. This is one of my favourite place for finding inspiration and I can easily loose a couple of hours pouring through all the beautiful things to make.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year will be celebrated on the 8th of February this year and it will mark the beginning of the year of the monkey. If you want to celebrate Chinese New Year why not try making your own decorations such as these paper lanterns with a tutorial and printable over on Marie’s Pastiche.

 

 

 

Traditionally, red envelopes are given to children with gifts of money in. I found this cute tutorial to make your own from ThriftyJinxy.

 

 

 

You could also, go all out and crochet one of these amigurumi monkeys to mark the occasion. The pattern is by Amigurumi to go adn is really detailed with lots of pictures.

 

I rally love learning about other cultures and traditions and what better way to find out about Chinese new Year than by making all the decorations yourself!

Do you love to get lost in the beautiful world of Pinterest? Leave your user name in the commetns below and I’ll be sure to check out your profile! If you want to see the rest of my pins you can find me here.

Leftovers hat

Leftovers Hat on HsHandcraftsHaving finished my Miette cardigan I still had 2 skeins of Drops Paris yarn left to use. I really loved the colour and loved knitting with it as it just glided along the needles. I wasn’t ready to surrender those last 2 skeins to my stash never to be seen again so I decided to use them right away. After scouring Ravelry for a project that would work nicely with this amount of yarn I decided to go for a hat.

 

Cabling – not as tricky as I thought

I have always loved cabling on knitted items but as yet have not attempted it. Anything that looks that great has got to be tricky, right? Wrong! I bought a cable needle (amongst a lot of other things) from Abakhan in the January sales and decided that now was the perfect time to learn. I had some great yarn that I loved working with so I thought I would give it a try.

cable hook

I found a pattern for a basic hat with a little bit of cable detail and got to work.

After some Googling to find out what CR and CL meant I discovered that it is really very simple! You actually just slip some stitches onto the cable needle and hold it either in front or behind whilst you work some more stitches before knitting those that are on the cable needle. Simple!

cable hat

The hat came together really quickly. It only took a couple of evenings in fact. I think I am actually in love with this yarn, it is so quick to knit and despite being aran weight it is not too heavy as it is 100% cotton.

The details:

Pattern: A hat fit for a fella by Shana Schasteen

Yarn: Drops Paris in Petrol

Needles:Drops Pro 5mm

Alterations: I actually did the repeat one stitch narrower than the pattern and squeezed in an extra half a repeat but this was entirely accidental and makes very little difference to the finished thing.

closeup hat

I am so glad I chase to make this hat straight away because I would hate to have let that yarn go to waste and now I have a hat to wear in the winter and a cardigan to wear in the summer so that I can enjoy the yarn all year long!

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current goings on over on Twitter!

Miette Cardigan

Miette Cardigan on HsHandcraftsThe Selfish Sweater Knitalong is an event designed to allow knitters to make something for themselves after a long period of gift knitting in the run up to Christmas. It is run by Andi Satterlund of Untangling Knots, who has some amazing patterns for a range of knitted jumpers and cardigans.

I had never knitted a garment before so I thought this knitalong was the perfect excuse to give it a try but decided to play it safe with her Miette pattern which is free! So there was nothing to loose if it turned out to be way too difficult! (It wasn’t too difficult at all though, and the pattern was really easy to follow)

I knit my very first cardigan!

I started to make my cardigan over the Christmas break. I had so much time during the days to just sit and knit. Especially given all the horrible rain we had there wasn’t much to do outside and given the fact that a lot of places were flooded we couldn’t really go anywhere. So I actually made loads of progress really quickly and had most of the cardigan knitted in just a couple of weeks.

Mietteeee

Taking part in the knitalong made knitting my first garment so much fun and through the Ravelry group I was able to get loads of help whenever I got stuck with anything. I’d really recommend taking part in a knitalong if you are trying something for the first time. The community spirit was great and I didn’t feel stupid at all asking silly questions as everyone was so helpful!

One of the new aspects to me that came with knitting my first ever garment was binding off in a stretchy way. I chose to use a modified stretchy bind-off adapted from the one described here. To make this work for a 2×2 bind off I knit the knit stitches and passed the previous stitch over as usual. Where there were purl stitches I passed the yarn over before purling and then passed 2 stitches over.

modified bind off

Also new to me was picking up stitches for the button band and ribbing around the neckline. This was something I found really tricky. The button band wasn’t too bad but required picking up fewer stitches than there were rows so required a little bit of working out. However, on about the third try I got it.

button band

However, for the ribbing around the neckline things got even trickier as some of it was in the same direction as the stitches and other parts were across rows. It took me about an hour of working out, picking up the stitches, realising I had done it wrong and stating again before I was finally happy with the way I had picked up the stitches and could start knitting the ribbing. I am glad I persevered though as I know it would bother me if it wasn’t how I wanted it (even if nobody else would even notice!)

top ribbing

The only other thing I found a bit tricky was putting the sleeves back onto the needles (They had previously been put onto scrap yarn whilst continuing with the rest of the body. Somehow I had managed to twist all the stitches whilst transferring them to the yarn which made it really hard to get them back on the needles. I think this was probably something to do with the way I took them from the needle to put them onto the yarn. I used a crochet hook but I think I would have been better to use a darning needle and thread the scrap yarn through whilst the stitches were still on the needle before taking the needle out.

 

Mietteback

The details:

Pattern: Miette Cardigan by Andi Satterlund

Yarn: Drops Paris in Petrol

Needles:Drops Pro circular needles 5mm (4.5mm for ribbing)

Alterations: 34in bust cardigan with sleeves shortened by a total of 8 rows

Thoughts on the pattern and fit

I really loved the pattern as it was so easy to follow. I was terrified of attempting some of the scarier aspects of garment knitting like joining sleeves but this seamless approach made it  really easy to follow

The only modification I made to the pattern was to omit 6 rows from the sleeves and an additional 2 rows from the ribbing on the sleeves. They are supposed to be cropped but even now they are still a little bit too long.

I am fairly short (5’3) and this pattern is a good length for me. It is cropped but sits just about on my natural waistline. It is a little longer at the back.

sideMiette

I chose to knit the 34” bust size as it was the smallest available. My bust measurment is 34” so there should be no negative ease on me and I would say this is fairly accurate. Although this pattern is designed to be worn with negative ease I am very happy with the fit and like the fitted feel without any stretch as it means the button holes don’t gape!

Thoughts on the yarn

I used Drops Paris in Petrol.
I love the feel of the yarn, it was really nice to knit with and moved easily along the needles. The only issue I found with it was if you caught a single thread it easily snagged and, unlike wool, did not easily return to the main twist.

The colour is amazing, I really love it but I am not sure I would describe it as petrol, it is more blue and fairly pale.

All in all i really love this cardigan and I am so happy to be able to wear my first knitted garment even if it is seasonally inappropriate for the sudden cold spell we are having

MeinMiette

If you like to know more about this make why not check out some more detailed notes on my Ravelry project page.

Want to see more of what I’m working on currently? Head on over to Instagram!

Pinterest screengrab

Pinterest Inspiration: Sewing Spaces

Pinterest inspiration is my place to show you what I’ve been falling in love with recently over on Pinterest. This is one of my favourite place for finding inspiration and I can easily loose a couple of hours pouring through all the beautiful things to make.

Sewing Spaces

Since we moved house I have  been eyeing up the spare room to turn into a crafting room. It gets lots of natural light and has plenty space to leave my sewing machine out all the time, which would make it much easier to sew in short bursts whenever I have a bit of spare time. Currently I have to clear the dining table and get the machine out of its box so having a permanent place for it would be amazing. This week I have been searching Pinterest for ideas about how to create my perfect sewing space. Here are some of my favourites!

First of all I really want a pegboard for storing all my tools on. Currently I have to rummage through my sewing box to find anything and when your mid seam and you get a snag you just need to be able to reach out and grab those thread scissors. This beautiful pegboard comes courtesy of  Fabric Paper Glue and is so much fun, I really love the added photoframe and plants to jazz up all that craft storage!

 

 

 

Look at all these jars!! I would love to be able to store all my buttons and beads and zips and everything else in a way that I can see them and know what I’ve got without having to rummage for hours. Displaying them like this also looks really cool – who needs art when you have supplies!

 

 

 

 

On a similar theme , I want to be able to display my fabric. I bought it all because I love the colours and prints so why not show them off! Also it would make it so much easier to know what I already have and hopefully prevent so many impulse fabric buys if I could see all that inspiration without having to go diving into boxes to find it! This tutorial on how to fold it all to fit your shelves should do just the trick.

 

 

 

You can find these and loads of other great ideas for planning a sewing space on my new Sewing Space Pinterest board. I cant wait to get to work on creating my perfect sewing space now!

Do you have a dedicated sewing space? I’d love to hear about it! How do you organise your tools and supplies? Do you prefer to have everything on show or tidied away neatly?

New Year, New Look!

Can you believe it’s one year since I first started this blog! So much has happened over that time, I have learned to knit and sew as well as crochet. I’ve made a great start on my handmade wardrobe. I’ve even participated in loads of great social activities related to all kinds of crafting.

As my skills grow, so does this blog and I thought it was a great time to find a new look, now I know a bit better who I am as a crafter (and blogger). So welcome! Hopefully this new look will feel a lot cleaner and easier to navigate.

My new sidebar (over there on the right –>) should be your first port of call to find all the exciting things you might want to know about. You can find out more about me by heading to the about me page; just click on my face!

You can also find links to all my social media sites. These are great places to find out what I’m up to as it happens – I’m particularly fond of Instagram at the moment and this is definietly the place to see all the photos of my current projects as they progress.

In the sidebar you can also find all the buttons for crafting events and activities run by other blogs that I am currently participating in. This is a great way to find out about what is going on in the rest of the crafting community and crowd source helpful information from a great bunch of like-minded people. I really suggest you check these things out!

The sidebar is also where you can search through my old posts in the archives or by tags but there is an easier way! There are some great new categories to group my blog posts into “Craft”, “Crochet”, “Knit” and “Sew”. These should make it easier to search through all my blog posts, so you can look at just the crafts you are most excited about. These categories can be found in the menu at the top; Or right here, if you want to check them out straight away!

For the keen-eyed amongst you, you will have also noticed a great new page up the top there as well. The patterns page is where you can find all the knitting and crochet patterns I have made so far and links to where you can access them. Currently this page is looking a little bit sparse as there are only 2 patterns on there but I hope to populate it a bit more in the very near future!

I hope you love the new look as much as I do. I’d love to hear what you think int he comments below or on any of the usual social media challenges. Also, if you find any bugs I’d love to hear about them to make everyones experience so much better!

 

 

 

Pinterest screengrab

Pinterest Inspiration: Cosy Cardigans

Pinterest inspiration is my place to show you what I’ve been falling in love with recently over on Pinterest. This is one of my favourite places for finding inspiration and I can easily loose a couple of hours pouring through all the beautiful things to make.

Cosy Cardigans

This week winter has arrived and I have been digging out all of my cosy woolens. This also means I have been scouring Pinterest for winter themed makes! I especially love to wear a cosy cardigan at this time of year and curl up with a nice hot cup of tea! Here of some of my favourite finds.

My first find is this gorgeous patterned cardigan. I would love to knit this in a nice cream or grey colored yarn and pair it with jeans and some boots for those crisp winter days! The pattern is called White Pine and you can find it here on Ravelry.

 

 

I also love this cardigan which features some delicate lace work for those who like a bit of delicate charm to their cosy layers! Again, the pattern is on Ravelry here.

 

 

 If you prefer something a bit more fitted what about this cute cardigan by Drops design? The pattern can be found here and what’s more its totally FREE! I would love to make a cardigan like this in a warm red or orange. Perfect to brighten up a dreary winters morning!

 

 

 

Finally, what’s not to love about this super fun “Two boyfriends Cardigan”. I really love this playful take on a winter classic, and really enjoyed browsing through the great ideas for colour combinations in the projects section of its Ravelry page

 

 

 

You can find all of these pins and more great knitting project ideas over on my Pinterest board for Knitting inspiration

H.

Do you love to get lost in the beautiful world of Pinterest? Leave your user name in the comments below and I’ll be sure to check out your profile! If you want to see the rest of my pins you can find me here.

A new dress is for life, not just for Christmas

With only two days to go before Christmas I decided I couldn’t possibly not make a new dress for the big day! I even had thefabric ready: the navy and emerald tartan (I only used a tiny bit for the hem of my Lou Lou dress).

Megan

I’ve been meaning to try remaking a pattern that I’ve already tried in the hope that it would save a lot of time, particularly at the fitting stage so it seemed the perfect opportunity to make another Megan dress as I really loved the fit of my first one.

 

Not having to fit a toile can save tons of time!

I know it sounds obvious (right?) but I guess I just hadnt really ever thought about how much quicker it would be to make a pattern for the second time. As I am still relatively new to making my own clothes the excitement of new patterns is still a major driver when I choose what to make next. However, given that this was a project with a deadline, makiing a second version of a project I know I can get a great fit on was the perfect plan.

The fabric was wonderful to work with, it just seemed to glide through the machine. I wish I knew more about fabrics so that I could look out for similar things in future. Maybe someone will be able to help me figure it out! The only issue was the large checked pattern required a lot of matching. In fact, I didnt really bother too much other than pinning it when folded so that the stripes remained straight and symmetrical about the centre. I just let the side seams take care of themselves (but shh, don’t tell anyone)

stripe matching

In terms of fitting, I pretty much used my toile from last time as a pattern piece. In fact, I only adjusted one thing and that was to make the bodice longer by 1.25inches so that it sits a bit lower down rather than creeping up right under my bust.

megan top

I also added a centred zip. I chose to do this for a few reasons. Firstly, and probably most importantly they didn’t have an invisible one in the colour I wanted. Secondly, as my fabric was a little thicher than the one I used last time I didnt want to get stuch with bulky seams around the zip which can sometimes make them tricky to open and close. I had also just seen this tutorial for one over on the Colette website and really wanted to try it out.

Megan zip

Unlike last time I decided to leave the length of the skirt as in the pattern as I largely intend to wear this dress in the winter over tights I quite like the extra length.

The only other change I made from last time was to redraw the neck facing pattern pieces to match the new shape of the neckline after the FBA and it worked really well – no more weird protruding neckline. The only slight issue is the zip does sag a little at the neckline so I still need to figure out why that is happening but it’s fine if I just wear my hair down over it!

The details:

Pattern: Megan dress from Love at first stitch

Fabric: Navy and emerald tartan?

Notions: 56cm Navy zip, gutermann thread in navy, light weight iron on interfacing

Alterations: Full bust adjustment, 1.25 inches added to length of bodice

I really love this dress and it was the perfect thing for Christmas day, smart but not too over the top for dinner with family!

H.

 

Christmas Gifts

I can finally reveal the last of my secret WIPs! I made a skirt for my mum for Christmas.

The last time I saw her she was admiring my Delphine skirt and pestered so much that I had to let her try it on. The fit was perfect so I decided I would make her one for Christmas using exactly the same pattern pieces as for my first one, together with the size gradient between waiste and hips. I chose to make the main skirt from the same navy blue twill as my Lou Lou dress but added a fun polycotton lining to the waisteband using remnants from my Megan dress.

Delphine Skirt

I’m really pleased with how it turned out and my mum loved it!

For Christmas this year I got given the great new book Freehand Fashion by Chinelo Bally. I really loved her makes on the Great British Sewing Bee and cant wait to try my hand at freehand dressmaking – no patterns required!!

H.