Me-Made-May 2017

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I Helen of https://hshandcrafts.wordpress.com (Instgram @hshandcrafts) sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made item of clothing for each day in May 2017 with non sneaky cop-outs like scarves, unlike last year.

It’s that time of year again!!

Me Made May is the creation of ‘So Zo…’ . It is a brilliant endeavour to encourage people who sew/knit/crochet/refashion/upcycle garments for themselves to wear and love them more. If you want to find out more about it there is a great page and sign up sheet over on her blog.

Last year was the first time I participated in the me-made-may challenge. I pledged to wear something me-made everyday. It was really fun but quite tricky with only one year of sewing under my belt so I think there were a couple of cop-out days where I counted my pyjamas or an accessory or two. Now I have a more extensive wardrobe I will be fully committed this year and am determined to wear at least one item of me-made attire every day for the duration of may.

As I did last year I will be keeping a daily log of the me-made items I am wearing each day of May over on Instagram so if you want to follow me and my challenge that’s where to do it.

A new knitting pattern and a giveaway!

 

Saxifraga is a warm and cosy hat knit in aran weight yarn with a simple geometric motif created in colour work. the hat gradually changes from colour A at the brim to B at the top.

This is my newest knit creation and the pattern is available to buy now on Ravelry!!

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Knit in aredblue-saxifraga soft drapy alpaca it creates the perfect slouchy beanie or in a tougher yarn it will make a thicker cosy hat to keep the wind out on the coldest of winter days!

I was searching for the perfect colourwork hat for some beautiful aran yarn I bought from Town End alpacas and just couldn’t find one that I loved so I designed one myself. I really love geometric designs and so decided to focus on triangles and diamonds in the colourwork motif.

It is quite easy knitting and only requires knowledge of:
long tail cast on
ribbing
colourwork
decreases

The hat is one size only and will fit an adult

It is knit in aran weight yarn in two different colours (less than 50g of each) on size 3.5 and 4mm circular needles.

I really hope you will love this hat as much as I do. Pictured here are some of the versions I have knit so far. I really love how it works in so many different colourways! From monochrome, to natural to bright reds and blues. So whether subtlety is your thing or you would rather go for brights this pattern will work for you.

 

 

 

saxifraga-giveawauGiveaway

If you cant wait to get knitting I am giving away two copies of this pattern. One is available to my blog followers and the other one is over on instagram (look out for the picture on the left) so why not enter both for twice the chances of winning!

So, for my blog readers to be in with the chance of winning a copy of this pattern all you have to do is follow this blog and leave me a comment below telling me what colourway you would choose for your Saxifraga.

Giveaway is open until 17:00 GMT on Sunday 5th of March. So go and check out all of the test knits over on Ravelry for inspiration for your Saxifraga and let me know what colours you would choose in the comments and follow this blog to be in with the chance to win your own copy of the pattern.

And if you cant wait to find out if you’ve won don’t forget the pattern is available to buy now over on Ravelry!!

Dont forget to also enter over on Instagram for another chance to win!

I learned Fairisle!

fairisle-hatSo it has been absolutely ages since I last posted here and for that, I apologise. However, from now on I won’t be apologising and you can probably expect the posts to get more and more erratic in their timings. I am about to enter the final year of my PhD and things are going to get a bit crazy. In fact, they already have done and that is part of the reason for the lack of posts recently. It doesn’t mean I have stopped crafting though…far from it! I am finding that crafting, and especially knitting, is a welcome break from all that hard work. So I have plenty to write about but I can foresee that actually writing the posts may not be top of my agenda given the huge amount of writing I have coming my way in the form of the PhD thesis!

 

So, for now, you will have to bear with me as there will be the odd blog post for you over the next year but they may be few and far between. However, you can keep up with my makes over on your social network of choice (but I mostly share stuff on Instagram and twitter).Key Insight 3-4 sentences This should be an overview of the item, pattern, yarn and new skills

Anyway, for those of you who already follow me on Instagram this latest make won’t be much of a surprise! I decided to learn how to knit fairisle. I purchased some gorgeous alpaca yarn that I want to use to make a fairisle hat but the only problem is that I don’t know how to do fairisle. After a few attempts, I always ended up with lots of bunching and big gaps at the colour changes. A friend suggested I try to hold one colour in each hand. Now, at first this seemed ridiculous. It was like learning to knit all over again. However, after watching a few videos of how to hold the tension in your right hand I was beginning to pick it up. So I decided to start on this hat to give my new technique a whirl. Key Insight 3-4 sentences This should be an overview of the item, pattern, yarn and new skills

The pathfinder pattern has been in my Ravelry library for a while just waiting for me to learn fairisle knitting so what perfect time than to give it a try! It turns out the two-handed knitting was just the trick I was missing as it allowed me to keep the tension in both yarns at once.


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After just a few rows of the fairisle I was easing into it and even the back didn’t look too bad!

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The details:

Pattern: Pathfinder by Julia Marsh

Yarn: Some acrylic odds and ends that I don’t really like and so didn’t mind if all went horribly wrong

Needles: 4.5mm circular

Alterations: I mixed up the pattern a bit so the colour blocks would be smaller

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Now I just need to pluck up the courage to actually try and knit something with my special alpaca yarn!

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagram or Twitter

OAL2016 is complete!

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Who doesn’t love the chance to both knit and sew whilst discussing it every step of the way with a group of like-minded crafters? I personally love it and the Outfit-Along has not disappointed. For those who missed my previous post about this and have no idea what I’m talking about it is a challenge to create an outfit in two months. There is a set pattern for both a sewn skirt and knitted top which you can choose to follow along with a series of guided posts from Lladybird and Untangling Knots or go your own way and make something different. This is what I chose to do as I have quite a few skirts and was looking to make a great summer dress. Also, another cardigan was top of my list for knitting so I decided upon the Agatha cardigan and got started.

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I picked up this gorgeous fabric from the knit and stitch show earlier this year and knew the subtle ivory and black print could handle a bright cardigan so chose to go with a red yarn. I used the suggested yarn for the pattern which was Cascade 220 and I actually really loved working with it. It is 100% wool so it’s really warm and will definitely make the cardigan great for the Autumn and Winter (even if it is a little bit much right now!)

 

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The dress is self-drafted. I used the bodice block from Freehand Fashion, a book by Chinelo Bally from Series 2 of the Great British Sewing Bee. This is the second time I have used this bodice block and after a few tweaks it is almost perfect in terms of fit. I also drafted a semi-circle skirt. I am really pleased with it and the fabric is perfect for this kind of skirt. It drapes really well but has some body to show off the fullness.

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Also, I put the biggest pockets known to man into the side seams! Why doesn’t every dress have pockets this huge??

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I really enjoyed taking part in the Outfit-Along and I’m already looking forward to next year. It was a great experience to think about making an entire outfit as so many of my handmade clothes are one-off pieces that I have to mix and match with shop-bought to create a wearable outfit. Perhaps I will consider this more from now on and start thinking about creating a more cohesive wardrobe.

If you want to see more of the outfit along and see all of the other wonderful outfits people have created you should definitely head on over to Ravelry where there is a wonderful forum of delights awaiting you!

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagram or Twitter

Blue Heart

Heart CowlI was looking back through my old posts to find out when I first started knitting this cowl and it turns out it was way back in April last year!For a long time it was a bit of a love-hate relationship. I hadn’t really knitted lace before and was really struggling with the pattern. After a few weeks I decided to give it a break and started work on my lacy shawl instead.

Both patterns are by designer Ambah O’brien and I really love them both. There is enough lace to make them feel delicate without being to fiddly and retaining that chunky knit feel I really love.

 

Having given this project a break I was quite pleased to come back to it. I love the yarn, and the pattern – and whilst hearts and normally my thing these have a geometric look to them which I find really appealing.

How could knitting this not make me happy - look at that blue on blue on blue!

How could knitting this not make me happy – look at that blue on blue on blue!

Once I was more confident with the lace this wasn’t too difficult a pattern to follow and a couple of long train journeys got me well on the way to being done.

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I actually finished this project quite a while ago and it managed to sneak into some of my me-made-may outfits. It was actually really great for those days when the weather is being particularly fickle and a cardigan isn’t quite always enough. This as an extra layer was perfect for taking on and off as the temperature dropped.

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I really like the length. It is plenty long enough to comfortable wrap around twice without being tight. Also, because it is blue it goes with pretty much all of my clothes! I’m so glad I persevered with this pattern as I think it will get a lot of use!

 

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If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current knitting projects on Ravelry where I share more details on what I thought of the yarn, the pattern and any tips or tricks I found to make it easier  for me to make.

#MMMay16 is complete!

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Me-Made-May has flown by and I’ve loved every minute of it: getting the most out of my me-made wardrobe, discovering where I am in need of new items to fill gaps and discovering everyone else’s brilliant makes all at the same time! Here’s a round up of my month and some of those long awaited selfies!

I am pleased to say I completed my pledge and wore something me-made every day! I am quite pleased with this and think I will continue to try and wear my handmade clothes more often as it has not been as challenging as I thought.

I, Helen of https://hshandcrafts.wordpress.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made item each day for the duration of May 2016

2016-05-16 08.17.51I also managed to identify some areas where I needed more items and even made one thing to fit the bill! My oversized sweater was perfect to fill the days when I needed something comfy and easy to do a lot of manual work in! It even got worn 4 times over the course of the month!

2016-05-15 08.44.52It has been quite warm this May and so obviously that has swayed the kind of clothes I have worn but I have still managed to get three wears out of my Chuck jumper. I really love this jumper and can’t wait to knit more jumpers and cardigans…in fact, there are two on the way at the moment (oversized Vianne and OAL2016)

2016-05-17 08.10.23Speaking of cardigans, I have also worn Miette twice this May. I was unsure how much wear I would get from it seeing as it is not my usual style but turns out it is great for the warmer weather we have been having!

2016-05-26 08.26.19Moving on to tops, I wore a new (unblogged) freehand top I made once at the start of May but just don’t like the sleeves at all so think I will rip them out and try and do something else with them. I have, however, worn my gingham top twice. I really like the pop of red in the buttons – it makes an otherwise quite plain top really fun to wear!

2016-05-23 08.25.02I have also wore my new Susie blouse twice (Watch this space for more info on this one…I’m still awaiting a time when I can get some good photos!). I definitely need more tops in my wardrobe and I think this may become a pattern I use time and time again. It is a style I really like and I have lots of similar RTW tops so can see myself making more of these.

2016-05-14 10.01.402016-05-18 17.43.49As for dresses, my first chevron print Megan dress saw 3 outings whilst my tartan print  second  only saw 1. I don’t think this has anything to do with how much I like them (in fact I think I secretly like the tartan one more) but has a lot more to do with the weather. The chevron print dress just seems right for summer!

2016-05-20 08.33.56I also wore my Lou Lou dress twice this May. Whilst I was unsure of the style at first I think I just was a bit unsure how to wear it. I really love it layered up with a  cardigan for a relaxed smart-casual style.

2016-05-11 08.34.09Moving on to skirts my first ever skirt, Delphine, was worn twice and my newest (unblogged) black midi only got worn once each. Delphine is definitely more of a winter skirt made from a  heavy fabric it is best layered up with tights and boots. Conversely, the midi skirt is so light and floaty it is really only for super hot weather.

However, my other skirts were really the stars of the month!

2016-05-03 07.57.53My tulip skirt got worn a lot – it’s really versatile and I absolutely love the fabric. I will be making more of this pattern as it fits into my wardrobe so well.

2016-05-24 08.23.24Also, my waterfall skirt was worn 5 times(!) in May. It is great for warmer weather whilst still feeling like I don’t have my legs on show too much for work. I hope to make some more of these soon as they are such an easy make and a great way to show off beautiful fabric!.

 

Who else has been taking part in Me-Made-May? I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did and completed your own personal challenges. I can’t wait for next year now. It will be the perfect opportunity to see how my handmade wardrobe has grown and adapted to over time. First thing though…the Outfit Along!

Remember you can keep up with my OAL2016 progress on my Ravelry project page or head over to the forum for lots of fun and interesting discussion!

Outfit along 2016

As Me-Made-May draws to an end I have been thinking about what I could do to keep the part of my brain busy that enjoys snooping  looking at all the amazing things everyone else has been making. I thought I would be at a loss come June.

However, the awesome crafting community has come to my rescue! This time in the shape of the Outfit along. What could be more exciting than a bunch of crafters creating outfits by both sewing and knitting whilst discussing it every step of the way! Cue major excitement! I really enjoyed the selfish sweater knit along at the start of the year so can’t wait to take part in this one!

The Outfit along is run by Untangling Knots and Lladybird covering the knitting and sewing aspects respectively. This year the chosen patterns are Zinone for the knitting and Sewaholics Hollyburn for the sewing. Unfortunately, neither of these two really inspires me but never fear! I will be taking part anyway – I will just be choosing different patterns .

Right now I am thinking of making a different untangling knots pattern – the Agatha cardigan (one day I may make a knitted garment by a different designer but for now I am in love with all of Andi Satterlund’s patterns!) During Me-Made-May I have realised how muted my colour palette is in my makes so I think I will make the cardigan in a red yarn – possibly Cascade 220 in ruby.

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I will be pairing this with a dress made from the fabric I bought at the Knit and Stitch Show (bottom left in the picture above). A gorgeous cotton poplin floral (oh look we’re back to monochrome again!) I am open to suggestions for the pattern but I am thinking possibly the Lilou dress from Love at First Stitch or a Sew Over It Betty...or I am actually currently working on a custom bodice block, so depending how that goes it could be in the frame. Any suggestions are more than welcome.

Who else is joining in with the Outfit Along? What are you making?

Helen

 

 

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions my own

#MMMay16 Week Three Summary

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We are now three weeks into me-made-may! Since the first of may I have been posting my daily outfit on Instagram in an attempt to give myself some accountability for my Me-Made-May pledge:

I, Helen of https://hshandcrafts.wordpress.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made item each day for the duration of May 2016

I am still keeping up with this and have worn me-mades every day. This week I even managed two me-made outfits in one day! Although I am kind of making up for it with a pyjama day today (me-made PJs though, so I’m still counting it!)

Here is a summary of what I wore this week. Again it’s flat lays rather than daily selfies but if you want a composite of my daily selfies there is one over on instagram just to prove I did wear them all!

 

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Last Sunday was another wear for my Chuck jumper. I really do love this jumper and cant wait to knit more chunky knits . They really are one of my wardrobe staples…bring on winter!

 

 

 

13256718_1725426201071739_1004807462_n13166797_787095318091527_1067551045_n 13269483_1738334476443670_769931112_nThis week at work I had to set up a big experiment which involved lots of digging and moving lots of soil around so I needed to be comfy and a skirt, dress or nice woven top just wouldn’t do it. This is my most recent make. A comfy sweater. You can read all about it soon in a post later this week. I wore it on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. By Thursday it was so dirty and well-worn that it was reduced to a pile on the floor with my muddy jeans!

 

 

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Tuesday was also a day for getting muddy but it was just too warm for jeans so I wore some rtw cotton trousers and my Miette cardigan.

 

 

 

 

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On Wednesday evening we went out to see a concert and so I could get changed out of my mucky clothes and put on my other Megan dress! I really love this dress. This might not be that obvious as this is the first wear of it as part of Me-Made-May but I just think of it as more of a winter dress really.

 

 

13249683_284355301930897_1972275479_nFriday saw the first wear of my LouLou dress. I am not quite convinced of the fit of this dress but the style is growing on me the more I wear it – especially when layered up with a cardigan and a scarf. The trim at the bottom just lends itself really well to lots of layers!

 

 

 

13266862_1118316721544040_1432164618_nFinally, today. Like I said it’s a pyjama day but I am rocking my Margot pyjamas from love at first stitch so the pledge is still going strong!

 

 

 

 

Remember you can keep up with my daily outfits and watch out for those sneaky selfies coming later over on instagram!

#MMMay16 Week Two Summary

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Can you believe we’re nearly half-way through already?! Since the first of may I have been posting my daily outfit on Instagram in an attempt to give myself some accountability for my Me-Made-May pledge:

I, Helen of https://hshandcrafts.wordpress.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made item each day for the duration of May 2016

I am really pleased that I have been able to keep up with this so far, There has been a couple of days where I have struggled due to the nature of the work I have had to do meaning some of my me-mades were unsuitable. Despite this being something I have been addressing lately with my sewing the amazingly hot weather scuppered my plans to wear my new sweater on days I needed to lug around big bags of soil and compost!

Here is a summary of what I wore this week. Again it’s flat lays rather than daily selfies but if you want a composite of my daily selfies there is one over on instagram just to prove I did wear them all!

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Last Sunday the weather was unbelievable for this time of year and so I was still making good use of my Waterfall skirt. This time with a black rtw blouse. I definitely think I need to make more of these Clemence skirts form Love at First Stitch. It is just so easy to wear!

 

 

 

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On Monday I attended a funeral (a very colourful one!) so I had to dress smartly. My new black midi (not yet blogged) was perfect given the weather and a bright blue rtw blouse. I also wore my shawl to keep my shoulders covered.

 

 

 

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If there is one thing I am learning from Me-Made-May it is how much I love wearing my Tulip Skirt! I can’t get enough of it. I think it is a perfect casual skirt that can be dressed up if necessary and this tartan fabric is great too! Definitely can see me making more of these soon!

 

 

 

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By Wednesday I realised how  much my wardrobe relies on various shades of blue, grey and black. I decided it was time to mix things up a bit and throw on my Delphine skirt in this lovely deep red. This was the first skirt I made and is actually a bit big for me now but perhaps it is a sign I should start thinking about making some wardrobe staples in some brighter colours.

 

 

13150806_1759999467548005_255541927_nThursday was a tough one for me – I had a lot of messy work to do and was struggling to find something from my me-made wardrobe that was good for the task. In the end I put on some cotton rtw trousers and a t-shirt and reverted back to my trusty colour palette. Luckily my Miette cardigan was to had to top of the outfit with some me-made goodness.

 

 

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By Friday I was gettting quite excited about the new series of the great british sewing bee which starts on Monday next week so I had to wear something from the last book – fashion with fabric – and this gingham blouse was just the ticket!

 

 

 

13167220_245196072513055_1999088744_nToday the temperature has dropped right down again but I am clinging on to the hope of summer by wearing my Megan dress but layering it up with a long cardi and thick black tights!

 

 

 

 

I am really pleased by how much I am able to get out of my me-made wardrobe without feeling like I am wearing the same thing every day. In fact there are only 3 me-mades already in my wardrobe that I haven’t worn yet this month. Two of those are quite wintery, my tartan Megan and my Loulou dress, so unless it continues to get cooler we may not see them. The third is my Anenome skirt and this is the one that bothers me most. It is just so short I just don’t like to wear it. It is also a bit tight and so is not always that comfortable.

I also have a couple of new makes waiting in the wings…hopefully they will make an appearance soon. Watch this space!

Remember you can keep up with my daily outfits and watch out for those sneaky selfies coming later over on instagram!

Matching a pattern to your style

Last weekend I had to take a long train joureny and so needed something to knit. All the projects I had on the go required multiple balls of yarn – not ideal for train knitting. So I decided it was time to get started on another cardigan. I have been eyeing up Vianne, another Andi Satterlund cardi, for a while and had even swatched it a few months ago (just after I finished Chuck). Given the hot weather recently it seemed like the perfect project. The lace panelling will make it the perfect summer cardigan.

 

Changing the pattern

The pattern is designed to be knitted up with 0-3 inches of negative ease and is cropped in length, similar to my Miette. Whilst, I love this cardigan and wear it a fair amount, it is not exactly my usual style. I thought about lengthening the pattern in a similar way to my chuck jumper but don’t think this really fits with the style of the cardigan. Instead I decided to make it more loose fitting and so cast on and started knitting in a size that has 2 inches of positive ease.
Vianne in progress

I have now knit up to the point where I have joined the under arms (this is knit top down) and am contemplating what to do next. The pattern calls for a number of decrease rows to create waist shaping but as I am hoping for a looser fit I think I will just knit straight down and maybe add a bit of shaping at the bottom so it sits nicely on my hips.

I am also a little concerned about what to do for the sleeves. The pattern shows 3/4 sleeves but I think with the looser fit perhaps full length would be better.

p.s. I will post Instagram updates with my progress so make sure to follow me there is you want to see updates!