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.

Slow Progress

Just thought I’d give you all a quick update to explain my absence this week! My partner, Rob, is currently taking part in the 3 peaks yacht race. This is a crazy event where teams of 5 sail up the west coast of the UK dropping off a pair of runners at various points asking the way where they run in land and summit the highest peaks in Wales, England,  and Scotland. Rob is one of the runners in team Sail 4 Cancer raising money for them and the work they do. Its a really great cause so if you do have some time you should find out more about the work they do our if you are feeling super generous you can support them with a donation.

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Team Sail 4Cancer excited to start the race

Currently their progress in the race is pretty slow as we have had no wind so the teams have been doing a lot of rowing rather than sailing. They set off from Barmouth in Wales on Saturday afternoon and reached Caernarfon around 2 in the  morning – that’s when they had to run the 24 miles to the summit of  Snowden and back. They then sailed/rowed to Whitehaven to make the long journey to the summit of Scafell Pike (around 54 miles cycle and run). Just this morning they have set off again to  Scotland where the highest peak of them all, Ben Nevis, awaits.

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Looking calm in Caernarfon

It really is a crazy challenge I think you’ll agree and all to raise awareness of this amazing charity!

So, i’m sure you’re not here to read about crazy sailing/rowing/cycling/running races… On to the crafting!

Well I actually made a new sailing themed dress to wear at the start of the race to see them off. I was hoping to get some pictures on the beach but we didn’t have time. I’ll just have to get some at the end in the beautiful scenery of the Scottish Highlands

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I am also making great progress on my cardigan for the outfit along. Once I saw the boat off at Caernarfon I undertook the epic drive to Fort William

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I stopped off on the show off Loch Lomond

I am now here and it is beautiful but I will probably be waiting another couple of days for the boats to show up given the lack of wind making for poor sailing conditions so there’s plenty time for knitting in this beautiful scenery.

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Hopefully they will get here before we  are due back at work next week!

H.

Ps. Sorry for the rubbish photos but i’m writing this whole post on my phone so there has been no chance to edit!

Planning Moneta

I have had my eye on Moneta by Colette patterns for some time, and so when they had a sale last week I decided to snap up a pdf copy. I have recently come round to liking pdf patterns. Although they can be a bit of a pain to stick together, there is no need to trace the pattern just cut out your size. Then if you want to make another size at a later date, you can just print it out again!

I am currently a bit snowed under with sewing projects! I started a pencil skirt from Freehand Fashion but then decided I should make a dress for my holiday instead. It turns out this was a good plan as we go away on Thursday, and the dress is not quite finished yet! So when I get back, I will finish off the pencil skirt and then get to work on my dress for the Outfit-along. Once those are all done, Moneta is next on my list. Jersey dresses are just so comfy yet still look like you’ve made an effort with your wardrobe. I hope it will quickly become one of my sewing staples! I have already been admiring lots of lovely jersey fabrics but am holding back from buying them until I am ready to make it!

Here are some of my top picks at the moment

I would love a good basic dress that can be worn with anything and I think a jersey dress is perfect for this. This grey jersey has just enough texture to it to make it interesting while still being versatile. I think I could make one in every sleeve length in this sort of fabric!

 

 I always love a good stripe fabric, and these two are just perfect. Monochrome for autumn and winter and a bright red and teal for summer. But which one to make first?

 And speaking of summer, I love this abstract palm tree print it would be perfect for strolling down the beach in.

 

 

So many potential Moneta dresses to make I don’t know where to begin. I hope this is an easy make so I can make them all in super quick speed!

Helen

#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

Oversized sweater

 

Oversized SweaterFor Me-Made-May I have been wearing something I have made every day. I quickly identified that this was going to be a struggle on days where I couldn’t really wear skirts, dresses or nice blouses given the nature of my work. As an agricultural researcher it is no surprise that I often do work outside that involves getting quite muddy. I decided to get on this straight away and so in the first week of May I decided to make myself a sweater!

It was perfect for the days when I needed somehting comfy for work and could easily move around lifting heavy things. The only problem was the days when I needed this tye of clothes but it was too hot to wear a sweater! Maybe I will have to bear this in mind for future projects!

Double Skill Up: Knit fabric and a vintage pattern

2016-05-16 17.22.33I already had the perfect fabric to make a sweater from. When I visited Goldhawk road ages ago I picked up this jersey fabric in a cream and dark grey aztec print. I new it would be perfect for a sweater. I just needed to choose a pattern. As I have never sewn with knits before I wanted something straightforward. Then I remembered the vintage patterns I had picked up a while ago on ebay when thinking about my Vintage pledge. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to kill 2 birds with one stone and conquer both knits and vintage patterns in one fell swoop!

I measured a size 14 on the bust and waist and between a 14 and 16 on the hips. I knew I wanted the sweater to be oversized and comfy so I just went ahead and cut out a size 16.

oversized sweater front view

In terms of the sewing I was really pleased at how easy I found sewing with knits. I looked up a few things in my Colette sewing with knits book and the whole thing came together really quickly as there is very little to do in terms of finishing seams or pressing.

oversized sweater back view

All the instructions were actually pretty straightforward which surprised me a little as I was expecting to need some Googling to get through a vintage patterns as from what I have heard they are notorious for assuming a reasonable level of skill. Although, actually there was very little that was new to me in this pattern.

oversized sweater side view

I really liked the back of the neckline. I have not made something with this type of neck before but I quite like how it adds some style to what is otherwise a simple pattern.My button loop is quite messy but for a first try I am quite pleased with it.

oversized sweater fastening

The only instruction I skipped on this garment was the part where I was supposed to insert shoulder pads.I think that would have been a bit much and you still get the late 80s vibe without the shoulder pads though so all is good!

oversized sweater full view

The details:

Pattern: Butterick 3670

Fabric: Aztec print jersey from Goldhawk road

Notions:Gutermann thread, old button found in my stash

Alterations: no shoulder pads

I would love to make something similar again so I have more choice of me-mades when it comes to days when I need comfy easy to wear clothes. I am not sure exactly what the fabric type is if I were to buy it again. It is kind of like jersey but with 2 colours of thread knit together. It also only has a small amount of stretch. If anyone has any ideas I’d love to find out so I can buy some more! Here is what the reverse side looks like

oversized sweater sleeve cuff

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

#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!

Applique Tote Bag Tutorial

I am really excited to share with you a tutorial I made for Minerva Crafts. Their website is really great with loads of great tutorials to try. I created a tote bag with appliqued letters and you can too following the instructions on their site.

It is a really simple make and you can customize it anyway you like with your choice of letters or shapes in any combination of colours.

To make this bag, as it appears in the tutorial, for yourself you will need the following supplies:

Canvas

Webbing

quilting cotton 1

quilting cotton 2

quilting cotton 3

quilting cotton 4

fusible bondaweb

contrast thread

You can make your own tote bag just like mine. Just follow the directions here. Be sure to let me know if you make one – I’d love to see it!

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

#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!