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!!

blackwhite-saxifraganatural-saxifraga

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!

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

A Stripy (and spotty) Pencil Skirt

Pencil SkirtRecently I have seen a lot of really great pencil skirts popping up on sewing blogs, in magazines and in real life. I decided it was time to make one for myself. Pencil skirts are often tricky to find one that fits well and as fit really is key I decided to draft my own with my Freehand Fashion book as a guide.

I am really pleased with how it turned out. The fit is not 100% perfect but I think it is much better than I would have got from any shop, or even sewing pattern.

Getting the fit just right

Although this is just a pencil skirt there are still quite a lot of measurements that go in to creating it. I dutifully took them all and drew out the pieces on a plain white poly-cotton which was to become my lining fabric. I fitted this and sewed it up to check it was right before cutting into my fashion fabric.

pencil skirt casual side

Well I say fashion fabric…it is actually upholstery fabric from Ikea! Can you believe it my dream to become Maria from the Sound of Music is turning into a reality! So, it’s not quite dressing an entire family from one set of curtains but it is a skirt from curtain material so I’m counting that as a win!

pencil skirt casual front

The fabric did confuse me for quite a while. I kept trying to match the stripes at the seams. I could get the side seams right but couldn’t figure out why they were misaligned at the back. After quite a lot of head scratching I eventually figured out that the stripes are not all straight! I am sure this gives a great effect on a pair of curtains but perhaps not on a skirt! Oh well, I am happy to live with it as is.

pencil skirt dressy back

The pattern suggests an invisible zip but given the weight of this fabric and the fact I didn’t have one to hand I decided to go with a centred zip and I am glad I did. I think it fits in well with the style of the skirt.

pencil skirt dressy front

The fit is not quite perfect across my stomach but I can live with it and I think it looks much better in the pictures where I am wearing heals so perhaps I will keep this skirt for those occasions when I want to wear heels.
pencil skirt dressy side

The details:

Pattern: Self drafted following guide in Fashion with fabric

Fabric: curtain material from Ikea

Notions: 10in white zip, gutermann thread

I love the fact that this is a really fun fabric paired with the smartness of a pencil skirt making for an unexpected combo but I really think it works!

You can also read about this make over on the monthly stitch. This is an awesome collective of sewers posting on a monthly theme. This month the theme was spots and stripes!

buttons for gingham blouse

Gingham Blouse

I recently joined the Monthly stitch a blog where loads of sewers can post there makes. Each month there is a new category and sewers should make something that fits in with that category. This is a great way to focus all those ideas for new sewing projects and decide which one to make first based on what fits best into the category! This month the theme is Check it out!

Gingham Blouse on HsHandcrafts

I don’t own many checked items of clothing not because I don’t like checks but just that I have never really seen anything recently in the shops that I love. In fact I think the only thing I do own is a top in a tartan-like print and I love it so I thought this challenge would be a great opportunity to add some more checked fabrics to my wardrobe. Since I began sewing I have bought very few ready-to-wear garments and have begun to notice that a lot of my clothes are beginning to look quite tired.

In a couple of months time I will be starting an internship and will need some smarter clothes so its about time I started boosting the smarter end of my wardrobe and so I decided to combine the these two ideas of smart clothes and checked fabric and kill 2 birds with one stone by making a gingham blouse!

I wasn’t too sure that gingham was a good choice to begin with as it always reminds me of school dresses and I really wanted to avoid looking like I had bought my blouse from the back-to-school section of the supermarket when I start the internship in September! However, I spotted this particular gingham in black and decided that it was too nice to pass up – and also there are not many school dresses in black are there?

I used the Fashion with fabrics book again and loved the pattern hack for a sheer sleeveless blouse. Although I don’t feel quite comfortable sewing with sheer fabric yet, and I wanted to use my gingham, so I decided to give it a try! I think it worked out quite well, the only thing that i think would have worked better with a sheer fabric would be the gathering at the shoulder as this is a bit to rigid and so kind of puffs out a bit rather than falling nicely. However, this is a minor detail and still looks fine.

I cut out a size 8 from pattern as this was the closest to my measurements. I could probably have done with a little smaller everywhere except the bust but I made a toile from some cheap cotton I had lying around and it didn’t seem too bad.

Perhaps the way the gathering was falling on the toile should have been a bit of a give-away that cotton was not the perfect fabric for this make.

The sewing went fairly smoothly and the body of the blouse made up really quickly (French seams and all!) Next step was to tackle all the new to me parts.

First the bias binding for the arm holes. This seemed to go really well and without too many issues.

Arm holes finished with bias binding

Arm holes finished with bias binding

Next, the collar. This is where it got more tricky. I fused the interfacing to the top collar piece. Sewed this to the bottom collar piece and then turned them the right way an and topstitched around the edge. So far, so good. Next, I had to attach the collar to the body of the blouse. To my horror the collar piece was about 2 inches longer than the neckline of the blouse. Not to be phased by this I thought I would simply cut a section out from the centre back of the collar and stitch it together again. Simple! What could possibly go wrong? Well, in my haste to put my genius to work I went and stitched it back together again wonky – so now the collar has a step at the back of it. Lucky for me I have long hair so nobody will ever see my mistake!

Step in the back of the collar on my gingham blouse

Step in the back of the collar

The final new-to-me step was to create buttonholes and attach the buttons. Not to be tricked into making another mistake I practiced first! Here is my first attempt at a buttonhole ever:

My first ever buttonhole on my gingham blouse

My first ever buttonhole!

Not to bad, even if I do say myself!

Next on went the buttons, no problems there.

Buttons on gingham blouseAnd ta-dah! My blouse was complete! For something that had so many steps in it that I would have to try for the first time I am really pleased with how it turned out, even the collar with its none-matching abck seam looks fine from the front.

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The details:

Pattern:  Sleeveless Sheer blouse hack from The Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion with Fabric

Fabric: Mini check gingham cotton poplin

Notions: Black Gütermann thread, lightweight iron-on interfacing, Red Wooden Round Buttons (1.5cm)

Alterations: None

I think it will become a wardrobe staple. I am really pleased I went for red buttons as I think they make it more fun. Black buttons would have just made it an ordinary everyday blouse, not one that is special to me! It is also, the first step towards my new work-wear wardrobe for when I start my internship in September!

H.

buttons for gingham blouse

Buttons!

I’ve been working on a sewing project recently, the majority of which is almost complete. I have the basic body of a blouse but now I have all the new-to-me things left to do so there’s still time for it to go horribly wrong as I need to add a collar and buttons!

I love button and have a tin full of all sorts of shapes and sizes but I decided for my first project with buttons I should buy some new ones, mainly so that I had a full set that matched. I couldnt decide what buttons to pick as the blouse is black and white I thought I should probably pick some black or white buttons but then I saw these beauties and couldnt resist! They will also be a fun burst of colour on an otherwise quite plain blouse!

buttons for gingham blouse

The material in the background is what I will be making my blouse from. I hope the bright red buttons are not too much!

Unfortunately I wont be finishing the blouse sometime soon as I am going away for the week camping so I will be keeping quiet for a short while, but hopefully there will be plenty of time for relaxing with my knitting!

H.

spotty trousers pins

Trouser Fitting Issues

So after making my Capri trousers I was a little annoyed about the lack of fit so I decided to investigate some potential fixes. I’m not sure if these trousers will be rescue-able but at least I will know for the next time I make the pattern.

To recap: I used my waist and hip measurements to choose the pattern size – I actually went for a size 12 on the waist and a 10 on the hip. The book itself actually included some information on fitting and explained how to measure crotch length and make adjustments for this but this all seemed fine for me. So, I naively thought that it would be a simple case of tapering from a 12 on the waist to a 10 on the hips, cut out the fabric and go! How wrong I was!!

trouser fitting issues

Once I tried on the trousers there were a number of fit issues I had not anticipated so I scoured the internet and found some potential solutions. One really good resource I found was on Coletterie but it seems like there is no end to the adjustments that can be made to trousers and in fact whole books have been written on the subject. I have outlined my main problems below but there are hundreds more!

Wrinkles around crotch

Wrinkles around crotch

Firstly the material is tight across my thighs and there are tight horizontal lines coming from the crotch

It seems that both of these issues are similar and I probably need to let out either the side seams or add some width to the inner thigh. This can be done by adding width close to the crotch and tapering down toward the knee.

So many problems here! Waist band not aligned properly at the zip, gaping back, wrinkles across the front

So many problems here!
Waist band not aligned properly at the zip, gaping back, wrinkles across the front

The second problem and probably the most obvious is the gaping waist at the back.

It seems that this could be because the waist is two big but the fact it only gapes at the centre back indicates I might need a sway back adjustment, this accounts for your back curving inwards. A quick Google seems to bring up lots of tutorials for this and on quick inspection it seems to be a similar type of this to a full bust adjustment where you slash and spread the pattern.

Another problem apparent from this photo is the excessive fabric around the lower belly
It turns out this could mean I need a flat tummy adjustment (That certainly made me feel pretty good about myself!)

fabric pulling on inside leg

fabric pulling on inside leg

Finally, there seems to be excess fabric down the inside of my legs meaning the trousers don’t hang well

I’m not sure if this could be due to all the other fitting problems and might be rectified when they are fixed or if there is indeed excess fabric here. If this is the case then I think I need to remove excess fabric from the centre of each leg at the front and back.

So, there’s quite a lot of issues to fix. I think I might need to make a toile and fix one at a time starting with the most obvious until I get a really good fit. I think there will be a lot of googling, head scratching and pinning in my future but hopefully once I have a pattern that fits well I will be able to make it time and time again! and if all else fails at least I have learnt that skirts are so much easier to fit!

Pattern matching of the front of the trousers

Capri Trousers

I had been really looking forward to making something from the Fashion with Fabric book that came out during the most recent series of the GBSB. It was written by Claire-Louise Hardie of The Thrifty Stitcher and it was there that she did a 30-day challenge to wear something made from the book each day. These trousers were shown on the the first day and I knew that I would have to make some!

Capri Trousers

I feel that this make was an uphill battle right from the very beginning. My favourite pair of trousers had just given up on me and I really need a replacement. The trousers were a polka dot denim and I loved them! I did not want to replicate them exactly but instead wanted to create something of the same spirit and thought this would be just the pattern. I found some polka dot black cotton on ebay that looked up to the job, and as a bonus it was on sale (buy 2 FQs and get 1 free). When the fabric arrived I dutifully put it in the wash and hung it out to dry. However, when I came to iron it before sewing I noticed a number of thin patches in the fabric. Luckily I had bought plenty so I tried to avoid these as best I could when cutting out the pattern pieces.

Thin patches on fabric

Thin patches on fabric

When cutting out the pattern pieces I wanted to make certain the spots were nicely aligned on both legs so I folded the fabric and stuck pins through the dots periodically to check they lined up on each side. I got this idea from a tutorial on sewing with stripes but the principle was just the same for spots. I think it really helped as I am really pleased with how symmetrical the spots are on each leg.

spotty trousers pins

Using pins to match spots on each layer of fabric

Pattern matching of the front of the trousers

Pattern matching of the front of the trousers

The trousers came together really quickly and the instructions in the book were pretty easy to follow. My only issue was in some of the pictures (cartoons, rather than photos) it was sometimes tricky to tell if I was supposed to be looking at the right or wrong side.

Capri Trousers on hshandcrafts

The details:

Pattern: Capri trousers from Fashion with Fabrics (GBSB Book)

Fabric: Cotton – Black with white polka dots

Notions: YKK invisible zip in black, Guterman thread in black, lightweight interfacing.

Alterations: Size 12 waste graded to size 10 hips

I really like the trousers…and then I put them on. I had tried them a few times during the making process and I wasnt quite convinced by the fit but I though if I just carried on it would all even out in the end. It didn’t. The fit is so bad I’m not sure I can wear them. they are so tight around my bum and thighs I’m afraid the seams might burst as i walk, yet the waste just gapes open at the back.

I plan to investigate into some common trouser fit issues and report back once I have figured out what might be wrong!

H.

KCBW6 Day 3: Experimental Photography And Image Handling For Bloggers

For day 3 of knitting and crochet blogging week we are looking at photography. I have recently been trying to make my photos more appealing and have been thinking more about lighting and positioning but his was a chance for me to try some new ideas.

I scoured pinterest to get some inspiration on how to take better craft photos. I even created a new board!

As I don’t have any newly completed knitting or crochet projects (everything is currently firmly parked in UFO status) I decided to dig out something old to photograph. This little teapot was something I decided to crochet one day just for the fun of it. I haven’t used it for anything yet and I’m not really sure what I could use it for, perhaps a keyring or a necklace. Anyway the pattern is from here in case anybody wants to make one and it seemed the perfect thing to try some new craft photography techniques out on!

Crochet teapot Plain photograph - no editing

Plain photograph – no editing

The first technique I really like the idea of is playing with the background. For this I used a piece of white fabric to nestle the teapot in. I have then edited the photo using picmonkey to change the brightness and contrast to make the object stand out more from the background.

Crochet teapot - with background altered brightness and contrast

White background with altered brightness and contrast

There’s always the classic black and white

Crochet teapot - Not quite black and white - Ive left a hint of the blue in there

Not quite black and white – Ive left a hint of the blue in there

Another idea I idea I tried was to use framing and text to enhance the image. I used the same photograph as above but this time I split the image into 9 frames and then removed the image from the top corner to give space for some text.

Crochet teapot - Framed image with added text

Framed image with added text

and finally no round up of photography techniques would be complete without some bokeh!

Crochet teapot - bokeh!

Bokeh!

I found loads of other techniques I would like to try but I just havent had time yet. I’m not sure if I will use any of these again but it was fun to see how easily you can change the feel of your photograph just by playing around with how you take and edit the photograph.

H.