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

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!

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

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!

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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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

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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!

A year in knitting

Happy New Year Everybody!! I thought I would round up the year by taking a look back at how far my knitting skills have come on in just one year!

Last Christmas I decided I wanted to learn to knit and asked for some supplies for Christmas. Nearly 1 year on and I feel like I am now a happy knitter! There were a few hiccups along the way but also some great projects too!

I started off just knitting a few swatches and was dropping stitches all over the place! At first I couldn’t figure out how on earth I was managing to loose so many stitches but once I got into the swing of things I managed to get going.

For my first proper project I decided to knit a cover for my Kindle. Not being a blogger at the time I didn’t get any good photos of the finished object but managed to  et one now – so you’ll have to excuse how grubby it looks but generally I was really pleased with it for a first project even if it did take forever!

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I then moved on to something much more extravagant…a hat! I still love it and wear it all the time even if the bobble is a bit loose and some of the ends have unwoven themselves

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Then I started this blog and the knitting began to be documented. I’m not sure if this made me think more about what I was knitting or if it made me want to make it better because everyone would see it but the skill level definitely kicked up a notch!

My next make was these fingerless gloves, it took a bit of help to figure out the thumb but after a few friends got stuck in we had it figured out and I was away! Another successful project.

For my next project I wanted to make some boot cuffs. After a long search on Ravelry I couldn’t find any that I liked that could be knit flat and did not quite feel ready to attempt knitting in the round so I decided to make up my own pattern! I also wrote up this pattern and it is available for free on Ravelry if anyone else, like me, wants to make some simple bootcuffs that can be knit flat and seamed.

Boot cuffs

Boot cuffs

After the success of writing my own pattern I decided to turn my hand to something more complicated! I think I was probably a it too ambitious and cast on a double length cowl on circular needles. Everything was going really well, I had managed the joining in the round and an inch of ribbing but once I got onto the body of the cowl things started to go worng! Why on earth I picked lacework for my 5th project I’m not sure but it certainly was a challenge. After only a few rows the lace pattern was completely out of sync and I was getting a bit demoralised so I decided to set it to one side.

beginnings of knitted cowl

beginnings of knitted cowl

This was quite a big decision as I dont like to give up on things easily. So instead of saying I had given up I have just left it for a little while to be returned to once my skills have improved.

So, I decided to try a different lace project to improve my skills. The oyster shawl seemed like the perfect solution as there was a large body with only a simple eyelet to contend with.

cream shawl WIP

It uses a much simpler pattern with periodic holes

After finishing the main section of this cowl I was much hapier to progress onto the more complicated lace border

Lacework

After working on this cowl for quite a few months I had to put it to one side for a while as I had some gifts to get to work on. I decided to knit a cowl for my mums birthday and had the perfect yarn for it! Again, I couldnt find quite the right pattern for it so decided to make it up as I went along. Hopefully I will get the chance to write this up soon (Watch this space!)

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After making my mum’s birthday gift I decided to join in with the innocent big knit too.

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Finally, in time for Christmas I finished the lacy border shawl. I was so pleased with myself as this was such a massive achievement, especially considering that less than a year ago I couldnt even knit a 3inch swatch without dropping at least 10 stitches!

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So what now? well actually, I’m already progressing well with my next project. I have been an admirer of Andi Satterlund’s blog Untangling Knots for a while and really wanted to knit one of her cardigans. Especially as I kind of feel like you cant call yourself a knitter until you have knit a cardigan or jumper. So, when I saw she was organising a post-Christmas selfish sweater knit-along I just couldn’t help but start choosing my yarn and pattern.

I decided to go with the Miette cardigan, it’s a really cute cropped cardigan for the summer with a little bit of lace detail around the edges – perfect for showing off my new found skills!

I have chosen to knit it in Drops Paris, which is 100% cotton so it will be amazing for the warmer weather. In fact, I am enjoying knitting it so much I have raced ahead a little and already have the body of the cardigan done. There’s only sleeves and the button band left to do. I dont think the deadline for the knit-along in february should be a problem!

Body done

I almost cant quite believe how much I have knit in one year and how far my skills have advanced. Hopefully this will continue into 2016 and I can learn lots of new skills and complete loads more projects!!

H.