Sunday, 29 January 2012

Spring Term Project

Now i have started back at my evening classes and although i previously mentioned some jersey sewing, i have decided instead that I am going to use this term to make a blouse. I've actually never made one and because they have all sorts of elements like collars and cuffs, i think it will be a good educational project. Also i think this will be really really useful in my year of no clothes buying. There is a lady in my class who is doing some jersey sewing though so i am taking notes from her experiences for next term (i will probably need a t-shirt or two by then)

my imagined blouse - the aim

SO, since my initial success with my easy fit block, I am confident to use that as the basis for my pattern. I did a little bit of google image research and decided that pin tucks would be a nice feature. and also a peter pan collar. and maybe some velvet ( i didn't need google to tell  me about that though)

I managed to get this georgette fabric (not silk) in the sale so it was very cheap - perfect for a first attempt (there is some silk i have my eye on if all goes well!) It's a dark navy blue so if i do decide to do add some velvet (maybe a trim or a velvet collar and cuffs) then it should be an easy colour to match to.

In my first class i just did some drawing. I added in some extra fabric for the tucks and button stand. I find pleats and tucks and things like that so confusing to draw so i think now i will just need to hope for the best. it is also very hard to know how big to make the tucks, and how much space to leave between them. I could have probably done with a practise before drawing the pattern. oops. perhaps there will still be time for this

I will use the same back piece as for my jacket, but redrew the sleeve to make it a slightly slimmer fit. i didn't want too much billow. I have also drawn a little cuff, and a peter pan collar (which is just a case of drawing the right shape!)

And so my task before the next class is to cut out my pieces and transfer the markings. I've been good at actually putting markings onto the pattern this time. i am learning my lessons!

Yours bloussonly,
Emilia. xx

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Lovely Linton

I would like to show some lovely fabrics i treated myself to with my christmas money. Linton fabrics no less. I find them so delighting!

There is a black boucle textured fabric, some herringbone with coloured tufts, and a lightweight dark green wool crepe. joyful for me.

And I have already started my projects so i thought i better get you up to speed:

The first project was easy - i had already decided what i was going to do, even before it arrived and so voila - another wrap around skirt. Here you can see the design a bit better, but it is exactly the same pattern as my black wool crepe skirt.

It's much heavier than the black version but good for keeping the knees warm. The fabric seems bolder now it is a skirt, but has a really retro feel about it i love.

I have not yet cut the green wool crepe and not sure about what it will be. I think a dress - perhaps my little empire line one, but i am still deciding. I wasn't sure what it would be like as only really got it because it was on offer so was a bargain. I am really pleased I went for it too as it's lovely so maybe it will be good to wait a while until inspiration really hits.

And with the black? Well - this was a real dilemma. When i bought it I had in mind to make another jacket. But then as i haven't really worn my jacket i wasn't sure if it might be better to stick with a dress. but as i already have a linton fabric black dress, and because i did buy it especially so i could make a jacket i decided that would be the plan.

I drew up an easy fit bodice block which i think is going to be such a useful addition to my patterns.
Here it is:

I had been wanting to draw this for a while and now have finally done it. It's only the maths which puts me off, but this was really quite straightforward - maybe because it is a simpler shape than the close fit block - or maybe because I had done it before and it wasn't such a daunting task.

I adapted the block only slightly - moving the darts to centre shoulder and adding the buttonstand and front facing to create a  very simple jacket shape. It all looked good, but i didn't want to make any mistake with my lovely fabric and so I used one of Rich's old bedsheets to make a toile (he said he didn't mind. we don't use it any more so i think this was good recycling)

I doubled up the sheet fabric to better replicate the weight of my black fabric, and was so pleased with how easily it went together. The sleeve went in like a dream. As soon as i tried the toile i knew i was on to a good thing. It was such a lovely fit.

And so, i went for it and have now cut the black fabric and sewn up the darts and seams and here is a sneak preview.

I am SO excited about it. It's quite different from my little the grey jacket - definitely a much more comfortable fit and lovely shape. And maybe it is the lovely fabric - or just my expert pattern cutting skills (ho ho), but it all went together wonderfully easily. Even the sleeves.

I have still got some finishing off to do, and am still not sure about adding a lining or not (i like the way it hangs at the moment, but it might finish it off better) so this story is to be continued...

Hurruh! I am very encouraged by my first couple of weeks of 2012 making. So pleased.

Yours stitched up,

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Pouffed out ... Feet up!

It was aaaages ago now that Rich and I decided we needed a new pouffe.

We just had a little one my mum made but it's not really big enough for 2 sets of feet. Mum had some foam though and said i could use it to make another one.

Here you can see photos of the progress.

1. The foam (cut a bit crooked with a breadknife!)

2. I cut some calico squares to make a cube

3. Here is the calico cover with the foam stuffed in! It's a bit lumpy bumpy though (due to rough cutting) i tried to even it out a bit with some soft toy stuffing but it only really made things worse.

4. To disguise the lumps and bumps i knitted a cover. I am really pleased because this also used up a massing ball of super chunky wool from my stash - much more space in there now. I put it together so that 2 sides are stocking stich and 2 sides reverse stocking stitch, and the top is a woven effect of the two.

5. ready to put the feet on. Here you can also see i was on a bit of a roll and covered our little brown cushion with the leftover fabric from our curtains.

Yours pouffed out,
Emilia. xx

Friday, 13 January 2012

a new year new knit

For christmas, my friend Hayley gave to me this wonderful book:

It is such a gem - full of vintage knitting patterns right through from the 1920s to the 1980s. It's got a lovely introduction to each chapter about knitwear at each decade and loads of lovely projects.

I have picked this little gem for my next project - a 1950s, lacy yoked and oh so soft cardy


I found it really nice that these are all patterns which have been adapted from vintage patterns for a modern knitter. That means the wool recommended is still available! This one recommends Orkney Angora yarn - one called Magnus DK. It's 50% angora and 50% lambswool and such a beautiful soft yarn. What a luxury!

Unfortunately I didn't make a tension square before starting and got quite a long way before i had a chance to check my sizing. It was only then i realised that i was quite a long way out. So then I did a small tension square but a bit lazily really, and only to check the number of stitches. I just assumed the number of rows would fall into place. But unfortunately my laziness (as it always does) came back with vengence and they didn't. Normally it might not matter because i would just knit a few more rows but because of the yoke design of this pattern, I didn't want to risk it all coming out too squashed. So I have now started again with a happy medium needle size. third time lucky...

too small and too big. too many sleeves.

It's quite a satisfying one as all knitting on circular and double pointed needles meaning it will be totally seamless (except for sewing on the button bands). And also very pleasing because of how lovely the wool feels. And also because it's a new project, i have my knitting motivation back.

Yours softly softly,
Emilia. xx

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

my newest shortie

I am so so pleased to be able to show you my latest knit - the newest shortie.

Here is a little reminder of the original pattern:

And here is my finished version:

The pattern was written for a 3 ply, and in one size only, so i had to make a few calculations to make it work in my 4ply wool, and made the body slightly smaller to fit me better. I wanted to keep the shaping at the armholes and sleeves though so they are the same size as the original and so maybe slightly out of proportion, but i don't think it really matters and i have really enjoyed wearing her.

I changed my mind about the buttons at the last minute as these little peach ones were a sweet match (and also because i want to save the pearls for a special event!). Here is a little close up of the wool too - it's so lovely with flecks of red, yellow and blue - it's Rowan scottish tweed 4ply in Herring (i think herring - maybe mackeral - a fish name for sure!) it's also lovely and light - but so warm as well.

Hurruh hurruh! Looking back i started this at the end of july. i love to think that it was started on the beach on a summer day, and now keeping me warm for winter.

Yours sporting the latest fashions,
Emilia. xx

Friday, 6 January 2012

A little jacket

I have recently been reading a lot about Coco Chanel as Rich bought me another most amazing book for christmas. I am really inspired at the moment to just wear black and white, and also really love the coco philosophy on dressing for comfort and movement.

As i knit lots of cardigans i had the thought that maybe i could also make a cardigan but without knitting - just out of fabric - like a chanel jacket. I was not so worried that it would look like one (although they are beautiful) but was thinking more in the vein of it being comfortable and well fitting and finished.

I found some lovely soft flannel and thought it was very much in the spirit of comfort and softness.
It was really just an experiment, and the result is not quite a cardigan, but I am really pleased with it. I am going to try to wear it for work - a bit of power dressing!

I found a nice bobbly trim which finishes it off a treat, and hooks and eyes to fasten. It's definitely very jackety rather than cardiganesque, but I used my close fitting bodice block to draw the pattern so it is the reason it is quite tailored. I am going to have another go though, and experiment with an easy fit bodice block to see if it makes the difference.

The lining is peach and i love how you can see it in the sleeves!

I have done a little google search for patterns, just to see if they exist, and was pleased that i found a few gems:

This one is from alana's cherished treasures but comes from america and there don't seem to be any of these sorts of patterns easily available to me. But it has given me some inspiration and belief in the challenge. I think this weekend I will try drafting my pattern pieces.

I think also the choice of fabric will have an effect, and it was one of my personal course aims at dressmaking to make something in jersey or a knitted fabric so next term i think this will be a good project for me. And as I am keeping away from the shops for such things, it will be good to have an alternative to knitting everytime i would like a cosy new cardy.


 ps. i had my hair cut! New year - new me!

Monday, 2 January 2012

Richard's christmas slippers

Now I am just going to bed because i have to get up early for work. it's going to be a shocker.

i just thought i would cheer myself up though by sharing Richard's christmas slippers and remembering those festive times, not so long ago (this time last week was boxing day!)

Just before christmas i was suffering with a terrible cold, and on my sick bed while Rich was at work i decided to make him a small gift...

 Here is Rich after christmas wearing the slippers with his new batman socks

I used Nanny Parker's trusty handwritten pattern (nanny Parker was my Great Nanny) and managed to knit a whole pair before lunch.

The pattern calls for a pom pom on the toe, but i thought this was pushing my luck with Rich. I am pleased that he likes them though - good for the house

Cosy foot!

He has this picture on Facebook and the best comment likened them to giant baby booties. i like that comparison.

I hope you have a good day if you are going back to work tomorrow. it won't be so bad - lunchtime before we know it.

Yours better get sleeping,
Emilia. xx

new year, no fear

And just like that - it's a brand new year!

I am really feeling refreshed for a new year of making - I am pleased to have finished such a glut of things before the end of last year. The last couple of days I have even given myself a really big push on my cardigan, and look - nearly there:

Just a little sewing up and knitting the neck band. And sewing on the little gems of buttons I have:

Little pearls - a very lovely gift from Eleanor for christmas. They are going to be the perfect finishing touch I think.

I am excited about this.

And it has me thinking about the year ahead. I have a few craft related resolutions for the year...

1. To hand make all of my new clothes. I have given this idea a lot of consideration and really feel like I am up for the challenge. I do make a lot of my clothes myself, and never really need to buy skirts or knitwear anymore and I just feel like it will be a nice thing to attempt. I think it will also push me to try some new things, especially t-shirts and blouses. I am not sure how realistic it is to think i can keep this up for the whole year, but I am really keen to see how long I can go for.

2. To do some fairisle knitting. This is a skill I am not so sure of but really love the effect. I did have a small attempt for Jemima's cardigan but I think it's time for another go. It also will be a good opportunity to use up some of my wool stash I think.

3. Do some wool recycling. Another wool stash related one is that I would like to reknit at least one of my failed projects. I have quite a few things I have knitted and they've not quite turned out the right way and really would like to reuse the wool. If I can do at least one of those I will be very pleased.

4. My sampler. I really would like to make some progress on my cross stitch - a challenge from this time last year. It was on my list before christmas but is still untouched. I would really like to make some good progress this year though.

Very much to keep me busy! I enjoy making resolutions. I am looking forward to this year ahead.

Yours knitting pretty,
Emilia. xxx