Wednesday, December 08, 2010

On a roll!

I made another top yesterday afternoon using the same pattern as the first one but this time I crossed the straps at the back. I haven't decided but I might uncross them, it makes the front hang a bit funny and the whole top sits a little high.

And today I made a dress! It was easy to make but it took me a lot of faffing about to get the straps the right length and in the right spot to cover my bra straps, it's really hard to do that on your own.

I also should say I used only stash materials and notions to make all three of these items, the only thing I had to buy was a hook and eye for the dress.

Pattern: Simplicity 8518
Size: 12
Mods: took in top edge of bodice by about 1cm on each side
Fabric: self patterned cotton
Blurry I know but you can kind of see the self-pattern on the fabric
This is the pets hard at work napping while I was sewing away (that's the sewing chair at the bottom of the photo). I had to be careful I didn't roll the chair over Samson's paws sticking out there.

(Sooty has had a little operation, that's why he's got a shaved patch on his side)

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


Every year I say I'm going to get stuck into making my own clothes and I usually only manage to make one item. So here I am, saying it again this year :)

Yesterday I dragged out my patterns and fabric and tried to match them up. I put all the tricky patterns aside, best to start with something simple and so I settled on this top (which is actually a pyjama top) and some lightweight cotton that came from who knows where.

It didn't take long and the fit is just right so I'm very happy!

Pattern: McCall's 4218
Size: small
View: E (pyjama top)

Friday, December 03, 2010

Visiting Cards

I was just at my local post office and I saw these packs of "Visiting Cards" which are basically blank business cards and I thought, "I need those!". You may have read on my house blog that we're now "owner builders", so I've had to get quotes and so on from lots of tradespeople and I haven't had a card to give them.
Now I do!

Obviously I put my phone number on the other cards and left off my website, they don't need to know that :)

(the owner builder thing is also my excuse for not doing any blogging, I've been working my ass off organising house stuff)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New cushions for gran

Several Christmases ago I promised to make new cushions for my gran. I took her shopping to choose the fabric, bought the inserts and then ... it sat in my craft room.

I couldn't let another Christmas go by without having them done so I got my act together on Monday and whipped them up using my own tutorial :)

While I was making them though I realised my zipper insertion method was a bit of a PITA (I think I was feeling particularly anal about getting things perfect that day), so I tried pinning the zipper in with the zipper under the fabric and the fabric right side up. I just felt for the zipper with my fingers and pushed it around until it was lined up directly under the seam. And it worked just fine! No need for fiddly basting, hooray!

I also changed the method for doing the box corners. I cut off a 1x1 inch square (measured from the seam line, not from the edge of the fabric) then folded the fabric as before and still putting the pin in the seam to ensure that they'd line up and sewed 1cm from the seam line. This made it easier to sew the seam at a 90 degree angle to the other seams whereas before I had to be quite careful not to get it wonky.
So that's another job done. And today I want to sew up the Counterpane Clutch that I started about two years ago!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Jumpers done!

I put in a big effort and managed to recycle seven jumpers! I was frogging and winding for hours! Feel very happy with myself though :)

There were a few that I couldn't frog coz the seams wouldn't come apart or the yarn was too delicate so the wool ones have been felted and the angora ones have just been put aside to make toys.

I also tidied my craft room and labelled the boxes with my new label maker. I took a few things to the op shop and put a few others aside to give away or try to sell on eBay. Now I'm ready to tackle the fabric stash I think! I'll have to take a before picture :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Used it!

Made these two little teddies (from old jumpers) for my friend who just had twins, a boy and a girl.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Use it or lose it

I went into my craft room the other day, all ready to be inspired to create ... and then the mess and clutter hit me. I have so much stuff in there, it actually had the opposite effect and I just walked out again :(

I think the problem is that I have so many tools and supplies for so many different projects (and different crafts) that I feel guilty that I haven't used them all. I know some (most?) people loooove having a stash but I'm finding mine is like a weight sitting on my shoulders. So I decided to "use it or lose it"!

First I'm going to get rid of all the old jumpers I've collected which were to be either felted and made into something or frogged so I could use the yarn.

First item to be used was a colourwork shetland jumper that I tried to frog for the yarn but it was too fragile. So I felted it and made Sooty a new coat and Samson a new cushion.

VoilĂ !

Friday, September 10, 2010

Knitting Methods

Did you know there are many different knitting methods? I was taught English style by my gran when I was a kid and that's all I knew up until a few years ago when I discovered the Continental method on the internet and I thought wow that's amazing, I had no idea there was another way to do it.

But at knit camp I discovered there is also Portuguese style! Owlmania, Tricotetal and Tricotadeira were the object of much attention, everyone was saying have you seen those Portuguese girls knitting! They very kindly offered to give Jules a lesson, which then ballooned into a lesson for 10 people :)

So today I was reading Knitting in the Old Way (recommended by Jared Flood) and they were talking about Eastern Style knitting (as opposed to Western style, which continental and English style are versions of) in which the stitches are mounted so that the leading edge is behind the needle instead of in front and you have to wrap the yarn around the needle in the opposite direction. The book says the yarn is held behind the neck as it is with Portuguese knitting but when I tried this I found it impossible to do the knit stitch (in any elegant manner) and when I looked on youtube I found everyone was holding the yarn in the left hand, continental style. So there's two more variations.

And that reminded me that there's combination knitting (which I'd heard of but didn't really understand) which is a mixture of Eastern and Western in which the knit stitches are mounted Western style and the purls Eastern style.

While looking on YouTube at knitting videos I found that when knitting Western style continental there is another method of purling called Norwegian style.

Who knew there were so many ways to knit! Note too that all of these methods produce fabric that looks exactly the same, you can't tell after an item's been knit what method was used to produce it.

In summary, there's:
  • Western English style
  • Western continental style
  • Western continental with Norwegian purl
  • Portuguese style
  • Eastern yarn around the neck style
  • Eastern continental style
  • Combination knitting
So this afternoon I sat down and had a go at all of these, it was fun to break out of my comfort zone and feel like a knitting newbie again :) Out of all of them I think my favourite is Portuguese style, it's very easy to keep the tension , the purl stitch requires very little hand movement and the knit stich just a little more, probably equal to that required in continental style. I'm knitting a simple blanket at the moment, just knit and purl stitches so I'm going to practice my Portuguese style and see if I can get comfortable with it, I'll let you know how it goes.

Any one else game to try a new style? Are there any other's I haven't listed here?

Back in Oz

Well UK Knit Camp 2010 and my holiday in Scotland are over and I'm back to the real world. The trip went pretty much as planned (see my prev post for a rough itinerary) except I didn't go to Skye with Jules and her dad, I went back to Glasgow and Edinburgh instead.

If you're on Ravelry then you can read all about how UK Knit Camp went down on the forum. I'll just say that organisation wise it was a bit of a disaster. Actually I don't recommend you read the forum, it gets a bit nasty and I don't know about you but reading those kind of posts makes me feel all anxious and upset, even if it's nothing to do with me. So anyway, despite said disaster, Jules and I had a fabulous time! We made the deliberate decision to ignore all the bad shit and just focus on having fun with the teachers and other students we met and happily that was easy to do, everyone was fabulous! Everyone was friendly and approachable and we just geeked out on knitting for five days :)

My classes were:
  • Toe-up socks for travellers by Lucy Neatby: Lucy was great! She knows lots of good tricks, her class was really well organised and she had videos of all the techniques she wanted to show us so we didn't all have to look over her shoulder for demonstrations. She sells her videos on her website, worth a look if you're interested in learning new techniques.
  • Knitting Nature lecture and practical class by Norah Gaughan: Very interesting! Norah talked about her inspiration for her book Knitting Nature and how her patterns developed and then we had a practice at a couple of hexagon patterns from her book. She was a great speaker and very friendly.
  • Plan Your Own Aran by Jared Flood: Great! Learnt how to do cables without a cable needle. I hadn't seen the method that Jared uses anywhere else and it was quite easy to do. Also did crochet reinforced steeks, again quite easy once you know how. And he gave us lots of hints on estimating your gauge to begin with so that you can decide what cables you can incorporate into your design before you knit your test swatch. Jules and I left inspired to plan our own arans :)
  • Estonian Colour by Nancy Bush: Actually I can't remember the proper name of this class, I swapped into it at the last minute. It was a technique for incorporating colourwork into knitting, it looks like it's been embroidered on after the knitting's been done but it's actually incorporated at the same time.
  • Girasole Project Class by Jared Flood: The yarn for this class was supposed to be supplied, which I (and Jared) thought meant that enough yarn for the entire project would be supplied, but that wasn't the case, we just got one ball of yarn. So it was kinda a waste of time starting the Girasole blanket since we would just have to rip it out again. None the less we learnt some other useful bits and pieces. This would've been a great class for a beginner lace knitter/chart reader but as I'd already done a bit I didn't get a lot out of it.
  • Speed Knitting by Miriam Tegels: Miriam is the Worlds Fastest Knitter and has the Guinness world record to prove it (see her videos on youtube). She showed us her method which looks very simple and ergonomic when she does it, however I just couldn't get it to work for me :(
I might write down all the tips I learnt in another post. I think they'd be helpful for others and it'll help me remember too :)

In between classes we'd all congregate in whatever area had enough chairs and sit, knit and chat. Funnily enough it turned out that most participants weren't from the UK! I met people from: France, Germany, Denmark, Portugal, USA, Canada, The Netherlands, and there were probably other countries too.

I've got some pictures on Flickr if you'd like a look, some of them have descriptions but not all :)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Well helloooo there!

Well I'm feeling quite refreshed after that little blogging break!

I've de-cloaked to tell you that I'm going to UK Knit Camp in Scotland in just under four weeks and I'm pretty excited about it! My good friend and knitting buddy Jules asked via SMS, back in January I think, if I wanted to go and (after I'd googled it) my first thought was don't be silly, I can't go all that way just for knitting. But then I had a second thought, why the hell not! And now the time is fast approaching when we'll be on our way.

Knit Camp is actually only on for four days but we're going to stay on for a few weeks and do some sightseeing while we're over there.

The plan is:
  • Arrive in Glasgow on Wednesday 4th August and go immediately to Lanark which is a beautiful historic town with a knitting mill
  • Stay in Lanark for two or three nights
  • Up to The Trossachs national park for two or three nights
  • Arrive in Stirling on Monday 9th where we are staying in the university dorms until Saturday night
  • Monday night Knit Camp kicks off and then there's classes Tuesday and Thursday all day and Wednesday and Friday mornings only
  • On the weekend is Ravelry Weekend with a market, classes, demonstrations and a BBQ in the evening
  • Sunday morning get the train to Aberdeen and check out the town then in the evening get a flight to Sumburgh in the Shetland Islands. Very excited about seeing the islands! Stay in the Shetlands for four days
  • Friday morning get a flight to Kirkwall in the Orkney islands and stay there for three nights or so
  • The rest is a bit unstructured, we'll play it by ear but the basic plan is:
  • Ferry to from Orkney to Scrabster (on the mainland), bus to Inverness where we'll pick up a car and drive down to Loch Ness. We will probably just spend the day at Loch Ness and won't stay there overnight.
  • Drive over to Skye and meet Jules's dad who is coming over to do some travelling with Jules after I go home
  • Check out Skye, Lewis, Harris and anything else that looks good over that way
  • I'll part with Jules and her dad and catch the train back to Glasgow and/or Edinburgh and see the city before I leave Glasgow on Monday 30th August
I am so looking forward to seeing everything!

Gotta go now and look for some t-shirts to take with me. Here's a picture of the Wallace Statue in Stirling.

[Wallace Statue I, Stirling, Scotland] (LOC)