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Saturday, 14 July 2012

Sewing...but where is the sun?!

At last, a successful sewing project, well one I love anyway!  Have a look at this pattern, I think its great, lovely A line shape (tick), deep pockets (big tick), fitted waistband (tick) - I love it!

Instructions seemed easy to follow and it went together in a day! a record for me lol :)  The fabric is a lovely cotton sateen with a small amount of stretch which sewed beautifully and is lovely to wear from Fabrix in Lancaster.  I did View B but added the contrast band to the length of the skirt as I wanted it out of the one fabric - this will be great for warm weather IF we ever get any!

Freezing! can you see those grey clouds? yet more rain on the way.  Also wanted to add this shot of my rasberries (can you see the bush to my left - it was planted from a cutting last spring and now has these gorgeous fruits)

On the knitting front, I fell in love with this cropped jacket from the new Noro Magazine which is out now in WH Smiths

Its a pretty easy quick knit once you get the hang of the wrap and turn rows, but really effective with the lovely stripes which constantly change shade and colour - the wool is Silk Garden Sock Yarn which feels really luxurious - hope its a good fit when finished!

Finally, a great big thank you to the lovely Wendy at The Butterfly Balcony who nominated these humble ramblings with a blog award - I haven't got round to working out what I do Wendy but will be having a look (watch this space!) - I confess I am a technophobe hoping to improve!

Happy sewing and knitting x

Sunday, 17 June 2012

At last..!

At last I have something to post! Despite best intentions little has happened recently to post about, but I have finally got round to a couple more projects, and have finished one!  The finished product is the "startime dressy top" from A Stitch in Time Volume 2 - and I love it!

After having a trip to the Texere Mill in Bradford (address in the book) and discovering a knitter's paradise (a bit overwhelming if you don't know what you are looking for though !), I picked up the required two cones of Thai Silk -n £11 per cone so the top came in at a very reasonable £22

The instructions were a dream to follow - even for a fairly basic knitter like me - there is a crown pattern (the neck yoke) which is a 14 row pattern followed by the body pattern which is a simple 6 round row.  The top is knit in one piece from the neck down - not something I had done before but wasn't as scary as it sounded.  The only tricky bit, for me, was the division of the work for the sleeves which took a little bit of practice - but worked out great in the end.

The top can be worn on or off the shoulder - I dropped half a needle size for the crown pattern to bring the neckline in slightly as I didn't want it too wide and feel like it was falling off my shoulders all the time - worked a treat.  Here is what the crown pattern looks like:
The edges do curl slightly, but I like the softness this gives which seems to work well with the nubbly silk. 

Rubbish photo! I'm not asleep honest!
love the back! could just do with some sunshine!!!
I think that the full skirt in the book's styling really looks great with this top (better that my jeans anyway!) so I think I will have to look out for a similar pattern and get on with making a skirt to wear with this, perhaps with a wide belt...! Don't you just love having lots on the wish list even if it takes ages to get round to it.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

January last!

Confession time: I'm not the most prolific blogger!!! I think its a week or so since I last blogged only to find a whole month has gone by - how did that happen?!  So, I think my ambition is going to be to do a monthly round-up of progress throughout the year and I hope to have at least 12 completed projects by the end of 2012 - but I will need to improve to reach that target!!!

At the end of 2011 I decided one of my other goals for 2012 would be to get a bit fitter and have since been attempting to do some jogging - not easy when you go to work in the dark, come home in the dark, provide taxi service to two children to their activities five times a week etc etc...however, I have managed some! My totals for January (as verified by Runkeeper - the most brilliant motivational free app which tracks the distance you have run, minutes per mile, calories burnt etc) are:

Number of runs: 12
Total miles: 37.5
Average pace: 10 mins per mile

Don't think I've actually lost any weight yet though! Will keep working (slowly) on that.

For 2012 my goal is to slow down a bit! I know, I'm snail pace already, but I think I've been trying to run before I can walk and not having too much success, which is a bit demoralising.  I think if I slow down and try and achieve a better quality, I'll be much happier! In saying that, I've loved every minute that I've been able to spend at my sewing - usually listening to 999 FM (Magic) which plays great 60's, 70's and 80's music...

Progress on the Colette Patterns Peony dress has been the slowest of all - I'm still working on the muslin trying to perfect the fit - which is still way off! I seriously need a manual on alterations... the main problems seem to be: the shoulders - too wide and far too loose; and the position of the darts - despite moving the darts out by a whole inch they still seem to be ridiculously close (does anyone have boobs that close together?): here's a couple of pictures so far (not pretty I know!):
I think that perhaps I need to cut a size smaller body(?) but keep the same waist measurement.  Anyway, patience was a real issue by now so have put this to one side in the hope that I can come back to it with fresh eyes.  I do want to make this dress a good fit as the skirt is a lovely shape.

To have a break from this dress I decided that I would tackle a burda pattern I've been eyeing for some time:
I love the unusual neckline on this blouse and can imagine it would be great to layer.  Ultimately I would love to make this in a lightweight linen, but for  now am trying it out with a poly cotton picked up for £1 per metre (no tears if it doesn't work out as planned then!):

I think I am definitely going to shorten the length by about 3" and going to have my first go at making bias binding for the sleeve finish - more to follow.  The pattern itself seems good except that the instructions are very brief and I've more or less made up how the collar fits.  I'm not sure its exactly right as in the magazine picture it looks like the collar is slightly proud of the neckline, but mine aligns - still, I like it like that, so no worries.

Knitting: Daughters' aran cardigan is finished! Just in time for her 14th birthday:
She loves it!!! It was a joy to knit and grew surprising quickly (for me).  The only change I made to the pattern was to take some of the fullness out of the sleeves for a slightly more fitted look, which I think worked really well.  The buttons are leather faced retro look buttons, 12 off at a cost of nearly £9!!! Still, the cost overall is still under £25 and looks far better (I think anyway) than anything you can get in New Look or River Island for more money.

I've also spent a bit of Christmas money and purchased "A Stitch in Time" - a gorgeous book full of vintage patterns adapted to modern yarns and sizes.  Saturday is going to be a trip to Bradford (about an hour and half's drive) to visit the Texere Mill there which apparently is a knitters heaven...more later... here are the patterns I am interested in tackling:

So, lots to look forward to!


Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year! so, what will 2012 hold?

What a great year 2011 has been - a journey of discovery in my attempt at making some items for my (and my two girls) wardrobes!  I must confess, I still shop for clothes (definitely not good enough yet to home - make everything!) but truly admire the many wonderful bloggers who seem to effortlessly create beautiful, original items for their wardrobes.

The Christmas period has been hectic, the usual last minute shopping (note to self: try and handmake some gifts throughout 2012 to ease the burden of poor choice in the shops and expensive!), cooking, wrapping, visiting family, etc etc... just great though to have time to to spend doing these things.  I've not managed to fit any actual sewing in, although I've managed a few more lines of daughter 2's  aran cardigan (no need to panic yet, it has to be ready by 2nd February!).

What I have done though is blitz my sewing space so that I can start in 2012 with a tidy, organised little sanctuary - it now looks something like this:

I know it's not spring, but I feel so much better now that its clean and tidy!! Does anyone elses' get in as much a mess as mine?

UFO's to tackle in the New Year: (1) Colette's Peony dress - the bodice is done (see pic above) and the skirt is nearly ready to attach.  It's taken a bit longer than I'd hoped as there seemed to be loads of fit issues with this pattern and this is the second attempt at the bodice - but much better now!
(2) a second version of the Market Skirt - I love the green velvet one I did earlier, which I have worn lots with brown flat boots, so wanted one I could wear with my black boots - more to come once I have ordered some curved petersham to finish the waist...
(3) the dreaded Jacket (Built by Wendy) - this is going to take some serious patience so will have to wait till I have a couple of days to dedicate to it...I've also purchased the following pattern from Ebay as it includes extended instructions on how to construct a jacket which I am hoping will help:
Plus I love LOVE version B! May be adding this version to my future wish list (depending how I get on with the above first he he!).

I'm so looking forward to keeping reading all the lovely blogs - soooo inspiring - and so appreciate and am thankful for the lovely comments and help I've had from lovely bloggers

Happy New Year to everyone!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Round up, UFO's and thoughts on a year of sewing and knitting...

What a lovely year it has been! Here in the UK we don't have a 'Thanksgiving day' which I think is a real shame, as it seems to me that it is a great way to head into the holidays and acknowledge all we have to be thankful for!

I've had a wonderful year attempting to create some lovely things (some successful and some less so, but all part of the fun!).  UFO's at the moment are:

(1) the Peony Dress! I had hoped to have this finished, but have had lots of fit issues which I am trying to work through.  Here is a pic of the bodice (second time around, I scrapped the first one!):

The fit is now much better - The under bust darts have both been moved outwards by an inch (!) and the side bust dart raised (thanks to LLadybird for the great tips!).  I've also had to bring the neckline in an inch as well to stop the bodice falling off my shoulders. The skirt is nearly made up so I'm hoping that now I've finished work for the holidays (yes!) I'll have some time to complete this project very soon.

The Built by Wendy jacket is going much slower, probably because I'm not sure what I'm doing he he..., here it is so far!

New Year's resolution may have to be to devote some slow time to learning more about jacket construction and getting this finished, as I love the colours of the fabric and I think that the fit is looking good...

Sewing seems to be something I only enjoy doing in the day time when the light is better...I'm lucky to have a small room (a tad bigger than a broom cupboard, but still!) that I can keep as a sewing room cum store room... but I do feel anti-social leaving hubby sat in the lounge in the evenings and hiding away sewing ... so I think that this is where I've picked up knitting needles to try and create something knitted that I can have in my hands whilst chatting and with the TV on.  Confession time: I have knitted before (although no expert!!!) I did learn when the kids were smaller and I didn't work full time!  Why I ever stopped I do not know, but I can tell you I am loving picking it up again!  The only down (UP?) side is that my two girls have a constant stream of requests! The latest is for my younger daughter who is going on a school trip to Austria in February which comes just after her birthday and she desperately wanted a long aran cardigan - so here is progress so far:

The pattern...

left and right sides (they are the same length, honest! it's my rubbish photography (well it is 7.30 a.m.!)
The back so far! can you see all my working out? There are two patterns, one a four row repeat with two panels of 28 row repeat, so I like to have it written down - if I get interrupted (usually lots!) I can easily pick up again where I left off.  After the back there are just the two sleeves to do and finishing off.  I'm particularly pleased with the pockets on the front as its the first time I've attempted these!  I think I like working to  a deadline (2nd Feb!) as it keeps me focused to finish in time.

Progress on my 20's cardigan is somewhat slower, but as this is more a summer knit, I've plenty of time before I would think of wearing it:

The back is nearly complete (it is knit in one piece) ... I hope to get this finished for summer so that I can wear with a cream vest under...I think it would be great with some 40's style trousers and I'm very much coveting Rosy's 40's style trousers which I think are fantastic ... target for 2012?!

I hope everyone has a fantastic (and not too frantic!) holiday season, I've so enjoyed reading the many blogs out there, which inspired me to keep a record myself, I can't think of a better hobby than sewing and knitting!!!

One last confession though...I am trying to fit something else in - for a long time my jogging shoes lay dormant in the cupboard... but inspired by wanting to be a bit healthier and fitter (and look better in the creations I'm making!) they have been dusted off and for the last week I have been trying to go out every other day for gentle jog - and I love it! Not so much the rain and the wind (which here in the north of England we have had plenty of just lately) but the wonderful glowing feeling afterwards of achieving a goal!

Here's to 2012!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Christmas is coming...

The build up to Christmas seems to have well and truly started! This definately interferes with sewing time, which for me mostly happens on a Sunday morning or afternoon depending on childrens' activities!

 Shopping started at the Twisted Thread Show in Harrogate. Despite a very early start to catch the train at six forty five, a three hour journey on very packed trains, it was fantastic!!! For anyone wanting a one stop show of all things sewing, knitting, crafting etc this is the one!  Here are a couple of photo's (limited, as a lot of the exhibitors didn't want photo's taking of their work):

Isn't this amazing? piped silicone encrusted with jewels, some made into unusual jewellery! So many talented people!!!
Gorgeous knitted samples, framed - I think they look beautiful!

Whils most of the day was spent looking - in amazement - at the hoards of stalls, everything from lots of different sewing machine exhibitors with machines being demonstrated to wool, textiles, beads - soooo much stuff! I did come away with a couple of purchases - Sasha Kagans latest knitting pattern book (but can't show you pictures yet as mum has taken it to have a look through!)  Daughter One has asked if I would knit her a 'Sweet William Jumper' from it, but the kits alone were £95!!! Out of my price reach unfortunately - but hopefully in the New Year there may be sales!  In the meantime, I picked up a vintage Sirdar Aran book as Daughter Two wants a long aran cardigan for up-coming birthday in February! I'll post progress over Xmas when I should have a bit more time.

I've also been trying to make progress on my jacket - the fit seems really pleasing so far, but progress is slow because I don't really know what I'm doing!!! I've made up the lining (I love the color with the colours in the wool - they should brighten up the most miserable of days!) but am stuck on attaching it to the facings - Handmade Jane is absolutely right that the Built by Wendy Jackets is not the book for beginners to give you detail of how-to! Anyway, it should be good to tackle over the Christmas holidays.  So far its looking like this:

At the Show I also picked up some lovely black fabric (sorry content unkown! but feels lovely) which I am making into Colette's Peony Dress - photo's to follow!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Twisted Thread!

Off to spend the day in lovely Harrogate at the Twisted Thread show tomorrow, which promises to be a fantastic sewing, knitting and all things crafting heaven!