Tag Archive | knitting

The lady vanishes

So I knew I hadn’t posted for a bit, but I didn’t realise it’s been nearly three whole months since I posted anything.

Partly it’s because I got ill, which wrote off August, then September was spent holding the fort because Jon was going for a promotion (which he’s got) and spent every weekend either working on his job application or interview practice, so I ended up having to do a lot more house jobs and cooking during the week instead of sewing. In the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on stuff, but although very straight forward, it’s a larger project than I tend to do these days so it’s taking multiple weeks to finish. 

However I have finished this hat for Jon…..


It’s another Bobeek hat, Jon liked my Red hat so much he wanted his own model. 

We went to Loop in Islington, which seemed a good idea at the time as John Lewis and Liberty are not amazing for masculine coloured chunky wools.

Jon chose the wool, it is Misti Alpaca Chunky in colourway M620. It was a bit pricey at £15 a ball, but according to how much yarn you need according to the knitting pattern, it should have been easy to do from one ball. So that doesn’t work out too bad for a luxury hat (it’s 100% baby alpaca)

Of course I needed more than one ball. Luckily it was by a respectable amount rather than like one row or something, but it’s now a £30 hat. & my knitting is not up to the quality needed for £30 hats. Grrrr!

It has also come up a bit larger on the top bit than my other two versions. The band is ok and the right size, but I think with it being slightly thicker yarn it’s a fatter hat than the other two were. Luckily Jon likes this, & likes the hat, so it’s all good. & he’s accidentally chosen a stunningly fashionable colour, so he’s really happy.

Next up for knitting is a pair of wristlets and a neckband for me out of Cascade heather, am a little apprehensive about this as it will be my first time playing with cable since I took knitting lessons.

In other satisfied customer news, heres a picture of my Mum in the Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress I made her in summer…..


Mum really likes it.& now she is thinking of getting into sewing again (she was awesome in the 70’s) to make her own versions.

Anyway, I’m aiming to have the dress I’m working on finished for Halloween, so I shouldn’t be absent for as long a time next post. 

winter hat in summer time

Not that we’ve had very much actual summer this year, horrible gloomy weather, but its thankfully still too warm for wooly hats, even if I’ve had to have the heating on three or four evenings.

Anyway, here is my finished tiger print hat…..

 

I had no idea it was sitting so far back on my head when Jon took the photographs, & it doesn’t go best with the velvet dress, but its hard finding stuff that could pass as winter clothes but can still survive bonkers level humidity.

The hat is a Bobeek by Daniella Johannsenova on Ravelry, I made a previous one last year, i wasn’t intending on making it again for myself in such a hurry, but I felt I needed something plain to set off the tiger pattern. I am now well underway with a third one of the damn things because Jon liked my pink one so much (he looked so good in it the designer used the picture of him wearing it as a featured picture on the pattern page) that he’s been demanding his own version ever since. I’d give him the pink one, only its variegated between pink & red which means it goes with both my pink & red winter coats nicely, so I kind of need to keep it for myself.

The scarf is plain stockinette stitch, which I blogged here, and the dress is one I made last autumn.

I’ve been getting on rather better with knitting than I have with sewing at the moment, another hat is underway, and I’ve got my next 3 or 4 projects bought and planned.

The dress I’ve been meaning to make for the last couple of months is still sitting there in my work in progress basket, I’ve finally got my sewing machines out again to make a start, but its been overtaken by a dress for my Mums birthday I somewhat randomly decided to make (there is logic, i can do both without changing the overlocker threads). Luckily they are both quick projects & I’ve made one before so when I finally get going with it should only take a couple of hours each & then I can get back on track.

Finishing with a picture of our Elephant (& a couple of bulbs of normal garlic) that Jon has harvested from the allotment, its our first proper harvest of anything, so we are well proud of it. It is hanging up to dry at the moment. luckily I don’t mind the stink of garlic, because the flat reeks!

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Eye of the Tiger

I think one of my recurring problems with sewing and knitting is that it takes so long between conception of a garment and actually finishing it, that sometimes I have no idea what to do with it once I’ve made it.

This was pretty much true of my latest creation. A scarf started about this time last year and finished two weeks ago. It was a good six months before that I had the idea of making it in the first place, having had a drink or two one night and deciding to google animal print yarn; to my slight shock, given the amount of fair isle self striping yarn there is around, no one was really making very much animal print. Except for Stylecraft who had made a brilliant (though somewhat acrylic) range called Safari, which sadly had been discontinued in 2012. So I decided I really needed the tiger print version, so set up an eBay search (which I now don’t know how the hell to take off, nearly two years later) sat back and waited. Six months later it succeeded and I became the proud owner of 8 balls of tiger print wool.

So its taken me ages to knit this particular scarf, largely because I was using it as an easy project I could chat through whilst I was at knitting group, which was only twice a month, and working on other stuff at home. & by the time I finished it I was really quite sick of it. The tiger print yarn, although really pretty is so acrylic that its actually quite unpleasant to the touch to knit.

& I didn’t really know what to do with it, my winter coats are bright red and pink (not really my choice, its what was available in the shop that fit, & a present from my mother) so teeming them with tiger print seemed a bit garish, its something I’d have done in previous years, but not really me now…

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Here it is over a bright red blanket and sofa to show what I mean.

So I put off photographing it as I wasn’t sure, & then the weather started getting warmer, & it wasn’t really scarf appropriate anyway, except I decided I absolutely needed photographs, so I somewhat randomly teamed it with my green jacket and a black dress just to get it done, went out to take them, and then was just blown away by what I saw when Jon showed me the fist couple of photos, its accidentally cool!

 

In many ways I’m such an idiot, I was a massive Manic Street Preachers fan when I was in my late teenage years, so I should have known khaki and animal print really go well together, but until I saw the first photo Jon took I hadn’t realised my scarf could look urban and cool rather than just a bit kitsch.

So now I’m desperate to get the matching hat done. I had 5 days at my parents over Eater and I was planning to make a good start there, however I stupidly brought the wrong length circular needles with me (so can’t be bothered to do the entire hat on a magic loop) so I did a jigsaw instead.

Hopefully I will get it started in the next day or two anyway. 🙂

Green boyfriend hat and random fabric

 

So literally the day before the weather turned and went really cold I managed to finish the ribbed hat for Jon to match the scarf I made him earlier in the year.

I found this a much more pleasant knit than the scarf, basically because the main pattern was k3p2, which had just enough element of variation in it to stop me going up the wall. Although I started the hat on a circular needle I finished it off on double pointed needles, which was my first attempt using those and was a bit of a disaster, although I got the hang of it, in the process I dropped a load of stitches, which I had to sew back up at the end, though it isn’t noticeable at all in the finished hat.

Pattern was the Boyfriend Hat by Stephanie Nicole Bennet. Yarn was Debbie Bliss Donegal Arran Tweed, which matched the scarf yarn & I’ve had in my stash for ages. With hindsight the tweed wool is too irregular, changing in width the whole time & with random bobbles to have been ideal for the patterns I chose, but they’ve still come out reasonably ok, & Jon likes them which is the main thing.

Next on the project list is a tiger print scarf and hat combo for me, & then a repeat of the Bobeek slouchy beanie hat I made end of last year for Jon as he wants one for himself it suited him that much.

In sewing news I have my xmas lolita project all cut out and ready to go.  I’ve also bought some more fabric recently, of which these two are the highlights….

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This brocade is a replica of what if I remember correctly is a Byzantium piece found in a viking grave. It is by a Czech  company called Sartor who specialise in reproduction medieval fabric & have had stuff used in Lord Of The Rings & Game of Thrones. Their authentic stuff (made in silk and velvets ) is way way expensive, but their polyester brocades (which this is) are quite cheap, though still a lot more than I would normally pay for fabric.& as I am intending on using this to make sleeves for a medieval goth dress I am planning, the fact that its polyester and therefore easily washable is a massive bonus.

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This very good quality what I think is Cotton Sateen I picked up from the local fabric stall for £3 a meter. I wasn’t sure what it was exactly other than a massive floral print until I got it home and opened it up properly. I’m not sure what digital, old masters style printed fabric is called, but I’ve been dreaming of something like this for so long, & under usual circumstances if something like this comes up its far too expensive for me to buy.

I am planning on making it into a Juliette & Justine style floral lolita dress, however there is 5m, so I’m hoping to get a skirt out of it as well.

I’ve also bought some other random bits off the market as the stall holder lady is ill 😦 and her daughter is going to take over from after xmas, so who knows whats going to happen. I may have to start rationing my fabric buying or pay higher prices for stuff again.

 

unseasonal knitting and dastardly alcoholics.

So a couple of weeks ago I finally finished the scarf I have been working on for the last 6 months, well, I say working on, actually I mean doing everything I can to avoid having to touch the damn thing, doing two rows and then giving up in disgust and generally procrastinating as much as possible.

Me and k2 p2 ribbing really don’t get on. On the one hand cuz its so repetitive its really really really boring, on the other hand I found it easy to get mixed up so couldn’t have the telly on whilst knitting or get on with it at knitting group or I made mistakes.

Bizarrely, not all ribbing is equally awful, I am currently working on the accompanying hat for with this which is k3 p2 ribbing and that little amount of variation is just enough that I’m getting on with it in a lot more efficient way.

Anyway, the person it was intended for (Jon)  really likes it, & agreed to model it for me. After a period of insanely hot weather we are now having a cold spell, everyone I know had their heating on for a few days over the weekend, so the fleece is not entirely unseasonable.

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Oh yeah, the pattern, albeit a very simple one, was Ribbed for her Pleasure from the Stitch and Bitch book, the wool was Debbie Bliss Donegal Arran Tweed, which I had knocking around randomly from ages ago.

I know I haven’t posted a charity shop haul in a long time, but I had to share this awesome little pair of reprobates I picked up recently for £6.99 from one of my favourite charity shopping locations that shall remain nameless.

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I don’t think they are genuine 18th century. There is no makers mark on the base and the base is very unscuffed and in good nick ,according to the Antiques Roadshow which my parents used to watch religiously as I was growing up, lack of scuff and wear marks on the base suggest these things are modern reproductions. But they are really cute and were £7, so I’m glad to give them a home.

I’m in the middle of making a dress at the moment, and although the instructions are simple (its a Sewaholic Cambie) I’m feeling a bit bogged down as health and life has been such that I’ve only had about an hour and  half to spend on it over the last week. Specially as I am scaling up the waist on a size 16 pattern and have no guarantee the damn thing will fit me when its done.

Im also feeling a bit skint as I have finally found a plus sized fashion company that sells stuff I actually want to buy and I don’t really have a budget for clothes 😦 One of the annoying things about sewing ones own stuff is that although in many ways it allows one to stay true to a personal style, when stuff you like comes into fashion it is really difficult to react quickly to it. In this case its all the witchy, Stevie Nicks style Strega stuff. Even if it wasn’t beyond my sewing capabilities I am not finding chiffon or much stretch velvet on the market stall to play with, and even if I did, by the time I’ve done something with it the moment will have long passed.

Its one of those things about growing up actually, when I was a student my clothes were all in fashion having been acquired over the last 2-3 years since I stopped growing. I used to look down on ‘adults’ who were not fashionable and wonder why they didn’t care about having cool stuff, and be like ‘I’ll never let myself get like that’. Of course as one gets older one realises the importance of having a personal style over blindly following whatever Topshop, or in my case Camden Market dictates is in fashion this season. but even if stuff you like is fashionable at the moment, there is absolutely no guarantee it will fit you, the Strega stuff has been a youth/alternative trend for about 3 years, this is the first year it has hit the plus sized ranges, already making me out of date. & there is no guarantee that at the requisite moment you’ll actually have any money to buy stuff. Which is not that we are short of money by any means, but having ones own flat and grown up responsibilities means that money has to go on things like a new stereo as our old one conked out rather than clothes. Its also rather hard to justify frivolous clothes purchases when one already has a full wardrobe, & even these days a relatively well developed Lolita wardrobe, or at least one that fills the purpose given how rarely I actually get to wear it. So basically I am feeling somewhat sartorially frustrated.

Of course what I actually need to do is get sewing, even if it is not the garment I’d imagine it to be in an ideal world, having new clothes finished always makes me feel a little better.

So that means not whinging on here and getting on with stuff.

 

The hipster hat

First make of the year, I’ve finished a hat to match the scarf I made just before xmas…..

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Its the Bobeek pattern from Ravelry, done in Debbie Bliss Riva in Red (the purple red, apparently theres several different reds). I found it an easy pattern given I’ve never knitted a hat before, however everyone on Ravelry said it ran large, I wasn’t unduly worried as I have a large head, but if I made it again I would take 6 stitches (the repeat you need for the top part) out of it to make it slightly snugger.

I am very happy with it and it matches the scarf and both my winter coats perfectly, however I tried it on Jon for a laugh….

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and it fits perfectly, looks amazing, and very very hipster! So I think I am going to have to make him one in a different colourway of Riva, or make myself something new and donate him that particular set. grrrr!

My regency dress is coming along nicely, it is not going to be ready for the exact party it was intended for, however I have had to have minor surgery on the top of my leg this week (nothing scary, just removing a skin tag) which means I won’t be able to dance this weekend anyway, so it doesn’t really matter and it is only a week behind schedule, I am relatively well at the moment, but for some reason sewing is tiring me out majorly, so I am only able to do about 2 hours a day, so everything is taking ages!

I am also having minor wardrobe dilemma in regards to what to sew next. Its really nice to just be able to sew on a whim again finally, but I still have to make up my mind about stuff and do things like prewash the fabric>

What I made in 2014.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

So technically I’m a day late for the ‘what I made this year’ roundup, but here it is anyway…..

Stuff I made in 2014…

IMG_3184wool damask skirt 2red houndstooth skirtDSCN0397simplicity 2886Aurora - sleeping beauty costume 2simplicity 4517 aladyskater 4IMG_3665IMG_3631burgundy renfrew top lolita 2purple stripy skater dresshand knitted scarfrenfrew top for christine

 

All pictures link to the original post with that item in, apart from the one of the blue dress in the garden, cuz the second time I photographed it I got much better pictures.

So thats 14 items made this year, 12 of which are sewn 2 of which were knitted, so I am counting that as actually slightly down on last year when I managed 14 sewn items, (I want my knitting to be a bonus to my sewing, not a replacement for it) However massive improvement over last year as 12 of those items are completely wearable (lat year I made 4 duds)  and one of the ones that isn’t (the blue dress) is because the fabric, a viscose I bought off the market stall, faded in the wash and developed white patches, and started fraying along the seams. I’m a bit annoyed because I prewashed it and it didn’t show as an issue, but given I pay £2-£3 a meter for fabric that is much better quality and design than anything I could get for that price from anywhere else, the occasional problem fabric is not too much of a downer. (according to the market stall lady its because not all samples are treated before they get sent to the shops for consideration, and then onwards to her) and it is really rare that happens.

The other item of clothing that has ended up not completely functional is the Sleeping Beauty skirt I made for a costume party. In that case a) I don’t really like it, it reminds me of school, b) the way I caught up the lining in the hem means it wrinkles a bit, which isn’t ideal though I have been assured no one but me would notice, however c) I don’t really like it, it reminds me of school! So it hasn’t really been worn, I will keep it in my wardrobe a couple more months, but if it doesn’t get worn by then it will get slung out.

Last year I made a list of all the things I intended to sew this year…

Black and white lined wool skirt – made

Black and red herringbone wool skirt – made 

Dress for dark Grimm fairytale themed goth clubnight I am hoping to go to in March –didn’t manage and due to life getting busy didn’t make it to the club night at all actually

Skirt for my friend C.- push over to next year, after the Sleeping Beauty skirt didn’t work I’m not quite as confident as I thought I was with the pattern

Top for my friend C. – made

Red jersey top – was on the list, dyed the fabric and the trimming, but got bumped off the list by time constraints

Burgundy jersey top – made 2 of them actually

Hot air balloon steampunk/lolita dress –made

Hello Kitty/Kiss dress – didn’t manage

Tim Burton style ball dress for Haloween –no chance

Black and silver damask steampunk/lolita skirt – sadly didn’t manage

Red and black stripe steampunk/lolita skirt. –didn’t manage

So I managed 5 out of 13, which is terrible really, only looking at that list I feel I was a touch over ambitious.

Also this year ended up being the year of making fairly boring basics for my wardrobe, rather than fun frilly stuff, which was totally necessary, however, I’ve got to say, this winter has been the first time since I put on weight 5 years ago nearly now, that I’ve consistently found stuff on the highstreet and in charity shops that fits and I want to wear. I am beginning to feel, for the first time in 5 years that I have a well rounded wardrobe that can cope with any everyday occasion. Although there are several basics I still would like to make next year, I’m going to have a lot more opportunity to make stuff for fun and on a whim.

However I am finding that alternative culture has pretty much died in London, certainly in the South East of London where I live, which means that although I love the idea of having a wardrobe full of black and frilly, there are less and less opportunities to wear stuff. I need more lolita items, and I need a couple of Regency dancing dresses, but I’m not entirely sure where to go with what I make at the moment, my heart wants loads of impractical but pretty goth dresses, but my head thinks maybe normal basics with the merest hint of a twist to them is more suited to what I actually need. (hate normcore with a massive vengeance)

So I have no idea what the hell I’m going to make next year.

However there is still a short list of stuff I need to make…

Regency dress mockup (I have started this already as the deadline is mid January)

Regency dress more authentic version

Red top 1

Red top 2

Another item of clothing for C.

And thats about it, apart from that I’m just going where the whim takes me. Obviously I’d love to finish more than 12 items as well, but I have to accept, because of the ill and life getting in the way, thats probably not going to happen. But I will have a  go anyway! 🙂