Monday, 4 September 2017

Holiday knitting

This summer we had a 2 week holiday on the Islands of Lewis and Harris, off the west coast of Scotland.  Of course it was wonderful.  We booked a cottage that had two rooms and so invited some friends to join us.

I taught Steph how to sew and got her started on her sewing hobby a few years ago and we planned to bring our sewing machines on this holiday for some evening craftiness, but I ended up not having the space to bring mine so decided to knit instead.
Steph was willing to be taught how to knit too so we got her started on some of my 2ply fair isle knitting, but it was too small for her.  So we went to the knitting shop in Lerwick and got some bulky yarn for her to knit a small baby cardi for her expectant sister.

This is Steph learning to knit whilst our husbands are fishing off the rocks down below.  We were waiting for the beautiful sunset, which I included a photo of at the top of this post.

Steph finished it a couple of days later, whilst knitting in front of a fire in the cottage.  She is so proud of her knitting! The pattern is called Wee Fast.

I was knitting a Bousta Beannie for my husband but unfortunately I had run out of yarn so I had to buy a new project to do on holiday.
I ordered some new yarn and was able to finish the hat on the ferry ride home from holidays. Not in time for Colin to make use of it whilst on holiday unfortunately.
This is the new project I started, the Falling Leaves cowl in a dk weight alpaca yarn, whilst knitting in front of a cosy fire, drinking Harris gin. mmm.
This cowl is now finished and I am quite happy with it too.

Knits in the wild

I was able to wear some of my hand knits whilst on holiday too.  
Here are some of my hand knits out in the wild:
Scatness tam whilst on a sea trek tour looking for sea eagles.

Rowe cardigan and Baable hat whilst pretending
to be Claire & Jamie from Outlander at the
Callanish Standing stones.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Crofthoose hat version 2

I made this sweet hat last year but it came out too small, so I have made it all over again and now it fits!

I only had to change three things to get the hat to fit.

1)  I went up half a needle size.
2)  I put away the circular needle that was the exact length required and instead used a longer cord on the circular needle and used the magic loop technique.
3)  After every few stitches I would stretch out the knitting on my right needle, give each stitch a bit of space inbetween one another.

Cosy Cable Cardi

I am so proud of this cardigan!  It was both a joy and a challenge to knit.

Every step of the way it was interesting and I always had a sense of accomplishment as I watched the cables intertwine.

This is such a beautiful pattern.  It is called "Rowe" and was written by Michele Wang when she worked with Brooklyn Tweed.

Here is the story of how I chose my yarn and colour.

I had read a number of reviews on the specified Brooklyn Tweed yarn called Shelter.  Many praised it heavily for the sumptuous colour range (40 colours) and of course it has a "coolness" factor because of the minimalist style of photography and the company is headed by a male knitter.  But it also has many negative reviews that say the yarn breaks easily under normal tensioning whilst knitting.  But my main reason for not using the specified yarn was the inhibiting price.  £12.50 for 50g.  For my size I would have needed 19 of these = £237 for the jumper!!!!  Yikes!
So instead I found Knit Picks Wool of the Andes.  It is also a worsted weight yarn but is only £1.79 for a 50g ball.  Which means the total price of the jumper would be £34 !!! (plus free postage to the UK) Plus there were only positive reviews on the yarn strength and the best part was 101 colour choices.
So I spent hours pouring over the sample colours and decided to order a few of my favourite colours.  I needed to see them up close and swatch them.
My top 8 favourite colours

In the end I narrowed it down to these two - Dove Heather and Mineral Heather.  So I knit up a sample swatch and carried them around with me for a few days, looking at them in different lights.
Mineral Heather was the winner!

My guage matched the pattern and so I started on the sleeves, then the fronts and finally the intricate back piece.  

The collar took a very long time but I stuck with it and enjoyed a few TV box sets whilst knitting the ribbed collar.
I am really impressed by the yarn and the pattern. I would even go so far as to say that I would happily knit this up again.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Evening dress

A niece was getting married and as soon as the invitation arrived I knew exactly what fabric I wanted to use!
Her theme colours were navy blue and hot pink.
I had purchased this floaty, diaphanous fabric from a small shop on Sydney Road in Melbourne for under AU$5 a metre.
I was planning to combine two different patterns, one for the bodice and one for the skirt until I saw this pattern on McCall's instagram account: M7537.  Of course the model photo is very difficult to make out the pattern lines but at least the illustrated dresses explain what the final dress will look like.

I was going to lengthen the skirt but instead ended up using a different skirt pattern: the maxi skirt from B5987.

A few other reviews of this McCall's pattern have commented that the bodice is very low.  IT IS. I really wasn't comfortable exposing cleavage at a wedding so I attempted to cut the fabric out with the curve of the neckline a bit higher and I raised the stitch line higher but I do feel that it is still a bit too low.  I will be making this dress again and I think I will redraft the curve of the neckline and facing to join one another much higher, at least 4".

Due to the floatiness of the fabric, the waistband that is supposed to rouche naturally just flopped down. So once the dress was finished I stitched lines across the middle to allow the folds to fall in smaller strands.  This definitely worked.

I did have to wear a slip under this dress but it was only a knee-length slip.  I plan to make a full length slip that also wraps around each boob so that I am completely covered.  But that's a plan for the future.  All in all, I did love wearing this dress and the floatiness was a dream to swan about in!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Bonnie's Quilt

I feel this sewing project has been my nemesis these past few years but at last I have defeated it and completed it. May I introduce "Bonnie's Quilt."

I began thinking about this quilt in 2013 and then started working on it in 2014.  At last it is finished and gifted in 2016!

I wrote about my original plans for this quilt in March 2014 here.  That post includes her answers to my questions that provided the inspiration and direction for this quilt. It is mostly done using a fabric line called "Color Me Happy" by V&Co.

The hardest part for me was to keep the work random.  I struggled a lot with fitting blocks together and there was A LOT of unpicking involved!  I took lots of photos during the process, thinking that I would want to write a "how to" blog post, but now that it is finally finished I would rather just leave it as it is.  An entire random quilt.

AND NOW my brother has requested a quilt !!!!

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