Bye bye Larry

Remember Larry, the wonderfully warm and useful sweater knitted way back in September/October 2014 which recently developed a hole right in the front? Well, with great regret I spent an afternoon when I wasn’t really able to do anything else ripping it to it’s component parts – viz, Rowan Wool Aran. This had cost me a fair amount way back and I’m nothing if not thrifty so I wasn’t prepared to just bin this.

I really liked Larry and if it hadn’t been too big for me now I would have repaired that hole and saved myself a bag load of work. However, I have also been going through the pictures ripped out from magazines that I like (we all save these, don’t we?) and found this….VINCE Sweater

…lovely isn’t it?

The picture hasn’t got a date on it but seems to have been late last year, and is by a brand called VINCE (pulled from Porter magazine). I love this so I’m planning to adapt another sweater from Ravelry. I have found the Berocco Bell Rock turtleneck which I think I can adapt to look much like this.

The yarn is now washed and wound into balls. Thankfully the ‘kinks’ all smoothed out after washing. The Management said it looked like I had shaved a poodle before that 🙂 .

It wasn’t until I was looking for the date when I knitted Larry that I realised just how much knitting I do! I knit to relax so this may reduce now that I’m not sewing for clients.

What do you prefer to do – knit, sew, or something else completely?

Look out for progress soon – I am missing my warm brown sweater.

Kim

 


Challenge accepted – and met!

A long time ago (in a land far away…..) I joined a Stash busting Group on Facebook. Yes, I see the joke too. It hadn’t occurred to me that this would be so useful – and it also directed me to a group that were issuing Sewing Challenges. What better way to induce you to sew. I love a challenge!

So, back in January I joined a challenge – the SSW:Deep Stash Challenge. It seemed like a breeze to sew eight (yes, 8) garments from patterns bought before 31st December 2016 before the 30th April deadline. A mere two a month would be a piece of cake. Or so I thought before my gall bladder interfered so much.

I started strongly in January with the Fehr Trade VNA sports top and the self drafted warm ‘leggings/trousers’. The top was blogged here as my Jungle January garment but I never blogged the trousers. They were made from warm lycra from Funkifabrics bought an age ago and have been worn pretty much constantly since. I love these trousers, and the top has been worn for both yoga and running and I can heartily recommend it. I even managed to use Butterick 6388 for the first time.

February was OK too, I made up the Savage Coco Presto top as a dress, and also made the first incarnation of Butterick 6388 as a dress. Loved them both. Both patterns that had sat around a while, the Butterick unused until January and now a strong favourite in my wardrobe. Details here.

Although made in March (I’m pretty sure) the dresses I made next weren’t blogged until mid April. Yet another Butterick 6388 – didn’t I say it had become a firm favourite? – and Vogue 1410 by Lynn Mizono. Both now well established in my wardrobe (I have even cut out another Mizono for summer – ever the optimist!) and I seriously can’t work out what I had against wearing dresses for so long as it makes getting dressed a breeze. No trying to find matching bits. That truly appeals to my lazy side 🙂

Following this I got seriously slow and almost gave up on the challenge. We had the break in Cornwall, followed by a manic week clearing jobs before my surgery, and then a week recovering. And reading old blog posts, sorting through patterns, and making plans.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe sharp eyed among you might recognise these flowered ‘what nots’ as the garment The Management called ‘scrousers’. The pattern was from Patrones magazine and was first made in July last year (details here) and worn more than I expected. I decided that they needed to be shorter and have pockets this time.

Since the originals can be worn facing in either direction I didn’t want to lose that when I added pockets. Easy alteration to do – side panels make adding the pocket a very easy alteration. There is a (very) minor nod to current fashion by using a floral cotton from very deep stash for these. Nice to clear that away, and I know that when it is positively tropical here in July/August I’m ready . Stop sniggering – I told you I was an optimist.

I really thought I had given up after making six of the eight garments required to complete the challenge and then I saw Carolyns blog and another of her gorgeous makes from her Japanese pattern book collection. Back on the horse Hood!

Now Carolyn had adapted the last incarnation of the top she made but I knew I had that book (She Wears the Pants by Yuko Takada), knew I had taken it off the shelf frequently with the intention of making several of the garments inside, and had made precisely …..  none. Time to change that.

I really liked the Square Top (No. 11) and decided to make that first – although I had cut out the other top at the same time. The ability to wear it in two distinct ways appealed, and though I like it as a straightforward top it really is very square. The clue was in the name so I should have known. I will wear it like this but I think I prefer the way it can be buttoned up, turned around, and worn as a shrug. Magic!

The red striped top is the Top with Epaulettes (No.4 in the book) that I had been admiring on Carolyns blog. Why didn’t I make this earlier!!!!! I freaking LOVE this top. This will be worn to death (despite the fact that I look a bit ‘Where’s Wally’ in it) and will spawn lots of friends in my wardrobe.

So that’s it. I actually got to the end (and well done if you have too) and made all 8 garments needed in the time allowed. Just.

What have I taken away from the challenge? Get those unused blessed patterns out and start sewing woman!

So what about digging out a pattern you have been giving house room to and never made, or an old favourite that could replace one of the worn versions you made and love. You must have liked a pattern enough to stump up cash to buy it so off you go! Which pattern are you going to make? I have an idea which of mine you will be seeing soon.

Kim

 


Birmingham Booty

In my last post I did promise to show you what was in that pile of bags from Birmingham. I honestly had gone with the intention of coming away with a few odds and sods, and a whole load of fruit and veg. Big fat fail there but look at this lot…

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Who knows what – but it was £1 pm

I had barely arrived before I spotted these on the £1 a metre stall inside the market. It is usually fabric of dubious quality – fine for toiles and testers but not what you would really want to wear somewhere ‘nice’. However it is possible to find a pearl. The picture isn’t particularly good – the fabric on the left is a cotton/poly mix with some embroidery detail and ‘fluffy’ stripes. Oh, and it is a lemon yellow colour – not that you would guess from this. I’m planning to make another  Mizono dress from this since I have redrawn the pattern to be used without tucks and such. In principal it should be a quick job. The other stripe could be anything but I’m guessing mainly polyester. The plan is to test my trouser block on this and make something new that fits – everything is too big at the moment as I have lost weight through being ill. (Thankfully that is now dealt with – I have waved my gallbladder goodbye so no more pain should mean my weight stabilising). It will be good to have a tolerably presentable pair that don’t fall down all day. Oh the perils of having negligible hips!

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Skulls and flowers jersey

 

OK, I have no excuses for this but it is hilarious and cheap as hell so I bought it. No plans at present, but it’s jersey so I know it will be useful in my now very relaxed (and a bit silly) wardrobe.

 

 

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Bad photograph colour, gorgeous fabric

 

 

 

I saw Fairy with some of this jersey – I wish you were able to feel it cos’ it’s gorgeous. Very smooth and cool to the touch. The stall holder claimed it was a high end brand that would cost £££ but was selling at £3 a metre which was good to me. Bought  4 metres which should cover whatever I decide. Sorry for copying your purchase Fairy but I promise not to make whatever you do from it – you’re bound to be faster than me 🙂 . Again, the colour didn’t turn out very well but it is a red/grey combination. Check out Fairys blog for a better photograph. (In checking I see that she has already started hers! Good going Fairy!)

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From the ‘Jersey Jumble Sale’!

One of the stalls that always shocks and excites Rag Market virgins is what I refer to as the Jersey Jumble Sale. This tends to be outside on a Tuesday and is an absolute hoot. You never know what you are going to find – nothing is tidy or measured, and it’s not unusual to find that you are in a tug of war with someone on opposite ends of a piece. Again there is a lot of tat there but if you have any idea what a ‘good’ cloth feels like you can sometimes get some treasure. sometimes you just get carried away and but lots because it’s there. *Ahem*. Clearly that wasn’t what happened here at all. Stop giggling back there!

I have already cut out and started a top from one of my neglected Japanese pattern books – ‘She Wears the Pants’. Not an inspiring title but there are a few things  I really want to make. Actually, I have been returning to these frequently for what seems like years so it’s certainly time for action. The fabric I started with was the lovely grey marl (top left). It is very soft and ‘easy’ on your skin so I suspect that this will be a good summer layering piece. I’m doing well on the top but have been halted until I decide on buttons. I want to try to finish from stash (there had to be something suitable in one of those tins!) but may have to shop.

The orange cotton rib is bog standard t-shirt fabric. Nothing special but ever so useful. I know I already have this in white and grey so there could be a bit of colour blocking coming on.

The grey stars. Oh, the grey stars. How many of you had a t-shirt with stars on in the 70’s. OK, you can include your mum if you aren’t that old. I loved mine and I know that The Management would be as jealous as could be if I make another from this. Sadly its a very wounded piece that definitely wont make two. Ah, sad.

The striped fabric is allegedly River Island, but is just as likely to be Treasure Island. It feels a bit like linen but wont be – but I’m already considering another ‘She wears the pants’ buttoned top from one piece. Oh yeah, I bought two pieces as I really didn’t want to be found a tiny bit short on this. I would lay strong odds on the black fabric in the same picture being exactly the same fabric as some sweatpants that The Management bought recently at M&S. It feels lovely and since I have just about lived in the pull on pants (not blogged! Sorry) I made from my leggings pattern and some warm lycra from Funky Fabrics back in January I have a fair idea what these will turn into.

So clearly I am going to be busy for a little while using this lot – and I know I shouldn’t have bought it really but I spent under £30 on the lot. Yes – all of it. Not bad is it, and it will wait patiently until I’m ready.

There’s every possibility that I will be diverted but I would like to make these up fairly quickly. I’m trying not to get into a situation where I can’t decide which option to use by just cutting the pattern ASAP and stopping the indecision. We’ll see how long that lasts!

Do you use your more recent fabrics first, or work from any system at all? I’d be interested in how you all use your stash.

Anyway, keep sewing and using that stash!

Kim


Marching on

Yet again time has flown by without my noticing. March is a distant memory, and April is already well advanced – how come?!

I really have been sewing and knitting between just chilling and enjoying trips out with The Management. Evidence below.

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Firstly we have a really grotty photograph (why does flash make it look so bad?) of The Management wearing the shirt made from the fabric bought from Mood Fabrics in New York. I used the self drafted pattern which has been made multiple times now and is very easy for me to knock out. I struggled a bit to find buttons that worked on this fabric until I turned one of my stash buttons upside down and discovered that it was perfect. I even had enough of them. Score!

This has been worn on so many occasions now that I can confirm that it is (apparently) very comfortable, and washes like a dream. He claims that it is the most comfortable in his wardrobe so I must have got something right. If you have an amazing memory I did wonder who’s fabric would be made up first. His, but I have cut out my jeans from the pin striped denim. They are waiting in a queue at the moment.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Remember the Purl Soho Botanical Yoke sweater ? Finished, worn, and loved. How gorgeous is this? This version was made in  Drops cotton light and is perfect for right now but I really do want to knit another version in the recommended Cashmere and Merino mix. The actual yarn from Purl Soho is fabulous but I saw Colourmart in Shrewsbury mentioned in Kate from Fabrickateds blog and decided to check them out. Am I glad I did! I am lucky enough to live close enough to visit the unit they trade from and meet the lovely Sue. She showed me around in an attempt to find a yarn I liked but I got completely overwhelmed and had to come away just with samples to try before committing. I was even given a swift lesson in how to Navajo ply the yarn to bring it up to the thickness I needed. What service! The yarn I think I am going with is a very dark OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAblue, almost black, wool/cashmere mix which will need to be knitted using my new knowledge. Now that I know about Colourmart, and know I can collect orders from them if I am visiting Shrewsbury (and let’s face it – I can think of many excuses to do that!), I will definitely be using their services. Thanks Kate for drawing them to my attention. I even got this finished before The Management and I managed to sneak away to Cornwall for a week. Doesn’t it look good by the sea? (I ask because I want to go back again. And again..) The bucket hats I made from Rhondas blog got good use in the sunshine that week too 🙂 . The jumper was perfect because although the sun was shining magnificently there was a chill in the breeze. Well it is just April!

 

There has been sewing  too. I saw the lovely Demented Fairy  in Birmingham wearing this  Lynne Mizono Vogue 1410 pattern dress and knew I had to have it!

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In my last post I showed some fabrics I had bought from Barrys bargain table. This grey was on there, and was described as ottoman but I didn’t get the exact fibre composition. There is a lot of stretch along the length of the fabric, and the stripes went across the width. I decided I preferred it turned sideways and there didn’t seem to be any reason why I shouldn’t. The pattern is very simple but I took issue with the idea that the neckline and armholes should just be turned and stitched so I used a self bias tape to neaten and finish them. I’m very happy with the result despite feeling like a dwarf after taking 5″ out from the length! The Management likes this too so there are certainly more in my future.

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I made another version of Butterick 6388 , again dress length. You might recognise this as a piece from the last Birmingham trip too. This was a sample piece from the jersey stall that had a whopping great hole in the middle. I wasn’t certain this would fit from the piece but I managed to squeak it out. Again, I have worn this multiple times since I finished it. I put a very fine knitted interfacing into the collar this time as the others weren’t standing quite as as wanted them to. I’m much happier now. I think this piece cost me about £4 so I think I have a very good value dress now – only the thread and interfacing to add to that cost and that must have been pennies. Although we are now (allegedly) into Spring here in the UK I can imagine I will still get a bit more use out of this before it gets too warm.

Well I managed to actually make up two of the six pieces of fabric I bought in Birmingham before I went back and was led totally astray again by Fairy. Look at this lot! We did have another lovely day and it seemed rude not to join in the fabric buying. There is so much there that I’m not going to show it all this time – but I do promise to post again soon so you can see my treasure!
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I have pre-washed all of this now so it is ready to use, I even have an idea of how I am going to use some of it. Whisper it but there is in excess of 12m in there. Well in excess. Oh my.

Till next time.

Kim

 


Where is the time going?!

14th of March already! Yikes. I have been enjoying watching the signs of spring arriving here in Bewdley (catkins dancing, lambs prancing)and not noticed just how the days are flying by. I have been working sewing and knitting but really don’t seem to have a lot to show for it. I have also been spending time completing this jigsaw loaned to me by a friend. Yes, we are still friends! I have finished it now but it has taken an age….

An almost impossible jigsaw!

Jersey ‘bits’ from outside

All from Barrys bargain table

I did have a lovely day in Birmingham when I met the lovely Fairy and Glenda for a market trip. It’s almost a month ago so Fairy has probably finished sewing all of her cloth already and mine is still waiting for action. *sigh*

I had intended not to buy any fabric at all since my stash is heaving but I couldn’t resist these pieces. The jersey from the outdoor area was ridiculously cheap and I have no real idea yet what I want to do with it but I really don’t want it hanging round for a long time so I will decide soon. the Barrys bargain fabrics were a bit more substantial. I think I bought 3m of each of these. The brown and grey lengths are slightly stretchy and would make good shirts but would also work on the Lynn Mizono dresses that I want to try out – and at  £2 a metre they wont break my heart if I don’t like them afterward. The black is a textured polyester – a little bit like scuba but a bit less dense – that Fairy and I thought would be worth trying for the bodice on this dress. I already had fabrics for the Mizono patterns I wanted to use but you know how a bargain can lead you astray….

Elastic and easy thread needles

 

Talking of which, I have a bag with all sorts of lingerie/spsortswear odds and sods in it (including a fair quantity of elastics) but I couldn’t help but buy the red and black fold over elastic. I can’t even remember what it cost but I know it was well worth it! Add it to the bag.

The other item was a bit of experimentation. I bought some of the easy thread needles I have seen around. Have you tried them? I did wonder how the thread didn’t just fall out again but it seems to work! Whilst I’m not quite in need of them on a full time basis yet I can see how they would be useful if you did have difficulty threading up. I tried them out on the shirt I’m working on and they work fine but the top is a bit ‘poky’ and I found I really needed to use a thimble to prevent puncturing my fingers.

When I haven’t been swearing over jigsaw pieces I have done quite a lot of knitting. That gorgeous Botanical Yoke sweater is coming along beautifully – I’m well into the yoke section now so I thought you could have a sneaky peek. It looks amazing – and really isn’t as difficult as I thought it would be (or as it looks!). The Managements quilt is started now but there  really isn’t anything worth showing yet. I know I’m fitting it in around other jobs but I really hadn’t appreciated what I had let myself in for with a full bed size quilt!

A sneaky peek

Hopefully a bit more to show next time I manage to remember where the dashboard is!

Kim


Relaxing, and getting things done, is soooo good!

Yes, it’s official – I’m retired  so don’t ask me to do a darned thing!

Actually not quite true yet as I still have a very small amount of client work outstanding – but it’s all work that has no deadline so I can actually do it when I feel like that sort of work rather than feeling obligated. How happy am I! I promise this is the last time I gloat ‘coz  I’m retired . Honest.

Anyway, my last post was a frantic dash to get the Jungle January garments posted before Ann slammed the gate closed so I didn’t tell what else I had been doing so I will start here..

In with my lovely knitting ‘Stitching Santa’ parcel from Jo  was a skein of sock yarn in lovely greens. Clearly since it was my gift I had to knit this for myself. Since I had no other knitting on the needles I decided to start January with this. The yarn was a lovely Superwash wool/nylon sock yarn by Knitglobal which knitted up beautifully into very comfy socks. Thankfully they are also very warm because it has been positively bleak here in the UK. Grey and wet. Yuck! There are another couple of balls of Drops sock yarn so I can start another pair whenever I want. Bliss!

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..and back

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Butterick 6388 front…

I started sewing with the Butterick 6388 pattern and a cheerful red polka dot jersey because …well, it’s miserable in January! Red always cheers me up. However, I really have to say I prefer this as a top (as it was for JJ in the last post). It’s a great pattern – and I certainly see more of these in the (possibly near) future – but I like the top better. The pockets in the diagonal seams are great but inclined to open up a bit when you are wearing the dress. I may go back and sew these closed. The fabric is far from high quality – probably plain polyester jersey from the Rag Market but I have no recollection as it had been in stash for ages. It does have as much stretch as the pattern claims to need but I would much prefer it to be stretchier as it clings a bit. It may behave better once it has been washed but at the moment it is giving electric shocks as there is so much static!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy next choice was another Rag Market fabric – this was an astonishingly good buy at a mere 50p per yard (or whatever length they were selling in that day) and is a very heavy jersey. I should probably have thought more carefully about that weight when I decided to repeat the wonderful Savage Coco Presto top in it. The front (and as it’s cold I did the back too) is doubled so there is a lot of cloth here. I  really should have put a petticoat under that dress before taking photographs – I don’t usually have a sway back problem so I assume the cloth is just stuck to my tights. I really loved this made up as a top and have worn the ones I made last year Yikes!!! it was 2015 a massive amount. They have every right to be looking a bit shabby now. I’m not sure if I will keep this as a dress or shorten it to a t-shirt length. I’m really not good at wearing dresses but I’m trying so hard. Perhaps you could tell me what you think?

In addition to sewing these for me I have been destroying a whole load of good cotton. I really can’t believe how long it is taking to cut the pieces for The Managements quilt! Sheesh! All that time and I’m going to be spending even more sewing it all back together. Remind me whats great about quilting can you?! I can assure you that progress on this project is going to be outstandingly slow. No, even slower than that.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHaving finished the socks I was knitting I have broken out of my sock addiction to start knitting a pattern by Purl Soho I saw a while back and just loved. At the time there didn’t seem to be many made up (and when I worked out the cost of the yarn recommended I could see why!). The Botanical Yoke pullover is shown made up in Cashmere/Merino which would quite clearly be heavenly to wear. As I hadn’t used a Purl Soho pattern (and as I said there was no information on Ravelry about the pattern at the time) I decided to make it up in a more summer appropriate, and purse friendly, Drops Cotton Light. Again I chose a bright red (what can I say, red just feels good in January) and have been enjoying knitting this whilst watching the telly box. I have the body knitted up to the armholes, and one sleeve started, so it shouldn’t be too long before I hit the exciting part. By knitting in this yarn first it will give me the opportunity to test the pattern, check the size (my guage is pretty much perfect), and decide if I love it enough to invest in the cashmere/merino to make a sweater to treasure. So far it’s looking good.

Already we are almost half way through February so there won’t be massive amounts sewn for me now (although there are patterns lined up ready to use). I do have a shirt cut out for The Management, and I really do want to start my coat before summer so I really should crack on. But, and it’s a big but, I am only sewing when I feel like it at the moment – and that feels really good. I have been reading, cooking, exercising, and clearing some of those jobs you always intend to go but tend to get left.

I’m enjoying life. Hope you are too.


Jungle January

Oh dear, again I am really late posting what I have made for Jungle January hosted by the lovely Anne at Pretty Grievances again.

I did join in a couple of years ago when I made a pair of zebra print leggings. I knew I had a bit of this fabric left and had been hoping to get it made into something, ANYTHING! I bought a pattern from Melissa at Fehr Trade which I loved but had totally forgotten buying (I’m sure there will be many more of these occasions as I trawl through the detritus in my stash – both fabric and patterns) and knew this was it.The VNA top was beautifully designed, the PDF pattern fitted together with no hitches when I traced it so I was ready to go. Until I was diverted by something else and lost my tracing. Anyone else as disorganised as me?

I searched high and low, gave up and traced again – measuring myself again and discovering I needed the size smaller than I had traced anyway. Probably just as well it got lost. Anyhoo, this exercise vest was made entirely from ‘scrap’ fabric as the zebras were leggings leftovers, and the contrast black section was from a client project that left lots of chunks of black lycra. The sewing instructions were very clear, and the point at centre back is a particular delight. It probably took less time to cut out and sew than I spent searching for the original tracing.I have worn this a couple of times out running and to my yoga class and it performs beautifully – but as Melissa is an experienced runner herself I wouldn’t have expected any less. I love this and will certainly be making more as I prefer vests to t-shirts when exercising but I will reduce the hip circumference a little (I basically have no hips).

Feeling flushed with success I cut out a top from Butterick 6388 which I bought a while back when it was on sale. I loved the neckline and thought it would be absolutely perfect for the bleak grey weather we are having. Again the fabric is leftover from another project – Fadanistas Sneaky Shrug. The fabric was dirt cheap from Birmingham Market so I have absolutley no idea exactly what it is – but I have washed it and it survived, it has a bit of silver twinkle in it, and it has a leopard print. What more can you ask? I have worn this combination of leopard top and warm leggings (not blogged yet) pretty much since they were finished. I love them both – expect to see more. Sorry it’s such a lousy mirror selfie but I took it very quickly to be able to get it posted.

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I have done more in January but the whole idea of retirement has gone to my head and I haven’t been taking photographs or blogging (although I have been trying – and largely failing – to keep up with reading blogs). I promise to update the January makes very soon. Honestly promise.

Kim 🙂