Strange times

These truly are strange times. I’m fairly happy being restricted to house rules but I’ve had one or two dodgy days so have enormous sympathy for those who are finding this difficult.

I’m still keeping pretty busy, lots of projects that have been planned for ‘ever’  are rising to the surface – but like many people who can sew I’m making scrubs for the NHS.

I know there have been queries as to why they are so short of scrubs and saw an excellent explanation by a doctor on Facebook today. As she pointed out (and I confess hadn’t occurred to me) anyone in the hospitals who would have previously worn their own clothes is now wearing them as their own clothing is unlikely to cope with the 60degree washes deemed  necessary. Makes sense. There was more to it than that but that was the heart.

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Anyway, I have been using a zero waste pattern which has been shared by Danielle Elsener of Decode. It might take a little longer to sew than some scrubs but is elegantly fitted into the fabric to create the garments without the tons of scrap you get from some patterns. The pattern is available here. I’m not able to spend all day sewing like I did in my past, nor so I want to, but if I can contribute to help the medics I’m happy to do so.

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I’m also started on a new jumper – the second incarnation of the Purl Soho Ribbed Raglan Pullover. The yarn is from a jumper I made way back in 2014 and blogged here. I always loved the design but this yarn knitted up a bit lacking in substance, it always felt a bit feeble. As a result it hasn’t been worn much so I’m unravelling it quietly in my work room out of the way of The Management – he gets unreasonably upset by me pulling out something he knows has taken a fair time to knit. I already know from the little I have got done so far that I’m much happier with the way this is knitting up.

Between sewing, knitting, gardening, and general domestic dark arts my time seems to  be very well filled. Add to that yoga and art classes using Zoom  and I’m sorted. It will be good to get out and see friends again – I think The Management will be happy for me to have another victim to hug.

The other thing I’ve been doing this week is sharing crosswords long distance with Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. She has been starting them in Sydney and then sending me photos of the grid and clues to see how much I can do. Between us we’ve been doing pretty well, and it has made me feel much less isolated. Who knew that I would gain this from blogging!

 


Overlooked pattern #1 finished

Well things have got very strange since my last post. I wish I could say that I’ve been exceedingly productive in lockdown but sadly I haven’t. I’m not unhappy being confined to barracks – far from it, I’m actually quite comfortable with it. But not sewing.

I started well with this project. Fabric dug from deep stash, pattern traced, cutting out done. And then everything stalled. Even when I tried to make real efforts to go into the work room and get stuck in I found other things to do.

Well, eventually I ran out of pencils to sharpen and other mindless things to do and DID get stuck in. What was my problem? This was not a difficult task.

I know many people are off by the sparce instructions in Style Arc patterns. That doesn’t bother me at all – pattern cutting training did have it’s benefits – even if cutting patterns isn’t one of them just now😂. The picture given by Style Arc is more instructive to me than the written instructions.

Anyway, all was going well, and I got them to a trying on point before putting in the pockets. I’m so glad I left the pockets until later as these were too big. I cut the 14 which matched my measurements most closely but after my alterations I know I want to cut the size 12 before I try again. What do you think? (Photos taken on my kindle so they aren’t magnificent).

The fabric isn’t brilliant, and I really should have interfaces both pieces of the shaped waistband (inside and outside) as I can see it’s buckling a bit. Despite this I’m pretty happy with these and will certainly try again in a better fabric. I have some rather lovely linen in mind…..

I’m being led by the nose here but I really do like the blouse/top shown on the pattern illustration (see last post). I was sorely tempted to buy it during the Style Arc Easter sale but reminded myself of the whole reason I’m doing these ‘overlooked pattern’  posts. It doesn’t look a million miles away from the Style Arc Toni dress pattern which I have so I might get round to adapting that rather than buying another.

So, one overlooked pattern down and off to choose the next one. There just might be something holding that up but more on that another time.

Stay home, stay safe.

Kim


Overlooked pattern #1

In common with everyone else life here has been a bit frustrating of late. I’m finding it very difficult to settle to anything at the moment and as a result there’s really not a lot getting done. It’s taken a while to decide what pattern I’m going to start with – there were just so many patterns to choose from!

The eventual choice was the Style Arc Teddy Designer Pant. I’m very sorry but I’m afraid they really should be ‘pants’  and that will be how I refer to them. I think the first time I saw these made up was in Ann’s blog – The Compulsive Seamstress . This was back in March last year, so this is a fairly recently overlooked pattern by comparison with many I have. Back then I knew that I had some linen that would work beautifully for this pattern but I’ve dredged deeper into stash to find something I’m not feeling too precious about. I love the shape these trousers in principle ….. but I’m not certain how I will feel about wearing them.

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The pattern has been traced, and the chosen fabric ironed. The fabric is a polyester lightweight suiting which was sold to me many years ago as Trevira. Judging from the way it has creased in storage it should take the front pleat creases well! I found a suitable zip, which I will shorten to the desired length, in stash and I know I have plenty of light grey thread and the required interfacing so I can crack on when I’m ready.

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In addition to planning this (OK, it didn’t take too much planning once I’d chosen the pattern!) I have been learning a new skill. When the wonderful Fadanista came to visit Bewdley she was wearing the Stitch Diva Anais jacket. I had admired this previously from her blog posts so it was wonderful to see the actual garment.

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I had no idea how Tunisian crochet was done – but isn’t that what the internet is for? Armed with the pattern and the online instructions I made a start. The yarn is Hayfield chunky with wool (80/20) and was very nice to work with. As I be no idea how well I would get on with this new technique I thought it wise to us a yarn that could take a bit of punishment! As it turned out this wasn’t quite as difficult as I expected and whilst I know that there are one or two imperfections no one is going to see unless I point them out.

This was an absolutely engrossing project – every spare moment I had I was hooking away like a demon! As it was chunky yarn it grew satisfyingly quickly too. I thoroughly enjoyed learning this, and now have a fabulously warm layer to wear when I can shed my winter coat but still need some help. Will I be making another? Erm…

 

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Stay safe, and keep sewing!

Kim x

 


A bit of unselfish sewing

I don’t sew for other people any more. At all. No exceptions …..   apart from family.

When my naughty little sister came to stay a while back she managed to make off with some sports gear I had made but I prevented her from liberating my orange Stacie jeans jacket. But only by promising to make her one of her own. I knew I had some suitable denim which I bought years ago in the Birmingham rag market – a very lucky find –  in my stash so I could even clear a bit of space by doing it. She even approved of my choice of Apple green. Hurrah!

I spent a bit of time making it look all pretty on the inside (like the leopard jacket) using the leftover lining from my Patrones coat. Sadly I forgot to take a picture, and even the finished picture I took wasn’t a particularly good one but I’m afraid it will have to do. You’ll have to take my word that the innards looked very nice.

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The Management was up in Northumberland last weekend so he was able to deliver it, and she has since confirmed that it fits (we basically have interchangeable wardrobes these days so I was confident it would) and she likes it. Phew.

This is the fourth Stacie I have made now – there’s the orange, the black, the (fabulous) leopard, and now the green – which got me thinking about how often we use patterns. I don’t think I have many which are better used than this but I have many still waiting for action. It’s very easy to get carried away when you see a fabulous garment that someone else is blogging and buy the pattern with every intention of making it post haste ….. and then life gets in the way.

So ….. I am going to set an intention here to use one unused pattern a month for the rest of this year. Anyone want to join me?

 


Express lane socks

IMG_20200203_201311Sometimes you just need to knit socks – or is that just me?

I scored a lovely ball of Paintbox yarn at a charity shop on a recent stay in Malvern. This was in a basket of mixed balls but clearly hadn’t been opened/used and at £2 seemed like a good buy.

I’m absolutely committed to knitting toe up socks as my grafting skills leave much to be desired! Being a bit lazy I decided to use my usual Lacery sock pattern but transfer the lace section from Express Lane to the pattern. Both patterns are free on Ravelry, and though I chose to use my familiar pattern I can’t see any difficulties with the other.

The lace pattern was sufficient to maintain an interest, but not so complicated that it wasn’t easy to memorise. I’m really happy with these socks, although the pattern may be more obvious if I’d used a plain rather than tweedy yarn.

My sock drawer is looking pretty healthy now but I can’t see a time when a new pair won’t be welcomed 😉.


Purl Soho jumper

IMG_20200203_201453 I have been knitting this jumper for what feels like forever between other projects. It’s been finished a while, and waited patiently for a decent photo to be taken. Since that didn’t happen please forgive the quick picture taken with my Kindle.

In the interests of reducing stash I dug deep and found this lovely cashmere and wool mix bought at Colourmart way back in 2017 (post here). I wish I could say that it has reduced the stash by a large percentage but I’m afraid there’s still lots left. More fun for later 😉.

The pattern is the Ribbed Raglan Pullover by Purl Soho. I have used their patterns before and found them to be well written and easy to follow. This one was very appealing because, like some of the Elizabeth Zimmerman jumpers I’ve made, it starts from the neckline. When you aren’t entirely confident about the amount of yarn you have this seems like a good option as you can always make it shorter if needed. The pattern had options for different sleeve lengths too which I may use next time ….. because there will definitely be another of these made.

Despite the start to this post this isn’t a terribly difficult knit. It can occasionally get a little dull – there’s lots of ribbing to be knitted here – but once you’ve got below the arms it becomes a great tv project.

I didn’t want the cast offs to look like the usual ‘hand knits’  on this so I spent a considerable time doing a sewn bind off. A considerable time. I’m glad to say it looks great, and I have worn this a fair amount since it was completed. If I’m being picky I could probably go down a size but I didn’t want the ribbing to be very stretched over my bust. Never a great look in my opinion.

I’m already looking hard at a jumper I knitted some time ago and haven’t really enjoyed as a candidate for unravelling and re knitting in this pattern. The Management will shudder to see that happening but understands my reasoning. I might still try to arrange to do the unravelling while he’s busy elsewhere 😂.

 

 


The Art of Dressing

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I decided I deserved a treat after completing my coat, and having got down a blog reading rabbit hole I discovered this book recommendation at a new blog to me – The Craft of Clothes .

This was found via that fount of all sorts of wonderful things dressmaking/craft related – Sue  the Fadanista. She has been pattern testing some of Liz Haywoods (for this is who writes the blog) zero waste patterns.

These intrigued me, and I have more ordered her soon to be released book from Amazon. While I was there I also found this book on the marketplace for £8 and couldn’t resist. I have to say that I wasn’t able to get it from the library or I would have ordered it from them.

I spent a wonderful afternoon leafing my way through this book. It has plenty of text but truthfully it’s the sort of book that you can enjoy simply by enjoying the photographs. The ladies featured are all incredibly individual (think Iris Apfel) and whilst I admire the style enormously there’s no way I could carry it off.

I’d you have a book token going begging, or are fortunate enough to have a library carrying a copy of this book, I think you could spend some time enjoying this.

Oh by the way, if I ever need a change of name I really fancy being Tziporah. Who wouldn’t after being Kim?


Patrones coat finished

At long last I have finished the Patrones coat. This was cut out in late October/November, and has been leering at me from the cutting table for longer than was reasonable. Having determined in my last post to spend the following day making some solid progress on it I can confirm that this was enough to make me get stuck in. I was slightly shocked at how long it took to complete – but completed it now is. Check this out!

 

The pockets have been hand stitched on the inside so that they look like they are attached by magic. This was hard on the fingers with this thick felted wool but I’m very happy with the results.

In the interests of keeping this looking very simple I decided not to machine top stitch the fronts and collar but to hand stitch  this too. Had I learned nothing from the pockets! It took ages but I’m very happy I spent the time – the layers needed to be anchored and this makes them look really good.

I was slightly disappointed that the buttons I bought specifically for this coat turned out to be too big. Amazingly I found a good alternative in the button stash 😁.

I will get a picture of me wearing this at some point but in the interests of getting it posted I’m relying on Bessie to model.

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Buried under the pile of fabric and pattern pieces was a scarf I made some time ago (and had completely forgotten) from a pattern given to me by my lovely sister. It was knitted in the yarn given to me by nana kathy in my Stitching Santa parcel . I loved the way the colour works with the Chartreuse green of the coat so I’m sure it will be well used – and more visibly than socks. The pattern is Hitchhiker, and is available here in Ravelry. It was a particularly good pattern to use as you can keep knitting until you have used up the available yarn. Genius!

My next sewing project is planned but it might just take a while before I get going. Enjoy whatever you are doing!

Kim


Greetings in 2020

Yes, I went missing again. I seriously considered shelving my blog but I find it useful to look back at what I did to patterns, and the feedback I get from out there helps with my direction. Also it seemed mean to use other people’s blogs for inspiration and not reciprocate so here I am.

In my last post I said I was about to start a coat – but as you can see I haven’t got far.

The pattern is from Patrones issue 380, and is allegedly designed by Guess. The fabric is fairly deep stash boiled wool bought in Birmingham in October 2016. Time it was used 🙄. I knew if I made a toile I would probably grind to a halt again so this was cut directly into fabric before Christmas, and the interfacing ironed into place shortly after that. I even got a few major seams done between Christmas and New Year so I could try on for fit. And stopped.

Seeing this waiting is acting as a log jam against some other ideas I have so I’m putting it out there to shame me into finishing it. I have a full day available tomorrow (provided I don’t spend an age reading the Sunday papers) so I should see good progress by tomorrow night. Hopefully.

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I have been enjoying the art group I attend weekly. It’s wonderful being among like minded people and just playing. We are all exhausted by the end of the day but mostly it’s a happy tired. We made marbled paper before Christmas and I brought some home to try book binding. Sadly the pieces weren’t big enough to use as end papers (like in some old books) but I think they look pretty good as covers 🙂.

I hope you’re being more productive than I, but next time I hope to have real progress to show. Bye for now!


Knitting…… but no sewing

I haven’t done any sewing since my last post – I had every intention of starting to sew my coat for this winter but I got diverted. I’m blaming the lovely Sheila from Sewchet who I follow on Instagram

More explanation needed. Sheila posted a beautiful book that she had made. Yes – made. She gave the link to the LearnBookbinding site where she bought the materials and instructions. I love a new challenge, and this looked intriguing.

Well with a solo day coming up that I knew I could use to concentrate on this I made my order and settled back to wait for delivery. And wait. Sadly the kit didn’t arrive until after my intended day but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience once I got another free day after its arrival. Check these out! (Sorry if you’ve already seem them on Instagram)

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I was thrilled with the results and have every intention of making more. They are fairly time consuming but I wouldn’t describe them as particularly difficult. Addictive perhaps.

I also finished a jumper I had been knitting for what seemed like … ever. It is the Sunray Ribbing Jumper by Susan Crawford which I found on Ravelry and is something of a departure from my style but I liked it so……

This is a vintage style, and as such it is a fairly close fit. I don’t really wear close fit so though I’m pleased with the results it feels a bit strange. I’m sure I’ll get used to it but for the minute you get flat lay photos. One of the things I loved was the points round the neckline. I didn’t change anything much though I did omit the short back buttoned opening.  Very much of its time so perfect in the design but I was sure I could get this over my head without and thought this colour might prove a challenge to get buttons I liked.

 

The yarn was bought in that massive haul I brought back from WRE which was a while ago so it felt good to use almost all of it. There’s more yarn to be used  from that day but we’ll gloss over that. This was a cashmere mix that is a discontinued Rowan yarn and is lovely directly against my skin – just as well since that’s how this is designed to be worn. The design looks very impressive and wasn’t anything like as difficult to knit as it appears.

Hopefully I will get that coat started now and have some sewing to show you next time.

Until then keep sewing/knitting/or whatever floats your boat 😁