Saturday, 27 February 2016

On my needles... Feb 2016

Whilst I haven't been able to get my teeth into any sewing projects for a while, I have been enjoying rediscovering knitting. I've always loved the idea of being able to knit my own clothes; I mostly envision vintage style cardigans.

I started knitting my first garment last summer, which I blogged about in a post on my progress in June 2015. I had decided as a beginner that I would start with the Simple Round Neck Sweater from Learn to Knit, Love to Knit by Anna Wilkinson. However, after finishing the back and getting started on the front, the project stalled.

Since I have not been feeling up to any sewing I picked up the project again but wasn't feeling inspired. I think the reason for this stems from the fact that the jumper is just not my style. I rarely wear jumpers and far prefer cardigans. I also found the pattern incredibly boring to knit ... rows and rows of stocking stitch.

I have always wanted to try Andi Sutherland's patterns and already had her free Miette pattern downloaded for my next knit. So I decided to just go for it, using the yarn from my jumper!

The tension is not what is recommended in the pattern, but in a fit of impulsiveness I just made a start one Sunday afternoon. I have enough yarn left over to complete the cardigan without having to unpick the previous jumper.

It's been great to get back into knitting. I'm currently half way down the bodice. My technique has definitely improved and I find this pattern much more challenging than the previous jumper.

I also have a second knitting project on the go ... socks! I was given a ball of stripy sock yarn for christmas by my parents in law, which came with a free pattern. I wasn't sold initially ... I would never have picked knitting socks as a project as they seem so fiddly and a little pointless!

I decided to take the yarn and some double pointed needles with me on holiday to Spain last week. It was an ideal small project which I could carry with me in my hand luggage. To my surprise I really enjoyed this project! I've completed 3/4 of the first sock and it was wonderful to watch the stripes appear in the knitting. Again, I have found this project challenged my skill level, as I have never knitted in the round before which I think has kept my interest.

So two knitting projects on the go at the moment - I just have to decided which one to prioritise!

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Bunting and pressies!

I've made no secret about it - I love a bit of bunting. I've made quite a lot of bunting in the last few years but this is definitely my best to date. This was another present, this time for my mum, who hosted a birthday afternoon tea for me last year. She mentioned that some bunting would be nice so I made this as a surprise! 

The fabric was from my favourite website and is in a range of creams and blues to complement my Mum's dining room. I wanted to include different prints and patterns, so there are polka dots, stripes, gingham and lots of florals! Each triangle is double sided and had to be turned and ironed. For the tape, I used white 2" bias tape which I ironed in half.

It looked great at the party and my Mum loved it so much she kept it up for the next few days. I'm really proud of the professional finish and just had to share!

I also wanted to (belatedly) blog about some christmas and birthday pressies I have made recently. The first are two glasses cases, one for my Uncle for Christmas and one for my Mum in Law for her birthday.

I used a pattern from Sew! Cath Kidston, which I used previously to make these specs cases for my Mum and Dad. It was much easier the second time around ... in fact I actually made 5 glasses cases at the same time for various family members. One each for my Nanny and Grandad for christmas, which I stupidly forgot to photograph. These two and another which was destined for my Father in Law, which failed miserably - the piping really didn't work!

What I love about these glasses cases is the fact that they are quick to make and are a great stash buster! It has allowed me to get creative with different fabric combinations and I even tried using lace instead of piping which worked well. They have been well received and it's nice to gift people a personal, homemade but practical present.

And finally, my Aunt is great at crochet and I decided to make her a crochet roll for Christmas. I used an online freeby from Today we made. I picked this tutorial because it didn't require any pattern pieces as it is constructed from rectangles of fabric. The step-by-step instructions also included photographs which made it very easy to follow. 

I used left over fabric from my Mum's bunting, with the only purchase being a fat quarter of blue floral fabric for the lining. Instead of ribbon I used a length of left over bias tape which I ironed in half and topstitched along the edge. I deviated slightly from the pattern by using fusible wadding instead of the recommended medium-weight interfacing. I also added a cute piece of lace to the needle pocket for detail! 

It was amazingly easy to make and I completed it within an hour. I'm so please with the neat finish and my Aunt really liked it too!

I always thought that I preferred sewing for myself but to my surprise I've discovered I quite like making presents for other people. I'd quite like to have a try at bag making next!

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Some very pink presents!

I've realised that since I've been pregnant and have stopped sewing clothes, I have solely been making gifts for other people. 

These cute pink handbags are birthday presents I made for my twin 4 year old nieces for their birthdays back in November. They are very girly girls and I thought it would be nice to have a handbag each!

The pattern comes from a book called Sew Sunny Homestyle by Finnanger Tone. What I particularly liked about the pattern is that the front of the handbag is made up of strips of scrap fabric sewn together. I decided on a pink theme, as I know my twin nieces love the colour and I had quite a lot of pink scraps left over from other projects. I added to this some pink gingham, for lining and the main body of the handbags and a small bit of pink heart ribbon from my local fabric shop. 

Both bags were made the same (to prevent any arguing!) and came together quickly. There was only one pattern piece for the front, back and lining and the handle is made from a rectangle so cutting out was simple, if a bit laborious. The front and back is lined with iron on wadding.

The construction was straight forward and quick as I was able to sew both bags at the same time. I am pleased with their professional finish. I'm glad I spent the extra time top stitching the fabric joins on the front of the bags, even though it meant switching cotton quite a bit. The only thing I change I made was to make the width of the bag slightly smaller. 

The girls really like their bags, which which I filled with hair clips and elastic bracelets. Perfect presents for 4 years old girls!

I'm currently on holiday in Spain, visiting relatives as it's half term week. I've bought some knitting with me so at some point soon, I will update you all with the details of my project and it's progress- turns out it's quite tricky to write a blog post on an iPad.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Tom Baker Dr Who Scarf

My 7 year old Nephew is a massive fan of Dr Who. In his spare time, he likes to dress up as the Doctor, complete with bow tie, suspenders, jacket, fez and sonic screwdriver. It's very cute.

One Christmas, he was intrigued by me knitting and one afternoon we were looking through a book on all the Dr Who's, he spotted Tom Baker as Dr Who in his extremely long stripy scarf. He put two and two together and I ended up promising to knit him a 'Tom Baker Dr Who Sca rf'.

So for his birthday last October, there was no question that I would knit him his scarf as a gift. I've had the photos of this completed project ready to go for ages, but only just got round to sharing now! The pattern I used is the Kid's Size Dr Who Scarf by Tara Wheeler, which I found on Ravelry via a Google search.

I didn't choose the recommended Vanna's Choice Yarn as it was pricey for what is essentially a children's dressing up item. I instead used Stylecraft Special Aran, which was much more reasonably priced, which almost gave the recommended gauge. The colours I used were: Parchment 1218, Khaki 1027, Graphite 1063, Copper 1029, Camel 1402, Burgundy 1035 and Gold 1709. 

I didn't worry too much about getting gauge, I used the recommended 5mm needles but sized up to a set of 6mm needles and I cast on 25 stitches instead of 22. I just estimated it, to be honest, which is easy to do when knitting a simple scarf. 

It was a very, very easy knit and although this didn't take me many hours, due to my procrastinating I had to force myself to focus and get this knitted up. In the end I had to do some speed knitting in order to get it finished by the deadline of my nephews birthday. 

The tassels are made using 10 inch strands of all 7 colours, as I wanted them to be quite chunky. The only part of this knit that was a pain was sewing in all the ends of the stripes. However, the side effect of this is that I am now much better at sewing in the ends of my knitting! 

I was really happy with how well this turned out and I know my nephew loves it - he showed me it during a Skype call and has reported that it is very long! This is definitely one of my more successful knitting projects!

What's on your needles? 

Christmas and Preparations

Hello everyone! A belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. It's been around three months since I've last blogged. For many reasons I've been keeping very busy but have just not got round to posting anything. Firstly, my laptop cable died which made accessing my photos tricky. Christmas and New Year seemed to fly by and to be honest ... I've been spending a lot of my time resting or organising for the arrival of our baby. 

Preparations for the baby are well under way. I'm currently 27 weeks, so still got a way to go! We've done a lot of sorting through stuff and buying baby items. I'm very organised and naturally a lot of lists have been made. It's a whole new world becoming a parent and deciding on what we need and what is best to buy has been quite stressful. Big purchases have now been made and I think we're 75% there. 

Anyway ... it's February ... why the Christmas photos?  

Despite being together for over 10 years, this was the first year my Husband and I have actually decorated our home for Christmas. We went for a red and white Scandinavian theme, with lots of prints and soft hanging ornaments. I loved it and was quite sad when we had to take it down and pack it away for next year. I had planned to handmake some fabric decorations but it just didn't happen. It turns out that pregnancy is very tiring and things that I would have had the energy to do before, I now find take twice as long.

However,  I did manage to make some Christmas bunting! 20 metres in fact! The fabric was purchased online from who have a great range of Christmas fabric. My Husband helped me out with the cutting of around 60 triangles and then I sewed them together over a day and a half. They were finished the day before Christmas eve but it did make the place feel nice and christmassy.

Aside from making a lot of bunting and a few christmas pressies (soon to be blogged!), I've not got around to making any actual garments. I can't really justify making maternity clothes which I will only wear for a short time and baby clothes seem a waste of time to me when they grow out of them in only a few weeks or months. I've really missed being crafty so hope to get some knitting and sewing projects started soon, especially with Srpring coming.

What have you been up to over the winter?