Sunday, 25 September 2016

Beginning Miette

I posted about my struggles with knitting in a post last week. I am again attempting to knit the Miette Cardigan by Andi Satterlund following on from my previous failed version.

My yarn arrived last Monday. This time I will be using Cascade 220 in Azala, which is the closest match to the recommended yarn for the pattern, Cascase Sierra, that I could find. This is a worsted weight yarn and so knits up differently to the DK I had previously been using.

The first thing I needed to do once my yarn had arrived, is wind the skeins into balls. I had previously read somewhere about the danger of knitting directly from a skein as it gets all tangled. I followed this handy tutorial by Not So Granny. It was easy to do but very time consuming, so I only wound the one skein- when I run out I'll wind another.

My mistake with my previous Miette was using the wrong yarn, which would have been glaringly obvious if I had knitted a swatch. Having truly learnt my lesson, my first step in this project was to knit a tension swatch. The pattern calls for 16 stitches and 22 rows across a 10 cm square, however Cascade 220 has a slightly larger tension of 18-20 stitches across 10 cm.

I cast on 30 stitches and continued until my swatch was about 12 cm in length. After measuring I found that I had 20 stitches and 26 rows in my 10 cm square - too big for the pattern and my cardigan would have been too big. After consulting with a knitting friend, she recommended knitting another tension square using a smaller needle. I used a 4.5 mm needle and made a smaller swatch, which measured 21 stitches - only slightly smaller. I decided it wasn't worth going down in the needle size and so am knitting the smallest version with a bust size of 32". Hopefully this should give me the correct fit,

So far, I have cast on and have completed the first 7 rows. I have pledged to myself that I will do a little bit of knitting every day, even if it is just 1 or 2 rows. My aim is to complete the cardigan ready for our holiday to Spain at the end of November.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Knitting Fail

My knitting projects take me a lot longer to complete than my sewing projects. I tend to start them and then pick up and put down my knitting when my mood takes me. I started knitting the Miette Cardigan by Andi Satterlund at the beginning of the year. The mood stuck me and so one day I grabbed the yarn and the pattern and got started.

The yarn was on its second incarnation, as I had previously started knitting the Simple Round Neck Sweater from Learn to Knit, Love to Knit by Anna Wilkinson. The problem is that this yarn just does not suit this knit. The yarn in question is Stylecraft Life DK in purple heather, which has a gauge of 22 sticthes to 30 rows for a 10cm square. The Miette pattern on the other hand, calls for a gauge of 16 stitches to 20 rows and recommends using Cascade Sierra. It was never going to work, so sadly I have had to ditch this project.

I have learnt a few things from this failed project: always, ALWAYS start with a tension square to check gauge and that I am able to knit a garment (or at least half). I actually managed to get most of the way down the bodice and so I am feeling confident that I am skilled enough to attempt this pattern now that I have mastered some of the techniques.

I have decided to try this knitting pattern again, however this time I will be using the correct yarn! Since Cascade Sierra is now discontinued, I will be using Cascade 220 in Azala. I've gone for a vibrant pink shade which I currently do not have in my rainbow collection of cardigans. I'm excited to get started and am just waiting for my yarn to be delivered - I will update on my progress in due course!   

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Autumn and Winter Sewing Plans

The summer is coming to an end and soon we will be exchanging summer dresses and sandals for winter dresses and boots. I've been taking stock of my wardrobe, looking for gaps and deciding what garments I could add for the autumn and winter. Here's my current wishlist of garments I would like to make:

1. Black denim skirt

I received a copy of Simple Sew's Chelsea pattern collection with issue 29 of Love Sewing magazine. I love all the patterns in this collection, but what caught my eye is version A of the skirt. There is a lovely denim version in the magazine and I really want one in black denim. This would match a lot of my t-shirts and cardigans and would be great with tights and my tan closed-toe clogs. The magazine includes instructions for flatfelled seams, which would be a nice detail on this skirt and a new technique for me.

2. Collette Wren wrap dress

I've been on the search for dresses and tops suitable for breastfeeding and came across the Wren dress by Colette patterns. This wrap style dress features two types of skirts and comes with 4 different sleeve variations, so is a very versatile pattern. I have previously made Colette's Moneta dress (here and here) which have been worn many, many times and are now looking a bit tatty. I'm hoping the wren dress will also become a much loved part of my wardrobe.

3. Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

I currently don't have a go to pattern for a simple woven t-shirt. I've been lusting after Sewaholic's Belcarra blouse blouse for a very long time. I love all three variations, including the cute pocket and the pintuck sleeves. I think this would look great tucked into skirts or worn loose with skinny jeans. I'm thinking this will be great in some bold patterns or prints.

4. GBSB Breton T-shirt

My husband bought me the book from series 4 of the Great British Sewing Bee: From Stitch to Style by Wendy Gardiner, as a treat shortly after I had my baby. I was immediately drawn to the Breton t-shirt and would love to add a few to my wardrobe. In particular, I like the cap sleeves which are part of the body of the t-shirt.  I really like the red short sleeve version in the picture and plan to make my own version!

5. Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress

I've sewn quite a few patterns from Tilly and the Buttons but wasn't immediately sold on the Bettine dress. I usually go for full or A line skirts, so the tulip skirt didn't appeal to me. However, I've recently purchased a ready-to-wear nursing dress in a similar shape with a scoop neck, tulip skirt and elasticated waist, which I love! This has made me re-think the Bettine dress. I love the pocket and cuff details and can see this in some lovely printed viscose.

6. Self drafted Modern Shirt Dress

It's probably obvious by now from my blog that I love a shirt dress. There are so many variations to shirt dresses that I never get bored. They can be dressed up or down, I can wear them to work and they are also breastfeeding appropriate. I love this modern version of the Shirt Dress which features in Issue 30 of Love Sewing magazine. It is a self-drafted pattern which intrigues me and I love the simple style. Again, I think this would be nice in a printed viscose or maybe some chambray.

7. Sew over it Tea Dresses

Tea dresses are another favourite of mine and I really like Sew Over It's patterns, although I have never made one. I love both the Doris Dress and the 1940's Tea Dress. Both dresses have a fitted bodice with vintage details and a plain skirt. I can't decide which pattern I prefer, but can envision them both in a floral ditsy print.

Starting from October, I plan to try and make a minimum of 1 garment a month. We are moving house at the end of this month so I won't have time for sewing at the moment as I am busy packing etc. I also have limited time for sewing, so this seems like a reasonable target.

What are your sewing plans for Autumn and Winter?