Stash Plans Video

I’ve seen a lot of Autumn/Winter sewing plans posts popping up over the last couple of weeks and as I always enjoy reading them I thought I’d share some of my plans. Though mine is going to be more in the way of showing you fabric I’ve already bought and telling you what I’m going to make with it.

So I’ve made another video, ta dah!

It’s nowhere near as good as the last one because it doesn’t have any woodland creature fabric on so it’s a bit boring really sorry. But not all of the fabric I buy has animals on so it was going to happen eventually, might as well get it over with straight away.

Fabric Haul Video: Animal madness

I’m a big fan of YouTube vlog type things and I’ve fancied having a go for a long time. I’ve even filmed a couple of videos before – one a sort of video email to a friend of mine who moved away and the other a rant about the cost of curly wurlys – and I really enjoyed it. It was what I wanted to make videos about that was the stumbling block for me. So when I read this post from Lizzy at Song of the Stitch on why sewers on YouTube is a good thing it really struck a chord with me.

The channels I’m subscribed to are quite varied. There are a few fitness ones, lovely Amy of She Cooks, She Eats and some beauty ones. Oh and Garfunkel and Oates of course. But like Lizzy says in her post, there aren’t really many sewing people making videos other than tutorials. That is starting to change, with Lisa Comfort of Sew Over It vlogging now and Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow has been making fabric haul videos for a while, which I’ve always enjoyed watching. So I sort of feel a bit like I’m jumping on a band wagon but to hell with it, I made a video!

It’s a fabric haul video but I also open a parcel of fabric in it, like beauty YouTubers doing videos of them openning their beauty subscription subscription boxes, because I thought that might be fun. I really enjoyed making it – even if it has made me very aware of my Resting Bitch Face – and I’ve already filmed another one. I understand that watching videos isn’t everyone’s cup of tea though so I probably won’t post all of my videos here and I’ll talk a bit underneath this one to tell you what’s in it if you can’t or don’t want to watch it.

I have been on a spree of buying animal print fabrics lately. No, not leopard, snakeskin or zebra like an adult. No no no. Fabric with sloths, foxes, raccoons and dinosaurs on of course.

animal print fabric collage
Guess what colours I like

The sloths are from Cotton and Steel and the print is called Lazy Day from the Honeymoon collection by Sarah Watts and I love it. I bought mine from the Village Haberdashery and it’s out of stock there now sorry but I’m sure you’ll be able to find it somewhere. It’s 100% cotton and I was pleasantly surprised with how light and not crispy it is. But I was going to buy it no matter what the fabric was because I have loved sloths since I was 9 years old and my school did a musical about rainforests that had a sloth in. They are my spirit animal.

The raccoons are a duvet cover from Primark and they are adorable. I saw them on Instagram and really wanted them but I don’t have a Primark in my home or work town but Manfriend suggested a trip to Swansea because he needed new clothes so I was able to pick one up. They only had singles so I’m not sure what dress I’ll make but I’m thinking a simplicity 2444, though I might have to use a different skirt. We’ll see.

The foxes are jersey and they came from myfabrics.co.uk and they’re 100% cotton, with no spandex so they’re less stretchy than the previous knit fabrics I’ve used but I still really like it. I like the greeny colour with the orange of the foxes and I like that it’s sort of marl. I have no idea what to make with it as I don’t think it’ll work for my planned Ballet dress. I’m thinking of hacking something using the kirsten kimono tee as a base, lengthened and with more ease added but then cinching the waist in somehow. Or I thought it might work with Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress. I’m going to wait for her blog post on making it up in a knit before I decide. Any suggestions of what to make with a knit without much stretch would be gratefully received.

And finally, the dinosaurs are also a cotton jersey from myfabrics.co.uk but this one does have spandex in it. So I can make a ballet dress as planned (I maaaay be obsessed). The blue is out of stock but they do still have it in cream with black dinosaurs.

So that’s my fabric haul and my first foray into videos. I guess I’m a sewing YouTuber now. She says after one video. If you liked my video you can subscribe to my channel for more haul videos and other things I think of. Are any of you guys on YouTube or do you have suggestions for sewing people to subscribe to?

OAL2015: Ballet Dress and Vianne Cardigan

Dixie DIY Ballet dress in blue and purple floral jersey
Dixie DIY Ballet Dress

Those of you who remember my original post about OAL plans might be a bit disappointed not to see a fabulous dinosaur print Sewaholic Cambie. I’m sorry. As the Outfit Along deadline grew closer and I still hadn’t started my toile I decided that a change of plan was probably necessary. I really didn’t want to rush and end up wasting such brilliant fabric. I’d had the Dixie DIY Ballet dress pattern and the fabric to make one with in my stash since the end of last year and as the colours went with my cardigan and it would take less fitting I went with it.

This is my second attempt at photos. I tried on Sunday with my proper but old (ish) bridge camera but they all came out grainy and rubbish. It did the same thing on my photos of my Simplicity 1418 but it just seems wrong that my phone can take better photos. Though my new phone does have 6 more mega pixies so I should just accept it and always use my phone for photos. Anyway, I’m wandering off topic.

dixie diy ballet dress

I had the day off work yesterday because my Nan is down visiting my mum and my mum has the week off work so I thought it would be nice to take a day off to spend with them. We had a lovely day in St David’s, which is one of my favourite places in Wales because there is an ice cream shop there called The Bench, who sell ice cream tapas.

Ice Cream Tapas
We went for: Salted Caramel, Strawberries and Cream, Rum and Raisin, Malteser and Death By Chocolate

But before we went I got my mum to snap a few photos for me as her garden is so much better for light and photos taken there quite often come with a photobombing Max, which I enjoy.

I’m really, really pleased with my first Ballet Dress and I think it’s the beginning of a passionate love affair with knits. (I already have 4 more planned.) I sewed a size M and the only change I made was to shorten the sleeves. I sewed everything but the hems on my overlocker and used a twin needle on my sewing machine for the hems. The neckband went much better than on my kirsten kimono tee and I only had a teeny bit of puckering on the back and my hair will cover that so who cares.

ballet dress neckline

I bought the fabric on eBay from the Textile Centre but the listing doesn’t say what sort of fabric it is other than jersey and it’s closed now so I can’t check the detail but it’s lovely and soft and swishy. I still have about a metre or so left, which I’ll probably make a t’shirt out of.

The dress was sooo quick and easy to sew, it only took me a couple of hours from start to finish. Seriously, I love knits! I didn’t follow the instructions and just did my own thing, sewing the sleeves in flat and then sewing the side seams and sleeve seam all in one. I found it a bit challenging to sew the clear elastic at the waist seam and I’m also terrible at hemming knits. My stitching line wobbles all over the place but no one will exactly be inspecting it.

Dixie DIY Ballet dress back

Looking at this picture of the back makes me think I might need a small swayback adjustment or it could just be rumpled because of sitting down before the photos were taken. But then I do have quite the plumptious butt so I don’t know why I’m doubting the need for adjustments in the rear – wishful thinking methinks.

vianne cardigan open
Andi Satterlund Vianne cardigan

And now for Vianne. I did finish knitting it just about in time for the OAL (I finished on the 30th July) but I didn’t have time to block it and take photos to upload to the Ravelry thread unfortunately. I am terrible with deadlines and always procrastinate right until the very last minute. I’ve always been the same so joining crafting challenges is probably a bit daft.

vianne and max
Not entirely sure what’s going on here but there’s a Max so I had to choose this one

I’m not really all that happy with how the cardigan fits me. Because I’m short the arms are nearly full length on me, which looks a bit daft but when I push them up I get a lot of bunched fabric on the arms. It just generally feels a little too big but then it fits fine on the waist and the button is even pulling a little bit there. My first button seems higher than on other people’s cardigans I’ve seen online too, so I’m not sure what I did there.

vianne cardigan and max
Attack of the killer growing out fringe

I really like the style of the cardigan and I do plan to knit another one but I’m not really sure how to go about making one that fits me better. Can anyone point me in the direction of some resources on fitting knitting garments please? I was sort of thinking of maybe sizing down but then not knitting all of the waist decreases. Or sod it, just size down and stretch the hell out of the waist when I block it. Or corsetry.

the mesh back of the vianne cardigan
I love that little hellhound

The back is so pretty and I really enjoyed knitting it but I can’t see myself wearing it when I’m so not happy with the way it fits. Though to be honest, from about half way through the first sleeve the idea of giving it to my mum had popped into my head. Mainly because every time she’d seen me knitting it or pictures of it online she’d gone on and on about how much she likes the colour and how purple is her very favourite colour ever etc.

When I got to her house yesterday I’d left it on the breakfast bar in the kitchen while I popped to the loo and by the time I came back she was wearing it. So I just sighed at her – in the long suffering way of adult children everywhere at role reversal stage –  and said, “Wait for me to give it to you, will you?” It fits her better than me because she’s taller and bustier so at least it’s going to have a good home.

Anyone else spent two months knitting something for yourself only to end up giving it away?

Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Tee

As I think I mentioned in a previous post, Manfriend’s lovely mum recently gave me her overlocker. It sat in my sewing room glaring at me intimidatingly for quite a few weeks before I worked up the nerve to even attempt to thread it.

Toyota overlocker
Menacing

But it turns out if you just read the instructions and follow the coloured dots it’s really not that difficult. I did it in the wrong order the first time but the second time went fine. Chuff knows if I have the tension right but the stitching looks fairly balanced to me.

I decided that the Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono tee – which is a free pattern by the way – would be a good one for my first knit project as it doesn’t have sleeves to worry about.

Kirsten Kimono tee

I went on a bit of a knit fabric sending spree on Minerva and used this diagonal striped jersey. It’s very slinky and I think it would make a lovely drapey dress. Normally I trace my patterns but I seem to have started just cutting out pdf patterns. I suppose because I can just print them out again if the fit is wrong, though it would mean taping the pesky things together again and I’m not sure what’s worse, taping or tracing.

I use a rotary cutter for cutting out my fabric so cutting out was no more difficult than cutting out woven fabric and this wasn’t a particularly curly fabric so I think I had a fairly easy go at it for my first knit garment. I cut a straight size medium but I sort of wish I’d graded out at the hips.

Kirsten kimono tee back

For some reason I expected it to fit more like the Deer and Doe Plantain. No idea why as none of the photos I’ve seen of other people’s versions do. But for my for my next version I will grade out a couple of sizes at the hips for more of a floaty look. Or maybe slash and spread somehow to avoid reprinting and taping the pattern.

I didn’t bother stabilising the shoulder seams (can’t remember why) and it all went together really quickly. I struggled with sewing the neckband and it’s a bit of a puckered mess but it doesn’t really bother me too much. I’m sure I’ll get better with practice.

Kirsten kimono tee neckline
Pucker up!

I got this far and the t’shirt sat, unhemmed and unworn, waiting for me to figure out my sewing machine walking foot and twin needle. Which my sewing machine was having NONE of. I broke two twin needles and when I tried using a zig zag stitch that wouldn’t work either. But I recently upgraded my sewing machine and it handled the twin needle easy as pie. In fact, since having my new machine I’ve started to wonder if my original one was just a bit broken all along.

Anyway that’s all I really have to say. I wore it last night to go see Avenue Q in Swansea with Manfriend and a friend from work and her husband. Avenue Q is brilliant by the way and if this touring version of it is going anywhere near your town you should definitely go and see it as it’s hilarious. Puppets with no bottom half having sex is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen Better Off Ted.

Here’s one last creepy picture Manfriend took of us after taking these photos. He had his phone on beauty mode so we look bizarre and blurry faced.

Creeeeepy
Creeeeepy

By Hand London Flora

By Hand London Flora montage

I may as well get it out of the way up front and tell you that I kind of hate this dress.

I made it to wear to a good friend’s wedding a couple of weeks ago – By Hand London Flora is practically made for wearing to weddings after all – and I enjoyed wearing it, the skirt has a lovely swish to it and the fabric is cool and soft but when I look at these pictures of me I cringe. The fit is just so so bad.

I sort of made a half arsed notquiteatoile but it clearly didn’t really help.

My measurements fall exactly half way between the (UK) 14 and 16 so I decided that I would start with the 14 first and just sew the side seams with a smaller seam allowance (10mm / 3/8″) which would have given me roughly an extra inch, which I thought would be plenty.

By Hand London Flora dress
The only photo taken at the wedding.

I was trying out using lightweight sew-in interfacing as Swedish tracing paper, so I traced the 14 on to that, sewed it all together and tried it on. It looked way off fitting. The centre back and front didn’t both want to be at my centre back and front at anywhere near the same time.

So I traced the 16 onto normal tracing paper and used it to cut out my lining. I then used the lining as sort of a working toile/muslin. It was too big. Quite a bit too big but I soldiered on with that size and just made some adjustments, which I suspect was my dress ruining mistake and I should have gone back to the 14.

flora-laughing
I clearly thoroughly enjoyed taking these pictures.

I took the side seams in by 5mm at the top, grading out to nothing at the waist and I curved the waist darts to take in some of the excess fabric under my bust. I also shortened the straps slightly, roughly a cm I think. The lining then looked like quite a good fit so I adjusted my paper pattern and cut out my main fabric and went ahead with the dress. It was only when I put the zip in that I saw how badly it actually fit. So I unpicked it and sewed it again with a much bigger seam allowance.

But as you can see there are still fit issues. The bodice is too long, there are saggy lumps of fabric at my bust and the front of the armscye could possibly do with tightening up.

flora
Urgh, the wrinkles

I don’t seem to have much luck with By Hand London patterns and the fit process is such a pain that it puts me off buying any more of their patterns, despite how pretty I find them. That’s not to say I won’t make another Flora as I probably will, I just need to put some work into the fit first.

I did my first ever bias bound hem, which I love. It gives the skirt a lovely flute and a bit of weight. Of course that didn’t stop it flying up at the teensiest bit of wind. The fabric I used was a Javanaise Viscose from Abakhan and it’s ever so lovely. I’m tempted to buy some of all the Javanaise Viscose they have. Soft and silky and just gorgeous. I was lucky enough to get the bride’s second dance at the wedding because it was I’ve had the Time of my Life from Dirty Dancing and that’s Our Song. (Well we generally prefer the Dirty Dancing megamix but we’ll take the big number.) During our dance she twirled me around and my skirt flew right up so I flashed my (fortunately pretty) knickers at everyone who was watching.

flora-marilyn
Nearly happened again.

I tried really hard to pattern match across the back and I did an okay job but that got messed up when I had to move the zip. One flower still sort of matches though so that’s good.

flora-back-closeup

 

I did think about remaking the bodice for this as I love the skirt part and I have enough fabric but basically I just can’t be arsed. I guess I’ll just have to chalk this one up as a fail and allow more time for proper toiles in future. Especially for By Hand London dresses.

 

OAL update and a tips from a novice

Eeep! There’s these than 3 weeks left of the OAL and I haven’t even started sewing my dress and when I started writing this post (on Friday) I’d only got as far as knitting the first sleeve of my Vianne. I managed to knit the second sleeve head and the first lot of decrease rows over the weekend. I’m sure I’ll finish the cardigan in time, sleeves go fairly quickly when I actually do them, I just hate knitting them as I find them boring so put them off. It’s the dress I’m starting to panic about but PMA and all that. I WILL finish in time. I will, I will, I will.

vianne

As a novice knitter who has coped faaar better than anticipated with this pattern, which is by far the most complicated one I’ve knit I thought I’d share some of the things that have helped me.

The part I was most worried about with the Vianne cardigan was definitely the sleeves. I found picking up the stitches for the button bands and neckband on my Miette one of the hardest parts and picking up stitches for a sleeve seemed even worse because you definitely have to to get the right number (for my miette neckband I just made sure it was an even number). Then I read something online that suggested breaking a button band down into smaller sections, which I thought was a great idea for the sleeves. So I measured the circumference of the armhole and as I’m knitting the medium and need to pick up 70 stitches I divided it into 7 sections and then just had to pick up 10 stitches per section. Far easier and less ripping back and restarting. I was lucky with the maths though so I don’t know how helpful this would be if you’re knitting a different size.

vianne sleeve hole
One stitch marker is hiding

The second thing I found super helpful was this tutorial on knitting set in sleeves using short rows from Tasha of By Gum, By Golly. The tutorial is a really in depth look at knitting set in sleeves and the short row section was exactly what I needed as it was the first one I’d found that talks you through the picking up of the wraps as well as the W&T part.

When it comes to general pattern following I’m sure everyone has different methods that work for them, what’s worked fairly well for me is simply keeping a tally chart. I mark down which row of the lace stitch pattern I’m on and have a separate tally for keeping track of where I am in the pattern overall or in a particular set of repeated rows.

tally
In bronze sharpie because it was the only pen I could find

This notepad will make very little sense to anyone but me but the sets of 10 tally marks you can see running down the left were to mark where I was in the lace stitch pattern and then the other sets of tally marks with numbers in front of them were where I was in a given section of the pattern. For example, where it says 52 at the top I had to repeat two rows 26 times so I counted each row.

In other news, I watched the first episode of Agent Carter last night and I am utterly besotted with Peggy’s blue suit. I couldn’t find a good picture online but the skirt is lovely too, high waisted and swishy.  I am fully intending to try to copy it at some point, perhaps for next year’s Cardiff Comic Con.

I want to be Peggy Carter when I grow up
I want to be Peggy Carter when I grow up

I predict by the end of the series I’ll have planned a whole wardrobe of ridiculously impractical 40s suits and dresses. Is anybody else watching and swooning over the clothes and hair?

Sewaholic Gabriola Skirt

How did it get to be Friday again? I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since I got back from my holiday. It feels like ages and no time at all. I’ve come down with a stinking cold since I’ve been home and I’ve spent most of this week feeling thoroughly sorry for myself, doing lots of lounging around, rewatching Brooklyn Nine-Nine and a bit of knitting. I’m making quite good progress on my Vianne cardigan for the Outfit Along and I’m hoping to start on my dress at some point this weekend.

But for now I have a Sewaholic Gabriola to share with you.

gabriola-balcony
Oh to be back here…

I mentioned in my last post that I had sneaky selfish plans for this black and white viscose if my nan didn’t choose it for her dress and I’m really pleased with how they turned out. I love maxi dresses and skirts in the summer and have no doubt that I’ll get lots of wear out of it. It’s so swooshy and fun to wear.

I have a few photos but they’re not very varied. We were off out for dinner and I asked my mum to take a few photos of me before we went and I was starting to feel a bit divaish when she kept trying to give the camera back and I kept declining and asking for more photos.

gabriola skirt rock
And then I got some more photos stood on some rocks.

I made the skirt in a size 10 but redrafted the waistband to be curved, using this tutorial. I’m glad I did as I think it fits much better than it would have otherwise. Though I would have had more room for meze…

I’m a bit confused by the finished measurements given on the pattern envelope as they are quite a bit smaller than what I measured the pattern pieces as when I was deciding how much to reduce the top edge of the waistband by. (I went with 5/8″ in two places and the waistband is then cut on the fold so I took 2.5 inches out in total.) The only explanations I can think of are that the skirt is actually supposed to sit on the hips, so the finished waist measurement is theoretical or I actually cut a size 12.

gabriola balcony 2
I really should have ironed it

I used a mixture of seam finishes on the insides, some French seams, some turned and stitched seams and I even broke out the overlocker for the back seam and the front yoke seam. I’m a lot less terrified of it now.

Oh speaking of new toys, my manfriend found me a dressform in a local charity shop a few months ago and it (she?) was really helpful for levelling the hem after the bias dropped. I know it doesn’t look particularly straight in any of these photos but that’s because I apparently refuse to stand straight. I took about 3 inches off the bottom too, as I’m a shorty at 5’2″. It’s now a good length for me to wear with a low-mid heel but I did wear it with flip-flops too after the heels I started out in tried to chew my toes off.

sewaholic gabriola
I’ve never looked so much like a blogger

I love maxi skirts and dresses and I’m really happy with how this skirt turned out. I can see more in my future, maybe a solid cobalt blue one. Though I have lots of other things on the to be sewn pile to get through first. Including lots of new to me patterns, so this weekend shall be the weekend of toiles/muslins. I’m thinking of getting myself some Swedish tracing paper to try out. Has anyone used it? Would you recommend it?

Outfit Along 2015

Click me to find out more

Or OAL2015 if you prefer.

I’m going to join in this year. I wanted to join in last year but I couldn’t really knit yet so it really wasn’t going to happen. I’m a pretty slow knitter so it might be a bit of a challenge to get my cardigan knitted in time but I’m hopeful.

I’m going to use the official cardigan pattern, Vianne, but not the dress pattern as it’s not really me. I’m going to be making a Sewaholic Cambie (or Cambie mashup) instead.

Lizzy House Natural History fabric
Lizzy House Natural History fabric

Check out that awesome fabric! As soon as I saw it on Instagram (on this dress by Julia from Stars and Sunshine) I had to have it. I couldn’t find any from a UK supplier but managed to find some on Etsy and snapped it up straight away. The pictures of Julia’s dress show the colours more accurately than mine, the fabric has a lot more purple in it than it looks like from the picture above.

The yarn I’m using is Cascade 220 Superwash in Amethyst Heather, which has a lovely mottled blue and purple look to it close up so I think it should look nice with the finished dress (and if it doesn’t, I’m going to rock it anyway).

Cascade 220 Superwash in Amethyst Heather
Cascade 220 Superwash in Amethyst Heather

I cast on my cardigan last night and haven’t gone horrifically wrong yet *touches wood*. I am a bit worried about keeping track of where I am but hopefully I’ll get into the swing of that after a few more rows (I’ve done 3). I’m cluelessleigh over on ravelry if anyone wants to be my friend. I’m a billy no mates over there at the moment.

I had hoped to get my dinosaur dress made in time to wear it to go see Jurassic World but I’m not sure I’m going to get time as I need to make a toile/muslin first. I am reeeally excited about Jurassic World. The other day, the Manfriend said to me, “It’s Chris Pratt* AND dinosaurs, however will you cope?” My answer: I won’t!

*Chris Pratt in a waistcoat no less! I love waistcoats.

Anyone else taking part in OAL2015? Are you as rubbish a knitter as me or will this be a breeze for you? More importantly, how excited are you for Jurassic World and how do you feel about waistcoats?

Nan’s New Look (6096)

Some time last summer my nan saw me in my New Look 6096 maxi dress and told me how much she liked it. I must have been in a good mood because something made me say, “would you like one for Christmas?” even though I’m very much a selfish sewer. I bought the fabric, took her measurements and then got so caught up in all the other things I was making over Christmas (I made foody hampers) and with moving house and trying to make it nice for Christmas that time got away from me and Christmas eve sneaked up and I still hadn’t made her dress.

Fortunately my nan didn’t mind me being such a rubbish granddaughter and said she didn’t mind waiting for it. Though I’m not sure she was expecting to wait quite so long. I finally got round to it the week before we went on holiday so that she’d get to wear it out while we were away.

We stayed in a lovely villa in the middle of a fruit farm in Coral Bay in Cyprus, which gave this lovely backdrop for a couple of quick snaps of my nan in her dress.

nanny6096

 

It’s a New Look 6096 with a few little alterations. The neckline on my version is quite wide and I knew my nan wouldn’t feel comfortable in that so I took about an inch off the centre front and back and added it back in again under the sleeves (and widened them to match). I also raised the front neckline by about an inch and lengthened the sleeves slightly. I cut the skirt at the length my nan said that she likes best when I measured her, so it’s a bit longer than the short skirt version.

nan-back-6096

My nan loves monochrome prints and I hunted for aaaages to find one I thought she’d like but all the ones I liked the look of seemed to be on knit fabric. I found this poly crepe de chine on eBay and thought it was pretty and that she might like it even though it’s beige and black and not black and white. It’s lovely and slinky. I also bought some of the black and white viscose Katie used on her Sew Bossy swap with Amy and let my nan choose which one she wanted. I was glad she chose this one as I had sneaky selfish plans for the black and white one if she didn’t choose it.

mum and nan
My mum and my nan

I think this is a good dress to have used for unselfish sewing as the fit is probably quite forgiving because of the elastic. I don’t think I really went into much detail about how the dress is constructed the last time I made it. It’s nice and simple, for the arms and the neckline you just press the edges under 1/4 inch, then 1/2 inch and then top stitch close the fold to make a channel for the elastic. For the channel under the bust you use the bodice seam and press it down towards the skirt and top stitch. I French seamed everywhere for a nice finish inside (and because I’m still scared of my overlocker, though I have nearly made a Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono tee – just hemming to go but my sewing machine is fighting me).

Looking at these photographs while sat in my room with many names (dancing room, breakfast room, brunchatorium) is making me miss the sunshine very much. I love Cyprus, I lived there for two years while I was growing up as my dad was in the army and I’ve been back there on holiday three times now. You can’t beat somewhere where a man will sell you avocados in a pub and the ice cream man gives you a free bag of quails eggs. He also offered us a kilo of halloumi, which we probably should have bought as we got through quite a lot of it.

How about you? Ever bought food from somewhere unusual?

 

Miette cardigan and other wooly achievements

Hello! Remember me? I used to sew things and then write about them here. Well I still don’t actually have a sewn garment to show you as I have spent precisely zero minutes at my sewing machine so far this year but I do have a handmade garment.

miette cardigan
Ta dah!

I knit a cardigan. I am ridiculously proud of managing to knit myself something wearable. I’m not particularly good at knitting. I’m slow and awkward. A work friend tried to teach me how to cast on once and I’m pretty sure she was getting so frustrated she wanted to hit me. (I still can’t – and won’t – do it the way with two needles)

I took the Knit Lab Craftsy course toward the end of last year and got a lot more capable and confident. You knit a lacy scarf along with the class to teach you different stitches and techniques. If you don’t knit and would like to, I really recommend it as Stefanie Japel is adorable and it gives a really thorough grounding in the basics. After finishing the scarf I moved on to these lovely fingerless mitten things to practice the techniques I knew I’d need for my end goal, which was always a Miette having seen loads of versions of it all over the Internet. (I originally asked my nan if she’d knit me one but she just laughed at me – apparently she’s not good enough, but she’s a nan, I don’t understand this. So I had no choice but to learn.)

Andi Satterlund fingerless mittens
Mitts are basically just tiny one armed jumpers for your hands, right?

After the mittens I knit a cabled scarf as a Christmas present for a friend – I do like to throw myself into things – but I don’t have any photos of that. I then bit the bullet and bought some cascade 220 and cast on my Miette.

I knit the 38″ size and I think I knit it faaaar too tight as I used a whole skein and a half less wool than the pattern says you need. Of course I didn’t do anything as sensible as knit a gauge swatch before starting. After blocking it fits everywhere but the cuffs, where I cast off too tight. It fits there but it’s not that comfortable. I have seen some mentions of “stretchy bind off” online that I should probably look into a bit further and learn how to do it.

Pratting about trying poses
Pratting about trying poses, I am so awkward in front of the camera

The knitting went okay, I messed up a few things and there were places where my stitch count had wandered but instead of going back and finding the mistake I tended to just do some sneaky increases or decreases under the arms.

Please excuse the terrible quality photos, apparently there is no good light in my garden. These were actually taken back in March before me and Manfriend went out to watch the rugby for one of his friend’s birthday so they were a bit rushed. I will try harder and maybe find somewhere more interesting for my next finished garment. Which I’m hoping will be soon as I’m going on holiday with my family two weeks and I’m going to try to get a couple of things made to take with me. I have a Sewaholic Gabriola skirt cut out and I have plans for some tops. I’ve also started work on a dress I promised my nan before Christmas so hopefully I’ll have a bronzed pensioner in a slinky dress to show you the next time I post. Helloooo, weird search term traffic!