Sunday, 15 April 2018

Spring is (not) in the air

Or at least it wasn't when I wrote this post.  Now that I've uploaded the photos though the sun has come out at last and it's actually quite warm!

I first saw this pattern knitted up by Lucy and decided I'd like to knit it.  However, it is one of the few vintage patterns that I have which is too big for me as written - size 38" - 40" bust, most vintage patterns being in the 32" - 36" size range.  (Although perhaps more accurately most patterns that seem to be readily available on the internet, rather than most patterns ever written.)  So some adjusting of numbers was required.

You will see that my version doesn't look much like Lucy's, or the picture on the pattern itself.

This is because I found the fancy ribbing quite time consuming to knit, and I knitted the body on 2.5mm needles, so the stocking stitch wasn't exactly quick either!  I decided to forego the fancy ribbing at the top of the yoke - ultimately what I wanted was a green cardigan to wear sooner rather than later, not a faithful vintage reproduction garment.
Fancy ribbing

I used Wollmeise lace in the Petersilie colourway which I've had in my stash for a while.  I absolutely love the colour and it was lovely wool to knit with.  It's the perfect yarn for a lightweight cardigan and I'm really pleased with how it's turned out.

Other changes from the pattern - I didn't knit the pockets - I might well knit pockets on a longer line, relaxed fit cardigan, but I didn't think I would ever use them in a waist-length fitted cardigan. I also did top down sleeves, knitted the body in one piece up to the armholes and did short-row shoulders.  I also did a picked up and knitted on button band rather than a narrow strip to be sewn on - I don't really have the patience to knit these types of button bands...  I made twelve 3-stitch one-row buttonholes (another change from the pattern) simply because I had twelve buttons.  I don't think I'm ever going to do them all up though.  The buttons are glass and I bought them at a Hammersmith Vintage Fair last year, or maybe the year before.  I bought them on spec hoping they'd go with this wool... Aaand I've just noticed that they're in the header photo at the top of this blog, still on their card!

Vintage glass buttons

I've already worn this a few times and am so pleased that I finally got around to knitting it.  I think it's going to get quite a lot of wear.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Ultramarine cardigan

This cardigan is knitted with the last of the Fyberspates Scrumptious 4-ply in my stash and it's a lovely deep, rich, purple (the shade colour is Ultramarine).  I started it in January and finished it in February.

The ribbing is 1 x 1, I used the stitch pattern from Baile, a pattern I've already used for this cardigan (and which I have subsequently found in my Second Barbara G Walker Treasury - the twin leaf panel and fancy shell rib look very similar, if not actually the same), and there is some shaping at the sides.  I decided to do a v-neck, it was knitted in one piece up to the armholes, with fake side seams and seamed, short-row shoulders.  The sleeves are knitted top-down and I worked eight two-stitch, one-row buttonholes.  So pretty much standard shaping and construction for me really.

The buttons were from Textile Garden, my supplier of choice for modern buttons.  I think I bought them when they were exhibiting at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival last year and with a different project in mind, although I don't now remember what... (initially I was going to put red buttons on this cardi), and they're a great match colourwise.

I'm very pleased with how it's turned out and I can see it getting quite a lot of wear all year round as it goes with both winter and summer clothes.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Love Potion cardigan

Here is my first finish of 2018...

I have had this pattern for a few years now, I think I bought it when it was first published and it's been waiting patiently for me to get around to knitting it.

In all my years of knitting this is the first thing I've knitted top down.  I'm not wild about it as a construction method in the way that some knitters seem to be, but maybe that's because it's new to me.  I can't see me ever trying to convert bottom-up patterns to knit them top down though, although I may well try and do the opposite!

It was also the first time I used German short-row shaping - this I'll definitely do again.  I followed this little vid on YouTube to teach me how to do them - very straightforward.

I used Drops Merino Extra Fine wool, which is lovely and soft to knit with (although, like their baby merino, is a bit splitty if you need to unpick and reknit) and the cardigan is very warm to wear.  I wasn't sure whether I'd have enough of the mustard to knit the whole thing in one colour, so I decided to do the buttonbands and collar in grey (which I had left over from the winter Breton jumper I knitted for my daughter).

Now, the back neckline, I don't know why the collar sits like this rather than fully covering the part where it joins the back - maybe it's the shape of my shoulders?

I've spotted that it also sits like this on a couple of other projects made with this pattern (possibly more, people don't always take photos of the backs of their garments).  It wouldn't be so noticeable if I'd knitted the collar in the same colour as the body of the cardigan though.  I have no idea how to change the pattern to stop this from happening, and I'm certainly not going to unpick it and try!

I bought the buttons from Textile Garden - I used 8, although I don't think I'll be buttoning up the top two because it pulls the collar in too much towards the centre front.

I don't know why the pattern has the buttonholes on the left - maybe in Switzerland there isn't the differentiation between men's jackets and cardigans buttoning left over right and women's right over left (the pattern designer is based in Switzerland)?  Anyway, I put the buttonholes on the right-hand side and did one-row 3-stitch buttonholes.

Being knitted with DK this didn't take very long to make and, apart from the way the collar sits - which I can live with because I can't see it, I'm pleased with it and have worn it a few times since I finished it.  It's a bit of a departure from the waist-length fitted style of cardigan that I usually knit, but good for wearing with jeans in the winter!

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Sewing plans for 2018

I've had quite a few posts popping up in my Instagram feed recently relating to the #2018makenine and #2018usenine challenges, and they've reminded me that I need to get on and finish writing this post!  So today I made some time to go through my fabric stash, think about what I'd like to sew and take photographs during daylight hours - always a challenge at this time of year.

This year I really want to focus on using fabrics in my stash which, for one reason or another, are still in my stash...

The reasons vary but can really be aggregated to
  • I can't decide what style of dress to make (and it is mainly dress lengths that I dither over)
  • I know what style but can't decide on a particular pattern
  • It's such gorgeous fabric that I don't want to make the wrong decision (or a cutting out error - they have been known), and end up with no dress at all

Maybe if I put things in black and white here, with photos, there will be progress!

I'd also like to finish a few items which are at various stages of completion - a denim skirt from this pattern

which I cut out back in June and have done nothing with since.

An Emery / Cambie mash-up dress with these two fabrics which I bought in Dreyfuss in Paris several years ago.

I cut these out last summer and have got as far as sewing the darts and no further.

Then there is a Vogue long-sleeved shift dress which I started making in January 2014 and has therefore been languishing for four years...  I've marked the darts on this one, but I haven't got as far as sewing them.

Next, I would like to tackle buttonholes (I think I've probably said this before...).  So the photo below represents this - I may not use this pattern with this fabric, I've got a fair few vintage shirtdress patterns so might end up using a different one, but I really would like to cross making buttonholes off my to-do list!

I would also love to make some 1940s dresses.

The fabric in the picture above is a Liberty voile and so will have to be fully lined.  The fabric below is also Liberty, both of these were my mother's, and I'm not sure how old they are - 1980s or 1990s I guess.

What else?

I had a spell of binge-watching Jane Austen dvds last summer which ignited a desire to make a Regency-style dress.  I bought some navy dotted Swiss fabric at GBSB live to make up with one or other of these patterns - which remind me of a couple of Laura Ashley maxi dresses I had in the 70s which were really very similar in style.  Whatever happened to them I wonder? 

Next, a couple of skirts.  A pleated one with this gorgeous harlequin border print,

and a fitted one with this pink and red checked wool which I bought at Barry's in Birmingham on the 2015 Sewbrum day.

Two Coco sweatshirts with fabric from Guthrie & Ghani, again, from Sewbrum 2015.

A maxi dress with this fabric, not necessarily this pattern though (but definitely a maxi)

A fitted bodice pleated skirt dress from this gorgeous summery border print fabric which I bought last year

A dress for my granddaughter with this fabric, which is a leftover from this dress I made four years ago.  A friend of mine gave me the pattern - isn't it fab?

A dress with  this lovely vintage fabric which I bought from Hammersmith Vintage Fair a couple of years ago

A Sew Over It 1940s wrap dress - I've been waiting for this pattern to be released since I first saw a version of it on a mannequin in Sew Over It's Clapham shop a few years ago.

A Colette Rae

A Marilla Walker Isca shirt dress.  I'm not sure whether I've got enough of this lightweight chambray - I hope so!

A fitted 60s dress in this coral coloured stretch cotton - this reminds me of the dresses which Emma Stone wore in The Help.  I already had the original version of this pattern and then was tempted to buy the re-release in a sale, just to see what differences, if any, there are between the two patterns.

A navy and turquoise floral print voile 1940s style tea dress

And I am sure there will also be some fitted bodice / pleated or straight skirt combos too, because these fit right into my lifestyle and actually get worn.

I'd like to make up this fabric this spring...

I am also being increasingly drawn to the styles of the 1930s (take a look at Cate's blog - she's made some gorgeous garments) but I don't have any 30s dressmaking patterns in my stash.  I have got a few knitting patterns though so maybe my foray into 1930s clothing will have to be knitted not sewn.  Watch this space!

Monday, 1 January 2018

2017 - End of year round up

Well, it's that time of year again - I've already done a 'what I want to knit in 2018' post (a sewing plans post will be along once I've got some coherent thoughts together), so here is a quick look back at what I made in 2017.

2 short sleeved jumpers, 3 long sleeved jumpers, 7 cardigans, one baby cardigan, three baby hats and a pram set, and a neckwarmer.

The only jumper I haven't blogged about yet was a 'Weasley' jumper requested by my daughter and which I got finished just in time for her to wear to a Christmas jumper day at work.

I didn't use a pattern, but based it on a jumper I'd made for myself several years ago (although mine was just plain, no letter!) and adjusted the measurements to fit her.  The 'A' I plotted on graph paper.  It didn't take long to knit as it's made with aran weight wool (Drops Big Merino), but I don't want to do any more intarsia any time soon.

A fair bit of 2017's knitting was for other people - the neckwarmer, the baby stuff, the jumper above and one of the short sleeved jumpers, and some of it was as part of knit-a-longs - the two short sleeved jumpers and one of the cardigans.  I often don't get things completed in the alloted timeframes for knit-a-longs, but I always start them with the best of intentions!

I've just totted up the metreage that I've knitted and it's a grand total of 11,828, which is 7.35 miles.  This is just the finished items and so doesn't include the two wips which I am carrying forward into 2018.  For comparison (and out of curiosity mainly), I've also added up previous years' output - 2016 (13,343m), 2015 (10,386m), 2014 (4,368m), 2013 (4,795m) and 2012 (10,500m).  Which is 55,220m or 34.2 miles.  I think the dips in 2013 and 2014 were caused by my catching the sewing bug - I sewed a lot more in those two years than I have in the subsequent three.

I made 9 dresses this year all of which I've blogged about so not really anything more to say about them at this point.  I would like to make a bit more of a dent in my fabric stash in 2018 though!

Baby knitting

Along with knitting for myself, this year I have been knitting for my new granddaughter (actually it's last year as we're now in 2018...).  The first thing I finished was this vintage cardigan (bottom left).

I love this pattern, I think it's so pretty and I knitted one for her mother when she was a baby.

Then I knitted a quick bobble hat to go with it - this is a pattern from Debbie Bliss Baby Knits book which I bought when I was first pregnant.

This is actually the same shade of wool (Drops Baby Merino) as the cardigan, the lighting must have been different when I photographed it.

And most recently a pram set - again, another vintage pattern which I'd knitted for my daughter.

I changed it slightly though - no criss-cross stitching, I just did plain  moss stitch, and an i-cord neckline.  The grey is Drops Baby Merino and the yellow was some I had left over from this cardigan.  The little flower buttons came from John Lewis.

This also got a matching bobble hat.

And I also made one exactly the same (minus the button) for one of her friends.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Knitting plans for 2018

Before I write about next year's plans I thought I'd have a look back at previous years' future plans just to see how they panned out.

From my autumn 2014 to-do list there are a few things outstanding - the Purl Alpaca Icon dress, which will have to wait until at least autumn 2018 now unless we have a freezing cold January and February, a green cardigan using madelinetosh sock in Grasshopper colourway, which I might get done next year, and a Love Potion cardigan which I've already started knitting (although not with any of the wool I thought I might use back in 2014).

From the ten items on my 2016 knitting wish list, so far I have knitted four...  And from this year's list, which I didn't write until April, I've knitted two pink cardigans.  I did a tension square with the Kate Davies Buachaille wool, because I really wanted to knit that up, but my row gauge was off and so I put it to one side awaiting the mental capacity to either adapt the patterns to my actual gauge, or knit a couple more tension squares with smaller needles to see if that would work without making the knitted fabric too stiff.  I haven't done either yet.

So... plans for 2018

Finish the Love Potion cardigan which I'm knitting with mustard colour Drops Merino Extra Fine.  There will be grey trim - how much will depend on how long I decide I want the cardigan to be and therefore when the mustard runs out!

Finish the top I started with such enthusiasm back in October for a KAL being run by killerkitsch design.

I love the pattern and joined the KAL because it was extended to the end of December which I thought would give me enough time to knit it.  But no.  Other knitting intervened and I have made very little progress.

I'd also like to knit this cardigan with some dark blue Malabrigo Arroyo I have in my stash.

I'd originally thought I'd use a different pattern for this wool, but it's for finer yarn and this pattern shouldn't give me any (or not too many) tension issues.  Not sure I'll have enough wool though so it may end up being v-necked.

I'd also like to knit this yarn up, it's the last of the Scrumptious 4-ply in my stash and is lovely to knit with.

Also, the Pantone colour of the year for next year is Ultraviolet (this colourway is called ultramarine), so I'll be nodding in the direction of a fashion statement with this one.

Next, a cardigan using the parasol stitch from one of my stitch dictionaries.

Theodora has knitted a gorgeous cardigan using this stitch - I'm not sure whether it's on her blog, but it does have a Ravelry project page.  Having done a small tension square (rectangle) with some Artesano alpaca silk 4-ply I'm not absolutely sure I'll use this yarn for this design yet, I think I need to knit a couple more pattern repeats before coming to a final decision.

It might look better knitted with wool which gives more stitch definition.

I also want to knit a 4-ply version of Lucy in the Sky with some brown Fyberspates wool, however, I'm not sure that I'll knit it before autumn because for me, brown is not a colour I am likely to wear in spring or summer.  And again this will also need swatching and sums.

I'm also going to put in a couple of other vintage patterns at this point.  The one below will be a stash busting project, either with Malabrigo sock, or Koigu sock, although I'll change the sleeves so that they don't have pointy shoulders.

And this one which I'll knit with green Wollmeise lace and which will need some alteration to make it smaller.

I think that's enough to be going on with for now!