Friday, 30 October 2015

Autumn Victory jumper

This is another pattern I'd been meaning to knit for a while and back in May several versions appeared on Ravelry and Instagram, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII - the Your Victory Jumper pattern was issued in June 1945 and is a free download from the V&A website.  However, it took me until July to get started on this...

 I'd had the Noro sock yarn in my stash for a while and thought it would work well for this pattern because it's self-striping and I knew there would be enough yardage for long sleeves.  I didn't bother to do a tension square, I just crossed my fingers that it would fit and despite the fact that with hindsight I think read the pattern wrong and didn't start the body increases soon enough, and didn't do all the increases before casting off for the armholes, it fits fine.  So that's good.

The actual knitting didn't really take very long but was done in fits and starts.  As with the Land Army-ish jumper I wanted long sleeves, but decided to knit them bottom-up since I knew I had enough yarn and also because I couldn't be bothered to work out how to reverse the pattern and knit it upside down.  This is the first time for ages that I've knitted bottom up sleeves and they really didn't take long at all.  Mainly because I can knit more quickly on straight needles than I can on circulars.  There was some unravelling and reknitting to get the stripes to match at the side seams and on the sleeves, but not that much and I think it was definitely worth doing.

This was a very easy pattern, it's only a two-row repeat and is easy to memorise and to knit.  I'd like to do more versions of this, possibly also a cardigan, with proper stripes rather than self-striping yarn.  I keep playing over differing colour combinations in my head... and changing my mind...

I knitted the neckband in the round and picked up fewer stitches than the pattern suggested so I was a bit concerned that it might not go over my head, but it does fortunately.

 All in all I'm very pleased with this and think I'll get plenty of wear out of it.

And now I'm off to sort fabric to swap at the SewBrum meet-up tomorrow. 

Friday, 23 October 2015

Land Army-ish jumper

Well, this has been a long time in the making and I'm glad it's finished - I've probably knitted about 75% of it twice...

I've already blogged a bit about it here and here, so I won't repeat myself.  But I see that I'm about a year behind schedule on this one, despite starting the knitting in January!  I can also see that I haven't completed any of last year's autumn & winter knitting plans apart from this jumper, so I won't be making any plans for this year - although next on the needles will be an Audrey in Unst cardigan.

Pattern, in A Stitch in Time Vol 1, by Susan Crawford and Jane Waller

After knitting the body with smaller needles because my row tension was off with the needles stated in the pattern, I tacked it together and tried it on and decided that it was too clingy.  So that was the first lot of unravelling.  It fitted much better with the right size needles and either my row tension miraculously changed, or I can't count, or it didn't matter because I'm pretty sure I followed the pattern instructions for the armholes exactly.  I can't be sure though because I wrote my notes down with a Frixion pen and following an accident with a cup of tea they vanished.  So although these pens are great because you can rub the writing out just like a pencil, they are not waterproof!

So, after reknitting the body I knitted a sleeve as per the pattern and tacked it in to place so that I had something to refer to when trying to work out the shaping top-down.
Sleeve knitted exactly as per pattern and tacked in place

This took a bit of trial and error with the numbers and increases and they don't look exactly the same because the originals are gathered into the sleeveheads, whereas mine aren't gathered.  They do puff nicely though.

Back view

As I knitted the sleeves down to the cuff I decided to do the shaping with a mixture of 'seamline' decreases and progressively smaller circular needles.  The first version was a bit too clingy (again) for my liking, cue the next lot of unravelling and reknitting.  However, it did make it easy for me to work out where to do the decreases and which needles to use so once reknitted it fitted much better.

Love these sleeve heads
 The final bit of unravelling was the original sleeve.  Knitting the second one was straightforward because it was the same as the first, and because I did it more or less straight after the first one I could still make sense of the notes I took (which were on a different bit of paper and escaped the tea incident).

I did wonder whether I would have enough wool to knit this with long sleeves and as it turned out, I ran out with about an inch and a half of the second sleeve still to knit.  A quick stash search on Ravelry revealed that one of my knitting friends had a skein with the same lot number in her stash and I'm so grateful that she was willing to part with it.  If I'd knitted the body to the length suggested in the pattern then the six skeins I had would've been enough, but I made the body about an inch and a half longer than suggested and so needed a little bit of a seventh skein.

Now  it's finished I love it and I think I'll be wearing it a lot, both with skirts and jeans.  One thing which I might do differently next time is make the bits at the side front neckline a bit wider - I do wonder whether, in wear, the sleeves will pull the neckline so that the shoulder seams don't sit on my shoulders.  If they do, I'll have to think how to tighten up the neckline, but for now I'm leaving it as is.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Purple polka dots dress

This is another dress which I cut out in August last year and have only recently got around to finishing, although I actually sewed most of this up before I abandoned it, so it only needed the back seam finishing, hemming and the sleeves setting in.

The pattern is Simplicity 3184 from1959, and because I did most of the sewing last year I'm not counting it towards my vintage pledge.

I really wasn't sure whether I'd want to put the sleeves in, but decided to cut them out anyway since I could always remove them if I ended up not liking them.  Fortunately I do like them, so no need to unpick and refinish the armholes!  I seem to remember it took me a while to cut this out, because I wanted the polka dots to line up, so there was a fair bit of moving pattern pieces around on the fabric.

It didn't take me long to finish this and I'm really pleased with how it fits, I'll probably make another one, although possibly without the sleeves, just to have a slightly different version.  Also, I didn't put the bows on the back and I cut the skirt 6" shorter.  I don't remember now why it got put to one side for so long - it may simply have been that I felt a need to do more knitting and less sewing - but I'm glad that it's done now as this was the last of the dresses that I cut out intending to sew them up on August bank holiday weekend last year - ever the optimist!  (The others were the Carmen Miranda dress, the turquoise Ditto roses dress [and I still have another two dress lengths of this rose print fabric to make up, I love it], the Scandinavian birds dress, and the orange floral maxi dress.)

I bought the fabric in Fabricland and I used all two metres of it.  So, another spotty dress to add to my collection of spotty dresses!  It's also a really good match for my purple hearts cardigan, (or the cardigan is a good match for the dress, depending on your point of view), so that's good.  Now I'm off to my knitting group which I have sadly neglected for the past couple of months.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

The Bobby dress

I don't always give my sewing projects names - or the knitting ones for that matter - but this dress gets one.  Last August my grandson was born and sunflowers featured heavily in the flowers which my daughter and I received at the time.  I'd already seen and liked a dress made up in this fabric on Roisin's blog and so decided that I was going to have a dress covered in sunflowers too.  I'm not sure I agree with her about the '90s fashion vibe, but then, I was busy with small children in the '90s and probably completely unaware of what was going on fashion-wise.  In fact, now I think about it, I have no idea what was going on with fashion in the '90s; the only thing I would have concerned myself with when buying clothes was "is it machine washable?"  In fact, this still holds largely true now, although I've actually bought very few clothes since I started sewing again.  The only things I will consider buying that need dry cleaning are coats, and handwashing, well, only things I've knitted.  Everything else goes in the machine, even if the care label says it shouldn't and nothing has been rendered unwearable as a result.

Anyway, I digress, back to the sewing.  Once I'd decided I was going to buy this fabric it took a bit of hunting around on the interwebz to find it, but Ebay came up trumps.  I'd seen it in the flesh at Minerva (I was in the area at the time) so knew I liked it, but they didn't have enough, so Ebay it was.  And then it sat in my stash for the best part of a year because really, I'm not going wear sunflowers at any time other than high summer.  As my grandson's first birthday approached I decided I should really get my act together and make it up.  It's a Butterick 5748 bodice with an Emery skirt and came together very quickly once I'd got it cut out.  I cut the bodice out flat rather than on the fold so that I could get a flower in the centre of it

The Bobby dress
And since we've had a bit of an Indian summer this year I've worn it a few times in September too, but it's put away for the winter now.  Now I must go because I have a big pile of winter clothes which have come out of hibernation and need ironing...