Work in progress round up – August 2015

In an effort to keep on top of my wips I’m starting a monthly round up of my ongoing wips, whether I’ve made any progress on them over the past month or not.

August 2015

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I’m really surprised to see how few knitting wips that I have, I’ve felt the weight of them dragging on me rather for the past while, but when I look at them there are only five, Three of them though are my own designs. and those are all at a point where I need to sit down, do some calculations and make some decisions.

So in no particular order I have

1: Bigger on the inside These are spiral tube socks for my eight year old boy with size 3 (UK) feet. They are 64 stitches worked in a spiral rib, with 2×2 ribbed cuffs and a star toe. The cuffs and toes are Regia Trendpoint  and the main body of the sock is a very deep stash Regia Creativ sock blank that I’ve had in stash for ages.

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2: More eye searing socks These are 2×2 rib socks for my eldest son with size 9 (UK) feet. This is the second pair of socks (first pair) that I’m knitting from Regia fluormania and Regia Creativ that is very deep stash. and I’ve stalled for ages on the second sock of this pair. They’ll have afterthought heels when I finally get to the end of them.

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3: A new sock design. I need to work out the instructions for the toe up heel and I’ve stalled. They’re being worked out of West Yorkshire Spinners Signature sock yarn in the Cardamom colour. I adore this yarn for sock knitting, I used the nutmeg colour way to knit a sample of my Abscission Sock pattern. This Cardamom colour is my very favourite colour and was given to me for my birthday by the children. I’m knitting a me sized sample, and I’m really hoping to have these finished and photographed by the end of Autumn so that I can wear them this Winter.

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4. Snow Goose: A new DK shawl design that I’m working on. This is worked out of DK alpaca and is really lovely, but I’ve stalled as I need to work out the numbers for the edging.

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5. A new shawl design that I’m working on. This is the larger version, the smaller is all done, I just need to check the edging number before I begin knitting it. The main colour is a really lovely Autumnal mix of browns, greens and yellows on a stellina base by Mothy and the Squid on etsy. It’s a really lovely colour with fabulous depth. The cream is Artesano Definition Sock in the Cream Cake colour.

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My summer of Tikki knits

Like many mothers of small children who also knit, I’ve made my fair share of Milo by Georgie Hallam, the sweet little vest that seems to be perennially popular. But it wasn’t until recently when I started following her on Instagram that I discovered the full extent of her fabulous pattern back catalogue found on the Ravelry shop Tikki

And when I did I was hooked. This summer I’ve knitted two of the cardigan designs for my girls.

The first is Jane. A sweet little cardigan with an unusual construction knit from DK weight yarn.I wanted a warm soft cardigan with a v-neck for my middle daughter
(Little Miss)  for school this year. I used Blacker Swan Island overdyed DK in Navy that I bought from Brit Yarn. It is an very, very soft and warm wool, absolutely beautiful stuff.20150826_134500-2

I made a few mods to the pattern, the sleeves I worked to full length (the pattern has elbow length sleeves) and added two more sets of decreases once I had worked the length indicated at the same spacings as directed for the upper arms (where I did all the decreases suggested in the pattern), that has created a lovely tapering sleeve.DSC_0226-2

The pattern sample only meets at the front and has no buttons, I wanted a cardigan that my little girl can button on a cold morning or evening if needed. In school which is overly heated, she never buttons her cardigan, but the morning and evening ride to school can be chilly in winter. I’ve made one size bigger than indicated by her measurement and that together with the fact that she is a thin little miss, means that the front bands can easily overlap on the front. I added four more of the
eyelet patterns that feature in the pattern down one of the moss stitch front bands, that allows the cardigan to close with five buttons, but easily hangs open comfortably most of the time. I backed the front band that has the buttons on it with some navy ribbon with Dala horses on it, it adds a pretty touch that my little girl is very happy with.DSC_0228-2

I’m very happy with how this cardigan turned out. It’s soft and warm and will keep my Little Miss comfortable and cosy at school this year. I’ll be interested to see how it will wear given that the yarn is so very soft, but it seems very strong for all its softness and the pill buster is on hand if needed.  I’ll make a follow up post in a while when I know how it’s fairing.

 

 

 

The second Tikki cardigan that I made this summer is Posy 8ply for my oldest daughter Posy. She is a very tall twelve year old, so the biggest size was too small for her. I had some Hje

rtegarn Lima that I’d bought years ago from Meadow Yarn it’s a light worsted weight, so I thought that if I knitted the biggest size with slightly heavier yarn I’d end up with a cardigan that would fit her and it sort of worked!

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When Danni of Little Bobbins announced her purposeful knit along I was reminded of this yarn and I realised that if I didn’t get it knitted up soon, then she’d have grown to much and I wouldn’t have enough yarn to make a cardigan with full sleeves. I could of course have used the wool for one of her younger sisters, but this colour is SO Posy’s colour that it would seem a shame to not use it for her. I’ve used Hjertegarn Lima a number of times before and have always been happy how it has worn and washed. it’s not superwash which suits me as I prefer to handwash my bigger hand knit items, and although there is some pilling, it cleans off easily and pills considerably less with time.

Other than the yarn, I made no modifications. I also didn’t swatch, which it totally unheard of for me, I usually bang on endlessly to anyone who will listen about the importance of swatching. This cardigan is certainly a case of ‘do as I say, not as I do!’ In the event it has turned out a little big, there is really quite a lot of ease. But she is growing very fast at the moment and it’s certainly not too big for her to wear.This was a lovely pattern to work on, just enough interest to keep me going, but easy enough that I could pick it up and put it down as needed, really that’s my ideal in a pattern.

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A tiny tale of instagram fail! *

check your geotags

I’m sure that I’m not the only person to have been caught out by geotags, but for someone who prides themselves on being tech savy I’ve been rather stupid! Over the last few weeks I’ve posted all my instagram pictures with the ‘add to photo map’ toggle turned on. On the one hand I’m very impressed by how accurate the geotagging on instagram is, down to a few meters, on the other hand do I want my home address that visible? No, I don’t, so I’ve taken down all my pictures posted from home over the last few weeks. If you want to check whether you’ve inadvertantly geotagged your posts, go to your instagram profile and click on the droplet like map pin sign, then zoom in on any pictures. As much as I’m annoyed with myself, I must admit to being very impressed too. Lesson learnt, don’t be so complacent Theresa!

*apparently on the iphone app it’s possible to remove the geotags from your photos after the fact. Go to the geotag tab on your profile and edit the photos from there. Thank you Sarah Hepworth for the tip.

 

P.S. The picture is a sneak peek of a new design that I’m working on.

 

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How to ensure rain – sew up some shorts

My knitting was pushed to the back burner this week when it became obvious that my biggest girl REALLY needed some new shorts, she’s shot up in height this summer (and her shorts were not).
Shorts for my big girlI chose the Deer and Doe, Chataigne shorts pattern, I ordered the paper pattern, and it arrived within a few days from France. Big girl’s measurements were a size 44 in the waist and a little above 40 in the hips, I chose to trace and make the size 42. The white floral stretch cotton were the first pair that I made; she tried them on before I sewed down the waistband facing and as it gaped at the back, I took about 5cm out of the centre back waist band which improved the fit considerably. For the second pair in the pink needle cord I altered the pattern pieces and took some out of the back leg pieces at the centre back to flow more smoothly into the altered waist band.

I left the leg cuffs off both pairs as I wanted a quickly completed pair of shorts, but the weather has changed to cold and wet today and I’m hoping that I wasn’t too late after all.

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On the first white floral cotton pair I used a coordinating white concealed zip, but for the second pair I constructed a button placket to avoid having to get a pink zip, I’m very happy how it turned out and will probably do the same on the next pair that I make.

All the facings were cut from coordinating scraps of cotton to reduce bulk and for the fun of it. The floral pair has pale blue cotton pocket inners and facings, gleaned from an man’s shirt, the pink pair has a lilac gingham, the left overs from a pair of pyjama trousers that my daughter made for herself.

I’m very happy with how well this pattern went together, it was very well drafted and clear, the instructions are clear and the quality of the pattern paper itself is nice. I chose to trace the pieces as I can see myself making more than one size, both for my daughter as she grows and for myself. The fitting issues that I encountered have more to do with my daughter’s shape than anything wrong with the pattern, and that is always likely to be an issue sewing for a teen.

The shape of these shorts is really lovely, very flattering and easy to wear without being frumpy, I might well make myself a pair with the leg cuffs, given that I’ve not worn shorts for almost twenty years, that’s an indication of how fabulously flattering I think the cut of these shorts is!

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My next project is going to be this pattern with an extended leg to make cropped trousers for her using the scalloped edge instructions.

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The care and feeding of a handmade wardrobe

An ongoing series looking at the making and sometimes breaking of a handmade wardrobe

Part 1: Do you really want a handmade wardrobe in the first place?

There really isn’t anything wrong with knitting* for the sheer pleasure of the activity, for feeling the yarn move through your fingers, for enjoying the gorgeous panoply of colours available, just for the hell of it. If you are a process knitter who cares not a whit for the finished article, there is no shame in that, own it and enjoy it. (And perhaps come back later, this might not be the article for you)

(*substitute sewing as you see fit :o)

However that’s not me, I aspire to have a handmade wardrobe of my very own.

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I’m not one to say that I’m a process knitter (or sewer for that matter), as much as I love the physical act of knitting I unashamedly love having the finished object more! Yet even so I’ve found myself getting cranky at the proliferation of handmade wardrobe posts springing up around the web. Very odd, some of my most favourite bloggers and designers are writing about something that I spend a fair quantity of my leisure time doing – creating a handmade wardrobe, and I get grumpy – why? And then it hit me, it’s the usefulness of the activity that rubs me up the wrong way, why should my leisure activity be useful? No one expects golf to have a useful outcome! (Cue gnashing of teeth at this juncture) Obviously I have some angst about this issue that has nothing all to do with the inspirational posts popping up all over the blogosphere – that I’ll come back to another day, for now a remedy.

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To counter the irritation the best course of action I find is to immerse myself in the flood of inspiration; I’m happily polycraftual and will as happily sew as knit (though it’s not as convenient for snuggling down with on the sofa) so my inspirations are mostly similarly polycraftual.

There are of course many and varied motivations to creating a handmade wardrobe, from concerns about ethical consumerism and worry about ecological sustainability to a wish to experiment with self-expression and personal autonomy.

Creator of the wonderfully inspiring Me Made May is Zoe at So Zo … what do you know? Her focus is primarily environmental sustainability, she sews but doesn’t knit, she has recently had a daughter and is clothing her in the same way that she clothes herself which is fantastically inspiring.

Someone else who I’ve been following for almost as long as Zoe is Libby at Truly Myrtle. Within the last few years, she moved to New Zealand and has taken up designing knitwear, she does sew as well though, often creating whole outfits and has a podcast where she talks through her creations.

Through the Truly Myrtle podcast  I’ve started following the wonderful Georgie Hallam (of the Milo  vest fame) on her website Tikkiknits.com.  As many others have, I’ve knitted the Milo vest more than once but I wasn’t very aware of her whole range, mostly of children’s patterns, I’ve quickly remedied that and am having my very own little Tikki fest knitting Posy and Jane for my girls this summer (more in a later post) I find her whole blog and website are very inspiring for me as I strive to create my own handmade wardrobe (and sneak a little into the children’s’ cupboards and drawers).

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One of my biggest inspirations is Isabelle at Fluffyfibers.com I have followed her work for years from when she only sewed, then began crotchet and now knits and spins as well. Her work is amazing, she has a wonderful eye for colour and proportion and has exquisite taste, all the while managing a family life and a demanding professional career. She also has a podcast which has recently become a video podcast; my favourite as I love to see all the pretty things being talked about.

Of course, there are lots of wonderfully inspirational crafters whose work I love to follow, but if I need a quick fix, these are the ones that I go back to time and time again.

 

 

Next time in part 2 : Creating a handmade wardrobe that won’t be left at the back of the closet, aka making a wardrobe for the life that you lead.

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