Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Wednesday wip December


I wanted to start sharing images of my works in progress and it will be a useful way to track progress  and inspire me to keep my projects down to a few at a time.
I am working on two projects at the moment, both are knitting, one is for me and one is a gift. Stay posted to see the finished items soon.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Project and craft bag

The fabric in this bag has probably had the quickest turnaround ever in my house! I bought it online last week and it arrived on Thursday, by the end of Friday it was made up into a lovely bag. I think the fabric is so cute I couldn't wait to get it made into something.
This is a basic drawstring bag, it has interfacing on the outside fabric and a yellow lining. I used a ribbon for the drawnstring as I have lots of pink ribbon for a project I was doing a few years ago.

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Front view
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Side view

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Close up of cute design

Overall I am really pleased with this bag and know I will use it a lot.
It can fit comfortably a large 100g ball of wool, A4 pattern and the project on circular knitting needles. It also fits a medium size sewing project too.
I have some fabric left over which I will be making into a small case for notions.
What do you use as your sewing bag?

1/2 metre of fabric
Blue and white dot fabric from stash
Yellow lining fabric from stash
Pink ribbon from stash

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Rowan Martin Storey Knit A Long

My last post about this project was in May when I had completed about 8 squares for the blanket.
To recap if you would like more details please see my post here or if you would like to look at the other stunning projects please go to Ravelry here.

The official knit a long ended in July, but I knew that I would not be finished by then. Also as the wool was so expensive I wanted to make the most out of knitting it for as long as I could!

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I finished mine a few weeks ago and absolutely love it. It is so warm and heavy; the wool looks beautiful and is soft on your skin. Me the cats and even my boyfriend have been snuggling on the sofa with it, now the weather is getting colder I finished it at the perfect time.

I thoroughly enjoyed this project, I only got a bit bored when I had about 5 squares to go and that was as I had left a few of the more difficult patterns until then.
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48 sqaures in total
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Crochet edging
As the patterns were released weekly and involved a new pattern each time I have really expanded my knitting knowledge. I have leant skills that I would never have tried if I was starting a jumper or similar large project. As each pattern was a small square, it was very satisfying to complete each one, and also when making a mistake, you did not lose a lot of work.

Having seen the other blankets on Ravelry there was a lovely thread in the Rowan group about 'signature squares' and some people posted very unique and personal squares. I decided to do this too and chose to write a small chart for it. I wanted to include my initials and the year and I based the square design on the principles of the week 2  (Nordic Star) version. I added in a cable owl as I wanted to learn how to make these and I thought it was cute!
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Signature square
I blocked the squares as I went along in batches for 8 to 10, although a couple were blocked again. The only changes I would make would be to have more rows on the week 4 (Lace Kisses) design as this was so much shorter than the other squares.

As I learnt so much in this blanket I decided to finish it off by doing a crochet border, I used some great videos on YouTube to do this and I did a scallop edge. I think this finished off the blanket very well.
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Back of edging
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Front of edging

To join the squares I used mattress stitch on the vertical joins and slip stitch on the vertical.
Once the blanket was completed I was surprised by how much I had left over, it is just under half a ball of each colour. I will have to choose what to do with them now.

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Detail of back stitching
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Skills learnt
Lace stitches - yarn forward, knit two together, yarn over, make one.
Make a bobble
Cabling, with and without a cable needle
Reading a knitting chart
Mattress stitch
Slip stitch joining of seams
Crochet border

Rowan Pure Wool Worsted 100g balls. Bought from Spins and Needles, Lincoln.
Knit Pro 4mm interchangeable needles, purchased same as above.
4mm crochet hook.

A simple skirt

I have been updating my blog and noticed that I wrote this post but did not publish it in April 2012.

Written April 2012

I am very excited to make this post as I have finished making my first skirt. Hurrah!
I have always liked the idea of making my own clothes however it has taken a while for my skills to catch up with my ideas.

This was my first time to work from a commerical pattern, and I must have bought the pattern about 8 years ago, took one look at it and get very confused. Being slightly older and wiser I was determined to figure it out.
The pattern I used is Butterick 6834, 'nine sew fast and easy' The pattern is for sizes 12, 14, 16, UK.

Firstly it took me a while to work out even how much fabric I needed and how it all works.
I am in my twenties and although at school have always used cm and metres, at home I used inches for this aswell, and always used ounces for cooking measurements. I often use inches for measuring as it is easier for quilting and sewing and most people talk of 1/4 inch seam allowance etc. However, I buy fabric in metres. 
So on the pattern we have imperial in English and metric on the French side. I used the cm as I find it more accurate, even though it is French. I digress.....

The skirt was to be an a line skirt with a lining, a zip at the centre back and 4 darts. The front is made up of 1 piece and the back of 2 pieces, joining at the zip line.

It mostly went ok, there was alot of reading and re reading, discussions with my mum on how it could work, and eventually I figured it out. I was pretty pleased with my zip insertion, and think it was ok for a first time in a garnment.
There was a band of intefacing which went inside the lining and that helped the skirt to have shape on the top.

I am pleased with the outcome, it fits well and I think I can wear it out an about without any strange looks. 

A couple of issues were that, you can see the top of the zip does not match up, I think this is to do with how I folded the top hem and that I had cut off some of the top of the zip while figuring out how the hemming and folding would work. I don't plan on tucking a top into this, so no one will see it.

Another bad point is that in the lining of the skirt, I have not folded back any of the seams (not sure of right wording for this) so the edges of the fabric are exposed to fraying. I realised this later on and therefore cut the interfaced band with pinking shears to make it fray less.
I also used navy blue thread as the flower fabric is blue, however my lining is black so should have changed thread when doing lining.

New techniques and materials used
* Reading a pattern, cutting a pattern.
*Sewing darts
*Inseting a lining
*Sewing a zip

Flower fabric, no name
Black lining fabric
Blue 7 inch zip
Gutterman polyester thread, navy blue.

Shopping list
*Boyds, Lincoln
*Callyco, Lincoln

Monday, 26 May 2014

Rowan knit along


I have been taking part in the Rowan knit along and although I was a bit unsure at first I am now thoroughly enjoying it.
Each week for 8 weeks a new square pattern is released, at the end you sew the squares together to create a (hopefully) beautiful blanket.
I thought it would be a good way to improve my knitting skills in a manageable way, without getting stuck on a larger project.
I am fell in love with the yarn when at my local shop and although it is more than I have spent on wool I can tell that it is worth it as it is so lovely to knit with and should last a long time. The yarn they have designed the blanket for is their pure wool worsted which comes in 50 different colours in balls of 100grams.

The colours were selected quite randomly, I knew that I could spend the next 3 months deciding and debating, so I didn't give myself the opportunity and walked into the shop, chose my first 6 colours in a few minutes. Later on I chose my last three colours.

The designer recommends 6 squares of each pattern, and that you should do 3 squares in each colour. Because I did not want to have lots and lots of colours, and I wanted it to look random, I have done each pattern in 6 different colours, therefore each pattern is not made in the same colour twice. This will result in each colour not being used for two squares. I am hoping to then put them together in a layout that will work with this design.
So far I have knitted 12 squares and I am working on the most recent pattern, which is clue 6 little doughnuts.

My only issue so far is that the pace is a bit fast for me, and I am struggling to keep up. I am aiming to get 4 of each pattern completed at the end of week 8, and then I will go back and do the last 2 of each pattern. I feel this will be a more manageable goal.

Here are some photos to enjoy.
You can also view my project page at Ravelry with more detailed notes.
First six colours chosen
Clue one in process

Clue three completed.
Practise layout of squares to check how colours would work

Ten squares so far

My little helper
The squares drying and blocking

Finished squares
To see my next post with the finished blanket, please click here

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Knitting project planning

I have been knitting another baby jumper at the moment, this will be a present for my work colleague who is due her first baby in June. I am pleased with this as I started it on knit night on 31st March and I have now completed the back, both fronts and one sleeve. I started the second sleeve at knit night last night. I am pleased at how quickly I have made progress on this and it has been helped by knitting on my lunch breaks at work. I do get some interesting comments from people though!

The reason for the focus on knitting recently is because I have had some problems with my sewing machine, I spoke to my cousin about it over Easter and decided to check it in to the sewing machine shop to be sorted out. They say it might take two weeks.

Therefore I have been knitting and making patchwork more at the moment. I have been using some cotton thread for my quilt which is better than the polyester I was using on holiday, and at the weekend I bought some gutterman hand quilting thread which I am keen to try out.

My sister saw my infinity scarf when I was at my parents for Easter and requested one in purple. So I bought some lovely king Cole 100 percent merino in a lavender colour. However last night I saw some Knitcol trends and thought it was so bright and colourful I am now considering making it in that. 
King Cole - merino
Knitcol trends
I  have also discovered the Rowan knit along and I am going to join this. I was looking at the new rowan wool in the shop at the weekend and heard about it then, having read more about it online I am thinking of buying a few balls this weekend to start it. They are releasing small square patterns every week for about 10weeks. I really like the idea of the small squares and think they will be great to do on my lunch breaks, I just need to think more about what colours, do I go for multicoloured or a colour theme?

So it is safe to say I have lots of things planned I need to make sure I carry on with them, and try not to read about any more things I want to start for a while!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Two cushions, one for people, one for cats.

Following my post from the other day I have also finished a cushion which I actually started about 2 years ago. I have been working on it on and off for ages and I finished it last week.
I really like this cushion and I think the bright colours work really well together.

Liberty hexagon side
Star side

The hexagons were bought in a pack from Liberty of London and they are made from the gorgeous Liberty tana lawn fabric which is so lovely and light. The variety of designs is great and there is a real mix of older and more modern designs in there. Originally I was going to quilt this as well for some quilting practise but then I changed my mind as I was concerned that it would make it too bulky when putting it over the cushion.
On the reverse side I have used fabrics which I would describe as Eastern inspired, they all have a hint of gold or metallic in then and I had some small scraps of each design so though it would be good to use them up. I like the star design the diamonds creates and I chose a white for the edges of the hexagons to create a contrast with the stars. I added a boarder to this side as it was a bit smaller than the hexagon side. I sewed it together with a zip and put it over a cushion I already had.
I am pleased to have finished this and the cushion is very comfy.

The next item I made this winter was a cushion for our two cats. At night they sleep in the kitchen but seem to have grown out of the cushion we bought them. They love sitting on my small quilt which was the first quilt I made, so I thought I would make then a quilted cushion so that we don’t have to keep folding up the other quilt to put in the kitchen.
Floor cushion
Base of floor cushion

Being tested by the new owners!

The top of this is from a book called Love Quilting and Patchwork and they say it is a small sampler quilt. I chose it because I liked how it has 5 different patchwork layouts and the size of the design was a perfect size for my cushion. Once I finished the top I then made the cushion itself by using the instructions for the floor cushion in the Great British Sewing Bee book. I bought some foam for the inside and there is a zip on the bottom so I can wash it if I need to. I made this all on my sewing machine and tried to avoid reverting to hand sewing for the awkward bits.
The cats love this cushion and although then only seem to sit on it at night time they are still using it 4 months on.
I enjoyed trying the different patchwork styles, however I don’t think the fabric I chose is the best to see the contrasts in the patchwork layouts. It would be more striking if it was made in different colours. The fabric I used was a set of 5 or 6 fat quarters I had in complimentary patterns and I had had these for a long time. The base was made from left over fabric from the first quilt as I wanted a thicker hardwearing fabric for the base.