Saturday, 28 March 2015

Little rose cardigan


This was a last minute make for my youngest granddaughter's second birthday. It was a last minute decision because I wasn't sure I wanted to do another knitting project so soon after finishing the epic lace top.  But you know how it is - the pattern, Sublime 6008 Little Rose cardigan, was calling to me (it is so, so cute) and given that the largest size in the pattern is 2-3 years this may be one of my last opportunities to use it.

This is a great pattern, it was an easy project that took only a week to make and I highly recommend it.  If you are a relative beginner itching to move on from knit and purl stitches you will, I am, sure enjoy this pattern.  The only additional stitches used are knit 2 together (k2tog), purl 2 together (p2tog) and yarn forward (yfwd).  If you should need a little help with the stitches there are plenty of visual how to dos on You Tube.

I used a button and yarn from my stash, 150g x Robin double knitting. The total cost was less than £5.   After my last knitting project using lace yarn this knit up really quickly and at first the difference in thickness of yarn made my feel as if I was knitting in chunky wool - very strange.

I  knit the largest size,  2-3 years, using 3.25 mm and 2.75 mm needles which, although much smaller than the 4 mm stated in the pattern, gave the best tension for the pattern. 

It's always good to use up stash, but I do have a slight regret that I did not use the yarn recommended for the pattern, Sublime cashmere, merino and silk double knitting - it would of looked beautiful.  However the cost would have been nearer to £25 - which I find hard to justify. 

This is the pattern.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Katherine Tipton Top V8793

I'm on a roll with quick and easy makes.  This top was made in a day.  

The stretch Jersey abstract print fabric was from ebay store regencyragsfabricstore (for a very reasonable £4.99 per metre with free p&p) and the black ponte from my Christmas shopping trip to Barry's Fabric Super Store in Birmingham.  Total cost approx £12.  

I'm really pleased with this version. Having already worn it with trousers for the weekend and with a black skirt for work I am sure I will get plenty of wear from this top.

Despite the seemingly random print I was careful to pattern match and I'm glad I did.  Looking at the photos and in particular the centre front and back there does appear to be a vertical line in the print.

The pattern comes with the Craftsy course the ultimate t-shirt, which I highly recommend.  My version does look different to the pattern envelope (see below) but then again so does the Craftsy class version.  I'm still not sure about the comfort or wearability of a collar with zips and I have yet to find the right combination of prints to do the mixed print design on the pattern envelope justice. 

This is my second version of the pattern, which along with the stretch fabric means there were no fit issues (hooray).  I made the same pattern alterations as before replacing the collar with a neckband and adding a band at the hem. ( it's difficult to see from the pics but both versions have a 4" black ponte fabric band added to the hem. I did my usual adjustment for sloping shoulders - reducing the shoulder seam by  1 cm at the armhole end and blending back to the centre of the shoulder seam, and pin fitting then sewing the side seams.  There are more details of the make on my November post about the first version - pic below.

TIP: Adding cuffs to the sleeves and a band at the hem makes for an easy, tidy way to finish a stretch top.  This avoids the need to sew a hem and thereby the potential for blown stitches and puckering.  

Friday, 6 March 2015

Fast n easy skirt

I confess I had a bit of a disaster cutting out a top in stretch fabric - not realising the fabric had moved until it was too late and had to scrap that particular project.  Having set aside a day for sewing I decided not to dwell on the wasted fabric and instead look for a quick fix - something quick and easy to sew that would preserve my confidence and sewing mojo. 

I have wanted a navy skirt for some time to wear with boots.  So, after the speed and ease of making my last sewing project - a straight red skirt, I decided to use the same pattern again New Look 6977.  

This time I picked view D.  Again this was a straight forward, easy to sew.  I used a navy ponte and 3 cm elastic in the waistband.  The pattern was cut out without any fit adjustments and was made in a morning using the overlocker.  It's a good basic to add to my wardrobe.  I think either skirt style would make a great first pattern for a beginner using knit fabric such as a ponte.

Oops pics aren't great, navy does photo very well at best of times and due to the wind and cold I don't seem to have any pics where I am not holding the front edges of my cardi.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Daughter's top finished

This is the 2nd of my unfinished projects that I pledged to complete in. 2015.  Technically this is my daughter's project but with two young children and a change in job she has been unable to find the time to finish it.

This was to have been her first sewn garment in navy ponte. Rather than use a pattern she simply traced around a favourite top and had already stablized and sewn the neck, shoulder and outer arm seams.  The project had stalled when the neckband turned out a bit wavy.  

After 18 months she asked I could finish the top for her. I simply pinned the side seams and marked a new neckline whilst she was wearing it.  I cut off the old neckband and added a new one and used the overlocker to sew the side seams, cuffs and hem band.

Needless to say she was happy to have this project finished.  I hope that as she has ended up with a wearable top she won't be put off having another go herself when she has more time. 

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Finally finished lace knit top

I'm really pleased to say I have finally finished knitting this top.   I braved the cold and wind for the pics just to prove (mainly to myself) that it was finally finished.  I don't know about you but these days I don't consider a garment officially finished without the fanfare of a few pics and blog post.

I started this top back in July and initially struggled, making slow progress with the delicate lace neckband and as autumn set in I lost interest in knitting a top that I knew would not be worn for at least 8 months - until the following summer.  Lesson learnt - time your garment makes so that they are just coming into session as they are finished - It's much easier to stay motivated and focused on finishing.

 Changes to the pattern - increased body length by 8 cms ( I much prefer tops to end nearer to my hips than on my waistline), used smaller size pattern (10-16) for body and larger size for sleeves.  Used sheering elastic around the neck to stop the neckband falling off my shoulders.  I'm not sure if it's the pattern design or my narrow shoulders but either way the off the shoulder look just isn't great on me. Lesson learnt - where possible choose a pattern where there is a pic of someone actually wearing the garment.

This is the first time I have knitted a top in the round.  Once I got past the arms the knitting was straight forward and it was lovely to have minimal sewing to do to finish the top.  However, its easy to loose your place particularly if you have to unpick a mistake and it seemed to go on for ever.  It was also not easy to change to a new ball of yarn without a mark showing.  My biggest bug bear is the lines that are clearly visible down the centre front and back.  The pattern said to use place markers at centre front and back until past the arms but to me this has created a visible flaw and spoils the top.  I am assuming that either the chunky yarn I used as place markers was too thick or its due to my inexperience - Any tips? They will be gratefully received.

Lesson learnt - You Tube is a brilliant aid for a knitter.  Particularly a beginner or someone like me, getting back into knitting after a very long break.  I could not remember what a couple of the instruction abbreviations meant (for example sskpo) but a quick search on You Tube brought up several excellent demos causing the minimal of delay in progress.   

All in all I'm glad I finished this top and tried something new.  I like the lace edging and length.  The jury is out on the style.  The same with the colour, although I am sure it will look better on a sunny day and with a tan.  I'm also not sure how this yarn will wash.  I guess the proof will be in the wearing.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Footstool revitalised

I am still knitting, determined to finish the citrus green, lace, summer top before I start any new sewing projects.  The end is in sight but I must admit I am starting to get twitchy.  With so many lovely fabrics recently purchased I have lots of ideas for my first sewing project of 2015.

Yesterday I took a break from knitting and spent a satisfying hour with Mr S bringing a footstool, which we had been thinking of throwing out, back to life.  We used fabric from my stash (a metre of furnishing fabric recently purchased from Liverpool and half a metre of fleece to provide some cushioning to the top) and a staple gun.

We unscrewed all the sections and laid them out on the furnishing fabric, allowing extra for folding the fabric around the sides to the back. It did take some time to get the layout right as one metre was only just enough to cover all sides.  We then simply chalked cutting lines on the back of the fabric and cut each piece out, cutting the corners off to reduce bulk.  The fabric was wrapped round each section, pulling it tight and stapling it into place one side at a time. 

I'm really pleased with the results.  For less money than £7 and an hour's work we have a smart footstool.  



Saturday, 24 January 2015

Fabric shopping - Liverpool

Earlier this month Mr S and I had a lovely weekend break in Liverpool.  Of course I couldn't resist googling fabric shops before we went - just in case we happened to be in an area near to one.  

Mr S earned brownie points by agreeing to detour to Stafford Street.  Just a 10 minute walk from Lime Street Train Station it's well worth a visit. There are taxis parked at the end of the street ( if you don't fancy walking back with heavy bags) and on street parking (you will need change for the parking meter).

 The Abakhan store is spread over two floors and its massive - a sewer's paradise.   Downstairs is mainly fabric pieces sold by the weight and upstairs fabrics sold by the roll.  There are large  haberdashery and yarn sections too.  The store is so big I only had time to explore downstairs on our first visit.  The prices are very reasonable and with a sale on there were real bargains.

 Mr S gets lots more brownie points for offering to drive via Stafford Street on our way home.  Lucky me got to explore the upstairs of the Abakhan store and the other two fabric stores on the street. 

Just a few doors down from Abakhan is The Fabric Place, which also has some lovely fabrics.  I was very tempted by a beautiful, quality lace at a very reasonable price - but without a reason I could not justify buying it - but I know where to look if I ever want to make a lace dress.

Opposite Abakhan is a store selling mainly curtain and furnishing fabrics. I nearly didn't go in as I have no interest in making such things but I am glad we did.  What a find.  All the fabric was only £3.99 per metre.  The store itself seemed a bit of a mess with rolls just stacked up around the room (I'm not sure if the ladies were in the middle of sorting stock out).  Downstairs there were also bolts of fabrics, cushions with pads and lovely covers and other random bargains.  All were really good quality - it made me wish I had a suite to cover. 

This is what a brought in Liverpool:

From  Abakhan - 0.8m embroidered metallic knit, 1.5m blue and navy knit, 3m navy peach skin fabric, 4m wool mix, 2 x 200g chunky yarn and 3m wide elastic.  Total cost £44

Although the knit fabrics are smallish pieces I can make them into tops or combined with black fabric to make dresses.  The peach skin is for lining but would make a nice top and the wool should make a nice coat, jacket or skirt.  The yarn is for making a scarf as a gift ( are you impressed I'm thinking a head and stocking up on materials for gifts when I see a bargain).

From the curtain shop ( I could not see a shop name above the door).  I brought 1 m of a grey marl furnishing fabric to cover the lids of 2 footstools and a dog bed cushion with removable cover.  Total cost £10.

  • Mr S is wonderful.  
  • Liverpool is definitely worth a visit.  You are sure to find some good quality fabrics at a reasonable price and if like me you can combine it with a weekend break to the city even better. 
  • I just wish I had thought to take some pictures although  the cold, grey skies of winter would not have done Liverpool justice - perhaps I should go back in the summer.
  • I like the idea of buying fabric from different places we visit and think I might try to do that in future it's much better than a postcard.