Author Archives: Pendle Stitches
As the hoard of boxes were unpacked into the sewing room, it became more and more apparent that I had much more fabric in reality than in my head.
Much, much more.
There are 3 x 80 litre boxes and a Harrods hamper.
That’s too much fabric for my comfort. Quite a bit of it has been very kindly gifted to me, and there are some beautiful vintage wools that will force me soon to overcome my trepidation about coat making.
There are some bits and bobs for making things for the kids, which they’ve mostly grown out of as this stash has mouldered unloved, so will be used for cute pyjama bottoms for the winter.
But, lets be brutally honest here, most of it is stuff that I’ve bought on a whim over the past few years and has been scattered around the old loft and forgotten.
I was astonished at what I uncovered, so I took some time to catalogue and sort it all out.
I know there are several electronic options for curating your fabric collection, but I decided to go old skool.
A notebook and swatches.
I measured each piece of fabric and took a tiny snippet for the book. I’ve recorded what width the fabric is and how much of it I have
The beauty of this “system” though, is that as I leaf through the notebook, there is the tactile swatch that I can feel to remind me of the thickness and hand. Without the colour distortion that can occur with a screen.
At the back of the book is a total of the fabric I have at today’s date. It doesn’t include the 3 metres that are in the post to me. There’s currently 179.5m. I am mortified.
I’m going to track what goes in and what goes out. There needs to be more going out than in, for sure. I need to get the curtains and blinds sewn and then really dive into this stash and make some pretty things.
I’m off to sew curtains!
I know…I know. It’s glorious weather out there and here I am, still babbling on about winter woolies. But this was another yarnie gift from a friend. Thankfully this was only from the Christmas just gone!
There’s not much to say about the Gaptastic Cowl, other than it is a super simple knit, and a very wearable thing. It’s been knitted 18390 times, according to Ravelry. That many people can’t be wrong.
Before the delicious sunshine arrived, this was heavily in rotation to keep me toasty on the school run. I’d been planning to make it for forever and never got around to it. I wish I hadn’t waited so long!
The yarn is lush! It’s Debbie Bliss Winter Garden, which is sadly discontinued. It’s a shame because it’s just the perfect yarn for this cowl. Soft and cosy and lightweight. The colour is a misty grey blue with delicious flecks of turquoise, chartreuse and white.
Basically, it’s the perfect combination of pattern and yarn. And I love it!
With the temperatures today hitting the late 20’s, it is, of course, the perfect time to post a review of knitted hats and mitts. 😯
This yarn and pattern was a gift to me from my friend Christian at Christmas 2015, and they’ve been finished, so Ravelry tells me, since February 2017. So this post is long overdue. I hope you’ll humour me!
I’m sure I’ve mentioned before what a huge fan I am of Kate Davies, and I was keen to knit one of her patterns and try her Buachaille yarn too. So this was the best kind of gift from a friend who knows you well. I’m blessed with several of those.
Starting with the yarn, I have to say this is just about the nicest yarn I’ve ever knit with. It’s crisp and firm, with excellent stitch definition, and deep colour saturation. Hubby was bored senseless of me gushing every time I picked up this project, but the yarn is simply joyous to knit with.
It’s not cheap, but it’s an artisan yarn and, I think, well worth the money. I suspect this is going to be one of those yarns that lasts through much wear and tear, making it, in reality, much better value for money than less expensive, or squishier yarns, that frustratingly give up the ghost much sooner.
Having had a few of those experiences recently, I’m vowing that whilst the cheaper yarns are fine for the kids, who grow out of clothes rather than wear them out, for us grown ups I’ll be investing as much in the yarn as I do in the actually knitting of the garment.
The pattern is equally lovely.
Expertly written. Easy to read. Delightful to knit. Everything I’d hoped it would be and more.
I’m not an expert knitted of stranded colourwork, but Kate helped me produce a result that would fool anyone into thinking I was.
Oh those little goats! They are stupidly easy to knit and each one gives you a happy feeling as you knit the last row of its horn.
Miss Button is gazing wistfully at the hat. She does look adorable in it, so I may succumb to her entreaties.
But the gauntlets are mine. I’ll fight anyone to defend their glorious goatiness.
And as they’re stranded they are super cosy and warm.
I know it’s far too warm to be thinking of winter knits at the moment, but I’ll be smug when normal northern weather resumes and I’m already prepared.
Can I suggest you add these to your knit list for this Autumn? I promise you won’t regret it!
Sewing for my man isn’t something I’ve done a lot of in the past, although he’s not short of woolly socks! I’m hoping to do more for him in the future, but there is a dearth of good menswear patterns out there.
So it was with bated breath that I’ve been awaiting my copy of The Gentleman’s Wardrobe, Vintage-Style Projects to Make for the Modern Man by Vanessa Mooncie.
The book is beautiful to look at. The styling is reminiscent of Japanese sewing books. Moody shots in a modern industrial setting. Whilst the styling appeals to the “hipster” look my husband likes, the patterns are really quite classic.
The shirts, trousers and a jacket could all be made up in different fabrics to achieve different looks. They are the kind of patterns that once you’ve got the fit nailed you’d have a set of basic styles that you could make over and over again for the man in your life.
There’s also a selection of useful accessories and nightwear.
It really does cover all the bases. The only thing really missing would be an overcoat. But that’s nit picking.
The book is, for a change, not aimed at the beginner sewist. There are some basic techniques included, but this is not a “learn to sew’ book.
There are full sized pattern sheets included. They do require tracing but are nowhere near as busy as a Burda pattern sheet so should pose no trouble.
As you can imagine I was really excited to look through this book and was, quite frankly, planning to make everything except the wallet and bow tie and short sleeved shirt for my mister. The styles are that good and these are the only garments he wouldn’t wear.
And then I checked the size chart.
My man has a 19″ neck. And his chest is definitely more than a 42! The grading to get these to size would be ridiculous.
And lets be honest. As with us ladies, the 16″ neck market is widely served with both RTW and vintage patterns. This was a great opportunity to hit an untapped and underserved market with cool patterns that a wide range of men would be glad to wear.
Sadly it’s an opportunity that once again has been missed.
Thankfully I’d ordered this from the library to “audition” it. It’s not a book I’ll be buying.
I’m so disappointed!
This project has been a long time in the making. Not just the months since we moved into our wonderful new home in August, but the 10 years I spent sewing in the tatty loft room in our old home.
(Not that I didn’t love having that tatty old loft. I had some great sewing fun up there. But it was very tatty. And boiling in summer. And freezing in winter. With no storage)
But this room. This room is just perfection.
It was originally going to be our company office with a projector and screen so we could use it as a home “cinema”. The previous owners had wired (and decorated it) as a cinema room:
However, I pointed out that:
- we only use the office for a couple of hours a week
- we have the most ridiculously large tv in the sitting room so why the heck do we need a projector
- there is no way on God’s green earth I’d have got all my sewing
crapsupplies into the fourth bedroom that is now the office
- I wouldn’t get a large cutting table in what is now the office
- I want the big room, dammit!
No one was more surprised than me when The Husband said yes! Love that man!
And so began the plotting and scheming. I knew that my main priorities were storage and cutting space. I’m so sick of not being able to lay hands on a pattern, or thread, or whatever. And also trying to cut out on the floor or kitchen table.
So, off to Ikea I went.
The first thing to purchase was supplies for the cutting table. It’s about 150 x 160cm. It’s constructed from 2 of the 8 box Kallax units with a 4 box unit at the top end. They are screwed together in a U-shape and then topped with 12mm MDF.
A pinnable surface proved invaluable in the tatty sewing loft. Sadly we couldn’t lay hands on any of the insulation board that we had used 10 years ago, but I’m giving it a go with layers of the underlay that you use under laminate floorings piled 3 high on the MDF.
Finally it’s wrapped with curtain lining stapled to the underside of the MDF to secure. And set on castors so you can move it to get around all sides for large projects. Or cleaning!
The top layer of spaces on each long side have drawer units, with boxes in the bottom. This gives me loads of storage options for tools, notions, patterns, yarn and all the other wee bits and bobs you have in a sewing room.
It is a joyous thing!
For books and magazines I have a run of Billy bookcases with half glazed doors.
I may have quite a few sewing, knitting, embroidery and quilting books!
There’s plenty of room for the odd magazine or two, too!
Crates of fabric and the stuff I don’t need to access often are stashed out of sight in the understairs cupboard that runs along the back of the room.
I’ve also got all my drafting/measuring tools hung up here, as they’re too big for the drawers.
All of this covers my need for storage and a super cutting table. Now all I needed was somewhere to sew.
We picked up this little table at GB Antiques in Lancaster a couple of years ago. It’s perfect for this corner, with a daylight lamp for when I need it, and a bluetooth radio for listening to music or podcasts as I sew. An Ikea Raskog trolley holds projects handy, and my overlocker sits to the side of my gorgeous new Bernina.
I have the luxury that if I decide I need a larger table for sewing on, there’s one in storage in the garage that I can swap for this.
The chair needs a lick of paint, but I’m in no hurry for that.
After, all, I do have sewing to do!
I love this room so very much. It makes me smile every time I think “I need a needle and thread” and can put my hands right on them.
And when we were house hunting, I never in my wildest dreams thought I end up with something so perfectly perfect.
Of course, none of this would have happened without my wonderful husband. Despite rolling his eyes at some of my ideas, he worked it out and brought them to life in the most amazing way.
“Thank you” seems so inadequate in the face of such a wonderful gift, but I hope he knows just how grateful I am for such an amazing room, and how very happy it makes me.
The sewing room is ready to reveal. The last boxes were unpacked a couple of weeks ago. All the fabric has been sorted, measured and catalogued. All paper patterns have been scanned to Evernote ready for tagging, and then packed into easily accessible boxes. Even the new blinds have been fitted. I just need a bin, an ironing board and iron specifically for that room, and a full length mirror.
As the first thing I’m going to be making is curtains, and I’ve got all of the missing items in other parts of the house, I’d say I’m good to go!
I need to take some photos so I can share with you, but till then I’ve got quick snaps of a lovely sewing room warming present the husband bought me last week from Pipecreative in Hebden Bridge.
I’m sure the vintage sewing machine purists will be up in arms about this but I absolutely adore it!
A Steampunked sewing machine. A Jones, no less. It couldn’t be more appropriate!
The owner was highly amused that he was selling a Jones sewing machine lamp to Mrs Jones to go in her sewing room. He didn’t believe us at first, and double checked the Mister’s bank card when taking payment.
It’s totally bonkers in the best possible way.
Sitting proudly on the windowsill to the side of my sewing table, it’s straight in your eyeline as you enter the sewing room. It makes me smile every time I walk in there.
My hubby buys the absolute best presents. I’m one very lucky lady!
My life feels dominated by socks and hospital visits at the moment. This pair is just off the needles and I have two other pairs on the go. Our little man is on the mend, but his wound is still about 5 inches long, 2 inches wide and 1.5 inches deep. It’s a slow heal. So three times a week we are at the hospital changing dressings. There is invariably a long wait. That’s ok. We’re glad we don’t need the nurses urgently any more, and are more than happy to wait whilst they prioritise those that do.
Thankfully, a sock is a very portable project. We grab drinks from the coffee concession on our way in and check into the ward fully prepped for however long it takes.
Whilst my wee man was poorly in hospital I had a sock with me at all times. It’s tricky to concentrate on knitting with a sick small person in a hospital bed, as the interruptions are constant. But slowly, slowly, between obs, and while he slept, my hands turned one round of stitches, followed by another. And slowly, slowly, the sock grew. And each stitch was a moment of calm that took him closer to wellness.
A sock is also a great conversation starter. I met nurses who knitted but had never dared try a sock, nurses whose grandmothers had knit socks and who thought the art had died out. A student nurse who had only used a knitting frame and was intrigued to see how it was done “properly”. Small peeps whose fascination was wide eyed and intent. And worried mums were distracted for a few moments and transported to a place of calm and cosiness.
This is the pair of socks that I knitted by our boy’s bedside. That commanded attention and brought our little community behind the curtains together.
Who’d have thought a pair of simple socks could do so much?
Pattern: Regia 4 ply sock
Pattern cost: Free
Yarn: Stylecraft Head over Heels
Purchased at: & Sew What, Chorley
Yarn cost: About £7?
I do love a good cardigan for Button, and this certainly fits the bill!
It’s a super little pattern that is easy to knit, but you have that lovely lacy button ‘band’ at the front that gives it a certain lift.
The yarn is starting to pill slightly due to wear. I really must get the pill shaver on it soon. But I’d rather that than the garment languish in the drawer unworn!
This yarn is the perfect match for a pair of cotton trousers and print top that we bought from Next last summer. I’m really hoping she doesn’t outgrow them too quickly as they’re so cute. I think we’ll get away with the trousers looking adorably cropped, and the top will still be modest enough for her to get this spring out of the ensemble.
This ‘gathering’ is a simple technique but gives the overall garment a bit of shape and some interest to an otherwise plain back.
The 3/4 sleeves are perfect for spring and give a nice proportion.
I have no hesitation in recommending this pattern. It’s well written and easy to follow, an enjoyable knit that doesn’t need you to concentrate too hard, but the lace front detail takes the edge off the plain stocking stitch.
In fact, I like it so much I made a second version for Button’s school friend, who admired it when it was worn on a playdate!
Pattern cost: $6.60
Yarn: Cascade 220
Colourway: Smoke Blue and Dusty Rose
Purchased at: Loop London (No longer stocked by Loop)
Yarn cost: £5.99 per ball from Wool Warehouse
If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that at the weekend I decided to tip out the boxes into which I’d hurriedly unpacked patterns and have a bit of a sort out.
Hubby has kindly offered to scan everything into an Evernote catalogue for me so I’ll never duplicate a pattern again, and I’m itching to sew but not sure where to start. It’s been so long, I don’t trust my hands at the moment for much other than sock knitting!
As I emptied each of the 4 boxes that will be the permanent home of the pattern stash, I sorted them into piles of the same…..dresses, trousers, skirts, etc., etc.
It’s a bit of a revelation. I’ve some fabulous contemporary patterns in there, Big 4 and Indie, and also a growing collection of vintage ones that is bigger than I’d originally thought. This is entirely thanks to the kindness and generosity of my lovely friends Liz and Christian, who have gifted me some corkers over the last year or so. Liz is a whizz with the charity shops and is the person who always finds the most amazing things. Vogue Couturier for £4 anyone!?!?
I think I need to get some archive envelopes for these and store them separately. I’ll happily share details in another post if you’re interested.
But for today I’m sharing some spares I have in my stash.
I’ve got half a dozen Cake Patterns up for grabs and a Frozen costume. Here are the ones available:
If you’d like any of these patterns then please let me know in the comments. If more then one person wants it I’ll draw names out of a hat!
Let’s say I’ll close comments on this on one on Friday 7th April. I hope they’ll find a good home.
I finally get to share with you a finished project that isn’t a pair of socks. Hurrah!
Last Wednesday the sun shone brightly upon budding trees and jolly daffodils, and the wee small boy and I took George to the groomers, then popped into a local cafe for a rather splendid hot chocolate.
It was such a lovely day. Especially as he’d terrified us all the previous week by being rushed into hospital and needing an emergency appendectomy. The spring weather was the perfect opportunity to wrap him in his new Iggy sweater and grab a few shots. We’re ignoring that the shorts aren’t the best match….they were just the comfiest on the wound area.
I wish that was the end of his medical adventures, but on Saturday afternoon he developed a nasty post-op infection and was back on the ward for another surgery on Monday. He’s home with us now, snoring his head off as I type, but we have daily hospital visits at the moment to change the packing and dressings on the wound, as they had to leave it open to avoid further infection.
It’s been, quite frankly, bloody awful. I wouldn’t wish the past few weeks on my worst enemy, let alone a small boy. Thankfully, today he seems to have turned a corner. We are hopeful that the worst is over.
So pictures of a smiling boy in the sunshine in his special request jumper are a nice reminder that this too shall pass.
He had a very clear picture in his head of what he wanted. Having browsed my patterns to find a shape he liked, we drew out some stripes to get the idea out of his head an onto the needles.
The original pattern is Iggy, by Sarah Hatton. Apart from the stripes, the only change I’ve made to the pattern is to knit it in stocking stitch, rather than reverse stocking stitch.
It’s a quick and easy knit and the details of yarn can be found on my Ravelry page.
Needless to say, I have socks back on the needles again!
POSTED IN: finished projects 2017, knitting, my family and other animals, patterns, yarn