Tag Archives: patterns

Gaptastic Cowl

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!


The goats of Inversnaid

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!


Cove Cardigan

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!

Project details

Pattern:                             Cove Cardigan by The Velvet Acorn Designs

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

 


Pattern giveaway

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.


Iggy

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!


Knitting

Refurbishments continue apace. Being badly let down at the last minute by a plasterer turned into a blessing because the new guy we found is a gem.  He came, he plastered, he hung coving, he went.  He didn’t talk me into a coma, which has been my previous experience of plasterers. Already the house feels more like our home.

At 9am on Monday the decorator arrives.  I have boxes of wallpaper and tins of paint up the wazoo.  I’m starting to feel more than a twinge of excitement.

sewing_room_before

I hadn’t realised how much I would miss being able to sew.  At the moment I walk into the room and touch the boxes and twitch to open them and unpack.  The truth is I don’t exactly know what is actually in the boxes.  There are books and patterns and fabrics and notions that have been packed away for the best part of 18 months.  There are supplies for knitting, dressmaking, crafts and embroidery.

Honestly….it’s going to be like a satellite branch of Hobbycraft with a more than a little John Lewis thrown in!

I can’t wait.

But in the meantime the knitting is keeping me sane.

malabrigo_1I wound this beautiful Malabrigo Rios worsted a little while ago, whilst the sun was still shining, but the yarn is perfect for the chill that has settled in these parts.

malabrigo_2

I’m knitting the Worsted Boxy sweater from Joji Locatelli.

worsted-boxy

You’ll recall her lovely Lemongrass sweater…this is another beautifully written pattern.

Admittedly, there are acres of stocking stitch to work, but this is mindless TV knitting at it’s absolute finest. The Malabrigo makes a wonderfully drapey fabric that will work beautifully with this style, and there is a cute short row shaping at the shoulders that adds a nice detail.

The back is already completed and I’m almost half way up the front.  I can’t wait to have this finished.  It the kind of easy to wear, cosy sweater that I need in my life at the moment.

Whilst I was winding the Malabrigo, I also took the opportunity to wind some wool that had been a gift from my friend Christian last Christmas.

buchaille_1

These beauties are Buachaille by Kate Davies.  I’ve long admired Kate. She is inspirational in how she turned a major illness that would have floored a lesser woman into a catalyst for a new and rewarding life and business.  Her designs are so beautiful and her dedication to Scottish wool and knitterly heritage is exciting to me.

buachaille_2

That said, I’ve not knitted one of her designs yet, which is pretty shabby on my part. These guys are destined to be The Goats of Inversnaid.

goats1

Goats!  On a hat and gauntlets!  What’s not to love?  My friends have the best taste and know me so very well.

So that’s keeping me busy.  I’ve also a little Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran awaiting turning into a quick hat.  All my hats and scarves are currently still in boxes, and I think I may have mentioned that the weather has turned here.  Whilst The Goats will be lovely, they’ll take me a wee while to make and the weather waits for no woman.

The wee man has requested a blue sweater with red stripes, so a quick trip was made to Black Sheep Wools this week for supplies.  I’m not turning my nose up at the kids asking for things to be made for them.

Add in the ball of sock yarn that the Hubby located last week and I think I’m covered until the boxes start being unpacked!

My cameras are currently in the shop as I’ve been having sensor problems with one and managed to bend the prongs on the card reader with another.  But as soon as they’re back I’ve got a cardigan that I made for Miss Button to share and yet another pair of socks that I’d completely forgotten that I’d knitted for the Mr.

Right…the babes are off to bed, there’s a gin and tonic with my name on it waiting to be poured, and The Hubby has a movie all lined up.   There’s also a little more acreage of stocking stitch to be knitted. 😉


Newlook 6024 – Review

Yet more flamingos for Miss Button.

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A cute summer dress that looks like polka dots from a distance but gives you a happy surprise close up.

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It fastens with a side zip and cute halter neck.  Elastic at the top of the back keeps it snug and modest. And no pattern matching is required!

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Most importantly….it has the twirl factor!

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I was astonished to get Miss B into this dress today.  She’s been really reluctant to wear her handmade clothes recently.  However we finally got to the bottom of it this weekend (thanks Nana!).

A girl at a school party had commented that she looked “awkward” in this dress!

They’re 8 and already the mean girl stuff starts!  It’s horrifying and heartbreaking. She’s already having confidence issues, but this is the second time this particular girl has said something thats knocked her sideways.  Last time it was that Miss B is “fat”. Please feel free to insert your own expletive at this point.  I did!

Sadly the girl’s mother isn’t remotely engaged.  School keeps a tight rein on unpleasantness, but still it sneaks through.

As someone who was bullied hideously at school I’m trying to arm Miss B with the tools to fight this nonsense.  And reminding her how beautiful she is…inside and out, how individuality is to be cherished, and how the people who love her love her for the amazing person she is.  Anyone else’s idiocy doesn’t count in our family.

Flamingo_1

Thankfully, she’s got enough personality to bounce back, as these outtakes show.

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Flamingo_6

This is her “rock chick” pose and face. Often accompanied by air guitar!

These are the Miss B we know and love.

Project details

Pattern:                             Newlook 6204

Pattern cost:                     £2.98  (on half price sale)

Fabric:                               Cotton flamingo print – John Lewis

Fabric cost:                       £10/mtr – I used 1.5 mtr.


Flamingo geranium top

The majority of things I’ve made this year (and my productivity isn’t high at the moment) have been woolly socks for my lovely husband.  However I’ve also been sewing for Miss Button, but getting her to pose for pictures has been a whole other ballgame.  8 is the new 14! Small girls are so stroppy!

However, en route to a friend’s party at the weekend, she was in a good enough mood for a quick 5 minutes of photos, despite the overcast and gloomy weather.

flamingo_geranium_1

She’s mad for flamingos at the moment so I couldn’t resist this cute and colourful retro Hawaiian flamingo print.  This is yet another geranium top (my fourth time with this fabulous pattern, I think).

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Oh she looks so very, very tired.  Summer holidays can’t come quickly enough!

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I’ll be honest that I made no attempt at pattern matching.  And because of this I managed to squeeze this top out of a metre of fabric.  I had to skimp a bit on the gathering of the skirt.  We’ve reached a tipping point where I need to start buying a bit extra fabric for her. She’s growing so quickly these days.

flamingo_geranium_4

Ah….that’s my girl!

As always the Geranium was a quick and simple make that gives great results.  The simple lines really show off the fabric at it’s best.  This is a sweet pattern for little girls and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Project Summary

Pattern:              Geranium from Made By Rae

Pattern Cost:      $10

Fabric:                 Hawaiian-style flamingo print cotton

Fabric Source:   Fabrix, Lancaster

Fabric Cost:        £5.95/mtr


Burda 6985 – a very wearable muslin

I’ve made a start on the first of my planned TNT patterns, which is this BurdaStyle slim legged trouser.

6985-front-envelope

The fabric I used is a 100% polyester crepe from Abakhan.  I’m slowly edging away from polyester, but I’d booked myself onto a Sewing for Fun day at Stitchscape with Celia Banks, and new this was one of the patterns I wanted to work on.

I’d already cut them in a cotton drill but when I’d tacked them together for fitting it was really obvious there was a problem. It turns out the fabric was completely twisted on the grain. So I needed a replacement fabric.  And fast.

It had to be navy and this was it!

Whilst it was a bugger to sew, it drapes really nicely and worked well in a pinch for the sewing class.

Burda_6985_1

For the purposes of fitting, I cut without pockets or fly zip and did an invisible zip in the back seam. This isn’t my favourite style of trouser but I believe it’s a great way to simplify the pattern and work on the fit.

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Ah…the obligatory derriere shot!

This clearly shows how flat I am at the back.  I’m straight up and down with no waist or hips to speak of.  This is one of the reasons I have such issues with RTW.

But I’m really happy with the fit at the back. I’m not sure I could get it much better than that.

The front is pretty good too.

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All in all I’m quite pleased with these.

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I think with a couple of tweaks they’ll be spot on.  I definitely need to take the waist in at least 1/2″, maybe as much as 1″.

I also think that I need to drop the waistline by about 1/4 – 1/2″.

And I may scoop that front curve just a smidge too.

Finally, I’d like the leg to be slightly slimmer, as the next pair I make will be the 7/8ths length shown on the pattern and I like a more slender leg for that style of trouser.

But…these are a great pair of smart trousers and a very wearable toile!  I’d definitely wear them for formal meetings (although those are few and far between) or, more likely, with a pretty top and my wedding heels (as here) for dinner out with the husband.

Now if only he’d book the table…..


What to sew – part 3 – tops

I have finally dusted off the sewing machine and very nearly have two new garments to show you.  This one needed quite a bit of work and a stern talking to!

Burda_scarf_sweater-1_edited-1

Rest assured that scissors and expletives have been deployed and it’s looking much nicer now!

Between curses, I’ve also been narrowing down the possible patterns for tops for my proposed TNT pattern selection. As my daily uniform is jeans and a cute top, these patterns will, if I get it right, get a lot of use.

My criteria for this selection was that they’d be reasonably simple sews and would reflect the types of tops I chose in RTW.  They also need to smooth over lumps and bumps whilst I work on getting rid of them, and be modest at the school gate.  I just can’t deal with any garment in which I have to worry about flashing Father Gerry if I bend over to administer a hug or zip up a coat.

I’m fairly sure Father Gerry is grateful for this consideration.

Moving on! First up are popover shirts.  I love, love, love a good popover shirt and this is the garment I wear most at the moment.

Newlook 6267 is pretty much perfect.

6374

View A with bracelet length sleeves with a narrow cuff or elastic, and the back hem brought up to the same length as the front. In all the colours!  I have several versions of this in RTW in my wardrobe and I love. love. love them!   Honestly I could wear this and a pair of jeans all year round and be a happy girl.

Newlook 6267 is also a clone of a RTW favourite.

6267

I had a navy RTW similar to view A, but with lace inserts rather than embellishments, and I wore it to rags with jeans and clogs in the summer.

As an aside, can I just say (again!!!!) that I do wish pattern companies would sort out their styling (bright orange and washed jeans….really?!) and their construction (that hem!) on their pattern envelopes.

Moving on again…I was inspired to purchase Newlook 6217 having seen Jane’s beautiful versions.

NL_6217

I’d been contemplating adding a woven tee to the mix and couldn’t resist.  I’ll be honest that I’m not sure how this one will work for me, but I bought all of these patterns on sale so it’s not a great loss if this is a bust.  And again with the crappy styling!

With the wovens out of the way I absolutely have to have a knit t-shirt pattern.  I have two in mind.  I like to be contrary in that way!

First up is Burdastyle’s Scoop Neck Layered Shirt.

Scoop neck layered shirt

I love this layered look although again it’s a bit of a departure for me.  But I can see this working really well for cooler days when a tee on it’s own is a bit too cool, but a cardigan or jacket is too much.  And its a great way to add some pops of colour to my wardrobe without scaring the horses.

Although the horses would probably mistake that necklace for a tasty snack and not be remotely perturbed by the top.

And last, but by no means least, is Cashmerette’s new Concord tee pattern.

ConcordTShirtFrontForWeb-01_1024x1024

I’m intrigued by the multiple cup sizes, but I was most swayed by a conversation at a sewing class last week.  A friend of my sewing teacher has made it and only had to make the tiniest tweak to the side seams to get a perfect fit. She was astonished.

Also this has all the things I’m looking for in a tee pattern….scoop neck, shirttail hem, set in sleeves.  So expect to see this in all the colours too.  I think the v-necked version with a short sleeve would work perfectly with the Syrah Skirt.

And that’s a summer uniform that would get me out of jeans in a flash.