Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sewing - Little Summer Dress

During the recent warm weather I've mostly been dressing the small human in loose light dresses & leggings. I picked up this little frock in H&M recently, and figured the construction was simple enough to imitate; raglan sleeves with an a-line body and a little bit of elastic at the neck & sleeve to gather. No buttons, no zippers.
All of the cottons I had in fabric stash seemed a little too heavy for the humid weather. I used lighter cotton fabric from an old blouse of mine (it had a hole in one sleeve and a wee tea stain in the front that wouldn't wash out) and some cord elastic I had lying about the house. I won't show off the internal seams, as I was up to my usual tricks of just lashing things together haphazardly. Must do better next time. (for the record, the dress is not as wonky as it appears in this photo. Must also play closer attention when taking photos!)

There were pleats & darts on the front of the original blouse that I kept in the fabric; it's extra room for air to circulate on warm days. Though, now that the dress is done the weather has turned cooler! I'm delighted to make something useful out of damaged clothing; I've still got some scraps of the fabric left that may become bunting or patchwork eventually. 

I haven't posted about knitting in a while; I'm working away on quite a few too many things at once, as usual. I've just picked up Rialto 4ply for my next planned project; Hansel by Gudrun Johnston.  I'll be combining existing stash with the new yarn, and joining in with This is Knit's Hap-along... once I get a couple of other ongoing projects out of the way.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Spinning experiment

In spite of my not participating in the Tour De Fleece this year, I have been overcome by an urge to spin, and attempt to make batts using hand cards. Inspired by this tutorial on knitty, I decided against actually blending the colours together. I want a yarn that was grey with splashes of colour.  I'm using some grey Gotland with brightly dyed merino in reds, pinks & purples. 

 After spinning up a small portion of fibre, I have decided that the colours need to be blended just a little more. I haven't used a spindle in quite a while & had forgotten just how tightly spun my spindle yarns are.
 I want the finished item (whatever it will be) to have some subtle striping in it; I have bundled the fibre into various colour distributions - dominant pinks, or dominant reds, or dominant purples. The next step is a lot of carding, and I will probably spin on the wheel instead of spindle. Fun times!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Finished project ; Reversible Hooded Play Cape

My niece has just turned four.  Her most favourite thing at the moment is to 'be' Elsa from Frozen. So I thought she might appreciate an Elsa-coloured cape to swirl and flounce in. 
I used the Reversible Hooded Play Cape from Growing up; Sew Liberated by Meg McElwee.

I thought long & hard, & dragged out most of the fabric stash before settling on a red corduroy bought years ago combined with an aqua blue satin-ish fabric from Murphy Sheehy's, convinced that shiny fabric would be more 'princessy' in the mind of a 4 year old. 

I am a very inexperienced sewer; I have never actually used a commercial pattern before, but I found both the pattern and written instructions clear & thorough.

 I did learn a valuable lesson about fabric choices in this project. That shiny blue fabric slipped & moved like crazy during every stage of the project; the red corduroy also slipped in an entirely different direction. I've never been hugely accurate at cutting and sewing fabric, and as a result I ended up trimming off quite a bit of fabric from the edges.
Luckily, the fit of the project is not critical and I ended with a wearable cape. Though the only available model was far from impressed with being asked to sit or stand still....

For the record, I did try it on, and I am tempted to sew an adult sized version. I look forward to making dressing up clothes for my own little one when she is a little older. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Finished knit - Pippi Longstocking

''She was the strangest girl that Tommy and Annika had ever seen. It was Pippi Longstocking, going out for her morning walk. 
This is what she looked like: 
Her hair was the colour of a carrot and it was plaited in two tight plaits that stuck straight out. Her nose was the shape of a very small potato, and it was completely covered with freckles...
Her dress was quite odd. Pippi had made it herself. It was supposed to have been blue, but there hadn't been enough blue material, so Pippi had decided to sew on little red patches here and there. ''

The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking, by Astrid Lindgrin.

My lovely little niece has has just turned one. To celebrate the occasion, I wanted to give her a classic book with appropriate toy*.  In spite of never actually reading the book, I have always had a soft spot for Pippi Longstocking. She's independent, generous, and the strongest girl in the world - what's not to love?! Plus the red hair is just a bonus.
Pattern; Poppy by Ysolda TeagueYarn; Patons UK fab DK for the body; Sirdar Snuggly DK for the hair & dress; DK weight scraps for patches on dress, and sock leftovers for stockings & boots.

Unlike many toy patterns, this doll is knitted in the round, in one piece, with stitches for arms held on spare yarn, much like say a top down raglan jumper. Brilliant for someone who doesn't enjoy seaming about a million little pieces of knitting!

My only deviations from the pattern were for the surface details;
I stitched & knotted individual strands for the hair **to allow plaiting, and added a few freckles across the face. I also added a couple of duplicate stitch patches, and knit separate long stockings with boots (I had knit stockings as part of the legs but they were much too short).

As often happens after I finish a toy, I want to make another; with added clothes, and accessories like Mr Nilsson. And I really want to get another copy of the book just so I can read it myself to my own Small Human.

*My Small Human received two knitted bunny toys and The Velveteen Rabbit for her first birthday from her auntie; I admit to stealing the book + matching toy idea. 

**Massive thanks to Sue for providing the perfect orange yarn from stash for that!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Not knitting

 I've been working away on a couple of projects over the last month or so with specific deadlines, and the last week or so has been spent sewing, grafting, weaving in ends. All the fiddly little things that are necessary to finish a knit properly. 

The final project looks much neater thanks to a photo tutorial recently posted on Ysolda's blog; Technique Thursday -weaving in ends.  It's one of those simple-but-brilliant tips that I didn't realise I needed to know, but has improved the look of my finished items since. I do love learning!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

On working with children...

They say you should never work with children or animals... 
Now that my small human is starting to move about more I can definitely relate to that saying. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Cherry Blossom Bonnet - new pattern

Just a few short weeks ago, the trees were full of spring blossoms. 

To my mind, the appearance of cherry blossoms, and the pink petals raining down in a gust of wind is confirmation of spring; of warmer weather; of birthday parties (I was an April baby) and Easter egg indulgence; of wandering in the long grass and building dens in the nearby fields; of freckles on your nose & forehead; of climbing trees and peering out from the leafy canopies.

Inspired by these pink masses of petals, I have released the Cherry Blossom Bonnet pattern.  This bonnet is intended to keep your little one warm during the winter months, while reminding you that spring will come!
The bonnet uses two skeins of Jamieson & Smith 2 ply jumper weight, one each in shades FC50 and 43. It is knit in the round, with a steek; the top is grafted together; the steek is cut and then the bonnet is finished with an edging of garter stitch and i-cord. It is available in two sizes (up to 12 months and up to 24 months). However, its shape will fit a range of head sizes as the little one grows.
The pattern is available on Ravelry, or as a download.