Saturday, 22 August 2015

A year's worth of makes

Well, since my last post just over a year ago, I've made a bit of stuff. Mainly a baby. Who's not a baby anymore! She's just turned one and is a little rascal...

On her first birthday last week

Here's a photo roundup of things I've made. As you'll see, most of it is knitting as it's been so much easier to knit than sew while looking after a littl'un.

Two cardis for Aali

Eyelet yoke jumper

Salam cardi and Hetty cardi

Laylow shawl

Quilt for Aali's first birthday

And a sneaky peek of the first dress I've sewn in almost two years! I'm very pleased with this dress but need a nice sunny day to get some proper photos (except that I live in England so that won't be for at least another year now...)

I'm hoping to get my sewing machine out more often now and sew a few more dresses for myself. I have a long wish list!

Monday, 4 August 2014

What do you call half an Outfit-Along?

Seriously. I don't know!

I really wanted to take part in the recent OAL hosted by Lauren of lladybird and Andi Satterlund of untangling knots. But did I really want to make a dress/skirt/top that would fit me for all of half an hour before little baby moo puts in an appearance? Waste all that lovely fabric? I think not!

So instead I just did the knitting part. Except I still didn't finish that on time for the deadline, ha ha!

I made the official OAL pattern, Andi's Myrna cardi, which I had been stalking a bit anyway. So when she did an offer for 20% off at the start of the OAL I just couldn't resist. It's so damn cute!

I used cascade 220 superwash yarn which was fab to work with, really soft and squishy and the resulting fabric is lovely to wear too.

It took me 13 days to knit in total, working on it every day. Well, I am a "lady of leisure" at the moment while I'm on leave waiting for the baby to arrive (hurry up now please!). If I'd still been at work I think it would have taken me at least double that...

I made couple of changes, the main being lengthening the cardi as I don't think anything cropped that finishes just below my current ample bosoms would be that flattering! I also did all the ribbing in a contrast colour - but that was because I ran out of the brown wool. Actually I'm rather pleased with the two colour variation, I wasn't sure it would work but it looks fine.

The best bit (I think) is the keyhole at the back of the cardi - which I also edged in the peach colour to give it that extra little pop.

I still haven't put any buttons on (I don't have enough that match) but at the moment I won't be buttoning it up anyway - it won't do up over the bump! But I do know that the fit should be perfect after I get back to my pre-preggers state. Ravelry notes here, including details of my cock-up.

I don't suppose a shop-bought dress that matches is allowed...?

So yeah, that's it. Thanks to both Lauren and Andi - I hear there will be a knit-along this autumn and then anther OAL is planned for next summer - I am so there!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Owls knitalong: time to come clean...

Well there certainly ain't been much sewing going on around here for a while.....

My last actual FO was waaaaay back in October last year when I made the Belladone dress. Since then I've done quite a bit of knitting but not much else. Why?

Well here's why:

Yep, I'm only bleedin preggers inn-eye? (as they'd say on eastenders) Do you remember ages ago I said I hadn't been feeling well? That was because I was in the midst of being constantly nauseated, feeling very faint and just absolutely knackered. Oh the joys of pregnancy! At that point in time, it was all I could do to drag myself to work, try (and mainly fail) at doing my ward rounds and then come home and cry on the sofa. Not the best way to feel about something you wanted for ages, eh?

When I did start feeling better (about 4 months in) I was still fitting into most of my pre-pregnancy clothes. And so by the time they didn't fit (actually only a month ago; I'm now over 7 months) I thought there wasn't much point in making maternity clothes for the last few weeks.

So instead I've been knitting. And I finally have the owls jumper to show for it, as part of the KAL run by me Kat. I am SO proud of this! I chose rust coloured wool (after hankering after this colour for ages) - it's Cascade Eco + in cinnamon if anyone is interested, which is billed as a bulky yarn but actually I think it's more a thick worsted/Aran weight, and the pattern is the famous owls by Kate Davies. I had to do some maths to work out what size to knit because of the difference in yarn weight from what was recommended in the pattern.

It was relatively easy to knit, and I learned a couple of new techniques too, namely cabling and short rows/wrap and turn. YouTube is fab for tutorials isn't it?!

The only changes I made was to make it a tad longer so I could wear it with jeans in the winter and to not bother sewing on 38 button for all the owl eyes. Instead I just put on 2 pairs. Oh and I steam blocked it rather than wet blocking (because I'm lazy as...)

The fit is perfect, it goes over my bump right now (I'm expecting the bump to get bigger in the next 8 weeks) but I hope that it will fit post pregnancy as well (and I can always try and shrink it a bit if it's too big right?!) I wore it yesterday for a little while in the boiling sunshine because I finished it and damn it I was wearing it no matter what the weather was like! But I quickly melted in this unusual English sunshine and had to revert to a t-shirt...

I've already seen that two of the other ladies in the KAL group (Charlotte and Sue) have finished their owls - check them out, they're fab! I'm really looking forward to seeing Kat and Alexa's finished articles too. I've really enjoyed knitting this (it took me 3 months, taking into account about 3 or 4 weeks where I couldn't get anything done due to moving house) and I've especially enjoyed sharing the process with my fellow KALers. I am so up for more KALs if anyone wants!!

It will probably go very quiet round these parts for the next few months while I waddle through the last 8 weeks of pregnancy and then try and come to terms with being a mummy. My next two projects are a knitted baby blanket and a patchwork quilt for the little one, but once things have settled down a bit and I'm back to my usual size (daddy is going to have to be on duty so I can take up running again...) I have plans to sew lots of dresses and use up some of that lovely fabric that has been sitting in my stash unloved for far too long!

So I'll say cheerio for now - and see you on the other side - eek!!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Owls knitalong: knitting in the round with DPNs

So I've finished the body section of the owls jumper and am just starting the sleeves using double pointed needles.

Front and back divided

When I first heard of DPNs I was quite scared of them. But after knitting my Miette cardi sleeves on them,  the fear factor was removed so I'm not sure I'll bother to learn the newer alternative Magic Loop method. Anyway, just wanted to share my experience and a great resource for those of you who are thinking of taking the plunge...

When I did my Miette sleeves, I was working top down and just had to transfer the top part of the sleeves from a circular needle to DPNs which was very straightforward. This time, however, the owls is worked bottom up and the sleeves are knitted separately and then joined and grafted onto the body. So there was a lot of head scratching (and maybe a bit of swearing...) when I tried to work out how on earth to cast on to DPNs. Luckily YouTube came to the rescue and I remembered this video from Gail that is excellent:

Transferring the cast on stitches between DPNs

Basically I followed her advice and cast all the stitches onto one DPN then just slipped them onto the other needles to distribute evenly. I feel a little bit cackhanded knitting with three needles rather than one circular but it really is quite simple when you get going.

Here is also another video that shows just the casting on method in a little bit more detail:

The start of my sleeves

Seriously, though, Gail's video is everything you ever need to know about knitting on DPNs, I'm not even going to try and show you myself as there is no point when a master can show you so clearly...

What it looks like side on

Go and watch it then you're ready to conquer the world of DPNs!

Oh yes, just one more little thing -  I was gobsmacked to discover that I now have 100 followers on Bloglovin' - so I'll leave you with this:

and this:

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Owls knitalong - knitting in the round with circular needles

Hello all! I'm so excited to say that the owls jumper KAL is underway! It's being led by Kat and myself and we have four other lovely ladies joining us. If you are not in the least interested in knitting then switch off now!

The pattern is owls by Kate Davies:

Beautiful isn't she?

I have to confess I'm a bit late with this post - I'm already a little bit behind everyone else as  I had to wait for my yarn to arrive so I'm not sure my contribution is even needed! But I thought some links would be useful.

I spent a large part of Sunday gone making gauge/tension swatches and trying to work out what size jumper to knit. The recommended gauge is 13 st x 20 rows over a 4" square. Now the recommended yarn is a bulky one and I've gone for Cascade Eco+ which claims it's bulky but actually I think it's more a heavy worsted/Aran (ie thinner). My gauge using 6mm needles was 15.5 st over 4" (working out to 3.875 st per inch). If I had got the correct gauge, I would have knitted the size 2 jumper as written in the pattern, but alas it always seems more complicated than that! Using Gail's amazing Miette KAL posts I did some maths to work out how many stitches my gauge would give me for my desired bust measurement and compared it to the owls pattern. To do this I took my desired bust size (32" when taking into account the 1-2" negative ease) and multiplied that by the number of st per inch that I got from my gauge. I came up with 124 which is only 2 st away from the 126 st mentioned for the size 4 jumper. Therefore if I knit the size 4, it should give me a finished result of a size 2 jumper....

The colour is cinnamon, a lovely rust
colour in real life, not as bright orange
as it appears here

Everyone with me so far? Let's just hope I've worked it out correctly!

Anyway, back to my take on knitting in the round. It's actually very simple once you get the hang of it. I've used the long tail cast on method, just because I find it neater than the knitted on method. Here's a link to how to do it:

Once you have cast on, make sure all the stitches are even distributed around the needle and not twisted. The loops should be on the outside edge of the needle and the cast on edge should be in the middle, like you see in my photo:

Sorry, it's a little more blurred than I thought...

One thing to mention is that circular needles come in a whole variety of lengths (as well as the standard needle sizes) and ideally you need to pick one that is shorter than the circumference you want to end up with. This is because otherwise the stitches won't be evenly distributed along the needle and the whole thing will end up stretching and becoming misshapen.

To join in the round, you pick up your needles so that the needle with the tails of the yarn is in your right hand, put a place marker at the end of the needle then pick up and knit the first stitch on the left hand needle. For the first couple of stitches I used both tails of the yarn to knit with and then dropped one to carry on knitting with the working yarn (which is the yarn attached to the ball). I knit in the English method but if you work continental, you may use the opposite hands for all of this!

I've added links to a couple of videos which should show things more clearly than my garbled explanation and also some still photos if you prefer that to videos.

Once you've joined the two ends, it's as simple as knitting round and round and round and round.... you get the picture! If you want to do stocking stitch, you just knit all the time, there's no purling at all which makes it so much easier. Every time you come to your place marker (PM), you can think of that as the end/beginning of a row (although in reality, you are knitting a spiral and instead of calling it a "row", you call it a "round"). The best bit about it is that you end up with a seamless tube that you don't have to sew/seam together. Simples!

So, that's my mini guide to knitting on circular needles - written as a relative beginner so forgive any glaring mistakes please!

Right, let's get knitting!