A Dilemma

On Wednesday I had tea and cake with penelope_waits at Hausfrau (<3) and i delivered to her the two Colette patterns i had ordered for her. Eager to undertake this clothes sewing business (Es is an amazing quilter, but hasn’t made clothes from patterns before), we headed to one of her favourite fabric enablers (Patchwork in Malvern) and I was somehow talked into making my own Beignet (in the most adorable fabric ever). In retrospect this was probably not the best idea. Despite the allure of Es and I both sewing our skirts, learning and chatting and drinking tea, we overlooked the problems of sharing a sewing machine, space and a pair of scissors. Basically it meant everything took twice as long and also the sewing machine decided to act up for poor Es everytime she re-threaded her green thread! (it was fine for me, which made me feel terribly guilty!)

Aaaanyway, I managed to get all the machine sewing done on my skirt and am left with a few handsewn things to do (belt loops, belt and buttons) but have a little bit of an issue. As you can see in the link above, this skirt is designed to be a high waisted skirt with the hem above or on the knee.

As usual, despite measuring myself, choosing the appropriate size and pinning and trying on at every turn, this skirt, like SO MANY OF MY HOME SEWN THINGS!, is TOO BIG! *sigh* seriously, this always happens with my sewn things. Often I can just nip a few seams in, but that’s a bit hard when the thing is lined and faced and all those things. (at least there’s no zip!)

There are two ways i can proceed from here.

option a) I can sew the buttons on as directed which would result in a skirt that sits on the top of my hips, with the waist at my belly button like so:

option b) I can cheat the buttons across to the front side seam to create an asymmetrical fastening (probably using press studs on the other side of the front panel to keep everything flat and smooth) which means the skirt sits on my waist, with the top of the waist hitting my bottom ribs like so:

There is a possibility the fabric may say NO (as you can see it’s puckering a bit, but not sure how much of this is because of the pins) and i should/may be able to iron it into submission. I removed the ‘darts’ in the front seam cos i hate them anyway and sewed those seams flat instead, so that shouldn’t really be a problem.

thoughts? opinions? the good news is they’re buttons. If i do it one way and hate it i can try the other way. of course i don’t really want to unpick and resew 12 buttons!

apologies for crappy mirror pics… and yes this room is green. very green.

Another new toy… Trouble is looming.

So I had kinda planned to buy myself a birthday present in three weeks time (at my birthday, of course, which is on Valentine’s should anyone feel a desperate need to buy me yarn/roving lol) , but someone on ravelry was selling exactly what i was wanting second hand. So I bought it early…

On wednesday i drove to Ferntree Gully and bought a loom. A 50cm Ashford Knitters’ Loom, with stand and carry bag.

And I kinda love it. After going to the Night Market with penelope waits that night I read my instructions, grabbed the pretty yarn i’d bought on the way home from picking up the loom and warped it up…

Three hours later I had my first woven scarf. I LOVE IT! three hours! for a whole scarf! albeit a child sized scarf, which as a result i am planning on giving to my cousin for her 9th birthday.

After a wash and a hang/dry on Thurs it looked like this:

The edges aren’t fantastic, but by all accounts aren’t terrible either for a first project and will get better with practice. the actual weaving is a little uneven, but again not anything practice won’t fix.

I really love the colours too and the way the warp plays with the weft. I used Studio Mohair for the weft and Plain old cleckheaton country for the warp.  I have some pretty bamboo sock yarn to play with some bamboo wool and some noro kochoran to match with some tweed for my next couple of projects as well as some left over SAGE (omg i made so many sage coloured presents at christmas) and contrast yarns to do some colourwork!

I am currently working with an inexpensive yarn to practice some more, again letting the yarn itself work wonders 🙂

this time i am using the same mottled yarn for the warp and weft and letting the colours play with each other.

And don’t worry, my new wheel has not been forgotten!! Last week I spun Polworth – a brand new fibre for me, to celebrate my brand new wheel – into this lovely smooooooshy DK yarn. I call it Pink Elephants in Lavender Fields.

and while the scarf was drying i spun a single from some GORGEOUS camel bunny silk blend from Ixchel which i intend to ply with some similar shaded angorino. nomnomnom. should be deliciously soft laceweight/light fingering with lovely meterage when i’m done!

My New Toy!

I got home tonight after a lovely day with my friend penelope waits and an evening at the richmond knitter’s night and discovered something to make my day even MORE awesome!

and inside this ashford box were a whole pile of pieces, which, two hours and a WHOLE lotta sweat later (It’s 40+ degrees here in melbourne today) I have this!

I managed to do it all myself, with a little help from my housemate’s 5 year old daughter, but i busted the tack that goes under the tension knob whilst trying to hammer it in, so i will get a new one tomorrow. a regular thumb tack should do as long as i can get it in without bending the pin. It’s just to stop the tension knob screwing into the soft wood. Other than that i think i have done an excellent job even if i do say so myself. My screws are flush (my grandfather would be proud) my pieces are all straight and lined up.

Now to decide what to spin tomorrow night when the cool change hits! I have some fibre combinations i’ve been eyeing off for a while, but i also have some fibre from a new enabler… hmmm, decision time!

My Love affair with Mrs Beeton

I have this love affair with Mrs Beeton. Mainly because she is quick, pretty and just complicated enough to be interesting.

Mrs Beeton is the first pattern i ever looked at on Knitty.com. My friend who crochets but does not knit showed them to me with that lustful pleading manner with which non-knitters show knitters patterns in the hope they just might have them knit for them. It is a pattern that i have been thinking about doing since that day, about four years ago, but have only just gotten round to.

Having knit Ghost in Kidsilk Haze, I had a little bit of Kidsilk Haze in Trance left (the balls were longer than those of the colour i paired it with – odd) and whilst in New York, I though to myself. AHA I should finally get some yarn to do Mrs Beeton! So I picked out some beautiful Malabrigo silky merino in grey-green (It’s more of a grey blue green really). But being me and realising that Mrs Bs are a perfect project for souvenir yarn, I also picked up some Alchemy Haiku and some Road to China Light from the Fibre Company (omg one of my most favourite yarns ever now) to do a raspberry coloured pair!

So when I arrived back in Aus, I finally thread the gazillion beads and cast on for the raspberry pair. in all honesty they are not that bead intensive and the longtail cast on makes beading the edge very easy.  I had them done within two days (I used the beaded edging on both ruffles since I didn’t have bigger beads for the mohair ruffle). And when they were finished I LOVED them and wanted to wear them, but they are EXTREMELY warm and I got sweaty wrists so i will have to wait until autumn.

But, having now knit a pair i realised they would be a great christmas present for the friend who originally showed me the pattern. And since it is very easy to get two pairs from one ball of each yarn, I decided that green would suit both her and another friend in canada who has been begging for some pretty things having gotten a bow tie scarf from me last year. It was actually quite hard pairing greens, but i ended up going for a plain apple green and a lovely soft green tweed with cream and blue flecks from Jo Sharp. I decided to use blue beads to pick up the fleck in the tweed and I was really uncertain as to how it would look until i knitted them up. and they look awesome! see?

With my other pair (for me, the kidsilk haze pair) the hard part was finding beads. I didn’t want to go completely clear, but it was almost impossible to match the greyey greeny blue of both the kidsilk and the malabrigo. Eventually i decided on some almost clear seed beads with a bluish centre and clear crystal bicones. Again, I LOVE THESE! two day knit and super cute. If only i could wear them now!!

So In total I have now completed four pairs of Mrs Beeton cuffs, within two months! three since christmas. My favourite part of the pattern? this part right here, where you join the ruffles together.

I highly recommend this pattern, especially to use up 8 ply luxury yarn and laceweight mohair. I reckon it takes between 5 and 10 grams of mohair and 25g of dk. I also found i needed to use the smaller needles for the cuff rather than the larger needles, but i have small wrists. In short? Knit them. And I dare you to stop at just one pair.

Belated Christmas Wrap Up

GET IT?? huh? huh? lol.

sorry. now that the obligatory terrible christmas joke is out of the way…

I didn’t do masses of christmas presents this year due to my aunt being a bossy britches and arranging a secret santa (a concept i loathe amongst family) but i did make a few for my immediate family, my SS recipient (my adorable 17 year old cousin) and some close friends – although some presents are still being worked on *whistles innocently*

You’ve seen the sewn bags for my cousins-once-removed (or the little girls as they will be known to me until they are 50) and the cabled fingerless gloves for my dad, so that left my mum, grandfather and grandmother, as well as my SS recipient, Helen.

Mum as I mentioned is undergoing chemo, so naturally i made her a hat – a young funky adorable hat that i love but would never wear, but she can TOTALLY pull off!

how awesome do her eye look in it!! (She totally stole my top to wear on christmas day, too! AND new years! *sigh*)

Marmie, my grandmother, always tells me off if i get her anything or spend a lot of time or effort on her, so i made her something small and simple, but also lovely. It’s just a trivet, or as jo sharp describes it, a tea-pot mat, but it’s made in luxury silk cotton (debbie bliss!) that i got half price at work and it took me about 2 hours to make. (she still managed to tell me off :P) Forgive the unblocked photo! The colour isn’t quite right either, it’s a real mushroom pink/gray/brown.

Of course, marmie then proceeded to tell me it was too good to use as a trivet and put things on, so i’m sure i will see it in the middle of a table being decorative. *sigh*

Papa, my grandfather, got something quite special. when i was in scotland, i bought him a pure cashmere scarf – as you do – in gorgeous creams and light browns with a hint of sage. He plays the piano and is always commenting on my fingerless mittens so I thought I would make him his own pair to sort of match his scarf – and try out stranded knitting for the first time. I used a pattern from the new rowan magazine and added a few stitches and rows to increase the size, used the delicious debbie bliss baby cashmerino. God that stuff is a dream to work with!

I found stranded knitting quite easy  (particularly on the knit side – i would work these in the round next time) and I used the one yarn per hand technique. good thing i’ve had a go at ‘picking’ or continental style a few times!

And the major work of the season was done in a week. yep. ONE WEEK. having definitely confirmed my cousin would be there on christmas day and that my recipient wouldn’t change at the last minute like last year (grr – still managed to get a hand made present done thanks to very accommodating yarn store workers) I decided on something cute, funky and green to go with Helen’s amazing red hair. I ended up choosing the shetland shorty pattern from knitty over kim hargreaves’ buttercup for a few reasons. Firstly i thought it would be a quicker knit (time was definitely a factor), secondly i thought it was slightly ‘cooler’ rather than ‘cute’ and thirdly i was a bit sick of working with cotton, having just finished the table runner of monotony… more on that later. It also meant i could pick the green i really wanted, rather than a ‘she might like it…’ colour. Whilst knitting, the yarn looked a slightly yellower green than it did in the ball, but, well, I think it suits her..

don’t you? The yarn is Jo Sharp’s alpaca silk georgette in Woodland and was nice to knit with and I already have it on good authority that it’s nice and warm 🙂

Other presents for the season have included a pair of Mrs Beetons for my adelaide bestie (although i don’t have a photo yet!) and a skein of handspun for another good adelaide friend. Melbourne peeps have had to wait a bit – I’m working on a handspun skein for a knitterly friend and have the yarn for something special for my melbourne bestie couple. That’s been put on the back burner a bit though since i really wanted to work on something for ME after christmas. I also knitted another beret for mum, this time in cream, since she practically begged!

here it is modelled by my beautiful cousin

There was one other present this ‘silly season’ but it wasn’t for christmas… It was a wedding present which i can now announce as the Table Runner of Monogamy, which quickly became the Table Runner of Monotony since it seemed to take FOREVER! That’s not quite true. It took about three weeks of pretty solid knitting and did actually grow quite quickly, but because it was worked length ways it felt like ages. The pattern is from Jo Sharp Knit 2 (same as the trivet) and is worked in woven basket stitch. I used Sirdar Luxury cotton DK to get some nice neutral earthy tones – perfect for the couple.

It’s a neat little stitch, no?

Unfortunately being a rather formal reception (well for our generation) and having to leave the present on the ‘gift table’ I was unable to gauge the reaction to it, and due to christmas and family celebrations (the couple usually reside interstate so I’m sure are being mobbed by family at the moment) I am yet to hear how it was received! I really want to know!! I’ve just been invited to another wedding and the reaction to this might help decide the present for the next couple!

anyway. As I said, one and a half more presents and then it’s all about me for a while… at least until Feb 14th!

Happy New Year!

It seems to be a bit of a thing around the crafty blogs to celebrate the end of the year with an acknowledgement of one’s crafty achievements.
To that end, here is a mosaic!

2009: A Year in Finished Objects

1. diamond vest, 2. Cotton Shrug, 3. Folded, 4. chevron scarf, 5. jc’s socks, 6. cable cars, 7. dashing mitts, 8. sarah’s present, 9. oceanic, 10. ocean traveller socks, 11. opera scarf, 12. the embroidery, 13. shetland mitts, 14. mrs beetons, 15. rosy fire socks, 16. mum’s beret, 17. ms marigold, 18. dad’s cabled fingerless gloves, 19. table runner, 20. sage mitts, 21. helen’s shrug, 22. blue beetons, 23. xmas trivet, 24.  bags

Created with fd’s Flickr Toys

The Mosaic has 24 images, but there are at least four projects from the year that i don’t have photos of, although three of those are ‘duplicates’ – ie patterns i’ve done before – the bowtie scarf, Mrs Beetons (yep, another pair) and the summer shrug. The fourth i can think of off the top of my head was a pair of victorian plume cuffs for a swap. There is also one other sewn item – a skirt for the production i did in March. It’s in storage.

ETA: I have also forgotten my regency muffler which there IS A photo of *sigh*. There’s also my dad’s belated birthday scarf, which now that i think about it, i totally need to take a photo of while i’m in Adelaide, and also my cousin’s headband… so how many’s that? 32?

I would do a mosaic for my spinning, except that I pretty recently did a MASSIVE post with most of my spins from the year on it! I’ve spun a few more things since then, but not a massive amount. this is mostly because my wheel is at my parents’ place, roughly 750km from my place. However, I have just ordered a christmas present for myself and I should have a new wheel arriving in the next week or so!! *excited* This means I have to pack up some of my fibre to take back to Victoria with me! yay.

I’m also planning my birthday present to myself – it’s only a month and 2 weeks away! – a loom! Afterall, I totally need a new craft to learn this year!