Silvery Sweater, Chicken Doorstops and more

It’s been a while.

And I have to say, I’ve missed writing about my craft adventures such as they are. But thankfully the knitting has not stopped and I have still been ploughing away on my latest project – the Silvery Sweater. 

 

 

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This is a shot of the sleeve. The back and front are already complete and half the other sleeve. A fairly simple pattern that looks incredibly complicated. I retrieved it from a long forgotten Knitting Magazine given to me by a very generous crafter after her clear out. And how grateful I am for that clear out!

I was initially slightly skeptical about using Sirdar Softspun Chunky. I wanted to use something expensive and natural like a wool or silk from Rowan. But not wanting to deviate from the pattern and finding this yarn was discontinued – therefore cheaper – I plunged in with both needles and got cracking. And what a lovely thing it will be once it’s finished. Something snuggly and gorgeous for my Autumn/Winter wardrobe.

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In between my last post and this I have also had my birthday and a house full of screaming 4 year olds. While the screaming 4 year olds have been interesting and noisy companions, my birthday gift of some sleek-looking Knitpro Single Point knitting needles has been a high light. Unfortunately not to be used on my Silvery Sweater due to missing size 6.5mm needles, but I’m knitting quickly so I can move onto my next project and use them.

Speaking of which – it’s been quite knitty around here recently so, not forgetting that I love to sew as well, i’ve agreed to give some chicken doorstops a go for our Women’s Institute stall at the local village fair. Fabric is chosen, stuffing is on it’s way, I just need to actually get cutting and stitching. They should look something like this (but in different fabric):

Funky Chicken Doorstop

 

I’ve also been to our most wonderful knitting wool shop local here to my town. Bought myself a set of double pointed knitting needles, some sock yarn, a crochet hook and some cotton yarn. So look out for socks and crocheted Granny Squares in the next few weeks while I teach myself to crochet and manage 4 needles at once! That’s if they’re not gobbled up but copious amounts of funky chicken doorstops.

So, i’m off to get on with my Silvery Sweater and hope you join me again soon for an update on the chicken doorstops and more.

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Fruit Picking and Homemade Crumble Saturday

I thought I’d diverge slightly from the knitting/sewing and share my most recent craft which has been a pleasure in garden harvesting and baking.

Having only been in our house since February we haven’t spent a whole year here experiencing what our garden has to offer on a seasonal basis. Then summer arrived (so did the weeds) and the bottom area of our garden burst into life. So with raspberries, gooseberries, what we think are plums and more blackberries than i’ve ever seen we’re ready to make some seriously sugary baked goods. Not to mention that wonderful codling apple tree producing some seriously big apples.

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With Jennifer helping me and some gnats feeling annoyed enough to bite me, we picked enough to make something yummy and to give away some to our neighbours. This was the end result – blackberry and apple cumble:

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Very nice even if I do say so myself. I can heartily recommend some fruit picking this summer wherever you can get to do it. Watch out for bugs though if, like me, you’re not into little things that bite and crawl. I did feel terribly holy and wholesome though cooking up this delight and there’s enough in the fridge to feed us for a fortnight!

So in the meantime, besides the baking frenzy, the knitting is continuing with another pattern from a donated magazine that I’m hoping won’t take me until Christmas to finish.

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It’s going to look great I know but I don’t know if any of you find the same thing happening, but knitting on large plastic 6.5mm needles is slow going?! I’m eyeing up some KnitPro Symphonie Wood needles but unsure whether to go with the interchangeable set or the single pointers….decisions, decisions…hmmmm. All recommendations welcome!

Well, I’m off to eat (even) more crumble. Happy crafting in the meantime xx

 

Vintage Knitting Pattern from the Furthest Reaches of the Universe…

Really I should be doing my chores but frankly, I’d rather be talking to you all instead!

I came across this vintage knitting pattern in a great stash of patterns showcased by a friend. The lady in question was staging a massive give-away to create some space and I found this and fell in retro love with it…

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Yes that is William Shatner as Captain James T Kirk of the starship Enterprise on the front of a knitting pattern. His crew all looking rather serious and yet confident in their conversation. If you look carefully you can see the copyright stamp from 1987 in the bottom left corner – great!!

And look at what wonders you can create from this pattern (adult sizes available too):

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To say my husband would be thrilled to be opening his present on Christmas morning only to find a bright yellow knitted jumper with none other than Mr. Spock’s face all over it, would be an understatement! I have many Trekky friends who would also appreciate the effort. I also saved a Tweety Pie and Sylvester knitting pattern in the same style but I’ll keep that filed for now.

I actually took this pattern because I wanted to practise Intarsia knitting. The thought of sitting every evening growing Mr. Spock’s face on a jumper from my knitting needles is too sublime not to push on with. It reminded me of childhood times sitting with my brother watching the original Star Trek on our tiny portable TV with a bent out of shape ariel. Either way, I love it and I think for now I’ll keep it for preservation. A reminder of a bygone era where knitted jumpers like this as a Christmas present was quite acceptable.

Hat chat!

Since my last post i’ve been going a little hat knitting crazy. The warm weather has not deterred me in the slightest and hats have been coming thick and fast!

Given some chunky wool by my WI Craft Group comrade I have knitted it up into a rather fetching bobble hat which I created from a pattern that needed some tweaking.

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So after feeling buoyed up by the success and speed of the hat and especially the pom pom making, I have raided my infamous stash and have been happily whiling away the evenings speed knitting this new addition:

20140806_135519Due to the nature of the pattern it does look like it would fit an alien. An alien with a rather elongated forehead and large brain. But really when you get it on it flops over to the back and looks very cool. Bearing in mind that now I have two kiddiwinks, ‘cool’ isn’t a word usually used in the same sentence as my name. And even ‘cool’ itself is probably a little 90s. Nevertheless, I will be trending it in this hat come winter if it doesn’t show any interest at the WI’s craft stall come September’s fair. This is how it actually looks (the model sporting ‘cool’ better than I):

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Even the hubby seems to be feeling a little jealous of my recent hat knitting craze and is urging me to put one onto the needles for him. I just have to find the right shade of pink for him yet!

I found the pattern while browsing some knitting magazines given to me. I never realised what a fountain of knitting pleasure these magazines now provide. So I have quickly gone onto the web and bought myself some more yarn for the next project – a lace effect knitted jumper in silver. In the meantime my obsessive knitting continues with the same pattern in some lovely baby blue Sirdar Kisses yarn. Another throw back from my stash.

Knitting and summer holidays are not traditionally linked but having my eldest at home with me and Emily (now sporting FOUR teeth at the grand old age of 16 months!) it’s my relaxation and sanctuary in the evenings.

And in other sanctuaries, there will be some grand ideas coming along in some different styles of bunting coming later this week. Pom-Pom Bunting! Got to be some good fun.

 

And now I’m back….from Outta Space…

After what feels like a rather long radio silence I am finally back from outta space. Well, actually Tenerife but it feels like an unearthly experience has taken place. Ten days of sun, sea, sitting by the swimming pool, watching the hubby and the kids in the pool. Blissful but no knitting or crafting unfortunately. Just alot of reading and crosswords. But not totally unfruitful for in my readings of Psychologies magazine I came across a poignant article – choosing beautiful house furnishings fosters greater happiness. Functional yet at the same time beautiful, and all I could think about was flooding my new house with homemade beauties (all in good time!). Here it is for a quick read. And I see it is true in other blogs I read…their beautiful crafts are functional and exude happiness. Inspiration is afoot!

Speaking of which, something I started a while ago is coming together. After getting fed up with the same baby cardigan patterns and having the knitting urge I found some grand looking grey and red chunky yarn in my stash. From balls of yarn to a cushion cover.

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All I need to do now is visit my local wool shop (yes I live in Greater London and yes, I am very lucky to have a wonderful wool/haberdashers in my town independently owned) and grab some ridiculously large wooden buttons for the flap and we’re done. A project finished (well almost apart from the stitching up of course) and on to the next!

Always impatient to be getting on with my next project I have started knitting a hat from some rather lovely looking chunky yarn. Given to me by a friend from my Women’s Institute Craft Group (wonderfully talented ladies by the way) for the purpose of knitting hats for the Autumn craft stall at the annual fayre.

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Just a quick note on the WI…don’t be scared, they’re a nice bunch. I belong to a brilliant group made up of the most diverse, interesting and creative women I’ve met. So no jam and jerusalem for us! But there is some baking, camping adventures a lot of interesting chatting, crafting, reading and even some vino. The wealth of knitting experience from the craft group alone blows me away and is a gold mine so I heartily recommend anyone looking for something new or to meet like-minded people, check out your local WI.

In the meantime I knit, drink tea and herd my brood of kiddies like cats over the coming summer holidays. Maybe even knit myself some of these: IMG-20140710-WA0000

Until next time….

 

 

Project #1 – The sewing process

So after a few more interruptions i’ve starting putting together my Summer Dress for Emily.

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Heaving out the sewing machine again after a few weeks of rest has been cathartic. Not just for me but for the poor old machine. Discoloured on one side and without a proper zigzag function it’s stilling hanging in there!

Putting together the top of the dress was lovely working cotton lawn. The crisp finish is always a pleasure to look at:

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And now to put my guess work, mathematics and cutting to the test to see if the skirt fits!

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Hazaar! It is coming together. Despite a few pin pricks and less than socially polite words while gathering the broderie anglais, the dress from my imagination is becoming reality. More skirts and more gathering to follow soon, but you get the idea.

It’s amazing what two hours can do to re-ignite the sewing flame in me! Such a buzz putting this little thing together. Now all I need is another 2 hours to finish it off. It’s inspired me to get more fabric out from the depths of my vault and sit with it a little while and imagine what it could be.

Recently I’ve been feeling a lot of inspiration for knitted jumpers. Not that I feel right to be knitting in the summer (ooooo no) but the magazine Knitting just makes me want to get out the needles. Long cosy sloppy jumpers in Rowan organic cotton and wool? Yes please! Keep an eye out……..

Project #1 – Summer dress for Emily

 

So the first project is underway. Despite numerous interruptions, which is the nature of two small kiddies, it is coming along very well. 

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I’ve used an amalgamation of a Butterick pattern for the top plus a bit of ingenuity for the skirt to create the look I wanted. 

My 15 month old is on the large side for her age so I’m going to have to pin her down and measure her as best I can in between crawling away and smearing jam on the curtains! I haven’t used Butterick as a children’s pattern before so it will be good to find out if they come up larger or just right. 

I’m using a couple of fat quarters of lovely blue and white cotton lawn for the top of the dress and Broderie Anglais for the frilly skirt. I’m going to line the whole dress with some fine white cotton. It gives a far neater edging to the neckline and sleeves and I can attach the gathered skirt to it. I also have some white cotton lace trim knocking around which I may pop on the bottom or round the waist for detailing.

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The cutting process is complete which has included:

  • In the blue and white lawn fat quarter I have cut the Butterick pattern’s 2 top pieces (front and back) from a similar style dress for the top.
  • Several rectangular lengths from the Broderie Anglais with the aim of sewing each one together and gathering them to attach in stages below the top. Sounds simple but I had to be careful working out the maths – don’t forget seam allowances….don’t forget seam allowances!
  • Cut the top and skirt pattern from Butterick for the lining.

With the weather being so warm and humid recently this is the perfect dress for my little one who is bucking the walking trend at the moment. Why walk when you can scream and Big Sister, Mummy or just anyone near will bring it to you? Wish I’d thought of that! So she can be cool and move easily with the sleeveless top while the skirt won’t hinder her crawling. I’ll also use a zip up the back instead of buttons which is easier to insert and no chasing her round the living room trying to do up fiddly buttons. 

Updates coming soon once I’ve cracked open the sewing machine and overlocker!