3 March 2014

Eight weeks

hello hello!

Gosh it's been an age since I've been here on my little blog. Did you miss me?

I thought it's about time I shared my most recent make:

Beatrix arrived eight weeks ago. Unfortunately things didn't go as smoothly as we'd have liked, and she spent her first 20 days in intensive care - quite possibly the worst 20 days of my life. But that already seems like a lifetime ago, and we're having a great time getting to know her, while getting used to this parenting gig.

I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to dust off my sewing machine. So many amazing patterns have been released recently - my things-I'd-like-to-sew list is already ridiculously long (and it was already pretty long to begin with!). Maybe I'll be able to squeeze in a project here or there. Perhaps.

But in the meantime, I'm enjoying reading sewing blogs (now that I finally caught up with the 500 or so posts waiting in my reader once I got back home!) and dreaming of future makes.

speak soon!

25 November 2013

FO: socks!

hello hello!

I knit socks! I am incredibly excited about this. I wish there was more (quality) daytime light so that I could take some decent photos to illustrate exactly why I completely love knitting socks (having only so far only knit one pair). But we'll just have to make do with some fuzzy photos courtesy of my camera phone and some inferior low-light shots.

May I present.... SOCKS!

I followed the instructions in the free Knitting Daily e-booklet How to Knit Socks: Free Sock Patterns and Instructions to Learn How to Knit a Sock (catchy title, no?). The pattern is called "Let's knit a sock!", and is aimed at complete sock novices. It's by Ann Budd (and is also featured in her book Getting Started Knitting Socks, which I've since bought).

It calls for worsted weight yarn, which is much easier to handle than the finer weights more often used for sock knitting. This does result in a chunkier (and cosier) sock - mine are perfect for wearing in wellies, or in walking boots. The weightier yarn is great for practising the fiddly stitches, which it turns out aren't so fiddly after all: if you can knit and purl, you can make these socks.

I chose this delicious Malabrigo Rios for my sock knitting adventure. I love this stuff: the colours are wonderful and saturated, and the skeins are so soft and smooshy (the first thing I do when I unwrap them from the parcel is press them against my face - it seems to be the right thing to do). I had to crack into the second skein to finish off the second sock.

This pattern starts at the cuff and ends at the toe. The booklet does follow this with a toe-up pattern, but if you're just starting out, the cuff-down seems more straight forward.

The sock is knit on DPNs, and makes a wonderfully portable project (these guys were knit entirely during my weekday commute on the train and tube - I did lose one DPN down the side of the seat - it's gone to the land of the lost - the whole experience was quite distressing - especially because I decided to stick my hand really deep down the side of the seat trying to rescue the lost needle, which was a pretty disgusting experience).

Here's the heel. Turning the heel is a tiny bit tricky - especially picking up the stitches and knitting the gusset, but just look at how pretty it turns out! I was utterly mesmerised by the construction - so clever, and so do-able. (And incidentally, so comfortable!)

[I've just realised this photo is upside down... oops!]

And here's what it looks like from the inside:

And finally the toe:

side view
It's finished up with the Kitchener stitch. I watched a couple of YouTube videos to learn this - it's pretty straight forward.

And before you know it, you have socks!!!


These socks are far from perfect, and there are definitely areas where my technique needs improving. But let me reassure those of you who are sort of thinking about it, but are a bit intimidated by them, that these basic socks are really not hard at all.

I'm already thinking up my next pair! (It's so cold, that all I can think about are cosy knit projects!)

AND best of all, I accomplished one of my Sewlutions for 2013! hurrah! the other (a Minoru jacket), will have to wait until next year.

So tell me, do you knit socks?

speak soon!

23 October 2013

Minerva network: Maternity Gathered Skirt

hello hello! Gosh it's been a while!

I've not been doing much sewing at all - unpacking and settling in seems to take so much longer than we'd expected. But I found some time to dust off the old sewing machine for my latest project for the Minerva Blogger Network.

I planned this make while we were still in the throws of summer and I didn't have much of a belly. But since then, summer has ripened into autumn, as my bump continues to grown and ripen at an equally astonishing rate. (where does the time go?!)

So, here's a maternity gathered skirt:

This is a very quick and easy make. I started off with the basic steps for a gathered skirt (take your pick of the many online tutorials). But instead of measuring for my waist, I measured for my hips. And instead of a waistband, I created a jersey band (much like the band on a pair of fold-over yoga pants, or as found on a lot of maternity wear).

For the band, I used a black T-shirt, which I liberated from my husband's wardrobe. I fit the band to my belly (it has enough stretch to see me through the last few months), and attached it to the gathered skirt portion with a zig-zag stitch, followed by a serger to neaten things up. See... so easy!

I hemmed the skirt with a very wide hem (6”). This is deliberate: post-baby, I plan on detaching the jersey band, and making up a proper waistband (I've saved some of the fabric for this), with a zip and button. As the maternity skirt sits on my hips, and I'd want the non-maternity version to sit at my waist, I'll probably need to take the hem down and so the extra fabric will come in handy then.

I love this make. I've been living in maternity jeans for what feels like an age, so it's great to have something else to add to the mix, and though the cotton is quite light (it's the most delicious cotton lawn), with a pair of thick tights I can easily wear it through autumn.

If you'd like to make your own version, a kit is available. The kit is for a standard (non-maternity) gathered skirt, and includes a black zip and a cute black and white button. But if you want to make a maternity version, all you need is about 25cm of black jersey (or liberate a black T-shirt from an unsuspecting husband/boyfriend).

It was great to be sewing again - I hadn't realised how much I missed it until I sat down at my machine and experienced that wonderful sense of calm, concentration and also excitement for the finished make. I can't wait to sit down at it again this weekend, and my head is full of projects - I just need to choose one!

speak soon!