Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Men's shirt refashion

I claimed this shirt from Andrew when he had a clear out a while ago.  In the ongoing Stash Bust of 2014, I dug it out of my fabric trunk to practice alterations.  I didn't really have a set plan but just winged it as I went along.  This was the before picture:


...and this was the after!


I'm pretty pleased with the outcome, it's definitely wearable, especially for work under scrub tops where I want to look smart (hence the collar) but shouldn't have long sleeves (hence the sleeveless).  Especially since my new job is a small, cramped building with no air conditioning!  I removed the original sleeves and added bust darts to shapen the top half of the shirt.  I took the sides in by about 2 inches on both sides but I drew around a second well-fitting shirt for this step since apparently I have an allergy to measuring.  I followed the original bottom hemline but raised it by about 3 inches, it curves nicely up at the sides so I just followed this line.  Next time I promise to take photos as I go!


Improvements for Round Two though - the original armholes were too deep so I have to wear a vest underneath it or risk exposing my bra.  I think this should be fixable by reshaping the armhole before taking in the sides but it will take some rumination to decipher that in my head before applying it to fabric.  I also just eyeballed the bust darts, which led to one being an inch shorter and higher than the other (a problem I had with my boxy shirt made fitted but apparently I have yet to learn) so I will definitely (maybe) apply a measuring tape next time.



Overall though, a success!  I can slowly see improvements in my sewing and it's satisfying to see the pile of clothes to refashion being whittled away.  It's all about baby steps, I can feel my sewing confidence growing and I don't want to rush too fast and spoil it by biting off more than I can chew.  It's funny as well, I've never really enjoyed sewing blog posts that go into all the technical details and pictures because I can't picture what they're talking about.  Now I've started sewing (kind of) my own clothes though, I want to post all the boring technical pictures about how I made the curved bottom hem and the problem with saggy armholes. Apparently I'm a sewing nerd after all!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Stash-bustin' crochet baby blanket

I made this for the same baby who received the slightly wonky Dala horse sweater.  The plan was to use up some mohair 4ply I had in my stash in various colours to make a blanket.  Unfortunately I slightly misjudged how much yarn I had and this blanket ended up being super small.  Perfect size for a cot or buggy, but useless as a regular blanket.  Oh well, I guess she'll get a year or two of use out of it until she outgrows it!




I had a baby blanket when I was little that had a silky ribbon edge to it, I remember sucking my thumb and rubbing the silky ribbon together in my other hand.  I used to like the feel of the ribbon, so I thought I'd add a similar ribbon edging to this little blanket.  I bought some wide ribbon from Hobbycraft and hand stitched it around the edge, doubling it over to enclose the edge of the crochet, like bias binding.  I happened to have some matching thread in my stash and overall, I'm pretty pleased with my hand sewing.  Sure, it's not the most regular and I'm sure my 18th century governess would have had something to say on the subject of accomplished ladies but it does the job and it's not too shabby.  Especially given it's probably about the third time I've ever hand sewn anything more than a button.



I bought some lace-weight mohair off Ebay and ended up using it doubled up to create the white borders.  I like how it gives the blanket a more cohesive feel, less mismatched, especially given than the coloured sections don't necessarily go together all that well.



Overall though, I'm really pleased with it.  I like the colours and the ribbon border and the parents seemed very happy with it as well, so I deem that a success!  I stupidly bought about 10 more balls of white mohair yarn than necessary so despite it being a stash bust on the coloured yarn front, I've now added a load of white mohair to my stash instead.  In lace weight, which is a weight I loathe and try never to knit with.  Sigh.  When will I learn?!


Saturday, 7 June 2014

Fairisle baby jumper

Another successful baby sweater using the amazing Scrap Sweater for the Small Ones pattern by Yarn Madness.  This pattern is designed to knit a lovely, simple raglan-sleeved sweater using scrap yarn leftovers.  It's perfect for that, you can alter the design as necessary, depending on the colours and amounts of yarn you've got to work with and you can fiddle with the length of the sleeves to accomodate your stash yarn rapidly disappearing before your eyes! 


This one knit up even faster than my Dala horse sweater, mainly because I didn't have to frog the colourwork section 5 times before getting it right.  There are still a few little (or not so little!) mistakes though, which is annoying but takes me closer to the perfect sweater every time.



For example - see the top picture?  (Almost) perfect colourwork, right?  Ha.  Now look at the picture below it.  There's an obvious step where the start and ends of the round joined.  I'm not entirely sure what I did here, since it wasn't obvious to me at the time that I was making a mistake, it looked like the pattern just seamlessly continued.  One to look out for next time.


Also, see here in the yoke?  The first section is knit on straight needles, then the increases done in the round.  There's an obvious difference in tension, despite using the same width of needles both times.  Weird.
On top of that, the collar will not lie flat, despite ample blocking.  I don't know if this is the yarn, my knitting, or my blocking, but either way, it's ANNOYING!


I used a little train button from my stash to finish off the collar, which is supposed to be the front of the sweater but may have to be the back to hide the awkward stepped fairisle.  Sigh, practice makes perfect right?  And I'm sure the baby won't care! I'll definitely be making this one again, such a nice, quick, easy make and knitted up in about 3 days.  Perfect summer project!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Finally finished handknit gloves...just in time for summer

I've been working on these gloves on and off since Christmas.  I find that somehow projects for me get bumped, in favour of projects for other people.  Despite making a New Year's Resolution last year to craft more for me, I still find myself easily distracted by making gifts.  Somehow it's easier to justify time spent in front of the TV knitting when it's a present for a friend's baby, as opposed to a sweater for me.  It feels like if I'm just knitting for me, I should really be spending that time more productively by doing the washing up or cleaning the bathroom.  You know though, even as I write that, it sounds so silly.  Of course I should make time to craft for myself, no one ever looked back on their deathbed and thought, "I wish I'd done more washing up".  Whereas I might regret not knitting myself a Jenny at the Fair or a Featherweight cardi.


I finally finished these though and I am delighted with them!  It's Sirdar 5840 and I've made it so many times now I could almost do it in my sleep - Gamer Gauntlets x 5, Stripy gloves, Nautical gloves.  Sadly it's too warm now to wear them but at least I'm getting ahead on my autumn knitting!



I went with fingerless to make it easier to use my mobile and walk the dog whilst wearing gloves.  I like the little mitten bit though so I can keep my fingers warm.  Win all round, right?



I liked the stripes I've made in the past, but I fancied something a bit different for mine so I went with the dots instead.  They're all made from stash wool as well, 100% wool and the grey is left over from my sweater made from British Herdwick.  Also, check out those tidy innards!


Nice simple cream buttons from my stash, I didn't want anything too fussy since the dots are already quite busy.  Very much looking forward to wearing these this autumn!