Sunday, 1 December 2013

Itty bitty kitty booties

My friend's baby came early. By about 3 and a half weeks. I hadn't even started knitting the booties that I had planned, thinking I had loads of time, the baby was bound to be late, right?, seeing as it was her first... How wrong I was! So I had to rush. And I made mistakes and had to start again. And again.

The pattern is a freebie on Ravelry and lots of people have made it already. Everyone said theirs turned out way smaller than they thought - as in too small for a baby and only just big enough for dolls! So for my first attempt, a practice run, I tried bigger needles and Aran weight yarn. I only did a few rows and thought, "this looks great, I'll start the proper ones now". Or, as the case may be, I didn't think...

I used a lovely green tweedy yarn with flecks of pink. Gorgeous. And 5.5mm needles. No, I don't know why either - I'm a newbie, I wasn't thinking! I got two thirds of the way through knitting the first boot and realised it would end up being big enough for a two year old! I had to frog...

For the final attempt, I switched to 4mm needles and the result is so much better. The buttons are my favourite bit - tiny, little, pink kitty faces that perfectly match the pink flecks in the yarn. They were only 15p each from the rag market!

How cute are they? I'll definitely be making more, they're perfect for new baby gifts.

Now to get back to my cardi...

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

MIA again

This is just a very quick check in. I've not had much time to do anything much these past few weeks. But I thought I'd upload a couple of wip photos. I'm afraid I'm going to have to neglect my blog for a while longer but I am keeping a sneaky little eye on everyone else's to keep the creative juices flowing! Hope to be back soon(ish) xx

Miette cardi

Brasilia dress pattern testing

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Knitter's paradise

Simple boot toppers - chunky

As I walk through the valley of the shadow of wool
I take a look at my life and realise it's so full
Cos I been sewin' and quiltin' so long
That even my hubby thinks that my mind has gone

Baby booties for my friend's newborn

But I ain't never crossed a yarn that didn't deserve it
A newbie like me, it's all about the 'crylic
I better watch how I'm slippin' and how I'm purlin'
And get myself used to those blasted DPNs

Oats cowl for me in Merino wool

I really hate to tink but I gotta, yo
As it unravels I see myself goin' with the flow, fool
It's the kind of K all the crafters wanna do, like
With my circs in my hand try-na knit in the moonlight...

Gauge swatch for Miette cardi

Friday, 4 October 2013

The hunt for Red October... over!

Thanks to tabathatweedie, I discovered that I'd inadvertently joined in with a sewcialist sewalong!

I don't use twitter - it's as much as I can do to keep up with blogging, Ravelry, Facebook, Instagram and, well, real life let alone another social media platform! So I've been blissfully unaware of twitterings about red being a neutral colour.... And all the while, I've been making my own little neutral dress...

At our mini meetup a few weeks ago, Amy brought along her Belladone pattern for me to peek at and Helen kindly gave me some amazeballs fabric that she had spare. And although I hadn't planned it, I was so excited about the combo that I immediately set to work!

I did have a few teeny tiny problems along the way. But only because I'm stupid and got the right and wrong sides of the fabric mixed up...

Oops, wrong way round!
By this point, I'd already bound the seams so I spent ages ripping everything out and redoing. Annoy-ing.

Much better
After that though, it was pretty much plain sailing. I've never used so much bias binding in my life - 10m!! I wanted the inside to be as nice as the outside seeing as I couldn't be bothered didn't want to line it.

How cute is the back cut out detail? It really makes this dress special. But it's not indecently big or low so you can still wear a normal bra - win! What a shame it's turning colder now though, I'll be covering it up with a cardi over the winter. I can't wait to wear it by itself next summer to show the diamond off now!

There's only one thing that I'm not one hundred percent happy with - the stormtrooper shoulders make a return again...

I know I'm late on the Belladone bandwagon but this is an awesome dress! Eleonore has done it again with a fabulously easy-to-follow pattern that makes it a pleasure to sew. And the finished dress is brilliant!

Sorry about the quality of these photos - my laptop isn't working so I've had to do the whole post on my phone which makes for rubbish photo clarity.

Also, I was sorry to hear that the author of The Hunt for Red October, Tom Clancy, passed away yesterday, hence the inspiration for the title...

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

I'm back!

And so is my sewjo!

After almost three months of no sewing, I have finally made something! A dress!

It's a bit of a boring work dress but nevertheless it's a dress I've sewn so yay me....

I started  this Amazeballs Fit pattern at my sewing class ages ago:

I got to the point where I had done a tissue fit and was preparing to cut the fabric but then horror of horrors, my sewing class got cancelled! I was really upset at this but found out that my sewing teacher had an unforeseen family crisis and couldn't do the evening classes anymore. And then something similar happened to me too so I put everything to one side and forgot about it.

A week or so ago, I had a day off work and thought I'd better get my machine out in case I'd forgotten how to sew...and this dress came together very quickly indeed!

It's a grey polyester from Barry's - no lining needed. I cut a size 12 for the bodice and waist and 14 for the skirt and added pockets as normal (I'm not sure I can make any garment without adding pockets now!)

It's definitely a tad looser that I would ideally like - I forgot that the seam allowance is stupidly large, and I'm not entirely sure why I didn't cut a size 12 skirt, but at least this way, I'm not sucking myself in at work! The fabric frayed like mad so I French seamed the princess and side seams and used bias binding for the rest. It feels ok but it's not the most structured material in the world and I'm not sure I'd use it again. Next time, I'll use nicer fabric and make the whole thing a bit more fitted - it doesn't really look like the photo on the pattern envelope - or is that just the model?! But, hey ho, my dress is functional for work so I'm happy. It'll do, pig, it'll do.

I've already got my next two projects queued up although things will still be slow around here as family life still isn't back to normal. But to be honest, I'm happy just to be sewing again!

Monday, 9 September 2013

This knitting lark is pretty addictive (and there's some sewing too)

My knitting is coming on in leaps and bounds! I've finished my first ever in-the-round make! Here's the Oats cowl, pattern courtesy of Tin Can Knits.

It was my first foray into circular knitting and I must say I'm hooked! I found some Addi bamboo circular needles at Yarnsmith for a very reasonable price and got the yarn (aran weight, a mixture of acrylic and wool) from a local (very friendly) wool shop called Christine's in Bournville. It's really soft!

The cowl is for my sister as a birthday present - which isn't till December so shhh!

Oh and guess what? I had a day off today so I actually got my sewing machine out and started the beginnings of a dress! Reckon it's going to be slow going as I'll only be able to work on it in dribs and drabs but even still, I feel like I have my sewjo back...

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

I'm featured on Sew Mama Sew!

Just a very quick one to say my Cambie has been featured on Sew Mama Sew today as part of the Super Online Sewing Match inspiration series!

Needless to say I'm very excited and chuffed!

Go and have a look here

See you soon x

Sunday, 25 August 2013

AWOL and a knitted headband

Hi all, just a very quick check in. It's been a bit quiet on here recently mainly because we're going through a bit of a stressful time at the moment with a family illness so I haven't been in the mood for sewing or blogging. I'm not sure when things will settle down so I may be away from here for a while.

Although my sewing machine hasn't seen the light of day for ages, I haven't been entirely craftless as I have been knitting instead. It's relaxing and therapeutic and very portable which is great seeing as we've been up and down the country a fair bit due to the family situation.

I made a knitted headband a good few weeks ago which is atrocious quality (I misread the instructions, oops!) but it will do to keep hair out of my fringe when I'm running...

And I've made a really good start on the Wheat scarf, the first of the learn-to-knit series of patterns called The Simple Collection from Tin Can Knits. The photo below was taken about two weeks back and I've done a load more since then - I'm about three quarters of the way through in fact!

So hopefully things will be returning to normal fairly soon but in the meantime I'll be abandoning the blog for a little while. I'll still be putting wip photos on Instagram and Ravelry (miniandmerky on both) no doubt so keep in touch!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

I can knit!

I can now say I've knitted an actual, usable thing!

Yes, it took me nearly three whole months and yes it's full of mistakes but it's still wearable. I present to you (...drumroll...) my wrist warmers!

I started these back in June when I took a beginners workshop at Guthrie & Ghani and continued little by little, adding a row or two at a time. I even took it on holiday with me!

The yarn is Rico Design Fashion Garzato Super Chunky knitted on 9mm bamboo needles. The finished wrist warmers are so soft and cosy! You can see the mistakes and also where I went a bit wonky but I reckon they'll be great for autumn when I don't need full blown gloves or mittens but my hands feel a bit nippy.

I'm really pleased with them and am planning some more soon. I've started my next project (an easy knitted headband) and it's sloooooow progress but I'm carrying on as I want to get good! You can see what I'm up to on Ravelry (I'm miniandmerky). I'm also going to be following along with the learn-to-knit Tin Can Knits Simple Collection series...Wish me luck!

Friday, 9 August 2013

My first proper go at recyled refashioning!

Sorry, I seem to have forgotten about blogging recently - it's been nearly three weeks since my last post!! Where has all that time gone?! I'm not sure what I've been doing, other than eating, working a a little bit of knitting (a post to follow...). Here's one of my backlogs in the meantime.

You may remember this post from last year when I tarted up my so-called sewing area (aka the window seat in the lounge). I chopped up the floor length curtains and used the offcuts to make littler curtains to hang under the window seat, mainly to hide all our junk, although my sewing machine also resides there. I have to be oh so careful not to whack it around too much for fear of damaging it - so far I've been a very good girl!

Anyway, I had about a metre/metre and a half left over which has sat in my stash for a good six months or more so I thought I'd make a skirt out of it. I've been after a brown skirt for a while. Btw, have you noticed a brown theme to pretty much everything I make? If it's not brown itself, then it will go with something that is!

Initially I thought about making another Cambie skirt, but actually, I've been hankering after a proper pencil skirt after seeing some crackers on t'web plus Helen's amazing green one IRL. Guess which pattern I used? Gertie's? The Burda Jenny used in Sunni's sewalong?

Nope, I went back to my TNT NL6483 and just modified it a bit! (Boring, some might say...)

The length of the curtain piece was about right for what I had in mind - a longer, midi finish instead of knee length and the best part was that it was already hemmed!!

I added pockets as per all my NL6843s (using instructions from Megan Nielsen's Kelly skirt) and made the skirt a little more tapered than the pattern suggested. Unfortunately I think I must have overdone it a bit as I couldn't actually walk to start off with...! So I went back and put a slit in the back using the very traditional method(!) of opening up the centre back seam and just folding it back a touch before stitching it down. It works, so don't judge me!

My only tiny little regret is that I probably should have made it half an inch bigger round the waist. And this is after letting out the two extra little darts I've been putting into every skirt I've made from this pattern! Don't get me wrong, I haven't put on weight to thicken my waist and the fit is actually perfect but it feels a little snug, even though it isn't. Does that even make sense? Maybe it's all in my head?

Well anyway, here's to another work appropriate skirt.
'Scuse the wrinkles!!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Another floral top, madam? Yes please!

When I went to the rag market in mid May with my "ami francais" Katie, I spotted some viscose that I really liked the look of but because of time pressures, I didn't get a chance to purchase. Well, I kept thinking about it for a few days and then decided I had to go back and get some. Luckily there was some left! (In fact, there was still some left when I attended the bloggers' meetup where, funnily enough, Charlotte got some too!)

I now wished I had bought enough for a dress but at the time I only got 1m as I had a top in my head. I do need more tops though, so I suppose it's a good thing. Plus it only cost £3!

I didn't really have a proper plan for this top so I winged it and used the pattern for the Lydia pattern sans sleeves. Except I totally forgot that the pattern was meant for knit/jersey fabrics and forgot to factor that in so it's a bit more fitted at the hips than I intended! Luckily, I'll mainly be wearing it tucked in so no-one'll notice.

Oh and I may have cut the fabric upside down...Can you tell?

It'll do tho. I French seamed the entire thing and used self binding on the neck and armholes.

I made it ages ago, well before my holiday, so it's had quite a bit of wear now. It's in regular circulation for work, mainly paired with the cream Cambie skirt in the photo, but it also looks cool with a pair of shorts and flip flops on hols! 

Phew, one unblogged item down, another bajillion to go! 

Sunday, 21 July 2013

A few more Kenya safari photos for anyone that's interested

Look away now if
a) you don't like animals
b) you are expecting sewing related stuff!

Apologies for the photo-heavy post but pictures speak louder than words...

I think it's safe to say my favourites were the cats!