Kaffe Fasset’s Floral Jacket

Posted in Knitting

Baa, the intarsia sweater is on hold because the purple yarn ran out with just a few rows to go and it’s been discontinued and every ball vanquished from the entire internet in the two weeks since I bought it which is silly.

So this is the temporary replacement project. It probably wouldn’t have been possible to get any further down the colourwork obsession road without tackling one of Kaffe Fassett’s awesome patterns. Have been madly in love with this floral jacket pattern for a while and finally cast on yesterday.

Some rows in the jacket have three colours in them which is stressful, but looks fine so far. Also produced 13 pages of notes about project management from the pile of books from the library yesterday, but that project is far less photogenic!

The Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace

Posted in Exhibitions, Knitting, London

Missed the show last year so made a big effort to get there this year. The highlights included this tent decorated with unfinished projects (and the stories inside), Rowan‘s cute dinosaur panorama, as well as a stunning embroidered car door from the imaginative Mr X Stitch.

Have to confess to not buying much. A lovely skein of hand-dyed yarn and some cheap DK acrylic James C Brett Twinkle sparkly stuff in midnight blue and a second-hand book of collected articles about colourwork was pretty much my entire haul. Was a bit hampered by making some strict rules with myself about no new hobbies and no fabric. Still none the wiser about why people buy giant cardboard giraffes and cover them with wrapping paper.


Doctor Who Lampshade

Posted in Interiors

Oh giddy squee, this fabric is so cute. A while back, Jennie linked to this Spoonflower TARDIS fabric and that resolved the ongoing hunt for some fabric for hubbie’s lampshade.

Wasn’t able to centre the print as well as I would have liked because I was making do with the size of the fabric I had.

Obviously now I’ve broken my no international shipping rule, willpower is feeling a little low. Trying not to think about this making a nice skirt.

Messmaking and Worm Wrestling

Posted in Knitting

Currently obsessing about intarsia, knitting with little blocks of different colours to make pictures. It’s the most fun although I’m sure everyone else has nice neat strands waiting to be sewn in, rather than a spaghetti monster like this which has been carefully and deliberately nurtured on the back of my work.

The pattern is from a book called Susan Duckworth’s knitting. Looks so nice in the pattern, hopefully the mess can be tidied into something wearable. Sewing in the ends so they close the holes and don’t show on the front is a separate skill to master.

Making three modifications – omitting the pocket because it will be bulky, omitting the 3 flowers on the back because it feels more modern to just have motifs on the front but not all over. The other modification is that the black main body of the jumper around the flowers is supposed to be basketweave stitch but I’m working it in stockingette stitch because it’s hard enough learning the intarsia without complicating things further.

After spending lots of time reading up about the technique online and taking the intarsia class earlier in the year, it seemed that not using bobbins is the sensible way to go. Small lengths of yarn can just be pulled loose from the spaghetti and I haven’t had to spend much time at all sorting the yarns out, it is organised chaos despite appearances.

Not sure why there’s worms in colours I’m not even using in the mix. Ah well, all fun. And time to make lots of sweaters by adapting mad 80s children’s patterns for adult sizes. Am thinking a Thunderbird 2 sweater would be quite cool, and perhaps the USS Enterprise.

Overlocking Class at The Make Lounge

Posted in Sewing

It seems to be accepted wisdom that making clothes from stretch fabrics is impossible and that overlockers are the evil mechanical octopuses of the sewing world.

Black jersey is the greatest thing to happen to fashion. It’s so easy and comfortable. Even when it goes grey I think it looks kinda cool and a bit rock. Reading Stretch-U, the best book about sewing stretch fabric I can find indicated that overlockers were the best way to sew stretch fabric so time to learn overlocking.

So last month I booked an evening of overlocker wrestling at The Make Lounge and overlocking turns out to be far less scary than it looks.

Although we were sewing with pretty printed cottons it was easy to see how useful the overlocker would be for sewing stretch fabrics. Having talked myself into wanting one, I’m now trying to talk myself out of it having discovered that they’re really expensive. *twitchy coveting*

Before & After: Storing Fabric

Posted in Decluttering

More tidying, this time organising little bits of fabric by folding them into small even fabric squares and arranging them like those irresistibly tempting little fat quarters of fabric they sell at craft shows. Which is how most of us got into this mess in the first place.

Folding the fabric like this means that it’s easy to see what’s in the box and also possible to remove one piece of fabric without disturbing everything else.

Before & After: Tidy Knitting Needles

Posted in Decluttering

Over the last few weeks I’ve been focused on tidying my stuff rather than making more. I’d come out of the closet and admit to being a very messy hoarder, but would never get in the cupboard in the first place because there’s so much stuff shoved in there. Half my drawers, boxes and cupboards don’t close and the ones that do won’t open.

This before and after photo shows the result of yesterday’s tidying. The tangle of knitting needles that has been a total pain for years is now a nicely ordered drawer with lots of little plastic wallets (from WH Smith) all neatly labled with sizes. There are two wallets for each size, one containing circulars and the other for DPNs.

The wallets are a little too deep for the orignial drawer so are now in a lower, deeper one which had to be cleared of crayons I’ve been hoarding since primary school in the 80s.

I’ve also recently conducted a full clothes hanger audit and learned to fold my clothes sensibly to make more space in the drawers. Watching youtube videos about folding pants can truly change lives. Plus I’ve been through all the accessories I’ve knitted and worked out which ones I wear, made a big pile to rehome (did this on the heatwave weekend – not ideal for rehoming knitwear!) and am now planning to make more of the ones I love in all my favourite colours.

Hoarding and crafting are a troublesome pairing. There are so many little cute things to pick up – one little packet of beads or a fat quarter of a pretty fabric doesn’t seem like much but they mount up and pile up. Anyway am hoping if I take action now to get organised, the future won’t involve being burried alive in rubbish.

Knitting during the games

Posted in Knitting

Well it just about got finished in time for the closing ceremony, but only just. None of the other grand plans to make things were anything but dreams in the busy rushing about during the second week of the games. All good fun though, and this shawl is lovely, if a little too lime green.

The Ravellenic Games

Posted in Knitting, London

Hurrah hurrah the London 2012 Games are in full swing and London is a very exciting place to be right now. Have already visited a London live site and seen the torch relay finale concert, chased around the city looking for the life-size (!) Wenlock and Mandeville statues, eaten Swiss chocolate at the House of Switzerland, seen the giant crochet lions at the Natural History Museum, and thoroughly enjoyed watching the opening ceremony on telly last night.

And now onto the important bit, what I’m knitting during the games. The Ravellenic Games are the Ravelry knitting community’s yarn challenges when the awesome people on Ravelry come together to knit our socks off (or on) for 17 days.

I wasn’t able to knit through the opening ceremony so have only made a tiny start on the first two projects. I haven’t committed to any really massive projects. I’m just going to work on lots of little ones, including entering a few frogging events to frog back some old projects I don’t want to finish. My goal is to aim for more than 8 projects frogged, finished or started, as 8 is the most medals any athlete has ever won at one games.

In the green lane is the Lacy Kerchief Scarf which is probably going to be a little too ambitious for such a short time period, but is working perfectly with the yarn which has been in stash for over a year, allowing the project to be entered into the lace longjump as well as the synchronized stash busting.

In the grey lane is the JC Slouchy Hat, a quick and plain hat pattern which will hopefully show off the shiny bobbly pigeon coloured yarn beautifully, win me a medal for the hat dash and not be taxing during moments of exhaustion.

Our Patterned Hand

Posted in Dolls, Shopping

There was just enough fabric in this tiny remnant of exclamation mark fabric from Broadway Market haberdashery Our Patterned Hand to whip up this little Sindy dress. I stumbled on the shop by chance and was quite tempted by all the lovely dress fabric, but just chose this remnant and a couple of metres of rainbow coloured bias binding to feed the hungry haberdashery stash monster under my desk.

The pink ruffled trim is from The Wool Shop, an even more astonishing haberdashery in Walthamstow Market. Really it is quite unreasonable of London to have so many tempting haberdashery shops, now I want to go shopping again and collect all the things.

More Mitten Mania

Posted in Knitting

I’ve been wrestling with this on a train, hoping that it looked like I knew what I was doing. Actually it’s as much a pickle as it looks, knitting, frogging and re-knitting these mitten cuffs trying to end up with something that looks pleasing. Finally ended up with these:

Which isn’t what the pattern should look like, but is fine and nice in a different way.

Vintage Doll Clothes

Posted in Dolls

Found these handmade doll clothes in a box of bits I picked up on eBay recently. All lovingly made and very played with. The maroon dress is particularly cute with simple hand stitching.

Chocolate Brownies and Intarsia

Posted in Food & Cooking, Knitting

Life has been so busy recently that there hasn’t been much time for crafting but this morning I made a giant chocolate brownie and this afternoon I ate it. Also made a strawberry jelly with fresh strawberries for flu-stricken hubbie.

Last Saturday I popped along to a fab intarsia class at Knitshop and finally have a handle on how to create less-lumpy colour knitting. Learned lots of useful things about sewing in the ends, twisting the yarns and how to secure a new colour with a slip knot to improve tension.

This was my sample. You’ll notice a nice little hole on the left where the colours join – this will be fixed when sewing in the ends. There’s another nice little hole in the middle too. I’m now ready to go back to the stalled intarsia cardigan WIP and have another go, this time with less angry muttering.

Frustrating Crafting

Posted in Knitting

letticecraftsgrumpy today, I’m very cross with myself as a new sewing & knitting magazine arrived in the post yesterday, I was opening the packet while walking out the door and then discovered a massive cut with lots of blood on my hand. While trying to resolve the blood issue and find a plaster in my bag, I somehow managed to put the magazine, but not the acompanying pattern leaflet in my bag.

When I got home and realised the pattern bit wasn’t there, it was too late to retrace my steps across London and go and find it. A cleaner has undoubtedly swept it into a recycling bag with a pile of newspapers by now. So I have a magazine of patterns with no patterns. Very frustrating.

And these shawls are causing angst. The peachy red one is the North Roë Shawl and only half finished and already enormous and getting a little heavy and bulky. Love the pattern, love the yarn but they don’t play well together. Will probably carry on regardless.

The blue one is Rule of Three by Anniken Allis, only has about 5 more rows to go and is gorgeous but is a different shape to any shawls I’ve knitted before and I’m worried about how it will sit.

Jubilee Sindy

Posted in Dolls, Sewing

Was I even planning to celebrate the Jubilee? It just took over. First the mitts, then the haberdashery, oh goodness the Jubilee haberdashery. Just couldn’t resist one little button, then one little fat quarter of crown fabric. And a metre of Union Jack ribbon. And then embroidering the carriage seemed like a good idea too. And before I knew it, this little outfit happened.

The whole outfit was improvised without a pattern. The most challenging bit was the embroidery design and after lots of faffing about, I ended up embroidering the outline from one of the official postmarks.

Tiny Hammer Pants

Posted in Dolls, Fashion, Sewing

Was skipping along in the sunshine the other day when I realised that I had absolutely no idea how hammer pants are constructed. Just think, if it was suddenly and unexpectedly Hammertime, being able to make hammper pants would be an essential skill.

While my wardrobe could undoubtedly do with some vibrant fancy pants, making small samples seemed like a better way to explore the construction.

The two pairs in the picture were photographed before elastic was added to the waist, to give a clearer picture of the shape.

On the right is a pair made from the ehow free pattern. I didn’t like the way this turned out as they’re a little too square. Mind you, making them this small doesn’t give much fabric to drape, so this would probably be fine for the pair you’re going to make yourself.

I don’t have the official Simplicity pattern for adults pictured on the ehow page, but I do have McCall’s 730 which has Barbie hammer pants and the ones on the left are from this pattern. This pattern works better at this scale, with the gusset making a nice nappy-shaped drape after the elastic was added, despite the thickness of the cotton.

Neither of these pants look quite right, but they will do. What’s really key with hammer pants is the drape of the gusset, but mostly what I’ve learned is that your hammer pants just won’t come to life unless you dance.

Intarsia Woes

Posted in Sewing

This is not going well. Intarsia – making colour blocks in knitting without stranding the other colours across the back – is hard. Add to that the fact that the two balls of green yarn I’ve used are clearly not the same colour, despite being from the same dyelot batch and all this needs to be ripped back. I was so happy with the tension on this and everything and now it’s all wrong.

Knitting is a meditative, calming, soothing hobby but the occasional project needs to be blasted into space. Rah!