Wednesday, 17 February 2016

quilt update (again)

 Last week was the kid's ski week holiday here in Bern, so we headed off to Flims for skiing.  The rest of the family is either learning or loves skiing, but I've tried and failed and am happy at the moment to call myself a non-skier.  While we're in Switzerland and drive to skiing this means I can take things to keep me busy - this year I decided to take my sewing machine and work on my quilt.

I posted a bit about my quilt last year, but before that was in 2008 with the optimistic comment that I wouldn't allow it to become a 15 year project!  Well here we are in year 16 (I started it in 2000) and it's still not finished.  It is growing - but it is starting to feel like a grindstone around my neck.

 Here's some progress set up on the dining room table.  

I worked at it quite hard while we were away.  The kids were in ski school, so apart from the inevitable chalet maid duties one acquires as the non-skier I was able to concentrate on my quilt until the call for drinks and a little apres ski as the kids were finishing up. 

I managed to finish a strip of the quilt - it's constructed like a big log cabin and I'm now onto the outer edges - so this is nearly the full width of the finished quilt.  I'd already completed about half of this strip last year and was able to finish off the upper half during the week. 

This is the quilt after I sewed that strip onto the rest of it (it's on the far right hand side).  That's the best I could do as a washing line shot on a narrow balcony!  I've just got a fairly narrow strip that's the full length of the quilt and then I can get on with finally putting it all together.  My goal is to get the narrow strip done this year and be quilting it next year.  That should be doable? right?  time will tell!

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy new year

Dear blog,

I'm sorry I've been neglecting you lately, but I'll try to be a bit better... 

I thought I'd start the new year not with a look back on what I made last year and not with resolutions, but with a to do list.

So, in no particular order:

1. Finish quilt top
2. Sew pair of jeans
3. Sew knickers
4. Knit gloves for me
5. Keep going with city & guilds (I'm just about to start module 6)
6. Laugh more
7. Socks for F
8. Sleeveless jumper for D
9. Green jumper for R
10. Brown jacket

I'm sure that will do for now. 

Finally a picture of my Christmas knitting... 5 repeats of artesian. I should be able to knit one more repeat of chart A and have enough yarn to knit chart B.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

De-stashing before it makes the stash

After I finished my Martha cardigan I was left with three balls of the green cotton yarn.  Instead of finding a home for it to go to - and languish for who knows how long - I decided to find a pattern that I could knit to use it up.

Enter "Fresh mint" - I cute little camisole top pattern by Linden Down that's knitted from the top down.  Ravelry link.

It took just over the three balls I had, so I bought a ball of something similar and did a few stripes at the bottom, which hopefully looks like the colour change is a design feature!

The back is exactly the same as the front:

I think I'll be making some more of these tops - or variations of them as they're very simple and a good little stash buster.

In other knitting news, I'm just about to send off the Module 4 of the C&G course.

We're off to London tomorrow, so I might as well make use of sending it locally rather than internationally.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Martha cardigan

I've been back from holiday now for a couple of weeks - I should have been blogging, but haven't as I've been feeling peculiarly lonely.... I think it's just the post holiday blues and that we've now been living in Switzerland and this apartment for 2 years and I start getting a bit antsy after 2 years somewhere.  It'll pass.

Anyway, while I was away I finished off the green cardigan I had started.

As I mentioned before, I converted the pattern so that I could knit it seamlessly - so I knit the back and the fronts at the same time, including the side seam shaping as I went along, up until the armholes.  I then knitted the two sleeves (in the round) also to the armholes - I had to knit them inside out so that I could do the eyelet stitch in the round, but that wasn't a bother.

Once I got to the armholes I joined everything together as per EZ's set-in sleeve method (p86 Knitting workshop by Elizabeth Zimmermann) and kept on going.

I think the sleeves have come out pretty well - it's not such a difficult method to do and it was lovely not having to sew any seams at the end.

Here's the back - lots and lots of eyelets.

I added buttons from my stash - it needed 7 buttons - I didn't have 7 all the same, so have added an eclectic almost matching set in a blue/green colour, which I think looks fine.

More info over on ravelry.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Cardigan disaster

A little while ago I had a washing disaster with my favourite hand knitted cardigan and it ended up like this:

Whoops - I'd hand washed it and then put it in the washing machine on a very low spin, which it apparently didn't like. 

This is the Geodesic cardigan by Connie Chang Chinchio.  I made this back in 2012, and at first it was too big.... but over the last 3 years it has become a firm favourite, so I was very sad when it came from the wash looking like this.

Not to be deterred I wet it again and gave it a very huge block..

This was more, I have to do something rather than putting is straight in the bin attempt.

It came out looking like this:

So, better, but now it's wavy around the edges from where I pinned it.

While I'm not quite ready to let go of it yet, I have cast on another cardigan. 

It's the Martha cardigan (eyelet version) from Rowan 37.  I've converted it to be knitted in the round and when I get both sleeves to the underarm I'm going to attempt to do the armholes using the EZ set-in sleeve method (p86 Knitting workshop by Elizabeth Zimmermann). 

I love wearing cardigans but I seem to have a real lack of hand made cardigans - this oversight needs to be addressed. 

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Tablecloth top

David was travelling back from the UK the other week and had the instructions to try to get me a sewing magazine - I don't get them all the time, but once in a while it's nice.  He let me know the options and I looked them up to see what I fancied.  I ultimately went for Simply sewing, but while I was browsing I noticed there was a free template to download for the Anna Tunic by Amy Butler in the Sew Home & Style magazine.  Now, of course you're meant to buy the magazine in order to get the instructions - but where's the fun in that? ;-)

I used the magic of the Internet to learn how the back is supposed to look, and get a few snippets about what people thought of the pattern - the general consensus seemed to be that it's a pretty simple pattern, that attaching the yoke had caused some problems and the armholes tended to be too high. 

In my stash I had some fabric which I picked up for free at a local street fair - so free pattern and free fabric, seemed to be made for each other.

So, it came together pretty easily, I didn't have problems attaching the yoke, but then I probably didn't do it the way the pattern intended, but it looks fine.

 I ended up reducing the height of the yoke by about 3cm as it was far too height around my neck and I found that the armholes were too high.... I lowered them by about 1 1/2".

The original pattern had a lining, which I skipped, so I used bias binding to bind the armholes and did French seams.

I also added a belt loop at each side to keep the belt under control a bit, it can then wrap around the back and tie at the front.

I found some pretty buttons in my stash to finish off the yoke at the back and to keep the free theme going.

I think I like the top, it's maybe a little tablecloth-esque and I think it looks better with trousers than shorts, but I like the colour and the shape and that I could make it completely from stash materials with a free pattern :-)

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Green spotty Butterick B6026 shirt

I think this is one of the tidiest things I've ever made....

I was reading Rhonda Buss' blog the other week, she often posts an inspiration post on a Monday morning, and on this particular morning she posted about dart manipulation.  I love a little added subtle detail to clothes - I think it elevates them above the normal and often adds a little femininity.  In this particular post she linked to Butterick B6026, so I thought I'd give it a go.  After realising that it was a ridiculous amount to buy it here in Switzerland, I ordered it from the UK.  I had some fabric in my stash that I had bought from Just Sew in Penrith (probably my favourite sewing shop - it's convenient for when we visit my parents, but they often have nice fabric in at a reasonable price, especially compared to the absurd price of fabric here in Switzerland).

Anyway, pattern and fabric chosen I got going...

There are clusters of darts at the waist, neckline and the sleeves - in order to mark on all my lines I used a pilot, frixon pen... I read in a blog (can't remember which one) that lines drawn on by these pens disappear when you iron them - and then come back again when you pop the fabric in the freezer.  I haven't had a need for the latter part of this, but for drawing lines on fabric this pen is great.

 Sleeve dart lines...

...and sewn

I also used it to add a sewing line to the corners of my collars to keep them neat:

As you can see, once it's stitched and ironed the pen disappears.  I did, of course, check this on a scrap of the fabric before I went ahead and did this - especially on the darts where I was marking on the right side of the fabric.

Anyway, back to the shirt - it came together really well - everything lined up nicely :-)  To get a really neat finish I constructed it using French seams throughout (have I mentioned I love French seams?)

I sewed a straight size 10, with no alterations....

I think the shape of it's really flattering - it almost makes me look like I've got a waist!

 And the dart details add just a little extra something.  The ones at the neckline get a little lost under the collar, but I think the others, especially in this spotty fabric look really nice.

As I said, I'm also proud of the inside: French seams, including the armhole seam.

I'm also pleased with how neat my collar turned out.

The buttons I used were in my stash - I had a set of 6 white shirt buttons... I think these might have come from my Nanna as they were on a pretty old piece of card.  I then added a single wooden button at the collar, just for fun.

All in all I'm really pleased with this shirt and how it fits.