Thursday, 22 January 2015

Module 2 finish up and a manicure

This week, so far has been about finishing up Module 2 of my City and Guilds course I'm doing.  And yesterday - hoorah...

It got boxed up and set on its merry way to England, hopefully to arrive in about a week's time.

To celebrate finishing this module I decided to do a little bit of sewing before I start the next module.  For Christmas Frances got a nail painting kit from my parents - lots of bottles of nail varnish and stickers and gems and bits.  She is chuffed to bits with it, but it came in a cardboard box, which wasn't very useful or pretty for keeping it in long term.  

Enter me, with some pink fabric, a bit of interfacing, a zip and this pattern.

And hey presto a manicure wallet.  Pretty?  I bought the outer fabric in a shop in Helsinki before we left and the inner fabric comes from my parent's local fabric shop.

It's got lots of spaces for her bottles and the zippered pocket for all the other bits and pieces.  She was very chuffed with it and I'm happy that we get rid of the horrible box.

The pattern was easy to follow, as you can see I went for the Velcro option rather than the snaps.  It took me an afternoon to make (not including cutting out, which I did a couple of days ago) and would have taken less time, but I put one of the pieces of Velcro in the wrong place and then managed to put the same piece of Velcro in the right place, but with the sticking together bit facing inwards. Doh.

Rory wanted to know what I'd made for him - so I guess I'd better come up with a plan.  Maybe some sort of car or Lego mat thing?

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

spiral hats and goals for the year

This last Christmas my knitting was a few pairs of socks and also some spiral hats.  D asked for a new hat for Christmas, and once I'd finished one I thought I should make a couple more for the kids too. 

Here they are all modelling them together (I love F's pose!).  R looks sad, but it's not because of the hat (honest).

And of course once Grandma saw the hats she requested one too....

They're all knitted using the three-spiral hat pattern by EZ from the opinionated knitter.  D's is knit pretty much as written so it's quite large and sloppy.  The others I scaled down a bit, so cast on 34 stitches and altered the rest of the pattern accordingly.  I used some Bravo Big by Schachenmayr original for all of them.

They're all ravelled here.... D's, F's, R's and Grandma's

So, this year I have made some crafting goals - basically I'm going to try to make some progress on some large projects that have been hanging around for a while. 

First, I'm restarting my City and Guilds in Knitwear design that I started before F was born and then put on hold when we moved back to Helsinki and I was expecting R.  Now they're both at kindergarten some of the time I have time to start that again.  I'm trying to get the module I was working on when I quit back in 2010 finished by the end of January.

Secondly, I'm going to try to make a leap forward in the queen-size quilt I've been working on forever (well since 2000).  It's coming along nicely but I want to prioritise it so that I can get it finished.

So, they're my big goals - there's some other stuff I'd like to make - but I'm going to try to prioritise those two for now.

Thursday, 18 December 2014


I said I'd make Frances another dress - I was going to make one from a pink spotty fabric I have with a nod towards being a Flamenco style dress - so ruffles and more ruffles and twirly.  Before I started figuring out what I was actually going to do I made the new curtains for the kids' bedroom.  There was a bit left over of the fabric and Frances decided that she would like a dress made from that.

I used the Absolutely A-line dress from the book of the same name.

I think Frances was hoping that she would be completely camouflaged against her curtains and was quite disappointed when she looked at the photos and found that we could actually see her.  She's still pretty well camouflaged though!

I was just about to sew the side seams when Frances announced that she'd like a bow on the back.

So, voila, a bow on the back.  I used a tutorial I pinned from pattern revolution, which I think has worked out well.

Here's a close up of the bow.  I stitched into place at the top, centre of the actual bow as it is quite heavy and was lolling about a bit.

I added a contrast facing, for a bit of fun.

I think the birds are all being pretty well behaved - they went to kindergarten with her today, so lets hope they haven't been flying around the school and annoying everyone.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Lou Box Top pattern test

I answered a request for Pattern testers from Beth of Sew DIY - this is not something I've done before, but thought it could be fun.  The pattern is for a boxy top that can either be made from woven or knit fabrics and has a couple of neckline options and a few hem shape options.  It's very loose fitting and it's recommended that very drapey fabric is used to make it more flattering rather than looking too boxy.

I must admit here that I'm not a big fan of clothes that are described as boxy - I have a fairly boxy figure without much of a waist, so try not to add to the general boxiness by adding boxy clothes.  I thought if I could find a drapey enough fabric, as recommended, things might be OK.  Of course, there was nothing large enough in my stash - but I found a drapey scarf across at the Brocki.

More red sewing for me.

The pattern is written at a good level of detail (without being too patronising) and fit together fine.  Because of the fabric I chose I decided to do French seams throughout and rolled hems around the bottom hem and sleeves - this is the first time I used my rolled hem foot that came with my new machine, which was fun, but I think I need more practise.

The neckline is finished using self bias binding.

The pattern said to cut the back of the woven t-shirt as two pieces and sew them together leaving a small opening at the back with a button and loop.  While I was putting it together, because of the scoop neck option I realised this back opening wasn't necessary, so I sewed it up - bit of a shame really as it would have looked better without the seam up the back, never mind.

And finally, a picture of me wearing it (head chopped off as my hair was wet).

So, all in all, despite my reservations about the boxy name I think it looks quite flattering.  I'll be interested to see what the other pattern testers came up with.  (#LouBoxTop)

Thursday, 4 December 2014


Last week was all about curtains. 

We're slowly adding curtain poles and curtains to all of our windows - there's no real rush as they all have shutters over them, but it makes the place feel cosier, especially at this time of year when there's curtains up. 

The kid's had some old curtains from our dining room in Bristol at their window, but we decided it was time to have something more fun. 

I made these from fabric bought at ikea.  I learnt to make curtains when I had a temporary job in a made-to-measure curtain shop between degrees, and this has stood me in good stead ever since.  I used my blind hem stitch on my machine for both the bottoms and sides of the main curtain fabric, which worked well and sped things up a little, so I only sewed the linings in by hand. 

Frances now wants a dress from the fabric as there was a little left over - I'm thinking just a plain A-line dress as the fabric is quite stiff and the design quite large.  Hopefully I can get the birds to sit in the right place.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014


It's been really tense around here.... well, not really... I've been knitting some socks for my Mum for Christmas and was convinced about half way through that I was going to run out of yarn for them.  I chose the pattern because it looked interesting and also so I could reduce the amount of stash I have and when I thought I was going to run out I was pretty gutted.  I even "phoned" a friend and there's some emergency yarn winging its way from Finland to here.  In the end I didn't need it, so my plans for stash reduction have only been partially successful, but I'm sure I can find a plan for the extra yarn when it arrives. 

Anyway, here are the socks:
I really like them -  I love how the colours dither (hence the name of the pattern) and I can see some other versions in the future.  I think they're quite a unisex pattern, so I can see some blues and blacks and greens going well together for David.

They're ravelled here.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

JJ blouse finished.

I little while ago (back in April!) I blogged that I had started the JJ blouse using some of the fabric I bought in Vietnam.  After my old sewing machine playing silly buggers, this is now the first piece of clothing made fully on my new machine :-)  I'm really enjoying sewing on it.  Anyway, back to my JJ blouse.  I had originally thought of doing some pin tucks on either side of the centre front instead of the ruffles that are on the original pattern, but then changed my mind and decided to leave it completely plain as the fabric is quite busy.

I cut a size 36 bust grading to a 38 around the waist.  A lot of people have complained about the pattern directions - they were a bit confusing, but with the help of this tutorial and looking up how to do a continuous bound cuff opening in my trusty sewing book it went together fine and fits well. 

The only changes to the pattern I made apart from the obvious omission of the ruffles is that I put 6 buttons down the front rather than the 4 the pattern said, I also didn't do the belt ties. 

I did do French seams everywhere.  I love French seams and how finished and professional the inside looks with them.  I don't want a serger as I love French seams so much.