Friday, 11 April 2014

Demne baby hat

I knitted this baby's hat for my cousins baby. The pattern is a free download from Ravelry. It knitted up in a couple of hours. I got distracted and did a couple of extra rows in moss stitch but it looks ok. The pattern was straightforward and fit the three week old pretty well, with a little room for her to grow into. I might try and work out a pattern for some matching mittens.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Thoughts on the Great British Sewing Bee and sewing personalities

Like many a sewing enthusiast I really enjoyed watching the Great British Sewing Bee and had no idea who was going to win until they made the announcement. I couldn’t decide If I was routing for Heather or Chinelo. I am so jealous of Chinelo’s ability to cut patterns freehand, but pleased to see that the most experienced sewer won in the end. This is probably due to the fact that like Heather I like to sew simple patterns and try to do them well- not always successfully. I know I would fail stupendouslytrying to sew a gown in 7 hours, the thought of sewing to a deadline fills me with terror, but I wonder if I would be a better seamstress if I challenged myself with different types of projects? 

Watching the contestants tackle the tasks in such different ways made me think what it important to me as a sewer and what parts of constructing a garment I enjoy most. Most of the contestants had such strong sewing personalities which they seemed to battle throughout the show- I think many of our hearts went out to Chinelo struggling with the tie pattern and I felt a personal sense of alarm when Tamara whipped out the glue gun on couture week!

I have been making more and more of my own patterns and developing my hand sewing techniques. I enjoy having a hand-sewn garment made to my measurements. The time consuming nature means I am increasing drawn to using quality fabrics that will produce long-lasting clothes. It is much more methodical and as a result I enjoy making toiles and pressing seams much more – both of which I used to find dull. I get a great sense of achievement knowing that a garment is emerging solely due to my time, effort and sewing skills. 

There is a flip side in that I rarely let my imagination run whilst making something and always start with a pen and paper.I rarely refashion garments. I am never going to have an imagination like Tamara, but I think draping may be a good way to get the creative juices flowing a bit more freely.

Food for thought

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Fair isle jumper- pattern review

Hello, Long time no posts. 

I am currently making a wedding dress for a friend of my sisters, which means a substantial amount of my sewing time has been taken up trying to master corsetry and making toiles.  So far I have learnt that corsetry is no mean feat, but I hope the extra effort will be worth it and I can share the results after her wedding. 

I have also been knitting quite a bit and have managed to finish this jumper as well as a couple of items for friends babies ( or soon to be babies). There is a mini baby boom going on as far as I can tell.

I started this project last summer, but put it on the back burner to finish the Logan dress from my last post. The pattern is from Learn to Knit, Love to Knit by Anna Wilkinson. 

I used Artesano superwash merino in sea blue and Rowan pure wool DK in enamel. I bought the wool online from Deramores and it arrived the very next day. This was a bit of a revelation as it usually takes me a few weeks to find the time to go into central London to buy wool. My local shops do not tend to have great choice or the brands I favour- mainly rowan if you are interested. 

When the wool arrived I thought that the rowan was actually slightly thinner than the artesano and I noticed that the top is slightly tighter than the bottom, which is a bit if a shame. This might be due to the fact that I haven't done an intarsia project before and my tension may have been a bit off, but I prefer to blame the wool. 

The pattern was straight forward, except that it said to cast on 105 stitches, but the chart was for 107- I could not for the life of me work out where the extra two stitches should have come from. When I did the front I cast on 107 to begin with and everything worked out fine. 

I also had to lengthen the jumper by about 8cms, which I only realised after it was complete and had to resort to a lengthening technique that requires you to thread needles through the stitches of two rows about 1.5cms apart and then cut in between and unravel before adding the necessary stitches in- terrifying, but it worked. The join is nearly invisible, except where I twisted several stitches whilst rejoining. 

I like the short sleeves, but it is very cosy for a short sleeved top, so I think I will wear it on cooler days over a long sleeved tee. I have already had several compliments on it, which is always nice. 

The terrifying lengthening process;