Tuesday, 13 January 2015

And now for some knitting

I can't believe it's the second week of Jan already. It was been a great first week back at work and I even managed to squeeze in a trip to the cinema (a sad and much missed rareity in our parenting of small people lives) and a bit of exercise too. I've been very excited about putting together some blogs, and I think it really did help me with a bit of work writer's block, as I was definitely more productive towards the end of the week. 

Whilst I am really enjoying sewing, I always find myself going back to knitting. I feel much more comfortable, and there seems to be less room for error (for me at least). If I'm being honest, it's also very nice to snuggle up in front of the TV with my needles, and with the news over the past week being so utterly full of gloom, a bit of comfort definitely goes a long way.

Having completed a rush of Christmas and birthday presents for small people, I have decided to start the year with a bit of selfish knitting, and am making a Hetty cardigan for me. This is my first Untangling Knots project, having seen many of them on show online. I am also attempting to get better at plugging the gaps in my wardrobe, rather than just buying something because it looks pretty, and a warm, but fitted cardi seemed to fit exactly (plus I can wear it over all the pretty things, see?).

I'm using my annual John Lewis yarn sale splurge - this year they were selling off a whole mountain of Debbie Bliss Blue Faced Leicestershire Aran in a delicious grey. As always I could have bought a whole heap of colours, but I thought this would go really well with a couple of skirts I have. 


So far I am almost done with the body - it's so quick to knit up, but like others, I have found myself doing a fair bit of unravelling. Lladybird's post on marking up lace repeats has definitely helped, but I'm not entirely convinced that the two stockinette 'seams' are particularly even. I am also a wee bit concerned that the fronts are looking teeny over my chest, but I live in hope that blocking will work its wonders. I shall report back.

I've also finished off the littest's Xmas Owlet jumper. I have loved this pattern from afar for years (how cool are those owls!!) and still hope that I am in time to make a matching grown up one before the girls get too cool for school and won't let me out in public with it on. Time is definitely ticking!

Anyway, the jumper was finished way before Christmas, but I tried to get it on for a photo, and found that the neck was way too weeny for a toddler's massive heid. Humph. I found some great stretchy bind off techniques, which were easy to follow. So it now fits, but I actually not that keen on the neck. To be honest, I'm not going to get too bogged down with it, as she seems to manage to tolerate it for about 30 seconds, before shouting 'OFF' 'OFF'.

Ahhh so much for selfless knitting - I'll stick to things for me!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Let it goooooooow, let it goooooooow

So, we were a little late to the Frozen game. But, it appears it mattered not one jot, as this Christmas seems even crazier than last. To be fair, I love the film - it's high up on my list of 'films that the little ones like, but I can actually sit through' right behind Wreck It Ralph and the Jungle Book. 

Daughter 1 had been eyeing up the Elsa dresses for a while, and whilst I am a huge lover of fancy dress, I am definitely not a fan of some of the princess dresses that are commercially made. It's the combination of scratchy fabrics and the endless trail of glitter left in a toddler's wake. I also resent paying out a massive amount of cash for something that has been made so cheaply. So, as a compromise, I thought it might make a good project - it didn't have to be perfect, and if it's fancy dress, then part of that is imagining that it looks like an Elsa dress, right?

There are literally hundreds of ideas online, but I found a fantastic tutorial from Grace Hepburn Designs using Simplicity 2463 as a template and took it from there. I found a brilliant shiny-but-not-too stretchy turquoise fabric at Leon's (my favourite new place) as well as some sheer chiffon/taffeta (I am still hopeless with fabrics, sorry), that looked like it would fit the bill.

The pattern was pretty easy to follow, apart from when I managed to sew the skirt pieces together upside down. And I fudged the sleeves a bit, and added elasticated wrists, so that they would gather, but also not get in the way when playing. 

I had a slight moment of inspiration with the cape, and decided to add velcro, so the dress can be taken off easily, and if a certain small sister decides to pull it, there are no disasters.

Of course, after weeks of getting giddy about getting an Elsa dress, when the day of reckoning came, it was declared 'itchy' (thanks), but it is now, thankfully, getting a bit more wear. Plus it's great for twirling...

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Eeeeek (or the nervousness of a first post)

Wine, Guys and Dolls, Tartan. I'm all set.

OK, so it's not a New Year's Resolution, because I don't believe in them, and maybe it's because I'm struggling to get back into 'work' writing after the Christmas break, maybe it's all of the sassy, witty, clever posts I've been seeing with all the things I want to make (ALL the things - more about that later) but I've been toying with the idea of blogging.

I've been a knitter for about 10 years now. Long story short, someone suggested it as a way to help with a stressful job, I picked up my needles, hunted back in my memories of Nan teaching me how to knit Jean Greenhough dolls for school fairs, and off I went. And it helped. It gave me something to stare at that wasn't the blinking red light of doom on the BlackBerry (ah technology) and I got something nice at the end of it. 

Then along came the babies, other peoples' at first, and then mine. And a whole heap of cute little people to knit for. I think this has been my favourite part of knitting. The kids' designs that are out there now are just gorgeous and a million miles away from the comedy jumpers my mum made me and my brother wear.

Along the way, I have tried a few times to get 'properly' into sewing. The ability to make something in a matter of hours, rather than days is definitely appealing, and I have to admit to some silly fantasies of making my own beautiful capsule wardrobe that was chic, but individual. So far, results have been mixed, more to do with my lack of neatness and ability, but I am going to use this year to see if I can chart my progress. 

So here I go. Wish me luck!