Rosebud Ski Hat

Over Christmas I had three days off from knitting as I didn’t have the correct needles to start my Rosebud hat by Brooklyn Tweed. I was itching, fidgeting and sweating due to lack of knitting, until I finally caved and went off to buy needles at The Woolly Brew in Pittenweem. (If you live on the East Coast of Scotland then I recommend a trip here as it is such a lovely wee shop in a picturesque village with great sea views! The ladies here are lovely and very helpful too.)

For my Rosebud, I used Rowan Creative Focus Worsted yarn in white that I bought in Edinburgh. It is a 75% wool / 25% alpaca mix and is lovely and soft. It is quite easy to put your needle through the strands though as it doesn’t seem to be as tightly bound (not sure if this is the right term, probably not) as other wool, so I had to be careful not to be distracted by the TV too much!

I chose to make the larger, slouchy size as I don’t think fitted hats suit me too well and I wanted something a little different. As I was knitting, I watched the hat grow and grow, thinking will I look like a chef? Will I look like the Michelin man? Bo Peep? Maybe I should stop and knit the smaller, more fitted size… Alas I carried on and this is what it looks like!

photo (29)

What do you think?! It will certainly keep my lugs warm next week when I am skiing in France! What did you make over Christmas?

Cx

Next on the needles??

As it gets closer and closer to Christmas, I wonder if I will be able to finish all my presents in time.. who knows! I can’t share these with you yet, obviously because they need to be a surprise to the recipients, but mainly because I haven’t finished a single present yet! UH OH! 

So instead, I thought I could share what I plan to make next. After my festive knitting, I plan to knit something for myself, but what?! These are a few things I have seen from browsing on Ravelry, Folksy and Pintrest.

I absolutely love the Zooey sweater that has just been published in Interweave.

I get email updates which is dangerous! I really want to buy this magazine as there are few other patterns I want to make too, but you need to subscribe and I don’t think I want to do that. I love the neckline and trim on the edges – it looks like mini-scallop edging! I love the colour combination here too and may try to match it!

I love cables and this Aidez cardigan would be a good project to get to grips with more complicated cabling. 

I found this pattern whilst reading lieslmade’s blog. I really like the lacy detail bit but I have never tried this technique before. I think it is a good start for lace knitting though as the band isn’t too big and would probably be fine for a beginner to pick up! I like the grey wool too, but I think I have too many grey cardigans so will need to pick something brighter!

Another favourite of mine is the Hester pullover.Hester has been in my favourites for a while but the pattern is only published in a magazine. I’m sure there will be other pattterns in the magazine that I will want to knit too. This sweater reminds me of one I bought a few years ago and I really want to make something similar to that but not sure not to go about the neckline and bust. All I know is i need short rows, but where to put them?! So I think this pattern will help me to make my own jumper and I can knit it with different stitch patterns too.

The Lucille cardigan is also very pretty. I do think, if I am honest about my abilities, that it is still too difficult. One day… I love the mustardy version that someone has knitted, I just hope that colour is still in when I get round to making the pattern!

I have been buying a lot of my yarn recently online and I miss going to an old fashioned wool shop and handling all the different types of wool available. I think for my next project I will take a trip to McAree to get some nice yarn. By the time I get round to finishing this next project, I’m hoping spring will be here and so the need for thick cosy sweaters will be long gone! here’s hoping… 

What are your thoughts on the patterns above? What should I make?! What are you knitting/making anything for yourself?

Cx

Rose Sorbetto

I also have my first sewn garment, Colette Sorbetto, to show off too!

I love this rose printed fabric which I am pretty sure is Liberty Arts (brain overload in the fabric shop but I got it from where all the Liberty fabrics are). It is so pretty and it’s brightness will make up for the lack of summer we have had this year in Scotland!

I made some bias binding (the bit that goes round the neck and sleeves) in the same material as the top using a continuous bias binding tutorial from the Coletterie blog. It was my first attempt and although it wasn’t a complete disaster, the bias binding wasn’t even all the way round so I just bought bias binding instead. It was a little tricky to keep it even when stitching it on so there is a wee bit that is a little looser, but its pretty unnoticeable really. I also lowered the neckline and the armholes by an inch each.

My sewing machine didn’t like this fabric – see earlier post. I couldn’t get the tension to set and ended up carting my machine to the other side of Edinburgh for some advice from the ladies at materialise. We think it may have been a combination of the fabric and needle. Beginners, eh?!

I love the sewing community! A massive thanks to Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons, whom I emailed regarding my lack-of-experience issue!! For anyone else new to sewing, you must check out her blog. She has tutorials that take you through everything from buying a sewing machine to learning how to use it. Plus her creations are lovely!  Everyone is so helpful and, in a weird way, you feel like you know people after reading their blog and seeing what they are making.

Will promise to take some photos of me wearing soon!

Cx

One finished Guston!

And here we have it, Andy’s new sweater!

This is the Guston Sweater by Ann Budd (previously mentioned in this post and this post). I love the cables and this is probably my favourite knitted garment yet! I didn’t particularly enjoy stitching the arms to the body or weaving in all my ends. I also discovered that weaving in ends is boring – especially if you have lots of them! I didn’t manage to line up the cables over the shoulders as there would have been a bit sticking out over the edge. It’s fine though and not really noticeable.

I love this sweater so much! It is so comfy and warm, which is perfect for the weather we have here in Scotland. It is also a “boyfriend” sweater, so maybe I can wear it when Andy is at work…

Cx

p.s. my model was busy today so will need to wait a couple of days so I can snap some good photos!

Update – I got some lovely photos of the finished jumper whilst I was away on holiday in Skye

The adventure begins!

What a busy week I have had! I had a big deadline at work so I haven’t had much time to make anything. That’s about to change though as I treated myself to a sewing machine  and it arrived just in time for the weekend! My thinking was reasonable – its going to last me for years and I went for a refurbished Brother machine (effectively new) so it worked out at the same price as a cheap machine.

On Friday evening I managed to rustle up a quick muslin for a cute wee tank top by Colette, the Sorbetto Top. It only took a couple of hours to cut out my pattern and fabric, then sew the top together.

On Saturday morning I went to the second of my sewing classes at materialise in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket.

Note the beautiful summery weather we have been having!

The ladies there are lovely and so helpful! We are making Colette Sencha Blouse. Overall it isn’t too hard a pattern to follow, but we had to make two muslins the previous week due to all the adjustments! Apparently the other Colette patterns aren’t as complicated as this one! PHEW!

This is the first time Brigitte and Reese have run this class so we found that it took us longer than anticipated so I need to go back next week to make button holes and hem. Almost there!

I met my friend Seema from work on Saturday afternoon for a knitting lesson! Seema is left handed and I never appreciated how hard it would be for her to learn to knit the way I do. After a couple of hours of gossiping and watching YouTube tutorials for knitting left handed, we ventured down to the knitting section in JohnLewis for some much needed help. A lovely lady (who is left handed) showed Seema how to cast on and and then knit, in about 5minutes! Seema can’t cast off yet so she may have a scarf a mile long by now!

I  also picked out some lovely fabrics for my Sorbetto top. However I picked something that is really lightweight and I don’t think I have enough experience of sewing to be able to do this yet. I’m going to take this to my sewing class next week for some tips. 🙂

In the meantime I went to Mandors today as I really want to get started. I got a nice cotton which will be much easier to sew.

In theory. My tension has been funny all day! I’ve turned it up, I’ve turned it down, I’ve changed my needle, I’ve rethreaded my bobbin and upper thread and I’ve adjusted stitch length. I think I have done pretty much everything possible and it still isn’t right! Sometimes it seems to start off stitching well and then there are loops on either side. I need help!


On the knitting front, I have finished knitting the Guston sweater for Andy. I blocked it last week and it took 2-3 days to dry!! I just have to stitch the arms to the body, do the collar and put on his little buttons! I really like the look of this jumper and it looks like it is going to fit! 🙂

I’m still finding my feet with sewing so bear with me a little longer and I will have some pretty things to show!

Cx

Follow me!

You can follow my blog by signing up to an email alert or on blog lovin’! Just click on the “follow this blog” link on the right handside! Both will alert you every time I post! As simple as that.

I hope to post more regularly once I get my hands on a sewing machine! Knitting is very slow to see progress and Im pretty sure no one wants a row by row account!

Cx

First sewing lesson!

I went to my first sewing lesson on Monday evening! We learnt the basics of how to use a sewing machine – how to do bobbins, how to thread the machine and then we practised how to use it. I had to have a few attempts before I was able to sew in a straight line. After we mastered that, we learnt how to do corners by pivoting the fabric with the needle in place and then continuing to sew. I made a little napkin

Next we were shown how to do two different types of hem: one is folded over twice so a little bit more bulky. The other one is folded over just the once but needs to be stitched along the raw edge first to prevent the fabric from fraying. A simple straight stitch is used to hem the fabric.

Now I think I am ready to move on to a dressmaking class! We will be making a lovely blouse by Colette but I have to wait until next Saturday for this… 😦 I am quite impatient at times and this seems like so far away, but I need to choose fabric for this class and no doubt I will be like a kid in a sweetshop! I have also ordered the Colette sewing handbook by the owner/designer of Colette Patterns, Sarai Mitnick, so I hope this comes soon! Lita lent me hers and it is such an easy book to follow, especially for someone who knows nothing about sewing! The pictures are great and Sarai provides tips on using sewing patterns, adjustments and choosing fabric. Plus there are 5 patterns included!

In the meantime I will carry on with the sweater I am making for Andy. There was a slight error in the pattern so I had to wait to hear back from the designer about this. Thankfully it didnt take long for them to get back to me and today I finished the body whilst watching Wimbledon! Here are some pictures of the sweater thus far:

 

Hopefully the arms wont take me too long to make as I am excited to get started on my next project!

Cx

New Lanark Woollen Mill

I discovered this place online and as Andy and I were going through to Glasgow last weekend to meet up with Andys family, I thought we could take a quick detour to Lanark to pick up some new yarn. 

I spent Saturday morning looking for the perfect pattern for my next sweater (for me) and watching Trooping of the Colour. I love Kates dresses, maybe I will be able make some soon?? On my trawl through Ravelry I found lots of lovely cardigans that I would like to knit but a lot seem to have lace and I havent mastered/attempted this yet so will need to wait. For the meantime I have chosen http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/elbow-patch-cardigan. This pattern seems to be doable; I can do the rib and cables so I am off to good start. I dont like the idea of knitting elbow patches but I do like them so I think I will buy material and sew them on after.

Pattern in hand, off to Lanark we go! The quickest route using Google maps is cross country. I didnt really think about this and it probbaly would have been quicker to go via the M8. The weather was pretty wet and there was mist too so we couldnt really go fast on the country roads. As we didnt anticipate the journey taking so long to get there we only had 30mins to have a quick look around before we would need to leave to get to Glasgow on time for dinner. New Lanark is an old historic mill town and is really picturesque. I will need to visit again and spend more time there to explore.

Fortunately we managed to get the goods! I got a natural undyed100% wool yarn which I am pretty excited about knitting with. I must finish Guston first though! I also got a free shadecard which has a wee sample of all the colours of wool they sell. Pretty handy as Im never convinced about pictures online describing the colour of wool. Look at all those exciting colours!

We got to Glasgow on time and we went to Bo’vine on Byres Road and had a lovely evening.

This week I have definitely decided I would like to learn to sew. I have never really sewn anything so I am signing up to do a course on dressmaking. My mum took our sewing machine when my parents moved away from Glasgow so my friend Lita from work is going to lend me one until I get my mums one back. I am pretty excited about this new venture and have been picking out loads of patterns I would like to try!

So that is me finally up to date with all the things I have made thus far. I probably wont update as regularly now so that I can have something to show soon! I will investigate how to upload pictures to all my previous posts too!

Cx

Guston! (and the importance of blocking)

 

The name Guston reminds me of the big, muscly character from Beauty and the Beast! 

I am making this jumper for Andy as a wee thank you for trailing around Edinburgh to yarn shops! The pattern I am using is from a Canadian knitter and you can find it here http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/guston. Again the wool isnt my favourite but Andy wanted a machine washable jumper – I am using Patons wool bled DK. It is pretty easy to knit with though. 

I was very patient starting this project – I actually made a swatch to check my guage. (Thats a lie really, I had the wool left over from my dads hat and I thought it was the same but his wool was aran. Not to worry). After I made my swatch (which was half on one side, half on the other as I was clearly watching too much TV that night) I didnt block it. I didnt really understand the importance of blocking. 

I started the jumper almost two weeks ago and it is knitting up pretty fast. A week in I had finished the body (up to the dividing line before the pattern starts). I was gettiing a little bored going around and around and around! After this stage I put in a “lifeline” just in case I made  a mistake and would have to rip a few rows out. I hate ripping out rows as I can never be sure whether I have all the stitches back on and round the right way. I am so glad  I took the extra few minutes to put in a lifeline, which is just a scrap piece of yarn, as I had to rip it out 3 or 4 times before I was happy with it!

The other evening I made my first button hole! I found this pretty exciting as I was so sceptical beforehand. I used the k2, yarn over method. My button fits through too which is fantastic! So easily pleased!

I am now working my way up to the armholes where I will divide the jumper into fronts and backs. I am really pleased with it so far. The only problem is that it seems to be really big (Andy tried it on when I put in my lifeline). I am hoping it will shrink a little when I block it…

And so to blocking…

The pattern states that the garment should be blocked as seperate pieces before stitching together. I didnt understand what the difference would be if I stitched then blocked. Apparently blocking helps to loosen off the knitting, making it easier to see stitches. It also helps prevent the end from curling up. Also, if the pieces arent quite the same size one can be blocked larger so they fit. Im no where near that stage yet, so Ill put that dilemma off until nearer the time but from the advice I have had I think I will be blocking first, then sewing!

Cx

Fair Isle

I love Fair Isle!

The colours used are normally so vibrant and fun. And I have now discovered the fun of knitting Fair Isle.

I tried some little Christmas stockings to start with to get used to knitting with two colours. I found this pattern here and it is free so no excuses for not having a pretty Christmas tree: http://littlecottonrabbits.typepad.co.uk/photos/free_pattern/stockings6.html. These are really fun so I think I will make some more nearer to Christmas time to decorate the tree!

The hat I chose isnt strictly Fair Isle, but its a patterned hat which I guess covers the basic skills for learning to knit with two colours. I chose the Signe hat http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/signe-hat. Previous knitters commented that this hat was very big so I decided to only do 5 repeats (instead of 6). After spending ages in John Lewis debating which colours to go for, I chose duck egg and cream. I like both these colours, but now that I have finished Im not convinced! Ive not had a chance to wear it outside yet though so indoor photos only for now.

This was my first experience of using double pointed needles (dpn’s) and was a wee bit tricky to begin with! I got the hang of it eventually and hte hat looks good. The pattern didnt specify which method to use to decrease so I had to figure these out to ensure the ribs slant/slope the right way at the crown.

I really fancy making a jumper or socks using a Fair Isle Pattern so Im saving up lots of scrap yarn that I could maybe use for these. I dont really wear socks except in the house so I would prefer to make something I might wear more.

When I was in Poland a few years ago for Erasmus I ventured down to Zakopane. This is the mountainous region a couple of hours south of Krakow on the Slovakian border. There are lots of little market stalls and I found which which sells woolly items. There were lots of really cool socks so I decided to buy a few pairs to bring home with me. They were so cheap too – about 5zloty which converts to £1 a pair. Now that I knit myself I feel bad for paying so little now that I understand the time and effort that goes into a project. I wanted to bring socks home for Andy too but there were no sizes. The lady told me a wee trick of wrapping the sock around your fist and the heel should touch the toe. This is your size. I guessed Andys size would be bigger than my fist and they fit! I only wish I had bought a jumper too!

Cx