Friday, June 26, 2009

in soviet russia, fabric sews you

Soon to be dungarees. Probably.
I've been a bit slack with knitting since UK Ravelry Day, for many reasons. Partly heat-induced torpor, which makes a good face-down sprawl on the lawn look incredibly appealing. *Picks ants out of eyebrows*. I've also been down the allotment a lot when I can muster up the energy. (Anyone in the Manchester area want any raspberries?! you have to pick them yourself though :) )

The rest of my spare time, I have mostly been very slowly working on this. My First Evah Sewing Pattern! I finally plucked up the courage to go to my local fabric store, flick through the pattern booklets and pick something. It purports to be Very Easy, so we'll see. It's a sort of dungarees / romper suit type thing for a baby. I'm not used to this topsy turvy world of sewing, where the pattern costs 3 quid and the fabric is only 2.50. So the small bit of tissue papery stuff is more expensive than the big bit of corduroy? I come from Knitting Land where most patterns are free and the raw materials are sometimes pricey, so this fabric shop is a bit like looking glass world to me - I half expected the Red Queen to take my money. So far I haven't found anything too unintelligible in the pattern, but I haven't got very far as it took me ages to cut everything out. As the pattern has lots of different sizes, I felt that it might be nice to reuse it when the wee man has grown a bit, so I decided to be a masochist and not actually cut the pattern pieces. Instead I laboriously traced the pattern, cut out templates, and eventually just gave up and drew roughly on the fabric with chalk where the lines were supposed to be. I can't see this being a particularly accurate garment but it's a learning experience I guess. Hey, I have already learned that for the sake of saving three quid, it would have been an awful lot easier just to cut the damn thing! Oh well. At least I can progress on to the hopefully slightly more fun bit where I actually sew stuff together now... although, the sun has come out now, and there is a comfy looking patch of grass over there...


Thursday, June 11, 2009


So on UK Ravelry Day I had a bit of a knitting binge on my Charade socks. This was partly due to the excitement of having a whole day out of the house, and partly due to the highly compelling sock yarn I am using. I've never used handpainted yarn before but I can see why people get into it... it's like reading a book, you never quite know what's going to happen next, and you can't wait to see. Anyway it was such a pageturner of a sock I knitted the first one in two days. Then I was slightly worried that my socky overindulgence might make my arms fall off if I continued at that pace, so thought I'd maybe better try something less knitty for a while.
blooming ridiculous

The baby has an irritating habit of growing out of his clothes, so I thought I'd make him some more out of some leftover bits of fabric. Sensible trousers are the order of the day here. I think it's the post-teddy bear suit backlash, I seem to be having a phase of dressing him like an old man. First attempt was the Baby Bloomers out of Sew Hip magazine. Well sort of - I cut out the pattern pieces and was unable to get them to fit together, so in the end I simplified it by just joining 4 pieces of fabric cut from the back pattern piece, instead of having a different back and front. This made them stupidly baggy. I'm not too sure about the result tbh. He wore them yesterday but they have a slightly Tudor look which is a little further along the old man scale than I had anticipated. The elasticated ankles ride up in use so they're round his thighs. Not all that useful as he's started crawling and I would have liked something to protect his knees from getting battered around too much. I may take the elastic out and see if that helps.
cars taste nice
modelled by rubbishknitterjunior
They were a super quick easy project anyway, so I thought i'd have a go at making another pair. Enter the Pockety trousers. These are pretty similar in construction, except I redrew the pattern pieces again to get a bit of a better fit. Longer legs and a slightly less comedy arse. I also left out the ankle elastic for less of a Henry VIII look. I like the way in this staid grey fabric (megacheap scrap fabric from a bargain bin, don't ask what it was) they look like the baby equivalent of an old man trouser that you might get in the back of a sunday supplement. But really, it's all about the pocket with these. I've always been amused by the concept of pockets on baby clothes, and while this one is clearly pretty useless it does sort of serve a function. I have a recurring issue with some handmade clothes that I can never tell the back from the front. In the rush to get dressed in the morning, I can often be found swearing and examining jumpers to try and find waist shaping / a couple of extra stitches at the neckline. This isn't what you want, particularly when trying to wrestle clothes onto a baby who is trying to hurl himself off the top of the dresser and is systematically removing each article of clothing you put on. So at least with these you can tell which way round they are at a glance.
these are a rather generous trouser sir
And I had so much fun doing the pocket. I got the idea out of the Readers Digest Guide to Sewing which has a nice detailed how to for patch pockets. I put in an inverted pleat and machine sewed a buttonhole. Totally awesome. I want to put pockets and buttons on everything now. Or perhaps I should make a teeny tiny baby wallet and mobile phone to put in the pocket. (Or perhaps I should get out more.)


Sunday, June 07, 2009

UK Ravelry day

oh hai
So if you didn't already know yesterday was UK Ravelry day, a knitting themed event in Coventry. I was ridiculously excited to be relieved from childcare duties for the day so that I was able to go!

Fortunately for knitters, the weather turned freezing for the day, so everyone was able to showcase their favourite handmade woolly creations. It was great fun to play spot the pattern / spot the yarn.
future yarn
It was chucking it down a bit too much to stroke the poor alpacas, but there was a nice indoor area to shelter from the rain, with tea and cake, where literally everyone was knitting as they sat and chatted or stood in queues for workshops. Which is just an awesome sight. I loved just sitting round soaking up the atmosphere - everyone was so friendly, it was almost impossible not to get into a conversation if you reached into your bag and pulled out a piece of knitting or ball of yarn.
The range of stalls selling so much British yarn proved impossible to resist, so I didn't even try. (Mr. Rubbishknitter texted me as I was on my way home: Do you need me to bring the van down to the station to bring back all your new yarn? I replied: No need, I've managed to cram it all into the saddle bags of our new pet alpaca. He went quiet for a while after that.)
big pile of yarn
Jamieson and Smiths had a stupidly tempting pile of big bags of 2 ply jumper yarn for a tenner each. Drool. I am a sucker for that burnt orange colour. So despite having carefully written down yardages for a few potential queued items, I did what I had promised myself I wouldn't, and impulse bought a big pile'o'yarn. Ahem. Well, I'm sure I will find a use for yarn that lovely. I might go for a proper fair isle project, which is what the yarn is designed for really, or failing that possibly brooklyntweed's Druid mittens, which I've had my eye on for a while. I bought some undyed balls too in case I decide to go the fair isle route... you have to keep all avenues open!

Also, rather sillily in terms of efficiency of carting stuff around I bought some stuff off my Mancunian mates. Who could resist this handspun though? It's alpaca from Six Swans and it's the softest thing I've ever felt. I adore the caramel colour of the undyed yarn. I think this is destined to become something simple for the baby - either a hat or maybe I could stretch it out into a jumper if I found something suitable to stripe it with.
mmmm slaver
preeeeettttttttty yarn

It was also impossible not to buy this little zip up pouch in 'crafty pirates' fabric from Green Eyed Monsters. Look, it has scissors and skulls! What more can you possibly want?

ahoy there


Friday, June 05, 2009

on the needles

the warm librarian look
It struck me that I have been a very lazy blogger and for ages have just been putting up pictures of finished objects. For all you people know, I could have bought them all in Primark and passed them off as mine. I could be the sort of person who invites people round for tea, orders a takeaway, dishes it out and hides all the evidence, pretending to have slaved in the kitchen all afternoon. (I don't, but I do enjoy a nice greasy takeout curry. Mmmm).

So here's some evidence for you all, of what I've been up to...

I've being getting on quite well with the Deep V Argyle tank top. This is great fun so far, I love stranded knitting. Seems to fit ok as well up to this point, I have been trying it on slightly overzealously, like every row or so. I know a lot of people have had fit problems with the top half, but that is steeked so I'll just have to see how it goes. Some have complained of wide shoulders but I currently look a bit like Mickey Rourke in the Wrestler after carrying a fat baby around all the time, so I'm not too worried about that. I've moved the V neck up about 10 rows on the chart though - I just felt it was a little draughty looking as originally designed. (I must be getting old.)
burn burn burn... like a sock of fire
Now my sock needles are free again, I have been able to cast on some socks with the lovely hand-dyed yarn that Cat gave me. I was originally going to make the Herringbone Rib Socks out of the Winter 2008 Interweave Knits, and made two egregious attempts at starting these yesterday. For some reason, I kept ballsing up the stitch pattern, and found it incredibly difficult to tink backwards and fix errors. Normally I can do this no problem, even in lacey things, but I couldn't seem to sort it out yesterday and it was annoying me. I think the socks are beautiful in this sort of yarn but after the second frog, when I read on ravelry that someone with the same size feet as me had found them too tight, and with very little stretch, I gave up. So I'm making charades instead now, which look like an easier version of the same sort of stitch. A nice simple project to take on the train to UK Ravelry Day tomorrow!
stop wriggling for a millisecond so I can take this photo please
I'm also pleased to report that the made-up-on-holiday baby socks have remained on rubbishknitterjunior's feet all morning, which is nothing short of miraculous. It's definitely a good idea to put eyelets and a tie onto a baby sock. They're pretty simple but I may even write up a pattern for these if I get a minute. (Yes, yes, I know they have pink stripes and he is male. So I have freed myself from the cultural hegemony of Prescribed Baby Colours. He's too small to be embarrassed yet. And it was all the yarn I had with me on holiday ok?!)


Thursday, June 04, 2009

big sock little sock

mmmm warm toes
Advice to Knitters: When going on holiday, make sure you pack enough yarn.
family of socks

Otherwise you will finish the socks you are making, then have to improvise reeeeally smaaaall socks for the baby from the teeny tiny leftover bits, then sit twiddling your thumbs, idly wondering if some sort of fibre could be made from grass. Ah well. The baby socks turned out ok, although I didn't really have enough yarn to do very much after turning the heel. I put an eyelet row in just before the top and a crochet tie through in an attempt to stop him pulling them off and eating them (his favourite sock based game). I love my new socks and like the length of them - maybe not very summery but I do wear boots a lot of the time for dogwalking and allotment digging purposes so I suspect they will be very useful. Pattern was winged a bit, based on my usual toe-up measurements from knitty's universal sock pattern, but with a k3 p2 garter rib, which is sufficiently mindless for inebriated holiday crafts. I spent ages agonising over what sock pattern would be engaging to knit without being too hectic for the stripes, and I think in the end this struck a good balance. Yarn is the very lovely Kaffe Fassett for Regia Landscape Celebration. I used every last millimetre of 2 balls.