Machine Knitting a hat

I have decided that this is the year that I properly learn how to use my knitting machine. I own a (2nd hand) Knitmaster 360 and ribber. I have never given myself enough time to fully understand how these work.

The reverse of my hat, halfway through knitting

I have made a few things with them…you might find some old posts on this blog. (I still regularly wear that Cardigan!)

In order to motivate myself, I joined The Machine Knitting Community at the end of January. It’s run by a designer named Nic Corrigan who owns Whitehall Studio. The membership opens up 4 times a year, so that new people join in batches.

The Community operates through an app and website, where there are monthly Knitalongs, monthly zoom knit night, guest speakers and demonstrations. With all previous events recorded and available to watch at any time.

I’m slowly making my way through the videos, and have also followed the pattern and instructions for a previous Hat Kal.

My first machine knit hat! Pom Pom to be added!

I have never gotten to grips with my ribber, and within minutes of posting a query on how to get it set up, some helpful members directed me to some videos, and helped troubleshoot my setup. This alone was worth the joining fee!

My first hat was knitted and I made lots of great mistakes (I know that sounds odd… But hear me out)…

1. My ribbing was like cardboard… Due to setting it up wrong. I know better now!

2.The hat was too long… I will now remember to knit a swatch๐Ÿคฃ.. (looking at my post from 7 years ago, I should have known that!)

3. If I don’t unlock the punchcard, the pattern will freeze and become vertical stripes (could be useful in future!.

Non stretchy ribbing and accidental stripes!

4.The patterning has some missed areas… Due to not pushing the carriage fully past the punchcard selectors.

It’s a steep learning curve and needs alot of patience/perseverance, but I’m enjoying the challenge.

I could have unravelled my practice hat and started again, but I needed to try to make it wearable, (why?…. Because sometimes I make life hard for myself!)

So I threaded a lifeline and cut off the grey ribbing.

I folded up a band and hung all the stitches back on the knitting machine…. (Probably won’t do that again… Too much time).Knitted a row and then cast off.

Once the side was seamed it was good to go!

Patterning mistakes are a bit more obvious on this side

I worked on some swatches during the week and plan to spend some more time at the machine this week, putting what I’ve learned into practice on a second hat.

And I’m also wearing a hand-knit in progress in the above picture… I’m working on the sleeves and will hopefully have a finished piece to show soon!

Made in Ireland (Again!)

McCalls 7694

Sometimes sewing plans take a while to come together. I was given a long wool coat by my Aunt over 2 years ago, she knew I’d appreciate the pure wool fabric, and would put it to good use.

William Lett Wool Coat (1985)

It was Made in Ireland by the label ‘William Lett’ approx 35 yrs ago, and despite being worn in the 80’s to Weddings and Funerals alike – other than the lining and foam shoulder pads coming apart – it was in almost perfect condition.

I had thought about altering the shoulders and trying to change the collar etc, but I knew it still wouldn’t be my style, so I put it away for a while.

Then this pattern caught my eye:

Mccalls 7694

So in November I took the coat apart at the seams and tried to fit as many of the pattern pieces as possible.

Disassembled coat!
Pattern tetris….

Despite the length of the original coat, I was left with only small scraps once I had cut and pieced some of the panels.

The front panels have an extra vertical seam, the sleeves have a longer cuff panel than on the pattern and the inside facings are also pieced together.

I added a seam parallel to the zip line so that it would look intentional!
Sleeve panels, longer cuff panel than the original pattern
The back pleat is a pieced panel and not as deep as the pattern, due to fabric shortages!
The paisley lining and snaps were the only things I bought to complete the jacket.

It’s a great pattern and I seem to fit Mccalls size 10 quite well – despite my measurements matching up with the size 12 on the envelope. (my measurements are approx 34-29-36)

I did take the shoulders in a little, they are cut to be a dropped style, but this doesn’t suit my straight shoulders so I took them in about 1.5 cm to sit on my shoulder.

Before altering.. Comparing shoulder fit to the original

Below after altering. I also love the lower curved hem detail:

The zip came from an old RTW Cardigan!
Final bit of posing I promise! It’s lightweight but so warm!

Other than a few swear words while attaching the snaps (they kept popping off as soon as I tested them – I was being too gentle with the hammer ๐Ÿ˜‚), I loved making this.

It’s nice to prolong the life of this fabric, and good to show alternatives to buying new fabric!

2020…

Happy New year everyone!! I hope it has started off well. 2020 was the strangest year, and I’ve been going through my photos to remind myself that there were lots of positives mixed in with all the negatives.

I realised that I’ve never looked back at a full year of making before. So I thought it might be interesting to share what I made in 2020, as I didn’t get to show everything on this blog.

Knitting wise I made less than I thought – just 5 handknits. I did cast on other projects, but they were all taken off the needles after a few rows…. I think I just found it hard to settle on anything this year.

My Caramel Cardigan is my favourite, and has been worn almost every week since I made it. I really think it was worth the time it took to figure it out, without using a pattern, and I’d like to try doing something similar this year (and maybe even writing out the pattern this time!)

My Caramel Cardigan
Soldotna
Fuss free baby Cardigan (free pattern on Ravelry)
My 2nd Sunday Cardigan by Petiteknit

I’d also like to make another Sunday Cardigan, it’s a shape that really suits me and works up quickly too.

I had wanted to try more crafts this year like embroidery, painting, or weaving. The May Bank Holiday weekend threw some weaving material my way, when my husband was clearing the garden and I used the flexible brambles to make a basket:

It dried out nicely and while it’s not as strong as a willow basket, it held its shape perfectly.

That led to me signing up for a one day, (group of 4) willow basketry course in August when restrictions had been lifted. (I had attended one of these classes a few years ago).

This time I came home with a very sturdy willow basket:

And now I’m dreaming of a Sally garden with my own willow… Some day!

I tried out some embroidery/applique on a RTW tee shirt:

I also tried needlepunch for the first time. I bought an Amy Oxford punch needle that works with dk/aran weight wool, so that I could use up my leftover Yarn:

This isn’t my original design, I saw a beautiful painting and free handed a drawing onto hessian, which I then filled in with yarn. It is now brightening up a wall on my house ๐Ÿ˜

This was attached to the frame just a few days ago!

I was surprised by how little sewing I had done. I think outside of my day job, I spent alot more time outdoors, hiking, cycling or swimming depending on what restrictions were in place.

My Burda Dress, which is now Navy… I’ll update with a photo soon.

Grey and pink skirt

My grey and pink skirt was quickly followed by another version in a striped denim, it just need buttonholes to be done!

I also made a shirt around the same time from a fabric swap. It’s Mccalls M7575.

Mccalls 7575

I took a copy of a sweatshirt I owned and made it in a navy floral scuba, which I gave to my Mother for Christmas and she loved it. It reminded me that I’d like to make more things as gifts, especially for my Mother as she is always chuffed to have something I made. (A cross-stitch Xmas wall hanging that I made in 1992, was hanging by the tree again this year๐Ÿ˜‚

And finally the most recent item I’ve sewn: this is McCalls M7694 and as soon as my silver snaps arrive it will be properly finished!

I hope it’s brought some inspiration, or even a distraction for now.

Cheers to 2021๐Ÿฅ‚

Christmas Crafting

Its less than 2 weeks to Christmas, and here I am again with no presents made and wondering how I can pull it together in time.!

I am surprised that I’m surprised… Every January I think to myself that I’ll make one gift a month so I can give everyone some hand knitted/sewn/woven/printed loveliness.. But it never happens!

I did however, manage to add to my handmade decorations!

The tree above was made with the help of a small helper, a glue gun and my jar of odd buttons.

The star below was made after I came across a video online, (@bookhou on Instagram). I used 7 a4 sheets of light card and the glue gun again instead of staples.

I had some willow left from making a basket during the summer and I twisted it into a very rough circle to make this wreath and added a few extra bits:

And finally….! my mother mentioned she would like a wreath so today I went to the garden and gathered any flexible branches I could find along with some ivy and any other interesting wildflowers/weeds!

Then some twisting and tieing and it didn’t look too bad:

Natural, biodegradable (and free!) wreath

2 weeks isn’t much time to make gifts in, but I’m pretty sure I’ll manage a few more decorations ๐Ÿ˜

Buttoned skirt – Rtw skirt copy

I made this skirt by taking a pattern from a cord skirt that I love to wear… It buttons down the front and is unlined so I knew it would be a good option to make a copy.

In making a pattern from clothing there are a few ways to approach it – it can be cut apart and used as a pattern Or it can be traced without damaging the original. I want to keep wearing this skirt, so tracing it is…

Grey striped fabric and original cord skirt.

I pinned the skirt onto brown paper and added the seam allowance for the button placket:

I took some photos and a video as I was tracing it and have it saved on Instagram.. The link below should bring you straight to it… (If I’ve done this right!)

I cut the new skirt from a lovely grey suiting fabric with a pink stripe, which I got from the recent fabric swap.

Cutting the pockets at an angle
Pockets have been lined and are topstitched on

I underlined each skirt piece with some thin habotai lining, before folding and sewing the facings.

Front facing folded and front waistband attached
Skirt fronts finished
Interior.. Side seams sewn
Bias strips of lining to finish the side seams
Seams bound and waist facings attached
Testing out pink buttons

I had some pink buttons that were the perfect size and made the buttonholes using the embroidery unit on my Pfaff machine. I took alot of photos of that process and will post about it soon.

In the meantime since the pattern worked out – I have cut and almost finished a 2nd version.