How to shorten a jacket cuff…by not shortening a jacket cuff!

I try to avoid most alterations, they can become more than you bargained for – see Mrs Mole’s blog if you need to understand why!  But sometimes I will repay a favour to a friend, which is how this came my way.
 I needed to shorten a child’s suit jacket sleeve (image below).  It has three buttons and buttonholes, and was needed quickly.

But rather than mess with those buttons and hem corners, I took off the sleeves, and cut the extra length from the top.

I traced the new seamline with thread and checked the fit and new length.  Then it was just a quick trim before fitting it back into the armhole.

This could also be done with a mans suit , depending on how much needs to be shortened. Look out for a very tapered sleeve as if you move down too far you might not have enough width to fill the armhole!  Always a good idea to thread trace and check fit first 🙂

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Cotton summer scarf

Yep a summer scarf…just because there’s no longer an ‘r’ in the month, it doesn’t mean I can expect to be warm! 

 

I’ve only ever made baby blankets from cotton yarn and wanted to try out something wearable.

I found the free pattern on Ravelry – its slanted and interesting but not too fiddly.  It’s called Filo Biased scarf

I’d say it would be a good second project for a new knitter – it’s mostly garter stitch (plain knitting) with a few other techniques like increasing/decreasing and yarn-overs added in. 

 

As often happens, I didn’t follow the pattern exactly  – I gradually made my stripes thicker and added in more of the mesh panels because they were nice and quick to knit!

I bought the cotton in a shop called Sorensen Green in Cork city … my brother said it was my kind of shop and he was right … lots of bits and bobs that I didn’t need, but had to buy! 

I did stop at three balls of cotton though – and told myself I had to use those up before getting more. But of course now I’m sorry I didn’t buy more! Especially since they cost less than €2 per ball.

When I got home, my daughter pointed out the yarn colours matched what I was wearing that day … so at least the scarf was guaranteed to match something in my wardrobe !

Anyone else who matches their shopping to their outfit?

I liked the feel of knitting with cotton and am trying to decide what to make next.

 I also love that I could find a pattern after an impulse buy of yarn. Using the advanced search on Ravelry – by selecting my needle size, yarn amount (metres) and free knitting patterns, I could easily pick a pattern from the filtered options. Perfect solution to my habit of buying yarn without knowing what I’m going to make 🙂

A tale of three hats …

Hats are a great way to use up leftover yarn from jumpers, and to try out new techniques without wasting too much time if you don’t end up liking the final result.

 

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Wurm Hat, made with leftovers from two cardigans.

 

This is my Wurm Hat – made with a very popular free pattern available on Ravelry.  I used aran yarn, leftover from my Miette Cardigan and my Myrna cardigan.  It has a nice thick band, made in the same way as a folded hem.  The ridges give it plenty of stretch to fit over heavy curls, or to fit different sized heads.  A very easy make that would be great for a quick present.

 

The next hat was made without any pattern – I made a guess at how many stitches after a quick swatch. Because I was using ribbing, it would be stretchy enough to make up for my lack of prep! I used fisherman’s rib* for about five inches – it’s the nicest squishiest rib – little pockets of air to add warmth to your hat.

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I held two shades of grey sock yarns and treated them as one, so it gave a lovely marled grey effect to the hat.

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There was a real difference in the warmth of this hat, and I’d recommend using sock yarn or something with wool for hats. The acrylic one above (Wurm Hat) was good to keep out the cold, but a hat with wool will hold in the heat much more effectively, and without being clammy.

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I changed to a basket weave pattern and decreased a few stitches for a couple of rounds before gathering all the remaining stitches to close the crown.

 

lake hat

A seriously glassy lake in Killarney. (My scarf was made on my knitting machine – using black acrylic mixed with a colourful sock yarn)

 

The photo above was taken on a lovely day in November, I had a little time to kill so I sat by the lake knitting my red jumper.  The stone wall I was sitting on was freezing, so I took my hat off and sat on it instead – It was bizarre how warm it felt, completely insulating me from the cold stone!

 

The third hat in this tale was also made with the same grey yarns held double –

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This was a beret shape – I cast on using a little guesswork again. I then worked it for a few inches, trying it on all the time.

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When I reached the crown, I placed markers, roughly dividing the circumference by five, and then decreased at the markers every few rows.  I had every intention of writing the pattern as I was going along, but I just got carried away, with how quickly it was coming together!

If you’ve gotten this far you might want to hear the twist in the tale… ?

The one thing these hats have in common is that I have lost ALL THREE OF THEM!!! Seriously.. no idea where or when.  They all got worn for about three months each, before being abandoned or lost who-knows-where! I hope that someone, somewhere is enjoying them… as for me – I could get ahead of myself and knit some more in time for next winter..!

*Fishermans rib – similar to brioche stitch. For a video and pdf tutorial see newStitchaDay

Knitting – Sweet Jane

It’s been a while since I’ve shared any making…and this was finished (and worn) on New Year’s day, so it’s definitely time to show it off!

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This is Sweet Jane, an a-line jumper with an asymmetrical hem. I managed to make mine longer than the original….I even considered making it into a dress as it wouldn’t have taken much more yarn to get there!

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Above – Cloud reflections while Lakeside knitting in Killarney last November.  I was waiting around there for a day, and it was the nicest day, just drinking coffee, strolling around and doing some knitting ….  how middle-aged can I get!

Made from the top down in one piece. My gauge was pretty close to the pattern, so I didn’t make any changes except to stop increasing after the waist, so mine is a little less flared than the pattern.

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Trying on for fit as I went along

 

I was working on this at a very busy/stressful time (apart from that one day above!) and it was a great distraction when I needed a minute of calm.
I’m delighted with this jumper – I can honestly say I would buy this if I saw it in a shop.   I’ve worn it at least once every week since I finished it in January. The yarn (Ella Rea cozy soft) has 25% wool making it warm but still lightweight and breathable.  I could do with making another in either teal or grey/black. The only thing stopping me is that even though it was an easy knit, it got boring!  All the stockinette was nice for zoned out knitting, but it did start to wear on a bit near the end.  If I was to make another, I think I’d work on a hat or scarf with an interesting pattern and swap between them, depending on my mood.

The only other thing to mention is that I’ve noticed it getting more out of shape around the neck and shoulders as I’ve worn it – because it’s made in one piece it doesn’t have the support of shoulder seams.  I did a little surgery on it the other day with a crochet hook – picking up stitches along the inside and crocheting a chain to hold the shoulder line and support the back neck. It’s made a noticeable difference, and I’ll be doing the same if I ever make another version.

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Crochet chain at shoulder on left –  before going across the back of the neck and over to the other shoulder

 

Right now I’m working on two different cardigans, but I’m thinking of undoing at least one of them – it’s the Myrna Cardigan from Andi Satterlund.  I’ve made it before in green (see below) and it’s gotten a lot of wear – over dresses and shirts.

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Green Myrna cardigan – before buttons were attached

The problem with the latest one is that I just couldn’t concentrate, so the armholes ended up too long. I carried on, thinking I’d figure a way to make it work, but really I need to undo it and decide whether to re-start or pick a new pattern.  So that’s my plan for this week 🙂

 

Burda 10/2016 104 (fancy pocket dress!)

This is a rarity for me – actually using a Burda Style Magazine in the same month as it was purchased.  I attempted the Burda Challenge in 2015, where you make something from each months issue, but I abandoned it early in the year.  It didn’t suit the way I make things.  I don’t shop for fabric regularly – I tend to pick fabric up as I see it, and then let it gather dust until the perfect pattern shows up.

The pattern is described on the Burdastyle site as the “Fancy Pocket Dress” !

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I’ve had the fabric more than two years – I got it from an Op shop in Australia. That makes me sounds like a globetrotter (I wish!)- I’d happily pack my bags and get on a plane to anywhere, but circumstances don’t usually allow for travel!  So that was my first time abroad in years, and I loved it! I saw lots of Melbourne and a little of Sydney. Anyway, on one of the days I took a bus tour to the Grampians and during a rest break, while everyone was getting tea – I popped into an Op shop and picked up a few bits, this fabric being one of them.

It’s a light stretch cotton, and I had 1.5 metres – which is less than the pattern calls for, but I had enough. I should say that the dress pattern is longer than it looks in the magazine- I cut 3 inches off the hem before sewing it.

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Despite the complicated shape of the pockets, this dress came together pretty quickly. I made it on a Friday evening and wore it to dinner on the Saturday evening! It isn’t lined – just overlocked and I made narrow facings for the necklines.

Because of the stretch in the fabric, I used iron-on interfacing strips at the neckline, shoulders and centre back at the zipper.

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The instructions for the pockets were as clear as usual with Burda…! So I took a few pictures as I went along which might help if anyone plans to make this.

This is how the skirt looked from the wrong side – I interfaced at the base of the pockets before snipping into the fabric. ( the centre pleats are tacked in place)

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You then need to pivot the pockets upwards at the point where it was snipped:

 

The pocket folds back on itself – you then stitch the pocket seam ,from the point at the base to the top edge- seen below at the left of the pocket piece.

(my pocket shape is a little uneven as I had to cut into the plain selvedge to get it to fit)

 

The baste the top edges to hold in place, before joining the skirt front to the bodice front.

The picture below is of the front right of the skirt – the triangle on the left is where the pocket was pivoted. You need to make sure to catch this fully when sewing the skirt side seams.

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Other than that, the dress was straight forward to make – once I had inserted the zip and joined the front and back at the shoulders, I tried it on and pinned the bodice sides to fit, continuing down to the skirt. Because of the triangle cutout at the pocket on the skirt, it would be difficult to let this out on the hips, unless you adjusted the width of the pleats.

When I tried it on, I didn’t like how much the pockets stuck out. My fabric wasn’t quite as drapey as suggested.  So I improvised by pushing the pocket in towards the centre front, and topstitching it down – it looks like an extra pleat on the skirt, and means the pocket is still roomy enough to use, but doesn’t stick out as much.

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That’s about it really – I’ll be keeping the pattern handy, as I would love this in a lighter fabric for the summer – and it looked great without the sleeves, so a sleeeveless version will have to go on the to-do list.