Soldotna – colourful knit

I hope everyone is doing ok, given the circumstances x. This week restrictions here have lifted a little, in terms of increasing to a 5k distance from home for exercise, which has been very welcome. We have lots of nice beaches less than 5km from home and we made the most of them at the weekend. I’m working normal office hours during the week and keeping busy with cycling or making in the evenings.

One edge of a local beach, which we had to ourselves on our cycle Sunday morning.

I have a few different projects on the go at the minute, a caramel knitted cardigan and I’ve been working on a needlepunch picture, neither of which is finished. So here’s an in-progress look:

And heres something I finished a little while ago.

The Soldotna crop top pattern has been a big hit on Ravelry.

It ticks so many boxes – knit in one piece, great way to use colourful scraps, no sleeves, and cropped – a quick knit even though it’s colourwork.

Just some of the beautiful sweaters made from this pattern.

I saved alot of finished tops as inspiration for mine – but when I shopped for yarn I went with very different colours than originally planned.

Pinks and Blues

In order to substitute the colours – I printed the colour chart and took a photo which I altered to greyscale. And then arranged my yarn to see if I could get the same tonal difference:

Using grayscale this way makes it easier to compare the tones of different coloured yarn.

After knitting some of the yoke, I realised I wasn’t too keen on the colours, so tried it on a passing child … and she liked it, so she became the new owner.

Someone else liked it more than I did 🙂

I used hair clips (grips!) To mark the divide for armholes and continued on :

I thought it might look nice as a dress so I kept knitting until I was happy with the length and then added some colourwork at the hem – but it just didn’t sit right- the shape was just odd. The colourwork narrowed the hem of the dress so it took on a balloon/lantern shape.

Instead of unravelling it all – I cut off the unwanted length and thought about making a two-piece outfit but neither of us liked it on!

After separating.

I kept the extra piece and might make it into a cowl at a later stage. The top was finished with a 2×2 rib, and looks great worn with jeans:

I would still like to make one for myself, so I might return to the inspiration pics once the shops reopen and pick out some new colours:)

Mind yourselves. Slán xc

Burda Summer dress.113/02/2020

This used to be a sewing blog! But the last few posts have covered everything but sewing…..so back to normal programming for a minute 😁.

This dress has been in the making for almost two months.. Not because it’s difficult, I just lost interest in sewing for a while!

Burda 113/02/2020

I plan to finish it in the next few weeks by sewing in small bursts. I cut it from a medium weight cotton that has a small bit of stretch.

I don’t often make toiles, since Burda patterns fit pretty well. What I do is add some extra fabric to the seams, I also need extra at the shoulder slope because mine are very square, and extra length at the waist, to allow for being long waisted.

Cut with extra fabric at the shoulders, side seams and waist
I mark where the stitching line should be – using marker or by snipping the fabric

I don’t usually follow the instructions – instead I make it up in such a way that alterations will be easier at a later date…especially if I need to let it out or take it in. For this dress the bodice left and right are lined then the skirt fronts are lined.

Everything tacked together for a try on…

Inside the front bodice

The front bodice meets the side front at an angle. In order to keep the corner crisp, its a good idea to only stitch on the sewing line and not right to the edge:

Sew the lining seams the same way before going right sides together
I didn’t sew the very top – so that I could pin the shoulders to fit.
Inside view

I’m happy enough with the fit, so I’ll cut off the excess and get it tidied up.

It closes with two buttons and instead of buttonholes, there are gaps in the waist seam. A clever detail that I’ll show up close next time.

In other news the Great British Sewing Bee is back on tv since Wednesday. I only watched a few minutes, I’ve recorded it so will have a proper look tomorrow, they were making wrap skirts, refashioning shirts (it bothered me that the shirts they were given to refashion looked like new!) and sewing tea dresses.

I always have some knitting on the go and can’t sit down to watch tv without it – right now I’m working on this Caramel squishiness:

Hope all is well wherever you are, slán for now xc

Distractions….

Well alot can happen in a few weeks …. I hope everyone is in good health and stays well, I know it’s a tough time for lots of people in lots of ways right now x

Making things can be a helpful way to switch off from the news and divert the worries, for a short while anyway.

About two years ago I took a one-day class on willow basketmaking. It was the best fun, my friend came with me and by the end of the day we had aching hands and two lovely baskets to show off. I took photos with the intention of one day trying to make another basket. This one was made over two days, and even though my hands are a bit raggedy and a thorn had to be taken out of my thumb, I really enjoyed it!

Willow is not that easy to just pick up in a bundle in the shops, surprisingly 🙂 (and I haven’t yet figured out how to grow my own!).

Anyway… I like a challenge and I love making something from almost nothing. So the other day when we were clearing the back of the garden and the long briars (bramble) were getting tangled together, I started gathering a bunch of the nicer ones. I.e. the ones that were flexible but strong and not brittle.

It’s just like untangling yarn!

Then I trawled through my old photos and found the ones I needed. I just had a prickly problem to deal with first… the willow was lovely and smooth unlike the briars with the thorns that kept snagging my jeans!

So thanks to a little help from YouTube, I learned to pierce a tin can and used it to scrape the thorns off each piece.

My daughter came along and asked what I was at…..

Me: “I’m taking the thorns off this briar”

Her: “What do you need all the thorns for?”!!!…..

I think she was worried they’d be thrown in the slow cooker and served up for dinner!!

The first stage is to make the base using 6 short thick pieces, with three pieces getting threaded through the centre of the other 3 to form a cross shape. Then 2 flexible lengths are woven around while gradually easing the short sticks apart to form evenly spaced spokes. Hmmmm… are you lost yet?….. maybe try YouTube if you ever want to give it a proper go!

Making the base and adding the uprights (long spokes). Multiple cups of tea were needed!

Lengths are then pushed into the spaces either side of the original spokes and these are gently curved to form the uprights and held together, by a scrunchie in my case.

A heavy stone stops it from toppling

Then it’s the fun part of weaving, two strands are used and they are woven to form what looks like a twisted ‘X’ between each upright…

The fun part

And then I needed YouTube again because when it came time for us to finish our willow baskets, it was all a bit rushed and I had no photos and a hazy memory😆.

Making the top border. Slowly. After pausing the YouTube video. Alot.
Should fit alot of Easter eggs in here!

I was so happy that it actually worked out. Ignoring the fact that I’ve no idea what I need another basket for and I’m not even sure if the briars/bramble will just crack and crumble to pieces once it dries fully, or maybe it’ll go mouldy and I’ll have to return it to the garden?!! Not a clue …and honestly it’s grand, maybe it’s only purpose was to keep my hands moving and making!

Ps… Two of the things I made most recently have been worn together and match nicely too-

Heart earrings and Sunday Cardigan

Making … not sewing

I haven’t been sewing as much as I’d like this last year. My sewing space has moved upstairs and the space isn’t working the way I’d like it to… odd how a change of surroundings can really impact on the flow of making.

But, it has meant that I’ve started to try out a few new crafts that don’t take up too much space downstairs!

I wanted to try making some polymer clay earrings for a while, and over Christmas I watched some tutorials on YouTube and clipped some pictures for inspiration:

clipped inspiration

I bought a few colours and started by rolling out 2 different coloured flat slabs and adding torn pieces, before flattening again with the roller.

Playdoh tools came in useful for this part!
I pierced two holes into each of the flowers so they could be used as buttons

Then I cut out pairs of shapes using little metal shapes that I bought at ‘The Range’ , I made a hole in each piece using a toothpick.

They were baked in the oven and I added earring hooks to some of the hearts.

Happy heart earrings!


I’m pretty happy with how they turned out! Except I only really needed one pair of each colour design! Not sure what I’ll use the other pieces for…next year’s Christmas presents maybe😉.

Oh and the earring storage was made from a charity shop purchase… a letter board turned sideways!

Before…
And after!

I’ve made a list of new things I’d like to try out this year, so I can tick polymer clay off of it … and I have been doing some crochet with a plan to teach myself how to follow a written pattern properly.

And in sewing news …. I cut out a dress. It’s from the Feb 2020 Burda:

Dress 113 Burda 02/2020

I’ll update its progress…!

Knit improv…(knitting without a plan!)

Raspberry coloured and blackberry stitched cardi!

Somehow it’s March already and I feel like I’ve lost track of the year! The last few weeks have been hectic and I realised I hadn’t knit a single thing in February.

BlackBerry stitch cuff

So before I make a plan for some March knitting, here’s what I finished in January. It’s a child sized cardi.

It started out as an experiment – I wanted to use blackberry stitch for something for myself and just wanted to get knitting without swatching, so I cast on what I though would be enough stitches for a sleeve. But it wasn’t quite big enough to wear without cutting off my circulation 😂!

Tight squeeze sleeve

It did fit very nicely on my daughter’s arm, and the colour really suited her, so instead of ripping it back I decided to make a child sized cardi instead. Because I started this over the Christmas holidays, my muse was about the house all day, so I tried it on her every time she got within arms reach!

Body knit from the hem up
Trying on for size

When it fit to underarm height, I joined the sleeves and body to continue upwards to a circular yoke. I used scrap yarn for the design, which I also made up as I went along.

I gradually decreased the yoke as it got towards the neck, but there was no real method – except to evenly space the decreases on the decrease rows. The no plan approach had worked this far so I kept it up!

Made to include some growing room!

The neckline was finished in rib to match the hem and all that was left was a button band. I picked up stitches along the edge and evenly spaced the buttonholes….

First attempt at the button band

But I wasn’t happy with it…it seemed too thin for the weight of the blackberry stitch and the cardi in general. So for once I actually ripped back some knitting!

2nd attempt at buttonband

I knitted two bands using double knitting, and then Kitchener stitched them to the fronts.

Finished bands attached

The new bands gave it the structure it needed, and I used two large snaps to close it at the yoke and it’s being worn open below the yoke.

Snaps were added to the upper section afterwards

I really enjoyed making this, and because it’s a loose fit, it works really well as an extra layer over a school uniform on the colder days. It should also fit next year, and I might even add a centered zipper along the front instead of the snaps if it gets too snug for the bands to overlap. !

If you want to make something similar…. I loosely based my ‘plan’ for this cardi on info gleaned from Elizabeth Zimmermann’s book Knitting Without Tears. Which I bought after Kate mentioned it in her series on seamless knitting ☺