Friday, June 17, 2016

Boyfriend Beanie number two!



Been a bit useless with blogging for the last couple of weeks. Today was the last day of work before the Paris adventure begins next week, and the last little while has been consumed by life admin and catching up with people. I've been doing a bit of knitting, including starting my Equilibrium Cardigan in lovely Outlaw Yarn

I have also managed to finish another Boyfriend Beanie with Vintage Purls sock yarn. I figure since I'm heading to the northern summer, Husband will need to keep warm while I'm away. I'm really loving that pattern and how simple it looks. I'll probably steal this one when I get back!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Stash Less Challenge #4 and Woolfest 2016


I think it's quite fitting that the most recent Stash Less Challenge posted was called Stop Shopping. Today was Auckland's annual Woolfest, pretty much the only big fibre event that's open to the general public each year. And I did buy some stuff. I gave myself a $100 budget to buy yarn for a cardigan. 



From previous Stash Less posts, it's become pretty apparent that my stash doesn't serve all of my needs. It doesn't have any DK or worsted weight in quantities big enough for a cardigan or sweater, and with my favourite grey cardigan falling to pieces and lots of holes in my navy blue one, it is time to knit myself something that will last a bit longer than anything I've bought from a shop. 

So today, I went to Woolfest with a strict budget and with a specific pattern in mind, Equilibrium from Pompom Quarterly's Spring 2016 issue.

I didn't have a specific colour in mind, other than it whatever colour I chose had to work with a good chunk of the items in my wardrobe. I thought I'd go with my usual grey or navy, but decided that a work horse didn't have to be in one of my go-to tones. And against my usual choices, I went for a very very pale pink alpaca merino blend from Outlaw Yarns. I got the last five skeins, totalling exactly $100, with just enough for my cardigan. I've used this yarn before for my Camp Fire Scarf, and love the way it knits up. It will make a great cardigan.

So what does my spending today have to do with stopping shopping? Well, first of all, this is the only yarn I've purchased this year. That's six months of no yarn buying, and only knitting from the stash. I'm at the point now where I'm not shopping for the sake of shopping. I'm shopping because I need a new cardigan, already have the pattern, and have nothing in the stash that's suitable. That's a pretty big deal for me.

This year I have purchased fabric, but everything I've purchased has been used. And I'm really happy that I'm buying yarn and fabric to use, and that I've put more thought into its purchase, instead of just buying something that I like the look of. 

And today there was a lot that I liked the look of!

 

Like all of this lovely Rosewood Wool. It was my first time seeing it all in person, and it's just beautiful. I have a few future ideas for this yarn, that need to be formulated a bit further before I start spending. 


That orange! So good!


And it was great to have a good look at the lovely Brooklyn Tweed at Holland Road Yarn Co's stall. I've been a huge admirer of their yarns and patterns, and I'm keen to save some extra pennies for a shawl or scarf.


And then there is one of my all time favourites, Spinning a Yarn. I have two skeins of a dark blue (similar to that in the photo) sitting in the stash, but I think I need one skein in another colour for a potential shawl. The difficulty is picking the colour. That golden yellow is amazing, and so is that pink... 


I'll have lots of time on my trip to do some brainstorming and think about what projects I want to make next, whether I want to design my own, and what yarn I can use from the stash to keep my spending down. For now, I'll finish the beanie I'm working on, and get started on the cardigan.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The skirt length question

I'm a lover of midi length skirts. The ones that swish around your knees a bit, or flow a little longer. What I haven't figured out yet is how to make one that I really love.

Over the last couple of weeks I've messed around with some fabric I got for $1 at a fair in Queenstown, trying to make the perfect skirt. I've figured out that you need a flowing fabric for a nice midi skirt - not the cotton I started with. My first attempt (with about seven different goes at inserting the zip...) was the perfect length but the fabric just didn't flow like I wanted it to. 


I wore it for a week until I decided it needed significant shortening.


Nine inches later and it's much more like a Tilly and the Buttons' Clemence Skirt. I used the Clemence instructions in Love at First Stitch to make the waistband and attach it to the body of the skirt. Instead of cutting several pattern pieces for the front and the back, I just folded my big piece of fabric in half and joined it together to have one seam instead of two, and inserted the zip into this. 

And for the first time ever, I used a French seam! I think this is going to be my new solution until an overlocker is purchased after my trip. I really like the finish, it's very neat and I think it will work really well on a lot of other projects!

I'm really happy with the new length. It's much more versatile and for a grand total of $5 for the right colour thread, a zip and the fabric, this might just be my cheapest make yet!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The countdown begins


It suddenly dawned on me this week that it's May. And today it dawned on me that I've only got 42 days to go until my trip to Paris. Which is great, but also a bit terrifying.

The last time I visited Paris was 10 years ago, when I was 19. I spent three days there with cousins and aunties, and I had an amazing time. It was the middle of winter but the days were very clear and crisp. What really sticks out for me this time is I'm travelling by myself, and going to school with people who will be the same age as I was when I last visited the city. It's also really got me thinking about my wardrobe... 

I want to make sure I pack appropriately - summer, but also studying with young people in the most glam city in the world is really making me think about what stuff I have in my drawers and what I'll need to take. I'm essentially going to be living a student life for almost a month, so my usual work wear won't cut it. I also want to pack lightly - I have dates with plenty of yarn and fabric shops and will want to bring some stuff back with me.

I'm thinking I need comfy, versatile clothes. Maybe a couple of dresses made out of knit fabric to avoid ironing (this is a really just a good excuse to make another Kielo dress in some t-shirting). I've got myself some pants for the 24 hour flight, and a couple of good quality t-shirts and singlets (AS Colour - my go-to for affordable basics with ethical sourcing). 

Given it's Paris, ordinarily I would probably dress really fancy the whole time, but as I'll be kicking around on a university campus and staying in student residences, I think more casual is the way to go.  I'll throw in a couple of knits for good measure - any one have any packing advice?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Stash Less Challenge #3 - Make a List


A little while back a lovely friend got me an awesome notebook. When I was at high school I used to be really good at writing in journals, but it was a habit that didn't survive much beyond university. And while I don't write in it all the time, it has been good for helping me get an idea of what's in my stash, and what projects I want to make.

I am lucky to have a bit of a starting point for the third Stash Less Challenge - create a making list.
This note book has the stash list I made back in the first month of the challenge, and it also has a list of things I wanted to make over summer 2015/2016.

I've made a few of these things! I've knitted my green cardigan and made my Kielo dress for my friend's wedding. But the list does have a few gaps, and it also has a few things on it that I just don't want to make any more.

That stamp print fabric in the stash- yes, it would make a cute vintage-style dress, but I need to be realistic about what I'd actually wear. I'm just not going to wear it. So that fabric needs to come out of the stash, and into the donations bag.

I need to write a new list, and review what else is on there. And I want to do that in time for my trip, because I want to make sure that I have really versatile items to take with me. I need to make a great pencil skirt and another Laurel dress - I've been dreaming of one in navy with a grey plaid pattern through it. I'm thinking it would be great for winter here with black stockings and books, or with my Chuck Taylors in summer. I also wouldn't mind making another Kielo dress. I might be brave enough to try silk this time.

So here goes - my new Making List:

Sewing:
Laurel dress - navy fabric (fabric to purchase)
Kielo silk dress (fabric to purchase)
Kielo dress with sleeves for work  (fabric to purchase)
Pencil skirt - stash fabric
Colette Aster shirt - stash fabric
Cropped Linden sweatshirt - leftover fabric from Husband's sweater

Knitting:
Knitted cardigan - no idea what yarn or pattern!
Hat for husband - currently on the needles with stash yarn
New special scarf - no idea what yarn or pattern!

These aren't in any particular order, and aside from the Aster shirt and the projects that don't have specified patterns, I already own the patterns for these. It looks like I need a lot of fabric, which goes to show that the stuff in my stash is of no use to me, and needs to go. Or I need to learn how to make linings and use it all for that instead!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Me Made May 2016 - my pledge


I'm a bit terrified that it's May already. That means I only have a month and a half to go until my trip to Paris, which is kind of terrifying. It seemed so far away, but all of a sudden it feels really close and I feel like there's a lot to organise. I'm digressing though...

May! Which means it's the start of Me Made May 2016. For the last year or so I've pledged to wear items I've made myself every day for the month, alongside lots of other crafty bloggers out there. 

This year I pledge to wear an item I've made OR a garment I've altered myself every day for the month. 

The reason I've added altered garments to my pledge is because Me Made May is about being conscious of what's in your wardrobe. And there were so many things in mine that were never worn because they didn't fit properly, or they needed repairs. By learning to sew, I've learnt to save these items from the back of the wardrobe, which is a huge step towards reducing waste and diverting things from landfill - I think this is just as important as making things from scratch!

I doubt I'll be posting daily photos of my outfits, because I'm not that organised, but I will do my best to give weekly updates on what I'm wearing!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

When you lose the hardest thing you've ever knitted


It's taken about three weeks to post this. I think because posting it means that I've acknowledged that the hardest thing I've ever knitted is gone, and that the chances of finding it again are very low. 

The weather is finally getting cold enough here to start thinking seriously about knitwear. A few weeks ago I was looking for my Funchal Moebius, and she wasn't in any of the usual places. Not in my scarf drawer. Not on top of the dresser. Not on the floor (yes, I know, I'm a terrible person, but my floordrobe functions well) and not in any other drawers. She wasn't under the cushions on the couch, in any of my craft drawers, or on any coat hangers in the actual wardrobe.

I turned the house upside down. I rang my parents and my in-laws. Grandma is very concerned. Friends checked to see if I'd left it at their places. No sign of it anywhere.

This is not the first knitted item I've lost. Last year I lost my first Storm Shawl, but that was very straight forward to recreate. This is another matter entirely. 

The Funchal Moebius was a really big challenge for me when I made it. This was over five years ago; I'd never knitted anything of that size before, and I don't think I have since. I'd never tried stranded knitting, and I'd never dyed yarn before. It took me over six months to make, blindly trusting in Kate Davies' pattern writing skills, and painstakingly grafting the two ends together having never done a Kitchener Stitch before in my life.

I'm still trying to find a bit of a way forward from this. Part of me thinks "Jo, this is okay, it's just a scarf" and the other parts are more like "How the hell could you be so careless, don't you remember that six months of struggle??". I'm a bit mad at myself, but do realise that at the end of the day, if I really want to, I could make another one because it's not the end of the world and there are much more important things for me to be worrying about.

The idea of making another one feels incredibly daunting, and I'm not sure that I can bring myself to do it. Maybe I need to find another pattern that's a little bit classic / will go with everything /  a bit of a challenge. Maybe that's the way forward. And maybe she will turn up! 

Have you ever lost anything that took a lot of time or effort to make? What did you do?