Monday, May 25, 2015

Extra Curricular and an inspirational interview



The thing I love most about Extra Curricular magazine how I get to talk to some incredibly creative and inspirational people. This latest issue is no different, and it's probably been my favourite issue to work on. The issue's theme was around mess, and the tendency for creative people to live in a bit of organised chaos. I am no different, but my habits and behaviours are something I am beginning to pay more and more attention to, and this includes the way I craft and use materials. 

A few weeks ago, I mentioned I was reading a very interesting book called Stuffocation. I'm really starting to challenge my relationship with my stuff, doing my best to buy local and handmade, and donating stacks of no-longer-needed things to charity. But my relationship with my craft supplies need more attention, and having a very long chat with Felicia Semple of The Craft Sessions really opened my eyes to the reality of my consuming. Felicia set herself a personal challenge to be more conscious of her stash and her making, and instead of constantly looking for new materials, fabrics, yarn, she is making sure she uses things she's already stashed. 

I've said before that I tend to knit whatever I want without thinking whether the final product will fit with the rest of my wardrobe, or I go out and buy yarn and get home to realise I'll never use it because it's the wrong colour or weight. So after a very inspirational chat from Felicia, I've decided change is needed. I have enough sock yarn to keep me happy for quite a while, yarn for two jumpers that I'll actually wear, and definitely something in there I can turn into a new winter hat. I'm pretty sure I'll be buying more stuff when I got to Knit August Nights in August, but I hope those purchases will be considered. 

Felicia has really inspired me to make some of these changes - chatting with her was just what I needed to get an extra push in the right direction. I recommend reading her great blog and the feature I've written in Extra Curricular - grab your copy here!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Clemence Skirt - more lesson learning, this time with sewing

My third project from Tilly and the Buttons' Love at First Stitch. Intoducing my Clemence Skirt!


Lessons I have learned from making this - read the pattern instructions!

I wasn't carful with my cutting, and instead of cutting one piece on the fold for my waistband, I ended up cutting two pieces that weren't on the fold! Luckily there was a bit of fabric left over from my excellent $3 Fabricabrac Wellington find and we managed to piece a waistband together. It's meant that the side seams of the skirt and the band don't match up, and I had some serious zip installation issues, but I finished it all and am wearing it proudly! No one else has spotted my mistakes just yet...

Monday, May 18, 2015

I'm still trying to learn this valuable knitting lesson

My Chuck, version two!

You know that feeling when you find the perfect project for that special yarn? The pattern you've been searching for for ages, because this yarn is just too good to use on just any old pattern. And you find it, and you grab your needles and you cast on and just keep knitting until it's almost finished, ignoring chores, husband, sneaking stitches at your desk at work when you get a few moments.

I was having a great moment with Chuck. I finished the entire body in a week. A week! I'm a slow knitter, so a full body of a jumper in a week is quite an achievement( yes, I do realise it's a cropped pattern in worsted weight yarn, but still!).

So you can imagine my devastation when I put the last of the live stitches onto scrap yarn, just to try it on quickly before binding off, that it was too small. All that knitting. All that awesome cable. All too small because I didn't take 15 minutes at the beginning to knit a silly swatch. My gauge was way out. Instead of nine stitches per two inches, I had 12. The length wasn't right either, with the end of the jumper sitting at my belly button instead of the top of my hips. No amount of serious blocking would have fixed it.

Out came the yarn winder, and in a minute or two the entire thing was unravelled. I figured there was no point carrying on and knitting sleeves on something that wouldn't fit me. It just wouldn't get worn. This yarn is too good to hide in shame at the bottom of a drawer. I went up a needle size and my gauge is now much better. I'm about half way through the body again, and hope to get that done in the next couple of days. It's a bit frustrating, but I only have myself and my haste to blame. I've got to stop getting so excited and just sit down and do some swatching. Spending 20 minutes on that is way better than spending a whole week knitting something that won't fit! I'm slowly learning my lesson!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My Chuck


Cables have been on my mind recently. I always start thinking about them when winter's on the way, and this year is no different. I've been considering my sweater situation, and I am convinced I've knitted enough accessories for a little while - a jumper is required. 

This is where the lovely Andi Satterlund saves the day. 
I have been a massive admirer of her patterns for ages. Her vintage styling just ticks all the boxes for me, and I've been dreaming about knitting a Chuck Sweater for quite a while. I was just waiting for the right yarn to come along. And this is where Red Riding Hood Yarns also saves the day!
I ordered three skeins of the Riche Worsted in Science Bitch last year, and although it was originally intended for another sweater, I wasn't convinced I'd have quite enough yarn to stick to my original plan. Luckily for Chuck, it looks like I'll have enough. 

So far it's knitting up very quickly too - I'm planning to finish it by the end of the month - I want to make the very most of it this winter!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Me Made May 2015


I love the idea of Me Made May. That said, although I've pledged to myself to wear something hand made every day this month, I've been pretty terrible at documenting in. As in there is absolutely no photo of me wearing anything I've made for the entire month so far.  

There is no way for me to prove that I've worn something I've made every day so far this month, but I don't think it's really about that any way. To give you an idea of some of the stuff I've been wearing, here is a photo of some of my favourite things I've worn over the last week or so.

Me Made May always gives me a good chance to reflect on what I have in my wardrobe and what things I might be missing. Not that I'm missing a lot, but whenever I make something I tend to just knit up a jumper or make a skirt that then doesn't go with anything else in my wardrobe. For me, Me Made May is a conscious look at what I'm making, what I shouldn't be making, and what I might need to make.

As well as it being a chance to make the most of all our awesome handmade garments, I hope it gives you the space to think about why we make what we do, how we choose our WIPs and how we end up using them once the process of making is complete. I know there are a lot of garments in my wardrobe that I've knitted and never wear, so I'm thinking about these and what I could do with them.  There are a few sewn things too, that I made just because I wanted to make something, rather than thinking it through a bit more before grabbing the scissors. 

This month, as well as pledging to wear something handmade every day, I pledge to think more consciously about my making and create items that will work with the rest of my clothes.


Monday, May 4, 2015

A little bit of stash expansion


It's been a little quiet around here over the last week - the day job's been busy and the weekend was spent away from screens in Wellington!

Every time I go to our little capital city, I seem to time it to perfectly coincide with a craft-related event. Last year it was the Social Wool Fair. This time it was Fabric-a-brac Wellington

I went along with a lovely knitting friend and stuck to my $20 budget (and my cabin bag limit) and got these great little finds. The multi-stripe is going to be a Tilly and the Buttons Clemence Skirt, the yellow knit will be another Moneta - a long sleeve version this time, and the gingham will be the fabric of choice for my attempt at a Granville Shirt.  I already have the patterns, so I just need to grab a few notions and a bit of time to get started. Maybe I'll make the Moneta this weekend; having made one before, I kind of know what I'm doing….

Hope you all have a great week making!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Camp Fire Scarf - pattern


I think there's nothing more awesome than a garter stitch scarf. They remind me of learning to knit, a time where more challenging things like purling didn't exist, and of not having to really think too much on the project at hand. Sometimes we all just need a simple project that doesn't take too much brain power but still creates something you'll love wearing. For me, that's a garter stitch scarf.

I did want this to be a little bit different from your usual stripy scarf, so I knitted it on the bias. I started in one corner, increased until it was a width I was happy with, then carried on until I'd used up three skeins of Outlaw YarnVanitas DK, and finished off by decreasing to the last corner. 

This is a great yarn for an accessory. With 90 per cent alpaca, it's super soft and extremely warm.


Want to make one too?

Here's how I made mine… just a note that this has not been tested by other knitters and it might not be the best use of increases and decreases, but it's resulted in something that works for me!

Camp Fire Scarf

You need 4 x skeins of Outlaw Yarns' Vanitas Dk:
1 x Knowledge (blue)
1 x Wealth (straw / gold)
1 x Mahogany (brick red)
1 x Vanity (grey)

4mm needles

Gauge: 22 sts x 44 rows over 10cm after blocking

Abbreviations:
CO = cast on
Sl 1 = slip 1
Kfb = knit into the front and back of the stitch (increases one)
k= knit
k2tog = knit two together (decreases one)
BO = bind off

To start - increase section

CO 3 sts with Knowledge
Set up row: Sl 1, Kfb, K1
Increase row: Sl 1, Kfb, k to last two sts, Kfb, K1
Repeat the increase row until you have 94 sts

Body of scarf

Cut yarn, leaving 6 inches to weave in and join in Wealth.

Row 1 (right side) Sl 1, K2tog, K to last two sts, Kfb, K1
Row 2 Sl 1, K to end.

Continue until you reach the end of the skein, finishing on the wrong side.
Join in Mahogany, continuing in body pattern.
Continue until you reach the end of the skein, finishing on the wrong side.
Join in Vanity, continuing in body pattern.
Continue until you reach the end of the skein, finishing on the wrong side.

Decrease section:

Join in the remainder of Knowledge

Row 1 (right side) Sl 1, K2tog, K to end
Row 2: Sl1, K2tog, K to end

Continue repeating these two rows until 3 sts remain. BO.