Sunday, November 29, 2015

That run-out-of-yarn panic

It's happened again. For the second cardigan in a row, I'm pretty sure I haven't got enough yarn to finish it. I can't remember having this kind of issue prior to knitting cardigans!

My Netherton is knitting up so nicely, and I already know that this will become a favourite go-to option with it's three-quarter sleeves and cropped length. But once again, as with the last cardigan I knitted, I am convinced I'm going to run out of yarn. 

I have the exact amount of yarn - down to the yard - required by the pattern. My gauge is spot on. I've used up two of my three skeins on the body, and the remaining one is turning into sleeve number one. But I don't think there will be enough for sleeve number two. I just have this feeling.

The yarn is special. Limited edition Vintage Purls' Max DK Falcon's Keep. It's the kind of green I've been searching for, for a very long time. I bought it with this exact pattern in mind, three skeins with just enough yarn to finish the size I wanted to make. I'm trying my best to not buy more than I need, to save myself some money and avoid wasting yarn. You can imagine my horror then, as I slowly make progress through the sleeve, that I'm convinced there's not enough left. The weighing scales are also suggesting that I might be short. 

An emergency email to the lovely Morag, amazing yarn dyer behind Vintage Purls, was quickly sent. Limited edition yarns often sell out quickly, and I got the yarn a few months ago, meaning my chances of finding another skein were quite low. While I waited for the reply, I sat thinking of ways I could try and find some more yarn. I'd get in touch with every knitter I knew. Post on a bunch of message boards on Ravelry and Facebook. Continue the search over on Instagram. Try finding a similar yarn?

I didn't have to wait long to get a reply from Morag. She had one skein left. One! Queue very quick payment followed by an overwhelming sense of relief. I couldn't imagine not being able to finish this cardigan. The yarn just isn't meant for anything else. Unravelling it would have been such a disappointment. Thank you Morag for saving my cardigan!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A conscious Christmas

It's that time of year again! By that time, I mean way too early for Christmas decorations to be up and carol singers to be performing outside department stores, as we still have a whole month to go! But the singers did prompt me to think about getting myself all together for the festive season.

 Christmas for us is always about food - food as gifts and lots of giant meals. It's not about spending a heap of cash on extravagant stuff that people don't really need, which is why my gifts tend to be home made or ethically produced. 

This year, it seems like all of my girlfriends have had babies. And not all of those babies will quite appreciate shortbread. Therefore, planning is underway for home made plushy toys, using up leftovers from other sewing projects.

So my plan is to make a small army of plushy cats. Cats because everyone should own one, and I've found an incredibly simple pattern, that kind of looks like a starfish with a head and ears, which should make for some very quick sewing. Now I just need some toy stuffing!

Have you started planning your Christmas makes?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

On the needles - Netherton

With all my posts recently about sewing successes, it might seem like I've been avoiding my knitting. I haven't been avoiding, but it has been going a little slowly - I blame the change in seasons.

After my first success at a cardigan, I've cast on another design by Lydia Gluck and also from Pompom Quarterly. This one is her Netherton pattern, from the very first issue. It's another top-down design that so far has been pretty easy to knit - the test will come when I get to the chevron pattern along the waist that's going to have me referring to the stitch glossary a lot I expect!

I'm using my KAN yarn that I purchased with this pattern in mind, Vintage Purls Max. I don't think I've knitted with a Vintage Purls yarn before but I'm really loving the stitch definition and the vibrant colours - let's just hope I have enough for the whole pattern.

And one last thing - my latest Moneta dress in action. It is very yellow, but given summer's coming, I think that's a good thing!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Slow Fashion October wrap up

It's November. Which means I'm a few days behind on my last installment for Slow Fashion October. I'm okay with this. I had written a great post at the end of last week, but for some reason or other I was having issues saving my post, and everything got deleted. And then I went on holiday to Queenstown for the weekend, so I prioritised that!

I thought about what I would write for this last update for Slow Fashion October. Initially I thought I would write about the themes for the last two weeks and how they apply to my wardrobe, but instead I thought I'd share two things I've almost finished making.

The first is the Delphine Skirt from Tilly and the Buttons' book, Love at First Stitch. I've been slowly working my way through this book over the past year, but the real highlight of this project is that it was made entirely unassisted. I cut all the pieces and did all the sewing in an evening last week, without any help. This has never happened before, so this skirt is a testament to my learning. I made it with fabric purchased at the most recent Auckland Fabric-a-brac, a really heavy cotton that holds the A-line shape really well.

And that leads me to my second solo creation. After the success of the first project, the day after I decided to get straight on with something new, my second Moneta Dress, in yellow knit fabric from the Wellington Fabric-a-brac. She's not quite finished yet, my sewing machine is throwing a bit of a tantrum with twin needle hemming, so I'll put the last finishing touches on tomorrow.

Both of these projects have shown me that I can do this stuff by myself, which is an incredibly big deal to me. I never thought I'd be able to successfully sew without asking for someone's help every step of the way, and for me this is what Slow Fashion October is all about. Learning new skills and creating your own style, enjoying the process and being proud of your special, handmade and unique clothes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

My finished Granville Shirt

I have finished sewing what I rank as one of the trickiest things I've ever made. 
The collar is a bit crooked, I don't think all of my buttonholes are evenly spaced, and I gave up before the sleeves (summer's coming, anyway!).

It's certainly not perfect, but I am really proud of this shirt. I've got some improvements to make for my next one, like being much more careful when assembling the collar, but I'm planning to wear this all summer. I've definitely learned a lot during the process of making this. This is the first time I've used the buttonhole foot on my sewing machine, and although I was quite nervous at first, it turned out to be one of the simplest techniques I've done - so rewarding! 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Slow Fashion October weeks two and three

Week 2 = Small

Week two of Slow Fashion October is all about hand made, quality, small batch makers and sustainability. One item of my wardrobe constantly springs to mind when I think of these things - my bike riding coat, beautifully hand made by Sarah at Sew Love Tea Do. 

This coat is my go-to for weekends, evenings with campfires and zipping around on my bike. It's completely one of a kind, sustainably made from an old wool blanket and finished with hand stitching. The ceramic button was made locally too. It's also one of the warmest things I own, and given Auckland's notoriously changeable climate, the hood is very handy. 

As I start to sew more of my own clothing, I'm beginning to appreciate more and more the work that goes into making such lovely things. To make something well takes lots of time, patience and practice. To me this coat demonstrates all of those things and as it was made by a very talented friend, it is extra special!

Week 3 = Loved

It took me a good while to decide what would best represent my most loved items that I've made myself. My first thought was my Funchal Moebius, my first ever stranded knitting project and something I am very proud of finishing. Then there was the shrug I made for our wedding, very special too.

The last year has been spent learning to sew, and I'm pretty excited by the things I've been able to make  and the variety I've added to my handmade wardrobe. But I keep coming back to my knitting. It's not just about loving the item, but loving the process to make it - sewing is great but I love my knitting more. So at the end of the day, I've decided my most loved item is my Beaubourg Sweater. It's not super fancy with crazy stitch patterns or cables. It's just trusty reverse stocking stitch and dolman sleeves, nice and loose-fitting so it's perfect for layering. I wear this almost every day. It's like a portable security blanket. It's there when I'm cold, feeling a bit blue, it's been worn to bed and the supermarket and I don't really know what I'd do without it. Everyone needs a sweater like this.

It also pairs very nicely with my current favourite hat, Autumn Branches.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Finally, a finished object. Introducing Onda.

It's not often that I take on such a big project in finger weight yarn. Usually all the finger weight knitting I do is strictly reserved for socks and baby hats, maybe some mittens here and there. But with the sun shining and Spring finally feeling like it's arrived, a finger weight cardigan just makes sense. It's taken a couple of months but I am so pleased with how my Onda cardigan has turned out - I feel like I'll be getting lots of wear out of it over the coming months.

Things I love about this project = the sewn hem finishing (except where I didn't read the instructions properly and sewed the bottom and sleeve hems to the outside of the garment instead of the inside - am I the only one who gets RS and WS mixed up?). The sewn hem just gives such a great clean line and was a technique I'd never done before, so it was great to try something new.

Also loving stranded knitting scallops. And Spinning A Yarn NZ's silk merino is just divine to knit with. Although this project came out on gauge before I washed it, I'm pleased that it's grown and softened up just a little bit more - the silk is definitely helping with keeping the hems nice and flat, rather than curling up. Highly recommend this lovely yarn!