Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sew Love is going on Tour - get involved!

Over the past year or so I have spent a LOT of time at the Sew Love Lounge in St Kevin's Arcade. The amazing Sarah, who runs the place, is incredibly talented, an excellent teacher, and has encouraged me to do things I never thought I'd be able to do. 

I've taught knitting classes, learned to get over my fear of cutting fabric and actually sew something, and found people who are interested in many of the same things as I am - as much as I love my group of friends, they don't really craft! Sarah's taught me to mend and fix, tread lightly on the world and make the most of what I already have. 

But times are changing. The arcade has been sold and Sarah has made an exciting decision for a new venture. Sew Love is going on tour! Sarah has started a Pledgeme campaign to raise enough funds to buy a van and turn it into a mobile sewing lounge, to take her amazing ideas and workshops to more people around New Zealand. If you have a spare few dollars, please pledge to help make this happen! And if you're in Auckland, make sure you call in to the lounge and do some making before the doors close at the end of October - such a great place to have some tea and make a little difference!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Onda progress - I'm making some!

It seems like I while since I last posted about any knitted things I was working on. I'm pretty glad to say that it's been quiet because I have actually been knitting and making progress on my first cardi, Onda from Pom Pom Quarterly's second issue.

I'm loving this pattern. At first I thought it might come out a bit small, but after a lot of gauge checking and measuring I'm pretty sure we'll be okay. I think it will just look like it doesn't fit until I start on the front panels. I've almost finished the first sleeve and I'm loving the scallop detail.

It's been a while since I last did stranded colourwork and I've been really enjoying it, and I think the detail really shines through with Spinning A Yarn's silk merino. The pattern is clearly written and easy to follow, and even though the purl through the back loop stitch is a bit awkward, I think I'm getting the hang of it.
I should be on to the second sleeve this weekend, and well on my way to finishing soon!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A big purchase

 It finally happened. After two weeks of browsing Trademe to find the cheapest deal on a working overlocker, I got brave and bought this!

This is my new (read - old) three thread Contessa M0-103.
I am very excited and a wee bit terrified and what I've got myself into.

I'm excited because I've always been put off sewing from home because, even though I'm scared of overlockers, I like finishing things nicely. I've never really felt like I've been able to finish off projects well enough without one, so now I don't have excuses.

What I have only just discovered (typically after hitting the buy-now button) is that there is a difference between three-thread and four-thread overlockers. I've been told by a very knowledgeable friend that three-thread ones aren't as good for sewing knits because they don't have that fourth thread for strength.

I've spent the last couple of nights testing with bits of t-shirting and stretching the seams as much as I can to see if the threads break - with a bit of adjustment to the tension it looks like everything will be okay, but I'll need to make something like a Nettie dress to see if the threads can handle the strain!

All good though - I am looking forward to getting started on more sewing projects at home and seeing how I do without active supervision.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Fabric-a-brac Auckland 2015

Fabric-a-brac. It's pretty much the only place I buy fabric unless I get it second-hand from Sew Love Tea Do or op shops. Fabric-a-brac is a great fundraiser for Mercy Hospice where people destash their fabric. It's held in different cities around New Zealand, and today it was Auckland's turn. 

I gave myself a $40 budget and didn't spend it all. I've pretty much sorted my summer sewing in one shop, saving myself a fair bit of cash and giving me the chance to expand my sewing skills.

The lighthouse stamp fabric will become a dress for a friend's wedding.

I got a stack of grey T-shirting for $5 which will be just right for singlets and comfy dresses.

This amazing blue and white will become a skirt for another friend's wedding.

And this awesome yellow and blue geometric print will become another summer dress. 
I'm thinking my Tilly and the Buttons book will be very handy for inspiration.

Pattern suggestions welcome!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

My new approach to yarn shopping as exemplified by my KAN stash

The first time I went to Knit August Nights, I saved for a few weeks so I could go a bit mad with buying from all of our amazing indie dyers. I think I still have one or two things in the stash from 2013 that I haven't used yet, which for me gave me some very good perspective about my habits as a knitter, shopper and how they have changed.

This year, I went to KAN with a project in mind. I've been wanting to knit a cropped cardigan that is a bit warmer than the current cardigan on the needles. I wanted to go for a colour that was a bit different to what I normally knit and wear, but would still work with a good chunk of my wardrobe.

The intended pattern is the Netherton Cardigan in the first issue of Pompom Magazine, and I was on the search for the perfect, rich green. I found it at Vintage Purls' stall at the KAN market, and quickly purchased enough to make my cardigan.

I also fell in love with a project bag. I'm not a really big accessories buyer. I have a few bags of different sizes for different sized projects, but what I really loved about this awesome bag from Three Bears Made is that it has a base and stands up. If I didn't have any other bags, I would definitely get more of these. This is just the right size for socks or another small accessory like a hat or mittens, which I knit a lot of. And bike basket friendly! I couldn't resist the print.

The one last treat was a sock yarn from Meraki Studio in the wonderfully named Unicorn Dust. I knit heaps of socks for myself and for gifts, although I think this one might be intended for mitts instead given the silk content.

And once those were purchased, I was done. I did laps of the market to see if there was anything else I might grab because what if it all sold out? These are limited, indie dyes, after all. But without a project in mind, I found it incredibly hard to just pick something.

This is a big change for me, and it's giving me a more meaningful relationship with my craft. Buying for projects that have had some thought given to them is a much better way for me personally. It's going to save me money, stash space, and the end project will be used much more, unlike so many things I've cast on impulsively. 

I know that this isn't the way all crafters do it, but I think we're all on our own journeys, and this one is making me a happier me. I want the yarns I buy to be used and loved, and seen by the world in a finished form of some kind. I don't want my skeins to be too precious to use and hidden away for years because the right project hasn't come along. Those yarns should be for other people who might want to do stuff with them instead!