Sunday, August 31, 2014

Margot Pajamas - my first sewn garment

Check out these bad boys. Actually they are probably girls. They have a pink ribbon and are made from out wedding table cloth - quite girly I guess! My pjs are the first garment I've even sewn, and I am pretty much living in them. Thanks to Tilly and the Buttons for the pattern and Sarah at Sew Love Tea Do for all the help with making! Next project - a dress of some description.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

WATG Swag + cables!

The Amelie Dress kit has arrived! And as usual, Wool and the Gang have done a fab job with extremely quick delivery and cool presentation. The box even said "Hello Joanna" on it. 

Spring begins in two days, so a knitted cotton dress is just the thing to be knitting to see the summer in. 

And in my avoidance of the lace jumper, my cabled Autumn Branches beanie is progressing nicely. I am in love with the Red Riding Hood Yarns worsted yarn, so nice to work with! I've decided it will go perfectly with a dress I'm planning to make out of my white and blue striped fabric I got from Fabric-A-Brac last week. I'm thinking the Laurel Dress by Colette Patterns. I'm all about the stripes.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Pompom + Vintage Charm

Last week was a great week for deliveries! The first surprise was the Paton's Vintage Charm book that I raved about a couple of weeks ago. It's even more magical than expected! And a day later, the Autumn 2014 issue of Pompom Quarterly arrived too! 

Here's a few snaps of some of my faves from the pattern book - almost tempted to figure out how to crochet...

Love this wrap / poncho.

Maybe this jumper will make me brave the Sweater Curse and make one for the husband...

And this jacket. Just gets me every time!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Autumn Branches - a new hat

It seems a bit weird to be casting on a hat pattern called Autumn Branches when the weather is convinced that winter is over and spring is here. Not that I'm complaining about the weather - this weekend has been a stunner in Auckland. Even though the sun is shining though, there's still a chill in the air and there is definitely room for another hat. 

I've picked the beautiful Autumn Branches by Rebecca Newman of Tiny Lovely for a few reasons.

1 - I just love it. 
2 - Cables. Part of my knitting resolutions this year was to knit more cables and so far I've done none. 
3 - Next weekend is Knit August Nights in Napier and although I'm not going this year, I wanted to pay a little tribute to some of the lovely people I met last year. Rebecca was one of them.
4 - I just desperately wanted to knit up my Red Riding Hood Yarns Riche 10ply in Paris I got at KAN last year from the lovely Hannah. 
5 - I'm thinking a mash-up between Rebecca's pattern and Hannah's yarn is just a dream combination. 
6 - I've hit the wall with my lace jumper. It's just not growing. I need to knit something to make me feel like I can achieve something!

I think I might go and cast this on in the sunshine and make the most of the end of a great weekend!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Fabric-A-Brac and stash expansion!

I haven't really been to a fabric market before. As a non-sewist and mainly a knitter, I tend to beeline for yarn markets where I have a better idea of what I'm looking for and know more of the people. But since I'm learning to sew, I figured it would be a good excuse to see what kind of stuff was out there and help raise money for a good cause. Fabric-A-Brac is a charity sale for Hospice and people use it as a great excuse to de-stash (or add more to the stash, as I was doing!).

I think the most interesting discovery I made was that my husband knows how to sew. I mean, I've been with this guy for seven years and known him for about 11, and I married him without even knowing this! He gets extra awesome points for this. He helped Sarah make some bunting on the Sew Love Tea Do stand. He even carried the fabric I was stashing!

I was amazed at the great prices - I got myself a few metres of amazing floral cotton for $15, a stripy cotton for $5 and the best of all, giant yellow on navy polka dot knit fabric for $2. Apparently there's enough of that to make a t-shirt dress, although Sarah tells me I'd be best to make it on an overlocker, which I still find a bit scary!

I'm planning on turning the floral into a pencil skirt of some kind and the stripe into a top.

I'm going to to my best to keep my fabric stash quite small for now. With the knitting stash (and I've been very good and not added to it for ages!) and fabric, I'm going to run out of storage space if I'm not careful, so I'm limiting purchases! 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Amelie - not just my favourite French film.

I've been in love with Wool and the Gang kits and patterns ever since I started knitting. 
It's not just how extremely cool their models look, or how their designs are nowhere near the "granny" cliche that many attribute to hand-knitted clothing. They are just so great to knit and the kits are always amazingly presented.

A few years ago I made their Sexy Back Sweater which gets a stack of wearing each summer. I've been waiting for the right moment to get my second WATG kit - they're not cheap and I really wanted it to be the perfect garment. Yesterday I found it. The Amelie Dress is on its way to me as we speak. I got her on special with 20 per cent off, which definitely helped my justify the spend. It's knit up in Shiny Happy Cotton on 6.5mm needles, so I'm hoping it will be a quick make, even though it's a dress and by the looks knit in moss stitch.  Can't wait to get this on the needles!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Learning new stuff

Over the last two months, two things have happened. Firstly, I've started teaching a knitting class, and secondly, I've decided to learn to sew. 

Doing these at the same time has made me take a moment to think about how I learn best. 
I'm a reader. I like reference books, with lots of clear instructions and illustrations. I love going along to classes, but if I read several books that tell me the same thing, I feel much more confident about giving something a try myself without supervision.

Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes is my key reference, and I'll be sewing my way through it.
So in my quest to learn as much as I can before starting on my pair of pyjama pants, I'm reading my way through these too:

The Great British Sewing Bee by Tessa Evelegh.
From here I really want to get the skills to make the Pencil Skirt, Edge-to-Edge Jacket and the Hacking Jacket. Actually pretty much everything.

This book is just beautiful - I love the duffle bag and the Fisherman's Top.

And for good measure, I've retrieved Minxy Vintage by Kelly Doust off the book shelf for ideas to fix up some of my vintage clothes and my evening reading is complete with Grace: A Memoir by Vogue creative director Grace Coddington.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Knitting class success

Another completed Lola Bobble at Sew Love Tea Do, and another one on the way. 
I never really thought teaching stuff would be for me, but I am extremely excited to be helping people learn a skill I enjoy so much and see them get enjoyment out of it too!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Lola Bobble - my first (super easy) pattern

About a month ago I started teaching a beginner knitting class. I've never really taught before, unless you count a stint as a pre-school gymnastics coach to pay my way through university, so I wanted to make some relatively quick projects for my students so they could see the progress they were making with an end in sight. We started off with simple garter stitch fingerless mitts. Once those were done, the unanimous request was for a hat. 

I came up with Lola Bobble (No, I don't know why Lola, it just seemed to suit her!) and so far she's been a success, with one of my students already finishing one with no drama - I consider that a pretty good test! I was also paid a pretty high complement when I was asked if it was a Karen Walker beanie when wearing it in a fancy clothes shop!

Lola is knitted to be pretty snug, but she is easy to adapt if you want a looser fit by casting on eight more stitches. I've knitted her flat because I wanted my students to practise mattress stitching but it would be very easy to knit this in the round too. 

Lola Bobble

You need:
Colour A: 1 skein Skeinz Vintage DK in Sweet Corn
Colour B: 1 skein Skeinz Vintage DK in Pewter
4mm knitting needles.

CO - cast on
K - knit
P - purl
K2tog - Knit two together
St / Sts - stitch/stitches

11.5 stitches and 18 rows = two inches in stocking stitch


CO 96 stitches loosely with colour A.

Row 1 = (K2,P2) repeat to end
Rwo 2 = (K2, P2) repeat to end

These two rows set the rib stitch pattern. Continue knitting in rib until piece measures 4 inches.


Change to colour B. 
Row 1 = K all sts
Row 2 = P all sts

Repeat the above two rows (stocking stitch) until piece measures 7 inches, ending on a P row.

Crown shaping

Row 1 = (K10, K2tog) repeat to end
Row 2 = Purl all sts
Row 3 = (K9, K2tog) repeat to end
Row 4 = P

Continue in the above pattern (each K row will have one less st between deceases) until you have eight sts left on the needle, ending on a P row.


Break yarn leaving a long tail – you will use this to sew the seam.

Thread the yarn through the eight stitches on the needle and pull tight.

Seam the hat using mattress stitch.

Make a pompom for the top using the rest of colour A and sew in place.

Wear and keep warm!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Patons Vintage Charm - on the wishlist

It's not that often I come across a pattern book where I want to knit everything. 
Today I found an exception - Patons Book 1318 - Vintage Charm.

I mean just look at that embroidered jumper. 

And this cardigan. I die. 

I can't crochet but might pay someone to make me this wrap.

And this jumper! I actually think I have something similar in my vintage pattern collection, but that would involve rummaging through it and sorting it all out…

This booklet is an amazing curation of awesome patterns from the 1940s to the 1970s, and I'll definitely be ordering a copy come payday!