Monday, October 27, 2014

Commandeering the sewing machine

I finally did it. I've borrowed Mum's sewing machine and planted it firmly on my craft table. I just threaded it up without anything going wrong - Mum can attest that last time she witnessed me attempt to thread a machine, I just couldn't get it right. 

And I've sewn something. Nothing major - already I've split the bum seam in my amazing yellow pajamas, so I just repaired it, all by myself, no issues! I thought about continuing my Laurel dress unsupervised, but just realised I don't have any bias tape (and there's nowhere to get that on a public holiday) and I don't have access to an overlocker right now… I guess this is the issue with learning in a cool place, you get access to all the tools you need to do a good job! I'll have to learn how to finish pieces well at home before I even consider investing in an overlocker myself. I also don't feel quite confident enough to finish it all by myself, but maybe for my next dress I'll feel more prepared.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Chilling out on a lazy, long weekend

The universe is telling me it's time to take it easy. It's made an attempt at jeopardising the long weekend by giving me a heavy cold. I had planned to have a nice extra day off work yesterday to do crafty things and finish making my dress, but instead I spent a good chunk of it sleeping. Today I'm enjoying the sunshine and not doing anything too strenuous, hoping that this blocked nose clears up soon!

In other news, earlier in the week I took my knitting class on a field trip to Lights Up Knitting. And I won a prize! Yay for raffles! I don't usually win things, so I was very excited. Check out that yummy Malabrigo yarn and cute buttons, courtesy of Robyn Egge Yarns! Not sure what I'll be making with it, but any suggestions welcome.

I hope you're all making the most of the sunshine and the long weekend, sometimes it's good to take a step back, enjoy the little things and relax.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A week of hats

It's been a week of finishing two special hats. I just gave this lovely purple number to my beautiful friend Maddie who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Nothing like a bit of Red Riding Hood Yarn's cashmere and merino Dame DK to keep warm with! I used my favourite go-to hat pattern, Honey by Lisa Gutierrez.

And for something a bit different and crazy bright, here is a quick baby gift I cast on last week for a colleague.

What new bubba wouldn't look good in a rainbow hat? I used Happy Go Knitty's self striping BFL 4ply and the Bright Colors Baby Hat pattern by Roxanne Wood. I wish my head was small enough for this, it's just too cute!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dresses for me

My sewing skills are slowly progressing, so much that tomorrow I plan to spend the entire day cutting out fabric and getting started on my first dress.
I'm gonna go easy on myself, starting with Colette Patterns' Laurel that I bought from the lovely Penny at Dresses and Me. The cute Moneta will come next.
I'm just loving the care that indie designers take to present their patterns. No flimsy paper envelopes over here - Colette Patterns come in a cardboard wallet with the instruction booklet stitched inside. So good! Given all this rain, there's not much chance to go out on the bike but there is plenty of time get sewing. I'm planning on making Laurel out of the white and blue stripe fabric I got at Fabric-a-brac - there might even be enough to make a top too.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Reducing the WIP list

This hat might not look finished here, but I can assure you it's blocking dry as I type this. I'm hoping it will dry before tomorrow afternoon so I can give it to my friend before this weather warms up anymore. 

I've now reduced my WIP list down to two things, the Amelie dress and the Garland sweater. Both projects are giant but I'm over halfway on the front of the dress. I will not quit on this. 

It's been a nice lazy Sunday for knitting and reading and recovering from a late night of dancing. There's also been a bit of time for bike riding - it's been a week and I've already done many laps of the local school courts. Yesterday I stepped it up a bit and rode to our local fancy supermarket to search for the amazing Lewis Road Creamery / Whittaker's chocolate milk that is selling out as soon as it hits the shelves. I didn't find the milk but I did get to the supermarket and back without crashing. Or running anyone over. Yay! Today I went to the local dairy to get ice cream. I've decided it's just practise to get better at cycling - just like with knitting I guess!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Gertrude - relearning to ride a bike

We've lived within walking distance from the city for almost a year now. For me, not having to commute for an hour every day in traffic has been the best lifestyle change I've ever made. It's a 10 minute bus ride to work or a 40 minute stroll if the weather's nice. I think I've only used my car to get to work four times since January. The amount of time I'm saving each day is just insane and the cost of living close to town is pretty much offset by our extremely low transport costs. 

I've been thinking more and more about trying to avoid using my car as much as possible and over the last two weeks I've been toying with the idea of getting a bike. So yesterday I did. 
Meet Gertrude. Gertie for short. She's a Reid Cycles 7 speed vintage ladies bike. Basket essential.

I haven't ridden a bike since I was a kid, apart from one gourmet food tour of Christchurch for a work junket a few years back and some basic mountain biking on a school trip when I was 17. My brother is convinced that this is a terrible idea and I'm going to injure myself and regret my purchase within a week. He is only fueling my determination even more. 

I've decided that I'm going to take this slow. I've done about 50 laps of the outdoor courts at the primary school around the corner, finding my balance again and trying to remember how to turn the thing without turning the handlebars. Once I master the courts, I'm gonna ride to the dairy to get ice cream. My goal is to be able to ride safely around the neighbourhood over summer. And avoid crashing if at all possible. I'm going to do some cycle safety courses and practise often. And try to get the cat to come on adventures in the basket.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Garment #3

I haven't knitted many jumpers with set-in sleeves, but I can tell you I find them a lot easier to fit into the sleeve head than sewing them in with a sewing machine. I thought it would the process would be similar, but no, not really.

Usually when I set sleeves with a knitted jumper, I start by joining the shoulder seams, then ease the seam in by pinning it at the top and each edge of the curve. Then I'd hand seam them and finish by sewing up the side seam and sleeve seams. 

What I struggled with when making my first top was that the side seams are sewn up before you sew in the sleeve. Weird. You don't get anywhere near as much wriggle room and I definitely found it tricky to ease the sleeve cap in place and not get it all bunched up under the sewing machine foot. 
I got there in the end, but I think I'm going to make a few more tops before feeling entirely comfortable with finishing them nicely!