Monday, 17 March 2014

Going Nordic and making a dress.

Wow, things are very busy at the moment so I'm sorry I haven't been to visit your blogs, I'm just finding time to pop by and update you on my crafty bits and pieces.  First of all (of course) crochet.

Anybody who reads similar blogs to me will have seen this beautiful shawl cropping up on lots of blogs.  It's called the Nordic Shawl because of the scandinavian inspired coloured band around it.  I loved it as soon as I saw it and have really been enjoying the process of making it, even though I had to make a lot of compromises about the colours as I am on a strict yarn diet.  I must make space in my craft shelves, seriously, they're too awful even to photograph for you.

This is my interpretation of the Nordic style band...
and here it is so far...
It's turning out to be a good size but I've come to an abrupt halt as half way through the border as I've run out of the Teal colour.  I can't decide whether to cave and buy more yarn to finish it off or to unpick a couple of rows and finish off with what I have.

Did you spot my new craft purchase?  I am hoping that this dress form will give me the impetus to get going on some dressmaking, a totally new thing for me but one which I am thoroughly enjoying investigating.  Of course I have been heavily influenced by The Great British Sewing Bee and by some lovely blogs I read, especially this one and this one.  I have actually already made a dress...
from a New Look pattern (New Look 6176)...
There's an awful lot wrong with it but I'm still happy to have it done.  The zip is a total mess at the bottom...
I don't know whether anybody would ever notice (if they do then they probably shouldn't be looking!) but it's annoying me.  Also the zip up the back is by no stretch of the imagination invisible...
Although as it is a good match for colour I don't think it matters too much.  I haven't worn it yet, partly because it is in a thin lawn cotton which requires warmer weather and partly because I don't quite trust it not to fall apart as soon as I leave the house.  I have no faith at all in my dress making abilities.  High on my list now is to make some clothes for my girls, though at the moment I have a skirt on the go.

Right, things to be done.  In other news my job has gone from being a maternity cover to being a permanent thing which makes me very happy as it's a school I love.  Even though this means I have much less time for blogging (I prefer to use the time to make things), I am definitely going to keep updating as often as I can. Please bear with me if I don't comment on your blogs as often as I should.

Enjoy the springtime weather UK friends.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Chunky Grannys

Just flying by to show you a little something I've been working on.  Ages ago I saw this pattern on the We Love Lucy board on Ravelry and have been meaning to give it a try.  Last weekend happenstance led to me putting together a load of odds and ends of yarn I had lurking in my stash.  I liked the result and so felt this was the time to give the pattern a go.
It is a lovely pattern and very well written as well as being free (which is always nice).  The results go really well with my red coat...
and I've received lots of positive comments on these horrible cold wet mornings we've been having in the UK.
I didn't work all of the pattern.  Firstly my yarns were limited in amount and quite thick and also because I worked a much longer starting chain (249).  If I had finished the pattern I would have ended up with an enormous shawl which would have been beautiful but not of much practical use to me so I just kept going until they were mostly used up.  I think I have enough left for a pair of mitts which I will tackle in the next few weeks.
Now on to another new project.  I've been wanting to make a shawl just to fling on in the evenings when it's getting chilly and I don't want to put on the heating.  Its well underway now so should be ready to show you before too long.
Thank you all so much for your positive comments about my sewing last week.  I'm definitely improving now but crochet is far more forgiving.
Have a wonderful week everybody.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Dangerously mediocre sewing post alert.

There comes a time in most crafty girls' lives that they need a little variety, so with the remainder of my Christmas money I treated myself to some fresh craft supplies on ebay a couple of weeks ago, rainbows of felt in brights...
and pastels (the photo of the pastels didn't come out very well but I'm sure you get the idea).
I have a felt board on pinterest and I'd been itching to try out some ideas so after dropping off the girls at school today I awarded myself a day off to do as I wished, and spent a happy time playing with a load of my craft supplies.  
It turns out I can make a lot of mess in the course of a day if I set my mind to it...
Yikes!  Still, it was lots of fun, I didn't even put on the radio, I just cut and sewed in splendid quiet with only sleeping animals for company.  I'm guessing that you can't really pick out what I actually produced in that mess so I cleared it all away and took some photos of my efforts.  I am afraid I am rather underwhelmed by them, but they are only the first steps towards felt virtuosity, everybody starts somewhere right?
I started with a rabbit brooch...
I actually quite like this one but my embroidery is very shabby, much more work is needed.
Then I moved on to a flower brooch which rapidly became an easter egg when I realised I would never wear it, I have a vague notion of a wall hanging or bunting so this one is still a work in progress...
Hmmm, turns out metallic thread is even more difficult to stitch with than normal thread.
Then I had a try at a bird brooch...
I should have done the blanket stitch in a neutral colour I think, the shape is fine but the details need refining.
So, not a day wasted because I've learnt a lot of skills but in terms of outcome a little bit blah.  Do you ever have days like that, where nothing quite works as you would like?

Saturday, 18 January 2014

The strangest thing I have made so far...

Good morning, I'm a little late for FO Friday but yesterday was somewhat of an epic day at work so I spent the evening in a heap on the sofa, not even holding my hook.  Most unusual.
Let me introduce you to the strangest thing I have made so far...
People who are kind enough to read my blog on a regular basis will know that I am a fan of Lucy Ravenscar's patterns and have attempted several of them over the last year or so.  The patterns themselves are always clearly written and quirky, which makes them ideal in my opinion.  This is a "Mother Spirit Amigurumi", although I left off the horns.  Full details are here.  She was always intended to be a present for one of my God-daughters (K) but because of my finger injury she didn't make it there until K's birthday this week rather than Christmas.  I don't know K as well as I would like because her family (some of my favourite people) live miles away but I know she is a great reader and has somewhat of a quirky disposition herself so I hoped this funny creature would appeal.
When I had finished it I felt it looked a little woeful; the original pattern doesn't have a mouth but my girls always insist my creatures need to means to express themselves so I braved a little embroidery...
There, much less pensive.
I managed (by some miracle) to get it to K on time and apparently she saw immediately that this is actually a house elf in a onesy, meaning of course that she is a free elf as she has clothes.  She has been named Cupcake and sleeps in the pocket of a giant owl.  These are all the reasons why she belongs with K, I didn't know any of those things about her until K pointed them out.
Now onto projects new and another scarf.  I just couldn't leave the Spring Ripple pattern alone, it's turning into a bit of a favourite so another is on my hook at the moment.  It's a great take-along pattern, perfect for making in short bursts or while you're watching TV.
It's been ever so wet and chilly her in the UK,  this is a fairly typical outlook from our house at the moment...
No sunshine and a cat who can't quite bring himself to get his paws wet.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

All done

All finished in plenty of time for my sister's birthday at the end of the month...
I do like the obligatory "scarf disguised as a sausage roll" shot.

I used a 4mm hook (smaller than I usually use for DK yarn), Mary Maxim Prism yarn in Still Waters and this Spring Ripple pattern.  I enjoyed every minute of making it, it's a lovely pattern and the colours are really pretty.

When finished it looked rather wavy...
But I gave it a good blocking using my pretty pins and trusty Tesco playmats...
So now it smells great and looks neat and tidy, ready to be packed and sent.  Blocking with a kitten around is not easy though, he seemed determined to impale himself on the pins.
I carried on going until I had nearly finished the yarn and so that both ends of the scarf are matching turquoise, I do like matching ends.

I have found it hard to resist getting going on another one straight away using the other colour of this yarn but I have a little something to finish off first, I should have that ready to share on Friday.  It's rather a fiddly amigurumi and I'm still having to be careful as my finger cramps up when I'm working very tightly so it seems to be going on for ever, it's very cute though.

Thank you all for your kind comments about my little owls, they really are very quick and easy and they go down a storm, you should try them.

I wanted to mention as well that for some reason not all of the blogs I follow are showing up in my sidebar here.  I have checked and rechecked and there doesn't seem to be any reason for it, I can only apologise, you know if I visit you regularly because I try and leave comments.  I will tackle it again at some point and try to work it out.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

FO Friday

Two little projects for two special little friends of B.  I hope they like them, maybe to attach to their book bags as at the tender age of 5 I think the responsibility of actual keys would be asking rather a lot of them.
Sorry about the strange tone to the colours, like many people I leave in the dark and get back from work in the dark so good photos to a deadline are tricky.  I might try to get a better one at the weekend.  These pretty little owls were made from this free pattern on Ravelry using odds and ends of Stylecraft DK Cottonsoft and a 3.5mm hook.

Linking in with Tami for FO Friday, though I think she may be on holiday because I'm linking in with last week for now.

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Woolly Wonderful

Many moons ago I made my mother a scarf as a little gift when she had broken her leg.  I am happy to say that she wears it a lot and it has stood the test of time with no major problems (a vote of confidence for King Cole Riot DK).  When the family came over for Christmas my sister (C) saw said scarf and quietly asked me if I could make her something with similar variegated wool.  Now, I'm a big fan of Riot but when I made the Broken Leg Scarf I didn't realise that it might turn out a little itchy.   Since then I have used Riot a couple of times for shawls and find that I don't wear them all that much, even though I love the results visually.  So it was that I hunted down a different brand called Mary Maxim Prism DK, from the internet and ordered two different colours, the one pictured above (Still Waters) and the one pictured below, which is called Cut Glass ...
This yarn isn't widely available in the UK but I can report that it is extremely pretty and softish.  I had thought that as it is 100% acrylic (I don't use wool much because it makes me itch) it would be very soft but having now worked some up I'm not 100% sure.  I think it will soften up well after a good soaking and blocking.
The pattern is called Spring Ripple Scarf and is available very inexpensively (less than two pounds) on Ravelry.  I never mind paying for a pattern if I think it is really pretty and this one is a gem.  It is also, once you get going, fast and easy; though I found I definitely needed the diagram. The stitch pattern is lovely...
and the stripes of the yarn work very well with it.  The stripes in Riot would suit it as well.
I am planning to make this scarf and another with the Cut Glass colour over the next couple of weeks. I think I might try a Claudia but I also wondered whether any of you had found a scarf pattern which you enjoyed and think might work with this yarn?  I'm open to suggestions and am happy to pay for a pattern if it's a beauty, though free is lovely!  I know I am asking exactly the right people.
Thank you so much for your comments last time, I thought I might not have anybody read my post after such a long time and it is so nice to be back in touch.