This is not a cardigan

It all started with a dare. After a lot of dithering I finally took the plunge and asked for a Sewing Dare.  And the reply I got filled me with dread…

You said you desperately need warm tops in your life – so I dare you to make some kind of cardigan! So many great patterns out there… or hack a tee-pattern into a fitted or waterfall cardi. Go forth and sew cosy!

Nooo, not a cardy!  I simply don’t wear cardies. But a dare is a dare. Suffice to say I have been overthinking my knee jerk reaction to the cardy challenge, what constitutes a cardy and whether there is a style of cardy that I might actually wear ever since I read this.

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In the mean time, while I muse on this, I have made one of my wardrobe staples that I wear instead of a cardy, a long sleeve t shirt. I decided to make another Coco Top as the last one that I made gets a lot of wear. And I even remembered to read the blog post that I wrote about it before starting and I tried it on (double organisational points for me) resulting in me raising and bringing in the neckline still further (it’s annoying when my long sleeve top has a lower neckline than the top underneath and I have to make sure they match each other as well as matching my bottom half), making  a small sway back adjustment (which I’m not sure I did effectively) and lengthening the sleeves by an inch at the three quarter length line.

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What’s that up in the sky?

I think I bought this spongey thick purple knit with a subtle flecky sparklyness to it with a coco in mind. (I’m now kicking myself that I didn’t buy some of the charcoal grey colourway too, sold out now). And it will match more things than the last one (big flowers may be ace, but they’re not always much easier to match to the rest of my wardrobe than my stripey tops are).

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Why it’s Super Mum                                                                                                                                                 (as photographed by The Boy, accessories photographers own)

Have you noticed the decorative stitching yet?

 

Yup, the neckline, cuffs and hem are hand finished in herringbone stitch.

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This wasn’t the original plan. It started due to laziness. Last time I made a facing to finish the neckline as I thought the pattern as drafted was a little on scruffy side for a neckline finish. But I’d just altered the neckline, and I couldn’t be bothered to alter the facing too, so I decided to try some knit bias tape that I bought (online, then found locally, sigh).  I stitched it on to the right side, pressed, turned, tacked down, then wondered how to sew it down. Straight stitch would pop (the new smaller neckline definitely needs stretching to get over my head), as in my experience does a twin needle. Stretch straight stitch (aka lightening bolt) looks awful as topstitching, and I wasn’t sure that zig zag nearly an inch out from the neckline (as the pre bought bias binding is quite wide) would look ok. I don’t have a coverstitch machine. I tried to search for a knit bias tape finish but was unsuccessful, I only rediscovered the excellent grainline one for wovens, and realised that I should’ve undererstitched. While pondering what to do next, my mind turned to sashiko style stitching, inspired by all the lovely mends I’d seen on the Make do and Mend group. I tried out a zig zag (hmmm), a straight running stitch (not stretchy, as predicted) and a herringbone stitch and decided on the latter, using some white cotton that had belonged to my grandmother in law (so presumably is for quilting in some manner).

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I was a bit worried that it looked too homemadey (I don’t usually do handstitching on anything as I’m a bit slapdash and scruffy at it), so I started with one cuff and worked my way up. LSH was very impressed, he thought the top had looked too plain (not used to seeing me in solid coloured garments obviously!) and the herrbingbone lifted it. Today I just happened to call into my local fabric shop and I was asked by one of the lovely assistants how I got thread that thick to go through my machine 🙂 So it passes that test! Now fingers crossed it washes and wears ok! (And no, I will not normally be wearing an entirey purple ensemble, but I have perilously few pairs of trousers and these were the ones that were clean today).

What’s your favourite finishing technique?

Birthday scarf

I bought two skeins of hand dyed mulberry silk yarn on the Isle of Skye last year, with some birthday money, and I’ve just finished knitting a scarf with it a few weeks before my next birthday. I’ve really enjoyed knitting with it as it feels so soft and silky and has a lovely lustre. The colours remind me of a flower meadow.

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I was unsure how many stitches to cast on, so it seemed only right to choose 42. I knit mainly in moss stitch (the mistakes just give it charm) until I ran out of yarn and was random with my colour striping of the mainly green and mainly yellow yarn.  The resulting scarf was a bit short, so I made it into a mobius strip.

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My mum has commented more than once that she liked the random effect in this scarf (but it’s not her colours), so I’ve started anew with new yarn and colours, this time casting on 35 stitches (as I thought she’d want a slightly narrower scarf and have learned since last time that it’s easiest to have an odd number for moss stitch, so you can always start with the same stitch – we’ll see if this results in less mistakes). Hopefully this one will be finished in time for Christmas.

 

On a Roll

Two finishes in one week, I’m really turning my recent trend of making disaster around!

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So, hot off the press, I’ve just finished one of the pair of socks on the left, knitted with Regalia Snowflake (?!I’ve never seen a snowflake that colour)(or maybe it refers to the pattern, but snowflakes aren’t exactly stripey either). So now, along with the pair of the right (knitted last summer in the only slightly better named King Kole Zig Zag), I have 2 complete pairs of socks to post off to my brother. Cos, Christmas presents aren’t actually properly late if they’re posted while it’s still Jan, right?

They’re both knitted with the same free pattern (thanks Fiona) but the for the second pair I used a trick I saw at a knitting group and instead of a seperate rib section, the whole of sock above the heel is knitted in a 3 in 1 rib, as is the top of the main foot (easy to do with this pattern as it’s knitted on 4 needles).  Apparently they stay up better this way (but as these are my first ever sock knits this is not the voice of experience.

As they’re a sort of joke, because my brother is forever darning socks when he comes to visit (maybe its a damning enditement of our hosting skills?) I have made up little cards of spare yarn so he can darn away to his hearts content. And I threw a spare card of darning yarn I found in a second hand shop too.

And because I hate wasting anything, I started a pair of socks for me last summer in plain yarn (with a cable pattern so I don’t get board), the thought being that I may then have enough left over from the 3 pairs to make another pair. So I suppose I better dig them out at some point.

Inspired by this recent spell of finishing, I have ripped open the crotch on my latest pair of jeans, that have been languishing in the naughty corner all month for crimes against humanity with the aim to adjusting them. Next up, the collar is coming off my sweatshirt make, after all, when I said I was aiming for Jumper January, I was kind of thinking for me not Long Suffering Husband!

Righto, better go and find some wrapping paper before I loose these socks again.  Am I the only person still finishing off Christmas presents?

Queue jumper

Repeat after me “I am not doing sewing this weekend, I have guests staying. I am not doing sewing this weekend, I have guests staying. I am not doing sewing this weekend, I have guests staying.

Look at me not trace out a pattern. Or cut fabric. Or just get the machine out to do some mending.

I am doing so well. Honestly, I did not realise there would be someone spinning at the street market we went to. A little peak won’t hurt will it? And I have to hang around to stop my kids breaking things whilst my son asks his usual barrage of questions, that’s my job as a parent, right? And it won’t hurt to just fondle some of the pretty colours while I’m here.

Lovely tones

Lovely tones of hand dyed hand spun wool from Spindle and Skein

Whoops, I accidentally bought some. But it would be rude not too, we were there a while and she was so patient with the boy.

Anyway, I will not be rude and start knitting in front of guests. I will not be rude and … hey, one of my guests is knitting. Right, that’s it….

testing, testing, 1, 2, 3, 4

testing, testing, 1, 2, 3, 4

Test piece done. I may be knitting another hat. Not sure who for yet, other than for someone who knows how to hand wash.