Facecloth

I have been knitting some simple face cloths for a soap maker to put in her kits in exchange for some soap. The pattern is a bit like this and knits up pretty quickly, but after a few in a row I got a bit bored.

IMG_0001.JPG

So I found out the couple of balls of cotton yarn that I once bought but have no idea what to do with and knitted up a more interesting face cloth using this pattern which has a lovely short, concise instructional video on how to do the Knit Daisy Stitch.

It knitted up pretty fast and came out nice and square, although I did get a bit frustrated at times as the yarn tended to split.

IMG_0002

Once I cast of, I decided to be brave and try the crochet edge.  (Me and crochet don’t get on so well). I see now the edge is supposed to be US single (UK double) crochet. But I got confused and did a row of US double (UK triple) instead – following these lovely clear instruction.

Then I got bored and thought I’d try and do the reverse crochet edging someone was waxing lyrical about, but I didn’t like the video I found, and ended up following this one instead, adding a row of UK double (US single) crochet, and then doing a round of chains of 3 that are anchored into every other stitch with a slip stitch.

IMG_0003.JPG

I was pretty pleased with how it came out, until I realised that my facecloth is no longer square, doh!

Oh well. This one is being wrapped up and sent off with some bartered soap as a birthday present. If I get around to making another one with the rest of the yarn I’ll either skip the crochet or make an extra effort to pick up the stitches more evenly. Any top tips for evenly picking up stitches for crochet gratefully received!

 

 

Visible Mend for the Win

Take one smart, shop bought cardigan.

Give it to your child to wear.

Get cardigan returned with large hole now in it. (caught on branch whilst tree climbing or some other such commendable activity).

Ponder how to fix it without loosing it’s smartness.  (Fine knitted fabric, too big a hole to darn, patch would look scruffy).

Decide to embrace the hole.

Neaten edges of hole.

Find multicouloured thread that you inherited from your grandmother in law.

Go around hole with blanket stitch.

Add petals, freehand with chain stitch.

Host impromptu workshop when camping with friends curious as to what you’re doing how.

Bring now mended cardy back from folk festival.

Leave for several weeks lost in a pile of your husbands clothes over the end of the bed.

Find cardigan, reunite with daughter, blog.

Et Voila.

Secret Summer Sunshine

IMG_0089[1].JPG

This is not a pair of jeans. I have nearly finished my 5th Liana’s, but procrastination and life in general keep conspiring to get in the way.

img_00901

This is the scarf I’ve knitted my mum for Christmas, finally finished, ends woven in, blocked (kind of) and all ready to wrap. Not bad going considering that I bought the yarn at the beginning of January planning to make it for her mid March birthday.

IMG_0091[1].JPG

Yarn: 3 skeins of Rowan Alpaca Colour one each of  Emerald, Agate and Garnet.  The colours change subtly within each skein, which I didn’t realise at the start.

Stitch: moss (seed) stitch, cos I like the texture and who wants a scarf with a right side and a wrong side.

Inspiration: My Birthday Scarf, as several times whilst I was making it my mum said she liked the randomness of the stripes, but it wasn’t in her colours. I’m pretty sure these are more her colours and I hope the substitution of baby alpaca for silk is acceptable too.

Length: All the yarn. And with 3 skeins, rather than the two last time, it makes a proper scarf. In fact, she will probably complain this one is too long. Also, this is a tad narrower at 35 stitches rather than 42.

Top Tip: For moss stitch, use an odd number of stitches so you start each row on the same stitch. I made so many less mistakes on this scarf than the last one.

This scarf was knitted in so many different places, including a long winding journey at the top of the front of a double decker bus winding its way slowly through Devon on a  Sunny day in May (it’s a long way to the VW specialist garage), and I like to think a little bit of all those places is knit into the scarf.

Fingers crossed she appreciates it.

 

 

 

Swiss Darning – part 1

What a wonderful inspiring morning I have just had. I have been to a Swiss Darning workshop that was organised by Green Hill Arts in Mortenhampstead, hosted by Yuli Somme’s at Bellacouche, her wool felt studio . Just being in the old Unitarian chapel with the light streaming through the windows drinking a coffee from a handmade mug was inspiring, let alone with all the intriguing felt supplies in the background to peer at (amongst other things she makes felt shrouds as an alternative to coffins for burials and cremations). And I must go back to Mortenhampstead to see Green Hill Arts Darn Good Yarn exhibition as I didn’t have time today.

The workshop itself was run by Stephanie Wooster and she started by sharing some of her own knitwear, both handmade and shop bought, that she has mended, reinfored and embellished with this technique, and her work was delicate and gorgeous.

Then it was our turn. We started with small pieces of knitting that Stephanie had made on a knitting machine for us to practice on. It had a contrast stripe across the middle to use as a guide to keep us in a straight line. Note that the yarn she used is pale, this makes things a lot easier for beginners. We were sewing over the existing stitches, mimicking them, for an invisible stitch (although in contrast colour). For right handed people like me, it’s apparently probably easiest to start on the right hand edge and work to the left. The needle is always pointing  in the direction you’re headed. Start by bringing it up in the hole at the bottom of one of the v shaped stitches. First you move backwards and up, to the next hole up one and to the right, putting your needle in, this will cover the right hand stick of the v with your yarn. Bring your needle out two holes over, to the top of the left stick of the v. Then the next stitch covers the left hand stick of the v, so put your needle in the hole at the bottom again. Move like this from right to left, covering a stitch at a time and you’ll soon have a row of duplicate stitches.  If you want a diagram, try here, otherwise I’m sure you’ll find a more comprehensive tutorial if you search.

When you get to the end of the row, you can just move up and then head back in the opposite direction. (Always go backwards first, so when moving left to right along a row, the first stitch goes from the point of the v, up and back to cover the left hand stick of the v, then you go down from top of the right hand stick of the v back to the point and then on to the next stitch).

After covering 3 rows, I experimented with a  couple of rows doing every other stitch, to get a checkerboard effect, then one stitch in four (if you want to leave a stitch half way in between this rows stitches on the next row, then you need to make sure that you leave an odd number of stitches in between, in this case stitch one, leave 3. Stephanie calls this combination seed stitch). Then I petered out my stitches (it got a bit random at this point as the further apart the duplicate stitches are the harder it is to stay on the same row). My idea was that the reinforcement/darn was dissipating away and melding into the garment. Stephanie had done similar ideas working in zig zags, diamonds and seed stitch as you can see on her website.

So, I tried zig zag’s too. The pale green doesn’t show up so well, so I have also written out a chart for zig zags, with the V’s being duplicate stitches and the O’s being skipped stitches. I sketched a little diamond underneath.

If you want inspiration for using swiss darning as an embellishment I found a Pinterest page. It is easier to use this method to reinforce a thin area before it wears through completely rather than to patch a hole. However, I want to be able to mend things. I did start a couple of mends at the class, watch this space for how I got on.

 

Lovely Liana

Did you spot the anachronism yesterday I posted about my camel jumper? Anyone?  There are probably a myriad of mistakes I overlooked, but the glaring error to my mind is that I said I had nothing to wear it with and yet I was wearing it with a pair of jeans it looked fine with. So, I’ll let you into two secrets. The first is, that post sat waiting for photo’s for over a week whilst I failed to take photo’s (top tip, if you put something on in the morning so you get a photo of it, don’t have an impromptu gardening session first and cover it in mud).

IMG_0152

The second is that whilst I was waiting for the photo’s I made jeans. But I don’t mind if you didn’t notice, I’ll just take it as proof that they look pretty professional 😉

IMG_0166

These are Itch to Stitch Liana Stretch Jeans. There was a sew-a-long back in December, but I decided I didn’t have time to pfaff about getting jeans to fix back then.

IMG_0160

More fool me as these are the size 18 straight out of the packet, no alterations, and they are the best fitting pair of jeans I can remember having (although there are wrinkles so might investigate alterations before the next pair, and there will be a next pair, but then again, I might just be lazy).

IMG_0142

My favourite bit was topstitching the back pockets, such fun! (And yes, I have sorted those loose ends out now).

IMG_0165

Now I’ve made them I understand why a couple of people I know have been raving about them. First off Kennis’s pattern is impeccably well drafted. See that coin pocket, there is a different sized one for each size of the pattern (and for the back pockets too) Seriously. And a pattern piece for the belt loops (rather than just cut a piece of fabric x by y). Oh and those pockets you see have pocket stays too. And there are three different leg options, skinny, straight or bootcut, I went for the latter.

IMG_0161

The instructions (with diagrams, I love a good diagram) are really clear, including when to finish seams, when to topstitch, what to do if your machine doesn’t have a bar tack function and a great way of inserting the fly. It all leads to a very professional finish.

IMG_0108.JPG

Can you tell I love them? There will soon be a pile like this again awaiting construction as my red jeans are on the mending pile with fabric failure, as for a while they were the only jeans I had so they’ve seen quite alot of use. I need to make a second pair of these before they go the same way…