Category Archives: WIPs

LIP: Life In Progress

This little blog is going to be pootling along in a low gear for a bit, because offline my life is taking some twists and turns that are both exciting and alarming at the same time.

Basically, I’ve been offered a new job, one which I start in eight days time! I’m going to be moving back to full-time – although when I say ‘moving back’, I only ever worked full-time for five months at the start of my very first job back in 2011 before my health and circumstances kicked in*. I’ll be moving up a band too, still within the University where I currently work, but most importantly I will be moving into the Finance division.

And hence starts my life as a woman with a career rather than a job.

This does mean, of course, that the accountancy study has to start again in earnest. I am hopeful that the new circumstances will make it easier than it has been over the past year, although it will still be hard, I am under no illusion about that. This will probably also mean that the time which I feel I can allocate to crafting (and blogging about crafting) goes down.

But that’s OK. This too will pass. I don’t know where it will take me, but right at the minute it feels really positive and really hopeful and that’s a really good place to be in.

—————

And for a quick knitted WIP photo, I’ve finished the first repeat of Chart 3 on my Orchid Thief shawlette as part of the STCLKAL:

IMG_6752 (600 x 450)

x

*which are best not extrapolated upon right here. All I can comment upon that front is that what goes around comes around.

Casting On for the KAL

Chrissy’s Crafting Library KAL launched yesterday, and I was totally prepared. Pattern: check. Yarn: check. Needles: check*. I had packed everything together in a new project bag in order that I could cast on in the car on the way back from a week’s holiday in Suffolk.

 

In the event, I cast on this morning instead. This will be my first time using a charted pattern, first time using 3-ply yarn, and first time knitting all-over lace, and I decided that I wanted to afford it proper concentration instead of getting distracted by trying to keep everything in my lap every time the car went round a bend.

But the upshot to all of this is that I am in! I have knitted the first tentative rows of Ysolda Teague’s Orchid Thief Shawlette pattern from Brave New Knits, and I’m really quite excited. The fact that I am under no pressure to finish quickly will definitely help too.

IMG_6700 (600 x 450)

 

D’you want to join in? Click on the button below to find out what it’s all about!

STCLKAL Button

*There is a story here involving my complete and utter lack of ability in taking care of my belongings, but it’s neither important nor that interesting – suffice to say that I don’t normally knit on wooden tips.

WIP Detail Shot #6

I’ve been doing some sewing today, and I’m feeling pretty proud even if I do say so myself:

IMG_6702 (600 x 450)

intersection of corners

IMG_6704 (600 x 450)

mock French seams

 

WIP: a Quarter of an Omelette

After restarting my Omelette cardigan whilst on holiday, I’ve made speedy progress*. I started the holiday with just a faced hem – but now look!

IMG_6688 (600 x 450)

This pattern is SO CLEVER. I’m not going to expand on all of the details of the construction because you ought to go and buy the pattern to find out for yourself – but I am constantly tickled by just how much thought the designer has put into everything.

To give an example: I’m used to taking numbers in patterns with a bit of a pinch of salt – after all, I have to modify practically everything in order to fit me. But in order to do that effectively, you have to keep an eye on each number and really understand what it represents.

To start with I was knitting the fifth size up**. The pattern instruction read “…on the 19th (19th: 20th: 20th: 0th: 21st: 21st) row…”. I think that most people’s instincts would be as mine were; to assume that that zero was a typo and meant to read twenty. But actually no. Reading ahead a bit made me realise that it actually was a zero – but to truly persuade myself of that was a huge exercise in trust.

Annamária Ötvös has earned that trust a million times over already. I’m not an experienced knitter, but even I can tell that this is stellar pattern writing.

A couple more WIP details:

IMG_6693 (600 x 450)

Crochet provisional cast-on à la Woolly Wormhead. Now that the method’s clicked for me, I am never using another provisional cast-on ever again.

IMG_6689 (600 x 450)

Remember that I said I was doing an embossed-style motif on the left pocket? Can you tell what it is? I’m hoping that it will be that bit clearer after blocking!

I paused to take photos having got to the end of my first cake of yarn. According to my scales, the cardigan so far weighs roughly 70g. Nearly a quarter of the way through!

x

*Or as speedy as progress goes when you’re knitting an entire friggin’ cardigan in 4-ply. Ahem.

**I’ve now decreased to the third, because OHAI waist-hip ratio.

Knitting Fizz Buzz

Do you know the game Fizz Buzz? Basically you start at 1 and count upwards, taking it in turn to say a number. So far so easy, but in your counting out loud you must replace every multiple of 3 with “fizz!” and every multiple of 5 with “buzz!”. Multiples of 3 and 5 (ie. multiples of 15) then become “fizz buzz!”.

Why yes, I did grow up in an education-orientated household.

Anyway, I have started work again on my Omelette Cardigan after a long hiatus. This is mainly due to the fact that I knew I was going to have to play a 4-way game of knitting Fizz Buzz in this section and I needed to wait until I had the time and head-space to deal with it.

image

I do make life complicated for myself though. The pattern stipulates that you must intersperse decrease rows with buttonhole rows. I decided that this wasn’t complicated enough so added vertical darts and an embossed effect motif to the left pocket area. Oh, and I’ll probably need to grade between sizes by the time I get to the waist too.

It keeps life interesting, no?!

Status Check #2

1. Knitted – Omelette

I fear that this has entered hibernation status. I’m no further than last time.

2. Knitted – Peacock Eyes Cardigan

I am so close to finishing this I can almost taste it!!! I bound off one sleeve last night (61cm of yarn left) and the other earlier this evening (71cm left). I’ve removed the lifelines that I had in there for counting purposes and thus all I need to do is weave in ends, block, and sew on buttons!

IMG_6523 (600 x 450)

3. Sewn – BWOF 02-2013-126

Yeah, still in pieces in the bag. This blog’s not called “Sewing Slowly” for nothing, ya know!

4. Sewn – BWOF 03-2012-121 (modified)

Officially a UFO and stashed away in disgust. Next.

5. Sewn – Colette Lily

This one’s doing fine. Everything’s cut out now, bar the straps but including the skirt lining and the tops have all been attached to their respective bottoms. I’m having to shorten the skirt and piece the straps due to lack of fabric, but touch wood it’ll be OK.

I’m not actually convinced about the particular order of construction that Colette recommend – effectively constructing the dress vertically before horizontally – because it means that you can’t try on the (fitted) bodice until the skirt is there too. That means that if you discover you need to make any ‘vertical’ alterations to the bodice it’s a pain in the backside. You don’t even get the benefit of less fabric in play when you insert the zip because that has to be done after the facing/ flap, which in turn has to be done after you’ve joined together the bodice… so yeah.

I did take the precaution of pin fitting the bodice pieces before sewing up the waist seams, and I’m glad that I did because I discovered that I needed to take quite a bit of fabric out in order to get anything approaching a close fit. You can see my altered cutting lines on the pattern pieces in blue felt tip here (originals size 10):

IMG_6525 (600 x 450) IMG_6526 (600 x 450)

 

The alterations at the bottom of the bodice are no big surprise – effectively tapering out for my hips, and taking a bit out of the middle back for my swayback. But look at the top of the side pieces. That’s a full two inches taken out – on each side! The bust fits beautifully, so I fear the moral of this story is that even in curvy-girl Colette patterns I need to go down a base bodice size and do an FBA. Sigh.

Oh, and I totally wish that Ann had published this post before I had cut out my twill weave fabric!

Buying Lining Amongst Bloggers

I have a deadline for the dress that I’m currently making. A schoolfriend, S, is getting married on the 6th July and much as I love the Burda twist dress that I made in John Kaldor crepe fabric last year (those of you who read my old blog may remember it!), I just felt a bit bored at the thought of bringing it out for a fourth wedding on the trot.

With time, fabric, and a clear vision in my head I set sail. I talked in my last sewing post about block fusing the bodice pieces, but forget to mention what pattern I was using! D’oh!

Let me correct that here. I cashed in a $10 e-voucher that I’ve had sitting about for a while, and downloaded the Colette Lily pattern. It had the exact bodice shape that I wanted and I was keen to try out Colette’s upper-body fit (with something forgiving like princess seams should anything go wrong!). Rather than pair it with the slim fit skirt though, which could be asking for trouble with my figure and a shimmery fabric, I decided to draft a half-circle skirt – I think the fabric will handle it beautifully* – so something along the lines of this:

skirted lily

I’ll talk more about the fit and construction of the dress in a future post.

But back to today, I realised that I needed some lining. Even though the bodice is effectively underlined, that skirt was clearly going to benefit from the bit of extra body and flare that a lining provides. Rather than faff about with trying to squeeze circle skirt pieces from the various bits of anti-static polyester in my stash, I decided that a trip in to Barry’s Fabrics was in order.

Barry’s is fantastic. Barry’s is amazing. It’s a single warehouse in Digbeth (in the centre of town), and it’s basically stuffed to the gills with fabric. The prices are pretty good as well. Not dirt-cheap but thoroughly affordable, and more to the point is it’s all proper dressmaking fabric – none of this novelty quilting stuff for £eye-watering/metre.

Walking through the door, I was struck by how full the shop was. I mean, sure, it’s a Saturday. But even so – the aisles were full of excitable young people, most of whom had clearly travelled some way. And then I caught sight of the button rosette badges and it clicked. I had stumbled onto a sewing bloggers’ meet-up, a bit of Googling of which has revealed to be the one organised by Claire of Sew Incidentally.

I exchanged pleasantries with one or two of the bloggers whilst we were waiting to have our fabric cut, and I found myself wondering whether I want to get involved in the online sewing community too, more than just leaving the occasional comment. They all seemed like lovely people and what fun it would be to be able to share my hobby with others on a real-life basis!

And I realised that actually I don’t. The number of people in Barry’s completely overwhelmed me. When I got out of there, purchases in hand, the anxiety was racing and I drove home needing comfort and quiet reassurance from Jonathan. I love sewing and I love being able to discuss sewing, but in many ways it’s quite a personal activity. Me and my fabric. Me and my sewing machine. Chatting about patterns with a friend or pawing over somebody else’s fabric choices – fine. But being part of a huge group just isn’t me, and I think it’s quite important to be able to recognise that.

What did I come home with?

Three metres of a light-coloured mystery fabric from the £2/metre table. It’s feels like a cotton-poly mix, possibly, and it’s very light with quite an open weave. It wouldn’t be great for using as a fashion fabric, but as lining for a summer dress it’ll be perfect. Clearly I bought way more than I’ll need for this project, but it’ll be useful to have on hand for future makes.

Half a metre of muslin (as in actual muslin) for Jonathan to use in the kitchen.

And two metres of a gorgeously soft charcoal 100% acrylic ponteroma.

130615-215949

Some people are bright satin prints. I’m a charcoal ponteroma, or a pale gold/ pewter shimmer lined with light polycotton. I’m cool with that.

x

*And I clearly wasn’t going to have enough fabric for a properly full skirt nicked from the one of the Vogue dress patterns that I own. C’est la vie.