Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The Channel Cardigan from Brooklyn Tweed

When I saw the Channel cardigan in Brooklyn Tweed's collection about 2 years ago I was very taken by it. The pattern, the thoughtful way the raglan sleeves are set, the shawl collar and of course the stylish belt. It's a knit for somebody with advanced skills and although I am somebody that fits the bill, I was apprehensive to start as there were a few techniques new to me such as the tabular cast on.



It sounds like a lot of work and in a way it is but it really goes surprisingly fast. I did not use Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter but instead Loop Alpaca Tweed in the wonderfully named colour "House of Bees". It's a beautiful tweed yarn, possibly a little heavier than Shelter but perfect for this cardigan. The alpaca yarn is incredibly soft to the touch and very warm. While knitting I thought it had too many knots and too many areas where the spinning was inconsistent which for a yarn that expensive should not be the case. Although this was annoying (and I have since gave that feedback to Loop as they commissioned the yarn) it did not stop me and is hardly visibly in the finished jacket.

                                       

I knitted in the smallest size as the yarn,  although almost identical to Shelter in length is a little thicker. I thought it might not keep the form as well as shelter but it actually does hold incredibly well.



The tabular cast on was a first for me and I have since used it again and absolutely adore it. It's not difficult, just a bit time intensive to begin with. 




The pattern is not difficult to knit and its an easy repeat of knit and purl for the chevron part and in between it is decided through a brioche pattern. The belt and shawl colour are knit in brioche to give it structure. 



I started of the with just knitting an arm to see if the wool works out and whether I liked it. I did and then slowly made my way through the other pieces. The back and two fronts are knit in one piece and the arms are then attached which makes for a really fast construction. The shawl colour and belt took rather a long time to knit and I used an entire skein for them and in fact all I had left was maybe 10 meter of yarn in total! 

                 


The finished cardigan fits extraordinarily well and I could not be more pleased with it. It's warm and cosy and above all very stylish and has been warn a lot over those past 3 months. 


And I was very pleased when I found those shell buttons in exactly the same yellow/green colour. 




Of all the garments I have knitted in the last two years since my knitting resurgence I am probably most proud of this one. Brookly Tweed pattern are very detailed and a joy to read. In fact I have already cast on another Brookly Tweed pattern cardigan....

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Advent Calendar for my nieces - part 2-

The first calendar (for Sophia) is finished and it really wasn't as much work as I thought and it was enormous fun too.




But in order to reduce the workload I made a few clever decisions. I invested in plastic number and letter templates instead of creating templates myself which saved an enormous amount of time. I simply ironed bondaweb onto the wrong side of the fabric, placed the templates on the right sight, drew around it with a pen, cut them out with scissor and ironed them onto the 10 x 10 pre-cut fabric pieces. This part of the process took no more than 2 hours.
I bought the templates on ebay and they are really good, come in a box and are of course reusable for ever.




I then affixed the numbers and letters (again by machine) permanently with an appliqué blanket stitch. This took a little while of course but again not to bad and to be honest I wasn't going for perfection. 





The rest is  straight forward. I basically made a quilt using a light grey as background so that the coloured and patterned pockets contrast well and therefore stand out. I quilted it in 1/2 in straight lines and bound it in a turquoise fabric that is also from the Cotton & Steele Noel collection.

All pockets are lined to give them better structure and are attached to the quilt by machine. I sewed over the edges several times as I can imagine little hands grabbing them in a haste and I also think this quilt will be used as a quilt (not just a wall hanging) and toy a lot. After all 3 year old kids really don't care to much if this is a Christmas quilt or not. Imagine all the things you can put into all these pockets over an entire year.



I am already onto the quilt for Lily but am not sure if I finish it before my big trip to Japan. Let's see.

First post on this here.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

A red pullover

I love colour in my quilts but also in my wardrobe and I wear it a lot too. I have bright green trousers that I wear happily to work and an all yellow trouser suit. Colour makes me feel good and brightens up the day. And its no different with my knits. I looked at my wardrobe a while back and thought I need a red jumper. And so I knitted a red jumper.





The pattern I chose is again from 'La maison Rililie" and is called "Dessine-moi un mouton". This is the second pattern I have knitted from 'La maison Rililie" after the funky Grandpa cardigan from last year. I love those patterns. They are wonderfully detailed and written with real skill and love to the job. And I have become quite obsessed with top-down knits.

 

This pattern has a wealth of detail and gave me again a chance to learn a few new techniques such as the wonderful finishing at the cuffs.





I used "Holst" yarn but not the Supersoft version that is used in the pattern, instead I knitted Coast which is half merino and half cotton as I intend to wear this jumper in Spring and Autumn when it is a little cold but not too cold. The yarn is very thin and runs at 350 meters per 50 gr. which is why I knitted it double and mixed two different reds to get a light heathered look. The colours I used are "Rosehip" and "Poppy" and both were bought online at Tangled Yarn here in the UK.



This yarn is fairly inexpensive and has a lot of fans but I yet have to wash the sweater and am a little apprehensive whether it shrinks. I did knit a swatch and washed it by hand in fairly hot water and I observed no discernible shrinkage. The yarn knitted very well but breaks quite easily. I have worn the sweater several times and it feels very good and soft on the skin.

There is so much I love with this jumper, the two colours, the edge finishings that are knitted with just the darker red, the yoke with the unusual raglan shape, the cuffs ....

The only other change (apart from the yarn) I made to the pattern, is that I omitted the raw neckline for a more finished refined look.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Advent Calendars for my nieces - part 1 -

I was going to start this blogpost by saying "It's that time of the year again..." but that would be just too depressing. Though it actually is and in particular for us crafters because making something for Christmas, be it something decorative or a present, takes time.

In 2011 when my lovely nephew was 3 years old I made him an Advent calendar made up of 24 miniature stockings. It was incredibly cute and a huge success and best of all it is still in use although he turned nice this year. That one I also started in the Summer with the intention to make a few stockings every months. In the end I made most of them in November by assembling a production line as it turned out this was a lot of work and a bit tidies too.


Fast forward 6 years and I have two new gorgeous nieces, Sophia aged three and Lily aged one. And both are in need of an Advent calendar. I spend a few weeks thinking and researching as I really don't want to make 48 miniature stockings (that might just push me over the stocking edge...), although they really would look great in their house hanging along he stairs. Sure I could not line the stockings , not quilt them, not add a cuff at the top but then they would look just boring...




So I decided on a different design altogether. During my search I found this gorgeous quilt advent calendar from Cynthia by Ahhh... Quilting and it immediatly hit home. It's a quilt with numbered pockets attached to it. Cynthia put a lot of work into her quilt with ribbons and gorgeous quilting too but I am going to make up my own version of this and keep it altogether a little simpler.  But for those of you who might want to follow her pattern, its on sale in her Craftsy shop. I am sure it is a great pattern but I just want to follow my own path and see where it takes me.

My other hope was to to make something that may not be as much work as the stockings were....well, I have given up on that hope...in for a penny in for a pound. And I don't mind because I think I am going to enjoy this very much.




The next consideration was what fabric to use. And as most manufacturer bring out their Christmas fabric in summer, bang on time Cotton & Steel released this years festive collection called "Noel". 

Its a super fun, contemporary take on Christmas and in style quite similar to the one I used for Hauke's stocking calendar. As much as I like Christmas, what I don't like are most of the fabrics with their dark tones and overly traditional patterns. So this fit the bill perfectly. I ordered at the Fat Quarter Shop a set of forty 10 x 10 squares which will be enough fabric to make forty pockets. I also ordered a half meter each of the "Snow Babies" in red and mint for the tree and 3 more half meters of some of the other patterns, two of which are for the binding and the rest for the tree stump and for the remaining 8 pockets and generally as spare fabric. I am adding solids from stach for the numbering and background fabric.



First up is Sophia's quilt. I was able to assemble the quilt including quilting very fast.  Essentially the tree is a simple triangle with a rectangle attached surrounding by solids. The numbers are (machine) appliquéd too. Next its on to making the pockets.

Happy crafting weekend.



Tuesday, 18 July 2017

A seaside sweater

Today I'd like to share another knit with you and appropriately for Summer it's a linen knit. This is now my fourth linen jumper (Nr.1, Nr.2,  Nr.3) and I love them all. Linen, whilst not the easiest to knit is the most comfortable to wear material there is for summer.




This sweater was inspired by one that I saw on Karen Templer's Fringe Association blog last year (but I am unable to find it there again).




I made my live easy und used a pattern I already kit last year for my third linen sweater. It's from the Plucky knitter and I like the pretty eyelids along the raglan shape. The pattern is worked top down which is now also my preferred way of knitting.





The linen yarn is 'Kalinka' from Karin Oberg which I ordered at this shop in France but it is also available in the UK at Wild and Woolly in London (they just did not have the colours I wanted). The skeins only come in 100 gr. which I is not economical as I have now rather a lot left. All other linen I have used in the past (mainly Sparrow by Quince&Co and El Lineo by Schoppel) come as 50 gr skeins. But the yarns knit as well as all the others and the colours are just as gorgeous.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Isosceles triangles quilt and class

The Village Haberdashery were I am teaching quilting and other sewing classes asked me to teach a master class in isosceles triangles. So I thought the best way to go about this is to first make a class sample...that turned out to be a baby quilt (no half measures here...).




For those who have never heard about isosceles triangles (or can't remember geometry lessons at school), they have two sides of equal length rather than three and are thus a little "taller".



I worked with triangles before and whether they are isosceles or other they all require careful handling during cutting and quilt assembly which I will teach during the class including tips on fabric choice, design, quilting etc. We scheduled two classes one in July and one in September.



I loved making this quilt and new immediately when we decided to just use solids that I wanted something with lots of blues. It took only 10 min to choose all the colours for this quilt!



I used five different blues (Surf, Regatta, Riviera, Blue Jay and Candy Blue) and one orange  (Torch). All are Kona Cotton and are in stock at the Village Haberdashery.



Often when I make a quilt that is led by clear geometrical forms, I choose a quilting pattern that is the opposite of those strict uniform lines such as concentric circle. Whilst my go-to quilt pattern is the concentric circle, I chose something a little different for this quilt. I wanted to quilt in a way that looks as if many very large circles are implying that the quilt is part of a larger piece (at least from the back).



If you know my quilts then you know that I prefer coloured threads for quilting rather than white and this one is no exceptions. In fact I went even further. I quilted in two different varigated thread colours (both Gueterman Suki), one in shades of blues and one with a distinct emphasis on orange.



And I absolutely adore the result and wished I made the quilt bigger. The quilt will be displayed at the shop from next week and as part of my classes.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Light as a feather

I realise that this is really not the right time to write about my finished mohair jumper (finished about 4 months ago) but we all know that eventually the weather will turn and then it will come in handy. Yesterday I was sitting in the kid's pool with my 2 nieces in 30 degrees heat. Just humour me....




So in December last year I had given a mohair jumper I knitted years ago finally to charity. I had worn it plenty over the years but stopped wearing it and according to my rule that anything that isn't worn more than one season must go to the charity shop, I found myself without a mohair jumper.



Oddly enough it bothered me a bit and I thought to one day make new one. Then I found myself at Liberty buying buttons, literally walking into this gorgeous special edition vintage inspired kidsilk haze mohair by Rowan. The blue mohair (colour way 'Smalt') is spun around a white silk threat which gives it this amazing vintage colour. To top it all they had this jumper as a sample in a different colour displayed and it's a free pattern. Needles to say the buttons weren't all that was purchased that evening. Four little balls of mohair came home with me at almost 10 GBP a ball!



So far so good. I cast on and front and back knitted like a dream (although I disliked that it is a bottom up pattern). The arms were a different story. Mohair doesn't knit easy at all and frankly is probably best knit simply and without much pattern. The pattern used for the arms isn't difficult at all but it is fiddly.



I also made a mistake on the second arm and attempted to unravel my knitting....Anybody who has knitted mohair before will know that it is a nightmare and one which I abandoned very fast.



Fortunately I had enough wool to finish but the arms came up a little short. This wasn't an enjoyable knit at all. I do love the result though and absolutely loved wearing this lightest as a feather sweater in the early spring days.