Pomme de pin cardigan with massive buttons!

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I had my eye on the Pomme de pin Cardigan by Amy Christoffers for quite a while.  I made a Larch Cardigan by the same designer a little while ago and I love it and wear it all the time.

I used Du Store Alpakka Mirasol which I got from Knit with attitude. I seem to have got really into knitting with beige and brown at the moment. It’s a bit boring but I really like this shade of brown……The wool was lovely to knit with; really soft and snuggly.

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Here is it with the sleeves tacked in

Once I got going on the lace pattern it was pretty easy to remember (both straight and in the round). I did get a bit confused when I got to the decreases though. It took me a few goes to figure out what I needed to do and I got very annoyed when I had to keep undoing rows because I’d been randomly adding in stitches……I might have just been being a bit thick though.

I was a little bit slap-dash when I was sewing on the sleeves and collar. I did tack them in first but I still ended up bodging things a little when it came to the final sewing up. It’s turned out just fine though! I love the way that knitted fabric is so forgiving when it comes to seaming!

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I really need a haircut…..

I loved the dad style buttons used in the original pattern. I have a real soft spot for this kind of button.  I searched about on the internet for ages but I just couldn’t find any big enough for this pattern. In the end I went for wooden buttons. As you can see they are HUGE! I was a bit worried when they first arrived  but once I’d sewn them on I was fully convinced! I do rather like big buttons so this cardigan makes me very happy.

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I have been wearing this non-stop since I finished it (even though it’s far too warm to wear it)!

My boyfriend took the photos while we were out picking blackberries. To start with it looked like our fellow fruit loving Londoners had beaten us to all of the good blackberries but then we found some secret bramble bushes and managed a really good haul.

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Our blackberry haul

Then my awesome boyfriend made them into a super tasty pie for us!

Crafty Magazine – something a bit less twee!

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Four weekend days a month I work in my friend’s lovely knitting shop. While I was there this weekend I came across this really interesting new magazine  (issue 1 no less!). It caught my eye  because it manages avoid the crafty twee trap. It would be a big lie for me to say that I don’t like twee crafty things, however, I am getting a bit fed up of that being the prevalent aesthetic for craft in general.  Sometimes it’s nice to have a tiny bit more edge and a few less flowers to balance out all of the Cath Kidston and Kirsty Allsop (both of which I like in moderation).

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The magazine covers various different crafts including knitting, crochet  and some button making. The patterns are fairly simple but accessible. These owls for example could finally inspire me to learn to crochet.

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There is also some customizing of trainers which I’m not quite so sure about. It makes me think of me and my sister tie-dying stuff in the garden in the 90s…..However as all things 90s appear to be coming back (crop tops urgh! Doc Martins yay! ) this isn’t a huge surprise but it doesn’t stop me from feeling a tad old…….

My eye was also drawn to this pattern for a top. I’m sure it wouldn’t look quite so awesome with my rather basic sewing skills but I think I’ll check it out anyway. I suspect I am drawn to it because of the buttons, I love buttons! She also has an awesome blog which I hadn’t come across before.

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Slightly dodgy scan I’m afraid- my fault- but you can still see that it’s a lovely top 

All in all I think it’s a good start for a new magazine. I’m looking forward to having a look at issue two when it arrives!

 

 

Breckon cardigan

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Last spring I made myself a Larch Cardigan by Amy Christoffers . The pattern was easy to follow and more importantly I LOVE the cardigan. I wear it all the time, it’s super cozy and comfortable and it goes with most things. It has been worn so often that it is starting to look a tad bobbley…..luckily I like it so much that I don’t care!

As I liked the first Amy Christoffers pattern so much I was keen to try another one. I’ve had my eye on her Breckon  pattern for quite a while. I liked the idea of knitting it in Brooklyn Tweed Loft however I couldn’t work out a way to actually afford it. It looks lovely but its so expensive! Instead I’ve opted for Rowan Felted Tweed. I’ve used it lots of times before and I really like it. It comes in some great neutral colours, its really nice to work with and you get lots of yardage for your money.
I’m really enjoying the pattern so far. It’s really simple and the cable and lace are nice and repetitive so I don’t have to keep checking the pattern all of the time.

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It will look much better when it’s blocked!

As with almost everything I knit I suspect that it is going to come out bigger than expected. I’ve only come down a little bit on the needle size and as my tension is very loose it will be bigger than it should be. However, I think that is going to be a good thing. I’ve been looking for a baggy cardigan in various shops for ages but I can’t seem to find anything that I like so maybe this can fill that gap! As I tend to be a little haphazard with my tension my knitting is always a bit of a surprise when it’s done. Sometimes something that looks awesome on the needles looks terrible on (my Beatnik is a case in point…) and other times I’m sure it will be terrible and then end up loving it!

As I love buttons far more than is healthy I’m very much looking forward to finding the right buttons for this. I’m thinking of some lovely wooden ones. It’s tricky to find wooden buttons that I actually like but hopefully I’ll be able to track some down.

 

New yoga mat bag

Sorry for the dodgy photos. It’s so dark here today it looks like the apocalypse is coming…..

I have been try to make myself a nice yoga mat bag since I began sewing. I don’t want to buy one as they fall within my personal classification of ‘things I can’t buy because I could make them myself’ (this also includes hats, scarves, most knitwear…). I’ve had a few attempts so far and now I am on version three. The first two where functional but they still looked pretty flimsy and home-made. I wanted to have another go as version two was starting to look tatty and also the strap was too long to be able to cycle with.

So I didn’t worry too much about bodging it up I used fabric I already had; a blue and white stripy cotton and a grey wool. While they aren’t natural bedfellows I rather like them together. I think it looks a bit 80s somehow but that doesn’t put me off

To combat the flimsy issue I used the grey wool as a lining and contrast colour for the strap, top and pocket. This was mainly because I didn’t have enough of the stripy fabric to do it the other way around!

I cut out two big rectangles of each fabric (75cm x 50 cm stripy and 80 x 50cm for the grey in case you’re interested) and then turned over the tops and hemmed them. Then I sewed the rectangles along the sides and bottom (right side to right side), cut the corners, pinked the edges (because I am lazy), pressed and turned the right way out.

Next, I hemmed the side of the draw string top, turned over the top and sewed that down right on the edge. Then I cut out the pocket (I was feeling a bit slap dash at this point so can’t offer you any measurements and I suspect it isn’t strictly square) and then hemmed along the top, ironed the sides under (again in a slightly slap dash way without my tape measure).  I got to use my automatic button-hole foot for the button holes (which I love and is my favourite thing about my sewing machine) and then I sewed it on to the main bag.

I cut out the fabric for the strap (12cm x 148 cm) ironed it in half, unfolded it, folded each side into the middle and ironed and then folded the whole thing in half and ironed again (if that makes sense?). I sewed it up along the side. This time I made sure that the strap was short enough that it would fit nice and snuggly across my body and won’t shift around when I’m wearing it on my bike.

To finish it off I threaded the strap through (using the safety-pin on the end trick my mum showed me many moons ago), sewed it to the bottom of the bag, sewed up the bottom and the sides on the wrong side and sewed on the buttons. Finally I excitedly waved it under the nose of my boyfriend in triumph, luckily he is very skilled at feigning interest in things I have made. 🙂

I’m pretty pleased with it and will definitely be taking it on my bike to yoga next time I go. However there are a few extra modifications I would make:

  • Sewing on the buttons before I sew up the bag. It’s a right pain to try to sew them on the final bag.
  • Allow a double seam allowance so that there is allowance left for sewing up at the end. This time around I had to sew right along the edge. We will see if that makes it all fall apart really quickly.
  • Make a smaller pocket (and measure it probably). I think the pocket overwhelms the bag a bit and it would look better smaller. As I’m not entirely sure what I plan to put in the pocket anyway this shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Use thinner fabrics. I had real problems convincing my sewing machine to sew through the straps and the sides of the bag. It wasn’t happy at all…..
  • Buy new thread which is a good colour match rather using thread I have hanging about which you can kind of see….
  • Try and make the strap stretchy (not sure how I plan on doing that yet).

Baby jumper from left over wool finished!

The baby jumper is all finished and blocked.

I’m really please with the way that its turned out. The re-used wool has dried nice and flat and I think the colours look pretty good. The pattern suggested a crocheted button band but I just picked up the stitches and knitted them. I found some buttons in my embarrassingly large button collection which I think go rather nicely.

I hope that Mum and baby like it!

Cushion cover with button fastening

A few weeks ago I finally got myself a new sewing machine (well, when I say ‘ I got’ I mean ‘my mum helped me to get’). I love my old machine but it isn’t terribly modern or indeed practical. It is an old Singer from the 70s that used to belong to my Nana. It looks very pretty and has a lovely retro feel to it. However, it has one speed and that is ‘very fast’ with the pedal offering no opportunities  for slowing down. The tension is a fine art and is prone to altering itself if the table is accidentally knocked. It has two stitches; straight or zig zag. It’s awesome if you want to sew straight stitch in a straight line really fast but not very good for anything else (unless you are much better at sewing than I am!).

While my new sewing machine isn’t nearly as pretty as my old machine it works about a million times better. Anything it lacks in style it makes up for with an automatic button-hole, needle threader (this is the most exciting thing for me..), bobbin winder that works every time you try to use it, ability to sew as slow as you want, 26 stitches, a selection of non broken feet, huge variety of stitches……I could go on but suspect you are very bored by now.

The automatic button-hole is particularly exciting as you just pop the button into the foot and it works out how big the button-hole needs to be and sews it for you. Literally no skill or thought required! Rather than wait for a project that requires button holes I decided to make a cushion cover with button fastenings to try it out.

I got this lovely fabric ages ago. It was going to be a top but I didn’t actually remember to take the measurements with me and didn’t actually buy enough fabric. As I’m a bit lazy rather I just got the old horrible brown cushion cover and used that as a template. I added on a little extra for a seam allowance, hems and button band. I hemmed the sides (so that I didn’t have any fraying edges on the sides or the edge of the fold at the top) and folded it in (half leaving 10cm for the fold) and sewed up the sides.

After a little bit of practice on scrap fabric the button holes were super simple and as easy as I’d hoped. All I had to do after that was dig out some buttons I had lying around (I have a lot of buttons lying around…….I love buttons) and sew them on. I think the pink looks pretty cool with the navy stripe.

I’m very pleased with my finished cushion cover. I didn’t have to buy anything and it’s approximately 100 times better than the old one. I was a bit worried that it would be really obvious that I’d used grey thread (I didn’t have either white or navy and couldn’t be bothered to trek out into the rain to get any) but you can hardly tell.

While I was taking pictures of my new cushion cover I was reminded of this awesome one that my sister made me for my 30th birthday. She has some amazing cross stitch skills and , as you can see, a lot of patience!