A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

FO Friday: Watermelephant

This week I finally finished making a knitted toy elephant I started working on  a while ago with the yarn I had left over from the first pair of socks I ever made. This is as far as I got.  

The problem was the ears, which the pattern instructs to crochet. I found this a bit of a stumbling block. In between putting the elephant down and learning to crochet, I managed to lose or throw away the remaining yarn, so I had to improvise. I did a few practice ears trying out weights of yarn.  

The one on the right was done with the yarn held double. I then decided that I would prefer green to pink ears. Also I think I have laid the ears backwards in this pic. Oops.  I did this project as part of the HPKCHC Headmistress Challenge, which had a garden theme and so I took the finished pictures in my pumpkin patch.         

WiP Wednesday: Magical unicorn farts shawl

Turns out that late July has become a weird time for me, which essentially means a lot more time spent knitting. I was browsing Ravelry recently and saw a thread for a mini KAL (knit along) of a gorgeous textured shawl, Bradway.


The pattern evoked fantasies of snuggling up next to a fire, s’more in hand, and before I knew it I was feverishly browsing yarns. Eventually I decided that this shawl would be the perfect opportunity for me to use yarns from one of my favourite dyers, The Lemonade Shop. I settled on these colours.

Hell yeah!

I bought two skeins of sock yarn to hold double as the Flashdance colourway was sold out in worsted weight and it didn’t want to worsted wait.

I decided to use the leftover dark purple/navy yarn from my Little Wave cardigan as the equivalent to the white in the sample above, to break up the colours.  I made the navy stripes narrower as I don’t have too much of that yarn and I’d rather not buy a new skein. 

This is a highly addictive knit, both due to the yarn and the pattern. I was a little anxious at the point of taking the picture above as I was worried the shawl would be too busy, but I’m happier now. As the rows get longer, the knitting does become more laborious but I’m keen to get this finished as I want to take it to a festival in early August.

 

FO Friday: Rainbow polkadot shirt dress

Wow, 2015 has really been the year of sewing for me. My latest finished garment is this polkadot dress that I started ages ago. This is definitely more mum’s creation than mine but I like the retro nurse look. The pics were taken on my recent jaunt to Rome.


Even with the front and back darts I prefer the look of this dress with a belt. I love love love the rainbow bias binding.

Here’s a closer shot of the top and collar. I got the buttons from the Joan Miro museum in Barcelona. Excuse my rapturous facial expression, this was life-changing gelato.

WiP Wednesday: Acid Refresher Socks

I have several knitting projects on the go at the moment, which is a little frustrating at times because it feels like I’m doing a lot of knitting with very little to show for it. The smallest project, which I mostly use for knitting on the go, is this pair of socks. I’ve had the yarn in my stash for over a year, since I bought a lot of Crazy Cat Sock yarn. I might post a pic of the four projects I made from those four beautiful balls of wool.

Anyway, back to the socks. These are knit on 2.5mm needles. It’s surprising the difference between knitting on 2.5s and 2.75s. You get a denser fabric, but I find that I make many more mistakes. My grandma gave me these DPNs a few years before she died, when her arthritis began to prevent her from doing fine craft work.
  

I’ve actually finished the first sock now, and I’m past the gusset on the second sock, so it should be done soon hopefully.

Pattern: Zigzagular socks (FREE on Ravelry)

Yarn: Stray Cat Sock in Sun Shower

Ravelry project page here

I’ve also finished the first sleeve of my Vitamin D cardigan.


And I’m near the end of the first sleeve of my Orza jumper. 

Cigarette Trousers

Last Thursday I braved crossing strike-struck London for the third leg of my sewing workshop at Sew Over It. It was another intense evening of sewing, but I came out with a little something special.

Week One

Week Two

There was lots to be done on Thursday. I think the first step was to sew the inside legs. I next made my waistband. Julie had a good tip for clipping curves and notches: use the tip of the scissors to avoid clipping too far, and clip a line, not a wedge.

Next I pinned the side seams so my trousers could be fitted.

I like the way they look inside out! I was tempted to sew them up like this. I’m also rocking my waistband as a statement necklace. The fit was pretty good, so it was time to stitch the side seams and attach the waistband. I decided to hand finish it so there wouldn’t be visible top stitching. Here’s how it looks finished.

I also hand finished the hems at home.

How to: Bircher muesli

A few years ago, I overcame the dramatic and turbulent changes in my weight that I’d seen in my late teens and early twenties. One of my remaining bad habits was that I never ate breakfast. After finally losing weight, I was worried that increasing my food intake would lead to increasing my waistline. But I was also aware of some of my blood sugar highs and lows throughout the day and eventually I took the plunge.
I’ve never looked back since and I remain a committed consumer of brekkie. I love porridge in the winter, but had more difficulty finding healthy and filling ways to break my fast in summer. Cereal with fake milk was okay, but I was always starving by 10am. One day, I saw a former Australian housemate making something for his lactose intolerant sister, who was visiting. He grated apples. He did stuff with oats. He manipulated nuts and seeds. And I learned that Bircher Muesli exists.

I love Bircher Muesli in the summer. I am going to give the basic recipe I use. Please note that a little variation in the quantities is no problem. You must prepare this at least a few hours before serving, preferably the night before.

Ingredients 

Per serving

  • 1 apple
  • A squeeze of lemon juice
  • 25g oats
  • 75ml fruit juice or smoothie

I normally make five servings at a time and leave it in the fridge throughout the week.  I add the following items to taste each day.

  • A handful of berries, fresh or frozen
  • A couple of tablespoons of Greek yoghurt
  • A couple of tablespoons of nuts
  • A little dried fruit
  • A squeeze of honey

Method 

  1. Grate your apples. I think it’s important to do this by hand and use unpeeled apples to ensure a great texture (no pun intended)
  2. Squeeze over some lemon to prevent the apple from browning
  3. Add oats

  

4. Add your juice. If you have a little less than you need, top up with water. 

5. Stir well and refrigerate.

  

6. In the morning, the oats will have soaked up lots of liquid. Stir in what you like just before serving and savour. 

Shift: Dress to Skirt

Here is a simple alteration, converting a dress into a skirt. I really liked the print and colour of this shift dress, but I always had an issue with the square neckline. I also had a skirt-shaped gap in my summer wardrobe and I was inspired by this upcycling challenge. I’m pleased to say that the gap has now been filled.


Yay!

This is what I started with.  

With an alteration like this, it’s important to look at how the garment is constructed. I was lucky that this is actually an extremely well constructed dress, which made my job easy.

I unpicked the fabric and lining from the waistband and waistband facing.

I then had to shorten the zip. To do this, make sure the zipper pull is down below where you cut, or you will never be able to get it back up. I cut about an inch above the waistband, tucked the ends between the waistband and facing, and stitched down to hide. I also hand-stitched heavily near the top of the zip to stop the pull slipping off.  

It was then a simple matter to hand-stitch the top hem.  

I concealed my stitches in the ditch between the waistband and piping at the top.


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