A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

Author Archives: The Crafty Crusader

This project got a bit held up due to lacking in motivation to knit, but I’m glad that I persisted. Overall I’m really pleased with how this little cardigan turned out and the parents-to-be were happy to receive it too.

I think the pattern is really good. I powered along until I was due to start the buttonholes. I realised that I must have picked up the stitches from the wrong side, and reversing the instructions (though very straightforward) was too much for me at the time. After sitting in time-out for a while, I saw the yellow cardi languishing in my tweed basket (which in itself is an unfinished WiP) and decided to take a look at the pattern again. It only took me a couple of hours to finish off.

You can see the fabric isn’t totally even on the body. I have since found out that the uneven, almost striped, appearance is caused by ‘rowing out’- where you have different tension on your knit and purl stitches. I have since altered the way I purl, which will hopefully prevent this problem in future projects.

I took the cardi with me to the one place on Goldhawk Road that sells buttons. The shop didn’t have any small enough to not make the owls look a bit weird (although looking at this pic now, the size doesn’t look as bad as I thought). However, I did think that I’m not sure the buttons are really needed (side note: sewing 30 tiny buttons onto a cardigan doesn’t sound like that much fun). I also learnt that an Instagram poll isn’t the best way to make important decisions. Before anyone asks, I know than two people voted because I checked it a few times.

In the end, I decided not to go with buttons. But I did pick up these cute gold hearts as the actual fastenings.

Pattern: Wowligan by Kate Davies (I foolishly didn’t note down which size I made!)

Yarn: 3 skeins Buachaille in the Furze colourway, provided in kit from website

Ravelry project page

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Me-made May has come to an end. I managed to wear something hand sewn every day with no cheating (of which I may or may not have been guilty last year).

I found taking the pictures more of a challenge this year. I’ve been trying to make my Instagram posts more colourful since seeing this infographic of the most used colours in my grid. In non-May months, I don’t take a picture every time I wear something I’ve made myself. This month, feeling under pressure to find different colourful backgrounds suitable for a photo was really difficult.

I was surprised by how overwhelmingly neutral my grid was

Another thing I noticed was that my posts got a lot less engagement than they did last year. I try not to worry too much about things like that, especially because I’m not a business, but I think it’s noteworthy. I wonder if it’s due to the changes in the Instagram algorithm since there has been little change to my content.

Some takeaways from the month:

  • Neither of my Bettine dresses (raindrop, striped) featured. Even though this was one of the patterns than inspired me to start sewing, elasticated waists are just not for me.
  • I would like to focus a little bit more on wardrobe planning rather than only making items spontaneously. However, this is a real challenge for me. What I enjoy is being inspired and then feeling highly motivated by a project. I find it harder to make the time for more planned out projects.
  • I still don’t make enough plain things or dresses

I’m glad that I looked back on my last me-made May roundup (linked above). I felt like I hadn’t learnt much last May, but actually I’ve acted on many of the outcomes. I’ve started making my second pair of Cigarette Pants, I’ve started repurposing unloved sweaters from early in my knitting career and I’m going to donate some old makes as part of my house move.

I tried to be strict with the clothes I decide to take with me. I donated several makes where I am not totally in love with them, such as my autumn leaves skirt and unicorn top.

I’ve never read anything by Marie Kondo (though perhaps I should, given how much stuff I have!) but I did listen to a podcast that talked about her philosophy that you should only keep items that bring you joy. I tried to take this approach when assessing whether to keep or donate my handmades.

My Elfe and Rolling Rock sweaters finally bit the dust.

I considered repurposing the raw materials from these items, but in the end I know I would rather spend my limited making time creating something new. Where garments are in good nick, I hope that they will bring happiness to new owners.


I managed to finish my second Linden sweater using the beautiful Atelier Brunette fabric I bought at the Knitting and Stitching show. Overall I’m pretty happy with my first attempt at sewing with sweatshirting. I was able to finish this project in time to take it on a mini break to Barcelona.

I was so glad to have an extra layer since it was a surprisingly chilly weekend in Spain. It would not have been my first choice of item to wear at the quidditch tournament I was playing at, but it was a welcome addition.

I think Linden brought us some luck because we won! I got a gold medal to match the golden flecks on the fabric.

I had hoped to get to a sewing cafe to use an overlocker for this project, but I didn’t have time in the end. I think an overlocker would have produced a better result. However, I did make a mistake with the neckband (put the seam at the centre front), which would have been harder to rectify if I had used an overlocker. I didn’t have the time to fix the neckband at the time, but I will replace it in future if it bothers me.

I don’t think it was a good idea to cut the sleeves on the cross-grain so I wouldn’t do that again. I don’t think the sleeves being on the cross is causing any huge issues, but still. On the plus side, I now have enough fabric left to make a colour-blocked version.

Details and costs

Fabric: 1.7m Atelier Brunette terry- £38.25

Pattern: Linden by the Grainline Studio- £14.90 (second use)


Since first dreaming up the idea of this sweater over a month ago, I have finally managed to cast on!

I decided to use the finishing treatments from Paper Dolls, particularly the i-cord bindoff. I know it looks really good with corrugated rib and I think it will help with the overall effect I’m trying to achieve. I love the finish it gives so much that it’s worth the extra effort. I did a provisional cast-on with some yellow scrap yarn using this method. I will finish with i-cord once the sweater is all done.

It’s hard to knit marlisle quickly! I tried the method Anna suggests in the pattern but it didn’t work for me so I’ve been holding the main colour in my right hand as normal and the additional colour in my left as I would for fair isle. FYI I’m holding the Kidsilk Haze double.

I had decided to be lazy and knit the navy yarn without soaking it. However, you can see in the picture above that it looks really uneven. I mean, I guess it’s understandable given how curly the yarn is.

I wasn’t confident that the knitting would even out enough with blocking so I took the time to soak the yarn to stretch it back out. The knitting is looking much more even now.

I’m feeling a little uncertain about how the sweater is looking so far. The swatch was a little square of perfection but somehow I’m not sure how it’s translating onto a larger scale. The sweater also seems a little bit big but from both measuring and trying on I think I’m on track. I’m going to continue on and just hope for the best since I’ve already put so much work in.

On the plus side, I’m finding this project enjoyable and stimulating to work on. I just really hope that I will feel the final product was worth all the labour.

Pattern: Humboldt by Anna Maltz

Yarn: Recycled Malabrigo sock and Kidsilk Haze

Ravelry project page


It feels a bit wrong to be sewing a sweater after ten years of knitting nearly all of mine. This project jumped to the top of my queue because I’ve got a weekend away in Barcelona coming up and I think this will work better as a layering option than a knit sweater.

I’m planning to make the version without the band at the hem. I find that sweaters that pull in at the hip emphasise parts of my body that I don’t like. I have a sweatshirt from Uniqlo that has precisely this problem. I’m hoping that having more of a straight line will be more skimming and give me the silhouette I prefer- it certainly works in the wearable toile I made. It was useful to measure the Uniqlo sweater (the only raglan sweatshirt in my wardrobe) to give me a sense of the dimensions I’m aiming for.

Uniqlo sweatshirt dimensions

Sleeve length (good) 27″

Bust (a bit roomy) 21″ measured flat

Front length without band (decent length) 17.5″

The pattern says to use ribbing, but a lot of the versions of Linden on Instagram use self-fabric and it looks good.

I managed to get all of the pattern pieces out of 1m of fabric, but that did mean having the sleeve cut perpendicular to the other pieces. I think 1.7m (as stated in the pattern) would be needed for a directional fabric, though that would mean quite a lot of waste.

Costs

Fabric: 1.7m Atelier Brunette terry £38.25

Pattern: £14.90 (second use)


There’s more work to do before I can even start my exciting mermaid Humboldt project. I was on a bit of a roll when I finished harvesting half of the yarn from an old sweater so it wasn’t long before I started trying to figure out how to unravel the second jumper I am upcyling, my blue ivy cardigan.

Unravelling is a bit like detective work. Since you can only unravel in one direction, you have to figure out (or remember) how the garment was constructed. I find it quite addictive. There are nice sections of long, uninterrupted mindless frogging. Then you get to something like an underarm or collar and you have to work a lot more carefully. I tend to sew up using yarn tails, which adds another layer of complexity. I see it as a challenge to have the yarn in as few sections as possible- that’s what prevents me from getting frustrated and cutting it!

I’m going to freeze this yarn before I work with it. My old house had moths, and I want to make sure that the final sweater is larva-free. I’m feeling quite laissez-faire towards soaking and winding the yarn before I use it. I’m currently leaning towards just giving it a thorough wash when I block it instead.

My She Loves Wool sweater is very much on the back burner at this time. I think mermaid Humboldt feels much more like my creation in comparison to making something from a kit. I feel quite up for creative challenge at the moment, whereas at other times I want mindless crafts to work on.

Harvested yarn

Malabrigo Yarn Sock in Cot D’Azure

Total amount: a little over 300g

Original cost: £38.97


Typically, I left it to the 11th hour to sign up for Me Made May 2018, though of course I knew I would be doing it after enjoying participating so much last year.

I’ve added quite a few garments to my handmade wardrobe since last May, though I’ve also got rid of a couple of items that I never wore. This is my pledge this year:

I, Monique of www.craftycrusader.wordpress.com @craftycrusader on social media, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’18. I endeavour to wear at least one item of handmade clothing for every day of May 2018. I will post daily pictures on my Instagram. One of my aims is to streamline my wardrobe before I move house in June, particularly to cull the RTW clothing I seldom wear. I would also like to identify gaps in my me-made wardrobe.

Something I continue to be terrible at is wardrobe planning. As a maker, I am very much inspired in the moment. I get an idea for something I want to make and it’s not long before I’m delving into research for that item. I was going to say that planning is the converse before realising that I actually love to plan for individual projects. It’s having an overview or overarching plan that is my downfall. To be honest, that is very much a reflection of my personality. I tend to get caught up in the nitty-gritty of things without really having much awareness of what it is all leading to.

In fact, this has been the main dilemma of my thirties so far- feeling rudderless.

Before I get too deep into self-analysis, I will simply say that I am looking forward to taking part in #mmm18 and I hope it will help me to think a little more strategically about my makes. I have two mini-breaks coming up in May, which makes it even more exciting!