This week I finished my Sinister Catdigan/Oran do Chaora! According to Ravelry I cast on last August, so she took me just under a year to make.
I just need to sew the buttons on now. I picked these up in the fabric shop in Folkestone.
I’m not sure what I’m going to do about blocking since I don’t have my mats or t-pins with me. I’m not sure I’ll be able to wait to take photos.
I also finally settled on a pattern for my aunt’s birthday socks. It’s called heel toe do-si-do.
I just noticed an error quite near the start of the sock that is not easily fixable. For some reason, I always want to do sl, k2tog, PSSO instead of sl, k, PSSO. I think I’ve got the pattern now though and I’m able to notice when I’ve made a mistake more quickly.
I decided not to use the leftover yarn from my Somewhere socks in the end. Even though my aunt is knitworthy, I don’t think she appreciates subtle differences in yarn quality (she quite often asks me about yarn but then comments that I only buy ‘very expensive wool’). I also know that she will put the socks in the washing machine. Aside from all that, weaving in the ends is a ball ache! I love self-striping yarn and I think these socks are knitting up beautifully.
This week I finally took two days off work! I immediately regretted not taking longer. I decided to test the staycation waters by booking two nights in an Airbnb in another part of Kent. I will say that it’s been fantastic to have my own little space.
I chose this property because it had access to a pizza oven.
It cost me over £200 (single person tax) so it’s hard to say whether it was ‘worth’ the money. I certainly don’t regret spending it, especially when my expenses have been down during the pandemic- I’m fortunate enough to be able to work from home. But for me it’s hard to get used to the idea of going on holiday without going anywhere.
Last week’s activity was slightly curtailed because I went to visit friends for the weekend. That’s in no way a complaint- it was so nice to see people in the flesh. I also borrowed an Instagram boyfriend for a few minutes to photograph my finished Somewhere socks at last.
Once again the majority of my craft time was spent working on my Sinister Catdigan/Oran do Chaora. Fortunately the experiments I did on my fair isle swatch did translate to the whole sweater. Knitting the yoke was quite stressful. I purchased an additional pattern (Laxå by Karin Weststrand) to help me shape the neckline. It looked pretty rubbish and ill-fitting for a while, but eventually the decreases started to pull it in. I am a bit concerned about how uneven the decreases are making the fabric look, but all I can do is hope that a good blocking will neaten it up.
My next decision was whether to make the neckline ribbing teal or blue, as the rest of the cardigan. I decided to stick with blue in the end. I made a slight change to both patterns and bound off the neckline stitches before picking them back up for the ribbing. It gives a much neater finish and a little more structure. I used a sewn tubular cast off.
So many decisions! The next was number of buttons and placement. I decided that six buttons looks a bit better than five.
My next big project will almost certainly be the Sheshader sweater by Jade Starmore. Before that, I must get around to choosing the sock pattern I’m going to make for my aunt.
The shade on the right is the same one as shown in the sample image so I hope it’ll knit up as a nice cream.
Partially inspired by the pizza that my friend made last week, I made my own dough using my sourdough starter. I used a recipe from the King Arthur flour website, which is a great resource for fledgling sourdough bakers such as myself. It came out so well! I’ve booked two nights away next weekend in a place with a pizza oven and I can’t wait to see how that turns out. Please keep your fingers crossed for me for good weather!
I feel like a broken record, but it’s been another busy week at work. Aside from that, I was mainly working on my Sinister Catdigan again. I forgot to take a photo of the wrong side last week. So pleased with those floats! I don’t trap them because it ruins the look of the design when you’re using high contrast colours.
I finished the yoke and grafted it to the body and sleeves. The grafting took 3-4 hours and used a lot of yarn. I thought I’d left a long enough section of wool (about three armspans) but I had to splice on some more.
I couldn’t wait to try it on. I’m pretty happy with the fit. I never button my cardigans so the width is fine. I’m a little surprised at how long it’s looking, but the neckline may bring it up a bit.
I spent over an hour picking up the stitches from the provisional cast on, and an evening researching knitting patterns for my neck decreases. I really can’t be bothered to try and calculate the decreases myself. I’m happy to pay someone who has already done it!
On Tuesday I made vegan cannelloni. It didn’t look that stunning but it tasted amazing- even if it took well over an hour longer than suggested in the recipe.
I also made a cake using some cheap rhubarb I got in Waitrose. It was delicious!
And I made french toast using my sourdough bread from last week. The bread was actually very tasty even if it looked a bit flat and the french toast livened it up perfectly.
Finally, I made some vegan mozzarella using School Night Vegan’s recipe. Yes I am obsessed with him. At first I was put off by all the speciality ingredients required for a lot of his recipes, but they really do make a difference to the texture. I now own psyllium husks, agar powder, potato and tapioca starch. Just as well I am not spending any money eating out at the moment!
If the sense of relief I felt on Monday was anything to go by, I made the correct decision in moving out of my place in London. I had two busy weekends of sorting and packing things, but all that work should make it fairly straightforward for me to move in once I find my next place, which I’m hoping to buy rather than rent.
I did have a little break from packing to darn one of my dishcloths before putting it into storage.
I also marked my compost bin in the hope that a new tenant will keep using it.
A lot of craft time has been dedicated to my Oran do Chaora/Sinister Catdigan again this week. I’ve finished both sleeves and joined them into the body, which has now been set aside.
I mentioned last week that I’d started doing the maths for the colourwork yoke. Well, unfortunately I made a really stupid error with that calculation that resulted in me spending about four hours reducing the body section by one stitch.
Fortunately I re-checked my sums before I did anything too major and realised my mistake. I’ve now picked that stitch back up and the numbers on my Oran do Chaora body and sleeves should match the numbers on the finished Sinister Catdigan yoke.
I’ve done the crochet provisional cast on for the yoke and the first row of cats has emerged! It’s quite hard work managing the tension with long floats and a slippery yarn but I think it’s going okay so far.
It’s funny that I was looking forward to knitting the cats and it’s only now that I’m recalling how laborious this kind of knitting can be. Working the fair isle requires quite a lot of attention. It’s very easy to make errors and I’ve had to do more than my share of undoing. But it is fun to see the cats emerge row by row- in fact it’s pretty addictive.
I’m already starting to think about how I will do the decreases for the shoulder section. I’m not that fond of the neckline of SC and I think it will look odd to do a saddle shoulder above the fair isle section. Some more planning and maths is in order next week I think.
I fed my sourdough starter again in preparation for making my first loaf. I looked at some recipes and started to get a bit stressed because of all the equipment needed. I don’t have a banneton, baking stone or a dutch oven.
The loaf is a little disappointing. I used a pan as a lid following some advice online and I think it actually restricted her growth. Now I’m contemplating investing in a Dutch oven.
This was another week of not really staying inside. I had to go to hospital for my plastic surgery follow-up, to another hospital for some work appointments, and I moved the majority of my possessions into storage.
Giving up my room wasn’t an easy decision to make, even though it makes sense. I’ve had assurance from work that it’s very unlikely that I’ll have to have to do any face-to-face work for the foreseeable future, but everything still feels uncertain. I wish it was possible for there to be more clarity around what’s likely to happen in the coming weeks and months, but I know it isn’t.
In craft-related packing, I took my sweaters out of the freezer and put them back in. I discovered some moth damage on my Better Breton sweater so I iced all the woollen items that I had stored in the same drawer. I’ll have to do some mending once my stuff is out of storage.
As the restrictions eased, Virtual Yarns starter operating again. I jumped on the opportunity to invest in a kit. I’ve been inspired by @cleocmc on Instagram, who makes a lot of Alice Starmore garments. No photos as yet but I’m sure I’ll be writing about the kit and projects soon.
This week I finished sewing in the ends on my Somewhere socks. Can’t see myself wearing hand knitted socks any time soon!
I also got a lot of work done on the second sleeve of my Oran do Chaora/Sinister catdigan. I have used one whole skein of yarn. It’s pretty exciting that soon it will be time for me to start work on that sweet sweet cat yoke! I started thinking about some of the maths and calculations since I’m moving from one pattern to the other 🤓
All in all I can’t wait for this packing to be over. Moving is such a pain. BUT I’m very exciting news, I’m hoping to buy a flat this year. Honestly if I’m able to do it that will level my life up so much. So fingers crossed all of this annoyance will be worth it in the end.
I finished knitting the modified spindrift shawl I’m making for my aunt with the yarn I picked up at Countess Ablaze when I was in Manchester last year. I decided to omit the eyelet rows because I didn’t want the shawl to look busy. I think the yarn speaks for itself. However, it did mean that knitting it was unbelievably boring. I just don’t like knitting stocking stitch flat, but I do really like the way that it looks.
I took these pictures when I was at Hampton Court Palace for my embroidery workshop.
I ended up doing quite a few rows of garter stitch for the border since I had quite a bit of yarn left. I didn’t want to risk running out of yarn but I needn’t have worried. I actually finished the knitting and cut the yarn in Finland, before realising that I didn’t have a darning needle with me for the sewn bind-off.
I have no recollection of how I did it the last time. I’m fairly sure I used this technique on my Bad Day shawl, since I got the idea from looking back at the boneyard shawl pattern. I used this technique. It took HOURS.
Anyway, I hope that my aunt will appreciate this gift and get a lot of use out of it.
Pattern: Spindrift shawl (modified)
Yarn: Viscount of Spark by Countess Ablaze in Bienvenue
Overall, I’m very happy with how my plain version of the Colette Macaron dress turned out.
It felt good to be able to use my skills to make the changes I wanted to this dress. I did look for some guidance on line, but when I couldn’t find anything about altering the pattern, I decided to go my own way. I was aware that my sewing improved a lot over the past couple of years, but I don’t consider myself an especially advanced sewist. I had a lot of help with my most complex projects, including the only thing I have ever lined properly (my coat). However, I definitely have picked up tips and tricks from Julie that helped me.
That being said, the guts of the dress turned out to be a bit of a mess. Even though it felt good to follow my own instincts when it came to the lining, this remains something I am not experienced at doing. Next time I want to line a garment, I will follow a proper tutorial.
I kind of went halfway in between lining and underlining the dress, when I probably should have just stuck with one method. Another problem was the fiasco with the skirt (described in my last post, which has a lot more details about what I did). I had already used a French seam (definitely incorrect in this situation) on the side with the zip. I decided to slightly fudge the redo of the seam, which doesn’t affect the outside but looks like a dog’s dinner inside.
On the plus side, I have been reminded that a lining (however inexpertly installed) makes a garment feel so much more luxurious. This dress feels much more ‘proper’ than any of the ones I have made before.
I haven’t covered up the waistband seams yet. At some point I plan to slip-stitch some ribbon over the whole waistband area. But I decided to leave it for now. If the lining overall had been more successful, I would care more about how the inside looks. Life just feels too short at the moment. I’m not one of those people (yet) who needs the wrong side of their makes to be as beautiful as the right side.
While I was making this dress, it occurred to me that sewing is a form of 3D puzzle. I am generally a bit bemused by adults doing things like Lego, but dressmaking really does use a similar skillset- lots of spatial problem-solving. Spatial awareness is definitely a weakness of mine, though it’s improved in leaps and bounds during my adulthood. It feels pretty good to exercise those muscles.
Coming in at under £35, this dress is one of my cheaper makes. The viscose was quite inexpensive even though it seems like nice quality to me. I suppose it is quite thin. I don’t understand fabric costings at all! I feel like this is the kind of dress that would sell for £60-70 in Oliver Bonas.
I bought this fabric just over a year ago, planning to make a third Day Dress (previous version 1, 2). I saw someone else using it at my disastrous silk cami workshop (Sew Over It were stocking it at the time) and fell in love. Although I like the Day Dress, my pink Macaron is probably the most flattering dress I have for day wear. I decided to have a go at making a version without the contrast bodice, which no one else seems to have previously attempted. I certainly could not find any blog posts about doing this even after extensive searching.
This post contains detailed notes about how I created a solid Macaron by combining the yoke and bodice pattern pieces. I will also describe how I lined this dress- I don’t think I did the best job, it’s more a case of notes for future learning.
I overlapped the bodice and yoke pattern pieces by 3cm and traced. On the front I also increased one of the darts by 5mm since some length seems to be taken out at the seam between the pieces. I probably should have done this on the waist dart but I took it out of the side dart- I don’t imagine this will make much difference. I just did the back straight and did not alter the shaping- I’m fairly confident this will work for my figure.
I also decided to make my life difficult by lining the dress. The neckline facing on my first Macaron is a travesty (partly my error, partly the pattern). At present I have only planned lining the bodice. I’ll see how I feel when I get to the skirt.
I easily got this dress out of 2m of fabric by book folding it. I nearly always do this and it saves loads of material. Pattern companies tend to massively overestimate the fabric requirements, as well as not having cutting diagrams that are as efficient as possible. It’s really wasteful and annoying. Bear mind that I also cut out two bodices.
I cut a size 10 with adjustments as described previously. I interfaced the waistband for extra stability. Since I had plenty of fabric, I decided to self-line the bodice so I don’t have to worry if the lining ever peeks out at the neck seam. I pinned and machine basted the darts as pleats in the lining pieces, trying to have the excess fabric fall in the opposite direction to the darts in the shell.
I made up the bodice as directed, following the same instructions for the lining. I joined the two pieces RS together at the neck. Note: do not finish the neckline edges before stitching.
I machined the bottom hem of the lining to the seam allowance between the bodice and waistband pieces at the front and back separately.
This is how the bodice looked just before I attached the sleeves. I’m very happy that I decided to line the bodice since the fabric is so delicate. It makes the dress feel much more classy and professional.
I attached the sleeves as in the pattern, to both layers of bodice and lining. I then finished the seam as one piece. I haven’t yet removed my hand-basting because I think it looks really cute.
I decided it would be silly to line the bodice but not the skirt. I cut out additional skirt pieces using the leftover lining from my coat. I shortened the pieces by about 3 inches and incorporated the selvedges at the bottom to save hemming (lazy sewing for the win!) I made up the skirt lining as directed, ironing the pleats in the opposite direction to those in the shell.
I had planned to attach the skirt and lining within the waistband seam allowance before I sewed the skirt to the bodice. However I wasn’t sure about having additional weight of the lining pulling down on the waistband piece. The fabric really is very delicate. Thank goodness I decided to interface it!
In the end I couldn’t think of another solution. Weirdly I had an issue with having a lot of extra length in my bodice compared to the skirt, but only at the front. I was able to ease it, but it took three attempts. When I tried the dress on, it looked weird. I tested the pockets and… they were on the back of the dress. I had seamed the wrong side of the skirt 🤦🏽♀️
My inability to tell left from right bites me again. I spent ages undoing the incorrect stitching and sewing the skirt together on the correct side. I then re-did the waist seam and it went together much more smoothly.
I tried on the dress and I’m really happy with the fit. I love the way this dress makes my figure look.
The last step was to insert the zip. That part was relatively pain-free. I hand-tacked the dress to the zip before stitching to ensure the waistband seams would line up- this definitely helped. I probably should have used a 1cm seam allowance rather than 1.5cm because the dress is a teeny bit tight at the waist. My makes normally give slightly with wear, so I don’t think it’s worth the bother of reinstalling. Now just the hem and a bit of finishing and this dress will be ready!
Fabric: 2m of viscose costing £18 (I paid £2.95 p&p for this and the fabric for my cloud tee). I also used less than a metre of viscose lining (a scrap so I will not cost this)
Pattern: £18 (second use)
Notions: All bought ages ago so no idea. Let’s provisionally say £5
Total: About £33
I’ve been working on a shawl using the skein of yarn I picked up from Countess Ablaze when I was in Manchester a few weeks ago.
It’s very hard to capture the colour of this yarn on camera. This shawl is going to be a present for my auntie but it’ll be late for Xmas, partly because I’m working with a broken finger.
The shawl is growing quite slowly. It’s been a while since I made a plain stocking wrap like this. The last time was probably my stormy skies one. It’s pretty dull knitting but I think the final result will be worth it.
Pattern: Spindrift shawl
Yarn: Viscount of Spark by Countess Ablaze
I managed to finish sewing my wearable toile of the Grainline Studio Linden sweatshirt and I’m absolutely thrilled with the result.
As I mentioned in my last post, I was a bit worried about how the jersey and scuba would play together. There was some puckering around the neckline due to the very different weight and stretch of the two fabrics, but fortunately this isn’t too noticeable when wearing. You can see it in the pic below.
I love the look of View B of the sweatshirt with no binding at the bottom- I really don’t like that shape for my body. It’s worth noting that the length is pretty short- when I raise my arms, my midriff does get exposed and I have a short body. It’s hard to judge whether the 6 is the correct size because of the amount of positive ease. I think I will wear a little more before deciding on the size for my next Linden.
I think I will have a go at making the next one using an overlocker. The domestic machine actually handled this pattern fine, but I think I would like a more professional finish when I’m using the expensive Atelier Brunette fabric.