A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

Tag Archives: blue

I just about finished sewing my dress in time for the wedding. If I ever mention starting a garment with less than a week before the event I am due to wear it, someone please slap me. This dress jumps straight to the top of the list of most complex garments I have ever made. The difficulty was due to a combination of altering the pattern and working with tricky and costly fabrics. However, as has fortunately been the case often in my craft life, she who dares wins!

My initials are MEAD, so I was kind of tickled by this sign.

This was my first time lining a dress. I underlined the bodice and lined the skirt with lovely navy viscose. I stupidly cut the skirt lining too short, so I had to fudge lengthening it with some ribbon. I didn’t make the best choice in selecting velvet ribbon- though pretty, it’s much stiffer than the fluid viscose- but actually it looks okay under the voile.

For the first time, I added snaps to the dress to stop my bra straps peeking out. It worked pretty well! Here you can also see the guts of the dress- probably the best wrong side finish I’ve ever achieved.

This was such a fun summer wedding. So much so that I forgot to take any pictures except the few next to the sign on the way! Thankfully Glory posted this candid picture that shows the back of the dress.

I love how the scooped back turned out. I will most likely incorporate this change into any further Southports.

Further details about the alterations I made to the pattern can be found here.

Here are my two lovely Southports.

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My first Southport dress turned out to be a fairly straightforward and rewarding sewing experience. I realise the waist tie is way too long but for some reason I wasn’t ready to cut it when I wore this dress for the first time.

Here’s a side view. This dress has been great to wear in the recent heatwave in London. Only one metre of light, breezy cotton, yet it’s formal enough that I understand feel comfortable wearing it to work.

Pockets are life.


Notes about the changes I made can be found here.

Pattern: Southport dress by True Bias

Fabric: 1m Liberty tana lawn


I’m hoping this will be the last work-in-progress post for my League jumper. I was really chugging away on this project until the Ravellinics came along and I switched almost exclusively to my Aubergine Rainbows sweater. In my previous post, I had just started working on my first sleeve.


In my mind, each sleeve would take around the same time as the front or back, but fortunately this was not the case and the sleeves went much more quickly.


As well as working on my sleeves, I decided to block the body pieces before attempting any seaming. I can’t say that blocking is my favourite part of the knitting progress, but I did find the smoothing of fabric quite meditative this time. As I think I have mentioned before, somehow my row gauge for this project is way off and I didn’t notice until I had nearly finished the front piece. I decided to continue regardless, so during the blocking I focused on trying to block the pieces to the measurements on the schematic.

I also blocked the sleeves in the same way, but unfortunately all the pictures I took came out too blurry for the blog.

The seaming is super challenging because you are seaming highly visible parts of the sweater, which means you really have to aim for perfection. I spent a solid 2.5 hours sewing while watching Days of Future Past (don’t you dare judge), and I only managed to join one sleeve at the shoulder. That’s probably about 30cm.

I wrote a few months ago about art (craft) reflecting life and I am seeing some parallels again. Seaming is the kind of activity where your conscious mind is pretty occupied, leaving the unconscious to roam free, making connections. Much like connecting the sleeves and body of a jumper. I’m hoping that after a year of uncertainty last year, things are starting to come together for me as I prepare to enter my thirties.

Seaming, when it goes well, is amazing. The two things you made become one thing that is more beautiful than the sum of its parts. Really it’s feminine magic.

Four pieces start to look like one garment. You can also see that I have picked up the stitches for the neckband in this pic. Not much more to go!

Yarn: Titus by Baa Ram Ewe

Pattern: League by Veronik Avery

Ravelry project page


I finished crocheting my basket out of Jersey Be Good t-shirt yarn. It came out really well!

I’m not entirely sure if this object is really finished. I stopped because I ran out of yarn. The basket is big enough to be useful, so I’m not going to buy yarn specifically to finish it. The good thing about crochet is that I can leave it like this for now, and add more rounds if I decide I want the basket to be taller.

I followed the pattern pretty much exactly. Using JBG held double, this yielded a basket that is

The yarn ran out partway through row 20.

If you want to make a basket, you will need four cones of JBG, or about 400 yards total of t-shirt yarn. I think it would be a lot of fun to make a basket like this using old t-shirts. You could make the yarn thicker so that it wouldn’t have to be held double that way.

The pattern I used is okay. I spent a lot of time searching Ravelry to find a free crocheted basket pattern and this seemed like the best. My only criticism is that the bottom of the basket isn’t completely flat. There must be a different way to crochet a flat circle. This may also be a tension issue but I don’t know since I’m inexperienced with crochet. I blocked the bottom of the basket, which helped, but I wouldn’t really recommend doing this because the fabric is so thick, it took several days to dry and started to smell a bit musty.

 

Pattern: Neon touch baskets (FREE!)

Yarn: About three cones of Jersey Be Good by Wool and the Gang

Hook: 8mm

Ravelry project page


In response to the Great British Bake Off, Biscuiteers have done a series of blog posts containing recipes for classic British biscuits. When I saw their recipe for Party Rings, I cracked. I love Party Rings. They’re possibly my favourite classic-ish biscuit, mainly because I don’t like things like Bourbons, Custard Creams or Rich Teas. For me, they’re a waste of calories. But Party Rings are so sweet and crunchy, and take me back to all the best aspects of childhood birthday parties. There’s  nothing sweeter than nostalgia, except these cookies.

I’m not going to lie, these are Party Ring lookalikes, but not taste-alikes. They don’t have the same crispness as the original. I read somewhere that Party Ring icing contains some special additive that gives it that special texture.

I used Biscuiteers’ vanilla rolled cookie recipe. Although I liked the idea of using golden syrup, I think I prefer the nutty cookie recipe I posted before. I think I overworked the dough slightly as it turned out drier than I’m used to. Also be warned- the recipe states that it yields 24-30 cookies but I got over 40. I might have halved the recipe or frozen some dough if I’d known.

For the icing I used Biscuiteers’ royal icing recipe. I used the egg white version and halved it. Initially I quartered it, but I didn’t feel like I had enough icing for two colours. In hindsight, the quartered recipe would have been enough. I used the pipe and flood technique, where you have the icing at two consistencies.

Watch the consistency of your icing if you use the egg white recipe. My pink icing was a little too viscous, which made the whole icing process rather arduous. Be warned, it took me over five hours to make this batch of biscuits.

You first pipe a barrier to contain the looser icing.

For the classic Party Ring look, you then pipe stripes of flood icing in a contrast colour onto the wet flood icing.

Then drag a toothpick or pin perpendicular to the lines.

I made a little GIF demonstrating the whole process. Sad that WordPress doesn’t support them, it’s pretty hypnotic!

If you like your crafts interspersed with pictures of Serena Williams, my Tumblr could be for you.


I fell in love with this cowl when I first saw it a few months ago, and it is made with my favourite yarn, Rowan Kidsilk Haze Glamour, so it seemed like fate. This was a bit of an arduous knit, it just seemed to take forever even though it’s done on fairly large needles. Hence it taking about six months from casting on, with a several big breaks. The pattern is available to buy here.

Check out this seam.

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What’s that? You can’t see it? Maybe that’s because I grafted it in pattern, baby! It took about three hours (because I made a mistake and undoing Kitchener stitch is a bitch) but I think it was worth it because the seam is, for all intents and purposes invisible.

Side note: Why is it called Kitchener stitch? I like to imagine Lord Kitchener sitting in a war room saying, “Knit purl, purl knit” while his admirals look on, baffled.

Anyway, grafting in pattern was a first for me, aided by this very useful post on the process. It also required a provisional cast on, another new technique.

Provisional cast on

I can’t remember which method I used now, but I would have Googled it.

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