Lace Libertine

After a good few years of knitting, but playing it safe, I was finally bullied into trying some lace knitting by my good friend Amber!

It started out as a perfectly pleasant spring Sunday with a trip to Angel to one of our favourite knitting shops to drool over their stock, and ended with me being beaten into submission and crying into my peppermint tea*

As we were browsing through the patterns I came across some really pretty fingerless lace gloves – not something I’d ever wear – but still really pretty… Amber, ever the bad influence when it comes to spending money on craft supplies, convinced me to get them (I’m cutting the story short here – there was a lot more protest on my part and a lot more nagging on Amber’s). She opened up the pattern and talked me through part of it – what the abbreviations were and how they were all things I knew already – and eventually convinced me to buy it, along with some gorgeous plum coloured alpaca silk to make them with.

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Months went by, and each time I saw Amber I winced at the mention of gloves/lace/anything that would prompt her to ask

“HAVE YOU STARTED THOSE GLOVES YET?!”

Eventually shame and embarrassment got the better of me and I decided to cast on.

It was at this point that I threw caution to the wind. I pushed boundaries. I didn’t just bend the rules, I folded them in half, right down the middle, then ran a ruler along them to create a nice sharp edge. I didn’t start with the beginners pattern, oh no no no, I went for the hardest of the 3 patterns! Surely if I could conquer that I could make anything!

It wasn’t as hard as I thought, in fact it was a pretty straight forward! I was rather pleased with myself when it started to resemble the photos on the pattern!

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But then I got cocky… Years of dropping stitches and trying to fix things means I’ve learnt the hard way how to pick up all kinds of mistakes, but none of this wisdom prepared me for trying to pick up mistakes when knitting lace – don’t let me scare you though, as with the normal stitches I soon learned how to fix most of it! But after reaching the half way point for the third time I gave up – but not entirely! I decided to make the simpler lace pattern.

These were shorter and knitted up a lot quicker and I actually got a lot of wear out of them during the Autumn months! Best of all, they only used half of the yarn I bought, so I still have enough to make another pair!

Here they are fresh off the needles and modelled by the lovely Mazz…

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My new found confidence (cockiness) meant I was finally brave enough to cast on the Rustling Leaves Beret that I’d been wanting to make for so long… in fact I made two of them! Both in Madelinetosh Tosh Sock - the first in Kelp, for myself…

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And the second in Fragrant for my Mam as a mothers day present…

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I love this pattern, it’s probably not a bad starter pattern for lace items, and it can be knit up pretty quickly too – the second one I made took two days, so pretty ideal if you want a last minute gift idea!

I think these might be the first items I’ve made and actually worn myself, so was quite and achievement! – So, thanks Amber for being such a good bully!

 

*may contain moderate to strong exaggeration

Well… that’s embarrassing…

It’s been almost an entire year since I last blogged! Whoops!

I’d like to say I’m back for good and vow to update more regularly, but let’s face it, I’ve never kept that promise before and I’m not sure how likely I am to this time around! I shall try my best though, Scouts Honour… though it may mean that I’m incredibly lazy and use mostly photos from my Instagram feed – Sorry!

So, since I was last here there’s been a few things happening – mostly working, knitting, crochet, sewing, moving house more times than I’d like to admit, oh and everyone is having babies (not me, of course!) and who doesnt love an excuse to buy more wool and make more stuff?!

Before I bombard you with the things I’ve made in the last year, I though a catch up on what I was working on in my last post might be a good place to start…

First up, in my last post I’d only just learned how to crochet a granny square! I’ve been pretty busy with the old crochet ever since and have become pretty hooked (see what I did there? ay?) but not before I finished off the granny square blanket. My 3 blue squares turned into a pile of coloured squares…

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Which then became a blanket… after what felt like months of sewing ends in… it wasnt really months – in actual fact it only took me maybe 4 weeks to do the whole blanket, squeezing in a few granny squares whenever I could… I even discovered I could crochet on my walk to the tube with my yarn in my bag. Probably shouldn’t admit to that.

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After the Hexipuff saga I’d moved onto a quilt using the English Paper Piercing method – now I was under no illusion that this would be complete in 3 or 4 weeks, but I’ve made a fair bit of progress, picking up new fabrics every couple of months and doing swaps with friends who are also making blankets – so it’s grown a fair bit, though I’m still holding off actually sewing them together, so they’re all neatly stacked in the tins I’ve been buying obsessively from Marksies…

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I do get them out to play with every now and then to play with and see how much progress I’m making. I made the hexagons rather small so it’s going to take quite a lot as I’m aiming to make something that will cover a double bed (yikes!) but I’m making 3 hexagons from each fabric I have so it’s going a little further!

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I have a whole tonne of other stuff I’ve done in the last year which I’m aiming to blog over the next few weeks to help me get back into the swing of things. So keep coming back, and give me some verbal abuse when I haven’t updated for a week or so…

Hexipuff heartache…

A while ago I mentioned that I was going to give Hexipuffs a go… I love the pattern, and I’d been wanting to make a quilt for aaaages, so being able to knit little parts of one inbetween other projects seemed ideal!… well, turns out they’re not for me – I couldnt get the shape to work and so had to tweak the pattern a few times, and it was all very time consuming and required a lot of concentration for each one (for me anyway). So here’s the evolution of my hexipuffs…

Top left: following the pattern left me with something shaped more like a clam shell – Top Right: after a bit of research online I worked out how to fix that using a seamless cast on, but then the top half of the hexagon was longer than the bottom half, I could have still made it work but I wanted them to be proper hexagons – Bottom Left: I finally managed to even them out… I have notes somewhere, but not sure what I did now! (If anyone is having the same issues and would like to know give me a shout and I’ll dig them out.) So this one I actually stuffed. The quilt may have defeated me but at least I’m no longer losing sleep over misshapen hexipuffs…

So, after 3 finished attempts (and about 300 half-way-before-undoing-it-alls) I finally got the shape sorted and then decided that was enough for me – I’d fixed the problem but it was going to take waaaaay too long to make enough for a blanket.

During this time my friend Amber had started work on a quilt using fabric hexagons, and a few weeks ago she did a blog post on the process. It looked a lot less stressful and required a fraction of the concentration the hexipuffs did, and I could sit on the sofa in front of the TV/on the train/anywhere to make them; not hunched behind a sewing machine (yet) so I was sold! Conveniently in that same week my Mollie Makes subscription gift arrived with a whole bunch of different fabrics for me to start with!

I decided to make my hexagons quite small (each side is 1 inch) so it’s going to take a while. I’m currently totalling 105 Hexagons and it just about covers the size of one side of a pillow, so I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m really enjoying it. I’m doing 3 hexagons from each different fabric print so I don’t have to buy quite as much fabric) so I’m waiting until I have enough before I sew them all together to make sure patterns are evenly dispersed – though it means that that part is going to be long and tedious

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I’m quite happy for this project to drag on for a while though, as each time I sit down and sew a bunch of hexagons I feel like I’m making good progress compared to the hexipuffs.

AAAND finally, because you can never have too many craft projects on the go… Amber very patiently taught me how to make a granny square this week. Finally! I can crochet something! So I’m also working on a small blanket made of those… it’s quite a quick process though, the more squares I do, the more I pick up speed – and I can do them on the tube to and from work so easily. I decided to make each square one colour to cut time spent swapping colours, and I thought it might make it look a little more contemporary. I’m also making the squares a good size so I’ll have less bits to sew together and can build it up quicker.

Crafty update…

As I’ve been missing for a while I thought I’d do a quick post about a few bits I’ve been working on inbetween all the wedding stuff before I catch you up on what I’m currently working away on…

I started subscribing to Mollie Makes; it’s super cute and I love some of the ideas in there. I ordered one of the back issues so that I could get the free kit to make this keyring/bag charm. Think I might use my fabric and felt stash to make some in different colours…

I worked on a few baby items too, using the most awesome chasmere – merino blend in a silvery grey (a lot lighter than it looks in the photos). First was a baby blanket from one of the Stitch’n’Bitch books for a good friend of my boyfriends, and then I made a hat and scratch mitts for a girl at work…

The most recently finished project was my iPhone case. I love it, and I get a lot of compliments on it. I bought the case from Firebox and used my stash of embroidery floss to come up with a colourful pattern (you only get 3 colours with the case). I made the pattern up as I went along and tried to make sure I used even amounts of the colours. I had intended to unpick it and redo it when I got bored of the design, but it took so long to complete, so I may have to buy a second case instead!

I have done a little work on my Hug cushion, though I’m nearly done with the colour which means I’ll need to start filling all the white areas, but that seems incredibly tedious so it’ll probably sit in my craft basket for another 6 months. I should probably try and do a little each week…

So that’s just about it for now, I’m starting on a few other projects that I’ll update on soon, and have my eye on a whole bunch of other new projects!

 

Lance Loves Lola

When I found out that Felt Mistress was doing a London workshop I immediately snapped up two tickets, luckily when I asked Charlie Sews if she’d like to go she was as excited as me!

So on Saturday 30th June we tootled off to Foyles and met the lovely lady herself and she showed us how to make some awesome monsters.

We each chose a brown bag containing all the bits we needed to create a monster, and were given the choice of colour scheme too, and there was a bunch of trimmings, buttons and additional felt to use, alongside templates for additional features so we could go crazy and customise the monsters however we wanted.

I nabbed a bag with the turquoise felts (I’m a sucker for turquoise) and Charlie Sews went for the pinks and purples – so we instantly decided, as I was clearly making a male monster and she was making a female, that they were destined to be together.

I wanted to add lots of detail to my monster so I picked up a few additonal colours – purple & orange, and some black for his accessories – a big ‘tash was top of my list of must-haves so I cut that out first, followed by the glasses and nose, and I used one of the existing pieces from the bag for his chest hair…

The first thing I sewed was the chest hair, sewing on a pattern to keep it in place rather than sewing around the edge of the piece. The next bit was the nose, and Charlie Sews very kindly taught me how to to blanket stitch (finally! it’s about time I learned!) so that I could put a little stuffing in it. The hard job was attaching the eyes, adding these was as far as I got during the workshop, then we packed up and headed home (via Bodeans for a pulled pork sandwich. yum). Once home we both couldn’t wait to crack on, so I sewed on the ‘tash, tacked the nose and glasses in place, sewed on the eyebrows, and gave him some nipples…

That was more than enough work for one night, but the next day I was back at it, giving Lance (as he was now named) some orange trousers, and a sequined belt. Most importantly, before sewing him up, I gave him a tattoo – ‘Lola’ emblazoned on a pink heart – it must be love!

So here he is, Lance, in all his nipple bearing glory. I’d strongly recommend going along if Felt Mistress does any more workshops, it was so much fun and we met some really lovely folk.

If you’d like to meet Lola, the love of Lance’s life, you should check out Charlie Sews’ blog as she’ll be posting photos soon

:)

Woodingstock 2012

On New Years Eve 2011 one of my best friends got engaged, and in June this year I was lucky enough to be bridesmaid at her wedding. I was also trusted with a lot of jobs for the wedding. More fool her!

Charlotte had a lot of different ideas for the theme she wanted but finally settled on a festival theme as her and husband to be (Josh) are big Glastonbury fans.

The colour scheme was bright colours – pinks, yellows, oranges and a little red – and pretty hippyish and laid back.

They sent me a link to a poster they’d found that they liked the style of and I used this as the inspiration for the wedding invited we designed….

Charlotte had a pretty clear idea of what she wanted but she was quite happy to leave me to crack on with stuff. The final invite had a bunch of little bits and pieces – there was the invite itself which was the illustration printed onto card, and the details printed onto velum which Charlotte then sewed together on her sewing machine with gold thread, then there was the RSVP cards which were business card sized and came with a “Yes” and “Sorry” sticker. There was also a postcard with a map and directions from the Abbey to the reception venue, and details of local taxi’s and hotels…

The next big job on the list was the cake topper. Charlotte and Josh had no say in this as they weren’t to see it until the big day. It took quite some time – a lot of evenings and a bunch of full on weekends, but it was worth it in the end…

A lot of tiny detail went into this one, and I decided to try something new with the bunting and kebab skewers, but it worked really well as it finished off the topper nicely and framed the figures when they were sat on top of the cake.

To give you a bit of an idea of scale here’s the bouquet…

I traveled to the venue the day before the wedding to help set everything up. Between fluffing pompoms, hanging pompoms, assembling paper lanterns, tying ribbons to things, claming down the bride-to-be and sticking up bunting, I was given the task of writing out the seating plan on a giant chalkboard, which wasn’t all bad; I got to hide away in the giant teepee, listening to the rain and doodling away…

So it got to about 8pm and all the other helpers had headed home, so me and the bride sat down to decorate the wedding cake – Charlotte had bought plain iced cakes from Marks and Spencers and we’d picked up some coloured M&Ms so stick to the outside – what I hadnt realised was that Charlotte wanted me to paint one of the layers – so with no idea what to paint on it, and no pencil and paper to practice or scribble ideas I had to just go for it…

I wasn’t best pleased with the painting – the food colouring wouldn’t take to the icing so it all ran and pooled at the bottom of each painted shape which was a shame, but the whole thing looked pretty ace on the day with the topper on top…

The whole day was fantastic, and Charlotte did such an awesome job pulling her festival theme together, guests even brought their wellies due to the typical british, festival weather…

Big congrats to the awesome Mr and Mrs Wooding

:D

 

 

It’s been a long time coming…

Finally, after a good year or so, I’ve finished my jumper!  Many thought it would never happen. Even I thought it would never happen.

In September last year I posted on my blog after sewing in roughly 6 million ends, and after leaving it in my knitting basket for 7 months I figured maybe I should finish it off.

It wasn’t a big job (it’s taken me maybe an hour all in) but the longer I put it off the longer I could avoid discovering that it didn’t fit… as it turns out, IT DOES! It could do with being a little longer in the torso but nothing a vest top underneath can’t fix.

The seams actually sewed together a lot neater than I thought they would, the raglan arms were created by binding off stitches at the beginning of each row which created a stepped edge, and I wasn’t sure how nicely the pieces would fit together so I’d considered just decreasing the rows next time, but I guess it’s best to stick to the pattern.

So the next project I’m looking at is the Beekeeper Quilt. If you’re even the tiniest bit interested in knitting you’ll have heard all about Hexipuffs and how addictive they are, so a couple of months ago I finally gave in and bought the pattern.  It’s going to be massively time consuming so it’ll probably continue to run alongside other stuff too (like the Emily Peacock Cushions I’m working on – nearly finished the first one! Hurrah!) but I can’t wait!

I’m baaaaack…

Well, I finally did it… I sorted out my website and updated my blog! It only took me, erm, 4 months… hurrah!

There’s still a few tweaks to do on the site but it’s close enough for now so you’ll just have to make do…

So, what have you missed the last few months?… I moved into a new flat in Mornington Crescent, made my first ever Christmas Cake, had a very crafty Christmas making as many presents as I could, attempted to do a doodle a day (it lasted about 20 days), became slightly obsessed with Instagram, went on a giant egg hunt around London, baked (a lot), worked on some wedding invites for Charlie Sews Stuff, turned 27, went to Cardiff for Doctor Who Conference and most exciting of all… got myself a shiney new job at Mind Candy! Good times all round!

Aaaanyway, I thought I’d better post something vaguely interesting in the hope you all might keep coming back to visit, so I thought I’d share one of the Christmas presents I made this year (well, I say Christmas present but the poor recipient didn’t get it until mid March…)

My good friend Meg is, like myself, a bit of a Doctor Who fan, so when we agreed to make each other Christmas presents it was always going to be Who-themed.

I hadn’t made anything with felt before and decided to give it a go. I wanted to make something practical (an iPhone or iPad cover) but that went out of the window in favour of a felt TARDIS and Matt Smith (Meg is yet to realise that David Tennant is a far superior Doctor)

I didn’t want to push my luck by attempting to make anything 3D so I kept it all pretty simple…

First I drew up my cartoony Matt Smith, making sure I drew all the layers I’d need to cut out. I then used that drawing as a template and traced all the individual pieces I needed onto tracing paper. I roughly cut around each shape, pinned the paper to the felt (or for smaller pieces just held it in place, being careful not to let it budge) and cut along the pencil lines though the paper and felt.

The next stage was to put all the pieces together to work out what order they all needed to be sewn together, I jotted down some rough notes to avoid any silly mistakes halfway through!

I was pretty pants at taking photos of the process, but the next stage was fairly straight forward… sewing it all together! I used a bit of wadding to pad Matt out a little as I went, it also made him a bit sturdier, and I tried to match the thread colour to the felt where possible…

The TARDIS was made in the same way; drawing it up, tracing out the indivdual pieces and then sewing it altogether, but then I had to do all the embroidery for the door panel and sign above the door, this probably took longer than the rest put together as there was a lot of unpicking and re-sewing! There was also a ribbon sewn into one of the side seams with a loop on the end which allowed Matt to be attached to the TARDIS via a small button hidden underneath the back his jacket…

So, that’s about it… Matt went down with his new owner very well (despite the fact he was so delayed) and he even tagged along to the convention with us (photos on my twitter account)…

Well, that’s the first one done, here’s hoping I manage to keep on top of updating the blog this time around!

Big Knit 2011

Well the bad news is I didn’t manage to reach my goal of 40 hats for Innocent Smoothies – and I lost a week as I was on holiday during the deadline so had to post them a week earlier – but I did manage to knit 16 hats and make 16 pompoms which I guess was pretty good going. 
I pretty much stuck to one colour hats after the few stripy ones I did, that way I could churn more out and saved time on sewing in all the ends. I tried to vary them a little though with different patterns like moss stitch and ribbing.
So here’s a photo of the little pile I sent off to innocent. I’m tempted to carry on knitting them for next years Big Knit!

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