Friday, 20 November 2015

Guatemalan inspired cardigan

Hold onto your hats for some awkward posing! I still can't get used to this blog photo thing, but I can't deny that it's better for showing clothes so I do it anyway!
 
Here's my newest make and labour of love a hand knitted cardi! Why Guatemalan? Well the colourwork is inspired by some Guatemalan clothes I have inherited from my mum. I love central American textiles, but don't have many pieces and when ever I have been to Belize have found good stuff hard to come by, so naturally I knit some!
 

Why am I standing like I have a hunchback? Honestly, some photos are just cringe city...


I started this piece last winter in my keenness to design and knit. I made a couple of jumpers from scratch, pretty much writing the pattern as I went and I found the whole process quite therapeutic and fun. The knitting bug did not last past February however, so this was left in a box waiting for me to pick it up again. Next time I do that I really need to make a note of needles sizes, as I transferred my unfinished knitting onto a stitch holder at some point and made no reference of needles anywhere.

It is a simple drop shoulder v-font cardigan with colour work on front and back, patch pockets and cropped sleeves (I don't get on with full length sleeves).


I am really happy with the shape and despite the colour work this is a really simple pattern to work out.


There is a lot to love about this project. It really is everything I wanted it to be and was a real joy to make. It was also a great learning project and there are things I want to take onto my next one.
 
 
The good - I love the front and back and also the 1x1 rib neck band. I find this type of neck band the easiest to fit and the neatest finish.


 The bad - I did not plan the flow of the garment very well in terms of the relationship of the front and back and I'm not sure that as a whole it is very pleasing in design terms. I think that the back design should have run seamlessly from front to back or maybe eliminated completely with just the patch pockets as an overall detail and the castellation border just going round the bottom hems of the cardi or sleeves. These are not things that are bad enough to make me love it less, but definitely something to improve upon.


 
I already have wool for a new cardi or jumper and am currently swatching for stitches and patterns. So exciting! I'm looking forward to incorporating some lace stitches as they can be nice to knit. I do normally lean towards cables, but I'm learning that I don't enjoy wearing them so much as they can be bulky so have to seek new knitting highs ;-)

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Knitting vs sewing


Hanging out on Instagram has shown me that a lot of us sewists switch between sewing and knitting. I love to knit and I am just picking it back up having not really touched it since last winter. For me it is definitely a seasonal past time and I am not someone who can knit all year round, especially since having a dedicated sewing space. I also never really shake the feeling of being new to knitting. I have mentioned before, but I have been sewing since I was very young and was very fortunate to have a mum who made her sewing things available to me. My mum can knit too and my Nan was an amazingly competent and skilled knitter, but for some reason I never got into it beyond learning to knit, purl, cast on and cast off. Had I realised at the time that this is pretty much all you need to know then maybe I would have got more into it, but I thought there was much more to it to do all the pretty stitches.

I sometimes secretly feel jealous of people who have knitted their whole lives because of all that knowledge they will have absorbed that will take me an age to catch up on. Sewing is like that for me I guess, in that I don't think sometimes I just do.

When I started knitting and crochet in my mid-twenties I really jumped in and sampled every stitch that interested me and read so many books, but I know I've got so much to learn. I used to incorporate knit into my uni designs quite a lot and often thought how much I would love to become a knitwear designer, but I don't think my confidence was ever there with it. Here is a coat project from my final year that is not too cringe worthy!


I am just coming to the end of a cardigan that I started last year that I am writing the pattern for as I knit it. When I say writing I do not mean that it is a pattern that will be published or even understood by another knitter, but I will probably use it as a base for other personal garment projects.

Sewing always comes first I suppose because I understand it and don't need refreshers to get back to it, but when I pick up my knitting I remember how much I love it and my imagination starts dreaming of all the projects I want to start before my interest fades for another year. At the moment I'm so eager and impatient to get things finished and started because I know it will be short lived and I feel reluctant to step near my sewing machine in case it takes me away completely.

What on earth is this ramble about? I have no idea, but I think it's an inner sadness that I always feel when I realise I don't have the capacity to continue with both disciplines side by side. For me it seems to be one or the other, but rarely both. I'm going to try and tackle that next year and see if I can have small knitting projects all set up to turn to on any sewing down time, but we'll see how that goes!

Happy Sunday and thanks for reading this randomness if you made it to the end! x

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

New coat for me and maybe for you too!

Hi all, I have made myself a coat!

It's a bit of an experiment really. I just wanted to make a fun shaped coat with loads of room for winter clothes and a generally comfortable cover up. The fabric is a cotton poplin with a coated reverse side for some water resistance (totally untested in the rain as yet).


I started pinning loads of images on a pinterest board for a new coat for myself and below are all the shapes I was naturally drawn to. I guess coming from a textile background I favour volume of fabric over closeness of silhouette to show off all those gorgeous fabrics.




My coat is actually quite restrained in the amount of volume compared with some of the above examples I think, even though it felt really massive after I first made it. I have been wearing it out and about since I made it last week and I love it.



There are some tweaks to make, like the pockets need to be moved a bit further out towards the side seam and the back overlap needs to overlap just a little bit less, but I'm really happy with this make and know I'll get a tonne of wear out of it. Style wise I think it's so much fun and is a little surprise when you spread out your arms. I would probably label this as more of a cape than coat, but one with sleeves!







 There are a few things to note with a style such as this, like you have to choose your handbag wisely! A tote bag will not go on your shoulder, buuuut there are nice big pockets so you could just make use of them instead. Also, the range of movement in the arms is brilliant and there is no restriction what so ever, but if you raise your arms then the whole coat kind of raises like this. I don't see this being a particular issue, but it's something to mention!


I really want to explore this shape a bit further and make a cardigan version from some luscious wool knit I have. Just waiting on the wool binding for it!

I'm not sure what the general consensus from the sewing world would be on this kind of concept, so I'm not going to make it into a saleable pattern, but I am going to tidy up the pattern pieces and make them available for free in the next month or so, probably with minimal instructions though.

Anyway, what do you think? Do you think this looks interesting or scary?

Last thing I want to add on is my new pyjamas! I've already shown you the velvet jacket, but here's my two new sets which are currently making me very happy. Baggy and comfy and don't warrant a whole post, but I'm popping them on here anyway :-)

The blue batwing top is a thin, but stable loop back jersey from the cloth house and the bright print bottoms a Liberty cord off ebay. The cord is so soft, but so thin! Perfect for PJ's. The striped Lark is made from a thick-ish cotton jersey and the Navy bottoms a double faced brushed cotton (it's black on the reverse). I have up until now been surviving with very few options, which kind of makes no sense seeing's as I get changed out of my day clothes at about 6 o'clock every day! Below are links to the patterns I used ;-)




Named Blair batwing, Tilly and the Buttons Margot pyjama bottoms and Grainline Lark tee.