FO: Baby Blossom Cardi

We have a new yarn in the shop for this coming Autumn from Sirdar. It’s called Baby Blossom Chunky and it arrived just a few weeks ago.

It’s a really clever self-patterning yarn, which gives the appearance of an ombre effect in one colour and then a field of flowers!

I decided to knit a v-neck cardigan from one of the accompanying pattern leaflets to see if this would work for me… And it did!

baby-blossom-cardi

I did actually knit 3 front pieces, because when I did the second, no blossom pattern appeared. It was just about to start at the point I finished the front. So I reknit it, and used the yarn from the “spare” front for a sleeve, because I didn’t mind if that wasn’t patterned.

Cathedral Window Pincushion

I had an urge to dig into my stash this weekend and do a spot of sewing. I’ve never made one of these cathedral window pincushions, which are very popular, so I thought I’d have a go.

The fabrics were fat quarters that I bought in JoAnn‘s many, many years ago on a holiday to Florida. It was nice to finally use a little bit of them.

I have to say I did find it a little tricky. The inserts under the curves kept slipping, but I got there in the end and I’m pleased with how it turned out.

Ingenue Sweater

I feel like my crafty mojo is returning.ūüôā

It’s been quite a while since I’ve enjoyed knitting something. I’ve had several knitting projects on the go for some time, which I’ve not finished because I wasn’t enjoying it for one reason or another.

I have a couple of lacy patterns that I’m doing – a cardigan in Rowan Summerlite 4 Ply and a beaded scarf in Rowan Kidsilk Haze. They’ve stalled because of the concentration needed to follow the patterns. I can’t take them to Knit ‘n’ Stitch nights because I will go wrong and then in the evenings at home I’m too tired to concentrate on anything difficult.

I’ve even stalled on knitting a teddy bear jumper because I’m making up the pattern as I go to fit the teddy.

Then there was the sweater in Sublime’s Evie, which started out well but then I wasn’t happy that the neckline suited me, so I tried to alter it and I stalled on that for months until a couple of weeks ago, I decided to scrap the alterations, knit it as written and be done with it.

All the extra thinking involved in either following or making up the pattern was putting me off doing any knitting at all.

So I decided I needed to find a project that would inspire me again. Something that I can knit without thinking too much about it, but not so boring that it becomes tedious.

That project has been the Ingenue sweater which I started in July.

A few years ago I was given a copy of Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard but I’d never tried any of the patterns, even though several appealed.

This book is very much about giving you a pattern and also suggestions for making it suit your body shape better. Looking on Ravelry there were some lovely variations of the Ingenue sweater and so I thought I would try something similar.

My version has a lower ribbed neck and 3/4 length sleeves rather than bell shaped sleeves. I’m knitting it in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and it will have some coral coloured stripes at the ends of the sleeves and below the waist.

It is also knitted top-down, which is great. I love being able to try it on as I go.

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I have a slight fear that I’ve made the neck ribbing too wide and as that’s the cast on edge, it won’t be easy to fix, but it is possible from what I’ve been reading. So I’ll wait until the end and see how it feels when it’s finished.

It’s nice to be enjoying knitting again though!

Bee Cushion is coming along

I’ve now finished piecing all the hexies I need for my Bee Creative cushion. There weren’t going to be quite so many cream ones originally, but I felt it needed more a plain surround. I made a bit of a boob though as I cut the plain hexies from two different fabrics by mistake and one is slightly creamier than the other. Never mind! I’ve mixed them for a more of a mottled look.

I was going to use one of the Bee Creative fabrics as a border and backing, however the one I liked sold out yesterdayūüė¶ I wasn’t quick enough. However Mum suggested using this piece of ombre fabric as a backing, which I think goes perfectly.

bee-cushion

I might also embroider a little bee or something on the back.  Moda Bakeshop are doing a Bee Creative Quilt Along with some lovely embroideries which you can download for free. I might use one of these.

FO: Evie Sweater

I’ve finally knitted this top in Sublime Evie yarn, which I started back in January when the yarn first arrived at the shop!

It started out well. I really like the yarn. It’s super soft and being an Aran weight it grew at a fair pace. I love the colour range and couldn’t resist this gorgeous coral colour.

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However I noticed that the picture in the book showed it as having quite a wide slashed neck and then we got a sample garment sent on loan to the shop for a few weeks, which I tried on and decided that the neckline was too wide and too high for my liking.

What to do..? I worked the neck shaping as written and with some pins holding the shoulders together tried it on. I wasn’t convinced I was going to like the end result.¬†The project then got put on hold while I thought about it. After a while I picked it up and tried some different shaping but holding it up against myself, it didn’t look right. So I put it away again. A few weeks later, having looked at the necklines of some of the other patterns in the book I thought I would try one of them. I started doing one, then not having much time to work on it in recent weeks, due to our house move, I forgot where I got to and wasn’t convinced that it would make it any better anyway.

So a few days ago, the house move having been completed and boxes mostly unpacked, I decided I was going to finish it. I ripped out the alterations I’d tried making and went back to knitting it as the pattern is written. If I didn’t like wearing it, I would just put it on display in the shop to help sell the yarn and pattern book anyway. ¬†I also decided I would knit the short sleeve version as well as I just wanted it finished.

Well, today I finished the sewing up during a quiet afternoon in the shop and would you believe it, when I tried it on, the neckline, the original neckline as written, is fine! ¬†It’s not turned out as wide as the display garment we had on loan, and it’s not so high as to annoy me. ¬†I added an extra pattern repeat to make it a bit longer. I have quite a long body and don’t like sweaters and tops that finish at my waist. I like them to finish below my waistline.

evie-sweater

So all in all I think it’s going to be a top that I wear quite a lot as we come into the latter stages of the summer.

I love the combination of shades in this yarn and I quite fancy knitting some sort of ripple baby blanket in a ball of each shade. I think it could look really lovely.

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Finished: The Mirabelle Quilt

I finished my Mirabelle quilt this week and overall I’m really pleased with it.

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It’s by no means perfect though. There are lots of alignment problems but I think since I started this quilt two years ago, my piecing has become more accurate. The machine quilting isn’t as good as I’d like either. I quilted in the ditch, which was made easier with a dedicated ditch quilting foot, but it’s still more wrinkled that I’d like, especially the horizontal sashing, which you can see in the photo above. Mum seems to get her quilts so smooth when she quilts them.

Things that I learnt whilst making this quilt

  • Always piece on the same sewing machine.¬†Failing that, check the accuracy of your sewing/seams as you complete each block. As I made this over the course of many ¬†months, I used different sewing machines when piecing. I found that some machines did a more generous¬†¬ľ inch seam than others and it wasn’t until I’d done a good number of blocks did I realise that they were coming out at different sizes because the seams weren’t quite the same. I had to remake some and trim down others. If I’d stuck to the same machine, even if the seams were a fraction bigger than they should have been, at least they would have been all the same!
  • Press the seams the same way. With the cross pieces in each block and sashing, I pressed some seams away from each other, and some towards each other. Because it is a pale fabric you can see the seams underneath through the top and it doesn’t all look the same.
  • Cut all the sashing from the same piece of fabric. Unfortunately all my horizontal sashing pieces were cut from a different piece of plain fabric. It was the same shade of Moda Bella Solids, however it was from a different bolt and the colour is very slightly different. It wasn’t until I’d sewed the whole quilt top together, that I noticed the colour variation. It does annoy me a bit as it looks like it is a bit grubby, but I couldn’t face re-doing it.

If you’d like to make a similar quilt, I’ve written a short tutorial here.

EPP Book Review

I am really enjoying EPP but I have to admit that I started the Bee cushion before remembering that I was given this book on English Paper Piecing at Christmas. I’m horribly embarrassed that I’d forgotten it was on the bookshelf.. especially because it is such a good book on EPP.

All Points Patchwork is a technique book rather than a project book and the author, Diane Gilleland, covers everything a beginner needs to know: equipment needed, types of papers, basting and how to sew the pieces, not just hexagons, but all sorts of different shapes including curved shapes.

It’s full of handy tips and hints and I’m sure it’s going to be one of those books that I will keep referring back to as I do more EPP and try to improve.

Once I’ve finished the cushion I think I’m going to try the Ring-a-Roses pattern by Flossie Teacakes. I fancy a bit of fabric artwork on the wall. Choosing the colours is going to be the hardest job I reckon though!