Four Quarter Stashdown

We recently moved house. It’s great! I will hopefully blog some actual house stuff at some point, since I will be doing curtains and the like. For now, let me just say, it’s bigger, cleaner, lighter, and near the beach. This beach:

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So that’s pretty amazing (I still can’t quite believe it). Also, I have a craft room again! The king bed fit perfectly in what was the last owner’s nursery. So all that’s in there is the bed, side tables, and the built in wardrobe. A couple of people have expressed surprise that the biggest room isn’t the bedroom, but that seems like a real waste of space to me, since for sleep hygiene purposes I don’t like to hang out in the bedroom.

Instead, I scored the big room. Mwhahahaha! I do have my/the spare bed in there.We always like to have a spare bed since both of us snore, usually mildly but if we have a cold or it’s very pollen-y it gets worse. So it’s nice to have somewhere else to go when that’s an issue. Plus we have pretty different body clocks, so it’s nice to be able to pass out without someone keeping you up if they aren’t ready for bed yet. At the moment my sister is home – she’s come back from Ireland to study in Melbourne, and she’s spending a couple of weeks here first. So she’s got the use of the room and the bed. Very nice to be able to host people easily!

Before we moved, most of my stash was in the shed for six months or more. I did have crafting space but I gave most of it up for general living space, since the last house was so cramped. It was much better for everyone but it meant organising to craft was a big palaver. I know having designated crafting space at all is a pretty big luxury, but it was hard to adjust to not having any after having a whole house to myself.

In the summer holidays, our task was to unpack all the shed boxes from the last house. We’d unpacked the everyday stuff but stuff from the last shed just went into this shed. I knew if we didn’t get to it soon it would just be there for the next five years. It included the majority of my stash, and I wanted it. So I got to the task of finding it a home.

You guys… I have a lot of stash.

I am ok with having a lot of stash. I use it. I like it. But it’s a bit unbalanced and poorly planned and used. I have a lot of random crafting supplies that I’ve been hanging onto for years. I have nice materials that I am afraid I’ll ruin. I have a WHOLE BOX of plain black fabric. I keep buying it because I think ‘oh! I need some more plain black work skirts!’ and then I don’t sew them, and then the next time I see appropriate fabric and it’s nice or on sale I think ‘I DO need some work skirts. This is a sensible purchase!’.

I have no problem with having stash, but I want to use it. I want it to be useful. I want it to be small enough that I know where everything is, and it would be nice if it were small enough to fit into my room! Or at least mostly. At the moment I have:DSCF7595

Drawers of my sewing table have mostly bits and pieces in them, since this is the most sensible way to store this stuff. There is a drawer for things I use while sewing, like pins and scissors. A drawer for projects I am working on and have put aside for now. A drawer for interfacing, one for knitting needles, one for computer stuff, stationery, you get the idea. I have more of these drawer units but I’ve put them in the shed because I want the legroom more.

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This will eventually be my cutting table. I mean it IS my cutting table, perfectly functional as is but it’s not finished – I need to paint the wood and attach it and put castors on it so I can wheel it away from the wall and get all around it for cutting out. (also, say hello to my purple terlet). Those bins hold a whole lot, which is nice! This is where my fabric is, and it basically all fits, with a few exceptions. I also have my patterns in a big IKEA box in one of the cubes. They all fit, but just. Books obviously are on the shelves above the desk. I need to re-sort the bins so they are logically organised, and maybe label them.

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Half the linen closet. Ok, it’s a big space and we don’t have that much linen but really I would prefer to not have filled this up as much. It’s not an ideal use of the space, and if I AM using it, the stuff in here isn’t very well arranged. There’s a lot of misc. crafting stuff here – beading stuff, tatting, candle making stuff that I ordered and never used, quilting, vintage sheets that I want to use for crafting that don’t fit in the other room. Notebooks that I’ve never used but they’re cute and I don’t want to throw them. I just realised I bought most of them in China, which means they are 10 years old. What is wrong with me? That was rhetorical, thanks.

This is the bit I am the most unhappy with. It’s just not what I want to be using this space for, and it’s not organised in a way that I can access the stuff anyway. It’s basically just shoved into a cupboard to be forgotten about. (Soap making stuff is in the laundry cupboard and can stay there, it fits nicely and it gets used).

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One third of the wardrobe in S’s study. S has the third bedroom as his study, although the plan is that when G moves out in a year (or so) S will move into the external bedroom – it was the garage and the last owners refinished it to be a room, and added a carport instead. When that happens the study will probably just be a spare bedroom, but the details are still in flux. In the meantime it’s S’s study/private hangout room, but he kindly volunteered the wardrobe for misc. storage. Most of it has things like board games and winter coats, but this side holds my yarn, in four fabric bins. I have been pretty brutal in culling the yarn, to be honest. I don’t want to have stash yarn I am not excited to knit with, since knitting takes so long. I do not knit at the speed I used to!

So, that is what is there. It is too much, not proportionate to how I use it, and poorly organised. But that’s ok! I have a plan!

I almost didn’t blog this because I want this to be pretty loose, and not to set myself up for (inevitable) failure. But I think I need to put it out there and make it solid. You’all won’t judge me if I proceed to not do any of this… right?

I am going to do a fairly casual quarter based stashdown. I need a bit of a push, I think, to get back to crafting as a default activity. I just totally got out of the habit when I didn’t have designated crafting space. I am trying to not look at screens after I get home, which is actually going ok now, after a rocky start. Not a strict rule, more a guideline to get me to stop frittering away my time – I’m on the computer in the evening now, for instance, but I’m DOING a THING, not just checking Instagram every five minutes. But I often find myself at a loss without a screen, and I want to use that time to craft instead of looking at my craft room and thinking ‘nahhh, no time’ and then staring at the wall for an hour. (Ok not exactly but you know. Not doing anything that couldn’t be put off or done quicker).

I was going to start this from January but obvs that’s almost over, and my sister will be in my craft room until start of Feb. So I’m starting it for myself Feb 1st, which also means the last quarter will get some of my regular summer break in it. It also means the first three quarters all get a craft camp in them – whether I go or not, there’s an extra push there to prioritise crafting. Here are my aims:

Q1 (Feb-April) – Basics

Gonna get through that tub of black fabrics. Gonna sew some things I know will work and get worn, and some new things that fill specific needs. Gonna pump up my wardrobe which needs some gaps filled (I was going really well and then dropped the ball).

Q2 (May-July) – Non core crafts

My main crafts are sewing and knitting. I also have, as you have seen, random craft tools. Some of those are useful and worth keeping. Some are crafts I regularly dabble in. Some are… not ever going to be my thing, not unless I retire and have far far more time I need to kill. So I would prefer to use the space they are taking up. This quarter will be about getting some of those crafts out, having a go  If I reach the end of the quarter with a particular craft untouched, that means I am not into it and the supplies have to go.

My main focus in this bit will be quilting, though. I’ve got most of a quilt cut out that I started in my honours year. It’s flannel (mmm snuggly!) in autumn colours (uuugh) because that’s what I could find at the time. I don’t love it. But I am pretty sure S will! I need to take it out and assess if I want to finish making it. If not, out it goes. If yes, I would like to at least get a good way through piecing the top. I also have some random jelly rolls etc that I’ve been given over the years, it would be nice to make a mini quilt for the living room, and maybe one for the spare bed. Not that I think all those things will happen in this quarter, but aim high, right?

Q3 (August-October) – Knitting

Wintertime! Crack that yarn out! As I said I was pretty brutal with the yarn but there are some jumper’s worths of yarn that could be knit up or gotten rid of. I would actually like to accumulate some MORE stash yarn, more yarn I am excited about, but I want to clear the space for it first. I’d like to keep my yarn stash essentially the same size, but with more good stuff in. I don’t anticipate knitting several jumpers, but winter is a good time to concentrate on the pointy sticks and get some movement happening there.

Q4 (November – January) – No pressure!

Back to sewing. I have things in my stash I am scared to sew because they are too nice. Or clothes I want to wear that I am putting off sewing because they are fiddlier and harder, like fitted shirts and shirtdresses and a dress out of that butterfly fabric I bought two years ago, and a By Hand London Anna dress with proper bust darts and maybe that Sewaholic maxi skirt with the pieced hem, or a Colette pattern or two. This is the time for them! Possibly setting myself up for failure at the tired end of the year, but it’s got to be some time.

 

My aim in this is to focus on those themes in those quarters, but not exclusively. I particularly want to be knitting and sewing basics throughout the year. The stashdown doesn’t only mean using things up. It also means assessing the stash and passing it on where it doesn’t suit my needs anymore, or is unlikely to get used in the next five years. It also means no acquiring new stuff until I at least START to make some headway. Unless it is perfect and/or on sale. No, wait! Not even then. If I’m not sewing all of these things I have the supplies for and am really excited about, then I’m not going to sew whatever it is I want the new fabric for. I’m not making strict rules for myself about when I am allowed to buy stuff again, just going to try to be a bit sensible about it.

Ideally, I would LOVE to be able to fit my yarn stash into my craft room, and the linen press stuff into where the yarn is now. Even getting close to that would be great.

Anyone else out there have too much stash? Don’t lie. Anyone else have exactly the right amount of stash, but needs to use it? Want to play along, with mine or your own goals?

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Knits and fixes

Rounding out the FOs now. We’re down to the dregs, don’t worry, I’m almost done! Just in time for Craft Camp and hopefully some more FOs.

First, the fixes.

At the last craft camp I made a McCalls 6559 maxi dress. The not-maxi version, because that was the length I had fabric for. It came out a bit big – the pattern has SO much ease. At camp I had run the sides in, but the neckline and armscyes were too low by a good two inches, so I didn’t even bother finishing the edges. I figured it was a good muslin and maybe I’d wear it as a heatwave housedress.

Then a couple months after camp I was thinking about it and it occured to me… neck too low… armscye too low… maybe the SHOULDERS were too long? Like, duh. I took it up two inches and it was perfect. I finished the neck and arms with binding from an almost-but-not-quite-the-same piece of fabric. The fabric of the dress is really light, so instead of hemming it I attached a wider band of the same fabric I bound the neck in. That was a slight miscalculation, as it doesn’t sit right, but given that this fabric is thinnnnnn I don’t wear it out of the house except in heatwaves.

The thing about heatwaves, though, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, is that we’ve had quite a lot of them lately. I wore this dress almost every day I wasn’t working for a good two months. All that wear means it’s stretched out a bit – again, thin fabric, but that really just made it even better for those days where you think, if you let fabric touch your skin, you might actually melt.

I would definitely make this dress again, it was so easy – basically cut it out, sew the side seams and shoulders, finish the edges, done. And I love wearing it. Next time I would cut the neckline about an inch higher, though. Although I see in the photo that it’s pulling a bit under the shoulder, so maybe I’d only raise it 1.5″ and cut the neckline 1.3″ higher. Side seam-wise I would probably cut it to the first adjusted size, because it’s super easy to accommodate any stretching later by whipping in the side seams, and I don’t know that I’d want a skin-tight maxidress. I suspect maxidress season is over, although if I can work out sleeves for this I might make a winter weight one – I had a bought one that I LOVED that I friend called my ‘goddess dress’ but I wore it in winter and stood in front of a heater and, it being polyester, it melted. I still have it and I’ll probably just hem it shorter and wear it, but I’ve kept it to copy.

Next up are some pencil skirts I made at last year’s March Craft Camp. They are both Kasia, which I have made before. I added lined kick-pleats to them, but they stuck out.


Added to that, I sewed these both up on the overlocker, and didn’t use the whole seam allowance. So I had planned, at March Craft Camp, to undo them and bring them in, and add a lining, and fix the pleat. Janet even very kindly picked me up some stretch lining for them. But then that was the Craft Camp of the Great Pestilence, and I was too ill to concentrate on anything much, so they didn’t get fixed. They sat in the sewing room waiting for attention, and never got them.

So the other day I pulled them out again and tried them on. They… did not seem too big? Although I have actually lost some volume around my belly since I stopped eating gluten and am not bloated all the time, so who even knows what that’s about. I did nip in the black skirt’s waist by a centimetre or so. So I fixed the kickpleats and have been wearing them.

I fixed the pleats by topstitching the outside edge, pressing a lot, and sewing the pleat to the skirt at the top. In the case of the black skirt, the pleat was probably too big, so I brought the edges in as well. I just serged them off. It still sits a bit funny but is much improved. I tried to get some photos but they just look like… fabric. Nothing to see, really, but this paragraph can serve my own future reference. They do look much better.

Feb 001

 

I was going to crop this but I’m quite fond of pics whee you can see the random crap in people’s lives. This is my laundry. It is actually relatively tidy in this picture. It’s just that there is no storage to speak of in my house, it makes me crazy.

Anyway, excuse the crappy photo please, but you can see that it is much better. You can ALSO see the same waist/hemline problem I described last time. The waistline is about even (my shirt is covering it a bit at the front) but you can see the bottom of the yoke angles down, as does the hemline. The way I am standing in the photo above is my normal posture, it’s not particularly bad (for me) or anything. All my family have slight scoliosis and I have rounded shoulders and I just stick my butt out. That’s the way it is, no point making clothes pretending I’m going to ever stand up straight.

I… might have to start making yoked that are thinner at the front? I am really just kind of stumped, guys. Any suggestions welcome. I also think that yokes may be my answer to my circle skirt conundrums, maybe? I have worn those skirts again this week in the name of figuring out my options, and they are just… not COMFORTABLE. Which is a shame.

Anyhoodle, I also pulled out the zip in the black skirt and put in an invisible one, because you could see the tape in the old one, and I would have done the same for the red one but I didn’t have a red invisible zip. I have since bought one. I might swap them one day. I wore the red skirt today and it did actually bag out a bit so that it was a bit loose by the end of the day. I might whip in the side seams, although the extra room is really at the centre front yoke seams, but I am not changing them because it’s faced and everything’s overlocked and I can’t be bothered.

These would certainly benefit from a lining, they stick to everything and since I always wear shorts of leggings there is always something to stick to. But I am thinking of making bikeshorts out of the satin lining that Janet bought for me, instead.

So that’s the fixes.

The first knit is also a fix – and it isn’t even finished yet. It’s my Essential Cardigan, which I had finished up to the bands at September Craft Camp.

I actually finished the band in September, and started sewing it up. But because I had put so much work into the fitting process, I wanted to sew it properly. This is why I never do anything properly, guys, it is not finished yet. I sewed petersham ribbon onto the button bands because they pulled a bit, but then I had to hand sew the buttonholes by hand. My sewing machine can barely manage one ok-looking buttonhole on regular fabric, let alone several on a hand knit. I did about four before getting tired. Also it was hot and that wasn’t motivating me.

Also, once the bands were done and I tried it on, I was… a bit underwhelmed. It fits me well, but I am just not sure I did the shaping in the right place. I don’t know. I think it’s probably fine, except that I was expecting it to shoot glowing rainbows of unicorns, and obviously it didn’t. It only managed one shitty pegasus, you guys. So disappointing.

No, but really, the sleeves were also about an inch too long. I made the sleeves up myself because I wanted full-length, and I guess I overcompensated. That’s ok, they have cuffs so it’s easy enough to chop them off and regraft, and I also made them a bit thin so they could actually use being taken up like that. I might try to remember to bring this to craft camp and do that then.

I also cast on for Neon, in the flush of an almost-finished essential. Then when the Essential bogged down, so did Neon. It still looks pretty much like this:

and I am concerned that the red is too light for me and might make me look washed out. I’ve picked it up again this week and once I have sleeve holes I’ll try it on and see. The yarn is Bendigo Woolen Mills Luxury. I think I might need to go through my stash because there is a bunch of ‘fine but nothing special’ yarn and to be honest, I don’t want to knit it. I only want to knit special yarn. Really, I knit so slowly these days that I could put a whole year’s yarn budget towards one jumper. (Not that I have an actual dedicated yarn budget, but you know). But if the fine but nothing special yarn is in my stash, I feel like I have to knit it.

Well, that’s 1600 words about not very much, so that’s probably enough from me. The next two days are going to be crazy busy so I should really go PACK FOR CRAFT CAMP. Which is actually quite annoying at the moment because I am catsitting my cousin’s cat for a month. He’s in the spare/craft room, because he and my cat are both pretty territorial. So if I want to go into the craft room I have to either squeeze in without letting him out and my cat in, or else lock my cat in the bedroom. So I can’t pack both clothes and craft stuff at the same time. It’s very ‘don’t leave the fox with the chicken’ and frankly, I’m not enough of a lateral thinker for that kind of business.

Unblogged roundup

In preparing to reblog my latest FO I realised I’d left some knits unblogged. So this is a catchup post. I’ll list them from quickest knit to longest knit!

A very regal crown

I knit this at the June craft camp, for Princess Eleanor, to go with her stay in the Princess room. Many thanks to Jenny for the yarn and Caroline for the buttons.  It obviously knit up very quickly, and I think I might have to whip up a few for dressups for some small people I know.

I used 8ply instead of the 10ply the pattern called for, because that was what was to hand. I knit the largest size and it fits an adult head comfortably. Here it is on my bed head (I should note that I also have a large head, generally average sized hats are too small for me).

Tentacle scarf

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I look like a mad scientist!

I knit this for a far-away friend, because she posted something similar and I thought ‘I could knit that’. The original was crochet, but it’s not like this was difficult. I did write pattern notes but I’m not sure where they are, I’ll try to find them. I basically increased until it looked right, knit until I could wrap it around my neck long enough, and then decreased at the same rate. Then I worked the light green bits at the same increase rate, crocheted suckers on, and sewed it on.

Not the neatest sewing job – the darker yarn was a lot softer and the lighter a lot denser, so it was hard to match them. But it works. It actually got me out of a bit of a knitting slump, induced by spilling ink on the border of that sun blanket. So that was good! Then it sat for ages while I worked my way up to crocheting the suckers on. That took me FOREVER and I bitched about it a whole lot at craft camp. Sorry, everybody!


Colour Affection

I knit this for my best friend’s 30th. Which was in February. I didn’t cast it on until April. Whoops! The delay was because I was knitting the sun blanket for her, and then I had to wait till the yarn got here. The yarn is Malabrigo Sock, in Natural, Impressionist Sky and Cote D’Azure.

I had to rip back the start because the ends were too tight. I substituted a kfb for the suggested m1, which is what a lot of people’s Ravelry notes suggest (note to self, read the ravelry notes BEFORE casting on). But it’s still a bit tight. Another time I would do a yarn over and then twist it on the way back, I think. I couldn’t block it as heavily as I would have liked, because of the tightness, so the very beginning has a bit of a dome, which you can sort of see on my right shoulder, below.

I also pulled the yarn a bit tight as I was running it up the side of the short row section, so that bit is a bit tight. Oh, well. This took a while (four months of pretty consistent bus knitting) due to the volume of knitting, but it felt pretty fast.  Once it’s set up it’s excellent bus knitting, because the stripes mean you don’t have to count to know where you’re up to.

I really really love the pattern, but I’m a bit cross with the FO. Partly because of the tightness, and partly because the Cote D’Azure is not only a slightly different tone (it’s more purple than I thought it would be when I bought it) but it also ran when I blocked it, and stained some of the upper, white part. I wasn’t that upset because the white was also whiter than I had expected, so that toned it down a bit, but there were some splodges that I couldn’t get rid of.

It was still received with delight and the last time I saw it it showed signs of constant wear – it’s holding up well, however. Absolutely the best reception for that kind of gift.

Knitting

I’ve been knitting this cardigan, Ravelry tells me, since December 2011. It got swallowed by my knitting slump.

In my mind I had ages to go of knitting the body. I picked it up after craft camp and started knitting, and then tried it on and it was just about perfect. The sleeves went pretty quick and even though it felt like the front band took forever, it was pretty fast too.

It’s 5ply, but on reasonably large needles – 4mm – so it does knit pretty quick. It also only took a ball and a half of Bendigo yarn, so about 1200m. I was going to knit the sleeves longer but they looked good short when I tried it on. Besides, this is intended to be my office jumper, for just chucking on on top of stuff. So shorter sleeves are good. I was worried they were a bit tight – I know the pattern was adjusted to make them smaller, since people had found them too big. I guess they didn’t account for those of us with bingo wings. They did ease out with blocking, but you can still see the lumps in them from my tshirt and all of that. I should have picked up just a few extra stitches under the arm. In fact, I did pick them up, to avoid holes, but then decreased to have the number required by the pattern.

I really like it, and I was thinking about knitting another one in another colour but I don’t think I need more than one open-front cardi. Or if I do I’d like it to come closer to being closed, rather than hanging open. Because I have more… landscape… out the front than many, there’s more left exposed. But I couldn’t make the front much bigger or else the collar at the back would have stuck up too far. It’s totally fine, it doesn’t bother me at all, but I don’t need another like it. It’s perfect for indoors only, or a night time cardi for summer or spring, but I wouldn’t wear it TO work in winter. Only AT work.

All in all, I’m very pleased! Rav link here with all the deets.

I also spent pretty much one whole day of the Easter long weekend sorting through my stash and putting it up on Ravelry. Which was a bit of a shock, to be honest. I mean, obviously I knew how much yarn I had in terms of where it was stored but I didn’t realise, somehow, HOW MUCH YARN I have. And a lot of it is either single skeins of sock or lace weight, which I don’t knit much of, or it’s bendigo yarn which is ok but it’s nothing special. And a lot of it is exactly the same colour that I knit this featherweight in. Due to an ordering mishap (they sent the wrong weight and said just to keep it since it wasn’t worth posting back) I have a jumper’s worth of 8ply and another jumper’s worth of 5ply. Which is fine because it’s obviously My Colour but I don’t need all the jumpers out of it.

So I’m going to try to knit through some of my stash. I did chuck some of the older, crappier stash, and I’m posting some stuff off to a raveller tomorrow, which has freed up a WHOLE DRAWER. I also sorted out my queue so that everything on the first page is something I’m dying to knit and to own. There was a lot of stuff on there that I’d enjoy knitting but is not my style, so I got realistic about it. I need more plain knits with a little bit of interest, since that is what I like wearing. And what I like knitting, thankfully. I like me a good swathe of stocking stitch.

I’ve already cast on and Essential Cardigan with the leftovers from my Emily. I’m not going to have enough, just from the leftovers, so I’ve decided to frog Emily. I feel sad about that but realistically, I’m not going to wear that jumper. I like the neckline a lot, but the sleeves are not really my style, and the fix in the body is too obvious. So, it goes. I have a couple of other knits that I need to either fix (my Rogue, significantly, which has too-short sleeves and body) or just get rid of altogether. There’s no point having them taking up space when I never wear them, and I’m a much better knitter than I was when I made a lot of them, so I feel confident in being able to either fix them or at least evaluate what is wrong about them and chalk them up to learning. So those are my vague knitting goals for this year – knit from stash and fix my knits.

Sewjourn

I wrote the draft for this right after I got back from camp. I didn’t publish it because I needed to hem and photograph some stuff. Obviously it took me until the Easter long weekend to get around to that. Whoops. So please excuse the jumping back and forth between then and now, if I try to make it more consistent I’ll procrastinate and then it’s never going to get published. Please also excuse angry face. I just cannot work the self timer AND manage a facial expression at the same time.

Like a bee on a cactus flower

I got back from another craft camp on Monday evening. It’s Thursday morning and it already feels so far away, like a dream. I think it was my favourite camp yet. Not the most exciting or thrilling but the one that I have most constantly, solidly enjoyed. And probably my most productive. Not the one with the biggest highs from that feeling where you make a new friend or cross some border of intimacy. But more comfortable and sweet in that way where you don’t have to think about it because spending time with these people is just so easy and as effort-free as being in a space with other people will ever be, for an introvert. And the food, oh my lord.

I don’t know that I have much to say about it. It was just really really lovely. I continue to be so grateful for these people and these pauses in my year. Chances to reflect and take time and really get into the making. Such a refreshing thing. This weekend I flew in on Monday and out on Friday so I had most of those days as well as the whole day on Saturday and Sunday, and it was just blissful. I need to figure out ways to make my normal life just a little bit more like camp.

It was also the camp where I went through the most thread. I think I sewed almost every seam in every garment twice, and I came home with a couple of things unhemmed because I was out of matching thread.

I flew in with a suitcase that was 100g over the weight limit. Then I bought stuff at the op shop. With some rearranging of my carry-on I managed to fly home with a suitcase that was only 200g over. Phew.

Here are the things that I made:

A Tiramisu dress, which will get its own post shortly.

I also half-made a blank canvas tee out of this same fabric.

I will discuss the fabric in further detail when I post about my Tira, but basically, it’s a bastard. It’s super stretchy with not much recovery. So the shirt is fine, if a bit… fine (read: nipply) but the binding was droopy. I was going to redo it but I ended up just folding it under and zig zag stitching it. I think this will just be an around the house shirt, sadly, and I won’t bother hemming it. But as a wearable muslin I’d call it very successful.

Another one of those Ottobre skirts that I like to churn out. This one in camel coloured sateen from Spotters. Crinkly stuff, curse it. I did back pockets on this one which turned out a bit dodgy but oh well. I neglected this one in my photoshoot so this is the only photo of it. If I can find some camel-coloured drill I might remake it in that, but all the brownish stuff I could find was muddyish colours which I didn’t like.

A red Kasia.I wear my blue Kasia all the time because it’s comfy and simple but not boring and also it has pockets.

The spots in the pockets are a Robert Kauffman quilting cotton that I bought ages ago for a project that I now cannot remember anything about. You need so little of the contrast fabric for this, it’s great. The main fabric is stretch drill from Spotters.

The last time I made Kasia I graded it up and then ended up taking out all the extra width. This time I just cut out the biggest size, which was then too small so I spent ages taking it apart and putting side panels in, and then it was too big. So I took the panels out and sewed it with just a 1cm seam allowance and it’s perfect. It was initially a teeny bit tight on the hips but it’s stretched out enough that it’s just spot on. I omitted the front fly shenanigans, and put in a back zip, as well as borrowing a pattern piece from a Lisette pattern that Sue had brought, and making a little kick pleat at the back.

It sticks out some, but oh well. It makes the skirt much more functional. Another time I would make the whole pleat from a thinner fabric, which would also give it a seam to fold along. I hemmed the red one a bit shorter at the pleat than the rest of the skirt, and it sits flatter vertically, because of that. As in, the pleat doesn’t stick out the bottom of the hem, although it does stick out horizontally still.

I wish I’d remembered to take out the pouchy bit at the back, though – the pocket panels are mirrored on the back and it’s puffy in the thick drill. I should have made the facings out of a lighter fabric, too, cos it’s bulky. But it’s perfectly wearable and I love it. I brought it home unhemmed because I ran out of thread. I also wish I’d done an invisible zip – it is actually an invisible zip, but I don’t have an invisible zip foot at camp so I just set it in like a normal zip. Oh, well.

Another Kasia, in black stretch drill, also from spotlight. Back zip for this one too and no pockets, I couldn’t be bothered mucking around and I just need something real simple to be a wardrobe standard. I just laid the pocket pattern pieces on top and cut it out like one piece, nothing complicated. I used a scrap from Jenny’s intimidating pile to make a sneaky kick pleat, though. (Which sticks out, too. Sigh.)

I might need another black pencil skirt with more interesting pockets. This one probably took me 2 hours ish, without hemming. When I did hem it this weekend I just sewed with a straight stitch because clearly I wasn’t getting around to the blind hem that I had intended, and I couldn’t find my blind hem foot anyways, or figure out how to deal with the kick pleat when blind hemming. So that took me all of ten minutes, plus I had to re-top-stitch the yoke because the poplin I’d lined it with isn’t as stretchy as the drill and it had gotten all wonky when I sewed it the first time, and I had puckers.

And I finished my blanket! Which has been to several craft camps now. I blogged the finished product here.

Such a lovely time. Thank you all for your company, and your food, and your stories.

Sunbreak

I finished Sunbreak.

Ravelry tells me that I started it on July 19, 2011. I remember starting it at a Craft Camp. I used one of Kate‘s stitch markers for the centre and ended up taking it home with me. I returned it on the next camp, don’t worry. I think I finished the centre bit that camp, because I remember frantically making up little bobbins to do the rays, as everyone was packing up to leave.

For a while after that it looked like this

I couldn’t really knit it on public transport, so I watched a lot of Qi and That Mitchell and Webb Look while knitting this part of it. This part was sometimes hair-pullingly complex, but I can genuinely say (at this remove) that it was fun. I would do it again, no matter how lacking in calm wisdom I sound in this other post.

The reason it was so tangly was that I didn’t want a lot of floats behind the rays. Because the yarn is crepe ply, not wooly, they showed through and it was hard to keep them neat. So I basically did intarsia. Each little section of colour was its own bobbin. I remember getting very frustrated at how lumpy and imperfect it was looking, but I decided that a bit of bumpiness was ok. Eventually I got to the end of the short rays and it did get a lot easier then.

And then you knit each corner to square off the shape. It’s been long enough that I can’t remember the details of this, but I remember thinking that it was very elegantly designed. I remember a few head scratching moments of confusion, but I trusted in the pattern and it worked out lovely.

Then you block the middle bit like lace. It’s knit on fairly large needles, so it spreads out a lot. I didn’t get exactly the recommended size, so I just blocked it till it was even, and a nice proportion.

The centre is 76cm x 110cm. Flickr tells me that I blocked it in early February 2012. I started knitting the border, although after a whole blanket I wasn’t super excited about that. I decided to knit the longest sides first.

Then, on March 30, disaster struck. I know it was then because that’s the date of the email from me to the Clean Person at the hairpin, saying ‘HALP! I have ink on my knitting!’ A pen leaked on my bag and there was a splodge of ink, right at the beginning of the longest border edge that I’d almost finished. Clean Person Jolie was very helpful but although the ink was reduced, it was still present and I knew it would always bother me. So I ripped it out.

Then I didn’t knit anything at all for almost a year. I picked it up again in January this year. Because a summer of repeated 40 degree heatwaves is clearly the best time to knit. But also, I started it when I found out that my best friend was pregnant. It’s not for her kid, it’s for her. But he’s about to turn one and I thought it would be nice to have it for her by then. Not to mention that I intended to knit something for her 30th which was in February but obviously I am working on a year’s delay here.

So anyway. I turned up to craft camp this time with the blanket, two long edges, and half of a short edge. I finished the first short edge that first Friday there, and sewed on everything I had, so I only had one short edge to go. I was DETERMINED to finish it.

On the Sunday night I had the edge about five rows from completion when I gave up and went to bed. On Monday morning I steam blocked it and sewed it on. And then we had a little photoshoot.

I am SO pleased with it. I love it. The border gives it a nice heft, and it’s as snuggly as you could not-want in the heat we’ve been having. I am so pleased to finally be finished, and I’m really pleased with it as a piece of work, and proud of my own skill.

With the border it is 93cm x 120cm. I lost track of the amount of yarn I used, because of the shenanigans with the bobbins, but it weighs just over 900g, so I’d say I used 4 and a bit balls of blue (Bendigo Woollen Mills Classic in Tasman), and maybe a quarter of a ball of the yellow, which is an unknown yellow in Classic that I bought at their mill. Which is a shame because it’s a lovely colour, unlike all the standard yellows they offer which are palid and sad.

I’ll be giving it to its owner this evening and I hope she likes it.

Ravelry link.

Baby

My best friend had her baby. He is tiny and looks like an adorable goblin. He officially has a name, as of the weekend. And he has this jacket, which it’s possible that he might fit in about a year (he’s swimming in 00000s at the moment).

Pew-whatever cardigan. Lovely pattern, although the formatting on the pdf was a bit whacky and made it hard to read. But hey, it’s free, and more importantly the actual instructions are well written and easy to follow. Will definitely be knitting this again, possibly with embroidery or intarsia additions to the front.

I also finished of another Aviatrix hat, because it was on some needles that I wanted to use.

Also a lovely pattern, took me two day’s commutes to finish up.

I still haven’t finished the edging of that blanket, though. I’ve got two sides of the border done, and there’s been no movement on that front for a while. I did have my wisdom teeth out last Thursday, so I’ve been drugged up to the eyeballs, which I think is a fair excuse, but it’d be nice to have it to give to her maybe when her mum goes home a bit after Easter (Oh shit, that’s weekend  after next), or a similar time. We’ll see. That might be my knitting mantra – we’ll see.