Monday, October 10, 2016

Chickadee progress

My plain charcoal Chickadee cardigan is at the coasting stage. All the fiddly bits of knitting have been done (until the rib cast on) and now it's just knit knit knit until the bottom. I'm glad I didn't add a motif for this. However to pep the cardigan up I found THESE buttons:
Black, glittery - I had such a job getting them. I found the buttons I liked in John Lewis but they only had two in stock. So they offered to order me some from another store and post them direct. Great. Except when the buttons arrived they were the wrong size. So I went online and two separate companies posted me glitter buttons that were the right size but the wrong glitteriness. The first company, to be fair, advertised them as silver glitter on black. The buttons were too silver with no black glitter on them. The second company had a photo and they definitely matched the buttons I had, however they also turned up too silvery and not enough black. I finally found the last company, Marriner Yarns, and their photo matched the product that arrived. So I was very happy. I think the glitter buttons will add just enough sparkle and interest to an otherwise plain cardigan.
I finished Curtis's cardigan (except the sleeves, but they won't take long to knit). It's very sweet. I still have the buttons to choose for this. Not sure what I'll go for. I saw Curtis yesterday and he is a big boy. The cardigan is knitted for a two year old and at Christmas Curtis will be one year and three months old, so I hope it fits him okay!
And these are the pink sparkle buttons I got for Kelsie's cardigan. I might get darker pink sparkly buttons if I can. These seem a bit too light.

I have many other things I'd also like to be knitting - Christmas baubles, for example, but I'd better finish these first.

Saturday, October 01, 2016


After the runaway success of the pockets in my pyjama bottoms I decided to make a skirt with pockets. I love pockets, particularly pouch pockets (good for egg collecting), but I was so impressed by how easy these were to sew, and how effective they are.
The pattern is Bettine, by Tilly and the Buttons. Bettine is actually a dress pattern but I'd seen a skirt version online and as I only had enough material for a skirt decided to do that. I thought it might make an easy slip-on skirt for work.

I'm really pleased with how it turned out. I had to take a couple of chunks out of the side seams as the tulip shape made it too puffy, but that was easy and I will definitely make more.

The material is lightweight cord from John Lewis.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Sewing Tetris (almost)

I so love my new pyjama bottoms. They are 3/4 length, because I only bought a metre of fabric. I didn't plan the staggering of the pink tents across both legs, they just worked out that way - a happy accident!
And, I decided to insert side pockets! I got the pocket pattern from the Tilly and the Buttons book Clemence skirt pattern, and also the instructions.
They are very silly and were fun to make.
Because I always struggle to tell the front from the back, I added a wee 'hand made' ribbon.
Next up, I hemmed my apple tree skirt. Love it too.
And finally, I also made pyjama shorts! I really love these. Haggis brought me back one metre of this material from Japan, hoping I could get a skirt out of it, but it was only 112cm wide, not 150cm, and initially I didn't even think I'd get pyjama shorts, but with very careful pattern-placement I managed it. I stupidly ran out of pyjama elastic so they are all hemmed just waiting for the elastic, and just in time for.... winter!
I have looked at this material and these patterns for ages and finally pressed the 'buy now' button when my online shopping basket had them in. I love the aesthetic of the Merchant and Mills patterns. So functional.
The weather is decidedly turning autumnal. We went for a walk last week and ended up on the scout bridge.
Meg looking cute and cheeky.
I love the countryside around here.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Chickadee Tetris

In my touring days, when I travelled the world with my husband's band, I played a game called Tetris, to while away travelling time. Shapes would fall from the top of the screen to the bottom, the object being that once a line was complete that line would disappear, making room for new shapes/lines.

And this is an apt analogy for my Chickadee-knitting obsession. I realised I had so many almost/partially complete/just started Chickadee cardigans on the go, that I had to stop and finish what I could before continuing with/making room for the others. 
I finally put buttons onto the Devil's Beeftub cardigan. Choosing buttons for knitwear is extremely important. There is a right button for every project. These purple coconut-shell buttons spoke to me. I loved the (kind of) woody nature of them, and the colour perfectly matched the cardigan. I sewed in the few loose ends, sewed on the buttons, et voila - cardigan complete. I love it.
I thought I had finished this cardigan, until I wore it out one day and found wool dangling out of the sleeves. I hadn't sewn in some ends. It didn't take long, but it's been in my 'to finish' pile for ages.

Button detail. I love these transparent-with-a-blue-tinge buttons.
And so to the unfinished cardigans. My charcoal, plain cardigan now has a sleeve. But then I saw the Wee Chickadee pattern, thought of my great-niece and great-nephew and bought the pattern and some wool.
This is for my great-niece Kelsie. It took so little time (comparatively!) to knit this. I was spurred on, wanting to see what the yoke looked like, then wanting to see how knitting the body compared with the adult version. I really love this. As you can see, just the sleeves to knit and it will be finished. In the wee version the body is knitted before the sleeves. I've already chosen sparkly pink buttons for it.
I then put the pink Wee Chickadee on hold so I could start my great-nephew Curtis's cardigan. I've decided to knit snowflakes into his, instead of the birds. 

Meg, of course, was keen as always to be where the action was.

Next post - sewing tetris! Which will consist of: one pair of pyjama shorts, one pair of 3/4 length pyjama bottoms (both cut out but not yet sewn), one skirt to hem (I mean, that will take no time at all, why haven't I just done it yet?), and one new phone cover to make from scratch. I lost my last one. I loved my last one. I found it again, all covered in black marks from being out in the rain for a week. Will probably re-make it in exactly the same material. I might also make a back-up phone cover as well! 

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Cast Off, Cast On

I think this is my favourite make EVER. My Devil's Beeftub cardigan. My interpretation, in knitted form, of the drive from my home to my Dad's. Such stunning, inspiring, breathtaking scenery. The cardigan made me gasp when I finished casting it off. The heathery-purple, the tree motifs, the buttons. I love it. 
The tree motifs in detail.
They worked out well, after a lot of fiddling with charts and researching on the internet. (Buttons still to be sew on). 
Coincidentally, I finished my Apple Tree skirt at the same time, It is the same design as the daisy skirt in my last post, i.e. an altered Amy Butler A-line skirt, front and back cut on the fold, invisible zip at the side, and shortened. I think they go well together! Definitely a future combination for an outing.
Every so often I CAN'T STOP KNITTING. And I'm in one of those phases again. I couldn't wait to cast off the purple cardigan, so I could cast on the charcoal cardigan. It is the same pattern but I think this time I will knit it plain and not add any motif. I have red wool ready to knit the same pattern as well, but I thought I'd save the red wool for WINTER.
I actually love dreich, drizzly, cool Scottish days. They remind me of my childhood in Scotland, after living in the south of England for 25 years. London had what felt like its own thing going on, but I never felt comfortable in the Norfolk landscape. It was too flat. There was no relief in the land and it had a psychological impact! Whereas I love the Pentland Hills, and the countryside and weather and light and nature of where I live now. It all feels nutritious! Perhaps everyone has an inclination to their childhood environment (if that environment was healthy). 
Next up on the sewing table will be pyjama bottoms made out of the egg material. I don't think I'll ever buy pyjamas again. Making them is too much fun.
Followed by a Bettine dress made out of the blue and brown Amy Butler material that I got in a sale a couple of years ago.
I'm not a shoe person, but I do love my new Converse trainers.

We have been absurdly busy lately. My work takes a lot of mental energy. And we have been doing lots of drives to visit elderly relatives. And now Hagos's work is upon us as well. There are some days it feels like we go from one thing to the next without any rest in between. So when we do get a day off it feels very luxurious.  

Saturday, June 04, 2016

June progress

So, I haven't quite finished the Devil's Beeftub Chickadee cardigan. But almost. It's such a satisfying knit, and the finished product feels so comforting. 
This skirt is my quickest make ever. I amended Amy Butler's A-line skirt pattern, cutting both the front and the back pieces on the fold, and inserted the zip at the side. I also shortened it to knee length. Instead of lining it (because it's decor weight) I've done matching waistband facing. Then it just needs to be hemmed and that's it! The material is by a Finnish company. I love the daisy pattern.
We've been gardening when we can, trying not to overdo it. In this bed we have our brussels sprouts, cabbage and purple sprouting broccoli. We've grown sprouts and broccoli before but never cabbage. 
And in here we are growing pea shoots! It's something I first saw years ago, I think on Gardeners' World, and have been meaning to try ever since. They take three weeks from sowing to harvesting.
These strawberries pretty much died during a busy period, but I cut out the dead bits and repotted them and they seem to be thriving again.
This, according to a friend who knows, is a woody peony. I love the dramatic flowers.
And these are our carrots. I sowed them from seed, then planted them out a couple of weeks ago. They're a mixture of small, round orange carrots, and purple carrots! I mixed them up when planting them so we won't know what we're pulling until it appears. 
And I love this photo. Haggis and our wee cat friend, Cherry. She loves hanging out in our garden. Our weather has been good for the last week, and every day after I got home from work, Cherry and I would sit out companionably enjoying the heat (and shade).

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Paula's Projects

I seem to be in a phase of accumulating projects, rather than finishing them. The second sleeve on my Ysolda Teague Chickadee cardigan (with my own modifications) took ages. Anyway, now I'm on the body and it should be fairly swift from now on. I anticipate finishing it in two months' time. 
During one particularly challenging day at work, I headed to the haven of John Lewis haberdashery dept at lunchtime. It usually does the trick. Mostly I just browse, looking for new fabric I might like for future projects, or new wool or pattern ideas. I came across this knicker making kit, and, it being something I thought I'd like to have another go at I decided to just buy the (extortionately priced) kit.
Polka dots aren't my thing at all, and I'm fairly sure the fabric isn't 100% cotton, but anyway, I decided to press ahead and use it as a tester. The construction is easy, though lining up the front, back and gusset to sew showed me they weren't all the same length (I think they're meant to be?). Perhaps I'll understand better once I've sewn the elastic on. The instructions have revealed to me what I did wrong all those years ago when I made knickers before (without a pattern or instructions - I traced round an existing pair as a pattern). When sewing on the elastic a zigzag stitch is used, instead of straight stitch! This is (now obvious and) revolutionary! Of course.
While browsing the VERY DANGEROUS website M is for Make, I came across this material and before I knew it my online basket was full and I was pressing the 'buy now' button. I'm thinking it will make a good Amy Butler A-line skirt, knee length. 
Then on A Million Dresses' Instagram I saw THIS material made into her Emery Dress. Oh, I just love it. It has the same pull for me as the synchronised swimmers. So I searched the internet and found a company that sells it online and bought it. Hoping to receive it on Monday in the post. I'm thinking a Megan dress. Not sure. Definitely a dress. 
Then my husband came home from a work trip to Japan and brought me THIS. The top material will be for pyjama shorts, the bottom two materials are thicker and will make knee length A-line skirts. I love that he went to the effort to get me material. And the reason he chose the bottom two because the apple trees reminded him of our cider-making activities every year, and the daisies reminded him of how our garden looked (before the chickens turned it into a mud bath). (We are working on restoring our garden to its former glory now the chickens are back to their original hen house.)
The accumulation continued after I wore my blue snowflake cardigan for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I loved it so much and felt so proud of what I'd knitted, I went straight online and ordered more of the same Wendy Ramsdale DK from Loveknitting. I haven't even finished the purple trees cardigan yet (top photo) and I'm already lining up the next one. I've been thinking of what I could use as the motif on this red cardigan (the wool is a deeper red than the photo shows - it was taken on a bright sunny day in the car). I thought perhaps white wool but can't decide on the motif itself. And then I wondered if I should knit a straightforward red cardigan with no motif. ??? There's time to decide! I think this will be my winter knitting project for this year.
Managed to re-stock my pyjama elastic. I always like to have some ready!
The last couple of weeks we've been watching our neighbours' cat, and looking after the chickens too. Cherry Pops (as I call her) is an absolute sweetheart. She loves hanging out with people (and the chickens - they're not so keen on her) and accompanies me morning and night to let the chickens out and put them to bed again. And she follows me on daily walks as well. And she comes when I call her. She's very fluffy and is a smart wee thing.
I've taken a few days holiday over the course of April. It's been lovely being at home with my husband and animal friends, especially my favourite animal friend, Meg. She is high maintenance (very demanding and vocal) but of course totally worth it. I love her. She's a great wee friend.
And finally, introducing Kelsie Sylvia, my great-niece. She was born on the 19th March. I cried all day when my sister told me my nephew and his partner had called her after my mum and even now it still makes me cry. My mum would have been DELIGHTED to have her great granddaughter named after her. I love that she's covered in knitwear in this photo. It bodes well. Perhaps I'll get a little knitting buddy in a few years' time. 

So, the moral of this post is - STOP BUYING WOOL AND FABRIC! and use all the wool and fabric I already have to make stuff.