Sunday, 14 February 2016

Battersea Cotton Top

Long time no speak!

I've not been idle, but somehow this blog has been. Today, however, I'd like to introduce you to Battersea. A wonderful cotton top from Valerie Miller, and my first gansey pattern.

I used Knit One Crochet Two's Second Time Cotton, an eco-cotton that is made using cotton leftovers from factory floors. I must say I was deeply impressed. It was a lovely cotton to knit with, and has given the garment a lovely heaviness that enables it to transcend the seasons.

This is, I think, my most accomplished knit to date. I wouldn't change a thing. The gansey pattern was completely addictive and I loved seeing the patterns emerging. The raglan sleeve increases are neat, as is the twisted rib at the neck, sleeves and bottom.

I did make a mistake and knit the entire bottom band in inside out twisted rib, so the twist was on the inside. I took it back, because I decided that it was something that would bother me and I'm so glad I did!

I think there are lots more options with this pattern, especially with the potential of adding long sleeves to make it a winter jumper.

Thanks for the great pattern, Valerie and thank you for reading!! What do you think: would you knit the Battersea?

Ravelry notes here

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Some handy wee bags

I've been working on my most complex project to date for the last few weeks, in between trips to Orkney and the likes, and I've also been knitting like fury because I'm about to be an auntie!! Eldest Bean is expecting her first baby in 13 days, and I'm knitting wee booties for the take-home-from-hospital for the wean, and it's really fun!

I started with the Chaussons Mignons pattern but it's morphed into something slightly different, and I just made up the size etc because the printer wasn't playing ball and I figured that it couldn't be that difficult. Well turns out it wasn't, and after making the prototype slightly too wide I think I'm onto a winner. A wee bit of me just keeps coming out in awwww's whenever I look at the finished boot, so that's gotta be a good thing, right?! It's not sewn up yet, I'm doing them both together, so that I could use the first to judge the correct pattern for the second, and I'll post about them when I've done.

Anyway, what this all meant was that my wee mesh bag that Love Knitting delivers wool in was becoming shredded with my double pointed needles (I'd already used the bag to hold my socks when they were being knitted up) and it was starting to drive me crazy, so I decided to make a bag!

This took me approximately an hour, and it's all from my stash, with the ribbons from the Love Knitting bag. I basically just copied it, because it is such a handy design - the wool stays inside while you pull the tail through the drawstring. Thus meaning that the ball doesn't go rolling over the floor, but stays nice and compact in the bag!

The lining in super smooth to allow easy unravelling of the wool from within the bag, and the ties go through a channel formed between the outer and the lining. A super easy make that I am super pleased with. I've only got my buttons to put on my shirt now and I'm dreading that bit, so this lovely easy project was just what I needed!
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While I was here, I also thought I could post a wee bag that I made several years ago, but which is the handiest wee thing I could possibly make. This is my knitting accessories bag, and it contains scissors, measuring tape, pins, stitch markers and a couple of cable pins and a pencil. 

It's made from Noro wool, pretty much the only crochet that I've ever done and has a lovely dense floppiness about it! Hard to describe! It's lined in a wee bit of fabric I picked up, and the zip was one I had already. It's just double crochet, and I continued until I thought it was the right size. I love it. and use it all the time! 

That's basically all I have to say about it, but I love it and although crochet hasn't always been my best friend, I do really like the effect it's had here! 
Do you have a knitting bag that you just love, or do you make many wee bags just for sheer handiness of having them around? I think I might become slight addicted to this..! 

Monday, 6 July 2015

New Etsy Shop!



Hello dear readers,

I have just taken a step into a new venture.

I make these pictures for wedding gifts, and have decided to try and sell some to supplement my income.

If you like these pictures and are on Etsy, it would mean the world to me if you were able to share my page. I am on under HeatheryHandmade, and the address is: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/HeatheryHandmade

This year I went self-employed. I earn my income from carrying out ecological surveys, included monitoring protected species, and plants and habitats. The work is excellent, but very variable. I end up with many quiet spells that leave me worried about where my next income is going to come from. I am setting up this shop with the aim of filling in some of these gaps, and helping me create a more constant stream of income. We'll see how it goes!

Any help would be hugely appreciated!

Heather

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Pomegranate Trousers

McCalls 6514 view a trousers
Another pair of incredibly comfy trousers. These are lounging trews, working at home trousers, flying trousers... Same pattern as before, McCall's 6514, with a few changes. Due to the largeness of the last pair, I knew that the pattern ran large, and decided to keep the waist measurements the same, and grade down to a 10 in the leg. I think the waist is a 14.
McCalls 6514 view a trousers
The fabric is rowan fabric in Pomegranate by Richard Mably (Spring 2013) in colourway Forest. It's quilting fabric then, but oh so lucious, and just perfect for these trousers, I think! The photo that's closest to how it actually is is this next one.
McCalls 6514 view a trousers
I bought 1.8m, having forgotten to check the pattern envelope prior to going shopping, and was shocked to lie it out and discover I couldn't fit the pattern on at all. This is becoming a bit of a habit! After a momentary panic, I worked out that by cutting each piece out individually I would be able to fit them all on....just. I have literally scraps left from the fabric so it was a real close one! Even though these are longer than the pattern pieces, I also had to shorten them a bit. They're still long enough, just, but I had to do that to allow me to fit it onto the fabric.
McCalls 6514 view a trousers
 The fit is a lot better than my other pair (which have been consigned to the cupboard since these were created) but the 14-10 adjustment means that there is quite a bit of excess at the front crotch. It's okay, but it needs considered for future.
McCalls 6514 view a trousers
Everything was french seamed in these, and I didn't need to cut away the crotch (hooray!), so that was definitely a win. And, until I made my summer skirt (linked above) which actually came after these trousers, these were the best thing I'd ever made. So it's nice to know that I'm improving!
McCalls 6514 view a trousers
I don't know if I'll make them again, not for a while anyway. I'm getting closer to needing to make a 'proper' pair of trousers. Something with slightly less comfort, and slightly more style! It has to happen one day...

You'll notice that I'm back to my rubbish photos, I could not get the exposure right with these ones, so sorry about that. And the creases on the trousers are totally the fault of the camera too. It wasn't anything like me being too lazy to iron before photographing, not at all ;)

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Summer Skirt

simplicity 2258 green linen

I have visions of swishing about in linen, being at one with the seasons but it never quite works on me. Until now. I found this delicious olive green linen in Edinburgh Fabrics (the colour is undoubtedly closest to the photos from Cyprus), but didn't quite know what I would do with it, until I found Simplicity 2258 in the sale box in the shop! The packaging shows the full length skirt in green and as I sometimes have an issue with imagining the finished object this helped me visualise and I knew that it was going to work.
simplicity 2258 green linen

I bought 2.10m of the fabric, and just as well I did. The pattern calls for 1.8m, but as I had to lengthen it by a whopping 10 inches to get my desired look I needed every centimetre of extra fabric. As it is, I had to join the back, as I couldn't get the new length out of the fabric I had, but the subsequent joint is one of my favourite things about the skirt. Some people have said that it would also be cool if the yellow bias binding was on the outside, but I love it as a secret detail and love the simplicity and (gasp!) plainness of the skirt. My wardrobe is very colourful and patterned, and it's lovely to have an item that's easy to partner with other things.

If anyone wants to know how I joined the two bits of the back skirt, it was very simple. I just attached the two linen pieces to one side of the bias binding, I then stepped the seam allowances to make it less bulky, folded the binding to cover all the rough edges and put yellow thread in the top of my machine and green in the bobbin and just sewed. I took a wee bit of time to decide how to do this, and am glad that I took my time and did something I love. When I walk, the yellow shows and it adds a special touch there.
simplicity 2258 green linen skirt

I did check the finished measurements for ease, and seeing that there was a lot of ease in the finished garment I made it several sizes smaller (if following the pattern I should have done a 16, but did a 12 instead) and it's perfect tightness and I can bend and everything (always a bonus) but it's me wearing the skirt rather than the other way around! I did find that the split, due to my lengthening the skirt, became very constrictive, and I wore it on holiday on Cyprus, found it wasn't going to work and that it would prevent my wearing a garment I loved, so I have just painstakingly unpicked the french seams (sob!) and have lengthened the split by 9cm and it's much better. I also used the pocket pieced to round off the bottom of the skirt, I prefer the round hem rather than a square finish.
Speaking of the pockets, I thought the design of them was very clever - it's one piece of fabric, folded. I have not got the sewing vocabulary to describe it yet, but I do like the ease of this skirt!

I think this is without a doubt my most achieved item to date. It's almost perfect (I had real trouble neatly hemming those sharp corners at the bottom) but there's nothing I would change. It fits like a dream and I feel absolutely wonderful wearing it! I call that a success and it's wonderful to have a garment that just works.
simplicity 2258 green linen skirt

I love the ties and am glad I added them. I also rounded off the ends of these to make it softer, rather than a square end and I think these little details do sit better on linen, rather than being too square! Maybe that's just being overdramatic...! Simplicity 2258 is a winner for me, though, I would make all of the patterns on the pattern envelope. So it was a bargain for £4!
simplicity 2258 green linen

Have any of you made anything you particularly love recently?

Thanks to my brother, Donald, for taking these brilliant photos - much better than anything that's been on this blog before! (If you check out his link you'll see that these photos are a great departure from his normal style,  but I think he's moved into fashion photography very well! Pity about the awkward model....!)


Thursday, 14 May 2015

Oriental Fans Top

Simple top from New Look K6217, a free pattern from Sew magazine, which looks drab on the pattern envelope, fab in the magazine and somewhere in between on me!

I made this as a toile for a layered dress that I was making (still not finished, probably won't be, but that's a story for another day!)  and wanted to check the fit of. It's a simple, dartless top, which I made no adjustment to and just followed the instructions throughout.

It came out nice! Not sure that it's the most flattering thing I've ever worn, but I will wear it, and I love the fabric. It's a very soft, light cotton lawn that I purchased from Minerva Crafts last year. I did not know what I was going to do with it, so when this top came along it was a nice wee stash buster as well. Not that I have much of a stash to bust...!

I bought a metre of the fabric, so the top cost me £13.99 in all, which is not too bad!
overall, I think this was the best item I ever made at the time. It was technically nice, and I am still very proud of it. It's fully french seamed, and the neckline is finished with bias binding - the first time I ever did that. I did have issue doing the french seam round the curved underarms, so came up with a fairly novel approach, but if anyone has any tips on how I should have french-seamed that area please do share!

Overall I like it. It's relaxed, cool, and easy to wear. Nice simple top that I also enjoyed to make.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Marvellosa Malvarosa

Hello all! Well, 6 days in and I have not taken a single Me-Made-May photo, because I'm terrible! But I have been wearing me-mades without even thinking about it, because yee haa! I will cover all that I've been wearing in another post, but for not I want to talk about a dress extra-ordinaire: Pauline Alice's Malvarosa

This dress is one of those patterns that I see that I instantly knew I was going to make. The only question was when, not if. This was helped by seeing This Blog is not for You's wonderful version, and of course Kirsty of Top Notch's gorgeous sleeveless version.


I made the size 38 according to my measurements, but ended up taking 2cm out of each side after it was made up, because it was just vast! I know it's meant to be loose fitting, but that was taking the biscuit, and I'm left with a casually comfy dress that's just perfect (in my opinion)!


I made the option with sleeves, obviously, as I am a cold person and I wanted this dress, in all it's cordy wondrousness, to transcend all seasons. For yes, it's cord! I love cord, always have and always will, and I knew as soon as I saw the dress that it should be made in  cord. This one is from Ditto Fabrics, and cost £7.99 a metre, and I bought 2. That gives me a wee bit left over, but not enough to do anything proper with. Woe is me, because it is gorgeous fabric to wear and the colours are really lucious!

I lengthened the bodice by 5cm, and shortened the skirt. This is because I'm tall, but for my next version I wouldn't lengthen it quite so much as I think the proportions are no longer quite right. I also lined the pockets in silky polyester in bright pink on one side, which is just luscious when you put your hands in the pockets (which I do quite a lot...love pockets), but I think the light fabric compared to the cord is what is makes the pockets gape a little. Ocht weel, you can't win them all!

Things to remember for the next one:

  • Lower the bust darts... At the moment they sit about 7cm above my actual bust, coming out just below the armpits. Maybe I'm just weird,  and have a very drooopy bust, or there's something not right in the pattern there! I have not read anything on the internet about the darts not being placed right so I suspect it is me! Haha! 


  • I did find the angular sleeve very difficult to ease in, and in fact have ended up with puckers. I'm just pretending that they're part of the feature but it would be interesting to see if a lighter fabric would make that part of the make easier. 


  • I also had difficulty with the facings popping out. I understitched, stitched in the ditch along the shoulders, and still, they would not stay in! In the end I just stitched the facing to the main dress at 1cm along the front neckline, and about 5cm along the back neckline, the thread has actually disappeared into the cord so you can't see the stitching, but I'm not sure why that kept on happening! 


  • Another thing I will make sure to change when I make this again (for there will be many Malvarosa's coming to this house) is I would make the shoulders a bit wider. They do ride up off of my shoulder, and that's just because the pattern has been designed for someone with narrower shoulders than my own!


Overall, I love this dress. Really love it. It's so comfy that it feels like wearing pyjamas, and I love the colour too. It suits a cardigan and a top underneath, and yes...a success despite the difficulties! I really enjoyed the whole process, even though the recap seems to be very negative, but it really was not a negative experience! I will definitely be trying other Pauline Alice patterns after this :)


Have any of your made a Pauline Alice pattern? What did you think? Hope you all have a great day!