Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Jo Sharp granny square baby blanket

Wow, two posts in a week. What's with the burst of energy?

This is a demonstration of how I am a sucker for a kit. I bought this blanket kit from the Jo Sharp shop because I fell in love with the colours. I paid no mind to the fact that I had no recipient in mind let alone to whom I could give such an extravagant (and high maintenance) gift. Even at 40% off or something it was still pretty exxy as Jo Sharp yarn tends to be (although her pack sales can be good value if you can find a colour you like). In addition, this is not the sort of thing you can just bung in the washer! I can't even remember when I made this it was so long ago - probably March or April, and I didn't put it on Ravelry so it will remain a mystery.

The design is super easy, just granny squares with a white centre and solid squares in 2 coordinating colours - mine are mareschino and arizona (hmmm, seems to be discontinued) in Jo Sharp Desert Aran cotton. I think I used a 6mm hook from memory. I crocheted the squares together as I went since I hate sewing together and I have found cotton doesn't always stay sewn either! This would look better if the final round of each square was the same colour but it's not too bad.

The kit was supposed to make a blanket 5 X 7 squares but it became obvious pretty early on that there was not enough yarn for this so I modified the design to make a square blanket with a wide double crochet (single crochet in the US) border, finished with a simple scalloped edge. The pattern provided skipped the usual chain space between blocks of trebles (US dcs) but with the fat yarn and fat hook that wasn't working for me.

As an aside, usually when I knit I have quite a lot of leftover yarn but the two Jo Sharp kits I have used have both run out before the end. Not sure what is with that - I guess Jo Sharp's tester must be even more frugal than me!
Anyway, impracticalities aside I think this is a seriously cute blanket, it didn't take long to whip up and for such a simple design it has great impact. Fortunately there is now a potential recipient on the horizon. The prospective parents will find out at Christmas whether or not they are having a boy or a girl so there is a 50:50 chance of this blanket finding a home in the next few months.

Final note - Desmo did her best to 'help' me with blocking this project too but I was watching her closely this time. This is her acting all innocent.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

A knit for me - Estelle cardigan

Here is another knitting project, this time for me.  It's the Estelle cardigan from Quince and Co.  As you can see I pretty much copied the exact colour as modelled, but I did use a different brand of yarn.  The details are on my Ravelry page if you are interested. Of course I finished this right before the spring started so I have only had a couple of opportunities to wear it, but can't wait for next autumn/winter as I am sure I'll get loads of wear from it.

Estelle is a top-down raglan, which I find works really well for my narrow shoulders. If I knit anything with set in sleeves I have to fasten it at the front or it falls off, but this stays on nicely without my having to tug at it all the time.

I knit the small until and including the rib section.  Immediately below that I needed to increase the size to accommodate my hips.  Rather than work increases down the sides (which can accentuate my pear shape) I worked increases equally all around.  I went up 2 sizes in all.

Next I worked short rows so the centre back was about an inch shorter than the body to account for my sway back.  On me the hem hangs level and there isn't a 'pooch' in my lower back. You can vaguely see the shaping in the close-up below, but it's not that obvious.

Sorry, more headless dummy shots. I am working on it and you will see my smiling mug back again soon I promise! Although I can't promise exotic locations and arty poses - my crappy courtyard and point-and-shoot camera will have to suffice.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Colette Patterns Crepe (modified)

So there has been a little sewing going on....

I thought this fabric would be perfect for a Crepe but as per usual I had bought it with a different project in mind and didn't have enough.  I modified the pattern so it doesn't wrap-around and managed to squeeze it out of the length I had.

Here's the front:
I didn't need to make an FBA, although it is currently a little snug across the bust.  If you are a B-cup like my dummy you will probably need to alter the front bodice.

The back required some fiddling as there is no centre back marked on the pattern (my one small complaint), but with some measuring and guesstimating it turned out fine.  I inserted an invisible zip in the back and added a full lining but other than that made the dress as instructed.

The only other alteration was a 1" sway back adjustment. 
My dummy is a pretty poor model as the dress really needs to be filled out to show off how pretty the silhouette is. The shape is flattering and is retro without being costume-y.

I love how this dress turned out and will definitely make it again, probably with the wrap next time.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Summer Affair - Disaster or Silver Lining?

I had planned to post on the weekend but decided a work-in-progress post wouldn't be interesting enough. My beloved 15-year old Burmese Desmo (who has her own special way of helping - which is a lot like not helping) had other ideas and has obligingly given me a story to tell. Happy or sad? I haven't decided yet.

So here is what I was going to show you. I have a bunch of finished projects but no good photos so a very boring image of my 'Summer Affair' blocking on the sewing room floor was the best I have to offer. I have been working on this for ages, it's not an enjoyable knit requiring far more brain power than I can access on a typical evening so it has been slow going.

I finally finished it, pinned to size and spray blocked. Excellent, just the back flounce and edging to do. I had been ignoring a mild niggle about the colour. I do love it and wanted to make something a bit different than the usual neutral/teal/green palette I tend to work from, but I am not sure it's exactly 'me'. I worried I would look sunburned if I wore it. Furthermore, I am not convinced that it would actually be as versatile as what I had promised myself when I started making it. It would be great for a spring/summer wedding but my visions of tossing it on with jeans and a camisole not so much - it's way too fragile.

However, I was committed and I am nothing if not loyal. I invested a lot and intended to finish it.

Enter Desmo (literally).

I inadvertantly left the door to the sewing room open for about 10 minutes and unbeknownst to me, Desmo went in, had a look and decided that after all I shouldn't finish this project. To save me from making the decision she helped me along by hooking the yarn and pulling a giant run across one full row of the lace, right near the beginning. The thread isn't broken but there is no way I would be able to work it back into its proper pattern.

All there is for it is to unpick the whole thing. I'll probably make a scarf or shawl instead, which will probably look nicer anyway.

Thanks Desmo!
(note: this photo is easily 4 years old, I couldn't find a more recent one!)