Yorkshire Yarn Excitement and Two Hats

After knitting socks without a hint of second sock syndrome, I appear to have acquired a compulsion to knit in pairs. Although not matching, these hats seemed a logical double project.

When a wool band reads “Born, Bred and Made in Yorkshire” and you are born, bred and made in Yorkshire, you know immediately you have to buy the yarn… in three different colours. I don’t think I’ve been as excited or impulsive about a yarn before. Serious warm fuzzy feelings inside and out.

Ramsdale

Ramsdale is Yorkshire wool (all 100% of it) from Masham fleece. Not only that but each of the 12 shades are named after Yorkshire market towns or villages. I bought two red, one navy and one neutral. Also known as Settle (amazing walking), Hawes (highest market town in England, I don’t even know why I remember that fact) and Malham (location of too many Geography school trips but I can still appreciate  it’s natural beauty).

Ombre Hat b

As if hailing from North Yorkshire wasn’t enough, this yarn has great qualities… good squish, soft without pilling, not scratchy and nice to knit with.

Lateu Hat

The hats; ombre and Latu. Ombre because I was itching to try stranded colour work without committing too much (I’m not ready for a full on Fair Isle Jumper project yet) and Latu because I really liked the neat cable pattern. Both are free patterns – I’m always terribly grateful that knitters share these patterns so generously on Ravelry.

Lateu Wrist Warmers and Hat

I had did use some of the second ball of red making the hat but there was plenty left for a pair of wristwarmers. I fudged the cable pattern of Latu onto a gauge adjusted version of Anna Wilkinson’s wristwarmer pattern. These are knit flat and seamed afterwards so I knit with both ends of the yarn at the same time until I had just enough left to cast off and seam – I hate waste!

Ombre Hat a

Warm, Cosy and Reversible Neckwarmer

Many things in sewing (and knitting too) are far cheaper to buy in the shops than make yourself. This is not one of them.

Reversible Cowl b

Spotted in a fancy country life type of shop, the type that sells quilted jackets and expensive wellies, was a neck warmer. Tweed on the outside, fleece on the inside. I did a bit more investigation of these items, undoing the buttons and fully expecting a shape I’d have to make multiple iterations of to re-create at home, I was pleasantly surprised that it was a simple rectangle.

Reversible Cowl d

My pleasant surprise turned to mild elation when I looked at the £75 price tag. £75 seriously? I tried to keep my face expressionless when the tweed suit-clad assistant/shop owner sidled over to me explaining that there were 5 colours but they had been so popular there were only 3 available now. “Very nice” I muttered approvingly then nonchalantly executed my exit of the shop.

Reversible Cowl c

I have to hand it to them, the shop owner certainly knows her/his target market with that price tag. Now, I don’t want to rip off small businesses (it is an independent shop after all) and I’m all for handmade items including a fair wage for the time taken to make the item…but I am not the £75 for a neckwarmer target market.

I seized remnants of coating, cotton lawn, 4 buttons from my stash so my only cost outlay were 3 press studs to make my own version. Also because I used press studs instead of button holes, mine is reversible!

Reversible Cowl a

Lampshade Making at Tea and Crafting

Instead of making New Years resolutions, I set myself 12 challenges to complete during 2015. One of those challenges was to learn a new skill. Making a lampshade seemed sufficiently different from my usual fabric creations to allow me to complete this challenge satisfactorily.

I chose the Bespoke Lampshade Making class at Tea and Crafting, a cute venue right in the hustle and bustle of Camden. I follow the Tea and Crafting blog so it was a pleasure to see their Hoop Art (from a recent blog post) on the walls of their neat little crafting room showcasing the classes they offer in a suitably visual way.

Lampshade After

The class materials include all the components required to make a cylindrical lampshade using your own fabric.

Lampshade Attach

There were a lovely array of fabric selections brought in by my fellow classmates. Everything from curtain remnants to former skirts (love a bit of up-cycling). My fabric was purchased specifically for this class (because I couldn’t possibly use something already in my stash now could I?). The print is from the Modern Neutrals collection by Amy Ellis and was purchased from Raystitch.

Lampshade Top

The 2 hour class was taught by Laura of Laura Felicity who has infectious enthusiasm and a natural teaching style. Laura shared her expertise and tricks of the trade with our small group to produce 5 exceptional lampshades.

Lampshade Class

Interestingly, the lamp base was made by my Uncle who likes to do wood turning in his free time. After the class, I couldn’t wait to get home to assemble the base and shade to see the final handmade bedside lamp.

Lampshade On

I’m really pleased with how well they work together, the wood really compliments the fabric and I have plenty of fabric left for a ceiling shade… or maybe cushion covers… or a quilt…

Navy Ponte Leggings – Vogue 1440

When I made my Autumn Southport dress, I wanted to further extend the wearability into winter. I’ve nailed layering with a long sleeve t-shirt underneath and a cosy cardigan on top but brrrrr the chills go right through tights.

I wasn’t the fastest sock knitter so knitting wooly tights was out of the question (although I can’t stop browsing knitted tights on Ravelry and Pinterest!). The next best option was to sew some leggings.

V1440 Front

For the pattern I used Vogue 1440 modifying the tapered leg trouser silhouette to a fitted legging. The pattern is intended for knit fabrics such as ponte so the alterations were relatively easy.V1440 Back

I placed an online order for some navy and some mushroom ponte from Truro Fabrics. This ponte is really very good quality, it doesn’t have the sheen that cheaper options have and is incredibly soft for such a sturdy knit.

V1440 Side

When I attached the elastic waistband, I also incorporated a ribbon tab at the centre back for easy orientation.

V1440 Centre Back Ribbon

Finally, I had some excess length that I should have just cut off and hemmed with a twin needle top stitch but I was overcome with an urge to turn them into ski pants. In the interests of fashion, do not try this at home kids.

V1440 Side Ski Pants

If you don’t care that 3 decades have passed since this look was ‘in’ then go ahead, cut a 2 1/2 inch slit for your heel, zig-zag or overlock the cut edge to reinforce it then enjoy the warmth provided by a second layer on your feet and the knowledge that your leggings will stay firmly in your boots this winter.

Socks

Last week: “No second sock syndrome here” was the phrase a very accomplished knitter proclaimed when I revealed at my first meeting of a local knitting group that I was indeed making my first pair of socks and the one on my needles was the second sock.

Let’s rewind to the summer when I received a wonderful birthday present of two Craftsy Classes. Socks have been on my knitting techniques list for sometime. On one hand the shear amount of choice is overwhelming: construction, toe-up, cuff-down, DPNs, circulars, two at a time, yarn choices, stitch decisions. On the other hand, with knitting, I have found it is best to jump right in, no new technique is too challenging when the worst case scenario is ripping out to start again.

Donna Druchunas’ Craftsy Class “Knit Original Toe-Up Socks” seemed pitched at about my level: Fearless sock beginner not afraid of a steep learning banana. The class seemed to have longevity that would take me from knitting my first pair to designing my own. The course materials aren’t well advertised but do add value to the cost of the class – three multi-sized sock patterns, some additional stitch patterns and a planning worksheet.

Seaweed Full Sock

In the short-term, chapters on sock anatomy, calculating for a good fit and fully demonstrated toes and heels gave me enough information to knit my pair of socks. That fit. Successfully.

Seaweed Socks

Now that my first pair is complete, I can return to the class to tackle another of the 3 toe or 3 heel options or maybe use the bonus section on knitting two socks at a time. I’m not quite ready for designing yet but altering an existing sock pattern seems do-able and Donna gave some great tips along the way for knitting for gifts if you don’t have the recipient’s measurements.

Enough of me waxing lyrical about the Craftsy class, lets talk about the pattern. The Seaweed sock pattern looks, to me, like the bobbly dark green seaweed that I remember washing up on UK beaches when I was a kid.

Seaweed Sock Pattern

As stitch patterns go, it’s not too complicated to knit (although I didn’t manage to memorise it, I had to keep the chart with me at all times) yet very visually effective. I see it as a unisex pattern – some of the patterns that incorporate lace seem a bit girly to me.

Seaweed Sock Toe

This sock pattern has a short row toe and heel which are fairly similar to knit so are a good way to consolidate learning.

Seaweed Sock Heel

The yarn is Malabrigo Sock in playa which I purchased from Tangled Yarn. The fact that the pattern and colourway were sea themed amused me. It is incredibly difficult to photograph but is predominantly dark green and navy with highlights of gold, grey and grey-greens.

Seaweed Socks Steps

The new-to-me knitting group did warn me that sock knitting was addictive. I have hats in the pipeline but do see more socks in my knitting future.

Second Stripe Renfrew

This is my fourth Renfrew but my second in stripe fabric.

Sewaholic Renfrew Stripe Front

In fact it is the same fabric but reverse colorway as my other one. I loved the first fabric, predominantly navy with narrow white stripe version so much that I purchased a couple of meters (ebay seller brunswickmill2013) of the white with narrower navy stripes too.

Sewaholic Renfrew Cowl

I wear the first one weekly (or there about) and it is still going strong. The fabric washes so well and no bobbling over half a year later. With the fabric so similar, I attempted to keep it different by making the cowl neck Renfrew version this time. Do you ever worry people will ask why you have the same top (or any favourite sewing pattern garment) in multiple different colours?

Sewaholic Renfrew Stripe Shoulder

I really enjoy sewing with stripes, there are a lot of areas to pay attention to in order to get a really satisfying finish (check out my top ten tips here).

Sewaholic Renfrew Stripe  Side

On the plus side, pressing beyond the border of the stripe at the hem and cuffs and hiding the twin needle top stitching in the navy strip worked a dream.

Renfrew Twin Needle Top Stitching

Voting is open for SIM2015

Sewing Indie Month

I entered my Autumn Southport Dress into the Sewing Indie Month 2015 Everyday Casual Contest. Check out my competitors and cast your vote here.