Storm Waterfall

Only I could knit a super chunky jacket during a heatwave but now that the weather is super chilly, I’m having the last laugh!

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The Waterfall Jacket by Debbie Bliss is knit in 5 separate pieces then seamed together. Dropped shoulders mean that the sleeves are straight, no faffing with decreases. The stitch pattern oozes texture and makes for a thick bouncy fabric.

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The pattern is designed to be knit with Debbie Bliss’ Roma but I’ve been exploring British yarns this year so I took some time exploring other super chunky wools. There aren’t many British wool yarns in super chunky weight. I made a little planning table to help me pick.

Name Stitch Gauge Ball Length (m) No. Required Cost per ball Total cost Colourways
Roma 9 and 10 80 10 6.74 67.4
Laxtons Super Chunky BFL unknown unknown 100g 2×5 £32.90 for 5 65.8 Undyed
Big Brit 9 and 12 67 12 5.95 71.4 Natural Grey
Erica Knight Maxi Wool 8 and 12 80 10 6.71 67.1 Storm or milk chocolate

I opted for Maxi Wool but would happily knit with the others for future projects.

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The end result is extremely warm, cosy and goes with everything. It’s a great alternative to a coat on dry but freezing cold days. I’m pleased with how it turned out.

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Hats for Everyone

Right back at the beginning of the year, my Mum asked me to knit her a hat with any leftover purple yarn from my Newale cardigan. I don’t remember exactly when knitting one hat turned into knitting everyone a hat but around September I started what has become known as the Christmas Hat Project.

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Recently, there has been much talk among knitters (and sewers and other crafters too) about selfless making, even taking it as far as to label someone ‘knit-worthy’. I’ve enjoyed ‘selfless’ knitting and I’ve even found it surprisingly selfish on some levels. Some hats required me to learn new techniques which boosted my knitting skills. One hat was a huge challenge and a steep learning curve for me, I almost didn’t think it’d be good enough to give as a gift. Another hat was a test knit for a now released pattern. I hadn’t been a test knitter before (maybe I won’t be invited to again!) but I enjoyed the opportunity. Most of all, I’ve bought, knit and played with lots of different (mostly British) yarns that I otherwise wouldn’t have got the chance to do and used up some yarns from my stash too.

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I am under no illusion. Not all the hats. would be gratefully received… neither would shop-bought gifts. Some hats were requested, some weren’t the recipients having no idea what their Christmas present was until it was opened. Some hats won’t be worn, some will end up in a charity shop. I’m ok with all of those things. I don’t want to knit a hat any time soon but I’m not regretting the Christmas Hat Project.

Here are the hats…

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Pattern: The Easy Ombre Slouch
Yarn: Brigantia Luxury DK (8526), Wendy Ramsdale (Malham)
Modifications: Slouch removed.
Notable because: This is the hat that started the whole project

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Pattern: Single rib, no pattern required.
Yarn: Erika Knight Maxi Wool (Storm)
Modifications: Bound off fast, the yarn was running out!

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Pattern: His or Hers Bobble Hat by Anna Wilkinson
Yarn: The Wool Kitchen Hand-dyed super chunky
Modifications: None
Notable because: It’s the happiest colour and the hardest to photograph

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Pattern: The Easy Ombre Slouch
Yarn: Wendy Ramsdale (Malton and Malham)
Modifications: No ombre pattern just 1 in 4 stitches on alternating rows
Notable because: The floats are so pretty it’s worth wearing inside out.

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Pattern: Latu by Meiju Knits
Yarn: Wendy Ramsdale (Bedale)
Modifications: None
Notable because: I forgot to take a finished photograph and had to screen shot this from a video I took of all the hats for Instagram.

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Pattern: Bankhead by Susie Gourlay
Yarn: West Yorkshire Spinners BFL Printed DK (Owl)
Modifications: None
Notable because: First time knitting WYS yarn and I want more

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Pattern: Hurricane
Yarn: West Yorkshire Spinners Aire Valley Aran Fusions (Grey Mix)
Modifications: None
Notable because: Simple but effective hat pattern, I secretly wanted to keep this one for myself

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Pattern: No pattern, I just went for it
Yarn: Blacker Yarns Classic DK (Forest Green)
Modifications: Complete free-style
Notable because: I lined it with fleece

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Pattern: Hemisphere
Yarn: Blacker Yarns Classic DK (Pale Green), Blacker Yarns Classic Aran (Mid Blue), Malibrigo Sock Yarn (Playa)
Modifications: Some coastal drift but all countries accounted for.
Notable because: Difficulty rating off the scale; double knitting, non-repeating pattern, long-tail tubular cast on. However, holding a solid and variegated yarn together was a minor stroke of genius.

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Pattern: Hurricane
Yarn: West Yorkshire Spinners Aire Valley Aran Fusions (Grey Mix), Wendy Ramsdale (Hawes)
Modifications: Knit all stitches after ribbing
Notable because: Super manly

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Pattern: Washed Ashore by Lesley Anne Robinson
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted (Tortuga)
Modifications: None
Notable because: Test knit the pattern

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Kylie

It’s tempting to use some Kylie song lyrics in this blog post about Style Arc’s Kylie knit top pattern but I’ll refrain. Kylie is a basic long or short sleeve t-shirt pattern with a wing-like overlay. I envisioned a pile of different versions, mostly stripey. I love sewing and wearing stripes!

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First up was a long sleeved version in a green stripe viscose jersey from ebay. I ordered a size 6 pattern based on bust measurement and adjusted the pattern (grading up at the hips and down at the waist) before cutting out. I don’t mind so much for this simple seamed project but I’d find it difficult grading a complicated pattern without the other sizes as a guide. Something to consider when thinking about/buying Style Arc patterns.

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I was thoroughly confused about the construction of the overlay. The pattern instructions are a little brief and oddly phrased. By the time I’d worked it out, I’d chomped the seam allowance off with my overlocker. The neckline is wider on this version than it should be, unpicking was stretching the jersey so I cut away the overlocking and started again. To fix the slightly saggy neckline, I threaded some elastic thread through the correct overlocked seam and drew it up slightly. My fudge worked out but I’m not proud of it.

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My second version of Kylie was a pattern hack in a nautical jersey (a two times remnant; from  pneuma and before that maxi skirt). I amended the armholes and shoulders of the overlay to turn it into a sleeveless vest and bound the neckline and armholes with perpendicular stripes.

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Out of the two, this one is my favourite but I’m keen to make it again so watch this space.

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Newale

As I work towards sorting my Ravelry favourites into bundles, I noticed that I have quite a few of Cecily Glowik MacDonald‘s designs in there. Earlier this year I knitted up Newale having received the yarn (more about that later) for Christmas. Since September I’ve been knitting Christmas presents for family and friends but my next selfish knitting project is always in the planning phase. Might it be another Cecily design or maybe something else from my (almost) organised favourites?

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The Newale pattern instructions were easy to follow and I enjoyed working the pockets flat with the rest of the cardigan. Knitting is still new enough to me that I learn something new about construction with each project. I did ask for some advice from the knitting group I attend in how to stitch the pocket sides but it turned out I was overthinking it… ‘just sew it down’ was a unanimous decision from around the table and we moved onto deeper conversations.

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I knitted half of one sleeve and decided it was going to be way too tight. A bit of stitch gauge/upper arm circumference maths indicated that I needed an extra 20 stitches to what the pattern recommended. I worried that this would be a visible fudge but I seem to have gotten away with it. Now that it’s finished I’d say I could have gone up a size for the whole cardigan, it’s a touch too small even after some firm but fair blocking. I find fit so much more difficult for knitting than sewing.

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I’ve been making a conscious effort to use British yarn this year, in fact, to my knowledge I have only purchased British yarn and any knitting project completed this year with yarn from elsewhere was already in my stash. I intended to use  Brigantia Luxury Yarn Double Knit for another pattern but I couldn’t get the required gauge and drape with it so I had to switch pattern. Purchased from Ginger Twist Studio it is described as perfect for jumpers and it really is a very good jumper yarn.

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It’s pure wool spun in Yorkshire and, although not obvious from their website, is a product of Brigantia Needlework. It’s lovely to work with, smooth and warm, maybe a little prickle but far from itchy. The purple colour (8526) is so vibrant and rich. It’s not a colour I’d normally choose but it goes well with a few other things (including the Ella Top in these photographs) in my wardrobe so has been worn a few times since the weather got chilly. There are a whole range of other colours in both the DK and aran weights but hands off the claret and chartreuse, I want those for myself!

Happy Julia

This jersey is another fabric from my Mad Jak‘s hoard this summer and I think it’s my favourite. I fell hard for the yellow/green almost neon in the store.

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And I fell in love all over again when I saw how the Autumn light through my landing window gave the true colour of the jersey. My grellow outfit dreams have come true – I can’t get enough of grey jeans at the moment.

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This Julia cardigan (Mouse House Creations)  is a huge contrast the the staple grey marl I made last time… it’s bright, very bright and the pop of colour really lifts my mood.

Autumn Basics: Renfrew

I’d happily mark  the start of autumn sewing every year with a Renfrew.

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With the scoop neck view, it’s a staple basic that can be worn under with dresses and with skirts or trousers.

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I noticed over the summer that my store-bought white long sleeve t-shirt was looking a little worse for wear. So when I also found a textured white jersey at Mad Jak’s I knew exactly what I needed to sew (my thoughts on Mad Jak’s as a fabric shop here). This fabric is just as pleasing as other fabrics I’ve purchased at Mad Jak’s, good quality, fair price and washes well.

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As far as I can remember, this was my first time sewing with a textured knit. It took a bit of extra care over pattern piece cutting – I treated it the same you would with any striped, directional print. The neck band was carefully placed so that when folded it had the cleanest line. I used a hem band but just folded the sleeves. The finishing touch was a twin needle top stitching at the neckline, sleeves and hem but it’s purely functional as it’s visibly lost in the texture.

Misty Trees Dress

It was summer 2015 in Walthamstow market when I felt that the roll end of this misty trees printed scuba needed to come home with me. I’ve been pondering a suitable pattern ever since. The longer I pondered, the more I failed to see why I’d been attracted to the fabric in the first place. Scuba… so not me.

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I was happy to sacrifice it to test out GBSB The Drapey Knit dress that I’d pinned to my ‘See it Sew It‘ Pinterest board. It’s a free pattern download with some quirky details. The pattern has front pockets created by the side front pattern pieces, these also overlap at the neckline to create a simple origami effect. Sew Different has some construction instructions that really helped me, particularly in ensuring the the trees were growing in the right direction.

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I cut the smallest size but took in the side seams from bust to hip a lot… I just kept narrowing until I was happier that the volume worked for my proportions. The hem and sleeves were finished with a twin needle stitch and I hand tacked the neckline facing at the internal seams to prevent it from flipping out.

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I used the blog photos to test out the possibility of wearing it to a wedding and decided it was worth a try. Guess who got the first dance?

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