Saturday, 3 September 2016

Cinema dress pattern

Yesterday I finished sewing the Cinema dress by Leisel and Co. I've not used their patterns before, and as I've had some poor experiences with other pattern companies I went into it with some hesitation.

The dress pattern is really lovely, though, with front panels, a nice loos fit and a good length. I'd looked at other autumn dress patterns as I need something that can transition from warmer to cooler weather, layer well, and feel comfortable. I also had some great cotton slub yarn I had dyed into a soft rose colour that was really suited to this sort of pattern and had that nice relaxed vibe I wanted.

The pattern is pretty easy to follow, with nice clear instructions for constructing the yokes and skirt sections. The side panels are sewn together at the shoulders, then seamed to the dress in one long go, and that gives you a great opportunity to adjust the fit. Overall the fit was good - not too tight around the sides, waist or shoulders. I could probably have graded down for the shoulders and the side panels, and in the centre back, but that's just finessing really.

So, the pattern did trip up in two parts; firstly, the underarm is too high, and related but secondary, the sleeve head is too pointy to accommodate good range of movement, and causes pulling on the upper back whilst also pushing the shoulder seam up. It's just too tight, too high, and too narrow. I don't have very big arms, and at a UK 16 you should expect for a relaxed fit garment for there to be more room in the arm and armpit. I've found this sort of crappy sleeve head in a few patterns now, and it always ruins an otherwise great bodice fit.

So even though the rest of the dress was great, those high pointy ease-less sleeves really let it down.
Luckily I have enough fabric to draft a new sleeve and cut back the armpit to match (I'll use the ever-reliable Schoolhouse Tunic from Sew Liberated as a guide. Ye have never failed me, oh thou good and faithful servant.)

Oh, I almost forgot, although it did seem odd? The length was so...excessive.It came out at ankle-length. Everything else fit, and then there were six inches of extra fabric. I'm 5'7". HOW TALL WAS THE PATTERN MODEL? She must have been a clear 6' for that to have been mid-calf.

Pictures of the in-progress to-be altered dress, pre-sleeve mods and buttons;

Autumn's arrived

I think there might be a law in England, some sort of secret unwritten ruling, that says you must say two things as soon as autumn arrives.

1. "Ooh, the nights are drawing in!"
2. "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness."

Monty and I went for a walk today down one of the local bridleways. The horses had only just gone past, and the ground was churned up and smelt of damp and winter. Everywhere there are brambles and elderberries. And as I stopped to take a picture, with Monty sat at my feet, I found myself saying, to the open air "It's the season of..." and stopped myself just in time.

Happy Autumn, everyone. I challenge you to see how many times you say Those Phrases.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Addicted to Sock Knitting eZine giveaway!

Oooh, I do so love a giveaway...

The very lovely Debra at Addicted to Sock Knitting is hosting a fantastic HArry Potter-themed giveaway this month for everyone who pre-orders the summer issue before the end of the month...have a look at this excellent swag. Link here or on the graphic...go, make haste woman! 

ASK giveaway link

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Village People

Hi everyone! It's that time again - I'm stockpiling some lovely undyed yarn for the shop, shaking up my dye bottles, and praying for sunshine.

It's bright but still muggy here in England, the air is really thick and damp, making everything just that bit more tiring. We've been hard at work on a new workshop, building in more electrical sockets, better lights, and adding more insulation. (I am using the royal 'we' here - it's actually my beloved husband Simon and my father in law, but hey - I'm supervising!)

If you live in the East Midlands or London you might have seen my village in the news recently. Oh boy howdy, it's the most exciting thing to happen in Barrow since 1851.

Our railway bridge fell down!

Early Tuesday morning - thankfully after the last train had gone through - a part of the Victorian railway bridge collapsed, opening up a water main and leaving rubble across both tracks. We link Leicester and London with Nottingham and points North, making us a key line through the Eastern part of Britain. So once that train line was blocked commuters started backing up really fast.

I found out when I started my walk to the station just after seven on Tuesday morning; of course I quickly joined the crowd of Village Gawpers discussing the bridge (waiting to happen) the replacement buses (too few, too crowded) and offering opinions on spending on infrastructure outside of London (dismal; unworthy; have the Government ever been North of Watford Gap?)

The view of the bridge...or rather a lovely flowering of signs!
BBC Leicester has interviewed nearly everyone in the village by now. The train line is still not open on the second day. We've never felt more famous! I feel that the village association may erect a plaque, or a monument, or maybe hold some sort of commemorative event every year from now on. The Day People Knew Where We Lived.

There's some rather better pictures than mine on the BBC website here if you'd like to see the damage.  And some excellent conspiracy theories about late-night Network Rail 'repairmen' that I would just really love discussing at length with the people who started them - just how big was the drill, do they think? Like, oil-platform big? How did no-one hear the nefarious drilling? And what - what on earth - was the idea behind it - did they have a backlog of road closed signs they were itching to break out?

Anyway, enough village gossip. I may dye a commemorative yarn.

If you're interested in the actually-riveting history of my village, check out the website of BUSCA and find out why we are the only village to have the bones of an extinct animal on our cricket team's flag, whether there really is a field here call Up Far Wallox, and other gripping bits of Les Historie. I shall be holding a quiz next week.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

New yarn today!

Just a quick update... This is 'Aslan', a new sock yarn in the shop today. I love these earthy, brilliant golds, and they play so well with other shades in garter stitch or colourwork shawls. Imagine this paired with amethyst, or brilliant blue...

Thursday, 2 June 2016

I wish it was summer Etsy treasury and yarn update

I have a new treasury on Etsy! I had a lot of fun making this one; I'm really just very fed up with the weather today, so I got very into looking for bright colourful summery things. I particularly loved this kimono; very reasonably priced, as well. I can just see myself wafting around on the patio in it, sipping some sort of fruity mixed drink....

Of course, it's not news that I like these sorts of colours...

She Sells Sea Shells


Dove Creek 2
Gah, roll on summer.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Free knitting pattern; Top down sock with an interesting short row heel and toe

1. To change the size of the sock, add more stitches to the back of the sock where they will be plain stockinette. Just remember to account for them when you work the heel, so the heel is always worked over 50% of your new total stitches.

2. Abbreviations are standard, please refer to Knitty’s list if you’re not sure of any techniques or abbreviations.

Cast on 65 stitches.
Divide the stitches as follows;
4 DPN’s; Needle 1; 33 sts. Needles 2 and 3 (back of the sock) 16 sts each
Magic loop/two circs; Needle 1 33 sts. Needle 2 (back of the sock) 32 sts
Rounds start at the start of Needle 1 unless otherwise noted.
Work p1, k1 for 1 to 1.5 inches, as preferred.

After finishing the ribbing, work one knit round. On the next round, work the lace chevron pattern over needle one, and keep the other two needles in plain stocking stitch (knit every row.) See chart below for the pattern.

Continue the leg as set, until you’re happy with the length. I like a leg of about six inches total.
End on a patterned round of the chart. Finish at the end of Needle 1, as we’ll start the heel straight away.

You’ll be working the heel over the plain stitches (needle 2 and 3 for DPN’s; needle 2 for circs and magic loop) If needed, rearrange your needles so that the pattern stitches are over two needles with the third needle for the plain stitches, so it’s easier to work the short rows.

Short Row Heel

We’ll be working a quick and pleasing short-row heel over the 32 plain stitches. The pattern uses increases and decreases to cut out all those fiddly wraps and turns. This is going to seem odd – but stick with it!
Row 1 (RS) Slip1, knit 31, make one leftwise (m1l). Turn
Row 2 (WS) Slip 1, p30, make one purlwise (m1p). Turn.

Continue in this manner, working one less stitch on each row before making the increase. Finish on the row when you purl 16 stitches.
Turning row 1 (RS) Slip 1, knit 15, ssk, k1. Turn.
Turning row 2 (WS) Slip 1, p15, p2tog, p1. Turn.

Continue in this manner, working one more stitch on each row before making the decrease until you have worked all of your heel stitches up, ending with a WS row. You will now have 32 stitches on your needle again.

Now you can start working in the round again – continuing just where you left off on the patterned stitches on the front of the sock.

Continue working the foot as set, with the pattern on the top of the foot.

How to work out when to start the toe

You’re going to work a short-row toe exactly the same as the heel. So, to work out when to start the toe, measure the depth of the heel. That will be the length of the toe. So subtract that from the full length that you want your sock to be - in my case, nine inches from the tip of the heel. Allow half-an-inch less if you like the toe to be snug.

I like to finish knitting the pattern on the top of the foot one inch before I start my toe so it doesn’t get uncomfortable in my shoe.

Knitting the toe

Work the toe exactly the same as the heel. Once complete, use Kitchener stitch to graft the two sets of 32 stitches together. I like to work the toe starting on the top of the foot so my graft is under my toes, because my grafting can be…imperfect.
Weave in your ends, and make another to match.