New Year & Hedgehog Mitts

26 Jan

I haven’t blogged for a while, however I’m not feeling guilty about it or beating myself up for not keeping up with my ideal 1 blog post a month. I have been busy crafting; knitting, needle felting, sewing and much more. I have just been spending more time doing than documenting/reflecting in blog posts. I have been  posting the occasional Instagram WIP photos when I’m busy making and doing, still acts as a good reminder as what I’ve accomplished. That said there are finished project I do really want to share and I do still an enjoy blogging.

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I got quite a bit of knitting done in 2016 (unlike 2015 which I wrote about here). I have had a different approach to knitting this year. I’ve only had one larger project on the go at a time, and knitted several smaller things in between and along side. Sometimes for practical reasons, like not wanted to take a whole garment to knit club or just getting inspired by something.

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I started my hedgehog mitts after a spark of inspiration having treated myself to Ann Kingstone’s “Stranded Knits” book at Yarndale back in September. I fell in love with the Hedgerow Cardigan when saw the book at the first Yarndale but thought I’d never get around to knitting something that complicated, but I’m started to think it’s achievable (eek) it is stunning (though it  might end up being a 2018 project – once I’ve collected another yarn – so many colours) – isn’t it beautiful?!

 
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But for now, needing new mitts and loving the fairisle Pleiades Mitts in stranded knits, I thought knit them as a good pause mid Puffin Sweater, however I decided to change the motif slightly.

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Taking the same hedgehogs design from my adapted paper dolls jumper and playing with different stripes. I also managed to knit these mitts using yarn entirely from my stash – always a bonus, and then I can feel less guilty for buying more yarn!

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I completed these back in October and I have been wearing them loads, which you can tell from the slight pilling that’s already occurred – ah well, you can be too precious about these things – they are very woolly & warm and there’s not much point in knotting things you aren’t going to wear.

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Green Vianne Cardigan

7 Sep

Roughly a year ago I was writing a blog about how frustrated I was about having not completed a knitted garment yet in 2015. How times have changed! After already finishing Blaithin & cross pockets  (admittedly both started last year) I have just finished my Vianne cardigan and have made a good start on my Puffin jumper, I really am on a roll! I’m so pleased with myself (sorry for the smugness), I hope the productivity lasts.

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The Vianne Cardigan by Untangling knots. In a lovely bright green (yarn details on my ravelry page) it’s another shorter cardigan by the same designer as the Miette cardigan I knitted at the end of last year, so I’m hoping it will also go well with plenty of my dresses. It is a brighter colour than I usually go for, however I am planning to make a simple denim dress that will allow me to wear my brighter coloured knits and not detract from them. (Thanks to Knit Nottingham for my yarn based back drop).

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I loved the shape of this cardigan and I was intrigued by the sleeve construction as I’ve never done knitted a sleeve cap before, however due to do another sooner having bought Kate Davies Deco pattern at Edin Yarn Fest earlier this year), but it was fairly straight forward and it all knitted up very quickly. One aspect I wasn’t so keen on was the lacy back. I plan on wearing it in the winter (knitted in 100% wool) so I didn’t really want a chilly back and for this same reason I also knitted full length sleeves. I found  a very useful blog (via ravelry) by, By Gum By Golly, who’d also decided to have a solid back.  She compensated for this by knitting the back in a larger size and I followed her lead.

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I knitted this cardigan in about 2 months, which is pretty good for me, though definitely helped by being knitted on 5mm needles in dk weight yarn, however I did discover that I should really have washed and blocked my tension square as the cardigan has grown a bit once I blocked it, not to an unwearable extent, however the fit isn’t perfect.

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The arm holes are a little long which seems to have created extra fabric making that cardigan little a little batwingy, though it seems much worse to me than the photos show, so I might just be being a little pernickety (though aren’t we all when we spend so much time working on a project). The sleeves are also a little long, but being knitted from the top down I could rip them back, however they work well with the cuff just folded back (having been knitted in the round) and I’ll probably appreciate the extra length to keep my hands warm in the winter.

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I’m trying very hard not to buy any new (old) buttons, though I can’t help myself when I see a button tin in a charity shop or vintage fair, however I ONLY buy sets these days and try not to buy brand new buttons when I have so many! I had initially thought I’d go for a contrast and add navy buttons, but as soon as I saw these in my collection I knew they were destined for the Vianne; I love a rounded button with a shank and they match so well.

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I have defiantly found my knitting momentum is improved when I alternate slow and fast projects. I have already re-picked up my Puffin Jumper that I cast on, and knitted a few inches of, on the train to and from Edin Yarn Fest back in March and the body is almost complete now, though I’m getting a sense this project will me on the needles for some time the sleeves are next I’m already dreading them – sleeves always seem to take forever, particularly in 4ply on 3mm needles – wish me luck!

Thanks for reading!

Complete Cross Pockets

24 Aug

I finished my cross pockets cardigan (about 2 months ago now), this a garment that has caused me much frustration during its creation. However I persevered and overcame the obstacles and have a wearable cardigan at the end, even if it isn’t perfect.

I loved the look of this pattern, simple in style and a few new techniques I’d not done before (the lovely edge texture) and I found the construction of the top part fascinating and rather clever (top down set in sleeves – knitted in one piece).

I really enjoyed knitted it and all was going well until I got to the pockets. My initial issues which I wrote about back in September last year, (CROSS pockets) was that my pocket linings and front didn’t match up. Even the good blocking I gave it didn’t help, so it was hibernated while I finished my Blaithin. Then at the beginning on April I thought it was about time I resurrected it and got it finished for summer. I’d had a while to ponder about what I would change (a good discussion at knit group helped) and when I thought about it, it was fairly obvious that the moss stitch lining would end up a different shape to the outer which was stocking stitch with a decorative border, so I ignored the instruction to keep increasing the amount of moss stitch and just did a border of 4 sts all along the ends, I also reduced the width of the lining on each side by several stitched (I think it was by 4 – casting on 12, but I annoyingly I didn’t make a note – doh!). I also did a lot more measuring and counting rows and decided to stitch the tops of the pockets in place and let the garment hang as It should before finishing the pocket fronts. This all helped. The lining and pockets match up much better than before.


Finished cross pockets - nettynot.jpg

However after wearing it a couple of times, I noticed the pockets had sagged a bit, but on reflection I think this is due to the fact I have knitted it using cotton bamboo, a lovely cool yarn (perfect for a summery cardigan) it also drapes very nicely which possibly wasn’t the best option for this particular pattern and by the looks of things on Ravelry lots of people have knitted it in much more woolly yarns which is probably more appropriate. That said I finished the cardigan back in June, I was aiming for WWKIP day on the 18th, however ended up finishing it the following week and I have already worn it LOADS, despite it sorry pockets, I still really like it. It was my aim to make a cardigan suitable for throwing on over anything in the summer and being light grey it goes with practically everything and it is nice to wear, it doesn’t feel heavy or too warm, it’s the perfect cool yarn to wear in the summer. I have since bunged it in the washing machine and reshaped it and it’s firmed up nicely.

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I wasn’t going to include this photo – it’s not great and I look a bit too serious, however I when I realised my cat Chip wanted in on the action too, it’s be rude not to use it!

More spesific information about the pattern, the designer, yarn and size the I knitted is on my Ravelry project, user name Nettynot.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Me Made May 2016 – round up!

1 Jun

This has been a great challenge, I set myself a few goals, some of which I’ve achieved, others I haven’t. However this challenge has got me sewing again (the fear has subsided) it has also made me re-assess my wardrobe.

MMMay16 Round up IG - Nettynot Blog

It wasn’t my intention to necessarily post a picture every day on IG (@nettynot) but I got into it, I enjoyed seeing everyone else so much that I thought why not (this is a little collage). It didn’t feel like a chore but I did put a little more thought into some of my outfits and I now know some of the areas of my wardrobe I need to improve. I want to make some more everyday dresses and skirts as well as more versatile and flattering cardigans.  I hope when I do this next year I’ll have less duplicate outfits and will feel/look less awkward being photographed (we’ll see).

Pink Mrs. Darcy Cardigan - Nettynot Blog

On old cardigan, the first garment I ever knitted – at least 8 years ago, has had a lot more wear recently as a result of MMMay16, a dark pinky-red colour it goes with loads of things and I love the brightness. It’s in a acrylic mohair yarn it’s very warm (too warm a lot of the time) but a slight breeze and it’s too cold as it’s such a loose knit. There’s a lot that I don’t like about this cardigan, I sewed the seams too firmly, they look neat, but the arm holes are too sung and it looks very strange when buttoned up and the sleeves are too short (but wearable with the cuffs folders back). But I’m still proud of it and I’m glad it got some more wear, though it’s likely to be worn less now the challenge is over and I’ll soon have another knitted cardigan….

Cross Pockets Progess - Nettynot Blog

I have made good progress on my cross pockets cardigan, though it’s not finished yet, it is much closer; sleeves to finish and then a little bit of sewing up, a block and it’s done. I have set myself a new target, I want to be able to wear it on 18th June which is worldwide Knit in Public day. I have also got carried away and been inspired by all the lovely knit wear that popped up on IG over May and I have just bought myself another Andi Satterlund pattern, Vianne. It’s lovely and this time a DK weight yarn which it a bit more appropriate for summer. I can’t wait to cast it on which has been me more incentive to get a wiggle on with my cross pockets.

Mini Blouse Progress - Nettynot Blog

I have also started a sewing class; because I can already sew and I know how to use a pattern I have struggled to find a course that aimed at my level, I can find loads of beginner classes so had temporarily given up my search then came across all things creative and found a class perfect for me. I can take along whatever project I want to work on and there’s a very knowledgeable tutor on hand to help you along the way. So I have been working on my Mini blouse, each week, a fair bit of progress has been made but it’s not quite there yet, one more week and I think it’ll be finished – this course has been great for me, it’s rebuilt my sewing confidence. There was a definite moment while working on this that had I been doing this at home on my own I’m sure the whole thing would have gone in the bin, but with help on hand, it wasn’t a problem and I just got on with it.

Sorbetto Tops - Nettynot Blog

I was saving my mini blouse to work on at me sewing class which is once a week, however as the sewing bug bit I felt the need to do some more sewing at home too. I had spotted several nice Sorbetto tops on IG so thought I’d investigate. I downloaded the pattern and made one straight away. Fortunately I already had enough fabric in my stash to make a couple of these. My practice one it a little large and also too short (I always have to shorten everyone by approximately 1’’ as I have a high waist and short torso) so I automatically did this, however it wasn’t needed. The second one I made I did a size smaller and longer version which fitted much better, I’m also keen to do more.

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I have also fixed a skirt that was too big for me and completely refashion a once loved dress (I’ll post about the dress separately).

Coco Top - Nettynot Blog

I turned my unfinished Coco dress (which I’d deemed unflattering) into a top so that I could wear it, photographed on a lovely day up in Cumbria earlier in the month with a newly fished necklace too. I have tackled a few jewellery other items too, thought I got too carried away by sewing to do as much as I anticipated, but I don’t really mind about that, I was also aware of the over ambitious challenges I set myself.

Emery dress and Fabric - Nettynot Blog

I have also bought some lovely light weight denim fabric to make an Emery dress (which I can then wear any colour knitted cardigans over & it will work). I have had the pattern for a while and have been really inspired by the many variations I’ve seen on people’s blogs and on IG that I thought it was about time to get one with it. I had previously bought some ruby red polka dotty fabric for this pattern, it was only cheap so I thought this could  be my toile and just hope it’s wearable too (I hate putting all that effort into a toile to not be able to make use of it). So once Mini is finished this is my next project as well as making some simple skirts from my fabric stash.

I’m full of enthusiasm and inspiration which is wonderful and just what I needed. I just wish there were more hours in the day.

Thanks for reading and feel free to post your blog link below if you also joined in – I’ve loved seeing everyone’s outfits!

Me Made May 2016

30 Apr

In May 2014 I was in awe of all the wonderful Me Made May photos popping up on Instagram, at the time I was very much of the opinion of “wow, I’d love to do that… but I don’t have enough handmade items, or the time to do it!” Then May 2015 came round and I there were lots more lovely handmade and inspiring outfits cropping up. However last year I thought, this time next year, maybe I’d join in…!

The knitters and sewers at Knit In Notts have spoken about it a few times with no real commitment being stated so when I saw that Jem Weston had shared her pledge on Instagram (@jemweston) last week it gave me the kick up the bum to also join in!

This is my pledge – stated over on  “So Zo…What do you know?” blog (the creator of the MMM challenge).

 ‘I, Steph Gibbs (nettynot.wordpress.com @nettynot on Instagram), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear a handmade garment, each day for the duration of May 2016, as well as finish some UFO’s!’

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I feel I need to remind myself that a challenge, which Me Made May is, should test me, if it’s too easy it’s not a challenge. I do not own enough items to wear a different handmade item every day, however I’m already looking forward to being more creative with my outfits. I intend to include garments that I’ve customised in some way too, as that’s always a useful skill and a nice way to rescue clothing or make then your own. I also hope that this challenge will make me more productive and think about how I’m using my time in the evenings, so I can be more efficient and finish some UFO’s.

I’m going to address a few different areas of my handmade wardrobe for this challenge….

Sewing – I’m going to look at all the handmade garments in my wardrobe, mostly skirts, that just require slight adjustments to make them wearable again.

Knitting – I’m going to wear more of my hand knitted garments, I have several that I don’t make the most of, which is madness when I think about the amount of time spent making them.

Jewellery – Almost all of my jewellery I have made myself (occupational hazard) and have so many necklaces and bracelets, yet I always wear the same few on rotation. So I’m going to wear more of the vast array I have (& maybe cull the items that I’m not going to wear again – it is the right time for a Spring clean after all).

There’s a few specific things that I’d like to do during May and this challenge (I am aware I’m being a little ambitious, but if I commit them to computer screen, they’re more likely to get done) and it’s not as though once May is over I’m not allowed to keep challenging myself, right?!

Mimi
I have already cut out all the pattern pieces (about 6 months ago) to make the Mimi blouse from Tilly and the Buttons – Love at first stitch book, I have suitable fabric that already washed n ready to go. I intend to complete this by the end of May!

Cross Pockets
I have brought the problematic Cross Pockets Cardigan out of hibernation and ripped it back to the waist ready to re-knit and hopefully fix the issues I had – I want to complete this by the end of May too!

Mini blouse fabric - Nettynot Blog

Coco
I stared a dress version of Coco last summer, however when it got to the trying on stage I realised it just wasn’t going to be a flattering fit. Disappointed and slightly annoyed with it, it has sat in a cupboard out of sight ever since. However that’s no reason why I can’t turn it into another Coco top, which again I’d like to achieve before the end of May.

Mending/Fixing
As well as fixing and adjusting any handmade items in my wardrobe that don’t fit I also intend to tackle my pie of broken jewellery/not quite finished jewellery.

I’m not a huge fan of a selfie (also I’m pretty rubbish at photographing myself) however I do endeavour to record at least some of my MMM16 progress over on Instagram (@nettynot) if you’d like to follow.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Bláithín Cardigan

12 Mar

Bláithín and I have had a rocky relationship! The pattern was bought as a gift for me  by a knitting friend back in 2010! I was very excited about it and printed the pattern straight away. As I started reading it I quickly discovered it would involve STEEKING after breaking out in a small sweat I decided it was a bit advanced for me.

Several years later once I’d got my head around the idea of steeking (& after a practice with the  Sheep Carousel tea cosy), I got the yarn for Christmas 2014 and started knitting Bláithín in February 2015. I made quick progress, getting to the point where I’d be sewing in ends before the actually steeking could commence. Given that I’d be CUTTING the knitting I knew it was crucial that it fitted well before I did this, no going back on this project!! I discovered it was quite baggy around the yoke, I had a ponder and decided I could re-knit the yoke on smaller needles and hopefully that’d sort it out. It was at this point I discovered I had actually knitted the whole flipping thing on the wrong size needles (5mm and not 4.5mm) I have no idea how I made such a daft mistake, but there it was… knowing that the density of the knitting would be important to how well the steek would hold together  I knew I had to re-knit the whole body (I figured I could get away with leaving the sleeves as they were). I ripped it all back (wishing I’d not already sewn the pockets in place). I then couldn’t face re-starting it straight away so it hibernated for a while – well 8 month in the end!

Bláithín pockets - Nettynot Blog

Pre steek blaithin - Nettynot Blog
I started again around Christmas 2015 and got back into it quite quickly. As I have small shoulders and wider hips I started with a size 3 at the bottom and decreased down to a size 1 before joining in the arms and starting the fairisle. Anyone and everyone I know who knits knows how much I love Kate Davies, I’ve knitted many of her patterns, own several of her books and love the way she writes patterns and explains things so clearly. However I do think the neckline of this pattern has some issues which for me has detracted from the  otherwise great pattern. The whole neck ended up quite funnel shaped, which I realise could have been my knitting and not the pattern, so I did what I always do at when something isn’t working…. consult the Ravelry projects and  look at other blog posts and comments. I discovered lots more funnel shaped necks and rolling over tops and people who’d completely reworked their neck lines – so it wasn’t just me. I did find someone’s comment that said they added a extra few decreased before casting off. So I ripped back a few rows, including the last 3 rows of fairisle, I re-knitted on smaller needles (4mm), making my floats a bit tighter and added a further 4 decreases after the short rows, before casting off. This seemed to make enough of a difference and when I tried it on it looked much better.

Blaithin fairisle - Nettynot Blog

The Steeking!
I re-read Kate’s tutorial on her blog about steeking and her clever sandwich steeks, so that I didn’t make any mistakes. I always panic that the crochet reinforcement isn’t going to hold up, but just carefully went with it, trusting the instructions completely. I did the actual steeking with friends at a craftanoon (the morale support was very welcome) and I got one of them to film it for me too.

I quite enjoy picking up stitches, so really liked the sandwich steek technique, however the amount of handling the cardigan once I’d cut it did worry me slightly, I was sure the stitches would start popping out, in reality only a few did and were not detrimental to the finished cardigan.

Steeking edge - Nettynot blog

For more information about the yarn I used and a few more images head over to ravelry http://www.ravelry.com/projects/nettynot/blaithin

There are lots of details I really like about this pattern; the button holes built into the icord cast off, the edging, the pockets, however even after I’d blocked the cardigan I still had a bit of a funnel neck which has settled down a little bit as a wore it for the first time, I’m hoping it settles more with time. I think I might need a bit of distance from this cardigan before I can really appreciate it, having been a bit of a trial at times, it’s also ended up a bit too big for me over the hips, but it still looks ok when buttoned up and worn over jeans – maybe next winter it’ll be my new favourite. Do other people feel a little underwhelmed once you’ve finished a big project?

At least now there’s no excuse for me not to tackle the cross pockets cardigan and get that finished as well! Though I might also cast on the Puffin jumper.

Lace Weight – trials and tribulations

10 Feb

I decided to tackle a new challenge over Christmas and I cast on the Anisoptera shawl by Petitchoufleur that I picked up at Yarndale, my first lace weight project.

Future knitting project - Nettynot Blog

I have discovered that although I do love knitting, I do not love all aspects of knitting. I do not like knitting in lace weight yarn – at all!! As I have been battling with this lace shawl, I have been contemplating why I do not like it and I have decided it’s just too delicate, too fine and too fiddly. I like my knitting more robust. I like to be able to see the structure and I’m so used to being able to read my knitting, which I have massively struggled with in lace. I enjoy discovering designers clever uses of different increases and decreased to great effect however I found myself wondering why I was bothering with a ssk, instead of a k2tog tbl when it really doesn’t look significantly different enough in such a loose knit. I also discovered a hatred for p2tog tbl (what a hideously awkward stitch – particularly in lace weight), each time I had to do these I felt myself getting more and more frustrated, when the main reason I knit, it to relax and produce something lovely.

Lace Knitting - Nettynot Blog

Not the best photo & it’s a bit crumpled – to be fair not my best knitting either!

My issues are no reflection on the pattern, which is really pretty with cleverly layered lace sections, it’s just not for me!

Having already committed to doing about a quarter of the shawl and having found it frustrating to follow the pattern, I know I went wrong somewhere; my row count didn’t match up at the end of the rows and I found myself saying “Duck it!” a lot (disclaimer: that might not have been the actual word used)! I wasn’t vaguely interested in figuring out what happened, where and how to fix it, very unlike me, in any other project I’ve have figured out what the problem was and sorted it even ripping back whole sections & garments to ensure they’re right. So having got to a convenient point to change tack (after the first lace chart), I decided from here I’m just going to wing it. Knit until it’s big enough or I have run out of yarn so I at least have a finished shawl/scarf to wear.

I wrote this post a little while ago (over the Christmas period), mainly to off load my frustrations – it worked I felt much better once I’d written about it, that and screwing up the pattern (I’m slightly ashamed about that – but it felt bloody brilliant at the time and a great stress reliever – we’ve all been there, right?) It was my intention to continue on with this project, I will someday – currently a bit fed up of it, so it has joined the few other WIP’s I have for now. It did however spur me on to pick my Blaithin cardigan back up (been in Aran weight yarn and much more my cup of tea). Good progress has been made and hopefully I’ll be sharing the finished garment with you soon.

Thanks for reading!

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