Make 9 2020 – in review

13 Jan

It was about this time last year that I looked back on my Make 9 of 2019, I hadn’t been strict with sticking to my plans, however I still did better than my 2018 plans (always learning). The plans I set myself for 2020 I felt were much more realistic, finish some things, makes some useful items, with the odd new challenge thrown in. But then 2020 happened (!) I don’t know about you, but my productivity went haywire, fluctuating from being enthusiastic and super productive to can’t be arsed and just staring out the window/at the telly. So really to have achieved anything at all in 2020 is really good and looking back on what I created and achieved I’m pretty proud.

These were my make 9 projects for 2020…

an image made up of 9 smaller squares depicting my make 9 of 2020 as detailed below.

1. Sewing some more practical tops (like my Agnes top), I’m lacking these in my wardrobe, maybe a blouse/shirt.

YES! I definitely achieved this. I bought an overlocker in February and it has definitely helped with my sewing productivity. I made a Tilly & the buttons Frankie t-shirt (the fabric wasn’t quite right – the black isn’t very soft – so I will amend it in future).
I was also pattern tester for a simple t-shirt the first garment pattern released by Studio Jepson (also a first for me, being a tester) I made 3 KLP tee’s (as it’s now known as), a very wearable toile, a final tee and then I also made a pyjama top from the pattern too. I also made 2 Misty Tops by Sew Altered Style. The toile I made to check the fit became a summer pyjama top and then I made a blue one from an old dress that was perfect for summer.

2. Zadie dress, I will conquer this project!

Sort of yes! I have completed the Zadie dress (except for hemming) the dress ended up way too big for me (a consistent issue I have with Tilly & the Buttons patterns). I’m not sure what I’ll do with it yet, so it is sat the pile of “not quite finished/don’t know what to do with items” it might be given to a friend…

3. I intend to do some form of creative patchwork with all my fabric scraps.

This I have done. I created a padded stool cover for the one I’ve been using at my over locker, much more comfortable and entirely make of off cuts (including the upholstery padding). I also make a plant pot cover – which I intend to make more of. Not to mention many, many face masks for family, friends & colleagues.

4. This year I will crochet my Granny Rocks jumper.

Well I made a very good start – half way there, then Iron lamb announced she was releasing the Granny go round jumper, and as a top down raglan jumper I just knew it would suit me much more than the boxier granny rocks. I bought the pattern the day it was released and I’m going to rip our the granny rocks and turn it in to a granny go round!

5. I will complete a crocheted blanket that was given to me partially complete years ago, I made good progress at one point, but then got very distracted!

YES! I did complete this, this project was pretty big in the end (far bigger than I initially intended), it provided me with some much needed focus during the first lockdown and I really enjoyed seeing it grow and got back into the swing of crochet – I don’t do it very often.

6. I’ll finish my monetta dress (first sewing project of 2020 maybe…?)

Yes! I finished this in February, but then felt it was too nice to wear during lockdown, but then I just got on with it and I’ve worn it loads. It’s very comfy. The fabric possibly wasn’t the best choice, it has gone a little bobbly in places. But it was essentially a toile and now that I know the fit is brilliant and I loved making it I will make another – I love the pockets!

7. I’d like to have made a start, at least, on my Glenfiddich Cardigan by the end of 2020.

If by ‘make a start’ I mean having done the tension square then that’s another big fat yes!

8. I will bring my Arboreal sweater out of hibernation & get it finished at some point in 2020!

Yes, I have brought my Arboreal sweater out of hibernation, I did much of it in January, then for some reason, I think because I had ripped back yarn then re-knitted it straight away, it was looking a bit shabby, I still wasn’t convinced it was going to fit either, the idea of starting again made me put it back in hibernation….until that weird time between Christmas and New year. I got it back out, which was only about 10 days ago as I write this and I just decided to get it done – I tied it on (basically the yoke and about 2’’ below the arm holes were complete) I decided it was a good enough fit and a really good soak and block would hopefully sort out the uneven stitches when it’s complete – I now only have the last third of each sleeve to complete – yey!

9.Herbert Cardigan for my boyfriend & his Christmas present for 2019 which he knew he’d get at some point in 2020.

Yes! This has been an odd sort of project – it should have been straight forward but I made so many silly mistakes, I had to have several pauses for other project while knitting it. However the cardigan was complete and worn on Christmas day 2020. The sleeves are a little long so I will be doing a little post production editing – but that’s the joy of handmade!

All in all, I’m impressed with my productivity (even if I do say so myself) in part because I know I made loads more items on top of these 9 too. Which I will write a blog post about… even if it’s just for prosperity of an unprecedented time.

I’ve really been deliberation over my make nine for 2021, the short list it long, and I want to try and focus on items that I already have the yarn/fabric and pattern for. As well as address gaps on my wardrobe that I know I’d get a lot of use from. However I also want to make sure what I set myself is achievable but also with exciting and challenging elements….

Thanks for reading… keep you eye out for my make 9 plans for 2021 in the next week or so 🙂

Inspired by Tutankhamun

18 Mar

I visited the Tutankhamun (treasures of the golden pharoh) back in January. It’s a fascinating exhibition as you would expect however I was particularly blown away by all the intricate jewellery and trinkets on display.

What I was interested in and could help wondering the whole way around then exhibition was how the Egyptians made all these items over 3000 years ago. What tools did they use, how did they gather all the materials. And how do all these pieces made over 3000 year and found almost 100 years ago still look like they could have been made yesterday. How much restoration was required, how would someone go about cleaning and caring for such intricate precious items. I feel there could be a whole other exhibition on that topic.

I remember learning about the Egyptians at school, one part that I remembered well was all the talk of curses and how everyone who was present at the opening of the tomb died in quick succession. I was pleased to see the exhibition dispelled the theories, though it is understandable where the superstitions came from as there were certainly a few odd coincidences.

As much as I loved looking at all the artefacts, I found the timeline of the discovery also fascinating, and how this dig almost didn’t happen. What I also found compelling was how the world was so taken by the discovery, understandably, this tomb was the cream of the crop in Egyptian discoveries. It captured the imaginations of many and went on to influence art and design of the following eras.

When I was looking at many of the jewellery pieces on display I felt like I could have been looking at jewellery from the 1930’s. The geometric shapes, clean lines and repetitive patterns feel very modern, but then these influences have been around longer than even the Egyptians as these shapes and pattern occur throughout nature. It is clear that the Art Deco movement took influences from the ancient Egyptians which is why it feel so familiar to me, having grown up with parents very much interested in this era.

It was the jewellery from the exhibition that was a personal highlight. The vibrate colours of the semi-precious stone used in contrast with gold made the pieces so striking. I can’t help but imagine the tools used to carve the small shapes and tiny beads. What also impressed me by the exhibition was the way items were displayed. Most exhibits were visible from front and back. A lot of the jewellery was displayed on clear perspex so the back of the items were just as visible as the front, which is quite unique and much appreciate by inquisitive minds like mine. Though it still didn’t reveal any secrets of their processes, just that the Egyptians had an incredible eye for details with the reverse often as ornate as the front.

As I came away from the exhibition I couldn’t help but have colours and ideas for jewellery rolling around my head. The following day when I returned home from my trip to London, I scribbled down an idea that kept fight it’s way to the front. Inspired in part by a pattern on a large vessel I saw, and by the colours and shapes that appeared in much of the jewellery. I have to get ideas down when they’re still fresh especially if I don’t have time to implement them straight away.

Initial ideas

Fortunately I didn’t have to wait long before I had time to delve into my bead stash, find some appropriate colours and see if my idea would work. It did, even if it was a little fiddly. I wanted to incorporate interlocking triangles in the centre with a chequer board edging. I created a string of triangles (I’m not sure what you’d call that stitch) then secured them in place with a herringbone edge.

It was particularly tricky getting the triangles to behave while adding the edging; however I persevered and made it work. I’m really pleased with the result, it is pretty much exactly what I had in mind which is great as many ideas don’t work out quite right and have to go through several tweaks first.

If you get a chance to see the Tutankhamun exhibition on its final world tour before it is returned to Egypt for good I would highly recommend going.

Thanks for reading!

Moneta Dress & Sewing Confidence

16 Mar

I wrote the following blog post back in March, just before full on lockdown. It seemed so trivial at the time to post it… so it’s sat in my drafts until now. I’m on holiday, it’s peeing down outside & I’m feeling a little reflective of what I’ve achieved over the year project wise & how lockdown has effected my creativity (I’ll probably write another post about that). I wore my Moneta dress for the first time today, now the weather has turned, so it seemed appropriate to share my post now.

I’ve finished the first of my Make 9 projects for 2020 (beginning of March). Definitely off to a slow start, given we’re almost a quarter of the way through the year, however I’m still feeling confident. I have many of the projects in progress so maybe, just maybe I’ll get some complete by the end of the year!

Starting my Moneta Dress

I bought the fabric to make my first Moneta dress, by Colette patterns, in the middle of last year, it’s been washed and ready to go for a while, however I had just started the Zadie dress, pieces are cut and stay stitching complete and I thought I should complete that first. However I was feeling overwhelmed by how many pieces there are to the Zadie dress that I thought starting something slightly simpler was a better way forward, and help build some much needed confidence.

Sewing Elastic into waist seam for the first time

This project was probably one of the easiest I’ve done, in that I’ve already had a little experience working with knit fabrics so that wasn’t so daunting and even with a completely new technique involved; sewing in elastic, I had a wobbly start, but second time was a charm. I was excited rather than daunted by the task and really enjoyed it and because I was working with knit fabric I did not have the same sense of dread when it came to trying on the finished garment that I get with items made with woven fabric as I knew it’d be forgiving if the fit wasn’t quite right.

Me photographed in my garden wearing my finished Moneta dress

I was right not to worry about the fit; I have learnt to not only go by the sizing guide on the pattern but also measure the paper pieces and hold them up to my actual body to gauge the appropriate size. I usually have to take at least 2 cm out of the body length (short torso) which I did and I tapered the sizing out from the arm hole to the waist by one size (to accommodate narrow shoulders, small busy and wide hips). I didn’t do my usual tapering out to the next size on the hips as the skirt just flares out anyway. Having done that initial sizing work (and now getting into the habit of doing it) definitely saved me some heart ache and wasted fabric, unlike like many past projects (I’m still learning)!

My new overlocker

This project also proved to me that I could definitely make use of my own over locker. So I bought one!!! I was so excited buying it. I bought it from Coles sewing centre in Nottingham, on the last day of their February sale (just by coincidence) and you also get a free workshop included – a day of getting to know your over locker! I can’t wait! I shall still be visiting Sew at 174 for my cover stitching though – definitely can’t justify getting my own….yet!

I used to be scared of working with jersey fabric and its unpredictable stretching and curling up, but now I’ve had several, slightly more involved, successful projects I will definitely be using it more, especially since it’s so wearable and fills some gaps in my wardrobe.

Thanks for reading, Steph

Make 9 – Reflection and Planning

15 Jan

Roughly this time last year I set out my intentions for my 9 makes of 2019 & wondered how much I’d deviate from my plan….

After only completing 3 or 4 of my make 9 items from 2019, I've opted for a more realistic approach to my

Well as you can see a deviated quite a bit (a year always seems like such a long time, but it flies past)…

1. I still intend to crochet a granny rocks jumper (I do at least have that pattern now, thanks to Jem Weston gifting it for my birthday – thanks Jem)

2. Socks ✅ I’ve completed 2 pairs & have a 3rd on the go!

3. Maan ✅ I love this & would now like to knit a garment with some mosaic colour work.

4. Monetta dress, not much progress, but I have printed the pattern & washed the fabric (even small steps are progress, right?)

5. Arboreal sweater has been in hibernation for the best part of the year after realising I’d have to rip back the body.

6. Zadie dress, I’ve cut out all the pieces but then felt a little overwhelmed my how many pieces there were & so I’ve worked on other things since.

7. Wardrobe gap of a berry cardigan; my purply yarndale uniform definitely qualifies ✅

8. The deliberation over the diesis jumper ended in me not wanting to knit it for now, however I did knit the woodwardia jumper from Pompom instead, so that’s sort of another tick…

9.Glenfiddich cardigan by Annamária Ötvös still fully intend to knit this, but other projects took over 😃 at least I already have the pattern and yarn!

I knew I’d change my plans, I always do, but what I’ve found interesting is that I’m usually fairly monogamous with my knitting, which for me means having just 1 garment, 1 pair of socks and maybe a larger blanket type project on the go. However this past year I’ve thrown caution to the wind and just knitted (& sewn) what I felt like & I’ve been quite productive and not really looked back at my make 9 plans, just kept them in the back of my mine. I’ve also not really felt like blogging so much, so I haven’t & that’s fine, no need to add that pressure on myself, I used to feel a weird sense of guild not writing up every project I completed and just suddenly thought – why! There’s no need!

As well as the 3 (or 4) completed projects from my 2019 make nine I have made several other items;

Sewing wise; an Agnes top, Coco top, a patchwork quilt for a friends baby, 2 Kew dresses, stevie top, 3 Cleo Pinafore dresses & a Christmas skirt. I tend to document these on Instagram more than anything these days.

Knitting wise; blue raglan jumper, woodwardia sweater, a baby Cardi for another friends offspring, another Vianne Cardigan, various wash/dish cloths, fingerless gloves, headband and a few small Christmas gifts.

I have also made a lot of jewellery and beadwork which has been a nice change from sewing and knitting and I’ve really enjoy it.

My make 9 plans for 2020 is a little more realistic and also a bit vague. I have also thought about it a little more this time…

1. Sewing some more practical tops (like my Agnes top), I’m lacking these in my wardrobe, maybe a blouse/shirt.

2. Zadie dress, I will conquer this project!

3. I intend to do some form of creative patchwork with all my fabric scraps.

4. This year I will crochet my Granny Rocks jumper.

5. I will complete a crocheted blanket that was given to me particularly complete years ago, I made good progress at one point, but then got very distracted!

6. I’ll finish my monetta dress (first sewing project of 2020 maybe…?)

7. I’d like to have made a start, at least, on my Glenfiddich Cardigan by the end of 2020.

8. I will bring my Arboreal sweater out of hibernation & get it finished at some point in 2020!

9.Herbert Cardigan for my boyfriend & his Christmas present for 2019 which he knew he’d get at some point in 2020.

So mostly a list of WIPS, with good intentions & few a new project thrown in too, we’ll see how this year goes! I can guarantee I’ll get distracted by other projects, but I’m making a conscious effort to not just make, for makings sake and trying to fill gaps in my wardrobe that I know I’ll find practical and wearable. Currently I’m feeling inspired by my list, I want to be production; I might even print out my plan and stick it up in my craft room in an attempt to keep me on track…

My Yarndale Uniform

7 Jan

Reflecting back on my Make 9 for 2019 made me realise I hadn’t shared any photos of my finished yarndale uniform*. Which is actually one of the few projects I intended to do & actually did, allowing me to tick “Berry cardigan” off my list!

I have always enjoyed seeing everyone’s Yarndale uniform projects collected together in previous years, however this was the first year I joined in.

I liked the knitting pattern selected, the feather and fan texture on the bottom did it for me, but the cardigan as a whole wasn’t my cup of tea so I decided to adapt it quite a bit.

My initial plan was to make it shorter, fitted on the waist and continue the feather and fan pattern up the whole body and have plain sleeves. Which I did to a certain extent…

I knitted the whole cardigan in one piece and incorporate the shaping into the sides; I cast on the size that would fit my hips and planned to decrease enough stitches by the time I got to the waist to go down a couple of sizes. This took a little bit of thinking, ripping back and head scratching/discussion at Knit group, (the latter is always useful). Helping me decided to just decrease the width of one pattern repeat over the hips and not try and keep it in pattern as that was causing me too much of a headache – I really liked the result.

Once I’d knitted past the waist and split for the fronts and back, I discovered I didn’t have enough stitches to do the v-neck and arm hole decreasing as I’d planned, but then had a mini light bulb moment and moved the neckline decreases to the side of one pattern repeat allowing me to continue the pattern up the front. I kept the garter stitch row of the feather and fan pattern to kind of keep it in pattern and I think it worked.

I much prefer knitting sleeves top down, as it’s much easier to adapt as you go, so I used Knitionary’s very useful tutorial, particularly for me on this occasion it was a sensible approach as it was looking like I’d not get my full sleeves knitted in time for Yarndale so I just cast off, wore it to the show and then later ripped back the cuff and re-knitted the sleeves longer.

It looks ok with 3/4 length sleeves however as someone who permanently has cold hands I like my cardigan sleeves full length especially in a dk weigh one that I’ll be wearing though the winter.

Looking a little tired, coming to the end of Yarndale. Thanks for the photo Jem Weston

I was really surprised by how many people complimented me on my cardigan at yarndale and asked for the pattern where I had to accompany my response with “though it bares very little resemblance to the actual pattern now”.

The finished garment isn’t perfect (the fit around the top of my arms isn’t the best), however I don’t mind, I learnt stuff & enjoyed having to flex some brain cells to make my adaptions and since finishing the sleeves (again) in November I’ve worn it a lot, which is always a good sign!

Yarn is Sirdar No.1, pattern is King Cole 5365 both bought from Knit Nottingham I have also listing the project on my Ravelry page here.

Isn’t this a happy bunch, all wearing their own version of the Yarndale uniform!

*Where customers from Knit Nottingham vote on a knitting & Crochet pattern to create and wear to Yarndale.

Finding time for sewing – reflecting on Me Made May – my Nina Lee Kew dress

16 Jul

I really enjoyed Me Made May 2019. I didn’t put load of pressure on myself to share a photo every day, because let’s face it, some days you really don’t feel like it, can’t be bothered, or on the odd occasion, I totally forgot. That said I DID wear handmade items every day in May and on a few occasional I was able to wear 2 if not 3 handmade garments in one outfit (& that’s not taking into account my handmade jewellery)! Until I started the challenge this year I hadn’t quite realised I’d be able to wear handmade everyday day, so easily.

Me Made May 2019 - Nettynot creates
This is me, wearing 3 handmade garments in one outfit, with my almost finished coco top made from the leftover fabric from my Agnes top, at the sewing belle.

The whole challenge has made me think about my handmade garments more, what works well together, what I didn’t wear, what did I wished I had in my wardrobe. As I went through the month I kept note in my phone to help me form a bit of a plan for my future makes to fill gaps in my wardrobe. I also got back into sewing (not that I ever got out of sewing) but it’s sometimes hard to find the time and space for it (both mentally and physically). However a friend of mine, Natalie, took up sewing in March this year and has already make more garments in the last few months than I have in the past few years. She’s a full time teacher, but makes time for her sewing, mainly by attending classes and drop in sessions. It was chatting to Natalie (and my desire to conquer using an over locker) that made me attend a workshop at the Sewing Belle, to make my Agnes top back in April and since then I have done another workshop to make a Nina Lee Kew Dress and popped along to their sewing clinics, to finish my dress and start another! I’ve also been working on my Zadie dress.

I think by doing the occasional workshop and attending regular drop in sessions I’m being for more productive. I’m not spending huge amounts more time sewing than I would at home, but it is much more absorbing with far less distractions in a dedicated space with help on hand. Elaine who runs the workshops and sewing sessions is the ideal level of help, she checks in on everyone, so you feel supported without being bombarded, but equally if you’re happy in your own little world of sewing she’ll leave you to get on, though never far away it you do need a little help.

I finished my Kew dress, last Sunday while watching the Wimbledon men’s final (double excitement) it had just been waiting for me to adjust a strap & add some poppers! This has ended up as a very wearable toile, I realised in the making that I’d gone for a size too small on the bodice so I let out the side seams and lengthen the straps slightly, though it has resulted in the bust darts being too high. I made the bodice part have a faux button band, sewing buttons on the front but the closure is actually poppers, as I didn’t want the button holes too close to the edge of the fabric, where I’d had to make adjustments, which I think has worked well and you can’t really tell when the dress in on.

I learnt how to sew buttons on with a sewing machine, something I’d never attempted before!

I also had fun and added a few contrasting fabric, on the button band facing and I added pockets (obviously)! I didn’t add the cold shoulders as I thought I’d find them annoying. All in all it’s not perfect, however it is wearable, it was really straight forward to construct & I’ve learnt a few things along the way!

I have already cut out another Kew dress, the tea dress version, in some stash fabric and if this one goes well I’ll make another in lightweight denim.

Agnes top and Me Made May 2019

29 Apr

I recently attended a workshop, at Sewing Belle, several friends had attending classes recently I told me how good they were and, for me importantly, very affordable (something that Elaine who runs the classes wanted to ensure when starting up). I signed up for a Tilly & the Buttons workshop, I chose the Agnes top as I wanted more practice with jersey fabric. The pattern and workshop was £30 (fantastic). I found nice but not too expensive jersey from The Little Fabric Bazaar (£11/pm), I always worry what the quality of the fabric will be like when buying online and more to the point, if I messed up my top I didn’t want to have wasted very expensive fabric.

Agnes Sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

I needn’t have worried about the fabric, it was lovely quality and recieved many compliment. I also remembered to wash it before the workshop.

Using the sizing chart on the pattern I knew I’d have to do some grading (as I usually do). I started at the shoulders with a size 2, then to a size 3 at the underarm and bust, size 4 at the waist and out to a size 5 on the hips. I also shortened the pattern by 3cm at the waist (again which I usually do on all patterns) I have a short torso.  I learnt a great couple of tips for speeding up cutting out a PDF pattern, we used rotary cutter on just 2 side of the paper and used a glue stick to attach to the next page – much easier to match up all the lines and re-adjust if needs be (I used to cut them all out and use tape on the back – very fiddly & tidious).

One of the main reasons I signed up for this class in particular was to get to grips with an over locker, I’d not used one since I was at school. I was concerned I’d go wrong, and cut into the fabric. However I just took a deep breath and got on with it, and it went really well (I did do a little test on some scrap fabric first). It made the process so much easier. I also learnt how to use the cover stitch machine for my hems. Both machines made sewing up so much easier, and have given my garment a much more professional finish!

Agnes Top - neckline - Nettytnot Creates

I’m incredibly pleased with the result of this top, I will definitely be making more! I was also impressed that I did the whole process, from cutting out paper pattern to completed garment with ends sewn in, in just one day, 10am – 5pm (with a half hour-ish break to eat lunch). I think that in itself is quite an achievement, and something that I think I could only acomplish at a workshop, away from distractions and with the use of the wonderful over locker! I will definitely be returning for more workshops and to utilising the machines at their drop in sewing sessions.

Finished Agnes top in black and white - Nettynot Createslooking awkward in my agnes top - Nettynot Creates

This has also lead me to join in with Me Made May 2019! (You can find out more about this over on the So Zo blog here) and maybe even get on board yourself…

Me Made May 2019 - So Zo Blog

The whole reason I wanted to get back into sewing several years ago was so that I could make clothes that actually fit me. Clothes shopping is not an enjoyable experience for me, rarely is anything a good fit for my body shape. I don’t actually mind my body, it is what it is and I have accepted that is is mine, which was made much easier by just simply giving up on clothes shopping and substituted it for sewing pattern perusing and making my own clothes! My sewing journey has been rocky, I have made several things that I probably won’t ever wear again, due to the fit not being quite right, or uncomfortable. That said I have learnt a lot from the process!

I really enjoyed Me Made May when I joined in back in 2016, I had less handmade clothes than I do now. However I enjoyed the challenge and it did inspire the makes I went onto create and reignited some love for past makes…

My pledge

I, Steph Gibbs, sign up as a participant of Me Made May 2019. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade garment everyone day in May, with the intention of putting together new combinations from my existing handmade wardrobe and to use this to form a “to be created” list of staple items missing from my wardrobe.

I’ll do a round up on the blog, maybe during, but definately afterwards. I’ll post photos over on my instagram feed @nettynot if you’re interested in what I’ve made wearing.

Thanks for reading.

Maan Shawl

17 Apr Maan Shawl - knitted by Nettyn

I started knitting my Mann shawl back in Oct 2017. I had fallen for the striking pattern on Moon struck Knits (Natasja Hornby) instgram feed and was intrigued by the technique used when. I had not come across mosaic work before (or certainly not realised if I had), so I headed to Ravelry to discover more about the pattern and see everyone’s completed shawls and in particular see what colour had been used to together. I’m not a fan on brown and beige or anything too subtle, especially in an accessory. So the colours used in the sample for the pattern did nothing for me – which is why the ravelry project page is SOOOO great!

Maan Shawl knitting Pattern

The finished projects that stood out for me, were the bold monochrome with a pop of bright contrast. I really liked a navy, white and red combination similar to this one . I had also seen a lovely version with a bright teal in (& we know I love teal). So I sort of had these potential colours in mind when I headed to Knit Nottingham. I very much trust the knowledge of the wonderful staff at my LYS Knit Nottingham, I usually have a bit of an idea of which yarn I might choose, but then get steered towards something I’d not considered, which is a great thing – they really know their stock and know what will and won’t work for almost everything! At the time they’d not long had the new Luxury Merino yarn produced by King Cole. The range of colours is really good, I had decided already on black and pale grey/white for the mosaic sections, so just needed to decide of the bright contrast colour, the red in the range for a little bright for me and the Zoe suggested the mustard yellow (!) Not something I can wear on it’s own (it does not suit me) however as the main colour in this pattern is worked pretty well, though we also decided to swap the white for cream as it was a much better tone all together.

Yarn selection for Maan Shawl - Nettynot creates

I realise that in my brief write up of my project experience a lot has been dedicated to yarn selection. I momentarily thought I should edit a lot out. However I find that selecting your yarn, finding the right fibre for the project and the picking colours is actually a really important and rather exciting part of the process so I am leaving it in! I also feel incredibly fortunate to have local knowledgeable (& wonderful) people on hand to guide me though the yarn buying process. Expertise, passion and knowledge is totally underrated by too many people. (Thank you Eleanor & Zoe)!

Back to the pattern; I loved every element of this pattern, it provided me with lots of new techniques and stitches (St. John’s worth stitch, creates a lovely texture). Even the corrugated rib, which I have done before, but not in this way was interesting. This is a prime example of the kind or project I like to push my learning and challenge myself a bit more. Balancing this with simple knits (as I mentioned in my previous blog post) keeps me excited about knitting and learning.

Stitch textures - Maan Shawl - nettynot creates

I did however stumble at one point during the pattern. I got incredibly frustrated with myself and ripped back a few rows several times as something wasn’t making sense to me. What I’ve learnt to do when things aren’t going well is head to ravelry and look at the comments on the project to see if there’s any mention the issues I’ve experience. If not it is usually down to me misreading things. Which was exactly the case here. I am fully aware that I approach things a little differently; I have dyslexia, which I recently read described as a learning difference rather than learning difficultly. Both are accurate, though the former definitely describes how I feel about it most of the time and the frustration I feel when people want me to do things a certain way (just because that’s how they do them – I’m going off tangent), maybe I’ll come back to this topic in another blog post.

Maan Shawl - knitted by Nettynot

Other than misreading a row in the instructions (which I figured out after by zooming in on images of other people finished projects on Rav & my shawl spending some quality time in the WIP pile). The garter stitch edge had, up to a certain point, been made up of alternating 2 row repeats of each colour, however after the first mosaic section it had 4 rows of the same colour and my mind and hands would not compute this and I kept convincing myself I’d done something wrong. It’s not the first time & it won’t be the last time I’ve done somethign like this & got frustrated. But as soon as the penny droped I fixed my knitting and relaxed back into it.

I did find one aspect incredibly frustrating about the pattern rather than the project. I understand why it was done this way; having written many patterns before, albeit beading patterns, I know it is very laborious when sections are repeated and how to approach diaplying this can be tricky. However I do believe there is a good way to do this and a not so good way. This pattern has several repeated sections, the instructions (to paraphrase) said repeat section CAT, in section CAT it tells go to section DOG… then your on to Section MOUSE where is tells you to repeat section RABBIT and so on….this is all without any page numbers. Needless to say the process induced many big sighs and it was not surprising that I got myself muddled on more than one occasion! In a 8 page pattern which does include page numbers I do not think it’s unreasonable to help the reader of the pattern navigate it easily. What’s wrong with a simple “repeat section CAT on page 2”,  and then repeat steps 1-5 of section DOG from page 1 etc… small rant over!

Complete Maan Shawl - spread over 3 seater sofa - Nettynot creates

That said, I absolutely love my finished shawl, I did make one minor adjustment and that was to remove some of the stripe repeats to make the over all shawl smaller – though it does still stretch across a 3 seater sofa!

Maan Shawl in front of York Minster - nettynot creates

I have worn it lots, I finished it in time for a trip to York back in the beginning of March, our Air BnB host complimented me on it and was amazed to hear I’d knitted it myself, which is always wonderful feeling and went on to say that her partner would have been gutted to miss seeing it as he’d recently got into knitting!

Blocking Maan Shawl - Nettynot Creates

I had a little worried when I cast off as it was quite thick and rigid, however I gave it a good soak in Eucalan wool wash (available from Knit Nottingham), blocked it and was super soft and cosy once it dried. I had unintentionally swapped to a larger needle size half way though, the shawl had a long hibernation period just after I completed the first mosaic section because I wanted to knit other things and I borrowed the needles for something else. I then made the assumption when I picked it back up that, as I was knitting with DK yarn, that I’d been using 4mm needle when I’d actually been using 3.75mm. However I think it’s done me a favour, it’s more drappy now and no one would ever know (unless you’re reading this!)

Thanks for reading!

Simple Knitting as an effective break

5 Feb Textures of Be Simple Shawl using hand dyed yarn

Sometimes simple is what I want, especially after a long, fiddling or slightly frustrating knit. I chose to knit the Be Simple shawl after I’d completed my Puffin Jumper. It hadn’t been difficult as such but there was a bit of faffing regards lengthening the sleeves at the end, which you can read about in a previous post.

Yarn dyed by Knit Nottingham

I also needed something that I could keep knitting until I ran out of yarn, as the lovely Eleanor of Knit Nottingham gifted me one of her first batch of hand dyed yarns, it was a 4ply (Cotton/wool blend, we think, neither of us could quite remember after the fact), but that didn’t matter, Eleanor had used colours she thought I’d like & it had turned out wonderfully!

Textures of Be Simple Shawl using hand dyed yarn

A mixture of grey turquoise and blue, it knitted up nicely with colours pooling and striping, I’m curious as to how the yarn would have worked in a pair of socks, though at the time I was not back into knitting socks. The shawl was a simple and enjoyable knit and I love the end result. for some time I had felt each new knitting project I selected had to be more complex and intricate from my previous one to challenge myself and improve and learn. I still like to challenge myself, but I also like to relax and just knit something from time to time, and that’s ok!

Be Simple Shawl knitted by Nettynot

Still looking and feeling a bit awkward in photos – at least a shawl is easy to model 😛 

I’d finished my be simple scarf/shawl at the wrong time of year, just as it was nicely warming before summer, so it got put away ready for Autumn, which actually is lovely to do, it’s like a little gift to your future self. It turned out to be the perfect indoor scarf to wear at work which can be rather chilly being in a beautiful Victorian building.

be simple shawl- knitting - nettynot creates

I wouldn’t hesitate to knit another simple shawl for a relaxing project and I’d definitely knit more of Eleanor’s yarn, I’ll just have to be fast, she usually just dyes yarn for special shop events and if you’re not there when doors open you might miss out!

(Since writing this I have started knitting sock again and managed to buy more of Eleanor’s yarn at the shop Birthday event)!

Lovely new Yarn from Knit Nottingham - Nettynot Blog

Thanks for reading!


Blue raglan sleeve jumper

16 Jan

I used to pick knitting project that would challenge me, each new project I picked had a different element or a more challenging construction/technique, I was eager to learn. I’m still eager to gain more knowledge and try new things however I’m making more practical about (some of my) projects based on filling gaps in my wardrobe or using yarn I already have.

I knitted this jumper based on the yarn I had rather than the pattern. I’m so used to selecting a pattern first, particularly when knitting a garment. I still have almost a whole bag of cashsoft 4ply yarn I bought about 8 years ago in a sale. It seemed like a great idea, buying a garments worth of yarn at the time, but I haven’t found anything quite right to use it for. The yarn for my jumper was actually a gift, well half of it was. I was given 3 or 4 balls, not quite enough to do anything substantial with and so it had been in my stash for a few years. I actually ended up using it quite by accident. While visiting my LYS, Knit Nottingham, having gone in to buy a lighter weight cardigan pattern and 4ply yarn, I clocked the yarn I already had which sparked a conversation about it, and the revelation that it was soon to be discontinued. So I abandoned my initial ideas and bought the rest of the yarn, which would be enough for a garment.

The yarn is called Amalfi a DK weight, produced by Sirdar, 75% cotton & 25% Viscose, it’s nice and drappy and perfect for milder wintry days. The colour I used was an electric blue shade (capri 757) which has a variegated turquoise and bright green/yellow strand (possibly the viscose percentage) running through it. As the yarn itself had some texture I didn’t want to knit anything too detailed as it would get lost in the fabric so I opted for a simple jumper and added a straight forward ridged stripe.

I really enjoyed this knit, it was pretty quick (which is always satisfying). I did a proper tension square (washed it & everything), what I enjoyed most, although I roughly based it on the Brick pattern, was the mathematical challenge. I know this come as second nature to many. However as I mostly knit for pleasure and love following others patterns, it was a nice gentle challenge to measure, calculate & knit for a change.

One feature I did want to note, was the folded hem, a decision I came to with the help of Knit in Notts (knit group) after I realised a 1×1 rib just wasn’t working, it made the jumper look frumpy and awkward. The last “stripe” section I knitted on a needle size small than the rest of the jumper, then folded under and grafted in place. I REALLY enjoyed sewing the hem, I thought it’d be a long boring process but I found it rather relaxing. I now have a jumper that hangs as I’d hoped with no clinging.

It’s not the most ground breaking, interesting or exciting garment. However it fits, it suits me, I’ve worn it loads already having finished it at the beginning of November (in time to wear to the Nottingham Yarn Expo – though not all the ends were sewn in). I’m enjoying having a hand knitted jumper that I’m happy lounging around in. It was the perfect weigh for the mild December weather we had. What I’ve also found interesting is that, I’m not sure I would not have chosen this yarn myself, but I really like the finished jumper. It may have opened my mind a little regards yarn selection in the future.

blue raglan sleeved jumper - nettynot creates blog

One thing I always struggle with is posing for photographs in my handmade garments I’m not really a poser, I’m not naturally photogenic either. I used to resist ALL photos, however the older I get the less I care so much. However I look at past photos in my jumpers, cardigans or dresses and I’m always stand weirdly, grimace, or just look plain awkward or bored. I’m not vein or self conscious enough to keep chopping off my head in photos, which I have done many time before. So I decided to embrace my daft side…. This “pose” does at least remind me of that sense of accomplishment when you cast off a project, try it on and it fit you perfectly!

You can see more details about my jumper (if you’d like) in my ravelry projects here.

Thanks for reading.


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