Tag Archives: handmade

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.

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.


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?!


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.


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!



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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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.

puffin jump wip - Nettynot Blog.jpg

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!

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!’


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?!

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

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.

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.

Miette – A finished Project!

31 Dec Darts and eyelet detail Miette - Nettynot Blog

The significance of finishing this cardigan it quite great for me, it is the only garment I have completed in 2015! I’m a little sad about that, only because it’s not a sign that I’ve been too busy, but that I had two garment fails/hiccups, which I have mentioned in previous post. I have done a few smaller projects in between, a panda hat for a friends baby and a lazy lace cowl. But my knitting output has been rather disappointing. So in October determined to turn things around by the end of the year I decided to knit (and complete) a cardigan.

I’ve fancied a shorter cardigan for a while now. I wear a lot of dresses that are fitted at the waist, but I usually wear them with a generic shop bought longer cardigan which rests on my larger hips hiding my waist anyway. Once I saw Jem Weston’s finished Captivate cardigan earlier in the year, which is such a flattering fit, I knew I needed a nice shorter cardigan.

I’ve pinned the Miette cardigan in to my knitting board on Pinterest a couple of times in different guises so decided that’d be the one. After a quick visit to my LYS (Knit Nottingham) I was set and cast on that night. The pattern is written by an American designed Andi Satterlund, for worsted weight yarn which can be a bit tricky as it’s not quite as easily substituted for aran. I went for King Cole Merino Blend Aran and felt fairly confident I could make it work (there’s a few more details over on my Ravelry page).

Eyelet detail on Miette Cradigan - Nettynot Blog

The simple eyelet details around the edge of the cardigan are really effective, easy to follow and added a bit of interest while knitting, which I really enjoyed, especially how quickly it grew. The only challenge I faced was the fact that the tension didn’t quite match up, my knitting was about the right number of stitched but too few rows, so I couldn’t really go up a needle size, however I decided it’d probably be alright as I have a short torso anyway. The only slight issue I had was once I’d separated the sleeves and knitted a few rows, I was able to try it on for the first time and it was a bit snug under the arms, so I ripped it back to above the arms and added a few more rows before separating the sleeves again.

Sleeve increase detail on Miette - Nettynot Blog

This in theory worked and deepened the arm holes enough to be comfortable, but it did make the sleeve increases look a little strange, which if I was to knit it again I would rectify by graduating the increases slightly, however I’m still happy with the result.

Darts and eyelet detail Miette - Nettynot Blog

I really liked the clever darts on the front of the garment and they make a nice feature, though I was a little worried they’d make the cardigan too big in front for me, but I it was fine and makes for a much more flattering and figure hugging fit. I went for longer sleeves as it’s quite a warm yarn and I prefer long sleeves and once I blocked it the yarn relaxed beautifully.

Miette - Back of Cardigan - Nettynot BlogFinished Miette - Nettynot Blog

Now I just need to work on my posing – I never know where to look and how to stand – maybe I can practice with some more finished garments in 2016.

Thanks for Reading!
Steph x

CROSS pockets cardigan

9 Sep The beginning of Cross Pockets - Nettynot Blog

Well I had hoped to be writing a blog post about my wonderful and FINISHED cross pockets cardigan, but the fact is, it’s not going well! I’ve got really fed up about it too, I really want it to be finished, it feels like I’ve been knitting it for so long. My friends Knit In Notts seem to be finishing things left right and centre since I cast this on, including Jem’s lovely Kaneshon Cardigan by Sarah Hatton and Eleanor and Toni’s onesies (aren’t they great), to name a few.

Knit Nottingham 5th Birthday - Nettynot BlogI know I don’t spend as much time as the others knitting, and it’s not a healthy thing to compare yourself to others, but honestly I’m just feeling jealous and frustrated. I have not finished anything that I’ve started yet this year and we’re in to September and that makes me a little sad. I had a disaster earlier this year with my Bláithín cardigan, which ended up being frogged and is now currently hibernating! This was due to me having unintentionally knitted almost the entire thing on the wrong sized needles *hand smacks forehead*! I will complete this someday, but I’m not ready to tackle it again yet.

Blaithin so far - Nettynot BlogThe beginning of Cross Pockets - Nettynot BlogI had been making good progress with the my Cross Packets cardigan, it’s constructed very cleverly and I was really enjoying learning new techniques. As a lot of processes were new to me I have followed the 8 page instructions to the T. But after the long I cord cast off, I decided to sew the pockets in place before knitting the sleeves, I was a little dubious as the inside of the pocket really didn’t look like it would fit and it didn’t, even pinning into place and sewing the top edge didn’t help, as you can see here, it looks baggy and awkward.

Odd cross pockets - nettynot blogSo now I’m left knowing I’m going to have to do some ripping back, urgh. I think the problem is that the lovely basket weave stitch on the edge of the pocket is quite firm and structured where as the moss stitch inside of the pockets it quite loose and the two aren’t matching up, despite having the same number of rows.

Cross pockets i cord cast off - nettynot blogI think what I’ll end up doing is ripping back the cast off I cord, and the decorative edging, so that the pocket front and inside are separated again and continue knitting the pocket front until the length matches up and just ignore how many rows there are. This seems like the sensible thing to do right? I think I’m also going to change the I cord Cast off, I will experiment first, but it is very time consuming and curls up a lot – I don’t want anything to detract from the lovely edging. So maybe just a simple straight forward cast off could work.

I need to discipline myself to ensure I finish this project before I start my next, as I’m very keen to cast on my Puffin jumper, for which I’ve had the yarn for, for a year or so. I might do something a little bit mad and set myself the challenge of completing the puffin in a month, just get myself back on track (and happier – I’m always happy when I’m being productive).

I also booked myself on to a knitting a workshop with the lovely Eleanor while I was at Knit Nottingham’s 5th Birthday party, I will be learning to do Entrelac knitting – something new and exciting to look forward to!
I apologise that this is not the most positive or up beat post, however writing about my knitting frustrations has helped alleviate the disappointment as well as give me a little perspective to how to solve the issues. Hopefully my next knitting related blog post will be full of finished items and accomplishments.

If anyone has any helpful suggestions, please share them with me.
Thanks for reading!

Completed Brick Jumper

6 Feb

Anyone who follows my blog (or part of Knit in Notts) will know that I have had a Jumper in the making for over a year now. It was started at Christmas time in 2013, created from an old frogged cardigan that just hadn’t quite worked (odd shape and lack of yarn meant it had strange short sleeves) so I re-thought the whole thing, decided to make a jumper instead and add in stripes to make the yarn go further. I have had a few pitfalls along the way…

frogged cardigan yarnThe first mention of the jumper, based on a pattern called Brick on Ravelry, was back in January last year where having started the jumper which I’d decided to knit with a lovely deep red colour just looked too Christmasy, so I ripped it back and decided to knit it with cream instead.
Beginning of Brick Jumper 2I got well on the way with the jumper and soon discovered that as I had introduced a little fairisle into my stripes I had made the overall jumper a bit too sung around the arm pits, so I ripped it back again so that I could add a few more rows and increases before separating the sleeves and body. This is why I LOVE knitting top down jumpers in the round, I can try it on as I go and rectify my mistakes before I go too far. Although the problem was easy to rectify, I was a little fed up  having already ripped it back twice, the Jumper was hibernate for several months. It gave me a chance to finish my colour affection shawl.
Brick Jumper - Nettynot Blog

Back to the jumper – I was close finishing the body and tried it on and decided I really didn’t like my choice of stripes, looking back I’m not sure why I’d decided to do stripes just at the top – I think because I was only adding in the cream stripes to make  the grey yarn go further I got a bit hung up on the idea, so with a big sigh I ripped it back for a third time and reintroduced the stripes down the whole of the body.

I continued on and knitted the sleeves, which always seem to take an age, with just 3 more cream stripes to go I completely ran out of yarn, (after a trip back to Knit Nottingham) I completed the sleeves, then I picked up 100 stitches around the neck and finished the neckband – Just blocking and I was done! Or so I thought… After trying on the jumper to ensure it fitted well I discovered it was a bit short, eeek! I also decided rather than adding more ribbing, it would be far more effective to add another two stripes. So I ripped back the ribbed edge, all 25 rows of it, added two more stripes and then ribbed the waist band, again!
Finished Brick Jumper - Nettynot Blog

Despite my trials and tribulations I have actually enjoyed the knitting of this jumper. I had purposely search for a simple jumper pattern so I had a starting point. Brick provided just that, I knew I’d have several alterations to do as I usually have extra waist shaping to accommodate my wider hips but I hadn’t quite anticipated how much adding a relatively simple bit of fairisle would alter the fabric of my knitting, so it has been quite a useful learning curve. I can’t help but thing that had I planned a little better I could have avoided several of my pitfalls, however that’s not really my style I tend to just throw myself into these things and learn and adjust as I go – knitting can thankfully be rather forgiving with this approach.
Me in My Jumper - Nettynot BlogNot the best photo I know – but it does show off the good fit & it is so cosy!


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