Tag Archives: handmade

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!



Patchwork Cushion

9 Aug

I have written a whole blog post about the chair I made this cushion (it was a slight tangent, but a lovely nostalgic one for me). However my original intention was to write about the cushion. I have made many things over the years and not documented them, I used to be able to remember the majority, however I find I stumble across old photos and think, oh I’d forgotten all about that skirt/bag/jumper I’d made. So I’m making a more concerted effort to document things, which Instagram has made easier to do, but I also like to use my blog as a notebook to myself as to the challenges/issues I encounter and had to resolve along the way. That said, although I do plan most of my project, at least to begin with, there is a considerable degree of  let’s just give it ago and see what happens.

I love a bit of Patchwork, and although it’s time consuming I do really like English paper piecing, which I hadn’t done for while after finishing the mammoth task of my Mum’s quilt. However I thought this would be a little project. I sketched a few ideas quite small to begin with and once I found an idea I was happy with I enlarged it and drew it out on some wall paper lining. I quite enjoy the Maths involved with patterns and pieces, I probably enjoyed this process as much as the actual making.

Paper piece template cushion - Nettynot Blog

Once I had my piece draw, in theory all the same shapes should be the same size, so it shouldn’t matter which pieces I sew together along as they are the right pieces, however learning from previous mistake I knew I really needed to be putting the pieces back together in exactly the way I cut them up, as it only takes a few of them to be a millimeter or so out to make it really awkward sewing them together later on (& I’m only human after all). So I numbered each piece and took a photo on my phone, for reference, before cutting up the template.

I often struggle to find enough time to get stuck into a project like this in one big chunk, so I decided I’d try to do the tacking and sewing of 1 set of shapes each evening for a week, so that it didn’t feel like it took too long to complete.

English Paper Piece - round Cushion cover - nettynot blog

It took me longer to decide what to do with back and get my act together to complete it. That didn’t go quite to plan, but I made it work in the end (sort of). I think the errors here were not measuring and cutting properly. I sewed strips of fabric together and made a cardboard template for the triangular shape, which really isn’t accurate enough when using a rotary cutter  (lesson learnt).

Cushion Back - Nettynot blog

The seams didn’t match up on the back terribly well, so I unpicks a couple of seams and tweaked it enough that it doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb, but in the process it had the central two hexigans wonky, I would have prefer them to be symmetrical as intended however it’s not too bad and everyone (hopefully) will be looking at the front and not the back. That said I did get the invisible zip in evenly, though not so invisible with the fabric stretched slightly.

Cushion Back with zip - Nettynot blog

I do like the finished result, and it is the bold eye catching design I had in mind, influenced slightly by the leather 70’s pouffes seen in many retro and vintage shops. However if I was going make one again I would make the cover larger, whenever I make a square cushion cover I make it slightly smaller as it makes for a better plump finish, no one wants floppy cushion, I applied the same principal here, wrongly as I think it looks a little too tight and puckered at the edge. I think even just an extra half inch all round would have made a nicer fit.

I also might try to be clever next time and make a convex shaped cover to eliminate the puckering on the back…..hmmmm the cogs are whirring on that one already.

Thanks for reading.

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

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