OMG I’m knitting stranded colourwork!

Yep, I’ve taken the big, deep plunge into Fair Aisle/ stranded colourwork!

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And I’m knitting it the most time consuming way possible, by picking up and putting down each strand, each time I knit one, two, three etc stitches. If you think that I’ll be knitting continental on one side and English on the other, you’ve got to be kidding! I have not been knitting very long! I would really like to figure out how to hold both yarns in my right hand and knit but it’s not really working for me. I’ll keep trying because this is seriously slow!

Talking of slow……..

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I give you 10cm of 3 by 3 ribbing in 4ply on 2.75mm needles. This took about 15 hours and was very seriously boring. But it’s over now, and I am very proud of my twisted German cast-on, first time ever, and in fact only my second long-tail cast on.

This hat is the Oslo Star Hat. I offered to make my Dad a hat for his birthday, which fell while we were away down at the beach. I pulled up Ravelry and searched for adult male hats patterns, got rid of ones only available in print, and let Dad choose a pattern from the hundreds of patterns that remained. This rather traditional-looking hat was what he chose. It looks rather like a Scandinavian style ski beanie to me, but don’t quote me, I am not well versed on cultural knitting styles. Dad also chose this traditional blue and white colour scheme. I did tell him that I’d never done colourwork before, but I was willing to give it a go!

In other awesome news, look what my amazing aunt knitted for Ruby and Sally!

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What a gorgeous skirt! That pattern looks like Swap Skirt for Blythe. It even has a cute little button closure.

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(And excuse Sally’s freaky fringe. Althea took to her with a pair of scissors concerned that her hair was in her eyes. Hopefully I’ve convinced her to ask me if she wants to hairstyle her dolls and I will do it, so it will at least be straight.)

Also this cute dress….

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which is a very mini dress on it’s own, but looks great as a tunic and matches Ruby’s make up very well. What I lovely gift! and impeccably knitted too. Althea is a very lucky girl.

 

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Jaipur tablecloth dress!

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Our family go to the amazing Womadelaide festival every year. I usually pick up a few interesting pieces of clothing at the market stalls there. Last year I picked up two of these beautiful Jaipur tablecloths and bought them with the intention of making a dress out of them. The fabric appears to be wood block printed by hand, and has a border print.

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So in December I finally got around to making a dress out of it. Enter Burda 7547. This is a young, plus pattern. I love that Burda releases plus size patterns in younger, trendier styles! And this pattern is a perfect sundress pattern – you can wear a normal bra and have the straps completely concealed, and the body skimming fit quite flattering.

I traced the bodice in a size 42, the smallest available, and did a big FBA, sewed the side dart and lengthened the whole bodice.

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This resulted in a dress with quite high armholes which conceals those little fleshy bits under your arms, but does feel a little constricting to wear. I traced my hip size in the skirt section, but then ended up taking in both side seams considerably. I think I did not leave quite enough ease at the hip, it sticks a bit, but I think I just need to get over my preciousness about that. I am also not used to wearing straight skirts. If I made it again I think I’d deepen the back darts and let out the side seams from the hip down.

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The front and back deep V necklines are my favourite part of the dress. The front is low, but not unwearably so.

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The pattern instructs only the bodice to be lined, but I lined the whole dress. The lining hangs free on one side, and is caught in the side seam on the side with the invisible zip, as that was much easier.

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You can see that the hem drops a little at the sides due to my use of the border print.

The gathered shoulder is a nice feature and I finished it according to the instructions.

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I was a bit unsure about this dress when I first made it. A relatively fitted, straight dress is not something I’ve worn before, and the print is quite out there. However a close friend gave me some very positive feedback on it yesterday, so I think I will wear it. I shall certainly give it an outing at Womad itself when we go in March!

Knitting for Blythe dolls

I have been knitting for Blythe dolls too! I took some Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 4ply yarn that I had hand dyed away with me on my week long holiday over Christmas. I took my smallest needles (3.00mm) and looked up patterns on Ravelry on my phone – no planning required!

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The cardigan pattern is Blythe by Jessica Johnson. I used 3.00mm needles instead of 2.00mm needles and the fit is a little roomy but they still turned out pretty well, I think. The cardigan is knit top-down and I did decorative yarn over increases around the shoulders of the orange cardi and make one’s for the purple. There was an option to knit the sleeves in the round or flat, I knit them flat and seamed them at the end.

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The pattern has no closures but they would not be hard to add if you could source such tiny buttons or snaps. I added a garter band down both front openings for the purple cardi.

Next up was the Blythe Pixie Hat by Maggie Baird. This was a very easy and cute pattern. Knit flat, seamed up the back and then the neck band picked up around the base and knitted in one with the neck strap. The bling gold button was Althea’s choice!

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It fits snugly and is a very cute style.

Lastly I made the Ecoliere beret by Maggie Baird. This is knit in the round from the Fisherman’s rib brim up to the sweet little icord umbilicus.

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This is the regular length beret, with 5cm of straight knitting before the crown decreases. As you can see, it’s pretty full and slouchy.

So I think that Sally and Ruby are adequately clothed for now, I’m going back to sewing and knitting for humans!

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My next knitting project is also in 4ply and tiny (2.75mm) needles. It is a traditional looking colourwork beanie that my Dad chose as his birthday gift.

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It is taking forever……only 4cm of ribbing done and another 6cm to go. I’ve already watched more than nine hours hours of Lord of Rings extended version on DVD – I may have watched all the ‘making of’ documentaries as well by the time this hat’s done. Though there seems to be a bit of a knitting pause every time Aragorn or Arwen makes an appearance on screen 😉

Sewing for Blythe dolls

My five year old daughter wanted a Barbie. I hate Barbie dolls, in fact I’m not very fond of hard plastic dolls of any description. But after much thought I decided to get her a Blythe doll for Christmas. In fact she ended up getting two, Simply Vanilla and Simply Chocolate, these being some of the most affordable dolls, and were sold as a set.

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Here are Sally (left) and Ruby (right). Althea was very happy with them. Leading up to Christmas (in fact I was still sewing at 10.30pm the night before we went away) I made them a hand crafted wardrobe. They came with 60s mod dresses and accessories but I wanted Althea to be able to have some choices for dressing them.

There are some paid-for Blythe doll sewing patterns available (like this), but I was pretty happy with what I found available for free.  The two most useful sites I found were xoxoBlythe and PuchiCollective.  Just be really careful that you are printing the patterns to scale – I had to print PuchiCollective patterns at 114% or 105% to get them to scale.

First up! The Empire Dress – pattern here.

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The bodice is lined, and it closes at the back – I used hand sewn press studs on all these items. I REALLY wish I had sewn theses pockets on using matching thread. Ah well. This was made to match Althea’s own mushroom fabric dress, and I barely had enough scraps to get this tiny dress out.

The party dress! Pattern here.

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The bodice is a bit longer and the skirt fuller. The skirt is also mostly closed at the back. I used some cotton prints leftover from making baby clothes for friends children and the white baby ric rack is leftover from Althea’s own first birthday dress. I’m glad that I had some scale appropriate trim as I think that the little details matter as much for dolls clothes as other garments.

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Sewing this small is very fiddly! and involves a lot  more hand stitching than I’m used to.

Lastly, Boat neck tee (pattern source), A-line jumper dress (pattern here) and headband.

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The Tshirt pattern was my least favourite. I had to hand sew the neck and sleeve hems because, you know, that sleeve opening is about the diameter of my pinky finger, or less. There was too much fabric in the bust and not enough in the hip so the back closure is all wonky. But it looks ok from the front.

The A-line jumper dress was super fiddly. It is fully lined and they have you turn it though the shoulder straps. This was nearly impossible and I did end up fraying the fabric at the seam in a few places, probably because I trimmed the seam allowances down too much. The top stitching is a nice touch though, and I hand sewed the pocket on.

I also made a quick no-pattern headband from the jersey and some elastic.

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In the end I was rather proud of the little wardrobe that I put together.

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And I much prefer finding Ruby and Sally in their hand crafted clothes lying around the house than some Barbie or Disney Princess clothed in polyester 😉

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