Knitting all the things

Knitting all the things

Since I haven’t felt like blogging much lately but have felt like knitting, I have a lot of things to post about. I feel like blogging is something that I can only do when my energy and enthusiasm is high. Sewing clothes for myself requires a lot of mental and emotional energy too. But knitting, knitting is comforting and easy most of the time, so I do that when my energy is low.

First up, here is a lovely big triangular scarf/shawl. This yarn was a gift from my lovely friend Kate who dyed the yarn herself! I love the subtle color gradations that she achieved. The yarn is 100% Australian merino in a 8ply/dk weight. The pattern is Herald by Janina Kallio. I do love her designs, they are lacy but modern and asymmetric which really appeals to me. This pattern is designed for 4ply/fingering yarn on 4.0mm needles so I upsized to 5.5mm which gave me the right texture and drape with the heavier yarn.

It makes a very snuggly, large scarf and I just love it.

Next up is a scarf that took 5.5 years to finish. I cast this on on Boxing Day 2010 when I was away at the beach with my extended family and I was a beginner knitter looking for a project to learn how to do yarn overs.

The pattern is a free one, Flame Chevron Scarf. It was really much more complicated than I needed at the time but it did the job of giving me good yarn over practice.The yarn is Bella Baby Layette a Spotlight yarn which is 80% bamboo and 20% wool. It’s not anything I’d choose these days much to does have a nice silky feel around my neck that is good for warmer weather.

Here’s a little pattern free hat that I made to knit up the one skein of handspun art yarn that I purchased at KnitFit last year.

I did a rolled brim, stockinette and decreased the crown evenly, nothing fancy. I swatched and then reused the swatch yarn, then basically knit the whole thing twice after my first attempt was wider than it needed to be but not deep enough. Such is life when you make up the pattern on the fly. I had only just enough yarn to get this hat out, with only a few inches left at the end.

I feel that is hat is a bit of a statement. A statement that says ‘I’m a fiber artist, and I don’t give a fig about fashion’. God knows that weird little purple sheep locks sticking out of your hat is not fashionable, but I absolutely adore this hat anyway, and will definitely wear it come winter.

And to finish off, here’s a little dress that I knocked together for Althea. The printed cotton fabric was a gift from my mother in law. Althea was going to a Girl Scout day camp where they have camp names, and she waned to be called Koala. So we made this dress up – a koala dress for Koala.


I traced the bodice pattern off a Hanna Andersson dress that she owns and the skirt is simply the whole width of the fabric on the front and back, and cut in half lengthwise. I would have liked to do some straightening and matching of the koala print but I didn’t have the fabric to spare – it is only just long enough using all the fabric. The sewing quality if this is not terrific, but Althea helped and sewed a few of the seams and it was ready in time, which was important to her.

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately!

Banff colourwork hat

Banff colourwork hat

I very rarely am excited by new pattern releases, but recently a rare thing happened. Tin Can Knits released the Banff hat pattern as part of Camp Tolt – and I just had to knit it NOW.

It helped that I already had suitable yarn – Knit Picks Wool of the Andes worsted – which I have used for colourwork hats before. This was a fun knit and I really love the two colour tree design. I was going camping soon (first time in eight years) and felt like a new hat to wear. I used magic loop as I didn’t have any short circulars in the right size.

I knit the 23″ size for my 23″ head using the recommended needle sizes (4.00mm ribbing and 5.00mm colourwork). It turned out pretty slouchy after blocking, but was quite tight before wet blocking. It fits better with the brim turned over actually, though that’s not how it was designed.

I really enjoyed this knit and my Ravelry page says that I knocked it out in 3-4 days. I love the way the colors work together too. My only criticism of the pattern is that there is one set up crown decrease row in this size that doesn’t line up with the other decreases, but really that’s minor. I love this hat. Perfect for camping in the cool Pacific North West summer.




Cashmerette Concord Tee – sewing win!

Cashmerette Concord Tee – sewing win!

I was soooo excited when this pattern was released (link here). A t-shirt drafted on a curvy block, with cupsizes- awesome! I had actually had disappointing results from the Cashmerette Washington dress (unblogged) but was determined to make this work. My end aim was to make my own graphic printed tees that fitted perfectly by refashioning commercial tees, and this has totally worked out!

Iteration 1
I used an old t-shirt of my husbands for this – is is 100% cotton jersey with not much stretch, the neck and sleeve bands are stash fabric.

I emailed Jenny for a sizing suggestion and she got back to me quickly – such good service. This is a straight 20 C/D. My measurements are 45-40-52 (with cup size much larger than C/D but it works). I went for a size that gave me zero ease at the bust rather than negative ease as the knits I was planning to use are not very stretchy.

Iteration 2

This is cotton-elastane jersey from the stash, and the V-neck option. Wearing this around convinced me that I needed a smaller size in the shoulders and a full bicep adjustment. I also added an inch of length at the waist.

Iteration 3

This is a refashion of a mens 3XL short sleeve shirt from threadless on clearance. Sadly these lovely designs are printed on a 45% polyester shirt – ugh.

I feel that the fit is getting very good by this tee. It is an 18 C/D down to the underarm and then 20C/D on down, with 1″ full bicep adjustment and 1″ added length at waist. You can see I reused the sleeve hems from the original tee.

My only regret is that I straight stitched the neckband seam allowance down. I did stretch as I sewed, but is has still caused unsightly gathers and pulling in. I have worn this shirt a lot though.

Iteration 4

This is my favorite, another threadless mens 3XL.

You can see I had to cut off the top of the design to get my pattern piece on, but I still think it looks ok. I zigzagged around the neckline this time. This version gets worn straight from the wash – I love it!

Iteration 5 – a tangent.

Well actually this threadless mens 2XL long sleeve was too narrow in the hips to fit my Concord pattern piece so I refashioned it for my 8 year old. Lucky girl! I love this print. This tee is also 100% cotton.

The pattern is Ottobre 3/2010-31 Funky Sisters. This is size 152 with 3cm added to each side seam. I compared the pattern pieces to some of her current tees and this pattern is super-super slim fit as drafted.

So I’m now in search of some more awesome graphic tees to refashion. unfortunately I’m going to have to use a raglan pattern to get long sleeves, but I’m ok with that. And the Cashmerette Concord tee pattern – 100% thumbs up from me, it’s a super curve flattering draft with great instructions. Thanks Jenny!

Rainbow stripes duvet cover

Rainbow stripes duvet cover


It all started with a rainbow solids jelly roll and it eventually grew into a pieced top and then a duvet cover for my daughter’s 8th birthday. I pretty much made it up as I went along, which is know is not what most beginner quilters do – but it was the process the suited me.

I started by arranging my strips into  pleasing rainbow gradation. I eliminated a few ugly brown and black strips.


I then taped out the size of a US twin duvet on the floor and starting arranging the strips in patterns.


I was rather fond of this starburst but all those crazy angles seemed a bit overwhelming. In the end I settled on plain rainbow stripes. This was inspired by a quilt I found online but I cannot for the life of me remember what it was.


I then bought some white strips and sewed them together too.


I cut my rainbow stripes and added white stripes to each end (unpicking the appropriate seam from the solid white stripe block), then added plain white panels between.

I then used a plain white twin bedsheets as a lining to the pieced top, so that i wouldn’t have lots of unfinished seams up against the duvet, they would be protected and the whole thing would last longer. I used basting pins to pin the two layers together and then sewed straight lines along the vertical columns. I used a walking foot but still had a fair amount of shifting.


Then I used another white sheet to create the duvet pocket. You cans see that I used the hemmed sheet ends for the opening itself, and added buttons and buttonholes.


The buttons were the first I have done on my Juki machine and the first automatic buttonholes that I have ever done. It was pretty fun and easy, and certainly quicker than manual buttonholes, which is what my old mechanical Elna could do.


I decided to make a matching pillowcase to go with the duvet cover. This is also lined and has a buttonhole closure.



Here’s how the whole set looks on the bed. US size twin duvets are much wider than the old Australian single size ones (of which I still have a few from my childhood). The duvet hangs down much further one each side of the bed than I was expecting, not that that’s a bad thing. The bed pictured is an Australian single which is apparently 2″ narrower than a US twin mattress.


Overall both I and my daughter were pretty pleased with this! It was certainly more expensive than buying a duvet cover and pillowcase, but I feel the design is child appropriate and also suitable for an older girl or rainbow-loving adult, so should last a fair while. While a proper quilted quilt might be more timeless, a duvet cover will get a lot more day to day use, and was what my daughter wanted.



Star quilt – help me out!

Star quilt – help me out!

I am in the midst of planning out my first quilt. I have made two strip pieced tops before, one of which has been turned into duvet cover and the other of which is a problematic UFO that will hopefully one day be a duvet cover, but I have never made an actual quilted quilt. I started out making English Paper Pieced stars because they are cool, but now I’m rather tiring of making them and would like to turn them into an actual quilt.

So far I have 24 stars that are 8″ across. They are not truly symmetric bizarrely, but look and stack differently depending on whether the seam straight across the star is horizontal or vertical. I would like to make a twin/single size quilt which google tells me is roughly 68″ by 88″. I trialled some different options on my lounge room floor using some white tablecloths as the background. Tell me which design I should make!

A. Filled in center


This option would fill in the rectangle of stars that is semi-outlined here, and then leave a plain white border. The star section would measure 44″ by 63″ and I would need to make another 35 more stars, for a total of 59. I just don’t think I have it in me.

B. Two double diagonals


Imagine that both of these rows are doubled. A bit like this.


This would look quite modern and would require 18 more stars, which is still quite substantial.

C. Long diamond


Like this it would require only one more star. If I added another row on each diagonal it would take another 12 stars. I would turn it 90 degrees too. I am not very fond of this design.

D. Make a tiny quilt


If I ditched the single bed size idea I could just make a quilt with the stars I have. I would need to add 6 half stars and 10 extra white diamonds to fill in the horizontal edges. It would be 38″ by 31.5″ total and I just don’t know what use I would have for a quilt that size other than hanging it on the wall.

E. Rectangular center with patterned borders

If I took the rectangle of stars about and added one vertical and one horizontal row I could get a rectangle 35″ by 42″ which would leave 16.5″ on the sides and 23″ on the top and bottom if I took it out to single/twin size.


I could round this to 20″ and add some machine pieced borders, flying geese of some such. Given that I have never made a machine pieced block this would add another level of complexity and stress, but might look quite nice. It would take 8 more full stars and 6 more half stars plus the pieced borders. It would look more traditional.

F. Horizontal diagonal stripe


This simple two row diagonal stripe on plain white background only takes 22 stars, two less than I have now, which is a relief. I am a bit concerned that it does not look balanced.

G. Vertical diagonal stripe


This longer diagonal stripe requires only 6 more stars to be made, plus some diamonds filling in the edges. My only concern is that I would end up with ginormous diagonal bias seams when piecing the stars to the background and they could stretch out. Or maybe I could appliqué the stripe of stars onto a whole cloth background?

H. Random applique stars


Break the stars up and appliqué them onto a white background. Requires no new stars. My eight year old said this was her favorite.

So send me your opinions and advice please! Which idea do you like the best?






Granny’s Favourite cardigan for Tessa

Granny’s Favourite cardigan for Tessa


We recently returned home to Australia for a month, and while we were there I finished off this little cotton cardigan for Tessa. This was a good thing since summer was definitely not over yet, and there were some rather blistering temperatures, to which, it seems, I am no longer accustomed.


The pattern is Granny’s Favourite by Georgie Hallam (now Georgie Nicolson) and it is indeed a big favourite, having over 1000 Ravelry projects. In fact I made this for Tessa before:


Here she is at 7 days old wearing the 15″ chest size, knit in Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 8ply which I hand dyed. The hat was a lovely gift.

This time I made the 21″ chest and the 24 month full length sleeves and body, and the fit is good. This is a well designed pattern and includes nice finishing details, I would definitely recommend it if you like this classic style.


The buttons are from my Mother-in-law’s button tin and I love them. The yarn is Bendigo Woollen Mills Cotton 8ply in parchment. It’s very smooth and pleasant to knit.


The neck has stretched out a bit with wearing. Such is the nature of cotton yarn. I was pleased to have finished this so Tessa could wear it in Australia, and I’m sure that it will still fit through the coming US summer as well.

Here is my little girl who has just turned two in the dress that I made for her big sister’s 2nd birthday.


I’m really happy that it’s getting a second life. Happy birthday Tessa!


Flared denim skirt – McCall’s 5431

Flared denim skirt – McCall’s 5431


So I’ve managed to sew a wearable skirt! It’s a bit of a win, it’s been so long since I had a success. The pattern is McCall’s 5431 which I bought in a pattern sale a few years ago. It’s now out of print. This is a really flared skirt.


I picked the pattern because I find yoked waists quite comfortable to wear and the pockets seemed quirkily cute.



They really are giant, but secure enough for my phone.

The fabric is a mid weight, reasonably drapy non-stretch denim from my stash.


The pattern sizing is a bit annoying. I graded the pattern up three sizes from a 20 to a 26 which should have had a 40″ waist according to the pattern sizes. I was aiming for a 43″ waist and had to take out the zipper and remove 2″ from the centre back. It’s still a bit big and I do really need to wear a belt to keep it up. And I measured the pattern pieces and everything!


I initially made the view D in the longer length but the mid-calf length plus the volume was pretty dowdy, so I hemmed it back to knee length and used package bis binding for the hem facing.


This is not, dare I say it, the most flattering skirt shape in the world, but it’s comfortable and practical and get the feeling that I might end up wearing this skirt quite a lot. It also looks good with the shorter length of my silky wool customfit jumper, so that’s a win too!