Tag Archives: knitting

Bad back, a new(ish) hobby and Me Made May ’14 week one.

Sewing is pretty impossible at the moment, I have done something painful to my back and all attempts to work at my machine have left me in agony so I have had to admit defeat until it sorts itself out. This is very annoying as I have a queue of projects including my nearly Dolly Clackett dress, another Emery and my Simplicity wrap dress.   However my sanity has been saved by the arrival of this gorgeous package:

photo 1

I am such a sucker for fancy packaging. We Are Knitters make knitting kits – you choose the pattern and the colours you want and they send you everything you need including needles and a cool label.  I found them when I clicked on an ad. on Facebook, which shows how strong these painkillers are because I absolutely hate ads on Facebook.  I know they are supposed to be targeted to your interests but you are not going to win me over by constantly flashing up ads for weight loss and wrinkle remedies, thank you very much. Show me gin, fabric and serial killer books and I might despise you a little less.

Anyway I found the website, quickly got sucked in and found myself ordering.  I needed cheering up and it made sense at the time- I can’t sew but I can knit.  Okay, I have knitted maybe four things in my life, hats, scarves and a very mis-shapen cardigan for my daughter. And the sensible people out there will ask why I didn’t just buy some cheap(er) yarn, needles and a free pattern from the internet.  However – knitting kit!  All in one bag! Cool packaging!

Now this is the point where I try to justify the cost, to myself as much as anything. I got the Vivian knit tee kit, which is forty eight euros. More than I should be spending, especially as I am a bit crap at knitting but it was ten euros less without needles.  And I can use the pattern again.  The yarn is the softest cotton and is really easy to use and the colours are amazing, I chose orange, natural and deep blue, which is a kind of deep teal-y turquoise:

photo 2This picture doesn’t do it justice, the colours are really vibrant.  The instructions are clear and there are video tutorials on the website if you don’t really know what you are doing, like me. It also comes together really quickly.  This is important. I usually prefer sewing over knitting because I am impatient. With sewing you can see a garment taking shape much more quickly than you do with knitting. I got the kit last week and I have half a top already:

photo 3Look, even a knitting novice like me can knock up half a top in a week! And you can knit anywhere. Okay, not quite anywhere but I can take it to work and knit in my lunch break, and in the park while I am ignoring my kids, and if I got the train I could do it on the train.  I may actually get to wear it for Me Made May.

On the subject of Me Made May I have been a bit crap at getting photos but I have managed to stick to my pledge. So far I have worn at least one handmade item a day every day except one , as follows:

Thursday 1st:  Day of the Dead print Simplicity 2444
Friday 2nd:  Black and leopard Deer and Doe plantain, still to be blogged, with shop bought jeans.Saturday 3rd: Floral Tilly Buttons Mathilde, with shop bought jeans.
Sunday 4th: Stripey Colette Laurel top (still unblogged although I made it last May) and shop bought jeans.
Monday 5th: All shop bought, but the jeans did come from the charity shop.
Tuesday 6th: Black eyelet Colette Laurel dress.
Wednesday 7th: Eiffel Tower print Simplicity 1610? Dolly Clackett dress.
Thursday 8th: Leopard pencil skirt, black top, shop bought but I have had it for over ten years. Must make another one actually.
Friday 9th: Leopard Laurel dress and shop bought leggings.

Thoughts so far (bear in mind I am on strong painkillers) – While I usually chuck on a me-made dress for work I do wear jeans a lot at the weekend.  And I have no interest in making jeans. I prefer making and wearing dresses but it all comes down to footwear.  Dresses can be practical but you do need the right shoes. Most of my ‘dress suitable’ shoes have heels. I live by the beach and spend a lot of time outside when the weather allows, and heels are not practical.  I do have a pair of espadrille type wedges that I can wear with dresses on the beach and I wish I had bought ten pairs but I can’t find any more at an acceptable (very cheap) price.  Maybe I need to learn how to make shoes?


New year plans, sort of.


Well I have just about recovered from Christmas, New Year, Birthday, etc. and I did promise a New Year round up. It has been more difficult than I thought though. I have really struggled to come up with top five lists. Don’t get me wrong, 2013 was a damn good year for me in terms of sewing. Highlights included the meet ups, getting to know so many cool people ( you lot are the best) , me made may, making lots of lovely stuff that was actually wearable and got me compliments, and getting a dedicated sewing space.  My oldest daughter has also caught the bug and attends a sewing club at her school.  I wear most of the things I completed, which is good. However, while I had very few failures there is nothing I made that I would say has been a total success.

There are a few reasons for this.   Firstly I know that I should make more muslins, measure pattern pieces and also measure myself more regularly. Rochelle’s anti-round up post struck a chord with me. It also made me realise that I really should find a core of patterns that I have perfected the fit for and use them as the basis of a wearable wardrobe. I definitely get carried away with wanting to make cool stuff that I can show off and write about.  I find it so difficult to ignore all the gorgeous new patterns that are released and I really want to support independent pattern designers. However limited time and a short attention span means that I end up cutting corners and rushing. The urge to make all the lovely new stuff means that I steam ahead without considering whether I will wear things in real life. I neglect the fitting and finishing, resulting in garments that I love initially but that don’t necessarily feel ‘right’ when I am wearing them.    Most of my makes do look and feel home made. I just realised that I have been sewing for almost three years now so I can’t really use the excuse that I am a beginner any more. I need to put more effort into lining things, finishing seams, using the correct techniques instead of cutting corners – all the things that are easy to justify skipping but make me really proud of the end result.

UFOs. Maybe because of some of the things I have outlined above, I have a stupid amount of unfinished projects. I find it difficult to ignore new patterns and Sewalongs and will move on to a fun new project without properly completing current ones. I also have a load of things that I don’t wear because they need altering, because I rushed them in the first place.  They don’t need a lot doing to them to make them wearable but there are so many new fun things to make so I hang them in my wardrobe and pretend I’ll come back to them.

Another problem I have is that I seem to change size and shape quite a lot. What might be a perfect fit one month can be tight and restrictive or too baggy the next. I don’t do dieting. I try to eat healthily but I have noticed that my food and drink intake and activity levels fluctuate depending on what is going on at work. And don’t get me started on hormones and their effect on my body shape.  I’m not sure what the solution is. More knits?

So taking all this into account I have come up with some plans. I’m not going to call them resolutions because then I will get pissed off with myself if I don’t get round to doing them. So in 2014 I plan (but will not stress out if I don’t)  to do the following:

1. Get the fit right.
2. Finish stuff properly, line stuff and stop cutting corners.
3. Try really hard to avoid buying every new pattern and joining in every Sewalong. I am not making any promises on this one but I will try and consider whether it is something that I will actually wear and finish what I am working on at the time first.  I am considering doing something like Rochelle’s twelve pattern challenge  and there is no way I am not doing Jungle January
4. Complete or bin some of my UFOs. Some are beyond help, or are stuff that I will never wear so  instead of feeling guilty every time I see them I am just going to chuck them. As for the rest, I am going to set a target to complete at least one a month.
5. Keep sewing from the stash and give away what I will never use. My stash is getting a bit silly now so I need to be ruthless. I have more fabric and patterns than I will ever use. I am planning a giveaway and I am also hoping that somebody will (please?) organise another meetup and swap so I can pass it all on to people who will appreciate it.

I have a few other sort of resolutions that are not necessarily sewing related. I want to get better at using twitter instead of just lurking. I still feel a bit stupid using it, like I am going to do it wrong, and there is that nagging doubt that noone would want to hear what I think and it is only for cool people anyway. I want to read more, write more, get the hang of knitting, make underwear, figure out how to comment on blogs from my phone, get more exercise and sample more brands of gin (current bottle is this – the only gin distilled in Kent. I highly recommend it).  I am also hoping that 2014 will be the year that somebody finally offers to give me enough money to live on for doing stuff that I love doing and would do for for free anyway. Well I can dream…