Remember this?


of course you do! Heck even I can remember it, it was only the last post and I was full of enthusiasm for the design that was in my head and the dyeing of the colours I had intended for the patterns. It was the sample swatch for a jumper I wanted to design and knit for myself.

.DSC_0073 (2)

I dyed 4ply natural white wool in a range of the rusts and oranges, also a lovely green and a fresh yellow were added to the range of rusty through peachy colours shown here, ~ and I started. I cast on for the jumper and I knitted the ribbing as per sample and the first peerie pattern and was half way through the green heart stretch [knitting in the round] when I noticed that the round I was working was out of kilter, the stitches didn’t sync with the round below. So off the needles it came. I only intended to pull it back to the beginning of the pattern to have a rethink and check but thought that while it was off I would try it on for size ~ and wow it was way too big. Now I had checked the tension, worked out the maths, just simple multiplication after all, so where did it go wrong? Don’t ask me! I’m still wondering. So the lot came out and  rolled back into balls to go back to the drawing board [or pad]. My faith in the tension square has been badly shaken, I need to recover.

Meanwhile, we hit a cold, wet spot here in Hampshire [and I reckon probably everywhere else in the UK] and I hauled out my snuggly handknits from a couple of winters ago, one of which was the Harvest Moon pattern from Heidi Kirrmaer [her picture shown below]. I have lived in it. I also added myself to the family list of casualties succumbing to a horrible fluey cold virus,  so the cosy wrap around texture of the soft Aran type wool I had used was like a warm comfy blanky. [you never grow out of the need for one of these!]. I just wish I had a bigger photo to share, but realise I had only taken a photo of it in progress for my Ravelry, but find the original pattern there and have a look.HARVEST MOONAnyhoo a long story short, I decided to use the Womens’ Institute Aran yarn I recently bought at Hobbycraft in Basingstoke in a lovely steely dark grey and knit another! What can’t be seen from the tiny photo above is the lovely I-cord detailing and pockets. You start with just twenty stitches to knit the garter yoke/collar incorporating a clever I-cord edging for the neck edge and a faux I-cord at the other edge making it easy to pick up the stitches to knit down for the sleeves and body. It is a dream to knit, ~ really and soooo cosy. I originally bought the yarn, which although 100% Acrylic [ugh] is a lovely smooth yarn and knits up squidgy soft but firm, for a cable  fest Aran style jacket, but hey since when did I keep to plan?

I am still intent on knitting the fairisle, I have new ideas for the design, perhaps a cardi with perhaps an I-cord cast on – still not decided but definitely in the near future it will be cast on again. You need something to get your teeth into while knitting stocking stitch largish cardigan.

We had a bit more sunshine today, but there is no doubt that Autumn is here and these pictures [taken before the rains came] confirm it


.DSC_0081IMG_20150910_110359_hdrDSC_0077DSC_0082 The girls are waiting for their morning scratch around the garden. This time of year they have free range to dig up all the bare patches. They are let out most days into the garden throughout the year, although they have quite a big run [this is the small inner one] they like a good scratch around. They are useful now as opposed to being a pain when young plants are first in, they dig up and clean up, making my life a bit easier.

I have been sewing, perhaps next time I’ll have photos to show. We’ll see.

Posted in FIBRE CRAFTS, handmade, knitting, Life a Work In Progress, me-made wardrobe, Works in Progress | Leave a comment


No excuses, I’ve been right here, but life got very busy there for a while – real life, not hobby-life, so sewing has taken a bit of a back seat lately. On the up side we have a new arrival in our family, another great-grandson happily healthy and beautiful, which makes up for the grunge we have had lately. In fact, since my last post the only things I have sewn are a toddler’s dress and a skirt which is still waiting for the hem and waistband to be finished.

Circumstances have, however, allowed me to knit a bit; new-baby coat, an Aran jacket for a three year old, a domino-knit blanket and a swatch for my next project. I have been taking photos on my ‘phone. It’s a new ‘phone so I don’t know whether there will be any improvement in quality. I didn’t get any pictures of the baby coat[s][x3], I was too anxious to get them to their destination, and I can’t find the photo I have of my great grandson wearing his Aran jacket, but only some of them prior to posting. Anyhoo, for what their worth – a medley.

IMAG5841How gorgeous is this? Not the dress of course!


     Aran tweed with tan fleck, and vintage leather ‘football’ buttons [sourced from e-bay].


Not a lot to say about this, knitted in grey aran weight wool in domino squares. I usually knit a chevron pattern when doing this particular pattern, but thought this way round would make a nice change.


This is a swatch that I knitted for a jumper project I have in mind. I dyed the wool the colours I wanted and chose the patterns from Alice Starmore’s lovely book on Fairisle, which I have had for yonks. The green wool is hand spun too, but the other wools are commercially spun undyed yarns [I got mine from] . I actually dyed these rust and orange colours from egg dye from the U.S., but I am waiting for  some Eurolana dyes to replicate them for the actual garment.


DSC_0073 (2) Here are the range of colours I got from one dye bath, initially ‘brick’ with a little orange. Successive dye lots got softer and more peachy. The ball on the bottom right, the darkest, is actually some hand spun sports weight wool that I had just plied and wanted to see how it took the colour, but I have some ‘fairisle’ weight in the same colour that I used in my swatch.

I hope to get back to my sewing soon. Trouble is, sewing is a somewhat solitary occupation not really practical at the moment whereas knitting can be done anywhere. Hope to be back soon.


Posted in DRESSES, FIBRE CRAFTS, handmade, knitting, Life a Work In Progress, Uncategorized, Works in Progress | Leave a comment


Ever since I finished this cardigan


and posted the details on Ravelry [I.D.Creatficrafts] I have felt like a fraud. Reason being it has bugged the life out of me because one side, the button side of the front ribbing, was too tight. This was due in part because not enough stiches were picked up along the edging. It annoyed me so much that I tended not to want to wear, even though I fudged it by crocheting a pseudo edging.  I knew that it wasn’t right but short of undoing the whole front band with its fiddly collar, which didn’t appeal, what was I to do? Well, in short, this:

IMG_20150809_122021_hdrLooks drastic doesn’t it? It felt it! But I had a cunning plan Baldric! I treated the cut off part as you would a steek. In the picture above you can see that I have started to sew in the loose threads to make a tidy edging. I did it with the bottom ribbing too. And then, with a just a little bit of ribbing;

IMG_20150809_122051_hdr IMG_20150809_122209_hdr

You get this;


All done!


Not perfect, I know, but I’ve scratched that itch.


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That is, do you do too much? I thought of this when hemming the legs of my DH’s trousers.  I had remembered some advice given by a couture tailor about not trying to ‘nail down’ your hems and seams. He said that very often the hems on couture garments are often just caught by two or three threads in the garment itself and that is sufficient. With this in mind I made sure that only the tiniest marks were made on the outside of the trouser legs but that the hems were nice and secure. After all the expert himself assured us that our garments would not fall apart!

I have often been guilty of ‘over-sewing’. Of wanting to put too much into a garment. This is probably quite a natural reaction to having taken a lot of care and effort with whatever it is you’re making and wanting to make it ‘wear-proof’. I have, on occasions,  used inappropriate finishes in an effort to do a ‘good finish’, e.g. adding seam tape and bias binding to seams that didn’t really need it and that ultimately spoilt the hang of the garment – and yes, ‘nailing down hems’ too.

Let’s make it quite clear though, I am not advocating shoddy or quick finishes. It is important to be proud of your work and to finish anything you make to the best of your abilities. The couturier was merely reminding us to direct our energies to what really matters and to finish delicately. The inside of a garment should be as beautiful as the outside, if not more so. Despite the fact that few will ever see it, you will know and make wearing the clothes far more pleasurable.

It is odd how various snippets of sewing gems come to mind whilst doing the most mundane of sewing jobs, but it confirms what we all know, that the wealth of sewing knowledge out there is invaluable. Tips we think we may never need can often be used in unexpected ways. We can never know enough and would we want to anyway? That would mean the end of a very enjoyable journey in increasing our knowledge and skills. Don’t you agree?

Posted in dressmaking, FIBRE CRAFTS, handmade, Life a Work In Progress, me-made wardrobe, Sewing | 4 Comments


Literally,- as to date I haven’t yet managed to get take any photographs of recently completed makes, so apart from listing them [just so that I don’t forget myself where I am] – show and tell will have to wait a bit I’m afraid. We’re very happy that our #3 daughter and husband have come over from New York for the family wedding in June. Lot’s of family visits [Cheshire, Sussex and Leicestershire] So lots of driving for me on the cards but taking it fairly easily in between.

Just for the record, the list of finished items to date yet to be photographed are; Black jacquard Islander jacket #4; the Badgley Mischka V1399 dress [in Royal Blue] pattern pictured in previous post; 3 skirts [assorted, one self drafted] and a Burda style ‘chanel’ cardigan jacket. The list is growing so I will have to find the time for the camera to come out soon. Although I signed up for the Craftsy course for the Badgley Mischka dress I didn’t use it as it really was as Vogue say ‘Easy’, so I just cracked on without and sewed it up. It went together without any problems and I am quite happy with it. It will probably be my ‘wedding’ dress -i.e. my grand daughter’s wedding, not mine.

So a busy time ahead for a couple of weeks, but I thought I would check in just in case you thought I’d dropped of the planet. Back soon.



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Summer, that is. Yesterday was a truly beautiful English Summer’s day [I’m not being separatist, it is merely where I  live and have weather!*]. The sun was warm, almost hot, and there was just the slightest breeze. The birds were singing their little hearts out and all was right with my world, the bees were buzzing and the chickens laying and enjoying dust baths – idyllic? Yes, but only for the day. Today, in the true tradition of English weather [see supra*] it is grey and dismal, cold and raining. So I guess yesterday was Summer.

Now after many long years of knowing that is usually the case, why do I mention it? Because today I wanted to take photographs. Poor photographer that I am, even I know that you need some light to take reasonable photographs – and that we have not got.

I have another post waiting to go that just needs a couple of ‘after’ photographs. I also need to take photographs of my latest make – another Islander Express jacket in lovely black Jaeger jacquard fabric. This is the fourth time of making this jacket and I never cease to be amazed at how well drafted it is. The pieces go together perfectly. Janet Pray never disappoints,  unlike the English weather unfortunately.

On another note, I have signed up for the Craftsy ‘Inside Vogue’ series to make this dress.


I have a wedding to go and wondered if this might do. Another make outside my usual style, but that seems to be the theme lately. I’ll be back when the sun comes out [don’t hold your breath].


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REVIEW – Islander Motor City Jacket -CRAFTSY

biker jacket

   I chose this course and this pattern for several reasons. Not in any order – they are; [i] I really like Janet Pray’s Craftsy Classes. She shows you really practical and efficient ways of doing something you thought you were doing well for years [and were wrong] and [ii] I really wanted to move away from my usual style of jacket and stretch my skills a little. This jacket is a little out of my comfort zone for style and incorporates details I have never tackled before. A definite challenge and one I couldn’t resist.

With the aid of  a previous class I have made three of these jackets below with the help of Janet’s ‘Sew Better,  Sew Faster’ course and I learned a great deal, so I’m glad I took that class. Janet has a clear and simple way of explaining and debunks many sewing myths we previously accepted without question.

Island systems 004

001ice cream lady 006

So how did I fare with this latest course? I won’t say that it was without some problems. Mainly of my own making. Mostly with buying the zips.  The Motor City jacket has 7 zips. Four zipped pockets, a zip on each sleeve and an asymmetrical zip up the front. I originally bought all open ended zips and had to get the proper ones for the pockets as the open ended zips are generally too heavy and clunky to fit small pockets and unnecessary anyway.

Despite having worked through one of Janet’s classes before and eventually getting my head round her order of working to sew the previous jackets, I still had to get used to it again this time which tells me that I didn’t adapt fully to this method to use at other times. Most of us are used to sewing a garment in the designated way the pattern dictates but Janet introduces as many industrial methods of working into a home sewing environment as possible which means sewing in an order you may not be used to but speeds up the process. The sewing is divided into sections which follow a logical order and all the sewing is done in that section before pressing. I must admit that is the hardest part for me, I am so used to pressing as I go – an inefficient way of doing things, but ingrained. I must admit it is far smoother to do things Janet’s way.

This pattern is well drafted and the only difficult part for you to do is trace off the pattern accurately [rather like Burda, but less confusing] and add all the markings to your pieces. After that it is a piece of cake and it all goes together like clockwork. The instructions are clear [not like Burda] and the video and the booklet really leave no room for error.


I have finished my jacket. I made it in a charcoal fine needlecord and put in a black ‘silky’ lining, probably some form of man-made but quite soft and fine and used black zips. I had toyed with the idea of coloured zips but my natural conservatism [small ‘c’] won out.  I am very happy with the finished garment and have already worn it a couple of times. #3 daughter tells me I mustn’t wear it with a skirt only trousers, so I have dutifully worn it with trousers so far, but it does feel a bit ‘biker-chick’, definitely not something I am comfortable with,  so I shall be wearing it with skirts more often than not I expect. But I am most happy that I now have the confidence to tackle projects that at one time I would have avoided and my standards have gone up a notch. Thanks Janet.

Posted in coats and jackets, dressmaking, FIBRE CRAFTS, handmade, Life a Work In Progress, me-made wardrobe, Sewing, Works in Progress | 4 Comments