Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Harry Potter knitting

Before it's forgotten altogether I need to get this project on the blog.

I made the rookie error of completing the much asked for Book Week costume Harry Potter scarf and beanie in sufficient time that, a week later, when book week dress up day came around the novelty had worn off. Potter was out of favour and I was making the last minute Malory Towers dress. You'd think I would have learned by now. ;)


At the peak of her HP obsession, A dragged me to a Harry Potter shop over in Fitzroy which is actually quite a neat conversion of an old terrace house. A shop downstairs and Potter themed cafe upstairs. She bought herself a tie with her pocket money and really, really wanted s scarf too. I said, "I could knit that..."


The scarf took forever as the whole thing is knit in 1x1 rib which I believe is slow knitting even if you're not already a slow, novice knitter.

The beanie was much more fun and actually went along quite quickly

Both are knit in super cheap Stallion 8 ply acrylic from Spotlight, which is really very soft and pleasant.

The scarf is based on the Harry Potter Slytherin House Scarf pattern although I used 3.5mm needles, cast on only80 stitches and did only 9 repeats of the pattern. The original pattern in a finer wool and smaller needles would take me FOREVER to knit.

The hat is the Hogwarts House Hats pattern by Sarah Belcher. 4.5mm needles for ribbing and 5.0 for hat. Only other modification was 4 rows of ribbing in each colour rather than 3. This was really fun to knit and I'm a little sad to have not seen her wear it yet. But, for a $2/ball outlay, I was much happier to spend less than $20 and a lot of time for a passing fad than the official merchandise retail price!



Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Lockdown crochet critters

 How can you tell how long I've been in lockdown?..

...by the number of crochet animals around the house.

Melbourne has, I think, just won the world record for the city with the most number of days in lockdown. If I can't celebrate that with a blogpost about crocheted critters, what I can do?*



This is "Georgie" who was a request from A when she was flipping through my Crochet Wild Animals book.

I was ordering some yarn online for a different project and it seemed easy enough to through in some cotton for this one. I think it's a Bergere de France yarn, but I appear to have tossed the wrapper already




It was a fun little project to make and those horns (ossicones, to be precise) are just too cute!



The primary reason I was yarn shopping, late at night, on my phone was for a different project.

Actually, the real reason is because we were STILL in lockdown and late night wine fuelled online shopping is what you do when there is * (see footnote) else to do

We have a bit of a gap under our front door and the cold winter made it clear we needed a draft excluder.

Let me introduce you to Portal, the door-snake


Portal is also made form a pattern from the same book. She's crocheted in a cheap King Cole Merino blend DK that was a bit of a beast to work with as it tended to split really easily.

But the real challenge has been trying to train her to stay at her post by the front door... Here she is in a brief moment of good behaviour:


A little off duty leisure time on the carpet...


Then, good girl, back where you belong


The pattern had an error in how much of the beige/off white yarn was needed, and she lay around half finished for a bit while I waited for another ball of yarn to make it's way to me (and yes, I bought that ball late at night, with wine in hand and may have added something else to make up for paying for the shipping, see footnote)

In the end I ran out of the brown colours a repeat or two before the pattern indicated I should stop, but she was already long enough.


once she was finished, she was off!



She's stuffed with tiny scraps from the fabric bucket which gives her a bit more weight and better draught excluding properties and also makes for some interesting views of her multicoloured "guts" between the crochet stitches. 



P managed to wrestle her down out of the trees and tame her..




or did he?!!!




* sweet fuck all is the correct answer.

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Camo kids

The big kid recently put in a request for some camouflage fabric cargo pants. he doesn't ask for much, and only seems to grow upwards, so any sewing is always worth the effort.

He's wearing cargo pants from two years ago cut off and hemmed to shorts, so there's plenty of wear in one garment. Ok, I'm onto it...


Camouflage fabric is not something I usually shop for (trust me, if there was any chance this inner-urban city kid could be mistaken for someone who shoots things, these pants would NOT have happened!). The only place I could find any that was offering pandemic appropriate click and collect was Spotlight. It's described as "novelty print drill". So yeah, weird, chemical smelling painted fabric, but it fitted the purpose.


Only after I'd cut them out did he tell me the pocket was too small for his phone and asked for it to be deeper. I'd already cut something else from the leftovers, so the leftover-leftovers were small and the pocket couldn't be recut, but was extended by about two inches with a nifty diagonal addition.


The pattern is the Oliver + S Field Trip Cargo Pants (his all-time favourite) in size 12 (largest size) with 2" extra length at upper thigh and 3" extra length at the hem. The next pair of cargo pants will certainly need to be a different pattern. :(

The little kid was watching with interest and wanted a camo fabric garment of her own. 

We'd recently been talking about re-making the Hopscotch skirt, with its cute cargo-esque pockets, so that seemed the obvious choice.


Also a size 12, although this is a pattern that would be very easy to add width and length to, and keep using for some time to come.

It's the little folded pockets that look like noodle boxes that make this skirt pattern something extra...


And I figured it would both suit the fabric and styling, and save me the trouble of buttons and buttonholes, if I used snaps for the front placket. Just a few minutes with some antique brass press studs and the bench top snap setter and it was done.

She went on to make her own scrunchie out of the very teeniest leftover-lefotver fabric, but I've been remiss and not photogrpahed that.

(if the brown long sleeved tee looks familiar, it was my Metro tee from last year, that proved it's pure wool-ness by failing to survive the washing machine. Damn. I'd loved that top. Anyway, now she does too)


Saturday, 2 October 2021

Vogue 8813 - all the checks

 Ages ago I saw an inspiration image of a shirt using multiple different checked fabrics and I'd been wanting to make a dress with that idea ever since.

I found the perfect fabrics, although perhaps I chose the wrong pattern. I'm still on the fence about that part....


The checked linens all came from Fabric Deluxe. They're lovely quality linen and knowing they were all the same weight/type made me feel comfortable about mixing and matching the fabrics within the one garment.




The pattern is, of course, that Marcy Tilton dress with the puppy sized pockets.
It's been a few years since that first version I made and my mum now has that one as well as her fishy linen one.


I sized down from my previous make and started with the size M for this dress. It was certainly only a starting point as I fiddled in various ways trying to like it.

Ostensibly I was sewing view C with multiple different fabrics and the pockets left open to hang (or catch on every doorknob and counter corner in reality).

But there was just SOOOO much fabric in the front half of the dress. The gathers under the neckline were causing the centre front section to plump out like a maternity dress. The sheer volume of fabric in each side section was falling inwards and making that centre front section plump out even more.

I just wasn't feeling it, at all.

It sort of looked better when I put my hands in the pockets and pulled the dress outwards. So first I tried threading some thin hat elastic (we call it mask elastic these days, right?) into the rolled edge of the pockets. That made a wee bit of difference to the front section (maybe a trimester's worth less fabric pooling?) but now I had gathered side saddle bags to contend with as well.



So, I pulled the elastic back out and decided there was no way around it: I had to take the volume out of the centre front panel. That meant undoing all the rows of gathering stitches and then unpicking the collar. The centre front panel was cut down to width so that when it was ironed flat it was about the width that the gathered panel would have been at its narrowest point.


It still hangs a little oddly at that point where the pockets pivot off the centre panel, but when I'm wearing it, and in motion, that bothers me less than when I was trying it on and standing in front of a mirror.

I added the buttons and the pleats into the pockets in order to take out some of the saggy volume. Sadly that means some of the visual of the inner pockets being in the lightest, contrasting linen was lost. By this time I was very much of the midset thta finished was better than perfect and I was ready to knock it off and move on to somethingelse.

Having said that I wore it for a few days and really quite grew to like it. When the hotter summer days hit and I want a loose, linen tent to wear I think it will be a much loved dress. 


And, happily, there'll be enough left-over matching linens to make that button up shirt when I do tire of wearing this dress.

Details: 

Pattern: Vogue Marcy Tilton 8813 (now out of print)
Size M - with a big reduction in the front panel
Fabric: Check linens from Fabric Deluxe
Buttons: two big, chunky, black plastic button from Jimmy's that I didn't take any close up photos of.


Friday, 24 September 2021

Parachute polo dress

We had a little burst of spring weather a few weeks back that had me excited to sew again, and A was keen for a t-shirt dress with a shirt collar...


This is the Oliver + S Parachute Polo lengthened and flared to a dress. A quick and easy modification.


I used the View B "girl's sleeve', and the size 12 tracing that I already had after making P's grade 6 graduation outfit last year.


The fabric is an organic cotton knit from Nerida Hansen. It's a lovely soft cotton lycra. It was a pleasure to sew and has been washed and worn a few times already with no sign of fading or wear and tear.

The collar and pocket (accidentally made smaller than the pattern intends) was a cotton voile from the scraps bucket.

There was a little bit of the Nerida Hansen fabric left over and I wondered if it could be incorporated into the side panel of the Parachute sweatpants - since I had the pattern out already. I reached for a green ponte dress of mine that I've worn on occasion but never really liked (poofy sleeves, silly neckline etc)

There's no way the pieces of the green dress would fit on the pants pattern, but the colour match with the green leaves of the floral fabric was too goof to pass on. So, I thought why not just repurpose the skirt, exactly as it is and gather/attach it to a t-shirt top...

The top part is the some pattern from Ottobre Spring (1) 2014 that I'd made back here. It's a bit tighter in this thicker knit, and maybe cutting the front on the bias affected the fit of the original design? Anyway, it was super quick and used up some leftovers as well as clearing space in my closet. Win!  


Saturday, 4 September 2021

Music Box Malory Towers

I hadn't even photographed the painstakingly slow knitting I did for my (then) Harry Potter obsessed daughter before she'd declared that her thing was now Enid Blyton's Malory Towers.

To be honest, I wasn't even listening when she made this declaration, but I was rummaging around for fabrics to make her something and she was talking about wanting a grey tunic dress. Wha???



Well, I had the fabric and I had the pattern and it would be a doddle compared to the as yet unphotographed Potter knitwear (already shoved in a drawer). Plus, I thought it would be a cute dress. Maybe not with all the retro public school girl trimmings as above...

The fabric is a stretch, grey wool woven from The Fabric Store eons ago. I'd bought two versions of the fabric. The grey with mustard checks became this dress that my mum now wears all the time. This smaller cut has tiny pink grid lines instead of mustard. It's lovely fabric and I would have kept it for myself for a shirt but there wouldn't have been enough.


There was just enough for this size 12 Music Box Jumper by Oliver + S. It barely fits and I think it's only the lycra content that has let me get away with it, but she loves it.

I added 3/4" to the bodice length and one extra button at the bottom. It's basically View B but under no circumstances was I allowed to do the central inverted box pleat or the cute littel pockets flaps. I just gathered the front skirt instead of a pleat. Here's a cute view B from way back with box pleat and pockets flaps with bugs!!




With a rather small cape, and a very small boater hat she took part in the last minute scramble that was an online book week dress up. If only we had a vintage looking lacrosse stick







Monday, 23 August 2021

Nettle bath mitt

Last year, for my husband for Christmas, I bought a hemp string knitted bath mitt thing to replace an old microplastic shedding thing. The new bath mitt cost a lot, it shed lots of natural fibres that did no harm to the planet, but it all fell apart in no time.

So of course I figured I could make one myself...


I started with the shopping part and bought some jute, some hemp and some nettle. One of those would be perfect, surely. All came from String Harvest.

I thought I'd try the nettle first. Front row on the right in the image above.


I invented my own knitted bath mitt pattern and thought I'd cleverly make notes, but now that I look at my own notes 3 months later I can hardly make any sense of them.

I'll write out the "pattern" at the end of the blogpost, but if it's wrong then don't call me out on it, please! I've held out this long before writing the blog post as I wanted to see how it worked and how it held up to the rigours of being used by Flipper on a daily basis. A cyclist who shaves is a pretty good testing ground for a loofah mitt!


The nettle felt suitably "scrubby" when dry, but actually softens up quite nicely when wet. Your mileage may vary, but my bloke must be tough as he has declared wet nettle to be "not scrubby enough" as a substrate for a bath mitt.

I'm pleased to say it hasn't looked like falling apart at all, so I'm yet to try the hemp or jute as long as this one still looks like new. In the first few days there was quite a bit of flaky, ash type stuff falling off it. Since then it has remained stable with no odour and seems to be the perfect yarn for a bath mitt for the more delicate amongst us!


Nettle Bath Mitt Pattern:

Materials: String Harvest handspun nettle 100g ball

The mitt is made by making two identical pieces and then joining the around the edge with single crochet.

Wind the ball into two 50g balls so the yarn can be held double throughout the following instructions

Using size 4.0 needles and stretchy long tail cast on, CO 21 stitches
Leave a longer tail than needed for the casting on as it will also be used for the hanging loop
knit 8 rows of 1x1 rib for the cuff.
For the body of the mitt change to size 5.0 needles.
The pattern then kind of follows a double moss stitch pattern for a bit of extra texture.
Row 1: knit to end
Row 2: (P1, K1) to end
Row 3: (K1, P1) to end
Row 4: (K1, P1) to end
Row 5: (P1, K1) to end
Repeat rows 2 to 5 another 4 times, finishing on row 21 

then I started reducing to shape the curve at the top of the mitt.

Row 22: P1, SSK, (K1, P1) to last 3 stitches, K2tog, P1
Row 23: K1, P1, P1, (K1, P1) to last 3 stitches, P1, P1, K1
Row 24: Repeat row 23
Row 25: P1, K1, K1 (P1, K1) to last 3 stitches, K1, K1, P1
Row 26: P1, SSK, (P1, K1) to last 3 stitches, K2tog, P1
Row 27: (K1, P1) to end
Row 28: Repeat row 27
Row 29: (P1, K1) to end
Row 30: P1, SSK, (K1, P1) to last 3 stitches, K2tog, P1
Row 31: K1, P1, P1, (K1, P1) to last 3 stitches, P1, P1, K1
Row 32: repeat row 31
Row 33: P1, K1, K1 (P1, K1) to last 3 stitches, K1, K1, P1
Row 34: P1, SSK, (P1, K1) to last 3 stitches, K2tog, P1
Row 35: (K1, P1) to end
Row 36: repeat row 35
Row 37: (P1, K1) to end
Row 38: P1, SSK, (P1, K1) to last 3 stitches, K2tog, P1
Row 39: K1, P1, P1, (K1, P1) to last 3 stitches, P1, P1, K
Row 40: P1, K1, K1 (P1, K1) to last 3 stitches, K1, K1, P1
Row 41: P1, SSK, (P1, K1) to last 3 stitches, K2tog, P1
Row 42: (K1, P1) to end
Row 43: K1, SSK, P1, K1, P1, K2tog, P1
Row 44: P1, K1, K1, P1, K1, K1, P1
Row 45: cast off

Make a second side identical to the first. On this one there's no need for the longer cast on tail.

Put the two pieces wrong sides together and using a size 4 crochet hook and still using two strands of the nettle, join the pieces with single crochet stitches all around the edges. Start on the side without the long tail from the cast on. At the finish on the side with the long tail, join those two yarn threads with the two yarn threads being used for the joining crochet and then crochet a chain using all four nettle threads. This will be the hanging loop.

I'm hopeful that if and when this nettle version fall apart the hemp twine can be used in teh same way. that's if my instructions make any sense. the Hemp is much thicker and will need a full redesign. Or maybe I'll just make a shopping bag instead!