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!

Sunday 15 August 2021

Cinema Dress

If there's one pattern that I've bought more fabric for than any other it's the Liesl + Co Cinema Dress.

I've been meaning to make it since forever (well, since the pattern release in 2014) and I would buy 3m cuts of nice linens and then invariably use them for something else.

I pulled out one such stash of fabric recently thinking it would work for a different pattern and decided that I really had to stop doing that and make this pattern. Why not? I can't go to the cinema, I can't go to the beach and stand around a nice marina for photographs, can't do much of anything....but maybe an impractical, loud, linen dress would be just the thing for my lockdown mood...

I'm not often one to make muslins, but I knew enough about this pattern to know not to just dive in. A lot of reviews mention the sleeve head being too tight and it being impossible to raise one's arms. I also knew that I wouldn't be wanting to do up buttons behind me every time I got dressed/undressed so I had to make sure not to overfit the pattern.

I can take it on and off without any unbuttoning, and this, below, may be the only photo of anyone wearing a Cinema Dress and hitting the #justtouchyourhair pose :)

I was going to take photos of my process and pattern tissues but that involved a lot of semi-nudity and now it's all folded away. Here's what I did. I traced off the size 12 which was the larger of the two pattern sizes that my measurements fell between. 

I trace all my patterns onto the Trace and Toile interfacing and it's easy to then sew that together for a tissue fitting. I sewed the front bodice and back bodice pattern pieces together and set the sleeve in. Sure enough the sleeve was tight across my upper arm, the shoulder was off the edge of me and I couldn't move.

So I pulled out the Recital Shirt pattern (similar princess seam bust so I'd thought things might line up - they didn't) and referenced the sleeve shape and armscye from that.

In all, I raised the underarm by almost 3/4". Shaved about 1/2" off the width of the shoulder and then widened the sleeve head considerably. At that point I cut some quilting cotton and made another half bodice, one-sleeved muslin. The only further change was to take about 1/2" off the height of the sleeve as it was too poofy.

With the armscye and sleeve completely redrafted, the rest of the dress is the straight size 12. It's a perfectly comfortable, light, throw on summer dress but feels quite dressed up. Liesl has a black linen one that I am jealous of every time I see it. Now that I've got the pattern sorted I could definitely have a less "vibrant" one.

These white plastic buttons were in the stash and suited the dress perfectly. I'm glad not to have to undo them and happy to forego a more fitted waist. The dress is still quite shapely even though it feels like a comfy sack dress to wear.

The fabric came from the remnants pile at Drapers Fabrics and is a really nice feeling linen/tencel. I'm glad I kept it for this dress as I'd intended all along.

Now I really do want a Melbourne black version too.

Friday 6 August 2021

Lockdown leisurewear - Noord Sweatshirt

Not getting out much (read: at all) and so I've been absolutely loving the latest addition to my comfy wardrobe. I am living, 24/7, in this long sleeved T-shirt.

This is the Noord Sweatshirt from Liesl + Co in the most lovely wool/cotton double knit from Fabric Deluxe.

It was a bit of a spur of the moment make. I'd just finished something else that was relatively complex, had an idea for the next thing that was even more complex and just hankered for a quick and easy bit of knit sewing in between.

The pattern was the perfect match for this fabric. the reason being that the fabric was a faulty remnant. I'd picked it up at Fabric Deluxe from their remnants section (one of the best!) thinking it might make a top for one of the kids.

It's a really soft, lovely double knit. I was never going to let the kids have it, was I? Chocolate, fine merino knit on one side and soft, cream cotton knit on the other. The piece was a good size but had a lot of fine holes running along one long edge.

After I'd given it a super gentle wash cycle there were lots of little holes running along both edges. I'd need a pattern with multiple small panels rather than a standard T-shirt pattern. Enter the Noord. Designed for colour blocking the pattern had interesting panels and seams and it fitted EXACTLY on my patchy, holey remnant with not an inch to spare.

The nice hi-low split hem is finished with a facing. Here you can see the fabric's underside. If I could buy more of this fabric and make a whole lockdown suit I would, trust me.

I made a straight size L with my measurements falling between the M and L sizes. I knew I wanted slouchy, full comfort and so happily erred on the larger side. For a T-shirt weight like this I could easily use the M and just follow the L sleeve and body length.

Verdict: Hate lockdowns. Love the leisurewear.