Friday 17 December 2021

Concert time

In his first year of high school, P decided to learn a musical instrument, and I was happy that he got to do the double bass.

He was really enjoying it, and so when I got the 10 day notice of the end of year concert and the need for a black, smart casual outfit I jumped into action

I went straight to Ottobre,and those are about the only patterns that suit 13 year old boys. In the winter 6/2012 edition there were exactly the patterns I needed. A button up shirt (pattern 37) and a pair of chino style trousers (pattern 39)

I made both to his measurements, which landed him in size 164, adding one inch each to leg length and sleeve length, from memory. 

The trousers have a single welt pocket on the back which I somehow managed to completely stuff up (it was an instagram story reel if you enjoyed the opportunity to laugh at/with me). I ended up with an enclosed pocket that acted like a flap, and a very neat welt opening that just functioned as a hole into the pants under the pocket flap. Oops. Anyway, I simply topstitched the pocket flap to the trousers and called it a design element. The welt then lead into a "pocket" formed by the pants and the double thickness pocket flap and at least you couldn't tickle his butt through the opening!

The rest of the construction was smooth sailing, and I really should remember to look at the Ottobre website, as, although their instructions are sparse and sometimes unclear, there are some photo tutorials for things like back welt pockets.

Although now I remember there were some curious instructions for finishing the waistband so that it could be let out later. I didn't quite understand them either, so I simply tried it on him and then adjusted the centre back seam before attaching the waistband.

The shirt was simple, although I did make some construction changes and give it "the Oliver + S treatment". I doubled the yoke so I could have a back yoke facing and enclose all the seam allowances.

All the fabrics were in the stash. The pants was the very last of some Eliza drill and the shirt was some lovely antique washed cotton from fabric Deluxe - leftover from a dress of mine that I'm yet to photograph.

I finished everything in perfect time and went off to work on Tuesday morning, the day of the concert, only to get a phone call in the afternoon to say he'd rolled his ankle in gym class and needed collecting. Barely three hours before the concert I rushed out of work, picked him up from school, whisked him off to A&E for xrays, got him fitted in a moon boot (minor non displaced fracture) and then had him at the school concert in time. 

In his own words : At least the moon boot is black!

Monday 13 December 2021

Thea top, seventies skirts and Empower lace scarf

Back in March, soon after I finished my first knitted garment, the Basic-T, I started another.

I bought a yarn that was the same length per gram and figured that meant I didn't need to swatch, It should knit up the same, right? Apparently no. First up I noticed the yarn had a colour variation that was leading to ugly "pooling" of light and dark patches. So I ripped back and started over alternating each round between two balls. I was almost finished before I tried it on, realised it was far too small and that I'd never have enough yarn to start over with another needle size. 

So I turned to another one of Suzanne Mueller's patterns that I liked: the Thea Top

It's a simple tank top, knit in the round form the bottom up. In a new-to-me technique some stitches are then set aside wile one shoulder after the other is worked.

Finally, the annoying bit, the stitches are picked up around the neckline and the armholes to add the ribbing. I'm still not sure I know what I'm doing and it's hard to be sure that I'm picking up the right bit. in some places it looks neater than others. 

The yarn is Vinnis Colours Nikkim in Chestnut from Handmake Create. 
After the weird, too small sizing with the BasicT I swatched and moved up to  a 4.5mm needle. I've made the size L as per measurements. 

The sizing is perfect, but the shoulder straps do look wider on my version than the pattern cover version. 

The skirt I'm wearing here is the seventies, bias cut, yoked skirt that got  a brief mention back here.

That reminded me that I never put the second version up on the blog. This one, made in a linen/cotton from Fabric Deluxe is a definite improvement. 
I ignored the pattern's too small, cut-on pockets and instead drafted my own. I used some other pattern's more generous pocket outline and this technique for side seam pockets that behave! I like it much better for all that.

The next bit of knitting that I did, just for the fun of learning a new technique was the Empower lace scarf

I'd bought this one skein of DK weight yarn from Fibresmith and didn't have a plan for it. This seemed a fun project. the lace, which is quiet basic, kept me on my toes and there was plenty of ripping back. Eventually I worked out that leaving a veritable ladder of lifelines was what would get me to the end!

It's knit as a big triangle and then a short end on the bottom left is sewn to the top short end to make a neck cowl or scarf.

that gives it a bit of a baby's bib vibe, or bandana. I'm not convinced I like it, or will ever wear it, but it was definitely and good brain exercise to knit it up.

Sunday 5 December 2021

Another year, another crochet crustacean

It's not often that Flipper pays any attention to what I'm making, and even rarer for him to express an interest in something to be made for him...

So when he he leaned over one evening and asked if I could make him a lobster, you better believe I dropped everything and said "Yes! I can! That's how awesome I am! Thanks for asking".

Some work project of his had been given the codename "project lobster" and he felt the need for a mascot.

I already had the pattern as there's a lobster pattern in the book: Crochet Sea Creatures by Vanessa Mooncie. It's been quite well used, since I've made a hermit crab, starfish, jellyfish and a sea anemone

All I needed was the yarn. The closest match I could find online to the pattern yarn was The Fiddlsticks Finch 10ply cotton. I followed the pattern re hook size, but it does have that annoying openness that looks crappy in amigurumi. But, had I dropped a hook size or two to get a denser body I would never have been able to make the legs. All eight of those with one full hook size smaller than the body was insanely fiddly.

He is a pleasing full pot sized lobster:

And I believe has already joined  a few team meetings