Friday, 30 September 2011

More Fabric

I bought some more fabric while in the cheap shop in Lewisham.  They had loads of choice in there for £1 a metre and the rest of the shop was like an aladdin's cave.  I didn't have much money on me at the time so I just bought three fabrics at £1 a metre, I got two metres of each as that is enough to make a top out of.  I have already used one piece for my last top, and these are the other two I bought.

This one is a similar fabric to the other one I used, an open weave with a printed pattern on it.  It is very pretty and will make a nice top and hopefully a bag as well.  I don't know what style of top to make yet, I haven't decided.

This is the other fabric that was just £1 a metre, it is a nice soft man made fabric and will also make a lovely top.  This fabric is more flowing than the other one.

I went in the local charity shop yesterday and found a nice bit of fabric in there which was a bonus as I don't usually find fabric in there.  The piece looks to be about 2 metres or may be a bit more, I haven't measured it yet.  It cost me £2.99 which is a good price again.  It is a chiffon like fabric.

The photo makes it look shiny but it isn't, it is just the light from the flash on the fabric.  I am hoping to get myself a top out of it and also one for my eldest daughter as well.

Two New Tops

I made myself two new tops this week.  The first one was from some fabric I bought online in a sale, it cost me less than £3 for the piece of fabric so a nice cheap top.  I used a top I already had as a pattern.  I was a bit worried that the fabric doesn't stretch at all and the top I was using was made from jersey t-shirt fabric but I made the bottom slightly wider and it fitted nicely.  The neckline has pleats across the front and it has capped sleeves.

The second top is also made from using a top I already have as a pattern.  The front has a plaque fitted with ruffles on it and looped buttonholes.  I couldn't find enough pretty buttons that matched for the top so I decided to use a variety of colours and styles that went together nicely.  The neck has ruffles around it as well and it has elastic around the neck to pull it in.  The fabric for this top was only £1 a metre in a shop in Lewisham where we went the other day.  It is quite an open weave fabric with the pattern printed on it.  The fabric feels a little like old fashioned cheese cloth.  

I have enough of this fabric left over to make a shoulder bag out of so it is going to work out really good value for money.


I have finished off the cardigan I was making.  It took me about two weeks to make it altogether.  The hardest part was the collar as there were so many stitches and you had to make sure they were properly spaced so that the increasing for the shawl collar would work and be in the middle.  I was getting into a right muddle at first as the circular needles I had were the kind that the ends just pop off if you pull it hard and what with having so many stitches as well, I think it was 378 altogether at one time.  In the end I managed to find my Mum's old knitting needles and found a better circular needle in there and once I got the amount of stitches sorted it wasn't too bad doing.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

What I Have Been Up To The Last Week

I have not been able to finish anything off the last week as my machine has been away so I was concentrating on my knitting.  I have managed to get quite a long way and have done two fronts, the back and one and a half sleeve so not a lot more to do.

On Sunday I went to a craft fair (it was mostly quilting) at Hever Castle in Kent.  It was a lovely day, they had one big marquee that had all the beautiful quilts in, it was very inspiring to have a look at them all, lots of different design ideas.  Then there was another large marquee full of fabric stalls.  I was so spoilt for choice in there that I spent over an hour just drooling over the items on display.  I ended up buying four different fabrics, a metre of each which I want to use for making bags.

When I got home I still had some money left over and I had seen some of my virtual friends telling about a fabric sale on one website so I had a look and found they had loads of gorgeous fabrics on there going cheap.  I ordered two fabrics, a metre of each to make some more bags, and then I ordered a remnant of dressmaking fabric to make myself a top out of.  There was also some interfacing that was only 25p a metre so I ordered 4 metres of two different weights which I use frequently.  The parcel turned up yesterday and it is all really nice stuff.

This morning I couldn't resist going up to have a sort out of my new stash and decided to cut out some bags so that I would have them ready when my sewing machine came back.  The last time I made some bags I had cut out some extra linings anyway and had stitched some of these together so I had a head start.  I want to make four of the bags as presents for Christmas next year and I decided to cut another five out while I was at it.

I managed to get the linings cut out for all nine bags and the outer bits cut out for 6 of them.  By then I was getting too tired to continue and just as I was packing away the bloke knocked with my sewing machine.  I have got it out of the box and set it up ready for next time.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Knitting - How I Manage To Remember Where I Am In My Pattern

I have been having a break from the sewing as I have had a few troubles with my machine lately so save throwing it out of the window I decided to leave it for a little while and do a bit of knitting instead.  Then may be when I go back to it I will find I can sort it out with a clear head.

My youngest daughter bought me this pattern when she went on holiday with her friend as a present lol, hoping I would knit it for her.

It takes 800 grams of aran yarn to make it in her size (I am glad its one of the smaller sizes) so I looked about for a good deal, then the other day I was up out town and saw a new stall in our market selling wool and they had just the right thing I was looking for.  It is a similar yarn type in looks to the one in the picture but the flecks in it are a bit more coloured than just brown flecks.  The wool cost me just under £10 for the two 400g balls.

I have finished the left front already and last night I sat and did the rib for the other front.  I was too tired to make a start on the pattern yet.

When I do knitting for something like this I always make myself up a piece of paper to help me keep a check of where I am up to and when to do my decreasing etc, and I can then check that the other side is exactly the same as the first when it says something like work until the piece measures so and so.  What I do is I get a piece of a4 paper.  Now say after the rib it says work until it measures 35cm, then I would draw on the paper some small circles in rows of ten in a row.  Inside these circles I put what row I am up to on my pattern (the aran pattern goes over 28 rows then starts again), then every time I finish a row I stick the knitting needle through the circle to make a hole and I can remember where I am up to and what the next row will be on my pattern.  I then keep working until the piece measures what I want it to be and then I mark this row on my piece of paper with a bigger circle around the outside so on the next side I will know where to stop knitting.

Then I carry on with the circles in rows of tens (makes it easier to count them if I have to) and mark the decreasing for the fronts by marking an X through the circles of the rows that need a decrease, then I mark the decrease rows for the armholes with a square around the circle of the rows that need to decrease.  This way I can see at a glance as I make a hole through the paper what row I need to do next in my aran pattern and whether I need to decrease either end.

When I finished the first front I then copy out the pattern I have made up onto another piece of A4 and I can get the second front exactly to match the first without keep having to count rows and check the pattern.

This is also a good idea for knitting the back to the same lengths to match the front with the armhole decreasing etc.  And then I would make an entirely new one for the sleeves so that they are the same.

I hope this idea might help someone else who has trouble remembering where they are up to in a pattern whilst knitting.  It is so easy to do and is a godsend for me.