Is my knitting surge a symptom of this totally rubbish summer?

I’m not sure. But it’s highly likely that my recent desire to stay inside and curl up and knit has an awful lot to do with the lack of sunshine and summer opportunities. There have been a few nice times, don’t get me wrong, but overall: what were you thinking, summer?

On the plus side, I have made some excellent progress with my Slovene stripey jumper. The pattern is Leslie Weber’s ‘Tweedy Stripey’ and it’s free on Ravelry. I’d been admiring the pattern for a while, and when I was in Ljubljana and discovered the Soven wool shop, I knew that this rustic, slightly itchy wool would be perfect. That might not sound so appealing, but a) I can condition it, and b) it’s so nice and sheepy! I love proper wool. This still has occasional bits of straw in it and everything – lovely stuff.

Slovene Stripey Jumper

I’ve got 15 rows to go before I finish the back piece. This is a big piece of knitting, too – as you can see from the pattern it’s an oversize garment with a lot of ease, and a fairly industrial style. I’ve managed to plough through a lot of it this weekend, as since I mastered knitting in the car, it has revolutionised my production times. I will post some more progress pictures soon, and you can find all the wool and project details on my Ravely project page. Has anyone else felt like knitting more due to rubbish weather? I miss summer sewing!

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House of Pinheiro’s #sewphotohop

I ‘met’ so many nice people on Instagram today! I hadn’t seen anything about the ‘photo hop’ idea beforehand, but I saw it  when I got up this morning, and spontaneously decided to take a picture and say hi. I’m really glad I did – I saw so many cool outfits that people had made!

I liked being able to say a bit more about myself and my sewing inspiration than the small Instagram bio usually allows. When I had to think ‘ok, what other than my love of making things really describes why I love sewing’, I realised I couldn’t leave out my other major life investment: learning languages. I guess I tend to keep them separate, knowing that one is ‘work’ and the other is ‘down time’. But obviously the places that I’ve travelled to and the countries that I’ve lived in have really influenced my tastes in colour, design and patterns. Today made me think that I’d like join these two great loves of mine a bit more, and make the most of them. Or at least, not feel the need to keep them apart so much. Who knows, maybe I’ll find someone out there who has already made the Soviet dress patterns that I’ve been dreaming up for some time now!

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So I liked the #sewphotohop a lot today. I’m really looking forward to seeing more creations by the people that said hello today, and I’m hoping to be able to share a few finished items of my own soon too.

More mustard please!

A few weeks ago I finally finished my first ever crocheted garment: the Joanne Scrace Summer Cardigan. And it’s in what is probably my favourite colour ever: mustard. This has been such a satisfying project to make; the texture of the stitch pattern, the seam-free construction, lightweight nature of it… it’s one I’d definitely recommend! Oh, and the colour is perfect:

 

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The pattern was from Simply Crochet issue 20. I remember at the time of finding the pattern that I was gutted to discover the total cost of the project when I tallied up suggested yarn. It was yarn by Eden Cottage, and it looked beautiful. I didn’t think it was overpriced – when you acknowledge the work that goes into creating such a lovely product – it’s just way out of my current life budget. I chose a more affordable 4-ply, the Cascade merino blend, and I’m really pleased with the results:

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If I made this again, what would I do differently? Well, I’d try and be stricter with counting (a life lesson in general, I think!). It was so satisfying to be able to treble relatively freely for the main body, that when it came to doing the delicate rib in half-trebles around the waistband, I was almost annoyed that I had to concentrate! I had to go back several times because my waistband started sloping and had got narrower and narrower without me realising. D’oh. Secondly, I might think a bit more about the sleeves. As you can see from the photo, I’m wearing the cuffs rolled up, which I actually quite like, but it’s also to shorten the length. It’s partly my style too I guess, as I usually have my sleeves rolled up. But next time I could tailor the length and shape of the sleeves a bit more to my taste.

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It’s a very soft lightweight yarn – which is lovely to wear, although already after a few wears I’ve noticed that it gets a bit baggy. So this yarn doesn’t hold it’s shape amazingly well, but as it’s not a particularly formal garment anyway, it’s not crucial. It’s a lesson learnt, and I’m just going to have to be extra careful with washing it.

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Here’s a picture of the finished cardigan ‘in real life’ – thanks to Rebekah for the photo!

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So now it’s back to the other projects I have on the go: a second sock, and an Elizabeth Zimmerman baby cardigan!

The Refashioners 2015

Thanks to @elisalex’s regram, this morning I learned of #therefashioners2015 & I immediately had to go upstairs to rummage for old shirts! I was a bit disappointed to only find white ones, but then I thought what a great blank canvas this will make! Can’t wait to see how this turns out. More info at @portialawrie ✂️

Can it please be yesterday again, when I got to hang out with 6 lovely people and sew all day and geek out over sewing books and magazines? Will be writing about the #Camber Dress Weekend with #Thimble soon! Here’s a spoiler: I LOVE my dress! #sewing #dressmaking #merchantandmills #Wales

Just over a week ago I was in Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia – one of my favourite places in the whole world. I went on my first research trip, to do some interviews for my PhD. It was a brief, tightly-packed trip, but on the first Sunday of my trip I took some time out to take advantage of the Sunday museum openings and have some creative time. I did a tour of the newly-renovated National Gallery, and then went to the Ethnographic Museum to have a look at some of the textile collections. I thought I’d share some pictures of some of my favourite things that I saw.

The printing blocks were used for indigo dyeing (‘modrotisk’) and the final pattern shows a sample of hand-dyed samples. I loved the embroidery too – lots of beautiful details on towels, tablecloths, runners and napkins. I just love this colour combination.

I gathered a bit of info on these traditional techniques though I haven’t had a chance to go through the language yet. Too much actual translation work to be done first! I’d love to be able to translate some of the histories and share them… soon, I hope!

Such a packed #bankholiday weekend! I completely forgot about #mmmay15 because I was so excited about seeing SFA, but I did make this little purse at the amazing @debbiebryanshop! #handstitching #textiles #clasppurse #slowembroidery #painting #acrylic #puffin

There are people who do not care about their personal spaces. They are real, they exist, and I have sat awkwardly in their practical, impersonal bedroom feeling confused and explosive. No pictures or trinkets, books and clothes only where they are supposed to be. Perhaps the only spaces they need are internal. They don’t seem to notice the absence. They freak me out, like people who would contentedly exchange a sumptuous meal for a nutritional pill.

They are my antithesis. I live wholeheartedly in the physical world. I am a godless heathen, but I am also content and easily pleased.

Charlotte Humphery, Oh Comely (24, 2015)