Saturday, 29 June 2013

knit 2, purl 2

Winter is a great time for knitting and making a teeny, tiny dent in the yarn stash I have.  Of course, if I knit something then I think I am justified in buying more yarn to replace the yarn I have used as well as buying a little extra as part of my doomsday preparations.   My Brownie leader would be proud of me and my eagerness to "always be prepared".

With 31 million sheep you could be forgiven for thinking that New Zealand produces an abundance of fancy yarns and that there are hundreds of little independent yarn dyeing ventures.  Unfortunately, that doesn't appear to be the case.  So, whenever I am overseas I like to look at buy yarn that doesn't seem to be readily available in New Zealand... or, at least, that is what I tell my husband when I can't get my bag closed and I exceed my luggage allowance.

While I was in New York in December last year I bought some soft, baby alpaca yarn from Purl Soho. I started knitting immediately and finished early in the New Year.  The pattern was Big Sweater, Little Pockets by Kate Schoren and purchased from Ravelry.

 size 4

My version should be renamed Big Sweater, No Pockets. This was the perfect top to make because the short sleeves did not need much yarn:  I had worried that I wouldn't have enough yarn to finish and I unsuccessfully returned to the shop to try to get another skein.  Luckily, I had more than enough.

This sweater was knitted in the round so there was no seaming to do and no untidy selvedge edges to hide.  And there were several new (to me) techniques to try like the tubular cast-on and the suspended bind-off.

Apparently Rosa is happy to wear this item because it is super soft and not "scratchy" like a lot of knits.

I recently finished another top for Rosa: Tama by Kelly Brooker

size 4

This was knitted from Noro silk garden yarn I purchased from the Mendocino Yarn Shop in June last year. I don't recall where I bought the buttons but I think they are made from Fimo and the colours of the flowers seemed well suited to this yarn.

 This was a top-down knit.  After the buttonhole band and raglan shaping were knitted, the rest was finished on a circular needle.  I love not having to do any seaming - just a few ends to sew in and some buttons to sew on!

I am not a very good knitter and I despair about the state of my sloppy selvedges and my backwards knitting (I knit left-handed so things like button bands are often reversed unless I can be bothered to reverse the instructions which I obviously couldn't be bothered to do this time!).  I have become a regular reader of Arenda Holladay's blog.  Arenda is a master knitter and her weekly post is full of knowledgeable tips and expert explanations so I'm hoping some of it will rub off on me...

Finally, one of the sweaters I most enjoyed knitting last year was Owlet by Kate Davies.  I plan to make another one soon but surprisingly will have to purchase some chunky yarn to do so

size 2
Made for a colleague's daughter

And just to prove how essential a stash is, the mohair yarn I used in this sweater was purchased in 2002 in Melbourne and patiently waited for the perfect pattern!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Bedtime bunnies

When I was training, I worked with a woman who would suggest to parents that they get their child a bunny for being well behaved and going off to sleep nicely.  I doubt anyone did that: they probably bought their kids McDonalds instead....

But for Rosa, there are enough bunnies on these pajamas to suggest she is always well behaved, goes to bed without complaint and sleeps soundly.

And now that Rosa is a model she probably won't get out of bed unless appropriately remunerated so she obviously needs to be well attired for her time in bed. So with all of that in mind I made her the Oliver +S sleepover pajamas.


I made a size 4 top and size 3 pants.   I added a decorative braided piping along the front, on the pockets, and on the pants cuff.


 I used my fancy schmancy Clover pocket-corner-turning-thingame to make 4 perfect, rounded corners. While I was making the pockets I began to get frustrated and contemplated abandoning the pockets altogether when I suddenly remembered I had a gadget for that very purpose.


So obviously, I'm pleased with how the pockets turned out!!


And Rosa appears to like the PJ's too


Thursday, 6 June 2013

Denim, denim everywhere... but not to be worn together

Everyone should own a little denim.  But every fashionista knows that denim tops and bottoms should never be worn together or the Matchy Matchy Police will get you!

I made the Oliver + S 2+2 blouse from a very soft and drapey denim I bought in Wellington earlier in the year.   I used a Liberty bias binding for the neck ties

and I rounded the ends of the front tab, and added some cute buttons

and used the same buttons on the back

I also used the bias binding to cover the inside where the centre front is gathered.  

Despite having a whizz bang sewing machine I hate making buttonholes!  I can't count the number of times I have had to unpick buttonhole stitching because they are not aligned... or worse still, I have just accepted wonky work.

Anyway, this time I borrowed an idea from the quilting world and marked the buttonhole placement with a fine tip pen on some Glad Press n' Seal and then laid it over the top of my blouse. And the result was nearly perfect and there was no need for the quick unpick! Yipee!!

Another denim item I recently made was the Oliver + S school photo dress.  This was the first Oliver + S pattern I ever bought but it was the first time I had used it.  

 The patterned denim came from Spotlight and also had quite a nice drape and was not too heavy.

I lined the dress with a pink bridal lining fabric

It was while I was inserting the invisible zipper that I discovered the Bernina number 35 invisible zipper foot doesn't like the YKK brand because the tape is just too thick for the groove in the foot.  Nevertheless the zipper turned out OK.   And I found a sparkly button in my tin that I thought was a good match for this dress

Finally an Ottobre pattern.  These are the pumpkin pants from the Autumn 2006  Ottobre magazine which I have wanted to make since I first saw them.  Unfortunately at the time I didn't have anyone to sew these for and then I figured there probably wouldn't be too many parents who would let their kids out with such retro, flared pants.  Luckily, Rosa's Mum likes retro.... don't you?!?

 size 104cm

The back pockets were a little awkward to make and I didn't have the stamina to make 4:  there were another 2 for the front on the original design.  So I cut the jeans pockets in the front instead of making the fancy patch pockets, and I didn't make the flaps for the pockets either.  At any rate, I am pleased with how the various pockets turned out and I have convinced myself, at least, that they are more practical this way...

Finally I used bias tape to finish the leg hem rather than doing a rolled edge as the pattern suggested. 

So some denim delights for Rosa that should never be seen out together....