Thursday, 6 December 2012

Happy Birthday blog!!! :-)

My blog is one years old already! Hurray.

This birthday is happening just as my life is taken amazing turn to the right. Last Friday moved to the French Alps for the winter. I cant believe how beautiful is is here, this is the view i get from my bedroom window.

So this blog is one year old, or rather one year and 6 days, but i missed the anniversary in the chaos of the move. Opps.

My life has taken a dramatic turn. These life changes don't mean that i am giving up my blog, or sewing, or knitting, it just means that i'll have new challenges. It is amazing i have three sewing machines in my new apartment/chalet, two of which are in my room. They are all vintage machine and will need a lot of maintenance before it is possible to use any of them. I really believe that this life was made for me.

118        stripy, lace, back, tee, burda, 123a

When I started this blog I had only really just discovered the whole world of blogging, before this i had never really heard of blogging, would you believe.  I was trying to improve my crochet and sewing skills and searching the internet for different terms and techniques that would help me. There i discovered so many beautiful blogs, that were so inspiring. I knew that if i started a blog, i could never get close to the greatness of these wonderful blogs. But i wanted to give it a try anyway. Part of the reason i wanted to give it a try was because, me like many people harbor a secret desire to one day start my own business.

At the time when i started this blog i was desperate for any type of employment, so had just taken on a minimum wage factory job. Knowing that this job could not sustain me in the long run, and that this type of employment was unstable. The thought of starting my own business was very much at the front of my mind. I had no idea of what kind of business i wanted, but i thought (think) getting some skills that could help me along was vitally important. By keeping a blog i though i could improve on many skills such as writing, photography, blog maintenance etc that i could use for a business. I though this would be easy, but i also thought that i would probably give up after a few weeks. In reality it was so much harder than i first thought, the amount of effort and time you have to commit, really pushed me and i did not advance much as i would have liked. However, i loved keeping the blog. Over this last year i have become KnottedRose. This blog has improved and i am still committed. Though the idea of starting my own business has kinda of faded.

The Next Year

So here are some new year/ new blog resolutions. Even though this is what i am thinking about in terms of this blog, i have a sneaking suspicion that some of these resolutions/ideas will probably not happen and the actually path this blog will take might be quite different. 
  • I want to keep improving this blog, if you are one of my very few regular readers, you'll see there have been many changes recently, and there are more to come. I am still not quite happy with the look of this blog. I would like it to have a more simple stream line look about it. I don't really want a plain white back ground, as this is just dull, but i don't want it to look overly cluttered either, so i'll keep trying out different colours and themes, until i am happy.
  • I would also like to start providing more information on the blog. Up until now it has very much been a 'look what I've made' type blog. But as i plan to travel quite a lot in the next few months and years, i think that it is appropriate that i start providing guilds and reviews for fabric and yarn shops in cities that i visit. Because sometimes it can be a nightmare finding this information in English when visiting a foreign city.
  • I would love to try to publish a pattern. I have been working on a the pattern for my cable bag for sometime, but have yet to get it perfect enough to share. I am also thinking about creating a mitten pattern, to start with, as it would be simpler to figure out how to present it. This might also help with some of the pattern problems i am having with my bag.
  • As i am moving to the Alps for 5 months and then i plan to travel more, this blog, or even a sister blog will also be focusing on the travel aspect of my life. I have not quite worked out how this will work yet, because i am here to work and might not get the chance to work on two blogs, we'll see. I'll certainly get a better back drop for the photos i do take.

  • My writing skills are not the best, i am so painfully aware of this, i actually did well at school despite completely failing English. So at some point i would like to spend some time improving my writing skills.
  • Not to forget stuff that i would like to make. I still want to make the perfect dress. I have had several attempts, but have yet to get there. I also want to start making some harder garments, such as trousers and coats. Also i need to keep making basics, such as simple tees and tops, as it is these that i get most use from.

Monday, 26 November 2012

My Wurm Hat

Wurm Hat, knitting, Katharina Nopp

This is the Wurm hat by Katharina Nopp you can find it a a free Ravelry download. This was such a simple knit, yet the results look so much more professional than my usual hand knit stuff. 

Wurm Hat, knitting, Katharina Nopp

I usually shy away from hats which have a folded brim. As my first try at a hat, the brim was just massive and so unattractive. On this hat the brim is formed by working stockinette stitch, with a row of purl in the middle. The brim is then folded at the purl row and the cast on picked up at the top of the brim. Giving this neat edge. I shall defently use this method again for making a brim.

Wurm Hat, knitting

I used some old cheap acrylic yarn form my stash, as i could not find 5 ply anywhere. But the results are just as good as if i had used real wool. I have turned into such a yarn snob. I only cast-on 95 stitches instead of the 100 required to make up for my slightly too chunky yarn. Luckily the number of stitches cast-on for a project like this wont affect the pattern.

Wurm Hat, knitting

Finally, the only problem with this pattern i found is that when you pull at the back slightly it slouches kind of strangely. 

Wurm Hat, knitting

My Ravelry notes.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Getting Wet in the Rain, Orange Cable Hat

Quick Cable Slouch Hat, Azure, Debbie Bliss

As you can see the weather is still just as soggy as ever. I gave up waiting for nice weather and just stood me and my camera out in the rain. Pictures in the rain always seem to come out so well. I just wish that the experience of standing in the cold, wet rain was just as nice.

Quick Cable Slouch Hat, Azure, Debbie Bliss

This is the Quick Cable Slouch Hat by Azure Blue. No joke about how quick this was to make. I must have finished in two short evenings, whilst watching my Mad Men dvd's. I used one ball of Glen by Debbie Bliss (chunky) in orange/red, and size 4.5mm needles for the ribbing and 7mm needles for the main body. This has given me just the right amount of slouch. The pattern said to use between 6mm and 8mm needles for the main body, which is quite a large range of needle size to recommend, so it just went in the middle and used a 7mm needle. I would highly recommend this pattern to beginners, as she gave a really good explanations about the hows and whys of what you do when knitting a hat, which really helped me a lot.

Quick Cable Slouch Hat, Azure, Debbie BlissQuick Cable Slouch Hat, Azure, Debbie Bliss

I improvised the fingerless gloves. I used a similar cable to the hat, though not quite that same because i made it with smaller needles so needed at add extra rows between the twists in order to get the loose cable effect.

I know one glove is orange and the other red. When i bought this wool i did not realise it changed colour, so i will just have to live with it.
Quick Cable Slouch Hat, Azure, Debbie Bliss

You can find my Ravelry notes here.

Quick Cable Slouch Hat, Azure, Debbie Bliss

Monday, 19 November 2012

Knitting Obsession

Well i have totally lost my sewing mojo, as of late. I have a half finished dress draped over the back of my sewing chair and i have absolutely no drive to finish it. I also have a list somewhere, of sewing plans that i planned to complete before i go to France in two weeks. I really want those plans to happen, but i just don't think that i have the will to make it happen.

Anyway, what i have lost in sewing inspiration have more than gained in knitting.

Just the feel of having the yarn pass through my fingers, i am totally addicted. I do this though, i obsessed with one thing, and then slowly another. I am not worried that i will never go back to my sewing machine. It is just that knitting has moved back to the front of my mind, sewing will get back there eventually. What bough this knitting obsession on was me thinking about my move to France, and how i better plan and take some knitting projects with me.

So i have planed a number of projects, and have started and finished some of them even before i have stepped on to the plane (this was not the plan). In fact just in the last few days i have finished a hat (and started another) and nearly finished some matching gloves, started some socks (OK, two pairs) and have been working on my Elbow Patch Cardigan.

I am just biting at the bit to buy more yarn and start more projects, but not necessarily finished them . HELP!

What am i going to take with me for 5 months? I don't know, i might have no yarn left.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Cataloguing Unblogged Clothes (Made-By-Me) - Part 1

So I am having a massive clean out, as I am packing up and travelling/moving to the Alps. I've amassed so many things in the 5 years I have been back in the UK, and in the last year and a half with a sewing hobby things have really got way out of hand. So I have been sorting, binning and bagging up for charity. I still have a long way to go, but I have come across loads of handmade clothes that for one reason or another have never been bloggged. Before these disappear I have taken a photo and have written a little about each one, to record them. This is mostly for my own purpose because I am just to sentimental.

From the top, left to right

The Office "Chair" Dress - Burda 8072
My first dress, and probably the most successful yet. I chose a thick scratchy wool/unknown poly. The material reminds me of the sort of fabric that is used to upholster chairs in offices and doctors surgery’s, hence the Office 'Chair' Dress. I loved the shape of the dress on me, thought it was a bit tight. I think I am going to keep this one...

Light Grey Top - NewLook 6807 (view B)
I have made 6 versions of this pattern. This was my first and I think only my second attempt at sewing clothing. It came out satisfactory, though I cut a size 14 when I should have gone for a 12. The next time I made it I cut view C, in a dark blue heavy jersey and it was a complete failure. I also hacked this pattern half to death when I made the Yellow Flower Top and the Yellow Flower Tee with 1/2 Length Sleeves. I wore this grey version several time, but the fabric was very cheap and it soon lost all shape. 

Chevron Tank - Feminine Knits by Iene Holme Samsoe
I knitted this probably a year before I started this blog. I was really starting to get into knitting at the time and this was my first 'big' project. I really liked working the ladder lace to make the chevron pattern. I used Patons Smoothie yarn, in a colour combination which really did not suit me. I also knitted it slightly longer than recommended, but still found that it did not quite meet the top of my jeans (long body syndrome). It was not total failure the biggest problem being my lack of taste when choosing the colour combination.

Lesson learnt: I should really stay away from lime green.

Pink T-Shirt - NewLook 6979 (view B)
This was my first clothing item I ever sewed. I used really cheap fabric from the market and the simplest pattern I could find. I could not believe that I could make my own t-shirts so easily and cheaply. I was hooked on this sewing thing. 

Purple Plaid Top - NewLook 6965 (view A with straps from view D)
I made this top twice. The Purple Plaid Top and a Blue Flower Print Top. I made the blue version first. Making this top really pushed my limits as a novice sewer. I found lots of terms in the instructions that I did not understand, so I hit the Internet and found lots of amazing blogs explaining what to do (this was when I started following blogs). I made lots of mistakes with the blue version: cutting too close to the seams and melting the fabric with a too hot iron. It looked really good once it was finished, but did not last past its first wear as the seam ripped under the yoke. I learnt from my mistakes when making the purple plaid version, but the smooth fabric went really knobbly when it washed and no amount of ironing has gotten rid of the funny texture.

The Aubergine Dress - Burda 7659
This picture really dose not do this dress much justest. I ironed it a little for the photo (not well) and it has some really funny creases in it not present when worn. I used the left over fabric to make the Burda Skirt (my favourite project of all time). It came out OK. The arm holes were a little tight, so I only ever wore it a couple of times, along with he fact is was a little too school girl for my taste.

Burda Front Knot Dress - 3/2012 108b - Take 2
This was the second version of this dress that I made. I blogged about the first one here. The first one looked great on, but it had a few problems with the lining which needed resolving. This second one was made perfectly, only when I tried it on, it looked awful. The fabric was so cheep, when I washed it all the colour ran out, and when worn it made me look very pregnant. Not just a little pregnant, but very, very pregnant. I wore it a few times, because I am stubborn ('I made it, therefore I shall wear it'). Somebody even got up and offered me a seat on a tram, after that I gave up and I shall never wear it again.

Tank - Burda 119 3/2012
This 'kinda' has already been blogged about, but it never got finished (hemmed). It was made out of that really thin material I used to make that failed peter pan tee. Latter I made a scarf out of the left over fabric, which I wore a lot over the summer. 

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Burda Skirt - This Time With Buttons

This is almost the outfit I wore to my resent successful job interview, a few weekends ago. I thought I had better wear something made by me, as I had let it slip that I have been trying to make my own clothes. I finished it what seems like months ago, but I have never really had chance to take photos. I took these last week but gave up after only four photos, because I was just not in the mood. Today I had chance again as the weather was beautiful, but I just had the wrong location. So I am writing this post now or I never will.

Burda Skirt, 118, 119, 5/2012, button, front

This skirt is pattern 118/119 from the May 2012 addition of Burda magazine. I changed the closure at the front, from a jeans style zipper to a button-up front. There are loads of button-up skirt patterns doing the rounds on the Internet at the moment, but I knew that this pattern worked well for me the first time I made it. Modifying the pattern was really easy. I just cut off the zipper slit under laps and extended the central seam out enough so I could fold it over twice, to create a placket for the buttons and button holes. Despite having to change the pattern, it was so much easier than inserting the original zipper. 

Again I am really happy with the result. This pattern has been my most successful yet. My last Burda skirt I have worn almost to death, so I really needed this one to add some variety to what I wear. It is a plain navy (faintly plaid) polyester. I think it will go with well loads of different types of tops, so it should be pretty versatile piece. Only I cant see my self wearing it over this winter, as I am heading to the French Alps. Though this will be one piece I shall not throw out in my mission to de-size my belongings when I move out of this flat.

Burda Skirt, 118, 119, 5/2012, buttons

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Sewing in the Alps?

Working a ski season in the French Alps, I thought that sewing would be out of the question. Yet talking to the ladies in my interview, I found out that the apartment where I will live has two vintage sewing machines. Perfect. They have also tested them out for me and as far as they can tell, they still working. This is so exciting, its like this job was just made for me! 

So my head has started spinning again with sewing ideas. I really like the idea of sewing something special as a souvenir of my time there. I've had my eye on the Deer and Doe patterns, possibly the Sureau Dress. These patterns are in French, so perfect for learning about French sewing vocabulary. Also Anna from paunnet is hosting a sew along soon in English, so ill be able to dip into her blog, if I get in trouble.

However all these plans depend on me being able to work these sewing machines. I'll also have to order everything I need over the Internet. I only have a 20Kg luggage limit on my flight and sewing stuff  is just not that essential (I have already sectioned off a good deal of space for my knitting stuff).

Talking about knitting, all this thinking about cold weather has really activated the knitter in me. So I have spent the last couple of months planning my knitting projects, should I get my dream job in the Alps. I even spent £25 of good money on yarn the day of my interview. Hoping that I would get the job and I could take it with me. So I got the job, and hats, scarf's and socks will be knitted up, whilst the weather is too bad for skiing and exploring. I can't wait.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Future Plans

In the past I have travelled a lot, but there is still so many place that I have not been, and stuff that I really want to try. So I have been getting the travel bug again for sometime. Life just seems so dull to me if you are not constantly exploring and trying new things. So I decided I would like to try skiing.

I love the outdoors and the mountains and the snow, but I have never been skiing before. I have had the opportunity, but I have always stayed away on grounds of cost. Then it occurred to me I want to travel, live aboard, quit my mind-numbingly boring job, why not get a job in a ski resort? So I have been looking for jobs abroad, especially in the French Alps. I did not really want to write much about this before, as I was uncertain if I would get a job or not. This uncertainty has stopped me buying patterns and fabric that I really wanted to, because if I got a job I would not be able to take my sewing machine. So for months I have been worried more about finding a job than knitting or sewing.

Anyway I am so excited to say I GOT A JOB! I am going to be working in the Chamonix Valley over the winter. I am so excited there is almost no words. :)

I'll be working for a holiday company who have luxury chalets all along the Chamonix Valley. I will be working in the housekeeping department, cleaning, not get distracted by the stunning scenery.  I might also have to travel some distance between chalets, so hopefully there will plenty of time for me to adsorb my location. I'll also get days off, of course. I get a ski lift pass as part of my work package, so ill be learning to ski.  If Skiing fails, I could probably just ride around on the ski lifts with my camera, happy all day :)

More to follow, I have so much to think about right now:)

Note: All the photos are taken from Pinterest, for the sources please see here.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Green - Star Crossed Slouchy Beret

Star Crossed Slouchy Beret hat

Whipped this up at the weekend, using my leftover yarn from my Arleen. The yarn is Cascade 220, made on size 8mm circular needles.  The pattern is Star Crossed Slouchy Beret  by Natalie Larson (Ravelry link to pattern). The pattern worked out well, i missed out one round from the middle as i was unsure if i would have enough yarn to finish the hat, it turned i had plenty. The pattern recommended using DPNS to start with in a smaller size, I did the whole hat to the same circular needles, and the front band could be tighter so if i make this again i might start on 7mm circular needles, i don't see the point of investing in DPNS when i have circular needles in the same size.  

I managed to finish the last 1/4 of the hat on the bus, making myself very travel sick on the way to Shrewsbury. I have done a lot of crochet on buses before and have knitted in cars and it has never made me feel sick, this was a first. Though the bus journey between Newport and Shrewsbury is along very twisty country lanes, and that cant of helped. Still i am happy that i finished something (despite the nausea), i have so much else which is unfinished. Currently i am working on a Style 4485 dress and the Elbow Patch Cardigan both of which still have a long way to go. Not to mention a growing pile of UFOs.

Star Crossed Slouchy Beret hat

Star Crossed Slouchy Beret hat

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Victorian Crochet Collar - Ta-da!

This is the Victorian Crochet Collar project that i have been going on about all last month. I made it for a small Victorian arts themed festival in Shifnal, Shropshire (the town where i grew up). The festival is now over and i missed it all, except i managed to take a few photos at one the the venues (Trinity Methodist church) before all the displays were dismantled on Sunday. 

The pattern is from The Crochet Book by Eléonore Riego de la Branchardière (1847), the pattern is Point D'Angleterre, and it is made using NO:30 crochet cotton. This collar took me a long time to make, when i first agreed to do this i thought i could finish in a Sunday afternoon. No such luck, it took all month, but i did have trouble getting used to crocheting with cotton thread and i did make several mistakes reading the pattern, so there was plenty of unpicking. Despite this it was really nice to use such an old pattern. I find that a lot of patterns from this era tend to a bit vague in places, but this one seemed to use consistent language and similar terminology to modern patterns, so it was not hard to use. I did find a few errors in the pattern as follows.

Row 10 - should read, 3 chain, miss 3, (3 treble, 3 chain, 3 treble in the 3 chain of last row,) 5 chain, miss 9, 3 treble in the 3 chain of last row, 5 chain, miss 1, 3 treble in the 3 chain of last row, 5 chain, miss 9, repeat from ; end as last row.
Row 14 - should read as 9 chain not 0 chain (when viewed form my smartphone the 9 really did look like a 0)

Now i have this collar i don't know what to do with. It is so pretty but its not really the right kind of dimensions that would fit around any of my clothes. Any suggestions?
The Crochet Book by Eléonore Riego de la Branchardière (1847)

Shifnal Arts Festival

Shifnal Arts Festival

Monday, 17 September 2012

Turtleneck Tee - Burda 104 9/2012

This is the second top that i made last weekend and the third Burda 9/2012 make. I was going to post it with the Stripy Lace Back Tee, but ended up with too many photos. 

Turtleneck Tee - Burda 104 9/2012

I cut a Burda size 40 grading down to a 36 on the sleeves form pattern 104 view a. I made no changes (apart from grading down the sleeves). I used the same fabric for the Stripy Lace Back Tee, it is a soft jersey with grey and white strips.

Turtleneck Tee - Burda 104 9/2012

It was very simple to make; just zip up the seams, then add the turtleneck and sleeves. I must have sewed it in under an hour.

Turtleneck Tee - Burda 104 9/2012
 Verdict: It is a really comfy tee, I have already worn it three times and i can see me wearing this as a base layer in the winter. The only gripe i have is the turtle neck is a little too loose. I noticed that the model in the magazine also has it very loose, but i think it looks a bit odd.

For my next make i promise colour..... Ok, no i don't (but i want to).

Friday, 14 September 2012

Stripy Lace Back Tee - Burda 123a 9/2012

Stripy Lace Back Tee - Burda 123a 9/2012

I am getting Burda magazine obsessed. I really don't want to be buying anymore patterns or fabric, because i am hoping to move in a few months, and probably wont be able to take much with me. However, as soon as Burda magazine is in the shops, i am down there scanning the pages, and the last two months this has resulted in purchases. The August issue was good. The September issue was amazing, the parker, the mod dresses, and loads of knits. I want them all!! So far i have made all three knit tops, the cowl neck top, the turtle neck top (not yet blogged) and the shoulder yoke top (here).

Stripy Lace Back Tee - Burda 123a 9/2012

This is Burda 123a from the 9/2012 issue in size 40. I think this is a really nice basic long sleeve tee pattern, however i could not understand why there was only a front yoke. So i improvised and made a back yoke. It was quite simple, i just traced the original pattern piece for the back, and drew on the back yoke. Then i retraced my new pattern pieces and added seam allowances. The hardest part was sewing the two curvy back yoke pieces together. I also eliminated the keyhole at the back, as it was unnecessary and would have made the back far too fussy with the lace. The other alteration i made was to the arms, after making the turtle neck top i found the arms to be far too baggy, so i cut them down by about 1cm each side on the top.

 Stripy Lace Back Tee - Burda 123a 9/2012

Stripy Lace Back Tee - Burda 123a 9/2012

Stripy Lace Back Tee - Burda 123a 9/2012

Stripy Lace Back Tee - Burda 123a 9/2012

Stripy Lace Back Tee - Burda 123a 9/2012

Stripy Lace Back Tee - Burda 123a 9/2012

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Update - Victorian Crochet Collars

Wow, it been a busy making weekend for me. In the lead up to the weekend i washed, laid out and cut the fabric for three garments: two long-sleeve tees and a second Burda Skirt. I finished the tees, but the skirt is still on my to do pile. I'll blog about the tees later as have been too busy to take photos today.

On my Victorian crochet collar project i have started to make some progress too. After my first initial fruitless searches for Victorian patterns i have at last have found some. Google Play has some free e-books (scanned copies of Victorian crochet books). I was definitely overly excited at finding them.

These old crochet books make for an interesting read, i love reading old knitting and crochet books. The way the crochet and terminological is presented has not really changed. The book i have chosen to use "The Crochet Book" has some good illustrations of the stitches, so could be used by a beginner. There are also some interesting patterns for bags in other books that i might give a try, but there are no pictures, so it will be a case of follow the instructions and see what takes shape. Which will be fun to do when have the time, but for now my focus is making some Victorian crochet collars for the Shifnal Arts Festival. It starts in only a month so i cant really experimenting as much as i would like.

So first i am making this collar:

The ref is: Eléonore Riego de la Branchardière, 1847, The crochet book, Simpkin, Marshall.

I have never done crochet, using crochet cotton and small hooks before. Working with fine cotton and small hooks is  definitely  a skill, and it took me a good couple of hours to get the knack of hooking the cotton. But the result is rather attractive. Despite spending all afternoon and evening on the collar, progress is slow, my work still fits easily into the palm of my very small hand.