Knitting · Sewing · Year of Projects

YOP – year 8 – week 7

This week I have a mixture of finishes, swatches, new starts as well as a few changes.

Firstly let’s look at the finishes.

Fintry 1

My Fintry cardigan is finished. Well it’s bound off and blocked but the neckline is far too wide for my liking and with some yarn left over I’m heavily leaning towards doing some math and adding two inches more to the neckline…yes 2 inches! This cardigan was already heavily modified to my gauge and it fits like a dream, everywhere else to the exact measurements of my size in the pattern. This is something I was really pleased with, and I did at the start, brush over the fact the neckline seemed a little low, thinking perhaps it would be ok, but it’s just not. Even for the few moments I was wearing it to see the fit after blocking, it constantly felt like it was going to fall off my shoulders, and this just won’t do in a garment I’m hoping to wear throughout most of the Winter. This garment is turning into far more work that what I’d originally wanted in just picking a garment and knitting, I may as well have designed and knit my own. The buttons for this have been dispatched and should arrive this week, I now just need to summon the desire to work the math out and make the changes I need to turn this into a more useable garment.

PJs 1PJs 3

Second and third finish for the week are my daughters and mine Margot pyjamas. These turned out wonderfully well and I’m really pleased with them, as is Caoimhe. I will be writing up a Project Focus post this week to speak in more detail about them, so stay tuned for that.

swatch

With the Fintry cardigan cast off, I finally got the opportunity to swatch for my next garment. After much thought I opted for the Lichen by NCL knits for a couple of reasons. One, while this yarn is speckled, I don’t think it will detract from the cabling details down the raglan increases and sides. What’s more likely to affect how those look is my gauge. Two, after finishing the Fintry, I really just wanted to knit a garment, and I wanted a garment that I knew was going to be a good fit and with good instructions. Having knit the Herbarium by NCL I knew that the Lichen over the No Frills Sweater was probably the best option. Just like with the Herbarium, my gauge is off, and I went up two needle sizes, but I was still off with my gauge and not wanting to go up another needle size I’ve worked a little math and if I knit the size down from my size with my gauge I should end up with the size and garment I want. I will see as I’m working the garment how the cables look at this gauge and needle size and then make the final decision. I started this last night but don’t have enough to warrant showing you a picture yet.

Socks 1

The pair of socks I had cast on were frogged and the yarn put away, you can read about why that happened HERE. I then cast on this sock on Friday night and what a difference! The colour of these just soothes, and with no patterning for the moment decided, they are a relaxing knit. I’m using the ball of Mondim yarn I got from Retrosaria. It’s 100% Portuguese Wool, so these will be my first pair of natural wool socks with no nylon, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they hold up. I may make these shorter in the leg than usual so I can wear them inside my ankle boots. In fact I need a few more pairs that size for that purpose so the next few pairs may just be that size. As for patterning, I have not decided and may not decide until the heel flap and gusset has been worked.

I have not made up my mind what my next sewing project will be. The weather is getting a little cooler, and I’m aware that while we might still get some warm sunny days, we are heading in towards Autumn and Winter, and my wardrobe needs some garments for the coming season. I have a couple of fabrics washed, and pressed so can pick something from those, so we shall see what happens there.

yarn stash 1

I got some yarn delivered this week for the Cumulus Blouse that I really want to knit. I have even debated casting on a second garment, but I’ve decided I still just want to work on one garment at a time, and with a pair of socks also on the needles, that is enough projects for me right now. But I’m pretty sure this will be my next cast on!

I’ve tweaked my list a little this week. I’ve removed the Braid Hills cardigan by Kate Davies. Having knit the Fintry and looked very closely at the neckline of the Braid Hills, I fear it may be similar to the Fintry, so for that reason, I have removed it and added in the Cumulus Blouse, which you all know I really want to knit. Other than that I’ve just done some admin work in crossing off completed items, which is very satisfying, and updated with dates. The list now looks like this.

Year of Projects 2018-2019 List

Knitted Garments

Sewn Garments

Socks

6 pairs

  • My Dearest Loveliest Elizabethstarted July 16th – FROGGED
  • Sock #1started Aug 10th

You can follow along with my knitted YOP 8 projects HERE

You can find the YOP group and weekly posts HERE

Ruth.

General

Where has all the colour gone?

The changes in my attitude towards colour has been an interesting development. One that when I stopped and thought about it, didn’t really surprise me.

I’ve loved looking at colours and matching them, finding what goes with them, what compliments them and I really loved finding the unusual colour pairings that just seemed to work. Using colour as an expression of a design was something I loved most of all. I loved bright, muted, neutral, each had their place and in being a designer, it was rather helpful having a love of colour.

Now, all those same colours, that months ago brought so much joy, are screaming at me. They are too loud, and garish, and they feel like they are attacking my senses.

But my attitude towards colour was from a designer point of view, and even though as a designer I leaned towards romantic colours, that is not who I am or what truly expresses me anymore.

IMG_5310

This sock, a recent cast on, just seems to sum it all up. I’ve used two colours I loved. I had them picked out to work together, and went to them when I wanted to cast on a pair of socks. All past tense. The one thing I didn’t account for was my changed attitude to colour. I now can’t stand these colours, either singly or combined. I’ve tried to like them, after all I liked them before, surely I should still like them?

But no matter how much I try they just scream at me.

So if I now accept that I just don’t like these colours, and most other colours, what do I do now?

The easy option for these socks is to rip out the pattern, and not knit them with these colours. Easy, decision made, now this is no longer an issue.

But that left me with the question, “Where has all the colour gone?”

If colour is an expression of how we are feeling, and for me right now, my whole world has lost it’s colour, and I don’t feel my world is monochrome either, where on the colour spectrum am I now?

Neutral is where. Colours that while some may say are boring, to me, they are just quietly being themselves. I now crave colours that soothe MY soul, and whisper to MY spirit. I now no longer have to allow designs their expression. Now, I can have colours that allow my introverted self just get on with being my true me.

Only sometimes now, I wonder, if that means colour is gone?

But it’s not really gone, colour has just morphed itself, and is expressing ME as I always have been.

Ruth.

 

Knitting · Sewing · Year of Projects

YOP – year 8 – week 6

Progress on YOP projects this week has been at a much slower pace. The week started out on Monday with a sewing day in which I finished both the Simple Summer Dress and the A-Line skirt.

I had a Project Focus post then during the week where I took a look at the Summer Dress in more detail, you can read that HERE.

Simple Summer Dress 1

A Project Focus post will happen this week for the A-Line skirt.

A-Line Skirt 1

I’ve only been working on and off on Fintry this week because a) I was painting the hallway after the new floor had been laid, and b) I was reading, and reading quite a lot. I am half way through working through the yoke decreases, then it is just a matter of working the neckline edge and I’m ready to bind off and sew in ends.

Fintry

I had a little stash enhancement this week with some Retrosaria yarn from Portugal, it’s the Mondim, 100% 4ply sock wool, and it feels a lot softer than I thought it would. The top two balls are definitely going to be socks, but those bottom three colours I can’t help thinking would be perfect for garments, and I may purchase some extra balls for that purpose.

Yarn Stash

This weekend is a long weekend with us so we have a few family things planned and my eldest turns 18 on Wednesday! I’m getting it quite hard to believe that from the talkative, curious boy, he’s now grown into a fine young man in what seems like only the blink of an eye. My Mum was ever so proud of James, and he had and has a lot of life changing events happen this year, and it seems wrong in so many ways that he doesn’t get to share those with her. But I’m sure she’s watching over him and is as proud of his as ever, just as we are. (now how did I get to having an 18 year old!!!)

James and Mammy

The list, this week, looks like this;

Year of Projects 2018-2019 List

Knitted Garments

Sewn Garments

Socks

6 pairs

  • My Dearest Loveliest Elizabeth – started July 16th

You can follow along with my knitted YOP 8 projects HERE

You can find the YOP group and weekly posts HERE

Ruth.

General

The Gift of Time

Time is precious, and I think there is no greater gift, than the gift of time. What is the gift of time? The gift of time is what I’m giving myself. The time to have new adventures when I want, because they look like something I’d like to do, or because they are something I’ve wanted to do but thought I didn’t have the time to be able to do.

It’s so easy to forget that you have time to do things, you just have to make it. It becomes so easy to use the excuse of not having time to not do things, that you end up in that circle. When I began this blog, I posted first with a little information HERE about why I was starting fresh with a new blog. I explained a little about what brought me to that point, and what I was doing, and hoped to do. Today though I feel the need to expand on that a little as I’ve made a decision that affects the foreseeable future.

When I took this summer off after the passing of my Mum, it was to give myself some space and time. Some space to deal with my grief, but also to take a step back from my work life while I made some decisions. While my grief is still on going with most days having good and bad moments and it will be like that for quite some time, I have made some decisions. The space I took helped to clarify some points with regards to my work life and it put some things into perspective about what I wanted to do, and what I didn’t want to do.

But first let me give a little more back ground information. You may or may not know me as the designer behind Knitterarium and what I explained in my first post (link above), was how I felt before my Mum died. With her passing, all that happened was it halted me in my tracks, it has made me take stock of what I wanted to do with my time and ultimately what I want to do with my life. All of this I would say is fairly natural, or at least to me it is. While most told me it was only a result of my Mum passing and I would feel different in time, only my Mum, family, and those close friends who I had confided in before my Mum’s passing, will truly know that this was a problem that was there before recent events.

I know I told everyone I’d make a decision by September but I see no point in putting off sharing my decision when the decision has been made now. I won’t be returning to designing or Knitterarium. I’ve closed up my shop and website and while I’m keeping my social media accounts in the unlikely event I decide to return, which I’m not ruling out, the social media accounts will have no activity on them. I see no point in putting off experiencing my gift of time, in wasting any moments in doing the things I want to do. You can of course follow my crafty adventures here on the blog or on my Instagram feed HERE. 

So here I now find myself on the brink of some new adventures, some I’ve already planned but a great many more as yet unknown to me. They may be good, they may be bad, but one thing is for sure they will be an adventure.

Ruth.

 

Book Review · Reading

Theft of Swords – Review

Theft of Swords

Theft of Swords is story #1 and #2  in the Riyria Revelations series. I happened across the first book some time ago, and didn’t start the series until I managed to come across the remaining two books in the series last summer. So with some free time this summer I decided to get stuck in and see how the series started out. All I can say is I’m so glad I waited until I managed to pick up the remaining books as it meant I could move straight on without waiting to find them. I loved Theft of Swords.

This is just a simple straight forward fantasy series with the sole objective of telling a story, and I love a book who’s main purpose is to tell you it’s story.

Theft of Swords has both stories #1 and 2 in the series, both with a conflict and resolution of their own, and yet still telling the story of the series. I like how threads of the story are woven between the two books, and so while separate stories, it still felt like the one whole part of the series.

We begin by being introduced to “Riyria”, a group made up of the rogues Royce Melborn, who is a skilled thief, and his friend and partner Hadrain Blackwater, a mercenary. The Riyria group are the most sought after group of thieves in the Kingdom, if you want a job done, then these are who you want. At the start, they are right in the middle of a job and you get a taste for what these two characters are like and you can’t help but be excited about them. They argue constantly, and don’t share the same outlook on life, or have the same views, and yet as you move through both story #1 and 2 of this series you are left in no doubt of what great friends they are, and that they will always be there for each other just when they are needed most.

Although you start out with them accepting a job that looks like any other job it soon develops into a more complex job, and just as the job grows in complexity so too does the story, and fantasy. Along the way we meet a whole other host of characters, from the Princess of Melangar, Arista, her brother Alric who they later end up working for, Myron a monk, Magnus the dwarf and Esrahaddon the wizard to name but just a few. I liked the supporting characters each doing their job within the story, making you love them just because, like Myron or where you start out disliking them and then changing your mind and liking them as we move on through story #2, like with Magnus. Esrahaddon is another great character of the book and you are always left guessing just on which side of the story he is on, good or bad? Has he his own agenda or is he on some great mission that fits in with the series? Even the “baddie” characters you dislike, some being underhand and sly like Saldur and others just downright cruel like Luis Guy.

Story #1 had a good pace and I liked the twists and turns the story took. While you were let in on some things happening within the story, it still managed to keep you guessing until the end, and yet you still finished book one with questions, and a general sense of wanting to know more. I liked the conclusion to book #1 and moved straight on into story #2 which takes place a few years later. The story had moved on and you quickly got a sense of what had happened in those intervening years, and if didn’t feel like you’d missed out on anything. It felt more like you’d just picked up from where you’d left off. As we move through story #2 we discover a bit more about our two main characters, Royce and Hadrian and you can’t help but like them even more. Again they take on what is a seemingly ordinary job and yet turns into something a whole lot more. While some characters have remained we meet a whole host of other new characters as they tell their parts as the story weaves it’s way to the end. Story #2, set a faster pace than story #1 but as we had some of the details of story already it needed to. As I said some of the threads were woven from story #1 into story #2, and overall we learn more about the ultimate story, and end again with a resolution, but again wanting to know more.

All in all I would definitely recommend Theft of Swords, and like I said, I’m glad I waited to find the entire collection as I was able to satisfy the urge to move on, and find out more in the second book, Rise of Empire, which again holds two stories, #3 and #4.

Ruth.

Project Focus · Sewing

Project Focus – Simple Summer Dress

My project focus this week is on my finished Simple Summer Dress.

Simple Summer Dress 1

This was a dress I made in a local sewing class that I had signed up to take part in. It was an all day class that I attended and it was delightful to spend the whole day sewing uninterrupted. The fact that the class was only 5 mins drive away was just the icing on the cake as most of the time these things are a considerable distance away to make them impractical to attend.

The class was attended by two other students and we were all making the same dress. I started by tracking out the pattern to the size I needed and chose a soft cotton denim fabric. I also decided to add facings to my dress to avoid the need to add binding to the armholes on my dress. This was a particular skill I wanted to learn as part of this class for some future sewing makes I’d planned.

Simple Summer

After tracing and cutting out the fabric and applying some interfacing to the facings I turned my attention to the pockets for the front of the dress. We had the pick of fabrics from the stash in the class room and this was quite considerable. I settled on this simple flowered fabric on a cream background. I loved the look of the fabric which was just a simple cotton but I liked the contrast it had with the dress. Adding pockets the pockets was a simple straight forward task and once attached it became the turn of adding the facings. This was the part I was unsure of the most and so paid particular attention to the steps involved so when necessary I can follow the steps again. When broken down and talked through I had no problems or issues in completing attaching the facings. After this came the side seams and at this point the class was over but with only some seams and the hem left I felt confident that this was project I could complete in my own time.

A day later I did indeed do just that and after trying it on and liking the fit everywhere except around the armholes I decided to add in a couple of darts. To this point I’ve not inserted any darts into a project but I do have instructions in a sewing book and following those I managed to insert the darts and now I’m much happier with the overall fit of the dress.

Simple Summer Dress

This entire project was so pleasing to make and the new skills learned just add to my growing skill set of sewing can dos. To take the day to just enjoy the whole process and not rush through the parts was invaluable and meant the class provided everything I wanted.

It’s not just about the end piece which I can’t wait to wear but it’s also about taking the time and enjoying the process of putting this dress together. This dress will carry me through the remainder of the summer as simple shift dress but it will also become part of my Autumn wardrobe with some heavy tights, boots and one of my knitted cardigans. I may even make this again in a heavier fabric, and by doing so this one pattern can become a year round pattern that I can enjoy in my hand made wardrobe.

Ruth.

Crochet · Projects in Progress

PIP (Project in Progress)

This weeks project in progress is my Woodland Blanket.

IMG_5307

The Woodland Blanket was started as a CAL on the Attic 24 blog and the colours and style of it just captured my attention. Originally I was late in joining in but worked along to my own pace anyway. Then life happened as it so often has a way of happening and work on the blanket stopped.

I’ve completed the first section and the second section begins with the tomato colour. Originally I purchased the kit for this blanket from Wool Warehouse so I didn’t need to worry about having the exact colours in my stash of Sytlecraft DK which is the yarn that comes in the kit and happens to be they yarn I like for most of my crochet blankets. I like its softness and yet I love that I can throw the blankets in the machine when I need to and the blankets don’t get destroyed. I am working the colour rows to the suggestions on the Attic 24 blog. I’m making the blanket to the 4ftx6ft size and I’m using my 4mm Addi crochet hook which are my favourite hooks to use.

I’m ready to begin work again on this blanket and have it ready for snuggling in and under this winter.

Ruth.

Knitting · Sewing · Year of Projects

YOP – year 8 – week 5

Progress this week has been steadily made on my Fintry cardigan. It’s been the one crafting piece that has held my attention all week, other than my book but that is a story for another day. I was nearing the end of the bust increases last week and needed to then cast on the sleeves. I did this and completed both sleeves and joined them into the body of the cardigan and I’m now working on the yoke.

Fintry

I must admit while this has kept me company all through the third and final week of the Tour de France my mind has wandered to my next project. I’d like to get the swatch done so that I’m ready to move straight into the next project. I’m in two minds as to whether I now want to make the Lichen. This is the yarn I have for it and it’s ready to cake up and swatch but during the week I decided I really wanted to knit a Cumulus Blouse, this I don’t have the yarn for yet, it is ordered, but then I liked the look of the No Frills Sweater and think it could also suit this yarn that I had originally intended for the Lichen. So now I’m in two minds about the Lichen and the No Frills Sweater. I will be knitting the Cumulus Blouse though for definite as I think it’s a piece that will slot in seamlessly into my me made wardrobe.

Yarn

My sewing projects went a little slower this week than expected. Home improvements were going on all week  in the hallway with the removal of tiles and putting down of a new floor. There was so much dust from the removal of the tiles I seemed to spend most of my time cleaning down surfaces and the dust is still there! This is the one thing I dislike about home improvements, the mess it makes. It meant though that my sewing had to take a back seat so I only got the seams on my A-Line skirt done. An hour or so this week should see the remainder of it finished and then I can move onto completing the Margot pyjamas.

A-Line Skirt

Yesterday I did have the opportunity to take a local sewing class to make a Simple Summer Dress. The class was in the same place where I learned to make the above A-Line Skirt and some other pieces and it was an all day class from 10am – 3pm. It was lovely having such a long spell of undisturbed sewing time. In my dress I inserted some facing all round the neck and armhole so I didn’t need to use binding like some of the other versions but this did take a little longer and was a new skill to me. It was great picking up this skill as some tops are the next thing to move onto making for my wardrobe after the pyjamas. With this extra step it did mean I didn’t quite finish my dress but all that remains is one seam and the hem something I can complete in my own time at home here. I’m going to spend half a day this week finishing off these projects before moving on.

Simple Summer Dress

There will be a project focus post for each of these finished items once they are complete and I will talk more then about what I did in the making of the items and any changes I made.

This leaves my list looking like this;

Year of Projects 2018-2019 List

Knitted Garments

Sewn Garments

Socks

6 pairs

  • My Dearest Loveliest Elizabeth – started July 16th

You can follow along with my knitted YOP 8 projects HERE

You can find the YOP group and weekly posts HERE

Ruth.

Knitting · Midweek Check-In · Reading

Midweek Check-In

Checking in with what my reading and creative time is being spent on so far this week.

IMG_5320

I’m almost half way though the Theft of Swords which is Volume 1 in The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan. I can’t put this book down and every chance I get I’m reading it. On most journeys out and about it’s in my bag and it’s what I opt for over my knitting when I am out.

I’ve started the first sleeve for my Fintry and just like with the book, this is the project I want to knit on when I get the chance. The Fintry is worked bottom up and I’m as far as the armholes so the sleeves are next to be worked and like I said, it’s all I want to work on.

Ruth.

Projects in Progress · Sewing

PIP (Project in Progress)

With my ever growing interest in sewing, I wanted to try my hand at some quilting. Knowing nothing about the how to and mechanics of it, I naturally turned to some books to learn something about quilts and making them. A browse through Amazon and a Quilt-As-You-Go series caught my attention. I liked the idea of a large quilt being broken down to more manageable pieces. This seemed like something I could do while learning about quilting and yet not feeling overwhelmed by the whole process. I ordered both books, Quilt-As-You-Go Made Modern and Quilt-As-You-Go Made Vintage.

I browsed through the books and the options for quilts and chose the High Tea Sampler Quilt in the Quilt-As-You-Go Made Vintage book. This sampler quilt uses 48 out of the 51 blocks shown in the book and it is a reversible quilt all of which were things that appealed to me to learn.

IMG_5308

I’ve bought a selection of fabrics both for the squares and as background and binding, I’ve gotten the batting ready and I’ve cut out the pieces for the first square on the front. The squares on the back will just be plain squares. I’ve now just got to make up the square and proceed with quilting it where it will be joined with the others as I go.

I have one question with regards to quilting and I’ve not learned or come across the answer yet. I know I need my walking foot for the quilting of the squares as this is the part with the layers of fabric and I will need it fed through evenly top and bottom. But my question is, do I need the walking foot to piece the initial squares together? Or is my regular foot sufficient?

If anybody knows the answer, I’d love to hear otherwise I will keep looking and once I have the answer, get started with this project, which for the moment has not time frame for completion.

Ruth.