Knitting · Project Focus

Project Focus – Gingerbread jumper

Today’s Project Focus post is on my recently completed Gingerbread jumper or at least my version of it.

I’m still calling this my Gingerbread jumper even though it looks nothing like the wonderful Gingerbread pattern by Libby of Truly Myrtle but because I used her numbers and directions in her pattern for all bar the plain bottom I used in my version, I can’t but link and give credit where it is due and I had originally set out to make the Gingerbread as directed the project just took a turn as what I wanted veered the project away from the original.

Gingerbread

I started out combining two yarns, a light fingering and a silk lace mohair, to get the recommended gauge of 20 sts x 26 rows = 10cm. The yarns I used were the Shetland Heritage in the Moorit colourway combined with an Isager Silk Mohair in the colourway 06. A true representation of the colour of these yarns combined is in the modelled shot above, I found capturing a true representation of the colour to be difficult.

I opted to knit the size 38″ which for my current size is with a -2″ of ease. I chose this size for a couple of reasons. 1. it is coming into summer so I’m not likely to be wearing a sweater of DK weight again until the end of Autumn and on my current weight loss journey I’m hoping to be smaller again and 2. I really dislike the oversized look to my knitted garments…I dislike it to my garments in general…looking like a sack of potatoes is not a flattering look on me! So I am experimenting with my garments to find what look is going to work for me and this is the garment I’ve chosen to try to a negative ease look coupled with some waist shaping.

So as I’ve said I followed the pattern as written for the neckline and increases, separation of sleeves etc. My modifications began 5″ after the sleeve separation point. It is at this point in my garments if I am adding waist shaping that I began that shaping. As you can see from the below picture I worked a series of spaced decreases and then at approx 9″ I begin to increase once more for the hips. I find this works in all my knitted garments for shaping.

Gingerbread 2

As the original Gingerbread sweater has a deep patterning and ribbing to the bottom of it which when added on to my shaping modification it would have left the garment much longer on me than what I desired so it was at this point that I veered away completely from the pattern. As you will see in the picture below I continued on with my hip increasing and knit in plain stockinette until I had an inch to go where at the point I worked that final inch in 2 x 2 ribbing. This gave me a total body length of 14″ which is the body length I opt for across all my garments.

Gingerbread 3

With the body complete I once more returned to the pattern for the sleeves and worked them to the numbers and directions again I merely omitted the patterning and knit my sleeves until they were 17″ in length from the underarm and then finished them off with an inch of 2 x 2 ribbing to mirror the bottom of the body, as you will see in the above picture. I have to say the sleeves on this Gingerbread sweater are the best fitting sleeves I have to knit to date. There is no bagging along the arm or the bottom ribbing and I love the fit of the sleeves with the negative ease. This is something I’m going to take note of for future garments. In general each garment I knit has something that I bring forward to future garments, be that shaping, certain numbers for necks, button bands, ribbing, sleeve decreases or sleeve lengths etc. It’s a process in building the components of a garment that I like and fit that I just apply to future garments.

All that remained then was the neckline, I followed the pattern for the rate of stitch pick up, but worked it in a 2 x 2 ribbing to again mirror the other ribbing in the garment. I like the wide square type of neckline, although how I have chosen to wear it in the modelled shot is how I’d normally wear this jumper and I’m not sure in the winter months how appropriate or practical that is, this we shall see.

Gingerbread 1

Overall I’m happy with the finished and completed sweater. I like the combination of yarns and fibres and it is a soft but warm garment and I like the marled look that has come from using both yarns together. The Silk Mohair yarn I had in stash so it was nice to use that up but I did purchase the Shetland Heritage. It did come on a cone with over 2000 meters for 28 pound, this is enough for two garments so I consider it good value.

I’m also pleased overall with the size, I do like the negative ease effect and with it I may not have to add waist shaping in future garments, this is something to consider in future. It has come out slightly more cropped in look at present than perhaps is the intended look but although this is not a look I normally go for, I can’t say that I dislike it also. I think if it is still so very cropped with less weight on me by the Autumn and I’m feeling self conscious the garment will work over a vest top that extends longer and this is a look I’d still be comfortable wearing, so I can see this garment working in my wardrobe perhaps a little better than some of the knitted garments at present which are getting a little baggy and oversized with the weight loss, which is a shame as some of those I liked when I knit and finished them. But c’est la vie!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on your garments, what works for you and what doesn’t?  If there are any other details on this garment you’d like to know just ask in the comments section below.

I hope you enjoyed this project focus post and I look forward to sharing my next project with you all.

Knitting · Project Focus

Project Focus – Crocus Socks

Today’s project focus post takes a look at the recently completed Crocus socks that I knit.

 

These socks are a part of the Toe Up Socks for Everybody book by Wendy D. Johnson. As part of my box of socks challenge that I’ve set myself for the year I decided to knit 12 pairs of socks from this book. This is a book I’ve had for some time on my book shelves and I’d like to focus more this year also on working with all the wonderful patterns and books of patterns that I already own. The patterns are lovely, they have interest but yet are not overly complicated. There is a mixture of lace, cabled and colourwork patterns in the book. I’m concentrating on the lace and cabled patterns as those are what interest me the most.

Crocus Sock 1

 

The lace patterning on the Crocus sock was a simple lace pattern but throughout the entire sock it held my attention. The pattern was worked over 33 stitches and 16 rows and the socks seemed relatively quick to knit because of the desire to knit one more pattern repeat. I enjoyed working the pattern up the front of the sock and the interesting side patterns added to an overall pleasing look.

As is my usual and preferred sock format I cast on using the same cast on method used by Nathan aka Sockmatician, you can find his tutorial for that here. I work all my socks magic loop on 2.25mm ChiaoGoo needles. As the pattern is worked over 33 stitches I increased the toe until I had 33 stitches on the front of foot to work the pattern but I kept the sole stitches at 32 stitches as it was to be worked in stockinette until after the heel flap. I worked my own heel flap and gusset increases that I use for all my toe up socks. The heel flap and gusset is also my most preferred heel to use as I find the fit of it just perfect for my foot. Once the heel flap was worked I increased the back of the leg to 33 stitches so that I had enough stitches to work the pattern same as the front and giving me a total of 66 stitches. When the leg of the pattern was worked I decreased back down to 64 stitches, 32 stitches per needle and then worked a 1 x 1 twisted rib and cast off using an elastic bind off. The bind off I use can be seen here in this tutorial. This is again my favourite for my socks as I find it doesn’t flair out, a look I’m not overly fond of.

I used a single colour for these socks, as I’ve found I’ve just fallen out of love with contrasting parts, and there is something pleasing for me in just the one colour. The colour is Apricot Tulip and it is from Eden Cottage Yarns on their Tempo 4ply base. This is a 75% wool, 25% nylon base and is one I enjoy working with. I find socks knit in this yarn wear really well, it gives patterns a good stitch definition and comes in a range of colours I just love.

Crocus Sock

This is the third pattern from the book that I’ve knit this year and this pair now joins the first two, the Rosebud and Laurel socks, in my box of socks.

Crocus Sock 5

 

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.

Project Focus · Sewing

Project Focus – A-Line Summer Skirt

 

Today’s Project Focus post is looking at my newly completed A-line summer skirt.

 

For this version I chose a lilac cotton with embroidered flowers on it. It feels a lot like a light to medium weight cotton and although will have movement and drape it does have a little more structure to it than other versions that I made of this skirt.

This was the first garment I made at a class I took earlier this summer and the pattern I have is from that class, so I have no reference or link to offer.

I picked up a white zip locally as no lilac ones were available and some cotton binding in a dark purple to match the embroidery on the fabric.

A wash and press of the fabric and I cut the fabric out, pinned and sewed the central back seam, then sewing both side seams. After pressing them open I zig zagged along the edges as at this moment I don’t have an overlocker and I’m hoping this will at least work somewhat on the edges. I’ve read that it will but that remains to be seen.

After that the zip got inserted and I made it an invisible zip. All that remained was the binding on the hem and waist with extra left to make some cute little ties and the skirt was complete. A perfect sew to accomplish in a day even for a beginner like me and it becomes a garment that’s easy to team with a t-shirt to wear and enjoy in the spell of hot sunny summer weather we are currently enjoying.

Ruth.