Monday, 14 September 2015

Achievement Unlocked : KNITTING : Liathite in Malachite

My very first 'BIG' knitted item!!
Well, ok, I did start a white jumper back in the 80's, but mum finished it, I think I might have made it part way down the front...
Yes, the only thing I'd ever finished knitting before casting on for this was my little scarflett.

Channelling my inner 30's self: Flat shoes. Wide legged pants. Cloche. Comfy woollens. 
Grumpy expression = sun in eyes, give me back my sunglasses...
 This is Carol Feller's (Stolen Stitches) Liathite cardigan. It's top down, and all in one, so there's no seaming which my 91 yr young grandma is very amazed at, but it got so heavy to lug around!! The attraction of Nicky Gabriels's triangle jumper, as made by Carolyn, has never been so acute.
The Stolen Stitches pattern was very explanatory and the cables were both charted and written out. I knitted the body, adjusting for length and width as needed (loved trying it on as I went!) and the cable pattern just kept marching down the CFs (well, so long as I remembered which row number they were up to).
I dropped the underarm seams by doing a few (2cm worth) rows without increases before joining front & back - eternal thanks to my online knitting mentors, especially Gail & Jillian for their input.
Look Mumma, no set in sleeves!
It's knit in Bendigo Woollen Mills' 12 ply Stellar, the same 50% bamboo & 50% wool blend of my little scarflett.
All Ravelry details on my project page here.

These photos were pre-blocking as I nabbed my photographer when I could. I was a little wary of soaking it, and having all sorts of trepidation about using the bamboo - it's so gorgeous to wear against my skin & keeps me a lovely temperature, but I was afraid of it stretching with the weight of the cardigan. I didn't need to worry as much, it dried in less than a day (much faster than my bamboo socks!), didn't stretch and the stitches have settled smoothly - I'm a convert ;0
Fully Zipped
The zip 'should' be blue. I had a perfect 2 way zip ready for it when I polled Instagram about how long to knit it. I haven't found another (longer) 2 way zip in blue, and I was a tad impatient to 'just wear it', so it has a cream zipper for now, I might swap it out, or not ;)
I do like the crushed velvet ribbon I stitched to the zipper tape.
The cardigan is significantly longer than the pattern, and I omitted the hood. Several other knitters have made a high ribbed collar that folds over, I've opted for a snug crew neck that doesn't get in the way of my extensive scarf collection ;)
I know it's not perfect, but, I finished it, I made a proper adult cardigan! I've also been throwing it on every evening as the temperature cools inside my home, it's so perfectly snuggly.

And now? I want to knit ALL the things!!!!
Next up will be a post on my hats, such pretty, rewarding little hats ;)

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

70's Splendour at Frocktails Melbourne

Yes, I do spend my life swanning about at all the most fashionable functions ;)
Well, in my dreams I do...
Photo Credit Poppykettle
After a wonderful weekend in our nations capital for #cbrfrocktails, I set about planning for '#Frocktails', here in my home city of Melbourne.
Now, I knew Canberra would be frosty cold, but somehow the Antarctic winter that Melbourne was experiencing was more 'real' and caused more angst about 'what to wear to be warm'. Well, that and the reality that I was staying next to the venue in Canberra, but would be waiting on open platforms and catching trains in Melbourne.
Jenny Rennous-Oh-Glennus had the most brilliant of solutions - pop over to her post to see not just the best full skirt ever made, but also, her hidden source of toasty warmth.
 I accompanied her on the train to Frocktails in a full length wool coat, appropriated from my mum's "AFL games at the MCG" attending wardrobe - I felt very Sherlock Holmes. I will be making one for next winter. My headdress was the source of much fascination for a young girl also on the train, clearly we were going to a ball.
And what a ball it was! 51 gorgeous ladies from as far afield as NZ & Brisbane, all in handcrafted magnificence. My photos of the evening aren't mine and all credit goes to Mel Poppykettle, Helen Funkbunny and Gabrielle UpSewLate, they have many more in their posts.

Photo Credit Poppykettle
Keeping up my tradition of sewing my way through my silk stash, I paired this very tactile, almost peach skin silk with a classic 1970's pattern. The Tuesday before Frocktails I was full of 'the flu' & my wonderful mum drove me around some opp shops, as we like to do. There were 5 perfectly 70's patterns in a little shop that simply said 'take me home' and this one then said 'make me, in silk, tonight'. I did mention my raging fever? Anyhow, I was sensible enough (for a change) to soak the silk in a gelatine mix before laying it out and cutting the dress as long as the crosswise width of my fabric allowed.
I've reinforced the channels at the top and along the CB zip with silk organza. SewSquirrel is my online & local supplier. This silk is divine, but really doesn't like being unpicked and even with a new microtec needle, threatens to run on the stitch lines. That invisible zip, it's white, shhh, don't tell anyone ... A perfect excuse to buy a new summer shade of nail polish really ;)

DH had understandable reservations when he saw it in it's full 70's glory, it was quite Aline and made a strong 70's silhouette statement. My concerns were more along the undergarments line, its not an opaque fabric, and in it's original styling, bras were rather optional.
Mel reassured me early on in the night that the paparazzi flash wasn't showing my undergarments, phew! (I'm still wary after my first Frocktails experience where my understated burgundy slip became the main event, rather than my black lace dress). For those curious, this has a black halter neck slip ;)
Photo Credit Funkbunny
It was a truly magnificent night and I managed to escort the last ladies standing down Collins St to hot chips after 2am, so that's a definite achievement!

Sunday, 12 July 2015

A Canberra Capsule Wardrobe #CBRFrocktails

I recently flew up to Canberra for the inaugural #CBRFrocktails and after a few false starts landing through the fog, was warmly greeted by the local sewing spoolettes, coffee and a sunny sky. 
Seven items proudly made by me ;)
Most importantly, what did I wear! Well, I took great delight in packing a small case with a co-ordinated selection of favourite RTW and new and favourite me-made items. Basing my daytime outfit around a pair of dark denim mid-waisted boot cuts (I found my 'perfect' RTW jean at the 11th hour before sewing a pair), I simply required a top each day to go under my Named Patterns' Saunio +/- layered with my teal Swoon cardigan. Two perfect workhorses that, conveniently layer beautifully together.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Named Saunio

Such an unassuming blog post title for such a little workhorse of a cardigan.

Named Patterns released the Saunio cardigan in their SS14 All Things Nice Collection well over a year ago. I've seen it made up, by the always on-trend and stylish Kirsty of Top Notch, three times, however I never really noticed it, until now. Her third version, and Blogless Anna's, combined with Named's discount code for The Monthly Stitch's separates competition, tipped me over the edge, I wanted one, and I wanted it now.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Sea Change Sea Change One Two Three !!!

I do love a top with interesting details, especially one that has fabulous drape from big pattern pieces, fits me without headaches, and where I can move about freely without readjusting it over the day.  Having bands to finish the hem and sleeves neatly and making it both woven and knit suitable ... I'm sold!

Introducing Lily Sage & Co's Sea Change Top.
The Sea Change top is loosely fitted, with wide kimono sleeves. The hem is designed to fall just below the natural waist for a modest, cropped look that will both complement and showcase high waist pants and skirts.

The top length can easily be lengthened through the top. The armbands and bottom hem band can also be altered in length for different looks.
Recommended fabrics:
Light to medium weight, drapey fabrics will be the most flattering choices for this top.
Options include knit fabrics like jersey. Cotton, viscose, and rayon are fibres that will all work well. Woven fabrics like silk satin, silk crepe de chine, and habutai will also suit this pattern.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Dyeing for a Sea Change 1 - my experiment in dyeing rayon

I have just had my first experiments with procion dyes. (in contrast to hot water dyeing which I've never been terribly good at)

This glorious yellow rayon was the first solid rayon I found at Spotlight a year or 2 ago. I had great visions of a summery dress, however it is, rather, yellow-gold... Lovely to feel, nice and drapey, but, far to overwhelmingly yellow for a dress for me. So, inspired by all of the indigo workshops that have been filling my Pinterest feed, and Nicki's solar dyeing for One Year One Outfit, I set out to learn a little bit about dyeing.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Sunny Summer in the Seventies

This is a dress of my childhood, a vintage pattern, sewn in fabric possibly older than it is ;)
I can imagine my mum, grandmas & aunts wearing lightweight loose dresses like this during summer in the 1970's. They're not common in family photographs as most pictures were taken during celebrations when everyone was more dressed up, but I'm sure I remember dresses like these as 'house dresses'.

I was given this lightweight yellow cotton from my lovely MILs stash. I think it's from when they were living in the tropics in the early 1970's. It's delightfully smooth and cool to touch, however it's been maturing for a while as I couldn't picture it as anything. Then, I was browsing my shirt dress collection, the sleeves on view 2 of Style1578 circa 1976 jumped out at me and declared, "our time has come again, make us now!" So I did.
I made View 2 sleeveless, size 12, 34" bust