Category: Fashion

Norwegian Mittens

For those of you who don’t know, I am half Norwegian – or half viking as my cousin likes to tell me. Norway has a long history of beautiful knitwear, not least the famous Marius sweater which I have always wanted to make one day. My childhood was filled with Norwegian designed knitted items made by relatives, but until last year I had never tried to make any myself!

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The pattern is on Ravelry and is free and really easy to follow. I used some beautiful yarn given to me by my husband which he picked up on trip to Australia. Made by Cleakheaton, it’s a soft and luscious angora silk, I love the way the red has hints of pink mixed through the yarn.

They took me a long time to make and the consequence of this is that the tension is all over the place. The first mitten was made at a quite stressful time and the knit is super tight, but by the time I got to the second mitten I had calmed down and the knit is much looser. I managed to make them close to the same size through blocking but it’s not perfect. I suppose that’s the maker’s mark!

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To protect the wearer from the wind I lined the gloves with some brushed cotton. I’m really pleased with the results and since completing these I have been given a book of patterns so watch this space.

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You might have noticed that this blog has been dormant for a little while due to lots of life changes (these mittens were completed in December!!). But I plan to spend some time updating it with lots of posts over the next few weeks. Thanks for your patience.

Machine Knitting – Finished Project Pictures

It feels fitting to end 2015 with an update on one of the projects I started in January, a machine knit scarf.

Machine Knit Scarf

When updating my blog last week I realised that I had scandalously neglected to post the finished pictures of my Machine Knit Scarf which I made in the Spring. Here are a few shots of me modelling my creation on Arthur’s Seat.

Machine Knit Scarf - Full view

It was finished just in time for summer and I have only just rescued it from one of the packing boxes. I’m loving wearing it so far!

Knitted pattern clash explosion for the last day of work before Christmas #machineknitting #pattern #knitting

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Since making this project I have bought my own knitting machine and I’m looking forward to creating something new with it in January… watch this space! If you have any tips on punch cards or patterns please put them in the comments below.

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year! Kx

My Instagram Favourites #MMMay15

Me Made May wasn’t just about what I wore. One of my favourite things over the last month was cruising the hashtag and seeing all the wonderful creations people had made. It was also a fabulous way to discover some really talented bloggers I hadn’t come across before. I had so many favourites that it was hard to choose, but I wanted to share a couple here. Make sure you check out the instagram feeds of all these talented ladies!

Gwenstellamade

Vintage playsuit? Yes Please! This has given me some new inspiration for some vintage pattern fabric I have in my stash. GwenStella as a fabulous vintage inspired blog – enjoy!

Thisismoonlight

Some of the best constructed shots of #MMMay15 – her pictures on their own are a work of art. Seeing these pictures has really changed the way I’m going to think about photographing my projects in the future. That’s not to mention the colourful and beautifully made clothing.

Check out all of her photos on her inspirational blog.

Kooky umbrella pose #mmmay15 #moonlightexpressions

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Cleocmc

So many incredible creations. I think this beautiful yellow pattern skirt is my favourite but to be honest its hard to choose. Also she seems to be working on an amazing fairisle knit sweater. Definitely one to watch.

Be sure to check out her blog which is full of amazing makes!

Day 11. The skirt and matching headband were made by me. #sewing #memademay #mmmay15 #mmm15

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Rollingcloth

The clothes, the glasses, the attitude! Claudine I heart your style. You can find out what she has going on in her studio right now by visiting her blog – a must read.

Me Made May – First Week Round Up

It’s been just over a week since the start of my Me Made May challenge to wear an item of clothing I have made myself everyday for the whole of May. So far I have been really enjoying wearing clothes I have made myself, although I haven’t had to change my normal outfits too much.

I’ve read a few blog posts from people taking part in the challenge and many people seem to have “learnt lessons” or gained insights from the process. I have to say that I haven’t learnt much about myself or my wardrobe from taking part but I have learnt a little more about social media. Here are some of my insights!

A Colourful Dress in a Sunny Location is Way more Likeable than Staple Items

The most liked outfits so far were taken when I was on holiday in the South of France. For example my own version of the Lisette Passport Dress photographed while on holiday in the picturesque town of Roussillon

Lisette Passport dress in reclaimed batik fabric #mmmay15 #ochre #roussillon

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Compare this to the number of likes my self-drafted white t-shirt attracted, there is no contest. White t-shirts are officially boring.

Self drafted white t-shirt for Saturday shopping #mmmay15

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Nobody Likes Rain 

My least liked picture so far has been this one of me wearing my waterproof pants. They may have been an intriguing and challenging sew but they do not make compelling instagram eye candy.

First day back from holiday and wearing homemade waterproof cycling trousers for #mmmay15

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An Arty Shot Will Always Get Likes on IG

My most liked picture so far has been this one. Is it the liberty print fabric, is it the moody lighting, or the fact I am not smiling at the camera? I think this shot is more “classic” instagram than some of the others I have taken which may have helped.

My first Liberty Fabric dress taken out of retirement for #mmmay15. Pattern by Burda.

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Hashtags, Hashtags, Hashtags

I began by just using the official hashtag, #mmmay15, but in the last couple of days I have noticed a lot of people using #memademay15. I’ve started using both although the purist in me wants to stick only to the official one.

Follow me on instagram or check out the hashtag to see all the outfits for the rest of the month. I can promise you that I will be wearing some of the more unusual items I have made in the next few weeks, it’s not just going to be 19 days of office appropriate attire.

A Year of Practicality – Waterproof Cycling Pants

BikePants-10 Since the start of the year I have been running round telling quite a lot of people that this is my “Year of Practicality”. No more frivolous dresses or esoteric art-fashion projects (or at least some of those but not at the expense of everything else) – this is the year I make real world practical wardrobe items. This is the year I use up fabric rather than wastefully buy more, this is the year I try and practice what I preach and make my wardrobe more sustainable (at least in a small way). BikePants-15 So without further ado I give you my first hyper practical sew: water and windproof cycling pants. The idea for these beauties started way back in August when we were invited to a friends wedding in Seattle, where we spent some time exploring the area including many fabric and craft stores. By far the most exciting of these stores was Seattle Fabrics which was suggested by Brian (hi Brian!). This store sold technical fabrics and had everything you might need to make outdoor wear, sleeping bags, tents, and sales for boats. It was totally fascinating and exactly the kind of specialist shop you just don’t find in the UK. BikePants-9 I felt compelled to buy something from all the goodies available in the shop and came away with the pattern and all the supplies to make a pair of waterproof pants/trousers for cycling and camping. I thought since the winter was fast approaching this would be a great thing to make. But life got in the way and I only got up the courage to give them a go now. The pattern is made by The Green Pepper Inc and is printed on newsprint with a lovely 70s retro feel to the design. The instructions are very easy to follow and the pattern would have made up very quickly if I hadn’t had so much trouble topstitching around the zips where the bulky piping, zip and several layers of fabric met. In the end I had to take a break and do it over several days. BikePants-18 The fabric is water proof and breathable, with reflective pre-made piping for nighttime wear. In the colours I tried to capture some of the classic Norwegian cross-country ski wear of my youth, going with red and dark blue. A quick word on the pattern: I would buy a little extra fabric if you are even slightly taller than average height. The pattern instructions ask for  2 1/2 yards of 45″ fabric and this was barely enough to cut the standard length of trouser. BikePants-1 Of course, springtime decided to arrive in Scotland as soon as I finished these and I haven’t had a chance to test them against the elements. When we took these photos I asked my Beloved if I should take my helmet off for the shots because I was worried I might look a little dorky, but he gently pointed out that cycling back and forth having your photo taken wearing waterproof pants on the hottest day of the year isn’t exactly the coolest thing to do – so safety first!

(UPDATE – I tested these out in the rain and they were very waterproof! Here is some photographic evidence)

Quick Update – Machine Knitting, Punch cards, Tucks and Prepping the Final Project

We are now on week eight of the beginners machine knitting course at Edinburgh Contemporary Crafts and the pace is picking up. Since my last post, I have slowly become more confident on the machines, getting better at casting on and off, and working with different weights and types of yarn.

In the last two weeks I have finally managed to get on to working with punch cards, which I have been looking forward to since signing up.

Punch cards in action

They are actually surprisingly easy to use, and give some beautiful results.

First attempt at knitting with a punchcard

We have also started planning and now working on our final projects; I’m making a scarf in purple and silver grey, partly inspired by the costumes on the BBC programme Wolf Hall (ridiculous I know!). The richness of the colours and the way the sleeves of the garments move are what I’d like to capture in this piece.

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There will also be at least one panel made with a punch card because I love the pattern effect so much. I am not sure if the final scarf will be a success but I am excited to try it and see the results. Here is a picture of my first panel on the machine, which uses tuck stitches to create a folding effect.

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I’ve really enjoyed the course so far and it has definitely opened my eyes to new materials, techniques and ways of working.

One Last Nettie

I’m currently going through a process of using up all the fabric in my stash so on Sunday I decide to make another Nettie which has to be my favourite pattern of 2014. The fabric was a simple bamboo jersey I bought a while ago from Fabric Focus. I initially had wanted to use it to make a top but when the shop assistant came to measuring out it out he discovered a large hole in the middle. Luckily he was nice enough to give me the extra length of fabric with the hole in it at no charge.

Grey Nettie dress

There wasn’t enough to make a second garment on its own, so I decided to make one last Nettie reasoning that I could always turn it into a shirt if I didn’t like the effect of so much grey.

Grey dress-1

I used the high front neckline/mid level back version of the pattern and extended the length to take it over the knee to give it that glamorous understated feel that I think a longer length gives you. I also altered the back slightly so that there was a little more fabric to cover my bra straps which keep peeking out in earlier versions I have made.

Kate and me after the ceremony

I debuted the dress on Tuesday when I was privileged enough to be invited to my friend Kate’s citizenship ceremony. It was a really moving event, far more so than I expected. It made me realise how lucky we are and how many people would like to have access to the privileges that we enjoy in Scotland. That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t keep pushing for change or trying to improve things, but it is important to remember the context in which we are living. So congratulations Kate, I feel honoured that you wanted to join us and be part of this country!

Incidentally Kate is the writer behind the fabulous Getting Where blog – she writes beautifully about travel and solo travel as well as general musings on life. I highly recommend checking it out.

A Sneak Peek Inside – Make it Easy Mix & Match Pattern Wardrobe & Sewing Guide

Make It Easy cover view

This weekend I was on a quest to hunt out the best place to find vintage sewing supplies in Edinburgh. Whilst rummaging in Herman Brown I discovered a stash of pattern magazines from 1984 called “Make it Easy: Mix & Match Pattern Wardrobe & Sewing Guide” published by Marshall Cavendish. Here is one of the original ads, which pretty much covers the awesome concept!

I’ve always been totally fascinated by collections which claim you can make an entire wardrobe with just one set of patterns. Has anyone ever done this? Could you dress yourself from head to toe with just one of these magazines – I’m tempted to try one day.

Make It Easy reverse view

The magazines come in their own cardboard sleeve with a full paper pattern and technique cards. I only bought one because I wasn’t sure how good they would be – but when I opened it up at home I wasn’t disappointed.

Make It Easy magazine cover

As far as I could tell all the patterns were uncut and selling at £2 a piece. They originally sold for £1.75 back in 1984 (£5.10 when you account for inflation). I found a few for sale on Amazon at £4.50.

Make It Easy inside 1

One pattern – so many options!

Make It Easy inside 2

There are also helpful articles on colour matching.

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Full instructions on how to make each outfit – including a step by step photo guide.

Make It Easy inside 4

There are also pattern variations showing you how to transition the pattern effortlessly from day wear to evening wear. I love the dress and the evening wear version of the jumpsuit with the frill neckline. I think the dress would make a great casual summer outfit in a patterned cotton, while the jumpsuit would be fantastic in a dark silk with a slim belt (worn with or without the gloves!).

Make It Easy - technique cards

The technique cards also look pretty useful, especially if you’re a beginner. Why google how to do something when you can use one of these cards?

Herman Brown looked like they had almost the full set so if you’re Edinburgh based and having an 80s sewing moment its worth investigating.

Have you ever used vintage patterns? Where are the best places to pick them up? I’m looking for as many hot tips as possible so please share the love!

Traditional Fisherman’s Knitwear

This week on a whistle stop visit to Aberdeen for work I was excited to discover a small but in-depth exhibition about traditional fisherman’s knitwear or Ganseys at Aberdeen Maritime Museum. I didn’t have very long in the exhibition so I didn’t have time to look at all the exhibits properly but there were some beautiful pattern examples on show. Interesting fact for all you Channel Islanders out there – although their names sound similar there is difference between a Gansey and a Guernsey (or Jersey)the shape of the garment is the same but Guernseys are made traditionally from thicker wool – so now you know! I’ve included a photo of the information panel so you can get all of the details.

The exhibition is free and on until 28 February (and only a short walk from the train station) so if you’re in the area and interested in knitting or fashion history its definitely worth a visit.

Gansey Exhibition 1

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An information panel which asks the important questions.