Thursday, 19 May 2016

FO - Léger top

leger knitted top tttkal knit along espace tricot free pattern drops cotton yarn neckline stripes

I knit clothes!  Clothes that fit!  (well...)

The Tops, Tanks and Tees Knit Along couldn't have come at a better time for me.  I had progressed from merely thinking about making something wearable to actually collecting materials and looking at patterns when the announcement went up on Very Shannon.  My mum had a bag of cotton yarn in her knitting cupboard (she has at least one of everything in there) in the colours I was thinking about using, so that took care of one major step.  The longest part for me was deciding on a pattern.  There's just so many good ones out there and not enough time to make them all.

leger knitted top tttkal knit along espace tricot free pattern cotton yarn  front and back views

Pattern - Léger by Espace Tricot

Yarn - Drops Cotton Light in Ice Blue (50g) and Light Blue Jeans (around 350g)

Needles - 5mm circular (80cm)

Size - 40 inches at chest

Notes - I had the hardest time getting gauge on this top.  When I knit the first swatch, it was longer than it should have been but also narrower, which seems like an impossibility.  No amount of Googling could give me an answer on how to fix the problem so I ended up going up a chest size and a needle size - the length issue wasn't really an issue since I would have added extra stripes anyway.

I loved working with the cotton yarn, even if it was difficult to keep all the wee strands together at some points.  The darker blue yarn ran out just after I finished the stripe section, which I was expecting.  I'd thought I could go to the nearest town with a yarn shop and get something to match but that was wildly optimistic of me, so I ordered more of the same and hoped the dye lots weren't too different.  I couldn't even tell them apart when I finished so yay for Drops!

Size wise, and despite all my careful calculations, the top turned out a bit bigger than I was aiming for.  Not really a problem, since I like my tops oversized anyway.  I knew from the start that I wouldn't be adding sleeves and I'd expected to knit around the armholes to finish them off, but they curled in nicely and made it unnecessary to add any more detailing.  A quick join of the shoulder seams and a pick-up-stitches-then-cast-them-off round on the neckline and it was done!

I wanted to get some nicer pictures in the sunshine but the weather hasn't been very obliging this week.  I think we were spoiled a bit in the last few weeks, although it was more summer than we got last year so I shouldn't really complain.  Hopefully I'll be back at the beach before too long.

knitting needle bracelet vintage DIY handmade red jeans leger knitted top tttkal knit along espace tricot free pattern cotton
jeans - Long Tall Sally, bracelet - made by me
Did anyone else join in with the Knit Along?  I've been excitedly searching the hashtags on Instagram each day (#tttkal and #tttkal16) to see what others have been creating.  There's so many pretty knits out there!


Wednesday, 4 May 2016

FO - knitted beach hut

beach hut stripes knitting amanda berry fluff and fuzz yarn along beach photos scotland

This knitted design was one of those things that you see and immediately want to cast on.  I mean, who doesn't want their very own woolly beach hut?  I think I stumbled across the pattern on Twitter and immediately clicked over to Ravelry to download it.  Then, as fate would have it, I ran out of yarn for my Léger tee and fancied some instant gratification knitting while I was waiting for the extra yarn to show up (which it did, as I was writing this post this morning!).

beach hut stripes knitting amanda berry fluff and fuzz yarn along beach photos scotland

beach hut stripes knitting amanda berry fluff and fuzz yarn along beach photos scotland window

Pattern - Beach Hut by Amanda Berry

Yarn - Red Heart Margareta 4ply

Needles - 3mm needles and 3mm crochet hook

Size - 6 inches tall, 4.5 inches wide/deep

Additions - A random stash button used for the door handle, cereal box cardboard cut into a hut shape and fabric scraps/stuffing for the inside.

Notes - The only major change I made was to knit the hut in 4ply yarn instead of double knitting, simply because I wanted a smaller version than the original design.  It still turned out to be a reasonable size though - next time I might half the stitches and see what happens.  Oh, and I also knit the base as a garter stitch square instead of the diagonally shaped square the pattern is written as, since I was reading it off my phone and didn't want to consult it at every line.

The end construction was the most fiddly part.  Tam made me a cardboard beach hut to line the walls, roof and base but, because of the size of the cereal box (a giant Cornflakes one), it was cut in two parts.  After I'd stitched all the bits together, there was a certain amount of faffing involved in getting everything to stay in place while I stuffed the beach hut and stitched up its base.  I recommend sewing two sides of the base into place before attempting to straighten out the cardboard, otherwise it'll move around a bit too much.

I couldn't resist a mini photo shoot on the beach now that I live so close.  More teamwork was involved at this point - Mother did a great job of making sure my precious knitting didn't blow away while I was positioning the pebbles.  They weren't just for decoration, you know!

back beach hut stripes knitting amanda berry fluff and fuzz yarn along beach photos scotland

Has anyone knit anything fun lately?  Linking up to Ginny's Yarn Along, of course (you can see what else I'm making this week on Instagram)


Monday, 2 May 2016

The Buyer's Archive - April

mens vintage cardigan wool charity shop green diamond pattern

Two years ago, I started tracking my spending on everything that went into my wardrobe to see exactly how much of my outgoings went on non-essential items.  It's been an interesting experiment and one I plan to continue indefinitely.  Check out my journey here.

Last April, shopping went pretty well for me.  Everything I found, I loved.  Perhaps somewhat predictably, the green cardigan ended up being my most worn item of the lot.  It even stayed in the wardrobe year round, as did most of my knits last year - let's cross everything and wish for a better summer this year, okay?

vintage dress floral charity shop

Due to the hideous weather last summer, the dresses that I loved so much got aired once each (in Dunoon and Helensburgh).  Completely unacceptable for such prettiness, although it does mean I've not worn them to death and got fed up looking at them (unlike my boots and giant scarves - give me temperatures with double figures already, weather!)  This summer, I vow they'll get more time outside, even if I have to freeze to make it happen.

Last April my total spend was £16.49.  I'm not sure the cost-per-wear of each item was worth it yet but it's nice to find a few awesome bits at once.  I was hoping to get the summer clothes out last week - I even broke into the box for some shoes and trousers - but then it snowed.  So... maybe next week?

History repeated itself a bit this year and I found another batch of clothes that I just lovelovelove.  Mostly dresses.  Because if there's a gap in my wardrobe, it's... definitely not in the dress section.  Still, it's nice to have some neutrals for a change.

vintage dress charity shop polka dots M&S dorothy perkins smock style navy black white

Vintage Dorothy Perkins smock dress via charity shop - £3
There's a new-ish charity shop in my home town.  It used to be a bakery and now it looks like a bakery with crockery instead of cakes on the shelves.  I'd been in a couple of times and assumed the back room and behind the counter were still off limits but nope, you can now wander all over the shop.  I found this dress hanging on a stuffed rail amongst shoes and bedcovers.  Being navy and of a reasonable length, I decided to take a chance on it, but it wasn't until I got home and tried it on that I fell in love with the simple shape and pretty lace paneling.  Plus, a closer inspection revealed that it had been hemmed at some point, so I was even saved the trouble of doing it myself!

Vintage M&S polka dot dress via charity shop - £2
Also in the vicinity of my home town is a junk shop.  Officially it's called a thrift shop, but my description is a bit more accurate.  It's one of those places with a vague sense of organisation - sheets are folded on shelves, glasses huddle together and electronics occupy that far section that no-one really bothers with - that somehow retains an air of 'I wonder what treasure I'll find today?' kind of vibe.  There are baskets containing pencils and shower caps, and the donations have a slightly random pricing structure - a tatty straw bag will have a £2 tag but a vintage teacup will set you back 20p.  The clothing selection is usually pretty poor but Mother spotted this polka dotted gem last week.  It's missing its original slip and the fabric is rather sheer, but for that price I can add my own undergarments.  The slip I photographed the dress with doesn't match, but I have another that's just waiting to be shortened a tiny bit and then I'll be good to go.

buyers archive charity shop waistcoat vest colourwork wolsey m&s dress grey colourblock jersey sale

M&S jersey colourblock dress - £6.99
This dress has one of those typical meant-to-be stories that I seem to tell quite often, so prepare yourselves for another one.  Back in March, I was shopping in Glasgow with Mother and we inevitably ended up amongst the sale rails in M&S.  She held up this very Elise-style dress in front of me but I was feeling virtuous and said no to another purchase, and away we went.  Except the dress stayed with me, flitting in and out of my head over the next few weeks (I think this is when I admit that I have a problem, because, if you've been reading these posts over the past couple of years, CLEARLY I need no new clothing whatsoever)  I moved home, and hanging out with Mother happened way more often, and we ended up in M&S again.  The small, local one, with only one wee rail of clearance items, where Mother found a couple of things to try on.  

The changing rooms were unusually messy that day and someone had left a bunch of clothes in one of the cubicles - including my dress.  Yup, I'd already decided it was mine when I spotted it.  It even has pockets, that rare, magical thing where women's clothing is concerned.  I'm not sure it's the most flattering dress I've ever worn but it'll most likely spend its life hidden under a giant cardigan anyway.

Wolsey colourwork wool vest via charity shop - £3
Speaking of layering, I found the perfect solution for those numerous 'I'm freezing' days we're still having - a Fair Isle type waistcoat.  Tam and I both took a shine to this in the shop but in the end, I got to buy it, although I agreed to share.  Wait...I got the raw end of that deal, didn't I?  I may have already knit myself a vest (modelled with the blue dress - so I did, in fact, wear it twice!) but another one won't go wrong in Scotland.

Total spend for this April was £14.99.  Not a bad total, although I'm sure I spent far more than that on craft materials last month.  Give me unlimited free time and I'll plunge head first into a game of 'what can I make with a sewing machine and charity shopped fabric?'  It's been keeping me busy for weeks.

If anyone's joined in with Buyer's Archive, use the hashtag #buyersarchive on social media or leave me a comment below and I'll find you!

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