Tall stories

It’s going ok so far. I’ve knit a whole sleeve, including a whole pattern repeat more than the pattern demands as I wanted it to hit at about 3/4 length rather than just above the elbow. I put in a lifeline at the point where the sleeve becomes the body and managed to add another 12 rows this evening.

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The next few days will be slower progress as we’ve got our summer show going in at work, for which I am involved in rigging and programming the lighting, followed by a couple of days returning to the ongoing build of our Panto set. So knitting time will be restricted by finish times at work, and dependent on how tired I am after full busy days. I’ll get an hour or two at most each evening. Although I could perhaps take it with me to continue during my lunch break – that’d go down without any mocking in the green room, I’m sure!

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Tall order

My sister is getting married in just over two weeks time and I will be one of her bridesmaids. I have a gorgeous navy blue dress to wear, and will need a shawl or a shrug to cover up later in the day. We’ve had trouble finding something commercially available, so when my sister suggested that I and the other bridesmaid don’t necessarily need to have matching ones, I had the ridiculous idea that maybe I could knit myself something. In two weeks. Yes. I’m stoopid.

So I found a yarn shop conveniently close to a location I needed to travel to anyway yesterday. They didn’t have the greatest selection of yarns – I wanted something cushy that wouldn’t break the bank – but I found something that I thought would do. I bought Peter Pan Petite Fleur DK in an off white colour, with the intention of knitting the Sonoma shrug, but on a quick double check of Ravelry on returning home, I found the Emma shrug from Quince and Co, which I thought would be a quicker knit as the lacework is less fiddly, and I also preferred the longer sleeves.

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So I duly cast on and after about 12 rows and a couple hours work, I checked the rough guage of the piece and realised it was coming out a fair bit bigger than hoped. Some knit maths and calculating and a little mathematical help from the hubster and I ripped back and restarted on a size smaller and managed to get back to where I had been by the end of the evening. Now I just need to figure out what I’m doing wrong with my yarn-overs because they’re not looking like the open eyelets in the picture, and then knit like a crazy lady for the next two weeks. Cos it’s not like I’m working as well or anything!! Wish me luck!

Rip!

I stalled for some time on my trousers. Partly because I just haven’t had a clear stretch of time to warrant getting everything out and spreading out, and partly because I triple stitched a couple of seams before making a modification I’d intended to. I spent a long time debating in my head whether there was another way to do it, or whether to abandon the idea altogether, but eventually came to the conclusion that since the modification was largely the point of making a second pair, and there was no other way to do it well, I should just bite the bullet and rip the seams out. So I did.

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I used my new seam ripper for the first time (Mothers Day gift from my boys) and it was like a hot knife through butter, so the seam ripping was so much easier than I anticipated. These things usually are, especially if you’ve spent months agonising over how much of a pain it will be!

Now I’ve just got to figure out how this modification will actually work.

Overwhelmed

I’ve been thinking about writing here recently. Right now, I could write this exact post all over again – Knit therapy

Life is all just a bit overwhelming right now. Mostly it’s good, very good, but very full and busy.

Last week we were on holiday in Cornwall, which was honestly the best holiday I’ve had in a long while and the most relaxed I’ve been for ages. We enjoyed seeing a different part of the country, and Cornwall is truly beautiful.

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The boys being that little bit older now, we were able to get out and do some slightly more adventurous things together – long walks, a 20 mile bike ride and even a spot of parkrun tourism. We spent lazy afternoons crabbing in the harbours and eating fish and chips and fudge at the beach.

We nosed around craft shops and art galleries. I even found a yarn shop, though it was closed when we got there. The cottage we stayed in was lovely, spacious yet cosy, in a beautiful location. I really felt like I had space and time to breathe and relax. I read a whole book while we were there – Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier.

Coming home, with a return to clutter and chaos and a busy week of work and activities felt overwhelming and oppressive. I forget how therapeutic crafting can be, yet somehow it’s also part of the heavy weight of physical and mental clutter. I have so many projects half done, half abandoned, half intended, waiting in the wings for the right time or the right tools or the right space. I end up in a brain fog where I can’t get motivated to do anything at all, but just waste any free moments scrolling idly, uselessly through my phone instead, finding inspiration without motivation, ideas but no decisions. But yesterday I picked up some knitting that I hadn’t touched in months. I only added a few rows, but it felt good.

Pokemon cake

Yesterday was cake day again. Pickle had his birthday in the Easter holidays, but had to wait til now for his party, and his fancy cake. This year he wanted Pokemon. We trawled Pinterest together for some ideas, and then I got to work and came up with this.

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It’s my usual Chocolate mud cake recipe, filled and covered in chocolate ganache. I would normally cover the whole thing with rolled fondant icing, but it’s a job I hate, and get stressed about on cake day, and am rarely pleased with the outcome. One of my inspiration cake images used buttercream instead of fondant, so i went with that. Apart from not quite getting the colour I wanted, I find buttercream so much easier to work with. I use a scraper to get it really smooth and with nice sharp edges. The fondant motifs stick really well to the buttercream too, although it is a lot more messy when it come to cutting it and wrapping in paper serviettes for the party bags!

For once, I finished the cake with plenty of time to spare before the party. Birthday boy loved it – especially that he got a new Pikachu toy out of it!

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Getting on with it

I have, at long last, had a day off! One day of absolutely nothing except the school run yesterday, on which I chose to rest completely. I watched The Phantom Thread (somewhat odd film, though beautiful) and then fell asleep with the cat on the sofa. I finished reading my book (The 1,000 year old boy) and watched some TV with Mr Jack. Perfect!

Today, feeling a little more rested, was a day of getting on with it. Despite my fabric disappointment the other day, I do still have enough of the same stretch denim I used before to make a second pair of trousers. I’ve been pondering the alterations for some time and hesitating to commit them to the scissors, so I made the decision to just get on with it. I finished the redrafting without agonising over every detail and cracked on with cutting out.

I only had time to cut one front and one back leg piece, but I’ve made a start and it feels good! And I have another day off tomorrow to continue. Bliss!

Knit therapy

Life is non-stop at the moment. Work this month has been more or less full time. Or at least it’s felt that way. Combined with the usual home and kids obligations, that would be enough of a challenge. But I’m pretty much rehearsing the rest of the time at the moment.

Now, I love rehearsing and I love my job, but to be honest it’s all been a bit overwhelming recently. I may have had a bit of an overtired emotional meltdown at the start of the week.

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Last night I picked up a bag of knitting to take to rehearsal with me and I knit a bit between scenes when I wasn’t required on stage. I haven’t knit a stitch for months and it was amazing how soothing it was to just quietly knit a few rows. I’d forgotten how therapeutic it can be.

Buzzkill

You know when you spend hours browsing a website and filling and amending your shopping basket, and that small buzz of excitement when you finally place the order.

And then the thrill when the package arrives in the post and the hum of anticipation as you have to wait for a more convenient time to open it.

And then the slight sink of disappointment when half of the things you ordered turn out to be not quite what you imagined and so you’re almost back to square one on a project.

That.

Clockwise from top left:

1. Clearance fabric that I thought would make a nice top, but is much more open weave than I expected. Plain green crepe intended as lining for said top. Hopefully I’ll still be able to do something with it.

2. Star print cotton fabric for future pocket linings.

3. Popper fasteners kits, D rings and bias binding for work trousers project.

4. Samples of fabric for work trousers, cotton drill in medium- and heavy- weight, both of which are not as heavy weight as I’d expected. And one I’d hoped would be a tough fabric for knee pad pockets is more like a lightweight tent fabric.

5. A variety of zips at clearance prices. Many are a bit shorter than I expected, despite ordering by length!

So, I’m not really any further with my work trouser project, but I’m sure the above will be used one way or another!

 

Pant-o!

I made my first pair of trousers! Oh yes I did!

They were done in time to wear them for crewing the Panto at work, which was just as well, since my previous work jeans acquired some extra ventilation in the knee department a few shifts into the run of the show. For any non-Brits around here, panto, or pantomime is a very silly theatrical tradition, which is very serious business around this time of year. Personally, I’ve always hated panto, but I’ve seen it in a different light this year, and being backstage has been an absolute blast!

Anyway, trousers.

The Bryce Cargo pattern from Hey June Handmade was a great starting point. The PDF pattern was super easy to print and piece together, and the instruction booklet was excellent. Well laid out and easy to follow.

I made several modifications to the original pattern, including redrafting the front pockets from hip-slash to jeans-style, and changing the pocket bags to a pocket stay, omitting the pocket flaps from the back pockets (and the leg pockets, though I hadn’t intended to) and redrafting the lower leg to be longer and wider.

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The finished trousers are not without their flaws, but are perfectly serviceable for the job. I now want to make a second pair and eliminate some of the imperfections of the first.

The front pockets are fab. I might be tempted to modify the depth of the pocket bags, but the redraft worked very well, the openings are a good size and the pocket stay gives extra structure to the front of the trousers.

The back pockets really don’t need a flap, but the jury’s out on the cargo pockets. I quite like them as they are without a pocket flap, but I think they may look better with one. I intended for them to have a flap, I even made them up, but sewed the buttonholes a little too small for the buttons and couldn’t be bothered to redo them. They were also quite bulky once folded over and possibly a fraction too short, and I thought the buttons might stick out a little too much and be prone to catching on things when shifting stuff about at work. At the stage that they were due to be attached, I was worried about the overall fit of the trousers – they looked like they might come up too small, so I wanted to get the leg seams at least basted so I could check the fit – so I thought I’d leave the pocket flaps and come back to them later. Of course, once I’d sewn the leg seams, it was then impossible to sew the flaps without ripping everything out again! So they got left off. I think next time I would cut them maybe 10mm longer than the pattern piece and try again with the buttonhole, or perhaps go for poppers instead.

The biggest problems with these trousers is the fit and the length. Both of which are my own fault. Firstly, I need to trust the seam allowances. That would go a long way to sorting out the slightly baggy fit at the waist/hips. I may also do a bit of a fit diagnostic on the rise before I go again. Secondly, I need to get someone to help me measure my legs as it’s very difficult to do it yourself. I added half an inch above the knee, which is about right, but I only added one and a half inches below the knee to take it from a calf length to a full length trouser leg. And I’m tall! I think an additional two inches would not go amiss, and even that is possibly too little. I think I’d also flare the leg out a bit further for preference.

Both of my female colleagues have admired them and even requested a pair already. I’m sorely tempted to oblige them, as i know women’s workwear is hard to come by, but I’m definitely making myself a second pair first.

 

Chop chop

Yesterday I paid a visit to my local yarn (and sewing) shop to pick up all the notions I need. They dont have much in the way of dressmaking fabrics, but they have a fabulous selection of quilting cottons with all sorts of fun prints.

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I chose one of these for my pockets – can you guess which one?

Today I have been placing, tracing and cutting out all of my pattern pieces. My many many pattern pieces! I’ve even omitted a few – I dont need pocket flaps getting in my way on my back pockets – but there was still a vast number of pieces. But they’re all done, and I’ve used almost a metre less fabric than the pattern stated, so I’ve got plenty left for another pair if I like these, or something else if I don’t!

I’ve started finishing the edges of the first few pieces using my overlocker this evening. I’m not going to have time to work on it for a few days now, but I’m pleased with progress so far. Next up will be the mindtangling process of assembling the pockets and getting everything to end up facing the right direction!