Saturday, 28 December 2013

the New Years Resolution a.k.a UFO #3

I am not too bad with New Years Resolutions to be honest. I usually pick one thing that is achievable, but that I keep putting off. At the beginning of this year I decided to take a break from the blanket making and thought it would be nice to actually make something wearable for myself. I had a whole lot of cotton yarn from Bendigo Woollen Mills and plenty of possibilities in terms of patterns.

In the end I decided on a simplified version of the Feather and Fan Flare from the Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters. It's a beautiful pattern, but I simplified it by taking out the actual feather and fan bit and knit straight down.

One big problem is that it is too large. When I started reading the book it talked about design ease and that it is recommended to have 2 inches wearing ease and I just kept nodding along. I started the sweater and by the time I finished the yoke I realised it was bigger then I like for a number if reasons:

a, I don't wear my knitwear with 2 inches wearing ease, I wear it with 0 or negative ease.

b, despite my gauge being spot on (yes, I actually tested the finished sweater) it's still bigger overall, not sure why, but hey, it's one of those mysteries I suppose

c, I have a small upper back, so next time I need to take out a substantial number of stitches there (the picture below shows the back)

However, by that time I didn't want to unravel it all again, which in hindsight was a mistake as I then had considerably less enthusiasm for the project. I omitted the 10 stitches each side that were supposed to be cast on under the arms and I inserted some ribbing on the side to make it less obvious that it is too large, but I still know.

It was definitely a test garment and I have learnt a lot. I have a lot more of the yarn left (I used 1.5 balls of the 12 that I have), so once I have washed it a few times and it becomes obvious how the yarn behaves, I'll see whether I make the same pattern again or whether I'll try a different one from the book or whether I might give the Miette Cardigan a go. Ultimately it will be something that I'll wear on top of some long sleeved shirts, so it probably won't make too much of a difference that it is too big and slouchy is in :-)

Saturday, 7 December 2013

UFO#2 the Space Shorts

When I started these shorts in February I was so proud. I did both inseam pocket and back pocket and it was fiddly and hot and I persevered ... and then my son tried them on ... and ... and ... and ... they were TOO SMALL.

I was somewhat crushed, okay I nearly cried and my son, my beautiful baby boy, offered to go on a diet to lose some weight so I didn't have to change them. Since at that point he was positively underweight, I made some cake instead and put the shorts away to alter another time.

Well, the time has come ...

One of my issues was that I didn't actually know how to make them bigger in the best way. That was solved when Sewaholic released her Tofino Pants that have a panel on each side. It is hardly noticeable and I was able to keep the inseam pockets.

Each panel is about 4 inches across so in fact I added 8 inches to the original waist size. It wasn't that much too small in February, but he gained considerable weight on his last asthma drug and I wanted there to be room from growth.

Sadly that cheering is not for me, but rather the Ashes and a golden duck. I am not even quite sure what that is, with cricket not being my thing. My husband has tried to explain the various details on the game many times, but it just hasn't captured me at all. I have this theory that if you are not into sports then cricket may as well be an instruction manual written in Swahili for some doohickie that carpenters use. :-)

Thursday, 21 November 2013

UFO #1 the 'break the hiatus' dress

This was originally supposed to be a wearable muslin for my birthday dress. I started in August and then September rolled around and it changed it's name to the birthday dress. And then October came and it changed it's name to the 'tax return' dress. And now ... sigh ... it is November and I used it spurn myself on and break this unintentional hiatus from sewing.

It is New Look 6935, but I added little cap sleeves to make it more wearable in the harsh Queensland sun and to protect my shoulders a little.

I did a 12 throughout and it fits very comfortable with plenty of ease. The only alteration was adjusting the back (same as last time really).

It's a little shorter then my usual, mainly due to my husband pointing out that I am not over the hill yet and I thought why not. I wear flats most of the time and I am short, so I don't really need to finish everything at the knee.

I feel really pleased with this dress ... actually I am beyond pleased, I wore it today and 2 people wanted to know where I bought it ... hehe ... and I feel like making at least 2 more right now, but alas, there are more UFOs ... many more :-)

Thursday, 7 November 2013

down with the UFO's ... again

hey y'all, it's been a while ... I am still alive, but I got side tracked by things like birthday parties (yeay ... another year older), tax returns (again? I swear I just finished one of those) and a school fete.

Also, since I started sewing I have become hyper aware of my shape and weight and it definitely had an upwards trend. My doctor very tactfully pointed out to me that I had gained 6kg in winter and that it was perhaps a trend that I didn't want to continue - the pictures I took in my stripy skirt and that I didn't post, did not help at all. Having been much more overweight before I had children I definitely didn't want to go back to that, because I don't carry it well at all. So instead of doing something crafty when I had a spare moment, I went for a walk.

Now 4kg lighter and on the right path, I took a look at my sewing and I didn't like what I saw. UFO's everywhere ... just like last November actually :-)

My table of shame - each little pile a started project - I feel a little sad just looking at it.

Anyway, last November I had a similar situation and I did actually get somewhere after making a similar post, so here it goes: .... For the rest of November I, Giggles in the Sun, solemnly swear to work on all 6 UFOs as listed below.

1, the Birthday Dress - actually it is a wearable muslin for the birthday dress, but I have forgotten what fabric I actually wanted to use, so this fabric will do. Bodice is made, rest is waiting ... sigh for the last 4 weeks.

2, the Short That Were Too Small - I did them in February for my son and accidentally made them too small and I hadn't been able to face them since

3, the New Years Resolution Pullover/Tunic - it's supposed to be my first garment properly knitted from start to finish for me ... all I have left is the arms, but for some reason I keep stalling

4, the Check Mate Hollyburn Skirt - left over from the Sewalong in January, only needs the zip and hemming

5, Newlook 6803 - all cut out and patiently waiting

6, a Burda skirt (forgot the number) - desperately needed to fill a hole in my wardrobe. Pattern was traced in October 2012, muslin was made and fitted and ... and ... and ... it's been in it's little plastic baggy ever since.

I leave you with a picture of the local wildlife that came to visit us. I do love stick insects. Their wings are very beautiful when the fly, they don't bite, sting or otherwise maim you, and they are not poisonous (this is Australia, a lot of things are regardless of their beauty). My husband is trying to rescue it from the ceiling fan.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Quick update

been sewing for the kiddilies, but somehow never got around to actually posting anything. I took some quick pictures, obviously only after they've been worn to there are already stains on them, but if I didn't do it now, who knows when the next opportunity would have come along :-)

First of a pair of shorts as my son gained significant amounts of weight on his new asthma drug (6 kg in 4 months or 20% of his overall body weight), but now that he stopped, he is slowly losing it too. I had hoped it would translate into a growth spurt, but I am still waiting for it.

I have at least another 3 pairs to make, so be prepared to see some more soon.

Now for the little girl I had cut up these small pieces last year to make a little skirt, but never got around to actually sewing it. At first I was intimidated by the gathering, then I worried about proportions and finally I realised if I don't sew it now, she'll grow out of it before I get to it. The solid pink is her hip circumference times 1.5, then divided by 2 and then added seam allowances. The flowery tier is her hip circumference times 2, then divided by 2 and then added seam allowances. However, I don't think there is any need for precision tbh. An inch too much isn't going to ruin it, I think.

So 2 more pieces stash busted, but I really need to start on some of the bigger pieces in order to free some room :-)

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

when in doubt ... make bunting :-)

We had a working bee today with the mums of my son's school to make bunting for the school fete and it was wonderful :-)

We laughed, we talked, we cut, we sewed, we pinked, and we ate cake.

It was a reminder to me how much fun social sewing can be. Yes, I feel connected through the blog world, but seeing people and interacting with them makes me feel alive. I loved it so much I went home and cut some more triangles from my stash, thus busting 5 pieces (some pieces were so little I didn't count them) and being back on track with stashbustin' :-)

Monday, 19 August 2013

well ... about those plans

hmm, it seems that every time I make plans and talk about them here, something happens and it doesn't quite materialises. Case in point ... last year we went to Tangalooma 3rd week of September and it just started to warm up here in Brisbane. Last week (2nd week of August) was beautiful and on the weekend we had 27 degrees, I might be jinxing it, but I am struggling to see the late cold snap Queenslanders keep going on about.

Anyway, due to this rather warm weather (and the fact that I procrastinated as if they were having a world cup for procrastination all throughout July) the cape of course did not get finished. It's now all packed away and I shall give it another go next winter. Instead I have finally finished a skirt from my Burda Splurge last November.

The skirt was inspired by the cataloguer's green stripey skirt although I used just a cheap Spotlight drill for it. It shows a little as the colours ran, so now the white has bluish tinges to it, but it is doable and I think when this wears out I'll see about getting some better quality fabric. The pattern (Burda 06/2008 121 B Skirt) had a pleat within a pleat on the front, but that was too much fabric for me there. Also it sat on the waist without a waist band, so I lowered it and added a curved waistband for my comfort. I don't tuck my shirts in, so I wanted the pleat to be visible even when I was wearing a shirt. I am debating of taking the sides in a little, but I need to wait and wear it a couple of times, before making anymore changes. I feel that sometimes you need to let thing settle a while and then look at it with fresh eyes.

I am not a great fan on the pictures of me wearing the skirt. Of all the photos I took, this one was salvageable with some cropping, but in all others I felt like I look absolutely huge tbh. It is actually the part I dread most about blogging ... looking at pictures of myself. It doesn't help that I have had a really bad run health wise and I think my already dented self-confidence cannot take anymore. So instead I thought I show you a picture of my first buttonhole made with my vintage Singer buttonholer whom I'll introduce officially in a later post :-)

I am starting to think that I won't make my annual stashbustin' target of 26 pieces of stash this year unless something drastic happens. I should be on 16 pieces by now, but actually I have only done 12.5. I did give a considerable amount away to charity and the stash seems to be getting more controllable. Also since the clear out I have purchased a lot less fabric, because I guess I realised exactly how much I have. Well, on other news, the mending is going well and my son needs more shorts so onwards and upwards :-)

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

the Quilting Exhibition - or what to do when stuck in a sewing slump

I haven't really been doing much sewing lately. I have been working on some mending, but nothing noteworthy unless you want to hear about the home in my jumper that I haven't fixed yet and a coat  button that fell off in the most inopportune moment. I got started on the cape, but that deserves it very own blog post of when I highlight all my mistakes so far :-)

Anyway, the Queensland Art Gallery is having a quilting exhibition and my wonderful friend Anne suggested a visit. It was a great day out ... the sun was shining, the quilts were exquisite and my friend is great company. Only a year ago I wouldn't have truly understood the work and the concentration that went into these works of art. I am not going to regurgitate everything I saw, because pictures just don't do it justice, however there is one quilt that I feel needs mentioning.

I felt that the most outstanding piece was actually the Francis Brayley Military quilt. Soldiers were encouraged to take up sewing instead of drinking and gambling, so some time around 1870 this quilt was born in the British barracks in India (admittedly, he may have bought it, but that doesn't sound nearly as romantic now, does it) .

Each little wool hexagon is 1.5 cm across and the entire quilt measures 238.7cm x 238.7cm.

That's a lot of little hexies and some dedication :-)

Friday, 12 July 2013

Lekala 4099 - ahoy there, mateys :-)

I am finally getting around to posting about my newest Lekala 4099. My husband has been occupying the computer lately with his desire to learn SQL.

I had originally planned for the jersey to be used for a Humming Bird top, but it is more of a cosy jersey that was asking to be made into a winter top. I had been thinking about making a long sleeved top like this for a while although as I finished it I realised that it might be a bit pirate costume like ... never mind though, everyone needs a bit of adventure in their life ... so ahoy there, me mateys. (I realised after I had taken the pictures that I had forgotten to press the shoulder seams, so ooops)

This version has a centre front seam as I couldn't fit is otherwise. I wasn't so sure about it at first, but it seems unobtrusive, so I'll see how I feel about it in a couple of weeks. I made it a little tighter then the black one, because the jersey relaxed and I need to resew that one as part of my next mending Monday maybe.

I am not very good at this taking pictures of myself business really. I am looking at my back thinking 'Why oh WHY, for goodness sake, didn't I smooth out THOSE wrinkles in the back"

Onwards to the cape ...

Monday, 8 July 2013

Monday mending

I have realised that a big part of my stash problem are clothes waiting patiently to be mended, shortened, or fixed in some other way. You know what it is like ... you find something in a thrift shop that only needs a seam restitched and you are going to do that the very next day and then it just sits there waiting and waiting and then 2 years later (or 4 ... sigh) it is still sitting there. Well, not anymore ... I shall spend each Monday in July and August fixing those things up, provided I don't get side-tracked too much ;-)

Today I mended a duvet cover for the kids (seam ripped 18 months ago), I fixed a dress for my little girl (been waiting for this one 6 month ago), and sewed a vent shut in a jeans skirt (bought 12 months ago) that was so indecent it could have given Sharon Stone a run for her money in Basic Instinct.

It was a nice beginning, but my crown jewel so to speak, was the refashion of an old flannel shirt from my husband into a scarf. It is sooooo soft, exactly what you want to wear in bed when you are sick and vapour-rubbed. I cut the shirt into squares - 3 from the back, 1 from each front, 1 from a sleeve, sadly the other sleeve was too ripped. I then sewed the 6 squares together, folded it lengthwise and sewed it, and lastly finished off the ends ... voila ...

Over the weekend I also whipped up another Cowl 4.2 (you can't imagine the joy it gives me to say whipped up, cause usually everything lingers a little longer in the Giggles' household), this time in dark blue. I still have some black yarn as well, but I really need to be concentrating on finishing the top, so maybe later.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Cowl 4.2

I have wanted a slim cowl for a while, because ... now don't laugh ... whilst doing the dishes in the winter, I can't wear a scarf as it inevitably ends up in the water. Since I knitted some of it during my son's athletics carnival, this reasoning had plenty of people in stitches (ha ha) ... especially non-knitters ... in reality I thought it was a perfect project - I had a clear idea what I needed, it wasn't beyond my skill level and I had the yarn just sitting around as a left over from other projects :-)

I had been looking for a while, but couldn't really settle on any pattern, so in the end I just made my own. It was a really fast knit, so I didn't feel too bad (and only slightly frustrated) when I had to undo it all over and over and over again to get the size right.

The yarn is Moda Vera Shiver in grey left over from the cardigan. The yarn is very bulky, so I didn't want a cowl that needed to be looped around the neck. Firstly I cast on 92 stitches and worked in the round, but it was clear after about 5 rows that it would be beyond massive. Next I cast on 80 stitches and I did the whole cowl and it turned still way too big. Version 3 was slightly better with 66 stitches, but was still gaping at the top. I needed it to be somewhat snug fitting, otherwise my neck would get cold, but not too snug otherwise it wouldn't fit over my head. Slightly frustrated I then cast on 42 stitches and started with that. I did 3 broken ribs and then cast off. All the way through I thought it was going to be too small, but I stuck with it and ended up with the top half of this.

My cast off is tighter then my cast on, so it was barely big enough to fit over my head. I wore it all day around the house, and whilst it was snug and warm around my neck, my décolleté (the part of my torso above my bust) got cold. So off I went and undid my cast off. I increased and increased and ended up with a kinda triangle shaped tube. Despite it being slightly odd looking, it is perfect for my neck. I call this a win. Maybe I'll make another one in blue .. hmmm.

Pattern for working it in the flat:

the Moda Vera Shiver yarn on a 9mm needle was 3 stitches and 4 rows for an inch square

Cast on 42 stitches (40 for the rib and 2 for the seam as my round needles where too big)
rows 1-5: knit 3, purl 2, knit 2, purl 2 ... until there is only 1 stich left, knit 1
row 6: knit all stitches
row 7: knit 1, purl 40, knit 1
row 8: knit all stitches
row 9: knit 1, purl 40, knit 1
row 10: knit all stitches
rows 11-15: knit 3, purl 2, knit 2, purl 2 ... until there is only 1 stich left, knit 1
row 16: knit all stitches
row 17: knit 1, purl 40, knit 1
row 18: knit all stitches
row 19: knit 1, purl 40, knit 1
row 20: knit all stitches
rows 21-25: knit 3, purl 2, knit 2, purl 2 ... until there is only 1 stich left, knit 1
row 26: knit 2, M1, knit 4, M1, knit 4, M1, knit 4 ... until there is only 1 stich left, knit 1
row 27: knit 1, purl the rest until there is only 1 stich left, knit 1
row 28: knit 5, M1, knit 5, M1, knit 5 ... until there is only 1 stich left, knit 1
row 29: knit 1, purl the rest until there is only 1 stich left, knit 1
row 30: knit all stitches
row 31-35: knit 3, purl 2, knit 2, purl 2 ... until there is only 1 stich left, knit 1
row 36: knit all stitches
row 37: knit 1, purl 40, knit 1
row 38: knit all stitches
row 39: knit 1, purl 40, knit 1
row 40: knit all stitches
row 41-45: knit 3, purl 2, knit 2, purl 2 ... until there is only 1 stich left, knit 1
cast off in a very loose cast off (I didn't have enough yarn for the full last rib, so I cast off after row 42

finish off by sewing the seam to form a tube.

On other news, I made a chocolate cherry brownie, where I didn't melt the chocolate, instead added it as chucks and then added a jar of heated cherries (without the juice). It melted the chocolate slightly and was very yummy.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Spicy Chocolate Banana Brownie - dairy free (and egg-free option)

I love brownies ... we didn't have them when I grew up and I can't believe I survived into adulthood ;-) It is a firm family favourite and can be customised in any which way you like.

Brownie Recipe:

2 cups of plain flour
3/4 cup of unsweetened dairy free cocoa powder
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of salt
2 tsp of mixed spice (omit if you don't want to do a spiced brownie)

3/4 cup of dairy free margarine
180 gr of dark cooking chocolate (dairy free)
1 cup of dark brown sugar firmly packed

2 eggs (or 2 egg-free egg replacements - Organ does a No-Egg that is available in health food stores - or if you can't find egg replacer you can also use 1/4 cup of 100% corn flour)

2 ripe puréed bananas - or a cup of other puréed fruit like stewed apples or pears or raspberries

if you like it extra chocolaty, add 1 cup of dairy free chocolate chips as well


1, preheat oven to 180 degrees

2, mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, mixed spice in a bowl (and cornflour if you are not using eggs)

3, in a separate bowl, melt margarine and chocolate in the microwave. In my microwave it takes 2 min on high and then I leave it to sit for 3-5 mins until the chocolate is all melted

4, add sugar to the margarine and chocolate mix

5, add either eggs or no eggs (if you use cornflour you mix that in with the flour in step 2)

6, add flour mix and stir until no lumps remain

7, add banana - or other fruit (if you use cornflour you might want to add a little extra as the cornflour tend to dry it out a bit)

8, mix in the chocolate chips if you so desire


line a brownie tin with baking paper and add the mix

Baking times: it really depends on your oven and just how cooked you like your brownies.
  • I like mine slightly undercooked, so I bake it in a small brownie tin (7x7 in) for 30 min.
  • If you bake it for 40 min it'll be cooked and if you insert a toothpick into the centre it'll come out clean.
  • If you use a larger tin and the mix is spread more thinly, the cooking time needs to be reduced
  • If you use cornflour, you need to reduce the cooking time by 10 - 15 min as it cooks quicker and can dry out. 
As you can see, mine still has a gooey centre ... yum ... and no, I wasn't able to get a picture before the ravenous hordes got to it (yes, I do include myself in that)

Thursday, 20 June 2013

what to wear and what to sew

I am pear-shaped. I have been pear-shaped ever since I got curves and it is most likely that I'll stay pear-shaped for the rest of my life. Even when I got really ill and lost like 15 kg and became underweight, I was still pear shaped, although to a lesser degree I suppose. However judging by the women in my family, if I gain more weight I may also turn into an apple ... hmm

When I look for what I could wear as a pear (teheehee ... it rhymes) they often show pictures of celebrities to illustrate their point of view, but I think it is safe to say that that somewhat defeats the purpose. Most of these celebrities are barely a pear. They haven't exactly what you'd refer to as good birth-giving hips or thunder thighs.

I think, for Brisbane, I need to move away from the wardrobe to wear all year around (like in the UK) and move towards the distinctly seasonal wardrobe to suit the hot 'n humid summers and the cooler windy winters. I also have to become more sun-smart as I react to most sunscreens unfavourably with a rash, so less exposed skin would be good.  Maybe a floaty dress like this for Christmas that skims the thighs ...
I do have plenty of clothes, but I do need to start replacing some of the more worn ones. I frequently run short of consumables like jersey tops - last summer I really only wore plain t-shirts, but I now have a few patterns to spice this up a little - and I have no linen pants, which I think would suit the weather here really well. I have got Sewaholics Thurlow trousers for that, but I have never made pants before and I am SCARED. 

In order to direct both my fabric stash and pattern hoarding I am trying to make a plan and stick with it. I have no problems with the first part, but the second .... :-)

I am currently finishing of a jersey top, another Lekala 4099 this time with long sleeves. I have bought the Woodland Stroll Cape pattern and I have all the materials, so really I should do this next before the winter ends.

After that however I have many options ...

1, I have the Hummingbird pattern. I intended to do this with a piece of denim I had, but it is not substantial enough, I think. I have other fabrics such as an embroidered linen, but it would be more of a spring skirt and I can't quite motivate myself to start with that yet. Although, who knows how long it'll take me to 'whip up' that cape, for all I know we could be talking summer here.

2, I do have some fabric to make up a trumpet skirt, which suits a pear shape. However it requires a careful muslin as it is way too long and the flare has to be just right for the petite figure. I have two patterns there and the first muslin of the first pattern was a bit of a disaster, so I put it on the back burner. Perhaps it's time to look at it again.

3, a cardigan of any description. I have a few patterns in mind, but nothing definite. All things being even, cardis are my favourite type of clothing and I am a little gutted that I can't wear them in Brisbane for like 6 mths a year.

4, in August, I need to make a couple of boxer shorts for the husband and the son to sleep in, after which the daughter is likely to let me know her dissatisfaction on being left out, so I'll be making her a dress as well.

5, in September I'd like to make myself a dress for spring. I have like 5 different patterns that I could do and I have various pieces in my stash for those. I did for a moment toy with the idea of Colette's new Hawthorn dress, but I found the last Colette dress rather difficult to fit, so I might just stick with something I already have.

There are many more options in my stash ... we shall see :-)

Sunday, 16 June 2013

a nighty or is it nightie ???

As the pyjama party sew-a-long is in full swing over at Karen's I felt inspired to make something for sleeping in as well. Sadly I don't wear pyjama pants and believe me, by the amount of enthusiasm for the sew-a-long I really wished I was, but my legs just get too hot whereas my upper half is covered in icicles. I felt I need to give Audrey C another twirl.

It's made from organic french terry ... so so soft, but not very stretchy. I added a whole 2 inches to the front piece and another inch to the back piece to accommodate the lack of stretchiness. I changed the back darts to a back centre seam and it worked fine, but the lovely Carolyn suggested to take it out of the side seams, so that'll be my next try. To reign in the neckline I made a little pleat out of the 2 inches that I added and I salvaged one of the previously discarded neckbands from the Audrey C in Raspberry.

That'll teach me to do something like a neckband right after I had problems with the darts. I was probably all huffy and puffy from the darts and the poor neckbands never stood a chance ... sigh. I lengthen the arms - I like half of my hands covered as well, but shortened the overall length. To finish it off, I appliquéd 2 little hearts a la Alabama Chanin onto it. I had her books out various times from the library and just love them.

I will spare you all the picture of me in the nighty as it is a bit shorter then I am comfy to post on the internet for all and sundry to see :-)

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Fastest Cardi EVER

I did it ... I knitted something wearable that is not a scarf ... go me. I give you the tonsil cardigan - Mr. Giggles is cringing at the name, but if the shoe fits ... :-)

It was part of my New Years resolution, because I have been knitting for a long long time (over 25 years) and whilst I was a girl, I did make tank tops for myself as soon as I got breasts and curves and anything really that might require fitting, I stuck to scarves and blankets.

Anyway, I have a lot of yarn left over from my dad's blanket and whilst it is not a natural fibre, it is very soft and chunky. Two weeks ago my daughter had her tonsils and adenoids out and, as she was operated on, I cast on the first stitches. The shape is based on the Shalom Cardigan, but I had a different gauge, I changed the yoke, I did different increases etc ...

I used 9mm needles, because I had those and the swatch looked nice. I know, I should have probably chosen something where I had the correct gauge and where I just had to follow instructions, but I knew that 3 stitches and 4 rows made a 1 inch square and I went from there. I had to redo some bits, for example, when I finished the top grey stripe I realised I had cast on too large a neck line and the entire bottom blue stripe had to go, because I had calculated the increases from the waist wrong and it looked more like a peplum. Nevertheless, even with all the changes I worked on this cardi for a total of 6 days, although 2 were long days (I finished the yoke), because they were spent in the hospital with a drugged 4 year old ... a luxury that I normally don't have, as said 4 year old likes to keep me busy.

I have no ideas whether it'll wash or how it'll wear, but I have been agonising about knitting cardigans and pullovers for so long and in the end, there is only so much thinking you can do before you should start doing. It doesn't close in the front and there were moments when I contemplated of redoing the bottom section again, but in the end I'll see how this one fares. I have still got more of this yarn (Moda Vera Shiver), so I'll make a couple of cowls maybe either for myself or maybe as presents :-)

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Audrey C in Raspberry

Finally back to Stashbustin'. It's been a longer break then I intended.

This dress had been waiting to be hemmed for some time. I am still unsure of whether I should shorten it a bit more. If I would wear it mostly with tights then yes, but in reality I am most likely to wear it without, it being Queensland and all, and then I probably don't want to shorten it, cause those little dimples on my thighs don't need to be shared liberally with the world at large.

This is the Audrey C Dress from Maria Denmark. I used a bamboo knit with 4% lycra from the Bamboo Fabric Store. I was under the impression I ordered the colour red, but after I washed it it looked definitely hot pink.

I have mixed feelings about this dress ... sigh.

It promised to be such an easy dress, essentially a long t-shirt. The printout of the pattern went together very well, although I had to trace my size with a colour pen as it printed out in light grey. The neckband didn't print out correctly and no matter what I did, it refused ... the joys of technology

However, the fabric was a 4 way stretch not a 2 way as the pattern asked for. I graded out for my larger hips, but it's still a bit tight around my hip/bottom. I made the skirt more A-line and I shortened the arms a little.

This is a rather unflattering picture of my back, but it probably illustrates all my problems with the dress.

It came out a little small. Either I got the sizes wrong (always a possibility) or the fabric stretched whilst I cut is or even a combination of both. Either way, combined with my least favourite bra and a pair of tights that digs in a little, it is not particularly flattering look on me. However I have a wide belt that I could wear with the dress and thus eliminate at least one of the rolls on the back.

You can't really tell from the picture, but the patterns has 2 back darts and there my fabric choice came back to bite me. I did the darts in a straight stitch, but because it is a 4 way stretch it didn't really work. I had to shorted them and resew them in a small zigzag stitch and then I struggled getting them to lay flat.

I don't know whether I like darts in knit fabric, but since this is the first time I came across them, I am keeping an open mind. My personal preference leans towards adding a back seam and omitting the darts if I make this pattern again.

Finally, after the issue with the darts, which only became apparent once I tried the dress on, I started on the neckband ... ohhh the neckband. I screwed up the neck band REPEATEDLY, no really, this is version 4 and it's staying, I don't care that it is not laying flat.

All of the issues are issues that arose with my lack of experience, so overall I think it is a wonderful pattern. I do like the idea of knit jersey dresses, but I mostly wear separates, so I've got to see how much I'll actually end up wearing the dress and see whether I should make anymore :-)

Saturday, 1 June 2013

the Cricket Scarf

No, don't worry, it's not a scarf worn by either cricketers or the people watching the cricket. We're not that crazy here in Queensland ... yet ... the heat gets to us all :-)

It is a scarf that a mother with little interest in the game knits whilst watching her son's training and junior games. Go supportive Giggles ... I even stood on the side of some field in the middle on nowhere, watching in the pouring rain, wondering whether my car would make it off the strip of grass it was parked on since it is not a four wheel drive, cause Junior cricket gets played regardless of the weather.

It has been finished for a while, but somehow I never found the time or weather to take the pictures.

It's a teal cotton/soy mix I picked up at the fabric-a-brac almost a year ago and my own pattern. It has a 5 stitch garter border and then alternates 5x5 stockinette and reverse stockinette stitch.

I loved knitting it and I adore wearing it. It is so soft and beautiful. The colour is not coming out in the pictures with the white background, it is more vibrant in real life. Happiness and joy :-)

Thursday, 30 May 2013

gardening endavours and lemons

Ever since I moved to Australia I have had this fascination with growing my own food. We don't have a backyard, but books like The Edible Balcony keep this flight of fancy alive despite its varies issues.  My maiden name was Garden and for some reason, I carry this idea that I can do anything garden-related if I just put my mind to it, because, you know, with a name like that, how could you not :-) Oh, what I would give for a balcony like this ... (it's from the book)

We had a variety of plants on it over the years, but the strawberries have always gotten some sort of mouldy disease, the tomatoes also struggled, and the lettuce is bitter. On the herbs side we were slightly more successful. Thyme, Oregano and Dill do really well. Basil is a bit temperamental, but okay. Rosemary always dies eventually and coriander, when it actually germinates, gets eaten by something.

My husband dream of an orchard, so for 3 years we had a dwarf avocado tree, that eventually died due to some type of grub eating it's roots. I tried to get rid of the grubs, but they always came back. Eventually I bagged up the tree and the soil and threw it out. Not to be defeated, a year ago, we bought a lemon tree ... inspired mostly by Carolyn's lemon tree.

And looksie ... 6 lemons survived to ripen. 5 on the little tree ...

and we picked one ...

for our lovely Greek inspired lamb roast on Sunday. Disaster struck when our internet went down on Saturday and we had no recipes printed out ... only a shopping list. We decided to improvise on the recipe (a mix of oregano, rosemary, thyme, mint, lemon, garlic) and defer the baking part to a later date, but the leg of lamb looked and tasted great. It made for wonderful leftovers that were put in some pita bread with some yoghurt, garlic and cucumber mix :-)