Thursday, January 21, 2016

Sampling the Fen Pattern

#fenpattern top draft complete! Added 4inches to the body, used pre-made binding at neck, drafted body out to a more outline shape too.  Want to make in a light weight wool but will need to grade up a size.  Thanks @fancytigercrafts for an awesome pattern
Me in my first Fen Pattern top

Over the last few years I have loved sewing with woven fabrics after a long love affair with stretch.  I love how long wearing woven fabric is and how easily it feeds through the machine.  I have been stalking everyone’s Fen Pattern dresses and tops (pattern designed by the awesome folk at Fancy Tiger Craft) and was attracted to its simplicity, ease of wear and POCKETS!  I love a dress that doesn’t have a zip, mostly because I hate getting in and out of them and the Fen also has lots of alternatives to really make it your own.

Saying that, my uniform usually involves dresses.  Dresses with tights and a coat in Winter, dresses with sandals in summer.  Jeans and a t-shirt on the weekends.  I rarely make tops as I don’t really wear them for work.  Dresses just seem so much easier in the morning, it is just one thing to select for my outfit.  So why I decided to give the Fen top pattern a whirl is beyond me but I’m pretty happy with the result!  I did a sample in my usual go to (and inexpensive fabric) of gingham and I’m already wearing it quite a bit.

Alterations:  I added 4 inches to the body length and lightly expanded the side seams for a more a-line look.  I know my body and I’m not about tight or short style tops.  These alterations were a given before even making up the sample.  I also decided to use some pre-made bias binding for the neckline, mostly to save on time and fabric.

After the successful adjustments have been made to the #fenpattern top, I've dug around and cut out this amazing pineapple fabric from my stash and the gorgeous organic cotton city fabric. Now sew, sew, sew!
two of the fabrics that I will be using for more tops.

I’m so happy with the sample that I have already cut out another two tops in lightweight cotton!  They are great in this warm weather, very sun savvy with the three quarter sleeves but still cool enough in a heat wave.  I am dying to try the pattern with some light to medium weight wool fabrics I have, with the hope that the top will have quite a bit of structure to it.  I’m imagining it with a great middy skirt or very structured culottes; both partners that I will need to sew as well.

Fen pattern
The wonderful gals at Fancy Tiger Crafts in their Fen creations. (image courtesy of

If you’re on Instagram, definitely check out #fenpattern to see how others have approached this very versatile pattern!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Will Hearts Westknits

Will in shawl

I have knitted the Vertices Unite shawl about 4 times now.  I love the different panels and how you can play with colour, shape and line.  It's almost like making a collage in a knit!

My friend Will is quite the fan of Stephen West.  He adores his style and flamboyant ways.  After Will was chief cat sitter for us while we were away, I felt that the best thank you was to knit Will his own Westknits shawl to love forever.

Will in shawl

I requested some colour options from Will, trying to collect a grouping of his favourite colours.  I then dug around my stash and came up with some selections that worked together.  Will was big on blue, red and silver.  I felt that the blue and red together seemed a bit 'American Flag' like, so I changed it up to a lovely orange that makes the blue pop and also suits Will's complexion.

Fantastic (and very big!) exhibition launch on Saturday! Love that our graphic design whiz @wainger is styling hard in his @westknits #verticesunite shawl and naturally I'm rocking @marimekkoglobal ... Love your work Will! ❤️

I'm so excited to see Will wearing the shawl so much.  It's a great feeling when others love something that you've spent so much time making by hand.  Thanks to Will for this amazing 'westknitesque' photo shoot too.

Sunday, May 17, 2015



Yes, I have been missing in action.  I haven't updated my blog for AGES!!!!  Apologies readers. What have I been up to? Well I've been busy in my day job, knitting and weaving but I've also managed to get tendonitis in my hand... yep, ouchers!  So I'm off knitting and weaving at the moment, which is driving me a little crazy.

So I might be M.I.A for a little longer :-(

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Yule Fest... Yarn Fest

Hanging out at Yulefest ... Lots of fun!

While in Seattle, I managed to visit the Nordic Heritage Museum, which had been on my list of 'must go to places' after seeing some amazing images of their mini yarn and Nordic knitting festival in October.  The Yule Fest was on the weekend that we were visiting which meant eating lots of Nordic food treats and taking in some Nordic crafts.

Nordic Heritage Museum

The museum is in this amazing old building, however there are plans for them to build a new and more modern museum.  I guess that this building doesn't meet the 'museum standards' - yes that's the curator nerd in me.

These 2 skeins are hand dyed and spun by folk in the Seattle handspinners and weavers guild!

I did manage to score some gorgeous yarns at Yule Fest.  It probably makes up for the lack of yarn stores that I visited in Seattle (sorry Seattle!)  The yarns above are hand dyed and spun from members of the Seattle Spinners and Weavers Guild.  Always great to support fellow hand makey folk!

Picked up some yarn loot at Yulefest! Had a lovely chat about Australian wool with her! #yarngeek

I also scored 6 skeins of gorgeous yarns from this little old lady for a ridiculously low price.  As soon as she found out that I was from Australia, we had a very long conversation about wool and sheep.  The muted colours and texture of this yarn feels very 'Nordic' to me but also very Seattle.  I love picking up various yarns in places that I travel to.  When I knit it up, I feel like I still have the memory of the place in the object.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

On Making Mistakes...

Wah! I made a stitch error! But I think this is what makes handknits... It's those little imperfections that I know, where you can see my hand making this! #handmade #fringeandfriendsknitalong #tonofwool

There are two kinds of people, those who when they make a mistake in knitting or sewing, that they go back and fix it and then there are those who just live with it.  I think that I'm the second person.  During the Fringe and Friends Knit-a-long of the Amanda cardigan, I have miscounted some of the stitch patterns and made a couple of errors.  I have decided to just keep going and to try and earn from it.

In some ways I like the fact that items that are handmade have errors in them.  I mean, we are human after all!  I generally take this approach when I'm weaving as well.  I would like to think that you learn from each project and take that into the next.

The ton of wool yarn is knitting up beautifully... I hear that there isn't much left in stock, so make sure you get some if you haven't already!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Amanda KAL: Making a Start!

And my #tonofwoolschool arrived!!! I've given it a big hug... This stuff is soooo soft! It's amazing! #tonofwool @tonofwool #fringeandfriendsknitalong

So my lovely Ton of Wool yarn arrived for my Yarn Scholarship.  It is so squishy and soft!  I find this yarn pretty amazing, it is 10 ply which I would imagine to feel quite bulky and heavy but instead it is super light.  It almost feels like air, which I think will make the knitting of the Amanda cardigan much easier.

As I mentioned before, I have never knitted cables before in my life!  So tackling this Fringe Association Amanda Knitalong is going to be a challenge.  To prepare myself, I watched a couple of youtube clips on cables which gave me a better understanding of the principles of cables.  I now know that it is about knitting stitches in different orders to create the beautiful highs and lows of the cable.

Um, so I just did my first bit of cabling... Ever!!!!! #fringeandfriendsknitalong #tonofwool #tonofwoolschool #cormoforthewin

I started with a small sample of the honeycomb stitch from the Amanda KAL just to try out the technique. I was so excited to see the cables forming!  I think a few of my friends thought I was crazy by this excitement.  A few people noted that if I could knit socks, I could definitely cable... so that was comforting!

After this small sample, I went into knitting a gauge swatch.  To my surprise, my gauge seemed pretty on par with what was in the pattern.  So I am about to throw myself into it all!  The post on gauge swatches from Fringe Association was incredibly helpful!

Amanda KAL chart

Reading through some of the other posts on the Amanda KAL, the post on annotating the chart was super helpful as well.  Out come the highlighters and post it notes to keep track of where I will be going.  Matching the colours of the icon with the instructions makes it easy (and fast!) to see what I am meant to be doing!

Finally made a start! #tonofwool #fringeandfriendsknitalong ... Also love this thumb counter!! #knittersofinstagram

So I have cast on!  I have cast on the XL size, though I am a little concerned on the sizing.  For an extra-large, it has a very small bust size.  I am not confident enough to make sizing changes AND learn cables on this project, so I am just going to go with the pattern.  I have noticed from the gauge swatch that there seems to be a bit of give when blocking so the bust issue may not be such an issue after all.

So here we go!  Yay!  Amanda Knit-a-Long!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tackling Cables...

The secret to a truly great-fitting sweater
Image from Fringe Association.

I've knitted for quite some time, well actually, since I was a child but it's only been in the last five years that I've really been knitting solidly.  I've been choosing projects that are a bit more challenging and ticking knitting 'how the hell do I do that' off my list.

This list looked something like this:

  • learn how to knit in the round
  • learn how to knit socks
  • knit a shawl
  • learn intarsia
  • learn how to do i-cord binding
  • learn how to seam knits better
  • learn how to do a sweater in the round
  • learn how to knit cables
Yeah, that last one... everything above it has been ticked off except that.  My mum is a bit of a cable whiz but I just haven't gotten around to actually trying it, until now.

The Amanda knitalong of Fall 2014 — everything you need to know!
The Amanda Cardigan that I will be knitting!

The wonderful team at Ton of Wool were offering a Yarn Scholarship.  The recipient would receive 3 huge hanks of Ton of Wool cormo to take part in the Amanda Knitalong  that the awesome fold at Fringe Association are holding.  I adore Ton of Wool's Cormo yarn, it is so soft and squishy so I thought I would enter.  I mean, what better way to be forced to learn cables than if I won!

Yep, well I won...

Here is my winning photo...

So I will be tackling this gorgeous cable cardigan, blogging about my experiences learning how to do all of this and taking you on the journey with me.  Wish me luck and pray to the non-frogging gods that it all goes to plan!
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