Author Archives: Faye

Llangennith

Ooh it’s about time for a new pattern design isn’t it?! I’ve been so busy recently I hadn’t realised it had been so long since the last one – I swear being in a bubble of publishing seems to make time speed up sometimes, when we’re constantly on deadline and trying to get ahead for the next one! We do love it so though..

Knitted socks shot on wooden floor

I actually wrote this knitting pattern around Christmas time, but it was decided that it would go in our special bumper edition of The Knitter Issue 100, so I didn’t complain! The socks are knitted in Coopknits Socks Yeah!  which comes in 10 awesome colours and I love them all equally.

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Using Judy’s Magic Cast On, the pattern is knitted toe-up, with a 4-row lace repeat worked across the instep. After you have turned the heel you get to mix things up a bit and knit some cables up the leg. This makes it a fun sock that doesn’t get monotonous – and it obliterates second sock syndrome as the foot section knits up quite quickly.

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Making a Wedding Outfit Part 2, The Petticoat!

Part 2 – The Petticoat

In the last post I talked about my greatest ‘making’ achievement yet – my wedding dress.  I decided to make this so I wouldn’t let my future-self down, and I’m so happy I decided to go for it!  The dress itself was fun, and aside from the corsetry techniques I picked up as I went along, was fairly straightforward.

Photo by John Perriam

Photo by John Perriam

I never, ever intended to make the petticoat. I’ve tried (and failed) with petticoats before, and I hate working with netting!  I even found a very reasonably-priced lady that makes petticoats in every colour under the sun, Petticoats-a-Plenty, and talked about placing an order. But for some reason I found myself looking at tutorials thinking it could be do-able, and ordering 125m of netting.

 Other than always-having-to-do-every-single-part-of-something-myself, the reason I didn’t order a bespoke petticoat was my complete inability to choose which colours I wanted to use.  I thought if I could see the colours first, things would start to slot into place.  I had already chosen two pairs of shoes and yarn for a cover-up cardigan (that’ll be the next post!) and I needed everything to match, obviously.

IMG_5204I ordered five 15cm x 25m rolls of premium netting from Raindrops Boutique which arrived the next day. Bias binding was more of a tricky decision, as I knew they’d show and need to match the shoes and yarn, so they all came from various shops.  My favourite was from Sew and Sew in St Nick’s Market in Bristol, it wasn’t cheap at 50p a metre, but the drape (can a ribbon drape?) was lovely. I also ordered a binding foot after watching this tutorial, which I can honestly say saved my sanity.

The petticoat tutorial I followed was from this one from Sugardale, and it’s really well written. The basis is that you have a series of strips of tulle in various lengths, sewn into circles, and these are gathered and sewn to each other to form the petticoat. 

Because my tulle came in 15cm wide rolls, I had to adapt slightly. The lengths I used were 12m, 6m, 3m and 1.75m, and then the final tier was made from 1m of cotton.

After working out a system, things got easier, but I was very grateful when my Mum offered to come and help. I think had she known what she was letting herself in for, she may have kept quiet! Thanks Mum 🙂

I cut my tulle by rolling out pieces to measurement – loosely folding the tulle into Z shapes as I went, so I could easily sew the length into a loop knowing it wasn’t twisted.  With the 12m lengths, this was a godsend! I marked every metre with a small line to make things easier to line up when it came to sew the tiers together.

That picture on the left below is all my different lengths of tulle neatly rolled up, to be sewn into individual petticoats.

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Then we got to work. After a bit of playing, I managed to set my sewing machine to just the correct tension to gather the tulle by 50%, so each loop of tulle would be roughly the right size to pin to the next (smaller) tier.  As mentioned in the Sugardale tutorial, it’s vital that  the tiers are completed separately, so sadly you can’t go doing all the gathering first and then move onto the joining.

My preferred method to attach the tiers to eachother was to lay the longest loop around the ironing board, then set about lining up it’s metre markings to that of the one it was to gather to.  We then tacked each piece about 2.5cm below the gathering line, and reset the sewing machine to the right tension to sew without bunching.  I found it much easier to sew the tulle with the flat piece on top, and the gathered piece underneath, so the foot didn’t go crazy and jam up.

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There were originally 5 different petticoats in total, but I took one out on the morning of our wedding.  The peach just wasn’t doing it for me, and it was a smidgen too poofy.  It took the best part of a weekend to sew these, with two of us on the Saturday.  If you’re less anal about getting your all gathers even, it might be quicker!

With the binding foot and the help of the tutorial, the bias bindings were attached quite quickly, maybe 10 mins per skirt? It takes a bit of getting used to, so I would recommend practicing this first.  Hand finishing them is also a faff to hide the all ribbon edges.

finished_petticoat poofy_petticoat

Once all the skirts were complete, I cut a cotton layer to wear underneath to the same 175m measurement as the fourth tiers.  Then I cut a strip of cotton 1m x 15cm and gathered all 5 skirts, plus the cotton under-layer to this, then pinned and sewed the whole lot together.  Finally I made a wide hem in the top layer and added elastic.

Hopefully I’ll find some occasion to wear this part of the dress again!

 

 

Buttercup

Buttercup 4ply v-neck Cardigan

Wow. I’ve just realised I haven’t made a blog post in 8 months! This has gone by so quickly, I’ve wanted to write something and share photos, but I had to keep super quiet about what I was spending all my free time making.  There will be a lot more about this in the next post!

This post for me to celebrate the fact I finally designed a garment! It’s a very simple 4ply v-neck cardigan, which was exactly what I was looking for at the time and I decided to take the plunge.  It wasn’t a particularly big plunge, as I spend all day Monday to Friday checking numbers for other designers’ garments, it just took me a while to get around to working everything out from scratch.  And knitting it. And deciding what to do with the neckband.

Simply Knitting 133

I digress. I designed this pattern using Knitpicks Palette which is 4ply weight, 100% wool and comes in every colour under the sun. I didn’t even set out to design anything, it was just what I was after at the time, and I found there was a surprisingly small amount of patterns for similar v-neck cardigans in 4ply on Ravelry, so I ended up crunching a few numbers. I’m planning to make at least 3 more, it’s a real staple cardigan and I love the neckline.  The yarn is lovely, it knits up really neatly, though I have noticed it start to pill a little so I will keep an eye on that.  The best thing is, it’s cheap at £3.75 for 211m/50g balls, and I only needed about 4.5 balls to knit the size 8.

Simply Knitting 133

The cardigan is worked flat in stocking stitch with a garter stitch neck band and is sized from a UK 8-26 (bust 81-127cm or 32-50in).  The pattern is available in Issue 133 (May 2015) of Simply Knitting magazine, which is out now (in all good newsagents!) or you can buy a digital issue here:

Simply Knitting 133

A belated update

I’ve disappeared recently, and sort of enjoyed it.  The last couple of months have been fairly busy in and out of work, and the weather has been nice, so I became anonymous for a while and chose not to worry about it.  I’ve made a conscious effort not to use social media so much, which is far less effort than I thought and quite refreshing!

As a consequence, I realised I never posted about these socks, which appeared in The Knitter issue 73. (It’s still available as a digital download here).  I love these, the yarn, the pattern, and how the photos came out.  There’s another pic somewhere of them being worn with brogues but I can’t find it.  The pattern is a fun repeat which is easily memorised, and I worked them in Eden Cottage Tempo in ‘Ice’, which I’ve sort of fallen in love with.

TKN73.socks.ps14568TKN73.socks.ps14583 Portmerion Socks from The Knitter 73

In July I made a fleeting trip to Unwind Brighton with my colleague Becca, where we squidged a lot of yarn in the name of work and spent a fair bit on woolly yumminess. Brighton is an ex-hometown of mine so I was pleased to be back, and managed to catch up with some old friends while I was there.

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Erika Knight and Arabella Harris at Unwind Brighton

We went on holiday (twice!) last month, to two different parts of Cornwall, did lots of walking, ping pong, surfing (mr), knitting (me) and taking in the sunshine.  I started this crazy rainbow jumper which I got addicted to and then quickly lost interest, and then made my first shawl, which has been fun, and made good bus knitting.IMG_3808

 

Addictive rainbow jumper knitting.  Not so fun now it’s cold and rainy.

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My Saltwater Sandals tan lines, oops!

In this month’s mag, I wrote a feature on how to change yarn colours using photoshop, which is the process I used to figure out which order to work the crazy colours in the above picture.  It’s a simple method but it did give me a rough idea of what the piece might look like. 

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Now I seem to have reached a natural knitting break, which I’m sure will return soon.  I’ve been thinking about starting a vibrant yellow jumper, but then feel guilty when I remember the number of WIPs sitting in the basket in my living room.  The design bug has left me too, but I think this is something to do with the urge to come home from work and do nothing, which is actually quite lovely.

animal-dreams

I have been doing a fair bit of reading though.  I’m not usually one to go on about books as I don’t really rate my review skills, however I did just finish this one which I will recommend.  If you are looking for something beautifully written to get totally lost in then this might just be it. 

 

Knitting by the sea

This weekend we made a spontaneous decision to pack up and run away to the seaside for a few days. Chris was in need of a surf, and I love to sit and watch and get some knitting done!

Here are a few images from our trip…

 

Chris checking the surf at Gwynver:

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Pretty flowers on my walk to Sennen:

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 View of Gwynver from my cliff top walk:

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Knitting on the cliff (and watching surfers):

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 Me playing with binoculars and an iPhone – I love this!
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Tasty looking menu!

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Picnic at Sennen Cove:

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Pretty beetle in a dandelion:

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Beer back at the campsite:

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Slightly drunken Scrabble:

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Keeping warm and being ridiculed for it!

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Briswool

Briswool, Bristol

Over the last few months, the owner of my local craft store, Vicky Harrison from Paper Village, has been leading Briswool – a project to recreate the city of Bristol in wool. The model was finally revealed last week, and I got a chance to peek in at it on Saturday.

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The Matthew

More than 100 volunteers worked on making the piece, knitting and crocheting foliage, boats, balloons, trees and cars from Vicky’s patterns, plus all the Bristol landmarks one would expect to see. The model completely takes over the Paper Village shop, where it will be exhibited there until the 27th May.

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Clifton coloured houses

The project is still growing and Briswool will be running two free workshops in October, to coincide with the model showing in the M-shed.  Participants will learn knitting and crochet techniques for designing and making more of the local buildings of Bristol and the city centre, and helping to sew pieces together.

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The Harbourside

 

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Clifton Suspension Bridge

It’s lovely to have this sort of thing happening around the corner and to see that the shop is generating so much interest! Links have popped up from media all over the world covering it, and queues were so long on their opening day they had to turn people away! 

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The Watershed

Spot the needlefelt fox:

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Cabot Tower

 

More information on Briswool and details to get involved can be found on the Paper Village Facebook page, which is updated regularly.

 

5kcbwday7

5kcbwday7 | Looking Back, Looking Forward

5kcbwday7

Today’s topic asks us to look back to our knitty aspirations last year, and see where we are now. I didn’t take part in the last Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, as I was only a few months into my new job and needed to focus on getting enough sleep! So today I’m looking back to Day 6 from 2012, which is the closest record I have to where I wanted to go.  My focus then was to spend some time learning more about the mathematics involved in creating a pattern, different techniques to make it fit, and how to grade it for different sizes. 

Two years on and I’m happy to say I have improved in this area quite substantially.  Mathematics is now a huge part of my job, and I find myself grading a couple of garments per issue.  I’m still excited about learning new construction methods, and I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied with the knowledge I already have, but I’m lucky enough to pick up new techniques at work, and I’ve bought several patterns just to learn how different shapes have been created.

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However I am still yet to create a garment pattern. I started a cardigan a couple of years ago (above – sorry I’m recycling old photos today!), but looking back, I was trying to run before I could walk, and my attempt got tossed aside to pick up at a later date. 

I’m keen this year to publish a few sweater and cardigan patterns.  I’ve not really felt like it of late, as I find accessories easy to design and making a garment in several different sizes will require a bit more time, which I don’t feel like I’ve had enough of recently.  I know I’m quite capable – I’ve often had to re-write a pattern at work to make it fit better, however I’ve still yet to get pen to paper and work my own design out.

Hopefully by the next Knitting and Crochet Blog Week I’ll be able to tick this off! And next year I think I’ll schedule my posts too, and not decide to take part at the last minute!

You can find all my other Knitting and Crochet Blog Week posts here

Click here for other posts on 5kcbwday7

 

 

5kcbwday6 | Views of Others

5kcbwday6

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Ellen Gill

Today I’m talking to Ellen Gill, nuclear engineer and knitwear designer extraordinaire, who blogs at A Pile of Sheep about knitting, construction and technique.  Ellen and I thought it would be fun to interview eachother for today’s post, so for my questions, head over to her blog!

Describe yourself in 10 words or less
Sassy lady physicist with unreasonable love of symmetry and knitting.


How did you get so good at knitting?

After I finished university I found myself with a lot more free time and I thought knitting would be just the crafty hobby to add to my repertoire. Admittedly, living right by a Hobbycraft was a big factor in this decision. I liked it, but I don’t think I got really good until I moved to Bristol and starting going to knitting groups on the regular. It enabled me! Eventually I decided I wanted to make my own stuff up and starting learning in earnest. Plus I’ve got all these maths skills and that helps a lot with the designing thing.

What are you designing at the moment?
A really really cute shawl. I have a good feeling about this one.

Snowdrift Jumper by Ellen Gil

Snowdrift Jumper by Ellen Gil

Who are your knitting idols?
TECHknitter, who is a knitter after my own heart. Such dedication to construction techniques!
Susan Crawford, basically the queen of vintage patterns and recipient of a large percentage of my knitting budget.
Betsy Farquar (elf518 on Ravelry) takes colourwork to a level I can barely handle. One day I hope to match those talents.

 Where do you draw your design inspiration from?
Inspiration is one of those things that always comes from multiple places isn’t it? It’s just that my design process involves throwing every half-baked idea at the wall and seeing what sticks afterwards so there’s no telling how much I’ve unconsciously picked up. I pay a fair bit of attention to catwalk trends but I probably get lot more ideas from films and TV if I’m honest. I’m also a shameless people watcher and no interesting knitwear escapes my eye. Once I have a basic design idea I tend to go into super-technical-engineering mode and think a lot about how fun it would be to knit and write. About 90% of my ideas fall down at this point.

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Blue Hour Gloves by Ellen Gil

Do you have a favourite yarn at the moment?
My all-time favourite, stranded-in-the-Antarctic-without-internet yarn of choice is Excelana, in all its variations. But at the moment Juno Fibre Arts keeps popping into my head. I’ve never used their yarn but I’m really liking their colours right now.

You don’t seem scared to try new things. What is your most spectacular knitting disaster and were you able to overcome it?
Trying new things is easy if you always experiment on a swatch first. Those things are there to be abused! As for knitting disasters, let me think…I don’t think I’ve had any real disasters, just a few things that didn’t quite fit and left me a bit disappointed. I usually react to these things by putting them away for ages until I can face fixing them. The last fix I made involved cutting up a jumper with scissors. It was pretty drastic, but it worked!

The Knitter Location Shoot - 30/07/13 - Photos by Jesse Wild

Tyrolean Cardigan by Ellen Gill for The Knitter

 If you had a month to yourself, what sort of knitty stuff do you think you’d get up to?
All the same stuff I do now, but faster! I’m in the mood for simplicity at the moment, I think I’d knit lots of seamless things in the round whilst ploughing through box sets.

Sashiko by Ellen Gill

Sashiko by Ellen Gill

 

My other posts from Knitting and Crochet Blog week are here

Click here for other posts from Knitting and Crochet Blog week – 5kcbwday6