There's a kitchen theme to my outfit shots this week. We got a new kitchen fitted after several years of thinking about it, we finally took the plunge and did it. As for the outfits, I managed 5 with me-made elements this week.
Day 12: Sail Boat Wiksten Tova and jeans, worn for a trip to the climbing wall. No climbing for me, but I watched our 5 year old niece climb to the top, on her very first time wall climbing.
Day 14: Beam me up Snitmonster dress - and check out our newly painted wall! I love this colour and it's so cheerful compared to our gloomy old kitchen. I still get a surprise when I go into the kitchen as I'm not quite used to it yet.
(Dot making a special guest appearance on top of the fridge)
Here's a before and after shot of the kitchen, for those of you interested in being nosey (like I always am). Everything feels a lot cleaner (we now have a built in oven and hob) and brighter. Apart from the wall, there is a great novelty factor in being able to see your dinner cooking through the glass door of the oven - our last one didn't even have a light never mind a glass door so now it looks like your baked potatoes are on television :)
I've never made a quilt before although I have often admired both vintage and new patchwork quilts. I have a growing pile of scrap fabrics which I intend to make into a quilt one day, however for my first one I decided to buy Fat Quarters especially for the purpose. I couldn't resist a seaside-themed bundle of fat quarters from M is for Make when I saw it last year:
(Shown mixed with 3 additional nautical fabrics from The Village Haberdashery - ship's wheels, stripes and rope alphabet)
Isn't it a sweet selection of nautical fabrics? The fabrics sat unused until I gathered myself up to finally get going with it a couple of weeks ago. I really wanted to make a chevron quilt using this tutorial, however after I cut out all the fabric squares to size I realised that the design was not going to work for my fabric selection at all. So I decided to go for blocks of 9 squares, using a couple of extra nautical themed fat quarters I bought from The Village Haberdashery. Incidentally I'm kicking myself for not visiting this shop when I was in London last weekend, especially as we spent a day in Hampstead! I wasn't intending to do any fabric shopping, so maybe next time, they do have a fab fabric selection.
Sewing the squares together was fairly easy and made me realise how important it is in patchwork to have pieces which are perfectly measured so that everything matches up at the joins and corners. I didn't 100% manage this, but I think my quilt will be just as effective.
I have bought some white cotton flannel/flannelette/winceyette (I've seen it called all three names) for the reverse of the quilt so it's nice and cosy. I am thinking it can be put on the floor for the baby to play on and later used as a throw or quilt. I had thought about using a bright red flannel but had second thoughts when I realised that I'd want to use white thread for the quilting and this would be really obvious against the red.
(Enjoy it while you can, Dot...)
What I now have left to do is:
Choose and buy batting - I'm thinking natural cotton based wadding rather than polyester for a more authentic old-style quilt look when it gets washed. Plus as I have used natural fibres for the rest of the quilt it seems a shame to stuff it with polyester. Any quilters out there have any thoughts on this?
Choose, buy and make binding - Perhaps using a pin dotted cotton in one of the colours from the quilt. I had originally thought that I'd use a ribbon to bind it for a contrast in texture, or maybe buy a silky fabric to cut into strips but then thought that might be more suitable for a smaller blanket.
Sandwich the thing together and QUILT! - I think my quilting will be limited to following the lines of the squares - is that unimaginative? Or will trying to do straight lines look too obvious when I inevitably go wonky?
Add binding to quilt
After the baby arrives I might add a hand sewn initial or some kind of personalisation to the plain side too.
So what do you think? Have you any quilting tips or recommendations for a new quilter?
Phew! That was a mammoth task to match everyone up, but lovely to get a chance to see so many different blogs - this time around we have 58 participants in the swap.
If you're wondering how I select partners, I use a spreadsheet to list everyone, blog name, location and where they want to send a package to. If someone didn't specify that they were happy to send worldwide I selected to send to their own country. I look at all your blogs to try and see if I can find some similarities between participants and do the best I can to match people up.
Once you have checked out who your partner is, do contact them to say hello and you'll need their postal address of course. I'd encourage you to ask questions if you're not sure what to pick, so you might want to check favourite colours, styles, sizes etc, this isn't intended to be conducted in strict secrecy!
You can read the full swap rules here but keep in mind the key date that your partner should receive their package by is Monday 17th June. Here's a short reminder about what to send:
You spend up to a maximum of £15 (or local equivalent - that's US$22.96 at current rates according to xe.com) purchasing sewing-related items to send to your partner. These can be new/vintage/thrifted, whatever. The spend amount doesn't include postage.
The items may include fabric, patterns (paper or pdf), trims,
buttons or similar
but use your imagination to choose what you think your partner might
like. You should look at their blog to see what kind of things they like
to make so you can choose something really appropriate. Although the
swap is centred around sewing, you can include other
crafty items if your partner is into different crafts too.
As a guideline, you should send a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 5 items (you don't
have to count buttons or other notions individually though, just use
your initiative here!)
So in no particular order here's the list of swap partners:
This year I'm doing weekly blog round ups of my Me Made May outfits so you don't get bored of hearing about it. I've only committed to 4 days per week this year too. I'm really hoping I can make it all the way through as in previous years I've had a tendency to tail off towards the end of the month. Part of this is due to getting bored with the photography but although I've been wearing a me-made item pretty much every day as usual, it's nice to only be taking 4 photos a week.
As my maternity jeans have been getting constant wear every weekend, I decided to give them a break by throwing a denim skirt in the mix.
I considered making a skirt from scratch but then thought that if I found a suitable skirt in a charity shop it would be quicker and easier to convert it. Luckily, this was one of those rare times when you find exactly what you're looking for in a charity shop, so with such serendipity I had to complete this project. The skirt looked hardly worn, was in my size, and fabric alone would have cost more than the skirt, never mind the time spent sewing.
Here's the guide to my maternity restyle:
What you need:
1/2 metre Double knit or ribbed knit in colour to match your skirt (I used ribbed knit that came in a tubular form)
1. Get a skirt in your usual size.
(wearing a black bump band for modesty, just in case you think I'm exposing my pants...)
2. Try on the skirt to see how it sits on your figure. A hipster style could be converted by cutting off and replacing the waistband with an elasticated band. You could cut off part of the zipped fly and sew up the fly, also retaining the pockets. However this skirt was high waisted so needed a different type of alteration. You can see from the photo that I will need to take a section out of the front of the skirt, over the stomach.
3. Mark roughly on the skirt which area you would like to be elasticated. My alteration will cut off a section of the front including the zipped fly and pockets but the back will be unaffected. It's a shame to lose the pockets, but I couldn't think of a non-fiddly way to retain them.
4. Use a French Curve to help you mark neat and symmetrical lines on the skirt to show which section will be removed so the stretch fabric can be inset. Then mark 1/2" above this line to indicate your cutting line - this allows for a 1/2" seam.
5. Cut along the cutting line. If your skirt has rivets like mine, you might want to alter your cutting lines to cut these off. I tried removing them using a screwdriver but to no avail, those things are well attached.
6. Take your stretch fabric and cut 2 rectangles at a size to fit generously in the cut-out area (the width of the skirt). With the stretch fabric held right sides together, hem across the top to sew the layers together.
7. Pin your rectangular stretch panel into the gap and try on the skirt. Make sure it fits nice and snugly because it is designed to stretch (of course!) and you don't want it to be too loose. I'd also advise basting the panel in and wearing the skirt for a while to see how it sits on you as this will avoid having to unpick/cut the panel later on if it turns out to be a bit loose (ask me how I know...)
8. Once happy with the placement of the panel in the skirt, on the inside cut the panel down to 1/2" from the edge of the hole cut in the skirt.
9. From the inside of the skirt, sew the panel in using a 1/2" seam allowance. Try on the skirt to check you are happy with the fit.
10. Topstitch and turn inside out to neaten the edges of the fabric using bias binding.
11. Et Voila! Skirt is complete.
Denim skirt £2
Ribbed Knit fabric £3.50
I'm really chuffed at how well this alteration turned out and it was pretty straightforward not to mention much cheaper and more ethical than buying a new maternity denim skirt. This type of alteration would also work on high waisted trousers too.
After losing two hand knitted hats to Glasgow's bus system, I decided it was time to knit myself a new one. I bought some bright red aran wool (Rico Essentials Soft Merino Aran) at the wool shop in Bangor when I was last home in Northern Ireland, hoping for something that would knit up quickly to satisfy my hat urge.
Picking a pattern was hard as the wool is so bright it really needs a complex looking pattern or else I feared it would look a bit cheap. Looking at patterns made with worsted/aran weight wools on Ravelry I saw the Snapdragon Tam:
I liked that it didn't look too loose or tight to the head and thought the pattern was pretty. Following some kind of rush of blood to the head I forked out £9 for the ebook of Whimsical Little Knits 2 on Ravelry instead of buying just the one pattern. Only to find out that the yarn required was DK weight. Grrr. Pre-purchase, I did see that the yarn used was DK but assumed it must have been held double. It wasn't, but it was a 'light worsted' yarn which was why it was in the worsted category. Not to be outdone I decided to knit it anyway, as it comes in 3 sizes I thought I'd make the smallest size and hope for the best.
So how was it to knit? Trying. Nearly every single row was different, requiring continual checking of the pattern. I do like cable patterns but it's so much easier when you have a nice regular repeat. It certainly is a very clever pattern but it took quite a while for me to get into the swing of it.
Once completed it seemed a good size, with the ribbing nice and snug, just the wrong shape for a beret. However during blocking it seemed to stretch to gargantuan proportions, sending me into a rage as I was convinced it would not return to it's nice pre-blocking snugness. I've knit projects with lovely soft wool before which have just grown and stretched - so frustrating.
Do you ever get a real rage over your projects when they're not going as you want? I was FURIOUS about how I thought this hat was going to turn out and was getting ready to rip the whole thing out once it was dry. I spent a whole Sunday afternoon saying "I'm really angry about that hat", and similar, getting angry about it over and over again. Is that a tragic admission? Perhaps my increased hormones were playing a part.
But you know what? Somehow once dry it miraculously snapped back into the right size. In the end, I'm really chuffed with it and all the frustration and rage are nearly forgotten. I'm still aware that it might stretch with wear but I'm really hoping not.
I've never knit an Ysolda pattern before. I usually find her garment designs a little whimsical for my tastes (though I love her Elijah elephant) but I know she has a huge following amongst knitters. Have you ever knit any of her patterns?
(Bonus picture - I found it so difficult taking pictures of the side and back of my own head. Most turned out like this....)