It is getting cold :: Knitting ::

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Happy Wednesday everyone! So I received a few complaints about the weather from a little someone whose hands are getting really cold. Some desperate knitting later, one mitten was done. Another one on its way. Hopefully tomorrow there will be no more complaints, and there will be toasty hands.

The original pattern is from this book (I used it for this jumper as well) - but it is not the right size, and I like knitting my mittens in the round (the pattern suggests that they are knitted flat), so basically it is only an inspiration for knitting these mittens.

I wanted a tweedy effect, but did not have any tweed yarn in my stash, so I decided to knit together strands from 2 different colours of Drops Alpaca (so, so soft) - destashing in the process. I really like the effect, and it sort of goes with his acorn beanie hat (I did say 'sort of').

Better get on with the second mitten, because I know that Baby MiH will be asking for his mittens tomorrow morning. Nothing like pressure from a nearly 3 yo to keep you going!

How colour analysis can help you choose fabric and yarn :: By Kate from Fabrickated ::

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you had a great weekend. I love having guest bloggers in my blogging space. I learn so much every time, it is really inspiring. Colour analysis is something I've been wanting to know more about, to make better decisions when it came to buying wool and fabric. And when Kate asked me to come over and have my colours done, I did not think twice, and I was in her office within a week. I was of the view that if I learnt more about my complexion and what worked for me, I would be wasting less money on fabrics that do not suit me, and splash out on those that do. It is another sustainable way to look at fashion. 

Also Kate is amazing fun to spend time with, and totally inspiring. She is an active blogger, as well as the Chief Executive of a housing association. And yes, she does have children, and grand children - I mean whoah amazing. So you get your colours done, and a great dose of inspiration.

I will leave it to Kate to explain how she approaches colour analysis and what her conclusions were for me (hopefully I will make full use of these findings)! 

I love colour and I like making clothes. While I have always known, more or less, what colours suit me (trial and error – lots of them), I wanted to know what colours suited my family as I like to make presents that will suit and please them. So a few years ago I trained in colour analysis and I am happy to share my skills with others.

If you are a keen knitter or dress maker you will spend time choosing just the right fabric or yarn for each project. You may be considering:
  • The right fabric for the pattern
  • The quality and price of the fabric
  • How much it will go with the rest of the wardrobe
  • How much you like the colour, texture, pattern etc
Do you consciously think – does this colour really suit me?

Do you hold the fabric up in the shop, draping it over your body, and think – does this piece of cloth or ball of wool make me look more beautiful, brighter, less tired – or does it emphasise the little imperfections in my skin?

The thing is, on the whole, certain shades work really well together. Not all reds looks great with all yellows, but certain reds and yellows look amazing together. Normally this is because they are going in the same direction. So a yellow with a warm undertone will match a red with a warm undertone. A deep purple will usually work great with a deep green. A muted orange will work nicely with a muted brown. If you look at patterned fabric you will see that normally the designer has stuck to one direction (black and white works as they are both bright colours), although sometimes one contrasting element can work well.

You may have found in nature how colours work harmoniously together – a pale blue-green birds egg with a light orangey brown speckle; a tropical flower that includes the brightest orange, yellow and green; a girl with deep brown skin, deeper brown eyes and black hair.

So humans have a natural colour palette that tends to work beautifully together. Take the classic red head with light skin, freckles and light greeny eyes; or snow white with her red lips, white skin and black hair. Harmonious colour palettes.

So the point of colour analysis is to determine what your primary colour direction is – deep or light; cool or warm; bright or muted. Many of us have a secondary direction as well that helps inform the primary direction.

 When I analysed Nat’s colours I found that the light colours looked great on her – colours with quite a lot of water in them, relatively speaking. The deepest shades tended to made her skin look a little tired and grey.  But we found that the muted shades were also better than the brightest shades. So Nat looks best in lighter colours with a softer look. Now she knows which colours look best (I gave her a colour chart of the types of shades that look the best on her), I would say there are a few advantages that she might enjoy.
  • Helping her choose what wool or fabric to buy for each project, saving time and money and reducing waste
  • Ensuring that everything in her wardrobe will work with everything else, making it easier to put outfits together
  • Giving her the confidence to wear more colour, certain that it flatters her delicate pretty complexion
  • Knowing that a nicely put together, harmonious look will add to her self confidence
  • As a knitter and dressmaker she can use the information to create patterns, blends or mixes of colours that work brilliantly together
  • When what we wear is harmonious with our own colouring it helps to give a good impression to those we meet.

Well I am feeling under pressure to make the right choices, but also more confident to make choices. I have my colour chart in my purse, and take it with me everywhere. To be fair, my colours are probably colours that I liked already, but it has certainly widened the range of colours I could consider wearing. And hopefully I will be confident enough to add more colours in my wardrobe (when I finish knitting all the grey wool in my stash...). 

Stripey knits for boys :: Knitting ::

Friday, 20 November 2015

Today my baby is one, and instead of having a family celebration, Mr MiH and I have to leave Baby MiH with his grandparents for the weekend, because today we cannot pretend that everything is normal. I knitted a jumper for Little Baby MiH - and yes it is too small for him (I checked against his other jumpers, definitely too small). But I had to finish this jumper. I started it when we left for the hospital, not because I wanted to keep him with me, but just because I never thought he would leave us. And of course he has not left us as I explained to Baby MiH, he would always be there, but not with us. So we say goodnight to him every night. 

I am not going to talk too much about the jumper. It was inspired by this jumper construction. I wanted stripes (and finish some ethical yarn I had) and some texture. This jumper has both. I love the results, I hate the way I knitted it. Thankfully it is not an adult size jumper, otherwise I would not have finished it.   

I do hope one day this will turn into a pattern, it would be nice to think that something concrete was inspired by Little Baby MiH. For the time being, I am going to leave this jumper for a bit, and come back to it once I learn a bit more about raglan shaping and probably also about writing proper patterns.. 

I am not sure how much to share about our story, but through knitting and sewing stories I am able to share a bit and celebrate that he was with us and inspired me. 

To gauge or not to gauge, it should never be a question :: Knitting ::

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Has anyone seen my postman? I think he forgot to bring me some wool. Doesn't he know I am 10 rows away from finishing this beautiful WIP? Someone should tell him. Maybe someone should also tell him that I will be at my Pilates class tomorrow, and if he could stuff the skein through my tiny letter box it would be most kind. 

No, I did not make a gauge, and yes I totally relied on what was written on the label and on the pattern without questioning, and yes I got it wrong. I am quite annoyed because I am going away on Friday, and I know that the skein I am missing will arrive then. And this test knit deadline is Friday. So annoying. No I don't make gauges for a shawl - who does? - and yes I should, especially for a test knit. But if I am honest, I will continue without knitting a gauge for a shawl in the future - I am just living my life on the edge (knitting in my living room in front of the telly)! 

Talk about living on the edge though, someone dared touch Hercule Poirot - and write a whole new book in the style of Agatha Christie. It is a bold move, considering that Agatha Christie killed her character, herself. So yes, on principle, I have issues with that. My Mum bought it, read it and discarded it at my house (she thinks I am an charity bookshop sometimes) - this is why I have the French version. I am reading it, it is ok, I will finish it, but I am totally enjoying it. Maybe it is one Poirot too many. What do you think? 

What are you currently knitting? Linking up to Ginny's today. 

The Double Moss Stitch Cardigan :: Knitting ::

Monday, 16 November 2015

More on my embroidery here
Happy Monday everyone! Well, isn't it hard to take decent pictures these days. Natural light is quite a precious commodity between the dark hours and the rain. I managed to snap some pictures of my finished cardigan, and I can now tell you how much I love it (now that it has pockets). It is my usual style, an easy to wear oversized cardigan.

I was really worried about the construction of the cardigan. It is not knitted in the round, - you have to sew the pieces together. You would think that because I sew it would be quite logical that this construction appeals to me, well it does not. I actually like knitting in the round. However after this cardigan I may be not so opposed to knit pieces and sew them together. I am not sure my technique is great yet, I totally bluffed it, and it worked, so did not investigate more, but I probably need to pay more attention to the sewing part. 

Pattern: Veste Femme (pattern 22) in Phildar Catalogue A/H 010-11
Yarn: Ecological Wool from Cascade Yarn in silver (see my ethical review here)
Yardage: I  think I used 2 full skeins (unfortunately I had used the yarn for something else, so it was not in full and intact skeins when I knitted with it). 
Needles: 7 mm (to get a light fabric - do try to make a sample to get the right fabric)
Size: I made the size 46/48 based on my gauge
Modifications: I did not make any modifications - even added the pockets. I did block it differently however. I did the neckline, shoulder and arm seams, and block it flat - and then did the side seams. 
Future Modifications: Although I love the double moss stitch, I think it would be interesting to knit this in another stitch to add some visual interest based on the same pattern. Also I may make the front panels larger to add even more drape.

Here is a quick review for you: 

Wearability: 4/5 - It is totally wearable - as soon as it is finished. I did not give it full marks because I do not like the way the edge looks, I would like them a bit neater to make it less hand-knitted (any tips?). 
Time spent: 4/5. I did not keep exact timing, but 3 months for a hand knitted garment for me is fast knitting, I think this could be done in a month if you really focused on it. 
Boredom factor: 4/5. There is so much double moss stitch one girl wants to knit over a month. I was easily distracted by other projects. 
Difficulty: 2/5. There is quite a bit of shaping at the shoulders, but overall it is quite easy to knit as it is mainly based on rectangles. 
Pricing: a bit less than £30 for the yarn and a few evenings of watching your favourite series on Netflix. Not bad value.  

This a great pattern to have for a basic cardigan in any wardrobe. It looks easily adaptable to your needs, and you can easily add more interest than I have done here. I may consider making another one of these. 

Natural Hazelnut Wreath :: A tutorial with BerlinBaby ::

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Hello everyone, I hope you all are having a great weekend. If you are in Paris, I hope you are ok, and please stay safe... We are 14 November, which means I am again late for posting on Le Challenge - and I feel like a cheat as I am not posting my make! The theme was 'method', and method could mean tutorial and I have a brilliant tutorial to share with you. I got in touch with Cecile - aka Berlinbaby on IG - about a hazelnut wreath she made some time ago (I totally stalk her account, and you should too!). I hoped she had a tutorial, as it happens she has been following my blog for a while (I am still amazed people do) and she was delighted to write this tutorial for us! 

I have just ordered what I needed to make my own... 

If you use her tutorial, please let us know and share your makes!

You will need:

a 26cm straw wreath ring (mine is from a local craft shop)
about 800g hazelnuts
glue gun
2 pieces of ribbon

Step One

Heat up your glue gun and lay a piece of newspaper under the wreath to catch the drips of glue. 
Place a generous amount of glue onto the more pointed end of one of your hazelnuts, and stick it onto the straw wreath. 

Step Two

Repeat step one, glueing the hazelnuts one at a time onto the wreath. Once the first few are in place it starts to feel like a little puzzle, finding the right hazelnut to nestle into each spot. Don’t fret about it too much, though. There will be little gaps and imperfections here and there, and it will look all the more beautiful for it!

Step Three

Carry on covering the wreath (except for the back) in hazelnuts. Leave a gap slightly wider than your ribbon. Using a little glue, fix one end of the ribbon onto the wreath and wrap it tightly around the straw wreath a few times, gluing the other end down as well.

Finish sticking on the rest of the hazelnuts until they nestle right up against the edges of the ribbon.

Thanks Cecile for this amazing tutorial, please share your makes with Cecile and I, she is on IG @berlinbaby and I am @natmadeinhome!

Link up to Le Challenge for a random chance to win a $25 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop and $10 to spend at Eco Fabric Store or Fibers To Fabric.

Acorn with a pompom :: Crochet ::

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Hello everyone! I was really happy to work on these pictures today - it reminded me of the good times of this weekend, and that despite everything we can have some happy times still. Sadly my Grand dad passed away last Friday, exactly a month after Little Baby MiH. It was all expected, the timing is less than ideal though - and this weekend away was much needed. 

Making hats for my cheeky monkey is also making me happy - seeing him making funny faces (or licking the fence, wtf?) is uplifting. And I love this hat on him. He loves the pompom of course - he shakes his head about to make the pompom shake. Also that crochet texture is amazing - I cannot actually believe I made this! 

 Pattern: Acorn by Kat Goldin (I already posted about it here)
Crochet hook size: 5.5 mm
Yarn: De Rerum Natura Gilliatt in poivre (I reviewed the ethics of the yarn here), the pompom is made out of Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted in pearl
Size: I made the biggest size for him (4+ rather than toddler size)
Modification: The pattern was available in LandScape. I had to add repeats of the pattern to make the beanie hat big enough - I am not sure whether it is a problem with the printing of the pattern or because of my yarn choice. Anyway I had t make 6 repeats in the end. I also make the puffs more prominent by adding yarn overs. And of course I added the pompom. 

This hat made me realise that I actually do like to crochet, and should be doing more of it. It also opened by eyes to the texture you can achieve in crochet - amazing, who knew! There is a whole world out there of crochet texture ready to be explored me thinks!