Owls sweater: My first knitted garment!

Owls Lady Stitcher

I felt really excited about sewing during Me-Made-May but somehow my sewjo has really collapsed in the past fortnight. I think it’s down to a combination of having difficulty finding the right fabric for the projects I want to work on and feeling a tad overwhelmed by all the sewing events I want to take part in, but don’t have time to.

BUT I am happily back into knitting! After some hiccups on that front, I’ve regained knitting confidence through the Owls sweater knit-along organised by Kat of A Krafty Kat and Sabs of Tybalt: King of Cats. I’ve had the Kate Davies pattern on standby for, literally, years but never tried it. Knitting is so much more of a commitment for me than sewing (and it’s much harder to modify the fit as you work) so I think I’ve been unnecessarily cautious about picking knitting patterns to try.

Owls Lady Stitcher Back

The knitalong was perfect for building knitting confidence: Sabs and Kat were great for giving advice throughout the project and the pattern is quite easy to follow. The only real difficulties I encountered were in trying to use the magic loop method to sew the sleeves in the round. I gave it a shot because I couldn’t find the right sized DPNs, but once I got my hands on them, knitting the sleeves was a dream. (I also knit quite tightly and had to cast off three times (!) before the neck opening was wide enough to squeeze my head through.)

I used Debbie Bliss Rialto Chunky in Ruby (bought from This Is Knit in Dublin) and love the colour and softness of this merino wool. It makes for a really cosy – albeit seasonally inappropriate – sweater! I also decided, like fellow knitalonger Charlotte, not to sew on the button eyes as I prefer these little guys without them.

Owls Lady Stitcher Closeup

Buoyed by the success of this, my first finished knitted garment, I’ve already launched into a new project: the Panelled Effect Lady’s Jumper from Jane Waller and Susan Crawford’s book, A Stitch in Time. The pattern requires a bit of concentration but is not so complicated that a novice knitter can’t manage it. I’m using another Debbie Bliss yarn – a 4-ply in a steel grey colour.

Lady Stitcher Panelled Jumper

Sunday Special: this week’s blog round-up

Sewing and Knitting

I read a lot of sewing, knitting and craft blogs and I try to keep my favourites saved for future reference. I’ve been thinking though, that a handy way to catalogue them would be to compile a ‘best of’ each week. So, here’s the first round-up of my favourite posts from the past week:

1. I haven’t tackled any Fair Isle knitting projects yet, but I think I’ve just found my first: this gorgeous 1940s-style hat which By Gum By Golly released this week via Ravelry. Beautiful!

2. Katy & Laney’s “cautionary tale” about pattern placement when making Ikat trousers shows the (sometimes hilarious) perils of working with prints. (On the plus side, Katy did succeed in making a really well-fitting pair of trousers…)

3. I love when Paunnet and Sewing Princess do their very frank two-part pattern review of the latest La Mia Boutique release. I’ve never bought LMB  (or even seen in person), but I really enjoy seeing new sewing patterns and find them great for inspiring sewing projects. Here are part one (via Paunnet) and part two (via Sewing Princess) of their latest LMB review.

4. Needle and Flax (disclaimer: that’s my sister’s blog!) posted this tutorial for making simple notebooks. I love notebooks for storing fabric samples, sewing ideas, noting my adaptations of knitting patterns, etc etc. I’ve never made any before, but the tutorial makes it seem much less intimidating than I’d thought!

5. Ok, this one was actually posted closer to a fortnight ago rather than over the past week, but it was so good that I’m going to bend the rules on this first weekly round-up and include it here at the end: Coletterie’s brilliant run-down of sewing machine maintenance tips to keep your equipment in top condition.