Monday, May 19, 2014

Taadaa :: Little coffee bean cardi

The Old Bus Depot Market celebration of wool was held yesterday, and it was just the motivation I needed to finally sew the buttons on miss A's little coffee bean cardi - I couldn't take a baby to wool day without a hand knit after all!

 

I am pretty pleased with how this came our! It fits her well and is cosy and, and I love the colours (both are Cleckheaton country). I did have a few issues as I was knitting though - one being my near incompetence with picking up stitches, and the other that the sleeves came out fat on the first go. In the end I put this down to my gauge being different in the round on dpns than flat - I have never noticed this before, even though I've made a couple of cardis like this so it was a bit puzzling. I fixed it by going down a needle size for the sleeves, and then I think again for the cuffs. In any case, I think they turned out ok, and after a close inspection miss A seemed happy enough too

I found some perfect little buttons at spotlight when I was visiting with my mum - purple stripes! I have navy blue stripes for the other little coffee bean cardi I'm working on too. Mum bought some really cute ones too, pink with brightly coloured confetti sprinkles - they were a great match for a little pink vest she was knitting.

Overall this was a quick and fun knit. My only reservation about knitting it again would be that I'm not sure whether I like the high crew neck - I did find that it sits a bit funny under her little chin. If you hang out on ravelry you can see my project here, with the usual details and a couple more pics.

I have already moved on to the next knitting project - the milo vest by Tikki Knits - and hopefully will have something to share on that soon =)

 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Taadaa daa! :: Nana quilt

Last week I gave a little update on where my knitting projects are up to. While April was (and May is turning out to be) knitty, the craft that has really had my interest for the last little while is quilting. I'm in love. With the fabrics, the pattern, the techniques - everything. And of course I have a whole bunch of projects underway, but today I want to share a finished one - the Nana quilt I made for my mum.

My mum has been either my teacher or my inspiration in nearly ever crafty adventure I've taken - all the way from her patience when we were little playing with her fabric scraps, buttons and beads all the way through to us going on quilt camp together last year. She is always making quilts for family and friends ( and friends of family), so when we found out Amelia was on the way - and mum was going to be a nana - I knew I wanted to make her a special quilt to mark the occasion.
After making my first quilt - the scrap vomit - I was still hooked on the 2.5" squares (let's be honest - I still am!) so I wanted something scrappy but with some order, like the scrap vomit but different. I decided on an all over lattice across those lovely scraps.

Most of the quilt top was pieced during the second half of my pregnancy. I sewed like a crazy lady - each day I was convinced I would wake up the next morning too big to sit at the machine. I took a little bit of a different approach to the fabric selection than I did in the scrap vomit quilt - this is full of pretty prints from my stash, from moda candy charm packs, from my friend (especially Angie & Michelle) and from mum herself. There are flowers and dots, a couple of Elvis prints, some ponies and cats. So many cats. Each of the 49 blocks has at least one cat in it, except for the very first block I made.

Working on this quilt was a great lesson in 'volume' - the print that I chose for the lattice contrasted really well with a lot of my scraps, so I thought it would work as 'low volume'. Putting the blocks together though, something really obvious became, well, obvious. It doesn't matter how light (or dark) a fabric is when you look at it - only how much lighter or darker than the fabrics around it. While I did try to put darker fabrics around it, overal my lattice didn't quite stand out as much as I wanted. I do still love the effect though - the pattern and order I wanted is there if you look, just in a more subtle way than I had planned.

I love the back as much as the front. I used Kate Spain raindrops (from the range Sunnyside) and Tilda tea cups, and spelled out nana using the free letters from the moda blog.

This shot of the back show the quilting quite nicely. Raylee from as Sunflower Quilting helped me choose the swirly design, which we thought looks a bit like steam coming up from those cups of tea, and did an excellent job quilting it, even managing to squeeze it in so that I would have time to bind before we went to visit mum at Easter.


I decided that such a special quilt needed a super special label too, so I used a gorgeous embroidery pattern, Russian Dolls by A Little Sweetness, to make three generations of little stitched matryoshkas. I'm so happy with how it came out.

I loved making every single bit of this quilt, and I loved that it felt like Amelia and I made it together. I hope mum has many coomfy cups of tea under it =)

 

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

In April I was knitting

After hardly knitting for ages, April suddenly saw an explosion of knitty activity - I wanted to knit all the things, and knit them now (well, then). I guess it was a combination of the chilly weather on the horizon after the longest hottest summer, the fact we were taking an Easter road trip (8ish hours of knitting time in each direction!) and of course having my own little one to wrap up in warm hand knits.

Here is a little round up of where my knitting projects are up to now...

 

I started two little coffee bean cardis - one for miss A, and another for her cousin due to arrive in October. Here is A modelling hers before the button bands went on. They have since been added, it has been blocked & dried and is ready for buttons.

The second one is navy blue and white stripes - I managed to knit the whole body in the car on our way to mum and dad's house, only to realise on finishing the first ball of navy wool that I had left the second ball at home. I figured I could pick up a replacement at the local spotties (the wool is cleckheaton country naturals) but was surprised to see they had quite a different range of colours than my local lincraft, and the closest to navy was a different colour way which is a much brighter blue, somewhere between navy and royal blue. Luckily I had packed another project, so this could wait until I arrived home ;-). I'm now working on it during nap times and evenings, in between reading A Game of Thrones (which I am LOVING, by the way!) . I am halfway down one sleeve, with the other sleeves and one button band left to knit. I should be able to finish up in the next few days, then if think I will have a button sewing on marathon on the weekend - I have a couple of little Boheme cardis also just waiting for buttons =)

The third project currently in action is an EllaFunt cardi, also for A. I bought a gorgeous little kit of hand dyed yarn for this from the lovely and so talented Penny at Happy Spider Knits. The construction of the cardi in this pattern is interesting - to me anyway! - you knit the back flat, and each sleeve in the round separately, then join them all together and knit up the yoke. I haven't knitted anything with this kind of construction before, so I am excited to see how it comes together. I worked on this on the drive home after Easter, and have finished the back piece so am ready to start on the sleeves. The yarn is knitting up so beautifully - it is making a lovely drapery fabric, and the gentle colour variation is really pretty.

Of course having two projects almost finished means I'm already planning what I'll cast on next. I have some yarn set aside for a Gidday Baby cardi - there was a knit-along for this free pattern run by the designer, Georgie of Tikki Knits, over the Easter break, and I just think it is adorable (photo from the tikkiknits blog)

Georgie is also the designer of the super popular Milo vest, and each May runs a Milo knit along - I have had the pattern for ages but haven't made one yet, so I think this might be the time =)

Xo