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Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Kelly in tweed

I have been admiring and pondering the Kelly Anorak pattern for a while.  Admiring the photographs of people's projects on Instagram and pondering fabric choices.  What finally kick started my own project was reading Lauren's blog post here. Its one of a series of posts where she charts her progress with the jacket, using products from her lovely shop Guthrie & Ghani. I also had some special fabric I wanted to use, not typical of the sort of material you might think suitable for a parka jacket but I felt it might just work



The fabric was initially destined to be a sports jacket of the most traditional style for my father, a man of most conservative tastes and fastidious dressing (he wore his third best sports jacket and matching tie to do the gardening), he had always had his suits and jackets made to measure. He would buy suitable fabric on his Scottish holidays and on his return visit his tailor, Mr Tandy in the small market town near where he lived. 

Surely a dying breed of craftsmen I imagined Mr Tandy sitting cross legged on his work bench much in the style of the Tailor of Gloucester (the eponymous character in one of my favourite children's books buy Beatrix Potter). Well of course eventually the inevitable happened and Mr Tandy retired leaving Dad with his latest fabric purchase on his hands.  As you may know if you have been reading this blog for a while my father died a few years ago and while I was clearing out his house I came upon the material for what was to have been his last sports jacket.

At the time I have no idea what the fabric should become, I just entered it into my (not inconsiderable)  stash, and then the Kelly pattern came across my radar .



You can see the wool tweed nestling between the two red lining fabrics, Ponte di Roma jersey (a remnant from the Raystitch sale) and some acetate satin. I also bought a hole punch (not illustrated) and a stud applicator. I read the recommendation for a stud applicator from Lauren's blog and I'm very glad I bought both this and the hole punch before attempting to place the snap fasteners and the eyelets for the waist elastic. I have previously used the little tools that come with the studs - do you know the ones I mean? They require a lot of dexterity, as you grip the studs between the little plastic gizmo you hammer it down on your kitchen chopping board to fix it into place. OK for fine fabrics but I have had so many misplaced studs on thicker stuff. This time all the studs went in exactly where I wanted them to be. 



I can't honestly say that the linings were one of my original modifications as Closet Case Patterns has produced a pdf down-load pattern as an addendum to the original pattern. But I did draft my own using the outer pattern pieces and trimming off some of the seam allowances, the jersey for the body and satin the sleeves.



The fur trim around the hood was my own mod. I had to check out a few ready-mades on-line to get the placement of the fur correct. I don't think the hood up look is great on me but it will be perfect in bad weather.

Incidentally the pure wool. smooth weave of this fabric is as shower proof as any modern high tech fabric (as light too) and it is nearly 100% wind proof.



The ribbon I used to cover the neck seam is also used to create a hanging loop (I know - the correct way to hang your hand mades is by a proper coat hanger but some times you just need to hang your jacket on a hook. )



I had this bright idea that I would knit some cosy cuffs ( I love combining crafts in a project) but in the end I could not work out how to fix them as the jacket sleeve has slits and fastenings - another time I might make the sleeves differently as I don't think they need to open at the cuff



The pattern is quite technical, I learned a few new tricks as I sewed. I had never before inserted a zip using this method with flaps, nor even heard of the system of sewing the yoke called burrito. In fact as a pretty experienced sewist I usually just scan the drawings in the pattern instructions and forge ahead, but his time I read each stage carefully TWICE. Sometimes I had no idea where the instructions were taking me, I just obeyed and sewed 'this' to 'that', folded something in and essentially DID WHAT I WAS TOLD. And it worked!

I can't tell you how pleased I am with my parka - I think I have worn it every day since I made it. I would love to hear in the comments from anyone who has made a Kelly of their own, How did you find the pattern? The fit? (mine is just right, thank you)  and do you love wearing it?


xx

c

never without a little cat involvement


Monday, 22 January 2018

Ta Da!

My first FO of 2018.


Actually off the needles a couple of weeks ago. But then there were ends to sew in


And then, when you knit a woolly pair of something for your hands you need to consult the availability of your assistant to take the final photo!



The pattern is Mîlét by Ysolde Teague

xx

c

Saturday, 6 January 2018

One down...

As I finished Mitt no 1 it was obvious I would not have enough yarn for a second in the same colour sequence...



But I do love the pattern, in particular the way the colour work pattern comes together at the finger and thumb tips.



So the only solution to the yarn issue is to reverse the colours on the second glove, casting on now...

xx


c

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

All good intentions

The virtual knit night began well (for everyone else).  Lots of WhatsApp chat, photos and not a little frogging. We were joined by others, temporary members of the Basingstoke knit and Natter WhatsApp group, including knit-like-you-mean-it (after all what else do you do when you are in Oxford about to defend your PhD thesis the next day but knit?) 

I loved joining in all the chat, seeing all the photos, and commiserating over the ripping out but I still had the first task in Operation-Finish-Up-Stuff-in-2018 to complete.  This task took a lot longer than I anticipated (more about it later in the week) so I did not actually was on till late on New Year's Day. 

But I had already carefully selected pattern and yarn so I was ready to forge ahead... right?



But by midnight I was well underway



And forged on until I had completely finished the stars on the outer cuff (the cuff is double, the inner part ribbed in a single colour.)  Then I had a long look and realised three things


  1. I had begun with the wrong colour!  I should have cast on in white, the yellow is for the star, the inner ribbed cuff and the tips of the thumbs and fingers
  2. Therefore I would not have enough of the yellow

AND

    3. I don't like the yellow now it's knitted up anyway



Nothing else for it but to ribbit - ribbit - ribbit and stash dive



Actually I think I like this green better in any case and by midnight last night I was back on course



xx

c

Monday, 1 January 2018

mittens!

New Year - new intentions.  More blogging, and a bit of variety (sewing, reading, events as well as knitting).  But to begin, my first love, knitting, and something that began, as projects so often do, with sharing a new lovely pattern with friends, captioned 'see this, I want to make it, anyone want to join me?'

Consequently, when friends from my knitting group were all in the grip of frantic Christmas present knitting, we decided that after Christmas we would knit mittens.  We made our plans on WhatsApp, where we often continue the knitty chat begun on knit nights.

We would normally have cast on together at knit night but tonight, it's a public holiday and all the places we meet (coffee shops mostly) are closed so we intend to meet virtually on WhatsApp and Ravelry.  I'm also instagramming my progress with the hash tag #newyearmittsalong

Want to join in? You are Very Welcome!

I have chosen to knit Ysolda Teague's Mīlēt in these left over yarns - (Jamieson & Smith 2 ply jumper weight and Triskelion Mona Sport




More posts to come

xx

C

Friday, 21 April 2017

Yes, I am still knitting

No, I have not given up but I have been a little busy of late, however, I am not exactly sure at what. Although there was a sneaky little trip to Venice in March.



But when I have time to sit in the evening and watch TV or on a rare afternoon to myself, I knit a few rows.  I even have to odd FO yet the needles are not exactly smoking.

But I am going to WonderWool on Sunday and would love to meet anyone who from time times pops by to read this blog.  I am rather excited to be helping out on the Centenary Stitches stand.  You might remember (if you have been reading this blog for a while) that I knitted a couple of items for the costumes in a film about WW1 and later the patterns were collected together in the book Centenary Stitches.  Well, many of the original knitted garments made for the film will be on show at WonderWool at the weekend.  I shall be on the stand from 11-12 on Sunday.

So rather than blather on here I will just post photos of one or two things I have finished since... Oh! since I last posted, so long ago




Fintry by Kate Davies knitted in beautiful Foxen meets Merino by Daughter of a shepherd.  Finished two weeks ago.  All but lining the button band and sewing on snaps and buttons.  So far I have not been able to find the right braid or ribbon that I like.  I am hoping I shall find some that pleases me at Wonderwool.


The hyzenthlay bunny hat.  Made for Bella.  This is a mock up because...


...we had some sizing issues


In the end we (I !!) settled for this, with rather less embellishment.  Bella consented to play Easter Bunny for all of 2 minutes, sitting at the head of the table at our family Easter Sunday lunch

Lastly...



Another pair of Driving Miss Daisy gloves for DD2

And on the needles?  Three pairs of socks, all different methods of construction, and one in my own hand spun; a second Kate Davies designed cardigan, Deco this time, and a shawl that has been so long in the making I am wondering whether I should describe it as hibernating!

Perhaps not a bad tally after all

xx

c



Friday, 10 February 2017

A very particular commission


Soon after my friend K was given some bad news by her doctors we went out to lunch at one of her favourite restaurants.  We were not there to talk of gloomy things, we were there to enjoy the warm atmosphere, marvel at the proximity of the fen drainage dyke to the restaurant (a good four feet ABOVE the restaurant window) and eat very good food.  We both ate sparingly, me because my tendency to greed leads to a tendency to weight gain, K because despite her undiminished appetite for all the good things of life her actual ability to eat was reduced by her condition. Nevertheless we tasted as much as possible from the extensive menu.  In our conversation I stepped gingerly around the minefield.  How to say we could talk about the few months she had left, her wishes for that time and afterwards and the practicalities, even mention the D word, but we didn't have to?  So I said very little, just " if ever you need to talk about The Thing I'm here" (or more likely on the end of a phone or e mail).  In time we did talk, sorting out the practicalities in preparation for my duty as one of her executors and then she made one unusual request. It wasn't a very surprising request really, given K's life's passions.  
K began her working life as a wardrobe mistress for theatre and film and then in her late 30s went to university to read history,  her special interest was the English Restoration Period (from 1660).  Combining her two interests, theatre and the 17th century K was an expert on the clothing of the period, in particular the fine detail (wigs and mens neck-wear in particular).  Her knowledge was amazing, and so was her capacity to rant when a TV or film company got some small but important detail wrong.  Then came the day when she knew her life was running out and she asked if I would make her shroud based on a ladies late 17th c chemise.
Like this but simpler, she said
We discussed the shape (something simple) and the fabric (it had to be linen from Whaleys where K had bought fabric in her theatre days).  Following instructions I rang Whaleys and they were absolutely wonderful. When I told them that I had a very special commission and requested samples for K to choose from they sent them first class post and when I ordered the actual fabric they sent it by express courier.


As I stitched  K was in a hospice in Cambridge, surrounded by kind and skilful hospice staff and friends she had collected throughout her life and who in her last months had provided practical and emotional support of every imaginable sort.  As I stitched one friend sat beside her bed and another read to her from one of her favourite novels.  As I stitched she was cared for and loved, despite having no close family around her. She was not estranged from her family, it is just that they all live in Australia and K had lived in the UK so long that even when she got the worst possible news from her oncologist she chose to stay.

So, this is it, made from off white linen, embroidered at neck and cuffs in pale green linen thread, i-cord ties (something knitted at K's request), simple, long and voluminous . Patern adapted from one of Janet Arnold's book Patterns of Fashion 4


xx

c

PS, I have one more commission from K.  That is to make a knitted wrap.  She had planned it so meticulously, in shades of green, a pattern inspired by lichen growing on a tree trunk and all beautifully charted, yarn bought but never quite began.  A large hat box containing the yarn sits by my favourite crafting space, I shall cast on very soon