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My first knitted jumper – The Posy Sweater from Darling Jadore.

I’m starting the year off with a ‘first’ from me. It’s a blog post sharing with you my very first knitted jumper! Woo hoo!

Now I’m definitely not an expert by any means, quite the opposite, so don’t expect anything too technical – I just want to tell you about this pattern from a beginner’s view point, because as a novice knitter it’s a little daunting to know where to start when you want to move on to bigger projects.

The pattern that I chose to make is The Posy Sweater from Darling Jadore.

I received the pattern and supplies to make it for my Christmas present last year, and at that time I received the ‘premium pattern package’ version which gave me the basic pattern and also included bonus video tutorials to help me through the ‘tricky’ parts of the pattern. Looking at the pattern on the website today, it looks like the pattern just comes with the video tutorials as standard now. Excellent. The video tutorials were an absolute essential for me as up until this point I had only ever knitted a scarf and a simple tea cosy, so I referred to the videos quite a bit throughout the project. They covered every part of the jumper making process that I might have ‘scratched my head’ about and considering I really know very little about knitting, I think it turned out alright.

The best part about this jumper in my opinion and the reason why I chose this pattern to make is the keyhole feature at the back neckline with the ribbon tie. You’ll see from my sewing posts that tie back neckline details on dresses and tops are my absolute fave so why wouldn’t I choose a knitting pattern that has this too?!

The neck band of this jumper is knitted double height and then folded over creating a channel to thread your ribbon through. This way if you want to swap out your ribbon and change it to a different colour for example, you just slip one out and feed the new one through!

The jumper is knitted in the round using circular needles from the top down. The raglan sleeves are added after the body has been knitted by picking up stitches around the armhole that you have kept safe by threading a scrap of yarn through them earlier on.

The worry that I had about being a beginner knitter and making up a big project like this is that it’s all very well when everything is going smoothly, but I have no idea how to correct a mistake if I make one going along. Luckily there are plenty of YouTube videos that are really helpful, but one piece of advice that I received from a friend when I was starting this was to use a ‘lifeline’. This involves threading a scrap piece of yarn through your work, and if you go wrong you can just pull your needles out and tear back to where the lifeline row is. Tricky to explain but it gives you a little peace of mind that if you do go wrong, it’s not the end of the world.

The pattern took me a year to knit just about, and whilst I am a slow knitter some of this is due to the fact that I didn’t pick it up very much at all during the warmer months.

Oh I should perhaps tell you what sort of yarn I used to make it! It’s Knit Craft yarn from Hobbycraft, and it’s called ‘Leader of the Pac’ Aran in the colour charcoal, although looking at the website this colour might be out of stock now.

I did feel a little bit concerned when it came to knitting the cuffs. Because you are knitting in the round, and the cuffs are so tiny, you need to switch over to double pointed needles or use the magic loop technique. Hmm, both methods looked a little scary to me. Double pointed needles look like little chopsticks and I felt worried that I would drop my stitches, I felt that it was too much to try to learn how to use these, so I used the magic loop method (after searching on YouTube of course), and even though I was a bit terrified of ruining the jumper at this final stage, somehow it worked! The video that helped me with this technique was this one here.

The final stage of the project is the blocking. I have no idea what blocking is, but I did it anyway. Ha! Actually I really didn’t know what blocking was until I got to that part of the pattern, so had to look it up. Apparently it enables you to shape your finished garment (whilst wet), into the correct shape and evens up stitch tension and the look of the finished garment – among other things. I soaked my jumper gently in a wool detergent, and very gently pressed it between towels to get most of the water out and then blocked it using long pins on a dry towel on a sunny spot on the floor. I was careful to use a tape measure to makes sure everything was kept to the correct length.

You know me, I have to accessorize with some jewellery. Now that I feel like a grown up knitter I am wearing my knitting jewellery with pride (not that it stopped me before). You can take a peek at my knitting themed brooch and necklace in my shop here and here.

The finishing touch as we all know is the addition of a cute garment label. As this is my cosiest make yet, I had to choose these labels that I purchased from Crafty Pinup.

I hope that these thoughts have been of some use to those of you who are beginners like me. My lovely Aunt who helped me to get going with the scarf and tea cosy always says to me that knitting is easy – it’s just a combination of two stitches really – the knit stitch and the purl stitch. It’s what you do with them that creates the magic.

I fully intend to carry on with this new-found hobby of mine. I have a beret pattern that I would like to give a try, and a couple of cardigans too. So whilst it has been fun talking to you about knitting today, my regular content of mainly sewing will now resume, and I’ll keep you posted every now and again if I knit anything else.

Do you have any beginner jumper pattern recommendations for any newbie knitters out there like me? Please do leave them in the comments so that we can all see them.

Wishing you all a happy, safe and peaceful New Year …

take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Jarrah Sweater from Megan Nielsen Patterns.

The Jarrah  is a great basic sweatshirt pattern with a little bit extra. It is a loose fitting, drop shoulder sweater featuring a crew or funnel neck, two sleeve options and four different hemlines.

As soon as this pattern was released last year, I was desperate to make view C, which has the tie feature at the waist.

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The supplies for this sweater were bought a few months ago during a visit to The Sewing Cafe. I spotted the pattern on the shelf and grabbed it straight away, along with this gorgeous mustard modal jersey and cute blue striped ribbing. I absolutely love this jersey, the quality is exceptional and it was a dream to sew with.

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Dark grey acrylic scissors necklace available from my shop x

Although this is an intentionally loose fitting sweater, I noticed that the sizing chart on the back of the pattern showed a large amount of ease (approx 8″ size difference on the actual bust measurement to that of the finished garment), although this felt like quite a lot, I made the size according to my bust measurement (size 10), and although roomy, it’s still fine I think.

I did make some adjustments, as I could see that I needed to make some changes to the pattern pieces before cutting out. I almost always need to shorten sleeves, and found that I wanted to with this pattern too. I shortened the sleeve length by 2″. There were no ‘lengthen/shorten’ markings on the sleeve pattern piece that I was using (for view A and C), so I just drew my own!

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I knew that the cuffs weren’t going to be tight enough for me either ( I have small wrists), so I also adjusted them by 1″ and tapered the sleeve pattern piece accordingly.

I’m so glad that I used this blue striped ribbing for the neck band and cuffs. I love how this colour works with the mustard and also with my jeans, which if I’m honest is probably what I will always wear this top with!

The ties were a little fiddly to sew, I must admit, and I really took my time on this part to make sure I made it as neatly as I could. The fabric pressed really nicely and this helped a lot – as did the use of lots of pins!

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There’s a really handy blog post on the Megan Nielsen site which give you lots of tips when sewing the tie hem on view C. There are a couple of different ways of sewing the tie ends, and I opted to follow their instructions to make the tie with the mitered/mitred (how do you spell that)?!  corners.

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I should say that these pictures show the sweater a little creased. We took these (outside) photos after a 1 hour car ride, and I think that sitting with the seatbelt over me for that amount of time and then wearing a cross body bag have meant that it’s not quite as smooth as it looked when I finished sewing it and was admiring it on my dressform. Hope you can see past the creases!

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Love the dropped shoulders

So all in all a great top. I have seen lots of lovely versions over on Instagram. Search #MNjarrah for inspiration. I’m planning to make the regular simple sweatshirt (view A) next as I have heard that this turns out really well.

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Do you have a favourite ‘go-to’ sweatshirt pattern?

 

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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How to customise a top for Halloween using heat transfer vinyl

I’m very new to this whole iron-on heat transfer vinyl thing, but can totally see what all the fuss is about now that I have given it a go.

A couple of weeks ago I attended The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in London. I was actually quite restrained in terms of what I bought that day I think, but something that I did treat myself to was a special show pack kit of vinyls from Happy Fabric

The kit contains 6 sheets of different vinyls (including one sheet of  pre-cut shapes), and I thought that this would be a great way to test out a new craft.

Before I started this project I had a little ‘try out’ of one of the pre-cut designs on my work apron which you can see here. As this turned out so well, I was buzzing to try something else and when Happy Fabric reached 5K followers on Instagram and launched a little Halloween/Autumn giveaway to celebrate, this seemed like the perfect opportunity (excuse -ha!) to get creative.

Whilst there is no getting away from the fact that wonderful cutting machines (such as a Cricut) will certainly make using the vinyls a great deal quicker and much more accurate, there’s no reason why you can’t go right ahead without it.

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For my sweatshirt project I needed

  • A plain sweatshirt
  • Happy Fabric vinyls
  • Free Halloween style font, downloaded and printed out in different sizes
  • craft scissors
  • bat shaped paper punch
  • craft knife and cutting mat
  • iron and baking parchment

Firstly I searched for free Halloween themed fonts. When I found a style I liked, I  downloaded it and printed out the wording that I wanted in a couple of different sizes.

After cutting out the letters, I placed them in different places on the sweatshirt to see where I liked them, and what size I wanted. I also cut out some paper bat shapes with the paper punch to see what the additional bat shapes would look like with the lettering sizes too.

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When I had decided which size lettering to go with, I cut the letters out. For this I used regular paper scissors around the edge and used a nice sharp craft knife and cutting mat to cut out the fiddly bits inside the letters. I was then left with a ‘stencil’ for each letter that I needed.

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Next I flipped the letter stencils over and traced them on the underside (the surface that will adhere to the fabric) of the vinyl. I used the HappyFlock yellow vinyl for this, as I was interested to see how this flock texture would look.

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Carefully cutting out the shapes didn’t take too long actually, and using the craft knife and cutting mat for the fiddly inside bits certainly helped too. When cutting out, make sure that you cut inside the pen lines.

Once cut out, flip the lettering over the right way around again and you are almost ready to get started. First things first though, you need to iron your sweatshirt. Pop the letters on and have a bit of a play around with their placement to make sure they’re exactly where you want them.

Once you are sure you have them where you want them, carefully place some baking parchment/greaseproof paper over the top and place the iron (with the heat setting on   two dots) over the top for about 15 seconds. Keep the iron still as moving it around might disturb your letters.

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Remove the baking parchment and wait for your design to go cold. Once cold you can peel away the shiny carrier sheet. So satisfying..

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I tried to get a close-up of the flock finish, but it was quite subtle and not sure if you can see this very well, but it’s pretty cute!

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I was bursting to try the next part, which was cutting out bat shapes using a regular paper punch, using the most FABULOUS HappyFashion vinyl in ‘multi’. It’s a sheet of rainbow striped holographic vinyl and is completely glorious. After cutting out a row of these, which gives you lots of different colours, they are applied in the same way to wherever you want them, and once again covered with the baking parchment and this time under the iron for about 10 seconds. ‘Peel to reveal’ again when cold.

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Et voila! How easy was that!

Turns out that I have more holographic bats than I needed so in order not to waste them (any excuse), I made a little bow tie collar attachment for the cat! I quickly cut out a small rectange of scrap felt from my stash and applied the bats to it in exactly the same way as above. I pinched it in the middle and wrapped a thin strip of felt around and stitched in place. A little bit of velcro attached to the back and there you have it – a little Happy Fabric collar attachment. Pretty cute. Don’t worry I didn’t leave it on for very long.

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Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Sunny Knit Top by Style Arc pattern review.

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I’m trying to add a few cosy jumpers to my handmade wardrobe this Winter. Whilst I love wearing dresses, when the weather is really cold I love my jeans and jumper combo and had noticed that I definitely needed more ‘me made’ items in this area.

This is the first time I have used a Style Arc pattern. They have a HUGE range of great sewing pattern designs and I particularly liked the look of this cocoon style top.

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I downloaded the PDF pattern direct from the Style Arc website a while ago. I don’t remember how much I paid, but I generally only buy sewing patterns when they are on sale so it may have been a Black Friday purchase or something similar. I usually opt for paper patterns over PDF’s, but didn’t fancy the postage costs from Australia for this. However I noticed a couple of days ago that Minerva Crafts are now stocking Style Arc paper patterns – yippee! Definitely worth remembering for future Style Arc purchases. A real drawback of the PDF downloads from Style Arc is that you are only sent the size that you ordered plus the size above and below that size (3 sizes only), so if you were thinking that this might be a great all rounder to make for yourself and friends and family – then this will only be possible (on the PDF download) if they are the same size or very similar to you.

That being said, this loose fitting cocoon sweater is a great design. From the line drawing above you can see the seam lines show the dropped shoulders which take you down to skinny sleeves which I absolutely LOVE. There is a horizontal seam front and back around waist height and a vertical centre back seam too. A lovely little neck band completes a very simple but neat looking top.

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My fabric choice is a stunning knit from Barry’s Fabrics in Birmingham. It has a black background and abstract blue, green and wine coloured flowers. It is also soft and warm, which I am very grateful for these past few cold days.

The Style Arc measurements were spot on for me. I made up the size recommended for my measurements and it was perfect. No adjustments at all, it fits me just right. Only 5 pattern pieces are needed for this top and I made it entirely using the overlocker, apart from the twin needling finishes on the hem, sleeves and around the neck band. It’s a good quick make on a rainy afternoon!

The instructions are very basic, and very brief. This was absolutely fine for me, but this may be tricky for a complete beginner as there are no pictures or illustrations to back up the written instructions, and when I say written instructions I mean 9 short sentences! All good though, the finished result is super, a great wardrobe essential and easy to throw on and layer up if necessary.

My favourite part of this sweater is the skinny sleeves. I feel they balance out the cocoon shape perfectly. Love them.

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So all in all, I am very happy with the finished top. It has turned out exactly how I was expecting and I would totally make it up again – I can see several versions of this in my future Winter wardrobe. I have lots of other Style Arc patterns on my ‘wish list’ of future sewing makes so no doubt it won’t be long before I give them another go.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Chestnut Sweater by Cocowawa Crafts.

A few weeks ago I noticed that Cocowawa Crafts  had released a new sewing pattern. Several sewing bloggers that I love to follow on Instagram were sharing their pattern testing makes of this sweater and I knew that I really wanted one too!

Now I am normally a dress kinda girl, but will admit to wearing jeans more than usual just lately. I have noticed that I have a distinct lack of handmade tops to wear with them and decided that this Winter I would do something about that. Enter The Chestnut Sweater.

The pattern is a PDF download, and it is THE most adorable cozy Sweater and Top sewing pattern that you ever did see!

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So there are lots of options available here. Firstly you need to choose if you would like to make the Sweater or the Top. The Sweater version seems to be a more relaxed fit which is slightly shorter in length than the top. It has a waistband and cuffs and the choice of 3/4 or long sleeves. The Top is more fitted in the body, is a longer length and has a high-low hem with little side slits.

Both versions have three different bow fastenings to choose from – a single bow fastening at the centre back neckline, a single bow fastening with slit vent at the shoulder or a line of four bows running down the length of the centre back. All totally adorable.

The PDF was straightforward to print off (at home) and after cutting and sticking together (the worst part of PDF’s don’t you think), it was so quick to cut out and sew up. The instructions are clear and easy to follow and there is a ton of helpful information on the Cocowawa website where Ana has been hosting a sew-along this month so do head on over here to check out everything you need to know about The Chestnut!

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I decided to go for the Sweater version as I wanted the relaxed fit, and I knew that I NEEDED version A which has the circular opening at the back neckline finished with a single bow at the centre back neck. I had some cute cat print fleece backed jersey in my stash that I had bought from Sewisfaction last month and although I had originally planned to make a Linden sweatshirt out of it, I could not resist using it for this sweater.

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I finished this Sweater with some wide black ribbon that I also already had in my ribbon stash and hey presto! it was done. Just to mention that to stop the ribbon fraying I quickly ran a flame along the cut edge which seals the end of the ribbon. Take care if doing this though – you only need to run it past the flame quickly – please be careful. You could use pinking shears too.

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I totally love this top. I made the long sleeved version and if I had to make any comment it was that the sleeves were a little too long for me. Not a big deal at all though – it is still totally beautifully wearable and I am besotted with it. Next time I will shorten the sleeve length of the long sleeves by 5cm. (or make the 3/4 length sleeves – but I do like a long sleeve).

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O.K I admit – I couldn’t wait to make another – THE FOLLOWING DAY!

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This time using a navy and white striped ponte again from Sewisfaction and it’s gorgeous. I still wanted long sleeves so shortened the long sleeve pattern piece by 5cm and it’s now the perfect length for me. For the bow I used some white grosgrain ribbon again from my stash and ‘easy peasy’ – it was made in next to no time.

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Ooh I should mention that I did just add a tiny little row of stitching at the back neckline opening just to keep the facing in place. Just my preference, not really essential but saves me from faffing around making sure it’s tucked in.

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I feel I should confess that I purchased a lovely fleece backed jersey from Guthrie and Ghani when I was at #sewbrum a couple of weeks ago and this will more than likely end up turning into another Chestnut Sweater. I just can’t help myself…

There is lots of Chestnut inspiration over on Instagram. Just search the hashtags #chestnutsweater #chestnuttop or #chestnutsewalong and you find yourself all ‘heart-eyed’ at what you discover!

This is the first Cocowawa pattern that I have ever tried and it has been a great experience for me. I also own the Marshmallow dress and have been meaning to try that too. Maybe in the Spring?

Have you tried the Chestnut Sweater or Top, or made other patterns from Cocowawa? I would love to hear what you think. Have you taken part in the #chestnutsewalong ?

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x