Thursday, 27 June 2013

Megan Nielsen's Banksia

Late last year, before blog (BB), I was the extremely lucky recipient of a mega prize giveaway from the lovely Megan Nielsen, a wonderful Australian independent pattern designer. It was the first birthday of the launch of her patterns, and she had some wonderful prizes, including a pattern of your choice. It must have been in October, because I had been stalking the Banksia sew-along, living vicariously until November, when I could buy the pattern - because I had committed to 'Buy Nothing New' month in October. When the opportunity came up to win it I thought it was the ultimate loop hole! So I entered, with the Banksia as my first choice, and the Darling Ranges dress or the Kelly skirt as my second choice (I'd recently made my Wiksten tulip skirt which I was a bit meh about and had wished I'd seen the Kelly pattern first). Now that very kind lady not only sent me the Banksia when I won, but also the Darling Ranges and Kelly pattern, AND some fabric, buttons, labels and bias binding. And a bag! It was simply the BEST prize pack a sewist could want. Ever.

It's taken me until now to make the Banksia - I really wanted to get my skills up before attempting it, and I had found the cutest fine cotton from Spotlight that I thought would suit the pattern perfectly - it has the sweetest 70's Liberty-esque vibe. Most reviews of the pattern have been very positive so I had high hopes that it would fit me well straight up - an expectation I am beginning to learn is a bit unrealistic!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Fab Find! The Purl Bee Lattice Top

I'm such a remedial knitter at the moment - I'm slow, I have shitty technique and I hold my yarn and needles in a weird way. The end product is ok, but I really need to branch out from scarves, scarves and more scarves (to be fair my current WIP is a pair of arm warmers). I've not been patient enough to attempt a jumper for myself yet (the idea of the tension square kills me as that alone would take me a week!) but a few weeks ago the Purl Bee posted a fab summer knit that I yearned to be able to make - in fact it was the inspiration for starting my Fab Find posts.

All images from the Purl Bee

It's the perfect combination - slouchy, a little bit flashdance, easy to fit, and seemingly easy to make. There are zillion of versions of it on Ravelry in lots of different colours and it looks great on. The pattern and yarn details are on the Purl Bee website here - the pattern is free, and the version shown is made from wool, but I think it'd be great in a cotton or linen yarn for summer. I was thinking 2 different shades of blue, like cornflower blue and navy, or even coral and navy.....

Now I've got a long haul flight coming up, and from what I can see knitting is all agogo again as inflight entertainment (I did read one hilarious story on a random forum where a guy ordered kebabs on his flight, took an emery board and a pencil sharpener, made knitting needles out of his kebab sticks and knitted socks from who-knows-where to Sweden - totally awesome) so I am taking this opportunity to start jumper knitting. Not this lattice cap sleeve sweater just yet though - I thought I'd stick to a very basic pattern, then once my jumper mojo is smoking hot I can try the lattice pattern. My pattern of choice is the Debbie Bliss Angel Contrast Edge Sweater and I'm proud to say I'm about 10 rows into my tension swatch as I type!

I've decided to leave the rolled contrast edges off and just do normal 2 x 2 ribbing to keep it simple. It's very basic stocking stitch, with a bit of waist shaping - hopefully I can manage it! Maybe I will even finish it before winter!

Purl Bee Soho is definitely on my visit list when I hit NY. I love their blog - they have a wonderful addiction to neon pink and make the most simple yet stylish things -  I can't wait to stroke every fabric and yarn in their shop! 3 weeks and we will be there!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Finished project - wool ruffled cuff Renfrew

Another week, another Renfrew. That's how it feels here in the House of Tragic. This is such a versatile pattern, and I've just finished my 5th version in a lovely fine 100% merino knit. I'd been waiting to perfect my technique before cutting into my lovely wool but was getting desperate for warm winter tops so last week I decided it was time. I'd always planned on the cowl version for my merino, and decided to experiment with the cuff. I have a Cue RTW jumper that I love, with a sweet fluted sleeve edge, but sadly it has developed a hole in the back, and is looking very tatty. I loved the little bell cuffs on my Colette Laurel dress, and thought it would be very straightforward to do a similar cuff for my wool Renfrew:

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Fab Find! O! Jolly! Sweater knits

Another week of internet wanderings, and another Fab Find! This wasn't actually going to be this week's Fab Find but I was so completely blown away with the beauty of these fabrics that I wanted to write about them ASAP!

So todays Fab Find was discovered via Kollabora. To be honest I sometimes find Kollabora a little too painfully hip for this mid-thirties nerdy girl. There's a lot of neon (but who doesn't like a little neon in small doses) and an lot of bright young cool things on there, but every now and then they feature someone truly awesome (like Jorth - another amazingly talented Melbourne chick who KNITTED HER OWN DRESS!) and this time I found Olgalyn Jolly of O! Jolly! Crafting Fashion.

Olgalyn is based in NYC and makes her own knit fabrics using vintage knitting machines, specifically to be made into sweaters, and they are absolutely exquisite. The project featured on Kollabora was a version of our favourite, the Sewaholic Renfrew, made with her beautiful knit fabrics and rib binding:

Image source: Crafting Fashion blog

Monday, 3 June 2013

Me Made May - Days 29 - 31

My last Me Made May post is a bit Me Made Meh. My last three days were work days, so nothing too exciting to see:

Day29 - Self made grey Renfrew (unblogged) with metalicus singlet, probably black Jag jeans, stripy Bonds armwarmers and brogues (unseen).

Day 30 - Self made striped dolman sleeve Burdastyle top, black random singlet, green Witchery cords, brogues unseen.

Day 31 - Yay! Self made black unblogged Burdastyle dolman sleeve top, self made self-rubbed stripy tank worn as singlet, green Witchery cords, brogues. 

Yay! Its over! I'm pretty relieved. I'm bored by my outfit repeats and my shitty photos so goodness knows what you all think!  But I am pleased - my initial challenge was to wear something self made or refashioned 50% of work days and 100% of non-work days and I succeeded in wearing something self made every single day of May! Considering I worked 23 out of 31 days I was pretty happy with that! Clearly at the moment 3/4 knit tops are my winning self made item (most specifically the Renfrew top), and with Melbourne being a fairly crispy location in May the opportunity for short sleeves was very limited. I only managed one refashioned item and that is pure laziness - who wants to refashion when more exciting things like trousers are waiting to be made and tested? I was really hoping to have a pair of Clovers to dazzle the last few days of the month but it was not to be - I'm so close to finishing a wearable muslin..... I had them on last week and took them off - the length just wasn't right! They are on tomorrows to-do list......

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Finished Project - Aime Comme Marie Minute Top

I'm still trying to perfect my Colette Clover pants and needed a little simple pretty pick-me-up to keep my sewing mojo going. Despite it being absolutely frigid I am keen to make a few summery things for our New York honeymoon in July (a self made trousseau!). A few weeks ago I was down the rabbit hole, and found a little french pattern brand I had never seen before. I love french sewing blogs - I always find something different, chic and gorgeous!

This company, Aime Comme Marie, has quite a few sweet patterns - many are similar to what is available from other independent designers, but for 4 euros I thought the Aime Comme Marie Minute top was worth a go. I still had heaps of my beloved Scandi Forest lawn left over from my Colette Laurel peter pan blouse, and this time went with blue as a contrast so the pale print fabric wasn't too close to my pale little face! With the two-fabric option it's a great stash-buster - I used less than 30cm of the contrast electric blue silk-cotton.