I feel like I need to add lots of background information to this post to justify what I am going to say (and ease the guilt).
Since last autumn I have bought no more than 4 or 5 items of clothing, and most of these have been knitwear. My sewing had got to the stage where I would try clothes on and think “I could make this” or “This doesn’t fit properly” and so I decided I wouldn’t buy clothes that I can make myself. At this point the list of shop-bought possibilities included underwear, coats, shoes and cardigans.
As a teenager I knitted a jumper and a cardigan, but they didn’t get much wear as they were very chunky and I now know that chunky knits are definitely not the most flattering choice for me. I really want to knit a wearable cardigan, to add to my wardrobe and to prove to myself that I do actually have the patience for it, so a few weeks ago I picked up a pattern book, and then have spent weeks pondering over different yarns online. The only problem is that for a cardigan to fit me, made in good quality yarns, the cost adds up; £5ish for a 50g ball, times 12 or so balls depending on the style, quickly gets pricey.
So, with all that background information, I can proceed to share my not-so-impulsive sale shopping! A friend informed me that there was a sale at John Lewis, and since I was passing through Oxford Circus I thought I should pop in..
First thing I put in my basket (yup, I had a basket on wheels and I filled it!) was this gorgeous shade of 4-ply chain yarn. It is cotton, linen and viscose and has at least 4 subtle shades of yummy purples. I’m slightly scared of the weight of this yarn, due to my tendency to get finger-cramp when knitting on thin needles, but the colour was just too perfect to resist at half price (enough for a cardigan at £40 instead of £80)
Next I loved the vibrant colour of this cotton blend. There was someone else hovering around it for ages and we discussed how bright it would be in a garment under natural light, but it was too good to pass; on getting it home I discovered is almost the same shade as a slightly sad-looking cardigan I’ve had for years, which I love wearing in summer to add a pop of colour to a simple outfit. This is aran weight and came to under £30 for enough for a cardigan, which competes with shop bought prices 🙂 *
Finally I couldn’t resist the delicious colour of this yarn, and the silk and cashmere make it lovely to touch. I don’t think the colour comes across properly (although I did work out how to reset the white balance and exposure on my camera) is a cherry pinky-red – too red to be deep fuscia but not quite red.
Now I need to match up these yarns with patterns. All three yarn colours will fit in with my current wardrobe, however they are not winter-weight so I may need to get a move on with my knitting so I can wear them in autumn. My favourite from my Cherished book is the Skylark, but I don’t think it is a good pattern for a first cardigan! I’m really tempted to try Miette on ravelry.com but first I need to get some long/circular needles (looking at the weather outside that wont be today!). Jumper knitters, what do you knit with? What is the best way to hold 100s of stitches safely?
I also grabbed some eco cotton in white and lemon to make a present for a friend’s baby (gender not yet known**) and a few fabric remnants from a huge basket – we were having to reach in and pull handfuls to the top as the basket was so deep. A few of these are pretty-must-get-just-in-case fabrics, and some have a purpose in mind.
There is a metre of purple jersey for a simple summer top, two lovely cotton prints to add to my stash (or use for my new favourite detail – contrasting secret pockets), some thick grey felt that can always be useful and some white linen for embroidering onto. Oh, and a glow-in-the dark skeleton window sticker for when we next have a doctor/hospital role play in my classroom. I also picked up my new sunglasses – one classic tortoiseshell pair and one fun purple pair – and managed to wear them for a few hours at the school summer fair (before the rain came out of course!)
Hope you have all had a fun (and maybe more frugal) weekend.
*I really need to stop comparing prices of my makes with what I would spent on RTW in a shop – handmade garments made with care from quality materials, and providing me with hours of crafting enjoyment, are obviously worth more than mass produced fast fashion so I need to start comparing like with like.
** I totally understand the reasons for not knowing the gender of a baby before it is born, and love that it can limit the amount of stereotyping if people are forced to get neutral clothes and gifts, but at the same time I find it hard as so much fabric and patterns are designed for baby boys or girls. When I made a basket liner for a colleague’s baby, I spent hours searching for a nursery print that wasn’t pink or blue, and gave up and picked a normal print – is there a market for cute baby animal prints in neutral and natural colours?
*** Do you like the photo montages? I have always wondered how everyone does such great photo layouts on their blogs, and then Shivani introduced me to picmonkey which is so simple to use. I can finally have rounded corners on my pictures! 😀 I am obviously not going to spend all day exploring it, when I have a class worth of reports to write by next week, am I?