Self-drafted cardigan

Today was a gloomy day; weather was grey and I woke up with a sore throat. I didn’t feel like wearing a jacuzzi bright cardigan, and then remembered that I had experimented with making this cardigan last weekend when I realised that lots of clothes didn’t got with aqua or red cardigans. It was super cosy and I got told I looked very smart (obviously I refused the compliment by asking people to guess how much it cost!)

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I used my jersey bodice block, cut the back and sleeves as normal, and cut the front in two parts with an extra inch on each side. I tried it on and pinned where I wanted the neckline to be before cutting the v-neck shape. Then I added folded bands around the neckline and sleeves, and hemmed the bottom (not enough fabric for hem bands) I decided not to add buttons as I didn’t want to risk buttonholes on the ribbed jersey.

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The fabric was a remnant from the Peter Jensen sample sale and half had been used to make a polo/cowl neck jumper, so this cardigan cost a whopping £1.50, however this meant I had VERY little fabric to play with. I had way too much ease in this make as I didn’t account for the weight and stretch of the ribbing- I took a good few inches from the side seams to get a nice fitting silhouette.

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Quick post on a quick make. Sorry about the phone pictures, due to being full of cold. I had planned to show you my new trousers this week, but a lovely child at school tapped my leg with a chalk-covered hand; photos after they have been in the wash!

My Miette!

After a heatwave all weekend, the weather is finally cool enough to put on my finished Miette (here and here) and take some photos. Hoorah!

I made button bands from some grosgrain ribbon (I had to match to the colour of the buttons as there was nothing that came close to matching the yarn colour). Apologies for the following close up of my chest, but look! The buttons don’t gape!!It is such a (pleasant) shock to wear a cardigan that fits my curves without being too tight or too baggy in places, it is really making me think carefully about my next knitting project.

p.s. Since it felt too hot for knitting or crochet at the weekend and I didn’t want to be dressmaking and adjusting sweaty garments, I got my sticker collection out and sorted some of my resources. Colour coordinated threads and tools organised on my door for easy access (and minimal tidying up!).Next on my tidy-up to-do list is vacuum-packing some of my fabric!

SALE shopping (aka Should Alison Learn to Escape shopping)

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).

Count them – TWO big bags…

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?