Peasant dress/top – part 1 (pics will come later)

well, Jax, just for you, here’s the saga so far!  No pics yet, we are short of a camera at the moment and the one on my phone is a bit rubbish.

The first think I have to say is that when printing patterns, espeically patterns from the US, where paper sizes are different, be very careful what options are checked in the printer settings…… the one you want is “none”  cos if you have anything else checked it WILL all end in tears.  Trust me.

Anyway, once printed you then spend an evening cutting and sticking like a blissfully happy toddler (but hoepfully a little more accurately) and finally you have your pattern pieces assembled, on nice sturdy paper rather than that thinnest of teh thin tissue paper that “real” patterns come printed onto.  This is good.

Now, I’m not usually one who studies instructions all that carefully.  I’m a visual kind of girl, and usually I can look at the bits and see how it all goes together.  But this was a new sort of pattern to me so I was a good girl and followed the instructions to the letter.  Hmmm, not sure I’ll do that again in a hurry although to be fair, it was useful just this once so I could get a feel of how it works.   The instructions say to turn the hems at the neck and sleeves before you join the garment together at those points, leaving an inch or so unsewn at both ends to give a gap to thread the elastic through.  I tried this on Trial 1 (Aprilia’s)  but really feel that it made for a much bigger faff later on as then you were trying to join seams with the fabric already trying to fold over at the ends rather than laying flat.  For Trial 2 (mine) I did it my way, sewed all the seams up first then rolled the hems over and sewed them down (leaving a much smaller gap to slip the elastic through) and this felt like less fiddling to me, although i accept that that may be down to me and my odd way of working rather than the patterns fault!!!!!

I did quite like how the casing for the elastic at the waist came together, although it is a bit bulky and I think i can work up something better with a bit of thought and patience, more on that when I get the light bulb moment!  And eventually I decided not to elasticate the sleeves as they look quite nice as they are.

So, what to do differently?

I wouldn’t turn the hems like they say, it’s just as easy to turn them after the garment is put together and I think it ends up neater that way.

I wouldn’t zigzag every raw edge, it makes them rough, I don’t like rough scratch bits in my clothes!  I’ve top stitched them down on Trial 2 and that looks fine, will stop any fraying and isn’t scratchy.  Jax, will do a pic so you see what I mean.

I wouldn’t zig zag the hems then turn them, on Trial 2 I turned the hem with a zigzag stitch, it holds it down and stops it fraying at the same time, as they are going to have elastic threded through them it doesn’t matter that they aren’t pretty neat little striaght stitches, they will be lost in the fabric gathering and will lay much flatter than doing 2 seperate lines of sewing.

I’m wondering about using the kind os seams you get on jeans (tent seam?) at the waist to reduce the bulk but still give me a space to tread elastic round.

I think it would look really lovely with a “twirl skirt” or really full gored skirt rather than the very straight one that the pattern calls for, would match better with the fullness of the top part and make for a really lovely cool floaty summer dress.

So, that’s what I’m going to do on Trials 3 and 4 really isn’t it!

top down hoodie

top down hooded cardi

This was a bit of a challenge as I didn’t have a pattern that fitted what I wanted so it really was a “from scratch” arrangement.  It’s worked from the neck down, I cast on “provisionally” so I wouldn’t have a tight cast on at an area you want a bit of give, increasing for the “raglan” every other row until it was deep enough (gee, how un-specific can you get!) then I made an extra 10 sts for give under the arms and carried on downwards just on the body sts, leving the sleeve sts on waste yarn.  I put a bit of shape into the sleeves by decreasing 2 every couple of rows at the underside (I did them in the round to save me sewing up later so the decs served as a “fake seam” too)  Once that was done I retrieved the sts from the provisional cast on and increased round a few times to bag the hood out a bit.  Did a sort of “Dutch heel” affair for the top to make it a bit more head shaped rather than the standard rectangle folded in half so you get a “pixie point” which would just look silly!  I was pressured to fit a zip rather than buttons so I did and quite frankly I don’t like it!  But it’s not mine so it’s not my preferences that matter.

crochet cardis!

as if my to do list isn’t long enugh already, I thought I’d find a crochet cardi link for a friend and got way too carried away!  So, erm, Jax, here’s a few cardigans etc, maybe there’s something Big would aprove of you wearing 😉 and if I ever find enough hours in the day I’m making some of these too!  – long-ish wrap around, not sure about the roses on the belt mind you!  – you’ll either love it or hate it!  Should I admit to liking these sorts of geometric designs?  Cuz I do!  – sleeveless wrap around.  Looks quite pretty, may do this for Aprilia if I thought for one moment that she would wear it!  – long flowing afair, not sure I like their colour but I like the design.  – short, delicate affair. – okay, so this is a pullover but change the pattern to just do the front in 2 halves and it would be a great hooded cardi. – can’t imagine this is smart enough for what you want Jax but it looks really cosy in a sort of pull it on as it goes chilly at camp sort of way!

Baby Bunting Blow by Blow

aprox 5x100g balls UK DK yarn (I used James C Brett Top Value – £1:50 per 100g) or US Worsted Weight (gauge = 5sts per inch)

4mm longish circular needle plus two 4mm dpns for I-cord

markers or waste yarn to mark stitches

Cute buttons and a zip to match yarn colour.


I used a provisional cast on to keep it nice and stretchy at the top and to make picking up for the neck and sewing the arm seams neater. You don’t need to if you don’t like.

There’s not a lot of stitch counts given as I forgot to note them down, I worked visually without counts for most of it and it worked fine.

Cast on 160 stitches. With coil-less safety pins, mark 36th and 125th stitches (which is 36 sts from the other end if you don’t want to count that many!)

K34, slip 1, k2 tog, psso, K86, slip 1. k2 tog, psso, k34.

Next (and all even numbered rows) knit

K33, s1, k2tog, psso, k 84 , s1, k2tog, psso, k33

Continue decreasing at the markers like this until you about 90 sts (it may not be exact, but lets say between 87 and 93 should we? I’ve departed from the original pattern I was working from by this point!)

Work 3 rows without shaping but be sure to carry your markers over each row, you still need them.

Work 1 increase at either side of both markers on alternate rows until you have around 114 stitches (again, it probably won’t be exact!) then increase 10 stitches evenly across your centre section to give a little fullness around the middle of the bodice.

Shape neck – Carry on with the shaping until you have around 152 sts, cast off (or knit onto spare needles if you want to save teh stitches for making pickingup for the collar easier) 5 stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows

At about 158 stitches, slide the outer sections onto waste yarn, you won’t need them for a while now, and increase 1 stitch every 4 across the middle section. Continue working with just the middle stitches, increasing 1 st every 5 (then 6, 7, 8..) sts on every 10 rows until it looks nice and wide – I went up to nearly 300 sts which was too many really but hey ho! Continue working striaght until work is about 30″ long then decrease 1 st every ?? sts (?? is going to be different for everyone, basically, if your last increase was every 8th st then start by decreaasing every 8th, then every 7th on the next one etc) every 4th row.

Once you are down to around 40 sts, you are pretty much done. If you don’t like Kitchener stitch then cast off all except the centre 6 sts., if you do weaving/Kitchener etc then weave all bar the centre 6. Keep those 6 on a holder.

Button Bands – With the first of the centre sts on your needle, knit up one of the fronts of your piece, collecting the sts at the front of the bodice which you left behind earlier. Work back and forth on these sts, collecting one of the centre sts and knitting it toghether with the st next to it at the beginning of each row starting at the bottom. (Note – if possible, keep a waste thread through those 6 sts as you want to pick up through them again for the second band) Work until 5 sts are used (5 ridges, 10 row), cast off on your way back down towards that 6th st, joining it in on your last cast off st.

Repeat for the other side of the button band, working into your 6 marked stitches (which I usually slip onto a needle to make them easier to find) This side will sit on top of the one you have finished and so needs the buttonholes placing in it. I worked a Yfwd, k2tog starting at the neck edge of the 5th row roughly every 5 sts but only for the bodice part – the skirt part is zipped.

(Afterthought – if you don’t like messing with bringing those 6 sts back into the work you can cast them off and justpick up and knit the band then sew the bottom edge down at the bottom once you are done, less fiddle but not qutie as neat)

Finishing – Close the shoulder and arm seams either by sewing or weaving if you prefer. Wrok I-cord round the cuffs (gives a nice finish) Work I-cord round the neck. Sew buttons onto bodice. Sew a long zip into the button band along the skirt.

Crochet pattern links

a huge number of pattern links, including a cute little teddy with several outfits.  One day I *will* have time to do all these links I keep posting……

Mummsie’s mystery Knit-a-long

Well, we are up to day 3 of this KAL. It’s worsted weight (DK for us Brits!) worked on 6mm needles which gives a soft drape as the needles are too big really for the yarn.

Day 1 was cast on and work 4 rows in moss stitch. I assumed we were doing a scarf…..

Day 2 we put stitch markers at strategic points along the work and worked a yarn over at either side of each marker on every other row for 20 rows. Obivously not a scarf then….. I had an idea what it might be though….

Day 3 keep going until the sleeve has 32 stitches…. sleeve? Ah-ha……

So here’s what it looks like, not quite got 32 sts for the sleeves yet but wanted to grab a pic of it before the sts get too bunched up on my cable – it’s not a long one, I usually only knit little things!

mummsie's mystery KAL 2007

Right… now working from either end of the work (it’s symetrical after all…) you have the moss stitch (seed stitch) boarder followed by the first section before marker number 1. Then there are the yarn over, knit one, yarn over stitches followed by the second bit which looks remarkably raglan-sleeve-ish to me! Then after the next marker and YO etc is the largest section (the back) followed by another sleeve and then the short bit and moss stitch boarder.

Okay, maybe if I fold it over it will look clearer, can you tell waht it is yet?


Click on the pictures to go to Flickr where you can see larger images if you need to!

knitting pattern link page

Just got pointed to these and thought I’d blog them before I lost them!

Whole page of already sorted into catagories links at KnittingHelp

cute looking “plaited” effect bob hat (uses cables) also on Knitting Help

adult size bob hat with cabled brim from Knitty

Earflap style hat (Peruvian style is it?) on knit list

Knitted rose – calls for crochet cotton but I think it would look okay in normal yarn on a girl’s pully

Negative Space drawings

having abandoned the thing I’m mean to draw next for lack of a decent subject (leaves, there’s a distinct lack of them round here….) I moved on to first a copy of a photo of a chair then the real thing. The one from the photo is a “negative space” drawing, so you sort of draw the space that would be left if you took the chair out of the picture rather than drawing all the details, the other one I doodled a background into to make it mor interesting, anyone who has been to my house will know we don’t have picturesque little windows like that! and we don’t have that much clear floor either!!!

negative image chair.jpg


more on edges and perspective

the next few drawing tasks have been a challenge, mainly as the intended subjects weren’t available!  First was to be a flower with a few leaves etc which, being autumn, are in short supply in my back yard (so I resorted to a plastic one which looked as unspeakably awful in real life as it did on the page!) then it was a half peeled orange which, being as today should have been shopping day but we didn’t make it, I didn’t have either!  So I drew the back of the aforementioned pastic flower!  there is a lot to be said for drawing things you actually like…. drawing ugly plastic just because it’s about the right shape for the excercise is crap, you can’t enjoy looking at it so you can’t enjoy doing it or feel good about what you produce.  Hmph.

hand and scissors

following on from yesterday’s task, today it was draw your hand but with something in it. I wasn’t as happy with this hand as yesterday’s but can’t quite pin down why. I still think its way better than anything I’ve done before so whatever isn’t “right” can just stay like that.  Actually, looking at it, the issue is mainly that my hand is in an odd shape because I have the scissors laid across them but still needed to curl my fingers a little to balance the view finder.  And I forgot to rub out the cross hairs that mark the page out (oops)

scissors and hand