Sunday, 31 July 2011

Almost done!

The zipper is in and top stitched! Though the top stitching was a pain to do. I nearly gave up for today. It just didn't want to stay nice and flat and kept puckering. An iron only helped so much, but it is only a summer dress after all. It goes up and down, and is nice and strong so I'll just be happy with that :) 
If I make this dress again, I'll cut the midriff pieces on the grain. Trying to top stitch over the bias cut midriff pieces was the hardest part, as it's made funny diagonal folds. 
Not my best zipper insertion, but I suppose I'll just keep practising :) Oh and note to self, top stitching the zipper obviously makes the bodice smaller, so next time top stitch the zipper before taking in the side seams! I wasn't happy with the waist, as in I didn't have one! So I took in 2 inches after pinching about that much out while wearing it. But of course when the zipper got top stitched, fabric was pulled in to cover the zipper. So there's a little less fabric in the bodice. It's not tight exactly, but it's certainly closer fitting than I originally intended! Lesson learned :)
Now there's just the hem! But I'm going to wait for Dom to help me mark the hem to make sure it's straight :)
Ashley x
ps. Have you entered my give away yet? Click on over for the chance to win a sewing pattern of your choice!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Argyle Socks

I finished Dom's socks! :) He's really pleased with them and has already worn then a couple of times in the evening when he gets cold toes. He likes the yarn (Cygnet Superwash DK) as he says it keeps his toes toasty with out being too warm.  It was also my first attempt at colourwork! So I got tangled a lot at first, but I got the hang of it eventually :) I also went down a needle size for the ribbing around the top as one of Dom's pet hates is loose socks.
So that's another WiP finished and out of the way! I still have the cable wristwarmers, rosebud socks, lacy scarf and of course Lauriel. I've started on the wristwarmers though :) This winter is going to be my warmest!
I must also direct you towards this photo of me that Dom took when we went for a picnic with his mum and little sister on Tuesday. He says I have three faces; neutral, smiley and mardy! lol I think the photo he took perfectly captured my mardy frowny face. I also think its quite a nice photo, which is odd as I don't usually like photo's of myself! I'm getting better at looking at photo's of me :)
I'd also like to say a big thank you to Sarah for passing me the Liebster Award!
Now I must admit, I didn't actually know what this award was for. Of course it's always lovely to get an award from a fellow blogger, but it's even lovelier when I know what it's for! :) So after some googling, I found this explanation here.

"The Liebster is a award for those who have less than 300 Google followers but deserves a lot more recognition and following than what they currently get. They are the unsung heroes of the blogsphere, plugging away in their little corner, churning out fantastic work and we need to do something to help them get some publicity."

Thank you Sarah! :) I also feel like I can pass it on now I know what it's for! So I'd like to pass it along to:
Krafty Kat
Laura: in a tangle
The Snake's Hips

I love these blogs, they definitely deserve more attention! :)
Ashley x
ps. Be sure to enter my giveaway!

Monday, 25 July 2011

100 follower giveaway!!

First of all, thank you all for you support and lovely comments. It makes my day every time I get a comment or new follower :) I really can't thank you all enough. It's a shame I don't live closer to London or Brighton for the blogger meet-ups, as I'd love to meet you all!
Any way, onto the goods! This time I don't have a photo of the items to be given away, because I don't know specifically what is going to be given away yet! So what is it?
A sewing pattern of your choice! One lucky winner will win a pattern of their choosing. You may choose one pattern from either:


I chose those two because I've had good service from both of them multiple times, and because they give a good choice of big pattern companies such as the Big 4 or independent pattern companies such as Colette or Sewaholic. I'm not involved with them in any way, other than being a happy customer :)

So to enter:
Leave me a comment on this post by midnight on the 1st of August (BST) stating the pattern of your choice. The pattern must be available from the websites specified above.
I shall announce the winner on Tuesday the 2nd. After confirming pattern choice and size with the winner, I'll order the pattern to be delivered to me. Then I shall wrap it in pretty paper and send it on to the winner! :)
You can be anywhere in the world, and I'd appreciate it if you are a follower :) 
You can also get an extra entry by posting about my giveaway on you blog/twitter/other social network. Just make sure you leave me a separate comment telling me if you have :)

Good luck!
Ashley x

Google reader subscribers do count, as do Bloglovin followers. But you don't have to be a follower at all, just make sure I can contact you by email :)

Sunday, 24 July 2011

V8648 - it has a skirt!

Outside, front
Outside, back
Inside, front
Inside, back
Inside, back. The midriff lining being slip stitched down.
Here's the progress I made today :) As you can see I've sewn and attached the skirt. It was a pain trying to keep the midriff lining out of the way and avoiding pins at the same time! I got there in the end. I also stayed the midriff/skirt seam with more selvedge tape. I also stayed the midriff piece that will have the zip sewn to it. I have enough trouble with zips, without having to contend with pieces on the bias! lol 
As you can see from the last photo, I'm now in at the stage of slip stitching the midriff lining down over the seams. I've gotten about 6 inches in, then decided to finish for today. I think I'll work on Dom's second sock, I think he's tired of waiting :)
The next stage will be top stitching the midriff pieces, though I'm not sure it I will. The pieces are so small because of my short waist, and I don't want to emphasise them and draw attention to them. What do you think?
Look out for a giveaway tomorrow!! :D
Ashley x

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Lauriel - update

Doesn't look like much right?
Close up of leaves
Look, it's a sleeve cap!
It's doesn't look like much right now, as it hard to tell what you're looking at. It's all bunched up on the needles. I'm not knitting even close to the largest size, and I'm struggling with so many stitches on 80cm needles! So I checked, and yep that's what the pattern recommends. That's the only complaint I've had so far. The rest is well written and so easy to understand that I haven't had a problem! (Yet!) Oh  but I was using split ring stitch markers, and they were so wide that were making ladders between the stitches! So I made some loops from scrap yarn and they're much better :) I'll get some better stitch markers soon I hope. 
Have you been knitting lately?
Ashley x
ps. With my blogger followers, google subscribers and bloglovin followers, I hit 100 today!! I've got a giveaway planned, so look out for it! :D Thank you all so much!

Friday, 22 July 2011

A little late. . .

Remember this post? Well I'd forgotten all about it, when I got an email from mum today with photos! :)
Close up of the bracelet
Close up of the necklace

The last photo is the charm that I put on the end of the bracelet and necklace. I'd seen them in the bead shop in town, but had never made anything for anyone else so I knew I wanted to get some :) Mum had asked me if I could make her a necklace or something that somehow symbolised us, her kids. So I had a look around on Etsy and other places and found the adorable children charms! I know she loves red (like me), so chose beads in that colour. So there are three girl charms and two boy charms; one for me, one for Lewis, one for Corey, one for India and one for Ebony :) Mum wore it the next day to school (she's training as a teaching assistant) and got a couple of compliments :)
I should really post up some more photos of the jewellery I've made, I'll get round to it eventually!
Ashley x

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Selvedge as stay tape

Have you ever run out of stay tape and forgotten to pick some more up? Well, if you trim the selvedge from your fabric you can use that! I used the selvedge edge instead of stay tape on my Crescent skirts, and they hold up really well to everything I throw at them! 
I decided to stay the waist and midriff seams of the dress I'm working on (V8648) as the midriff pieces and some of the bodice pieces are cut on the bias. As the skirt is a circle skirt, it'll be pretty hefty, so I want the waist seams to be able to hold it up without sagging. So I went to my growing collection of selvedge tape and used that :) I zig-zagged it onto the seam allowance just as you would with stay tape.
Plus, I love those little dots of colour! Though I did make sure to sew it to the side of the seam allowance that would be facing in, just in case you see the dots through the fabric.
Oh, and I finally remembered! I got another Versatile blogger award from Lucy of Tricky Seams! Thank you Lucy! As I find it difficult to think of things about myself, I'll refer you back to my first post about the award here. Thanks again Lucy!
Have a lovely Tuesday! :)
Ashley x

Sunday, 17 July 2011

The fear of topstitching

I haven't touched the dress I've been working on since Wednesday. I could tell you that it's because my needles came and I've been working on the Lauriel cardigan. This is only half true. The needles came on Thursday I have been working on the cardigan. I like it a lot so far, even if I am a really slow knitter when it comes to big projects. But the truth is, I was putting it off because of the topstitching! The pattern instructs you to topstitch the princess seams front and back. My FBA has made the princess seams much more curvy so this seemed like a daunting task!
So I finally plucked up the courage today. I started by hand basting the lining to the fashion fabric like so:
This is actually the back piece, I forgot to take a photo of the front before ripping it out!
Then, I took a deep breath and went slowly. . .
Ta daaa! As you can see those are the back pieces, as the front pieces refused to co-operate with the camera. There were shadows and lumps and bumps everywhere! And you can also see the bodge job I did on the square neckline. It doesn't look so bad when it's being stretched out by a body :)
So what have you been working on?
Ashley x

Thursday, 14 July 2011

V8648 - progress . . .and a confession.

Just to prove that I have actually been sewing! I know it hard to see because of the print and because it's on a hanger, but it has shape! The princess seams pressed beautifully thanks to my tailors ham. The same can't be said for the neckline/armholes. Is there a trick to square necklines that I'm missing?! Seriously, the poor iron had to wrestle with it to get it as good as it is and it's far from perfect! If you know of any tutorials or anything, I'd be so grateful if you'd let me know about them :)
Ok, now I have a confession to make. I'm holding Roobeedoo responsible ;) It was her comment on my last post last tipped me over the edge and resulted in this:
Yep. Just hours after posting about my knitting plan and how I was going to be good and finish all my WiPs before buying yarn for the Lauriel cardigan, I went and bought the yarn and needles anyway. But Roobeedoo is right, a hard slog of knitting will just put me off. So yeah. I like the yarn a lot, especially for the price. I also really like the colour. It's more green than on the website which is what I'd hoped :) I'm excited! The needles need to hurry up and get here so I can swatch and get started!
It's not all bad though. Look what I finally finished up yesterday:
Now is it me or are the arms a bit short? Ah well, it should still be warm. I've also started on Dom's second sock too. And I've tidied away my other projects, so it at least doesn't look like I have a few WiPs :)
More later!
Ashley x

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The Knitting Plan

I need one. I do. The reason?
This pattern is called Lauriel and is in my new book Little Red in the City. I need to knit this. I've fallen in love with it, and the best part?! I think I understand the pattern, and adding in extra bust shaping is simple to do for this pattern. I've also found some yarn that in my opinion is the perfect compromise between price and quality (it's here if you're interested. I like the 'olive' colour). As it's my first garment, I don't want to invest lots of money for it not to turn out. However, when I was babbling away about it to Dom and asking his advice on yarn colour and what not, he pointed out that I've got a few projects on the go and yarn stashed for three more. Damn, I thought, he's right! 
So the knitting plan. I've been flicking from project to project and not really making much progress on either of them, and some not at all. So I'm going to focus on one project at a time and only then can I move on to the next.
First up is the baby cardigan. Can you believe I've only got to sew up the sides and add buttons?! And I just haven't done it!
Then I plan on finishing Dom's pair of socks. I've now finished the first sock completely, so I've just got to do it all over again!
Next up is my cable wrist warmers. I've also finished the first one of these, so this is another one where I just need to do it all again.
Then I can move on to my Rosebud socks. I've now finished the first repeat on my bigger needles, so they're taking a while.
Then there's this:
I frogged it, as it wasn't interesting enough to hold my attention. I've found a new pattern that's prettier and much more interesting. Now this one I'm happy to keep as WiP, as sometimes it's nice to be able to take a break from what you're knitting and work on something else.
As for the three other projects that I have yarn for? Well one is the ever popular Antro-inspired scarflet using the Debbie Bliss yarn. I've looked at other people's projects on Ravelry and it seems I'll need another ball.
And the other two projects? Well they'll have to remain top secret, at least until the Crafty Christmas Club blog is open again! Yep, these projects are going to be Christmas presents! And they're perfect for the recipients! :)
I've tried to put them in order of how much time they'll take. This should mean that I can reduce the number of WiPs pretty quickly :)
And then. . . I can buy the yarn and needles for Lauriel. And I can start on my first ever knitted garment!! :D
I will of course keep you updated with my progress. Oh, and I've cut the fabric for V8648 too! I can't wait to start on this :)
Ashley x

Friday, 8 July 2011

V8648 - muslin

Ok, but first I have to show you this adorable broach that Dom's little sister Imogen picked out for my birthday:
Perfect for someone who sews! :) I enjoyed Monday afternoon a lot, it was lovely to see everyone again. Mum cooked my favourite meal (curry fry, I remember my uncle teaching us to make it) and did party food! 
Anyway, back to what you're here for:
I think princess seams are the way forward! I've never managed a successful darted bodice, but I'm really pleased with the fit of this princess seamed one. All my hard work paid off! Looking at the back of the bodice, I think the narrow back adjustment was successful. So I have a narrow back! Who knew? As I've already said, I'm happy with the FBA too. The waist pieces are the right length too, though they look like they're too short. I think with the weight of the skirt, they'll be the right length though. But. . .the sleeves. I'm ditching the sleeves. The armhole is currently too big, so the sleeve pulls terribly. I unpicked the part that was pulling for these photos. I can sort the armhole, but I don't know what to do to the corresponding sleeve piece. So I'm being a coward and ditching the sleeves. It is meant to be a summer dress after all (she says, as it's pouring rain outside)! And sleeveless dresses are great for layering. Or I was thinking of using a capped sleeve piece form one of my other patterns, as I think that would be cute. What do you guys think?
So I have a couple more adjustments to make. I want to add 1.5cm to the front part of the armhole, so that when the lining is in the armhole will be where it is in the photos. Also, you can see in the photos that there was a little gaping in the neck. I think this is a result of the FBA as it happened on the birdie blouse too. So I pinned it out on the muslin (roughly!) and I need to pinch about 2cm out. As these are only minor adjustments, I'm going to make the changes to the paper pattern, then go ahead and cut out my fabric! :) I'm excited, my first dress that might actually fit!!
On a completely unrelated note, I also got some birthday money! :) I picked up 'Little Red in the City' by Ysolda Teague from Spins and Needles. This book is exactly what I've been looking for. She goes into the detail on bust shaping in knitting patterns and how to alter for a bigger bust and other fitting problems. I love how its explained, it's finally starting to make sense to me. Not only does she give advice on fitting a knitting pattern, but she also explains a few techniques that are used in the patterns that are in the book. Yep, not only do you get wonderful advice and instruction, but you also get 7 patterns! She also shows each pattern on two different body types which is helpful to see. All in all, I think I'm going to get a lot of use out of this book :) 
As well as the book, I also couldn't resist a look at the yarn. There's a scarflet pattern on Ravelry that I've had my eye on, so I picked up some yarn for that:
After reading the notes on other peoples projects on Ravelry, it looks like I'm going to need another ball! Ah well, next time I'll check first :) I also picked up some yarn to make Dom a pair of socks:
I'm so glad that I went to the sock knitting class, as I love this pattern! The yarn is DK weight on 4mm needles, so it knits up super quick for a sock. Dom thinks it's sweet that I'm knitting him some socks, and now complains that he has cold toes and that I should hurry up!
I also finished another pair for myself. I bought two balls of this yarn to make a shawl with, and ended up with a ball left over. Plenty for a pair of socks!
I didn't bother trying to get the colours in similar places on each sock, as I was only trying to use up the yarn. They turned out really well :)
More later!
Ashley x

Sunday, 3 July 2011


That's what happens when you don't do a tension swatch. I'd just finished the first repeat when I thought it seemed a little tight on my foot. I realised I hadn't done the tension square. It's supposed to be 8 stitches and 12 rows per inch. I was getting 8 stitches and 12 rows per 3/4 inch. Gah!! So I've consoled myself by ordering 2 pairs of 2.25mm circulars, 2 pairs of 2.5mm circulars and 2 pairs of 2.75mm circulars. All Knit Pro nova metal as I like them so much. They should hopefully be here on Tuesday. I should be all set! :) I'll probably get some 3mm needles at some point too in case I need them for the cabled socks. 
In the mean time, I'm going to at least cut out my V8648 muslin. I might even sew it up, so I can snap some photos before I go home for the evening tomorrow. Then on Tuesday I plan on nipping into town to pick up lining, thread, zipper etc. And then it starts! (I'm just hoping I don't have any major fitting problems with the muslin!)
Ashley x

Saturday, 2 July 2011

June - Finished Projects

This month has been a knitting month. I lost my sewing mojo after the exams, so started knitting more. I've definitely improved with my knitting though, I'm getting more confident with following patterns :) I can even follow a chart!

I really need to try and be more productive! I'm usually dressed and have had breakfast by about 9.30am so really have no excuse but laziness for my lack of finished projects this month! So my aim for this month is to try and get more sewing in. Knitting can be for the evenings as I really need some summer dresses. You know, in case we actually have a summer this year. lol
Ashley x

Friday, 1 July 2011

Birthday Cake

It's my birthday! I've left the teens behind me at last! I baked my birthday cake using a sponge cake recipe from Delia Smith and used Morrisons frosting because I can never get frosting to go right! And I've wanted some of those chocolate pieces since I first saw them, again Morrisons own brand. Nom! I'll let you know how it turned out when we've tried a piece (I'm all pigged out on cherry bakewells and double chocolate cookies!).
Dom surprised me with two knitting books, Toe up socks for every body by Wendy Johnson and Brave new knits by Julie Turjoma. He'd checked out my Amazon wishlist and picked the things he thought Id want most right now :) Which right now is knitting related books (my sewing mojo is still MIA). So we went to Spins and Needles and I picked out some yarn and needles. I've started the Rosebud socks from Toe up socks for every body :) I'm knitting them using two circular needles which I've never done before. The patterns also use charts, which I've also never used before. The book gives a really good explanation of how to follow a chart and I can actually do it! The yarn I picked is Ranco solid by Araucania, and the needles are Knit Pro. So 4 ply yarn with 2mm needles. . . .These might take a while! lol Here's a couple of photos with my progress so far.

Can you see the first rosebud in the middle? I'm really enjoying doing the lacework, it's something I've never done before and its nice to have a challenging knitting project on the go. I feel like I've come on in leaps and bounds with my knitting in the last couple of months and I'm really proud of myself. I still don't feel like I could knit a cardigan, but I've looked through a couple of the patterns in Brave new knits and understand most of it! :D
Not forgetting of course my big present from Dom that he let me have super early:
I'm going 'home home' on Monday for the evening and can't wait to see everybody. My aunty is also coming over and I haven't seen her in ages :) And mum is cooking one of my favourite meals and getting in some of my favourite party food, so it should be lovely.
Have a lovely weekend!
Ashley x


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