Sewchet

Sewing, crochet, crafts, accessories, baking, tutorials,


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First Christmas Present Hot Off The Needles!

Exactly one month ago I popped into Sew Vintage in Wells, looking for nothing in particular and happy to just drool over all the lovely things on display.


Amongst all the yarns, I spotted some lovely self striping “Regia” sock yarn, designed by Arne and Carlos for Schachenmayr. There was also a pattern for knee-high socks complete with two labels to sew in to the finished socks. How cute? I couldn’t resist it, so bought both the pattern and four balls of yarn.

(I still can’t find any see-through wellies, though!).


When I got home and put on my glasses to read the pattern, I discovered that it was written for DPNS – and I only know how to use circulars. To be honest, I think I would have had a go on circulars if the instructions had been more straightforward, but they seemed overly complicated to me so I chose a pattern from “Coop Knits Socks”, by Rachel Coopey. I bought this book at Yarndale a couple of years ago and have made several different pairs from it already.


These are the “Brighton” socks and feature a stunning fair isle design in three colours. I decided to follow the pattern for construction without following the charts for the colourwork, so the style would be the same minus the fair isle – knee-high socks with a deep ribbed cuff.


That evening, I cast on using the long-tail method as usual for a nice, stretchy top.


I love my row counter which was gifted to me in a Stitching Santa parcel last year – it makes keeping track of where you are a piece of cake.


Of course, The Dogs like to be close by when Mummy’s knitting at night. 


I’ve taken these in the car with me whilst The Boys play football. I love that socks are such a portable project.

I also LOVE this yarn!

The body of the sock is in stocking stitch and just look at how different the stripes look from the deep ribbing. The combination of colours are really lovely, too, and they’re quite accurate in this photo.


I tried it on for size just before I started turning the heel and this is when I noticed just how good the yarn is.

It’s quite expensive at £5.49 a ball, meaning that this pair cost £22.00 to knit, but they feel expensive, too, and surprisingly soft for such a high wool content (75% wool, 25% polyamide). As they are destined to be a Christmas present I felt it was worth it, especially after feeling how nice they felt against the skin.


One sock down and the second one almost finished, when I made a mistake and had to frog a whole evening’s work back. Poo!


Finally finished and ready to put away for Christmas – my first present made and it’s not Easter yet!

I’ve a feeling they’ll be worn over trousers as welly socks, hence my modelling them as such.


I’m very happy with the pattern matching as it can be tricky to find the exact spot in the ball at which to start the second sock.


As with all Rachel’s socks, the fit is absolutely perfect.


The extra deep ribbing will mean that the socks will hug the leg without slipping down.


Nice neat heels – the frogging was worth the effort!




Next up, some pink ones – another Christmas present in the making, but with some much cheaper yarn. I wonder if I’ll regret it…?


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Sunday Sevens #120

Time for another Sunday Sevens – a weekly blog series showing your week in photos. Linking up with Nat at Threads & Bobbins.


We had my four children, two step-daughters, all of their partners, and our gorgeous granddaughter to stay at the weekend, and took the obligatory annual photo as proof!

1. While most went to watch The Boys play football, I took two of them and The Baby to Sherborne for the morning – here they are outside The Abbey.


2. Of course, we had a coffee-and-cake stop in a café. Do you think she’s enjoying her first taste of a jam tart?


3. No.1 Son bought these chocolates for me. I don’t like anything sweet as a rule, but these were amazing!


4. As many of you already know, I share a birthday with my daughter. We spent the day together at our favourite place, Summer Lodge.


5. A full body and head massage was the BEST way to while away an hour and a half, followed by leisurely morning using the spa facilities.


6. Hubby also treated us to the most incredible three-course lunch. Smoked duck breast with various different forms of apple, all steeped in alcohol anyone?


7. Mr H-L and I also managed to sneak a little lunch out on our own later in the week.


8. But……most of the week was dedicated to building work and, at last – decorating. The Koi Carp wallpaper went up in the downstairs loo!


9. I also finished gilding the mirror that will add the perfect touch of bling to the already-quite-bling wallpaper.


10. Did I mention that we are having our en suite done at the same time? Oh, the dust…….


11. It’s also well under way.


12. Do you remember that I mentioned I was searching for some mirrors, specifically the frameless type from the Forties? Well, this is what I had in mind – a wall of mirrors above the sink unit. Although the en suite isn’t quite finished, I was desperate for hubby to put the mirrors up and he kindly obliged. It was no mean feat, taking over two hours to get just right, but I already love the overall effect. En suites are modern by the very concept, and the old mirrors tone the modern-ness down a bit, especially as most of them are chipped or rusty in part.


13. I’ve still managed to squeeze in a bit of sewing which is a miracle. It’s actually for a Minerva blog post and is overdue, so I must try to finish it today.


14. I’ve completed the ribbing on the socks, too, but still need to sit down and google “see-through wellies”!!


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Dog Coat Fail….

Remember the doggy bandana I knitted for Miekie (seen here modelled by Tess) as part of last year’s Stitching Santa?

It was from the book Woolly Woofers by Debbie Bliss.


I bought it as much for the quirky illustrations as for the actual content – just look at this backdrop for the so-called Teacup Yorkie!


Well, our other Yorkie, Fifi, has been to the Vet’s a lot recently as she’s an old dog that needs a bit more regular attention. She is much happier wearing a dog coat than those awful cones, but she doesn’t really have enough. I thought this little coat would be a quick and simple knit to go with the fleecy coat I made the other week.


Most of the coats in the book are in there sizes; small,medium and large, but this particular design was specifically for Toy breeds and only available as ‘one size fits all’.

I should have been wary at that statement as both Tess and Fifi are a Toy Yorkshire Terrier, yet Tess is literally twice the size of Fifi.

Undeterred, I cast on using a super chunky yarn in two colours which were dictated by the two half-balls of Lion Brand that had been languishing at the bottom of my ‘leftovers’ bin for months now. There should just about be enough to make a tiny coat.


The gauge was only slightly bigger than the tension gauge suggested in the pattern so I carried on to the end, playing yarn chicken (again!) and winning with just 6″ to spare.

I tried the finished coat on Fifi and….

…..it was HUGE!


It could probably have gone around her twice and the end flopped well past her tail. She even looked the other way in an effort to communicate her humiliation.


So I tried it on Tess…..and it fit perfectly.


It looks just like it does in the book – nice and snug around the chest and not too long in the body.


She was even happy to pose for the camera.


There’s only one tiny issue, and that’s the fact that she has thick hair (and lots of it) and never really gets cold enough to warrant wearing a coat, so if anyone has a little dog that would wear it, let me know and I’ll send it to you.


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Stitching Santa Reveal #1

Everyone loves a Secret Santa, don’t they? Apparently so, because 45 lovely ladies (and a man!) signed up for #stitchingsanta 2016, a themed Secret Santa for fabric and yarn lovers who blog or Instagram. 

To read all about it and to join in next year, have a look at this post.


I participated in both the sewing swap and the knitting/crochet swap, so was treated to two parcels under my tree in time for Christmas Day – although I didn’t actually find a quiet moment to myself in which to savour their opening until the 28th December!

I had a lovely pub lunch in Wells the week before Christmas with Claire who, together with regular input from her lovely black labrador, blogs at Mollie & Claire. Claire had drawn me as the lucky recipient of her knitting/crochet parcel – and Boy, was I treated!

We have even both been to Stephen and Penelope’s in Amsterdam – highly recommended to anyone who visits this wonderful city. This project bag contained all my goodies and sat under the tree for about ten days……..


……during which time a mouse had chewed itself a little doorway……


….and helped itself to the tasty fudge within!!


There was plenty to go around though, so I didn’t mind sharing with a cheeky little mouse:)

Just look at this mountain of presents!


I must admit that I went straight for the one that looked like it might contain the hand dyed yarn that Claire had not-so-subtly hinted at previously. Dyed with her own fair hands, Claire had even caked the skein for me so it is ready for use. It’s utterly gorgeous – 400m of sock yarn in the perfect shade of pink, which may become a shawl or socks. I’ll take my time deciding what to make with it as I want to make sure it gets plenty of use.


More handmade items were revealed in subsequent presents – one of Claire’s many Mandala creations is far too pretty to be used as a mat of any kind and is destined for the wall in my studio so I can enjoy it every day.


I love this slouchy beanie hat and couldn’t wait to model it, so here it is whilst I’m in my PJs!


It sparkles with silver sequins – here’s a close up.


Two little felted baubles with yet more sequins!

I rather think they’d make lovely earrings:)


What about this ceramic heart brooch? How sweet?


I can’t tell you how bloomin’ useful this stitch counter is going to be. I’ve got two of the kind that go on your needles but, as I’ve invariably got more than a few knitting/crochet projects on the go at any one time, it will save me swapping between needles.


Claire also threw in some sewing related gifts – anyone who sews will appreciate the quality of these threads.


I love the snowman ribbon!!!!


A pack of Christmas pud decorations for the tree next year.


Some pampering treats which smell divine – when are they going to invent scratch ‘n’ sniff for the internet?!


Now this really is lovely and will be used every day until it’s all gone.


Claire even included a gift for Fifi and Tess from Mollie! That’s if No.1 Son hasn’t eaten them before we get home from France, mistaking them for iced biscuits……


I even rescued all the satin ribbon, which was beautifully tied around several of the gifts, for future use.


Finally, this car decal made me smile – how true are those words?!


Thanks so much Claire – I feel thoroughly spoiled!


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Knitted Mermaid Blanket

This month’s blog post for Minerva Crafts is a brilliant pattern for a Mermaid’s Tail blanket. With instructions for babies, children and adult sizes, it is a quick knit using super chunky yarn.

Click on the link for the full blog post: Mermaid’s Tail Blanket


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Sunday Sevens #111

As with all of you, I’m sure, these last few weeks have been hectic and I’ve been offline for a large portion of that time. I hope to find time this evening to catch up on some blog reading and see what you’ve all been up to but, in the meantime, here’s my Sunday Sevens.

1. I found this great book in TKMaxx and bought it based on the cover photo!

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2. I’m still at the stage where I want to keep my car spotless. Not sure how long that will last.

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3. Managed to squeeze in lunch and a bit of shopping with my sister. Tambourine Village in Street again – lush!

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4. Our new sofa arrived from Laura Ashley! It’s cranberry crushed velvet and so much cosier than the old leather ones.

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5. It sits opposite the one we got off eBay a few weeks ago. I know, I know – I don’t do minimalism:)

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6. Our village Christmas supper went down very well as usual. Even though I came off the committee in March, I still seem to get roped in to organise things as before as I just can’t say no to people!

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7. We took a ‘plane to Scotland……


8. …..and went to see a pantomime in King’s Theatre in Glasgow.


9. We stayed in a hotel overnight before getting up at 4am to catch another ‘plane to Lapland to meet the real Father Christmas! A separate blog post will follow – eventually:)


10. Back in Blighty a few days later, they opened their new pyjamas. New PJs are a bit of a tradition now at Christmas.


11. For some reason a selfie is a mirror image on my ‘phone, hence the text being back to front, but it’s a pattern review I did for Sewing World magazine.


12. Another Christmas present finished, to be blogged about on Wednesday for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network.


13. More yarn – I have to make another one for her little sister for Christmas. I foresee a VERY late night or two….


14. Friends joined us for an impromptu evening playing Christmas ‘Hangman’. Cheese and drinks aplenty were consumed.


15. Both of my Stitching Santa parcels arrived! Mine are both posted now, too, so I can relax a tiny bit as another deadline has been reached by the skin of my teeth.


I’m loving seeing all your Stitching Santa updates on blogs and Instagram – keep them coming!
 


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Knitted Lace Baby Shawl

Way back in June I was contacted by a childhood friend whom I haven’t seen for thirty years and asked if I would consider knitting a shawl for her upcoming first grandchild. 

I don’t normally take commissions for something like this, but she asked so nicely and was so obviously a fan of my work that I decided to make an exception and agreed on the basis that this would be my evening project. You know, the kind that you pick up for a couple of hours every evening so your fingers have something to do whilst watching TV.

The baby was due in early October, which meant I would have to get cracking as three months is not very long in shawl-knitting terms, and I estimated that about 60 hours of handknitting would be required. I had no problem choosing the perfect yarn – the softness of Alpaca combined with the smooth quality of silk made this the obvious choice.

A laceweight yarn, the silk adds a subtle sheen and would make an incredibly light and delicate shawl.

I ordered 4 skeins in “Wedding White” as the gender of the baby was to remain a surprise, and off white would be ideal. Each 50g skein contains 439 yards of yarn so, although I hadn’t yet decided on a pattern, figured that 1700 yards should be plenty.

Look how fine the yarn is!

It all got off to a bit of a false start because I wasn’t happy with the first pattern I chose and had to unravel it and start again from scratch.

A bit more research resulted in the purchase of this lovely pattern by Sirdar – the circular design, rather than the square one.

And so the lengthy process began!

It soon became apparent that I had VASTLY underestimated the time and quantity of yarn that this beast would consume!

After 60 hours over 2 months, I was about two-thirds of the way through the main body of the shawl, and it took both boys to hold it up for me to take a photograph.

I just love how gossamer-fine it is and how you can see right through.

I also had to order another 2 skeins of yarn which took another 2 weeks to arrive before I could continue.

With the body of the shawl finished, I moved on to the pretty bit – the show-stopping lacy border, which was an absolute joy to knit after all those rounds of stockinette.

You can see the pattern beginning to develop here.

Despite being over a week overdue, the baby had now arrived…..but I still hadn’t finished the border. 

It was a baby girl!

Eventually, all the actual knitting was complete and ‘all’ I had to do was to join these two piles of knitting together.

It ended up being several evenings worth of work, starting with pegging the border evenly to the centre section and then sewing ithem together.

Wet blocking was the next step in the process, whereby all 120 points had to be pinned out to their final shape.

I commandeered The Boy’s bedroom and banished them for two days while it dried, pinned to a combination of three towels and the carpet!

When it was completely dry, I took it downstairs to try and photograph it as the contrast against the oak floor showed up the pattern more clearly.

There wasn’t enough spare floor space!

Here’s a close up of the edging after blocking – such lovely lacy detail.

By screwing it up in the middle, I managed to take a photo of the whole shawl – it really is massive!

It looks lovely here, draped over the arm of the sofa.

Off it went in the post and I waited a nerve-wracking few days before hearing that it had reached its destination safely – what a relief!

Very soon, some photos were sent to me of the shawl in use, and I have permission to share them with you on the blog.




Do you want to have the final stats of this mammoth project?

Here goes…….

– 2760 yards of yarn

– 137 hours of knitting

– 161,852 stitches

Would I do it again?

In a heartbeat – only next time it will have to be for MY grandchild because it was so hard to part with after all that effort!