Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Mouse House Julia Caridgan

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Here’s a cute little cardy I whipped up back in November. I took my photos and then my computer broke, so it’s been waiting to go on the blog since then. It’s the Mouse House Julia cardigan, which I purchased back in April after seeing Katie’s wool jersey version. I’m sure we all do it, see another bloggers make we like so much, and we buy the pattern in a flash. I’m glad I was so easily persuaded, because I can see a few Julias spawning at the back of my closet, and I’ve already mentally dressed a few friends and relatives in imaginary Julia’s I’d like to make for them all.

The Julia cardigan was included in the perfect pattern parcel #6, so there are all sorts of Julia manifestations that have been blogged about recently. I’ve not really been on the ball with the perfect pattern parcel, but I’m going to try harder because I love the idea. You choose your price to pay for a collection of 5 indie patterns, and the money raised is donated to children education projects. Win win!

Project Stats

Fabric: 3m of mysterious jersey from the Abakhan 70% sale with an off the scale stroke factor
Cost £6
Pattern: The Julia Women’s cardigan
Time: Completed in an evening, once the tot was in bed
Difficulty: Easy

The Pattern

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The Julia cardigan is a versatile pattern for knits, which offers options for capped sleeve, 3/4 sleeve or full length sleeves. You can also decide between doubling over the hemmed edge, or using a rolled hem finish on a single layer of fabric. I chose the 3/4 sleeve version with doubled over hem, as this seemed more suitable to the fabric and time of year. I think a cap sleeved version, in a lightweight jersey, with a rolled hem would be great for summertime.
Full marks go to the Julia cardigan for the clarity and detail provided in the instructions. She really covered everything which meant that sewing the cardigan was a joy. I didn’t have to think at all and the whole process just naturally flowed from start to finish. A very relaxing and satisfying make.

Materials

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Abakhan always has a great selection of knits in, and I was drawn to this one when the fabric started playing with my eyes. I’m not sure if it’s an optical illusion, or a quality of the weave, but in some lights the fabric looks red and grey, and in other lights the grey turns to pink. It’s subtle sheen, and velvety pile sold it to me as soon as I picked it up. I’m glad it found life as a Julia cardigan.

Sizing / modifications

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I cut a size L, which is a uk size 12 – 14, and the fit works. It’s great getting it right first time, that’s the joy of knits, so much more forgiving.

Garment Assembly

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This is the second garment I have made entirely on my overlocker, and the satisfaction of finally mastering my machine, getting a perfect stitch, and watching it come speedily together was immense.

We did get off to a shaky start, and I spent the first couple of hours wondering why the tension on the left needle was so loose. I tried everything, twisting dials, changing needles, threading and re-threading, reading both my overlocker manual and my overlocker book. It really was maddening and I had to give myself a cooling off break because I just couldn’t work out was wrong. No matter what I tried my left needle thread was loose and loopy. After a walk, raising some determination, and pondering over posts online, I finally found the solution. The fix was to make sure the thread was deeply seated in the disc, by “flossing” the thread down into the tension discs. I had to really tug at it to make sure it was engaged between the tension discs. This was a bit odd, because in comparison with the other 3 dials the thread seems to naturally just fall in to place, but for whatever reason the dial in question needed a bit of convincing! It was full serge ahead though after that, and I felt marvellously triumphant by not letting a machine get the better of me. Humans 1 : Robots 0

General happiness rating

:smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: 5 smileys!
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Lets face it, this garment isn’t going to turn any heads or stand out as unique and handmade, but for all it’s simplicity I love it. It’s a reminder of a happy evening spent with my overlocker, which at time of writing I can count on one hand. I can wrap myself in it, feel the velvety goodness and let it inspire me to make more simple, satisfying, one evening sews.

Other bloggers who’ve made this pattern

I really like how Rachel adapted the pattern to add length, it works brilliantly as a longer length cardy. I also like how she changed the sleeve hems to …

Here is a link to Katie’s Julia cardigan which was my orignal inspiration. Her two tone fabric choice really suits the pattern.

These two versions at Cut Cut Sew show off the simplicity of the long and short sleeved versions excellently.

Happy stitching everyone ;)

Homemade Christmas gift round – up

Well hello there strangers!
I’m so sorry I’ve been ignoring you all. I’m afraid I have been without a computer from the end of November until last week! My computer has had it’s Christmas holiday away having a new hard disk and graphics card installed, and is now all back and ready for some hardcore 2015 blogging action. I took the opportunity to have a good rest, and a lot of time away from the screen, but that didn’t mean I had a rest from making and sewing. I know it’s a little untimely to be showing you all this stuff, but who cares, better late than never eh!

Knitted Socks

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I made 2 pairs of these for my Granddad and my Dad, who are both avid Manchester City supporters, so they had to be in the mandatory blue. The inspiration for the pattern came from the wonderful Laura of Kathy I’m Lost, who sews like a demon and knits as if she had an extra hand. (In reality she is quite beautiful and has a regular amount of limbs). She recommended the Tracks pattern by OzKnitter, which is available as a free download on Ravelry. The yarn I used is some marvellous self striping yarn called Zig-Zag by King Cole.

I’m not sure how fast a knitter I am, but knitting socks takes me a long time. There is easily 20 hours in each pair. Laura lent me her sock blockers, and some amazing wool wash called soak, which you use to wash your wool in when finished knitting. It leaves a lovely scent you can’t stop sniffing. This is actually the first hand knitted item I’ve ever blocked. See the difference?

Blocked Socks

I sure hope my Dad and Granddad liked their socks, because believe me people, there is nowt better treat, than handmade socks for your feet!

Kimono top

Kimono top sew

This should have been an easy make, my step sister chose the fabric herself, and the pattern was a fairly straightforward freebie from LoveSewing magazine. However, I managed to fluff it by sewing the sleeves on the wrong way round, and then burning a hole in the fabric as I was doing the last press. So…. I made a second one. This gave me the opportunity to make it a little longer, and finish the seams more tidily. My sister only wears black, so this was my attempt at getting some more colour in to her wardrobe, and guess what, she loved it! (I think this has a lot to do with it showing off her first tattoo she got on her 18th birthday!) I modified the pattern to add a black strip to the bottom of the sleeves and along the hemline.

Zipper pouches

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A few of my friends were given simple zipper pouches. They only took an hour or so to make, and are great stash busters. Sam is keeping her tarot card in hers, and Elena is using hers to carry hand cream, herb cream & tinted lip balm. Very versatile you know!

Christmas Jams and Chutneys

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Not sewing related, but completely yummy. I love giving homemade food for Christmas, and I think this Christmas Jam was one of the nicest jams I’ve made. I used organic frozen strawberries, and organic dried cranberries, a whole load of sugar, and liquid pectin to help it set. I’ve never used pectin before, relying on the usual thermometer method, but I’m a convert. Pectin is so much easier, and makes sure you get a good set in less time, meaning more of the fruit stays intact. I’m going to make more of my festive jam out of season, that’s how good it was. If you’d like the recipes you can find the Christmas jam recipe here, and the Christmas chutney recipe here.

Festive Shoe Clips

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I made a few of these to sell at a craft stall I had in December. I think they are pretty awesome, but I didn’t sell any. They are just a simple bow that I attached a little clip on to, and they jazz up any shoe with some Christmas flare. They also make cute little bow-ties, as Evan discovered.

Christmas waistcoat

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After Evan hit on to the Christmas bow tie discovery, I had to make him a matching waistcoat, using my downloadable free toddler waistcoat pattern. Luckily it was a hit, and Evan wore it consecutively with his santa hat for about 2 weeks.

Homemade cards

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I was really pleased with my cards this year. I usually make them for close friends and family only, and they have all come to expect it now so I get complaints if I send a shop bought card. This year I wanted to make a card that Evan could help with. I came up with a sponge painted background to replicate the nights sky (Which Evan could do) and then I could stick on the twigs we would collect together. The wooden owl motifs I found at a haberdashery in Leeds market. In the end, Evan showed little interest for sponge painting, instead favouring his toy trains, so I mostly did them myself. Maybe I’ll have to make next years cards train related?

Things to look forward to in 2015

So, that was my creative Christmas splurge. Now back to sewing something for myself hopefully! I am making no plans this year to be more organised or to plan. I’m going to spend the year just going with the flow, seeing what happens, and working more intuitively. Sewing is my fun, downtime, and I don’t want it become something I feel stressed about. I’m going to do what I can, and use what I have. I’d like to make a dent in the huge list of projects I have filling the left side of my brain.

I have made a few non-sewing resolutions though. I usually try to focus on adding something positive to my life, rather than change a current behaviour. My list as it stands is:

  • Learn to crochet
  • Play more; have more silly time with my son
  • Learn Spanish
  • Start drum lessons again
  • Meditate for 5 minutes each day
  • Run 5k – I was so close before hurting my hip in November and I’d like to get back to speed

As it’s February now, seems daft to say Happy New Year, but I’ll wish you all the best for 2015, and join me in a cheer that winter is almost over and spring is almost here! Hooray!

<3 Amy