Thursday, May 17, 2018


I've got a brand new pattern I want to tell you about today!!  It's the just released Nottingham Top from Itch to Stitch Designs*!

Kennis Wong, the designer behind ITS has quite the selection of patterns now and I've been fortunate to test several of them for her!  Since going back to work last year though, I've not felt able to give a test pattern the attention it requires.  I felt it would be too overwhelming and the pressure to finish would be too difficult.  I've really missed it, but knew it was for the best to take a step back. But then she posted a testing call for the Nottingham recently and I decided to apply.  It's a great top, looks far more complicated than it is, and knowing the Itch to Stitch patterns as I do, I figured it would be a breeze to sew up.  Kennis does such a great job of the instructions, paying really close attention to all the fine details, I knew that even if it was complicated I'd still be able to manage without getting overwhelmed.

I'm happy to say I was 100% correct about her instructions and pattern.  I was so very wrong about the sewing it up though.  At least my first attempt... and it was all my fault. I bought a drapey rayon blend solid the other day for just the purpose of testing.  It was a gorgeous peacock blue.  I got it all cut out after much cursing and swearing and trying to keep it from sliding right off the dining room table and set to work sewing.

All was going swimmingly well until I tried it on.  I'd added my customary length that I always add to my ITS patterns and guess what.  With the drape of the fabric and the  pattern itself my top was precisely the 1 1/4" that I'd added too long.  Not only that, but it turned out that my fabric, while having exactly the prescribed lengthwise and crosswise stretch, had absolutely pitiful recovery. Such a pretty blue.  But such a weird length...

Not to be deterred, I figured no big deal.  I do like my tops a bit longer anyways.  So I soldiered on.  But then part way through my workhorse, dependable, ancient Pfaff simply stopped working.  It just seized up and refused to do a thing mid stitch.  I assumed a bent needle.  So I wrestled the needle out and nope.  It was still straight.  Misaligned bobbin?  Nope.  All good there.  I tried a few more things than went outside in a mad panic to find my husband who can fix anything and wailed that I needed his help.  He dropped what he was doing and came in the house to see what could be done and to give him credit he tried.  We thought it was fixed and then it seized up AGAIN at which point he advised that I should probably just take it to the repair shop and get it fixed properly.  Which left me with the misery that is the Walmart purchased Singer Advance that functions only slightly better than a paperweight.  Oh how I despise using that machine.  But desperate times call for desperate measures and thankfully other than the knot and hems, I could use my overlocker for the majority of the sewing.

I finished up the peacock blue and it was so stretched out and wobbly looking from fighting with the Singer, that I thought I'd pop it in the washer and drier and tighten it all up again.  DISASTER.  It shrunk up first of all. Not a bad thing given its extra length, but beyond that it revealed that I had totally cut it off grain so the seams were twisting like crazy.  It's like I'd never cut out a pattern before.  Geez Louise.

The next day I regrouped, took out the extra length I'd added to the pattern pieces, dug out a floral double brushed poly and got it cut out.  Sewing it took less time than the cutting out I think despite using the beastly Singer  although I did it in a few chunks over the course of the evening and by the time I went to bed I had my new version done.  I love it!  It's everything I hoped it would be and now I need more fabric to make a solid black one.  And then I have some grey sweater knit that would be perfect for the long sleeve version. And then...

Yes.  This is one of those tops that it's going to become a go to.  It's so easy - once you do the knot part, it's just a simple teeshirt and don't worry about that knot.  The instructions walk you through it with detailed diagrams, and there's notches on the pattern to line everything up easily so you can't go wrong.  The kind of pattern that practically sews itself it goes together so well.   Just look at the details of the knot and those flutter sleeves.  I think it goes perfectly with my Blended Threads Double Brushed Poly that I bought last summer and had no idea what to make with.

Congratulations, Kennis, on yet another amazing design!!!  If you want to grab your own copy, head on over to the Itch to Stitch website!  If you hurry, you can get the pattern on sale until May 23rd.  I highly recommend this one!!! (and by the way, if you have your heart set on any other Itch to Stitch patterns, don't forget you can use the bundle discounts for a great deal on everything in your cart while you're at it!)

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Well That Escalated Quickly!

After knitting six pairs of socks over the course of the last year for other people I felt the urge to knit a pair for me so towards mid March I succumbed to that urge, grabbed the skein of sparkly stripey sock yarn (Plymouth Stiletto) and finally cast on a pair of Zigzagular socks, which is a free pattern on Ravelry and I highly recommend!  These socks, between the stripes and the simple, but interesting pattern, pretty much knit themselves!  Only change I made was to do an afterthought heel to accommodate the continuity of the stripes!

The whole time I was knitting my sparkly socks, Baby Boy was having serious sock envy.  He desperately wanted a pair of stripey socks of his own.  If he could've had sparkles it would've been even more perfect.  I knew I didn't have enough left over yarn from my socks though and he didn't want to wait for new yarn, so I let him pick out of my stash.  He chose an ancient ball of Fortissima Colori Socka for his and I used Joeli's Tiny Treads Basic Top Down pattern.  I should have knit up a size.  They will probably fit him for all of five minutes.  But he wears them all the time so at least he's getting use out of them while he can.

Once his socks were on the needles of course Little Man had a need for stripey socks too.  Unfortunately there was nothing to his liking in the sock yarn bin, so I logged onto Webs and let him pick out some yarn for himself. He chose Sirdar's Sole to Sole in the Jungle Fever colourway.  Bonus for me, it was super inexpensive!  I didn't really follow a pattern this time so much as cast on in between Baby Boy's size and my size and then knit until it fit.  Although darn his little hide, I think his feet are bigger than I assumed, because they seem a touch snug.  Again I used an afterthought heel to keep those stripes going nicely.

I'm not sure how me wanting a pair of stripey socks escalated so quickly to everyone needing a pair of stripey socks, but that's just how things roll sometimes and that's how I ended up knitting three pairs of socks in a total of eight weeks.  Not bad if I do say so myself!

Speaking of hand knit socks, I've decided to partake in Me Made May once again this year.  Last year I took the year off because I couldn't think of a challenge given that I pretty much wear me made every day all year round at this point.  But after listening to Zoe of the So, Zo blog (and the mastermind behind Me Made May) on the Love to Sew Podcast last week I thought that maybe I could find a challenge for myself after all.  I have well over a dozen pairs of hand knit socks that have been languishing in my drawer since I went back to work.  I wasn't wearing them during the week because I didn't want to "ruin" them in my work boots, and on weekends I'm usually barefoot around the house or would just grab my sport socks if I was headed out anywhere.  I decided that it's high time I enjoy those hand knit socks once again, so my challenge for Me Made May is to wear hand knit socks five days a week at work.  (I'm not wearing them on the weekends because there's no snow on the ground anymore, which means no socks thanks!)  I'm not committing myself to documenting them daily - I'm just going to go with the flow on this one, but I'll let you know at some point how my challenge is going or went.   How about you?  Are you Me Made May-ing this year?  What is your own challenge?