Rounding off 2020

What a year!  I know there’s been precious little action on the blog this month, but I have a really, really good excuse..  Making Christmas presents!  And obviously I cannot show those until they’ve been recieved, so.  I wish I could show them now, as Christmas day has been, but Boris stuffed up my Christmas plans, so those presents are still here with me and not with the people they were for!  Except for one.

I wanted to make little things for the girls’ advent calendar, one of those ones you can fill with goodies, and not just chocolate!  Although chocolate did feature heavily!  In our garden, we’re frequently visited by lots of birds, chief amongst them are the tits, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Long Tailed Tits and the little Willow Tit.  I thought it would be cute to find a little decoration that I could make, in the shape of one of those birds.  After much trawling on Etsy, I found this pattern.  American, so they call the bird a Chickadee, but it’s a tit!

willow tit 2

After downloading and printing, I decided the bird was a little big, so reduced the pattern pieces to 80% of the original size to be more lifelike.  Perfect!  The felt was also from Etsy, and came relatively quickly, given the state of the post office!  I had most of the required colours of embroidery thread in my stash and only needed to buy a couple from a local store.  Cutting the felt was fiddly, because the pieces are so small.  Best tool to cut with?  Curved nail scissors!  Trust me on this, they work a treat!  I decided the birds needed to be “double-sided” as they’d probably swing around on the tree.  My embroidery skills need some work, but I’m happy with the individuality of the birdies!!  There were going to be 5, but as these 3 took so long to make and time was not on my side, I will have to make the other 2 for next Christmas!

willow tit 1

They’re so cute and were very well recieved!!

So what else have I been up to?  Well, back in April when I was in South Africa with my mum and getting fidgity to make something, I thought I’d take advantage of her copious knitting knowlegde and knit something.  I made a beanie and a pair of mittens and came away with a couple of very easy patterns and the desire to knit a little more.  I am a very reluctant knitter, I just don’t have the patience to knit for months and then find I don’t like what I’ve made, or worse still – what I’ve made doesn’t fit!!!!

Anyway, I eventually bought some Aran weight yarn in a pretty misty blue/green colour and raided a friend’s pattern stash.  I picked what I thought was going to be an easy pattern, but I still needed to learn some tricks!  I needed to learn how to knit on a circular needle, how to make German Short rows, increasing and decreasing (on purpose), and how to make a Magic Loop in order to knit the sleeves.  But I did it, and from starting in October, I have a jumper finished before Christmas!!  Never did I think that would happen!  Now I want more Aran weight yarn, or chunkier, so I can knit something else just as fast!

jumper
Finish it and put it on immediately! Blocking – naa – later!!

At the beginning of the year, I said I wanted to learn new things, have a “year of firsts”.  Ahem..  So, what did I manage then?  Well, I made my first quilt.  Still not finished, but I’m getting there.  I knitted my first beanie, and first pair of gloves – fingerless!  I spent more time on the allotment than in my sewing room and went for extended periods of time without sewing anything!  In the Christmas present pile is another first, but those details will have to wait!  And of course, there’s this jumper.  The first one I’ve started and finished by myself, and I actually like!  So it’s not been all bad.

There are a couple of projects that haven’t made it to the blog yet, and probably won’t get their own posts.  I used the remainder of the blue floral print viscose to make a cowl cami, using my old favourite camisole pattern, Butterick 5487 .  The scraps left over have gone into making a couple of masks and the lining of some pouches.  I also had some gorgeous navy blue fine knit that I brought back from South Africa – made a Toaster Sweater #2.  I had to take it in drastically at the sides, 10cm in total, shorten the body and the sleeves, and narrowed the sleeves too.  It’s been a brilliant extra layer, I like fine knits for layering in the winter!

cowl cami

Next year is going to be a wait and see year, I think, not too much planning.  As the government seems to be changing the rules an a fortnightly basis, I think that’s the way to go in the beginning.  So for now, I think I’ll start January with some #SewJapaneseInJanuary, I have two books I got in 2018 that I have yet to trace a single pattern from!  There must be something in the stash I can use for a pattern somewhere.  Then there is that fabric I got from Rainbow Fabrics in November/October – still haven’t cut them out!  I also want to make a denim coat from old jeans – I collected a large pile in the summer and that pile is making me feel guilty everytime I look at it!  So it’s not like I’ve nothing to make or no ideas – I just need my sewing room back again!

So that’s it, I guess I’ll be seeing you all in 2021!  Happy New Year everyone!

Blue Paradise

So, I’ve been on holiday for a month, almost a month ago now (where did the time go?!), and come back to find two allotments needing lots of care and attention, a backlog of sewing projects and a mountain of fabric purchased while on holiday to wash and iron.  And allocate to future projects.  So what do you do?  You go gardening!  One thing that will not wait, is the allotment.  Weather permitting, that’s where I needed to be, but I was desperate to get back to my sewing, just needed to pick a project to start.

blue paradise 1
Butterick 5487 cowl drape cami in silk

As it just so happened, that first project was something for Daughter No1.  She had a wedding to go to, (a family member of her partner) had a fabulous pair of tropical print wide leg pants, but no top to wear with them.  So I dug through the stash, I had a feeling a silk cowl drape cami would do the trick!  Originally on seeing the pants, I thought a gorgeous coral satin back crepe would look fabulous, but despite trawlling numerous shops, we couldn’t find anything, and I had no time to look for fabric, buy it and still wait for delivery.

blue paradise 4
Nice simple back

In the end, the stash came up trumps.  I had just the right coloured blue silk, it was approved and I set to work.  The pattern is Butterick 5487 (from the 90s),  I’m sure you could find a copy of it on Ebay or Etsy.  Going by the bust measurements, and the finished measurements, I cut the 10 with no adjustments apart from shortening the length on Daughter No1’s request.

collage blue paradise
Some close up details

The cami is cut on the bias and has armhole and back facing pieces seperate. The straps are cut on the straight.  Gill Arnold’s black fine sheer polyester fusible interfacing was used on the facing pieces.  The cami was sewn with French Seams, makes it all nice and neat inside, and really doesn’t take long with just two seams!  It looks brilliant, the colour goes well with the pants and I’m sure she’ll look fabulous on the day.

blue paradise 6
I’d rather fancy some of that fabric the pants are made from!

Now that I’ve got my feet wet again, it’s time to get cracking on that stash again, isn’t it…  Or better still, make up a pattern I cut out before going away, but ran out of time to make to take!

blue paradise 7

P.S. As it turns out, she got cold feet about wearing a cami as a top and went in a navy jumpsuit.  Ah well, at least there’s an option in the wardrobe for another occasion!