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A Jumper That Didn’t Cost The Earth

There are few things in this world that stop me stitching or making art, but every once in a while I decide to knit something. I haven’t made anything for a few years now because I have more hats, gloves and scarves than I need and knitting your own jumper is an expensive business. Knit anything in a decent natural yarn, especially with more than one colour, and you can easily spend £70.00.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t think it’s worth it, it’s just that I can’t afford to do it on a regular basis. Having said that, I can count the jumpers I own on one hand and I made 4 of them. I still wear them all because hand-made takes a long time, and lasts a long time.

Make It Don’t Chuck It

No-one wants to chuck something away when they’ve invested hours of work in it, from quilting to knitting or growing your own. That glut of courgettes you had this year: landfill, compost or chutney? That jumper you made a couple of years ago, it’s getting a bit thin on the elbows: landfill, darn it or reuse the yarn? The quilt you spent years making, the binding’s a bit worn: landfill, or make a new binding?

When we invest our own time in something (rather than exploiting some poor, faceless person on the other side of the world) we take care of it. Obvious innit?

Make Someone’s Day

And if we have stuff we don’t know what to do with we can give it to charity. Like, if you had a load of yarn but you don’t know how to knit…landfill ? Or charity and make someone’s day?! Yeah, you know where this is going:

A hand-knit stripy jumper. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Bargain knit

Someone Made My Day

I picked up some luscious Rowan Tweed yarn for a steal in a charity shop sometime before Christmas. As soon as I was out the door I shared photos on Instagram (which disappeared with all the others when my account was hacked), because I couldn’t believe my luck.

A hand-knit stripy jumper. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Colour and texture… simple things make me happy (mostly!).

I had enough to make a short jumper and settled on a Marie Wallin pattern in a Rowan book I already had (another way to save money).

Self portrait in a hand-knit stripy jumper. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

It’s cosy!

Self portrait in a hand-knit stripy jumper. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

It’s short, sweet and probably outdated, but it’ll do. And I don’t know what I’m looking at either!

There were 5 different colours of yarn in different quantities of 100g skeins: it was obviously going to be a stripy affair. I settled on random stripes, but knit up all the rib first and then divided what was left between each pattern piece.

This simple shape knit up pretty quickly in the big chunky yarn, so I decided to concentrate on knitting to the exclusion of everything else. I was pretty determined to get some wear out of it this winter. Didn’t think about how dated a 2008 pattern might look. (Does it? I don’t know/who cares.) Or what I’d wear it with… might have to make a skirt now. Or maybe a dress. Or Something.

Nuts and Bolts

  • 800g Rowan Pure Wool Chunky Tweed @ £15.00 the lot
  • Pattern ‘Kettlewell’, Marie Wallin in The British Sheep Breeds Collection (Rowan, 2008)
  • Pattern requires 600g (s). Used 650g (made sleeves 1″ or so longer, + extra for stripes)
  • Over: 150g-ish in pale pinky colour… damn, could have made it longer
  • Final cost £12.50 (I already had the pattern book and needles required).

And I’m happy. Which is good, considering. Anyone got any ideas for using up the rest of it?

What? You Came Here For Quilting?!

Ok, a short catch up. Plain Sewing, my ongoing daily patchwork ritual, is still on track. Pretty much. My Instagram friends have seen a few finished blocks that have a bit of hand sewing detail. Since then I’ve made some very simple blocks like the one below. The patchwork background on this one includes scraps from some old linen trousers and a cotton shirt. I love the texture and the soft drape it makes.

Plain Sewing. A patchwork quilt in progress, showing an appliqué circle on a patchwork background in muted neutral and blue. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Plain Sewing. Right and wrong side of the appliqué fabric.

I used the back of the floral fabric as another way to reveal something we usually take great pains to hide. Another way to reveal the ‘truth’ if you like, which is the drive for making this piece (more thoughts on that here).

What’s Wrong With The Back?

Why do we so blithely ignore the wrong side of printed fabric? It deserves more consideration I think. You never know what you might find, but some things to look out for include:

  • an interesting texture caused by the dye
  • a lighter colour
  • a softer pattern
  • a plain fabric
  • a change in the surface of the weave.

And it’s a good way to vary the stash without acquiring more fabric – great for the wallet and easy on the storage space. The only other quilter I know that does this as a matter of course is Maureen at Mystic Quilter. How about you, do you ever use the wrong side? Let us know below!

I’m linking up with Lorna for Let’s Bee Social today. See you there.

Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnchorusStudio.com

 

 

 

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Why I Hated Sewing

Man Sewing

We all know by now that ‘man sewing’ gets on my tits (as opposed to the sewing and quilting the rest of us (with aforementioned appendages) do).

It’s International Women’s Day, so naturally the topic of man sewing/men quilting has been on my mind again. But let me be clear right from the start, it’s not men that sew or men that quilt that get on my nerves, far from it, it’s the appropriation and masculinisation of sewing and quilting to make it acceptable to other men (and some women) that gets my blood boiling. Man sewing? What a load of…tosh!

(If you’re a new reader, you might enjoy the post ‘Luke Haynes, Quilter: That Gender Question‘ – there’s some good discussion in the comments about ‘man sewing’ and gender and quilting in general.)

A Short Story for International Women’s Day

I mentioned in my newsletter that I’d publish a story today, for International Women’s Day. I’m going to tell you why I hated sewing, why I could barely bring myself to admit that I sewed anything at all. It’s why ‘man sewing’ drives me nuts.

Why I Hated Sewing

A hollow intermittent noise vibrates through the chipboard floor to the room below, the ‘front room’ as the family call it. The noise is coming from my mother’s bedroom. If you go up and look through the door, as I often did when I came in from school, she’d have her back to you, barely noticing you’re there. She’s sitting facing a wall, head bent at a cold, stark grey machine: it has all her attention. She’s surrounded by cheap white nylon lace in organised piles that she’s chain piecing. Eventually she’ll sew them together to make over-the-top frilly dresses for little girls. Old fashioned Shirley Temple affairs. It’s piecework and she’s paid a pittance for the number of pieces she makes. A man turns up on dark winter evenings with black bin bags filled with more little bits. He hands my mum some cash and she gives him the black bags she’s filled with her hours of work. They make a few jokes and smile, then he heads off into the dark again. I don’t like the idea of a stranger being in my mum’s bedroom.

I grew up in a working class home where making ends meet was difficult. I remember my stepdad  having periods of unemployment and I imagine the money my mum earned helped them get by. But not much more. The first and only job she’d had outside of the home, soon after she left school at 14 and a good few years before I was born, was in a factory where she sat with other women on grey machines piecing away who knows what. I remember other times when my mum sewed for the home; curtains, a patchwork for my brother’s bed, made from the scraps of her piecework.

I hated it: sewing for a living represented drudgery to me. I never wanted to wake up and have to look at an industrial sewing machine in my bedroom. The trouble was, I was good at it. Before my teenage years I was learning to make my own clothes at school and my mum helped me to use a domestic sewing machine at home. As I became a teenager I learned to design my own clothes and cut patterns. I loved the creativity of it, the fact that I could wear clothes that no-one else had. I made some weird stuff, but I was often complimented too. My school teachers were keen for me to study fashion design but I resisted with the stubbornness a mule would be proud of, determined I wouldn’t end up like my mother. And, there was another factor I was becoming acutely aware of: sewing was ‘women’s work’, domestic, demeaning and vilified. Worthless. Publicly admitting I enjoyed sewing made me feel worthless. And it wasn’t just men that I felt belittled by, some women made me feel I should be doing something more worthy too, whatever that was. These were women I was coming to hold in high esteem: second wave feminists demanding equality. The domestic was eschewed and sewing for money was something poor women did in crap conditions for next to nothing. But there didn’t seem to be any move to change attitudes to that.

I left home soon after my 19th birthday and went off to study an undergraduate degree in fine art, 250 miles away. I loved art with a passion; creative expression was (and still is) everything. And I got to use my brain. The probability of sewing frilly dresses for the rest of my life felt like a million miles away. But people began to notice my clothes, asked me where I got them. You could pick out an art student around the small town with no trouble at all. We were a tribe, a subculture coming out after dark in our DM’s and charity shop clothes, which no-one else would ever wear. It seemed odd to me that a few other students were even remotely interested in what I was wearing. They asked me to design and sew them things too, made to measure skirts, a coat, trousers. I said no at first, but caved in with the badgering. After a while I was seriously fed up with it: making clothes for others took any pleasure out of making my own clothes and had become the drudgery I was desperate to avoid. People constantly nagged me to hurry up, to change this or that. And for what? A bag of sweets or a bottle of wine. Because that’s all my hours of time and skills were worth. Nothing but a glib word of appreciation and a cursory trip to the supermarket. This is what ‘woman’s work’ was worth. And I vowed it was not the sort of work I’d ever do again.

I picked up patchwork again when I was about 21, after a few experiments I made as I was growing up at home. This was private sewing, something I could do at home that no-one would see and no-one could make me feel worthless for enjoying. I made small things, cushions mostly, on an old hand-cranked machine. I loved tiny strips of Liberty fabrics in traditional log-cabin designs, that eventually became threadbare from constant use. I tried my hand at English paper piecing and loved hand stitching. I did embroidery and experimented with textile art, I had a go at knitting lace. I went on an embroidery course. Around that time I bought an old second-hand BBC book on patchwork (from 1977), produced after a tv series, and I’ve still got it now. I have fond memories of trying out the patterns – and laughing at some of the frankly ludicrous things you could make with them. I’d be absorbed for hours in my own private world.

Man Sewing? Nope, this is a 1977 women's patchwork waistcoat from a BBC beginners patchwork publication.

One of the ludicrous things I decided I’d never make in a million years!

As the years went by I taught myself to make things for home, designing hand stitched, thickly lined curtains and blinds and yes, more cushions! I made myself clothes from time to time, but any pleasure I’d got from it had long since gone.  I was slowly drawn back to patchwork, one of my first textile loves, and today, thanks to the internet, I’ve found a community of like-minded people where I feel at home. I feel valued here and began to feel that what I do is valued too.

Not much more than a year or so ago, someone asked me the usual “what do you do?” question. I replied “patchwork and quilting” and then described a few of the things I was working on, this blog and the many talented people I’ve met here. He looked at me with disdain and said in a voice laden thick with sarcasm “well I suppose we need more cushions in the world”. This man, only in his 30’s, is a primary school teacher. This man is entrusted with nurturing young people’s sense of self-worth through education. Lots of young people. Class after class, year after year. And this man and his sexist, demeaning attitude is fairly typical. Decades after I made my sewing and quilting activities a private affair, one comment from one crass individual could still crush me to an inch high. But I decided to revel in the ‘feminine’, I believe in it and I own it. It’s mine and yours. It has a long and valid history and it’s with a needle and thread that we can and have expressed ourselves despite of, or because of, limited, controlling attitudes like these. This is why Luke Hayne’s asinine ‘gender issue’ and ‘man sewing’ gets my back up. This is why International Women’s Day is important. With attitudes like this, fair and equal pay for people in traditionally female roles will never be achieved. This is why women’s labour is exploited across the world. This is why we have to celebrate the feminine as well as the female, because the feminine persists, it’s tenacious despite being actively pilloried in patriarchal societies, by people of both genders. It’s why I don’t like the ‘I’m hiding my fabric purchase from my husband‘ jokes: they just perpetuate the idea that the feminine should be behind closed doors, and controlled by men.

Not funny, sexist joke about quilting and housework - "Sure, bring the family over! Barb's working on a quilt so you'll want to bring your own food and dishes...and a folding table if you have one.'

Because Barb (presumably his wife) is obviously meant to do the cooking and washing up…which is obviously beneath him.

Some people laugh these ‘jokes’ off as ‘just a bit of lighthearted fun’, that’s up to them, but we all know that what lurks behind the smiles of some is the knowing smirk of others. And so, I’ve made up my mind, I’m never going to feel belittled for doing something perceived as feminine ever again. And ‘man sewing’ can do one.

Have you ever felt belittled by someone because you sew or quilt? What did you do about it?

#pledgeforparity.

Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnchorusStudio.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Show and Tell

Meet Janie: she’s a knitter.  It’s been a life-long hobby and sometimes those knitting needles move so fast without her even looking at them I wonder if she’s actually human!

Janie Knitting at the Norway Inn. © Stephanie Boon, 2014 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Janie

We’ve been friends for a very long time and meet up once a week for a catch up and crafty ‘show and tell’ session. The meeting place usually involves an old pub, lunch and a coffee or two, maybe a cider in the summer. In the winter months we like to find somewhere with an open fire where we can while a way a couple of hours sewing and knitting. It can be a bit disappointing, like yesterday when we got to the Norway Inn and the fire wasn’t lit. A real fire does add to the ambiance of a crafty session! It makes you feel like you’re in some past century where life was slower and simpler. Probably.

This week Janie amazed me with her forward planning: she’s started knitting Christmas stockings already! She’s using a Debbie Bliss pattern in the lovely book The Knitter’s Year, 52 Simple Seasonal Knits. There are all kinds of small projects from scarves and cushions to slippers. It’s full of inspiring photos and the patterns must be pretty well written as Janie’s knitted several things now.

Jane Knitting a Christmas Stocking at the Norway Inn, Cornwall, Jan 2014. © Stephanie Boon, 2014 www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Janie’s stocking underway

I have no doubt that by the time I see her next week this one will be finished and she’ll be on to the next one!

As for my show and tell, well it’s actually something Janie asked me to run up for her: a pillow cover in some Sanderson fabric she had. I’ve finished the front with some outline quilting and machine embroidery, just got to sew it all together now, so that’ll be another one ticked off for next week 🙂

© Stephanie Boon, 2014, www.DawnChorusStudio.com Dandelion Clocks quilting detail

Dandelion Clocks

© Stephanie Boon, 2014, www.DawnChorusStudio.com Dandelion Clocks quilting detail

Machine embroidery / quilting detail

As for sewing in the pub, I reckon most of my hexie quilt has been done on Thursday afternoons! I’ve got the coloured border on all four sides now and I’m gearing up for the appliqué borders next. But I’ll save that news for next time.

I’m still struggling a bit with keeping on top of things, and the new medication I’m on just seems to make me sleep the whole time, so I hope you’ll bear with me as I try and get my blogging life back together. In the mean time I’ve been trying to exercise a bit and get some fresh air and you can read a bit about a walking challenge I’ve just taken up on my other blog Narrative Self. Come and see some pictures of the beautiful place I’m lucky enough to live in! Not much hope of getting out and about this weekend though; we’re in for torrential rain and gales. I hope you have some lovely things planned, maybe the bad forecast will inspire me to get on with those borders!  Speak soon.

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Simple Modern Sewing – a book of dress patterns

Finally spring seems to be here! It’s been perfect bank holiday weather today; you could almost believe it’ll be like this for months to come now, but the British weather is notoriously fickle (like me), so best not get too over excited…

Still, the brighter and warmer days have got me rummaging around my wardrobe for some lighter coloured clothes and the other day I pulled out this linen shirt that I made last summer. I love wearing it layered or under sleeveless jumpers at this time of year.

Hand made linen pink linen shirt. © Stephanie Boon, Dawn Chorus Studio, 2013

Front view of my handmade linen shirt

The shirt (or would you call it a blouse?) is a very simple shape and easy to make, so I decided to spend some time practicing some hand sewing and stitched the buttonholes by hand – I even made button hole bars across the buttons (on a pure whim) and stitched an invisible hem (I would have taken a photo but… 😀 )

Hand made linen pink linen shirt. © Stephanie Boon, Dawn Chorus Studio, 2013

Detail of buttonhole bar (and bad ironing!!!)

As you can see it’s a very loose design, so I decided to add ties that I can tie looser or tighter to give it more shape at the waist if I want to.

Hand made linen pink linen shirt. © Stephanie Boon, Dawn Chorus Studio, 2013

Tie at the back (yep, still not ironed!!)

Fancy A Read?

I made the pattern from the following book. I wanted to make my own pattern, but didn’t have the time to make up new blocks and this seemed like a good compromise.

Simple Modern Sewing, 8 Basic Patterns to Create 25 Favorite Garments. Shufu To Seikatsu

Simple Modern Sewing, by Shofu To Seikatsuy Sha, with sewing notions. © Stephanie Boon, Dawn Chorus Studio, 2013

Make some clothes!

I love this book! It has a clear layout, the instructions and diagrams are very good, and of course there are pre printed patterns for you to work from. As it says on the front cover, there are 8 designs from which you can create 25 garments, but if you know what you’re up to, or you don’t mind experimenting you can adapt the basic designs in endless ways.

As well as the patterns, there are suggestions for pattern layouts and basic construction techniques. There are great photos of all the garments, not just the 8 basic ones, so you get an idea of varying fabrics that you could use, from prints to plains to plaids.

Simple Modern Sewing, by Shofu To Seikatsuy Sha, with sewing notions. © Stephanie Boon, Dawn Chorus Studio, 2013

Wraparound dress design

Simple Modern Sewing, by Shofu To Seikatsuy Sha, with sewing notions. © Stephanie Boon, Dawn Chorus Studio, 2013

Blouse with a gathered neckline

There are dresses, skirts, trousers and tops, and most of them would suit light to medium weight fabrics so are great for adding to your summer wardrobe. Most of the garments are loose fitting and would make up well in cottons and linens, but it wouldn’t be the book for you if you were after something fitted.

So far I’ve made the shirt above and a couple of skirts so feel like I’ve already got my money’s worth. You can pick the book up on Amazon for a good price, and it’s far more cost effective than buying your usual pattern from Butterick, or one of the other pattern brands. The designs aren’t high fashion, but easy, wearable clothes that you can easily personalise or adapt as trends change.

If, like me, you’re thinking about making some new things for your warm weather wardrobe, this book is a great one to have on hand, I definitely recommend it!

 

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Knitting needle rolls for the knitters out there!

I made some patchwork knitting needle rolls for gifts (and unexpectedly sold a couple)! I thought I’d show you and maybe inspire you to make some too. Each knitting needle roll has unique design details, like the free machine embroidered ‘k1 p1’ and they’re all in different fabrics too (I love the cute one with a reproduction of a vintage sewing pattern).  They’re mostly machine stitched but there’s some hand embroidery on some of them to give them a bit more charm than they already had.

Knitting needle roll in vintage style fabrics, Stephanie Boon, Dawn Chorus Studio, 2013

1. Vintage style fabric with ‘k1p1’ free-machine embroidery

Knitting needle roll in in floral fabric, Stephanie Boon, Dawn Chorus Studio, 2013

2. Floral fabric on cream background with ‘purl 5 rows’ free-machine embroidery

 

Knitting needle case, floral patchwork design. Stephanie Boon, Dawn Chorus Studio 2013

3. Floral with diagonal patchwork section

 

Pink hydrangea knitting needle case, Stephanie Boon, Dawn Chorus Studio, 2013

4. Pink hydrangea, with hand embroidery detail inside.

A friend of mine inspired me to make them, she was so fed up with her knitting needles falling out of the one she had because it didn’t have a top flap and I wondered if I could improve on the design. It seems I could. They’ve been well received and there’s been no reports of lost needles!

All the details

  • An internal flap that ensures the needles won’t fall out;
  • Patchwork and quilted designs;
  • Tie to keep the roll together;
  • Strong bound edges;
  • 10 pockets (pockets may take more than one pair of needles);
  • Approximately 38cm square when unrolled;
  • 100% cotton;
  • Machine washable (do not tumble dry).

If you’d like to have a go at making one yourself and need a tip or two feel free to drop me a line and I’ll help out if I can.

 

Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnchorusStudio.com

Granny Squares of French Origin

Alfie of French Origin. Photograph of a drop in knitting and crochet workshop, Stephanie Boon, Dawn Chorus Studio, 2013

Meet Alfie (standing)

Have you ever been to a knitting and crochet group? I hadn’t, until earlier this week. And it was something I really wasn’t expecting to be doing!

I got a call from Alfie at 10 in the morning to ask me over, and being barely awake I said yes, not having a clue what I’d let myself in for. I quickly bagged a few supplies, ran a couple of errands and then headed over to the village of St Agnes.

Alfie owns a lovely little craft shop called French Origin in the centre of the village and tucked away upstairs is a quaint old attic room she uses for workshops. As I walked into the shop I could hear the laughter filtering down the stairs and guessed things must have been in full swing. It’s an informal drop-in, so you can just arrive whenever you want and as I edged my way up the steep stairs I thought I recognised a familiar voice. “Hello Boon, where’ve you been?!” Brooks was sat at the long table, coffee in front of her with the beginnings of a sock on four so-called needles, but really, surely they were meant to be cocktail sticks?

There were women gathered round and it looked like most of them were at the beginning of a project, some were completely new to to knitting, others hadn’t done any since they were children and then there were the likes of Brooks and Alfie who hadn’t stopped since they were children. I was impressed that some of the new knitters were starting with socks, yes socks! I got out my crochet. Being a bit of a novice to the craft I planned to just sit and make a few granny squares.

A while back I’d been inspired to have a go at making a blanket when I saw this beautiful design by Marie Wallin.

Crochet Granny Squares in Rowan Renew. Stephanie Boon, Dawn Chorus Studio 2013

Granny Squares

I fell in love with the textures and colours and the patchwork effect and went out and bought a couple of balls of wool.  It’s in Rowan Renew, a recycled yarn. I soon realised this wouldn’t be a cheap project, one ball seems to make about 3 squares… and at over £5 a ball, well maths isn’t my strong point, but for a large blanket that’s a lot of money! Ok, I thought, I’ll just buy a few balls here and there when I can, and one day I’ll have a fab blanket. The trouble with that plan is that making a few granny squares is actually quite a quick process! Unless of course you’re in a knitting group when the distractions are such that everything goes wrong 😀

Crochet Granny Squares in Rowan Renew. Stephanie Boon, Dawn Chorus Studio 2013

Growing

Still my little stack of squares is slowly growing. But I need more colours. I might unpick the grey squares above, or at least a round, as I think they might stand out too much overall. I only had one ball though, and that happened to be grey. So my solution to this temporary problem was to make centres instead. Then it occurred to me that if I can only afford one ball next time, I can just do the second round on these centres, ad infinitum! So that’s my top tip for the weekend:

  • If you want to make multicoloured granny squares and can only afford one ball of yarn at a time, just work 1 round at a time on a stack of centres! Simple!
Crochet Granny Squares in Rowan Renew. Stephanie Boon, Dawn Chorus Studio 2013

Centres stacking up

The sun’s shining today so I think I might expend some creative energy in the garden this afternoon.  Or…I could be tempted to scour pinterest instead for more exciting knitting and crochet projects! Because my Knit List and All Things Yarny board doesn’t have enough on it yet – check it out!

Have a great weekend.

Signature: Stephie x, ps I love to chat, join me and leave a comment...

Take one jacket…

Double-breasted women's purple velvet jacket with alterations. Stephanie Boon 2012

and give it a facelift!

To say my winter coat looks a bit scruffy is an understatement. It’s about 7 years old, too big for me, and well, very, very scruffy. I feel embarrassed wearing it and I think it’s fair to say I’ve finally worn it to death. Thrift being the order of the day, I bought this replacement velvet jacket (not a coat, but you can’t have everything!) for £7.00 in a local charity shop.

£7.00 for an old, obviously worn, H&M jacket seems somewhat overpriced, considering they’re a cheap brand in the first place. But then again I did see a summer GAP jacket in another charity shop for £12.99. On inspection there were holes on the outside of the patch-pockets and the velvet trim was very worn. I put on my ‘disgusted of Truro’ hat and marched it up to the counter. “Ooh, that’s such a lovely jacket that one”, said the volunteer behind the till. “Well it might’ve been once upon a time, but I don’t want it, it’s full of holes. And you’re asking £13.00 for it. That’s disgusting.”  “I think the best thing we can do is take off the floor until we can speak to the manager”. Really?  I think the best thing you can do is take a reality check. This is a CHARITY shop. It comes to something when the poor can’t even afford to shop there… I mean, second-hand, cheap supermarket clothes are only a £1 or so cheaper than they are to buy brand new. It’s ridiculous. But, hey ho, that’s the way it is. And if you’re lucky enough to see an ‘ok’ jacket in your size when you need one, well needs must!

Once I got it home, it was time to give it a facelift. First to go were the clanking, military style burnished silver buttons – I really don’t like the idea of rattling as I walk down the road. This in itself was quite a feat as there are 14 of them! (2 on the back, 2 on each cuff and 8 down the front.) I had a pretty, grey and cream print fat-quarter on my shelves I thought would give it a more feminine look, so decided to make the cover buttons you can see in the photo. I still had a bit left, so teamed it up with some black velvet to make the corsage. And…I’m quite pleased with the results 🙂 Surely this is what being thrifty is all about?  I really enjoyed doing the makeover, although I can’t say that for shopping for the jacket in the first place, ha, ha!

Making the corsage was the most fun part. I haven’t made them this way before (more structured), but I was inspired to give it a go after seeing a couple of gorgeous ones a friend made recently. I adapted her method to get the style I wanted and it worked really well. (Another talented friend made the scarf in the photo by the way!). As it’s coming up to Christmas I thought they’d make lovely gifts so I’ll write a tutorial with a pattern and you can have a go too! Look out for it over the next couple of days.

Now, what can I do with that old coat?

Stephie x

 

Recycled jumper

Knitting and autumn, they really do go hand in hand don’t they? This year my plan was to knit a jumper in time for my favourite season, and I’m pleased to say…mission accomplished, ta da!!!

It’s a very quick knit (even for me), being made up of just eight squares and a bit of edging around the openings. I love the texture of the recycled yarn and the ‘double stitch’ rib was a refreshing new adventure for me. Ok so not much of an adventure since you just knit into the stitch below of the knit stitches, but a bit different all the same. You stitch each square together perpendicular to the adjacent one to create even more texture and movement and voila, you have a very warm, short-sleeve pull-over perfect for woodland walks!

The only annoying thing about this project was that I used 2, yes 2, more balls of yarn than specified, meaning the cost rose by well over £10.00.  I was checking and double checking my tension, assuming it was my fault, but the finished jumper measures exactly the same as the diagram shows in the pattern book. Obviously my tension was alright then. It’s not the first time that this has happened to me with Rowan patterns and yarns, so in future I think I’ll have to add in an extra ball just in case. See the notes below for full details of the pattern and yarn I used.

I’m not sure I have another knitting project in mind (or one that I can afford anyway!), so I’m looking forward to getting back to some sewing. I’ve managed to dabble over the last couple of weeks, but what with illness and the knitting it seems to have taken a back seat.  What have you got planned for the weekend, or the coming weeks for that matter? Anything exciting? Let me know!

It’s another beautiful day here so I’m off for walk later; I can see this jumper’s going to get a lot of wear 🙂

Stephie x

 

 

Purple Rowan jumper knitted by Stephanie Boon 2012, with sycamore leaf

Autumn Knitting

 

Woodland Walk, Trelissick 2012, by Stephanie Boon

Leaves are still green

 

Rowan jumper 'Periwinkle', details. Hand Knitted by Stephanie Boon, 2012

Details

 

Stephanie Boon Sitting on Roundwood Quay, 2012 (new hand-knitted Rowan jumper)

Sitting on Roundwood Quay enjoying the autumn sunshine

 

Rowan Purelife AutumnPeriwinkle‘ by Marie Wallin.

Knitted in Renew, colourway Garage (684)

Used full 11 x 50g balls (9 specified). Finished jumper measures 58cm as specified (so tension fine).

19cm opening at top of front for neck was too small and not in the same place as the pattern photograph.  I redid it adding an extra couple of inches and picked up 44 stitches down each side (instead of the 34 specified). I used a circular needle as I didn’t want to undo the back seam again (much easier anyway!).

Stitching and knitting on an autumn day

View from St Agnes Beacon, 22 Sept 2012

A blustery climb up St Agnes Beacon

Yesterday’s weather didn’t hold. The glorious sunshine lasted just a short time before the grey clouds came rolling in.  It’s beginning to feel like we need to batten down the hatches. I love that feeling more than anything at this time of year, shutting out the world and building a nest.

When I went for a tramp up the Beacon yesterday I was glad I’d put on a woolly hat and scarf, people in the village at the bottom of the hill probably thought I was mad but by the time I got to the top it was blowing a gale and my ears were aching from the cold. Good decision. The breath of fresh air was just what I needed, seeing the change in the season before my eyes. The deep purple heather is beginning to turn a beautiful ochre and the bracken a deep sienna. So inspiring.

When I got home it was time for some knitting and a bit of stitching…

Double stitch in Rowan Purelife Renew

Heathery colours for autumn

 

Joining linen patches with whip-stitch

Practicing whip-stich to join a nine-patch

It’s windy and raining today. More hunkering down and knitting required. How about you?

Stephie x