fashion fail - Poorly Dressed: What a nice wholesome...OH MY GOD

But some of our best friends are black!


This is an old project, but one I didn’t get the chance to share.  In November, my wonderful honey told me that he wanted a hand knit jumper for Christmas. Mind, this was mid November.  I should have said ‘no’ and bought him a digital gadget. But instead, since I had no job at the time and excited that my Honey actually wanted something that I could make him, I quickly ran online and ordered everything I needed from New Lanark.

I managed to get it down with 2 weeks to spare, but I could tell that things weren’t right.  I had to switch from following the Large instructions to the Medium because my Spidy-senses were tingling with danger.  And even having done that, the bloody thing turned out to be HUGE.

Now, this was a new experiment for me. I had never knit a patter that was bottom up until the sleeves, and then split to do raglan style sleeves. And I didn’t really have sleeves that matched the armholes. But I ignored that. The jumper was MASSIVE! He tried it on and I quickly saw that I would have to take out 8″ from the body and about 2″ from the sleeve width.  But how? Well I made that up.

I used mattress stitch to pinch 4 inches together on each side of the body and then cut out the tumor.  Upon reflection, I should have looked up how to properly steek, done that, and then mattress stitched up the side. But no matter. After I had cut out the excess fabric, I used a zigzag stitch on my sewing machine to run along the seam because I’m paranoid of it unraveling.  I had to be more creative with the sleeves, but eventually got them trimmed down, and managed to fold back and sew about 2″ of the shoulders without making it look like I had included shoulder pads (although it was touch and go for a while).

But the end result was a jumper that fits him and that he actually wears. Like, a lot.  And yet despite him wearing it ALL THE TIME, I have never managed to catch a photo of him in it. 

Pattern: Something from DROPS

Ages ago, when I was back in CA, I bought the most delicious skein of Malabrigo sock.  I knew it would be a shawl at some point.

So just before the Christmas holiday, I cast it on thinking it would be good mindless knitting.  Then I spent the Christmas holiday getting drunk and seeing old friends, and doing everything except knitting. I fished it out once we got back to Cambridge and finally got it all finished and blocked.  I LOVE IT!  The size makes it great to wrap around your neck as a ‘keep me warm like a scarf’, and the pattern was simple and easy to remember.

I can’t say enough about how much I love Malabrigo, and Malabrigo sock was every bit as pleasant to knit with as everything else it seems they do.

Pattern: Holden Shawlette

Once upon a time, I bought a sweater on sale from Uniqlo for £12.  It was 100% wool and the only white jumper in my closet.  I got to wear it 4 times.  Then my wonderful honey grabbed it when we were doing a load of lights and my wonderful sweater morphed into something that wouldn’t even fit a toddler.

You can't tell here, but it's TINY

But I’m poor and hate seeing clothes go to waste, especially if I didn’t get much use out of them when they were wearable. So out came the scissors and voila- refashioned into a pair of felted slippers!

I had made a pair of felted slippers last year by knitting some scraps up from my various finished projects, but this was the first time I had to figure out how to make a pair from an already felted jumper.  It’s not super pretty, but they’d def functional and more like felted socks than big thick slippers.  All in all, it took the majority of the sweater, with the back and front becoming the soles and top part, and the sleeves becoming the ankle section.

One thing I quickly learned about Cambridge is that everyone and their mom gets from point A to point B via bike.  A bike is far more essential than a car, and for those of us who live 10mins by bike outside of the town centre, a bike is life.   The next thing I quickly learned after that is that Cambridge is  almost always being hit with a FREEZING wind (especially in winter) that drops the temperature down at least another10 degrees.  Trust me, when you leave the house to bike to the pub and have to scrape ice off your seat first, you better be wearing gloves.  I forgot my gloves that day and almost had to have my hands removed from the subsequent frostbite. So I decided to fight back with gloves.

Bella Gloves

Oh yeah. Those are Aran weight Alpaca HELD DOUBLE for chunky alpaca-y goodness. Me-1, Nature-0.

Once upon a time, I found an Etsy shop that made beautiful wallets.  And I wanted one. And I bought one because it was only £10 and did everything that I wanted a wallet to do, but couldn’t find in a shop. Plus it was handmade.

Then I found out that the wallets this lady sold were from a free pattern (a pattern which the designer said was okay for people to use for commercial use as well- a very rare find these days), but to my eyes, it was waaaaaaaaaaaaay too complicated.  But apparently that’s how I roll.

Let me take you back to when I first started knitting. I discovered a yarn shop in Edinburgh, bought some Alpaca yarn because it was soft, then went online to ebay and looked up alpaca mittens to buy. Because it was my goal in life to one day be able to knit mittens, and I thought somehow that having a finished pair would spur me on to actually replicate them. So what if my mental processes are a bit fucked up when it comes to crafts?

The point is, I bought this wallet knowing full well in the back of my mind that I would one day be able to replicate it. Somehow, some way.

Enter Christmas.

I found this amazing fabric shop in Cambridge (CallyCo) and said to myself that this year, I would sew people things rather than knit them.  I thought this would be cheaper, but then, as always when you start a new craft, the bitch is in all the wee bits and bobs you need to buy just to begin.  I think I spent around £200 on fabric, cutters, boards, snaps, clasps, buttons, ribbons, interfacing, elastic, etc, etc, etc. Cheaper….ugh.  But at the end of the day I finally had a finished project.

I give you, my x-mas pressies of 2010:

Kira's Wallet

Inside- note the card holders, zippered coin pouch, and two bill pockets

Claudia's Wallet

Mom's wallet

Roughly 40 hours of my life

Kira's Crochet holder

Crochet holder closed

All the bits

As you can see from the last picture, I ended up making 6 wallets, two coin pouches, a tote bag, and a make up case (on bookshelf) with attachable cupcake pin.   And I still have a lot of fabric left to make some other really cute things.

I’m not sure if I should do a few more wallets, or branch out and try to tackle a few different kinds of bags.  I’m leaning towards bags.  Things I discovered in this: Magnetic snap closures are freaking expensive for what they are.  Snaps are a lot cheaper, but a hell of a lot more scary to use. I did half the wallets with snaps and half with magnets. The snaps (once I destroyed several tabs trying to figure out how to make them work) were great- WHEN THEY WORKED! But for one wallet, it just didn’t stay put. I kept hammering, and it kept…hammering a hole through my fabric. Then the plastic snap thingy holder broke. Now I’m debating a snap tool thing, but am far too poor.  Also, the people at John Lewis don’t really know as much as you’d like. I asked them for the strongest, thickest interfacing (something I had never used before) and the lady gave me this light fairy gauze stuff that she said was really good because it had criss crosses on it or something for stability. I ended up with a very limp wallet.  Also, didn’t know that iron on interfacing sticks best with a wee bit of spray water on it. Whoops.

I don’t peculiarly like making new year resolutions because I’m every so good at forgetting them. However, there is quite a mental list of craft projects/skills I would like to work on this year.

1) FINISH WHAT’S ON MY NEEDLES. How often do knitters express this? But I need some of those needles now, and these projects seriously need to get done. I have a half finished fair isle hat that I need to just hunker down and do, as well as the lace hoodie Lakia that is only missing 1.3 sleeves,a hood, and the trim.

2) improve fair isle. See above. Last year, when I really wanted to work on my standing skills,I did a pair of mittens and was fairly happy with the results. Which is why I wanted to further improve then with the hat. The hat I’ve been procrastinating on now for about a year. Just finish it!

3) work the refashioning. This is a major one I want to really embrace. I have a sewing machine and I need to not be afraid to use it. While ideally I will one day make my own awesome dresses and clothes, for now I need to just learn the basics. And since I am ass poor,I need to learn them without spending money on fabric. This is where refashioning comes in. I’ve tinkered with this in the past, making a small kilt fit my hips, and turning a pair of leggings into a long sleeved shrug. But I would like to take it further by embellishing old cardigans, livening up old shirts, and by busting the thrift stores to transform old things into awesome new ones. I don’t think I have the imagination to be able to walk into a shop and see how to transform a men’s  shirt into a dress, but hopefully one day. Plus, refashioning will let me play with my nonexistent sewing skills so that one day I won’t transform 3 yards of fabric into a heap of expensive scraps. Refashioning project of the week-transforming a jumper that I accidentally super shrunk into a pair of felted slippers.