MY FAVOURITE HANDMADE KNITS

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I’ve been knitting for the best part of twenty years, on and off, but it’s really only been in the last year that I’ve got into my groove with knitting things that I love. I’m feeling pretty set in my personal style, and I think I know what I like for myself and for my home, so my knits are beginning to encompass that.

There are a few of my knits that really stand out above the rest as ultimate favourites, and the first will probably be no surprise to you at all if you follow my knitting endeavours.

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This is my dream blanket. Seriously, the blanket of my dreams. I thought long and hard about this blanket, resisting the urge to get started on an impulse, until I found the perfect yarn, needle and stitch combination. It’s fascinating to see how allowing the progress to take shape slowly, has resulted in the best thing I’ve ever knit.

This blanket is everything I hoped it would be and more, and Sam and I have spent many a recent evening tucked up together on the sofa, keeping toasty warm and super comfortable without having to fight for a corner! I love it, and I can’t see a time when that will ever change.

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This long sleeve crop jumper was another project that was a long time in the making. I found it really difficult to discover a jumper knitting pattern with this kind of fitted design, so I spent more time searching Ravelry than I think I’d care to admit. All of that hard work paid off, though, when I discovered this perfect design by Lauren Riker.

As with most things in life, I wanted my jumper to be more simple and minimal, so I omitted the cable pattern from the design, and I’m so pleased with the result. The fit is pretty much perfect, and I’ve worn it with jeans, dungarees, trousers and skirts. It’s the kind of thing I expect to live in this winter, and I love it so much I even made it in another colour, too.

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These little dungarees are one of my favourite things to knit, ever! I first made a pair for Amy’s baby, Benjamin, and I was so excited when I received a commission request through Instagram for another pair. I absolutely adore the process of knitting them, though I’m not entirely sure why. They’re made in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, which is a beautiful yarn, and I love the way that it knits up. Plus, the design is so cute, and that seed stitch detailing has me dishing out all the heart eyes!

As you can see, I’m all about the grey! I’ve got a few more knits in the pipeline, so these favourites might get a bit of a shuffle in the not-too-distant future, but I’ll always love them.

If you like my knits and want to keep up with my woolly endeavours, you can find me at Knits Please, and on Instagram.

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HANDMADE T-SHIRT DRESS

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I actually made this dress a few months ago, with the hope of having something easy to throw on in the summer heat. Sadly, I didn’t wear it more than a couple of times, and I’m certain that it was because of the fit.

This week, I pulled out the sewing machine once more to make some minor adjustments, and I’m much more comfortable in it now.

I bought this jersey material about five years ago, when I decided that I wanted to try my hand at designing my own ath-leisure line. Unsurprisingly, that didn’t go very well, and this fabric had been sat in my stash ever since.

I was initially planning to buy a black t-shirt dress, but while I was de-cluttering my fabrics, I happened upon this and an ideal match was made.

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Instead of buying a sewing pattern for the dress, I followed this tutorial from MYSTYLEDIARYY on YouTube.

I’ve done a fair amount of sewing in my time, so I found the instructions pretty simple to follow, and was able to get the sizing right with some clever guesswork, and the help of an A3 pad of paper as a guide.

I really love the relaxed fit of the dress, and since I’ve taken in the sides at the waistline, I think it has the perfect amount of shaping to not feel like I’m wearing a sack! This will definitely see a lot of love next summer, I’m sure of it, but I’m hoping it’ll also work in the cooler season, layered over a long sleeve top and paired with thick tights and boots.

HANDMADE DENIM SKIRT

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You may have seen a little while ago that I’ve been reigniting my love of sewing after a trip the The Great British Sewing Bee Live. Excitingly, I’ve already finished my latest project, and it’s a good one!

I’ve been working to balance my desire to make things, with my more recently acquired minimalist tendencies, so when it came to deciding on a new sewing project, I was mindful that it would have to fit with my wardrobe, and be something that I was actually going to wear.

Last year I made a skirt from the New Look 6843 pattern, View E, from a beautiful, bold floral fabric that my Mum kindly gave to me. I absolutely loved it, and wore it a lot last winter with a roll neck, thick tights and chunky boots. This year, though, while I did wear it to the Sewing Bee, I don’t quite feel like myself in it, so I set about recreating it in a fabric that would suit my current style – black denim.

The pattern itself is quite easy, and I find the instructions are really simple to follow, so I was able to whip the whole thing up within a morning, having already made sure I had the right zipper and buttons, something I’m not particularly good at doing!

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I have to be honest and say that I’m really pleased with the result. The fit is brilliant, and I can already see countless items in my wardrobe that I can wear with it, so I’m sure it’s going to see a lot of use over the coming months. I also think it’s long enough to wear with bare legs in the spring and summer, so I’m hoping it will become an evergreen wardrobe staple.

WHAT I’VE BEEN KNITTING LATELY

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Knitting is by far my most prominent hobby. It’s something I’ve done for as long as I can remember, but this past year has really seen my knitting develop. Lately I’ve been focused on a few key projects, and I’d like to share them with you today.

My current WIP (work in progress) is an interesting one for me. It’s a pattern I’ve never knit, but one that I know well. My late Nannie knitted this jumper for me when I was in my mid-teens. I clearly remember wearing it to school on own-clothes day with a vintage pleated midi skirt and strands of beads. I cherished that jumper for a long time, and would love to still wear it day, if it weren’t for the fact that it’s beige.

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On a recent clear-out of my knitting stash, I came upon that very same pattern and an idea fell into place. I’d make one for myself, retracing the stitches knit by my Nannie, but this time using a mystery yarn, found in a charity shop with no label, and kindly gifted to me by my lovely Mum. It feels like my way of bringing our three generations together, through something that we’ve all shared – knitting.

The pattern itself is really interesting, knit with two different sized needles, sideways from cuff to cuff. It’s coming along really well, and I love the texture that’s being created. Sadly, I have no idea what the yarn is, what fibre or brand, but I guess that just adds to the magic of it all!

I really can’t wait to finish this project, and add it to my Autumn staples, so I can carry a little bit of Nannie with me wherever I go.

I’ve also recently finished a couple of projects, the first of which was my third-time-lucky cropped vest in a gorgeous yarn from Debbie Bliss.

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This Cotton Denim DK yarn in charcoal spoke to me as soon as I saw it, and I couldn’t bear to leave without it. It was my first cotton acquisition, and I wanted to knit something that I could wear in the Summer. As it goes, I was a little late finishing this, so it only got a couple of outings before being sidelined until the warmer weather returns next year, but I’m certain that I’ll get a lot of wear out of it then.

This was an improvised pattern, knit in the round and then split to work the front and back. I wanted to create something with a casual, loose fit, that would look great just thrown on with a skirt or jeans, and I definitely think I achieved that. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t write down the pattern, as I really love the shaping, but I’m trying to move away from knitting repeats, so I keep my wardrobe growth to a minimum and really cherish each item for what it brings.

My final FO (finished object), and by far my favourite, is my dream blanket.

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The idea for this blanket has burned for around a year, but I designed and knit it all over the Summer. My goal was to create a cosy, warm blanket that both Sam and I could snuggle under throughout the long Winter evenings, and the result could not be more perfect!

This blanket is absolutely huge! We can both fit under it comfortably with lots of room to spare, and the texture is just so gorgeous and squishy I never want to leave.

As it happens, I’ve actually released the knitting pattern for this blanket this evening, over on my website. It’s an incredible feeling to know that people want something that I have designed, and I’m so excited to see how other people interpret the pattern.

I’m content with just one WIP right now, so I’ll be giving a lot of love to my mystery jumper, but once I’m done with that I’ve got a few projects in the queue. There’s a cardigan that I’ve had my eye on for a while, which should fill a big gap in my wardrobe, and I bought the yarn for it this week. Whether that will be next, I’m not sure, as I’m desperate to get something on my needles for Socktober, and I’d love to make a San Agústin Facecloth, too!

REIGNITING MY LOVE OF SEWING

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Ever since I left school I’ve enjoyed sewing. It quickly became a hobby of mine, and I questioned why I chose not to study textiles and instead spent out my years covered in sawdust in resistant materials.

I can’t count how many items I’ve customised, or how often I’ve trawled charity shops for beautiful fabrics to create something new, but I can tell you that I have a total of three hand sewn items in my wardrobe, all of which I’ve made in the past year, and two of which I could probably comfortably do without.

Sewing for me has always been a little improvised. Working with the fabrics and patterns I’ve found in charity shops, to create items inspired by my love of vintage design. Sadly, though, many of those items didn’t fit well, or the finishing wasn’t great, or they were incredibly beautiful but not the kind of thing that I would actually wear.

I guess all of those things came together to encourage me to stop sewing so much. I love vintage design, but I’m much more comfortable in casual basics that I can throw on every morning, and my love of knitting really took over on the creativity front.

A couple of weeks ago, though, I took a trip with my Mum to The Great British Sewing Bee Live. We’ve both been heavily into sewing in the past, and we’ve both slowed down lately, but we hoped a visit would give us some inspiration to dust off the machines and get stitching again, and it certainly did!

It was amazing to see such a selection of independent pattern makers and fabric stockists, and I found myself drawn to so many more designs than I am with the well-known brands. I love the simplicity, timelessness and wearability of patterns designed for style and not for fashion.

I left with a Trapeze Dress pattern and new tape measure from Merchant & Mills, and some delicious smelling pineapple Soak to get my sewing projects and knits super fresh, but that’s not all. I also left with a reinvigorated sense to create, and a clear idea of three sewing projects I really want to make, that I’m confident will work well with my wardrobe and become much-loved staples.

I’m planning to make a shortened version of the Trapeze Dress in a charcoal fabric, probably with the 3/4 length sleeves, and a short sleeved t-shirt from the same pattern, as well as a black denim a-line mini skirt from a much used and loved pattern I already own.

I’m really excited to sew for myself again, and I can’t wait to incorporate more handmade items into my classic, timeless wardrobe!

2016 In Projects

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It’s no secret that I love to get my make on, and while projects may have been a little fewer and farther between in 2016, I still love to look back and see how my creativity has presented itself. Here are a few of my favourite projects from the past year…

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Family Photograph Wall Hanging

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Coconut Nutella Bites (recipe here)

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Cropped Blouse, and the first time I ever did cuffs!

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The first three knitting patterns I designed myself

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This simple reminder that you are loved

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A cropped roll neck vest I’d been visualising for months

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The marble sticky plastic desk transformation

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A cropped roll neck jumper (there’s a theme here!)

I definitely spent the majority of the latter part of the year knitting, and I’m not sad about that at all. My love for knitting has really manifested itself this year, and I’ve been able to make some awesome, classic knits – I think I might have found my niche!

I hope 2017 will bring plenty more projects for me to get stuck into and keep my creativity inspired!

 

Simple Snood Knitting Pattern for Knit Aid

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If you’ve seen my last post, or noticed my absence over the recent weeks, you might know that it’s because I have been working hard and doing what I can to raise awareness about the refugee crisis. As part of The Worldwide Tribe I have had so many amazing opportunities and have been able to see first-hand how opinion has changed and how grassroots movements can make a massive difference! One of these such movements is Knit Aid, which has given an outlet for those of us who want to help by channeling our creative passions into something good!

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With simple online patterns to follow, as well as workshops in the London area, Knit Aid is the perfect way for people all over the country, and even the world, to know that they are doing something to support those in need. There’s nothing better than knowing that something that you put time, effort and love into can make someone’s life a little better, and help them to survive the winter.

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I’ve rustled up a few simple snoods and wanted to share the pattern with you. They only take a couple of hours to make, and are simple enough for beginners, too, so why not get stuck in!

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You will need:

  • 1 ball of seriously chunky wool (I use Seriously Chunky from Sue Ryder – the money goes to charity so it’s a win-win!)
  • A pair 10mm knitting needles
  • A wool sewing needle
  1. Cast on 13 stitches.
  2. Knit one, purl one until the end of the row. You’ll start and finish on a knit stitch.
  3. Continue with this pattern, always starting and ending the row with a knit stitch, until a couple of feet of yarn remain.
  4. Cast off.
  5. Use the loose end of yarn to sew the two ends of your knitting together.
  6. Weave in any loose threads and trim any excess.

Voila! A simple cowl / snood that will keep someone a little warmer throughout this winter!

You can send your finished snoods (or scarves or hats!) to:

Knit Aid

37 Pembury Avenue

Surrey

KT4 8BU

United Kingdom

Thanks for reading, until next time!

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