Saturday, 28 February 2015

Gift Stitching

March and April are busy months for me, with lots of birthdays and occasions, two of which are my Mum's birthday and Mother's Day. I decided to spend my Saturday making her some presents. 



This oilcloth was a tablecloth which I bought in Tiger, a sort of IKEA-style shop which sells really cute homewares and toys. I wanted to make a large shopping bag, so I had a good look through my fabric stash and found some printed cotton which would work as a lining. I've been watching the Great British Sewing Bee recently, but my sewing method would not have lasted long on that show! I didn't iron my fabric before cutting, I didn't measure anything, and I shoved everything under the sewing machine and hoped for the best! 


I'm quite happy with the results though - a large shopper with sturdy handles, slightly messy top stitching round the bag opening, and a pretty lining. 





I also got out my considerable stash of felt, and made a little spring daffodil picture in a frame. A productive Saturday afternoon!


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

All About The Gloves

I seem to have spent a lot of my time knitting gloves recently. I think it's because they are relatively quick projects to knit - even if the pattern is really complicated, the small scale stops the project feeling totally overwhelming. That said, Sanquhar gloves are probably the most difficult things I have ever knitted, and I just finished my second pair of them.

These gloves are the Duke design, and the pattern is a traditional one from the village of Sanquhar in Scotland. You can buy the patterns from the Women's Institute in Edinburgh, and if you get the chance it's definitely worth visiting Sanquhar itself to see the knitting on display in the museum.


I absolutely love the finished look of these gloves, but they are a pain to knit! I used 2mm needles and Jamieson and Smith 2ply lace yarn, which works up really nicely. The pattern itself is quite complicated to follow unless you know how the finished gloves are supposed to look, as each finger has an individual gusset and the lines between the patterns have to run up the correct side of the fingers. Once you get the hang of it, it's not so bad, but I did spend a lot of time shifting stitches around the needles trying to work out where my round should start and end. I modified the letter charts slightly, and decided to knit the recipient's name rather than the traditional initials.

If you want to find out more about Sanquhar knitting, Tom of Holland has a fantastic blog on the subject, which talks about the history and construction of the gloves - definitely worth a read. I also think that the patterns themselves are really adaptable. I made a child's pullover with the Duke pattern, and other designers have used the squares to create hats, scarves and cushions among other things.


Halfway through the Sanquhar knitting I felt like I needed a little break, so I made these fun fingerless mitts for my friend. He wanted something a bit different and superhero related, but I didn't have much luck finding a suitable pattern. These gloves jumped out at me because they were pretty fun, but not too "novelty" to wear to the office. The pattern is Fightin' Words by Annie Watts, and I used some of my new Drops Alpaca yarn. It's so soft and fuzzy, but the pattern was still quite defined. I found the charting really easy to follow, and I also liked the fact that the design can look so effective in lots of different colour combinations.



Now I've got these smaller items out of the way, I've started working through my countless unfinished projects. Currently, I have a cable cardigan, a vintage sweater, a crochet cushion, a knitted fair isle cushion, a pair of fair isle knee socks, a baby blanket and a tunic dress that all need to be finished. I'm trying to stop myself from casting on new things until all these projects are completed, but it's going to be a challenge!