Sunday, 25 June 2017

a handmade wedding outfit

No beating about the bush with this blog post title - I made a wedding outfit for my pals' wedding this month, and I'm finally getting round to bragging, ba boom. Oh, mildy unrelated brag too, I am know deputy editor on Knit Now and Crochet Now, and Ben and I are looking for wedding venues, so I'm quite pleased with June 2017 thus far! Back to the craft-and-grind though.

This year, I've actually become rather obssessed with dressmaking and I am really developing a love for it. I might even go so far as to put it on par with knitting, if only because as soon as I finish a dress I'm ready to start another; I actually finished one last night, planning to cut out the next one later. Back on track - I had this crazy idea that I really wanted to make a dress for the wedding, and then, well, here we are!

I opted for a dress pattern from an older issue of Love Sewing magazine - another title I worked on as editorial assistant (until recently!) which is just my idea of perfect, loose with no sleeves and an elasticated waist which allows more room for eating, drinking and dancing at events. After making a practice dress with some cheaper cotton (I found out I needed to shorten the bodice for a less-bulky top) I set about making the dress proper with some beautiful John Kaldor satin from Minerva Crafts. Satin is difficult to sew with (I am still very much a beginner, though I can lean towards advanced) and there are plenty of errors in the dress, but I love it SEW (#punalert) much! It was such a lovely fit, so comfy all day long, and plenty of people commented on it.

image taken on a phone, not our best but we look gooooooooood - shoes from New Look if interested

Once I decided that a dress was to be made, in true why-not-take-on-as-much-crafting-as-possible fashion (every, damn, Christmas) I wanted to knit the jacket to go with the dress! For my birthday just gone, Ben bought me all the Rowan Softyak I needed to knit a jacket that I had my eye on for a couple of years actually, but just didn't have the excuse to spend that much. A birthday is definitely a good enough excuse.

Softyak, a yak hair (I know, right?!) and cotton blend, is a chainette yarn that is an absolute dream to knit with, and so so comfy and soft to wear! If I were to knit the jacket again I would possible go up one size as I like my cardigans to have more positive ease. But it is definitely the smartest thing I've ever knitted, and I suppose for a wedding this is the aim. The design of the jacket was beautiful in it's simple design that really allowed the yarn to shine in the knitting. I've not knitted drop-sleeves before but they are something I will knit again: lovely and easy to insert, not too much shaping, great for knitting while watching TV or walking to work.

The dress was completed 2 nights before the event, and the jacket? Ahem - in the taxi on the way (yes, I did have a crochet hook and pair of snips in my bag all day). But I loved the result and process so much, that I will be making another dress (different style), and aiming to complete another cardigan (that I started 2 years ago ...) for another wedding at the end of July - quite excited again!

And I do plan to show off the rest of my dresses on the blog soon, but as you read earlier it's been an excellently busy and exciting month! Here's to more of the same, and I really hope you are having a lovely summer guys :)

Sunday, 11 June 2017

#EnchantedCottageKAL 4

Carrying on with the #enchantedcottagkal with Knit Now, this month's square is, in actual fact, a crochet square - right up my street! A few knitters might feel a little perturbed that one square in the knit along is a crochet square, but I say poopoo - this is THE excuse you needed to learn to crochet (get to YouTube!) or, if you really don't fancy it, each issue actually comes with 3 square patterns (as you may recall, I am knitting the Hyacinth Cottage blanket, aka the challenging one - girl, is it good!) so participants can whizz back an issue or 2 and choose any other square that takes their fancy.

Continuing with the Hyacinth Cottage, my crochet square for this month's instalment is called the Whirligig - man, I do love a great pattern name.

This square was a bit of a challenge. In order to achieve the 3-colour spiral you actually work the 3 colours on each round until the spiral is complete, keeping them all attached to the work as you go. When I first read this instruction I was a little apprehensive, but I must give kudos to Debbie Tomkies (the blanket designer), as her instructions were clear and straightforward enough that I was able to achieve the deisred effect first time. I wouldn't suggest this pattern for a complete beginner, but if you are comfortable working in the round and changing colours, this is a great square to stretch your budding crochet skills.

The real beauty in this design was the time it took to make. I crochet SO MUCH faster than I knit, and I easily had the second square completed in just over half an hour, once I had a grasp on the instructions! I migh go so far as to say I was a little sad to have finished so quickly, but I had a warm glow of accomplishment so I'm not too upset really. And considering how long the colourwork squares took me last month, it was refreshing to switch it up a bit.

Considering we are 4 designs in now, and that 2 of these have used the dark green as the main colour, I would like to see some pink squares come up in the KAL soon, to add a pop of colour to the blanket. I do love the rustic, traditional-but-with-a-modern-slant, colour scheme however, but I am itching to spend more time with the bright pink that shines so beautifully in the WYS Illustrious wool.

Make sure to keep up with how I am getting on with the knit along by following the blog, and also search the hashtag #enchantedcottageKAL to see everyone else's progress!