Monday, January 27, 2014

A Miette setback.

Miette cardigan

The Miette cardigan had been in my Ravelry sights for a long while now and after a couple of false starts, she was coming along nicely. It's a fairly simple cardigan, mostly stockinette, top down raglan sleeve with a little lace detail that runs along the edges and sleeve cuffs. 

Somewhere along the line, I might have got a little distracted and never managed to get the exact number of stitches I was meant to have but the black was nice and forgiving and so I just forged through. 

I finished the body and one sleeve during the week and tried it on and just didn't like it. The yarn (Morris & Sons Empire in the Charcoal colourway) seems too puffy and the 3/4 sleeves, which I normally prefer, don't work as well as I would like with the bulk of the yarn. The lace around the cuff of the sleeve didn't work because sure, I had more stitches than I was meant to. This also has left me with sleeves that are really too big. Blurgh. 

I think I'll skip the lace cuffs and just knit them plain but I can't even look at it at the moment. It's been sitting in a bundle back in the knitting basket. And I've been glaring at it from across the room. 


I had written all of the above last week. Today, I sit with no Miette cardigan, and some extra balls of that lovely soft yarn sitting in my knitting basket. I ripped it all out yesterday. 

I had pulled myself together for the long weekend we had in Australia and figured I'd just forge on with the sleeves. Maybe once I got through it, with properly fitted sleeves I would be inspired again? I ripped out the one sleeve I had completed and knit it again, plain this time and decreased pretty severely to get a fit I was happy with. On my arm, the sleeve looked good but off, it was the most hideous shape. I completed the second hideously disfigured but fitted sleeve. Then I looked at it all and realised that I just didn't like the cardigan. It wasn't right for me and so I sat and ripped the whole thing out. 

I didn't even feel any remorse which says something else (actually, I felt a little bit of sadistic joy pulling all of those thousands of stitches out) It's sad when you spend so long working on something and it doesn't work out. It's not you, it's me, I wanted to tell it. 

BUT. There just ain't no point in carrying on with something if you aren't enjoying it. I really felt like I'd arrived at a point with my knitting where I was producing things I was really proud of. Yarn knows, after all of this practice, I've actually grown quite good at this knitting thing. I like being skilled enough to make items that I am really proud to wear out and about. The Miette was setting me back a couple of years and that just won't do!

PS. I welcomed a new (potential) cardigan to the family last night and cast on for the Alys cardigan I've been desperate to make for some time now. Let's hope this one sticks!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Adelaide Cowl

While Ben and I were in Adelaide for Christmas and New Year I found some Misti Alpaca yarn - lovely handpainted chunky in the Dark Chocolate colourway.

I'd been working steadily away on my Miette cardigan (that up until this morning had one sleeve and now has none) and while it's not a tricky pattern, I just felt like something totally mindless to work on while I was on holidays. Just something I could cart around in my bag and work on while I visited friends and family and something that could withstand a few glasses of wine, if you know what I mean.

stockinette cowl

I figured that a basic stockinette cowl suited my laziness the yarn perfectly - there are so many delicious colours in it that most patterns would just get lost anyway. My neck appreciates a cowl that double wraps and so I cast on stitches until it filled the whole 30inch cable - around 200.  5 rows of garter stitch at the start and end to stop the edges from rolling, stockinette through the middle and Bob's your uncle.

stockinette cowl

stockinette cowl

So technically, it was started last year but as it was finished this year, it totally counts for the first 2014 project. It's going to get some serious wear in winter but until then, sadly, it's just making my scarf drawer a little bit prettier.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Wiksten Love

Alright, so maybe I joined the Wiksten Tank sewing community a little late but it sure is nice to be here now!

In an effort to grow my handmade wardrobe and after the relative success of my Colette Violet, I decided a simple but flattering tank that I could make in a bunch of different fabrics would suit me nicely. 

I've had this lovely peacock feather cotton hanging around for over a year now that I knew wanted to become a cute top one day! Well done fabric, you made it! I've worn this a bunch of times already and I'm super pleased with it.

This is such a simple pattern - a back and front pattern piece and a pocket, french seamed together. Easy, peasy! It does also have pattern pieces for the bias binding but I took the easy way out and used some I had bought. 

I cut out pieces for Wiksten #2 last night so should have another by tomorrow - they're addictive and perfect for summer!

Friday, November 8, 2013

New top

My handmade wardrobe just grew by one item - my new Violet top.

The only change I made was to leave it sleeveless and finish the arm holes off with some bias binding. I sewed one sleeve in and just didn't love the way it looked. The combination of floral fabric and slightly puffy sleeves had a distinct 80's vibe that I'd really rather avoid.

My sewing skillz are definitely getting better but I've got a long way to go before I upgrade from decent to quite decent.
The bias binding was necessary in the end to cover the terrible job I'd done at hemming the armholes. Then I spent a really long time practicing my button holes before sewing them on the top just to have Ben ask me why I had done them the wrong way. It literally never occurred to me to do them vertically, only horizontally. I genuinely laughed at him because I thought he must have some weird brain telling him to do button holes vertically. Turns out the joke was on me. On a tighter fitting top my button hole mishap would be more noticeable but Violet is so lovely and loose fitting that there isn't any strain on the buttons anyway. The collar ends don't meet quite where I would like them too and it doesn't sit flat over my shoulders. I didn't use any interfacing because the fabric is so lovely and light that I didn't want anything weighting it down which is maybe part of the problem?

Despite all of that, I'm glad I took my time with this one and have ended up with a top that I will actually wear. It's far from perfect but to an untrained eye the mistakes aren't really noticeable. I wore it to work today and no-one asked if I made it myself which I consider a good sign! Greatest of all, it's nice to be getting back into sewing again.

Thanks to this gal for her pro photography! xx

Monday, November 4, 2013

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

You can follow The Crafty Parcel on Bloglovin by clicking the link in the title!
Bloglovin' is a super dooper blog reading tool that allows you to follow all of your favs from one site - regardless of where they have been published.

In all honesty, I set my morning alarm 15 mins early and catch up on all of my bloglovin posts before I even get out of bed. Too much?

So go on, read about The Crafty Parcel adventures from the comfort of your own bed...or train, or desk, or cafe, or anywhere!


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Violet for Summer

Before we moved house I went through all of my fabric and donated everything I knew I wouldn't use and sorted what was left into piles based on importance or what would be used next. It sounds a lot more organised that it really is - in truth 'sorting' just meant putting in separate drawers. This floral cotton lawn has been sitting around for about a year now; sad, beautiful and project-less.

While I was fabric sorting I went through my patterns and remembered that I bought the Colette Violet pattern some time ago. It's a sweet little buttoned top with either short or 3/4 length sleeves and gorgeous peter pan collar. My wardrobe is seriously lacking tops at the moment and going into summer I need something that I can wear with jeans, pants or skirt. And so, a new project was born...

Looking at what other sloggers (sewing bloggers - can this catch on?) have produced, it seems as though Violet ticks all of the boxes in terms of looks, ease and versatility. I mean, just look at these beauties over at Fancy Tiger Crafts! And this gem by Nette! Just so much cute. 

Remember when I said that I'll take it easy on this project? I was totes serious! I'm determined not to rush through it. I'll just take myself off to a corner and keep repeating that to myself, shall I? 

Yesterday I traced and cut out the pattern pieces and sewed the staystitching around the collar. Tonight I'll give it another half hour of attention - enough to get through the back gathers and maybe start the next step. 
I've got a knitting project on the go at the moment as well that has a fast approaching deadline that I really need to give some attention to so I can't sew all that much anyway. 

Hope you all have a good start to the week and that there is something new on your horizon too!

Sunday, October 27, 2013


We're almost ready to start planting the garden with herbs and veggies for summer. Ben cleared out a decent sized patch during last week and we're waiting for a new batch of soil to mix in. Our soil is quite sandy and doesn't hold water particularly well so we've got quite a bit of preparation work. The compost (my new favourite obsession) is coming along nicely but isn't ready to use yet.

While we are working on getting the patch ready I thought I'd get a head start on some seeds. 

I made up a bunch of little newspaper pots yesterday and filled them with seed raising mix. I watched this video on youtube for the pots - I used one single page of newspaper for each. 

They've been planted with rocket, gem lettuce, flat leaf parsley and beetroot. The beetroot really should have gone in for winter and autumn so I'm not sure how well they will go given the unseasonably warm weather Sydney has been having so far but all in the name of learning, hey? 

They're living in a polystyrene box in front of a window that gets a good amount of warmth and light and hopefully in about a weeks time I will see little flashes of green peeking out!