A Walk in the Woods

I’m delighted to say that I have finally got around to releasing the pdf pattern for one of my favourite cardigans (EVAH!)

crochet cardigan A Walk in the Woods

Photo by Britt Spring

Eagle-eyed Not So Granny fans will have seen me sporting this many many times in my #makeitwearit posts on twitter instagram and facebook (and people who see me everyday probably wonder if I own another cardigan!) This sweater is just the perfect grab and go, goes with everything, snuggley number.

Looking through, I almost always wear it with jeans or other denim but I think that’s because its what I wear most. Here’s my top #makeitwear it looks for this cardie

ways to wear crochet cardigan

If you’d like to make your own version you can download the pattern here or go here for more information.

One of the reasons why this cardigan took so long to republish is that the yarn the original sample was made in has been discontinued. Next Tuesday I’ll talk you through the process a designer goes through to check a new yarn recommendation will work.

The bargain savvy amongst you will be pleased to hear that not only is the pattern being offered at half price (a BARGAINOUS £1.75) until Sunday night (no code needed, the checkout will automatically deduct it) AND this Friday I’ll be posting a cheap and cheerful yarn review to cut the price of making the jumper to under £40 (costs vary by size)

Making to wear

 

outfit 14 May 14

I’m all about making your work wearable, I love to show off my handiwork and add to my wardrobe at the same time. At the same time, now I’ve become more experienced I can use my crafts to create items that fit me perfectly – much better than high street stores.

If you are ready to move beyond making scarves and blankets, what are the best tips for creating things that fit?

1/ CHOOSE PATTERNS FOR STYLE FIRST AND TECHNIQUE SECOND:

If you want something you will wear and wear make sure it is a style you like to wear. Look to your existing wardrobe before you make that pattern purchase. If you only ever choose cardigans with set-in sleeves normally don’t make a raglan jumper no matter how much you want to knit that lace panel in it.

2/ ASK SOMEONE TO MEASURE YOU PROPERLY:

There is a whopping TWO INCH (5cm) difference between the measurement I get when I measure my own bust and the measurement when someone else gets the tape measure to it. Ask a friend for help (if you have any that do dress making then nab them!) Its impossible to choose the right size to make if you don’t know what size you are. That means having a good set of measurements for bust, waist, hip and upper arm at least. No rounding down for vanity or breathing in!

3/ UNDERSTAND EASE:

Once you have good measurements you can’t just pick the closest size. You need to add the ease. Often the pattern will suggest the amount of ease to add (or deduct for very fitted sweaters.) If you need to know more about ease check out this post I wrote a while ago.

4/ SWATCH:

There is no point measuring yourself carefully if you knit or crochet blind. Do that tension swatch! For more information about swatching read this post here.

At the weekend I taught a class at The Sheep Shop in Cambridge called “Made to Measure” which covers all this in much more depth and much more besides. It was great fun as well as imparting a lot of information and all the attendees said they went away feeling confident to start making garments that fit. If you’d like to be popped on the waiting list at the Sheep Shop to be notified about the next class then drop Sarah a line.

If you are an LYS and you’d like me to teach this class then get in touch.

Rainbow Loom Crazy

rinbow loom 2

This weekend our household has gone Rainbow Loom crazy. If you have a primary school aged child, you probably will already have hoovered up dozens of the tiny little elastic bands (as, according to my nine year old, we are the last people in the known universe (or his class at least) to get the set)

For those not in the know, its the latest craze. You use a peg board (or your fingers for simpler designs) to loop little elastic bands into bracelets, rings and charms.

Its been fun learning how to do it with the children. My five year old has been really determined and has mastered quite complicated patterns. And I’ve really enjoyed seeing them proudly wearing and giving away their designs.

rainbow loom

And I can’t help hoping that all this playing with hooks will make this craze a bit of a gateway drug for crochet!

Are you Rainbow Loom mad? Spotted any great tutorials on line?

 

Ickworth’s Amazing Wool Fair

 

Well hello sunshine and what a perfect day for you to show your face again round here. Shame you couldn’t have been a little more reliable on my camping trip and the half term holidays (the reason it has been quiet here the past week)

 

We had a fabulous meal out at Alimentum last night (way too wonderful to stop and instagram anything – we decided to live in the moment rather than through a lens) as a birthday treat for me . It was very very swanky, probably should have saved it for a big birthday not just a run of the mill 38. Thanks to my lovely babysitter Alice for making it possible.

 

I wore my Karise shawl with a Billie and Blossum dress and some spectacularly high heels that don’t often get out of the wardrobe nowadays.

outfit 31 may 2014

 

Anyway, after a night of indulgence (pure indulgence!) a day in the fresh air was needed and luckily I had planned to pop along to a new local wool festival

2014-06-01 15.09.45

 

 

It was fantastically busy and full of lovely stalls and demonstration areas.  We arrived just in time for Sean the Shearer of The Sheep Show starting his hilarious (but sometimes a little risque for the family crowd) shearing demo and dancing sheep display. I had a nice wander round and tried my hand at spinning on a wheel for the first time with the lovely ladies of the Bury St Edmunds Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. I loved it and now want a wheel! I stroked some alpacas, bumped into several people I knew and some I had only met online before.

ikworth wool fair

I also discovered a fantastic new local business, Native Yarns, who are based in Suffolk. Sue the dyer was lovely and has am amazing eye for colour, definitely one to watch. I have fallen in love with her Arwen colourway so I hope to include it in the Suffolk Collection somewhere – I just need a plan now.  Re the Suffolk Collection, I have finished one of the patterns but the rest will have to be shelved for a while as I have a huge exciting opportunity to create a collection with one of my favourite yarn companies that I couldn’t turn down. The work on that will take me through to September but it will be awesome. But more on that in another post. So September is the next chance I’ll get to work on the Suffolk Collection.

I wore Silene Shawl and a navy sleeveless maxi dress to the festival. Silene is perfect hot weather wear as it looks lovely and is light enough to be draped over you to protect decolletage and shoulders if the sun is really fierce.

outfit 1 june 2014

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend.

Joanne

#makeitwearit

At blogtacular one of the quotes that rang in my ears was this:

Do something that scares you

– Joy Cho

And immediately my mind flew to an idea I have had for a while but have shelved because, quite frankly, I found it pretty terrifying.

Outfit posts.

I used to be quite scared of having my photo taken, I always looked awkward and geeky and what I saw in the frame didn’t match what I saw in the mirror or my own self image. But one of the best things about being an impoverished self publishing designer (cue violin) is that you can’t afford to pay a model so you’d best just suck it up and leap right in front of that camera. And, you know what, I’m actually okay, there are some really terrific shots of me taken by Kat and Kath where I look better than I do in real life.

A photo where Kat made me look pretty darn foxy if I do say so myself.

A photo where Kat made me look pretty darn foxy if I do say so myself.

I wear my own designs and other knit wear I have made a fair bit. I almost always wear it when I am teaching but a lot of the time I also wear it in normal life, to take my kids out for the day, to do the school run, to snuggle up watching the telly, to the pub in the evening (rare.) I enjoy wearing it, it expresses my personality and I get a lot of compliments (so it satisfies my inner show off too!)

I hear a lot from friends, students and passers by that they knit or crochet but never make anything for themselves.

I want to inspire people to turn their skills to enhance their wardrobes and create unique pieces that reflect their style in a way that fast fashion and the high street never could.

So with this end in mind I have decided to try and inspire people by showing them how I style my handknits. How I build those lovely pieces into my every day wardrobe. So I am going to blog it and share it on social media in the hope that more people will want to make themselves something wonderful.

But it is pretty scary because I don’t have a wonderful photographer and/or stylist following me around at all times, I will have to balance my camera places or bully friends into taking the photos. I am putting myself out there for criticism of how I dress and how I look on an average day. And I am a bit scared but so far the feedback has been really lovely.

If you want to follow my outfits then I will be rounding them up on the blog from time to time under the category #makeitwearit and pinning them here and using the #makeitwear it on instagram and twitter. I’ll also post them to my facebook page. All the links you need are in the sidebar.

Here are the first three for your delectation:

outfit 13 May 14 outfit 14 May 14 outfit 15 May 14