Fair Isle Jumper by Anna Wilkinson

Hello,

For years I’ve wanted to knit myself a complete garment, but have always been too scared. I’m fairly confident when it comes to knitting as with most things nowadays, I can just look on YouTube for videos on stitches I don’t know. But just the thought of sewing up all those pieces of knitting, making lumpy seams and pieces not quite matching up, makes me cringe!

I had however, been thinking over the idea of actually committing to knitting a jumper or cardigan for a few months, since joining a new knitting group; but it was when I came across ‘Learn to Knit, Love to Knit’ at work by Anna Wilkinson I realised I’d found the perfect pattern to use for my first ever garment.

I chose the Fair Isle band sweater with short sleeves as the style looked really simple and modern, yet with a vintage-y kind of look to it. My thinking was that the main body of the jumper looked pretty much ‘straight up and down’ as I like to say, and the sleeves were only short, so how hard could that be?! I’ve never ever attempted fair isle though, but again the band was only about 20 rows so I thought I might as well give it a go while I’m at it. Fair isle is something I’ve only ever dreamed of knitting, it completely baffles me how all the different yarns come together in a tangle, to create something so effective. Surely only the seriously skilled knitter could achieve that!

But after a good few months, some serious pulling out, tears and joy I’ve finally finished my first ever jumper, yay!

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As always my yarn choice led me to Mrs Moon to get some Rooster Almerino DK, my favourite yarn to knit/crochet with, in shades of smoothie and starfish. I opted to not go for the yarn suggested in the pattern as I was to eager to get started. Bright orange and pink aren’t usually colours I wear and after I’d finished the jumper I wish I’d maybe chosen mustard instead, but somehow they go well with each other.

I found the main body of the jumper to be fairly easy, even after the taffle of the fair isle band, the pattern was well set out so that I understood exactly how to tackle it. My tension was a bit off, but I’d say not a bad job for my first attempt. It wasn’t till all the pieces were sewn up that you get the full effect of the fair isle.

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The neckline was a pain to pick up, particularly with it being the first time I’ve used a circular needle,  I must have tried about three times and in the end I had to go round the entire neckline and drop each individual stitch and pick it up the right way once I had knitted a few rows of the rib.

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I found sewing the seams to be surprisingly easy for once, I’ve always had such bad experiences with sewing up seams it didn’t seem right. The shoulder seams were a bit tricky and not the best example of my knitting, but the side and sleeve seams actually look pretty good if I may say so myself; the side seams are almost invisible.

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So there’s my first jumper completed and now I can’t wait to get started on another. I’d really like to try and challenge myself with more fair isle, but I think I’ll just stick to something simple again. Learn to Knit, Love to Knit is a really lovely knitting book with jumpers and cardigans that are actually wearable for someone my age – it’s well worth a flick through!

Chow x

Up Town Finds

Since moving to London, I’ve not been ‘up town’ much, but last weekend we took a trip. I wanted to scour the fabric shops and Luke wanted to check out the music shops on Denmark Street.

I’ve been wanting to get pattern cutting again, seeing as though I’ve not done any for a few years, so I thought I’d treat myself to some new fabric.

I plumped for these three really cute fabrics. The first, a cotten fabric from the SS14 New Season collection at Libertys. Orange isn’t a colour I’d normally go for, but I liked the contrast between the white ‘pencil shaving design’ and the orange. The next fabric I chose was from John Lewis, at first I thought it was a little too pink and girly, but I decided I really liked the scandi/vintage pattern.

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The last fabric I chose was from a real treasure chest of fabrics. Cloth House, has two shops on Berwick Street and the first time I went in, I felt like a kid in a sweet shop. They have a really good selection of some very lovely fabrics, it’s well worth a visit! I thought the blue poplin I chose, has a really sweet summery pattern.

After a few days pattern cutting, (what a refresher) I came up with a pattern for a short sleeveless blouse. It was my first time using bias binding, I think I’ll definitely be using it again. It gives such a neat finish to any edge. And here’s the result… et voila!

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It goes very well with my next find – a babydoll dress from American Apparel. I already have it in red, but I love how light and loose it is. It’s so easy to dress up or down.

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My favourite findsof the day, where this black velvet jacket and blue beads from Rokit. It’s an absolute goldmine of vintage treasure and I always seem to manage to find something that fits perfectly. I’ve come to realise I love a tailored jacket.

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My last little treat – a pair of JuJu’s. I’ve seen them drift in and out of fashion, but this time I just couldn’t resist. Not when they only cost £20 and are extremely comfy.

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I’m hoping to get some other patterns drafted up soon, I’ve quite missed it!

Chow x

Yuletide Felicitations

Hello,

As usual it’s been a busy few weeks and I’ve felt like I’ve been neglecting my blog a little. So I thought give everyone a little peep into Christmas at our flat. There’s not much to it though at the moment, partly because I can’t bring myself to spend lots of money on decorations that only come out once a year and because I just haven’t had enough time to make as many decorations as I would have liked.

I must admit, even though I’m disappointingly not feeling very festive, I did get a little excited when our REAL tree was delivered, yay! There’s just something about that smell of pine and and Christmas tree in your home. No wonder my Mum and Dad decided to buy a pretend tree a few years ago though (much to my dismay), when I first saw the price of the real trees.

Obviously, I took charge of what colours and ‘theme’ we were having (did Luke ever really have a say?) I wanted a handmade and vintagey feel to our tree and decorations, so ultimately, there’s every colour under the sun hanging on the tree.

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I’ve picked up a few bits and bobs for the tree last year in the sales, mainly cute things from paperchase (I love their decorations). This bauble is from a gorgeous set of vintage baubles I found in The Long Room – an antiques shop very handily opposite my work. And yes, that is a Harry Potter lego figure dangling in the background – one of Luke’s contributions to the tree.

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I attempted to make a few paper baubles from old books, some turning out a little wonky.

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To try and ‘pad’ the tree out, we both made popcorn garlands. It was very easy to make and sort of does the trick. All you need is popped corn, a needle and any string or twine that you’ve got lying around, then just sit back and thread it all on.

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We realised as we decorated that tree, that we had nothing to go on the top of the tree. Thank goodness for Pinterest, where I found this this crochet star. It was a quick and simple last minute solution, thanks to the pattern I found at Cherry Heart by Sandra.

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These tissue paper pom-poms, were another make costing practically pennies. I just used up old scraps of tissue paper I had kept. And slumped in the background – our new addition to the flat. Anyone that fancies staying over, can now sleep on our ultra comfy Fatboy bean bag. Trust me once you get on, you’ll never want to get off!

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These cute little felt deers were from Cath Kidston, I really couldn’t resist. And another use for old books – a paper tree. It took a lot of folding, but I like the effect.

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I’d say my favourite thing we have out is my handmade crochet baubles. After many attempts and fails at other people’s patterns, I created my own little pattern for a crochet bauble. They were a little fiddly at first, but once I got going, I couldn’t stop making them and I love the mixture of greens, reds and white I’ve used. The pattern may follow in a another post, if anyone would like to have a go. I’ve hung them from a cheeky branch, pinched from down the road.

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I’m really looking forward to going home for Christmas. I can’t wait to cook the big dinner, with a few glasses of taboo with my Mum, eating the big dinner yum yum, the new tv adaptation of David Walliams Gangsta Granny, hopefully the Christmas episode of The Good Life, obviously The Snowman, and all the other festive treats that make Christmas, Christmas!

Thank you for reading and I hope you all get everything you asked for from Santa this year….

‘Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night’ xx