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Knitting: The Belfast Cardigan

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A few weeks ago I finally cast on my Belfast Cardigan and promptly finished all of about 10 rows of ribbing with what-feels-like only 10 million more to go (ugh, ribbing...). I don't know what it is about ribbing, but I'm not a fan of doing it, and since this is knit from the bottom up, it's first up on the list of things to do.

I know I won't be able to finish it in time to wear it by the end of this winter - I'm not the fastest knitter and following a knitting pattern requires all of my attention, but throw in a 10 week old (!!!) also requiring all of my attention (and refusing day-time sleeps - apparently day-time sleep is for the weak according to Oscar), and you have one very long term project. It's also a really big pattern in terms of the fact that it's a long, loose cardigan with a hood, so it's going to take some time to make purely because of it's size. It's almost like a coat and cardigan combined - a coatigan??

The wool I'm using is Bendigo Luxury wool in Ghost, a really lovely soft light grey, and the pattern is by Quince & Co. I've never made one of their patterns before, but for a person who hasn't followed many knitting patterns (Miette being my first!) it's going along relatively smoothly (I know, I know, I've only done the ribbing...and not even all of it! Tehee). I'll still need my computer close to YouTube for most of the techniques, but I'm sure it's going to be doable. The bulk of it is done in stockinette with just the perfect amount of detail to make it interesting, but hopefully not too hard.

I am actually really excited about getting this coatigan finished though, and keep having mornings where it would have been the perfect extra layer, I just really need to make myself get past the ribbing!

I'll be Raveling it over here. What are you knitting at the moment? Any ribbing involved?


The Dandelion PJ's...

Friday, July 24, 2015

These wee pj pants, along with my Maternity Bronte top, were the last things I managed to stitch up before Oscar was born - and thank goodness for that since I've literally spent the majority of the last 9 weeks in pj's. 

I figure if I'm not leaving the house that day, since I'm spending most of the time either breast feeding or catching up on sleep, getting dressed in anything but pj pants is a waste of any precious spare time. Add to that the fact that one of my RTW pairs has officially bit the dust (think big ol' hole in your pj butt - does that mean I spend too long sitting down?) means that these cute jammies were a good investment in pre-Oscar sewing time and they've been getting a tonne of wear ever since.

They are technically a wearable muslin since I drafted them up really quickly and then cut straight into my fabric. Normally I'd do a bunch of testing before cutting into my actual fabric, but at the time, I just wanted a new pair of pj bottoms and since I was quite pregnant, any time spent fitting them to me would have been a bit of a waste considering my shape was vastly different to what it is without a baby. Plus, I was at that stage where I just had to sew when I had the energy, otherwise I'd end up doing nothing.

For a quick draft, I think they're pretty spot on. I really liked the fit around the back when I was pregnant and knew that if I hadn't had to wear them so low at the front due to my bump, they would probably fit nicely there as well since they looked similar to how my RTW pairs looked at that stage. Now that I am post bump, I'm happy to report that they look pretty good at the front now too :)

I did end up having to stitch an extra wedge onto the top of the waist band, mainly at the back because I hadn't made them quite big enough there, but the fabric is forgiving with it's print and since it's gathered with elastic, I don't really notice it much at all. 

They are made from a lovely soft flannel fabric, and while I did pre-wash it, it's not at that buttery soft stage flannel pj's tend to get after a little bit of wearing and washing in, but they will hopefully only get better as time goes on.

I have some more fun flannel with little bunnies on it that I'm going to make another pair from now that the bump has gone and I can see that there are no major fit issues to get around. I added piping to the bottoms using this tutorial I posted an age ago and will do the same with the next lot. I'm also thinking I might pop in a faux fly-front, just because I can and possibly pockets. Pockets on everything!

Right, off to snuggle my baby in my snuggly pj pants on this cold blustery winter day. Hope you're staying warm (or cool if you're basking in some summer time warmth!).


The Maternity Bronte - A Tutorial

Monday, July 20, 2015

Today we're going to learn how to turn your Bronte Top into a maternity top!

This tutorial could be used for any number of 'fitted' knit t-shirt patterns, so you don't necessarily need to have the Bronte Top pattern if you don't already own it. For example, if you have the Renfrew or Nettie patterns, you can easily translate this tutorial for them.

A quick note for choosing your maternity Bronte size - I recommend grading up a size at the bust, waist and hips but keeping your standard size for the shoulders and neckline. I did this for mine because it was much more comfortable to have a looser top as my pregnancy progressed rather than have it end up too tight when I needed maternity clothes the most.

Bronte Top pattern (or other fitted knit t-shirt pattern)
Spare paper

1. Lengthen your front and back bodice pieces by 7.5cm (3 inches) or however much you think you'd like or need for extra comfort - you can find details on how to do this to your Bronte Top here.

While you can skip this first step if you want to, what I noticed with my non-maternity Bronte Tops and RTW knit tops was that they were all too short when you included a bump and when I wore them (especially towards the end) I'd end up with a wedge of belly showing - not quite what I was after, especially in winter!

7.5cm (3 inches) is based off what was comfortable for me, but you may prefer more or less. It's really a trial and error situation and totally depends on how big your bump is, how much bigger you've gotten and where you're carrying your bump. Also note that frustratingly, these will all change over the course of your pregnancy, so if you're making your maternity Bronte early on, for a garment that will grow with you, go bigger/longer rather than the other way around. At least you can shorten and take it in if it's a little too big.

2. Next you'll want to mark on your pattern your where you under bust and under belly (?) are on your front pattern piece as this is where your gathering will go, providing the extra room for your bump to grow into your top. This is not an exact science since everyone has different body shapes, but I worked out mine by using the highly accurate method of holding the pattern piece up to me.

Since this is a knit pattern, it's all rather forgiving if you're a tiny bit off with where you think your under bust and belly are, and you're pregnant, so don't worry too much :)

Below is where on your body you want to roughly find... pretty much directly under your bust and around where a pair of hipster pants would normally sit.

Below is the pattern (after I've done the initial lengthening in step one) where I've added some notches to mark where my under bust and belly are...

I worked out that my under bust starts around where the size numbers for each pattern are and ends (at my newly lengthened) under belly at around 7.5cm (3 inches) from the bottom 'lengthen/shorten' line.

3. Next you want to add the extra length to the front pattern piece only for that all important gathering. I added an extra 10cm (4 inches) to mine, but you can add more or less depending on your preference and your fabric - to do this, use the exact same lengthen/shorten technique as in Step 1 but to the front pattern piece only.

Below is where I've added my 10cm (4 inches) - it's the extra brown paper above the extra length I added at the start and the arrows are indicating where my under bust and belly sit.

4. Now you can cut out your pattern pieces making sure to mark where your under bust and under belly are on your fashion fabric (I like to mark these by snipping into the seam allowance).

5. Between your marked under bust/belly notches and within the seam allowance, stitch a line of basting stitches down the side, leaving long tails at either end.

6. Stitch up your Bronte as per the instructions until you get to the step where you stitch the sides together.

Match up your sleeve and under arm seam exactly to the back piece until you hit your under bust notch, place a pin at a parallel angle to mark this spot. Then starting from the bottom hem, match your side seam up exactly to the back pattern piece until you hit your under belly notch, mark this again with a parallel pin.

You'll now have excess fabric in between your under bust and under belly notches.

7. Secure one end of your basting stitch thread with a knot and pull the other end, gathering the excess fabric between your under bust and under belly so that it fits evenly into the back pattern piece. Pin in place.

8. Stitch your side seams together and finish your Bronte Top as per the instructions.

Hey presto! A lovely little maternity Bronte top is all yours.

Are you going to try giving a Maternity Bronte a go? I'd love to see them if you do!


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