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Short & Sweet - February Days

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Knitting - Winter mitts while I wait for another ball of wool to arrive so I can finish off my Owls. Rookie mistake = not ordering enough wool.

Sewing - All the Juniper cardigans.

Cooking - meatballs. On the way home from playgroup last week, I asked Oscar what he wanted for lunch, he said meatballs. Meatballs it is, dude.

Drinking - white wine spritzers and pretending summer is here.

Learning - Alternate Cable Cast-On, it's so pretty!

Hoping - Oscar gets better soon. He's been sick since the weekend and while the cuddles are lovely, I want that happy little boy back.

Wanting - all the indie yarn. Seriously, just all of it. Thanks.

Deciding - what to knit next? What to sew next?

Enjoying - the sunshine & impromptu walks down to see the diggers at the bottom of our street.

Collecting - avocado pits. Natural dye, here I come.

Listening - to bees buzzing while we dig in the sandpit and make sand castles.

Watching - Land Girls. Those 40's overalls.

Smelling - summer roses in the garden.

Wearing - Ivy pinafores. I don't think I've worn much else these past few rainy weeks.

Wondering - which sewing pattern designs to work on next.

Admiring - how much talent this creative community has and how willing people are to share and give advice.

Grateful - for lovely emails from friends, even though we've never met. Both new, out-of-the-blue notes as well as ones from old friends.

Loving - quiet evenings.

Feeling - all over the place.

Buying - more wool.

Baking - zucchini bread (with half the sugar & how ever many cups 2 grated zucchini's yield - don't squeeze out the water!) with zucchini picked fresh from the garden.

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A Handmade Day Podcast, Ep5 - Knitting Failures & Successes

Friday, February 10, 2017
I know, I'm a little late to the par-tay, but the first A Handmade Day podcast episode is up for the year!

It's mostly about knitting, but if you'd like to get a peek at the Gable Dress in real-time, you can check it out right at the start. You can also hear about some of my favourite sewing gadgets towards the end in the Ask Jen segment.

Unfortunately, I realised a little too late that a lot of my knitting from last year was coming out yuge due to the fact that I was knitting at a really loose tension for some reason. Like, really loose. I've since remedied this, perhaps a little too much on my first finished project for the year (Oscar's Owlet), but at least this one is wearable. If not for two winters, at least for one.

The times for individual segments are below in case you want to skip to particular sections...

0.01 - Happy New Year!! *contains spectacular celebrations*
0.54 - Baking of the Episode - Barb's Chocolate Brownie
1.57 - Wearing - The Gable Dress (not ironed. What's new?)
5.37 - Other sewing? Not so much... except for The Juniper Cardigan (coming soon!)
8.00 - On with the knitting failures, first up, The Belfast Cardigan
12.14 - The Anouk Cardigan
16.47 - My first finished project of the year and a big success, Owlets for Oscar
20.43 - The beginning of my very own Owls (hopefully another success. TBA)
24.11 - The beginnings of some future knitting plans...
25.06 - Ask Jen! Carole wanted to know what some of my favourite sewing gadgets are, so behold -
  • 25.26 - A wrist pin cushion (I got mine from Miss Maude)
  • 27.39 - A good sewing machine (& my thoughts on computerised machines vs manual machines). I have a Janome My Excel 18w and if you're looking for a reliable workhorse that does everything, I highly recommend it.
  • 34.40 - A Tailor's Ham (and I just happen to have a free pattern here in case you want to make one of your own).
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* or not...

Become a JLH Pattern Tester!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Please take a moment to read the Tester FAQ's below so that you know what you're getting into before you sign up...

1) Do I get paid to pattern test?
Unfortunately no, but you do get a (hopefully) cute pattern! Once all feedback is collated and any changes are made, I'll also send you a final copy of the updated digital pattern as a thank you.

2) Do I need to blog about it once the pattern is released?
Absolutely not! In fact, I have testers who don't even have blogs or an internet presence. What I need from testers is honest feedback about the pattern, and then should you wish, you are more than welcome to blog about your experience with the pattern (good or bad) once released, but there is no small print stating that you have to blog about it (though obviously, I'd welcome it!).

3) Do I need a blog or web presence to test?
Again, absolutely not, see above answer.

4) How do you pick who get's to test?
Once I have the next pattern ready, I'll email the entire database to let you know. From there, testers will be chosen on a first in per size email basis. If the first 10 people signing up are all a size 14, obviously I need a range of sizes to test for me, and sending the pattern to a large group who are all sewing up the same size isn't going to give me a good idea of how the pattern works across all sizes. So in that instance, the first few in that size group will get to test.

5) What do I have to do?
Once you've received my email with a description of what the next pattern is, if you want to test it, all you have to do is let me know. If I receive your email before the testing group is full, I'll email you the pattern with a list of questions I'd like you to answer.

After you've made the pattern, you'll need to email me back with the answers to my questions and any other comments you think might be useful for me to put into the pattern (whether it's fit, typos, missing information, instructions that are hard to understand etc). This usually needs to happen with a 2-3 week turn around.

6) What if I'm too busy to test a pattern with a 2 week turn around?
I'll always let you know what you're in for before you commit to testing a pattern. If you think there's no way you'll be able to provide feed back in that time (sometimes sooner!) then I'd appreciate it if you'd pass on testing that time and let someone else do it.

Don't worry, just because you pass this time, doesn't mean you get a black mark next to your name for next time :)

7) Is the pattern going to be in pdf? Do I need a printer? I hate pdf's by the way...
At this stage, all tester patterns will be delivered to you in digital pdf format. You won't necessarily need your own printer though as you will receive both the A0 Print Shop file and the A4/Letter Print-at-Home file. 

Also, I think 'hate' is a rather strong word, but I understand the difficulties of working with pdf patterns. If you're yet to try one of my PDF patterns, I hope I'll curb some of that dislike. My pdf's are laid out in a way that you don't end up needing to rearrange your entire living room to tape together one big blob of paper. You get to print out only the version you want to make, and you'll save a bunch of paper and time doing it my way :)

8) What if I don't like the style of the pattern on me?
I'll hopefully describe the pattern to you as best I can without actually showing everyone what the pattern looks like (cause that'd be giving it away!). Based on that information, you'll need to decide if you think it's something you'd like to make, and then fingers crossed you like it.

If you end up hating the style, I'd still need your feedback but I guess you'll just need to look at the pattern objectively (rather than emotionally) so you can let me know any issues with it.

9) What if I'm a beginner seamstress?
Great! I release a range of different patterns that suit all levels of sewing experience. If I've stated in an email that a pattern is intermediate or advanced but it sounds like something you'd like to have a go at making, then please feel free to sign up. You never know, while I think it's an advanced pattern, you might think it's super easy, which would then mean I'd need to re-think my classification of the pattern anyway.

10) If I sign up and give you my email address, will you use it for other spammy 
purposes, or give it to spammy people who will send me spam?
No way! Your email address will specifically go onto my testers database, and you'll only ever get an email from me if it's about pattern testing (unless you'd like other emails of course! You can sign up to my actual newsletter here). And I'll never give your email address to spammy people either, don't you worry.

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