Vintage Knitting, Retro Dressmaking, Make do and Mend, Original and Vintage Inspired Knitting Patterns, Vintage Inspired books

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Finish A Long

Over on my ravelry group we have decided to run a Finish a long. Like a Knit a long but with the emphasis on completing projects that have been languishing at the bottom of your knitting bag or hiding behind the sofa. Often the project is almost complete. All the pieces knitted but just not sewn together or the button band or neck band hasn't been picked up and knitted or the final blocking and dressing simply hasn't been done. Many of us fail to to take the final steps to finishing a project because we don't like the process and this is usually because we don't feel confident enough about the techniques we need to use or about the results we're going to get.

To assist both my ravelry group members and anyone else staring at that ever growing pile of unfinished objects (or UFOs as Rachel Matthews astutely refers to them) I thought I would share some projects of my own that have been awaiting completion for one reason or another.

Today I'm going to introduce you to two jumpers I am going to finish over the next few days. Both are knitted in four pieces - front, back and two sleeves - one from A Stitch in Time volume 1 and the other from A Stitch in Time volume 2. Whilst they have a lot of similarities, they each have a number of complications which could and often do, put knitters off embarking on the finishing.

The first garment is "It Cannot Fail to Please" from A Stitch in Time volume 1. This jumper has been knitted for display purposes and uses Excelana 4 ply in Damson Wine.

It is knitted in an all over lace stitch which causes the knitting to draw together and also to curl inwards at the sides. The pieces will require pressing to open out and reveal the pattern but also to make sewing up easier.

The jumper also has armholes and sleeve heads which don't really look like they belong together. We need to find a way to make the sleeve fit into the armhole neatly and correctly.

To further complicate matters you can see from the image above that once pressed the pattern creates wavy edges at the side seams, up the armhole edges and on the sleeves so we need to decide how best to deal with this and what methods will provide the most appropriate seams.

This can all seem a little daunting but it really isn't as difficult as it may sound and hopefully the techniques I use for this jumper will help you with any similar projects you may be working on.

The second project I need to finish over the next few days is "The Warm Jumper" from A Stitch in Time volume 2. I knitted this jumper for myself using Excelana 4 ply in Land Army Green and it should have been for me to wear this winter but time constraints have meant the pieces have sat on the finishing shelf for several months waiting to be sewn together.

This jumper has an all over cable and rib pattern which I have adapted slightly from the version in the book as I wanted a denser knit for added warmth and so created a different looking pattern but otherwise it is knitted exactly as the original. It is again knitted in four separate pieces, front back and two sleeves. Again you can see from the photo of the finished jumper above how much more open the fabric needs to be to reveal the pattern properly. The side and sleeve seams are smooth on this jumper but on this occasion it has stepped shoulder shaping on the front and back pieces which need to be sewn together neatly and the pattern matched.

In addition stitches need to be picked up around the somewhat wiggly V neck shaping to create a ribbed neck band. I know from many years of teaching Finishing Techniques around the country that many people really dislike picking up stitches because the finished effect is untidy but I can assure you that this certainly shouldn't be the case.

The other main concern is again fitting the sleeve neatly into the armhole. With the clear vertical lines of the pattern its really important to ensure that the sleeve is lined up correctly otherwise the pattern will be visibly skewed.

The finishing of these two garments will cover many of the issues that arise when projects are being sewn up but if there is anything else you would like me to cover over the period of the Finish A Long just leave a comment here on the blog and I'll do my best to answer it in a future post.

I'll be beginning with the basic tools I use for finishing garments then we will start with the Warm Jumper and will be looking first of all at sewing up stepped shoulder seams and some tips to avoid them and picking up stitches around the neckline.

If you would like extra encouragement or would like the opportunity to win a prize for the best finishing tip or the best finishing why not join us on the ravelry group here where you'll find all the details of the FAL. If you're not already, simply join the group and then you can take part in the Finish A Long.

for now,
Susan xx

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Knitting in the Dordogne

A few months ago I received a very exciting email from the wonderful Jean Moss asking me if I would consider teaching on one of her knitting holidays in 2015.

In the Dordogne, France no less. I hesitated for approximately a mili-second and then, of course, said yes.

The holiday is based in the incredible 17th century Chateau Forge du Roy and takes place from the 19th to the 29th September 2015.

Isn't it beautiful? Residents of the holiday have exclusive use of the chateau and all its grounds and facilities - including swimming pool, sauna and more.

The ten day programme is packed full of trips, knitting and food. You can read the full itinerary on Jean's website here. I will be joining the group for three or four days and will be running two workshops. The first taking participants through the steps of knitting a pair of traditional Scandinavian stranded mittens and some of the history behind the motifs used.

The second workshop is an introduction to Shetland Lace Knitting and the participants get to knit a mini traditional Shetland lace shawl. The maths behind the shawl are clearly explained so that the knitters can then embark on a full size shawl like this one.

In addition to the two workshops I will also be giving a talk all about the Vintage Shetland Project which will be close to publication by this point and I will be able to share some pre-publication images and samples from the book.

Sadly I don't get to spend the entire 10 days with everyone else but I do get to visit the Augerge de Layotte for dinner with all the other guests. This restaurant is set deep in the nearby chestnut woods.  The following day we get to visit Perigueux and the Chateau Bourdeilles as well as historic Brantome where there are some unique cave paintings.

And this is just over a couple of days. There is so much to do and see over the 10 days as well as attend two workshops and a talk all from Jean.

And the really good news is that there are a few places left available - not many - but if you are wanting a special knitting holiday with a difference, with culture and sunshine and with me (you never know, someone might!) this might be the vacation for you. You can find all the details on Jean's website and maybe I'll see some of you there.

Susan xx