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A practical project

In the last few months Sue’s Trifles has been in danger of becoming entirely a book blog. To restore a bit of variety and for the benefit of those of you, who have followed this blog for the craft posts, here is something a little different.

Just before I began blogging six years ago, I had made myself a dress to wear at a family wedding. Apart from a child’s dress, I have not done any dressmaking since then.

I decided it was about time I made myself a new dress. Starting my project was delayed. I looked for dress fabric in a shop and an indoor market, but nothing appealed to me. Then I went away for a week on the spur of the moment and had no opportunity to do anything about my project. After that I was catching up at home. Finally I looked on line and ordered two dress lengths from a company I had been satisfied with previously.

Usually when I am making a dress, I am rather obsessive about it and perhaps manage to complete it in a week. This time I took longer, perhaps slowed down by my online activities and trips out among other things. Anyhow the first dress is now finished. Its first outing was to a wedding blessing, where I was singing in the choir. Our choir robes do not fully hide our clothes and by a happy coincidence one of the colours in my dress material is a good match for the cherry red robes.

Dress in cotton lawn

Dress in cotton lawn

Both fabrics I chose were reduced, but one was more expensive than the other. I have made up the cheaper fabric first as a practice run. It is a printed cotton lawn. The second fabric is a Liberty print.

I have been told more than once that hindsight is a wonderful thing. If I buy fabric online again, I intend to enquire about the best colour match for thread and zips. It is difficult to distinguish white from cream on a computer screen. Also shopping online only allows a whole number of metres of fabric to be ordered. Sometimes fractions are useful.

I adapted a pattern I have used previously to allow for a few extra inches round my middle – time to lose weight?

As this post is published I have cut out the second dress and am well on the way to finishing it.

Liberty print dress in progress

Liberty print dress in progress

The photo shows the dress without the neck facing, which is  now attached, but not finished. After that there are the sleeves to make, a few seams to neaten and the hem to sort out. It could be finished by the weekend, but I am not forgoing any of my usual activities. It is not a race!

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Avoiding a side seam

A knitting pattern I use over and over again was published by Woman’s Weekly many years ago. It is a charity knitting supplement called Loving and Giving. There are patterns for a premature baby set, a hat and scarf set, fingerless gloves with a mitten top, an Oxfam top, a bed-jacket and bed-socks, men’s socks and a blanket made from squares.

I have not used every pattern in the leaflet, but I have used the premature baby clothes pattern more times than I can remember. A friend of mine, learning that I was knitting premature baby clothes, asked, “Who is expecting a premature baby?”

I explained that I donate the clothes to the special baby unit at the local hospital.

I used to knit Oxfam tops until I learned that the charity was unable to send all the tops they received and had to pay for storage of them. This situation may have changed. (Oxfam tops are T-shirts knitted in bright colours.)

The premature baby set consists of a cardigan, hat, mittens and bootees in three sizes. I do not always knit the cardigan. At present I have a partly completed set and plenty of yarn for more. I sometimes adapt the pattern to avoid side seams. As written the cardigan is made up of two fronts, a back and two sleeves. The button and buttonhole bands are a garter stitch border knitted as part of the fronts. More care is required with the knitting if the two fronts and back are knitted as a single piece, as in the photo. If mistakes are made with the buttonholes, for example, it takes longer to put them right than on a smaller piece of work. The extension to the bands is joined to the heads of the sleeves and the cast off edge of the back.

Fronts and back with bands and extensions

Fronts and back with bands and extensions

I also mentioned knitting avoiding a side seam in an earlier post.

I prefer to have my knitted items used locally than to send them to Knit for Peace. It is better for the carbon footprint. However it is good that there is an organisation, which matches knitted and crocheted items with those in need of them.

 

A Knitting Project

I enjoy knitting and find it a good leisure activity. My recent knitting projects have mostly been charity knits. For those of you, who may have been wondering, I finally found homes for my baby knits and the twiddlemuff.

When I offered to knit a sweater for a member of my family, I hadn’t anticipated such a big project. However, I wasn’t going to refuse outright to create something similar to the suggested picture. A compromise was required.

A pattern I had used decades ago seemed suitable to adapt. The pattern was classic in style, but something more modern seemed to be required. Instead of a short 1×1 ribbed welt, I used longer 2×2 ribbing, which was echoed with a single layer neckline in 2×2 ribbing. The neckband was worked without a seam using a circular needle.

Instead of working the Aran pattern all over I restricted it to the front and back. After the matching ribbing on the sleeves, I worked the first row of the pattern and maintained an irregular rib throughout. The slip stitch pattern on the raglan seams was included to match the front and back.

The yarn was Hayfield Bonus Aran with 20% wool. The pattern was from The Aran Look by Patons No. 161.