Category Archives: Knitting

Me Made May 2017- My Pledge

It’s that time of year again! May is on its way which for the sewing community can mean only one thing-

‘I, Lottie of losori.wordpress.com (@lottieoflosori on instagram), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade or refashioned item each day for the duration of May 2017’

Every year Zoe of So Zo What Do You Know runs a month long challenge to encourage makers to make the most of their handmade wardrobe. You can make your own pledge according to what would be the right level of challenge for you. Last year I was in a very corporate job, which is not something I sew much for, and so I went for wearing handmade over the weekends. You can find last year’s Me Made May on my Instagram or on the mmmay16 tag on the blog. However, new year, new city, new job, new pledge! Life in your twenties, amirite?

I am anticipating that I may be featuring a number of repeats this month, which is ok. About 30% of clothing in our wardrobes went unworn last year, and so it would be good to ensure I get good use from the items I have made. Similarly, it will help me identify where the gaps in my handmade wardrobe lie, in order to make clever choices in the future.

I will be posting every day on Instagram, but I am still to decide about the blog. I will definitely write a blog post at the end of the month about my thoughts, but would it be interesting to put the photos on here at the end of the week? If anyone has any strong opinions let me know, otherwise I’ll just make an executive decision.

If I am really struggling or my laundry grew too fast, I will count mended garments for a day, but I wouldn’t count them as part of my handmade wardrobe, as that’s just a way for me to prolong the life of my purchases.

You can follow my month over on my Instagram which you can find here, and I look forward to seeing everyone’s handmade creations!

Happy Birthday Blog!

This post has taken me a long old time to write. Do you ever feel like you’ve been experiencing too much internet? I just felt smothered by it. So, I deleted all my social media apps from my phone, stopped refreshing the Guardian homepage every three minutes, and tried to spend more time doing other things. I’ve started learning the Ukulele again, having stopped after a very short burst about four years ago. My apartment is also now many bags of junk lighter, having gone through a donation spree. It’s felt good; necessary. Next, I’m going to clear out my fabric cupboard (yes, I know!), as it’s been making me feel more sad than excited. Sometimes a good cleanse can be useful for the creative soul.

Anyway, onto the purpose of this update, which is that my blog had its anniversary last week! Happy Birthday blog! Losori started a year ago now, and my goodness what a year. I am so glad I started this blog all that long year ago. Thank you to everyone who has supported me by reading, commenting or saying nice things in real life. There was a time that I didn’t feel confident telling people I liked to sew, or god forbid knit. I’m still not shouting it from the rooftops in the real world, but I’m feeling way more happy about my passions, and I do talk about them, both chatting to people and right here on this blog. One thing I didn’t anticipate is pride. I’ve been starting to feel good about making things and sharing them. Every new make is a little story of my process, and I actually get really excited about sharing that with the world.

Just to get vaguely personal, it’s been a rough year. I think it has for a lot of people. And this blog has actually been a bit of a rock for me, even if it might not look that way from the outside. I’ve been able to dip in over the year, adding to my writing, taking better photos, and each time feeling like I have achieved something, even in a small way.

I thought it would be nice to have a look at the hits and misses from my very first blog year, so I hope you enjoy.

Hits-

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First, the highlights. This year was pretty much the first one where I had both the time (sort of…) and the resources to sew, so I definitely saw my skills improve over the course of these 12 months. My favourite make this year, to no one’s surprise, has to be my space dress. Nothing has made me feel so proud and happy to wear. Do you ever put something on and it actually feels like it accurately represents you and who you are? Somehow, this dress does that. I’ve ordered a long invisible zip for this dress so soon it won’t take two people pulling to get this dress off…

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My Megan dress is again, not perfect, but I actually wear this to work and no one gasps ‘Gasooks, this woman is wearing an outfit made on her kitchen table. Cast her to the flames!’ They haven’t said that because I don’t work in a anachronistic medieval witch hunting club, but also because it legit looks like a well made item of clothing.

 

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I have knitted intermittently over the year, leading to my biggest project which was my owls jumper. I love this jumper, it’s so soft and chunky and lovely. The only thing with it is that it’s a little snug ‘round the neckline getting it on and off. Did I cast it off too tight? I’m not sure, but probably.

 

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And lastly, just a couple of other makes I’m especially pleased with. My America dress is just really cute and fun. I used to love this dress in its original form, and it’s great to still be able to wear it in a new way! Lastly, this nedroid costume was very easy but very effective. I liked being a bear and a potato.

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Misses and eh’s-

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I made this scalloped skirt as part of a facebook group’s challenge and whilst I enjoyed the process, I really can’t get along with the finished product. It doesn’t have a strong waistband so it sags over the course of a wear, plus the scallops always need ironing which just irritates me. These, combined with the fact the design causes so much upskirt with even the slightest breeze, makes it my top miss of the year. But, as a plus, it was my first time with buttonholes which was fun.

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This sleeveless Mimi blouse is a funny one, because I kind of like it, but am also not sure at the same time. The fabric choice isn’t really right for the pattern, and if you read back over my post about it, I was kind of cobbled together from a load of mistakes. But then it looks ok in these photos. I’m going to give it until next summer and see how it holds up with the rest of my wardrobe.

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One day I randomly got some pictures taken of me in a vintage inspired outfit, and thought it might be good to put on here. I then went on to do a couple of My Style posts, but to be honest I never felt altogether comfortable with this category. I think it shows in the photos. Compare my body language to in photos of my space dress, for example, and there’s a whole world of difference. I’m not going to get rid of them, as it seems dishonest, but they really aren’t my best work. 

And that’s been the year. Generally a successful one for makes! I’m very much looking forward to the next. Once again, thank you to you all, and I look forward to the next year of creativity!

Me-Made-May ’16: Weekend 1

Weekend one of Me-Made-May is over, so here is a little round up post for it. In case you don’t know what on earth I am talking about you can find my pledge here.

For all of you which follow me on Instagram (and thank you to all those who do, it’s really lovely to have that support), you would have seen these already so I’m going to make these weekly posts a chance to talk a bit more about the outfits, and anything I might have learnt along the way.

Sunday 1st

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I was rather caught off guard on Sunday, having actually forgotten that this weekend counted as part of Me-Made-May, which was rather foolish of me. Luckily, I was already wearing my mismatched socks. These were lovely and cosy for a lounging day.

Socks: Mismatching Regia Socks

Jeans: Secondhand

Top (not pictured): H&M

Monday 2nd

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My newly completed Megan dress! I posted about this on Monday so I shan’t say too much about this now, except that I really like the dress.

Dress: Tilly and the Buttons Megan Dress

Cardigan (not pictured): Secondhand

And that’s it for now. See you all next week!

 

 

Me-Made-May ’16- My Pledge

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Image from SoZo…

This is very exciting. For anyone who may not know, Me Made May is the creation of Zoe of So, Zo…, where you challenge yourself to wear and love your handmade wardrobe. Each participant sets their own specific pledge, and the idea is to challenge yourself to get your makes into regular circulation, and to work out any holes in your handmade wardrobe, therefore utilising your sewing time in the future. It’s such a shame to spend precious time and energy on making something which then languishes unused, or else just isn’t your style or fit.

I have been finding the lead up to MMM’16 incredibly useful for my sewing productivity already. I pledged to use up all of the fabric in my stash before buying any more, making me more inclined to finish off all those ufo’s I have stuffed into a bag and hidden from sight, spurred on by the knowledge that in less than a month I will be relying on these clothes to dress myself every weekend. I’ve been finding that in a lot of cases my makes have been just a couple of small steps away from completion. A hem here, a dart rejig there, and I suddenly have a handmade wardrobe growing in front of my eyes! It’s very satisfying.

So onto my MMM16 pledge-

I, Lottie of Losori, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear handmade and refashioned outfits each weekend, prioritising mended and then second hand clothes for the remainder of the outfit. 

So, to expand on what that means. I have decided to only apply these rules during the weekends because I have just started a kind of snazzy job where I need to wear smart clothes. I’m making wish list plans for some great office appropriate clothes, but right now I’m nowhere near being able to wear homemade more than maybe once a week, unless polka dot gathered skirts have suddenly become office appropriate whilst I wasn’t looking! Someone let me know when they do, please…

I will be trying to wear as much homemade (or refashioned) clothing each day of my pledge, and choosing my outfits based on those items. After that, I will choose from my clothes I have mended, then secondhand, and finally, failing the above, from the remainder of my wardrobe. The reasoning behind this hierarchy is to make sure I actually wear the items I have extended the life of. After that, buying second hand is a great way to recycle clothing by giving it a new life, and my pledge will aim to embrace that in my outfit choices.

My aim is to record my weekend outfits on my instagram, and write up a post about them weekly. I don’t really want to super commit to that though, as I’m not sure how busy I’ll be in May, see aforementioned new job. Be sure to check out the action on #MMM16, for me one of the best parts of Me-Made-May is seeing everyone else’s makes out in the wild.

Thanks for reading, and happy Me-Made-May 2016! Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a skirt with no waistband calling to me…

On Finishing Unfinished Business

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We all have ongoing projects. Those creative tasks which never seem to get done, sometimes for valid reasons, and sometimes for silly reasons. This blog post, for example, is a piece of unfinished business. I took the photos in this post a good few weeks ago, but life kept getting in the way. I wanted to get a photo of me wearing the scarf but the right moment, in my eyes, never materialised. So, this post remained unfinished. That is, until I kicked myself to stop giving excuses, and actually write. I want to write a blog post, so I should just do it, right? Yet, other things often seem to get in the way. Please tell me this sounds familiar to some of you, and reassure me it’s not just me!

This scarf was one of my first solo knitting projects, and the first one where I chose wool specifically for a project. I remember finding matching pastel wool, the softest wool I would have knitted with, having previously just used stuff we had lying around the house. My plan was for a long scarf with different stripes of different lengths, in a random pattern. I started knitting, and it was hard. I kept losing stitches, the silky wool kept wanting to slip off the metal needles. I knitted it for a bit, and then it got buried somewhere. About a year later, I knitted a bit more. Like this the scarf slowly but surely grew, until one day I picked it up from the bottom of my knitting bag and realised it was only a few rows from being the right length. What’s lovely about this scarf is that I can track my knitting progress, from a variable tension and obviously picked up stitches, to weaving in ends invisibly and slipping stitches at the ends of rows to create a smooth edge. There’s a real personal journey in this scarf, and the fact I can wear that is pretty great!

Sometimes, you just need to get things done. I could procrastinate, wait until a ‘perfect’ moment to photograph the work around my neck, and later write about it here. Or, I could realise that I could complete is now for certain, or leave it unfinished, with no certainty of completion. I mean, you all know what scarves look like on a human, right? It’s not like I’m going to go into depth about fit and tension. There’s a part of me thinking that this post is terrible, that it’s not perfect, but honestly, it doesn’t really matter. It’s ok if things you make aren’t perfect. Creativity has a value in and of itself, and it is a combination of the process and the finished product which make it worthwhile. In this case, the process was long but enjoyable, and the fact I have now finished such an early work gives me an immense sense of satisfaction.

Mismatching Regia Socks

When I first started out knitting I received a present of a couple of balls of Regia 4 fadig sock wool, and a magazine by the same company with patterns in. As soon as I was a confident enough beginner, I made my first pair of socks! They are so warm and I have worn them proudly for a couple of years now.

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The sign of well loved socks. And still no holes! In comparison to my shop bought socks they’re troopers, just rather more felted than they used to be.IMG_1073

So many fibres.

Recently, whilst clearing out a drawer I found a nearly finished sock in the same wool which I had forgotten about. I declared to no one in particular that I was to finish these socks as soon as possible.

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However, I found myself with a problem. I definitely didn’t have enough of the original wool to make the second sock. What I did have was a ball of the same wool in a different colourway. So, necessity being the mother of invention…

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Voila! My deliberately mismatching socks. As modeled by my in my pj’s. These are from Fat Face and I thought would be fitting (or I just didn’t want to get out of loungewear) for such cosy socks. As you can see I got about a third of the way down the leg pattern before I ran out. These are definitely not the tightest socks I’ve made- you might be able to see above the gap on the blue sock’s foot where I can’t have knitted across the needles well enough. However, I’m hoping that’ll not matter so much once they’ve been worn a few times.IMG_1080

These were knitted with double pointed needles, in keeping with the pattern. I’ve never used circular needles for socks, does anyone have a preference having tried both? Also a front shot showing the ugly toe shaping on the orange pair. Oh yeah, these are definitely more orange than red in real life, the lighting when I took these was dazzling.IMG_1082

One of my favourite things about this pattern is the way the heel is worked. No heel flaps and it makes the heel look like shop bought ones. My magazine is translated, I think from German, and the heel instructions are incredibly difficult to navigate. I almost gave up on my first pair they were so confusing. Thank goodness for the internet. I found a perfect tutorial on Tess Knits for the heel, written in an easy format and with pictures! I couldn’t have done it without you, Tess Knits :’).IMG_1078

The leg pattern was fast to knit up, it only had 4 or 5 lines to it but created these cool bobble type things. I wish the coloured bit photographed better, it’s lovely in real life.IMG_1075

Side by side. I really liked the making do vibe this project took, plus the fact I found the first sock half finished made it feel like I only had to put in half the work to finish. No Second Sock Syndrome here!IMG_1074

So there we have it. Stash busting socks, ready for years of service alongside their sister socks. At ease, soldiers.

I Made an Owls Jumper

IMG_0918It’s been flooding, our Christmas decorations are still up and there’s still the odd shoe I still need to unpack, but none of that stops my excitement because I made a jumper! This jumper. These photos were taken with wet hair, the sky grey like it was still hungover from New Year’s Eve, and a touch of awkward-me. It’s a charming mix. I don’t care, I’m still so frikking pleased with myself for having made this jumper! It’s the Owls pattern by Kate Davies, which I have wanted for ages before getting it and the wool last Christmas. It’s knit with a nice chunky wool and circular needles, so it grows satisfyingly quickly. Even with that, I started this jumper back in 2014, before I got bogged down in University stuff, so picked it up after  I graduated and finished it a day or two ago.

The wool is called Sweet Briar Chunky with 30% wool, 70% acrylic. This should mean I can wash it in the washing machine… here’s hoping. It’s in this lovely dark blue with almost a greyish tone to it, which works really well being showcased in this pattern, given the large plain sections, whilst also giving the owls a space to shine. I’m already seeing it as a key member of my wardrobe. Plus, it is so warm! It might be the warmest jumper I have, which should get me through the rest of winter nice and toasty.

IMG_0915Picture of me contemplating the flooding (which, if you can believe it, is actually quite low right now in comparison to about a week ago) in order to show you the construction of the jumper a bit more. You knit the body up the the armpits, then the sleeves, then you connect them all together on your circular needles to create the cabled yoke and neck. This gives a really nice unbroken pattern, plus no seams to deal with means when you’ve finished knitting you’re pretty much done. You just have to weave in your loose threads and sew the underarms together with four stitches you put on scrap yarn, which was quite fiddly and needed a bit of jiggery pokery to make sure I didn’t have like a massive hole in the armpit region. I haven’t blocked it, and I think I probably should but eh, not until I’ve told everyone I made a really big knot which created a fabric which I can wear. Knitting is cool.IMG_0919Can you see the owls? This was my first time using cables and it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. This may come down to this pattern being perfect for confident beginners. If you’ve done knitting with instructions before and dealt with increases, decreases etc then you should be able to make your way through this. The pattern has an option at the end to sew buttons on for the owl’s eyes, but I quite like it as it is. Firstly, because I really liked the look of Lauren’s version, plus I like the way the owls are sort of revealed to you as you look, like some kind of magical knitting phenomenon.