A Pair of Blackwood Cardigans

Since I live in the UK I’m always looking for stylish ways to keep warm (though thankfully it is finally warming up after what feels like an  infinite Winter!) and so I’d had my eye on the Blackwood Cardigan by Helen’s Closet for a while.  I think I might have bought it when she expanded her size range on it (and congrats to her for now having all her patterns in a more inclusive range of sizes!).

Anyway, all that is to say that towards the end of last year I made 2 Blackwood Cardigans and they have got quite a bit of wear each since they were finished.

I made both cardigans in the size small of the longer view and I didn’t make any fitting changes – it’s a relatively loose fitting pattern and doesn’t have fastenings across the front so didn’t require any fiddling around for me.

I had both of these fabrics in my stash for years so I’m glad to have finally got around to sewing them up! The burgundy fabric was from the Birmingham rag market at Sew Brum I think 2 or 3 years ago! I was thinking back then to add burgundy to my colour palette as I thought it would be a good compliment to the other colours I like – mustard yellow, navy blue, grey, black etc. Though looking at these photos and how I feel in it, I’m not sure the colour really suits me so I may not add more burgundy pieces to my wardrobe! The fabric itself was pretty cheap and it really synthetic, so it’s not the best but it was good enough for an experiment.

The mustard yellow fabric was from Tilly and the Buttons’ mini fabric shop they did a year or two ago when her previous book, Stretch, came out. She’s had another book out since, so this has definitely been patiently waiting in my stash for quite a while! This fabric is sooooo much softer then the burgundy knit, so you can feel the difference in quality. But this one has pilled quite badly already, with not a huge amount of wear as it was too cold to wear it for a couple of months. It also seems to have stretched out a bit – you can see it’s longer in the sleeves – and I think in the length – than the other one.

Even though we’re having some nice weather in the UK at the moment, since we’re not allowed outside for more than an hour, I’m still needing my cardigans and knitwear as our flat is much colder than outside, sadly.

If you’re looking for an easy project to make from some knit fabric, then this should definitely be on your list. I think it would be nice in more of a sweatshirt knit, too, actually. 

After listening to a recent episode of Love To Sew, I realised I always take my photos all standing up and there is a growing discussion that it would be helpful for wheelchair users or other people who spend a lot of time sitting, to see how garments look when we are sitting down. So from now on I will include sitting photos of all my makes. I am also listening to the discussions about taking multiple views of garments so others can see the fit across, say, the back, or from the side. I already did this quite consistently on here but I think I didn’t tend to share all the views when I share my makes on Instagram, so I’m going to try to do that more too.

Since I’ve been taking my photos myself with a remote for my phone, outtakes haven’t been as common as they once were, sadly. But please enjoy this gem. I legit look like I’m getting up to smash the camera/phone! Lol!

Are you sewing all the things or have you lost your sewjo given what’s going on in the world? I’m flitting between the 2. The first couple of weeks I sewed loads, then last week I did very little of anything productive. But this week I’m feeling enthused again!

 

 

Wardrobe Architect Week 4: Proportions and Silhouettes

This week’s Wardrobe Architect is about finding out what silhouettes we like to wear. It builds on last week’s assessment of the shapes of garments we like to wear and puts them together to make outfits, which emphasise or hide different areas of our bodies by ease or length. The idea is that we will come up with some key silhouettes we like, which will become the templates for what we sew and what will hopefully become a capsule wardrobe.

I came up with a few ideas for outfits I like to wear – some are smart, some are casual, some are for Winter and some for Summer. I found pictures that were the shape of garment I was looking for, but not necessarily the colour. All image sources can be found on my Wardrobe Architect Pinterest board.

1.Skinny jeans, loose top, cardigan flats.

1.b Or the above outfit as a bit more casual with trainers and a different top.

2. Pleated Trousers with a loose shirt, jumper and flats

2.b Then there’s a more casual version of this with boyfriend jeans and trainers.

3. Short skirt, tights, slightly fitted top/shirt (tucked in), cardigan, flats or ankle boots.

4. Loose shift dresses, tights, cardigan, ankle boots.

5. Fit and flare Summer dresses with sandals.

 

I could swap out sandals for shoes or trainers and lose the cardigans and jumpers for more Summery versions of the outfits. Living in England we don’t have much of a Summer usually – a couple of weeks if we’re lucky – so layers are usually the way to go when it’s warmer.

I’ve found this week really helpful in terms of working out a capsule wardrobe! I’ve been feeling recently that I have lots of clothes and not much to wear, and I carry on making things but still think I have nothing to wear. This exercise will definitely help me pick what to make so that I have lots of combinations I can put together into outfits I actually like and feel are ‘me’.

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Miette Cardigan

I finally finished my Miette Cardigan, which according to Ravely, I cast on on March 12th! I finished it a couple of weeks ago, but still, that’s basically 6 months! I actually knitted the vast majority of it in the first month or so, but somewhere I just got stuck, or bored, or something and stopped knitting it. I have a theory that it was the sleeves that did for me, because I knitted them with DPNs instead of a circular needle and it brought back painful memories of knitting socks...no more socks please! And apparently no more knitting in the round with DPNs. My next cardigan which I’ve already cast on has raglan sleeves which are seamed underneath, so I’ll see if I finish that one quicker!

But back to my Miette. I used Sirdar Supersoft Aran wool which is 100% acrylic, which was fine to knit with but it’s very hot! I’ve tried wearing it a couple of times this Summer, but I’ve spent the whole time taking it on and off. After my next knit, which is also acrylic, I think I’m going to invest in better yarn because what’s the point of spending all that time knitting something which is no better quality than some cheapo thing  I could buy in Primark? The yarn is red, but it looks really pink in the photos!

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I’m wearing it with my first dress. I added 10 rows onto the length in the middle, where the pattern says to add rows if you want to. I felt like in the pattern photos it was just a bit too short for me, but actually it probably would have been fine at the original length and not too cropped, because I’m such a short-arse!

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As you can see, I also made the sleeves longer. They’re 3/4 length in the pattern, but I have a cardi that has short sleeves and in the Autumn/Winter it just makes my wrists cold and since I live in Britain, it’s cold more than it’s hot! I added in 30 rows before the decrease rows. I think the sleeves are a bit wide for my ideal fit, but since it was my first try, I’m pretty pleased.

The thing I didn’t really twig with the pattern, was that having added rows to the length, I had to fiddle with the button bands to get them to be ribbed. I initially just knitted them as the pattern said and they looked like this:

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This was another point where I stalled – I was just going to say f**k it, and leave them looking like this, but I just couldn’t do it so eventually frogged both button bands and worked out the rib rows with the extra 10 stitches added in (6 at the bottom and 4 at the top). I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out in the end:

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(Excuse the weird, unflattering angle, this is the best shot to show the ribbing on the button bands)

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The fit is quite loose across the back, which isn’t a surprise – as I’ve mentioned before I’m really narrow across the back. I don’t have the skill as a knitter to make fit adjustments to make it smaller across the back, so I’m just accepting it as it is!

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I didn’t realise until looking at these pictures that the bottom doesn’t quite line up, what a shame! This photo also shows that it’s a bit big across the bust/ under my arms. I think this is because I have small boobs and Andi Satterlund who wrote the pattern, has a much more impressive rack! This was my first time actually blocking anything, so if anyone has any tips how I can use blocking to try to fix some of the fit issues, they would be gratefully received 🙂

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I really like the lacy details on the pattern, and I would definitely recommend it as a first clothes-knitting project. I’m not the best knitter, but I managed it….even if it did take me bloody ages!