Hello Edinburgh

At the end of September we moved from Germany back to the UK, specifically to Edinburgh. It’s been a crazy time since late summer, but things are finally settling down.

I’ve taken surprisingly few photos of this amazing city, but here’s a selection of what I have taken. The slightly blurry ones are phone pics taken on my walkabouts :) .

Back view of Edinburgh Tenements by knitahedron

Edinburgh by knitahedron

Entrance to the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh by Áine Ryan

Edinburgh Allotments by Áine Ryan

Edinburgh Castle by Áine Ryan

View from Blackford Hill by Áine Ryan

Arthur's Seat by Áine Ryan

Bollywood Police Box by Áine Ryan

Long December Shadows by Áine Ryan

View of Braid Hills by Áine Ryan

Edinburgh Christmas Market by knitahedron

Summer Sweater Knitalong – Offer Code!

luvinthemommyhood sskal

The 2013 Summer Sweater Knit Along hosted by Shannon of luvinthemommyhood started yesterday!

Shannon’s plan is to encourage us all to keep knitting through the summer months and then your sweater is ready to wear in plenty of time for winter. Brilliant! No more finishing up your cosy jumpers in April and having to wait till the following winter to wear them.

Sign up info and rules are in the Ravelry group.

To celebrate, I’m offering 10% of my ‘Maturin‘ pattern (Ravelry shop only) until 31st July! Just enter the code sskal at checkout.

Maturin

I’m probably going to keep my goals manageable for this one, and just knit something up for my baby nephew!

Follow along with everyone’s progress across all social media with the hashtag #sskal.

Happy knitting!

View from Athabasca Glacier

View from Athabasca Glacier by Áine Ryan

View from Athabasca Glacier by Áine Ryan

I took this photo during a trip to Canada in September 2010. We hiked up the Athabasca Glacier with Ice Walks instead of taking the bus. I cannot recommend them enough! It was amazing.

You can se lots more pics from that trip in my Flickr album O Canada.

Wiksten Tank Triple Threat

The Wiksten Tank pattern is mega popular, and it’s easy to see why. Simple, fashionable, customisable and great for beginners. It doesn’t use a huge amount of fabric either, which makes it great for showing off precious fabrics or remnants. It’s been blogged about countless times already and you can see loads of lovely examples in the Wiksten Patterns Pool on Flickr.

Wiksten Tank by Áine Ryan // knitahedron

So far I’ve made three! All from fabric remaining from previous projects. The fabric in the version above was used before in my Sleeveless Floral Shirt. I adore this fabric and I’m sad it’s all gone now. :( My mum asked if it was Liberty, but no, just some bargain find in the department store! A cotton voile, light and airy and perfect for summer.

Wiksten Tank by Áine Ryan // knitahedron

The second version is made from the same woven viscose that I used in my Sureau. I was a bit short on fabric for this one, so the hem is straight instead of curved.

Wiksten Tank by Áine Ryan // knitahedron

Finally, (for now) I made a jersey version, from the remaining viscose jersey from my Floral Burda Dress. Even though this version is exactly the same size as the others, the weight and stretch of the jersey make the fit a lot looser.

Wiksten Tank by Áine Ryan // knitahedron

I made a few minor adjustments to the pattern. In the pic above you can see that I scooped out the armholes on the back sightly to give a hint of a racer back. I didn’t want it too pronounced though, just enough to cover bra straps. To achieve this, I had my design assistant (ahem, husband…) draw the outline of my bra straps on the muslin while I was wearing it – green lines below. The inner / lower pink line is the outline of another top I own, which is too revealing, included for comparison. The outer / upper line is then where I sketched the new armhole that I wanted. I also scooped a little out of the back neck because I found it a little high, but it’s not drawn here.

Wiksten Tank by Áine Ryan // knitahedron

I brought the front armhole in a little too, as you can see below. I found the original neckline too low and ‘U-shaped’ for my taste, so I raised it and made it a bit more scoopy. I’m especially glad that I did this for the jersey version, because the weight of the fabric pulls even the revised neckline quite low.

Wiksten Tank by Áine Ryan // knitahedron

In terms of sizing, I originally cut the muslin in size M, but found it a bit too loose, particularly on the bust. The second muslin (shown below) in size S was way too tight, especially on the armholes and of course the bust! In the end, I used the size M, but took the bust in a little, but perhaps too much. It pulls a little across the chest in the woven fabrics. In contrast though, if I make another jersey version, I’ll do that in size S.

Wiksten Tank by Áine Ryan // knitahedron

The above pic of the second muslin also shows my neckline workings. The cut neckline is my first revision, but it came out too high even discounting seam allowance. The purple lines are where I really want it to be.

Wiksten Tank by Áine Ryan // knitahedron

I was short of fabric for the jersey version above, so had to do the back in two pieces. It’s seamed somewhere below the bust line but with 100% zero intention, I think it is actually pretty imperceptible! Win!

Wiksten Tank by Áine Ryan // knitahedron

I really enjoyed making this pattern and will definitely make more. It was (shock!) my first time using french seams and since then, I have used them in everything! If you’re a beginner or advanced, I highly recommend this pattern. In just a few hours you get a lovely summery top!

I’ve posted about all three over on Kollabora too, where I’ve included (with the Breezy Tank version) a little more detail on the alterations.

Floaty Floral Réglisse Dress

Réglisse by knitahedron / Áine Ryan

This project was a whole load of firsts for me! First time sewing with slippy, sheer fabric. First time lining a garment. First time working on the bias. First time matching prints. Phew! It was a steepish learning curve but well worth it. Réglisse by Deer & Doe is a breeze to sew and even easier to wear. It took me a bit of time only because of my ‘ambitious’ (for me) choice of fabric.

Réglisse by knitahedron / Áine Ryan

I bought the fabric (once again) last Summer in the local department store sale. Despite it’s synthetic (I think) content, I was just completely drawn to it. Of course then it languished in my fabric drawer for nearly a year, waiting for me to build up the courage to attempt to sew it and / or find a suitable pattern. I don’t recall what the label on the bolt said, but a flame test confirmed it’s plasticy content! It’s a very light, sheer, loose woven polyester chiffon with a crinkle.

I had my eye on Réglisse since its release, but was nervous about the full skirt. I held back on buying the pattern until a number of other, braver souls had tried it out. Looking through all the finished dresses in the Deer & Doe Flickr group, especially after the Réglisse sew-along, I knew my fears were unjustified. Réglisse looks amazing on all body shapes and especially in light, drapey fabrics. I think it was Eléonore’s wedding dress version that finally convinced me! Realising that the polyester chiffon would be perfect I hesitated no more!

But first, a muslin!

Réglisse by knitahedron / Áine Ryan

The muslin is made up in a unbleached cotton (Ikea’s Bomull – top tip for muslin fabric!). Heavier than the lined chiffon, but sufficient to test general fit. Having previously made Sureau in size 38, and realising now that it was a smidge too small, I checked the pattern piece measurements for size 40. Given that it’s a loose fitting dress, without a zip, I decided that size 40 would be perfect. I sewed up the muslin super quick and then nervously tried it on. Any sewer will know that feeling – you’ve spent hours and possibly many monies on sewing a garment, only to try it on a realise that it just looks awful on you! No such sinking feelings here! It looked great and the skirt wasn’t too puffy on my hips! I did decide however, to remove the cap sleeves and the tie from the collar, because I thought they looked a little too girly on me, especially since the fabric was already pretty feminine and floaty. :)

Réglisse by knitahedron / Áine Ryan

Now to the scary part – cutting out slippy fabric. Turned out to be a breeze with my rotary cutter and many cans of tinned beans as weights! What was going to be tricky though, was matching the print. At first I thought that the print was small enough to avoid doing that, but then I noticed how the flowers were in stripes, so given the central seams, I realised i was necessary. On the first attempt I matched the pattern beautifully to give a continuous pattern, only to realised what I wanted was chevrons… The crinkle in the fabric caused some problems with stretching and when two pieces were matched up pattern wise, there weren’t actually the same size. Argh! I got there in the end, and although it’s not perfect, I’m pleased with the results.

Réglisse by knitahedron / Áine Ryan

Next up – choice of lining. There was no way I was going to line such a lovely dress with icky acetate lining, so my original plan was to line it with a 100% viscose or cupro lining fabric. In the end, during this summer’s local department store fabric sale binge shop, I found some lovely, light cotton fabric in an off white. It was labelled ‘Gewebe’ which is somewhat ambiguous – my online dictionary translates it as anything from simply ‘woven’ or ‘fabric’ to more specifically ‘gauze’ or ‘mesh’. It’s certainly a ‘blouse’ fabric, and probably similar to lawn. Either way, it was light enough to use as a lining and the right colour!

Réglisse by knitahedron / Áine Ryan

I decided, given the sheerness of the fabric, combined with the darts and the centre seams, to ‘interline’ the bodice. In other words, I treated the layered fabric and lining as one piece of fabric and seamed them all together. To do this, I basted each pattern piece of the bodice and waist band in the chiffon to it’s corresponding piece in lining. I didn’t do this for the skirt, in order to keep the two skirts separate for free swishing and so that they would hang better. I then sewed everything together with french seams.

Réglisse by knitahedron / Áine RyanThe armholes and hem are finished with homemade bias binding from the lining fabric. I removed the tie ends from the collar and sewed the ends into the centre seam. If I did this again I would cut the collar on the fold at this front point and have the seam at the back, so that the front point was all one piece and not attached to the bodice. I did scoop some fabric from the armholes and shoulder yokes to make them narrower, but I think I needed to take more from the yokes. The armholes are a bit gapey, but that’s not obvious in the pics thanks to my strategically positioned arms. ;) You’ll notice that the waistband isn’t very gathered in my version. I tried it out with having the elastic shorter, but whilst the pulled in waist looked better, it made the skirt sit higher on my hips puff out a bit too much for my taste.

Réglisse by knitahedron / Áine Ryan

All in all, an awesome pattern. The loose fit makes it summery and feminine and the zip-free, chuck it over your head construction makes it so comfy and easy to wear! I’m currently searching for the perfect fabric for an autumn / winter version.

Floral Jersey Burda Dress

I actually made this dress last Summer, but it has been packed away since last September or so and has been optimistically unearthed for this ‘Summer’.

Jersey Burda Dress by knitahedron

The pattern comes from the June 2010 issue of Burda Style magazine, but the photo in the mag doesn’t show the shape of the dress so well, so I had to rely on the technical drawing.

BM1006_burdasty_1__1_188_original_large June_109_tech_drawing_large

I quite liked the look of it nonetheless, and although the featured fabric was no longer available I had been lusting over the fabric I did use for some time. I spotted it early in the Summer on the My Stoffe site, but wasn’t in a position to buy it straight away, so I kept nervously checking the site to check that it hadn’t sold out! Eventually, I bought it, at which time it was a reduced remnant. Yay! It a light / medium weight viscose jersey with no manufacturer details, but I suspect it may be from Hilco or Toptex.Jersey

The pattern is actually described as a ‘Jersey Body-Con Dress’, but you can clearly see that my version is quite loose-fitting. This was from the days where I followed the manufacturer’s sizing rather than actually measuring the patterns pieces to compare to my own measurements. I may make another, slimmer fitting model this year.

Jersey Burda Dress by knitahedron

It was my first time sewing with jersey, and I was initially nervous. I don’t own an overlocker, so I reinforced the seams with iron-on seam reinforcer as per the instructions and used the ‘stretch stitch’ on my Janome. That all worked out fine, and I wore the dress loads last Summer. So comfy and very cool on hot days. (Here’s hoping!)