My First Hat – A Cabled Beanie

A few weeks ago I went to a Cabled Beanie Class led by Sarah Hazell. My knitting skills are not extensive – scarves short, long and twisted are pretty much the extent of my knitting projects so far (I have some WIP mittens and a cardigan and hopefully I will post about those in the future).

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Stitch markers are the key!

There were three of us on the course, so we got lots of one to one attention, which was great. Sarah’s pattern requires 50g of Rowan Felted Tweed and we had loads of colours to choose from (and doubles of everything, so we didn’t have to fight over colours Hunger Games style, which was great). I was torn, but chose this red, which is almost orange and has multiple of colour flecks in it. We did a stretchy long tail cast on and then we learned how to do the magic loop method. It’s a strange one – I have to say it’s not my favourite, I think I prefer DPNs; but I can see the benefits for when you want to take your knitting out and about, because you do not have to worry about the stitches falling off the ends of your needles or is that just me? I found it got really tight towards the top of the hat, so I switched back to the DPNs.

My hat took several weeks to complete and without wanting to sound preachy I now have a better understanding of the (true) cost of my Primarni hats of the past. I learned lots of new skills: twisted stitches, cables and how to TINK 🙂 I used a ton of stitch markers and I think that they are crucial to any future projects. In the end I think that I learned as much from my mistakes as anything else and I am really pleased with my hat. I got stuck on the cables and contacted Sarah and she was really helpful and got back to me quickly with great advice and I soon ploughed through those cables.

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Twisted stitches and two types of cables (and the obligatory cat hair).

Before I knew it my hat was complete and it was time to decide between the recommended tassel and a pom pom, which I used to hate as a child, but now veer towards. The IG vote went towards a pom pom and as recommended I went for the biggest one I could muster – I had forgotten how long it takes to make a pom pom the ‘old fashioned way’, but it was fun.

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Then it was time to block my hat and I fear this is where things took a turn. You can probably guess what’s coming next, either I squeezed too hard or the water was too hot or perhaps both, but I fear I now have a Design Feature Double Felted (is that a thing?) Cabled Beanie. Oh well, I shall wear it with pride. Because I made it and I love it 🙂

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Next stop? Mittens.

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Fabric Haul – Bloomsbury Square: Fabrics of Distinction

On Wednesday I went on a road trip to Midhurst, Sussex. It’s a beautiful part of the country and the weather was unseasonably warm – still is.

Victoria Pender, the woman behind all of the beautiful fabrics at Bloomsbury Square, invited me to visit her shop a while ago and I was excited to explore a new source of fabric. I was not disappointed.

Victoria’s fabrics and haberdashery are extensive.

The shop is located in a very creative space: in the same building there is a woman, who works with leather and another, Claire, who leads sewing workshops. Victoria introduced me to Claire and her students for the day, who were working on Couture Jackets. They were on week 3 of a 4 week course and their jackets already looked amazing. They were working with Linton Tweeds and silk linings. There was a lot of hand sewing going on, apparently it takes 120 hours to make one. That alone tells me I will never make one, though I wouldn’t mind wearing one! I actually have some Linton Tweed in my stash from a shopping trip with my partner in crime, Bianca, when we went to a sewing exhibition at the NEC a couple of years ago, maybe I should rethink the jacket. Hmm.

Victoria gave me a tour of her shop, there were so many beautiful fabrics, it was wonderful. I had tried to be good and made a shopping list the night before the trip of my to sew list, despite my list I was seriously tempted to go off plan. I am still trying to decide on the wool for a winter coat; I plan to make the Closet Case Files Clare Coat and I want to push the boat out on some lovely wool and a silk lining. It took all of my will power not to commit on the spot, but the Kelly Anorak is first on my coat making list, because my friend Bianca gave me the pattern last Christmas and I only started to cut out the pattern tonight (oh the shame! note to self: stop stashing!)

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Wool Coatings, including a TARDIS blue and a tempting aubergine.

 

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Some more coatings and denim.

 

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Lots of cords including needle cords and the stretch gabardines.

After much temptation and deliberation I chose some stretch gabardine to make the Simplicty Mimi G 8177 Trouser pattern, there’s a video sew along, that makes me feel like I can sew anything! I also got some in the red colourway to make the Deer & Doe Belladone Dress. I have wanted to make this dress ever since I started to sew, so I am really looking forward to finally tackling it, I love the cutaway in the back. For Valentine’s Day they made a heart shaped one, which I thought was really cute too.

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My haul!

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In an attempt to up my sewing skills I bought some buttery soft satin, which will become a Cashmerette Webster Top, it is still unseasonably warm here; so I think it will get a lot of wear with one of my trusty cardigans. I also think it would make a great lining for my future Clare Coat.

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I got some glass head Merchant & Mills pins, some short ones and longer ones. They are magnetic and not rusty – so a definite upgrade from the ones I have been using up until now (including hat pins! Do.not.ask) and I shall not look back.

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Victoria was really welcoming and I had a lovely day and Bloomsbury Square has a fine collection of quality fabrics, that I will definitely be using again, in fact I have my eye on an electric pink waterproof cotton that I think will make a great jacket. It was so much fun talking about all things sewing related and I also came away with some great tips, including one to use a strip of stretch interfacing for doing twin needle work on necklines and cuffs. While I was eyeing her book collection I spotted ‘The Dressmaker’s Handbook of Couture Sewing Techniques’. It’s great, it has sections on linings, interlinings and darts. It is definitely going to get a lot of use and it is spiral bound so it lies flat while you are working!

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Disclaimer – none of the links are affiliated. Victoria gave me a generous discount, but all thoughts are my own.