Thursday, 23 January 2014

Woolly Bully

A year or so ago, whilst having a quick peruse in a local christy shop, I spotted a pack of raspberry coloured mohair - Lister-Lee Tamarisk. 
I don't think Lister Lee even exist any more.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, and I wasn't lucky enough to have this little number in my pattern stash ...
or this one ....
I don't know what she's looking for, but if she's got any sense, she's trying to find a bloke who doesn't nick her mohair jumper.

Then Mum gave me a free booklet from her newspaper that had a pattern for a little mohair cardigan, and although it was meant to be knitted in some upmarket expensive yarn, I tried a tension square and I thought my bargain stuff would do. I got a bit worried when I got to the sleeves as I thought I was going to run out of yarn, so I started knitting two sleeves at once (well, not quite literally) so that they'd at least end up the same length, even if they were shorter than the original pattern. Anyway, I just about got away with it, and if you don't believe me, this is the sum total of the yarn that was left 
Trouble was, when it was finished, I didn't like it. The button bands were supposed to be knitted in with the main pieces, and I hadn't made button holes, figuring that I could 'jam' little round buttons in between the stitches. - I'm not too much of a purist, you can probably tell. 
But the yarn didn't have enough 'give', so that didn't work. Also, it was too big and woolly, and not the delicate little cardi that I'd imagined.  I couldn't face unravelling it (have you TRIED unravelling mohair?) I had an idea of reducing the side seams with the overlocker, but that seemed a bit harsh, even by my standards.  I took it to my Spectrum group, and also to my knitting mates, for some helpful suggestions, but no one came up with a definitive solution.

I tried gently washing it to see what happened (nothing did) and then it just hung around for a couple of weeks, and nearly made it into the charity shop bag.  But having spent all that time knitting it, I wasn't ready to give up quite yet.  I washed it again, this time in very hot water and I rubbed it pretty hard, hoping it would felt a bit.  And it did!  At first I thought I'd overdone the felting, but I tried it on (slightly damp) and it seemed fine.  I pulled it into shape and left it to dry flat.  
Anyway, I realise this is getting a bit boring now, so to cut a long story short, having felted it a bit, I turned back the button bands, and tried pinning velvet ribbon on the edge.  Oh and I converted it into a v neck by turning under the corners.  
I still wasn't happy, so then I tried turning up the ribbed hem.
I decided that was probably as good as it was going to get so I went for it.
I still thought it could look like the ribbon had been sewn on as an afterthought, but when I was in a lovely boutique-y dress shop in Whitstable at the weekend I saw some pretty little velvet trimmed cardies, but they all had two trims - the velvet and some toning lace.  So, when I got home I went through my ribbon and braid stash, and although I didn't have any suitable lace, I found some dainty embroidered flower braid, so I stitched that on.  

And the end result is - I really like it now!
As an aside - how fab is this dress that I saw outside the shop in Whitstable 

When I haven't been bullying woollies into submission, I've been stitching.  I've made a skirt, nearly finished a dress, and I've got another couple of skirts cut out.  But they'll keep for another day.

Woolly Bully - ~~Eddie and the Hot Rods

Saturday, 11 January 2014


You might remember (if you've been listening) that a couple of months ago I reported that I had stitched this piece of barkcloth ....
at the request of the lovely Bobby Britnell,  as part of her collaboration with Janet Middleton of Starchild Shoes  to raise funds for Hands Up For Uganda. The plan was for lots of people to buy a piece of barkcloth, decorate it however they liked, and then send it off to be made as little artshoes. Which I did!
Now, although I blog intermittently, I don't 'tweet', and I don't 'face' (I can waste time quite adequately as it is, thanks) but I was delighted when Gina sent me the photos that she had seen on Faceache of my cloth made into shoes ...

They look so cute - and the shade of leather used with my fabric is EXACTLY the colour I'd have chosen myself!
If you want to look at the other fantastic shoes, here's a link to the Facebook page (I don't think you have to be signed up to see it)
Now I'm so pleased that I did a second piece, and I look forward to seeing it as shoes.  
AND seeing all the finished shoes on display at the NEC in March at Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch

BABYSHOES - Joe Christmas