Spellman Sweater by Dragon Hoard designs

Review of the Spellman Sweater by Dragon Hoard designs

I wanted to join in on the virtual 'Tell me about your Rhinebeck sweater' video that Kristy Glass Knits was producing this year. Given that the New York Sheep and Wool Festival was cancelled this year, like many other events, it would be nice to join in with everyone else coming together at this time. I can't normally go myself, and love watching Kristy's video every year, gaining inspiration from all the makers attending the festival. It comes at a time of the year when the seasons change and I'm heading back into the sweater drawer anyway, so I decided that I may as well aim for the October deadline and join in this unusual year. Thankfully, I did just about finish in time to send a video to Kristy and she did include it in her compilation. You can find her video here. It's 3 hours long (I'm fairly early on) but so full of brilliant makes - lovely to watch.

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Navelli tee by Caitlin Hunter

Caitlin Hunter Navelli tee pattern review

There's something about having a short sleeved top that has been knitted that doesn't make sense. Surely knitting is all about making warm jumpers and cardigans to wear in winter, right? Well, for a start, loads of people have made this pattern, so it must be wearable. Then I got to thinking that wool is quite breathable, so maybe it wouldn't be too hot for days where you want short sleeves. It is still warmer than a regular t-shirt, but actually, it has turned out pretty well on those in between days in late spring. It's also an enjoyable knit, with colourwork and more gentle knitting as well.
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Venezia Shawl Pattern - Joji Locatelli

Joji Locatelli Venezia Shawl Pattern review

This is an excellent pattern for beginners. It only uses one skein and has a simple construction. It's a  little more refined and complicated than a scarf, but not as big as other shawls - more of a shawlette. Personally, I think it's a delicate delicate design and makes for an excellent gift as well.
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Sew Over It Ultimate trousers in stretch denim

Sew Over It Ultimate trousers in stretch denimDuring the time that we are all being advised to stay at home, Lisa Comfort has been hosting sewalongs on the Sew Over It YouTube channel. I was trying to catch up and found out the next one was the Ultimate Trousers, which had been on my to do list for over a year, when I was given some stretch denim as a birthday present. I just about managed to get them cut out in time and was able to join in the sewalong, which I thoroughly recommend. Even if you aren't sewing along, there's a lot of tips that come through as Lisa puts the items together, as well as general chat that it's nice to be a part of/listen to. The full Stay Home and Sewalong list is up on the website if you want to join in next week or see what has already been featured. (I'm wearing mine with my Molly top here) 
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Tilly and the Buttons Freya sweater hack with stripe matching tips

Tilly and the Buttons Freya sweater hack with stripe matching success
After hacking the Sew Over It Molly dress pattern to make my Rainbow T-shirt dress, I had just about enough fabric left over to make another pattern. Considering I had bought a 1.5m cut, I feel that getting a dress and a top out of the fabric was pretty good going - I do like it when I feel like I'm getting value for money! I decided to try and see if I could use the Freya pattern from the Stretch! book by Tilly and the Buttons, and there was not only enough, but enough to stripe match too!
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Rainbow T-Shirt dress

Rainbow T-Shirt dress using Sew Over It Molly dress and Seamwork Astoria patterns
I fell in love with this fabric as soon as Tilly and the Buttons began teasing images of their upcoming fabric line on Instagram. I waited it out until I went to the Stitch Festival in March though, as I wanted to pick up a few pieces from their stall. Then came the difficult part that many sewists find; having an idea of a finished garment in mind but no readily available pattern to make it with. As an expert bodger, I managed to find a way to make the t-shirt dress that I envisioned....and that is going to be mainly what I will be wearing through the rest of spring!

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Quilting in Quarantine - part 2 Free Motion Practice

Bluprint free motion quilting class review

Previously I stitched together a quilt top and was very pleased with the outcome. What I hadn't realised was how much more complicated things were about to get! Seeing as the quilt top I had made is very geometric, I thought that I could do a fair amount of quilting with my walking foot. However, there is a large amount of negative space and I did want to get a little more creative. In order to quilt in more intricate shapes than straight lines, you need a free motion foot for your machine, and a whole new level of skills!

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Quilting in Quarantine - piecing together a quilt top

Quilting in Quarantine - piecing together a quilt top

Right now, lots of people are staying at home to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Whilst I'm still out doing my job as a key worker, I am also staying at home more which means more time for crafting. I've taken advantage of Bluprint's free access to develop some new skills, one of which being Quilting. I got a taste for it whilst making memory T-Shirt quilts (guide here) and wanted to have a go at something more advanced and intricate, as a break from dressmaking (there's only so many clothes you need when everyone is staying indoors).

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Knitting needles for socks - which should you pick for your first pair?

Which knitting needles should you use for your first pair of handknit socks?

Which knitting needles should you use for socks? Especially if it's your first time?
Well, the main thing is that you get the correct gauge, but this can alter depending on the type of needle you use. Your speed can also vary with the different types but ultimately it's a matter of preference and what you find easiest. However, finding that that means giving everything a go and if you are looking to get started you probably are also looking for a set of needles to buy as well. So the following is a bit of an overview so that you can decide which type you want to try out first, or next!

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Simplicity 8292

Simplicity 8292 pattern review

Whenever I go to the Knitting and Stitching Shows I get drawn in by M Rosenberg and Son's stall - there's so much on there that sparks inspiration. This was one of those fabrics (yes, even though it is basically, grey); I immediately knew it would be great for a shift dress for work. It took me a while to decide on a pattern, but this one is a really good one for creating some wardrobe basics.

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Nutkin sweater from Laine Magazine Issue 5, hacked

Nutkin sweater from Laine Magazine Issue 5, hacked to be knit in the round

I came across Laine magazine quite soon after I started knitting and fell in love with this pattern immediately. It took me a while to buy the magazine with this pattern in, but it was the main reason for the purchase to be fair. I was a bit disappointed to find that it was knit in pieces and seamed together (not a fan of purling) but eventually found a way to get round that for most of the sweater.

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Nina Lee Park Lane Dress

Nina Lee Park Lane Dress pattern review

I am a huge fan of Nina Lee's patterns - I think they echo high street fashion well and they are written really comprehensively - my Mayfair dresses are worn a lot in the summer. For the winter season, I wanted to make a longer sleeved dress in a solid colour - something lacking from my wardrobe, so the Park Lane was a natural choice. I wore it a lot this winter and I have ideas for summer versions in different fabrics too.

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Speedy self striping socks

These socks were knit so quickly due to a few key choices. They ended up for me but if I were pushed for time to give to someone else, I would definitely look to something like this. Not only were they fast, they were really relaxing because they don't require a lot of concentration - so I managed to read or watch a film at the same time (which is probably partly why they felt like they flew by). There are a few things that I did for the first time with these and they paid off - glad that I gave them a go!
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How to sew a t-shirt quilt

Make a memory quilt: how to sew a t-shirt quilt

New Year, new skills. This month I've been involved in a sewing project of a different sort - memory quilts. It's not my usual kind of make, but has been really interesting to learn to do. I have seen a fair few made as gifts using a collection of t-shirts from festivals or concerts as well as children's baby clothes. It involved a fair bit of research so I've pulled together the best of what I found in case you would like to have a go at making your own. These were made for the lovely Stanley, Freddie and Hayley, who I hope will be able to enjoy them for a long time.

Make a memory quilt: how to sew a t-shirt quilt

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Tilly and the Buttons Stella Joggers

Tilly and the Buttons Stella Joggers pattern review

These joggers are the companion bottoms to the Stella Hoodie that I made earlier in the year. Both patterns are found in the Tilly and the Buttons book 'Stretch! Make yourself comfortable sewing with knit fabrics'. The hoodie is certainly comfortable so it seemed only right that I made the joggers too. Both patterns are incredibly easy to make and very well written so they are definitely something that beginners can tackle and end up with a good result. I'm pretty much living in these joggers right now!

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Hi, I'm Laura. Welcome to my journeys with modern, feminine dressmaking and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm a lifelong foodie, so you'll also find some delicious recipes and places to get that foodie fix.

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