easy fingerless mittens

October simple fingerless mitts (with knitting instructions)

I made these mittens for my friend L’s birthday. She’s a writer, the cold season is coming, and I can imagine her typing away at her computer while being cozy and warm.

It was the first time I used Drops Lima. This whole year I’ve been into wooly wools, the more scratchy and rustic, the better.

After knitting and frogging and reknitting and refrogging an albeit sleeveles, full sweater, I’ve realized the problem was the yarn. I had bought it from a local mill, last year, when the shops were closed, it was superwash wool, but the superwash treatment made it look and feel more like acrylic yarn than wool. It was too floopy and shiny.

Last month I found a local knitter who likes superwash on freecycle and gave her my superwash part of the stash (it rhymes!). That felt so good, after months of trying to use these yarns into the sweater above, slippers and shawls that would end up frogged.

So now I steer away from superwash and synthetic blends.

I had used Drops Karisma in the past to make a scarf for a family member, because I needed that garment to be easy to care for. It was okay, but you know… what I said above. So then I had this feeling that most other Drops yarns had some synthetics in them and I disregarded for a long time. But when I went a few weeks ago to my local yarn shop to find new yarn for making L’s mittens, I was surprised to see Lima and Nepal who are both a wool and alpaca mix. They’re really soft and warm. And not shiny!

Now to the mitten instructions, created with the spiritual guidance of Mrs Zimmerman. My friend has small hands, so they mittens look very small, but they were tested on big, manly hands, and they fit as well. If I made this for bigger hands, I would increase the original cast on (CO) with 2-4 stitches.

Fingerless mittens pattern

Yarn: Drops Lima (which is a DK weight)
Gauge: 20 st in stockinette stitch (ss) = 10 cm on 3 mm double pointed needles (DPNs)

Gauge is personal, make a swatch before to see which needles you need for this yarn!

CO 36 st on DPNs

Cuff

Knit the cuff in 1&1 rib (knit 1, purl 1) for 9 rows
K2, ssk to the end,
Knit 4 rounds
K2, kfb to end of round
Knit 15 rounds (keep the purls that you have created from the kfb and knit in pattern)

Afterthought Thumb (we will put in and afterthought thumb, which means we will keep the stitches we need to pick up and knit the thumb, on a spare piece of thread, while we finish the mitten).

K2, insert temporary thread, k7, move back to your main yarn, continue knitting 4 rounds in pattern. When you get to the spare thread stitches, just knit them normally.
Knit 9 more rows in 1&1 rib, then cast off loosely. You can use a bigger needle for your cast off.

Picking up thumb stitches

Now you have 6 st above your spare thread and 7 below, Pick up the 6 st and one on each side, from your knit, 8 st.
Knit 5 st, change needle
Knit 5 st, change needle,
You have 5 st left on your third needle.
Knit 4 rows
Rib 1&1 for 4 rows, cast off in pattern.

Abbreviations:

CO cast on
DPNs double pointed needles
SSK slip slip knit, slip 2 st onto your right needle and knit them together (decreases 1 stitch)
KFB knit front and back into the same stitch (makes 1 stitch)

Enjoy!

September forest wool hat

September Forest Hat (with knitting instructions)

Even though it’s still hot where I live, you can feel autumn in the air. It was a hard summer, so I am looking forward to the slow melancholy of the season.

In this mood was that I started feeling the itch to knit something to celebrate the coming of the new season. I wanted to knit something that reminded me of the forest as it is now, of tree bark and pines, the forest just starting to turn darker and wetter as the year gets older.

It was fun to me to rummage through my stash and play with a few Holstgarn Supersoft leftovers and marl them together. If you want to make this, the knitting pattern is below.

September Forest Hat knitting pattern

Yarn: Hostgarn Supersoft, held double
Gauge: 18 stitches (st) for 10 cm in stockinette stitch (ss)
Notions: circular needle, double-pointed needle, sewing needle.

This is a one size pattern that has enough ease to fit different sizes of adult heads.

Cast on

Cast on 96 st, then join the round without twisting your stitches.

Hat rib

Knit in one by one rib for 10 rounds or 4.5 cm (or until you’re pleased with the height of your rib). One by one rib is knit by alternating between knit and purl stitches. So row one is K1, P1 to the end.

Hat body

Knit in stockinette stitch (so knit every stitch, each round) for 14 rounds (or another 6 cm). Your knitting piece is now 10.5 cm from the cast on.

Decrease row 1: knit 7, k2tog, until end of row
Next 3 rows, knit
Decrease row 2: knit 6, k2tog, until end of row
Next 3 rows, knit
Decrease row 3: knit 5, k2tog, until end of row
Next 2 rows, knit
Decrease row 4: knit 4, k2tog, until end of row
Next 2 rows, knit
Decrease row 5: knit 3, k2tog, until end of row
Next row, knit
Decrease row 6: knit 2, k2tog, until end of row
Next row, knit
Decrease row 7: k2tog, until end of row

This is how the decreases will look if you fold the hat

Now cut off the thread, leaving a hand-to-elbow long tail, thread it through a needle, and then thread the needle through the remaining stitches, pulling the hat closed. Pull the tread towards the wrong side of your hat and weave in your ends. Weave in any other ends and wear with joy.

This is how your hat will look from above

Variation for straight needles.

You can knit this hat in the same way on straight needles by knitting on the front side and purling on the wrong side. Make the decreases, as the pattern suggests, on the front side only.

A summer in photos

As I chronicled the arrival of spring in my city, this year, it was interesting to me to see how my surroundings have influenced me in my making, the following months.

So I made a collection of photos that represented the colours and textures of summer.

Rich Mediterranean foliage in full sun.

Getting lost in a forest in search of an icy river.

Collecting the crop of windowsill gardening.

Morning sun on a freshly washed piece of linen, waiting to be made into something new.

Taking a bite into a piece of traditional pastry from your hometown.

What did your summer look like?

A year of colourful outliers

When I make garments for myself, I always choose fabric in a limited palette of colours, mostly blues and greens, some black and white. This year has been a year of many firsts, and the area of my life that’s dedicated to sewing and knitting has not been any different.

At the beginning of the year, I knit myself a red cotton t-shirt. I sent a photo to my mom, who promptly responded: “You, in red? I don’t know you”.

knitted red t-shirt

Then, I saw a lavender purple Holstgarn Tides, which I wanted to try for a long time, to see how it would knit up, and I felt I needed to knit with this colour, which is one of my mom’s favourite colours. I started making her a shawl, realized I had bought too little yarn, and, after one more yarn purchase, proceeded into completing a shawl in many shades of purple.

With the beginning of spring, for the first time in my life, I bought and made myself a yellow garment. It’s a lounge top in double gauze, a top inspired by the Harper Tunic, from Elizabeth Suzanne. This is the first time I have ever owned a yellow garment.

That’s not all, this year, I started obsessing about knitting a yellow garment as well, so I bought myself a cone of Holstgarn Coast in Cantaloupe. I made a short sleeve crochet cardigan, and now I am figuring out how to knit a round yoke, using instructions from Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting without tears.

Summer came, and I found myself dying a second hand white linen bedsheet and making a red linen dress.

In summer, I also made a top in Nani-Iro gauze in purples and pinks. I had seen this fabric months ago and loved it, and I resisted buying it, being afraid that I won’t wear these colours. A few weeks ago, I saw a remnant of the last of this fabric and decided to get it.

Not, autumn is coming, and I’ve started feeling the itch to knit something in brown and natural shades. What is going on?

What is your relationship with colour in your making? Do you have a favourite colour? Do you wear the colours you choose for making? Do you also have temporarily colour crushes, like me?

First time crocheting a garment and a pair of Clyde shorts

This post documents two adventures at once: my first crochet garment and first time using Holstgarn coast and the make of a linen pair of Elizabeth Suzanne Clyde shorts.

The crochet short sleeve cardigan

I wanted to love crochet for a very long time, and with every piece I started or every sample I tried, I just felt that it’s not me, don’t like it, what can you do about it? I made some amigurumi pieces before, but that was about it.

I was surprised by this pattern recipe by Santa Pazienzia, in which she described how to make a raglan sweater with crochet. Once she explains everything, it’s very simple actually, you just increase at the raglan seams, just as you would do for a knitted raglan. As a note to self, I should modify this recipe to add more stitches to the front pieces to make a C cup fit better.

7

The Holstgarn yarn, a mix of cotton and wool, is more stringy, less bouncy than their Supersoft quality, which is 100% wool. I ordered two cones of this, and I felt that this Cantaloupe yellow one was stringier than the Harbour blue one. I am yet to use the Harbour in a project, but the swatches look a bit different. I held it double for this project, and it was quite quick to make.

The Clyde shorts

I always admired the Elizabeth Suzanne pieces, and I was so happy when she released her patterns on her new website for home sewers to sew their own. I am very inspired by her business model, and she’s done a lot of things people haven’t done before, from being transparent about cost, her business, reframing her business plan after Covid, selling fabric remnants for a zero waste manufacturing process and the list goes on.

The shorts were easy to make as the instructions were clear. I was surprised that different sewing allowances were used on different part of the pants, and then I realized how genius that is. You can purchase her patterns here: https://elizabethsuzannstudio.com/collections/fabric-patterns-kits/Digital-Sewing-Patterns

The fit is ok, the linen I made them in is quite sheer, the bum gets a little saggy after a few hours of wear, but with working from home this year, who cares.

I am not entirely convinced by the length of these, maybe a tad shorter would have been better. And in the future I should alter the pattern a bit to allow for the cuff, this way they’ll be more comfortable to wear biking.

That’s about it. Happy to make these things and happy to share them with you.

denim jumpsuit

A denim chambray jumpsuit, copied from an RTW piece

I made this jumpsuit around this time of year, last year. We all know how that summer was, so I won’t get into it right now.

denim jumpsuit

I had never made a jumpsuit before, but I owned one, and I was a little obsessed with it and the knowledgeable mechanic vibe the jumpsuit was giving me. I had this fabric for a long time and I received it as a gift from a special and kind person, so I wanted to use it for something I would wear, even though the floral pattern is not what I usually wear. Furthermore, I thought that the boxy shape of the jumpsuit would tone down the girlishness of the florals.

denim jumpsuit

I didn’t have quite enough for all pieces, so I used a piece of blue-grey cotton I had in deep stash for the back and lining. I used metal snaps that I already had. Not only that, but I also made a fabric belt from the same cotton material.

All in all, I think it looks quite OK, except the florals don’t look less girly, they just make the jumpsuit look like fancy pyjamas (silent sob).

denim jumpsuit

red linen dress

A midsummer night, red linen dress

For as long as I remember I always wore the same colours: mainly blues, some green, black, some grey, some white and that’s about it. Every few years or so, I get inspired to make something red. This year was surely a strange year because the inspiration to make something red stroke twice: one in knitting a red cotton t-shirt (post soon to come) and the second in this red linen dress.

I don’t feel comfortable in red. I very rarely wear red. Furthermore, I often put a red item on and take it off swiftly.

And yet, I made myself a red dress.

red linen dress

It started as a second hand bedsheet that I dyed it in my washing machine. It’s probably the first time my home dying experiments turn out without visible flaws.

To make the bodice, I used the Seamwork Catarina bodice that I’ve sewn many times. I really need to start taking better notes on my patterns because after I’ve sewn it I again noticed that the bodice is too long for my torso and the straps make the cleavage way more revealing than I’m comfortable with. This time, I wrote the perfect strap measurement on the pattern itself.

red linen dress side view

For the skirt part, I used a tutorial from the amazing Jess Dang, a sewist from Hanoi, Vietnam, who make tutorials for sewing or altering clothes. I love the way she creates the pattern based on body measurement directly on the fabric. And she makes construction so simple. Forget the bodice blocks, with a few simple measurements and angles, she makes really complicates things quite simple.

I’ve never sewn a skirt with a side slit before, and it worked out well. I particularly liked her method for adding an elastic casing to the waistline – so easy!

red summer dress

After making this dress, I started wondering where I’d wear it. This wasn’t a closet need, obviously, but rather a “need to make”. I decided it would be perfect for Midsummer Night festivities and the rooftop party I was going to.

Let me know in the comments if you think I wore the dress or changed into something blue : )

Catarina dress sewing pattern by Seamwork: https://www.seamwork.com/catalog/catarina
Jess Dang dress tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8fNHNwTWRo

messenger bag

Using what you have

I made decluttering, de-stashing and using what I have a soft theme for June at the beginning of the month. No hard goal, no smart objectives, just the thought of using up the supplies I have, remaking things I have. I did buy fabric this month, both new and second-hand, but I am also happy I used up some of my stash.

The only hard goal I made back in April was no more yarn buying until September. My yarn stash has been growing a bit too much for my liking and I want to use more of it before jumping to buying new yarn. But that’s a story for another day.

Today I want to talk about two projects I made this month with materials I already had at home.

First up was this tufted floor pillow. I’ve never tried tufting before, it’s not an easy, relaxing job, but the effect is quite nice. Even my partner was surprised by the result: “I always assumed you needed some kind of machine for making this kind of pillows.” A Sky Turtle machine, one that goes slow but reaches for the sky. So cheesy, right? But it’s summer! It’s ok to be a little cheesy.

tufted floor pillow

To make this tufted floor pillow, I cut two squares of fabric and one long strip measuring four times the side of your square piece + a few cm as sewing allowance. I pivoted at the end of each side of the square. Once I sewed it all up, leaving a hole on one of the sides, it looked like a deflated box.

I then stuffed it with two pillows we stored but didn’t use any more, the polyfill from one other sofa cushion that was disintegrating and some more leftover stuffing from old projects. I hand stitched the opening close, and then move on to tufting.

handtufted floor pillow

Then, I made 9 points on both sides of the square and, using a big needle, passed the 4 ply thread though all the layers. This was a workout. I then tufted the borders of the borders where the square was attached to the long strip, and I was done.

This is very comfy and has created an extra reading nook, perfect for summer. I am also happy I was able to use some long stored fabric scraps for this project.

The second thing I made is a bag. I haven’t made myself a bag for years. I used Japanese cotton from Nunoya, my local Japanese Fabric store and a very old leather strap I bought maybe four years ago. I really like this bag and since it’s quite small, but big enough to carry a book, it will surely become my summer bag this year.

messenger bag

japanese fabric baghandmade bag

kimono inspired denim top

A denim kimono-inspired jacket

I made this kimono jacket last year, I think. The whole last year and a half is all a blur in my head, I should make better use of my sewing journal to track these things in the future. It’s a very simple shape, a big square and two square sleeves, slightly tapered at the wrist. A side tie keeps it closed.

kimono like denim top

I can’t even remember when I bought this denim, it feels like it’s been in my stash forever, and I am happy I have put it to good use.

I wore this a few days ago with a black of linen pants and felt amazing. I looked a bit like a ninja, and felt like a million bucks. Nonsense, I have no idea what a million bucks feels like. I’m sure it’s overrated. It was very comfy and it felt like me. You know that feeling?

kimono inspired denim top

If you are interested in making this, I can make a simple pattern recipe, it’s a very simple construction.

harper tunic inspired top

A Harper-inspired tunic

I’ve seen so many beautiful Harper tunics on Instagram and I wanted to make one as well. I made this wearable muslin in a 100% cotton bedsheet from Ikea and when I first tried it on, it was huuuge. I then made some adjustment, and took it in on the sides, and it’s still very oversized. Bear in mind, I am also quite short.

striped tunic with linen pants

“I made a muumuu”, I told myself looking into the mirror. And not the lovely, traditional, Hawaii style dress, but rather the one Homer Simpson wore in that episode in which he got really fat.

I think this would look better on me in a fabric with more drape. At the same time, because I made it, I want to give it a chance. It is very comfy, and it will probably come handy come summer. However, this make was not the success I imagined.

striped tunic

I’d like to try and make this a bit smaller, but I am afraid it won’t look the way I envision it either.

Well, I’ll keep you posted.

harper inspired tunic