27 January 2015

New Pattern Available! Reminisce Hat

Reminisce Hat Pattern by Libby Jonson - A Truly Myrtle Design

I'm excited to let you know that my Reminisce Hat pattern has been published!

Reminisce is a gorgeous slightly-slouchy hat that is super flattering to wear. I blocked my hat in the photos over a dinner plater to emphasise the gentle beret shaping and I love pulling it down over my ears and off to one side.

This hat was designed with good friends from England in my mind. I really miss those lovely people and am so grateful for the wonderful years we spent together. It feels good to knit those feelings into something beautiful.

Here's how I describe my hat on the pattern:

"Picture a smouldering fire, good company, lively conversation and laughter late into the night. Reminisce celebrates dear friends and happy memories. Knitted in the round from the bottom up this deliciously textured hat is one to treasure, just like great times with darling people. Featuring an all over “block” pattern and gorgeous trailing cable panel, Reminisce warms our hearts and our heads. The “shallow slouch” shape, a blend between a slouchy hat and beret, is feminine & flattering. Reminisce is an entertaining knit including written & charted instructions. Ideal for experienced knitters and adventurous beginners."

Reminisce Hat - A Truly Myrtle Design by Libby Jonson

The cable panel, set against a deliciously textured background, really shows off beautiful yarn. It's not a tricky cable pattern and although I used a cable needle to knit mine, you could manage the cables without one. As is usual with my patterns, I've included both written and charted instructions where possible. When I'm knitting, I mostly prefer charted instructions. Have you used a chart before? Do you know how to read them?  If you don't, keep your eyes peeled here on the blog because I've got a lesson in chart reading coming very soon.

The body of my Reminisce hat is slightly detailed too. A simple "block" stitch turns the stockinette into something a bit more interesting. It's easy to knit and you'll find yourself automatically knitting that part after a couple of rows.

Reminisce Hat - A Truly Myrtle Design by Libby Jonson

I've used a soft DK blend for my hat. It's a single spun, hand-dyed, alpaca/merino/silk blend that shows the detail in the pattern well and drapes gently. Maybe you've got a skein of DK stashed away that'd be just perfect?

If you'd like to buy the pattern you can click here to be redirected to my ravelry shop. Or, click the "Reminisce" button in my sidebar. You don't need to be a member of ravelry to buy a pattern. Thank you!

I'm so looking forward to seeing your hats - if you've got a ravelry account be sure to pop pictures of you hat on your project page so I can find it! 

23 January 2015

The Big Reveal! Summer Outfit 1

The Big Reveal! Summer Outfit 1

I had to call this post "The Big Reveal" so we could have a little chuckle and remember back to my Handmade Wardrobe challenge in 2013.  Ah, wasn't it so much fun?! Crazy busy but fun. I'm not sure if I'll manage to make a whole outfit every month ever again but I'm so glad I did for so many months that year - I've absolutely lived in those clothes. It surprised me how well the outfits coordinated with each other - I'll tell you all about it sometime ...

Anyhow, here we have my first finished summer outfit. I'm both amazed that I've actually done it and super pleased that I have.

The Big Reveal! Summer Outfit 1

The Big Reveal! Summer Outfit 1

Of course my Washi top took all of fifteen minutes to finish. I hand-stitched the seam, catching it ever so carefully so you can't see the stitching from the outside and gave it a press.

It's a lovely fit across the chest and I've taken some width out from the waist/hip region so it is a little narrower which works better for me. No pockets this time which I'm kind of missing although they'd probably look silly. I'm wondering about a slightly longer, lightweight, tunic version with a simple scooped neckline and colourful pockets ...

The Big Reveal! Summer Outfit 1

It's hard to see the detail on my Moss skirt because it's so dark. The fly worked pretty well although I would like to try it again with lighter fabric. The drill was so thick layer upon layer and my poor sewing machine didn't much like it. I didn't even try a button hole in the waistband. Instead I used a trouser hook and bar to hold the waistband closed.

It's a groovy, comfortable wee skirt if you don't mind having all your legs on show. I made the shorter version of the skirt and I like the details such as the yoke at the back and the angled pockets. I didn't do any top stitching but I think I'd like to try some on another skirt.

I did find however that the skirt came up a little large on me. I could have gone down a couple of sizes and took a chunk out of both sides before I attached the waistband. It wasn't the pattern - it was me. When trying to work out which size to make I found my waist measured four whole sizes larger than my hips. Worried that it wouldn't fit if I made the smaller size I cut out the larger one. Now I've made the skirt I realise that it goes nowhere near my waist. It sits right down on my hips. Next time I'll go with the smaller size.

The Big Reveal! Summer Outfit 1

My necklace is fun. I bought the beads on Etsy a couple of years ago and the black beads and leather cord were from my stash. 

I tried a couple of ways of string the beads. Initially I thought I'd string them simply on the leather but it wouldn't fit through the holes on the beads! That's when I added the black beads, trying first one then two between each wooden piece. Two worked better and I added a couple more on each end too. All the beads are strung onto some clear plastic jewellery "wire". I made a small loop at each end and tied my leather cord to each loop with a long tail so I could knot the cord for several inches up itself. The knots are slightly haphard and look a little like crochet. 

I'm the worst critic of my own creatiions. I wasn't sure about the necklace as I made it. Would it look ok? Would it look totally amateur? I tried to look at it as if I was viewing it in a shop. Would I like it then? In the end I decided I would, in a "tribal" meets "urban" sort of way.

Well, I'm so pleased that I've finally got something new to wear this summer. Let's hope the good weather stays around for a while because I'm itching for more summer clothes now! 

20 January 2015

Getting Back to Sewing & My Top Tools

Getting Back To Sewing & My Tops Tools

Getting back to sewing has been no easy feat. I've really wanted to sew, needed to sew but try as I may, I just couldn't manage to get myself in front of my sewing machine. 

I'm very pleased to tell you that that's changed. I've done it! I have been sewing. I actually finished the first of my summer outfits and it feels so good. Was it really September when I started? Oh dear. Never mind, at least I'm feeling motivated now.

But, before I show you my new outfit, I thought I'd tell you a few things that helped get me back to sewing in case you also need some encouragement, and share a few of my favourite sewing tools with you.

Here we go. Ideas that worked for me that you might feel inspired to try:

  • Publicly announce that you're going to sew something. Once I told you on my podcast I was going to sew my skirt and make time for sewing, well I had to do it. I didn't want to turn up here in a couple of months and confess that I still hadn't done it. Perhaps it might work for you to tell someone you're going to sew a specific thing? Even better, suggest you do it together!
  • Break the job into parts and tackle one little bit at a time. I organised my pattern and cut out my fabric long before I sewed a seam. Then, when I did start sewing I broke the pattern down into chunks and told myself I was just going to do steps A, B, and C then have a break. Once I started sewing I actually went on to do more than those first steps because I was having so much fun.
  • Start even if your sewing space/table isn't perfect. This is a biggie for me. I like making things in a tidy space. It's easy with knitting, I can knit anywhere so I tend to plonk myself down somewhere tidy. With sewing I like to tidy up my table before I start and sometimes this task takes all my sewing time. This time, I gave everything a quick straighten and got on with my sewing. I didn't do my big sort and wipe. You know? It was actually ok ;)
  • Stop buying clothes aka get desperate. I haven't bought myself any new clothes for a very long time partly because I don't tend to go to the shops, partly because we're spending any spare money on our house but mostly because I am determined that I should sew my own clothes and wear a handmade wardrobe. Now it's hot I'm starting to feel desperate. It's sew or keep wearing the same couple of cool outfits day in and day out. Do you buy things you could easily sew?
  • And finally, organise a chunk of time to sew. I sat down on Saturday afternoon and made my skirt. Before I started I organised Mr Myrtle to make dinner so I didn't have to stop. I don't like sewing in a rush, I always make mistakes and stopping and starting isn't much fun either. A long stretch of time allows me to relax and sew carefully. 
  • It helps to gather a few good tools too. My favourite sewing tools are lined up in the photo: a magnetic pin-cushion, a good un-picker, sharp scissors, a rubber hoop for bobbins and a tackle box for my sewing machine feet. My iron isn't in the picture but I couldn't sew without my it, essential! Do you have favourite sewing tools? What can't you live without?

So there you go. Some ideas to get you started. What do you think? Fancy doing some sewing too?

16 January 2015

My Epistrophy Cardigan Is Finished!

Epistrophy Cardigan

I may have been heard saying "roll on winter" after taking these photos. Of course I didn't really mean it, the summer is glorious - but I'm so thrilled that my cardigan is ready to wear and I know I'm going to live in it when the cold weather does eventually arrive.

Epistrophy Cardigan

Epistropy is a lovely pattern and I love how mine has worked out but I think the overwhelmingly great thing about my particular cardigan is the perfect marriage of yarn and pattern. They were made for each other. 

You'll remember I used Outlaw Yarn's Vanitas DK? My initial impression was spot on. I'm pleased to say that it's soft, warm and delicious to wear. The halo of the alpaca gives it a rather ethereal look and the colour work knitted up beautifully. I think it'll settle into place even better over time.  

Epistrophy Cardigan

The pattern was good too. Of course I made nearly every mistake possible - but it was my rushing that was the cause of that rather than the pattern. It was well written and straightforward to follow. I really liked how the designer (Kate Davies) numbers each section in big bold text. It makes it easy to find your place again.

Epistrophy Cardigan

The steeking wasn't too bad after all, once I got going. Did you catch it on Instagram? I made a little video when I cut it up the middle. I may have held my breath! 

The only thing I wasn't overly keen on was stitching on the ribbon to hide/secure the cut edge. I was worried that I'd bunch up the stitches and pucker the knitting. Fortunately that didn't happen, although it'll be interesting to see if the back of the cardigan droops over time in comparison to the front.

It was a bit fiddly getting the ribbon flat, even and the same on both sides. I found it it easier to stitch on the ribbon when I laid my cardigan on the carpet and crouched down. The carpet held it in place so that it didn't wriggle around and everything stayed nice and flat. A very sharp needle helps slide through the ribbon too. To make the two sides the same length I lay the finished side next to the second side and tried to match them up. I used the tiniest stitches I could. Be prepared for the stitching to take quite a while!

Epistrophy Cardigan

If I was to make one change I think I'd add a couple of inches to the sleeves. They just fit at the length suggested but I've realised that I tend to pull the top of the my sleeve up a bit and they could really manage being a bit longer. 

I think the whole sleeve length issue is one of the downsides of knitting sleeves bottom up rather than top down. I toyed with the idea of adding a bit more length before I joined the yoke but decided not to after measuring my arms a bunch of times and deciding that it'd likely work ok at the length suggested by the designer. Now I'm done, I can't easily go back and add length.

I'm making an effort to update my Ravelry projects page this year. I've a few things that I haven't put up yet. So, starting as I mean to go on, my Ravelry page for my Epistrophy cardigan is here.

P.S.  You've made me so happy with all your lovely comments and messages about my first podcast! Thank you so much! I was so nervous about showing you but your encouragement has made me really look forward to recording the next one. I loved hearing about the WIPs you've got hidden away and I'm so glad I managed to make a few of you feel better about your piles of half-finished projects! X

P.P.S. If you fancy joining in a very casual Pomme de Pin cardigan KAL, come and find us on Instagram by searching the tag #pommedepinkal. You're welcome to join in whether you're just starting a brand new project or have a half-finished cardigan tucked away. 

13 January 2015

Truly Myrtle Podcast - Episode 1!

Oh my goodness - it's happened! 

I've recorded the first Truly Myrtle Podcast.

I've been so nervous about showing you. It's definitely not perfect, I've got a lot to work on, it's the real me in there ... but at least I've started! ...

Here we go ... 

Happy watching! X