I know, I know, I know! I promised to be a good blogger who wrote a post a week, but I just can’t seem to get motivated at the moment! It’s been super hot here in Singapore and so it’s been very hard to do anything other than sleep, let alone blog on a hot computer! I have been busy sewing, knitting, drawing and (new craft alert!) embroidering, but most of these things have been presents so made at the very last minute… I wish I could be as disciplined as some of you bloggers out there who week after week seem to find the time to write instructive posts and sew up a ton of beautifully constructive garments, but I’m just not built that way as my interest tends to jump from project to project.
So, what have I been up to sewing-wise? I seem to have a spate of birthdays across the summer/autumn and so I made my mum a Wiksten Tova top from some broderie anglaise I bought in Japan which I then dyed a bright blue (her favourite colour), and I made my sister a Deer and Doe Datura top from some of the left over broderie anglaise and some zappy chevron fabric I found here in Singapore. I didn’t photograph my Mum’s top (because it was already very late when I sent it off…), but I did take some photos of my sister’s top (hurray!). I made this in a slightly smaller size (38) than my previous version as it is rather large on me and with all the marathon’s my sister runs, I thought she’d definitely be smaller than her slovenly big sister! I followed this pattern pretty much as written, but I used french seams (appropiately!) where possible and bound off any raw edges. I finished the bottom with some self-made bias tape from the chevron fabric to give it a more professional edge.
I’ve been knitting up a storm here in sweaty Singapore as I plan to make all my family jumpers for Christmas this year! This probably isn’t the wisest of plans, but so far it’s not been going too badly. I used a Kate Davies pattern called ‘Deco’ to make my sister a cardigan, this pattern from Rowan called ‘Marash’ by Martin Storey for my dad, and I’m just about to cast-on an adult ‘Blaithin’ for my mum. I will write a separate post on Deco because I have actually finished it (!), but as it is currently blocking and drying in the sun, I haven’t taken any photos yet. I’m currently about halfway up the body of Marash and have just started working on the top of the back. I changed the pattern to allow me to knit in the round which means I’ve had to disguise the ‘jog’ when I change colour. So far my method of slipping the first stitch in the second row seems to have paid off, but I think it will be slightly visible in the thinner stripes. As this is the first time I’ve converted a flat pattern to one in the round, I have been relying very heavily on ‘Circular Knitting Workshop’ by Margaret Radcliffe which has tons of tips to walk you through the different methods and sleeve variations. I really don’t think I can recommend this book enough to round knitters because it seems to cover all aspects and eventualities in a very clear, heavily illustrated manner. I find having to redo exactly the same thing twice (especially in a very large mans jumper!) in flat knitting really tedious, whereas knitting in the round tricks my brain into thinking I’m nearly done so I soldier on! It’s also very meditative and tends to make me quite sleepy, which may explain why I’m knitting so slowly right now…! For Marash, I’m using a mixture of stash wool (Hayfield Bonus Aran and Puppy Yarn) and wool bought here in Singapore (Pure Wool Extra Twist and Collette) to get the colours as close to the original as possible (my mum didn’t think he’d like my bright colour alternatives as much :-( ), but using acrylic/wool mix has reminded me how much I love and miss 100% pure wool! There’s something very satisfying and comforting about the sheepy smell you get from pure wool and I’m really missing it right now. Luckily, I HAVE to knit Blaithin in 100% wool because it is going to be steeked (all the little sheep fibres cling together and stop it from unravelling when you cut it) so I’ve ordered some lovely Icelandic wool which is guaranteed to be extra smelly! This all leads rather neatly into Wovember because is basically a celebration of all things woolly in the month of November! You can read lots more (and see tons of pictures of very very sweet sheep) by clicking here. I’m hoping I will have finished my Blaithin by the end of November, but this may be wishful thinking…!
Embroidery is something I’ve never really tried before, mainly because I didn’t think I’d have the patience to finish anything. While this may still be true (!), I decided to attempt embroidering some of my own designs and I really am enjoying it! I finally got round to watching the BBC episode of ‘Fabric of Britain’ dedicated to British embroidery and it has completely spurred me on! I have all sorts of plans to embellish my handmade clothes with, but sadly I just don’t have the time to do so right now, but I will definitely be going back to this sometime soon after Christmas! The little bird I embroidered was done using satin stitch and split stitch, and there’s a great tutorial on basic embroidery here if you don’t have masochistic knitting urges like me! Which reminds me that I really must finish this…!
I also went on holiday to the lovely island of Langkawi in Malaysia! We’ve been to Malaysia before and both really loved the friendly people and extremely tasty food, and even though Langkawi was definitely busier than the island we visited previously (Tioman), it was just as relaxing and welcoming. We spent many very happy days sitting by the sea, drinking and eating to our hearts content… It truly was a little piece of paradise! And now were back, Singapore seems to have finally entered the rainy season so it’s not so hot and humid anymore! Now, where’ve my knitting needles gone…?