all change

Today I put away my summer clothes, and removed the winter ones from storage. I always find it a bit depressing having to encounter the berloody tights again . . . but it is nice to see warm winter dresses, sweaters, and coats. Anyway, before I pack the summer stuff away, I thought I’d show you various garments I sewed and knit myself over the past few months which, for one reason or another, I didn’t get a chance to blog about. You will note that there is something of a red theme going on — this wasn’t intentional! And apologies for what’s going to be a rather picture-heavy post.

1. Dotty Dress.

I was finishing the lining of this dress when I wrote this post back in June. I was reasonably pleased with how it turned out, so don’t know why I didn’t blog about the process more. It is a “very easy” Vogue pattern (V8319) and was reasonably straightforward — as I recall, it only took a few evenings to make. The only downside about the dress is that it came out slightly large. I was nervy about the rep Vogue patterns have of running small, so made myself the next size up. And then the dress was difficult to take in after I’d finished because of the precise way the body and cap sleeves taper together. But I am being pernickety – it is not too baggy, and I like the pattern very much. I may use it to make myself a winter dress –in the right size this time. I bought the pleasing dotty fabric from here — a site that I try not to look at too often as their stuff is just too damn tempting. Heres another picture. You can blame Tom for the hysterical gurning and throwing of shapes.

next up we have:
2. Boat skirt

I made this back in early June, using some Cath Kidston furnishing fabric I’d been given and some lovely red grossgrain ribbon I received in the badge swap (thankyou, Philippa!). I followed the basic instructions in this book, adding lining and facings to the formula. Its a good fit, quite sporty. I like this skirt very much and have worn it lots over the past couple of months.

And another skirt:
3. Summer swallows skirt.

I bought this Japanese fabric as a birthday treat to myself from the wonderful Rosa Pomar, whose stock is always so lovely — top quality and exceptionally well chosen. I like skirts like this with a lot of fabric — the width of the bottom is about three times that of the top. To make it, I just followed the instructions for a basic pleated skirt in this book, adding facings to the formula to make the skirt hang a bit better. I spent a long time matching up the waves and swallows on the pleats — this was well-worth the effort I think. Finally, I found some wide, black, broderie anglais edging on ebay, and added this to the bottom. Bingo! A skirt for wearing with a sticky-out petticoat underneath. And though its perhaps more of a summer garment, these swallows are going to hang around for winter too.

And finally:
4. Mary Traynor

I knitted this little top while hanging around in hospitals, waiting for surgeons and physiotherapists to finish doing what they were doing to Tom’s hand. The yarn is so lovely to work with — it was quite a comforting thing to have in one’s hands. Mary Traynor was my maternal grandmother — a champion knitter who spent every summer in lacy tops of her own making. She is to blame for my knitting, and lacy summer tops remind me very much of her.

The top is my own design: bottom-up, in-the-round raglan; spiral shell lace pattern; crocheted edging. It took just one skein of ornkney angora 4 ply. That’s right folks! Just 50g!

I love this yarn so much — so light and sugary, and it knits up a dream. The finished top turned out well, but it is wee — almost too wee. My thursday night knitting comrades laughed heartily at the size of it when they saw me making it — the combination of the lace pattern and a 40cm circular needle meant it looked contracted and near-dollsize, but it blocked out nicely, and does fit me — just. Here it is being blown around on the promenade near Funchal.

ye gods, was that really just last week? The weather is so crisp and autumnal here that Madeira seems a world away. So, anyway:

Design: Mary Traynor (my own pattern)
Yarn: Orkney Angora 4 ply. Red. One skein. Ysolda, and her lovely beret, are to blame for my yarn choice.
needles: 4mm addi turbos
ravelled here

Swapping round the warm- and cold-weather wardrobes has reminded me just how many berloody clothes I own, and that, aside from the occasional pair of tights (groan) that I really do not need to buy any more. I’ve found real pleasure in making and wearing all the things I’ve sewn and knitted so far this year, and am looking forward to revamping my wardrobe with handmade items this winter — tweed suits and knitted dresses, here we come.

And for those of you who were kindly asking after Tom: things are starting to improve. Madeira really did wonders for the healing process: he was told the other day by the woman we call “badphysio” that he was doing remarkably well “for his age”. (Note: we only call her badphysio because she’s rather dour and hardchrist, not because she’s at all bad at her job). The poor hand is still incredibly painful–now the tendons have healed, they have to be stretched and punished to prevent him having a claw. He has no feeling in the fingers, and the injuries are still rather fragile. But the evil splint can now be taken off during the day, and he is allowed to go running and hill walking again. This is very good news indeed.