Saturday, 4 August 2018

Now You See It Now You Don't - EZ Seamless Raglan Jumper

Having not knitted anything since Winter 1996 I decided to join Fabrickated's knit along of the Elizabeth Zimmerman (EZ) Seamless Raglan jumper. The whole idea of having very little to sew-up at the end of the knitting was appealing.  I have always felt that the finishing at the end was what made my knitted garments look amateurish - loving hands at home - and not in a good way.

It is perhaps a statement in itself that none of the knitted garments I laboured over in the past are still residing in the wardrobe. Even though they were timeless garments and many I would consider knitting again for my lifestyle today.

Unlike Kate and many others who participated in the knit-along I am nowhere near finished with my jumper. I haven't even reached the underarms yet and this jumper is not exceptionally long I am just a slow deliberate English knitter.  (If you are interested in seeing some of the finished stripe jumpers Kate's post can be found here.)

Creates Sew Slow: Now You See It Now You Don't - EZ Seamless Raglan Jumper
From cast a few stripes
Before the knitting came a slow laborious period of choosing the yarn. I was quite fixed on the colour palette I wanted - perhaps that was my mistake.  A bit like when you go shopping for your Christmas party dress determined it won't be black again only to trail home despondent with another black dress. Eventually I found four of the five colours (in the same yarn weight) at The Main Skein in Christchurch.  The bright yellow proved too elusive so I eventually settled on a pale yellow purchased at Nancy's Stitch Studio in Wellington.

Creates Sew Slow: Now You See It Now You Don't - EZ Seamless Raglan Jumper
Wool colour palette inspiration

So the knitting process started on 16 June 2018 when armed with my lovely merino 8 ply (double knit) wool I did a test swatch. The next step was calculating the number of stitches to cast on for the size I wanted. Another disappointing aspect of my knitting is the casting on - the end product is quite tight with no give. This led me to research casting on techniques, of course via YouTube.  I discovered Judy's Magic Cast-on with Judy Becker, along with Tubular Cast-on with Lorilee Beltman.

Creates Sew Slow: Now You See It Now You Don't - EZ Seamless Raglan Jumper

The instructions for knitting the Seamless Raglan Sweater come from Elizabeth Zimmerman's book Knitting without Tears. Largely this is true but I am having difficulty with the jogs where the stripes change colour, despite having watched many a YouTube clip. I realise that some of this will even out when the finished jumper is blocked but still it is pretty ugly.

Creates Sew Slow: Now You See It Now You Don't - EZ Seamless Raglan Jumper
Ugly stripe jogs

This dissatisfaction with how the stripes look led me to wonder about turning my jumper into a cardigan. The stripe jog can be where I cut the jumper.  So off down the steeking rabbit hole I went. And it is not as frightening a rabbit hole as I imagined. Except...

The stripe jog occurred at a "side seam". I find that garments with a bit of shape suit me better and I carefully decreased at the equivalent of the side seam up to the waist then started increasing as I knitted up to the bust. Given I can't just appropriate the start of the row as the cutting part of the steek what now? Well all those rows of knitting could be treated as practice and I could go back to the beginning. The joy of knitting is that you can go back to your raw ingredient (the ball of wool) and start again. So I did.

Creates Sew Slow: Now You See It Now You Don't - EZ Seamless Raglan Jumper
.....and back to wool again

Having reached about two thirds of the way to the underarm the jumper has been un-knitted to the start of the first red stripe. In the reborn jumper, aka the striped cardigan, my steek section will contain seven stitches (first four stitches of a row and the last three). Once the jumper is cut to make the cardigan the stitches in the steek section will naturally roll to the inside. I will mark my side seams after a bit of careful maths to deduct the steek stitches. This will indicate where to decrease / increase for the jumper shaping.  Then let the knitting commence (again).

As I carefully undid my knitting my beloved filled me with great confidence as he said "your not a knitter just stick to sewing bits of cloth". I may not yet be a confident knitter but I am stubborn. Plus I have the words of my Latin teacher to bolster my confidence, "oh well at least you can do something" were her immortal words as she held my knitting aloft scrutinising it carefully.

(I had misplaced my Latin homework and she was going through my school bag to find it for me!  Needless to say I didn't last past my first year of Latin - at the grand old age of twelve I hung up my Latin books. I can however, still conjugate the verb to love in the present tense which has proven to be a really useful life skill - not.)

Just to show I can knit when the urge strikes, here are the last three garments I knitted - way back in 1996. These jumpers were knitted sooo long ago that I have actual photographs of them! This was back in the day when I kept a me made photograph album of my embroidery projects, supplemented every now and then with a different craft.

Creates Sew Slow: Now You See It Now You Don't - EZ Seamless Raglan Jumper

It is interesting to note that 1996 was our first winter here in New Zealand and we rented an old 1920's brick house with open fires (one in the lounge and one in the kitchen/dining room).  We got to experience first hand how bad heating and insulating in NZ homes can be.  There were occasions when it was warmer outside. I spent much of the winter trying to stand in the open fire because the heating effect was so ineffective even a few inches away. Maybe a slight exaggeration but I had been used to well insulated centrally heated homes for pretty much my entire life before this and it was a very traumatic experience.  Was it this cold environment that led me to be such a prolific knitter that year?  The jumper on the bottom right was started in 1990 whilst the others were started and finished in 1996 - admittedly the one top centre was for a child.

I really love the red cable jumper from an old old issue of Vogue Knitting - if only the wool had been soft and cuddly instead of harsh and scratchy. Maybe if I finish the striped EZ seamless raglan and make my beloved his long promised jumper I can knit the cable jumper again in better wool. And it is thoughts like these that make it all spiral out of control. Especially as there are many other knitted garments on my wish list - I have always wanted to knit the Kate Davies' Owligan or even the jumper version.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

StyleArc Besharl Isle of Wight Pocho Tee

I really really wanted to take the Liberty Isle of White print top with me on holiday but the Oki-Style Madrid top I made couldn't be seen out in public unless it had been ironed.  When you are on holiday an iron isn't always available so what else could I do with the left over bits of fabric?

Of course the other option would have been to buy more of the Isle of White print. A shortage of fabric however makes us more creative so I was determined to use what I had not buy more. A very unusual statement for me when it comes to fabric, it's usually MORE MORE MORE. Thank goodness fabric isn't fattening.

The finished garment

I'm not sure why I purchased the Style Arc Besharl knit tee PDF pattern because the design isn't my normal style and PDF patterns are not my thing either. Originally I was thinking of making another Style Arc Maris top, as it is good for left over bits of fabric, but found the Besharl tee as I searched for the Maris pattern. Of course it wasn't taped together. Luckily there aren't many pages so the taping was quick to do in the mad last minute rush that over took me in the two weeks before we went away.

This top makes me happy, the mix of prints = fun and fabulous.

Creates Sew Slow: Style Arc Besharl Isle of Wight Pocho Tee

Creates Sew Slow: Style Arc Besharl Isle of Wight Pocho Tee
Creates Sew Slow: Style Arc Besharl Isle of Wight Pocho Tee

The fabric

One of the fabrics I bought as part of my obsession with mix and match for the travel wardrobe was a gorgeous Nani Iro double gauze. The colour was perfect for a bit of mix and match with the Liberty Isle of White print, especially as the pink in the Nani Iro brings out the hint of pink in the Liberty fabric.

Creates Sew Slow: Style Arc Besharl Isle of Wight Pocho Tee
Japanese double gauze by Nani Iro, in design Pocho Dot
from Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics
Creates Sew Slow: Style Arc Besharl Isle of Wight Pocho Tee
Liberty of London tana lawn, in design Isle of Wight colourway A
from The Fabric Store

The pattern

Style Arc describe this pattern very simply as a square cut extended shoulder t-shirt with angled seams and back detail.

Creates Sew Slow: StyleArc Besharl Knit Tee

The pattern alterations

This pattern is for a knit tee but I wanted to make it with woven fabric. The finished garment measurements for the size 10 are bust and hip 40" which gave me enough ease for a woven fabric without any alterations for fit.

In playing with the pattern and the Liberty print it became obvious that I couldn't cut both the pattern front and back feature strip from the left overs.  This is where creativity comes in. If the top had sleeves rather than an extended shoulder then the front and back strip fit on the small piece of fabric with some scrappy bits left over. Coincidentally the scrappy bits were big enough for half a short sleeve so I could continue the mix and match by having the sleeve back half in Liberty and front in Nani Iro.

To change the pattern to a set in sleeve I measured my shoulder width from centre back and marked where the shoulder seam should be. Then did the same for the front pattern piece by matching the front and back pattern pieces together and placing a mark so the shoulder seams were the same length.

As I was now going to have a sleeve I did make a forward shoulder adjustment before creating the armhole. Using my armhole template positioned at the mark on the shoulder seam and swung out to match the side seam I drew the armhole on the front and back pattern pieces.

A short sleeve was then created using the woven sleeve that matched the armhole. The two halves were created by marking a 90° line from the sleeve hem to line up with the shoulder seam point, then adding seam allowance to both halves.

Hope this makes sense. I didn't take any pictures as in too much of a rush to be sewing and I just chopped up the taped pattern.  If I ever decide to make the extended shoulder top I can always print and tape the PDF pattern again.

The sewing

Simple sewing on the Singer Featherweight. All of the seams were sewn with a French seam. The hems were turned under twice and machine sewn.

To ensure the neck edge kept its shape whilst the rest of the top was being sewn I stay stitched at 3/8".  Once the garment was sewn together I used the stay stitching line as a guide for the neck finish. I folded the fabric to the stay stitching line then folded over again so that the stay stitching line was just on the wrong side of the top. Once the neck edge was sewn down I removed the stay stitching.

Creates Sew Slow: Style Arc Besharl Isle of Wight Pocho Tee
French seams for the armholes and side seams

The outfit of the day

Here I am in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza at Los Angeles airport getting ready for part two of the journey home (Los Angeles to Auckland). I might have had a night's sleep in a proper bed but I don't really feel any better for it. Flying straight through from London Heathrow to Auckland suits me better. And that sign was the closest I got to coffee until we were airside relaxing in the Koru lounge at the Tom Bradley terminal, where we got to sit for a couple of hours as the flight was delayed.

Creates Sew Slow: Style Arc Besharl Isle of Wight Pocho Tee

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Vogue 8430 MT Green/Pink Kantha Jacket

I have coveted a kantha jacket since I saw one made from a bedspread at my first Design Outside the Lines (DOL) retreat with Diane Ericson and guest tutor Carol Lee Shanks back in 2014.  My covetousness was so strong that whilst still in Ashland I almost purchased a kantha bedspread.  I only refrained because I was worried about what I might purchase at the Houston International Quilt Festival and the need to get everything home to New Zealand.  Fast forward to 2018 and you can now buy kantha cloth by the yard.  I just had to indulge and was lucky enough to find a colourway that fit in with my travel wardrobe.

Straying slightly off track - I have to enthuse for a few lines about the whole DOL experience which is so energising and if you ever get the chance I encourage you to take a class with Diane. Not only is Diane's teaching inspiring, if you aspire to be a more creative sewer, the other students are amazingly creative and willing to share.  I am quite upset that I won't be able to do a DOL retreat this year on my way to Quilt Festival because Festival is a week later. If you want to see the inspirational creative garments DOLlies produce (DOL students are called DOLlies) details of those who blog can be found here.

The finished garment

This jacket is everything I hoped for and I just love it.  All the stars aligned and it was as pleasurable to sew as it is to wear. It was also a fantastic jacket for my travel wardrobe, being a very good layering piece.

There was a recent purchase during the Liberty of London sale of some velvet which I think would translate really well into this jacket. Or maybe an even longer version, although I do also have my eye on the Victory Patterns Ulysses Trench. Decisions decisions.
Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8430 MT Green/Pink Kantha Jacket

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8430 MT Green/Pink Kantha Jacket

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8430 MT Green/Pink Kantha Jacket

The fabric

This kantha cloth is from Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics in the green / pink colourway.  Marcy Tilton has also had this fabric. The kantha cloth comes in a number of different colourways and I am considering another purchase!

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8430 MT Green/Pink Kantha Jacket

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8430 MT Green/Pink Kantha Jacket

The kantha cloth that is currently being sold as yardage is made in India.  It is made from block-printed fabric that has been hand-stitched, using a large running stitch, to a backing fabric to create a quilt like cloth. Often the fabric used comes from old saris.

The pattern

I love this pattern, Vogue 8430 by Marcy Tilton, an oldie but a goodie. My pattern is copyrighted 2007 and it is still available on the Vogue Patterns website so it must be popular. It was made many years ago, in a black boiled wool, as per the pattern but the sleeves are a bit short or maybe normal length and I am used to wearing them a bit long. Anyway it hangs in my wardrobe unworn and I have always wanted to make another one. It seemed like the ideal pattern for my kantha jacket - no darts and minimal shaping, plus I could cut the centre front edges on the selvedge.
Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8430 MT Jacket

The pattern alterations

The pattern alterations were many but style related rather than fit.  I wanted set in sleeves not a dropped shoulder.

I measured across the shoulders of a favourite coat pattern which fits well and marked that width across the back of V8430. Unfortunately the width of my shoulders is pretty much the width of the back collar piece so I had to reshape the collar piece and it now fits more closely around my neck. I then used the armhole from my favourite coat pattern to re-draw the armhole.  I didn't alter the original sleeve in V8430 I just used the two piece sleeve from my favourite coat pattern.

It seemed a shame to waste any of the kantha fabric so I decided to lengthen the jacket.  I have an Andrea Moore trench coat that finishes slightly above my knee, a great length for me, so I measured the back length and the hem circumference of the trench coat and replicated them for Vogue 8430.
Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8430 MT Green/Pink Kantha Jacket
Back pattern piece - original underneath my version on top

The same alterations were made to the front pattern piece shoulder width and jacket length as for the back.  Making sure that the shoulder seam and the collar height matched the back pattern piece.  I also measured where the armhole should finish for the front based on matching front and back at the side seam.

The reason I did this is that the front armhole shape was altered by the creation of the cowl to achieve the waterfall effect for the original jacket front pattern.  I needed to retain this shape, otherwise I would loose the waterfall effect, but with the same armscye length as my favourite coat pattern.  I made a template of my favourite coat armscye and clipped it to but not through the notch. By cutting the template at the notch I was able to shape the armhole so that it matched at the shoulder seam and the side seam. Sorry I don't have a picture of the armsyce template as I threw it away when I had drawn the new armhole on the front jacket piece.

The centre front has some subtle shaping which I ignored in order to use the selvedge of my kantha fabric.  I wanted to use the selvedge as it is made by folding the fabric edges under and holding them in place with an overcast stitch which is made to look like herringbone stitch.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8430 MT Green/Pink Kantha Jacket
Front pattern piece - both left and right sides the same
The two fit alterations I made were: (1)  forward shoulder adjustment which is really priceless for me as it stops the front of my garments sliding to the back; (2) a small sway back adjustment.

The sewing

The sewing was relatively straight forward. I used faux flat felled seams throughout following these steps:
(1) sew the seam wrong (plain fabric) sides together;
(2) press seam open;
(3) on the side of the seam that will be folded under remove the running stitches holding the two sides of the fabric together;
(4) trim half of the seam allowance away on three of the four fabrics (two plain sides and a pieced side).
(5) fold the second pieced side over the trimmed fabrics and stitch down.

For the neck edge and the hems I used a merino fabric (which was just the right colour) as a binding.

By using faux flat felled seams and binding the edges the jacket is reversible. So far I have only worn it patchwork side out, and I think of the patchwork side as the right side. I do however have some fabric to make trousers, which would look great with the green side so you never know it may be worn "wrong" side out one day.

The jacket doesn't have any form of closure.  I purchased a pink metallic zip from Stonemountain and Daughter at the same time I bought the kantha fabric intending to have a diagonal exposed zip. However the zip was a much brighter colour than I anticipated and totally wrong for the kantha fabric. Secondly my beloved felt that a zip was too mechanical and that my jacket needed something more organic for its closure. So for the holiday I used a large silver, modern equivalent of a kilt pin.

This gave my notions shopping in London some purpose. I now have three options, as seen in the photo below.  All three options were purchased because they had large holes in the button and could be attached to the jacket using a strip of the kantha fabric through those holes.  The Liberty button and the bottom left toggle would fasten through a fabric loop on the other side.  The toggle on the bottom right is magnetic and the two pieces of the magnetic toggle would both be attached using a loop of the kantha fabric. Now I just need to make my mind up about which I prefer. Or I could abandon a fixed closure altogether and continue to use a kilt pin equivalent (I do have a few varieties to choose from) or a large brooch.

Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8430 MT Green/Pink Kantha Jacket
Photo doesn't give a good impression of scale as all three closure options are a similar size

Outfit of the day

I don't actually have an outfit of the day but I do have a montage of the jacket out and about during the trip to England in May.  It is a bit too cool here at the moment (being Winter) for me to wear a cotton jacket.
Creates Sew Slow: Vogue 8430 MT Green/Pink Kantha Jacket
2018 Holiday Wardrobe: Vogue 8430 Marcy Tilton Green/Pink Kantha Jacket

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans

These jeans were made as part of my 2018 Travel Wardrobe and they are fantastic, fitting into my wardrobe with ease. I have found them extremely comfortable to wear and adaptable. I can wear them as full length jeans or roll up the hem to wear them just above the ankle (to be trendy!!).

There are many other pieces of fabric in my collection that could be made into these jeans so don't be surprised if this pattern appears again soon.

The finished garment

These jeans were made the week before we left on our five week trip to England and were on my list of must sew items for the travel wardrobe.  Funny how the must sew items always end up being completed in a mild state of panic at the last minute.

The finished jeans are not perfect but for the first pair made from a never before sewn pattern they are a miracle.

Here they are worn with another garment from my travel wardrobe the StyleArc Besharl Tee which has not yet made it into a blog post but will do one day.

Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans

Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans
The front - bit of excess fabric around the knee
Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans
The side - caught up a bit around the calf
Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans
The back - complete with under bottom wrinkles

The fabric

This is a Liberty cotton twill originally produced for a collaboration with Clarks shoes. The pattern is called Caesar. I wasn't sure how this non-stretch twill would work for a pair of trousers but the colours were so fabulous for my travel wardrobe that I bought some any way.

The fabric does soften with washing especially if you use the trick with Coca-Cola. Peggy Sagers of Silhouette Patterns introduced Coca-Cola as a fabric softener to many of us through her YouTube videos.  I have a front loading washing machine so you put the Coca-Cola in the soap dispenser instead of soap and wash the fabric - don't add any fabric softener just use the Coca-Cola on its own. The fabric softening effect can only be achieved with Coca-Cola original and not with any other brand. I personally can't tolerate the taste so the only place you will find Coca-Cola in our house is in the laundry.

Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans

As my jeans were not perfect I bought some more of this fabric on-line from The Fabric Store whilst we were away.  With the benefit of distance from the production of these they will stay in my wardrobe and I will squirrel away the extra fabric for the future. When this pair of jeans wear out the fabric is on hand for another pair!

If you want some of this fabric too it is still available in The Fabric Store's online shop.

The pattern

As is often the case with a Silhouette Pattern the image on the front cover is not that inspiring. However the bones of these patterns are always good. They are well drafted for me and I haven't had a disaster with any of the patterns used so far. Often I prefer to start off with a Silhouette Pattern and alter the style to get the outcome I want rather than use another brand of pattern that looks to be just what I want but often fits badly.  So whilst I wanted skinny jeans (within the limits of using a non-stretch fabric) I started with these straight leg jeans.

I also feel that given all the free videos and information Peggy provides to enhance my sewing skills I should at least support her company.

Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette Patterns #3300 Lana's Jeans

Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette Patterns #3300 Lana's Jeans

The pattern alterations

I traced my pattern onto lightweight sew-in interfacing tracing a mixture of size 8 and 12, based on the finished garment measurements. Size 8 for the waist and size 12 for the hips.

As I wanted the legs to be more of a skinny fit than a straight leg I measured a pair of RTW non-stretch trousers. My RTW trousers are slightly uncomfortable around the knee so I added a bit of extra circumference in the pattern. They are also extremely low rise so I made sure that this pair of jeans fitted to just below my belly button, which seems to be where I like my trousers to sit.

I measured incorrectly for the hem circumference and the tapering from knee to ankle was a bit extreme making them tight around the calf area.  The jeans require some jiggling to fall back into place after sitting down.  The leg hem opening is also only just big enough to get my foot through.

When narrowing the leg the extra width was removed equally from all four seams (front and back inseam plus front and back side seam). This ensures that the grain line arrow on the pattern continues to represent the fabric straight of grain.  Trousers are one of the most important garment to cut on the straight of grain, because of the leg length. Trouser legs that twist are a sign that the pattern was not cut out on the fabric straight of grain. The longer the pattern piece the further off grain you are from the top to the bottom of the pattern piece, if you don't take care with the fabric grain when cutting out.

For the next iteration I am going to increase the crotch depth and the hem circumference, then modify the transition from knee to ankle at the side seam. I may decrease the crotch length very slightly but I am not finally decided on that yet.

After wearing the jeans for a while I have found that the front pocket isn't quite big enough and I am thinking of using the pocket pieces from another pattern as a guide to enlarge the front pockets in these jeans.

When I make my next pair of these jeans I will take photos of my pattern pieces versus the original so that you can see the changes made to my version.

The sewing

As this fabric is essentially stripes that go around the leg it was important when the jeans were cut out for the stripes to visually flow across both legs. I was very careful both when cutting out and sewing to achieve this effect.

The sewing wasn't difficult, however I did use two sewing machines and the overlocker in the making of these jeans.  All seams were first sewn on the sewing machine (my old Bernina 180) and then overlocked.  All of the top stitching was done on my 1953 Singer Featherweight using two strands of Guterman sewing thread, threaded through the eye of a single needle.  I wanted to echo the light sea green colour in the trousers in the colour of the top-stitching and I couldn't find a top stitching thread in this colour so had to improvise.

Luckily for me the sewing room is big enough to set up my portable sewing table and use it for the Bernina 180.  I bought this table for my Wellington sewing machine, as that is the one I generally take to classes, but my 180 and the Singer Featherweight both fit in. In Winter I have been known to set the portable table up in the living room so I don't have to stray away from the cosy log burner.

I shouldn't really describe my Bernina 180 as old as it was only purchased in December 2000 but it has been replaced by my Bernina 830.  The 830 was still at the doctors undergoing diagnostic tests for an on-going illness. I do have it back now (after its two months away) but haven't used it to see if its lingering illness has been cured.

Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans
The sewing room with the overlocker front left, the Singer Featherweight middle left
and the Bernina 180 back right.
I followed the pattern instructions carefully and they were informative and easy to follow. I had no trouble inserting the fly front and zipper, which came out very neatly.

For the front pockets I used a quilting cotton and under-stitched the pocket lining to the jeans to make sure the curved seam lay nicely and the pocket lining didn't peak out.

Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans
Under-stitched pocket lining
For the back pockets I had carefully cut them out so that they pattern matched the back trouser pieces. When I came to sew them down for some reason I had trouble matching all four sides. They still look pretty good and unless people are looking very carefully at my bottom no-one will notice. Well perhaps another sewer might. I was less successful pattern matching the yoke and the waistband.

Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans
Excuse the large picture of my bottom - it is necessary to show the pattern matched pockets!
I am not sure what I did with the waistband but it was 2" shorter than needed.  Luckily I could add a piece on to the waistband at the front under portion which is also hidden by the button. The other faux pas with the waistband - no interfacing.  Would have been a good idea to add interfacing as the waistband has a habit of rolling over.

Outfit of the day

I liked this outfit so much I took a photo of myself in the bathroom mirror at the Christchurch domestic airport Koru Lounge on my way to work. I am wearing my Sable and Minx hot pink cashmere cardigan, a Moochi top and Lana's Caesar jeans.

Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans

Here is a very flattering picture courtesy of my beloved, taken for reasons best know to himself. I am wearing a favourite Sass and Bide striped merino jersey with my Lana's Caesar Jeans whilst lounging on the sofa on a lazy Sunday afternoon - reading blogs!!

Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans

And a photo collage of the jeans in action on our recent trip to England.

Creates Sew Slow: Silhouette #3300 Lana's Caesar Jeans

Saturday, 7 July 2018

The Yorkshire Dales

This is a picture heavy post of a wonderful week spent in the Yorkshire Dales - just the two of us. A no sewing post but gorgeous scenery plus a bit of knitting at the end.

We booked a last minute bed and breakfast at a pub The Queens Head in Finghall. We had a very comfortable room, in close proximity to good English beer (important from the other half's perspective) and great food. Ian and Helen were wonderful hosts which enhanced our pleasure in the week away.

Creates Sew Slow: The Queens Head at Finghall

The Yorkshire Dales

A photo essay!

Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales
Wild and woolly scenery
Aysgarth Falls and church yard

Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales
Traditional stone walls and cowhouse
Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales
Askrigg village
Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales
Getting to enjoy the scenery before the grockles invade

The Himalayan Gardens

We spent a few truly inspirational hours walking around the Himalayan Gardens admiring both the sculptures and the garden, created over the last twenty years, with its vast array of rhododendron (including azaleas) and magnolias. This is a private 30-acre woodland garden owned by Peter and Caroline Roberts which they started opening to the public in 2005 for a few weeks in the Spring and Autumn.

Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales - Himalayan Garden
Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales - Himalayan Garden
Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales - Himalayan Garden

An arboretum has been planted with over 300 species/cultivars of trees and whilst it opened to the public in 2017 it is still in its infancy and has not yet reached its full beauty.

Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales - Himalayan Garden
Contemplation Circle - five chairs carved from Giant Redwood by Liam O'Neill
Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales - Himalayan Garden
Clockwise from top left: Swift, Owl and Leopard by Hamish Mackie
Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales - Himalayan Garden
Bottom right: Red Scarf by Carol Peace
Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales - Himalayan Garden
Left: The Fir Cone by John Simpson
Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales - Himalayan Garden
Clockwise from top left: Skywards (fountain) by Giles Rayner and
Wave (Lock Ness Monster) by Rebecca Newnham; Pinnacle by Giles Rayner
Sunrise by David Williams-Ellis
Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales - Himalayan Garden
Left: The Hare by Christopher Marvell
Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales - Himalayan Garden
Clockwise from top left: Magnolia, Samara, Magnolia (with the Balinese Pagoda)
and Lily Pads by Rebecca Newnham
Creates Sew Slow: The Yorkshire Dales - Himalayan Garden
Kath Kuhni Shelter
Thatched Summer House by Henry and Julius Caesar

Wensleydale Creamery, Hawes

Our visit to the Creamery combined two loves - Wensleydale Cheese (a soft crumbly slightly tart cheese) and Wallace and Gromit.  The Wensleydale Creamery was resurrected by a management buyout in 1992 after Dairy Crest closed the creamery with the loss of 59 jobs.  Now it employs around 200 people and is the only Yorkshire maker of the cheese.

The cheese is made from the milk of locally grazed cows that are free to wander about the pasture eating whatever grows there naturally. After the tasting and the cheese making demonstration I got to do the absolutely best bit - have my picture taken with Wallace and Gromit. Well perhaps not the best bit as I am a bit partial to Wensleydale cheese myself just like Wallace and got to taste some very nice cheeses and purchase some for picnic lunches.

Creates Sew Slow: The Wensleydale Creamery
Afternoon tea with Wallace and Gromit
Creates Sew Slow: The Wensleydale Creamery
Giant truckles of Wensleydale cheese (or hay bales)


It is a bit of a tradition when we visit England to have a day trip to Whitby for the fish and chips.  This time we went to Whitby but we had Wensleydale cheese on crackers sitting on the pier - not the warmest place for a picnic.

Whitby is an old established east coast fishing town, famous for Captain Cook, kippers and lobster. As well as being the home of Dracula's legacy.

Google Photos very kindly provided me with a video of the day from my pictures - not so sure about Google's choice of music.

Swaledale and Wensleydale Arts and Crafts Trail

No holiday would be complete without a bit of a craft moment. So this trip I got to do a wee craft tour around the Yorkshire Dales. I even purchased a few things.

The Old School Gallery and Craftshop. Muker
The Old School has an exhibition space and a gift shop.  When we visited the exhibition was Yorkshire's Coast and Sea.
Hartley tea towel by Nicola Jane Rowles and Tilly Tea Dance felted wool sheep brooch
The gift shop has lots of interesting bits and pieces and I purchased a couple of sheep brooches as well as a rabbit tea towel.  I have a habit of buying tea towels which I think will look good included in clothing.  So far none of them have quite made it into a finished garment.

Graculus Sculptures Michael Kusz Sculptor, Reeth
These are the most amazing sculptures.  Michael has a fantastic imagination and makes his creations from recycled materials.  They truly are wonderful and examples of Michael's work can be found on his website.  Much as I would have liked a piece for the garden we didn't indulge.

Michael shares his workshop with a crow named Jo.  Jo sits on the various sculptures in the studio cackling - he has quite the sense of humour!

Emma Sedman Gallery, Leyburn
The lady manning the gallery on the day we went was a machine embroiderer and we purchased her heron for our newly renovated bedroom. The heron hasn't made it onto the wall yet but will look fantastic when it does.

Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop, Leyburn
Having now spent many years in New Zealand I am used to the soft fine fibres of merino wool and some of the wool I found in Yorkshire was a bit of a shock. The Yorkshire sheep breeds seem to produce a more industrial feeling wool, I definitely think I would have found it quite scratchy against my skin.

I did get Cath some Wensleydale sheep wool (sorry no pictures) which in my opinion has a much nicer texture than the Swaledale sheep. 

Apparently Swaledale sheep are found in the more mountainous areas of Great Britain.  The Swaledale Sheep Breeders Association was founded in 1919 with farmers living in a seven mile radius of the Tan Hill Inn which segues nicely into the next section.

Tan Hill Inn

This is Great Britain's highest inn at 1,732 feet above sea level.  The good weather brought out the visitors and the pub was doing a roaring trade.  From the existence of a Hägglund all terrain amphibious vehicle (used in the Arctic) parked near the Inn one can imagine that it gets pretty inhospitable on occasion.

The Tour de Yorkshire

We didn't get to experience Le Tour de Yorkshire as it happened the weekend before we visited. In 2014 Yorkshire held two of the stages of the Tour de France and in 2015 they started their own competition. Whilst the race itself had been and gone we did see the amusing decorations as part of the "Best Dressed" competition.  Most of my photos were taken in the village of Patrick Brompton which is one of the finalists for the "Best Dressed Village".

Creates Sew Slow: Tour de Yorkshire - Best Dressed Village

The Food

For some reason we took quite a few pictures of the food we ate whilst in the Yorkshire Dales. Considering we ate mostly in pubs they are getting pretty sophisticated, must be the influence of all the reality cooking shows.
The Angel Inn at Hetton
Clockwise from top left - Thirteen in Leyburn. The Sandford Arms at Appleby-in-Westmorland

EZ Seamless Raglan Knit-along Progress

Last weekend we were supposed to be at the underarm stage of the body ready to knit our sleeves.  Kate at Fabrickated has very kindly given us permission to be slow and I am certainly achieving that.  There are going to be two timings of show and tell of the finished garment and hopefully the second one is far enough into the future for me to have finished my jumper. Not sure it will be knitted in time to keep me warm this Winter - maybe Spring or next Winter. Although the knitting is progressing better than the sewing, as despite cutting out three dresses since we returned from the UK, I have sewn precisely nothing.

Creates Sew Slow: EZ Seamless Raglan Knit-along