Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Kilt making 101

OK....... kilt making and pleat sewing has begun in earnest.

This is a photo of the sewn pleats on the inside of the kilt. There is an awful lot of fabric involved, so you cut the pleat back to 1" at the top to reduce the bulk.

My kilt maths mean:

waist - 76cms
hips - 90 cms.

All subsequent measurements are taken at the hip and the waist bit is just taken in a bit to end up at the right size. Hopefully.

The front apron is 5/12 of 90 cms - so about 38cms. And taken in about 2.5cms at the top on each side. Each pleat measures about 2cms, meaning there are 26 of them. They taper a bit at the top so that the waist measurement is right. I didnt measure this at all - just guessed. So that mean it turned out about 1cm too big round the waist but I think that is going to be fine. THere is going to be a belt worn with it in the end so there is no falling down danger. All the sewing so far has been done by hand - the routine is pin a pleat (so that the pattern matches) and sew. Pin the next pleat and sew. When draped around Dr Sweetpea they look like this.....

And a veiw of the front looks like this.

Now... you see that tiny little waist? Well there are about 7.6m of fabric wrapped round that! The pattern repeat on this tartan is 20cms so there is an awful lot of body in the back.

And I found out that I hate sewing with a thimble, but my middle finger on the right hand is now rather sore and has an attractive red dent in the end of it. Knitting is so much more civilised.

The next task is to sew all the pleats to each other at the hip - with the inside end of each one lifted a little so that they dont show when they hang down. Tomorrow I am going to take it into work for an inspection and further instructions on how to make the trim at the front, line, stiffen, fix buckles and straps, make holes for the straps, think about belt loops, waist band etc. etc. etc.

The wedding is on 25th August - so thats 24 days and counting!

Monday, 30 July 2007

Turquoise/blue lace silk

Just a note for those asking about the blue/turquoise laceweight silk I have left over - there is something that looks very very similar in the hipknits shop at the moment. Called toucan lace silk..... http://www.hipknits.co.uk/shop.php?crn=1&rn=960&action=show_detail

If I didnt already have 3 skeins I would be shopping there right now!


Well this weekend was the hen do and it was very very fun. There was sunshine, and champagne and walks and picnics and boats on the lake. It was great to catch up with lots of people that I really dont see often enough. And most importantly the bride loved the shawl, and it was all very lovely.

I didnt get that much done, mostly I tried to catch up on some sleep on the train rather than knitting. On the way down I was accosted by a very chatty german couple, and I am rather too rusty at german to be able to have an involved conversation and get very much knitting done at the same time. I think my next holiday abroad will have to be to germany so that I can get some practice done.

The kilt has had lots of pins stuck in it and I am going to try sewing some of the pleats this evening. I bought a thimble in honor of all this hand stitching.

No photos, because nothing has progressed enough to look interesting!

But thank you everybody who left comments - it is lovely to log on to read them al.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Busy weekend.... and an even busier week


The guests arrived and we had fun and now they are gone. We have had 2 lots of friends to stay so there was too much drinking, too much food, plenty of fun in the sun (sorry to those of you who are living in slightly damper areas), days scrambling, a day sea kayaking, beaches, pubs and tea shops. All in all a perfect weekend.

There was time for knitting though, and the cardigan is progressing apace. I am nearly at the armholes now, only another 10 rows or so to go. This weekend I am going to the hen do, so I have 6 hours on the train to progress this.

But I have a distraction. A really really really big and important and urgent distraction. Here is a picture........

Yes - that's tartan. That's 3.7m of Strome double width Graham of Montrose Modern tartan. And yes, I am making a kilt for the husband. The above photo is the really scary cut the tartan to length tear - there is no hem on the bottom of a kilt so this bit is quite important. So, I have torn 2 lengths that are 58cm long.

Here I have assembled the tools of attack - pins, tacking thread, notebook, calculator, tape measure and a print out of the instructions that I found on the internet. I am not doing this entirely blind, the secretary at work used to be a kilt maker and she is giving lots and lots of advice, and has shown me a half finished kilt so that I know what it looks like.

And here I have made a bit of exploratory progress. I have cut the front apron and pinned some pleats. If the pleats were straight then everything would be nice and simple, but because the desired waist is 77cm and the desired hip measurement is 90cm, you have to taper each and every one of them. These are also a little bit to wide. I am doing 2cm pleats (each one taking one repeat of the tartan - so about 20cm) and the pattern has to match up. Nightmare.

Off to bake brownies and make some supper.

Friday, 20 July 2007

Myrtle Leaf Pictures

So the Myrtle Leaf Shawl has been unpinned from the spare bed and taken for a little photo shot in the sun.

And here is the left over silk, including the fantastic green/turquoise/blue colourway that is being saved for another time. I fell so in love with it that I decided to make it into a shawl for me! I am going to make something for T at work with the left over cream/pink colour - she was coveting it when it arrived in the office.

New Cardigan Plan

Introducing the nascent Meagaidh.......

So.... This is my plan for a cardigan to wear to the aforementioned wedding, with last summers dress of desire and a new pair of shoes.

The plan is cabled ribbing to under the bust, then stocking stitch with dramatic increases to give a sort of gathered effect rather than normal bust shaping (I am well endowed enough to always need to add bust shaping), gathered in a bit just below the neckline. All closely fitting, with maybe an inch or so of ease. I think I am going to cast on in one peice and then try to knit it all seamlessly, picking up stitches for the button band at the and making mitred corners...

I am going to call it Meagaidh (pronounced sort of like Meggie) after this photo - taken on the one of the first properly snowy scottish days this winter, from the top of a lovely hill called Craig Meagaidh. I just love it when everything up here turns white for the winter.

I have swatched and tonight I will measure. I'll also try and snatch some more photos of the Myrtle Leaf while the sun is shining - yes, sorry to all of you having flash floods in the south, but for the first time since forever it is sunny here in the north. And I am going to have to go outside to the park and enjoy it, and should be able to get a good bit of practice done for the silent flute form (tai chi) I am learning at the moment.

Anyway, time to get out and enjoy the good weather!

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Myrtle Leaf Finished and Blocking


We have a Myrtle Leaf Shawl!

Round the corner....

Centre Panel......

So we have a finished item, and it's huge. I really dont mind admiting that this was the catalyst for starting a blog - the knitting I think I am the most proud of.

Some Statistics:

needles - 4mm Addi Turbo Lace
yarn - Hipknits laceweight silk. Custom dyed to match my friends wedding dress. 2 skeins, with maybe only about 10m left.
pattern - Myrtle Leaf Shawl from Victorian Lace Today
alterations - I found the errata on the internet and they are very very important - there is a mistake in the chart that means the leaves dont join up! And I joined on fewer repeats of the edging along the top and bottom (doing every other attachment to 2 stitches rather than one)
cast on - 27th June
cast off - 18th July

I am super super exited about this shawl. It looks fantastic, the yarn is shiny and silky and a lovely lovely colour. The alteration to the pattern meant that a: I had enough yarn and b: the edging sits much more evenly along the top. I am going to make a lovely box at the weekend and parcel it up with nice tissue paper and then I will truely be done.

I just hope that J likes it - it is a surprise and will be presented to her next weekend at her hen do, hence the big rush. We live quite a way apart and so that is the only time I am going to see her before the big moment.

And the exitement, I got my first comment. Now that means someone is actually interested in my rambling.

The next plan......
I have 12 balls of white Jaeger Merino DK, which I am about to start swatching in the hope of making me a cardigan of some description!

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

First past the post

OK.... first post on my new blog. Any bets on how long it is going to last me?

Anyway, on to the knitting, which is probably going to be the main topic of discussion for a while. On the needles at the moment, and frantically trying to complete, is the myrtle leaf shawl from Victorian Lace Today, knitted with some lovely silk yarn from Kerrie at Hipknits.

I am loving knitting this - it is the first time I have knitted real lace, and it is very exiting. The silk yarn is treacherous though, drop one stitch and before you have blinked there is a great big run down a few rows. In the centre panel this wasnt too much bother really, I was going nice and slowly and so I only had one major whoopsie. The biggest catastrophe was that I dropped a stitch when knitting on the border round the top. And I was at least half way down the next side before I noticed and so I had to take a whole section of the border off, pick up the stitches, faff around with a tiny crochet hook trying to fix the mistake and then knit the border back. Dr Sweetpea (husband) kept trying to talk to me while this was going on and so that was rather stressful. Only a little bit more to go now though and I am there.

Pictures will follow soon.... I need to recapture the camera and take some!

Off to finish that border