Just Like Me Knits by Brandy Fortune

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The unique concept behind ‘Just Like Me Knits’ by Brandy Fortune is to give knitters the opportunity to make matching clothes for children and their favourite toy. There seems to be a real craft movement online at the moment for making clothes for dolls, honestly I don’t really get it. However I thought I’d give this book a try as my youngest daughter has her favourite teddy glued to her side at all times, so I knew she’d absolutely love to wear matching clothes with him!

IMAG0129-tilekhlkjh(Love the reindeer jumper.)

I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is actually one of the first children’s knitting books I’ve seen full of cute wearable patterns. There are no block garter stitch jumpers (yuck!) or mini baggy granny cardigans (double yuck!!) just adorable patterns designed with kids in mind. Also the wool choices are stunning and although I never get round to buying the exact wool in the exact shade featured, I’m really tempted to here! Oooh and there is a good selection of patterns for boys too, a real bug bear with craft books.

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My only real gripe is that I’m not sure why it suggests to use circular needles to knit everything! Of course this is an easy problem to solve, you just use the corresponding normal needles, but it did take me a few reads through to realise everything wasn’t actually knitted in the round.

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So far I have made one sock and two cardigans and not noticed any mistakes in the patterns, my sock did end a bit weird but that’s because I didn’t place stitch markers, I just didn’t realise how totally essential they are for socks! Both projects were knitted with the intention of them being for Lily, even though Lily is tall for her age and has big feet I’d still recommend sizing up as there is nothing worse than spending hours knitting something to realise it only just fits and they’ll have grown out of it a couple of months (which is why it’s great to have two girls!).

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Although I’d tried to jump on board with making something for Mr Bear when it came to the knitty gritty of actually spending real time making something for a toy, I kind of lost my enthusiasm and doubt I’ll do it again (unless Rosie begs me of course).  However there are other patterns I will be knitting up for the girls. I’m really impressed with large age range covered (2-10 years), it makes sure its not one of those book where they will outgrown all the patterns before you get round to knitting them.

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The dolls recommended are cute, but rather expensive at around $200. I stopped getting excited about dolls and teddies in my teens so I just don’t get the whole Blythe/Bamboletta thing. That’s why its helpful that included in the book is a really clear guide to grading the patterns to fit the toy your knitting for, as you can see I managed to size down Mr Bears cardigan and I’ve never done pattern grading before.

hats(Such cute hats!)

Brandy Fortune used to host a knitting podcast, which I never even knew existed but now i’m excited to check out what’s out there! She has a blog called Pixie Purls , if you want to see more of the projects included in the book and finished ones then check out the Ravelry page here.  

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‘Just Like Me Knits’ by Brandy Fortune, Published by Potter Craft, RRP £12.99, Available on Amazon UK here.

Sharing the love!

Just a quick post to share some great things going on at the moment! (It’s either a very early Friday favorites or a very late one?)

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I absolutely love Colette patterns new Hawthorn Dress, a brilliant modern spin on the classic shirt-waister! Sarai is even hosting a sew-a-long on her blog at the moment, I won’t have enough money to buy the fabric and pattern until next month but I’m sure it’ll be really helpful when I do! Check out the Flickr page to see loads of finished ones!

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Christine Leech is giving away two books one of which I recently reviewed and loved, you can enter here until the 12th of July!

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I didn’t think the Kelly skirt was the most amazing pattern when I first saw it on the Megan Neilson website, however having seen so many amazing denim versions sewn up by a lot of other sewing bloggers I’m really tempted to make my own. Hopefully the pleats at the waist any should minimize any unsightly gaping when sitting! Here are links to a few of my favorites, Lladybird, Handmade Jane, Paunnet, Annabel Vita and What Katie Sews. (I told you there were a lot!

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How cute is this free kitting pattern by the purl bee, I think I’m in love and it’s good excuse to go back to the amazing Honor Perry for supplies and to chat wool!

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I’m looking forward to going to see the Royal academy summer exhibition sometime in the next couple of weeks, open submission exhibitions are definitely my favorite kind, you just never know what to expect! There was a brilliant culture show special a few weeks ago following artists who had submitted works, only one was your typical artist, the other two were just ordinary people wanting to share their work. Hopefully you can still watch it here.

2013 miss indie summer fun photography challenge

Oh and I’ve decided to take part in my first photo a day challenge, I’ve wanted to do one of these for ages but some of the other ones I’ve seen just seemed to complicated or containing objects/places way to hard to find! Anyway Miss Indie‘s Summer Fun photo challenge looks perfect and great way to document the summer now it’s finally arrived.

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Lastly but certainly not least, I’ve really enjoyed the Refashion Runway competition hosted by The Renegade Seamstress! I’m so sad it’s almost over and annoyed at myself for not making enough time to sew along. The outfits and refashions were truly inspiring and its been so hard to vote for a favorite each week!

Another Amazing 80s Knitting Book!

IMAG2542I love 80s knitting books and look out for them every time I go to a charity shop, car boot or secondhand book shop, not only are they hilarious (hopefully not just to me?) but they’re actually always filled with good basic patterns. This one comes from Copperfield secondhand book shop in Wimbledon which is just a treasure trove and if you’ve ever in the area you have to pop in to have a look around. This book is simply called ‘Knitting’ there’s no author credits but it’s published by treasure press.

IMAG2544The stitch guides in these 80s knitting books are brilliant, they’re so easy to follow.
IMAG2555These whole outfits are great I really want to knit one of these jumpers and make a comfy wool skirt ready for autumn.

IMAG2558Lol! Token mustache dad
IMAG2559Perfect matching jumpers for those days when you’re just taking a stroll in the rain with your violins!

IMAG2561I love they’re matching hair! Not sure about the flocked jumpers though!IMAG2562To cute! I really want to make these!
IMAG2565Aww, beautiful babies!IMAG2567 Somehow I don’t think this girl wanted to be a knitwear model?! IMAG2568 The girls would love a set of these!IMAG2571 A lot of work, but I quite like its Art Deco feel.IMAG2573I don’t think the lamb wanted to be in the book either!

This book is available from these links: Amazon uk, abebooks, etsy. You can check my other’s 80s knitting book reviews here (just scroll to the bottom).

Knit Your Own Moustache – Vicky Eames

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Knit your own Moustache is the imaginative creation of Vicky Eames, I was really excited about receiving this book as it’s just so different from all the other knitting books available! Included are 20 different designs for disguises (not just moustaches) including animal ears, an eye patch, a blue rinse wig and even a top hat! It’s also packed full of humor and interesting anecdotes/facts making it the perfect coffee table book for friends to dip in and out of.

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Although the knits are easy to follow and quick to make I wouldn’t really say this book was for absolute beginners purely because the instructions on how to knit are very basic. But combined with a good ‘how to’ knitting book (I’d recommend Knitty Gritty by Aneeta Patel)  I’m sure even a beginner could manage most of the knits. I haven’t attempted any of the crochet projects yet as I’m still learning, but they seem very simple and straightforward.

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There was no way I could review this book without actually knitting my own moustache! I choose the handlebar, because you just can’t go wrong with a handlebar and don’t you just love Rosie’s ‘don’t mess with me’ face! It was really quick and easy to make, taking under an hour from start to finish as the instructions are very clear.

Loopy Beard

I also decided to make the loopy beard, as I’ve never knitted loops before I thought it would be a good chance to learn. I was a bit worried at first because there are no diagrams on the knitting techniques pages, however the notes on how to knit loops are really clear and I managed to do them first time. They are a little time consuming so the beard was a longer project, I think this may also be down to the textured wool I used being a bit tricky to manipulate. I think it was the perfect choice though as it creates a lovely fluffy texture and of course with two little girls I went for bright pink (I had to model it myself as Lily is staying with her nanny for a couple of days).

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Above are the bunny ears which I’m planning on making this evening while catching up on the last few episodes of mad men, aren’t they adorable! Of course I’ll have to make two pairs, but looking through the pattern they seem like a quick knit, I’ll keep you posted with how they turn out.

Vicky Eames who is behind the kitsch patterns in this book works in theater which has no doubt influenced her designs, she has a etsy shop called ‘Wife of Brian‘ where you can buy her knitted creations and a blog of the same name

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Knit your Own Moustache by Vicky Eames

Published by Collins & Brown, RRP £9.99, Available on Amazon UK here.

Crafty Sunday

Knitted collar

Last week I’d made loads of plans of all things I wanted to make this week, but when Monday rolled around my cold was just too much and I felt totally exhausted! So I spent the beginning of the week just slowly knitting the above collar pattern from ‘Knitting Vintage‘ by Claire Montgomerie. It took a few tries to get right, but that was more because I wasn’t following the instructions properly! I think it’s cute and I love this coral coloured wool so much, but it just isn’t me I’ll probably end up adding it to something for the girls.

Dress designs

I’ve been sketching out some dress designs and summer clothes ideas for the girls, prompted by the fact that I keep getting great ideas as I’m falling off to sleep and then forgetting about them for days!

Kids designs

Yellow gingham dress

I’ve already made a start on making one of my designs into a cute yellow gingham dress, the only modification I’ve made so far is to add some welt pockets. It was the perfect excuse to finally use Margaret Butler’s Clothes book, its packed full of useful tutorials, although I’m going to have practice some more as mine are a little scruffy.

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I recieved two new books this week for review from Collins & Brown Knit your own mustache by Vicky Eames and Pattern Cutting  made easy by Gillian Holman. I can’t wait to knit my brother and sister in law some fun treats and there are some really cute animal ears that the girls will love! While I’m pretty sure Pattern cutting made easy is going to completely change the way I think about making clothes, it literally opens up infinite possibilities!

Crafty Tuesday

Crafty Tuesday

Things have been a bit hectic these past few days so it’s a crafty Tuesday this week!

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Last week I was and still am knitting away at a new cardigan pattern from Knitting Vintage by Claire Montgomerie, so far I’ve finished the back which always seems like an achievement as it’s the biggest part!

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I’ve started making some children’s clothes from my massive fabric to be recycled stash, but I’ll do a post about them when I’m closer to actually opening an etsy shop! Above is a refashion I’m right in the middle of at the moment, I bought the dress on the left from ebay and it was described as a size 16-18, but when it arrived it was huuuuge! Probably more of a 22-24, there was just so much fabric, I think its handmade from the early 80s/late 70s? Anyway the fit was way out, I guess I could have taken it in everywhere, but then I remembered the above modcloth dress I’d pinned a few weeks ago and knew this would be a perfect refashion. All the fabric is cut ready so hopefully I’ll post the finished dress on Sunday.

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I ordered these vintage knitting magazines off of ebay a little while ago and they finally arrived on Saturday  I think I’ve been a little bit of an ebay addict lately both selling and buying! Anyway these are so lovey and the patterns are all simple styles.

IMAG1320-tileI picked up these cute patterns at my local rspca charity shop, they have a basket full of patterns all priced at 10p each. I really love the bottom two, the girls would look so cute in these!

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Last week when the sun was shining Rosie and I took a stroll to Battersea and Lavender Hill to visit the fabric shop and wool shop, I picked up 3 meter’s of yellow gingham and I’m in the process of designing the most summery dress imaginable! The wool is to finish off the bolero cardigan I started in January and ran out of wool for twice!! I also picked up a copy of Burda magazine from my local whsmiths, I’ve never bought it before so fingers crossed the patterns are easy to follow. In fact I sent one of the patterns off to a friend who wants to make some high waisted shorts, hopefully she’ll let me share a picture when she’s finished!

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Lastly I’ve signed up for My Me Made May hosted by ‘So Zo… what do you know‘ and pledged to wear something hand made/refashioned every day in May. I’ll post a weekly update post with how I’m getting on.

Friday Favourites

Friday Favourites

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(it’s the tiny blue shop in the middle, I wish I’d taken my own photo!!!)

I found the most amazing shop this week! Honor Parry in Battersea is like taking a wonderful step back in time, its the most amazing craft shop I’ve ever been in, the walls are literally floor to ceiling covered in wool. There is a large old fashion counter around half the room, behind which stands a hive of knitting know how in the form of the wonderful shop owner who was incredibly helpful. I literally want to go back there just to ask her questions!

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I’m so glad to see Lucy Worsley back on my telly! I’m loving her new BBC 2 show ‘Fit to Rule: How Royal Illness Changed History. Although I’ve read about much of it before, she is very charismatic and has a wonderfully different approach to history. You can catch up on BBC iPlayer here.

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One of my lovely friends managed to blag me a free ticket to the London Original print fair which runs from the 25th- 28th April at the Royal Academy. I’m excited to check out whats going on in the world of printmaking as I’m still having etching withdrawal symptoms, can’t wait until the girls are a bit older and I can sneak off to one of the open printmaking studios dotted around London!

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Recently I’ve been picking up some cheap 80s dresses off of Ebay, most of them need some alterations, but the fabrics are great and I know I’ll end up with something no one else has. Does anyone else get an odd feeling when you see someone walking around in something you also own? My daughter got a bit freaked out last year when one of her teachers was wearing the same cardigan as me, I haven’t really worn it since, but mostly because it was from Primark and has pretty much fallen apart in the wash 😦

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Lastly Allie a freelancer from Triactol got in touch with me a few weeks ago about sharing a graphic she’d made. I wasn’t to sure at first as it isn’t really what I generally blog about, but I’ve always been a sucker for a flow chart where you answer questions and undoubtedly get told something about you already knew about yourself! Generally I’m not really one for saying that people can’t wear a style of clothing because of their body shape, but you can’t get away from the fact that certain shapes just suit certain clothes.

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Image curtasy of Allie via TRIACOL