I’ve started on my SWAP for this year – 11 garments before the end of April. This year the rules are to sew 3 X 3 +2: that is three outfits of three items plus two wildcards. I’m doing mine based on the colours of the rainbow – red/orange/yellow – blue/green – indigo/violet. I’m starting with the red end of the spectrum and have just completed my first item –
This was so easy to sew together that it only took a few hours to put together but the felting took days!
I have been doing a bit of simple knitting over the holidays while watching movies and BBC dramas on TV using Noro yarn. This stuff is just extraordinary – blends of wool, silk, angora, cashmere – just think of all the most luxurious fibres in the world twisted and rolled into one. The yarns are always variegated and are coloured with natural dyes and hence knits up like stripes.
Wonders of wonders but I have actually completed a jumper using this yarn!
From the leftover yarn I cut out the red/orange/pink sections to felt onto the jacket.
I bought some felting equipment – a brush and a needle stylus. You position the fabric with the yarn over the brush and stab like a mad woman until the two are blended together – then you move onto the next section etc. The needles are extremely sharp and have barbs along the shafts so that when you stab the fabric the fibres are mixed together and the embellishment is pushed through and into the base.
The line design comes with the Vogue pattern. You just mark up your pieces with tacks, pin the lengths of yarn to match and start stabbing until the two things become one.This was fun at first, then boring, then tedious and then just plain hard work – but the felting process itself is still fascinating. You’d think that you would do damage to the fabric by continuously sticking needles into it but a little steam pressing later and you’ve got a whole new and totally unique fabric. I didn’t follow the design meticulously; left off the circles and added a few more lines, shortened the ones around the neckline and lengthened some on the back – just made it mine!
My boiled wool is much finer than the pattern envelope pictures and so flops about quite a bit at the neckline. To secure the fronts together, should I wish to do so, I made a ‘brooch’ – more yarns felted onto a circle of the fabric. I think mine is more like a cardigan than a jacket but that’s OK.
Because the boiled wool doesn’t fray you don’t have to finish any seams or hem or attach facings – this is why it takes hardly no time to sew up. You could also use any fabric that doesn’t fray, like fleece, neoprene or even leather. Just make sure your cutting at the edges is razor sharp and not wobbly like mine – perhaps a rotary cutter would be better than scissors to get a smooth, even cut.
The jacket is completely unfitted and very loose, which means it will fit over bulky jumpers with ease. There’s a nice little touch on the sleeves with a cuff dart for just a teeny bit of shaping.
This is the first item in my wardrobe that is yellow, so until I make the skirt and shirt planned for this colour spectrum, I’ve nothing but jeans to wear with it.
And the knitted jumper? Finished? Yep
Absolutely shapeless and constructed solely in a knit stitch – my kind of knitting! But cosy like a blanket and enough colours to brighten the dullest of days.
Finally…. here’s me playing charades at the New Year’s Eve party the other night.
I was given the song “Frosty the Snowman”, but in the all the fun and excitement I got my Christmas icons mixed up and ended up miming “Frigid the Reindeer”! Ever heard of that one?
But the dress looks good doesn’t it? And I had a matching red party hat! I took on board all the advice about the jewellery and went with one chain necklace, worn backwards, down the back. Thanks for that!
So one SWAP item down! Six more colours to go and 10 garments to sew – I’d better get cracking on then – especially as I’ll have to take a break from my rainbow to venture into animal print land for Jungle January 2!