Haps Are Happening – Nut Hap

I like deadlines, not in the way Douglas Adams did, with the ‘whooshing sound they make as they fly by’ but because I really am so liable to go bimbling off on a tangent, doing something I shouldn’t really be doing,  that a deadline is a good point to concentrate on. I very rarely miss a deadline (I feel quite mortified if I do).

The deadline for the Haps Are Happening KAL – run by Jen Arnall-Culliford and ‘Veuve Tricot’  for the Kate Davies Book of Haps – was 8th August 2016. I looked at the timescale and thought that was a totally do-able schedule and,  to my surprise, I managed to produce not one but two haps during this KAL (though I did put aside all other knitting – poor old Stonehenge – what did I say about going off on a tangent…?).

I’m going to talk about my second Hap first – the Nut Hap;  a completely brilliant piece of knitting design and engineering by Jen, which includes really concentrate-y stuff; you need two super long needles, it has a tubular cast on! it has K1P1 rib with short rows, it has tucks, it has five colours, and you have to graft it at the end The challenging bits are interspersed with nice television friendly easy knitting (in this case the television was Being Human – the first two seasons are the best, IMO).  I like this kind of thing – you get to use your brain and then rest it for a bit.

So it went a bit like this (look! I have done you graph…). The bit where the stitches supposedly being HELD BY the back needle FELL OFF the back needle was my favourite part:

NutGraph

I posted a lot of pictures of my knee and my knitting on Ravelry and Instagram, which made a quite pleasing sequence.:

I finished with one day to spare – though I confess when the finished photos were taken this Nut Hap may have still been slightly damp. It’s also a rather warm accessory for an August modelling session.  I’m really looking forward to wearing it on a European or Canadian mountain in the winter and if I think about this enough maybe it’ll actually happen.

[ an aside – notice how the cat is barely able to feign interest in this Hap, when I hear of other people’s cats they seem much more interested in the knitting than Boris is].

An idea given to the Nut Hap knitters – the original pattern has its colours based on those of the nut hatch –  was to choose a different bird for inspiration . Just a couple of days before the KAL started I happened upon a news story about the Red Faced Liocichla. This bird was though to be locally extinct in Eastern Nepal (it hadn’t been seen for 178 years) but has recently been found alive and well, and apparently breeding – such lovely news when we’re losing so much every day. So I chose this bird for my colour inspiration:

These bright colours will be a boost in the winter, when this Hap will come into its own. I knitted it in Cascade 220 Sport Superwash, which is a light worsted 100% yarn; super warm and yet not super heavy, and comes in about a bazillion colours. I really love this yarn – I made a jumper for my husband with it last year – it washes brilliantly with hardly any colour bleed. Also it looks really good draped casually over my favourite turquoise garden chair:

Fin4

Next time (or next time but one, I haven’t decided yet) the marvellous Montbretia Hap!

 

Coco

I have been sewing – sometimes having a garment you can put on yourself in in days rather then weeks (or months, in some of my knitted project cases!)  is a nice thing.

I wear a lot of jersey, and bought two massive lengths of organic cotton jersey last summer  before I realised the lovely Alabama Chanin style clothes it was intended for really don’t suit me; all those raw edges, the exposed stitching, the intricate applique, I made one top and it just looked awful on me. Which was a shame as I enjoyed the hand sewing, machine sewing is a bit daunting!

So, and in an attempt to cure me of machine sewing phobia , I went to the other extreme and chose the simple jersey dress pattern ‘Coco‘ from Tilly and the Buttons. This has been made by SO many people, with so many modifications (you can find them on many blogs, and on its own Pinterest board),  it was easy to get an idea of who it would suit. The genius of this pattern is that it practically suits anyone!

Now, the machine sewing phobia – I have made things in the past, but I use guesswork and hope (and red wine)  to get me through. Even though I was probably the last generation of kids to do ‘Home Ec’ we didn’t get to make clothes (in fact I made a clam shaped in cushion in pink satin and fun fur (!!)) so I have no idea what I’m doing. And here again Tilly steps in with her absolutely fantastic sew along tutorials for this pattern. Which is good when you’re already feeling a bit scared of the knit fabric, and have heard tales of how hard it is to sew with.

This took me about three days of ‘sewing time’ i.e. not flat out, but over a morning or two and a few
evenings.

First stick the pattern together (if you bought the digital version) this is strangely relaxing, and the cat helped. I measured myself and tried to work out what size I was – which is between two sizes  as it turns out, but again there’s info on how to deal with that in the instructions.

Coco pattern with added Georgia

Then I cut it out. I used dressmakers carbon and the wheely thing to draw the pattern onto the fabric, very much easier than chalk!:

pieces of fabric

Started sewing. Look at this seam, it’s SO NEAT. I was AMAZED:

Amazingly neat seaming
We’re told when to press the seams out, when to trim them, when to use a zig zag or a straight stitch and so on. Also the great tip of rolled up towels for pressing the sleeve seams, which doubles as makeshift pin cushion:
Sheep voodoo
I finished and tried it on on Sunday night…and ..somehow I’d made a giant frumpy dress arghhhh!!! (big lesson – read the finished garment size measurements properly!) . But, I felt now I could cope with taking the whole thing apart up the sides, take in by about 2 cm each side, and shorten both length and sleeves. I decided against pockets on this occasion.
This was much better, and to celebrate here’s a terrible hospital staff changing room selfie of me in my Coco:
I am going to make another one, probably in a patterned jersey this time, or with a different coloured yoke, with the pockets, maybe the top version…but first I have to look at ALL the fabric on the internet.