Saturday, 16 August 2014

The Year Long Cardi

Break out the champagne, I have finally finished knitting the cardigan I started just over a year ago - phew! This make was from a Craftsy class run by Myra Wood called the Crazy Lace Cardigan and I have to say it was excellent.

Myra is really clear with her instructions and explains everything down to the smallest detail which is great for a beginner knitter. I had never knitted an item of clothing before so this was a perfect way to learn.

The original pattern is actually for a short sleeved bolero but I wanted long sleeves and I also lengthened the waist. I used the Get Knitting Magic Formula Calculator to figure out how to lengthen the sleeves and though they turned out a little baggier than I was hoping, I can live with them.

The idea of the course is to teach you the basic construction of the cardigan with a couple of different necklines which you can then vary any way you like with your own choice of lace patterns which I think is a great idea.

It wasn't really very difficult but it did take me a long time to knit. I put it aside for a few months over the summer (and to knit my Myrna for the OAL) but watching the class obviously takes quite a bit of time. It was worth it though, because I learnt so many new skills.

I found working with such a dark colour bit tricky as it's really hard to see, especially if you have to frog back (which I did a couple of times, of course!). It does have it's advantages though - I confess that I discovered a couple of holes in it after I'd finished but I just darned them as best I could and they're pretty well disguised :)

I really enjoyed knitting this cardigan and following the class - but boy, am I pleased to have finally finished it!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Holiday Fabric Shopping in Lisbon and London

I've just got back from a wonderful holiday in the UK and Portugal, and whilst the trip was packed with eating, drinking, sightseeing and catching up with friends, of course I managed to slip a bit of fabric shopping into the mix.

We spent 4 nights in Lisbon, a fabulous place to visit with it’s winding cobbled streets, rattling 100 year old trams and crazy mosaic pavements, it’s full of charm and history.

Try walking on that after a few drinks!
While our other halves went in search of vinyl records, my friend Marylou and I went to check out what the local fabric stores had to offer. There are a number of old traditional haberdashery shops in the Baixa area on Rua da Conceicao. Unfortunately, they didn't really do it for me, most of the stock is behind the counter so you can't get a really good look at it and what I could see wasn't all that inspiring. Its nice to have a look at the old shops though, and Retrosaria Bijou at number 91 is worth a look, purely for its art nouveau design.

Art Nouveau Retrosaria Bijou
If you want something a bit more funky and interesting head up to Retrosaria at 61 ria do loreto, 2nd floor, for Japanese fabrics, Michael Miller prints etc and a nice selection of yarns - not many bargains to be had though.

There is also Feira dos Tecidos, Avenida da Boavista Nยบ 280. This is more of a chain store like Spotlight (in Australia), two floors of fabric and a lot of 1 metre remnants in the sale bins, once again though, nothing really grabbed me.
Feira dos Tecidos
We stumbled on another little fabric store with a good selection of floral and other prints. I didnt get the name of it but it's right across the road from the Pollux Department Store on Rua dos Fanqueuros in Baixa  and while you're there, go up to the top floor terrace cafe of the Pollux Department Store for cheap drinks and one of the best views in town!

A few doors up from Pollux on the same side of the road is a big yarn shop called Casa Justo but as with the haberdashery stores, it's all kept behind the counters and the signs are too far away to read what they are. Unless you know exactly what you want and can speak Portuguese you probably won't have much luck in there I'm afraid.

Casa Justo
It was fun to have a look what was there but I left Portugal empty handed and by all accounts, the record stores weren't all that either!

I did however manage to pick up a few goodies back in London where the lovely and oh so glamorous Nicole from Nicole Needles kindly gave me and Marylou a guided tour of the fabric shops on the Goldhawk Road. 

I have read with envy about these shops on many a sewing blog and it was just as overwhelming as I was expecting so many shops each filled with so much fabric! I was pretty restrained but totally happy with my purchases.
We all bought the flamingo fabric - Can't wait to see what we all end up making out of it.
Nicole then took us to see the Fashion Collection at the V&A Museum which was really inspiring. A relaxing drink in the stunning tea rooms there made a wonderful end to a fun day. 

It was lovely to meet a fellow blogger and fabric fanatic on the other side of the world. Thanks Nicole for a great day, next time you can take us to Abakhans! :)