The g&g Pattern Club

By Lauren Guthrie

Our little g&g team grew back in August when the lovely Racheal came to join us. It’s been so great having an extra pair of hands to help out with everything in the shop, and the workshops too!

Here she is....busy sorting out the yarn. 

We chat about the projects we would like to make with all the new fabric that comes in all the time, so I thought it would be a nice idea to start a pattern club where we could get together properly and talk about making a particular project. (I’m a bit geeky and loved setting up clubs when I was a kid!) Then we can let you know what we’ve been stitching up and give you lots of ideas, hints and tips about how we got on!

The new g&g pattern club also includes reviewing different products and gadgets we have in the shop – which we can then let you guys know about too. We carry literally hundreds of haberdashery items and it can be hard to keep track of the details and uses of all of them.

So every month, we will be getting together and reviewing a new set of products or some of the lovely sewing patterns we have in the shop.

At our most recent, and inagural, g&g pattern club meet up we were discussing the Clover Chaco Liners, Prym dressmakers and quilters adhesive tape and the Prym wool bobbins.

I’ve been using these ‘chaco liners’ (which are basically chalk markers) for a while now and I love them. Sometimes unless you use something day in day out it can be hard to see from the packaging what you would actually do with it.

The way the marker works is by a little toothed wheel that sits in the nib. There is a cartridge of loose chalk (in a range of lovely colours) that is replaceable; mine have lasted well over a year though.
As you use the marker, the little wheel turns and dispenses the chalk in a crisp straight line – very satisfying!

The main advantage I find with this marker over a pencil or a traditional block of chalk is that it never blunts. You can always relay on getting a nice sharp line.

I use it for marking a stitch guideline when sewing in darts.

I also use it when making my own bias binding as it gives me a nice clear line that I can use when cutting out my strips. (See step 2 below - Picture taken from my book Learn to Sew

As the chalk is loose it has the benefit of almost just shaking off, it just means that if you are going to use it as a stitch guide, draw on your line then get stitching right away. If you leave it till another day and your fabric is getting moved around in the mean time, the chalk is likely to come off.
They cost £7.95 each and come in pink, yellow, white, blue and silver.

The adhesive tape (which is sticky on one side) is meant for marking cutting or stitching lines without the use of chalk or a pen and can also act as a seam guide. It costs £3.10 for a 9m roll of 6mm wide tape. 

It’s 6mm or ¼” wide (and comes on a roll of 9m), so in terms of being a seam guide it would be more suited to patchwork projects as that’s commonly what they use.

It’s great as it doesn’t leave a sticky residue on the fabric and will stay sticky so can be re-used several times. Just watch out that you don’t actually stitch over it as it can be hard to remove it without pulling the stitched out too!
You can very easily write or mark the tape to it’s useful if you need to space things out evenly. You could stick it onto your quilting ruler to mark out a certain line so that it’s easier to see where you need to measure things up when cutting.

The wool bobbins, which come in three sizes small, medium and large (and cost £4.10, £4.60 and £5.90 respectively) are is meant for storing yarn without it getting all tangled – especially useful if doing colour work. 

You can still easily pull the yarn out even when the soft rubber top is down, but it does give some resistance which is useful if knitting with different colours. I've tried intarsia before and been driven mad by my little cardboard bobbins unravelling, leading to far to much tangling. 

Or, if you have cats who love to destroy balls of yarn for fun then this would help to keep the yarn safe. Or if you like your knitting projects to be portable it will keep the yarn clean and safe if its rolling around in your bag.

They are also stackable which is pretty neat!

We thought the smaller ones would be great for embroidery threads too. 

At the end of the month we are having our first pattern review and up on the stand is.....

  • the new Bruyère Shirt from Deer and Doe

  • And...I’m too indecisive so I’ve not decided what mine is yet! 

Are there any tools or gadgets that you would like to know more about? I'd love to hear any suggestions, then we can do the investigating for you! 

Completed Peacock Eyes Hand Knitted Cardigan

By Lauren Guthrie

Finally, after several attempts to write this blog post and not making my deadline to finish the project, I’ve finally managed to get my Peacock Eyes cardigan to a wearable stage. Yay!!

I say wearable, not finished, as in theory a cardigan has buttons, and mine does not – but I’ll explain that later.

I made another Simple Top from my book to wear with it too in this dark blue Liberty print. I really love it, its like its got little mini peacocks on it! 

This was the first knitted garment I’ve made that is knitted entirely in one piece from the top down.

I’ve knitted several things before and always had to go through the dreaded sewing up stage but this make was amazing, once I’d finished knitting that was it!

The pattern is from Justyna Lorkowska and I bought it as a download from Ravelry (link here). I used some Rowan 4ply cotton Siena that I’ve had stashed away for years.

The pattern is really good at explaining everything step by step with a really good definition of all the abbreviations and stitches, including how to wrap and turn and make 1 left (m1l) and make 1 right (m1r) - which I refered back to pretty much every time it came up. The peacock eyes pattern is worked on a chart which I found really easy to follow but before I delved into my cardigan, I knitted up just one repeat of the pattern so I could get used to how it worked up.

When I knit a new pattern for the first time, especially one like this, I try and not worry about the thing as whole and just take it one stitch at a time, working it out as I go along and trusting the pattern that it will all turn out.

When I was first learning how to knit I always remember my Mum telling me that once I knew how to knit and purl I would be able to do anything as all other stitches are just combinations of that. It’s true (to an extent) but knowing this means I never get put off by how complicated something is, as I know it’s just another combination of knitting and purling.

I love the effect of the pattern over the back. As your knitting it doesn't look that clear but one you block it and wear it the pattern really pops out. 

So back to the pattern, and once you have worked the 3 blocks of pattern repeats its all just stocking stitch. You save stitches (I just used a scrap piece of yarn) for the sleeves and come back to them once the main body of the garment is finished.  Each row is really long so you use circular needles, but just knit back and forth, not in the round.

I made mine a bit shorter than the pattern and literally just tried in on while it was still on the needles until I felt it was at the right length. Same for the sleeves as well.

I messed up the button holes a bit in that I made to many – 11 to be exact. Which seems a bit OTT now, but when I was placing the markers at the time it seemed sensible. I know that I will never wear this cardigan buttoned up, like it is in the pictures that come with the pattern.

I’m concerned that if I put 11 buttons on (that will never be used) that I might end up just looking like button, so I’ve just left it be and been wearing the cardy buttonless. I have considered re-knitting the buttonhole band to take the buttonholes out, or put a more sensible number of buttonholes in there, but as it’s still wearable I haven’t been motivated to do it yet. Looking at these pictures though, I think it does look a bit silly. I try and get around to it at some point! 

I’m sure I’m not the only one that has put with an unintentional  ‘design deviation’….what have you embraced as a unique feature in a knitted garment?

New Fabric Friday Inspiration

By Lauren Guthrie

The fabric shelves are creaking here at g&g at the moment. We are getting new and exciting stock in every week and I can hardly keep up with it all.

...and this photo is only one bit of the shop! 

To help me keep on track, and so that you lovely lot don’t miss out on anything either, I’m going to fill you in about some of our new arrivals, along with what projects and patterns I think they would be suited too to give a bit of inspiration for the weekend!

This week I want to show you the new range of rayon fabric from Heather Bailey’s collection – Momentum

We have six beautiful different prints which sport strong bold blues, against softer pinks, greens and yellows.

This fabric is so amazingly soft and drapey and has such a lovely flow to it. I love the colours too – predictably the yellowy-mustard one the most! 

If you’ve not worked with rayon before and are wondering what it actually is then read on….

From my extensive (Wikipedia) research, unlike most man-made fibres, it is not synthetic, and is made primarily from wood pulp – a naturally occurring cellulose based raw material.  It gets converted into a soluble compound, which is dissolved and forced through a spinneret (I’m imagining a sort of chemical type spaghetti machine here), which produces the cellulose fibres that are then woven to make the fabric.

Geeky bit over…. this cellulose stuff produces a really lovely soft fabric. Of course its not just about the texture of the fabric, the designs are gorgeous too! 

The fabric comes in at 142 cm wide which at £14 a meter makes it pretty economical for a designer print fabric.

My top pattern picks for these delights are….

Tops and blouses

Dresses and Skirts

Or how about a luxurious Buchannan dressing gown from Gather Patterns

What sewing plans do you have for this weekend?