Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Ta-Da! (Belatedly)

Many thanks to all of you for your patience! A combination of RL commitments and technical issues has meant I've been running around in circles for the last few days. Hopefully it should all be straightened out now!

Finally I have photos of the new top:

The pattern is Simplicity 5759
I made view D, size 12. The size I chose was a bit larger than I would normally wear, but I was making the pattern in a less stretchy fabric than the pattern envelope recommended and didn't want it to come out too small. Actually, the pattern envelope says you need fabric with 50% stretch, but I think this is more applicable for Views A-C, which include quite tight-fitting ruching. Views D and E seem to need fabric with more drape but less stretch.

Fabric used here was called 'Megan', bought about four years ago through Knitwit Australia - it's a polyester/spandex jersey-type knit with about 20-25% stretch and great drapability. One metre was plenty to make this top.

In the pictures I'm wearing the top with a skirt I made about the time of purchasing this fabric. This was the first time I used the pattern and fabric shown here, and they have both come to be firm favourites.

The fabric used is Knitwit Monaco in Violet, also purchased through Knitwit Australia. It's a polycotton double-knit which is made so that the right side of the fabric is polyester-rich, and therefore durable, while the wrong side is cotton-rich, and therefore soft and breathable. It sews up like a dream and produces a really tailored look - comes in about 15-20 different colours - I have have 6 skirts made using it.

The pattern is Kwik Sew 2771, 8-gore skirt. I made view B but lengthened the pattern 1.5 inches as I wanted it to hit just below the knee. I've since made several skirts using this pattern with the length modification, and it is a great classic basic. If your fabric is 150cm wide (60") and has no nap, then you don't need more than a metre of fabric - ignore the suggested layout and put your pieces top-to-toe for a more economical use of your fabric. It also makes up very quickly - I made one in a single day when I desperately needed a black skirt.

The next project is a 6-gore navy skirt - stay tuned, because it's driving me to frustration!

Monday, 25 February 2013


The Princess has been attending job interviews over the last few days, and would like to apologise for her absence from this blog. Rest assured she will return soon.

Also, The Princess's card reader is not talking to her laptop, so photo content may be a bit lacking when she returns. However, tech support is being summoned (thanks Dad), and hopefully the problem will be solved shortly.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

The best laid plans

Today was going to be the grand unveiling of my new top being worn for the first time - and not just being worn, but being worn with the skirt I made to go with it 2 years ago. I had the whole thing planned out...

And then my camera batteries died.

Regular programming will resume after I get to the shops.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The doldrums of domesticity

I'm sitting here writing this while waiting to see if the bicarbonate-of-soda mixture I've just spread over the benchtop is going to work as advertised for removing the saucepan mark.

Fingers crossed.

While I'm waiting I'm reading my way through the archives of the Yarn Harlot's blog. Does anyone here read that? I've been reading Stephanie Pearl McPhee's books for years, but I've only just started reading her blog in the last couple of weeks. It is HILARIOUS. Seriously, the woman is a comedy genius. Which is all the more unfair since she is also a knitting genius. She does hate crochet with a vengeance, but I guess nobody's perfect.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to some serious watching paste dry. Hopefully the cat won't jump in it first.

Why Grandma, what big socks you have!

When I was a young girl, dear readers, I used to occasionally visit my grandma. It was only occasionally because she lived 3 days drive away, if you went the fast route. So these visits happened about every other year.

Now, my grandma's house was not the best-designed house for a child to live in. (It was even worse when I got to be a teenager, but we'll pass over that for now.) If I wanted anything to play with, I had to bring it with me. There were books, but most of the accesible ones (ie, those not locked in a childproof glass-fronted bookcase - yes, I know it was childproof because I tried to get in) were Readers Digest condensed novels and suchlike. Not of great interest to me then or now.

But! (she said, raising a finger emphatically) there were some items of great interest to me. You see, back when Grandma was a girl, she had been given some Girls' Own Annuals. These were compilations of a year's worth of issues of The Girls' Own Companion and Ladies Home Magazine. (They don't make titles like that any more.) Anyway Grandma had been given a half-dozen or so of these Annuals. AND she had kept them!

Now believe me, some of the contents have dated badly. Instructions that washing your hair should be done no more than once a fortnight? I think not. Others, however, are still relevant and interesting. Yes, dear readers, I'm talking about the knitting and crochet patterns!

Which brings me to what I wanted to say in the first place. (Look, I'm new to this blogging business, ok? Bear with the rambling.) In one of these Annuals, which dates to the late 1920s, there is a pattern for a lady's stocking. Which is basically a sock, done in very fine yarn, reaching up to the knee. Sounds basic enough, right? BUT this stocking has one very unique feature. The heel, sole and toe are knitted in a separate piece and attached to the rest of the stocking by slip-stitch crochet. Which means that when you get a hole in the toe - or the heel - you just pull out the slip-stitching, remove the sole piece, knit up another one, attach it, and voila! A hole-free sock!

Pretty nifty, huh?

Now, I would have thought that someone out there would have come up with this idea. There is an Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern for socks with a similar idea, but only the sole is knitted separately, not the heel and toe as well.

So I have two questions.

The first: does anyone know of a pattern out there for this technique?

And secondly: given that I have no idea of the yarn, the needles or the tension, and I've never knitted socks before, what are my chances of turning this pattern into a wearable sock?

Tuesday, 19 February 2013


Welcome to The Princess Creates!

Herein will be found my efforts at dressmaking, knitting, baking, cross-stitch, crochet, dollmaking, calligraphy, card-making and any other creative activities that come my way.

Why am I starting a blog?

Because my friends are getting pretty sick of me posting things on facebook like "Grr. Waistband of skirt-in-progress is too small", "Yay! My new sewing machine arrived", and "Owww I just burned my wrist getting muffins out of the oven".

They neither know nor care about the glories of successfully learning how to use blending filament or do proper French knots. Talking about a burning desire to defeat that sock pattern leaves them edging away slightly.

Which brings me, dear readers, to you. (Hypothetical though you are at present.) You are the ones who will now be receiving my rants, my exultation and my despair. You will be getting pictures of works-in-progress and (occasionally) finished results.

I hope you enjoy.

Much love,

The Princess