Knitted Christmas Awesome (In Progress)

Last Christmas, I decided I wanted a nativity set.

I’m not quite sure where this admittedly random idea came from, but there it was.  I didn’t want a store-bought version, I wanted it to be homemade.  Heck, I wanted a knitted nativity set!

A bit of internet searching and I found this – the Jean Greenhowe Christmas Special!  Published in 1991 (we’re the same age!), it includes a pattern for a full Christmas crib.  The Ebay store I bought this from doesn’t have it anymore, but I recently discovered that Spotlight also sells these booklets in their yarn section for about $18.  jean-christmas

How awesome is this!  It’s pretty much knitted nativity perfection.

full-nativity

There’s a bit of nostalgia involved here, too.

The first ten years or so of my life were surrounded by toys hand-knitted from Jean Greenhowe’s pattern books by various relatives.yarn

This is a very slow project – I’ve been gradually gathering cheap, acrylic yarn in as many colours as possible, magpie style.  All these patterns are supposed to just use “scrap yarn”, but when you don’t have that on hand, it’s a very expensive project.

I wrote out a list of all the pieces that need to be made and it came to about 25-30 colours.  Add $18 for the pattern book and it’s looking pricey!  Fortunately, I’ve been swooping on yarn in op shops wherever possible, so it’s become a little cheaper.

mary-jesusI’ve actually been really enjoying the process of knitting this.  It’s a nice contrast to making a full garment – ten rows of stitching and a couple of decreases and hey presto!  You just made a beard!

My goal is to finish this by Christmas 2014.  I’m thinking of it as in lieu of Andi’s Knit A Christmas Sweater in 2014 knitalong, which I almost jumped on, until I remembered I live in Australia and will be wearing as few clothes as socially acceptable that time of year.  Most years for Christmas I just wear my swimmers all day.

I also recently found a couple more Jean Greenhowe pattern books for $3 each at a church stall at the Mount Tamborine markets and I’m itching to make a tiny policeman.  I  need my friends to start having babies so I can indulge in knitting some adorable toys.

Stripes!

This was a very quick sew in a very busy time of the uni semester!

I found this fabric, once again, at the op shop for $5.  I measured it very roughly (1 pace = 1 metre) and I think there was about 8m there.  Not too shabby!

front-stripes
stripes-front

I’ve been wanting a jersey dress, but didn’t want to fork out for a pattern.  Then I remembered that I had the Built By Wendy book, Sew U Home Stretch.

I made the basic dress pattern with long sleeves, since I’d been a bit cold that day – it actually turned out pretty well!

stripes-beach

The size was pretty spot on (my fabric doesn’t have a lot of stretch) and it sewed up super easily.

I love the long sleeves, but the puffed sleeve caps aren’t really my thing.  To be fair, I knew this beforehand, but couldn’t be bothered adjusting it.

DSCN3471

I’m also not really sure it’s the most flattering style on me – it definitely brings unwanted attention to my belly.  I think a fuller skirt might have worked better for this – I like the bodice just fine.  Probably the vertically striped waistband was a mistake, too.  It worked better in my head.

stripe-overloadThe stripes were quite overwhelming, with the below-the-knee skirt and long sleeves.  It was a little bit horrific!  I had a good giggle, then pulled the skirt up in the mirror until it was at a length that worked better with the proportions.  It’s much shorter than what I usually like, but also much more wearable.  Definitely needs tights underneath or my paranoia reaches epic proportions!

I do like this dress.

It’s probably a bit unfair to point out all the problems with it when I really think of it as a wearable muslin.  Plenty good for a first go and I wear it a lot – win!

Plus, I really need to sew more knit dresses!  So quick to sew, easier to fit, easy to wear.  Perfect.