6th Annual Knitting & Crochet Blog Week – Official Launch 2015!

Knitting-And-crochet-Blog-Week-6-Eskimimi-Makes

This post officially marks the launch of Knitting And Crochet Blog Week 2015, the 6th outing of this annual celebration of fibre arts and the blogs that share the love of and promote them. Today is a brief but (hopefully) comprehensive overview of what Knitting And Crochet Blog Week is all about, and over the coming weeks the blogging topics will be announced.

What is Knitting and Crochet Blog Week?
Once a year knitters and crocheters that blog are invited from all over the world to take part in a community blog week in which they are presented with a number of topics to blog about over the period of seven days. The topics are very flexible and can be interpreted in many ways, so there is a good deal of variety in the posts that this inspires, which then provide wonderful reading for anyone who enjoys reading the blogs that it inspires.

What Do Bloggers Get Out Of It?
The blog week was originally intended as a week in which inspiration for new and interesting blog posts and ways of blogging could be shared by the fibre arts and blogging community to find new ideas and ways of keeping blogging fresh and interesting. The other benefits that participants soon saw were an increase in the number of visitors and comments that they received over the course of blog week and also the many new blogs that they discovered by taking part. It is also great fun and a good way of shaking of any writers’ cobwebs by inspiring a fresh approach to blogging.

How Do I Sign Up?
In order to keep blog week as simple as possible there are no official sign-ups – you simply take part. There are ways that you can help spread the word about blog week to help increase interest in the event in general as well as your own posts, but this is by no means compulsory. If possible it would be nice if bloggers could make a short post to say that they are taking part (for which a few graphics are provided at the end of this post) with a link back to this page so any other bloggers reading your blog can find out all about what is happening (the more people who take part in this event the better, both in terms of attracting readers to your posts and all the wonderful blogs you’ll likely visit and discover during the week), so if you have the time please do spread the word on your blog/Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest and any other social media sites you enjoy.

There is an associated Facebook Event that has been created to help you stay up to date and connected with those taking part.

I’m On Holiday/Busy/Otherwise Engaged During Those Dates.
Oh darn. That’s always a shame, but unfortunately inevitable with the number of people who usually take part. On a positive note the rules here are pretty relaxed, so as the topics are posted a few weeks in advance you can still take part if you would like to. Simply write your posts ahead of time and schedule them to post on the specific days for each topic. And if you happen to miss a day or two, or even all seven, you can always post them a few days, weeks or month later. One of the main aims of this blog week is to provide inspiration for new posts, and if that is helpful at some point in the future, then please post away.

Can I Help In Some Way?
Mostly by promoting the event. As always, it gets better and better the more people that take part. Also, if you blog in another language or dual/multiple languages, then translations of this and the Blogging Topics are always very much appreciated.

So What Are We All Blogging About This Year?
You’re keen, and that’s great! Blogging topics will be announced four weeks before the start of Blog Week, on Monday 13th April. Also announced this day will be the ever-popular post tags, so that you can read all of the associated posts rom other bloggers and also tag your posts so that readers can easily find your content.

Is There A Twitter/Instagram/Facebook Social Media Hashtag I Can Use?
Why not? #KCBW6 is available for all your general hashtagging needs on Social Media and you can begin using it right away.

Keep up to date with all of the news and details of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2015 by joining the Eskimimi Makes Facebook Group and by following on Twitter!

facebook Eskimimi Makes on Facebook

twitter Eskimimi on Twitter

Talking Of Tags, Will Those Amazing Post Tags Be Back Again This Year?
Absolutely. These will be announced along with the blogging topics four weeks before the launch of the event.

OK, Where Are Those Graphics?
You may have noticed at the very start of this post the official graphic for this year’s Blog Week. There are a few other graphics to choose from, in large and small formats, so hopefully you will find one to fit your post header, blog post or sidebar. All of these images can be used freely, and re-sized as needed.

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Knitting-Crochet-Blog-Week-6-Banner

Knitting-Crochet-Blog-Week-6-Badge

I Like This Event, Thanks For Organising It. Can I Buy You A Coffee?
If you live locally, yeah, why not. Otherwise, you know what costs about the same as a cheap coffee? A wonderful knitting or crochet pattern. Who wouldn’t want a beautiful shawl, pair of socks, hat, mittens or a knitted Narwhal? And if my patterns don’t particularly appeal to you, why not treat someone else and gift one via Ravelry, or buy from another independent designer and support the wonderful talent in the knitting and crochet communities for less than a single drink at Starbucks.

Wait – Is That It? But I Have So Many Questions!
It is indeed likely that I have forgotten something or not foreseen a query/area of confusion. If it is something relating to the topics or post tags, those will both be explained in the next #KCBW6 post, but if it is something else please leave a comment below as well as a way of contacting you (an email address or link to your Ravelry profile if you have one is a very handy way to get in touch, but otherwise a blog link or some other way of getting a reply to you…) Or keep checking back and join the Eskimimi Makes group on Facebook for all of the updates and the associated Blog Week Event.

New Book: Great British Sewing Bee Fashion With Fabric

Great British Sewing Bee Fashion With Fabric BookThe third series of The Great British Sewing Bee is well under way, and the past few episodes have seen the participants pit their wits against different types of fabrics, from simple hard-wearing cottons, through structural costuming materials and onto the sometimes daunting world of feather-light sheer fabrics. As with previous series, this third outing for Patrick, May and Claudia as ringmaster is supported by an accompanying book.

I was a great fan of the book that accompanied the second series of the Great British Sewing Bee as it contained all the information I needed to really get started on the road to sewing my own clothes – from good, clear information on fabrics and tools, through fantastic information on how to read and use sewing patterns and guide to garment construction; seam treatments, invisible zippers, use of interfacings, etc, and importantly all of the pattern pieces to make the featured garments.

This book features many of those same qualities without being repetitive. Some information is expanded upon, some is given new, and the all new set of pattern pieces and accompanying garment instructions cover new skills and ideas. The pattern pieces are, as last time, clearly given on good quality pattern pages for tracing.
Great British Sewing bee Fashion With Fabric Sewing Pattern Sheets - contains five double-sided sheets in total to create 30 stylesThe pattern pieces for 30 garments are given over 5 double-sided pattern sheets. The pattern pieces overlap to save on paper, but are very clearly presented for tracing: easily identified by the different colours used for printing which makes copying the patterns very simple.

Womens garments are given in standard pattern sizes 8 through 20, with a similar range of sizes given for men, dependant on garments type, and measurements for children’s patterns vary on the style and age range the garment is intended for, but overall there is a good range of sizes on offer.

The book is divided into fabric types and qualities, as has the series this year. Chapter One focusses on cottons, the second on wool and other animal fibres, followed by stretch and luxury fabrics making up Chapters Three and Four respectively. Whilst much valuable information is given in the 40 pages leading up to the first chapter, each of the fabric-type specific chapters gives a wealth of information on both how to work with the materials covered, best practices, materials and tools, plus the skills needed to carry out any new pattern elements, such as working with boning in corsetry, in the luxury fabric chapter.
Corsetry and Boning in The Great British Sewing Bee Fashion With Fabric book
Whilst some patterns stand completely independently, others are given as variations on a theme, where modifications to a garment are given to show haw a pattern may be adapted to create a quite different style or look. The adaptations are given as extensions to pattern pieces, which is helpful in allowing the sewer to garner a little confidence in changing commercial patterns to suit their needs, or perhaps how to combine pattern pieces from different sources to create a different look (such as when I combined two patterns last year to create my Von Trapp dress, which I also made from curtaining fabric… I must have been ahead of the curve on that one…)

Eskimimi Makes Von Trapp Dress
These pattern adaptations/modifications are given as ‘hacks’ for some reason. I don’t like the term ‘hack’ – it sounds imprecise and brutal, and has a ring of onomatopoeia about it, as if a medium-sized dog is trying to choke up something stuck in its throat and make a mess of your carpet. Obviously a larger dog will make more of a ‘hrock!’ sound, so only medium-sized dogs will hack, that ugly sound. If I think to hack something that is not a computer (and that’s rather unlikely) I would expect to do so in a frenzy, and with an axe.

Patterns can adapted, modified, with vision and style to make them more suitable to the sewer, or give a new and unique twist to the style. These are planned, envisioned changes, and this book gives a small insight into how these modifications can start to be imagined and carried out, allowing the sewer not to hack at a design, but enhance it. I really don’t like the word ‘hack’ in this context, but let’s leave it there – the underlying concept is sound, and positive.
The Great British Sewing Bee Book Fashion With Fabric Leather JacketOverall, this book seems slightly less concerned with achieving the perfect fit in comparison to the first volume (and they make great companion volumes because of this) and some of the designs have a much more relaxed fit with simple details – though some, such as the semi-fitted Leather Jacket above, would push the skills of many amateur sewers.

One of the patterns that I most look forward to attempting is the Walkaway Dress. This is a version of a dress from the 1950s that was covered in the first episode, sized for modern western sewers.
The Great British Sewing bee Walkaway Dress Fashion With fabric BookIt was mentioned in the episode that this dress became a great blogging favourite some time ago, due to the challenge posed by the dress’ name and aim – that you could start cutting the pattern in the morning and walk away wearing it in the afternoon.

I’m not feeling up to tracing, cutting or sewing anything at the moment, so the idea shall have to be one that I sit on for a while, but whilst I do I have plenty of skills to read up on as I work my way through the ideas and tips in the book.

Note: The opinions expressed in this review are my own, I purchased this book with my own scrimped pennies.

Update: Here’s a fun little reply tweet from the publishers:

Shades Of Sunshine Sweater

The yellow striped sweater with kangaroo pocket is complete and off the needles. Isn’t she pretty? The majority of this sunshine-y wonder was knit, if you remember, by Jen of JenACKnitwear. I can take no credit for anything other than a sleeve and a half. I knit the remaining sweater over a day and a bit, between dozing spells, and it was as gentle and relaxing as sleeve knitting should be.
Where I struggled a little was when it came to blocking the sweater. I didn’t feel like I had the energy to actually go through the washing, removing of water, towels, pinning, shaping  and care that it needed. Most of these steps involved bending down, or putting my head down in some way, and this is one of the circumstances in which I have been finding myself light-headed and faint (and I did faint again on Sunday and have injured my face/head somewhat – which is one of the reasons that I probably wont have any pictures of me wearing the sweater for a couple of weeks at least, but I will share them when I do!).

I think I finally got the sweater blocked last Thursday or Friday, and it was worth the effort. The yarn has bloomed ever so slightly, and the plump, uniform stitches are soft and gorgeous. The sweater is knit in no less than six different graded shades of yellow yarn, starting at the top with the most extreme pairing of dark and light and ending at the bottom with the two middling shades. It took a while to figure out the stripe placement and where each colour changed to match the sleeves to the body, but through careful squinting, judgement and counting of rows between Jen’s deftly woven in ends, I think I have it right, and nobody will study the stripes as much as I have done, anyway.

I think my favourite thing about the sweater is when I wear it out it will always warm me not only with its soft and comforting fibres but also with the friendship and care that this was given to me. I think Jen knows how much this has meant to me – I hope so anyway.
The good news is that I feel a bit more confident and happy in things now. It’s still difficult not being able to get out and about. The only place I visit is the doctors, and that’s not exactly a bundle of laughs, so it feels quite isolated being stuck in bed, sometimes worried to move too much as I’ve been weak and dizzy, which brings around nausea and feeling faint. Plus I know I have to look after myself as I gave Mr Awesome a bit of a scare when I passed out the other night (and on his birthday, no less, the entirety of which he spent caring for me, rather than the other way around). So it’s lonely, but at least I now can click my needles together between naps.

I’ve got a few ideas in my head at the moment, but I think that all and any ideas will take a while to find fruition at the moment, but with hope anyone who is patient enough to stick with the blog’s current intermittentness will see some bright and cheery things soon.