Yarndale@Home… new kits and mini sale!

It’s Yarndale weekend! If you missed me live on Instagram yesterday, you can hop over and watch it now...

The new Amy by Jem Cushion kits are now live! Browse and buy here.

And a special treat for Yarndale… I’ve set up a little sale section for the weekend!

Cute Comfort Knits by Jem Weston | Hexi Coasters & Placemats

Don’t forget to check out the other Yarndale exhibitors! I hope you’re enjoying the show, getting inspired and having fun stocking up for Autumn/Winter x

Yarndale at Home

This strange year has gone by both slowly and quickly… I can’t believe it’s Yarndale next weekend! But it also feels like a lifetime since Steph and I were setting up for the 2019 show and trying to avoid the leaking roof!

Yarndale at home will take place on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th September. I’ll send more details of how I’m taking part in my newsletter this week so make sure you’re signed up!

I will be launching some new Amy-by-Jem Cushion kits which you can browse now over on my shop.

A beautiful stack of Amy by Jem knitted cushions

This would’ve been my sixth year exhibiting at Yarndale and I will really miss the buzz of the show and seeing you all face to face. But I’m so happy that the event is still running virtually and that we can all shop from the comfort and safety of our own homes.

Hopefully see you next weekend!

Shirtdress Plans!

I’ve been saying for ages that I want to make another Alder shirt dress. The first one I made was meant to be a toile… but I never got round to making the denim one I had planned and have ended up wearing this one loads.

Alder Shirtdress front - Jem Weston blogI initially thought it was way too big, but after a few wears I started to enjoy the loose fit and as I’ve washed and worn it the fabric has softened and now has a nicer drape.

I wanted to make the next one with sleeves because two of the most worn items in my wardrobe are long-sleeved shirt dresses – one plaid and one denim. They’re basically secret pyjamas and I wear them with leggings while working at home.

Knowing that I like the fit of the Alder shirt dress – I thought I would use that as my starting point… and went down a Pinterest rabbithole! The first version I found with sleeves was this one by Bolt & Spool.

They used this Grainline Studio tutorial of an Alder and Acher shirt mash-up. I initially thought “great – just what I was looking for… Alder with sleeves added. Simple!”. Then I read the tutorial and have been procrastinating ever since because it sounded too complicated! Bearing in mind that I’ve only ever done a collar once… and despite being heavily supervised by Deidre at All Things Creative I still managed to get part of it upside down.

So then I started looking into whether it would be simpler to just make the Archer shirt and add length to make it a dress. And of course it would be simpler! I love this version by Vivat Viritas

But – the Archer shirt has quite a straight/boxy shape and I know that I would have to play with blending different sizes (as I’m generally two sizes larger on my bottom half) and that might effect the shape and overall look.

So I’ve settled on this version… the Archer + Alder mash up V2!

Using the Alder pattern for the bottom section should give me plenty of room around the hips and there aren’t any massively complicated tweaks to make so fingers crossed I’ll manage it without supervision!

I know that it’s going to take me ages. I don’t get much sewing time and I don’t want to rush it… but it would be really lovely if I manage to get it done before the end of the year so I can tick it off my make-nine-2020 list!

Rowan AW20 – Jem’s picks

The new Rowan Autumn/Winter collections have launched! Here are a few of my faves…

Dumfries cardigan from Rowan Magazine 68

Dumfries by Emma Wright from Magazine 68 – knitted in Alpaca Classic.

I love the tassels and the relaxed shape of this. Alpaca Classic is light but warm so this would be a great extra layer.

Moonflower coat from Rowan Magazine 68

Moonflower by Martin Storey from Carousel – knitted in Alpaca Soft DK.

This is gorgeous! The pattern and the colour combinations are beautiful and I can see myself snuggling up in our cold house wearing this.

Wrap cardigan from Mode at Rowan The Bloggers Edit

Darcy cardigan by Samantha Hall from The Bloggers Edit – knitted in Alpaca Classic and Kidsilk Haze.

I’ve already cast this one on! I used to have a cardigan similar to this and I wore it to death so I know I love the shape. I think it’ll look good with my new summer dress – and make it more winter friendly. Of course I’m knitting mine in teal!

Have you cast on any winter garments yet?

Yarn gifted by Rowan.

Amy by Jem

I mentioned this project earlier in the year – and I’ve certainly taken my time over it… But the wait is over and you can now knit your very own Amy by Jem cushions!

A beautiful stack of Amy by Jem knitted cushions

*Please note* The links in this blog will take you through to my PayHip pattern shop. If you would prefer to buy via Ravelry or Love Knitting – you can link through from my patterns page here.

Amy Cushion – shop now

Jem Cushion – shop now

Vine Cushion – shop now

Balloon Flower Cushion – shop now

I’m a huge fan of my friend Amy Blackwell’s illustrations and have loved working on this collaboration! I love Amy’s use of colour and the Rowan Summerlite DK palette was the perfect choice.

The cushions all work beautifully together so they’re also available to buy as a collection. This works out as better value if you want to knit them all!

Amy by Jem Cushion Collection – shop now

Summer Dress

I finished a summer dress!

Summer dress made in Atelier Brunette navy fabric with sporadic little green, cream and golden yellow squares.

I traced the pattern from a dress that I wear a lot… but it turned out quite differently as I tweaked it along the way.

I’ve never done an elasticated waistband before and initially created a channel to slot the elastic in, but it didn’t sit right so instead I stitched the elastic directly to the waist seam using a long zig zag stitch.

It’s made in an Atelier Brunette fabric which I bought from Guthrie & Ghani. I’d bought a small amount a while ago just because I liked it and then also bought a small bolt end which gave me enough for a dress. I’m concerned that the skirt is a bit see-through… but maybe that’s okay in the summer!

It’s a super simple shape and was quick to make (apart from the waistband faffing) so if it’s comfy to wear I’ll be making more. A lightweight linen would be great because I’m always too hot!

That’s another one ticked off the make-nine-2020 plan. Next up sewing-wise is a shirt dress – which might take me a while because collars are confusing!

Jem Weston - Make nine 2020 plan!

Summer 2021 planning

I’m not wishing time away and definitely not ready for this summer to be over… but I always think that late summer is a great time to assess this year and to plan ahead for next.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my summer wardrobe and what I want to make before next summer. This summer, more than ever before, has been about comfort! My most worn items have been: two dresses which have elasticated waistbands, my Burnt top with an old favourite skirt (which has an elasticated waistband), my Alder shirt dress, my Peony dress and loose tops with denim shorts for walking.

Sewing-wise – I’m currently trying to re-create one of my elasticated waistband dresses and I definitely want to make another Alder. On the knitting side of things – I really want to make some more cotton summer tops… but there’s so many I want to knit I haven’t chosen which yet!

Above: Eventide by Inyoung Kim from Pom Pom Magazine 30, Place in the Sun by Sarah Hatton from Simply Knitting issue 174 (June ’18) and Soleie Shell by Skeindeer.

I’ve also been having fun planning my 2021 veg patch. It’s the second summer since I changed the layout of my garden and it’s been so much more productive! I’m making some tweaks based on what’s working and what’s not and will be doing more companion planting to help with pests.

I just love this time of year where I can nip out to the front garden and dig up/pick what we’re having for tea. It’s the best!

Are you thinking ahead to next summer?!

Make Nine 2020 – update

I thought it was about time for me to give you an update on my make-nine-2020! Being more than half way through the year – I should in theory be more than half way through my planned makes… but unsurprisingly I’m a bit behind.

I mentioned last week that I’ve been suffering from a loss of knitting mojo. After finishing off my Esme Cardigan and Merry Jumper Dress earlier in the year – my garment knitting took a sharp nose-dive in terms of productivity.

My knitting mojo is definitely back! I’m really keen to finish my second Burnt top and my subtly festive beaded jumper… but I’ve almost completed some exciting new designs so I’m trying to stay focused on those and not get distracted… I can’t wait to share them with you!

I was actually pleasantly surprised by how my make-nine is looking and (perhaps I’m being unrealistic – but) I think it might still be doable this year.

I’ve started having a sewing evening every Wednesday and sometimes on a Sunday too, so I’m hopeful that I will finish my sewing aims for the year. Of the five remaining knit projects, two are almost half done and two are quick projects.

The only problem is… I’m not feeling in the mood to knit a fair-isle jumper right now. Maybe that will change when autumn kicks in. Even with the more vague plans I had for this year it’s still not vague enough! I’ve seen a cardigan in the new Rowan AW collection (coming soon!) that I’m excited to knit so I might do that instead and roll-over the fair-isle to make-nine-2021.

How’s your knitting/sewing mojo doing? Did you make plans or are you just going with the flow?

 

New-normal

My friend recently shared this video on Instagram and I think it’s a great break down of what might be happening internally and why we may be feeling “all over the place”!

I personally found it comforting to watch and to know that I’m not the only one whose been struggling with motivation and focus (resulting in a frightening loss of knitting mojo).

Now that restrictions have been relaxed, we’re all getting used to a new-normal. I’m personally settling into a new routine, which is helping me to regain focus and get excited about work again.

But returning to “normal” looks different for everyone – some people have been desperate to go to the pub and get a hair cut whilst others really don’t feel ready to mix with others indoors. We’ll all move at different paces and that’s fine.

I think that those of us who aren’t feeling ready to do certain things might feel under pressure to justify why. But maybe part of our new normal should be to always check in with friends and family to find out what they’re comfortable with and ensure they know what we’re happy with. Having that conversation in advance creates the opportunity to change plans/venues if necessary.

The other day at the park, one of my friends was showing another friend a photo and asked if they were okay with holding his phone. It gave them the opportunity to say no if they were worried about touching it and then not being able to wash their hands. It was a small thing – but really respectful and excellent post-lockdown etiquette in my opinion!

I hope you’re all doing okay in your new normals. And if, like me, you’ve been struggling with motivation and knitting mojo… I’m sending positive creative vibes!