Even bear was last seen at some point between 1pm on the 11th August and 7pm on the 15th August… he is much missed by all and we would love to see him again… can you help ?
Last night I finally freed the sewing machine from where it was temporarily hiding whilst I redecorated the dinning room…AND I woke up early this morning…so of course I am busy sewing away right ?
er…no…sorry am hiding upstairs with a pint of tea whilst Spider is lost in Middle Earth courtesy of his Wii…
Have decided I deserve a day off from being Mum. I have been a single Mum for most of the week as Husband is having fun at Le Mans (he might have his other 2 boys with him but that doesn’t count as “parenting”, the eldest is 24 and the other one is almost 18) and to be honest the week has not been the best for me as amongst other things I had to replace all 4 tyres on the car…
So I’m in bed with my laptop, tea and a couple of podcasts…every 40 minutes I nip downstairs to refill the tea…oh and do some paint stripping on the dining room door (ok so perhaps I haven’t quite got the concept of “Lazy Sunday” mastered !).
I will get up after Desert Island Discs (Hugh Laurie – saw him in concert last week in Oxford)…promise…I may even join Spider in Middle Earth for a bit (even though he thinks I’m useless and keeps coming over and taking the controller off me)…later I may tidy the house…but, so sad, I can’t do that until all the washing draped over every radiator and door is dry :-) (it’s raining outside and I don’t have a tumble drier)…
and sewing ? Well look I did finally hem my PJs (made in February) last night…and I would have finished a bag off only I need to find the right shade of thread…I’m not procrastinating for once I am just mentally blocked…but I’m getting through it 15 minutes at a time
Maybe I should just recruit Spider to take some pictures of what I have done over the last 12 months and not blogged…then at least I would have something to waffle on about whilst I get through the contents of the UFO basket (Guilt is the cause of the block)…but that will mean cleaning the house first as the rain means outside pics are not an option…but getting Spider away from the Wii possibly won’t happen
You know, I think I’ll just stay here in bed after all…
It’s Sunday morning. I am sitting here knitting. Knitting with pink wool. This is a protest. Admittedly I am the only one who realises it is a protest…and there is also no one here to see it, but nevertheless it is still a protest against this house full of testosterone !
Later I have plans to cut out a skirt…also in pink…but to do so I will have to go back on part of the other part of my protest…you see I am knitting at the moment, I am not tidying the house. I have declared Sunday an official day of rest….
Why am I protesting ? Thank you for asking… I am protesting because the boys (apart from Spider) are at Silverstone doing something motorsport related. They set off early…so it was not until about an hour ago that I realised that they had failed to stack the dishwasher and clear up after their barbecue last night. The kitchen is a tip..the kitchen that I tidied up yesterday…
So sod the housework, someone else can do it !!! (Except there is of course no such thing as the housework fairy, but a girl can dream !).
Also, I’m not really awake, having been woken at 2am by a small boy with the runs…he’s fine now…but I probably need to put the washing machine on later…oh and buy some toilet roll…sorry, too much information I guess…but doing the washing is only to get rid of the smell…it’s not housework
But for now, I knit…later I will clear the cat hair off the landing and vacuum…but only so I can cut a skirt out you understand, not because I want the house tidy…it’s not housework.
I know, I know, if I actually want to sew the skirt up I will have to tidy the dining room up so I can get the machine out…
See, even when I want a day without housework it still creeps up on me
But for now I’m knitting…and it’s pink….I don’t even like pink really
May here at Chateau Bun is one long round of birthdays, especially as we sometimes celebrate Spiders birthday in may too on the grounds that the weather is better (if your birthday present was 2 days at Legoland I’m sure you’d rather celebrate it in may than march !)…So I guess we’ve been kinda pre occupied.
Add to that being lost in DIY hell… at Christmas we realised that we had been back in the house after the rebuild for 5 years…so perhaps it was time we finished tiling the bathrooms and the kitchen…but before we finished tiling the kitchen Husband decided we needed 2 more cupboards from IKEA…but then we got the flu… and then after we built the cupboards Husband decided that we needed to reseal the wooden surfaces…
In the meantime I’d arranged for a furniture restorer to take away a family heirloom…a 4 ft x 4ft x 120m chest of drawers to be stripped and restored whilst I painted the dining room… of course the delays to the kitchen tiling meant that it all happened at once so the dining room (where I sew) has been out of commission since before Easter…and I have been less than popular with the rest of the family since I moved the contents of the dining room into the downstairs bathroom meaning that for a short time we became a 1 toilet family !
Work has also been pretty stressful as pretty much my whole caseload turned litigious just after Christmas…and then the boss went on holiday for 2 weeks and I had to “act up” in his absence….
So to be honest I haven’t been “feeling the love” when it comes to knitting….I’ve lacked inspiration…and as for sewing…well I’ve been feeling a bit blocked due to body issues ( I went back on the Matt Roberts programme which eats into knitting/sewing time) plus I still haven’t finished that 3rd bag…partly because the sewing machine is in the bathroom…partly because I have a mental block…it’s hard to finish things when you no longer feel the love…
Anyway…new month…new attitude… especially if Husband finishes regrouting the floor in the dining room so that I can put everything back together again
Seeing as I only have 4 sewn garments to my name, (one of them being a clothkit skirt and another being on its last legs) I didn’t sign up for Me Made May… but I do tend to wear at least something I’ve made every day… more so since I tried the 12 in 12 challenge as there has hardly been a day in the last 9 months where I haven’t needed a jumper or a cardigan.
It came as a surprise to realise as I was standing on the train platform this morning that I was wearing no less than 5 me made items…ok so by the time I was catching the train home I had discarded 2 of them and my coat (Yay ! It’s spring at last!!!)
So the 2 discards first…a bright pink hat (wurm…not yet blogged or photographed) and a great scrunchable scarf in a shade of teal (hmmm maybe I should pay more attention to co ordinating my outfits…but then that would involve more co ordination of my wardrobe palette…maybe sometime…but not yet).
Knitted socks…because I don’t have any decent shoes at the moment and I’m still wearing winter boots (note to self: Buy some spring appropriate shoes…or shall I wait to see if the nice weather lasts)
A fitted tunic style jumper in lilac…well I guess that goes with the pink hat…and possibly the scarf (incidentally has anyone checked out Catkin yet ? Isn’t it stunning yet simple…)…I can’t post a picture of it unfortunately as I am a long way behind with photographing things…
and finally a skirt… yes I have made a skirt that I am happy to wear to work…unfortunately I haven’t made any others…
So today I made my debut in Me Made May…and it is also my finale…. hey it was fun whilst it lasted…
Happy Easter and finally Happy Spring…it’s been so long I thought we were in for Endless Winter…ok it’s still not exactly warm but it’s getting better.
I probably should say “hello again” and “how are you all ?”. I hadn’t intended to be away for almost 2 weeks but I sort of got caught up in things and the next thing I knew it was the other side of Easter…
So the last time I was here I was bemoaning the temporary shattering of my skirt dream…well what do you do when you have your dreams shattered ? Er, well sulk for a few days and then try something else, something you know will work. Yep, did that…only that went and bit me on the backside too (it was another skirt)…so I sulked some more …and then did something I knew would work as I’ve already made 2 of them…and it doesn’t involve me having to wear it and look in the mirror.
The problem is the more I have made of these the less happy I have been…in fact I think I got it right first time with this…even if I did make a mess of the binding…ok enough blathering…I am talking about THIS
So this is the outside…or it might be the inside because THIS is the reversible Bucket Bag from The Bag Bible…only I didn’t have enough of the polka dots so the outside also has a left and a right side
The polka dot version was made April 2012 and then in July I made it again as a present for Spider’s teacher….
So then I started making a third version is September as I still wasn’t happy with how I attached the binding…only this one was made with that denim/Camo fabric that I used for the Treasure Pocket Trousers (aka the trousers of doom)…the material that broke my machine… this third one has not been a happy experience at all and it’s taken a lot lot longer than it should because I’m just not having fun…or I wasn’t…it’s been pretty much finished since December, apart from the binding…
The binding, which also forms the handles is 50mm bias binding…not sold in many shops and where it is the colours are limited, so you have to make your own…and that is just not a fun experience…at least making the larger size isn’t as it’s not as easy to make as the narrower which work quite well with tutorials such as this...
Anyway, after having my butt kicked by the second skirt I decided to try a bit of spring cleaning in all areas of life and bit the bullet and made the bias binding. The bag is for a friend so I will post about it later when it finally gets delivered…which hopefully will be after I have found my camera…which is currently buried by the other thing I’ve been doing…which can wait for another day…
I read a lot of blogs but I am more of a lurker than a commenter…(I find it hard enough some days to think of something to say here). As a result I don’t tend to enter giveaways very often as I don’t think I should unless it is a blog I have commented on from time to time or is one I have on my blog roll. Very very rarely I break my rule and on this occasion I am glad I did.
I have been lurking Anna (Paunnet blog) for some time and slowly reading my way through her archives…so I felt I could enter her giveaway without feeling guilty…and besides with such lovely By Hand London patterns to give away there would be lots of entries so my chances were slim…
But no, when the name came out of the hat for the Charlotte skirt it was me !
I am very excited and very very grateful to Anna…
Previously I would have avoided a pencil skirt on the grounds that girls with big hips and backsides should steer themselves towards A lines…but on recent evidence (since January I have managed to make 2 long straight skirts)..it may be that this shapely skirt might be a better bet !
About 3 years ago I had a stolen morning in Stratford upon Avon away from the housework, Husband and Spider. I treated myself to having my colours done. One day when I actually start using this information I may post about it here, but by and large the colour wallet has been carried around and not much used.
However some of the things the lovely Cat said during the session have stuck in my head one of which was that we tend to gravitate naturally to the colours that suit us (she was explaining that having your colours done was away of extending your colour range into things you might not have thought about and thus extending your wardrobe…and I think she may be right as I have never met a red I didn’t like (and that didn’t like me in return), my wardrobe has a lot of red in it and so does the colour wallet I carry around. My wallet also has several greens which I have always avoided and several blues…
I think the same can be said of clothing styles and maybe we should trust ourselves more than advice from fashion gurus…for example I have a long body and very short legs. The advice out there says I should end my skirts just above my knee because this will make my legs look longer, whereas skirts that finish on the knee or just below the knee will make me look shorter.
What the magazines don’t usually say is that you also have to take width into account. My widest point is my hip and thigh area and as I have recently discovered, if I stop my skirts above my knee it actually emphasises how wide I am AND oddly how short my legs are. Looking in my wardrobe I see that pretty much all my skirts are long and I mean long long. We are not talking stopping just below the knee here but mid calf to just above the ankle sort of long.
The strange thing is I can’t remember how this happened. I just know that since age 17 or 18 I have by and large gravitated towards long skirts. I remember a couple of shorter ones but they tended to be very tailored and usually accompanied by a suit jacket.
“Ahhh” says the Fashion Guru “so you are a girl with wide hips. You need an A line skirt to emphasise your waist and skim lightly over your hips”
Ha, remember this from about 3 years ago
Well that’s me in a self drafted loosely fitting A line which stops pretty much on my knees. I’d assumed the issue here was the elasticated waist. Well I guess partly it is but partly I think it may be the length. If I shorten it I think I’m still going to look wide…so maybe I should go long ?
Yesterday I made a muslin for the Colette Ginger. It is a classic A line skirt. I had to grade between sizes as I am considerably less wide at the waist than I am at the hips. It fits at the hips and then flares slowly down stopping I think at the knee…and…well…lets just say I was in too much shock to take photos. You must remember that I have been dreaming about this skirt for over a year now. I have made so many fabulous versions in my head. I just wasn’t ready for real life ! Husband, who has been an admirer of the female form for many years and can be counted on for an honest assessment said “It makes you look wide all the way down, the “A” shape keeps on widening you !”
I may take photos later after I’ve basted the zipper back in but I think I need to take it over to my Mum for a consult, because whereas Husband is an honest opinion, Mum is a sewist and can help with alteration options such as:
a) Make it not so fitted at the hip so that it drapes a bit more
b) Make it out of a material with more drape, the muslin is a thick old curtain
c) Make it longer
d) Make it shorter (doubt it)
e) Take out some of the flare so it’s not so wide at the hem
f) choose another pattern !
I think the problem I have here is that I gravitated early to a shape that I looked passable in and clung to it the way a survivor does to the shipwreck. I don’t know what other shapes suit me because I’ve never experimented… whereas other teenage girls I grew up with loved shopping I always found it a trial…remember the communal changing rooms of the 80′s ???
I know I can’t rely on fashion style advice because it’s all too general, talking about “Apples”, “Pears” and “Triangles” whereas really we tend to be a bit of one shape and a bit of the other. Me I’m an hourglass fading into pear…I’m a standard size on the top but a petite below the waist…
I think possibly I need to go and see Cat again and make use of her wardrobe consultation service…at least that is specific…
It’s been busy at work recently. The run up to the end of the financial year always is for us as our client departments suddenly realise they have money leftover in their budgets and can squeeze a planned project in this year rather than waiting until next…but if they are working in partnership they have to have a collaborative agreement in place …”hello Legal, any chance you can draft me an agreement before monday/tuesday/wednesday…”
So it has been a relief to have a day off to wait in for a delivery…and then half way through the morning I got a nice surprise when the postman delivered me a pattern I’d won in someone elses Giveaway. Now I don’t enter may giveaways because I’m more of a lurker than a commentator so I feel very very lucky to have won (will talk about the prize later)…and I think it’s about time I had a giveaway.
It’s not really a giveaway it’s more a “can anyone find a home for this and love it better than I did !”
The item or item will go to the first person who emails me or comments below offering to provide a home. Also there is no deadline…I don’t get enough traffic on here to do it any other way to be honest…
First up the St Denis Magazine Premier Issue by Veronik Avery
I bought this in 2010 as it was the only place then that had Ysolda Teagues long Vintage Button Gloves which I think has since been published in Whimsical Knits 3…
Second we have the Burda Magazine January 2013 from which I have made a skirt (yes I’ve actually sewn something !) but can’t honestly see myself making anything else out of it
and finally there is Style 2845 which is a boys pattern for “sporty separates to mix and match. I don’t know a lot about this to be honest it was probably published in the 1990′s as Husband’s ex wife passed it on when Spider was born. It has sizing from age 2 to age 7 . There are 20 pieces total, I’m afraid I don’t know if they are all there. It’s for a hoodie a jacket and track suit bottoms or shorts. Recommended fabrics are knits, jersey or sweatshirt fleece.
The pattern is Girasole by Jared Flood, Girasole is I believe french for sunflower.
It was originally intended for my friend the welsh goddess as a 40th birthday present…she is an august baby…I started knitting it in the July and had it finished by the november…it then sat in my WIP basket until the March when I finally got around to blocking it.
Blocking as you probably know involves drying it “under tension” you pin the wet garment out slightly stretched and when it dries it stays in the stretched position which has the joint benefit of:
a) you have a slightly larger garment
b) The stitch pattern looks better as the stitches have been “opened” out
The problem was that aside from my stepsons bed I had nowhere to block it and of course I always remembered it needed doing on a friday night when he arrived and had forgotten about it by the sunday when he left ! So it took rather a long time to reach the blocking stage.
Then…well…you see my friend the Welsh Goddess is an absolute Goddess of a woman, tall, statuesque with va va voom…lovely, but our limbs as a rule are in proportion to our height and yes the Welsh Goddess has quite an “ape index” (ape index is a climbing term relating to the length of your arms) compared to a short a*se like me AND the va va voom factor means…well in short, my lovely shawl was too small…it makes a good scarflette, but not a good head and shoulders or even shoulders covering shawl…
I tried just before Christmas to reblock it to see if I could get some more stretch out of it, I did but not enough…
It was redirected as a present for someone else, who seemed delighted with it, but who can really tell with handknitted presents (or relatives) ? I’m waiting for inspiration to strike again before August comes round again… or maybe I just reknit Girasole on slightly larger needles… because it is a really lovely pattern…
yarn: Regia Sock yarn(4ply)
The small thing I lost is my Cria cardigan…I put it to one side on Saturday to photograph so that I could post about it on Monday but the safe place turned out to be far too safe and I now can’t find it…hoping it hasn’t accidentally gone through the washing machine…if it has then the big thing I’ve lost means that it will not be quickly replaced…
The big lost thing is my knitting mojo. I’ve not knitted a thing since the 28th January, actually that’s not true I did frog and reknit some cuffs but that’s it. There’s hardly anything that needs finishing and I just can’t find the enthusiasm to start anything…
…hoping that these losses are temporary…
The found are not really found, but they make me happy. I came back from work yesterday to find 3 patterns from Sewaholic - I went on a small shopping spree the other week to cheer myself up after such a horrible February – spurred on by Tasia’s birthday discount. Today, waiting for me was Cake pattern’s Pavlova…oh and the sun was found by all..at last !
The sudden influx of patterns to this house has started to get me a bit jittery as last year I purchased 4 patterns from Colette and as yet haven’t made a start on any of them, and that’s on top of the Colette sewing handbook and Gerties book…I don’t know if it is a streak of puritanism or a streak of miserliness but I feel guilty about spending money on things if they don’t then get used…or possibly it’s just I fear clutter which is why I don’t really want to build up too big a stash of yarn, fabric or patterns.
ve never bothered doing giveaways on here as there isn’t much blog traffic but I am vaguely thinking of possibly the occasional giveaway of things surplus to requirement, that someone else can find a better home for…
Possibly first to go will be kids casual pattern Style 2845 which is for tracksuit tops and bottoms for boys age 2-7. I think it is all there and all the sizes still intact, I’ve not investigated in full, possibly inherited it from Husband’s ex-wife…It’s surplus to requirement as I have a Burda pattern in slightly larger sizes for the same sort of thing…
Spider’s school, along with many others, celebrates World Book Day by letting the children dress up as characters from fiction. Most schools celebrate it on the 5th March but this year Spider’s school had an actual author coming in on the 28th so brought their world book day celebration forward a few days.
Last Saturday I had the following conversation
Me “so who do you want to dress up as for world book day ?”
Me “er…why ?”
Spider “Because then I can take …(insert long list of assorted guns and records) and a Victorian cosh to school”
Butler for those who haven’t come across him is the bodyguard in the Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer. Butler is Eurasian. Spider is not. Butler is tall, very tall. Spider is 1.25 m. Butler is approximately as wide across the shoulder as he is tall. If Spider turns sideways he pretty much disappears…oh and according to Artemis Fowl “The Arctic Incident” Butler has a shaved head…I used the clippers on Spider once when he was 18 months old and swore never again, my boy looks better with hair !
Apart from the above mentioned difficulties, it is actually pretty easy to dress Spider as Butler…OK so it is unlikely that anyone is going to recognise that Spider and Butler are one and the same for the purposes of world book day and will simply assume that Spider is going to a funeral !
Butler wears a suit (a designer suit as he’s a very well paid bodyguard). No problem. School trousers (black)?check. White button up school shirt ? check (thank you sainsbury’s ). Black Tie ? Check (thank you Husband). Armani Black button up suit jacket ?…hold that thought…
At the time of our conversation I was slowly cutting out and sewing up the Easy Linen Shirt from Sewing for Boys… I was unenthusiastic and had misgivings. Not with the pattern you understand, the problem was Spider. The ELS is, to be frank, a smock and at almost 8, Spider is beginning to have his own ideas about clothing and at 8 I guess you have to start moving away from the cute stuff you can get away putting smaller children in…at least with boys in any event.
I just couldn’t for the life of me come up with any plan for the ELS that I thought Spider would go for, apart from a light cotton denim, or what I eventually went for which was a plain black cotton with a contrasting collar, jazzed up a bit by a ribbon around the bottom and maybe some iron on patches…
The more I sewed though the more unsure I became and I gave up having completed pretty much all of it apart from the collar and one side seam.
So where were we ? Ah yes, a designer suit jacket in black…”Mum !!!!”
Spider is fortunate to have an A 1 Grandma. She took the Easy Linen Shirt, finished the side seam, unpicked my front centre seam, drafted her own suit collar, recut the neck and attached the new collar, added button holes and some large black buttons…Spider also has a star of a Granddad who donated the buttons off his suit (I promise to sew them back on Dad)…
Oh and Mum even made a soft Victorian cosh…
Pattern: Easy Linen Shirt from sewing for boys
Material: 100% Black Cotton from Royal Fabrics in Leamington Spa
Thread: Coats Duet in a dark charcoal
New: Working in collaboration !!!
I am now at the start of my 5th week of being ill and the house is beginning to suffer. I have always said that I don’t mind untidiness but I hate dirt, and this house is beginning to look very dirty indeed…after all I have an almost 8 year old boy and 3 very fluffy cats dirt monsters all 4 of them.
The male side of this household isn’t quite as concerned by the fact the house isn’t clean, their minds inhabit higher planes where Lego and motor sport reign.
I can only manage a little, the occasional toilet clean, wiping a surface in the kitchen, before I need to sit down and rest – I tried vacuuming the floor (brushing it first to collect cat hair) and washing the tiles downstairs…motivated mainly by a desire to cut out a skirt admittedly… 30 minutes cleaning led to 4 hours in bed and the rest of that saturday evening on the sofa…
I am feeling swamped by dirt dust, clutter and unfinished things.
The good news however is that I am now able to sew and knit again so in my own small way I am trying to get the house organised. I am going to tackle the WIP and the UFO’s. Once again I am restricting myself to finishing 2 or 3 things before I can start something new. I say 3 things as some of them really are quite small, as small as sewing on a button in fact !
Yesterday I sorted out Cria’s buttonhole issue (buttons too small for buttonholes…note there are 21 of them !)…pictures of Cria coming soon I promise, after all it’s been finished since April last year…I’ve also reknitted the cuffs on my hot pink Cowl top (not yet blogged), been a bit obsessive over those sleeves as this is the second time I’ve reknit the cuffs.
Next up buttons on a par of small baby shoes…I’m also trying to finish a skirt off and a top I’m making for Spider..only I’m not sure if these count as UFO’s as they’ve both been cut out since the new year…I guess they are WIPs, as my definition of a UFO is something that was started over a year ago…
These baby steps to clearing the clutter makes me feel a little better…and this morning I need some sort of boost as my chest is full of phlegm yet agan…and the new antibiotics the GP gave me to try to sort out the ear infection (which is not improving) leave a permanent strange taste in my mind.
Anyway, sorry for whinging, but I needed to get this off my chest (unlike the phlegm which I can’t shift)…and besides it’s my blog !
Sometime ago I got a text from a friend with a photo attached. The text said “Do you think you would be able to recreate this for Cookie”. Attached to it was a photograph of a knitted and smiling octopus…
Of course being an everloving Godmother I texted back “by when ?” instead of what deep deep in my heart I was thinking which was “NO !!!!”
Now it’s not the knitting I have a problem with but the making up…You see even a simple toy has at least 3 seams. Something like an Octopus has hundreds (remember, at least 8 legs plus a body…and then you have to sew a face on to it) and it really really breaks my heart to see a knitted toy in a charity shop being sold for a couple of £s…no one really appreciates the amount of time it takes to do the knitting or the hours it takes to sew the thing up and then hide all the ends…knitted toys really are a labour of love.
Anyway so there I was with a promise to find the pattern for the Octopus or try to reverse engineer it in time for Cookie’s birthday and if possible could it be pink and navy.
Ravelry informed me that the Octopus in question was based on a Jean Greenhowe from her Toy Collection book…this took some tracking down and it was looking like it would cost me £5 for the pattern plus postage (this is the cost before buying the wool) when I had a bit of luck and Jacksons in Reading sold me their shop copy.
So a few (quite a few) hours later after some busy knitting with pink and navy wool I had a pile of bits…2 months after I finished knitting I finally forced myself into turning these bits into a sewn up and stuffed toy
Pattern: octopus from Jean Greenhowe’s toy collection
Yarn: patons diploma gold in cerise and navy mainly
So I delivered the Octopus to Cookie for her birthday together with a gift card for Claires Accessories and you know what ? In the 4 months since I’d received the text she’d moved on…she was now into Owls…!
So this is why I don’t make toys for people and I don’t buy birthday presents in advance for children…because their interests are usually very short lived…!
which is now performing an essential function in my daily wardrobe…it hides the cotton wool sticking out of my left ear…
I still have half the ball of yarn left so I am undecided as to keep the hat or to knit something else with the yarn, which may involve unravelling the hat to finish the other thing off…I haven’t sewn my ends in just in case… this hat will be quick enough to make again…and to be honest I’d rather have something that doesn’t remind me of these last few weeks.
In other news the skirt is slowly heading towards the cutting table…this evening before collapsing on the sofa I managed to measure me, measure the traced skirt and make the amendments that appeared necessary…mainly cutting 3 inches out of the length, I’m a short a*se being only 5ft 6 inches…my body is long but my legs are in the petite category (length wise you understand, width wise I’m larger than average !).
Tomorrow I’m on a training day in Birmingham, so who knows, maybe if the course finishes at a reasonable time I might commit “cutting out”… Don’t watch this space….and please, please, don’t hold your breath !
A sensible person would sort out some yarn, needles and a pattern for the train wouldn’t they ?
At the beginning of the year Karen at Did you make that ? invited people to make a “sewlution” of what they wanted to achieve in the year. She’s put all the “sewlutions” in a jar and periodically will check up on how people are getting on with their aim for the year.
I made a sewlution. It appears quite a modest one as I want to sew a skirt which fits where it should and skims over where it doesn’t need to fit…I am looking for the holy grail of skirts, the skirt of perfect fit. Quite an easy goal eh ? Just sew one skirt the whole year…
The small print though shows that I’m aiming for a little bit more. Actually I am aiming to sew 36 skirts. A new pattern every month and once the first fit of the pattern has been achieved, to follow my Mum’s advice which is that if you’ve taken the trouble to make sure your pattern fits you then make the most of your time and sew the pattern at least twice more.
I figure that, starting as I am from an empty wardrobe (OK 5 skirts) if I manage to make another 36 of which 50% are a reasonable fit then that should at least give me a decent selection of bottoms to go with all the T-shirt tops and cater for both work and home wear.
Only, I haven’t exactly got off to a good start. Most of January was taken up with trying to get the Tirimisu bodice to fit…and then I took an ego boost break and made a pair of sheep pyjamas just to remind myself I could sew….and then…I came down with the flu.
The PJ’s were called into action towards the end of my enforced bed rest as I started to run out of nightwear…I still have the seams to finish off, need to secure the elastic and to do the hems.
Flu has stolen 14 days of my life. I’m still not well but I’m capable of reading emails…fortunately it snowed here in Warwickshire overnight so I was able to work from home today rather than dealing with travelling to Reading whilst recuperating from flu.
So here we are, half way through February and I am already 3 skirts down… I’ve spent a large part of the last 14 days…well the bits I was conscious for (I have slept A LOT !) dreaming of tracing off a sweatshirt skirt from the Burda January 2013 issue. You’ll note I’ve only been dreaming of tracing the pattern off, it may be some time before I have the energy to make the skirt as well !
With a bit of luck I may manage 1 skirt by the end of February…course if it turns out to be “the skirt” then I can stop there, I’ll have achieved my goal…won’t have made much of an impact on the wardrobe crisis though !
I have the flu. The problem with the flu is that it means different things to different people. Certainly Husband originally thought I was after a couple of duvet days and avoiding the long commute south. By the Wednesday however when my temperature shot though the roof and my mind was clearly the otherside of La La land he quickly changed his mind…I think in view of the fact that he’s been off with the flu since this Monday and discovered that any attempt to move involves Olympic efforts that he now has a different definition of what the flu means
So I had the flu, starting on the Friday after work, lasting all weekend and supposedly peaking on Wednesday. I was not capable of anything, couldn’t read, couldn’t knit or sew, didn’t have the attention span to watch television. On Thursday I still felt rough but thought things were improving by Saturday I was actually thinking that I might be able to make a useful contribution to family life by sorting out the playmobile that I’m hoping to sell and get some money to go towards our longed for Italian holiday… but whilst sitting on the sofa drinking the first tea of the day I had an excruciating pain in my ear and then pretty much it exploded ! My ear started leaking fluid and kept on doing so. On Sunday whilst the family slept (5am) I drove myself to the A&E at Warwick where a nice man explained that the infection of the flu had led to a secondary infection in my eustachian tubes and that they had blocked, fluid then had nowhere to go and had burst through my ear. I left with a dose of very strong painkillers and some antibiotics for the secondary infection.
On the Monday I took myself along to my GP who kindly signed me off until the following Monday explaining that drip from the ear wouldn’t resolve itself until the first infection had gone. It is now Wednesday and things are just continuing, I still can’t read knit or sew, typing this entry is an effort but at least I can now concentrate on TV so I am not too bored. My nose is still full of snot and the first infection doesn’t seem to want to let go.
You may be wondering what about Spider. Where is he all this ? Well the first week was OK because Husband was upright and mobile and able to deliver Spider to his grandparents, ensure he had clean uniform and lunch. But with husband taking to his bed it became apparent that we needed major help. Fortunately my lovely Mum and Dad who have been pillars of strength through all this have invited him over for a week long Sleepover…to be honest I don’t think he is missing us…
My time on the sofa (during the day we can’t both use the bed upstairs to be ill in) has been made more comfortable however by some cushions I made before Christmas using this tutorial from Jo over at Today We Made
as you see they go quite well with the Gnome on the Stump cushion that Mrs Lacer made for me.
So there you have it, life at Currantbun towers is not particularly fun at the moment but is at least bearable…and we are just waiting for a recovery.
Since this jumper has actually been worn and seems to be loved by its owner it seemed appropriate to post it today…and it is colourful
whereas Cria, the February sweater is a) grey and b) hard to photograph on grey winter days… So…here is Spider and his sweater…
Pattern: Can’t remember, think it’s just a Sirdar pattern for a boys jumper
Yarn:James C Marble, Chunky, a present from Mum who started knitting a jumper with it but stopped when her hands started hurting
Unfortunately after the day out in the snow (Friday), Spider came down with a cold and spent the next 2 days feeling sorry for himself on the sofa and sharing all his germs with me…so I’ve been feeling sorry for myself too.
Tiramisu is on hold (on the naughty step)…I just can’t get the front bodice right oh and I’ve run out of the blue thread I was using…and I’m now too scared to go to Fabricland in case I buy more material…it was payday on Friday and I have already sewn the sheep fabric up into a pair of PJ’s…
On the sewing table is a black shirt for Spider (from the Sewing for Boys book) but I may have run out of black thread too…the safest course of action this week may be to knit something but I seem to have lost the urge :-(
It’s not jersey, it’s me. See I CAN sew jersey
Admittedly I have no idea if the sizing is right on this because I have no intention of ever finishing it off and putting a real baby in it but it did at least vaguely resemble the picture in Sewing for Boys of the “R is for Romper” and the seams all matched up and looked reasonably neat so it’s not the pattern that’s gone wrong for me…
Suspect it is user error on Tiramisu…suspect I should have cut out the 30 inch rather than the 35…next time I shall measure my back and compare it with the pattern piece (which I should have done from the start, but it’s not easy measuring your own back !)
Anyway, here’s something else I got right…and still haven’t put the snaps on (because Spider says he thinks the pockets at the side are silly and doesn’t seem to like the shirt)
So you remember I said last week that I cut Tiramisu out when I was a little bit distracted…and you remember I then checked I’d cut it out correctly but that I was suffering a bit at the time from lack of sleep ?
Well, guess what ? Yep I came unstuck whilst sewing it up…but then that’s why you do muslins.
I spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday doing a few minutes here, a few minutes there and had managed to chalk up successful shoulder seams, binding that looked pretty good, centre front and back seams in the skirt and was then having a few problems with the gathers and attaching the midriff. I then left it overnight and tackled the gathers and the midriff on Tuesday I think it was. Pushed through that, ticked it off, then to baste the side seams and try it on…over the shoulders and head, pull it down and…OH !!!
I was swimming in it. That bodice was HUGE…I sat looking at it for several days and have just taken the seam ripper too it. Only to the midriff bit though, haven’t touched my shoulder seams as they are far too good (well I think so).
Anyway, to take things forward I have altered my traced pattern to follow a different cup size…I may have gone down a bit too far, but what the hell there is a lot of stretch in the jersey. I placed it over my sewn bodice and cut it down to size.
I’m now sitting here watching the snow, listening to some Gershwin, drinking coffee and enjoying the wood burning stove. What’s that you say, I’m procrastinating ? No, just thinking my way through the next steps…after all no point rushing this…I won’t be finishing it this weekend as I’m about to run out of thread and I doubt I’m leaving the house this weekend as only the road in and out of this village gets gritted…
In the meantime I think a nice fleecy pair of sheep covered PJ’s is calling me !
“Nice work if you can get it…and you can get it if you try…”
Edited: Just tried it on after sewing the new size…it is still far too big… :-( am going to seek assistance later this evening from a man and a shed load of pins…
You remember I said that I was going to sew and knit from what was already in the house ?
Well, less than 10 days into the new year and I blew it.
I went to Fabricland in Reading to buy some snaps and some thread…and heard the sheep bleating to me, “take me home, take me home”…
I promise on the life of my 3 cats, that I will not buy any more until I have managed to turn the sheep into a pair of warm and fleecy PJ bottoms…which is very probably going to happen in the next 10 days because
a) it’s cold
b) I own a pattern for PJ’s
c) I’ve made them before
and the unofficial d) Tiramisu and I have” issues”.
It’s ok, we are working through them, I don’t think there will be a permanent separation it’s just, it’s probably fair to say that the 3 way triangle that is myself, Gary (the sewing machine) and Tiramisu are just not cohabiting happily…
SO here I am happily settling in this year to sewing clothes for me, I can do this, there is nothing to fear, I know I can sew but…
There is too much damn choice !!! I am resolute that I will sew Tiramisu…and then I will make 2 more. I have my road map. I know where I am going and then… ooh, look at that interesting side road, I wonder where it goes…yes, I start wondering off down other possibilities and there are so so sew many possibilities littering my path at the moment.
It wasn’t enough that I have the Colette sewing book from last year and was lucky enough to get Gertie’s book for Christmas, not to mention a small collection of Colette patterns plus my charity shop finds (only 5 thank god)…but I’m also slowly working my way through Sewing for Boys and Vintage Style for Kids as my self imposed sewing school…then…I discover that the world has invented (quite some time ago admittedly) magazines with patterns in them….this is so not fair !
Fortunately there was only 1 pattern in it that I might make, but already I’m trying to leap in and make it before I’ve even finished my Tiramisu…I think possibly I need to get a firm grip on myself and put all these temptations out of my head before things get out of hand, there is a strong risk of me doing nothing because I’m trying to do everything…
Well at least there’s knitting, knitting is organised, knitting is slow and steady I know that I don’t have to do everything at once right ? Nope, I appear to have Startitis and have ended up casting on about 5 new things…but that’s not because I want to knit them all right away but more to do with the fact that nothing is catching my interest….
But to be a girl with so many WIPs ? Well I know that this way madness lies…give it a month and I will be complaining about being swamped by things to do…
I am my own worst enemy…I also have a cold and at present am doing nothing…meantime the year is passing me by !
Despite the fact that Henry has 17 pieces and comes under the technical ability category of “seriously bloody hard” and involved a lot of new techniques and far far too much sewing of curves and stretching bits out and holding one piece away from the in order to avoid accidently sewing it into the seam currently being sewn…I LOVE HENRY…
He is far from perfect, looking at him critically I can see all the mistakes I’ve made and all the accidental gathers where bits weren’t stretched out enough, but he represents a definite milestone for me – if I made him again and slowed things down a bit, because I was admittedly rushing things at the end because I’d had enough, then I think you might be hard pressed to recognise this as a beginners article.
That said, I have no intention of making him again and I’m not going to correct his faults, because Spider is coming up on 8 years old and really is not going to have much wear out of him – there are also lots of other shirts in the books I’m working through (and I might remember to lengthen these.
Do you want to see him ? Well ok…this is MY Henry…
I will try and provide an “action shot” once I’ve put the snaps on…but it is often hard to get Spider to stand still long enough to be photographed.
He would I think look stunning if made with black cotton and flames instead of the dots, but to be honest I’m more interested in sewing for me this year than for other people and I’m just doing the children’s clothes as “learning curve stuff”
Anyway, here are the details
Pattern: The Henry Shirt from Sewing for Boys
Material: Black 150cm width cotton from Royal Fabrics in Leamington Spa, 115cm width multi coloured dots from the same place
Thread: Black gutterman
New: Where do I start ? Well I’ve done yokes before but this was my first yoke/sleeve combi. First time I’ve made something so broken down into segments, it will be my first time putting snaps on a garment, not yet done this as need to find my eyelet tool, there is also a reversed pleat and although I did one of these in my Easy as Pie bags from the end of 2011 I’ve never done one on a shirt before or attached to a yoke, definitely my first collar, possibly my first time topstitching…both the topstitching and edgestitching in this really make a difference to the finishing of the garment.
I am very happy with Henry and consider him a good start to the New Year and has put me in a good place psychologically for finally tackling some clothes for me.
But, before I launch full pelt into clothes for full-sized people I plan another pattern from the Sewing for Boys book as an introduction to sewing knit/jersey fabrics…I have no intention of this one ever being worn by anyone (it’s the first size of the R is for Romper pattern).
I love the start of a new project, the anticipation, the wide range of new possibilities. At the start of a new project you feel like a fairy princess, nothing is impossible, everything you touch turns to gold, it will look fabulous, you will look fabulous, you will make lots of versions of it, as many as there are different bits of material in the world…nothing has gone wrong yet, you are invincible.
I never quite fell the same way with knitting as I know that I can rip it back and start again…as a result I am never quite as disappointed at the end of a knitting project about the things I didn’t get right, as I am about a sewing project.
Anyway, the other night (7th January) there I was noodling about on the internet when I suddenly realised that Day 1 of the Tiramisu sew a long had been posted. Of course it was already the 8th in Australia..turns out the post went live on the stroke of midnight (which I think may be about 2pm for us)
I read through the post and I took note of Steph C’s helpful suggestions about gathering your tools together in a box…and I thought about getting off my bottom, but being lazy I declined…pretty much because I have lost my seam ripper, although why this should stop me putting the rest of the things in a box I have no idea!
She concludes the post by dealing with tracing the pattern…tracing the pattern? Hmmm, wait a moment, it’s 9.30pm, Spider is in bed, Husband is in the kitchen watching something about racing and salt plains in the US…oooh, and look there is a big empty living room floor…and it’s clean. I could cheat here and start the sew a long a day early.
So I grabbed the pattern and a pencil, found the tracing paper and finally cracked that baby open….and then…
Well let’s just say the fates conspired against me, first it was Spider awake and with a tummy ache, whilst in the bathroom looking for something to alleviate his pain I spotted a cat…with a big gash in his back (cat fight…he is now under observation to see if it requires a vet)…after dealing with these things I went back to the living room to find another cat, asleep on the pattern. Oy, that’s my pattern you rotter, I paid for that (there was another cat last night who left wet paw prints over the tissue!).
So that was D day -1 a bit of a wash out.
Official Day 1 aka cheats Day 2 was cutting…sensibly I resorted to just checking the pattern to see if I’d correctly traced it (and retracing a binding I’d manage to loose already in 24 hours – should have put it in a box I guess) and held back on the scissors, because quite frankly I was on planet Janet (Spider woke several times during the night and I’m never good when I’ve had a disturbed night)…so despite trying to cheat I am now back on official UK time for the sew a long.
No doubt some readers would query how, when I received the pattern just before Christmas, I have managed to resist cracking the pattern open before, when out in blog land there are people who have already made at least 4 !
Well, the answer is this…I hate tissue paper patterns…or more correctly I fear them.
You see tissue patterns are so light and delicate, I thing of beauty perhaps? They make me feel everso clumsy, a klutz, an awkward galumphing oaf in fact. They make me feel inadequate and useless and that I am about to mess things up forever
They are so flimsy and fine that I feel like I will break them…also I find the big patterns unwieldy…it is not easy to find somewhere to lay them flat so that I can perhaps break them down into more manageable bits (and don’t get me started on folding to put back in envelope)
Never was there a girl more suited to digital download…I don’t mind all the sticking and piecing together I can deal with that because they are printed on thicker less delicate paper.
Besides, you don’t get issues about how to store neatly with digital patterns…just with losing the lot when your PC collapses and you’ve forgotten to backup to the external drive…!
I haven’t taken the Seamless Pledge. I haven’t needed to because I have been living it for the last 4 years. I don’t think it was ever a conscious decision its just that whilst we were dragging ourselves out of debt (from the rebuild, the redundancy, the neighbour dispute and having to replace cars) I could never justify spending money on myself…apart from the occasional pair of shoes, tights or pants…oh and 5 bras when I was remeasured.
That is not to say that there haven’t been some additions to the wardrobe…mainly these have been things picked up in charity shops, cast off from friends and the occasional gift of t-shirt style tops from my Mum when she has become exasperated over her daughter going to work looking like a bag lady…oh and self knitted jumpers.
Periodically over the last 4 years I’ve had rushes of blood to the head where I’ve purged the wardrobe of things that don’t fit or I’ve decided don’t suit me either in style or colour…but these purges tend to be a lot bigger and more dramatic than the slow incremental gains and have usually led to both Husband and my Mum screaming at me “for god sake buy some clothes”.
(I hate buying clothes…as a teenage girl from the late 80′s I was permanently scarred by the fashion back then for communal changing rooms – urgh !)
So when today I decided to do a wardrobe audit (prompted by this post…and my Mum’s recent photograph on Facebook showing her empty wardrobe after removing everything that no longer fitted her following a successful year of weight lost) it should have come as no surprise to discover that I pretty much, have no clothes…and what I do have is mainly very very tired, has seen better days, and frankly I’m bored with.
I am well stocked for jumpers and cardigans after the 12 in 12 challenge. I own 4 pairs of trousers, 2 of which are black, 9 skirts, 3 suit jackets (without the rest of the suit), 5 dresses (4 of which are definitely party wear), and a variety of tops, mainly of the t-shirt style variety (all well washed)…about 52 items all told, not including underwear, accessories or shoes (which are also pretty minimal)…
So this leaves me in a bit of a quandary.
This year for us is all about “not buying”. We are planning on having our long planned Naples or Rome trip this year, but only if we can save up enough money from getting rid of the stuff we don’t need and not wasting money on things that are not essential (we also need to find the money to replace the car…again!). We are also getting rid of clutter, this house was designed to fit this family but for some reason it’s just not working, we are constantly shifting piles of junk from one part of the house to another…
But… I am about to hit a very serious clothing crisis as what is left in the wardrobe is about to fall apart…and work wise I possibly might not look as professional as a lawyer should…
What’s a girl to do ?
I can’t sew tonight…the Christmas tree is on the box I keep my material on…and it’s too heavy to move
I can’t sew tonight…I need to trace the pattern off and there’s not a clear space in the house…
I can’t sew tonight…the sewing machine is still in the bathroom…where we had to move it as we had so many people round for Christmas dinner we had to move it out of the dinning room…
I can’t sew tonight…there’s no where to cut out unless I clean the kitchen floor first…
I can’t sew tonight…as I have to take fresh measurements first…and psychologically I won’t be up to facing the tape measure until the end of the month…
I can’t sew tonight…my fabric needs to be pre-washed first…
I can’t sew tonight…it’s my turn to cook dinner…
Yes I know, all just procrastination…not one of these is a genuine obstacle…and if I tackled at least one of them a night by the end of the week I’d be sewing…good thing I’m starting the Tirimisu Sew a long on monday then…
(ps. I pre-washed some fabric last night I’d taken out before the tree went up, and I’ve got another small piece of jersey washing over night, I traced a pattern off last night for a baby sleep suit as a tester for knitting jersey/knits…I also cooked dinner whilst Husband took the tree down and moved the sewing machine back into the dinning room… we have friends round at the weekend so the floor will be clean by then…so really there’s only 1 thing stopping me…OK there’s 2 as I need to buy ballpoint sewing machine needles).
One of my worst habits is putting things off…often this is due to fear, fear of screwing something up, fear of making a mess of things and of ruining the materials…I am very good at finding reasons not to do things, telling myself “oh I can’t do that until I’ve done this”.
Sometimes though you just have to seize your fear and go for it…like the time I kept putting off decorating a 3 bedroomed house because I was scared of messing up wallpapering…I finally had to accept that no one was going to appear magically and do it for me (although my parents did wallpaper a room for me as a surprise for me when I was on holiday for which I was very very grateful) so I bought some plain lining paper and took the plunge.
I have this with sewing, except I am not scared of sewing, I enjoy sewing. What I am scared of is spending time on making something only for it to look terrible when I put it on…you see, since Spider was born I have been suffering from a “jelly belly”, my tummy muscle are completely shot and a liking for Gin (with full fat tonic) and red wine is not improving things much…I’m also scared of other people making things for me, my Mum has been waiting for me to trace off pattern for her so that she can make me a skirt…she’s had the material waiting and ready for 10 months now…
Anyway, I can’t keep avoiding the issue, I have to jump into the abyss (because I have virtually no clothes, and the few that are in my wardrobe have been worn to death) …there must be a skirt out there that will look good, that doesn’t draw attention to the mummy tummy…so what I would like to achieve at some point over the year is the Perfect Skirt…
Spider asked me earlier “what’s your revolution ?” “No more housework, ever !” I replied. “No” said my son “it has to be something that makes you better”
Well, no more housework would certainly make me feel better but I guess I should choose something a bit more virtuous.
OK then, as of lunchtime tomorrow the whole family is on a diet, as in eating healthily and better rather than bread and water and no fun (see Appetite for cake for details later), there will be more outdoors…there will be gardening…there may be home grown vegetables.
Beyond that I don’t want to go. As I mentioned the other day the 12 in 12 challenge stopped being fun about half way through…I don’t like such strict rules.
I will try to knit from what’s upstairs under the bed as I’m trying not to spend money this year. Likewise sewing will mainly happen from the material stashed in the big Chinese box, which currently has the Christmas tree on top of it…
I am going to sew clothes this year…mainly for me…it may involve doing the same pattern several times (Do one thing well rather than learning lots of new things)…I will keep on with Sewing for Boys and Vintage Style for Kids but try to slow it down…I’ve just finished sewing a fantastic shirt pattern but got bored towards the end (there were 17 pieces, can you believe that 17 separate bits to sew together !) and rushed it which means that the collar and button bands are rubbish but the rest is “pretty awesome..for me”
I have lots to blog about in the new year, once I get some pictures taken as despite this blog being quiet for most of the year I have actually been quiet because I’ve been busy making things…there is also a blog makeover going on here (slowly) and over at “Appetite for Cake”
AND…I need to work on the “Mum” side of things…the other day Spider cast doubt on whether we could have a good time together as “you are a bit too fabricky”… and then 2 days later he told me I had to make a hat for his teacher to stop her being cold…I possibly will never get the “Mum” thing right…but then hopefully I have time to work on it…
I have to report that I have failed in my 12 in 12 challenge, and I’m not sad about it. In total I managed 11.5 jumpers/cardigans of which 10.5 were for me. But at the end of the year there are only 9 finished objects or at least 9 finished objects still standing.
Over the last year I have managed to knit things from stash – I can give that a big tick as I’ve had very few yarn purchases during the year and the 2 main ones were absolute bargains from the Ally Pally Show.
I have also knitted things in colours that suit my colouring…but that was down to more careful yarn buying since may 2010.
My third criteria was to try and choose things that suit my figure, so close fitting/tailored rather than big baggy jumpers, 4ply rather than chunky (chunky yarn REALLY draws attention to the larger parts of ones figure !) and to knit a size that fits, altering the pattern to improve the fit.
I’ve also been altering them after wearing to make them fit better…and taking time over choosing buttons.
I will post individually about each top but the lighting hasn’t been good here for photographs for several days now – great weather for ducks tho’ !
Apart from 5 of the 12 patterns being by Ysolda Teague there doesn’t seem to be any sort of theme running through these tops which I put down to the fact I was restricted to finding patterns that I liked that suited the yarn I had in.
To be honest, although I have at least 5 tops here that I love, I can’t say that I have enjoyed this year. I don’t like knitting to deadlines and I like to knit the large things in between the small things… I probably could have managed all 12 tops if I hadn’t been led astray on at least 2 occasions by hats !
So what’s the plan for next year ? Not sure at the moment. Knit Skelf in the correct size I guess and then take stock of what I’ve got in stash. I suspect knitting is going to take a back seat to a few other things such as finally finishing the house off and sorting the garden out…oh and finally tackling some me sized sewing.
(will put the links to the patterns in when I finally post about them)
From time to time I have read blog postings by knitters detailing problems with moths and steps taken to protect their knitted creations from the ravages of these greedy little insects and I’ve laughed and thought “that’s a bit over the top surely”.
This morning however as I crossed the dining room I noticed a recently (March) completed jumper hanging to dry. This is a particularly nice hot pink creation which when I wear it makes me feel better about myself…horror, I noticed a hole and on closer inspection can only conclude that it must be moths
And then as I stood there watching my gorgeous jumper start to unravel I started to think about all the things I still have to do in the days between now and Christmas….and I felt myself slowly unravelling too…
This is what happens when you have had a week of stress plus a late night at the cinema watching the Hobbit, small things get blown out of proportion. I know perfectly well that all I need to do is spend 10 minutes with a needle and do a bit of grafting, that’s the rational part of me, but unfortunately I don’t think the rational part of me is in control.
Have booked a days leave. To sleep and to write a plan and some lists and tick things off down to a manageable level… and at some point I will think carefully about what precautions to take against moths.
As the new year approaches I feel a need for order. I need organisation, clear floors, tidy cupboards…I need to finish things that are started. I need to draw a line under the year…
…oh and I need my dining room table back as we have people coming for christmas dinner…
Partly inspired by the CPR I have been going through the WIPs pile.
Last weekend I had a sort out…I learned to let go and accept that some things, even when finished would never be worn: I frogged 2 sweaters.
I also managed to sew a grosgrain ribbon on a button band and sew on 18 buttons, that would have been a finished cardigan to write about this week, but I’d lost 2 buttons and by the time I’d sewn them on this weekend I had lost the light…
Other hilights of this weekend include frogging back and reknitting a cuff, dying a cardigan…now waiting for 2 of the right buttons to be found and sewn on (yes, another cardigan with 20 sodding buttons)…I also seamed another jumper and bunged it in the wash.
Plus sewing together 3 bookmarks (knitted bookmarks)
No sewing this weekend as I haven’t moved the sewing machine out of the bathroom yet back to the dining room…and a sudden decision to decorate the lobby means the dining room is now full of coats…but to be honest the only outstanding sewing WIP is the corset (from august 2011 so now an official UFO).
All the other sewing is waiting to be cut out before they can be started…so not even WIPs yet…
You know that jittery nervous feeling that you get in your stomach when something is going wrong and it’s your fault/responsibility to sort it out ? Well at 8.30 this morning it hit me big time. We were about to leave for saturday morning swimming lessons when I noticed that my tax disc was out of date…how could this be ? I paid on line 3 weeks ago and the disc hadn’t come through the post and I hadn’t noticed.
Well there’s little can do about it at 8.30am on a saturday morning. So I stuck the car on the garden (off the road) and put Spider in the other car and headed off to the swimming pool.
If this was fiction then I’d come home to find the postman had been and that my disc had turned up. But this isn’t fiction and the disc wasn’t there but the postman did manage to take away my butterflies as he’d delivered this:
The lady on the front is called “Penelope” and I think it’s only right that the first dress I make an attempt at making is this fabulous dress from Cake Patterns…if you’re reading this Mum…it’s designed for jersey and knit fabrics…eek!
The reason I want to make this dress, despite the fear factor induced by the idea of sewing a knit fabric (knit fabric/jersey is the only fabric that has ever made my Mum throw in the towel over a project) is because Steph, the lovely lady at 3 hours past who is responsible for designing this pattern held a “Name the Lady” contest and invited people to name the mysterious lady on the front of the Tiramisu pattern…and although I didn’t suggest the name I did suggest the back story.
The Penelope behind this blog however was named after a feisty red head in a book called “Moon in Scorpio” (“traitor’s moon” in the US apparently) by Robert Neil.
Unfortunately however I have no knit fabric in the house and a basket of things to finish off before the new year so this will have to wait…besides I need to either clean the kitchen floor or clear the dining room table before I can trace the pattern off.
This is not very good, in fact neither of them are but Spider won’t let me take them back to rectify my mistakes…he likes them as they are. Now this isn’t down to me being an amazing seamstress or anything like that (shame !) but simply because…they’re fleecy. Yes my son is a fleece monster. It’s my fault. When he was born I had a red fleece dressing gown and somehow he has become addicted…especially to the red stuff.
Anyway, back to the garment. Pauli’s sweater is a v neck pullover with a bound collar and as drafted has a gathered waist with a corded belt. Recommended fabrics include sweatshirt, jersey, knits and fleece…easy choice for the Mum of a fleece monster, besides fleeces hides errors quite well.
I made it twice. The second one was made with specially chosen camouflage fleece (£8per m from Royal Fabrics) but before I had cut it out I received an emergency request for a “Dead Soul” costume for a greek play at school…it just needed to be a black tunic. So as I had already traced off the pattern I splashed out another £3.50 for a metre of black fleece from Fabricland.
Pattern: Pauli’s sweater from Sewing for boys
Material: Fleece, less than a metre (150cm wide)
New: Binding a v-neck…I think I need more practice on this one as I didn’t manage to get it right on either of them
Mods: I didn’t bother with creating the ties at the bottom, this lengthened it a bit but as Spider is pushing 8 rather than 7 (the largest size) I probably should have added more length. He didn’t need a gathered in waist although in a younger child I can see it would have its uses.
Pattern seems well thought out. Instructions clear. No errors in the pattern. All mistakes were of my own making !
I liked this but due to the sizing I won’t be making more…also he wants a hoodie and I already have 2 small boy hoodie patterns in my collection which I have been promising to make for 2.5 years
A rare picture of me
When it comes to Ysolda Teague’s patterns I am, a bit of a fan girl. All her knitwear looks stunning, different and is fun to knit. I love the architectural nature of the construction. HOWEVER, and this is a big however (hence the capitals) I have a sneaking suspicion, no a large suspicion that my body doesn’t love her patterns.
What looks good on Ysolda, does not look good on me as I go in and out a lot more, I look like a dork in rounded necks (which crop up quite often in her patterns, and my cleavage needs v necks)…and, and I can’t believe I am typing this but I may finally have reached the age where I have to confess that somethings are too young for me.
Take Matilda Jane. It has a lot of whimsical features such as the ribbon tie at the back, the leaf like lace pattern for the netband and the picot edging to the hem and sleeve…it is a lovely cardigan, but definitely a bit girly, a bit fairytale, a bit OTT. Well I love the OTT, theatrical nature of it, the fairytale…but I might not be able to pull it off any more…or this could all be in my mind and is all down to being sensible for the last 8 years and dressing in practical clothes that you can wipe down easily when covered with baby sick (OK so that was mainly in the first 2 years, followed by 3 years of dealing with sticky fingers, the last 2.5 years haven’t been too bad)
Now with sewing if you are not sure over fit or style you can make a muslin, a quick and dirty mock up of what you are making. With knitting you don’t get that option because you put as much effort into the practice version as you do the finished object…well at least I can avoid making an expensive mistake even if I end up making a mistake.
Yarn: Patons Smoothie DK in black and teal (100% acrylic)
Needles: Eventually settled on 3.75mm but it should have been 3.5mm
New: Can’t remember…possibly the picot edging.
I started this in January but due to a lot of messing around to get gauge it didn’t get finished until April as I put it down in frustration on the 31st January. I’ve altered this from the pattern a lot as I couldn’t get gauge at 3.75mm, knitted half of it on 3.25mm before deciding it was too small and ripping it all back
Mods: Knitted a smaller size on 3.75mm and relying on the fact acrylic stretches to deal with any residual sizing issues. Decreased more at the waist than the patterns said. Knitted a bigger size for the hips and because I had to lengthen it to deal with a long back this gave me the length to put enough increases in to get the right number of stitches for bigger size
Like: I actually like the picot edging
I like the lace leaf at the neck and the ribbon ties at the back. I love my choice of buttons and the contrast of the 2 colours
Dislikes: The fact that I managed to knit the button hole band longer than the button band and they don’t match up…and it’s not easy to reknit the button band…but mostly I dislike the fact that the ribbon at the back act likes a large arrow pointing out my more than ample posterior !
Reserving judgement until have reknitted the button band…and possibly lost a stone in weight…it felt strange wearing it…I felt oddly feminie for a change…and think I like it !
About a year ago I acquired, in pretty much the same week the Colette Sewing book and Sewing for Boys. The Colette book has been well read whilst I try to pluck up the courage to actually make something for me, but Sewing for Boys kinda got neglected whilst I struggled with Vintage Style for Kids… well, when I finally put VSfk on hold and picked up S4B I kicked myself for not starting it sooner.
It’s a fantastic book. The instructions are clear, the patterns just need tracing off, none of this sticking god knows how many bits of paper together, there don’t seem to be any errors in the patterns and where they are there is a web page with errata.
And if I needed any sort of encouragement, well there is a group sewing themselves through the whole book so last July I joined the party…
Ok, I sort of joined the party…I sort of joined the party by finishing thing weeks after everyone else.
Spider, is at the top end of the age range for this book…and he is starting to be very fussy about what he wears and I knew before I started that I’d have to steer away from cute prints and perhaps mainline on the colour blue. So after much thought I decided that Spiders Treasure pocket pants would be blue with a blue camo print…and if he didn’t like them he could always wear them as PJs…
I need not have worried as it turns out when I finally finished them it was difficult to get him out of them, let alone getting him to keep still long enough to be photographed in them – so here is an action shot for you.
So if Spider loves them so, why you may ask are they the “Trousers of Doom” ? Admittedly they took slightly longer than planned, but that was partly down to my own ineptitude in that I sewed the wrong seams together, then couldn’t find my seam ripper…added to having to bundle everything up each time we need to use the dining room… all that is pretty much par the course for me when it comes to sewing… but no, these trousers exercised a malign influence over Gary the Brother PS-31.
You see the camo fabric is tough, really tough, tough enough to survive non-stop wear by an active 7 year old but also tough enough to almost kill a Brother sewing machine…Gary is not a happy machine at the moment and I’m not sure I can face taking him back to the other Gary to have his insides looking at ( a service is about £60 and Gary is worth about £69 on the secondhand market).
The camo fabric is a very tough thick cotton, a bit like denim aside from the nasty sounds my machine started to make I managed to get through 3 needles. The first was a very narrow miss for both my eyes and Spider’s…he was standing by my side asking a question as the needle went “ping” and part of it shot out of the shaft, grazing my cheek and burying itself somewhere in the kitchen near the bin (still not found it). The second needle wasn’t quite so dramatic, that one just bent and the third is still in the machine but so blunt it won’t even go through tissue paper…lesson learned, next time use a denim needle.
A couple of posts ago I used as a title a phrase Husband often uses to describe what love is…it has been on my mind of late as this is the time of year we celebrate our wedding anniversary.
Normally it involves all 3 of us having a weekend away somewhere…yes Spider comes too, after all he was sort of there at the ceremony so it seems mean to leave him out of the celebration and if it wasn’t for him we would probably never have got around to organising it in the first place, after all we’d been putting off doing anything wedding related for 18 months beforehand…
Anyway, this year we had planned to go and see the Dr Who Experience in Cardiff, but were unable to book a hotel at a price we wanted to pay due to the Rugby internationals…so we stayed here and had a chinese take away !
This does mean that I have a little bit of money to play with…well I did have until I was lead astray by Cake
But to get back to Love. Love is…at least according to Husband…when someone else’s happiness is essential to your own…
and I think he may be right…
This is another offering from Vintage Style for Kids. This pattern has required the most alteration from the printed pattern (basically, throw it away and draft your own !), but was the easiest to make once the patterns was sorted…aside from the pattern the instructions were actually (for once) clear and straight forward.
If you make the pattern for a 7 year old as published then you will end up with a skirt that it 5 metres in circumference at the hem…well I hear the Eternal Magpie with concerns about a 5m hem, so if it is too wide for her it really must be too wide for a 7 year old…all be it one who wears 11 year old clothing.
So I ditched the pattern and drafted my own based on Sew What Skirts tutorial. Essentially you need to decided how big you want the first layer to be and then work out the next layer proportionally to the layer above (based on how much gathering you think you need). Because my 7 year old was bigger than most 7 year olds I also made my layers a little longer than the pattern originally envisaged.
the skirt in my head was made of lightweight denim with a silver ric rack trim…but because I was winging it here I decided to make a muslin using some cotton that had an accident in the wash…only when I brought t out from storage it wasn’t as bad as I remembered it, the daisies were still white rather than the pink thought they had gone.
Not the best of photos I’m afraid but the skirt never came back for a rephoto and surprising though I find it, this skirt is actually one of Flapjack Princess’ favourites… I guess when you make something all you can see is the things you didn’t do right but all other people can see, if you are lucky is “look what so and so made for me, they must like me”…which is true…but lovely though she is I am still too young to have a daughter in law…and I will still be too young when Spider is legally allowed to marry (in about 8 years time I beleive).
Pattern: Dirndl skirt – Vintage Style for kids
material: red and white daisy polycotton – from Fabricland think…. 1.4 metres for £8
Thread and notions:Elastic from stash, cotton from IKEA
New: Nothing really, drafting a skirt from scratch maybe ?
Through a swap some some time ago I scored some Louisa Harding angora…it was pink. A strong sort of pink but not a hot pink… pink crosses the threshold occasionally but has only once ended up as something for me. Usually it becomes something for someone else…
I think we should rewind for a second. Angora…yes Angora, sort as butter and as fluffy as the rabbits it came from… was I going to let the fact that pink is not my colour stand in my way ? (which reminds me I really should talk about having my colours done at some point)…
No of course not… this was pink…and soft and gorgeous…and…only 2 balls…
Fortunately I have a small head…these balls were destined to be a hat. I need to be pink and soft and gorgeous, whats more, I deserve it (yes, really I do, I was a good girl all of 2011) and then…
Well, and then a friend was having a tough time, things were going wrong, her husband lost his job amongst other things…it was November (this is last year I should point out)…it was grey it was wet… and my friend S was stressing about Christmas…and mentioned that she wasn’t bothered about her birthday, it had always been swept up in christmas and it just sort of happened and really no one…well, reading between the lines, no one made a fuss about my friend S, a wonderful wife and mother to 3 children, a lawyer…
Well lawyers are used to the fact no one ever says thank you for us for doing the day job after all “that’s what we pay you for”…except of course our client’s don’t pay us…but I couldn’t have her getting away with letting her birthday be subsumed by christmas could I…and well, she does wear pink and looks good in it…
Pattern Rosebud by Ysolda Teague
Needles: 3.25 i think
Yarn: Louisa harding kimono ? Not sure but it has a high % of angora
New: Nothing really, knit in the round and blocked…
At the start of this year we painted the living room in anticipation of some new sofas. If you asked anyone what colour the room was they immediately said red as the sofas were big and red and dominated the whole room. In fact the walls were blue and cream, not exactly a neutral but it says a lot about how stronger colours can dominate ones perception.
These days what people notice most about the room is the extent of the lego and playmobil..and possibly the fact that we never actually finished decorating – the wood trim round the doors still needs to go back and there is quite a bit of touching up to do.
The previous sofas were the sort which resemble a pile of cushions stuck together. The new ones are brown leather and although much loved there have been complaints about the lack of cushions.
At present we have managed to find a home for 3 cushions. The first was easy as the lovely Mrs Lacer made me an embroided cushion a couple of years ago which fitted in perfectly with the new colour scheme (green and cream, brown sofas, wood floor). The next 2 were a no brainer as they evolved from some materials lying around the house
The front of the cushions are 2 wall hangings, presents from Husband’s Australian relatives. We could never see ourselves framing them and hanging them on the wall but we didn’t want to throw them out so I backed them with some old curtaining (it’s reversible – one side is sort of golden/cream and the other is pale green) and stuffed them with torn up stuffing from an old duvet. There is a double row of stitching as I fear (on the basis of the treatment the old sofa got) that these cushions will have a hard life !
But now I am stumped. I have 2 large cushion inners from IKEA which have been waiting for covers since the summer, and aside from knowing that I want to try some piping round the edge of at least one I have no inspiration…
Cushion making will have to wait though as one again I have to tidy the house in order to find the sewing machine :-(
This was one of the more successful of my makes from Vintage Style for Kids . There were, as far as I can recall no real issues with the pattern (for once) and it went together surprisingly quickly…in fact I felt quite confident for once, hey wow, yes, I can sew !
And then I reached the buttonholes…I still haven’t mastered button holes on Gary the Brother P31. Yes I know I need to practice but I wanted to finish the dress in time for Flapjack Princess’ birthday which gave me a week to put buttonholes in…
The week before I’d splashed out on a book about Couture sewing techniques for clothes and coincidentally was browsing in the closures section (zips mainly) it was here I discovered hand sewn buttonholes, which I subsequently used much more successfully on the PJ’s…the initial ones on this dress were…er..not good…but fortunately when the buttons are done up you can’t see the bodge that I made of them…or the slightly over enthusiastic application of Fray Stop.
It took about 2 good washes to remove most of the Fray Stop and restore the somewhat grubby button holes to pink rather than grey.
I think this was also the first time I tried making my own bias binding, I loved the way it wrapped its way around the arm hole and neck creating a perfectly neat edge…gentle on soft little girl skin.
Unfortunately, despite lengthening the dress substantially it was still too small for my 7 year old model (who was in age 11 clothing by then) so I bought a pair of leggings to go with it and claimed it was a tunic.
I hoped I had learned a lesson from the lilac tunic dress I made last year and chose material which was easy to iron and didn’t crease as much as the linen did… unfortunately I decided to use lace I had to hand for the trim rather than buying some broderie anglaise… that lace trim will be a nightmare to iron
Pattern: Button Through Dress – Vintage Style for Kids
Buttons: White and pink daisies – bought for another project but spare following a change of plan !
Material – end of roll curtain material (flower fairies) from Dunelm, inexpensive pink cotton from Royal fabrics
Thread – not sure, think it came from IKEA
New – Hand sewn button holes…using binding to finish edges…making bias binding…sleeves
Hollowing out a pumpkin to make a Jack o’ Lantern is a labour of love.
I hate it…I really hate it…the first bit is fine, cutting a jagged edge around the top …but then you hit the fibre and the seeds…and that is just gross, it’s horrible and slimey and I really really loathe that bit.
Then…then it is just tedious, scrape scrape scrape away enough flesh so that it is easy to cut a face into it…
But I’ve done it…because I promised…and Spider is happy…
You will I am sure understand and have sympathy for me in that I backed out of doing a second one…after all how many Jack O Lanterns does one boy need ?
Besides, I’m the only one in the house who ever cleans the toilet, so I should be let off murdering a pumpkin once a year surely ?
Every year when the leaves start to fall I start guilt tripping like mad that I don’t do enough for my boy…I drop everything and knit like a thing possessed so that I can ensure that for the duration of the winter, if I do nothing else, Spider will at least have a warm head.It’s the same basic pattern as last year, but this time knit a bit bigger with room to grow This year it’s “We call him spidey” pattern is on Ravelry (I’m too lazy this evening to do the links…been knocked for 6 by the change of the clocks)
Yarn is Patons Diploma Gold – my “go to” yarn for knitting for children (it lasts longer than they do – had a jumper that was still doing good service some 20 years later made from a forerunner of PDG).
This years hat comes with added Mo’
A couple of years ago I announced on the blog that I was turning myself into a Project and was going to try and shake off the shabby person I had become after having Spider…and then the subject was never mentioned again !
Well, it did happen… sort off… I mean I got off to a good start, I had a good haircut, a went for a proper bra fitting and I started an exercise regime. All was going well, I had new bras, my chest area looked good, I started to loose weight, I even began to quite like my thighs…
Then disaster struck in the form of the next door neighbour cranking up the stakes on the dispute by issuing Court proceedings against us. Well that also coincided with a trip to France and a car boot full of little French lagers…and with ice cold lagers tend to go crisp and other nibbles and after 2 weeks without exercise it was very difficult to get back into things…the weight gradually crept back up and my hair grew and only the new bras remained.
This year with renewed intentions I joined a group on Ravelry called Gorgeous in 2012 whose aim was to try and improve their personal appearance over the next 12 months, to try to find the time to pay attention to their own appearance with a strong emphasis on either buying or making new clothes that assisted in this aim.
Well, I tried, I started out with a hair cut (which has since grown) but I just couldn’t find the time to be honest. I did however make good progress on the clothes side of things, in that Gorgeous in 2012 appears to have morphed into my own personal 12 in 12 challenge
I have pretty much kept up with this, apart from a slight wobble at the end of September when I lost heart at the prospect of making another jumper or cardigan out of 4ply yarn and this month when I got distracted by the need to make a hat for Spider…and now have 5 days to finish a jumper…which currently is about 3 inches long !
My 12 in 12 has been limited by the fact I’ve tried to use either free patterns or ones I already have AND I have been trying to use yarn that I already have. This would have been fine if I’d mixed things up a bit but foolishly I used all the DK up at the start of the year and by July only had 4ply left. Mum came to my rescue by providing some chunky yarn and a half made jumper for Spider she’d fallen out of love with, but that is the only 1 of the 9 made so far that has not been for me.
I have just bought some more yarn to get me through November and December…which will still leave some 4ply for next year…not that I’m going to do a jumper a month again, I really don’t like that sort of disciplined knitting.
We went to a wedding at the weekend…it was in Germany… we drove…it seemed a good idea when we booked the Tunnel tickets several weeks ago ! To get to the Tunnel on time we had to leave at 3.30pm just after picking Spider up from school on the Thursday…no point going to work so I took a day off…
I wanted to have a day for me, to knit and sew, but before I could do that there were chores such as emptying the boot of the car at the local tip…and finally visiting the local GP for those standard tests they invite you for periodically (ick)..then I cast on my October jumper and had several blissful hours of 2 by 2 rib…only for me to frog it all the next morning as I’d decided that it was too small.
So I skimped on the finishing, used velcro instead of doing button holes and sewed the buttons on loosely so that I can cut them off later and reuse them.
The pattern is a historical Burda one that I have borrowed from my Mum (and will return after I’ve traced the next size up off, as my boy looks good in a waistcoat).
The material is mainly black lining fabric, I had a half metre acquired from the end of roll basket at Mo’s. The fashion material is some Halloween fabric I bought to make a fun skirt for me (Sew What ! Skirts) and then messed up by getting my waist measurement wrong.
Conclusion – this was a fun make, my boy looked good and he likes waistcoats. As for the wedding, well a fantastic time was had by all and Spider was an absolute star, he found a friend for life in the 7 year old son of the people we were staying with. They both spoke the international language of boy… however, when we go back next summer all of us intend to learn some german before we go (it would be polite)
Oh and possibly check traffic conditions before we set off home so that we give ourselves even more extra time in case of adverse travel conditions…despite being rerouted over what felt like most of Germany (bridge closed for repairs) and a major traffic jam outside Spa, we still managed to arrive at the Channel Tunnel only 3 minutes after our train left. Unfortunately it coincided with the Tunnel switching to 1 train every 2 hours with the next one being at 1.47am.
We got home at 4am…I ended up taking another day off, but there was no knitting or sewing this time, only sleep !
(apologise for all the photos…but my boy really did look sharp, he told me off in the church for the fact I was looking at him and not the bride and groom !)
This was the first proper garment that I tried to make from Vintage Style for Kids and after the experience I would not have been surprised if it had been my last ! ( I will do a review of the book shortly but I thought it was about time I started putting up some of the things I have actually managed to do this year.)
Now, I am a beginner in this sewing lark, but even I can recognise when a pattern is just wrong. When I printed the pattern out for the Girls Pyjamas, having taken great care to ensure that it was printing at the correct scale it was clear that there was no way the PJ bottoms would fit a normal sized 7 year old as they were far too wide and far too short… and aside from that my 7 year model was already wearing clothing that would fit most 10 year olds…she is a very tall girl !
I decided to abandon the bottom pattern and just make my usual kids pj bottom…the top wasn’t too far out but the pattern didn’t quite match the instructions, most notably on the buttonband… but I busked it and bodged it and ended up with something that just about worked.
And then… I had to do buttonholes…and no matter how many times I practiced I just couldn’t get the machine to do ones that I was happy with….my tension was wrong and so became tense…and so the PJ’s became a UFO…
Then one night Flapjack Princess and her brothers came for a sleep over. At bedtime there were tears, the Flapjack Queen had forgotten to pack pyjama bottoms… Spider offered her some of his (because he is a gentleman and hates to see his girlfriend in distress)…but unfortunately FP is so much bigger and taller than her Beau.
Inspiration struck as I remembered the half made PJ’s with their almost complete PJ bottoms. 5 minutes with a bit of elastic and a safety pin and the bottoms were ready. Let me tell you these PJ bottoms were a hit…so much of a hit that the lady took them home with her and it was another 2 months before her Mum returned them to me so that I could remove the safety pin and sew the elastic in !
After that I knew that I had to find a solution to my buttonhole problem…I took my courage and my patience in both hands and dived into the world of handsewn buttonholes. I am not going to pretend that they were a pretty sight, they were lumpy and bumpy and decidedly grubby (a wash and a press helped) but they went better as I went on…and yeah I felt proud when I had finished.
I am therefore pleased to say “I made that!…but it took me 6 months “
pattern: girls vintage PJ’s from vintage style for kids
material: Strawberry polycotton, from Mo’s of rugby and red cotton from Royal Fabrics in Leamington Spa
New: gathering, piping, sewing a yoke, sewing in sleeves, edging with bias binding
I hadn’t planned to fall off the edge of the world like this but I have been rather pre-occupied of late…partly with the 12 in 12 challenge (more of that another time) but mostly with something much more important…
From time to time I have mentioned here that our neighbour (Wicked witch of the west) decided to dispute the boundary with us after she moved in half way through our building work (when the fences were down)…the last time I updated I think was about 18 months ago when we had just been through a mediation.
Well, at the end of June we finally managed to get a builder in to finish off the remaining building work (as per the consent order)…it was not without incident but I am not going to dwell on that besides to say that instead of 2 days it took 2 weeks partly because of that woman, partly from the fact it rained the whole 2 weeks (my fault for booking builders during Wimbledon)
Anyway, the work is done. Since then we have put up fences…and finally, finally after so much waiting we are starting to get a garden…or 3 gardens, front, immediate back garden and the rear of the house… I was going to post photos but since I don’t have “before photos” anyone looking at our work in progress shots won’t realise there has been an improvement and will just think “man what a mess that garden is !”…besides things have not been going quite as fast as we had hoped as most weekends it has been raining…
So next year, dare I dream it, there will be grass in the back garden, a herb garden by the back door and a boule court by the garage (a small boule court) !
In the meantime I still have quite a lot of builders debris and a pile of paving slabs waiting to be laid…
This isn’t the reason for 3 months silence… but they have been a bit of a trial… I’ll tell you about the shortly if I can get my boy to both wear them and stand still… in between trying to make these trousers there has been a lot of knitting and some unusual activities…well for me at least these last 4 years.
ETA: Gave them to him sunday morning, they are a bit short in the crotch rise area but he doesn’t care, loves’em, gave me a great big hug…makes the evenings of cursing Gary the sewing machine worth it !
I feel the need to make something but I can’t. Husband has gone to Goodwood with the Teenager (free tickets – yay !) and I have promised Spider that we will do something together…only it’s sheeting it down with rain.
Would I be a really bad Mum (yes I am no longer Mummy, it’s finally happened, I hung on to it as long as I could) if I encouraged him to play on the Wii or lent him my computer so that I could cast on/cross stitch/cut material out ?
I have 2 hours to decide…first Swimming and then to distract him in Tesco with donuts and the most recent Dr Who comic…
Watch this space…
Because the PJ’s were a spur of the moment thing (spontaneity has a lot to answer for!) I was reliant on Stash…well there aren’t many fabric shops open at 11pm at night. Most of my material is in 1 or 2 metre lengths. Being a well built kind a girl (with a love of euphemisms) the requirements on the pattern envelope for a size that would fit me was 2metres plus some
Fortunately (and it’s not often I will bless this) I am a short a*se. My inside leg is 27inches…so by sacrificing a small amount in the length and a smaller hem I managed to fit both pattern pieces within the 2 metres – it was only later after looking through all the other lovely versions of PJ’s that I realised I could have added a contrasting waist band or PJ turnups and not had to compromise on the length…oh well learning curve I guess…
The other thing I learned whilst making my PJ’s was that Spider is a very intelligent and perceptive child. The conversation went like this:
“What are you doing Mummy?”
“You can’t do that Mummy”
“Because you are still asleep”
During the course of slightly more hours than I’d planned I managed to mess up the centre seam by:
a) sewing it too close to the raw edges. Result – seam ripper/unpicking action
b) Narrowly missed sewing the fronts together and the backs together – fortunately spotted that before I sewed
c) Misaligned the first part of the french seam so that the front and back weren’t joined
d) After deciding I could live with c), then managed to mess up the second part of the front seam by sewing too close to the first stitching so that the raw edges poked through
Result – more seam rip/unpicking action.
By this stage I had fallen out of love with the PJ’s so did a normal seam with zig zag finishing (my pj’s have 3 french seams and 1 not!) and I still haven’t cut off all the thread ends…bad girl!
Also, and this is the really bad thing, you see although my pattern was marked xs-xxl it only went up to medium with a 44 inch hip and really a big girl like me needs more hip room – although I planned to add more room at the hip I forgot…so although they do fit they are a bit more body hugging than I’d like and, although I accept my size I really don’t want a constant reminder of it from the feel of the fabric close to my skin…
There will be more…possibly with piping…and contrasting fabric…definitely with 2 inches more room at the hip!
Spider was right about me being asleep
I hadn’t planned to join in the Pyjama party…and besides resolution 1 said I can’t start anything new until I finish 2 things…but last night after seeing the cute embroidery hemming on the bottom of Karen’s PJ’s I found myself fondling material…
Now we like PJ’s here at Being Frank and several “miniature” pairs have made an appearance over the last year…
Mum started it, she got “inspired” after reading my post about french seams. She decided to practice the technique and made Spider a pair of pirate inspired PJ bottoms…followed by 2 more
well, I couldn’t let Mum have all the fun could I…so I got busy
Then last month Mum upped the ante and made some for me…
So that’s me then, dipping my toe back into the clothes making swimming pool…not ready to take my arm bands off yet…let me work my way through Sewing for Boys” and then I might tackle some of those patterns I’ve been hoarding…
Oh and these PJ’s make 3 things I’ve finished BTW