Being Frank…

Accepting my failings

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FO: Pikkuveli

I love Pikkuveli…I’ve loved Pikkuveli since the first time I saw it almost 5 years ago…unfortunately I forgot children grow and I almost missed my chance because I a) couldn’t decide on what colours to use b) was waiting for the right yarn…

Last summer I bit the bullet, bought some cascade, cast on one wet weekend in Brussels and pretty much kept knitting until it was finished… but then spent too long chosing buttons…

I’m not going to say anymore, I’m just going to let Pikkuveli and Spider  say it all

pikkuveli 1


pikkuveli 3

pikkuveli 4

pikkuveli 5


pikkuveli 2


Pattern  Pikkuveli by Suvi Simola

Yarn  Cascade  220 in grey, navy and bright light blue (can I just say I love love love this yarn…it is a pleasure to knit with)

New:  Can’t remember as I finished this August 2012…possibly the Icord buttonhole band…not the slip stitch sleeve  honeycomb pattern as that was used in an Ysolda Teague pattern, possibly cain…

Unfortunately Spider is almost too long/tall to wear it…however his handknit jumpers have a long life as pretty much every boy in the street ends up having them passed down to them…I feel that my knitting is loved !




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PJS for Spider – 3 different pairs, 3 different sewing finishes

One of my favourite photographs of Spider is one of him asleep age 1 wearing proper button up PJ’s. I love my boy in PJ’s, it gets me deep inside where my maternal instinct is submerged…unfortunately my heart-strings don’t get tugged very much these days as he has decided that big boys don’t wear PJ’s and either sleeps in a pair of pants or in the altogether like his Dad and step brothers

However he is not averse to the occasional funky pair of PJ bottoms, especially on a Sunday morning when he refuses to get dressed at all but will “lounge” in a pair of Mum made cotton trousers

In the first week of January I tried to get my sewjo back and whipped up 3 pairs of McCalls 4103 for my boy

The first was a quick and dirty pair dashed off to try to get an idea of fit as he has grown a lot since I last made anything for him


Squeezed out of just over a metre of end of the roll polka dots (I think it is a Hill Berg)  from Fabricland.  The cost was just over  £4… they may  have been party to a washing accident as in some lights they look vaguely like pink dots. I made no real effort with the seaming and just pinked the seams…

The  next pairs came from material  specially  purchased for Spiders PJ’s.. but count as stash busting as they have been in the cupboard for over 9 months.


The skulls were meant to be an exercise in getting French seams right and not ending up with a raw seam on the outside. Just after cutting the first leg out I also decided I should try to get the lines of skulls to be level all around… which I pretty much  succeeded with…but then  overcompensated on the French seams due to concentrating too much on getting the skulls level  so the seams seem wider than planned 😦


Fabric :   not sure  who the manufacture is but I bought 1.5 metres from Mo’s in Rugby for about  £8

New: Nothing, except perhaps print matching

The final pair are  summer inspired… camper vans are an important part of this family


Fabric   is from Fabric land (and who doesn’t like camper vans ?) Possibly Hill Berg again and I used 1.5 metres at £3.99 I think

New  Serged ! Yes these  babies were made with an overlocker

The aim of the exercise here  though was to simply get the overlocker out of its box, threaded and with the motor running…  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED AND OVERACHIEVED !!!

Am not scared of threading my overlocker…But I am having issues with “grin through” and can’t seem to be able to get the tension right on the needle… shortly after these PJ’s through I ran scared from the overlocker after I had 2 needles break one after the other…

Hardest bit of this make ? Getting photographs of the PJ’s in action


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It’s not you…it’s me…oh alright it really is you

When things go wrong there are 2 ways of dealing with it…the first is to press on through, keep on keeping on until you manage to work out what you are doing wrong, sort it out… get through it and come out on the otherside a stronger person having learned and conquered… and hopefully also with a new piece of handmade clothing/accessory/thing

The second way is to toss the offending item in a corner (time out on the naughty step) moving on to something else…hopefully something that isn’t going to kick ones backside in the same way…if it does then maybe give the sewing machine/yarn stash some space and a bit of me time !

Guess which option I go for… yep I opt for the thrill of the new crafting liaison every time.


Unfortunately I am not capable of wiping the slate clean and just forgetting the affair ever happened…I hang on to the baggage and it haunts me…in fact the UFO box taunts me every time I open the cupboard…



Let me tell you about the bag that broke me…and possibly Gary (my brother PS31).

Now I was no stranger to this bag…I had made it twice before and admittedly neither had been the fastest of makes purely because I dislike making 5cm bias binding but both bags had turned out well…so when I decided to make a project bag for a friend and work colleague JJ I turned to the Reversible bucket bag pattern from Lisa Lam.




It’s a good pattern. It’s well written and, when complete the bag is quite impressive, especially if you get your fabric choice right. Get your fabric choice wrong and you will hate the entire process and it will take forever…as aside from the bias binding there are quite a lot of steps involved before you can step back smiling to take your “happy project” photograph… not so much a labour of love as the road to hell (and possibly divorce from your sewing machine).

Gary as I have mentioned before does not like tough fabric – so what  possessed me to use the leftovers from the trousers of doom heaven only knows…and a reversible bag needs two outside fabrics…so I ensured that this project was not going to end happily ever after by choosing a similar fabric in pink for the second outside

I was hoping to have the bag finished in time for the Knitting and Stitching show at Ally Pally…the one I went to with JJ in October 2012…but the experience of sewing even part of it left me so drained that the bag spent an eternity on the naughty step…I finally finished it in September 2013…and it has then taken a further year for me to face photographing it.


 (I dislike this bag so much I can’t be bothered to photograph it in daylight)

I hated it so much and had made so many basic errors that I couldn’t bring myself to give it to JJ…so I’ve kept it…and it is currently acting as project bag for my latest UFO… Liam which is a jumper for Spider which I love in theory….but the reality of knitting it is dragging me down…and yes when faced with the option of knitting on Liam or casting on something new guess what I choose.

The bag that broke me was only finished as a result of a day off and extreme carrot and stick technique… Carrot and stick involves doing some of something you hate with the reward of something you like doing. Extreme carrot and stick involves doing something you hate (cleaning the oven) for an hour and then doing something you also don’t want to do, but hate marginally less for an hour…and keep going until you finish both activities…

Sometimes you have to be tough with baggage…you can’t let it hang over you forever draining the pleasure out of what is meant to be done because you enjoy it…you either finish it or fling it where UFO’s belong, outer space….


(Image borrowed from the

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FO: The Fairy Gothmother

A long long time ago I decided to make things for all of my friends who turned 40 the same year as I did… last month one of my friends finally received a 40th present…

Now I am known to not be very good at making it to the post office on time but I am not usually this bad…and to be fair we kept thinking that we would be seeing her shortly and we could hand it over then… except we never did… O Mighty Tim did take the present round a couple of times but the Fairy Goth Mother wasn’t in…she’d forgotten to tell us that she’d moved in with her boyfriend (now husband)…

The Fairy Goth Mother is Spider’s Fairy Goth Mother… she is also a very talented cake decorator (our wedding cake was the first she ever did) and provides cakes from “The Witchin’ Kitchen” she is also a a good good friend… so it was wonderful to finally rekindle the friendship at the house of some other friends (we were all helping out with their very last “Open Garden” under the National Open Gardens Scheme).

It was also a relief to finally hand over this young lady…


who had been waiting to go to the ball for a long long time – hell why should it be Cinders who gets to party ?

Unfortunately I was unable to quite capture the facial expression of the one in the book which was our FGM to a “T” however I think the tumbling locks of unruly curls is a pretty close representation on FGM’s real life hair…

Happy 40th FGM…I will try to do better next time

Pattern – Victoria by Annette Hefford
Yarn – various leftovers
Needles – 3mm
New – Nothing new this time round…need to practice making hands though as they were quite difficult

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The shirt that broke me…the pass the parcel cowboy shirt

Today in Spider’s schoolbag I found a note from school asking parents to provide costumes for this years school play, I was somewhat relieved to discover it involved dark T-shirt, dark trousers and if possible “anything to make them look like a witch or wizard”…yay ! Nothing for me to do.

Now before you go marking me down as a grump let me tell you about last year, how I did my bit, and how as a result I didn’t touch the sewing machine for about 3 months.

The School was doing “Yehaaaw!” a musical about cowboys, Spider was in the chorus and needed a checked cowboy shirt, no problem I said he has a loud green checked one…I’ll just go get i… oh! Yep I’d had a clear out and got rid of anthing he’d grown out of including the shirt. “No problem” said Mum “I’ll pick one up in Tesco”.

However, shocked at the sudden rise in the cost of kids clothing Mum decided “No problem, I have checked material, I have a pattern I have a sewing machine.”  Well Mum got as far as tracing the pattern and cutting it out and then remembered she had social commitments for the rest of the week so sent Spider home with the bits and the words “Just tell your Mum to follow the instructions, and by the way it needs to be finished by Tuesday”,

This was I think Friday…  “whaaat ! Mum, I’ve never done a shirt”

“I told you, just follow the instructions”

Well after swimming on saturday morning I sat down and struggled to work out which bits were what and which way up they went…some of the paper patterns had become detatched…and by the end of Saturday I had the yokes attached to the back and the fronts, the yokes attached to each other at the shoulder added the button placket…and then attached the collar upside down…time to walk away from the sewing machine…Sunday I unpicked the collar, reattached it the right way up, and sewed in I think 1 sleeve and then came a cropper on the cuffs…

The cuffs were button up cuffs which not only had a strange folded split in them but involved sewing through double layers of fabric and interfacing and Gary, my sewing machine who had already been making uncomfortable signs about the yokes then threw a major hissy fit snarled up, refused to budge and then the needle broke…

By now I was hot bothered, getting panicky, I am really no good when made to sew to deadline, and I was getting worried that Spider would be left without a shirt, so Sunday evening the shirt was parcelled up and passed back to Mum  “can you do it by Tuesday ?”

“No problem, forgot to tell you, Tuesday is only the dress rehearsal, the actual performance is at the end of the week. I’ve got you tickets !!!”

suffice to say that Mum sorted out the tricky tough cuffs, added the second sleeve, sewed the side seams and added button holes…her side of the story can be found over at Is it Finished ?

It’s as wonky as hell, but boy does Spider make a cool cowboy – photos of him are at Is it Finished? (including the waistcoat made several years ago by Mum when the school asked the kids to dress as Victorians)…all I managed was a quick snap of the shirt before he put it on




So, no more sewing for a deadline…and no more heavy duty fabrics until I get around to upgrading Gary…but whisper it, I’m not ready to replace the Brother PS31 yet…and I don’t want him getting upset…although, this year it doesn’t matter quite as much as I’m not making the costume

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Spring cleaning…and a bit of sulking

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 THIS129

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 side128

and then this is the inside or possibly the outside130

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…

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FO: Girasole (Jared Flood)

086This is one of the most beautiful things I think I have ever made…and it was fun to knit…even the edging

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)