Being Frank…

Accepting my failings

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Yehaaaaaaaaaa! It’s the WIP roundup…

I’m hoping towards the end of this week to start putting photographs on the blog again having now sorted out my technological issues…in the meantime a status report…

This month the emphasis has been on decluttering rather than making,  so not much stash busting but little purchasing so I guess I end the month on a win

WIP’s first since I am feeling quite pleased with myself… you see I’ve finished my Mum’s cardigan…ok so when I say finished I mean I’ve stopped knitting, Mum is unfortunately still waiting for the finished article as it needs ends sewn in, sewing up washing blocking.  Pikkuveli on the other hand now has buttons and is in the cupboard waiting for winter

Myrna is on the naughty step but Liam and Catkin have both been examined, detangled and places found in the pattern

Everything else remains untouched or unphotograph or both

In sewing Hollyburn has been recut and is waiting resewing…nothing else resolved…I was too busy getting through second sleeve syndrome


Yarn –I ended July with 5556 grams and have ended August with 5756 having purchased 2 balls of sock yarn whilst on holiday (from a German supermarket) – I have however run out of hat sized bits of leftovers and have donated lots of ends of balls to an organisation in Nottingham who amongst other things are knitting poppies 

Material     Stash end of July 9959cm  Stash at end of August 9809cm

I made 2 Mabel’s this month although I counted 1 of them in the last round up. Both need hemming…neither of which are likely to be hemmed this side of Christmas (not even the one that was the right side) as I have it on good authority that the Mabel is not for me!

Fabric used 1.5 metres, 0.5 metres from stash…

However, none purchased… not sure I will be saying that next month as the weather is turning and thoughts are turning to thicker fabrics…of which I seem to own few…



Spring Sewing Swap

I am not known for my ability to post things on time…I have a fear of the post office these days as the one in Reading has become very automated but not in a way that speeds things up… however I was tempted into the post office queue by the chance to take part in Kerry’s Swing Sewing Swap…

When the swap partners were announced I was delighted to discover I had Maryanne aka Mrs C  (who used to blog as Hectic Eclectic but can now be found at Sent from my iRon)…I have been a long term lurker of Mrs C and had in fact spent a happy 2 days one Christmas working my way through her archived posts (instead of working…).

But then I suddenly thought, “Oh my God, she runs a craft shop/haberdashers, how am I going to find something she hasn’t already got…”  I needn’t have worried however as not only is Maryanne very nice and friendly…she also has an alter ego called Constance Craving who turned out to be very easy to buy for…my share of the swap can be found over here

Despite the panic and worry, there is very much an upside of swapping with someone who runs a haberdashers…because…they run a haberdashers !!!

I very much hit the jackpot with my allocated swapper and I am very happy about it as I was gifted such wonderful goodies



That yummy wool you can see in the photo in the most beautiful of blood reds is not just genuine New Zealand merino, nor is it just genuine New Zealand merino with possum but genuine New Zealand merino with possum and silk…wooohoo… so so soft

And on top of that a fabulous length of material with kiwi birds all over it…which fits in great with my recent birds obsession…plus some funky tapes for sewing into projects or tying on to parcel….

I know just the pattern for the merino, and this one is for me…time for some selfish knitting I think

Thank you Mrs C, it’s been a blast corresponding with you…and legitimately stalking your blog !

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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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Stash Down

Sometime ago I made a sewresolution that I would find the perfect skirt pattern by making 3 skirts a month, different skirt each month… then I came down with flu and lost my sewjo for almost a year…

I started again this January…because lets face it I wear skirts a lot both for work and for home…and 12 months on I was still in the same clothing crisis I was in the previous January – I hate buying clothes, I’m sorry but there it is, I know I should be drummed out of the girls club… don’t fit in, never have, never will…stopped trying anyway…

Anyway this time there is a twist…a twist because I am feeling guilty and afraid that I may be turning into a cloth hoarder (but the prints are so pretty and the knits feel so goooooood !)…so wherever possible I shop the stash first before I buy

These are the results so far…I can’t give percentages as “stash” is an ever changing state of being… and I take a loose definition in that its anything that’s been in the house for more than 6 months…

January – sewed just under 7 metres from stash out of a total of 9.5 metres

February – 3 metres sewn from stash, 3 metres sewn all told

March – 6.5 metres sewn from stash out of a total of 6.5 metres

April – 4.5 metres stash, 4.5 metres sewn total

Then thing started to go a bit wrong

May – 5 metres, all out of my Mum’s stash, although tecnnically 2 metres were mine just were living at Mum’s…all of which were charity shop finds so I guess if we were keeping score I’d get points for that ?

June – none, not sewn there is still time and I do sort of have a skirt on the go but I’ve been lost in a house reorganisation…besides this is a skirt out of leftovers and I’m not sure how you count that

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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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Body shape…and how you can’t believe everything you read in a style guide

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

september 2009 047Well 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…


The lost…the found…and maybe later in march a giveaway

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 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…