Thursday, 26 February 2015

Introducing Dorothy and a Ta Da!

I have been meaning to share this Ta Da with you for weeks but couldn't get any decent pics. J hates taking them for me and the day I wore the dress specially when I was in London with a friend, it was so cold that I really didn't fancy taking my coat off! Upshot is there are no pics of me wearing it. Instead you have my pal Dorothy. Yes she finally has a name. It just came to me one day that that is her name and how could it ever be otherwise!


She has the great advantage of having no self conscious qualms about how she looks. She stands tall and proud and looks fab, even if her frock could do with an iron...


I am super-please with this zip. With a little guidance from my sewing teacher (always tack/baste a zip, sew down the middle strip where the weave is different) it is the neatest zip I have ever managed,


My facing skills still leave a little to be desired but with hindsight I think it will be better next time.


I do love the pocket linings though, and the pockets! Ahh a dress with pockets, an illusive but wonderful thing!


It fits me really well around the bust but is quite loose around the waist which I like. I considered adding some darts to the back of the waist but laziness outdid the feeling that a little more shaping would be good. I can always add them later if I want to.


And, it looks great with my current favourite necklace!


I have been working hard on the next project and have even taken some work in progress pics to show you next time.

xx

Friday, 20 February 2015

A lovely but unusual week.

Once again I didn't mean to be away so long. I have had a lovely but unusual week...
 
Unusual thing 1: My Smalls are away with J and his parents. They have gone skiing and I have not. I know lots of people love it, but I can't find anything to like about it. Cold slippery expensive...
 
Lovely thing 1: I have been away on my own to visit very old friends in Cambridge and London. (To clarify, the friendships are longstanding, the friends are, to within a whisker, the same age as me.)
 
 
 
Unusual thing 2: I have had no internet access. My friend's router was bust.
 
Lovely thing 2: We had lots of time to potter and pootle... I found charity shop treasure of the very best kind, a vintage pattern and a book that I have fancied reading for ages.
 

Unusual thing 3: I made something for the second time. I almost never repeat a project but the squares I made for the Do You Mind If I Knit blanket never arrived at Lisa's, presumed lost in the post. It is a shame because I had popped a little bit of treasure in for her too. Anyway, I have made five more squares and will be sending them off on Monday. Fingers crossed they make it this time! I have also started free-styling a crocheted hat for myself after enjoying the process of making Tall Girl's so much. Only ripped it back twice so far...
 
Lovely thing 3: Me making granny squares prompted my friend to get me to teach her. We found an excellent book in a charity shop to jog her memory when I am not there and she set to. The first square was a little wobbly with questionable tension, but the second was better... Hurrah for another hooky convert!


Unusual thing 4: Our living room is empty, the dining room is extremely full, and I have begun: the beige is on its way out. So far I have rolled up the carpet, removed the gripper strips from round the edge, and demolished a dodgy old cupboard. I think I need J back to get the carpet out completely and then me and the steamer will attack the nasty wall paper.

Lovely thing 4: Hip hip hooray for radio four and iplayer! A few hours of demolition passed in a flash as I took the opportunity to catch up with a few of my favourites.


Unusual thing 5: In between the travelling, pottering, pootling, hooking and demolishing, I have found time to slow down a bit this week. I have watched TV in the day, I have had a lie down in the afternoon, I have read books when I am not too sleepy to read more than a page or two and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

Lovely thing 5: Tomorrow I am going to collect J and the Smalls and I am completely looking forward to having them back. I feel rested and raring to go, and that is both lovely and unusual!

xx

Thursday, 5 February 2015

A happy hat for Tall Girl

I made a hat for my beautiful Tall Girl. She has been a bit under the weather recently and it was just the ticket to cheer her up and keep her warm. It reminds me of St Basil's cathedral and frolicking fairies and helter-skelters. Tall girl bounces around making the bobbles bob up and down on her head, and asking if it is raining before giggling like a maniac. Definitely a happy hat.
 






The yarn is Annell Malmedy, a lovely soft dk from the Ida Yarn Shop, in 2541 (blue), 2547 (turquoise) and 2522 (pale blue). The hook was 4mm. The pattern was adapted from the Otava Sprite Hat available on Ravelry. The changes I made were:

* Three colours not two
* Stopped increasing after round 21 and crocheted 39 rounds altogether to make a smaller hat
* Three bobbles not two
* Began each bobble with a magic ring rather than 4 chain joined in a ring

This is a lovely easy pattern that produces a really gorgeous hat. Cute enough for a really small Small and quirky enough for a bigger and more hat-conscious Small. Actually, one more round of increases and it would have been big enough for me and I am considering making myself one. Everyone needs a happy hat!

xx

PS I wrote this this morning but was waiting for a snap of Tall Girl modelling the hat before I posted it. I asked her if I could take some pics on the way home from school but she refused saying she had had the worst day EVER. I suppose that even a happy hat isn't a magic hat. Ho hum...

Monday, 2 February 2015

A post of many things...

Suddenly it seems that I have many many things to write about. Too many for one post probably but I shall have a go...

Thing 1: Slowly, in baby steps we are getting closer to having a functioning fireplace. We now are the proud owners of these bars and ash pan cover. The good people at the fireplace reclamation yard are trying very hard to find us a grate, ash pan and, most elusively, a hood. We have tried and rejected two hoods. One was too floral in its mouldings and the other too flat. I am hoping that my next visit will produce something perfect. They are in the centre of Newcastle, about an hour and a half from here so I have to combine my visits with other reasons to go.

 
Thing 2: Luckily at the moment I have a regular reason to go. I have started a ten week course to improve my dressmaking skills and it happens that the college is a mile from the fireplace shop. First up a simple shift dress, but I am aiming for a more clean and professional finish than I usually manage. 
 

In these pictures it is only pinned together but you get the general idea. As always, I am incapable of following a pattern to the letter.  I have

* lengthened it -when it is finished it should be just above the knee
* removed the false pocket flaps and added patch pockets with a pretty lining
* used a heavy upholstery fabric with the wrong side showing instead of the light cotton called for
* Used a longer zip in the back because that is what I had

 
Once I have finished this I am planning to have a go at sewing jersey. I bought a real and actual new pattern that you don't have to print yourself! It is for a shirt dress. Watch this space...
 
Thing 3: I have given myself a firm kick up the backside and have managed to spend a couple of hours in the garden each week for the last couple of weeks. It really should be a no-brainer. I enjoy it a lot and it makes me feel good, so why why why is it so hard to make myself get out there? And look at the rewards... quince blossom. A sight to make your heart sing!


Big Trouble and Little Man came to help last weekend and had a great time too.



Thing 4: The very lovely Lisa over at Bobo Bun has been the brains behind the most perfect project. She has organised 40 or so crafters to make granny squares that will be put together to make a blanket in memory of Vanessa, our friend who died before Christmas. The blanket will be auctioned on Ebay in aid of the Mental Health Foundation, a charity chosen by Vanessa's parents. I sent off my squares last week. Hooking them felt like a really positive thing to do in the face of the tragedy of her death.


Thing 5: I needed one more ball of pale yellow for my Persian Sweetie Shop blanket. I am using Annell Cotton 8 which I can only find at Ida Yarn Shop,which is in the Netherlands I think, so delivery is quite dear. The yarn itself is extremely good value so if you buy quite a bit it works out great, but for one ball... The solution? Buy more yarn! They also stock this 100% wool dk called Malmedy.


I chose the pinks and cream, not sure what for yet, and Tall Girl chose the blue tones. I have already whipped them up into the most delicious hat which I will show you next time...


Thing 6: I have a new job! It is quite a shock to the system because I stopped working when Big Trouble came to join the party. The job is very part time which suits me perfectly. I am managing a project to record and archive some of the traditional music of the town and the surrounding area. So far it has ben interesting and fun. Long may that continue!

Back with the hat when I have persuaded Tall Girl to model it for me...

xx

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Hunting bears

We're going on a bear hunt, we're going to catch a big one.
 

What a beautiful day! We're not scared.


Uh oh! Mud.


Thick, oozy mud.


We can't go over it, we can't go under it. We'll have to go through it...


Squelch squerch! Squelch squerch! Squelch squerch!


We're going on a bear hunt, we're going to catch a big one.


What a beautiful day! We're not scared.


Uh oh! Grass.


Long, wavy grass.


 We can't go over it, we can't go under it. We'll have to go through it...


Swishy swashy! Swishy swashy! Swishy swashy!
 
 
We're going on a bear hunt, we're going to catch a big one.


What a beautiful day! We're not scared.


Uh oh! A forest.


A big dark forest.


We can't go over it, we can't go under it. We'll have to go through it...


Stumble trip! Stumble trip! Stumble trip!


We're going on a bear hunt, we're going to catch a big one.


What a beautiful day! We're not scared.


Uh oh! A cave.


A narrow, gloomy cave.


 We can't go over it, we can't go under it. We'll have to go through it...


Tip toe, tip toe, tip toe.... What's that?


One shiny wet nose, two big furry ears, two big goggly eyes...


It's a bear!

xx

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Instagram

Just popped by to say Hi!
 
I have this baby out again, but annoyingly I have run out of one of the colours. Grrr. More on order...
 

Also, I have succumbed. I have joined the loveliness that is instagram. I am stitchesandseeds if you want to find me and I have put a button under my blog list on the right hand side.  Look at me being so tech savvy!


It doesn't mean I will be leaving here, just that I will be there sometimes too.

xx

Monday, 12 January 2015

Banishing the beige

We have been gradually doing up our house since we moved in 6 years ago. It has been pretty slow going because we moved in with a toddler and a 10 week old baby, and as soon as the baby turned two, had another one. Then just as he turned two, we moved abroad for two years.
 
We are back from the land of sunshine to the land of driech and drizzle, or so it seems at the moment. It is sleeting sideways outside my window right now. The thing that has struck me most about our lovely house now that we are reinstalled, unpacked and back into the swing of life is that the bits that we have not yet tackled (which if I am honest is most of it) are beige.
 

Yup that would be a beige ceiling, beige walls, a beige carpet and a beige chair (of which there are two) in my living room. I do make attempts to inject colour but there is no getting away from the beige. Except that soon there will be... Very soon I plan to wield a steam stripper, a sander, rollers and paintbrushes. Since we got home I have been waiting. Waiting for our stuff to arrive, waiting to finish unpacking, waiting until after Christmas, but the waiting has to stop and it's days are numbered.

I do however have to weight until J can help me shoehorn the furniture into the rest of the house so until then I have been busy playing. I have taken the poor forsaken mantel that looked like this...


 Removed the DVD cases...


Chucked the candle stubs and banished the bits of broken Christmas decoration...


And primped and fiddled and gathered the brightest objects I could find around the house to inject a shot of colour into the room. I can almost feel the beige quaking with fear at the sight of some knitted bunting.


Daffs, beautiful daffs that warm the cockles of my heart, and a dangly toy from the boys room that has been waiting to be fixed for ahem months. (It is still waiting.)


A sun hat too floppy to actually wear, paper windmills from a wedding we couldn't get to and a spot of coloured glass.


It is still dank and dark and gloomy outside, but inside I have a pleasing spot of colour.


Time to hit the paint charts to find something that isn't beige...

xx