Friday, 2 December 2016

Winter time

I do love December... the excitement of the month, gathering with friends, preparing presents, making and writing Christmas cards, walks in chilly sunny weather. The mornings this week on the walk to school have been so frosty and pretty. I've enjoyed selecting a cosy scarf from my ever growing collection.

The first festive search in the attic for advent bits has been made, and a few favourites may have also come down too, though there has been no concerted Christmas decorating. That will wait for a few weekends yet, when the tree has been chosen and Christmas music will be playing, and the box of Celebrations opened. And the first viewing of the season of Prep and Landing. So much cosiness and festive fun to squeeze into this month.
The arrival of the advent calendars is the beginning of all the excitement. I think I enjoy being reacquainted with these as much as P.  Favourites from past years are being rediscovered, together with a new calendar this year requested by P. Have Match Attax arrived in your home? These cards are so popular with P and his friends with lots of deals being made during the school day. So this year, P was hopeful for a Match Attax calendar. I only discovered yesterday that there is a ready made version to buy, but being so very far from the price I want to pay for an advent calendar I decided to make one. And even though P is now aware of the ready made version he has rather loyally declared that his is better. Sweet boy
I spent a happy time wrapping up twenty four Christmas stories for P's book advent and getting out the first of the Christmas pillows 

Before the beginnings of all this festive fun, other makes had been completed, including a birthday  tee, lovingly parcelled for a newly turned two year old. Hope you had a fun birthday, Leo! 

Monday, 28 November 2016

A denim and favourite yellow bag

Gosh, it's been a while... a combination of being rather busy or waiting for some sun to catch up with photographing some makes. Well, it's still a bit murky and grey but then it will probably remain so for months yet so today I finally got out the camera.

It would appear that every summer (I really do have some catching up to do) I feel the need to make a new bag - a bag that I'm happy to get sandy at the beach, and that's a good size to take on holiday or days out and about. This past summer I made the gorgeous and roomy Merchant and Mills' Orton bag, an oh-so-stylish oversize beach bag (see my version here)  but I also wanted a more everyday size, goes with most things bag. I remembered a pattern I had kept from the first issue of love sewing mag - the slouchy boho tote - which looked just the thing
A denim bag seemed like a good goes with everything, and this denim was sitting in my pile, as was the gorgeous four corners weave cross. Purchased from fabric rehab earlier in the year, my local-ish fabric shop which has so, so sadly closed.

The finished bag is similar to the original... When I first saw the pattern I liked the curved boxed base and thought that the pieces were curved, though it was difficult to see much detail as the bag had been made in a busy paisley print. It was only when I came to make the bag that I discovered that the base was boxed and then other pleats added to somehow produce the curved shape. This all seemed a bit fussy for what I hoped to be a fairly plain bag, so I simply boxed the base. I also decided to only do two rows of stitching at the top, to stitch the facings, though the original has a few rows of stitching.

Another plan for my bag was leather straps, these lovely tan straps are the leather and buckle set from Merchant and Mills. I have the lovely Anna (of delightful noodle-head) to thank for my leather bag handle obsession, and have plans to make many more bags - mainly from Anna's book! And while I really do like this bag, and have been using it well into the autumn, I think I will continue my bag making with other patterns. I may have some navy waxed canvas and dreamy Rifle Paper Co sitting ready...

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

The search for the perfect summery cotton pattern continued...

This is so very nearly that tee. Lovely pattern, a far more stylish version of the cotton 80's knitted tee I spent many hours this spring looking for... but there is a but!

The but though has nothing to do with the pattern - the amazingly free cap sleeve lattice top by purl soho - rather my choice of yarn. I wasn't yet ready to forget the idea of the 80's cotton tee and so stubbornly ordered more cotton and cast on once more, convinced that this time I would end up with the breezy top of my dreams rather than something resembling chain mail. (My first attempt has since been washed and has shrunk a little so has been saved from immediate unravelling, though we shall see what its long term fate holds when I wear it again next summer).

And this top does fit better than that first attempt... just not as well as it would have done if I had used the suggested wool yarn. Cotton has made it much wider than the original pattern but it is a wideness I think I can forgive as this cotton drapes well, so while it looks fairly boxy in these photographs, it does look much better on. (Something I am unable to show you as there is nobody about to take photographs of me wearing my summery tee on this chilly November day, but unless I get on and waffle about this today it will be another month before I pay any attention to this sadly neglected blog)
This 100%  organic cotton is  BC Garn's Alba, and is lovely to knit with. Ordered from the always speedy love knitting, in colours grey (EB 14) and cream (EB 16)
I do want to knit another of these tops, this time heeding the advice of those talented people at purl soho and knitting in a wool, but I think that will have to wait for next spring. Oh, and anyone have any recommendations for a cotton tea-bag type t?

On to some seasonally appropriate knitting... the beginnings of a make accompanying me to the swimming pool a few weeks ago now. A cosy, speedy knit that took just a few of P's training sessions to complete. More photographs soon...

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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

A tea bag top or the stretchy chain mail



Surprisingly, stretchy (or even non-stretchy) chain mail was not the look I was going for but I do worry that that is what I have. I pictured an oh so stylish in a slouchy '80s manner tea bag t. Were they known as tea bag tops, or was that just me? I imagined I was safe when the need for such a summery top descended, as I thought I must have the pattern my Granny used when such knits were fashionable. Sadly not. Possibly I thought I wouldn't embrace 80s fashion again.  But then on  a trip to delightful Jenny Wrens I saw a collection of tea bag style tops in a Wendy booklet. They are calling the style an open stocking stitch top in cotton. Think I'll stick with tea bag t. In case you are unsure what 80s delight I am talking about, here is my version



Do you see what I mean about the chain mail? Though now I have looked at the original pattern it looks rather similar
Possibly I should have avoided grey. Mine has stretched a fair bit at the lower edge - I'm thankful I chose the short length to knit - there is also a longer length, which by now would be around my knees. 

I selected a size which matched my measurements, but aside from the growth in the length, is too baggy at the neckline. This is meant to be slouchy, but mine is constantly slipping off. So I am going to wash this and see if it shrinks a bit. If not, I shall redo it in the smaller size sometime before next summer.

If anyone actually needs some chain mail for a historical re-enactment maybe, here is what I did! The pattern is from a Wendy collection 354 and is the short version of the Open Stocking stitch Top. I used two balls of  dy choice cotton fresh dk in the colour silver, bought from Jenny Wren Yarns. I shall wait to see what magic happens in the washing machine. In the meanwhile, I have another top - cotton and summery again - to show. This time a success... well, if you can overlook certain things. But I shall show more next time, hopefully before it is too chilly and no-one wants to see a cotton string top...

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Friday, 30 September 2016

From Daddy's to Patch's

There is something so very satisfying about taking something from the pile of fabric or what-shall-I-do-withs, and making. This time I found two pairs of Mr R's old jeans which handily, as they were the same make and vintage, had worn evenly and cobbled the bits together to make P a pair of Sandbox Pants (the much loved pattern by Oliver+S)
I do wish I had taken a photograph of the small amount of original jeans left. It was mainly the waistbands, pockets and hems plus the rather worn out parts. It was with sadness though that I realised this is the last time I can make P a pair of trousers this way from Daddy's cast-offs as I used up all available length and width.  These were made by cutting up the original jeans and using them as if a normal piece of fabric, pinning the pattern onto them. I suppose I can still do it, but it will need to be more of a refashion, making use of the original parts of the jeans.

Now I am writing this, I cannot remember at all what size I made... Hmmmm. The photograph above shows though that whatever length I made, I used a much smaller waistband size, something I always do with this pattern
Patch had fun choosing buttons for the back pockets, these sunny buttons came from John Lewis. I was slightly surprised at P's choice but eagerly agreed as they are so sweet and how much longer will P be selecting something like this? Or even wanting to accompany me for button buying... Can you see the sweet face?
As I was looking through the piles I spied a pair of Mr R's pyjama bottoms, so while the pattern was out...

Gosh I am enjoying all this newly found knitting and crochet time while P is at swim club. Still have to block the shawl just finished, and have made a start on a simple autumnal knit which is nearly finished as P had two galas over the weekend. Now to plan the next make...

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Wednesday, 21 September 2016

A deckchair for a sunny day

Hmm, not so sure I shall be lounging in a deckchair this week. But before it becomes too autumnal for summery makes, I thought I would show my new old deckchair. Luckily for me my Mum had painted this deckchair and had all intentions of furnishing it with a new sling before realising that she wouldn't make much use of it. And so it was offered to me. And I of course quickly said yes, remembering a gorgeously floral new old deckchair Yvonne of dreamy Yvestown had made an age ago. And so here is my floral delight
This is definitely Mummy's chair. I think maybe Daddy worries that it is rather dainty for him (polite way of worrying about my skills with the staple gun) and Patch will happily sit in it but tends to favour either an old small-ish garden chair (what are the folded garden chairs called? I wanted to call it a deckchair, but surely that can't be right... The sort that as a child I remember having to force apart whilst keeping a good watch out for fingers as they suddenly sprang apart. Patch's however pulls apart quite calmly, with no risk to fingers) or one of the sturdy garden chairs with a marshmallow of a cushion. So this tends to be all mine.

I do think Mr R would be safe as the sling part has three layers - the floral with a jolly blue dotty reverse and then some blackout lining - which I handily had and chose for sturdiness - sandwiched in between.  I made the sling longer than needed, and then wrapped and stapled it to wood.  Actually all fabrics were from the pile, so even more satisfying. And you can just see the crochet I am busy with. I have been busy with it for a few years now! Last spring I really did hope to complete it during Sandra of Cherry heart's weekend-along but no. I am so enjoying making it, so really there is no rush, but there are so many other blankets to be started! I shall be good. This week I have finished the hexagons and now need to work out how to add bits to make the edges even. I think I like the idea of straight edges and then a border, but maybe the zig zag look will appeal when I investigate...

This is the sort of activity going on in our household this week
I have hurt my back so it's been a gentle week not doing much. Miss Ethel's favourite kind of week. And along with kit cuddles I have enjoyed lots of reading. This was one of my aims for the year, and with just over three months of the year to go I have a lot left!

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Tuesday, 13 September 2016

A cloud tote


Oh how I love this fabric. So cheery and summery. I do so wish it had been available to buy by the metre - I certainly would have bought yards of it. But I did find some bundles of tea-towels reduced and purchased a few. Some are being used for their intended purpose, one set has been transformed into my summery bag which means that I still have another set to play with. A cushion maybe?

It only seemed right that I use a Cath pattern for the bag - the tote bag from Cath Kidston's Sewing Book. I kept to the original sizing, the only thing I changed was to use some webbing for the handles. Bright yellow webbing that has been curled up in a drawer for an age, so using it up made me happy. I couldn't fit both side panels onto the cloud print, and rather than reduce the size of the bag I accepted that one side would be clouds and the other a sunny yellow, just like the back
The bag is lined for extra sturdiness and tidiness. I really wanted to use some fabric from the piles, and found an old shirt which has the happy advantage of a ready-made pocket
and a row of buttons! These have no purpose as I decided I had no call for a secret hidden compartment in my bag, but they make me smile. As does the bag every time I use it.

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