Thank you for all your lovely comments yesterday!
Monday, December 31, 2007
Thank you for all your lovely comments yesterday!
Sunday, December 30, 2007
We stayed at the Marmalade Hotel, where they were incredibly kind to us. We arrived in the midst of a storm, to find the hotel closed! So we spent the first night at its supposedly-posher sister hotel, the Bosville. The food was lovely there, but the room was small, the walls paper-thin and the rain was lashing the windows all night, straight from the sea. It was a relief to transfer to the larger rooms of the more peacefully-located Marmalade. They gave us flowers and chocolates by way of apology for the mix-up - they hadn't realised we were booking Boxing Day night. And we had the best of all possible service when they realised we were getting married the next day! Lovely people, lovely place.
Fashion notes will follow!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Yarn? From the stash, it is Fyberspates sock in Seascape (bright turquoise – she picked this as her favourite a while ago.) Pattern? Pomatomus? Marina Piccola? Esther? Ironwork? She has very slim legs so maybe Marina Piccola is the best plan, since I know it can be easily adjusted to fit.
Every year my mother sends money to get presents for “everyone”. So I have to decide what to label “from Grandma”. It gets harder and harder when the children’s interests divert from what Grandma might deem “suitable”. It seems unlikely, for example, that she will want to gift my son a Korpiklaani sweatshirt emblazoned with the immortal words: “I eat iron and s**t the chains”! (No, I didn't get him this one in the end - thank goodness for the "zoom in" option!)
On Wednesday evening, we had a visit from an old friend of FL. He met me once in 1980 or so, when FL and I were in the midst of our First Flurry. He thought my name was “Rosie”. I have a memory of him shouting "Bye Rosie!" after me, and thinking he was referring to my red cheeks! But how intriguing! All these years, I have been “Rosie” and never knew! I was thinking about my forthcoming marriage and taking a new surname, and I suddenly thought how wonderful it is to have the opportunity to take on a whole new identity through a change of name! I wonder what Rosie has been doing with her life since B last saw her? There is a novel to be written about that!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
The news? No news. Because last month they forgot to send his blood to Birmingham / Glasgow for the free light chain assay. So we know nothing more than we did last month. Except that if they remember to do it this time, the blood test result will be crucial in deciding whether or not this is his last round of chemo. The clinical trial allows a maximum of 9 rounds of the drug cocktail: dexamethasone, thalidomide and cyclophosamide. FL is now on Round 7. If his levels have dropped further since the October test, he will have to continue to Round 8, and maybe even 9, because they aim for “maximum response”. But if the levels have stayed the same, they will stop the treatment. It just occurred to me that we didn’t ask what would happen if his levels had gone up! That scenario is not to be thought about.
It was totally hectic in the waiting room because there is no clinic next week and they were trying to fit in everyone before the holidays. However, this meant they had planned ahead and were being incredibly efficient – we were in and out in only 2 hours – a record! And half an hour of that was spent in Pharmacy waiting for the prescription to be made up.
We were so quick, I didn’t finish FL’s Christmas hat – that will be tonight’s project!
It is the Koolhaas pattern (by Jared Flood) from Interweave Holiday Gifts 2007. The yarn is PoshYarns Helena organic merino aran in a dazzling colourway called “Zany”. The colour was a bit of a shock, to be honest. What was I thinking?! FL blinked and blinked again when he saw it, and blinked even harder when it dawned on him that it was a hat for him! But it is exceptionally soft and warm to the touch, and undeniably cheerful. And once it is on he doesn’t have to look at it! OK OK I admit it – he doesn’t like the colour! But if it fits the bill for practicality (covers his ears, keep his rapidly-balding head warm enough) I will make him another in a more subtle shade.
We were trying to find words to describe the colour. I came up with “toffee apple”, “tomato chutney”, “salsa”, or “chilli surprise”? Oops!
Monday, December 17, 2007
My friend Estelle is hostessing a stall with all manner of crafty goodies: handmade jewellery, some knitted goodies from me, cards and other gifts - well worth a look for an unusual present!
The event is in aid of Riders For Health, a charity which provides motorbikes to health workers in rural parts of Africa.
If you can't make it to Hereford, Estelle also makes jewellery by commission. Have a look on her website!
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
New Japanese pattern books! I promise not to buy any more until I have made at least one item from each book I own. I bought these in my search for a coat pattern. I have been wearing my dog-walking coat to work and it is not a good look.
Mrs Stylebook (Winter 2007) is a revelation. This is the kind of pattern book which demands total confidence in your understanding of garment design and construction. If you are not already a proficient pattern-cutter, do not even think about buying one of these books! Of course, I only discovered this after I bought it. It is total immersion in Japanese. I don’t understand a single symbol. But I have gathered from other bloggers that you use the “Making Navi” (apparently that is English – meaning a “construction map” I suppose) to construct a series of blocks based entirely on your own measurements. These blocks then form the basis of the garment patterns themselves. So they are guaranteed to fit if you get your sums right! So, for example you might take one of the bodice blocks and start drawing lines to add 3.2 cm here or there, or cut into the block and angle it to add a dart. So far so good. But that’s your lot. After the pattern pieces are drawn, you are entirely on your own. There are detailed step by step photos for making two garments from the book – and these also have full-sized patterns included as a pull-out section in the middle of the book - but of course I don’t want to make either of these! I need to buy a large quantity of pattern-making tissue paper and a long ruler. There are literally dozens of pattern schematics in this book – an enormous bargain if you can master the drafting process!
The styles are definitely trend-driven, with details I haven’t seen anywhere else. I am besmitten by two coats, a dress, two pairs of trousers, a skirt and a jacket. Watch this space!
The other book was sold to me as “Favourite Black Clothes” (link to another blog with photos of the styles) , but I have also seen it called “Sweet Black”. I have wanted this one for over a year after seeing other people rave about it and I am not disappointed. This is “easy” Japanese pattern-making – all you need to do is trace the pattern for your size and then follow the diagrams to put the bits together. This book specialises in quirky angles – asymmetry, pleats, layering and textures. They don’t have to be made in black, but it appeals to me and my goth-wannabe daughter.
P.S. If you can read French (and even if you can't!) I just discovered a great Japanese sewing blog here!
Monday, December 10, 2007
My sock schedule for the new year will be determined by the whims of my random selection process in the Socks From Stash Club. So that’s 12 skeins accounted for!
But what do I really want to knit in 2008? Is it the same as what I want to wear? Could the two – gasp – coincide?
I realise that over the past year I have knitted far more than in any other year of my life. In fact, probably more than the rest of my life put together! And if I added up all the miles of knitting of socks, I would have completed several garment-sized objects. Interesting!
So… back to the Pine Cones sweater. It isn’t working. Like the garment I modelled it on, the twisted rib panel at the front... sags. And the shaping at the waist… bulges. I am knitting myself a muffin top. Lovely.
The So Called Scarf is… grey. Grey without depth. The stitch pattern which intrigued me over a year ago now looks… boring.
You see where this is going don’t you? Start the New Year afresh: rip, rip, rip.
But I DO need to knit the second Clessidra: off we go!
I paid a quick visit to PoshYarns to get some aran to make FL a Koolhaas hat - in "Zany" which is red and green - very Christmassy and cheerful. He needs cheering up. He had a depressed weekend: "Why are you marrying an old decrepit cripple?..." Yadda yadda yadda "Because I LOVE YOU! Now stop that and fetch the mop!" Rain streaming down the inside of the chimney into our bedroom - paddling through icy cold turnip-smelling water is not the best way to start your day. We need to get the builder back - sigh!
Made Christmas cards with my daughter. Made a banana, date and walnut cake - also with my daughter. Cut material for my tartan over-dress. Read a novel called "This Book Will Save Your Life". Waited for FL to emerge from his dark cloud. He is on dexamethasone (steroids) for the next 4 days - he will soon be buzzing.
Oh, and I rustled up a Gretel beret for myself. In medium size. One skein of charcoal Colinette Skye with top-up stripes from leftover coral merino from the first (slouchy) Gretel. The stripes were necessary due to low yardage, but I think the charcoal reveals its depths when contrasted with the pink. A real winter sunset combination! Picture? Working on it!