Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Well, I haven't started yet and I am getting twitchy. The muslin must be cut this week or I am doomed, doomed I tell ye!
So instead of doing that, I hatched a plan for some kind of over-garment for the actual wedding bit. In the medieval chapel. Where it will be chilly. Don't forget, I haven't even bought / chosen the material for the dress yet, and yet here I am making a shawl / shrug out of alarmingly bright yarn which goes with nothing except possibly black...? I am crafting myself into a corner here!
I have a ton of Hipknits aran silk in the stash, all gifted. I have tried knitting with it, I have tried crocheting with it, and I am never happy with the result. It is beautifully soft, has a subtle gleam, and comes in such glowing colours, but I can't seem to make it work. So I thought I would experiment with the Sheryl Shawl (Rav link) from Blueprint Crochet. There was no logic or pre-planning to this decision. I was actually looking for my print-out of the Clapotis pattern when I came across this one.
I don't know what I think. It is kind of floppy rather than drapey, and it is coming out pretty huge. This is just one base motif - so seven of these would give me a helluva wingspan. I don't think it is a coincidence that there are only two Sheryl Shawl projects on Ravelry... and the one with pictures is not happy.
I can see where this is headed. Into the shruggery! Clapotis, anyone?
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
All I know is, I am making a 1950's style dress to wear to a wedding... and my shoe-boots are red suede with a big 3D rose on the front.
I can't decide on a fabric.
What do YOU think?
Because somebody has to make a decision around here.. and it doesn't look like it's going to be me at the moment.
FL reckons I should be looking for silk, not cotton. I explained that he was asking for the moon on a stick.
So, top to bottom:
1- John Kaldor Monaco cotton sateen
2 - Favourite Fabrics Raspberry Rose cotton with slight stretch
3 - Clothworks Cherie Hearts cotton sheeting
Or have I lost my mind, and they are all completely hideous cheese-festival fabrics?
Be honest with me, friends!
ETA: Since posting this, I came across this blog piece (and its comments) on appropriate wedding guest attire. No black, white, red or green?!
I am going to wear a paper bag.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
So before I get all psyched up to make my Dress For A Wedding, I am taking a pause to knit.
I decided the only way to get my knitterly groove back was to set myself a challenge. So I hereby undertake to:
1-finish the baby cardi this week
2 - knit FL's second birthday sock this month
Because July is going to be all about new knitting projects. I need to blow a fresh breeze through my yarn stash.
I want to knit all four of the "Woods Family Collection" sock patterns. Their context appeals to me. These are not "just sock patterns", they have a story to them, about real people, a family. Because I am being good, I will knit them from stash. There is a certain skein of sportweight yarn which needs to be rehabilitated, and it is up first!
And then today I got an email:
We are looking for test knitters for the upcoming book. If you are interested, please fill out the following form at XXXX
Selected test knitters will be assigned a pattern and invited to a yahoo group. A PDF of the assigned pattern will be emailed separately, upon joining the yahoo group. Test knitters must provide their own yarn and needles. As compensation, test knitters will receive the final pdf version of the pattern they test knit and a choice of any other individual pdf pattern from the book OR $10 off a pre-order copy of the book.
The timeline for test knitting will be FIVE DAYS. Test knitters must be able to complete one sock (not the entire pair) within that time period.
OF COURSE I can knit a sock in 5 days - pshaw! I throw down my gauntlet to anyone who says not! (Shut up, FL!)
Pick me, Cookie! Pick me!
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
It has pleats at the waist / hip area back and front, and on the front shoulder. It is designed to be worn with shoulder pads. The central "strap" forms the front neck facing and provided the opportunity to show off my fabric-matching skills - look at that cheeky sandpiper! And the sleeves have neat little turned-back cuffs which are slightly flared towards the top edge for added perkiness. The back neck facing is cut from a 2-inch wide bias strip. The button / buttonhole bands are folded self-facing. None of the pieces are interfaced, but this cotton had enough stability to cope.
Fabric choice is definitely very important for this style. It is truly "Blousey", as Clare discovered about the Sencha. You don't want to use anything stiff or the whole thing will sit there like an origami paper balloon. It's like a bat-wing without the wing, if you know what I mean. This organic cotton from Cloud 9 was only just soft enough. A craft-weight "quilting cotton" would be too stiff. Voile would be perfect! Mmmmm!
Birdcage pendant from Fairytales and Hidden Notes
Saturday, June 19, 2010
I tried to think of a witty title but it's all been done before, so here, simply, are my homemade (under)pants!
For pairs 3 to 5 (yes! I made 5 pairs out of half a metre of fabric!), I had to add side seams to eke out my material.
Foldover elastic is not readily available in the UK, but I bought it from the English Couture Company for about 50p a metre. There is a minimum spend of £10, but they sell so many wonderful stretch laces / elastics / bindings, I had no trouble stocking up with haberdashery that I knew I would use. They also sell bra-making kits... but I managed to rein myself in! Because they were moving premises, they took for-e-ver to dispatch my parcel, which was very frustrating. These should have been done and dusted weeks ago. But they did apologise and everything I bought is of very high quality.
I switched from "overlock" to "universal stitch" to sew on the elastic - so many new tricks!
Friday, June 18, 2010
Well - how kind! Karie of Fourth Edition and Mooncalf have both nominated me for a Beautiful Blogger Award - thank you! Have you read their blogs? You should!
It's one of those Round Robin things where you have to come up with ten random facts about yourself and then spread the love by nominating another ten bloggers.
Ten Random Facts?
1: My maiden name had a “yogh” in it. This is a letter which no longer exists in modern English and has been replaced by the letter “z”. As a result, nobody ever pronounced my surname correctly, as they treated it like a “z” when it actually sounds more like a “g”. I wrote an essay about it once!
2: I cannot stand the word “savoury”. It makes me think of “slavery”, which on the one hand is an evil perpetrated by power-abusers, and on the other is a description of Scottish dogs when they dribble and drool. Ugh.
How odd – I am going all linguistic on you!
3: I have always had a red nose and cheeks. Despite this, my mother insisted on dressing me in pink. There is a terrible family photograph of me aged about 8 in a handknitted cardigan in a colour called “sizzling raspberry” which was so pink it was practically radioactive. Not good.
4: I have now knitted more pairs of socks in my life than I have skeins of sock wool in the stash. Which must mean I am allowed a splurge soon, mustn’t it?
5: I am into Finnish literature at the moment. I can’t wait for the new Tove Jansson translation to be published! Right now I am reading “The Year of the Hare” by Arto Paasilinna.
6: At University, after I got over missing FL, I hung out with music students and musicians. So, yeah, I knew Ben and Tracey, Stan and Paul and Norm, and my ex-husband-to-be was friends with Roland’s sister. But would any of them remember me? Err… no. I don’t think so. I doubt any of them knew my name back then. But it doesn’t stop me feeling hugely nostalgic when any of their songs come on the radio. Saddo namedropper.
7: Speaking of which, I once met Philip Larkin in Grandways supermarket on Beverly Road in Hull. He was wearing a dirty-old-man’s trenchcoat and was carrying a big umbrella. My memory tells me he also had on a salmon-pink scarf or cravat, but I am not sure anymore. I was hesitating over the cheapest own-brand coffee powder… but I can’t remember what he had in his basket. It might have been Carnation milk and a newspaper?
8: When I was about 15, my hair suddenly became curly, out of nowhere. I had something approaching a blonde ‘fro for about 6 years, right through University, and then the curl disappeared again as suddenly as it arrived.
9: I taught myself classical guitar up to Grade 4 standard, but it all came unstuck when I realised my hands were not big enough to stretch to the Grade 5 chords. One day I would like to learn to play the fiddle like my Auntie Sarah – she used to play mad jigs when she had had a couple of Drambuie’s!
10: My earliest memory is of falling asleep in my bouncer/swing which hung from the sitting room doorway, watching my grandad shave in the bathroom sink using a big bristly brush and frothy soap. He had his braces on over his vest, but no shirt, and had very high-waisted trousers and he was whistling.
Now you want ten bloggers?:
OK, to expand your horizons, here are ten lesser-known blogs that I really enjoy reading:
In no particular order:
La Ville Inconnue is a precociously stylish A-level student with a passion for vintage styles. She'll probably be famous for something one day.
CoutureArts is a lady of similar years to myself who doesn't so much home-sew as produce couture garments at home. Fiendish technical skills and a funky twist to every garment. Formidable.
Light and Macaroni blogs a little bit about sewing, about raising her family, but mostly about what it is like to be inside her own head. I love her frankness, her individuality, her intelligence. Even if sometimes it makes for hard reading.
Jeshknits is an indie-designer knitter who knows what suits a bigger gal. If I was a bigger gal I would want to be her best friend and have her knit something for me.
Lisainray has MM. But she is also a Bollywood actress. And she writes. Boy, does she write.
OK, now I am not sure who reads what, so forgive me if I am recommending "old friends" to you:
Wedonothaveaknittingproblem is a collaboration blog - two Irish (American?) girls who knit and design socks. Fab socks!
Gertie's Blog For Better Sewing Oh I know you know Gertie! But isn't she fabulous?
Tilly and the Buttons Now, this girl claims to be new to sewing, but she is doing pretty darn well for a beginner! Vintage style sewing.
I am struggling here. It seems like the whole bloggy world has already been nominated, or is one of my readers and will think I am just being suck-up-y! I think I need another knitter. How about:
I Want To Go To Faerie College This girl manages to combine hockey and knitting while studying in the Netherlands. She chooses great patterns and yarn. I don't know where she finds the time.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
- sea view for me
- near a sandy beach for me (me first, me first!)
- near a (good quality) golf course for him
- within reach of An'Teallach for him
- electricity, tv, running water, indoor plumbing - all included!
And... um... the dog is going into kennels for the week - double hip-hooray!!!!
I can't tell you how close I came to giving up. I actually found somewhere in the right area, which allowed dogs and was near golf... but was then told by FL that the golf course was "very poor", I nearly flipped! Um - you hit a ball with a stick over some grass into a hole - what is there not to like?! Luckily, another hour of Googling uncovered a little gem of a cottage. It means I can't go to the Hen Do, because the dates clash. But by this stage, my priority was definitely to book a break. And this time, there will be no last-minute cancellations. Even if I have to drive us there myself, and even if FL spends the week asleep.
And there is a - gasp - proper coffee shop in the nearest village!
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I have been searching for a holiday cottage, so that FL can take me for a walk to / in / near his favourite mountain, An'teallach. It has been very frustrating. Most holiday accommodation was booked up months ago, so it's all the oddities that are left: the over-priced, £1-slot-meter-for electricity, bring your own bedlinen, no television sort of place. I actually found two beautiful cottages in glorious locations, but FL tells me they are too far away from a golf course. Since he had just finished telling me he had only managed three holes yesterday, I wasn't viewing this as a priority. Grrr. And he wants to take the dog with us. Double grrr. I know who will end up being dragged across a rainy field in pursuit of a rabbit when she would much rather be knitting. I have come closer to losing my temper over this than over any other thing in our 6 years of living together! I just want a holiday in a simple but properly-equipped cottage near the coast, so I can sit and knit and look at the waves. Maybe flipping Greece would be easier! Ah... but we can't take the dog to Greece can we?!
Moving on... my wedding shoes arrived and they are beyond fabulous! But my daughter has pointed out they will look "rubbish" with the teal rose fabric I blogged about the other day. She's right of course. Oh - and I had better not be thinking of adding red piping to try and make the colours go together...?! She knows me too well, that girl ... and clearly she has been reading the fashion books I gave her for her birthday!
So I am in search of red rose-print fabric. Or else I will take up FL's suggestion and wear the Tea Dress to the wedding - it looks rather good with the red shoes! (Oh yes - how rude of me - thank you so much for all your kind comments about it!) But I don't want to miss the opportunity to make a fab fifties frock.
Keep Googling, Roo!
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Sunday, June 06, 2010
Friday, June 04, 2010
Back at the farm, the dog and I have been enjoying long evening walks though the buttercup-filled fields, spying deer and the occasional hare as well as the more usual rabbits. It has been quite energising!
It inspired me to paint my toenails yellow! Bizarrely reminiscent of emulsion paint, I nevertheless recommend "Cheeky Chops" from Butter London! No nasty chemicals.
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Obviously, it would be too easy to just pick up a copy of the cult Sencha pattern. Instead, I have to find a genuine vintage pattern that looks like Sencha, but has sleeves.
Why? My reasoning is that I will never wear a cap-sleeve blouse without something on top. I live in the frozen north in a poorly-heated house, and frequent a draughty workplace where they switch the heating off from May through October.
Keyhole neck detail
I thought I would share pics of some of my favourites, all from Etsy.
For a long time this blouse / skirt combination had been top of the list, but I am wary of too "sweet" a style.
Plus it is too small... even in my skinny state. And I am wary of major alterations.
I saw an even-more-fussy "stepped" square sleeve today - way too much potential trauma! Though I can see it could be attractive in a contrast lace.
Hmmm... I rarely consider using two fabrics in one garment.
In the end, I bought the pattern at the top of the page. It has that crucial keyhole / tie neck, plenty of darts to adjust the fit, and a rather alluring tapered sleeve. I can imagine it working well in a jersey / stretch fabric, which would be a warmer option for September, when tops are going to be in short supply if I don't get stitching now!