My Photo

I knit, I sew, I run, I look after children and hamsters, I take truly terrible pictures, I cook, I complain.  Sometimes all at the same time.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Hand on the rhythm, feel the rhythm of the rhyme; Hand on your life, feel the rhythm of time

What's with all the posts in February?  Am I living a permanent state of sofa sloth hangover, or am I just forcing myself to write, even when I'd really much rather just sit and collapse? Bit from column A, bit from column B.

It's been an absolutely brilliant day today.  We had our opening ceremony at school, which meant that the absolutely wonderful Michael Rosen came to visit us, to run some workshops/performance poetry and to open the school and to autograph a billion books, including one for the children, and of course I got a picture.

I love him a bit.  Well, a lot actually.  He made a great point about Local Authorities being allowed to open schools themselves, rather than having sodding free schools popping up all over the place, and I was tempted to start applauding; I probably should have done, at least one other person would have joined in.  Our local MP was there, she planted a tree in the middle of the playground (nice of her) and we all got absolutely soaked and freezing.  Fortunately, this was just at the end of the day, so we ran the children round to the classroom and sent them home.
I haven't been through my pictures yet, but I will do a big collage of the best 9 or so, and pop them up at some point.  You can see in the picture above the Butterfly dress in the wild, it was very much admired, as was my hair by one of my fellow school governors, which made me blush - I don't do compliments very well - and caused a little Year One brat to ask if he was my new boyfriend.  Er.  NO.
Some other pictures of the dress.
Hello Banned Butterfly cardigan, you really fit well where you touch, and touch wherever you fit.
I really like this picture.  My husband is getting better at photographs, and it helps that I got him to stand on the sofa and photograph me from above rather than below, where all the chins can be seen.
I are serious SENCo teacher in my butterfly dress.  I are not 7.
I think it turned out rather well.  I'm going to make at least two more - one with the flamingo border print fabric, one with the amazing floral fabric of joy.  I'm going to have to wait until the kitchen is done so I can cut out without lying on the floor.  I made a rather sexy and low-cut Coco with a BDSM zip up the back the other day, cutting it out on the carpet and not making the greatest job of it.  It is, however, really comfy to wear and looks great.  Photos soon.
Anyway. I've got the latest Agents of Shield episode to watch and a whole bunch of X-Files to fall asleep into my knitting in front of, so until next time.  Which might even be tomorrow.


Sunday, 7 February 2016

When suddenly Johnny gets the feeling he's being surrounded by horses, horses, horses, horses coming in in all directions

Another Sunday, another post about making clothes.  I'd love to write about knitting, but I've been pretty monogamous this week, only working on the yellow Myrna.  The difference between my knitting now and my knitting then, right there.  Also, I properly screwed up one of the sleeves, and I frogged the damn thing, and am in the process of re-knitting it, which is frustrating, but will mean that I end up with a better fitting garment.  The sleeves need to have 96 rows plus 10 rows of ribbing, and so far I am on sleeve 2, 65 rows in, so not great, but it should be ready for blocking in a day or so.  The only pictures I have of it are terrible, so you will have to wait.

In other making news, I finished my Emery dress, and it now has a hem and is ready to wear in the rain for our grand opening at school tomorrow.

Hopefully, there will be at least one decent shot of me in it to show at some point.  I might have to get someone to take a picture if not. 

This is a quick and not particularly brilliant photo of my latest Coco.  It's got a colour block top, and is actually grey and white stripes, not pure white.  I will take more pictures in the morning, when the light is better, and will wear it on Tuesday and get a picture then.  It was very quick to make, especially since I'd cut it out before we started the building works.  The fabric is from Maud's Fabric Finds, and was chosen by Hattie, at the Handmade Fair in September.  I am making her a Kitschy Coo Skater dress in the blue, so we will be matching.  She chose a particularly pink jersey at the weekend for yet another Skater dress; the girl is developing a pretty good eye for colour.

She's really into clothes at the moment: at the Handmade Fair, she picked out a horse print jersey for her sister, and I've made Lucy a dress.  Guess which pattern?  It's the easiest pattern in the world, and the girls love wearing circle skirts and twirling.

Again, a bit of crap photo.  This seems to be the theme of tonight's post.

That one is Lucy's and this one is Hattie's.

Of course, Hattie took one look at Lucy's dress, and demanded her own version.  And again, of course, the fabric that I bought for Lucy's from The Fabric Godmother was sold out, so I had to find something similar on eBay.  Then I had just enough left to make the back and one sleeve of a Grainline Lark teeshirt for myself, so I had to order another metre and a half in order to finish it.  So all the Croyden women will have matching clothes.  

Horses, horses, horses, horses coming in in all directions.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Leslie, I tried to make ramen in the coffee pot and I broke everything

It's Saturday, and I am dangerously hungover, one of those stealth hangovers that starts off as a banging headache, then creeps up until all you can do is eat cheese and salami and cry quietly while sitting on the sofa under a blanket.  Still, good night last night, and I've managed to pretty much function as an adult until about an hour ago, so it's all good.

Side eye at Jane for taking my picture

 Anyway, enough about my debauched and hedonistic lifestyle and more about clothes.  I finally got around to making an Emery dress, going to another sewing class with lovely, lovely Handmade Jane, at West London's premiere haberdashery, Badger and Earl.  The Emery pattern is lovely, and really easy, except for the masses of darts in the bodice - it's self lined, so everything has to double up, which means that there are 16 to trace, pin, sew and press, which is all the fun.  I don't know if there are any corners I can cut, but I think I will use a different colour for the lining.

I used an African wax cotton print from these people on eBay, and it was really easy to sew and press, if a bit stiff.  It'll soften up as it gets washed, which won't be before I want to wear it on Monday, for the Grand Opening at our school with the marvellous Michael Rosen.

I made an invisible zip, and it is actually, properly invisible.

Look at my happy face. Also check out the leopard print skirt in the wild.
I'm so pleased with it.  I do need to hem it, as it's a bit long still, and a bit Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (dammit) but that won't take very long at all. 

Me, Jane and Michaela
It's not the greatest photo, it's so hard to take decent indoor photos in poor light, but take it from me, this is a properly great dress, and I love it dearly.  

Unbreakable!  They 'live dammit.
I didn't have to make any changes to the bodice either although I used a bigger size for the bust dart, rather than fanny around with an FBA.  

I'm contemplating another one after the building work finishes and I have space to cut out again.  Also, money to buy this fabric with.  I need this fabric in my life.  Isn't it amazing?

Right, I've got the entire first season of X-files to watch and the rest of that Myrna cardigan to knit.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

It's cold outside and I can't wear mittens because they're not flattering to my hands!

Hello campers and how's the weekend been?  Normally, I write about knitting on a Sunday evening, but this evening, I want to talk about running and how amazing it can be.

It was the Winter Run today, a 10k race through Central London, which sounds pretty amazing, and really, really was.  I ran it last year before injuring my ankle, and it took me 1 hour 31 minutes, which was pretty slow, but I did it, and I got a medal to prove it.  I then signed up for this year in a fit of adrenaline based madness, and promptly forgot about it, particularly when I had to pull out of the Royal Parks Half Marathon when my ankle meant I couldn't really train for it.  In November, Hattie suddenly piped up about my big run, and I went and checked through my emails, and hurrah, I was signed up again.  Hurrah might not have been my actual first thought.

I did manage some training, after a long time of no running, and managed 10k a couple of times without too much pain and difficulty, so I knew I could do it.  Signing up for the Ealing Half Marathon made the whole "you just have to get on with it" thing easier, plus I've done a hell of a lot of exercise this year so far.  In January, I've walked, run and cycled 211.3km, according to my Runkeeper app, and more if you count the UP band data, which I don't at the moment, as the bloody thing is broken.  

Well, the Winter Run is done, and I managed the 10k in a mighty 1 hour 24 minutes, which is more than 5 mins faster than last year, and I'm so pleased about that.  I've still a long way to go before the Ealing Half Marathon, but I'm on the right track.

The only crap note is that I lost my lovely Peerie Flooers hat; at least I can knit it again, and this time it'll fit properly; the old one was a bit loose.  

The mental dust diet only allows me one proper food meal a day, and it's going pretty well considering.  I've still only lost about 7 pounds in 3 and a bit weeks, but I've lost it from visceral fat (what?) and not from muscle, and this seems legit, what with me standing on a scale with bare feet and a small electrical current running through my body measuring all my stats.  I'm definitely looking leaner and thinner; and my waist and bust have shrunk.  My hips have not.  This is not great, but lets stick to the positive.

Hurrah for running, and I'm going to do it again next year, and let's hope I can shave another 5-10 minutes off that time.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

If you're thinking "Holy shit! Holy shit! A swordfish almost went though my head!" If so, then yes.

How does a crappy picture of an awesome skirt sound?

It's Jungle January over at Pretty Grievances, and I'm now feeling a strong sewing genius enough to join in.

I wanted a bit of leopard print in my life, and I saw this rather fine thick, stretchy-ish jersey on eBay, and snapped it up.  It's a bit more artificial, non-natural fabric-y than I usually go for, but actually, I wouldn't really want to wear a natural leopard print.  Ew. 

The fabric up close looks like this:

and it is awesome in every way.  It has minimal stretch and hangs really well.  I haven't worn it much yet, because I don't feel that it is suitable for work actually, but I wore it to my sewing course last Saturday (more on that later, when I'm on my computer with all the photos and not Simon's computer with the keys in the wrong places and the non-responsive keyboard, dagnamit) and I cycled from West Ealing to Chiswick in it and it fits really well.  I should probably cut a smaller size next time though. Woo!
Thanks Jessica, I do have to ACTUALLY. 
Anyway, here is the completed skirt in all its awesome glory, hanging in the window of my sewing room/Simon's office.
I have enough fabric left to make a three quarter length sleeve top.  Preferably with a BDSM zip up the top.  Hurrah for quick and dirty projects, I love them.


Sunday, 24 January 2016

Well now I'm standing. Happy? We're all standing now. Bunch of jackasses, standing in a circle.

The first KNIT CHAT of 2016.  I've been meaning to write about the KNIT LIST before, but, you know, stuff happens.  No ablogogising.

Half my stash is in the storage unit, the other half is stored in the spare room in boxes and while not totally inaccessible, I will have to work on one project at a time, so progress will be even slower than normal.

The Rainbow Raglan: we are in a fight at the moment.  I ALMOST finished the body AGAIN and tried it on, and that bloody side boob thing is still there, and so I've ripped it back to the armholes again, and now we are not speaking.  I may well start knitting it again once I've finished my super Myrna.

Super Myrna: it is lemon.  It is beautiful.  It is sexy.  It is nearly finished, and just needs a second sleeve.  Big love for the sexy lemon.

Hexipuff Quilt: There are 237 hexipuffs done and sewn together and looking gorgeous.  Still.  No car journeys planned, so it might stay the same size for a bit.

Simon's Cobblestone jumper: round and round and round I go, where I stop, I do not know.  *sigh*

Simon's massive man socks: Need more yarn.  I'll buy some after my BIG RUN next week.

This One's for Parties Vintage Jumper: Grumpy

The Yellow Petrie: Being stored.  I'm thinking about it.

Rainbow jumper for Hattie: I'm very much afraid this will be for Nicholas instead, it seems much, much too small for her.  I'm still working on the sleeve problem, I might make them sort of top down.  I know what they'll look like in my head.

These are things that are waiting to be started.

A circle blanket for Robin
Cream and Beige Coco style boatneck striped top
Sun-Ray Ribbing Vintage Jumper
Ishbel scarf thing
Waterhouse Mittens
Mini Hetty cardigan with sleeves for Lucy 
Bright Rainbow Blanket for Lucy
Burton Bear cowl for Hattie
Minion blanket for Hattie


Elwood Mittens for Lucy
Weather Blanket
Separate but matching vests for twin boys
Urchin hat
Peacock mittens

I've found a great website with ALL the Parks and Rec gifs.  What fun.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Why are my arms so weak? It’s like I did that push-up last year for nothing!

January.  It's been interesting cycling around West Ealing in the morning.  I lost the feeling in both feet and in my thumbs at one point, despite two pairs of gloves and three pairs of socks.  Super.

We went back to school on the 4th, and I've been running around like a maniac since then, what with all the SENCO-ing and the teaching and the looking after children and the knitting and the sewing and the exercising and the mental dieting and all sorts.

The mental dieting is actually going quite well.  I'm mostly not hungry, until it gets to about 4:30/5, at which point it gets a bit much and I end up eating celery until I feel better.  Unfortunately, celery can't really replace, I don't know, bread, pasta, rice, chocolate, sweets, biscuits, shortbread, alcohol, fruit juice, sausages or crisps, but I'm eating a lot of it, and sometimes I even have some homemade hummus or low fat guacamole, so I get my treats!  I don't hate it and it is working, I've lost nearly 9 pounds and about an inch off my entire body, so I'm sticking with it for a bit longer.  It's not sustainable, I know that, and it goes against the whole healthy eating, real food philosophy, but, fuck it, I want to be slim, and this is the easiest way to do it.  Who knew that practically no food and all the exercise would lead to massive weight loss?

I'm sure next week will be better.  If all else fails, there's always beating people around the head and brushing my hair endlessly.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

That really got out of hand fast

Happy New Year!

As usual, I have all sorts of grand sewing and knitting plans for the year, most of which will probably fall by the wayside to begin with as we have the conservatory at the back of the house removed and replaced with a more permanent extension.  The builders believe that this will take 6 weeks.  We may well disagree about this in the middle of March when it is still a bomb site, but let's be positive and take their word for it at the moment.  

I usually sew in the conservatory, at the dining room table, and cut out on the island in the kitchen, so I will need to have an alternative place to do both these things soon.  I've cut out a Black Watch Francoise dress, and a Skater Dress for Hattie, and before the 21st January, I want to cut out a whole lot of different things.  These might well be or include a Lady Skater, another two child Skater Dresses, a cherry print rockabilly top, as discussed before, a grey Coco sweatshirt which I'll iron hot-fix glitter on to, a leopard print knit fabric skirt, a sweatshirt for each of the girls which will have a unicorn head hot-fix glitter-ed on it, and a grey and white striped Coco dress.  

The only thing with a deadline is the cherry print top, and I should be able to make that in an evening or two.  The rest of my fabric has gone into a box or three and is in the storage unit now.  Some of my wool will be going into storage too, although I will also vacuum pack some and put it in the loft.  This is, as you can imagine, a really traumatic time for me, particularly as I can't even buy more fabric to make pretty things with, or wool, as we will be basically be living in one room downstairs which will be a massively amusing experience.

Looking at that list, it seems quite intimidating, but it's just a bit of cutting, putting in bags and writing words.  The sewing can wait, as I'll be mostly using Simon's office as my sewing room, which will involve a lot of tidying up.  This is one of my skills, so I can't see any problems in our immediate future.

I suppose all the upset and arguments and stress be worth it in the end; it's costing a small fortune, and is going to give us the same amount of space, and moan moan moan, my diamond shoes are too tight.  Still, shiny new kitchen and a downstairs loo!  Dream big, people, dream big.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

My outside is pretty and shiny but my inside is filled with cardboard and horse glue

Well, it's the end of the year, and I've got a lot of super shiny clothes to show for it.  I'm not making a best/worst list, because all the things I've made are great and I love them, and I can see my skills improving and the fit is getting better.  Next year, as well as all the running and the weight loss and the not drinking alcohol, I am going to learn how to take better photos, and I might get a tripod and a self timer for my camera.  Much as I love the "standing in the stairwell and taking a picture in the mirror" selfie, it's time to learn how to make my pictures a bit more interesting.

Anyway, my new top.  My lovely boss was 60 a few days ago, and we love to celebrate at school, so we're going to go out and do something exciting in a few weeks.  I doubt any of my colleagues read this, but I'm going to be all vague and non-committal, just in case.  I want a new outfit, and I want a vaguely in theme rockabilly sexy top, as well as spray on jeans (double Spanx), a strapless bra, cherry jewellery, fishnet socks and glitter sandals.  And a black cover-up cardigan, just in case.

As I didn't want to buy another pattern, I decided to massively hack the Cambie dress bodice, and lengthen it, and make a bustier style top out of it.

Something like this:

She's got a similar figure to me, but more tattooed.  I'm never going to be a proper sewing blogger rockabilly girl until I get some tattoos/a Sharpie.

My toile started off like this:

where I just pinned the pieces to Nigella and had a think. 

Then I sewed this.  You can't tell from this picture, but I've sewn a very long open ended zip to the back to hold it all together, mostly because I didn't have one the right size, but also because I really like the idea of a big BDSM zip on my top.  It's in upside down, which is a DESIGN FEATURE ACTUALLY.  You also can't tell from the picture, but I've pinned a dart in the front, as the Cambie bodice is much too big at the upper bust, and just the right size on the hips and bum.

Then I finished it off like this, with straps, and took a poor quality selfie, which makes the front bulge out a bit, because of the angle of my arm.  I'm really pleased with it, even though it needs finishing and a proper zip.  It's really quite impressive for a first bash at pattern hacking, and I'll be able to wear this in the summer just as it is.  I've got about 2 metres of a lovely black cherry print, identical to the Hell Bunny one up there, and a zip and a lot of bias binding, as I don't want to line the top, and my skills do not extend to drafting a facing at the moment. 

At the moment, the spotty top is on Nigella, and it doesn't fit her at all well.  It's too tight across the bust, and too loose on the waist - I might need to adjust her curves to match mine a bit better.

Well, that's enough waffling on from me for this year, have a great time celebrating tonight; we are going to sit on the sofa, eat crisps, drink wine and watch a crappy film, which is our favourite way to spend New Year's Eve.  

See you in 2016!

Sunday, 27 December 2015

And then a car coming the other way swerves to avoid you and goes off a cliff

It'll be 2016 in a few days, and the start of a new year, and time for resolutions that I don't keep.  Looking back, my resolutions for this year were to be a size 12 (ha!) and to make trousers (ha! again), so this year, my resolutions are going to be pretty much the same.  I've just joined our local cheapy gym, and I've been for a 6.61km run today, and done a load of sit ups and stuff, so things are moving in the right direction.  I've got 20 pounds to lose; so far I've lost 1.  At Christmas.  You can touch me if you like.  I have some photos of me in my workout gear which when I'm feeling brave I will post as a before picture at some point, so brace yourself for that.

Anyway, the point of all this exercise is to make the sewing and subsequent photos more enjoyable.  If I'm going to have to take all sorts of inside leg and around my bum and thigh measurements, it had better be an interesting rather than horrific experience.

Knit chat, as well as FIT CHAT.  No finished objects, but lots of progress.

Hexipuff Quilt: There are 237 hexipuffs done and sewn together and looking gorgeous.

The Rainbow Raglan: it now has a sleeve.  However, knitting the sleeve made me realise that I had knitted in some form of side boob, and so I had to rip it back to the armhole and start again from there.  *sob*  It's coming along pretty well, and I'm almost finished with the waist shaping and then it's only a few rounds after that until the body is done.  AGAIN.

Simon's Cobblestone jumper: round and round and round I go, where I stop, I do not know.  *sigh*

Simon's massive man socks: Need more yarn

This One's for Parties Vintage Jumper: Grumpy

The Yellow Petrie: I appear to be using the orange I used for the facing for something else, so I will need to have a think about that.

Miette cardigan in Lemon: changed to be a Myrna cardigan, again by Andi Satturland for her Selfish Knitting Knit-Along, starting yesterday until Valentine's day.  Myrna is very cropped and LOOK AT MY BOOBS which fits the new aesthetic very well.  I'm going to give it long sleeves and make it a bit longer, so it looks less pornographic and is more wearable.

Mini Hetty cardigan with sleeves for Hattie: swapped out for a Rainbow Owlet jumper without owls, so a DK weight raglan sleeve jumper with rainbow stripes, which I started in Cambridge on Tuesday and am nearly done with.  Hurrah for quick fixes.  Not sure how to do the stripes on the sleeves though, but I'll work it out.

These are things that are waiting to be started.

A circle blanket for Robin
Cream and Beige Coco style boatneck striped top
Sun-Ray Ribbing Vintage Jumper
Ishbel scarf thing
Waterhouse Mittens
Mini Hetty cardigan with sleeves for Lucy 
Bright Rainbow Blanket for Lucy
Burton Bear cowl for Hattie
Minion blanket for Hattie


Elwood Mittens for Lucy
Weather Blanket
Separate but matching vests for twin boys
Urchin hat
Peacock mittens

It's not looking that bad really.  Just got to keep going, one stitch at a time.