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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.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Another time I went to a really boring movie with a guy and while I was asleep he tried to pull out one of my teeth. I literally woke up with his hand in my mouth. We went out a couple times after that but then he got weird.


I love sunflowers.  They're one of my favourite flowers, after those big blowsy roses that look like drunk peonies; I had them in my bouquet when we got married.  They undercut the formality of our wedding with their scruffy sexiness.  As did the bride, but that's another story.

Anyway, so it was only a matter of time before I bought some sunflower fabric to make a dress.  Inspired, as ALWAYS, by this dress made by the indomitable Roisin, I got some fabric from ebay some time last year.  Seriously, stalk her handmade wardrobe, it is one of the greatest things ever.  The woman is a machine.



It sat in the stash for a while, intending to become an Anna dress.  



However, I decided to be a bit of a glutton for punishment, and had yet another go at the the sodding Cambie dress, which was the second dress pattern I made, and a massive, massive pain in the bum.  I'm the wrong shape for it.  My boobs are too big, my waist isn't narrow enough and neither are my hips.  I don't have saddlebags, so the damn thing sticks out in the wrong place and I never wear the two dresses I made from that pattern.  The zip being broken on one doesn't help, and the other is just NOT GOOD.

But, this is dressmaking not astrophysics, and I won't let a bit of cloth and some paper beat me.  I made a toile with my cotton lining fabric, made a couple of bodice changes, mostly taking it in here and there so I didn't have to do a full bust adjustment, and went for it.  Well, it was an effing disaster again, so after some mild (bad) swearing and stamping and throwing the dress on the ground and stamping on it, I ripped out the sodding lining and tried again.  This time, it worked.  


I don't like pockets, so I made the skirt out of the lining pattern, and it sort of bulges out halfway down my thighs.  But that's just visible to me, not to anyone else.


A close up of the bodice.  I put a couple of darts in by the zip, and spent a while sorting out the shoulder strap things.  I really like it now, and I might just have another go at the Cambie another time.  Maybe.  It's a lot better without the lining; when we get back from holiday, I'll rip the lining out of the Dolly dress and replace the zip.  I should wear it, I did love it in the beginning.

It also has a bang on trend high/low hem, which was INTENDED ACTUALLY. 

My clothes photos are getting a bit better too. 






Tuesday, 7 July 2015

I'm wearing a new, um, bra and it closes in the front and it popped-open and it threw me off.

Did you know that hippos can run at a top speed of 30 km/h, and can swim at about 15 km/h, so you really need to make up the time on the bikes if you want to beat them at the triathlon.

I'm running again, if you hadn't realised.  I ran on Sunday, yesterday and today, building up my distance to a mighty 5 km.  I've been avoiding running, then berating myself for not doing it, then getting depressed, then going out and getting furious within 30 seconds, and repeating a pretty negative cycle.  I've decided to go out everyday for a fortnight, alternating my "half marathon training plan" with running circuits of the track while the kids play in the park.  Apparently 3 circuits is a kilometre; I did it yesterday but with just my UP band to track it and it wasn't very good at it.  I might need to read the instructions, because you can get it to time an activity pretty accurately according to the blurb. 

It's all very positive at the moment though, with 4.9 kilometres on Sunday, 1 and a bit yesterday, and 4.85 kilometres today.  I don't run the whole way, because my ankle starts to really hurt after about 2k, and walking helps ease that.  But I am doing it.  Even though I only sporadically enjoy it, particularly going down hills.  

I don't intend to write too much about my "fitness journey" because it bores ME to tears, let alone both my remaining readers, but I will mention it now and again.  After all, it will have an impact on my sewing - less fabric used, more likely to take pictures of myself as I become happier with my body and the way I look, generally happier with everything.   I'm certainly not going to write a daily fitness journal, although I might show you a few post exercise selfies.


Cheers.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Oh, one time I rode in a sidecar on a guy's motorcycle, and the sidecar detached and went down a flight of stairs

The Outfit Along 2015 is in full swing, hosted by the gorgeous Llauren Lladybird and the equally gorgeous Andi Satterlund and I've been umming and aahhing over my dress and my knitting.  I originally thought I wanted to make a mustard coloured Vianne cardigan with a 1970s duvet print Lilou dress, but I decided against.  Weirdly.


I think I'll still make it up, but in the Autumn.  It's not that summery at all.  I don't wear those colours ever, so it's a bit of a brave shot in the dark.  

I ended up choosing a different colour yarn but the same cardigan pattern and a totally different dress pattern.  This is a Francoise, still by Tilly and the Buttons, but a pattern I've made twice before, once badly in purple, once very happily in polka dots.  I used a special fabric, an African wax cotton print that I bought on the Goldhawk Road when Lauren came to visit London, so it's nice to use it for a pattern that has something to do with her.  


It's a lovely print; I was a bit wary of using an African wax cotton, given that my ancestors have not always chosen their best behaviour when dealing with other Africans, and cultural appropriation and all that, but decided not to be so silly in the end, and to celebrate the beauty of the fabric and the skill of the women who make it.  



Nice isn't it?  Bias binding on the neckline and the sleeves, because Julia doesn't do facings. 


This is me with a why the f are you mucking about with my camera face on.  You can't tell from the picture, but the bodice is a bit too big, everywhere but over my full bust.  There are 5 inches between my full bust and my high bust (FFS), so I should really do an FBA and use a smaller size.  Or rip the binding at the neckline out and then put a couple of darts in the back.  Or leave it as the only person bothered by it is me when I look in a mirror and I look like I might fall out of my dress.  

I have worn the dress pretty much solidly since I made it on Friday night;  I know how to live it up.  It's in the wash now so I can wear it again on Wednesday.  It's gorgeously cool and light to wear, I feel like I'm not wearing anything at all, while being perfectly, modestly dressed.  I'm going to buy a job lot of wax print and make a bunch of shift dress, and maybe make an Anna dress with the rest of the fabric.  Should be perfect for our Greek adventure.  

Eagle eyed readers may have spotted the bare bum of my older daughter.  She has a knack for photobombing. 

Sunday, 5 July 2015

There's something about flying a kite at night that seems so unwholesome

Those of you who are interested in my knitting will be thrilled to hear that the last Year of Projects is over, and that we are now into the next one.  Even though it's uncharacteristically hot here (warm weather in summer, who knew?), I'm thinking about knitting a lot, and I've got my to do list ready.  Brace yourselves.

Me:
Petrie top in Yellow Wool Cotton from Liberty
Miette cardigan in Lemon
Cream and Beige Coco style boatneck striped top
Rainbow Raglan to replace the one I lost
Sun-Ray Ribbing Vintage Jumper
This One's for Parties Vintage Jumper
Finish the Vianne in time for the end of the Outfit Along.
Finish the Wisteria so that when it gets cold, I will be warm
Finish the Peacock Mittens, ditto

Simon:
Reknit his Cobblestone jumper
A pair of massive MAN SOCKS

Lucy:
Elwood mittens
Mini Hetty cardigan with sleeves

Hattie:
Burton Bear cowl
Mini Hetty cardigan with sleeves

Blankets:
Owl Blanket for Robin's Christmas present
Bright Rainbow Blanket for Lucy
Minion blanket for Hattie
Finish the &%^%^&^%&^ing Weather Blanket
100 *(&*&*&^*^%&&^%ing Hexipuffs

It looks doable now.  Ask me again in a fortnight.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

You see how picky I am about my shoes and they only go on my feet.

A round-up of the last Year of Projects.  It's been fun.  I've not completed everything, and I keep adding to it, which sort of screws up the whole "list" idea.

Things I have finished:

Hattie rainbows

Things I have almost finished:

The Weather in the Streets blanket

Lots of progress on this one.  Yay.  Just got to crochet them on to the main blanket, but as it's too hot to have a massive heavy blanket on my lap.

Yellow squares - 134/143 done - 9 to go
Blue squares - 64/72 done - 8 to go
Grey squares - 90/102 - 12 to go
Turquoise squares - 8/11 done - 3 to go
Red squares - 8/10 done
Pinky-Red squares - 8/10 done
Orange squares - DONE
Pink square - DONE
Purple squares - DONE
Dark Green squares - DONE
Pale Blue square - DONE
Pale Yellow square - DONE
Dark Blue square - DONE

Vianne cardigan - Irritated by this.  I had to rip it back, and ripped back too far, so now I've got to start again, and it's taking FOREVER.

Wisteria jumper - Still needing a bloody sleeve. It's too hot.

Hexipuff Blanket - least said, soonest mended.

Peacock Mitten

These are for the next list.

Knitted Coco
Coraline cardigan 
Owls for Robin
Socks for me
Petrie top
Burton Bear Cowl for Hattie. 
Elwood mittens for Lucy.  
Rainbow jumper
A Little Birds jumper with no steeks .
Reknit an unwearably large jumper for Simon

So that's that for last year, and onward into this.  You can pretty much tell what the list is going to look like from reading the list of unfinished projects. 

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

I know I am but summer to your heart, and not the full four seasons of the year.

Pinch punch and white rabbits and all that, and welcome to July.  It's absolutely boiling here in West London, at least 35 degrees C, and more than that in the Nursery, which is awful for the dear little things, and worse for us.  It should cool down soon, which will be a blessed relief.

Anyway. There's been lots of this:







Tall jugs of iced water with lemon, lime and mint.  Ringmaster Rosie black, red, white and pink tutu. Sweet Williams, on sale in the Co-Op for under £1.  Rainbow dress and matching pants for Hattie.  New paddling pool broken in. 

Pretty busy what with one thing and the other.  

We're going to see a kitchen designer tomorrow.  More on that later. 




Monday, 15 June 2015

My knitting is as boundless as the sea, My stash as deep; the more I give to thee, The more I have, for both are infinite.

What a weekend.  We went to Paris very early on Saturday morning and came back on Sunday night.  I am EXHAUSTED, and the children are foul, as they would be with so little sleep.  It sounds so glamourous, 48 hours in Paris; does it break the spell to say that it was my grandmother's 90th birthday, and we didn't stay in Paris itself but in a small but anonymous hotel in her village, half an hour out of the centre?  Probably a bit, but we had a great time, and I have some photos once I get them off the camera.

Some things from the list:

A FINISHED OBJECT


It's Andi Satterlund's Miette cardigan, which will go with my two Miette skirts.  I made it with the wrong weight of yarn, DK instead of Worsted, which was a bit of a mistake, but it will be lighter weight for Summer.  I wore it today, and it was a bit too warm, but then it's been rubbish and humid in London today.

NB It looks better on than in the photo, but I am having a bad hair day so there are to be NO PHOTOS.

Stuff I am actually working on actually.

The Weather in the Streets blanket

Even slighter progress this week on this one.  I've got 18 loose squares now.

Yellow squares - 123/143 done - 20 to go
Blue squares - 63/72 done - 9 to go
Grey squares - 79/102 - 23 to go
Turquoise squares - 4/11 done
Red squares - 8/10 done
Pinky-Red squares - 8/10 done
Orange squares - DONE
Pink square - DONE
Purple squares - DONE
Dark Green squares - DONE
Pale Blue square - DONE
Pale Yellow square - DONE
Dark Blue square - DONE

Vianne cardigan - another Andi Satt pattern, this time for the outfit along 2015.  Because I am awkward, I am making it with a plain back. It's a good pattern, but I've never been one for masses of lace everywhere.  I knitted quite a lot of it on the plane yesterday, and it's coming along well.  Turns out I only have about 6 balls of the yarn I've earmarked for it, so I will use that up and probably (totally) buy more for the Petrie top.  



Stuff I am not really working on, but saying I am as it makes me feel less like a grasshopper and more like an ant.

Wisteria jumper - Still needing a bloody sleeve.
Hexipuff quilt - least said, soonest mended.
Peacock Mitten

It is doubtful whether these will be started this month.

Knitted Coco
Coraline cardigan 
Owls for Robin
Socks for me
Petrie top

These are not being started until the weather turns crap again.  I have no guilt.

Burton Bear Cowl for Hattie. 
Elwood mittens for Lucy.  
Rainbow jumper
A Little Birds jumper with no steeks .
Reknit an unwearably large jumper for Simon

These are DONE and are therefore my favourite projects

Myrna Cardigan
Hattie's cardigan
A pair of simple socks for the children
Garter Yoke Cardigan
An Owlet for Lucy
Lucy's Cowl
Hattie's Cowl
A Burton Bear Cowl for Lucy
Simon's socks
Boreal
A tiny jumper for Nicholas
Sparkly Owlet for Hattie
Ringo mittens
Aiken
Striped jumper for Lucy
Nicholas' POP blanket
Lucy ripples


Hattie rainbows
Miette for me

The new list is shaping up to be depressingly similar to the old one; ho hum. Fewer socks for the children though as they keep on growing, and it wears me out. 

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Richard got married to a figure skater, And he bought her a dishwasher and a coffee percolator, And he drinks at home now most nights with the TV on

When life gives you lemon fabric, you make dresses with lemons on.  


Simplicity Blogging Circle had a competition which ended last month to make some version of this dress, which is Simplicity 6145, so I faithfully cut it out, emailed them, entered, then put the fabric in a bag near my sewing machine and ignored it for a while, hoping it would sew itself.

Until last Saturday morning, when, post Rainbows sleepover, sleep deprived and a bit lightheaded, I sewed it together.  Having measured myself, compared my measurements to the sizes, read that even though my waist and hips are about the same as the stated size 16 and my bust is considerably bigger, I decide to cut out a size 16.  Shame I didn't read the finished garment measurements.  



Anyway, the good news is that I totally chose the wrong size, and ended up with a far, far too big dress.  It fits well across my hips and bum, but was so big around the bust, I nearly fell out of it.  It took me a lot of buggering about with the neckline to make it fit properly.  I ended up reducing it by ten inches. I'd like to think I've lost weight, which is why it doesn't fit, but I think it's the whole full bust, hollow chest thing; and will result in masses of fitting changes to all my dresses.  So it's a good job I don't care very much about fit across the chest, so long as it doesn't look too daft.

Next time, I'll choose the 14, and wing it.  Or not eat until it fits.  







Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Uh, no, Miss Stoeger? I have a note from my tennis instructor, and he would prefer it if I didn't expose myself to any training that might derail his teachings.

Errr mi gerd, I have been a bit busy recently, what with one thing (Rainbows sleepover) and another (horrific food poisoning - marginally worse than the sleepover).  All the EMOTIONAL PAIN of the last few months and years have been worth it, and I am in Year 2 doing lots of fun stuff next year - Art, Geography, History, Creative Writing, Science, what's not to like.  Fantastic.  Still got the essay of doom to do, but that will be done sooner rather than later, and at least getting one done means that I'm on track for the second one.

Anyway.  Knitting, knitting, knitting.

Stuff I am actually working on actually.

The Weather in the Streets blanket

There's been some progress.  Slight but some.  I think I've got about 16 loose ones now, I'll sew them together when I get to 20.

Yellow squares - 122/143 done - 21 to go
Blue squares - 63/72 done - 9 to go
Grey squares - 79/102 - 23 to go
Turquoise squares - 4/11 done
Red squares - 8/10 done
Pinky-Red squares - 8/10 done
Orange squares - ALL DONE
Pink square - DONE
Purple squares - DONE
Dark Green squares - DONE
Pale Blue square - DONE
Pale Yellow square - DONE
Dark Blue square - DONE

Miette cardigan - Done, except for buttons and a block.  I need to buy buttons; despite having jars and jars of buttons, I never have 10 matching ones.

Wisteria jumper - Still needing a bloody sleeve.

Hexipuff quilt - least said, soonest mended.

Petrie top - There's been a change of plan here.  The yarn I had earmarked for this is going to be put towards a Viane cardigan for the outfit along 2015.  I'm starting it as soon as I've finished typing.

It is doubtful whether these will be started this month.

Knitted Coco
Coraline cardigan 
Owls for Robin
Socks for me
Petrie top (with the remains of the yarn.  I have about 10000 balls of it, job lot, and I should have enough for two projects)

This is a WIP I have lost

Peacock Mitten

These are not being started until the weather turns crap again.  I have no guilt.

Burton Bear Cowl for Hattie. 
Elwood mittens for Lucy.  
Rainbow jumper
A Little Birds jumper with no steeks .
Reknit an unwearably large jumper for Simon

These are DONE and are therefore my favourite projects

Myrna Cardigan
Hattie's cardigan
A pair of simple socks for the children
Garter Yoke Cardigan
An Owlet for Lucy
Lucy's Cowl
Hattie's Cowl
A Burton Bear Cowl for Lucy
Simon's socks
Boreal
A tiny jumper for Nicholas
Sparkly Owlet for Hattie
Ringo mittens
Aiken
Striped jumper for Lucy
Nicholas' POP blanket
Lucy ripples
Hattie rainbows

I've done a lot of knitting since last July, and a lot of sewing.  It's a wonder I ever get time to teach.  My children are horrifically neglected in every way, although they have A LOT of blankets.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

What if he shows up with another woman? What if one of my sleeves catches on fire and it spreads rapidly? What if instead of Tic-Tacs I accidentally pop a couple of Ambien and I have to keep punching my leg to stay awake?

A while ago, my mum gave me a bunch of skirts to cut up for the fabric.  They are all from Liberty; back in the olden days (1980s), Liberty had a shop in Cambridge which sold skirts that had pre-elasticated waistbands, and were sewn up one side, so all you had to do was measure yourself and sew a seam.  We didn't have a sewing machine then as Mum didn't really care to sew, so she sewed and hemmed all these skirts by hand.  They are about as unflattering as any skirt can possibly be; loose elasticated waist, mid calf length, masses of fabric around the hips and bum, and generally pretty horrible.  The fabric though is just beautiful, so they are worth salvaging just for that.

This is the first one I rescued:


It's a lovely print, and I don't think you can buy it anymore; I can't even find it on the internet, although I'm not sure I am searching for the right thing.  If you can find it, please let me know.

All I really did was cut the waistband off, opened the side seams with my seam ripper and undid the hem.  I felt terrible doing that; my mum's hand sewing was absolutely beautiful, and must have taken ages.  I cut it in a sort of A-line shape, and made a beautiful interfaced waistband, that ended up being far too small, probably because I can't measure and left far too much seam allowance, resulting in me losing about 3 inches off the whole thing.  Depressing.  Obviously, then I didn't have enough fabric for a proper waistband, so I found some corduroy and measured it around my waist, then added a bit and shoved it on.  It's not technically perfect, but you know.  It's going to be around my waist, and you can't really tell it's not been lined, and if anyone wants to have a look at the waistband, they are clearly a weirdo and will be told to bugger off. 


It looks alright, doesn't it?  I sewed the buttons on today, so much fun.  They are from my purple Garter Yoke cardigan, which lost two buttons and a third chipped, so I've bought new ones which I have to sew on.  All eleven of them.  

I might even finish the cardigan I'm knitting to go with this skirt before the end of the week.  The way the weather is at the moment means I really need it.  It's freezing in London.  Does this count towards the whole vintage pledge thing?  It's certainly vintage fabric.