Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Sew Serendipity

Has anyone else got this brilliant book?
I am swooning over it at the moment.
I have made a 'muslin' of the skirt pattern as recommended in the book. You cut out the tissue pattern (pieces included my dears!) and make a mock up of the skirt in muslin or unwanted fabric to custom fit it for yourself. You then transfer any changes you made, to the paper pattern for further use and a perfect skirt every time! it is dull but so worth it because medium was fine on my hips but too small for the waist so I would have wasted my new Amy Butler fabric.

You can then customise the pattern as you wish, pockets, ruffles, fabric combos, applique, braids or trims - the world is your oyster but look at these two examples....
OOOh! Which skirt to do first, all one colour in green (my favourite) or a collage mix in red and burgundy?. Jo xx

Monday, 29 April 2013

Plenty of pink

Due to serious 'basket hand' my makes today have included a lasagne, ginger cake and carrot soup. I just can't crochet yet.

There are various little things going on the background which you may have spotted in the basket but these are all on a slow roast. I am making this cardigan for Little M.

She has had one before but I rushed it while we were on holiday last year because it was so cold I needed to finish it so that she could wear it! Here she is wearing it last year amongst the layers of clothes needed for a UK family holiday.

It is a simple pattern of trebles in groups of three and it is a real no brainer but I like it when I am tired. The yarn is Sirdar Calico and I didn't choose that shade of pink she did.

On the knitting needles I have started a cardigan for Big Sis for the Autumn in Katia DK it is a lovely yarn with a softness and fullness to it. Her shade of pink is easier to stomach. The pattern was mentioned in this post and it is finally a WIP.


The pattern is easy to follow but I hate three quarter length sleeves for children, they can't put their coats on without it all stuck in their armpits so I will make full length sleeves.
So if I don't post everyday, be assured that I am making something everyday! Look forward to showing you the finished garments.
Chat soon Jo xx

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Hooray! a basket

I could show you lots of photos of the basket in the making but it all seems like such a blur today and my thumbs are so sore just typing. I can't remember all the terms and names for the moves etc. So here is the finished basket.

It is so strong and substantial, it will last a life time. I also photographed some of Jenny's baskets to show you her work, it is simply immaculate. She has been making baskets for 27 years.

Jenny Crisp is based in Leominster and does workshops from her home as well as commissions. Aren't they just fabulous?

I am so tired from concentrating for two days, I will leave you with a picture of Acton Scott Estate house where the historic farm is open to the public in the grounds.

Hot bath and bed calling. Jo xx

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Chicken 'n' a Basket.

Today I have started to make something completely new to me. Bloke bought me a basket weaving course for my 40th Birthday in January. I have been looking forward to it for sometime - not just the making element but the weekend to be entirely with my own thoughts and not alongside the chaos of the little ones, which is lovely but exhausting.

I am going to Acton Scott historic farm which we have visited many times before and was the setting for the BBC TV series Victorian Farm. My farming family and ancestors are from this area of Shropshire so I like visiting this area very much.

We started with these bundles of willow, this variety is for basket making which comes from Somerset.

Jenny, the course tutor asked us to sort a big bundle into three size groups but at first they all looked the same to me. She has such a feel and eye for the materials which gave her such integrity. However, I eventually got my eye in when I had finished a whole bundle. Would a non-knitter see the difference in yarn thickness like us yarnies can?

Next we had to get to grips with the tools. This knife was so sharp, in fact I was the only person not to cut myself. We had lots of practise pieces to try and cut, skin and shape.

Now we added uprights to the base circle and started to weave the base. Again, constantly selecting the best thickness of stick.

We had to add extra uprights to give the basket strength and continue to cover the base area.

The hardest job of all was to make 'scalliums' (not spelt correctly but that is a phonetic attempt) by tapering the end of the sticks, we had to make 40! My hand was aching so badly I kept cutting them off too soon. There was a subtly to the cut which needed a thinner area just after the cut to enable the stick to bend around the basket ring base. 

I really needed a cup of tea and a little hand rest.

Jenny showed us how to attach the uprights and we were off again.

So after day 1 I had this, an aching hand and an enormous sense of achievement. I drove home 45 minutes with another excited breath of anticipation because I knew the girls would be jumping when I got back because look...

Let me introduce you to Poppy, we are hoping she is going to pop out lots of eggs soon.
Her companion is Layla, slightly more obvious name choice and she belongs to Little M.

This is their home built by Bloke, it is really good and we have enjoyed preparing for our new family members. Thanks for reading, I will be posting my finished egg collecting basket tomorrow so tune in or become a follower by clicking the side bar. Jo xxxxxx


Friday, 26 April 2013

Just a little bit excited.

We have been working hard to make a home, not for us but for a new addition to our family arriving this weekend.

More on this at the weekend.... Jo xx

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Tiny hat

Just a little light knitting today, it is actually housework day really. Had a little yarn of the same sort to use up and made this little hat for a baby. Now, it could be for my friend's baby but she does not know if she is having a boy or a girl so I have all bases covered.

If you have children and then see a newborn baby a few years later you just can't believe how small they are especially their tiny heads. This hat is really small.

But really rather beautiful. It is a variation of the farmer's hat I made last week but with a smaller rib.
Chat soon. Jo xxx

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Crochet creativity

Today is crochet class day, my favourite day of the week. One of my enthusiasts brought this to the class today as a gift for me.

Isn't that just genius! She learnt to chain last week (no other stitches) and was really proud of her big long string but to turn it into something beautiful is another feeling altogether.

Here it is close up, wrapped around a recycled olive oil bottle and finished with garden string. I just love it and will pop it on pintrest for others to revel in. The joy of Tuesdays is absolutely overwhelming, thanks Caroline, it is the perfect gift.

Jo xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Monday, 22 April 2013

Outdoor work today

All set for a morning at the allotment. My essential kit includes seeds, gloves for cutting those pesky gooseberry bushes, snacks, and a flask of hot chocolate.

We sowed carrots, beetroot, spinach and french beans. Now I am not saying they are in straight rows, Little M was sprinkling them everywhere but they are in the ground at least.

We stopped for a snack break and then attacked the gooseberry bushes which felt  awful because some of the stems I cut off had flowers on and I knew I was throwing away gooseberries but it was so difficult to pick them last year when the bush had become so large that needs must.

We pootled around for a bit longer watering and getting a few more weeds out. It was a job well done.
Last night, early evening, the children rushed to the window to see this:

Rainbows always make me happy and the children had never seen a whole one with such vivid colours.

GRrr! raindrop on my lens. Happy Monday. Chat soon Jo x



Sunday, 21 April 2013

Coffee Break

My crochet group are learning double crochet this week and I wanted to show that if you can make a square of double crochet you can make lots of things - a purse, glasses case, phone cover, dishcloth, pot holder etc.

I made this to use in the next class.

This is the best cafetiere ever to make a cosy for because the handle breaks at the bottom so it is just a square of double crochet joined at the side and slipped onto the body. It is covered in chain flowers which the group learnt last week.
They are not massively sophisticated but I needed something that people could take home in their hand which only involved chain and slip stitch. I will pop a tutorial on the sidebar soon as some of you may find it useful if you have taught your children to crochet or if you teach beginners. 
Happy Sunday! Jo x 

Saturday, 20 April 2013

More pink

Look at the lovely colour of these rhubarb stems Bloke collected from the allotment today. Lime green and bright pink. He put a black bin over the plant about 4 weeks ago and hey presto bright pink sweet rhubarb.


We ate it warm on ice cream with ginger nut biscuits bashed up on the top and the family went quiet while we ate it. Little M and Bloke planted three rows of potatoes and I am going to have a go at sowing more seeds in the greenhouse this weekend. I love growing and eating our own stuff - it feels just great.

What are you growing? Jo x

Friday, 19 April 2013

Normal service has been resumed

Shoulder is a bit better after a visit to the Chiropractor and a few days rest so knitting has resumed. We have been invited to a 50th Birthday party and the birthday boy has requested no presents but who could resist this hat?

He is a cattle farmer and I thought how warm this would keep him when he is on his feeding rounds in the cold mornings.

The cow on the card was the image printed on his invitation so I cut it off, made some hills and added a sentiment.

Just a little something handmade with love to say Best Wishes. That is the best thing about making something everyday - giving it to someone else.

I made it up as I went along when I made one for Bloke but I will write up the pattern some time for all you knitting fans who have never knit anything for the men in their lives yet!

Jo x

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Hooray! a party dress

I have been working on THE dress and have finished it. I knew I only had one shot at the zip because it is raw silk and it would not take kindly to being unpicked. Luckily I used my new pinking shears to cut the bodice out otherwise it would have frayed so much I would have lost a few centimetres on the waist and I can't really afford that much room on that part of my body!

Looks complicated? it was a bit. I have not put a zip in an evening dress for about 17 years. I pinned it, tacked it, pinned the lining out of the way so that I did not catch it under the machine and it was OK. I had this in mind while I did it...
That sort of helped me through it and I thought if I dance fast enough people won't be looking that closely!
Next I made a rose corsage for the waist to give it the totally 50's look. I found some jewel buttons/beads in my sewing basket that came from an old lampshade to place in the centre. This level of detail made up for the zip imperfection and balanced my karma.
The sun came out (with some strong winds) so I did a twirl in the garden for you with under five photographers and a pair
of work shoes! 


Thanks for reading and keeping me going on this interim sewing project. Jo xx