Tuesday, 30 September 2014

A winter wonder

Anyway, moving on, so to speak! Thank you for all your wonderful words of wisdom, I loved reading them...

I bought this artisan wool seven years ago, when I had maternity money swimming around in my bank account; it was expensive. Seven years ago my lovely auntie knit it into this gorgeous poncho for Big Sis. She wore it lots and people always commented on it. Little M has had her wear out of it too. It turned up in this summer's clear out as an item that no longer fits anyone.

Yep, that is what I did to it. Moving on is good remember. I frogged it to use the yarn again. It was hard to do because I did not realise it was made in four quarters so I had to find the seam yarn and snip it - a risky business - but I was lucky four times!

I made these and they were very warmly welcomed by Little M...

...and in keeping with my recent promise to myself to only make things that go with other things we already have, a good match with the body warmer, I thought.

The scarf is a pattern I found on ravelry here. It is fun to make with a little ruffle on the ends that was so simple but effective. The hat is a retro rip out from a 'Womans Own' magazine from the early eighties! Where on earth did I get that from??

Happy Knitting
Jo xxx

Monday, 29 September 2014

Once, twice, three times...

I tell a story. It is true. Cross my heart. I told it at the dinner table to a pile of strangers and it was mentioned on a blog. Then I told it at a knitting group I attend and then I saw it on a blog again. Then I thought, why is that story not on my blog for my loyal followers to enjoy?

When I was young I did cross stitch. It is boring to me now but it was how I started out in craft like many of us. I did rather large projects but they were impressive on completion.

I decided to make an Autumn cushion, beautiful it was; with a mushroom in the centre and various autumn motifs of acorns, oak leaves, blackberries and bracken in concentric borders around the edge of the main fungi picture.

I put the cloth on a frame, and started at the top. I worked tirelessly on it building up the borders. One day it was exactly half complete, I twisted the wing nuts on the frame and wound up the cloth to complete the other half....dun, dun, dah.... There was not enough fabric to complete the project!

I cried, I looked at it a lot over the next few weeks trying to work out how I could solve the problem, I couldn't, I would have to live with it, shove it under the sofa or put it in a cupboard and hope that a miracle would happen.

It ate at me so much that I wanted to get rid of it and move on to something else but I could not bear to throw such workmanship in the bin so I had an idea...

I dug a hole in the garden and I buried it! It seemed the only decent way to say goodbye to it gracefully. I was aged 23. I was living with my first boyfriend. I was working out what to do in different real life emotional situations but do you know what? I would do the same today, some things just don't work out and it is sometimes best to have a little wallow and move on.

Which is all a great metaphor because back then, that boyfriend later chucked me out and I got together with my charming Bloke. We had two beautiful girls and I learnt to crochet them pretty baby cardigans. Moving on is good. I really felt that this weekend as we crocheted, played in the field and ate lunch at the cabin. Life felt Good.

Thanks to Louise at There She Sews and Karen at Did you make that? for reminding me that I told this crazy story out loud to real people and they laughed their heads off at me!

Did you laugh or cry?!
 Love Jo xxxxx

Friday, 26 September 2014

Hooray! Minerva grey cardigan

My Minerva Crafts make this month is a knitty one. I made the Sunkist cardi by Kirsten Kapur which is on Ravelry. I highly recommend this top down pattern. If you have not knit top down before then this is the pattern to try.

I used Sirdar Supersoft Aran, it was supersoft but my tension was not great with it, I have been crocheting too much just recently. How do you get your knitting tension back? all tips welcome.

It is grey, I know, I think grey is finally out of my system now but it sometimes looks like a light musky blue depending on what you wear it with.

The pattern is so adaptable. Knit borders, crochet picot borders, make scalloped borders, tie with a ribbon, add a big button: the possibilities are endless.

So give it a go, top down cardigans and jumpers are the future. You start at the neck. Use stitch markers to indicate when to increase at the shoulders. The advantages are endless, there is the super added bonus of being able to try it on as you go along: No more short or long arms, no more sewing up, no more bulky side seams, no more too long or short in the body. It really is the bespoke pattern of cardigans.

Thanks Minerva. I just need to get some knitting miles in now to sort out my wayward tension before I crack into some Louisa Harding Jesse cotton DK

What are you making?

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Hooray! new PJ's

I bought some jersey, it was in the sale, I need some long sleeved pyjamas, I am getting cold at night now.

It was all going well and then I used some contrast jersey for the neck binding because I didn't have enough of the stripy one to get the full neck length. Look what happened to the neck? 

I did not stretch the binding enough and so it was too slack. I unpicked it, did it again and took photos for a quick tutorial so that it doesn't happen to you.

Stitch the neck binding into a full circle. (Ignore the fact that mine has a join in the centre front, I still needed to squeeze the piece out of the grey!) fold it into quarters and mark the quarters with chalk or pins. Pin the neck binding to the centre, centre back and two shoulder seams using the marks you have made.  Now stretch the fabric as you pin it to the neckline between these points. It seems a harsh stretch but it will be fine. 

I sew my neck binding so that the seam appears on the outside. Then I fold the binding over and top stitch with the right side facing me, then I know exactly what the outside finish will look like.

Ahh! much better.

I made the stripes on the sleeves horizontal for a real pyjama look. The pattern is Autumn Mood which I made as a tunic with short sleeves and pockets but here it is the same pattern pieces but long sleeved and short with a curve on the bottom.

yawn.... bit tired and all cosy but it is time for the school run. Better get a scoot on and change into my clothes. I'm starting to get stuck into my Autumn handmade wardrobe now. 

Wakey! Wakey! Jo xxxxx

Sunday, 21 September 2014

All Done #5 Amy Butler Fabric

Hello! Two new makes from this week and a round up of other projects from my Amy Butler Love fabric.I have been calling these posts 'All done' I make one when I have used up every last scrap of something.

I made a shell top for myself. I love those Prima magazine free patterns, they don't feel precious, I took scissors to the armholes and the neckline, added some length, and hip flare to make a better pattern fit for myself - mum isn't getting her hands on this one and I have a good idea of my measurements for playing around with the vintage one I like.

I had just enough of my Amy Butler Love fabric left to make the blouse. The arm hole facings feature the white selvedge edge but it was the only way to get the pieces out and you can't see them.

I will wear it this week and then I think it will get packed away with the summer things for a nice surprise in 2015. That is one of my jobs for next week.

Other makes from this fabric (total fabric length in both patterns = 4 metres) which was bought for £4.99 a metre in a sale along with some spotty Amy Butler to co-ordinate are:

Amelia's sewing kit bag lining and gusset,

Two peasant tops,

Kay Whitt skirt with ruffle pockets,

a Pin cushion,

Big Sis made a handbag from a snippet and finally...

Today I made a large pencil case for my new job. I have found that whatever room I am in, there is never a pen that works so I have made an over sized case to fit in post it notes, calculator, pens and pencils. I am really pleased with it. The zip is from Minerva.

I had to do a sort of patchwork affair for the top to use up all the little bits I had and then I quilted it using batting to give it some strength.

So all done here with this bright and happy fabric, it has all gone.

Happy Stashbusting folks. 
Jo xxxxx

Friday, 19 September 2014

Look what I spotted...

Walking back to the car I was stopped in my tracks by a box of patterns outside an Antique/house clearance shop. I was in a hurry to pick up the children but I just had to stop and rummage.

The vendor informed me that none of them had been cut and he had collected them from an old ladies house who had passed away. I made a selection and resisted the urge to buy them all on her behalf.

This one was my favourite, I love them all.


I have my eye on the lace one in the centre on this pattern.

These choices were heavily influenced by Lazy Daisy Jones OWOP (one week one pattern challenge) posts as well as the fact I like to wear a dress for work - it is a quick no brainer for me on busy mornings.

These two are bit more on the wildcard list but I like the collars.

So I will keep you posted of any makes. Will any actually make it to the cutting table? we'll see... Which you would you make?

Jo xxx

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Surprising myself sometimes

I fancied sewing something, anything really, I was just in the mood to make something. I reached into the drawer under the spare bed and fished out a bag. In the summer I cut out and bagged up a few projects. So I chose this:

When I opened the bag everything was cut out and all the notions and pattern were in there as indicated in my tick list label. Clearly I need to find a hook and eye from somewhere.

What surprised and pleased me more was that when I went to start the first part of the instructions, I had put in all the tailors tacks for the front and back darts and I don't even remember doing that! It was like finding a tenner in an evening jacket you haven't worn for ages. Oh the joy, I can't tell you.

All that was left to do was happily fill my sewing boots. The pattern was free in the Prima Magazine and the fabric, is of course, left from my 1950's party dress. It is stretch cotton and irons well for a good finish. To reduce the seam bulk on the facings I made a v cut which allows the  under arm holes to sit nice and flat.

 I only have snippets of this left but I am sure I can squeeze some other crafty item from the leftovers.

I will let you in on another secret, it doesn't fit me so I took out the zip, had my mum round for a fitting and put it in again with adjustments. She looks a dream in it!

Thanks for stopping by. I always love to read your comments, they warm my soul. Jo xxxxx

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Busy at showtime

Thank you for all your comments on the barbie dress, I nearly didn't post it because I thought it insignificant but I'm glad it triggered such happy memories for people.

So, onto the weekend, it has been fun packed and hectic and of course involves some craft. First up was our local veg and craft show on Saturday.

My entry into the limerick competition.
The girls enjoyed making vegetable models. I mean look how happy this girl is...

Yes, you have seen it correctly, it is a poodle made out of cauliflower! She came second and was thrilled.

We won lots of certificates and the whole family entered a range of competitions.

As soon as the prize giving was over and we had collected our exhibits at 6pm we dumped the stuff at home and raced to the cabin at the farm. We didn't want to miss sleeping over this weekend with all the mild dry weather we have been having.

We celebrated our day with Bloke's second prize apple wine and the children had a fizzy 'wine' too.

Then we had to eat Bloke's second prize courgette cake.

While waiting for the fire to heat up the girls and I opened our prize money. Didn't I mention prize money? £1 for a win, 50p for 2nd and 30p for third prize. Whoooo! They thought they were rich with £2.50 each.

Sometimes you get toasted marshmallows just right...

I reminded them not to burn their lips on the hot marshmallows and as I turned around I saw them cooling them down like this - it amused me.

I left my new bookmark at the cabin as I enjoyed reading Big Sis's nature journal. She records all the wildlife she has seen every time we go to our cabin, she looks them up in the reference books we keep there. We bought her the journal for her birthday. She wanted me to cover up her picture of a frog - I loved it but she didn't.

So a little bit of everything: crochet, wine making, baking, learning and ultimately on Sunday afternoon after a long walk with lovely friends, some relaxing in a deck chair. 

Hope you had a great weekend whatever you got up to. 
Jo xx