Monday, 21 May 2018

Me Made May 2018 - Mission accomplished

I made it! Fourth time lucky, is that even a thing? I fulfilled my personal Me Made May 2018 challenge. It was tough but worth it in the end...

The story...

I made a WATG sweater last year out of the most precious cotton yarn - so soft and sumptuous. I wore it in St. Tropez, it was good to have it on the breezy boat trip...


BUT, this is me wearing it when it was fresh and new. I had purposely made the sleeves a little longer because that is how I like them but as the Summer nights lengthened so did my sleeves.

The weight of the yarn made them longer and longer until I eventually stopped wearing it because I couldn't chop tomatoes without the cuffs mopping up the juices off the chopping board! I did what I always do in these situations - I hid it under the bed.

On my most recent seasonal wardrobe swap over it peeped out from the drawer and made me feel more than a little guilty. I decided to re knit the sleeves, after all I liked the body and the high quality yarn.

Firstly I tried a quick fix. I re knit a sleeve with unravelled yarn however the wobbly yarn made for the most appalling tension.

I went through the process of unravelling both sleeves, stretching and washing the yarn in skeins ready to start over again. I knit a sleeve. Grr! it was still wrong. I had not done enough decreases to make the sleeves narrow enough and then ran out of yarn resulting in another wide, baggy, useless sleeve which was now too short.
I unpicked, unravelled, washed, stretched and tried again another time. 

This time I really was like a dog with a bone. The left sleeve was now on its fourth incarnation. I was so pleased when it was finished not just because the torture was over but it is back to being the summer knit I originally wanted. It may not look too different to you but it is so much lighter in the sleeves length and width.

Did I ever mention I am a capricorn? Stubborn as a goat me. Thanks Me Made May, a great motivator to use the worlds resources wisely. 

Jo xxx

Friday, 18 May 2018

Fifi Boudoir Set

Thank you for all of your kindness and messages, they filled my heart. Just changing the scene on my blog today to something light and sunny that I had ready in the background - you know me never short of anything to show!

When I say this is my favourite indie pattern, I am not exaggerating. This is my fifth set: two I have made as gifts, one for me with long bottoms and another version I made using the top pattern to make a swimsuit hack. I love the detail which is such a joy to sew on the machine. The instructions give such clear seam allowances for each stage that everything just falls into place all with enclosed french seams.

The pattern is however a bit of a fabric pig by which I mean it gobbles up a large piece. To combat this you can use bought bias binding which saves cutting large strips out of your fabric on the bias.

The pattern does warn against fabrics with a stripe because the top is cut on the bias and the shorts on the straight grain but I got away with it in this background stripe. The fabric was donated last year in a fabric bag. 

I got a chance to use my bias binding foot which makes for a neat finish on the edging. Another foot used for my 2018 resolution list.

 An exceptionally pretty set for my Summer holiday suitcase which will be packed in a weeks time.

I did say I had been sewing a lot in the rainy Easter holidays!

Do you have a pattern you use over and over again? Jo xxx

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Deep Harmony Crochet Socks

I have been meaning to make these slouchy house socks for a while now since seeing them at Tales from a Happy House. One ball of Cygnet yarns BOHO spirit needed to be made into something that would show off the colour runs and this pattern by cherry heart was perfect.

It comes in lots of colourways but I really liked this one called 6283 Harmony. It seemed like fun.

I had to make the socks a little shorter in the ankle than the pattern suggested to get the pair out of one ball but the yardage was great. One ball has approx 240 metres


These are going into my Christmas box for someone to watch a holiday film in front of the fire. 

It is with a heavy heart that I have to let you know that my dad passed away on Sunday from a long battle with cancer. We sat by his bedside for long periods of time over the weekend at his home. I meditatively made a second pair of socks during the long hours. It calmed my soul to crochet. This colourway is called Deep which was a fitting metaphor. These are on my feet now giving me comfort. 

I find it hard to process sympathy but if you would like to comment with a few kisses xxx that would be such a nice gesture.
I am just going to put my feet up now for a few weeks.

Thanks. Jo xxx

Friday, 11 May 2018

Not a knitter?

Ever tried your hand, or should I say arm, at arm knitting? I needed a fast way to share a yarny craft experience with some non-knitters on a course I am running at the moment. It was quick and fun to do with no equipment requirements what so ever.

I watched a Youtube video here and chanced my arm. It was easy to make using Cygnet metallic seriously chunky left over from my girls hats. I ran the yarn twice to get the bulk required and used every last inch.

Out of the eight people at the class, six made scarves and the other three, who had babes in arms, made pom poms. I did not account for the fact that some people would not have both arms available!

Here are a couple of willing volunteers. They made them in about 35 minutes having never made anything before. They were very proud. The red one got a bit pulled as she kindly held a baby for another member of the group - the baby liked the feel of it too but the  tension of this knitting soon finds its place again. Arm in arm we helped each other along.

The more observant of you may have noticed that I have finished my crocheted dress... more on that later.

Can I twist your arm to have a go?
I am all out of arm idioms. Chat soon. Jo xxxxx

Monday, 7 May 2018

Vintage summer dress

My vintage sewing has slowed down a little. I have made a lot of my vintage pattern collection into wearable garments except for this one which I picked up before Christmas for 50p in an antique shop.

I bought the fabric back in February, a choice all of my own: not sponsored or thifted or given. Just me choosing and buying some fabric that I really liked.

The pattern is Butterick 4265. No date but you would have to take a punt at the late 1960's

It was so easy to make from two simple pattern pieces and some facings. It was already cut in my cupboard therefore the actual sewing and fitting time was only about an hour and twenty minutes.

I wore it on Bank Holiday Monday in the tropical heat we have experienced today on a walk around Hodnet Hall Gardens.

This is my second summer dress make for this year, the other is the Kalle Shirt dress. One of my summer dresses from last year is too small so two in and one out.

What did you do in the lovely sunshine this weekend?

Errata: I just remembered I made a spotty one too. Whoops! Three in one out, doesn't sound quite so puritanical. 

Friday, 4 May 2018

All done #20 Curtain Fabric

All done #20 has been a long time coming but today I can say that I have finally finished all of my curtain fabric scraps from the curtains I made in 2014! The fabric is 100% silk so I have been very careful with it. It was reduced from £37.99 to £7.50 a metre in a closing down sale.

Also a new bag of second hand goodies arrived this week which complimented it perfectly. It is from my friend who had the vintage blanket that I fixed for her. She used to work in the very posh upholstery/interiors shop where I bought the original fabric. She has some stuff to move on as she is moving house and she wanted to say thank you for my crochet job.

There was an unusual collection of bits and pieces. Some wonderful cotton ticking, upholstery fabric, full cotton reels, wooden flower buttons and much more...


I decided to spruce up the sofa a little. One of our cushions had burst which was fraying and there is always a bit of a bun fight for the one remaining cushion on a Friday night when we all watch TV for an hour together. I found a rectangle blank cushion behind the sofa waiting for a crochet cover but I used it for this project instead.

After a scruffy play around with my free motion applique foot to 'doodle' around the petal pieces, I had my final design.

The peacock fabric was in the bag along with some thick wadding: maybe some kind of thermal curtain lining?? It made the cushion really sturdy and steadied the applique. There was a zip in the bag so I went mad and added that too. I always do a fold over so a zip felt like a bit of a treat.

 The second one used nearly all of my curtain fabric left overs. I used up the last of the wadding with invisible thread to simply quilt the layers together. The linen piping was also in there; it was a like a lucky dip bag!

The last plain and simple one really did use the last square of fabric. It has all gone.

Two fold over cushions and a zipped one.

All done with my curtain fabric from 2014.

Jo xxxx

Tuesday, 1 May 2018


Making - More of my WATG crochet dress

Eating -  Chicken turmeric and ginger kebabs with Salad

Cooking - A whole duck for the first time for friends eaten with cucumber strips and rice pancakes.

Wanting - A safe journey to France later in the month

Deciding - What to pack for our holidays. Bloke packs one bag, I pack three. Sound familiar?

Fixing - My favourite bracelet

Considering - How many more blocks to make on my crazy scraps quilt

Wearing - Sandals even if a little chilly. 

Enjoying - Our garden coming to life

Loving - returning to outdoor play and adventure

Disliking - World news events

Getting -  Really into quilt making, the possibilities are endless.

Buying - Some great things from the charity shop.

Wondering - What was happening in my local yarn shop at 8:20 at night? I am assuming it was a stock take and that they were not choosy yarn burglars.

Watching - All the sheep and lambs safely delivered on the farm

Thinking - About my dad

Feeling - Happy with our chosen life.