Monday, 30 May 2016

#Me Made May 16 - Week 4

It is that time of year when I swap my clothes over and have a really good sort out. I pack my winter clothes in the spare room drawers and become reawakened by my summer clothes which have been out of my minds eye for a few months, it feels like having a whole new wardrobe of outfits.

Out with the wool skirts, sheepskin gilet, velvet skirt, tartan kilts, cordouroy, boiled wool cardigan, miette in wool aran, Noro chunky layering jumper plus my long sleeved t-shirts - they wont be worn now until October so they are all hibernating.

What this activity does for me is to assess what have I actually been wearing during Autumn and Winter as well as what has fell to the bottom of the drawers unworn? I found this Me Made item which I knew had not been worn since I made it never mind all winter - shame.

It is a beautifully made(though I say so myself)pencil skirt in a sort of ribbed navy velour kind of fabric. The problem was it was too long. It was the sort of mad man length that looked really chic and feminine if you could manage to wear a pair of heels all day which it turns out I can't. So I unpicked that beautiful bias trimmed hem and made it shorter. This sort of hem is great for bulky fabrics that would look too chunky turned over twice.

Now I can wear this with thick tights and boots or flat shoes but sadly it is going straight into the drawer upstairs because it is too thick for summer - but all fixed and ready to be worn.The other problem I have found is that I do not put hanging ribbons in my clothes so this skirt was out of sight by being in a drawer and not hanging in my wardrobe where I could see it. Here is my before (July 2015) and after (May 2016):


In return, as I pull out the summer things I have flashbacks of items that were uncomfortable or malfunctioning, they are of my own making so I am trying to knuckle down and sort some out as my pledge for Me Made May 16. I can't pretend I didn't know about this zip finish!

I was so busy getting the waist band seam to match that the top of the zip was out and I just wore it which is silly because you would not believe the care I took on pattern matching the plaid on the front pleats. It made a little red mark under my arm every time I wore it (I mean the three times I suffered it) and for such a small bit of fabric, it was surprisingly pointy.

I was going to take the whole zip out but as the waist seam was well matched I decided to take a curve from the armsyce to blend down to the other side which was a great decision. Oh! the relief when I tried it on. There are no armpit photos, obviously, but trust me by checking out the relaxed smile on my face.

Well another year of Me Made May with a slightly different angle. Here is what I have learnt so far:

Me Made May 2015  
  • All my handmade clothes are patterned so nothing goes with anything else!I need to make some solid colour items.

Me Made May 2016  
  • You can revisit your homemade stuff and learn from your mistakes. 
  • If you make hanging ribbons in your clothes you can see them all. 
  • I didn't know I needed a mustard cardigan this badly, it goes with so many of my clothes, it was a great buy in April.

Have you got bought or homemade things you could alter? Go on give it a go. The worst that can happen is you learn something new and that really is rather wonderful.

Jo xxx

Friday, 27 May 2016

The Weekender Crochet Bag

This month my Minerva make is a a spot of crochet with all the trimmings using a King Cole Merino Blend Aran. It is a stunner.

I have selected Merino Blend Aran in three colours, a new hook 4.5 (I didn't have 4.5??) and a handbag strap. I bought the book, Boho Crochet a while ago and coveted the weekender bag in it on several levels. It was useful, it was big, it was stylish but not twee and it was crochet colour work which I had never done before. I LUUUURVE learning new things.

First things first, I made the bottom from grey rather than cream - who wants the bottom of a bag to be cream, I wondered?. 

I chained 67 and then dc along 66 sts until the ball of wool ran out for about 20 rows. That was the base. Next I dc all the way around for 168 sts. 66 + 66 + 18 + 18. This is the bit of the pattern I made up myself because I changed the depth of the bag.

Obviously I am not going to reproduce the pattern here (it is not mine and the book is fantastic) but basically you can keep going until you have a bag. Use stripes, patterns, use up any aran weight stash - whatever you want.

I chose cream, grey and pistachio but I think cream and grey would go with any other colour. The yarn comes in 25 shades. It is sturdy and perfect for bag making and homewares. My friend has used it for garments too and says it is good because it is super wash.

1767 Clerical 776 Aran 1769 Rust     1767 Clerical 776 Aran 855 Mustard   
1767 Clerical 776 Aran 769 Navy     1767 Clerical 776 Aran 768 Lawn Green   
1767 Clerical 776 Aran 777 Claret     1767 Clerical 776 Aran 1539 Pale Blue

Now, I made a bit of a shopping error here and didn't read properly that the yarn was in 50g balls so I asked for half the amount I needed for this project by accident. I bought the rest and it would have worked out to be quite an expensive bag 9 x £2.99 but you could also use Hayfield Aran 100g balls 4 x £2.79 as an affordable substitute because after all, a bag does not need to be a Merino wool blend even though it is lovely.

You need 200g cream, 100g Pistashio and 100g of grey. 

The inside of mine is lined because I wanted pockets for tickets, phone and purse etc. This is from Minerva too and is a perfect match at a great price and comes in other colourways too.

Anywayyyy, enough stats. I just really, really like it. I will definitely make another one, maybe smaller, in random stripes when my yarn stash starts to build up again. This pattern was a bit of a stitch counter. I had to make lots of corrections because the diamonds are not diamonds which the graph pattern suggests, they are tilted rectangles which kind of confused me a bit. But hey, I really like the end result.

It is going straight to good use on a little trip to the coast next week. Thanks Minerva for some fine yarn to make a mighty fine holiday bag.

Enjoy your weekend what ever you are up to. Jo xxx

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Pudding Delight

Have you got something like this? It is late May and I feel sure I am not about to knock up half a batch of mince pies just to use this up but my moral compass urges me not to throw it away.

Mincemeat Bread and Butter Pudding
(Serves 3 little or two greedy portions)

3 slices of dry white bread
The last of a jar of mincemeat (about 2 tablespoons)
Butter for spreading
2 eggs
1/2 pint of milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Brown sugar for sprinkling

Remove crusts from bread and spread with butter. 
Cut into little triangles or small pieces to fit your dish. 
Use one slice worth to cover the bottom of the greased dish then spread over the mincemeat.
Add the rest of the bread covering all the mincemeat so it doesn't burn.
In a jug mix up eggs, milk and cinnamon.
Pour over the bread and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
Sprinkle the top with Brown sugar.
Bake for 30 minutes until set and brown on gas mark 4-5

Play free and easy with this recipe, it is all warm and delicious in the end anyway. I just made it up. I had a bit of cream dregs left over so I threw them in, another egg yolk was added because Big Sis had made peppermint creams with the white of an egg, leave out the cinnamon if you want etc. etc.

 Midweek pudding. How naughty. See you on the other side. Jo xxxx

Monday, 23 May 2016

Patchwork and Cabin

Could you collect 16 different scraps from your stash right now? I was amazed that I could. It was to make this little free gift wonder from Lina Patchwork. It is a 16 petal Chrysanthemum paper piece kit.

She sent it as a little thank you after I ordered my custom cut diamond papers for my eight pointed star quilt

The flower is just 7" and was a joy to make in the evenings when my crochet arm could do no more. The little kit would make a great mini thank you gift for someone, made up or as the papers for a crafter.

I have hung it up at the cabin with the little collection of hoops I seem to have collected. Each piece of fabric giving me a different little memory - school skirts, Laura Ashley, pyjamas, my mans shirt, Amy Butler, Boden dress off cut, or the kindness of a blog friend, all worthy of happy memories.

We took loads more stuff back to the cabin this weekend but we are still not quite finished. We worked hard painting and putting the hooks and shelves back up. Luckily I had put pork in the oven before we went. Six hours later, after a lot of hard work, dinner was ready when we all returned home.

Had a busy weekend? Thanks for stopping by. Jo x

Ps. Can you see it Christina? Little pink flowers...

Friday, 20 May 2016

#Me Made May 2016 - Week 3

It is amazing how much homemade stuff I can wear now that I have returned to so many items and fixed the problems I had with them! This weeks round up is a traditional little post of my favourite makes alongside what I did this week. #Me Made May Week 3...

I love this vintage pattern top with the ribbon border but I always wore it with jeans and now I have fixed my work trousers I wore it to work on Monday to invigilate exams all day. I am wearing my glasses whilst modelling today for Frankie from knitwitsowls who has had to start getting used to wearing glasses so I thought I would send my MMM16 support for her and all who model in their specs.

Today I have been teaching apprentices Maths. They are 16-19 year old hairdresser trainees. Tuesday is a real whole work day for me and I love it: wearing a dress and talking to grown ups - lovely. In the evening I teach at our sewing group. All day I wore a handmade cotton lawn shift dress that moves from season to season by needing either leggings/tights/bare legs, which are all dependent on the weather. I also wore my own crochet necklace now that I have a new yellow cardigan.

On Wednesdays I sometimes have work and sometimes I don't depending on the time of year/contracts/courses and at the moment I am work free. I spend Wednesday doing the extra things that make mine and our family's life enjoyable: allotment, sewing, making, fixing something at home, gardening, haircut, chiropractor appointment, exercise(no I was only joking!), shopping for things we need, any of these make my life really nice - nicer in fact than working another day and getting more money. Today I am wearing my Me-made jeans, replica blouse and one of my most worn items a beaded crochet neckerchief.

I wear this tunic all the time made from an ottobre pattern, it was my first foray into a stretchy fabric. I sometimes layer it with tops underneath and cardigans on the top or wear it on it's own.I took the top off by 11:00 as the day warmed up. It is lazy but I like it. I made my necklace too from here.

I work from home in the morning marking and lesson planning then in the afternoon I teach Maths to a lovely group of parents at a school. It improves their own maths skills and then they can help their children with theirs, it is very rewarding work.

Back to the apprentices in the morning and then my GCSE English group in the Friday afternoon. My 16-19 year olds are not that mad to take a resit GCSE course on a Friday afternoon but after nearly a year of working together they are doing just great and they have resits in June. (My writing here is not always GCSE worthy itself, but you understand that these are musings don't you? Way too much use of the word 'and' and sometimes some very strange punctuation for spoken language effect!) I wore my stretchy Bettine dress - I wear it so much.

So just the weekend to go - you may have noticed I rarely blog on a weekend, we just do family stuff and that is when we have some relaxing time together. What will I wear? I have no idea because I have no idea what we are doing yet. Oooh the excitement of it all...

I hope my weeks synopsis has not bored you but what I wear is very much linked to what I am doing. Is it for you?

Have a great weekend Love from Jo x