Wednesday, 26 November 2008

On my to-do list

I'm bad with lists. I like making them as they make me feel organised. However, I never actually manage to tick off all the things on the first list before embarking on yet another list. It's a serious condition ...

This week I'm determined to make a start on at least some of the projects on my Christmas crafting list. The trouble is the list just keeps on growing. The latest addition is this dress for my girl from the winter edition of Ottobre (6/2008).

The one in the magazine is made in a dark viscose jersey, but I'm picturing one in a red stretchy velour. I don't have the best track record working with stretchy fabrics, so this one might well be another steep learning curve. I always have the best intentions of making my girl a Christmas dress and then run out of time - hopefully this will be the year I actually manage to tick that one off the list!

Next on the list is an Amy Butler Weekender bag for my mum, who has requested an overnight bag for Christmas.
I'm a little alarmed by the sound of all the layers of interfacings (both fusible and sew-in), piping, and exterior and lining in home decorator weight fabric - fingers crossed my machine will cope!

I'm already a few repeats into the lace ribbon scarf and love the way Skein Queen's Firecracker yarn is knitting up.
This one is going to be a Christmas gift - just need to schedule in a few more knitting hours here and there.

There's plenty more on the list, but for now I'm going to concentrate on these 3 - trying to be a good girl and finish at least one project before starting on the next!

Friday, 21 November 2008

knitting time


After being chained to my sewing machine for weeks on end preparing for the craft fair, it's a nice change of pace to turn to some knitting for a change. I've just finished this pair of Fetching fingerless mitts in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran - they're so cosy as knitting them on 4mm needles instead of 5mm makes the fabric really dense and snug. I actually made 3 gloves, but ended up with a pair - the first was begun at the South Hill Park craft fair after a quick tutorial in the magic loop method from knithappens - thank you, I will never look back! - but I made a mistake very early on. I thought I could live with it, and finished and cast off the glove, but it was really bothering me, so I ripped the whole thing and started again. Luckily, they're so quick to knit I knitted another two in a couple of evenings. Finally I've made a start on my Christmas knitting!

Next on the list is a lace ribbon scarf made with this gorgeous sock yarn called 'firecracker' that I bought from Skein Queen at the craft fair. The photo doesn't do the colours justice - just think 'firecracker' and lots of bright reds and oranges. You can also see the fairisle handwarmers I bought from Emma - I had my eye on these from the moment they were laid out on our stall - I love the green and grey colour combination. Emma's knitwear is just stunning, she was even featured in Selvedge this month so is properly famous!


There will be a lot of knitting and sewing around here for the next few weeks as I catch up with a backlog of Christmas crafting!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

... and breathe!

Well I'm back, and have survived to tell the tale of the craft fair! Thanks for the good wishes. My laptop didn't make it through the week or I might have been back to report on progress, though then again, I've barely stepped away from the sewing machine for the last week or so. This is the kind of thing I might have blogged about if I had been able to:


The laptop was not a terminal case, luckily. It's still suffering from a few ailments, but after a new power cord it has a new lease of life. I can't tell you how distressing it was for me to be without internet access for so long!

The weekend of the craft fair was really busy. It was lovely manning the stall with the other Outcasts - Kira, SkeinQueen, Knithappens, Knitwit and Carli. Fellow-outcatsian Melarno also popped in to say hello. Here are a few snaps of our stall - I like to think of it as 'rummageable'.


I had a great weekend - so lovely to have friends and family dropping in to give their support, too. Lindsay of Clothcat, my craft fair partner from the last fair I took part in, popped in, and I met Machi of MagpieNest who sent me that lovely Christmas swap last year.

Naturally, I didn't come away from the fair empty handed and will share my buys in my next post.

Now I'm just catching up with all the things I've let slide over my week of frantic crafting. What a lovely surprise it was to get this package in the post from Florence in the midst of my sewing stress. Florence seems to have a great eye for pretty ribbons and trims, and after I had admired some of the recent purchases she had posted about, she was kind enough to send me these pretty grosgrain ribbons.

Thank you, Florence, for the lovely thought which was so cheering! I'm keeping them well away from my little girl who has a tendency to collect up any pretty trims she finds for her own sewing box!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Reasons I have been an absent blogger this week

I've been intending to blog all week, but my pesky laptop is really playing up. I have a screen which suddenly goes blank or won't power up, a power lead which has started chirping like a cricket and only intermittently supplies power, a battery which has a life of all of 15 minutes, and a wireless connection which is patchy at best. So frustrating! I know it's about to die, which will leave me without internet access at all - how will I cope?? If all goes suddenly silent, you'll know why.

It's been a good week, but a busy one. We celebrated bonfire night on Wednesday, with all the right ingredients.

A warming autumnal butternut squash soup, a slightly less healthy second course of hot dogs with fried onions, and a mini firework display set up by daddy in the back garden while the children watched from the safety (and warmth!) of the house with me. They loved the fireworks, but not enough to do away with the safety barrier of our patio doors. My boy kept on saying 'it's like a half a square' - it took my girl to decipher his meaning - 'it's like trafalgar square'!

Then there have been the frantic preparations for the craft fair next weekend in Bracknell. I'm joining some of the ladies from Outcast in a joint stall effort. It's the first time I will have taken part, and I'm more than a little worried I'll end up spending more than I make, especially with Skein Queen's lovely yarns in such close proximity! Today I have been cutting out fabric for a large batch of pencil cases and tissue holders, and I'll shortly be cranking up the sewing machine to try and get them all done this evening. So many other things on my to-make list I'm trying not to think about it.

It was nice though to have my little girl set up camp with her sewing things next to me - she's freestyling a pair of pyjamas for her brother, apparently. Though she has a lovely stash of brightly coloured and patterned felt, she keeps on eagle-eyeing my pretty prints and squirelling away all the small offcuts. She's developing some expensive tastes!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

winter warmers

It's been almost a week since my last post - a week of half term with lots of visits from family, and a custom order for 3 wedding bags needed by the end of the week, so quite busy really! The bags are finished now and awaiting collection - two clutch bags with some of the silver purse frames I bought from Lisa a little while ago, and a dolly bag for the flower girl (Kyoko has a great tutorial on making a bag with a round bottom).


In the evenings I've been doing lots of knitting. There's a present for my mother in law which I can't talk about as I know she recently discovered this blog. With the sudden cold snap we've had (it snowed in Reading on Wednesday!) my mind has turned to all things snug and cosy, so I cast on last night to make a pair of these 'legwarmies' for my girl:

photograph used with kind permission of Alana Dakos

So cute, I will definitely be making some of these as gifts too. The Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino is so soft. One legwarmer was finished this morning after casting on last night, so they're relatively quick to do. I had two models competing to be photographed this morning. The boy has now requested a pair of his own. (He has also requested a sparkly blue ballet dress, so that's one to add to the list of Christmas present ideas!)



I'm totally sold on the legwarmers idea now, especially seeing how cute they look with a pair of boots. I think I may even make a pair for myself - maybe these or these. My day to day mum uniform is jeans, and whilst practical they're not really very warm, so I'm thinking a pair of legwarmers might be the way to go. That's if I have the staying power to knit an adult sized pair on tiny needles!
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