2016

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This was my New Year. I actually hate New Year, and always have, but this year we managed to pace things just right with friends from 8pm onwards, snacking, drinking, then two of the friends left with the three year old, and the rest of us played Pictionary, then we headed up the hill to watch the fireworks over Edinburgh Castle.

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I didn’t do much Christmas crafting, but this bow tie and handkerchief were particularly fun to make. I also made a matching top (Simplicity 3835, which I forgot to photograph) for this person’s wife in the same material. Turning the bow tie was hell, and I now understand why the instructions say to draw the sewing line on the inside – because it os incredibly difficult to judge the shape otherwise.

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This was our drive back from Sainsburys today. We find the lockdown of winter difficult. I am also going through a phase of impatience with myself and the world. Since my mum died in September I find myself much more short tempered and impatient if I think my time is being wasted, or I’m not enjoying being with people.

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I haven’t been doing much knitting or sewing recently. I took the decision at New Year to write more. I am trying to be more structured with my time, but the first week back at work is an adapting process. I work four days. I run a house. I have a lone parent I want to visit but who lives an hour and forty minutes’ drive away, so visiting takes a whole day. I am determined to have one whole day off a week, where I don’t see anyone or attempt to achieve anything. The other two days off I’m willing to see friends as a compromise to my husband who likes to see people. So, it is all still settling into place.

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Lucy Liu dress and cardigan progress

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I called this my Lucy Liu dress because it reminds me of some of the dresses she wears in a programme we’ve been watching recently – shift-type dresses. I like them.

So this started off as a Simplicity 3835 top, and it was only when I came to hemming it all that I visualised it as a dress. I’m not entirely sure of the ‘hospital’ blue of the skirt, but it was the best match. I added pockets for the first time ever, and learned a thing or two of what not to do next time.

Overall, I love it, and am now waiting for summer weather to wear it out.

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Contrarily, I finally finished the second sleeve on my Ysolda cardigan. I don’t know why it took me so long. The Yoke was quick to knit up, and the body is now growing easily. I’m looking forward to finishing it and starting the next one. LOVE the construction.

2nd Flamingo top – with peacock capped sleeves

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I almost had enough flamingo material to make a second Simplicity 3835 top. So I searched through my fabric stash and found the peacock feather fabric, which I love and had used to make a tiered A-line skirt with. I didn’t have enough of it either to make the whole two sleeves, so patchworked the two fabrics together, et voila! I like the effect.

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I put just enough elastic in the sleeve hems to give it a bit of bunching. It looks better than not elasticating them.

John Lewis has a fabric sale on at the moment and it is so tempting to buy a lot of fabric that I quite like, just because it is half price.

Flamingo Top – Simplicity 3835

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I’ve made a couple of Simplicity 3835 tops, and three dresses. I like them all. They are simple, but effective, comfortable and they look good on. I bought the flamingo material in Edinburgh Fabrics, a fabric shop near where I work. I made the top for my friend for her birthday. I had hoped to give it to her in time, but the last couple of weeks have been so tiring, I didn’t get a chance to do anything FUN.

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I had enough material to make a second top – almost! I just ran out of material for the sleeves. So I looked through my fabric stash and found the red feathers from the Turkey Feather skirt I made last year and it matched perfectly, I thought. I didn’t have enough turkey feather fabric to make two whole sleeves either so I had to patchwork them together. I like the effect. I’m looking forward to sewing it together. The top took hardly any time to make at all.

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This is a better view of the actual fabric. I’m not altogether sure I like it, but it suits the top.

Sewing is taking up a lot of my imagination and thought at the moment. I use it to stop myself from feeling sad and stressed. The past couple of weeks have been hard. Last weekend we spent two whole days looking for a new car, which we eventually found at the end of the second day, but that was tiring. And the third day of the weekend (I work Monday to Thursday) we visited my mother-in-law who needs attention. So, no weekend last week. This weekend has been better, but still stuff to do. Always stuff to do. (And I mean non-fun stuff.)

And then we have had our chickens disappearing on us one by one. There is a fox (maybe even a family of foxes) nearby. I bumped into it halfway down the drive on my way to work mid-week. I shouted at it and chased it and it ran away, and then we set up a music station to play music near the hen house, and that helped, until today when we returned home to find our music not playing and another chicken gone. She had become my favourite chicken. She was a big, black Orpington. Beautiful black feathers with a green sheen. I loved her because when she first came to us she had a terrible attitude. We almost gave her away to a petting farm. Once we had integrated her into our existing flock, she would stand in the doorway, barring the other chickens from getting in at bedtime. But then she became broody, and we put two lots of fertilised eggs under her and she hatched two sets of chicks. She was a great mother. Very fierce and protective, until it was time for her chicks to become independent and that was the end of motherhood. I also liked her because she was the only chicken who would stand up to our neighbours’ cat. The other chickens would let themselves be chased, but Delphis would peck Cherry and it would be Cherry who ran away.

I’m also not looking forward to tomorrow as I’m taking my mother to see her cancer consultant. I feel unequal to the task.

The Dress I would’ve worn…

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I really wanted to make a summer dress to wear to my friends’ wedding last week. I had a day last Sunday, though I felt tired and could really have done with just sitting quietly for the day but I was determined to make the dress, and, indeed, I managed to make the shell of the dress – the outer.

It’s a terrible photo. I could have worn it as is, with a slip underneath, but I wanted to finish it properly. I bought light cotton lining material too. So I decided to wear an existing Fat Face dress to the wedding, which I also like, and save this to finish making it properly.

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It is the Anna Dress by By Hand London. I LOVE the shape, and it looks flattering on. So I just have to make another in the lining, sew it in, insert the zip (my least favourite part) and voila. It will be finished.

Not entirely sure about WordPress. It isn’t as user-friendly as Blogspot. I can’t change the colour of the font, or change the font itself, or the size… And it isn’t as easy to insert photos.

I had very bad news recently – my mum has terminal cancer after all. I would like her not to be in pain and discomfort. I would like her not to have to go through this. And my dad. As humans we all know we are likely to meet a grisly death but manage to forget about it most of the time as we worry about mundane, tedious, silly things.

Sewing Frenzy

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Last Sunday I had an urge to sew together my synchronised swimmer PJ bottoms. I fell in love with this material months ago, and had made handkerchiefs with the blue version, which I really love. I set myself up at the kitchen table and put Restoration Man on catch up TV.

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I was especially pleased because I took the trouble to sew  in the pyjama elastic as it should be sewn. A silly thing to get excited about but it really thrilled me!

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And the finished PJs. The pattern I use is the Amy Butler Lounge Pants. They are OK, though I have Tilly’s book with the Margot PJ bottom pattern and should give that a go. The Amy Butler Lounge Pants are really flared and often ride up my legs when I’m in bed.

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Following on from my obsession with the synchronised swimmer material, I have found a new obsession – the bowler hat and moustache material. I bought one meter to make a pair of PJ shorts, and then had the urge to also make the Amy Butler A-line skirt, the Simplicity 3835 top, the Megan Dress also from Tilly’s book, and the Anna Dress from By Hand London! Phew!

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At the moment the favourite is the Anna Dress from By Hand London. The knee-length version. I have a wedding to go to on Wednesday and am thinking of making it for that. It would mean a bit of pattern matching though, as the skirt panels are in six pieces. Hm. That might swing it away from that idea. I have a Fat Face blue dress that I can wear to the wedding if need be, so no pressure (pressure takes the fun out of things).

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And finally the Kitchen Table Microcosm. This is something I used to do over on my previous blog. I occasionally look at the kitchen table and it is a snapshot of how I’ve been living that week. This table has my laptop with me looking through Marilla Walker’s blog. A (second) cup of coffee (I love days off when I can sit quietly at the kitchen table and look at inspiring blogs (sewing, knitting, Scandinavian, Japanese) and drink my half-caf cappuccino). It also has The Wasp Factory, which I am re-reading after 25 years; a box of cat food for her majesty; sewing patterns; a cake tin from last week when I made meringues dipped in chocolate to take to our Eurovision party; a notebook for my daily To Do list; napkins; The Simple Things magazines; and the telephone number of our Citroen garage as our car was in getting fixed this week (again!).

This is a really busy time for us. My husband travels the world as a Sound Engineer. Today he return home from a gig in Lyon with Tim Robbins. Tomorrow he flies out again to Dublin for a tour with Ash.

And today we get to have an evening at home together watching Elementary (our new favourite series).

This is important to me, to concentrate and indulge the good times, as my mother has just been diagnosed with lung cancer. In a strange way the current news isn’t so bad. We were waiting for the results from her tests, expecting it to be lung cancer, when she was taken into hospital with a shaking attack. The doctor there told her her shaking was a result of her lung cancer and that the cancer was advanced and there was nothing that could be done. This came as a tremendous shock to us, as she has had several scans over the past few months as she broke her hip at Christmas. However my sister, thankfully, phoned the consultant the following day, and he said the previous doctor should not have said that. That my mother has a 2cm tumour, and that he believes it is treatable. So, still not the best news but relatively, it feels like a reprieve.

Knitting Mittens

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I know I am still knitting the chickadee cardigan (haven’t made much progress since the last photo) but I had an urge for a smaller, hand-held project too.

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I had ordered the above 4 ply from Loop, London. It is essentially sock yarn, due to it being 75% wool, 25% nylon, for durability. It comes with its own little spool of darning/reinforcing thread for the heels and toes, which I LOVE!

I decided a while ago to knit my next season’s winter accessories (hat, mittens and scarf) in green and white and so, here I am.