Saturday, 13 December 2014

Wellington Pattern Pyramid Giveaway - winner

Congratulations Elena Knits - the random number generator picked you :-)
Drop me an e-mail to dichohecho at gmail dot com with your postal address and I'll get them on their way!

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Giveaway - Wellington Sewing Bloggers Pattern Pyramid

A long long time ago I won a giveaway on Kat's blog which resulted in the Wellington Pattern Pyramid coming to the UK. What happened next wasn't so good - I put up a giveaway post and no-one entered.
I still have those patterns and they really ought to go to a good home. Now we've reached the end of #bpsewvember, the second anniversary of the Wellington Sewing Bloggers' Network, and the second anniversary of that giveaway fail it seems like the right time to try again. I've really enjoyed taking part in Sewvember - both thinking up my own interpretation of the daily themes, and seeing everyone else's. It's a lovely warm fuzzy feeling being part of something worldwide that's driven by enthusiasm for a shared hobby, and I'd like to think I contribute to this a bit.

The patterns, as I recieved them (note I kept the top one)
In case you're wondering what a pattern pyramid is - well - it's a sort of postal pass-the-parcel. The person at the top of the pyramid (Kat & the WBSN in this case) gives away a collection of vintage/second-hand patterns to one lucky winner, who gets to keep one and pass the rest on in the same manner. Scroll down to see details of the patterns I'm giving away.

  • Anyone, anywhere in the world, can enter by leaving a comment on this post by midnight GMT on Sunday 7th December but you must have an active blog.
  • I will randomly select a winner, Person A, and post them the collection of 6 patterns.
    Person A will then pick one pattern to keep for themselves, then host their own give-away They will randomly select a winner, post the remaining patterns to Person B.
  • Person B will pick a pattern for themselves and promptly host their own give-away and post the remaining patterns to the winner, Person C. Person C will do the same and so on until there is a last pattern winner…you get the idea.
 I've kept a pattern from the selection I received and, in penitence for my sins, I have replaced it with one from my stash. So - in celebration of Antipodean Sewcial Loveliness - if you'd like to receive this lovely bunch of patterns then just leave me a comment below.
Please give some way of contacting you in case you win. You don't need to follow me on any form of social media but the original pattern pyramid rules require that you have an active blog or site (anything with open-access commenting will do, I reckon).
Here are the goods - click through to my Flickr to see the envelope backs (I didn't want to swamp this post with photos!)

Simplicity 7219 - perhaps you could showcase some special fabric and make something like Tasia's holiday top?

Butterick 3740 - this has to be good value for (no) money. You too could have a jazzy vest, shirt, & slacks.

Butterick 4693 - 60s lovers, stop right here. Not just your usual A-line - we have pleats!

Vogue 8654 - A smart but cosy knit jacket, shame it's about 10" too small for me!

Simplicity 7433 - seventies willowy glamour (Margot from The Good Life?)

Butterick 3495 (Nicole Miller) - I bought this for the hair. And the seaming. But mostly the hair.

Good luck!

Because Flickr is a pile of crap I can't log into my Flickr account on my laptop right now, I can't fix the rotation on the envelope backs :( Anyone else had trouble logging in recently? I'm fairly sure I've changed my password the last 4 times I logged in via a browser (app seems fine).

Thursday, 25 September 2014

24 and a Half

I realised recently that although I haven't been doing a 25 Before 25 I have achieved a couple of things leftover from my 25 Before 23 & 24 and continued with lots of the things I did do.
Some things I've really turned around - I'm looking after my teeth & exercising - but others I still struggle with e.g. reading books and cycling to Bath!
I've also done extra things - buying a car being the most obvious :-)
It's my half birthday around now so this seems like a good time to take stock.

25 Things

Cycle to Bath - Bicycle is in the garage awaiting repair
Visit K at RHUL - I did this again
Make 5 items of clothing - Since my birthday I've sewn three dresses, a skirt, a T-shirt, and a blouse which are wearable! I should really blog some of that.
Go to Cornwall and/or somewhere warm - we went to Cornwall again and I've booked a weekend in Stockholm, which won't be warm.
Learn some Perl/Ruby/C++/SQL - Started some C++ courses at work
Keep a list of things to cook and make 2 new ones per month - I'm calling my Pinterest food board the list and I've definitely been cooking more interestingly
Read twelve or more books - I finished The File but have yet to start anything new
Cut down my photo-uploading backlog - needs more attention. And I need a new laptop!
Scrapbook - Nope. Still.
Visit 5 new towns or cities - I went to Southampton, various bits of Norfolk, drove around Surrey, visited Kent...
Keep job/get good/become independent - Still employed, feedback is good, and I'm pretty independent beyond liking company
Go to a pop-up restaurant or supper club - just done and in style - my friend's stag do involved The Basement Galley serving us dinner in a tube carriage
Finish things - Have seen projects to completion before starting new ones but what gets me stuck is when I don't know what I want to do. I need a clear vision.
Mend/alter - sewed button back on the duvet cover... Not really enough!
See cousins - there's been a family gathering
Go to a gig/film/... every month - not sure about every month but I've seen She Makes War twice and This Is The Kit and Jonathan Fuller
Walk lots - Nope
Visit new cafés/things - Discovered BaoWow, finally visited Friska at the Science Park, finally ate at Falafel King.
Do something creative every week - Lots of knitting on the way to work, efforts to make clothes
Make an effort to go to things - I have tried. Have driven many miles to do so
Learn to knit properly - Finished Shapely Boyfriend, knitted Miette, started second shorter SB
Listen to the radio regularly - Still lots of 6music, plus Radio 2 during lifts to work, JackFM for evening driving
Use stashes - Have bought fabric but also made a fair few things. Brought beading and paper craft things from home so I can use them
Find a dentist & get teeth fixed - Done! Finally! Actually managed to find an NHS dentist so paid £50 for everything that needed doing (had been quoted £500 = half price privately last year). Didn't enjoy numb face & chewing ban, and added dentistry to the list of things that make me feel shakey and faint.

Before 23

25 Things

Finish my final project
Get a job 
Move to Bristol
Sew a dress
Make 10 of my recipe bookmarks / pins
Send parcels to far-away friends - I sent a parcel to Southampton
Go to Southwold at least once
Get rid of my Flickr backlog
Get a grip on my finances - this still needs to happen
Sell my eBay pile, swap my swap pile - it's still here :-(
Mend & alter my mending & altering piles
Read a newspaper regularly - we live near Waitrose now so we get lots of free Guardians. I mostly read the G2 content online and tear recipes out of Cook
Weekend away by train - one just done, one in the near future
Buy good shoes - still need proper good ones
Crochet 3 items from stashed wool - haven't crocheted in a little while but made housewarming cat for a colleague
Get a new phone
Read 3 good/classic books
Print more photos
Watch 3 good/classic films
Exercise regularly - I've started going to the gym! I wasn't swimming often enough as the times didn't fit enough with life so I joined the gym. I've been 3-5 times a week for the past 3 weeks.
Have a picnic 
Visit a city farm
Visit my sister at university
Cycle from Bristol to Bath

And then there are all the extra things I've done this year. Some are very ordinary but feel like milestones and great achievements in adulting:
- bought a car, took car to garage for wheel bearing, got new tyres for car. Paid tax on car (no disc!)
- took friends on road trips - drove to Norfolk and London
- gave a training presentation
- cooked fillet steak
- Started going to the gym, run on purpose, enjoyed it, bought gym kit (including trainers I don't hate)
- won the work bake-off outright for the first time
- Knit whole cardigans
- Sewed a blouse with buttons and buttonholes and a collar and gathering
- seen schoolfriends I'd not seen in ages
- helped build a kitchen for my friend's new business
- been on my first hen do & celebrated friends' wedding. Camped in a garden with chickens and peacocks.
- sewn bunting, a pincushion, and zippy pouches
- weeded our garden
- booked a holiday abroad
- had an eye test & got new glasses
- been on a stag do and eaten dinner on a tube train
- had two mini university reunions
- had more proper conversations on Twitter and met some more internet people IRL

It feels good to write all this down :-)

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Me Made May 2014 - Part 2

It's (finally) time for installment two of Me Made May!

I'm glad I somehow talked myself into joining in with Me Made May this year - I thought I didn't have enough me-mades to do it at all properly but I really surprised myself. I also negatively surprised myself by only having two pairs of me-made earrings with me in Bristol and no non-broken necklaces. Next time I visit my parents I'll be bringing some back for sure.
I pledged to wear handmade clothing at least once a week and I think it's fair to say I smashed that target. I tried to wear something - including accessories - as many days as I could. The challenge definitely made me wear more accessories - I don't normally think to put a brooch on (especially since my office is so informal) but I turned to them a few times during the month. No-one commented on my change of wardrobe so I think my fears of being obviously handmade (in the scruffy, negative sense) were proved unnecessary.
Over all I really enjoyed having that little extra challenge in choosing what to wear, and the sense that I was part of something so big but so low profile (Guardian article aside). It's like a very friendly secret club :)

Right, here's some more photos:

#mmmay14 Day 17: Rosey Simplicity 9175 & tired post- fabric shopping face. Thankyou @houseofpinheiro for #NYlon2014 #mmmay14 Day 18: Yellow felt flower at Ham House

Days 17 & 18: What I wore for the epic day that was #NYLon2014 - sadly I packed on a grey morning and was boiling in my navy cord skirt, opaque tights, & boots! Day 18 was spent exploring and picnic-ing at Ham House with my sister. The little yellow felt flower is a handmade brooch. The skirt is from a charity shop & I was considering refashioning it as it's all gathered at the front.

#mmmay14 Day 19: Simplicity 2451 after a day at work - cotton sheeting is not a good skirt fabric #mmmay14 Day 20: dinner at a friend's house in aid of charity with shapely boyfriend (and real boyfriend)

Days 19 & 20: The bloggers' favourite Simplicity 2451 skirt (cotton sheeting is not a good skirt fabric) and my good old shapely boyfriend cardigan.

#mmmay14 Day 23: shapely boyfriend again & another dress I'd like to copy #mmmay14 Day 24: pocket hack NL 6154 skirt for rainy day domesticity

Days 23 & 24: Shapely boyfriend goes to work and NL6154-with-Simplicity-2451's-pockets for a day of domesticity

#mmmay14 Day 26: shapely boyfriend visits The American Museum #mmmay14 Day 27: Blue bead earrings for a sleepy work day & evening on the sofa installing a zip

Days 26 & 27: Shapely boyfriend visits The American Museum in Bath to see The Colourful World of Kaffe Fassett and blue china bead earrings worn to work and for an evening sewing the lining down in my truffle wearable muslin.

#mmmay14 Day 28: rosy top goes back to winter. It's a 40 denier kind of day :-( #mmmay14 Day 29: An uninspired outfit for an uninspiring day. New Look 6154  / Simplicity 2451 skirt

Days 28 & 29: Simplicity 9175 top and 6154/2451 hack skirt. Sleepy work days with dull weather. I think I used all my nice outfit brain on the first of these two days.

#mmmay14 Day 30: purple feather earrings & my alma mater #mmmay14 Day 31: Going for broke on the last day of #memademay . Waitrose won't know what's hit it.

Days 30 & 31: Purple feather earrings visit the Wills Memorial Building and my truffle muslin, shapely boyfriend, and lacy flower brooch visit Waitrose to send off Me Made May in style.

It looks like I managed 22 days out of 31 and wore 11 different items. I don't think I need to count to say that my shapely boyfriend cardi was my most worn item. Good thing I've got another cardigan in the works.
The glaring (to me) omission is my navy NL 6154 skirt which - due to a combination of it shrinking and me putting on weight - doesn't currently fit. Boohiss. I have taken up swimming though so hopefully that will help make up for the fact that I'm no longer getting the exercise of dashing between buses or walking to The Boy's house (now that we live in the same house :)).

The first installment can be found here and on my sewing Flickr account.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Me Made May 2014 - Part 1

"I, Sarah a.k.a. dichohecho, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavour to wear clothing handmade by me at least one day every week for the duration of May 2014.
I want to use and enjoy all my handmade items and will record progress on my blog and Instagram"

I signed up for Me Made May!
I'd thought I didn't have enough Me-Made clothes to participate but then I decided that accessories can count - and I can commit to one day a week without stressing myself out. So far I've been way ahead of my target :)
I must admit that I have had days where choosing what to wear has been difficult - but I have those anyway and it's very much a first world problem. Picking outfits based on a particular Me-Made item makes it easier in a way - it's easier to be creative within rules than be faced with infinite possibilities. I've also been accessorising with older me-made brooches and scarves that I haven't worn for a while. Early starts & rushing to make my lift means that accessories fall by the wayside so it's been nice to make a point of putting on a brooch or nice earrings.

Here's a round-up of the first half of the month in Instagram photos. You can see them in real time either on there - username dicho_hecho - or on my sewing Flickr. Both have proper captions.

#memademay14 Day 1: Simplicity 9175 top#mmmay14 Day 2: Shapely boyfriend cardigan & rtw skirt I'd like to recreate

Days 1 & 2 - starting with my most wearable items - rosy top  from Simplicity 9175, a 70s dress pattern & my shapely boyfriend cardigan. The top needs an FBA really.

#mmmay14 Day 4: Rocket launch chic with paisley brooch#mmmay14 Days 3 & 5: purply earrings

Days 4 and 3 & 5 - paisley felt brooch and purple-y feather earrings. I was spurred into putting the earrings on new ear wires by the need for more wearable me-made items (the old ones had tarnished)

#mmmay14 Day 7: Lace flower brooch, back in the office#mmmay14 Day 8: Shapely boyfriend & a messy hall

Days 7 & 8 - lacy flower brooch and shapely boyfriend again. The flower brooch is just a loop of lacy trim gathered into the middle. The scalloped edge looks conveniently like petals.

#mmmay14 Day 9: crocheted chevron cowl, sleepy face#mmmay14 Day 12: Simplicity 2451/New Look 6154 mash-up

Days 9 & 12 - crochet chevron cowl and teal cord New Look 6154 with Simplicity 2451 pockets. The skirt making was a bit of an ordeal involving poor fabric choice and cutting fail. I may blog it if I can bring myself to!

#mmmay14 Day 13: blue bead earrings#mmmay14 Day 14: Shapely boyfriend & best charity shop finds

Days 13 & 14 - Blue bead earrings & shapely boyfriend. These earrings also got re-made which makes them feel a little less cheaty - they're just about as simple a make as you can get and still claim credit for :)

Right - that's enough for one post. I'm going to go and lurk the Me Made May Flickr group, see you there?

Sunday, 30 March 2014

25 Before 24 - Post-birthday Update

ut we've mostly been tired & eaten simple things. Getting reflective?

March has brought sunshine and warm enough weather for breakfast in the garden at weekends. We've been enjoying seeing what's coming up - the previous tenants made an effort with the garden so we've had lots of daffodils, snowdrops and others already and there are plenty more things sprouting. We're still failing to win over our neighbours' cats - some run away, one just looks disinterested. I finally got around to shortening the curtains we bought a month or two ago and we've found some more pre-existing holes in the walls to hang things from so the sitting room is looking a bit more homely.
I've done a bit of sewing and managed to watch The Great British Sewing Bee every week, but not made all that much progress on sewing things. We've both been quite tired and I've not cooked anywhere near as much as last month I think. We spent a couple of weekends mostly at home recovering from the week and straightening the house out, though we also escaped to Tyntesfield and Chew Valley Lake for a change of scenery. Spending last weekend with my parents has left us struggling through mountains of washing up and laundry this week. Glamourous stuff.
I took the day off on my birthday and went off to Bath with vague ideas about drinking good coffee, visiting The Makery, and the magnolia trees in Queen Square looking nice. I had a very good flat white and some tasty cake at Colonna & Small's but found that The Makery was closed for relocation. However I also found a quilting shop called Country Threads which was absolutely lined with lovely quilting cottons, including the mad Kaffe Fassett vegetable ones. I later found out that The American Museum in Bath has an exhibition about him on - good excuse for a return trip I reckon. I had a nice day of wandering around looking at things & came home in the evening to dinner cooked for me by Boy.
I think I'll post a proper finish up of my 25 Before 24 when I'm feeling a bit more awake.

25 Things

  1. Cycle to Bath - Bicycle is now in Bristol! Need a helmet & lights.
  2. Visit K at RHUL
  3. Go to a sewing meet
  4. Make 5 items of clothing - halfway through a modified New Look 6154 skirt
  5. Go to Cornwall and/or somewhere warm
  6. Learn some Perl/Ruby/C++/SQL - Knowledge of Perl & C++ slowly increasing
  7. Keep a list of things to cook and make 2 new ones per month - Banana, oat, & chocolate muffins, potato farls, chicken & ham pie
  8. Read twelve or more books
  9. Cut down my photo-uploading backlog - Onto A35F roll 1
  10. Scrapbook - Nope
  11. Visit 5 new towns or cities
  12. Keep job/get good/become independent - Enjoying being back in my normal problem solving role. Set an objective I'm actually interested in doing
  13. Go to a pop-up restaurant or supper club
  14. Finish things - Started & finished several new things
  15. Mend/alter
  16. See cousins
  17. Go to a gig/film/... every month -Saw Ellen & The Escapades and Stanley Brinks & The Wave Pictures + Freschard - both very good. Saw The Grand Budapest Hotel.
  18. Walk lots - Few evening excursions on foot, lots of rain
  19. Visit new cafés/things - had coffee at Colonna & Smalls in Bath, visited Small Bar and Turtle Bay on work outing, ate Thai at The Old Fishmarket, visited The Gallimaufry
  20. Do something creative every week - Lots of knitting on the way to work, bursts of sewing in evenings
  21. Make an effort to go to things - Plenty of evenings out with friends, a couple with work, and one with my parents, excursion to Weston-S-M despite train problems
  22. Learn to knit properly - Shapely Boyfriend cardigan has one and a half arms
  23. Listen to the radio regularly - Still lots of 6music, plus Radio 2 during lifts to work
  24. Use stashes - Bought fabric on my birthday! Acquired more stash from my Great Aunt. Using up some on skirt & made a little zippy pouch from stash.
  25. Find a dentist & get teeth fixed

Saturday, 1 March 2014

25 Before 24 - March Update


January merged dully into February and February slipped past slyly. It was definitely a busier month but with the same feeling of fighting the weather to get up the necessary oomph to get out and do things. I don't think I did too badly though. On the craft front at least it's been a productive month, with several projects making decent chunks of progress or being completed. There's also been a shift culinarily - not doing big shops has meant that I've instigated or brought together many more dinners, including ones that are less boy-style meat-veg-carb, and more adventurous concoctions and bits and pieces.
Writing this post so soon after finishing off the last (very late one) has made it clear to me that I don't have much of a sense of how February has been. I could perhaps do with more slow thinking time. I think I've also been taking fewer phone photos. In some ways that's good - I've been less distracted by it - but also there are things I've already semi-forgotten or misplaced in my mental timeline. When did I have brunch with A&C? Was it late January or early February? I didn't take any photos or send the postcards I had meant to send that day. The physical act of writing the date might have cemented the mental connection.
I've generally not written to people as much as I should. I've managed to keep up with birthdays, I think, but I have at least one long letter to reply to. I no longer have several hours of bus time in which to think of these things. I'm getting through my RSS feeds much slower, and I'm not talking to my bus-riding colleagues so much (though one is away anyway). The flipside of all that is the increased time for craft and cooking and being at home with boy. I'm basically less social and thoughtful but creating more.
With some effort (in the direction of not just slumping on the sofa with my knitting) I'm sure I can even this back out. Knitting & cooking are the kinds of thing that I will always find time for - I have to eat anyway and knitting is very easy to pick up & put down - so it's the thinking more that needs some work. I think that working out how much free time I have when deciding what to do with it will lead to more variety and the more complex things getting done - less just starting knitting by instinct. That said, both Death In Paradise and The Great British Sewing Bee are on at the moment...

25 Things

  1. Cycle to Bath
  2. Visit K at RHUL
  3. Go to a sewing meet
  4. Make 5 items of clothing - made a top from Simplicity 9175 (1970)
  5. Go to Cornwall and/or somewhere warm
  6. Learn some Perl/Ruby/C++/SQL - Had a presentation about Perl & reviewed some C++
  7. Keep a list of things to cook and make 2 new ones per month - Chocolate & blueberry scones, beef rendang, cornbread, pea & ham soup, chocolate tarts, cucumber and lime G&T
  8. Read twelve or more books
  9. Cut down my photo-uploading backlog - On K1000 roll 6 now
  10. Scrapbook - Nope.
  11. Visit 5 new towns or cities
  12. Keep job/get good/become independent - Changed the format of part of a big meeting & got more people talking which is a win :) Got very good annual feedback
  13. Go to a pop-up restaurant or supper club
  14. Finish things - Sewed up last pair of Learn To Knit Love To Knit wristwarmers. Made top from Simplicity 9175.
  15. Mend/alter - added *more* things to my mending pile!
  16. See cousins
  17. Go to a gig/film/... every month -Saw Cate Le Bon at The Lantern. Very good and very loud!
  18. Walk lots - 9.5 mile walk round the downs, down through Clifton, round the harbour, to Sunday lunch at The Bank, then all the way home
  19. Visit new cafés/things -Went to Obento with friends, experienced the extended upstairs at Boston Tea Party on Park St
  20. Do something creative every week - So much knitting! And a bit of sewing too.
  21. Make an effort to go to things - Coffee with friends, colleague's birthday party, two weekend lunches, a pub visit, impromptu dinner with old old flatmate.
  22. Learn to knit properly - Shapely Boyfriend cardigan is coming along nicely
  23. Listen to the radio regularly - Still lots of 6music, plus Radio 2 during lifts to work
  24. Use stashes - Bought wool for shapely boyfriend and red thread for curtains. Used stash fabric for top & made a couple of plans
  25. Find a dentist & get teeth fixed

Monday, 24 February 2014

25 Before 24 - February Update

Soon there will be cherry blossom again, soon!
Laaaate. So very late. I think I'll blame the weather. We're nowhere near flooded up here on our hill, though Bristol harbour did overflow and necessitate a temporary flood defence down by the river. Mostly the weather meant spending most of the weekends indoors. After a fairly indulgent Christmas & new year, the boy and I have been feeling a bit fat and being cooped up inside hasn't helped with that!

25 Things

  1. Cycle to Bath
  2. Visit K at RHUL
  3. Go to a sewing meet
  4. Make 5 items of clothing
  5. Go to Cornwall and/or somewhere warm
  6. Learn some Perl/Ruby/C++/SQL
  7. Keep a list of things to cook and make 2 new ones per month - Rocky road, teriyaki salmon, peanut butter hot chocolate, taleggio risotto, pilau rice
  8. Read twelve or more books
  9. Cut down my photo-uploading backlog - On K1000 roll 6 now
  10. Scrapbook - Nope. Session needed.
  11. Visit 5 new towns or cities
  12. Keep job/get good/become independent - Changed the format of our daily meeting
  13. Go to a pop-up restaurant or supper club
  14. Finish things - 3 pairs of Learn To Knit Love To Knit wristwarmers. Sorted out muslin for Simplicity 9175
  15. Mend/alter
  16. See cousins
  17. Go to a gig/film/... every month - Saw Inside Llewyn Davis
  18. Walk lots - Couple of little wanderings at weekends but not much.
  19. Visit new cafés/things -
  20. Do something creative every week - Lots of knitting!
  21. Make an effort to go to things -Photo brunch, cinema trip, old flatmate's birthday party, had coffee with a friend
  22. Learn to knit properly - Going swimmingly, started warming up for a Shapely Boyfriend cardigan
  23. Listen to the radio regularly -Lots of 6music, plus Radio 2 during lifts to work
  24. Use stashes - Bought spotty chambray but made a few plans.
  25. Find a dentist & get teeth fixed

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Recently, Craftily

 Felt star Christmas decorations for friends - I'd left all my beads and sequins at home so I had to improvise some embroidery. I still can't do french knots. I stuffed these with polyester stuffing & hung them on ribbon loops.

I made a baby blanket for a colleague. I had it almost finished for ages but only got round to weaving the ends in and blocking it after the early arrival of said baby! It's lying on a bath-sheet-sized towel folded in half here. I wanted it to stay useable for a good few years so made it quite large.
I started off with stash wool and purchased a few balls of white to make the blanket up to the size I wanted. I think the Peter Pan by Wendy was the nicest I used, the Hobbycraft bargain baby wool was nowhere near as soft and lovely. The whole thing is on Ravelry here. I'm not one for cooing over babies but I must admit that he looked very cute wrapped up & sleeping.

I started making a collection of little crochet stars out of scrap wool. Eventually I may have enough for some sort of garland.

I was lucky enough to receive this beautifully presented parcel in the Sewists' Secret Santa... The card was only signed from Secret Santa so I don't know who was responsible! All I know is the postmark.

And this is what was inside! Bravo Santa, such well chosen bits - I really love when someone unexpectedly gets it so right - not that I help much with my rather sparse blog.
I'd been admiring Fashionarys from afar for a while so it was lovely to be indulged - I think it'll help me get my ideas down when I'm having a fit of inspiration as I tend to completely forget all my ideas completely. I wasn't sure what the giant button was at first and had an abortive attempt at using it as a kind of window sticker! Then I had a flash of inspiration and googled button coaster. If this isn't what it's meant to be, I'm very sorry but it does a good job :)
I'd like to thank Kat very very much for organising this swap - I'm looking forward to being involved in more, and hopefully being far better at my part of the bargain. I have not seen yet if my Santee has received her parcel - it was going right round the world and I sent it shamefully late :-(

On Christmas day I decided to teach myself to knit in the round using dpns. The perfect willfully lazy winter afternoon activity. This was my first attempt and it only bloody worked! 
I followed instructions in How To Knit by Debbie Bliss which I find to be a pretty good book for learning knitting generally. I kept going and eventually decided to experiment with decreasing every 4th & 5th stitch, resulting in an interestingly pointy little hat. Currently it belongs to a toy dog as I don't know any children of the right sort of age.

This is my first pair of Wristwarmers from Learn To Knit Love To Knit, as recommended by Magpie Mimi. For this first pair I naughtily used the same sized needles throughout so my rib is a little *too* stretchy. My mattress stitch is not the prettiest either but practice will help. They're on Ravelry here.

Speaking of which, I'm already on my third pair of LTKLTK wrist warmers. I obeyed the needle instructions for the second minty pair and also changed colours for the third. These two sets are presents. The pink & brown ones are waiting to be sewn up (and washed after an unfortunate beer incident).

I've been enjoying spending cold wet weekend afternoons (and some evenings) in my craft room(!) arranging things and making plans. I found that this little cabinet - which came from a jam gift set - is the perfect size for holding reels of cotton. I've recently inherited quite a few from a friend's aunt. Some of it is labelled quilting cotton so I need to look that up - I imagine it might be stronger and thicker than normal thread and possibly too thick for dressmaking?
I've also been through my whole (far too large) collection of crochet hooks selected the sizes I didn't have from among the inherited lot. Now I'm in the process of giving away the rest & have had quite a bit of interest from friends.

And this is what I've been doing on the sewing front. Simplicity 9175 is an A-line shift dress pattern from 1970. I picked up the pattern at the sewists' meet in Birmingham back in June, right at the end of the swap after having initially thought that there was no way a vintage single sized pattern would be big enough. But it is! To my inexperienced eyes the bust on my toile is nigh on perfect.
The hips were another story (as you'd see if you follow me on Instagram) and I thought I'd have to do some drastic re-drafting to make it work. However I tried taking out the side and centre back seams by 1/4", curving out gently from below the ends of the french darts, et voilá! Suddenly all was well. I was amazed by how much difference this made. I have a slight suspicion I may have stretched the fabric when trying it on, but I intend for my first real version to be made of the leftover cheap navy cotton from for New Look 6154. I've re-pre-washed it so hopefully its shrinky tendencies have been tamed now.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Lytes Cary: Hedgerow, Riverbank & Woodland


A long-delayed sequel to my Lytes Cary post, these are some photos from outside of the formal gardens. Boy and I took the path down to the River Cary, walked alongside it a little, and then found our way back along some field edges and through a lovely little bit of wood.
Since it was quite late in the afternoon by this point we had the place to ourselves and there was some lovely late afternoon sun lighting up the trees and berries.

I meant to post this in late December but there was some kind of Flickr stupidness with the photo sharing code becoming iframes. I've got my good old html img tags back now so it's all playing nicely with blogger and mobile browsers again.


By the time we got back to the house it was definitely late late afternoon and the sun had become low and lovely. It did make it quite hard to walk across this very lumpy field, but it was pretty all the same :)