Friday, 30 January 2009

Something for the weekend

I am such a fickle knitter. I have the attention span of a caffeine-fuelled flea so have to have two or three projects on the go (purple cardigan, socks, some crochet and now this...). Here's what I'll be working on this weekend.


It's Liesl, by Ysolda Teague. I was looking at it longingly on the website the other day, and after a few checks on yardage and whatnot, realised I had enough wool in my stash for it! Ah, the benefits of needlessly and endlessly buying and stashing wool...I'm using the Cascade 220 that I originally bought for this hat - a lovely hat which my tiny mind couldn't figure out how to make! But wait, I seem to be knitting lace of all can this be??


Nope, I don't know's like knitting magic though. And there are enough rows of straightforward knit and purl without pesky counting, so it seems that this knitter of little brain can actually do something more complicated than stocking stitch after all.
Apart from knitting, I'm going to try to work on what's inside these tins...



Berries Beads!! They're Czech glass, so they're a bit on the heavy side, so what better thing to string them together than:

Carpet thread

Barbour's Shamrock Linen CARPET THREAD!! I was rummaging around trying to find something that wouldn't leave me embarrassed in public by a snapping into a shower of beads, and this old thread I found in a biscuit tin (well, what do you keep in your old biscuit tins? This is a much loved tin full of stuff I inherited from Mr Yaffle's Aunt. Nearly all of the stuff has come in useful, I'm amazed at how handy it's been), will probably do the trick. Why waste it on the carpet, I say!

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Rip it up and start again

I have one thing to say on the subject of purple cardigans, and that is AAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHH. I've started two, and neither are making me happy. So it is with pain and humiliation (steady on woman! God knows what Google search will bring you to this blog) that I am doing this.

Unravelled 1

Unravelling. Both of them. There's no-one to blame but myself, either. I couldn't face another vast tract of stocking stitch in the first cardigan, and for the second one, I just couldn't make the wool from my stash work with the pattern. Ho hum. So here I am, unravelling (in more ways than one, hahaha).


I'm unravelling it onto a niddy-noddy so I can make it into a nice skein. The sodding stuff is then going to get a good wetting, followed by a severe heating on a radiator, then I'm going to wind it all back into a big purple ball, ready for the next cardigan. But I'm not bitter *grinds molars*. I've chosen this as my next disaster pattern - Lacy Ribbon-tie Cardigan by Erika Knight (I can't find a non-ravelry link! Sorry!). It's from the 'Baby Bloom' book, but don't panic - I'm not even remotely 'blooming' - I just liked the pattern :-) It has lacy bits in it, so it has to be more interesting than stocking stitch! Oh, and I refuse to unravel next time. It's going in the loft if it doesn't work, the yarn must be cursed!


Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Colour therapy

I was the lucky recipient of some vouchers for our local quilting shop, Country Threads (no proper website sadly) last year as a leaving gift from my work (thank you everyone!) and I only just got around to spending them yesterday - spectacularly tardy of me, I know. I wanted to be sure that I made just the right selection of things for something special. I never make anything too posh for the house because I don't want to see it destined for the sole appreciation of arses, spilt beverages, melted chocolate and mucky paws! So...this time I'm going to make a wallhanging so none of the above can reach it (unless...oh no, don't go there!)


They're batik fabrics, mostly by Hoffman, I think. I'm such a hippy at heart. When I was 14 I did my first tie-dye experiment and never looked back. Nothing in my wardrobe escaped. I even wore tie-dyed socks to school...(can you get ASBOs for fashion crimes?). The lust for tie-dye and batik has to be fulfilled somehow though, so this is the socially acceptable way of getting my fix.

Batiks pile of

Love or loathe them, they certainly add a bit of colour to a grey day. I have a little pile of my own hand-dyed fabric (not tie-dyed, mercifully) which seems to fit the bill too.
Hand dyed fabric

oh..., plus the *cough* considerable stockpile of other batik fat quarters I've had squirrelled away for a rainy day. I'm so glad I don't pass the quilt shop on my way for a sandwich at lunchtime any more (actually, it was more like: obtain sandwich, then wander round the corner, away from the direction of work, up the cobbled street and - oops! - I appear to have stumbled into Country Threads, as if in a tuna-and-sweetcorn-induced daze! Well, now that I'm here..., etc)...or this pile would be even bigger.


Like all things I start, it will end up in the huge 'wip' pile of course, along with the eleventy billion other projects I have 'on the go' as it's euphemistically termed...!

Tuesday, 20 January 2009


I have unpicked, re-sewn, unpicked, gathered, sworn at, hacked at, and re-sewn the bodice of this so many times this weekend.  I couldn't get the gathers right at first, so had to undo it. And undo the wretched thing again when I found that, after gathering it, it still didn't fit my non-existent bust. (Summed up by my experience of first buying a bra in Littlewoods in Barnsley, at the age of 11. The shop assistant laughed: "You what, love? What size???! you might as well wear a piece of elastic!!" Oh how I miss Northern candour) After all this ripping, the poor bodice is beginning to look like the dog chewed it.


I also had to undo the interfacing I'd lovingly sewn at the top of the dress too, because it gave the neckline all the softness of an Elizabethan ruff. So as I'd figured out how to gather things, I added some more round the neckline.

Bodice ripping! 

Now I'm just sewing the sleeves - with more gathered bits! This dress has more puff than all the pastries at Betty's Tea Rooms put together!

Sleeve sewing 

That took most of my energy (cold still apparent) so the rest of the time I've been sitting on the sofa finishing off my crochet blanket. That's right - something has actually been finished in this house!

Bench and throw 

I had to take it outside to photograph so the dog wouldn't sit on it. He is rather fond of the blanket, possibly more keen on it than I am...(it's primarily a leftovers blanket, and like most leftovers, it tasted much better the night before.) Right - after that Herculean effort I think I shall slump onto the sofa with the heavy crocheted monster and not move for a few hours...!

Friday, 16 January 2009

House of Idiot fashions

I've prescribed myself a short course of dressmaking to beat the post-viral blues and encourage me out of my tissue-strewn hovel. I've been inspired by watching repeats of fashion-house costume drama House of Eliott (on UKTV History every Monday if you want to join in) although my attempts at dressmaking are rather more like the French and Saunders version, House of Idiot and there's nary a bugle bead in sight, sadly :-)

Dress pattern

Profuse apologies for the dark pictures. I don't believe the sun has risen today. If it has, someone show it the way to Somerset?

It's Simplicity 3807 dress pattern, a short dress with cute puffed sleeves. The fabric is two metres of Kaffe Fassett stuff. It's just too good for cutting into patchwork pieces so it's going to be a crazy dress instead. It's become the 'broccoli dress' in my head as they look like stems of broccoli to me. And that was before I was taking the decongestant tablets. Let's take a closer look.

Dog tail

Definitely broccoli. Hmm, with a hint of puppy-dog tail, I think?


Inevitable, I suppose.

The pretty tin of pins I'm using is inherited from my late mum and gran. They made all their own clothes (and mine) and passed their skills onto me, so there's always the pair of them at the back of my mind (and in this case they're shouting "£9 a metre? Bloomin 'eck! what's wrong wi' stuff from th'market?") when I'm sewing. I blame them for my sense of fashion being a bit wacky too.

Pin tin

Right, better go and do the boring bit of ironing, pinning, cutting...and see if I can get round to any actual sewing today...

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Notes from the dusty archives

Forgive me! Another non-yarn-related blog posting. I've not had any creative energy since the Man Cold arrived, so I've been pootling around with another hobby: family tree research. I don't do it much, as it can work out expensive if you haven't any firm leads and your family name is really common! However, the 1911 census went online yesterday and I was able to find a bit more about my maternal great grandparents...


(click to embiggen!) There they are. Harriet and George, with a baby called Harry (I think he may have been cast out into the unknown as I can't remember him. Mind you we never spoke about that kind of thing), and four lodgers, all crammed into 4 rooms (eeh, that were luxury when I were a lass, I lived in an armpit, etc, etc). They've yet to have my gran, Nellie. Here are some faces for the names.

Harriet and george

That's Harriet and George, my great-grandparents.

Gran and great gran

And there's my great-gran and my gran, Nellie (marvellous boots. I wear Doc Martens to this day, with everything. Wonder where I got that from?) Funny how Harriet, George and Harry as names, have come back into fashion, but 'Nellie' has yet to resurface.

My family were all employed in the cotton industry in Oldham, Lancashire and since we were the kind of family that never spoke about anything, and everyone's dead now (careless as well as tight-lipped!), I have to do my own sleuthing! I only wish I had the researchers they get to do the work on Who do you Think you Are, because I think this is all I'm going to have time to find out for now...possibly a good thing for you though, else I'd be raking through the archives for hours and this would be a family history blog. Hmm. Where's that yarn gone?

Multi-saxifrage patch

 ah, that's better!

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

This post is brought to you by...

Survival kit

...the healing power of Olbas Oil, Savlon and Andrex tissues. Sound familiar? Yep, I finally succumbed to the hideous cold that's going round. Try as I might to hide away from people, germs, civilisation etc somehow it managed to track me down and stick me in bed for 48 hours. My husband says I'm the only woman he knows who gets Man Colds. The cheek! 

Since I've not been up to anything creative (other than finding new places to hide soggy tissues) in the past few days, and I didn't think that an entire post about my symptoms would be very interesting (but a full list is available on request, for the mere price of a stamped addressed envelope), here's a random selection of stuff from around my room...


I've been designing and making some cute pouches for double-pointed needles. They'll be available in the shop (it's on its way - honest - we are having a few teething problems!) soon when I've made enough to sell! They're made with Heather Bailey fabric, and are fully lined, and they close with a cute button. DPNs, jug of threads and basket not included :-)

I made this chap a while ago now, but I haven't blogged about him yet. He's from a pattern by Ysolda and her elephant is called Elijah. I knitted him in some Regia cotton sock yarn (colour 4184, knit on 3mm) and I love how his stripes turned out! It is a genius pattern - I heartily recommend it as a fun knit. You won't want to give him away once you've knitted him though...I didn't!


Since I couldn't figure out how to do his eyes properly, he's got a bit of a wonky right eye, but I think it gives him a bit of character. (mistakes in my knitting = giving something character. Try it for yourself! "what's that weird flappy bit at the back of your cardigan?" "oh, it's character! I did it on purpose!")

Pencil pots

This view is right in front of the computer where I type. (and just look at the dust, eek, at least it proves I didn't stage the shot...) It's part of a ridiculously large collection of useless useful tins and retro pottery, hailing from places as far away as Barnsley, Keynsham and the metropolitan borough of E-bay! When does a passion for collecting turn into a sickness, anyone?

And no post would be complete without gratuitous dog pic.

Dog sulking

He wants to play ball. Or eat. Or go for a walk. Or eat. Or play ball. Or go for a walk. So he's sulking in this picture. I suppose I ought to go and play ball with between sneezes and tissues!

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Cardigan infidelity

I don't know. You're busy knitting one purple cardigan...


...and desperately trying to stay awake whilst knitting stitch after boring stitch of dull, purple monotony...when out of the blue, there arrives this, from Knitty.


A much nicer, more exciting purple cardigan! Look! it has Other Stitches in it, like garter stitch and - oh my! - twisted rib. So there was only one thing to do.


Ahem. I cast it on, and cast the other one into the big fiery pit of unfinished objects. I can't help it if a prettier cardigan comes along and turns my head! It's Knitty's fault, anyway!!