Friday, October 16, 2009

Bookworm Sweater completed

Doesn't it look gorgeous? Pulled a late one last night getting the knitting done, then did the making up this morning, aided and abetted by the model himself. I'm really pleased with how the Bookworm Sweater has turned out, but I've still not scratched the knitting itch in me- must be the weather or something. Having to be a bit disciplined though as the wedding is two weeks today (!!) and there is still the small matter of some felt cubes to be made for the youngest guests' goody bags. I've cut all the squares out, so I'm going to do one a day for the next week or so, then indulge the clickety-click.
Decided to work on the 'Supernaturals' tea cosies next, which meant turning the hank of Cornish Organic wool into a ball to knit from. As I don't own one of those fancy oojamaflips to do this job, I tend to get in a bit of a tangle. This time I ended up winding the ball in the dark, sitting up with the boy who was teething, poor love. Remarkably, no tangles! He's asleep now, my felt cube for the day is sewn and stuffed and I'm casting on...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Shame and redemption

I'm amused by the fact that the title for this post sounds a bit like a lost Jane Austen novel. You could also go the Virginia Woolf route and go on about having a Room of {my} Own. Anyway, the 'shame' is obvious when you see how, having reclaimed a dedicated spot in our house for my craft stuff, I had everything heaped in a horrendous pile. This being an area of the house that's important (to me, anyway) but not essential for the day to day running of things, it got left and left as we sorted out everywhere else. So last night I decided enough was enough, time for redemption. While the boy and his Daddy made up their modern jazz tunes on the piano downstairs (I love that a lot of the time I can't tell who is playing which bit!) I had what was described as a 'whirling dervish' moment and got everything sorted out.
I have decided on several truths as a result of this purging experience:
1. I will never be a 'neat freak' no matter how much I wish I was. But I can be quite organised when I have the time and inclination.
2. Apart from what's needed for specific projects I do not need to buy any more knitting yarn.
3. I definitely don't need to acquire any more scrap fabric, no matter how lovely it is.
4. I shouldn't complain that I lack projects to complete. For at least 5 years.
Cherry on the cake was that when I checked my blog this morning I found that my followers have doubled- I now have four! Even better, 2 of them aren't even related to me!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


What's the significance of the blocks? Well, maybe I'm just a bit sentimental this week, but those blocks represent another little chubby-footed step on the journey of our little boy's life. Yes, he's managing to stack those wooden blocks by himself! I love to think of how these are his first ventures into creativity. The blur in the second picture is him giving himself a round of applause for his achievement. No self esteem problems yet, eh? He knows how to celebrate his own victories!
My own progress is also pictured, as the back of the Bookworm sweater is now finished and the front is up past the armhole decreases. Part of me can't wait to finish it and see it snuggled on our little genius, but another part will be sad when all that lovely yarn is used and the pattern complete. However, it's not like I haven't got things to move onto...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Worthwhile investments

The first picture here shows our new friends Katy and Hannah. We only met them a month or so ago but they've already touched our lives in a lot of different ways. If friendship is like an bank account they've been making lots of deposits- of time, effort, welcome and let's face it, the sanity you sometimes need when you're at home with a baby all day and living in a town that's a long way from old friends and family. We go on lovely walks, to the Lakes, collecting blackberries and on one occasion, crashing through the undergrowth on a somewhat neglected footpath. We drink redbush tea (well the grown ups among us anyway) and share ideas, resources and laughter.
I do my best to make sure I'm investing as well as drawing on our 'friendship account' and this week I did it through the medium of knitting (surprise, surprise). I interrupted my work on the Bookworm Jumper to make a 'playground duty' hat. Gosh it sounds so simple put like that, but for some reason it took about five attempts to get the pattern going, and even then I'm not sure if it turned out how the Yarn Forward pattern meant it to. Oh well, it looks fine and it's finished.
Why 'playground duty'? Well, this week Katy finishes her maternity leave and goes back to being a teacher for two days each week. I remember well that apprehension about leaving your baby with well meaning, but none the less paid-for, carers and wondering if you can remember how to be the professional you were before breast-feeding, nappies and sleep patterns took over your life. Of course, the irony is that now the choice has (I hope temporarily) been taken away from me, I'd quite like to be a part-time working mum again.
So to try and soften the blow of going back to work, Patrick and I put together the 'Katy's Back to School Kit' with the aforementioned playground duty hat, a nice new mug (with redbush teabags) for the essential teacher pick-me-up and a photo frame for that reminder of home that's sometimes needed. Patrick helped decorate the bag before we delivered it- just a short toddle along our street, aren't we lucky to have found friends so close by?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wedding preparations

Today is a hymn of praise to what mums can do, serendipity and all things handmade. As I've mentioned in previous posts, a very important wedding is coming up in (eek!) only a couple of weeks now. I'm an honoured daughter-in-law indeed to be involved in lots of different ways including making treats for the children (see crowns in previous post), playing the flute for the entrance of the bride (gulp!) and reading.
So obviously my outfit is pretty important, but I always find it really hard, not least on a limited budget, to find anything I really like to wear. So I decided, like I did with my own wedding, that making my own was the way to go. I realise that sounds slightly like I made it all myself, which would be slightly innaccurate, but suffice to say I found a fab 50's dress pattern free with a copy of 'Sew' magazine and rang my mum to ask if I could stay with her for a couple of days of free babysitting/dressmaking consultancy. Mum being mum she said yes of course, so I got some samples of fabric from MacCulloch & Wallis, whose online service I can heartily recommend, and, having previously decided on gunmetal grey or sage green, ended up buying a scary amount of dupion silk in green shot with RED! It looks wonderful and is perfect for the autumn feel of the wedding (I know, I've been privy to fabric samples and flower plans from the bride herself!).
So two days of sewing later (sewing on my part mainly consisting of stitching the neck ruffle you can see detailed here- my idea for an addition, therefore my stabbed fingers achieving it!) and the dress was ready, fitted to my exact requirements and the one and only in the world.
I needed something on my shoulders so I made a shrug from Fitted Knits using Rowan Kid Classic, which makes beautifully soft garments with that lovely fluffy haze that works well on retro designs.
The serendipity came with a text message from my mother in law asking for my shoe size. Turns out we are the same size, and also that she had bought some shoes to wear for the wedding but had changed her mind. The colour and retro styling just happened to be perfect to go with the dress so would I like them? Well now I have a policy never to look any horses in the mouth, least of all gift horses...
And to (literally) top it off? Only a cocktail hat would do- not least because playing the flute in a lampshade would just look weird. Folksy came good, with the simply marvellous Tallulah Blue. Despite having to struggle with dodgy internet connections and being on holiday, she agreed to making a customised version of one of her fabulous designs, using my dress fabric and at an incredibly reasonable price. The detail is great, down to the leopard print lining and the sequined jewel buried in the rose. My photography really doesn't do it justice but do go and check out her shop and/or blog.
There's something wonderful about knowing that you're wearing something where care (and not sweatshop labour) has gone into every stitch. I can't wait for the wedding day now!