William’s blanket

I have finally visited my friend Nina and her new (8 weeks old) baby, William, today.  Various things have got in the way up to now but I have finally met him and he is really cute.  He smiled the whole time I was talking to him.

And I also got to give them the blanket I knitted and can now post a picture of it.

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Pattern:  I made it up, just a stocking stitch square with some seed stitch edging

Yarn: Sirdar Snuggly Baby Crofter DK colour 153 Hickory, 5 skeins

Needles: 4mm

 

Party, Gary Numan, sewing and yarn – an eclectic mix!!

Ok, so where did that month go???  I have no idea.

The World Cup is in full swing but luckily we have two tellies so I can watch Wimbledon.  Murray is looking really strong this year, so he could make it 2 in a row.

The weather has been really good for a couple of weeks, but I have still managed to keep my lily white legs!!  My step-dad’s side of the family all got together for his birthday last week and everyone was brown except me!  It’s hard work staying this pale you know.  Talking of the party, I didn’t think I would make it as I was pretty sick on the Friday and had to miss work on the Saturday.  But luckily I made it for the Sunday and we drove down to Oxford for lunch!

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Here we all are (step-dad Bill front left)

 

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Fab birthday cake, “The One that Got Away was THIS BIG!!”

It was a lovely day and great to catch up with people I haven’t seen in 20-odd years!!

Then on the Monday evening we went to see Gary Numan.  Yes, THAT Gary Numan.  He’s been gigging and making albums since the late 70s.  I have a friend, Chris, who is a mega-super-fan and he came up to stay overnight and go to the gig.  It was a small venue, probably about 500 people and we had a great view.  We stood at the side of the stage behind a couple of guys in wheelchairs so we could see perfectly.  Wow, but it was LOUD!!!  I was deaf and hoarse by the end, and dripping wet as it was one of the hottest days of the year so far.  If I’d known you could take photos I would have taken a proper camera, but here are some iPhone pics.

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Me & Chris (who is also brown!!!)

Anyway, onto some crafty things………..

On the sewing front I have had two success and a sort of failure.  I attempted the tunic top from my previous post but I think I made it too big and it also has no shape, so it just hangs, too long to be a top and too short to be a dress.  A couple of the girls have suggested I add a tie/belt so I’m going to do that to pull it in a bit.  But I need to make the tie first, so no pics yet.  My two successes are a Delphine Skirt from Tilly’s book Love at First Stitch, (the one on the cover) and a red batwing top from New Look pattern 6648.  I was pretty pleased that I made a pretty good effort (although with room for improvement) at an invisible zip on the skirt and I added pockets.

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Contrary to the evidence here, I do in fact possess TWO arms

The neck is a little wide but as the material is a knit fabric and a little warm for this weather, I can see me wearing it with a long sleeve top underneath in the colder months anyway.

I may possibly have bought some more patterns but I couldn’t possibly comment.  I think the dress is really cute with the black contrast fabric.

And onto knitting!!  I have been very slow and am still working on my Linum Tee.  I am on the final stretch now though.  I think I have made a mistake using cotton instead of linen as it seems to be growing.  It may need to go in a slightly too hot wash at some point.  There have been some tempting offers at work lately and I couldn’t resist some skeins of Araucania Ranco at £3.95 each.

So that is what I have been doing to fill my time.  Didn’t get to Woolfest but am looking forward to Yarndale in September.

Oh and don’t forget to listen to The Baarmygirls Podcast episode 5!!  And send us your thoughts, you will probably get a mention in the next episode!!

FO: Washi Dress number 2 and future projects.

I couldn’t resist making another Washi Dress straight away, so I did.  I made it exactly the same apart from shortening it slightly.  And of course it is a totally different colour.

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(A little less grumpy faced in these photos!!)

The material for this one is very slightly thicker than the first and does tend to jut out a bit giving what I describe as a “maternity look”. Not good on a non-pregnant person, so I have just popped it in the washing machine with some fabric softener to see if I can soften it up and get it to hang straighter.

I subscribed to the new magazine, Love Sewing, and the free gift was a copy of Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes (rrp £20).  You may recognise Tilly as one of the contestants on the first series of The Great British Sewing Bee and she blogs at Tilly and the Buttons. It arrived a few days ago along with Issue 2 of the magazine, and it is a really great book.  Excellent for a beginner as she starts with a straight rectangle scarf and goes through the basics, and then as she goes onto the next project you get lessons on the extra techniques used in the increasingly more complex garments.

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I am blogging this afternoon because I am being completely indecisive about what to make next.  I like this dress from the book

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and I have some plain lilac/lavender linen that I could use, but I also bought this pattern and fabric

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I am going to do version C with the green as the main colour and the purple spots for the cuffs and bottom hem.  I suppose I already have two dresses now, so a top would make sense at this point.

I haven’t abandon the knitting, I am currently doing that at knit groups and in the evenings.  I’m working on the Linum Tee from the latest issue of Knitscene.  I’m using Drops Safran 100% cotton rather than the linen, so it will probably drop a bit.  It is an oversized top anyway so should be okay.

There is also a bit of yarn bombing in the offing.  The project is being prepared and there will be more on that at a later date.

There should hopefully be a new podcast episode next week when Jane gets back from her holiday.  We are hoping to interview Kim from Alterknit Universe over Skype but I’m having some volume issues which I hope I can sort out by next week.

FO: Washi Dress

I was going to do a post about Yarn Shop Day wasn’t I?  Well time has passed and YSD was a few weeks ago now.  Feels like I missed the boat!  I did do a podcast episode about it though, featuring my interview with Louisa Harding, so if you want to have a listen to that, here it is….

Baarmygirls Episode 3 – Interview with Louisa Harding

While I was footering around the internet last week I stumbled upon a sewing pattern called The Washi Dress by Made by Rae.  I can’t for the life of me remember how I came across it but I fell in love with it.  If you Google “Washi Dress Images” you’ll see loads of different ones, and there is also a Flickr group.

Despite the fact I have only made tote bags, cushion covers, and a stuffy owl, I had to have the pattern and make the dress.  (Here is a pic of the latest tote I made for my mum…….)

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There are two ways to get the Washi pattern.  You can order the PDF version, but this involves printing it out and sellotaping all the bits together after, or buying the ready made pattern.  I opted for the second as I didn’t want the hassle of all the taping.  The pattern is a bit on the expensive side at £15, (I ordered mine from The Village Haberdashery on Monday night and it arrived Wednesday morning), but the instructions are really clear and easy to follow for a beginner like me.  And I love it so much that I will be making more so each time I make one the price of the pattern comes down on average per dress – I’ve convinced myself anyway!

I bought my fabric at Abakhan, which you buy according to weight, and got two different ones for £20.  Bargain, considering you need 3m for each dress.  I also needed shirring elastic and sewing thread so picked those up too.  I bought a purple flowery fabric and a bold print

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and decided to use the purple first, as I thought it might be a bit more forgiving of mistakes!  So the first thing was choosing the correct size.  I tried to measure myself and came out far too big, but luckily a friend popped round in the afternoon (this was Wednesday), and she did them again for me and I came out right this time!  That evening I traced all the pattern pieces for my size – hint: greaseproof paper is great for this as it is strong but you can still see the lines through it – and cut them out ready to start properly on Thursday.

After food shopping on Thursday morning, I got down to the pinning and cutting about lunchtime

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I was pretty nervous that I’d make a mistake and ruin the whole thing but Jane and Su were on the end of a text to encourage me!  The first technique I had to do was sew bust darts, not too difficult and they were fine.  Then put some pleats in the front, again not too hard to do.  Then shirring!!  Well what a revelation that was!  It’s amazing.  You put shirring elastic in the bobbin of your machine and your normal thread in the top and just sew across.  The fabric just starts to bunch as you go.  When you come to the second line, you have to pull the fabric flat again and sew across.  This pattern called for 6 lines of shirring and when you finish you steam it with the iron and it bunches up even more to give this effect

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It’s like magic!

On Friday morning I then had to do facings for the collar, and then make and apply bias tape around the sleeves which I nearly did wrong but realised at the last minute.  By mid afternoon on Friday this was the end result  ……………

Tah-dah!!!!!!

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(I don’t know why I look grumpy in the photos!)

And look at my fab shoes!!  I think I may have mentioned in the past that I have silly sized small feet – UK 2.5 – and find it hard to get shoes.  While I was staying with my mum there was a little shoe shop where I spotted these in a green colour.  They only had 4 and up which were like boats so when I got home I checked the wonderful interweb and found them in purple in a 2.5 on Amazon, yay!

So there you go, my first sewn dress and I’m really pleased with it.  On to the 2nd……….

 

Herefordshire

While we were in Bath we went to one of Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurants.  The food was great and very reasonably priced.

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When we left Bath we took a small detour to the outskirts of Bristol to Get Knitted.  I have ordered from their website in the past and expected the shop to be better than it was.  Although it was a large shop, there was a lot of empty space.  There was a nice couch for Colin to sit and wait while I wandered round, and on the plus side they do sell Cascade 220.  I bought two skeins for a Downton Hat, and two balls of Mexiko sock yarn.

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We then headed back towards home but had another detour to my parents near Hereford where I was going to stay for a few days with my mum while my step-dad went in for an operation.  I stayed from the Thursday afternoon until the following Wednesday morning when I hopped on a train home.  It was nice to spend some time with my mum, just the two of us.  We had some good chats and put the world to rights!!  It is only a small town where they live and although they have only been there a couple of years, they seem to know everybody!

We had a walk through the town, and had lunch in a little cafe called Flowerdew’s. We also went into a fascinating vintage shop, which really was a vintage shop, not modern stuff in “vintage style”.  It was all higgledy piggledy and absolutely stuffed with clothes and accessories.  If you like genuine vintage, give it a visit – its called Teagowns and Textiles.

On the day of the operation mum and I stayed in the hospital to wait for my step-dad to come back from theatre, so to pass the time of course I took some knitting with me.  I took my sock needles and this yarn

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and got to work on a pair of vanilla socks.  I just finished them off this afternoon.  They are very bright and they don’t match but I love them anyway.

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So after nearly a week there I got home in time for Yarn Shop Day.  But that is the next post…………..

 

Bath

** Warning – photo heavy post!**

My poor little neglected blog!  The combination of a trip to Bath, visiting my parents and promoting the Baarmygirls Podcast has led to not enough time here!  So inevitably there is a bit of catching up to do…..

Let’s start with Bath.  Colin and I decided to “do something” for our 20th wedding anniversary a few weeks ago, so we booked a couple of nights in Bath.  Neither of us had been there before so it was somewhere we could visit for the first time together.

We had an apartment on one of the main streets in the centre of town, which turned out to be in the house that Jane Austen lived in when she first came to live in Bath with her parents.  The house belonged to her aunt and uncle.

Parking was quite difficult despite having a permit so we left the car where it was for the two days and walked because everything was so close.

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Living room of the apartment

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View from rear window overlooking Bath

You see the shop with the black surround next to the yellow one?  I was looking in the window when I spotted a cute mug, and when I went in to look I also discovered a little tin – with a knitting Moomin!  Perfect for stitch markers.

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A little later on we passed a bookshop – well I say passed, we went IN a bookshop because nobody can just pass a bookshop – and I bought the Moomin book.  This was the bookshop, the superbly named Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights.

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and while I was paying, the eagle eyed husband spotted this on the counter, so I snapped it up because it had only come out the day before

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We wandered around and visited the Bath touristy things……

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The Royal Crescent

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The Abbey overlooking the Roman Baths

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The Roman Baths

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The Abbey

My husband is amazing.  He was looking at a leaflet and said “Do you want to go to the American Museum?”  I said “Why?”  He said “Because there is a Kaffe Fassett exhibition on there.”  So we hopped on a little shuttle bus and went.  It is about 3 miles out of the centre of Bath, up on a hill, an d the roadworks caused all kinds of problems, but when we stepped off the bus I saw this

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The Kaffe exhibit was in a separate building and as you walked in it was just his colours

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I spotted a couple of garments I made versions of in the 90s

I lived in this jumper!

I lived in this jumper!

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Outside was a tree covered in pompoms!!

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On the last morning, Colin got the car packed and wandered around for half an hour while I popped into the Museum of Costume.  I thought it would be bigger but it was quite interesting.  They even had 3 of Princess Diana’s dresses….

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I thought this was pretty

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but this red Georgian dress was my favourite

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I think I’ll stop there, surely that’s enough for now.