Grab a cuppa – you could be here a while……

Eeek, I’ve been away so long that WordPress has changed! Where is everything??

So where to start?  Let’s go back a couple of months……..

At Christmas I bought Colin & myself tickets to the British Open golf which was just up the road in Hoylake this year.  Finally the day came round at the end of July, it felt so long between booking and going. I got tickets for the final day but we also got some tickets for one of the practice days so I could take some photos, as cameras weren’t allowed on the actual Championship days – not that everyone abided by the rules!!  We got to see all the big names, notably Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Miguel Ángel Jiménez – who smoked a cigar almost constantly! – and loads more.  On the final day we got a seat in the front row of the stand on the 3rd green, so got to see all the top players come through really close up.

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A couple of weeks later I had another birthday, with lots of fab presents from lots of lovely people.  I wanted a sewing box but not a little twee one, something big and sturdy, so I decided I would like a toolbox from B&Q!!  This one that Colin bought me is brilliant, there are all kinds of compartments and plenty of room for all the sewing paraphernalia I seem to have already accumulated.

My mum and step-dad gave me some money so I got a matching set of two briefcase type ones to put knitting needles and bits in.

All this organising is down to the fact that I decided the house needed to be decluttered.  I think things had reached critical mass and there was so much “stuff” that just didn’t need to be here.  So there has been a bit of a blitz!  It is by no means finished but I think we are over 50% now.  Old cooking and gardening magazines were thrown out, books were culled, bookshelves replaced, shoes stored in under-the-bed bags.  We went through our wardrobes and gave clothes to the charity shops, Colin tidied and re-arranged the small bedroom/office and we got some nice new pictures.  There are still some jobs to do in the tidy rooms, such as sort out drawer contents but my next task is the back bedroom.  As we were going along in the other rooms, items that we weren’t sure whether to keep or not went into the spare back bedroom which got fuller and fuller and already had loads of my yarn and other miscellaneous junk in it.  So it is now a huge task.  I AM going to do a yarn de-stash, and will probably get rid of all my straight needles too as I never use straights, so there may be some on eBay soon.  Some other items too.  Anyone want an original Wii?  Hardly used?

This weekend I finally get to fulfil my ambition of doing some yarn-bombing!!  I have had a project in mind for a few years but never got round to it.  When the knitting group lost our friend Helen, my boss and owner of Stash Fine Yarns, I thought perhaps we could do something as a tribute to her so I revived the idea.  Rather than doing it anonymously, I wanted to try to raise some money for charity, so I got permission from the council to decorate an elephant sculpture in Chester.  We have all made squares in knit group and they are all assembled and ready to go.  The local newspaper has interviewed me over the phone about it and will feature it on their website and in the next edition.  This is what it looks like at the moment!

So getting onto knitting – hmmmm not a lot of that going on.  I’m still suffering with my hands, I still have carpal tunnel in my left hand and have now got two trigger fingers in my right hand, so it’s all a bit difficult and slightly sore.  I’m getting a bit done though, I’ve made one Runrig and one sock!  And there are a lot of projects in the new Interweave Knits ad Knitscene that I would like to make.  However I did succumb to some new yarn.  As I couldn’t go to the Pop-Up Wool Show due to work, I contacted one of the vendors and asked them to put a skein of yarn aside for me and my lovely friend Hayley collected it.


This is a skein of WooSheeps 100% BFL superwash sock yarn, 600m to 150g.  The colour is Imperial Purple and it is gorgeous.  I also have another Zauberball, this time of the Crazy type from Lottie, one of my workmates.  Colour 2095, it is a slightly pinky red, red, and wine mix.


And finally, oh my word, how do I describe the next one?  You really have to feel this yarn to believe it.  It is the softest yarn I have ever felt!  I just want to cuddle and pet it.  It is Mirasol Llama Una, 100% baby llama, 100m to 50g.  Get some – that’s all I’m saying.


And look how well it matches some fabric I

I have a few pennies put aside for Yarndale too of course.  This is at the Skipton Auction Mart on 27th and 28th of September. I will be there on Sunday, with my Baarmygirls podcast co-host Janey Laney!!  I am attempting to make a Baarmygirls Podcast T-shirt so if you see us, come and say hello.

Talking of making, I have also been doing a bit of sewing.  My mum recently got a new chair and I offered to make her a cushion for it.  It turned out rather well so I made 4 for myself and threw out the old manky cushions we had in the living room.


I also discovered, completely randomly, some Japanese sewing books (translated into English thank goodness).  I bought one, The Stylish Dress Book 1 and was so enamoured by it that I bought two more, Basic Black and Feminine Wardrobe.


You get 26 patterns in each book with all the pattern sheets in a folder at the back.  These can be confusing as there are only four sheets so all the patterns are printed in different colours on top of each other, so you have to search around for all the correct pieces.  When you’ve done that you then have to add seam allowances as they are not on the patterns.  But if you get through that bit you are on your way.  I made the cover project from Stylish Dress Book first


I didn’t quite insert the sleeves correctly and it looks a bit “maternity” but I still like it.  There are so many things I’d like to make from these books, here are some of them…

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but I’m going to start with pattern F from Stylish Dress Book, which fellow blogger Eskimimi has made such a fabulous job of.  I’ll use the fabric above and then knit a small cowl to match from the baby llama.

Well hope to see some of you at Yarndale, we’ll be recording on the day so be prepared to be interviewed!!!

FO: Sheepy Delphine

I have made another Delphine skirt from Tilly’s book Love at First Stitch.  I originally came across this fabric when I bought a little project bag at Yarndale which was made from it.  Then I spotted it in Hobbycraft and thought I might make some bags for my knitty friends but never got around to it.  After I made the blue Delphine, I realised I had enough of this fabric to make another one, so last week I did.



I think my efforts at an invisible zip are improving too.  I’m quite pleased with this second effort.


It took me all weekend to find shoes to just about match.  I am convinced my feet are shrinking, I ended up with a pair of size 1s!!! Only cost me a fiver though.


Why do we have to have extremes of weather?  I’d be quite happy with a constant temperature of about 21C, so I didn’t freeze my bum off in winter and sweat my bum off in summer.  It would make clothes buying and choosing what to wear each day so much easier.  “We shouldn’t complain,” I find myself saying and hearing said back to me, but why not?  It’s TOO HOT!!  The building I work in, thankfully only two days a week, is a metal industrial unit, which last Wednesday got hotter and hotter and hotter as the day went on. My dress was stuck to me!

However, since I discovered sewing I have embraced the articles of clothing called ‘skirts’ and ‘dresses’.  What a revelation!  Oh, and the ‘insulin pump bra clip’.  I always used to wear jeans and trousers with pockets or belt loops so I could either hide my insulin pump in a pocket or in a little pouch especially designed to slide onto a belt. But wearing a skirt or dress isn’t so easy.  I have used a thigh pouch before but they are rather uncomfortable and there is always the possibility of it slipping down and being tripped over, (although mine is so tight it would cut off the circulation in my leg before coming down!)

So I have tried the bra clip.  Again it is a pouch but it just has a little hook which fits over the bit that goes under your arm.  And there the pump hangs, tucked away where no-one needs to see it.  I am lucky that my pump has a remote control on the blood test meter so I can program my insulin dose, press a button on the meter when I need to, and never have to touch the pump all day. It beats fishing around to get at it at inconvenient moments!

Anyway enough about that, I have finished a couple of things…..


The first one is a little top from New Look pattern 6891. I got the cute owl fabric from Calico Laine in Neston, but can you spot the (not) deliberate mistake?  One half of the owls are upside down, because i folded the fabric the wrong way when I cut it out!  Luckily it doesn’t notice too much as they are all a bit random anyway.  Its the same on the back too so at least I’m consistent.

I have finished my Linum Tee but just have to edge the sleeve holes.  In the meantime I made a Downton Hat from my friend Annie’s pattern. Unfortunately I picked the wrong size and also my gauge was wrong and it came out too big, but I managed to salvage it by felting it and I really like it better ow.  It is lovely and thick and is going to be really warm in the cold weather.




Knitted in Cascade 220 that I got at Get Knitted during our trip to Bath in April.

I may also have acquired some yarn

The first is just some acrylic that I got for my yarn bombing project, and the second is some natural handspun Shetland DK from a small market stall in Aberaeron near Aberystwyth.  We had a nice chat with the chap who spun it, he uses it to make rugs.  There is 375g there, no idea what yardage though!

Baarmygirls should be recording this week, hopefully. There has been a delay due to illness but we will catch up soon.

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.




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!


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



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.




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.




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.





(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.


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


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



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…….)


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



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


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


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  ……………






(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……….