I knit so I don't kill people.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

My mission to May

Well my four days off work turned out to be a snowed in break.  Thursday was bright but with a freezing Siberian wind, then Friday -  well - the sky fell in.  The UK has been hit with snow storms so Friday and Saturday we've been pretty much housebound, oh well what's a girl to do?
My friend sent me a text message to inform me that for this year's girls outing to Chester Races Ladies Day in May we will not be slumming it in the Tattershall stand we are going posh to the County Stands - how decadent!!  This news has set me into my annual panic about what to wear as I love this day out and like to make a special effort with my outfit.  Previously I have always dressed vintage and envisaged that this year would be no exception, I've done 30's, 40's and 50's and need to get my thinking cap on!

Then this magazine arrived on Saturday morning

After wrenching the magazine from the male population of my household, all drooling over Doctor Who's new assistant, I had to get a closer look at what she was wearing here.  The dress is by Tibi at Matches and here it is in detail, I love it.  Hang on though £464 and made from neoprene, that is a type of rubber, the stuff wetsuits are made from.   A tad too pricey and too hot for Ladies Day I think.  So inspired by the shape of the dress I went off for a rummage to my pattern collection as I have decided to make my own frock this year.

I just love this classic neckline

but I want a full sticky out skirt so back in the box for another rummage  - and bingo I found this pattern

I love that this skirt is in fact pleated rather than gathered so figure if I get a heavier fabric I may get the effect I'm looking for.  So I will take the bodice from pattern 1 and the skirt from pattern 2 and will hopefully get the dress that I desire.
Firstly how much fabric do I require?  Isn't it amazing how dress sizes have changed over the years this is today's British Standard  and here is what was given on my 1950's pattern.

I am normally a 10 or a 12 depending on the style or indeed the shop were I am buying clothes from but it looks like I will have to make a 14 to ensure I get a proper fit in this creation.  I suppose that is a good point of making my own clothes, I can tailor it to fit without no give-away size labels.

So a little trip to Abakhan was in order.  Yes I live within walking distance of this treasure trove of all things crafty and have to maintain strict willpower to minimise my visits until I really need to go - oh it is so hard!  The snow didn't even stop me and my hubby volunteered to drive me there as he was bored being stuck in the house.  He'd be even more bored sitting in Abakhan's car park as once I'm in there, there is a danger I forget to come out.
However I knew what I wanted and knowing he was waiting outside I had to be a good girl.  I had a look at what fabrics where available on the rolls but didn't see anything I liked so I dived into the remnant bins and pulled out this beauty

It is a medium weight cotton linen in black and is really good quality, and I got over 3 metres in my remnant for £10.80, plus some lining for £4.00 and a zip.  Can I create a dress inspired by a £486.00 design for under £20.00 , I'll give it a go.  

Back home I was so excited and could not wait to get stuck in.  I pressed the fabric to iron out any stubborn creases and gathered everything I needed.

Now I have not made a dress from scratch for a long time and I want to make a good job of this so took my time preparing and reading the pattern.

All pinned and ready to go 

I cut out the pattern pieces in my main fabric and lining for the bodice - now all I needed was for Irene the sewing machine to come join my party.  Would she behave herself today?  She'd better had .....and she did !!  
So much so I got so engrossed in what I was doing, I put some old CD's on, music while I work.  It reminded me of when I lived at home as a teenager making my own clothes listening to my music, happy times!  

That there in the background is a glass of cider put there by himself to entice me from my sewing to go sit and watch a movie with the family.  I had to admit defeat but I'll be back, I forgot how much fun dressmaking can be.  Now off to my knitting corner with my glass of cider and Four Weddings and a Funeral, another of my favourite films.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Spring has sprung

Well hello there. Spring has arrived and it is f-f-f-f-freezing, the weatherman has no nice promises of warm spring days just snow, gales, hail and cold.  Best crafting weather to wrap up and stay indoors me thinks.

Tut tut tut I've neglected my blog but I have been sooo busy at work I've come home exhausted.  Plus after working at a computer all day the last thing I need when I get home is to sit at another one.

Anyway what's been happening since I last reported.

1. My job is safe and I'm not being made redundant

2. My 17 year old son passed his driving test - first time.  Thrilled to bits but now he wants to get in our car and I've been quoted £4000 to insure him - whaat!

3. Mother's day came with flowers and chocolates - yumm!

4. I've booked us a little break to Scotland  for Easter - yeay !

5.  I've maintained the family hikes around the Wirral - this one was a wonderful Spring day where we walked from Hoylake to West Kirby and back - approximately 4 mile round trip.  It was warm with no wind and blue skies and sunshine

Even the gorse is confused shall I bloom or not?

6.  Still baking

Lemon drizzle

7. Fitted in some reading - I completed this book in a whole day.  What a lovely story from the writer of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle-stop cafe (one of my favourite films).

8 And finally crafting

Finished my socks - yes I know they don't match but that is the fun of the yarn, lovely and comfy.

I was asked for a red and blue Owl hat for a toddler so I tracked down this pattern from Oombawka.  This has a more 3 dimensional aspect to its features and is crocheted using 2 strands of double knitting so it's quite a chunky finish.

To celebrate my prize Harty Hook from Fleabubs  I treated myself to the Rainbow mice pattern from Planet Penny.  I love my new hook as I've only really used simple hooks before but a moulded handle makes all the difference.  If you've never tried it give it a go you may be hooked like me.  I'll post pictures when I've completed a mouse, it's headless at the moment and is not pleasant to view.

I'm off work now for two whole days, plus the weekend -   whole days off for me to craft, clean, bake, walk and just be a domestic goddess - bliss !!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Odds and ends and Harty Hooks

Since my last post I've been pottering around at home in between that work that helps to pay the bills but gets in the way of my crafts. Being the only female in a male household I'm usually having to jump in when a play fight gets out of hand or I empty their pockets for laundry and find all sorts of odds and ends.   I have to stop them from taking things apart to see how they work as inevitably when they put them back together there are always bits left over.

My little bag of tricks
Well remember De-construct and reconstruct when I attacked an old family heirloom and gave it a bit of TLC to improve its looks as it ages.  Well I had some bits left over........what's that I hear? Practise what you preach ha ha :)

Anyway I was not letting these intriguing bits of yarn get away and I needed a break from knitting round and round and round on my Noro socks, so I got busy making crochet shapes.

I figure that if I use up these bits of yarn and have a selection of embellishments for future projects it will save some time, plus I also like developing my skills and learning new techniques.

My jam jar full of bits and bobs, scissors hooks and double point needles. I must get round to making something more elegant to store my hooks.

I have learnt how to make heart shapes thanks to Simply Crochet  and floral motifs from the sister magazine Mollie makes .  I can now make a magic circle and create a shape letting the yarn colour and texture guide me which way to go.

So now what?

Well I had brought some Tete a Tete miniature daffodil plants in from the market as I want to bring some colour in over these grey months.  I needed a plant pot and remembering what Lucy at Attic 24  created when she needed a plant pot I got busy again.

Not only am I hoarding bits of wool , I'm now looking at food containers.

So what to do now?

A plant pot 

Or a glamorous pot for my hooks instead of a jam jar?

Perhaps I'll get busy and yarn bomb the jam jar.

Talking of hooks I followed a link from Planet penny another crochet blog I follow as she was talking about being sent a Harty hook from Fleabubs.  Intrigued to find out more I visited the web site and found these.  Aren't they wonderful?  Not only that there was a competition to win a hook by naming each collection and the deadline was an hour to closing, so I entered.  Well my flabber was truly gasted when I got home from work yesterday to an email telling me I had won - Woo hoo!

So I've won one of these beauties - yes and I named them.  The name was inspired by the apple design and one of my favourite books by Laurie Lee 

I completed another quick project last night as I promised to create a spring collection for my niece.  I wanted an Easter theme maybe a chick or a bunny and I found this bunny hat at Repeat Crafter me, she has some fabulous patterns.

Here is my finished hat - done in a day .

Now I must go back and finish that sock.  However I've found this ladybird, it is my friends birthday this weekend and she loves ladybirds, so I'll have to make one.  Then I will finish that sock !

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Mersey visitors

Well I've been so busy with all my Valentine's day celebrations this week. I was whisked away for a romantic break in a cottage in the middle of paradise and was wined and dined and made to feel like a princess, how sweet !  Then I woke up and realised it had all been a dream - had you fooled for a moment then hey?
In reality not a very eventful week waiting for the gas man to fix my central heating boiler, in fact I'm waiting for him again now as he fixed one fault but has caused another.  So no hot water or heating until he arrives , my appointment slot is between 12 and 6pm, he'd better hurry up!!

All is not lost though hanging about waiting, look what I've done one and a half socks.

These are my Noro socks, they won't be identical as the yarn is variegated and you never know what colour is coming next.  This is exactly why I love variegated yarn and I find it very addictive.  And I love the Magic Loop method of knitting, why hadn't I known about this until now.  These socks are lovely and warm and I may have to stay dressed like this if this gas man does not appear soon !

We've got a visitor this weekend on the River Mersey , HMS-Illustrious so we decided to go and take a peek today.  I would have loved to go aboard but the queue to get on was longer than the actual air craft carrier itself, so I took some snaps with my camera instead.

It is a fantastic vessel but is coming to the end of its service and will be decommissioned next year.  It certainly drew in the crowds on this lovely bright sunny Spring like day in Liverpool.  It is nice to see all the tourists from all over the world so we took a stroll along the famous water front along to the Albert Dock

Church of our Lady & St Nicholas - a gorgeous little oasis amidst the towering surrounding buildings

The famous Liver Birds

The Port of Liverpool building

The Isle of Man Ferry on the Wirral side

There goes the Ferry across the Mersey

Earlier this week whilst waiting for a previous gas man I had a sudden urge to sketch and have been searching the house for my sketch pad.  I still want to put pencil to paper again so took some pictures around the Albert Dock as I fancy recreating the images in sketch, paint or even collage form.

Pencil sketch to be

Collage to be

While at the dock we dropped into the Pier master's house. This Edwardian house is set out as it would have been at the time of WWII , and you know me and my obsession for 40's vintage.

Look I found my spot in the Living room - right there surrounded by my knitting

And here is my sewing spot in the dining room by the fire (as the gas man has now arrived and has the boiler in bits!)

In the kitchen I can perhaps do some baking using authentic food products. It may not taste very good though.

I wonder what the sell by date is.

Then if this heating is not fixed soon go off to bed to get warm.

One last look at the Albert Dock before I leave you today

The window from the Pier Master's house all masked up ready for the bombing raids

The gas man has finished I now have heat and hot water - Hallelujah !!