Monday, 30 June 2008

Rowan Book (bargains!)

SEW long as we agree that the above doesn't count as my breaking my resolve to NOT giving in and buying yarnie yummies IN the sale!? .. my BARGAINS include The Bamboo Tape Collection, Classic Summer book 11, Classic Art book 10 and Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazines 38 and 39 - all HALF PRICE.

As its officially day 3 of the sale and I can't knit with them, it almost very nearly just about counts as regular purchase? either way I'm keeping a very first grip on the YUMMY Amy Butler bag and fabric "reward" of last week what EVER anyone thinks!

Couldn't resist stocking up on lovely books and as I've always said "books don't count" in the general theme of overspending and random purchases and I've earmarked several projects already.

Elsewhere, managed to pick up a stack of half price school shirts for the lads to see them both through to the end of their school days which means! (remember now! I am mathematically challenged!) that the books were practically FREE as I'd have had to buy the shirts anyway whether half or full price!

Next week sees our no.1.son.15yrs off to work on his 2week placement for work experience! dh has secured him a place where he works which means getting up at 6am each morning! its going to be a LONG day!!

Never mind! as we turn into July our family summer holiday to Spain beckons! and he can spend the fortnight lounging about by the pool at £60 the poorer we're all fixed up with our holiday reading material and as we've opted for a town house this time, we hope it will like a home from home (except a bit posher and more luxurious and a LOT hotter!!).

Counting down the days now ..

The Last Ever Creative Textiles Class

Not, obviously THE last ever as in for EVER and EVER, but the last one of this year! And though we didn't do too much today (two or three ladies suggested we ought to have had "teacher" bring in games or do quiz or a dvd or something like they do at school! - we could have had "first one to stitch a shisha mirror ..." and "name as many things you can do with a ball of wool ..." )

A lovely way to spend the year, a morning each week with lovely likeminded ladies! I'll have to work hard to find plenty to do to take its place each Monday!

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Amy Butler Bag!

AS a reward for NOT buying any yarn in the *SALE* albeit the sale hadn't ACTUALLY started and thus I couldn't have actually bought any and now it HAS started well I can hardly take back the cut fabric and opened pattern, now can I? as I say, AS a reward not NOT buying yarn in the super half price sale I decided to buy an Amy Butler pattern and some fabbo fabric to make mself a bag instead of more yarn which would end up sitting IN lots of bags ..

(mind. thats not to SAY that I definitely, categorically WON'T be buying any fabbo half price yarn in the sale and if I should weaken my resolve and give in, well at least I'll have a BAG to stash it in! but I won't. weaken. not even for all the Rowan bargains. to go with the 5 books I've err set aside to umm look at with a view to definitely NOT purchasing the yarn to accompany any of the projects I've no time to actually knit but blow it, who am I kidding? who CARES!? its SALE TIME .. YAHOOOO .. AND ITS ALL HALF PRICE ... hope there's some LEFT for meeee! I knew I shouldn't have left it this long!!!)

Last night by way of early celebration, we took the lads to the Britain's Got Talent show for no.2.son's forthcoming birthday, end July, as he is MAD on this series and has watched the recorded episodes so many times that even WE know the routines and order of play!

Lots of screaming teenage girls, particularly for the winner, George, that aside it was quite a nice evening and best of all we were out of the carpark at the end and home in speedy time (SOME who shall remain nameless suggested it wasn't speedy enough and rather wished they'd STAYED home, but he's just a miserable old git far too old to remember being rising-13 and enjoying these sort of things).

I'd offer to put more photo's up, but basically they don't get any better than this! lots of blurry out of focus too far away shots of silver sequined outfits and flashing lights as I inevitably capture each artist as they either disappear behind the curtain or collapse (intentionally!) upon the floor!

(there were a lot more people there, to be fair I took this as we arrived and it was quite a nice jolly, if hysterically screechy, atmosphere).

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Whispers of *new* knitty magazines

Read today that there is likely to be a *new* Debbie Bliss knitting magazine launched US initially and then here later in the year - yahooo! love knitty magazines!
And Yarn Forward is likely to be found on sale in stockists like WHSmiths and Tesco later too! 10 times a year. Good luck to Kerrie and Lou.

Just as I'd resolved to NOT buying any more magazines - oh well, I can't NOT now can I?

More cases for sunglasses

Well thats me about done for padded cases for my sunglasses (and rotary cutter - the pattern is fab. for those and scissors too) aside from one more to do for my brother that is.

Almost exhausted my supply of zips and used up quite a lot of odd quilty cottons too - fab. for stash busting.

Soon I will be at the more exciting part of my V neck tunic and I'll take a photo and report on progress, have picked up the needles once more I'm keen to complete this knitty project.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Crocheting on the edge ..

oh dear. I can see I need to buy a NEW BOOK ..

A bits and pieces zippered case

Another stash busting quick sewing project!

Using Carol's free project for a pocket, I decided to make this up using some stashed faux suede fabric embroidered using a new alphabet design to embellish and keep it as a stand-alone case for slipping in my sewing pencils and tape measure and general small things.

The zip is a little large and chunky, really, but as it only cost me 1p to purchase and has been sat in my container for best part of 3yrs it was better on a project than taking up valuable space (which could be better filled with MORE BARGAINS ...)

The fabric is actually a more creamy colour than the photo reflects and the green are slightly more moss - I think it must be the light!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Sunglasses cases (sewn)

A pair of sunglasses cases sewn up today using my cyber-sew-pal Carol's rather fabbo easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy pattern! This pattern is made up in no time, largely because its SEW useful it doubles as a rotary cutter case and a scissor case with just a bit of pattern enlarging.

I did cut out and prepare a rather super case for myself which requires a red zip so I shall have to wait until Thursday until I get to the shop for supplies before making my own.

If they look odd shaped, its because they've got sunglasses inside them.

I've used fabric and zips from stash too - another great stash buster! the cammo fabric is a sort of peachskin type water resistant outerwear that is long left over from a children's jacket making spree of years ago and the zips are at least 10-12yrs old purchased at a now closed discount outlet for mere pennies. Years ago, when the lads were "small" I used to make up all their raincoats and these zips saw me through countless variations and I think I've got about 4 left now - brilliant value! I used wadding and some green ripstop nylon to interline and line the cases.

I offered to embroider their names down the cases but no.2.son raised his eyebrows and muttered about not being 4yrs old and no.1.son didn't even bother to look up from his PS.3 (so thats another no, then? being as he is a teenager, he often doesn't bother to respond - mostly he acts like I'm some sort of weird housemaid thats popped up from nowhere with ridiculous requests like could he gather empty glasses and put them in sink, please - like I said, largely he ignores me).

Monday, 23 June 2008

Another one, black satin this time (bra)

Gets a bit boring after a while, as I've got several more combinations planned, which include some nice black with black stretch lace and another with black/lilac lace and some yummy pink with hot pink lace, I'll probably just take one collective photo at the end!

This bra is black satin with black powernet and I've lined the cups and added some bra padding for shape, I'm fast running out of underwires and as this is now officially my fave pattern will have to fork out and buy some more!!

Spent an hour this afternoon rummaging through my set of lingerie fabrics and notions drawers (I've got a cabinet on wheels with five drawers PACKED with the stuff! trust me I need never buy lingerie in my entire life!!) and sorted out all my stuff into plastic bags to make it easier to see what I've (not) got! I use the sort of bags with press studs on them that you get when you've small children and you buy vests and pants and stuff for them! they are just the right size and you can generally manage to scrape off all the labels too.

The advantage of making up several items in quick succession is you get into the sewing swing quite easily and I'm now running these off like a production line, this will last as long as I don't get bored OR I slip up and insert a cup incorrectly and lose the will to unpick and carry on, either way I should have enough new frillies for the forthcoming holidays.

A pal asked WHY would I bother to sew bras? My answer is that well why NOT! Initially I enjoyed the novelty/challenge aspect of something "new" but now I find I can get the fit I like quite easily - eg I have a low bust point and narrow sloping shoulders, custom making my own means I get a comfortable fitting bra. PLUS, I have to! I've spent a fortune on cabinet on wheels which is packed with lingerie and bra making supplies - ha-haa!! I gave two pals a set of stuff to make one each, but neither has felt inclined to give it a go, I suspect is sort of sewing you either relish or leaves you cold; I just like the lace, trims and elastics and the fact that its a quick and relatively easy sewing project and one I'm guaranteed to wear at the end of it all!!

Creative Textiles : as we near the end of year

Another small group this last but one session before the end of year is complete next week, some classes have finished but we've one last one to squeeze in.

Paperwork today to finish off the evaluation and student/tutor sheets to leave next week free for machining and finishing off our water solubles projects.

Today looked at the different sorts and methods of trapping fabrics and fibres between sheets of soluble stabilisers before machining and rinsing them to reveal (basically!) a clump of threads and fibres!! Its not my favourite technique although I did have some success with adding a layer of sheer organza for it all to cling to before cutting it out and making a small bag; but its fun to try things out and we had a chance to look at the centre's machines one of which was a Babylock and the auto-scissor function which is jolly handy!!

I wrote on my evaluation sheet some critical points about the time allowed per session of two hours not being long enough for some techniques - eg felting and the absolutely FREEZING winter conditions whereby the radiators don't appear to be timed to come ON until after we've started which, first thing on a Monday am, means its not possible to take your coat off for the first hour, at the least!! I couldn't help but make mention of the "mouse" (daren't suggest MICE incase tutor, Sarah, is reading, in which case she might have horrid dreams of new families of mice waiting for her return in Sept!) all of which means the centre falls short of expectation considering we pay full price for our courses but I shouldn't imagine anyone will do other than sniff at it (and chuck it in the bin/filing cabinet!).

The course has been tremendously good for me, this last year I've had a real insight to working with textiles creatively and enjoyed several techniques none of which I'd have even THOUGHT of attempting by myself!!

I enjoyed the most:

  • The knitting aspect, the history and tradition part especially! In particular the lace knitting and I am resolved to finishing Kiri and working further on lace in the future.
  • Wet and needle/dry felting, I was amazed at how "easy" it was and how much fun! (except for the heaving and rolling bit but after I attempted smaller project pieces this was much more manageable). I'd like to do more on this in the future.
  • Hand embroidery, Kantha in particular! and the crazy patch with embellishing too. This was a new area to me and I am keen to further this interest.
  • Colour! My main highlight was the colour theory and mini tasks we did with this aspect as I lack confidence in mixing and working with colour and this is a big handicap in sewing and knitting!!! Though we barely scratched the surface of this huge topic, it did start me looking at colour more logically and less panicky! I am resolved to working further on this.
  • Pattern design and creation. I'd have liked to have done more on this as this was my 2nd top choice after colour, to grasp some understanding of. If I were to return for a 2nd year, I'd be wanting to learn more on this definitely and will try to pick it up as best I can.
What I plan to DO with my new knowledge:

  • Knit something fairisle and cabley! working in some colour too!
  • Knit and felt a bag! and embellish it!
  • Plan and create a proper crazy patch project and embellish/embroider by hand!
  • Crochet SOMETHING! anything!!

New things:

  • I learned to read charts and follow pattern symbols and started to understand about shaping and decreasing with patterns like lace types
  • Crochet! yay! I finally learned to crochet!
  • Hand embroidery/Kantha stitching!

I'm bored now with samples, however, and want to work on proper projects!

Would I recommend the course? : YES! definitely, for a mix of interesting topics and techniques and an introduction to them is brilliant, the rest is for me to pick up and explore further independantly.
I've met some lovely like-minded ladies too and will miss their company and I will definitely miss the routine of our Monday mornings and I will definitely miss our lovely tutor, Sarah Hazell, too for her energy and enthusiasm.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

You can never have too many ..

... pincushions, needlecases .. and bras!

Here I show a super little tartan silk with a polycotton pincushion with another crazy patch themed needlecase obtained from the web as a freebie - SEW useful to fling into bag or grab when the moment strikes to move downstairs for some stitching! Quick to make and a stash buster too.

This pattern is rapidly becoming my favourite! I've made another two bras from this pattern, the first in all white dotty powernet with clear rings and sliders and just a hint of stretch lace in white across the top of the upper cups - all fabrics and notions, again, from Michelle of English Couture as before.

I've made the beige up several times but this time I added a cream upper cup lace and slightly wider shoulder straps, all sourced from last year's Sewing for Pleasure show from Michelle's stand. The pattern adaptation I did to the cups is much better but I'll continue to work on perfecting it as this pattern is more modern than my former "regular" bra pattern.

LOADS more lace and powernet! Next planned are a black, pink and cream set of bras.

My two summer skirts are fully hemmed and ready to wear now! Delicious little rolled hems complete the garments - lets hope for the weather to enjoy them.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Dress form - to buy or not?

I'm very seriously considering buying a dressform (not least as it might help with my photo's!! never mind the fitting and finishing!) but I'm not sure how useful it will be as a fitting aid and feel it might be expensive as just to "dress" my garments for photographic purposes.

I've started looking round and reckon on about £200 so its not cheap - but I will be dead pleased with it and glad I bought it?

Beautiful Bra's!

Well bra singular at the moment! above are the cut bits and pieces selected from my pretty extensive stash of lingerie/bra making bits and pieces.

I got into lingerie after attending a day course and then further into bra making when a cyber-sew-pal visited from Australia bearing yummy lacey goodies and a pack of "lessons" on this aspect followed soon, which I always follow alongside my pattern instructions.

Generally I use the KwikSew pattern above which is one that Pauline refers to in her "lessons" and I modify it by adding underwire casing but without the actual wire as per her suggestion. Alongside I have another pattern which I've not as yet made up and I fancied a go after picking up a couple of pairs of underwires at a sale recently.

When I got thoroughly into bra making I bought this super book and I've sorted it out and dusted it off and plan to refer to it as, unless I undergo a rather expensive (and possibly painful!) operation I think I've got quite a lot of modifications to work out in order to achieve another successful standard pattern to fit my shape!!

From the inside you can see how the bra looks nice and neat, this one isn't lined or padded as it was my intention to test the pattern first. Again, using tips from Pauline's set of *lessons* I have learned how to adapt and change my usual single KwikSew pattern to give me enough variety in the past and often I will spend considerable time with laces and fabrics and over the years have experimented with different types mostly to good effect.

The upper cup needs major surgery and the lower cup requires filling in but generally speaking the pattern is one I might consider making up alongside my usual one.

I'm lucky (?) in not requiring heavy duty powernets or fabrics and here I've used quite a lightweight spotted powernet for the front/backs and some lace for the cups, the lower of which I've lined with some lightweight net. Most of the fabrics and elastics, bra backs and rings/sliders etc have come from English Couture purchased from Michelle at one or other of the last couple of Sewing for Pleasure shows.

I will try and find out if Pauline's bra making lessons and helpful suggestions are still available on the web and if she will let me link directly to them as they really do make the whole process easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy!

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Summer skirts : New Look 6034

An old but favourite pattern of mine is New Look 6034 for its View C bias skirt - I use this pattern every year for quick summer skirts!

The photo's are even more terrible than my previous suit post! Two lovely summer skirts are hanging now overnight to settle and drop prior to hemming.

I think the black/pink floral print is a John Kaldor, certainly the blue is, both were half price bargains purchased easily a year ago and nearly got made up for last year's holiday but I ran out of time!

Both fabrics are old now, and I have enough of the blue to make a dress which I will save for next summer as I like to make and wear new skirts each time and I generally pick my favourite ones from the previous year to take with me and this year I shall take the green crinkle and the raspberry print. I cheated, slightly, and purchased a couple of skirts as I feared I was running out of time and didn't want to add "stress" to the equation.

I like this pattern as its easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy to make up, takes 2ms of fabric and the length is just right.
I add a good 2" to the side seams of the pattern, press out the stretch down the length of the cut pieces which I cut singly on my dining room table and I overlock the side seams of both the outer and lining before placing RS's together with the lining atop and pinning at the waist before attaching a circle of elastic stitching first near the top edge with a balanced 2/2 zig-zag and finishing with another row of stitching 1/2" lower before turning out and pushing the lining inside, this gives me a nice neat finish at the waist with the elastic attached to both the outer skirt and the lining but inbetween the two layers.
(it took me ages to work this out initially and I still have to stop and think about it).

I normally take a walk down to the local Asisan fabric shops for the lining materials as they have just the right type and generally cheaper than store prices, this year I made do with what I had in my stash a/ for economy purposes and b/ for time management purposes plus I wasn't quite up to the rather long walk back up a steep hill!

I had to compromise with the blue skirt and use a plain chiffon for the lining which is lighter and more sheer than I would choose, however this lovely John Kaldor polyester fabric is actually quite a bit thicker and less see through than other fabrics, you can see from the pic, however, that the chiffon has dropped tremendously by comparison!!

I don't bother to adjust the length for my layers, I cut out each skirt fabric and lining to the pattern adding at the side seams, overlock and do the waistband and THEN after hanging at least overnight I level and hem them. Usually I use my narrow rolled hem foot on my Bernina sewing machine for a neat finish and I expect it will be Thursday before I get an opportunity to do this.

NEXT on my list of sewing to-makes is more lovely lingerie! bra's in particular! I do like to make new for holidays and better get cracking!
MUST make for the holiday, too, 4 sunglasses cases as I can't seem to find any in the house - I will use my good sewing pal - Carol's trusted pattern for this as, again, is an easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy quick make and I just love that the zipper treatment "works"!

Picked up the needles & crazy patch resource/lessons

Last night I picked up the needles again! and am now continuing with the Rowan project, Viv, V-neck tunic. Tempted as I was to start a new project I am resolved to finishing this one FIRST.

Talking with my knitting-pal, Sally, on Sunday, she was knitting up a yummy black, grey and white fairisle cardi and we decided it would be more sensible to knit for autumn/winter NOW so as to be ready for the season when it arrives! And the way the weather has been lately, this isn't a bad idea! (ccc-cold!!).
For instance, I am desperate to knit a summer top in Bamboo Tape! but realistically with the holiday fast approaching, I'm not going to get this done, I should have started it ages ago! am better off looking seriously at my recent bargain of Cocoon and starting something in that to get a reasonable chance of finishing it in time.

Elsewhere I read on Ravelry that local House of Fraser has had HUGE sale of Rowan and Patons yarn the stock has come from a Bristol store that has closed down but I am absolutely NOT going to even go to see whats left.

Tempted too, to pick up the needle singular! the lovely SharonB has posted a link to a resource of crazy patch lessons to download and her blog is always worth checking out to read and keep up to date with.

I would like to plan a CP project as I enjoyed very much the smaller samples and mini projects undertaken in creative textiles course but FIRST I must finish - or rather START! - my summer skirt mammoth task; I have 3 lengths of fabric draped over the bannister waiting to be cut out today and I will update with photo's progress on the knitty Viv and the skirts soon.

Monday, 16 June 2008

A fruit crumble for pudding ..

My no.2.son.12yrs advised me this week we will be enjoying a "fruit crumble" in his latest cookery class for "pudding"
hurrah! I thought! (I love fruit crumble! which will it be? rhubarb? apple? ..)
Good job I didn't get as far as writing "custard AND ice cream" down on the shopping list - the WHOLE idea, one would think, OF a cookery class is to COOK!? right?
well. no. apparently not. NOT today. today the cookery classes are rather more what can we do in 55mins that doesn't involve a lot of effort or mess and minimises the whole thing into a complete allocated session OF 55mins .. ah! TINS! and preparing it all at home!

Yes. my son informs me that he's to bring in a container of tinned fruit eg pineapple .. (you'd think they'd have the grace to at least teach them to USE a tin opener at the school class if they HAVE to use tinned fruit? but no! the contents to be placed into a container!).
well, I've never heard of a "tinned pineapple crumble", and I'm not sure that either custard OR icecream will be right to accompany this huge I mean tiny offering!

Of course I'm going to get all riled again!
But REALLY! in MY day when we did cookery we made proper steak and kidney puddings! we baked blind! we didn't use processors! and we DIDN'T use tinned fruit! we cooked proper foods that were taken home and eaten as a meal.

First we had "fruit salad" - this involved peeling/chopping assorted fresh fruits and putting into a container and adding way too much "juice" into another container, for our children to mix and prepare into a "fruit salad" to slop about and drip into their bags and shoes on the way home ..
then we had "pasta or rice salad" - THIS involved sending in COOKED pasta/rice in a container, along with various salady stuff into another container for the mixing and preparing into a "pasta or rice salad" .. THIS isn't COOKING!?

and NOW! (stamps foot and thumps on table!) TINNED FRUIT CRUMBLE!? you can't HAVE a tinned fruit crumble! its supposed to be stewed rhubarb! or apple! or better still, apple AND blackcurrant!

Upon threatening to send a note in with my son with 2lbs of cooking apples, my poor son crumpled and begged me not to! apparently some other of his friend's mother had done this with the last group and the poor soul had to spend his whole lunch break in the cookery room on his own stewing apples and as he pointed out he doesn't even LIKE cooked apple puddings anyway!!

Well. its parents evening on Wednesday! GUESS what teacher I will be making a bee line for!
It doesn't, actually, do you any good cornering a teacher and pinning them down.
But it does make you feel just a BIT better anyway!!!

(TINNED fruit crumble! I ask you! ...)

Creative Textiles - as we near "the end"

Today we finished off looking at the design work we'd started last week and spent ages admiring some rather spectacular pieces which included a rather cool length of fabric printed with blocks and fabric paint which sort of looked good enough to come out of a production line!

We looked also at crocheting circular pieces and our tutor brought in some examples to inspire such as a cushion cover which looked rather yummy and some felted bowl/vases that are a bit like the FSL machine embroidered bowls that were all the craze a couple of years ago and you either love them or you don't! (I quite liked the tip of putting a jam jar inside and filling with something, I'd probably be inclined to put buttons in mine rather than flowers as anything like that doesn't usually make it past 2 days before wilting and turning black and slimey!

I must get my hook out again and plunge it into a ball of yarn and do something yummy soon!

We've two sessions left before "the end" and next week we're setting up for the finale which will be our masterclass on water solubles!

Now its nearly here, I can't quite believe it IS here! the end, I mean!
And I have to make a difficult decision about whether to sign for a 2nd year enrolling later in the September ..

At the moment I am inclined to feel it less likely I will, mostly due to time constraints and the amount of time that IS inevitably taken up with a varied course like this I feel stretched to capacity in keeping up with sampling and recording each aspect which leaves little time left over for larger crafting projects.
What I'd like to do NOW, is use some of these new techniques and ideas and incorporate them into some practical project rather than launch straight into yet more sampling and techniques. What would be ideal would be an option where one could work on a piece of their choice alongside the class, but there isn't the scope within the way that they are set up and run to allow for this.
I'd like, for example, to explore knitting - with colour! with fairisle and with cable and definitely finish my lace project and work further on that aspect too! I'd like to work further with felting, make or knit a felted bag and embellish it. Look, too, at furthering my enjoyment of hand stitching and maybe expand into quilting with some more crazy patch and embroidery!!

I'd like to work on what I enjoy most and suits the type of project I'm most likely to appreciate and use rather than the more arty type that I've thoroughly enjoyed seeing others' examples of and trying out my own more limited interpretation and I suppose, really, its more of a "club" that would suit my needs now which the system doesn't cater for!

On the other hand, I would really miss my new crafty-pals and definitely miss the excitement of seeing new projects and ideas - ho-hum! what to DO!?

Friday, 13 June 2008

The jacket is done! yayy!!

LOTS of apologies for the terrible photographs! I can't believe I'm actually going to publish them! (I must get myself better organised and actually BUY a dress form if only for the purposes of taking a decent picture!!).

At last I completed my jacket today! the fabric is a lovely dark navy pinstripe with a light blue and beige stripe, I bought this piece of fabric about 5yrs ago when I optimistically thought I might make an "interview suit" about the time I was planning to go back into proper work! its sat in my sewing room all this time and I finally decided to make it up!

I had just enough (barely!) to make a jacket and two skirts, had I realised I'd forgotten to cut the facings, however, I'd have been stuck skirt-wise, at least! I used some of my infamous grey for the lining (groans from Debs!) its been SUCH a useful purchase and has to be my all time best EVER investment - 27ms for under a tenner - back in the days when you could get a real bargain!

The grey fabric has seen both my son's through middle school and is now seeing me through "work" as I have 4 jackets and two skirts in it and LOADS left over, it ought to see me off never mind through work!

BACK to the jacket! as you can see its hanging unattractively on a hanger looking rather wrinkled, but its better in real life! I had to adapt the collar into two parts for both the upper and under, which didn't seem to matter at the time of cutting but, since then, I've had all my hair chopped off! I'll have to try and hope for a bit of summer-regrowth at the back!!

Never mind, its a nice jacket and has a lovely quality lining in mid-grey, its fully interlined and stabilised with shoulderpads and fleece wraps at the arm all per the speed tailoring course I attended years ago!
Goodness only knows what happened with the skirt pictures! the top is another one of my "usual" New Look A-line good old standard pattern, the number of which escapes me at the moment but I've blogged it before!

The 2nd skirt is from the same pattern as the jacket and is a new one for me, I'm reasonably pleased with the fit and shape of it, its not really quite as twisted as it appears, thats just because its gripped at the waist by a skirt hanger dangling in my doorway!

The pattern used for jacket and 2nd skirt is Simplicity Threads number 3962 and features a shawl collar which I think is just the hardest shaped collar to manage!
I've done two other jackets using this same pattern and have decided this is absolutely the last time I'll make this up as its too much fuss and faffing about trying to frighten it with the iron into rolling satisfactorily!

Yarn Bargains

oh dear .. and I SEW was not going to do this again! buy up yummy yarn BARGAINS!

Never mind, I managed to resist for a whole week the temptation to visit the shop with the Rowan bargains despite the hysterical screechings of various knitty-pals who stopped by clutching bags and wafting loveliness at us ..
Even though I had, originally, planned to buy some Rowan Cocoon to make up one of the garments in 42 but resisted due to cost I STILL stuck to my resolve in NOT rushing down to grab a bag.
All this hysterical loveliness and screeching got to me in the end, and this week I rushed down myself to grab a couple of bargains :

A bag of 10 Cocoon in shade Shale down from £69.50 to £20.00
A bag of 5 Kidsilk Spray shade 572 for just £1 a ball! (usually £7.50 a ball!)

Now to get back to knitting! with all these bargains filling up my stash basket I ought to make an effort to finish my ongoing projects?

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Creative Textiles: nearing the end

As we reach the end of our course and holidays start to loom we're very short on numbers now that are regularly attending - we're a small but select group! but, still, we're eager to continue exploring and this week our tutor had set us all the challenge of creating a textile piece inspired from some images against the design element that we are now concentrating on.

We spent two hours messing about with threads, beads and buttons (and some with wooden blocks, bits of string and paint! to create effects on fabric! that was pretty cool!).

Our work has been checked and as a group we're deemed good enough to have collectively "passed" - which is good! However some mutterings within the group about lack of feedback on ALL of our work and, specifically, on those of us newbies/level I's work from on high-up! (which is a bit of a laugh as on high-up is ACTUALLY sitting in the office next door - you'd sort of think she could do a bit of extra marking in between checking the car parking and kitchen/washing up standards?).
While this came as a surprise to some of the newbies, it didn't, particularly, to me!
My most irritating experience of this came about 5yrs ago while attending an IT course (heavily subsidised, of course, which is what "they" say is the point behind it all but I've never been able to discover quite WHAT this point actually IS as my logic suggests if all that money is being chucked into the course, then surely they'd want to thoroughly examine and cross question everyone's work including their attendance?).
Anyway, no point getting riled up again about it, suffice it to say that I was most annoyed to discover that during our "exam" (and at my age, remembering proper exams I find this use of the term "exam" a bit of a joke but there I go again - getting riled up!) one of our fellow students managed to remember to turn up for the exam however as she'd not actually turned up to half of the course, was unable to do the exam without the assistance of the two sat next to her! One of them happened to feel this wasn't appropriate and ignored her, the other appeared to be just as clueless himself and we had this (laughable NOW, 5yrs on but NOT at the time on the day!) situation where first a fellow student ACROSS the room came over to "assist" - now you're probably wondering about the TUTOR? .. well the TUTOR came over NEXT!
At THIS point, two of us decided to make a stand and suggest this was not only inappropriate but possibly unfair! and we ended up (this is true, I promise you!) with a slanging match across the room as half were agreed this shouldn't be happening, and a few thought it perfectly reasonable and a few just apparently enjoyed the prospect of a break from the tedium of the "exam" and were clearly hoping it'd end up as a scrap!
The tutor spoke with 4 of us at the end, to "reassure us" that it wouldn't "matter" about assisting this particular lady as she'd not be applying for any jobs due to the fact that she was leaving the country the following week - he was obviously used to this and didn't seem all that concerned beyond the need to get as many "passes" as he could and since half hadn't actually bothered to turn up for the exam this lady was needed for the numbers!
Was I upset for myself? not especially. I was upset for my children! who are coming up in the system and who one day very soon will NEED these sort of quals in order to validate their job applications and improve their prospects of gaining employment! when certificates are just handed out like this, is it any wonder employers don't value them?

For leisurely pursuits, for ladies like us that are just wanting to enjoy the company of like minded folk, who just want to explore new techniques for the treat OF trying something new or different, its all a bit tiresome!

Well. I'm off now to un-rile myself with a spot of tailoring!
Got myself into a pickle last week when I discovered that yes I had been marvellously frugal in stretching a length of navy pinstripe into two skirts and a jacket - however when I came to sew the collar I discovered I'd not got any facings! blast! blast! BLAST! and nothing in my stash to co-ordinate and nothing in the shops as suiting is regarded as "winter". I could wait until Aug when it will be deemed "winter" however I need to wear the suit NOW.
All a bit annoying!
MORE annoying was the discovery that I'd apparently forgotten how to sew and had attached my in-seam pockets to the outside of my jacket. both times! more annoyingly still, I didn't realise until after I'd seamed both sides ..

Happily its now sorted, and I've just got to sew up the lining and attach it and voila! it will be done (subject to finding something not too hideous for the miserable facings).

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

New bag for work

This is a lovely pattern and very useful as it has LOTS of bags!! McCall's fashion accessories pattern no 9261, view B small size.

The photo isn't terribly brilliant but you can see just enough to know that its a super bag! we have to take clear bags into work and this is clear enough in my opinion to qualify! The main part of the bag is clear vinyl which I usually sew into a basic rectangular bag without a particular pattern (although you'll remember I used my cyber-pal- Carol's bag pattern last time?) the upper edge and lower band is some rather nice novelty quilty fabric that was sent to me ages ago by someone and I've been waiting for a suitable project to use it and this is it! it matches well with the white webbed handles!

Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy to sew up! I used my roller foot for the vinyl but think I'd have done better with my walking foot, I wish I'd thought about it and sewed the straps down over the open seam allowances which would have made my bag much neater looking given I've got no lining and couldn't be pfaffed to bind raw edges! never mind, it only has my sandwiches, a brolley and my hair brush and container of de-caff tea bags in it!!

Nosey Neighbours!

We're not having a terribly great time with some of our neighbours at the moment, but when no.1.son discovered his cat, Bertie, sat atop our litle shed and "peeping" over at the next door neighbour as she sat reading her book in the sunshine he couldn't resist taking a quick shot of him from inside the house!

(he really IS a nosey cat and can't understand why it is that our neighbours have blocked up the hedge adjoining our gardens - that perhaps its because they don't want the cats coming in!!) Bertie, consequently, is fascinated with our neighbour and their garden and will pointedly peek over, ducking, occaisionally to dodge the water pistol!

Now WHY they particularly don't want the cats is because they like birds! and sew, too, does LILLY! unfortunately SHE likes to catch and eat them! I can understand this being annoying, when you've gone to the trouble to site bird-boxes and block up the hedge and THEN find "mummy bird" being dragged off over the garage roof by said cat! .. large stones were hurled over at her in our garden, but too late, I'm afraid to save the poor bird!

(well. thats cats. I'm afraid. they just DO that!)

Monday, 2 June 2008

Creative Textiles

This week we were very low on numbers - a rather select group of us left as we near the end of the course and generally the summer holidays start for some of us!

We handed in all our coursework and projects and made sure our paperwork is up to date in readiness for official marking end of this week! We're all assured that the standard has been very good this year, and I shouldn't think anyone has anything to worry about

For the next part of the coursework we're looking at Design Style - post-war British textiles, which should be interesting, although, of course, we're all getting a bit fed up of paperwork and writing and next week we're going to do something yummy with fabrics and threads instead!! (easily persuaded, our tutor! which is good!!).

Still to come, too, is a longer session than our usual 2hrs on water solubles with a visiting tutor/expert that Sarah has managed to engage which should be interesting!!

Air show - family day out

Yesterday we went to an air show at RAF Cosford and spent rather a looong time peering at noisy planes in the sky .. Our no.1.son is very interested in this sort of thing and we all generally went along with the idea but it was sort of nearly worth it for the expression on his face and to see him SMILING!! (I think he's perfected the teenaged scowl and general look of discontent and we're waiting now for him to return to a more sunny and friendly disposition, around 32yrs I'm told ..)

Anyway here you can see the rather marvellous and spectacular Red Arrows performing, and below that a shot of something else I forget WHAT exactly but I've got approximately 680 other shots that look rather similar and can easily upload a few more if requested ..

Although overcast, it wasn't wet and it was quite warm too, this is the first time we've been to an Airshow and we generally enjoyed it.

No.2.son wasn't terribly keen and mumbled quite a lot about why he couldn't have been left at home instead! Of course we've spent the best part of our evening relaxation time with HIM watching endless shows of Britain's Got Talent (not to mention the cost of voting each evening, although to be fair, since each of his selections managed to get through on each occasion including the winner, George Sampson, I suppose we can't grumble! well. until we get the BILL I suppose! (or find out later they've been fined for fudging the phone results!