Sunday, 31 August 2008

"Viv" is finished! (hurrah!)

Not a terribly inspiring photo I agree! but it is at last complete!
"Viv" from the am-pm classic Rowan book, a deep V neck tunic which is featured on the front cover.
Knitted up in RYC Baby Alpaca DK, col 206 Hardwick and purchased in half price yarn sale absolutely AGES ago! and has been OTN's for simply ages too!

NEXT to go OTN's is either the Rowan Cocoon and I think I'll select a pattern out of Rowan 42, possibly Petersburg or Oslo (or Arctic) I've enough yarn for each and for a hat too - Snug, perhaps? Again, bargain yarn purchased at £2 a ball.

Then again I've been promising myself to knit up the Debbie Bliss pure silk I've had stashed since half price yarn sale year before last, and since the book that goes with the yarn has been available again, I'm now pondering over the Aran Cardigan which I MAY have JUST enough yarn for, but to safe I'd be better considering Single Button Cardigan or Vintage Style Cardigan which I'm favouring 2nd to the Aran. (mind. IF I do Petersburg in Cocoon, I might well be tired of cables by then).

Either way I'm going to finish my 2nd Jitterbug sock and revisit my sideways jacket BEFORE putting on new projects on the go.

I am resolved to being more organised and more fruitful in my knitting.

Today I reserved a jewellery kit of a necklace and pair of crimpers for my next main project! JEWELRY making! I know! I know! I shouldn't start these things, but I've got tubs and tubs and TUBS of beads and pearls and various bits and pieces left over from my Late Mother's sewing and craft stash and have PROMISED myself to do something with them to at least justify keeping them and I thought the kit might inspire me and give confidence to begin with. If I buy it (on Tuesday) I'll blog further on it.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Time for a new PC!

Well the latest bout of pc woes has made our minds up!
We're definitely getting a new one, and ditching this one asap!
My brother called round to fix the latest in the saga of peculiarities (I think he didn't quite believe me until he saw it for his own eyes and he had to confess that he'd never known ANYONE to have quite the range and frequency of problems EVER! - and he *does* a lot of people's pc's! he sort of thinks it might either be one of us, OR it might be true that we do in fact have a lodger aka MMG residing in our pc, either way we're all rather fed up of it!).

My biggest area of concern is my embroidery software, I'm assured that I don't have to worry, my brother will find a way around it and at the moment I'm inclined to go with anything so we're going to give it a try with a new pc! - hurrah!

THANKS for the very kind and thoughtful comments on the last post - I do appreciate them and thank you for the time taken to add them. This year I am feeling very much more positive in my outlook and not quite so raw with it; losing, I think, both parents inside 18months does make a difference and a health scare of my own has led to quite a bit of emotional upheaval lets hope the progress onwards continues as positively!

The v.neck tunic is almost complete! hurrah!! All that is left is the 2nd armhole picking up stitches and knitting the 5rows and its done!
I've tried it on and while it needs the right top underneath, I think I'm going to find this useful in the autumn and I'm glad I've (nearly) finished it!
Photo's will follow (providing the pc obliges! which it probably will now it knows officially that it is to resigned to the scrapheap) once its fully completed.

My son made an interesting comment, obviously I tried to explain that its not at its best over a cap sleeved blue v.neck tee - BUT in theory ignoring the poor choice of tee - WHAT did he think of it? (I showed him the photo on the front cover of the book and also a pair of similar outfits in a recent knitting magazine) and he studied them before saying "yes. but these look factory made. YOURS looks handmade!".
And he's got a point. Although to be fair at the time I had one armhole still on needles and the other is yet to be started therefore not quite finished and I do find that garments until they ARE fully complete, never quite look right, do they? I usually lose confidence at this point prior to ful completion and now avoid trying on my sewn garments lest I lose heart and fling the lot in the basket and fail to finish it.

Years ago I watched an interesting tv programme in which some dress designers made some comments about how they deliberately flaw their garments in order to avoid them looking like they've come off a production line (no need for me to do this, mine are generally flawed anyway!) and it struck a chord with me thats remained since, that the whole point of making my own clothes is that I'm not trying to aim for looking like its off the rack from M&S; besides! its trendy at the moment to have unique clothes, and mine are certainly that!!

Anyway, I've enjoyed knitting this and its been a nice project and will be a useful item and in a neutral colour too, will post all details of yarn and pattern with photo soon.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

In Celebration of Late Mum

Today marks another anniversary of both my Late Mother's birthday and passing and this year being the 5th and, up to now, the least painful, I decided to find some photo's of her sharing things she enjoyed the most and which show her in her element or otherwise enjoying the good times.

The top photo was taken on her 60th birthday and I enjoyed looking through the photo's taken that day at the bbq in her garden having found it difficult previously and chose this one where she opens her gift of a gold watch jointly bought by myself and two brothers.

Just two years later, and on the occasion of no.2.son's birthday this came from a set which would be the last we took of her on 30th July before she died just a month later on her own birthday, 26th August aged just 62yrs. I chose this photo as she looks the least pained (and scared, for I found out a year or so later that at this point in time she did in fact know she was terminally ill where I was led to understand - for my own emotional good, I expect, - that she was not in possession of that information). Always one to hide things and put on a brave face, she did so for my son's birthday even managing to eat her food and take a drink. One week exactly after this photo and she was in hospital on morphine and we sat with her daily until she passed.

Here she is at Christmas! taken a few years ago just a little before her 60th, after she'd redecorated her house and bought new furniture; I'm pleased now that she did embark on this expensive project and that she had a couple of years to enjoy it after having scrimped and saved and lived very modestly for the most part, she was proud to have a nicely turned out house! Enjoying a glass of sherry which I now drink at Christmas time too, thinking about her.

The photo above "a pair of mad cows" and the photo below were taken, again around the time of her 60th birthday, when the entire family including my brothers, all went out for a days hiking at the local hills. Below is my brother, Martin, my youngest son and Mum and I.

Mum enjoyed the countryside having been brought up and lived mostly, she disliked town lifestyle and was frustrated by the nearness of (noisy) neighbours. Yesterday as part of a day out we visited the lane where she was brought up - very much changed now! and had a drink in the local pub where my Late Grandma used to drink and play dominoes rather too regularly for Late Mum's liking!

My Mum's last sewn project - a skirt. For years she resisted a return to dressmaking, through my interest and classes I was taking she picked it up again and bought a new sewing machine and we had something in common at last.

As well as the countryside and animals that we shared a common interest in throughout my childhood, we shared later in my passion for sewing! She wasn't an easy woman to get on with and we worked hard to find things in common but I'm proud that she rediscovered her own passion for sewing through me and above is her enjoying her computerised embroidery machine with her stepdaughter (then pregnant with her son). At the time she was reluctant to buy this machine saying "why would I spend this money when I have cancer and not long to enjoy it?" but we were all pleased when she did buy it albeit she didn't enjoy it for nearly long enough, just a very short 18months. I have this machine now and she asked me to enjoy on her behalf.

This isn't the best shot by any means of her garden but it is the other end of the photo from the top of her celebrating her 60th birthday and shows my two sons eating their party food. A small and square town garden with rubbish soil, she worked extremely hard to produce a garden filled with flower beds, fish pond, hanging baskets, rockery and little paths - if she'd had a larger garden she'd have been in heaven! Mum would drop everything - even sewing! - for a spot of gardening and after her beloved horses this was surely her 2nd passion of her life.

My Late Mum and I, together, on the occasion of our joint 60th and 40th birthday celebrations in a countryside pub after a family lunch - I miss you Mum! xxxx

pc woes, vista and new blog

Boring to whitter on about my ongoing saga of pc-woes, suffice it to say its just not playing nice at the moment and I've hopped onto lads' pc upstairs to update my blog and blither on here a bit about the frustration of it all!
No.2.db is suggesting Vista, and I've already told him in no uncertain terms what will happen to him IF I cannot access my due to issues with it and Vista and having read my pal's account of HER issues and frustration, I'm sort of inclined to steer well clear!
I'm pleased that Pauline has decided finally (after much nagging and not just from me!) to get her act together and start a blog! which she has, and I'm sure you'll enjoy reading it very much! A prolific crafter and definitely with *no fear* she's certainly no big girls' blouse when it comes to all things sewing! I will credit Pauline for getting me into sewing lingerie - bra's in particular - not least because of the super lessons and the best of starts : a huge bag of haby and lace to start me off a few years back. She posts here where her lessons are linked.

The v-neck tunic is coming along well, all the neckline is crammed onto one needle ready for the final rib and then its just a matter of sewing it up!
I shall be glad to see it finished, not least because I can then start finishing something else off before putting my next *new* project OTN's.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Everyone Should Have Cake!

I SEW agree with this statement! and like this blogger, I too shall be having choc-chip fairy cakes next week as thats what no.2.son has planned for Tuesday's bake in!!
I've enjoyed reading Kate's blog and in particular the lovely lace which reminds me I've not done anything to mine - gulp! in ages!
Tomorrow we are having rhubarb crumble again as no.1.son has declared a fancy for it, which is terrific news for me as I LOVE PUDDINGS next best to cake!

I've enjoyed reading this blog after a cyber-sew-pal-Cheryl found and alerted us to the FAB tutorial for a pin cushion with cd's and I must get my CP box of bits and pieces out again pretty soon!!

Tempted (very much) by this star dish cloth, I can see I'm getting inspired now all I need is to get the lads back into School and my time is once more my own!

As the Olympics draws to a close, we've been sat in front of the tv glued to it for so long I'm almost forgotten what my sewing room looks like! The one good thing, however, is that I'm back on track with my KNITTING! hurrah! I was ready to throw my v.neck tunic in the bin last week after I messed up the front TWICE and reknit it twice but its 3rd time lucky and at least its got me back into the swing of things, when it looks a little more interesting I'll take photo's but right now its a tangle of curled edges. Caught, as they are, in the atmosphere, both lads have decided to take up running!! no.1.son did join the local club a couple of years ago but I can't somehow see no.2.son sticking it out - they do a LOT of running!

Yet another shopping bag sewn today! I do find them much better than the supermarket plastic bags and even dh is agreeing how useful they are particularly after one broke midway from car to house and spilled over the front drive, this has been a terrific stash buster.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Picking up the needles (again!)

PICKED up the needles again and this time am resolved to keep my knitting going and desperate though I am to start knitting the bamboo I started on holiday and maybe put on some of the bargain Cocoon I am resolved to finishing what I've already started FIRST!

I realised that part of the reason I put off picking up a forgotten project is that I can't remember where I am in the sequence of pattern and takes me ages to find myself before I can continue and then I've sort of gone off the idea! Having realised I was in fact further on that I thought in my deep V neck tunic, I decided to tackle that one first! Next is my 2nd sock and then I will once and for all FINISH the stripey sideways cardi/jacket .. thats the plan, anyway!

Debating whether to buy up any of the Rowan KSN currently on offer down to £1.85 .. ho humm .. shall I? shan't I? .. what to DOO .. (I did say no more random purchases no matter how tempting and my NEW resolve is to buy what I NEED to knit what I WANT at the TIME, sigh, but its hard to turn away a bargain?)

What should I do? buy it or walk away?

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Another Happy Birthday wish ..

.. extended to - my BROTHER! Martin! - happy birthday! I know he's working, same as I did on mine this year, but plans a weekend away with a celebratory meal which I'm sure will be super.

Thats it for birthday madness until next year.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

post birthday

Thanks Debs and Wilda for the SUPER cyber-birthday cards, they were really great fun!

Had a rather super card from my brother, Martin, too (well, super apart from the fact that he'd picked an old school photo of me with a SERIOUS case of bad hair day! - didn't my Mother CHECK I'd combed my hair before leaving for school on a "school photo day"?!) anyway, that was great fun too to receive except he'd reminded me of how old I was which was unfortunate as I had thought I was a year younger! gulp! The trouble with not particularly celebrating birthdays is its very hard to keep track of actual age! (interestingly, I don't have a problem keeping track of everyone elses actual age .. hmm .. maybe I just don't want to accept the inevitable?).

Have DECIDED, particularly after receiving correspondance from an old school pal who used phrases like "not seen anyone for 32yrs" and "now we're middleaged women" that the time may have come to finally do something about the hair! the GREY hair, that is! With talk last night by hubby on the next significant birthdays and planned celebrations (my 50th his 65th and no.1.son's 18th and no.2.son's 16th in the same year - and NO! not NEXT year either! grrr!) I thought well at least I don't have to look like I might be nearer to 65!
Plan to talk through options with hairdresser, Steve, next week!
Look out! I might go mad and turn colourful!
Love to hear from anyone managing their greying hair, I've been managing mine since early 20's! .. mostly with highlights but now, as my son points out even the highlights look grey!

When I mentioned my birthday at work, and someone asked me what my retirement plans were I decided that maybe I ought to sort once and for all the grey hair and the thick ankles! All comments and thoughts welcome!

Had nice meal out last night after work AND, of course, my YUMMY birthday cake as baked by Matt!

oh! nearly forgot! my pressie! have decided on a new chair for my sewing room (ignoring the mutterings from dh about finding one that "plugs in" ...)

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Happy Birthday ...

... to meee!! hurrah its my birthday today! and my lovely son, Matt, baked me a cake. He had to do it yesterday as I'm working today and, of course, he needed me to help him - mostly with the washing up actually!
Anyway, yummy yummy yummy!!

Friday, 8 August 2008

Rowan Bamboo Tape (project)

Using my BARGAIN Rowan Bamboo Tape from several months ago, in softest blue, (703 - chalk) I've cast ON and knit about 10rows of "Tori" from the book (while on holiday! it was too hot to knit and I plan to pick up the needles now I'm back home and sorted to normal routine).

Tempted as I am to buying more yummy yarn and books that are newly out, I'm resisting SEW far and plan too, to look out some patterns from my bargain Cocoon yarn in grey. I'm going to be super organised and KNIT LIKE MAD!

But first, we're baking! no.2.son.13yrs has decided he wants to cook and bake in particular.
I'm trying to encourage this but so far having a little difficulty in interesting him in cooking our actual "dinner" and most particularly, in WASHING UP AFTERWARDS.
still. its quite pleasant, eating CAKE ..

My birthday is next week, and he plans another rather yummy Victoria Sponge - sigh ...

The cake baked especially for his birthday while in Spain last week was just too yummy to even describe, we spent ages drooling over the photo's and when I get chance I'll upload to pc and share!

Post hols laundry is now completely caught up with and the suitcases are packed away in the loft and the tan is starting to fade already, what with this dreadful dull rainy weather! yesterday it waited until 1 stop before I jumped off the bus and then OPENED the skies! and chucked out rain like only happens to me when about to jump off the bus .. I was SOAKED!! had rather a fright as thought my jacket was "shrinking" on me! it seemed to creep up my wrists! hurried home before I ended up wearing mini and boob-tube in grey flannel!

Of course the cats are miserable!
they are just about forgiving us for leaving them (leaving them means left with my brother, not actually leaving them on their own!) alone but now they blame me for the dreadful weather! to make their point they are both using the litter tray as much as possible and in particular after its cleaned out and shedding fur all over the place. To be sure that we don't go anywhere without them, instead of popping out into the garden for 6hrs they are tripping me up and getting under my FEET all day too! All this means they are BORED at night and loads of energy to the fact that I don't do a lot in the house and have taken to waking me up around 3.45am by racing about the landing and stairs yowling before hissing and fighting each other underneath MY side of the bed! this morning Bertie decided to pester the lads, and no.2.son was up at 7am after trying unsuccessfully to get rid of Bertie and back to sleep (this is rare, since turning 13 he's switched to getting up around midday and demanding BRUNCH!).
Of course he's tired and irritable now. not to mention hungry. I'm thinking of suggesting he go to bed AT midday for a nap! Reminds me, slightly, of when they were babies/toddlers and the welcome relief of the day-time nap! I was luckier than most of my friends in that both mine had a morning and an afternoon nap and, generally, they coincided too! bliss!

I asked a friend who had a teen as well as a new baby, IF it got "easier" as they grew older (thinking, more independant!) she replied: "not easier. as such. more: different!" And I'm beginning to see what she means.

Current editions of Sewing World and Simply Knitting have arrived! must go and put the kettle on ..

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

A whole year of blogging!

I just checked! a whole year of blogging! I'm rather pleased with what I've achieved since starting to blog my craft-chat-projects, who would have thought I'd have added felting and hand embroidery to my skills!
I need to push myself a little, though, for this next year as I'm slipping a bit in the completion of projects. Fortunately I've a ton of ideas forming at the back of my head and perhaps I'll write them out and form a plan of action!
FIRST off is to once and for all finish my sock no.2 which has come out of its project bag (and gone back IN) several times to see me sit and gaze at it for ages but not actually KNIT any of it!
I'm inspired, however, to knit SOCKS not least after gazing at THIS super stripy pair! absolutely GORGEOUS! and socks are everywhere, calling to me!
I've started reading twist-blog and plan to follow up its new online knitting mag which I found out about after reading this blog post and found myself agreeing with what the writer said.

When I got back into knitting after a HUGE gap of (cough! nearly 20yrs! .. gulp?) I and my two sewing-pals found ourselves gasping with horror at the though of having to buy a BOOK! a WHOLE BOOK! for one pattern! we found it very hard to get our heads around this idea after being used to going down to the LYS, laying our wool behind for as long as we liked and sharing a pattern between, say, 4 or 5 of us! (unless of course we were using one from a magazine, I've still got a huge stash of patterns that I'd obviously taken out of mags and kept from the days when mags DID have knitting patterns featured weekly). Nowadays I find myself buying these books when - gulp - I don't even have any intention of knitting anything up! they are just SEW SCRUMMY! After nearly 3 weeks away from work, I return to find my knitty-pal beside herself grabbing my arm before I even have chance to fling my bag into locker to look at the SIX NEW BOOKS out since I broke up for hols! six! SIX!? (good job I've a birthday coming up soon!!).

I've added several new blogs to my reader recently, I must update my list to reflect it.

Friday, 1 August 2008

back! from Sunny Spain!

We're back! from a very HOT and SUNNY Spain! (and never been so pleased to have grey dull skies and dash of rain! - not!)

A few photo's and highlights of the holiday to follow, for now as you can imagine its piles of laundry all over the place and two rather bored teenagers who seem, apparently, incapable of assisting in such dreary domestic matters! yes, we celebrated no.2.son's 13th birthday on the last full day of our holiday (and yes, he's turned into full stroppy teen-mode or mood! already!).

Cats are delighted we're back! I think they are going to make us suffer a penalty of much fussing, stroking and generally paying attention to them for at least a week and generally we're GLAD to be back home too.

Hubby has returned to work, I don't until next week - a good break and one that has done me, at least, the world of good!

I wish I could say I did LOADS of the knitting I planned! but lets just say it was too hot for knitting and I managed only about 10rows of the back using my lovely bargain Rowan bamboo tape before abandoning it and diving into BOOKS instead! can't remember the last time I sat and just read 5 books straight off like that but its got me back into reading mode and I'm hopping up to the library this afternoon (okay! I cannot fib! I've had a reservation reminder in that one of the fabbo felting books I'd requested is now available!! but I will, also, get a few books to READ too!!).

Full list of what I read, what we did, where we went and some pics will follow but right now its all WASHING WASHING AND MORE WASHING!