Wednesday, 30 June 2010

TIME I thought to get my bead box out!
Last week I bought two inexpensive skirts from a popular shop and after seeing two other ladies wearing the same denim skirt decided that now was the perfect opportunity to make my mark on MY purchase!

Its been good for me also to get back to my sewing room and start mooching about my boxes and sorting through my bead and thread collection again and dead easy as the skirt already has an embroidered pattern just asking for some embellishment to be added! what could be a nicer and easier project than to fling some beads at an appropriate pattern?

I decided to stick with a blue theme although the greens came a close 2nd and I've still got half a mind to add some little shisha mirrors just to be complete show-off!!

The shot is poor, unfortunately, but I think you can just about see the progress and the difference that the few beads have made already?

A close up reveals how suited this embroidered pattern is to some beads - the pattern extends all the way around the skirt on each panel and is actually quite a nice skirt and is a good fit too which is unusual for me - I normally struggle with RTW and my typical "pear shape".

Bertie, of course, has LOVED this project! If you've got cats you'll know that you simply cannot get out a sewing project without attracting the "help" from a cat! He enjoys, particularly, the "feel" of my bead mat which is soft and fluffy but is not altogether happy about "sharing" "his" room again .. (I think he's claimed squatter's rights!).

We've been enjoying lovely weather with lots of sunshine and its been too warm to knit! The needles and yarn feel uncomfortable when hands are hot and sticky - according to local weather forecasters it won't last, though! make the most of it while we can!!

My knit-pal-Sally and I have decided that we're going to set up a mini quilt-club! in her super new sewing room which she describes as perfect for lazy days enjoying some crafting in her new flat and in a fortnight we're going to meet and plan a project - that should be fun!

Friday, 25 June 2010

Made with Love

This week I've been messing around with odds and ends of yarn and making some crochet flowers using the Rowan Crochet Workshop book as guide. Building myself up to working on a crochet project "proper" the flowers have given me the inspiration to try and progress my crochet a little more robustly!

The circles are knit with a view to possibly making a necklace - not sure yet, though.

A little bit of yummy Rowan baby alpaca and KSH finished with one of the little charms I'd bought at the Sewing for Pleasure show this year, it says "Made with Love".
I'm squinting a bit on the pic on account of not yet used to the glorious sunshine we're enjoying at present! hurrah! summer, its seems is HERE! .. bliss ..

Did anyone catch the Wimbledon epic match? Phew! I seriously worried that at least one of them would surely come down with something dreadful or have a heart attack as a result of it all but what can one say other than marvel at all the records they broke between them!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Knitting Progress

A few months ago I loaned a book from local library which had some lovely scarf patterns, this is three parts finished and will match my gloves knit earlier and go well with my winter coat. The pattern is a little tedious and is more than 20 rows but am nearly finished so will proceed!
The yarn is the fabulous half price Rowan Scottish Tweed 4 ply and I am enjoying knitting with it. (which is just as well given I've got a huge stash of assorted colours!!)

Here is Cloud! as promised! above is the hem that is knitted separately and below is the completed parts of the cardigan from Rowan's Calmer Collection and just requires sewing up.

I like this yarn and am pleased I picked up another half price pack at the same time in brown - there is another pattern from this book I have my eye on, as well as a couple of choices from knitting magazines too.

This month's Simply Knitting arrived this morning. Handy, as I've got another Hospital appointment for tomorrow and Wed - that will sort me out through the tedium of it all!

The football is on, but I can't be bothered with it. The noise from those dreadful noisy blowy things are putting me off even attempting to feign any interest, one would think in these days of modern technology that the television coverage could offer some sort of special effect to filter out the intrusion of the noise, don't you think? I'm all for a bit of atmosphere, but really THIS is just mind numbing NOISE!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Well there is promising signs of activity going on today! dh has at last started knocking out the brickwork in our lounge in preparation for a grand makeover! Very overdue, our house is a shambles and it will be fantastic to have a nice room with a new carpet and furniture!!
My brother came round and got roped into chipping some of the trickier bricks but hopped it quick when I mentioned stripping the paper!!

The family have all gone out tonight to watch the first England match - vs USA at the tennis club so its peace and quiet for me and a chance to catch up on some KNITTING!

Yes! I promise I am still knitting. I need to take pics and prove it!!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

More baking - white choc chip brownies

This white choc-chip brownies mixture is cooling along with another batch of rock cakes. I am assured from the book that these are more gooey and fudgey the day after baking. We'll see (if they last that long)!

Delicious smell of baking, fruit and chocolate is wafting throughout my house! bliss!

Plans are underway to redecorate our lounge. A friend has come round to disconnect our gas fire, dh is set to dismantle the horrid and terribly old fashioned brick work around the fireplace and whole side of our room and we've had some switch sockets moved too.

The cats are not happy and both sense that things are afoot! no.1.son had to rescue Bertie who attempted to squeeze himself through the gap in brickwork and got stuck after dh did an experimental removal of a few bricks to "see" what is inside!

I anticipate a lot of mess and upheaval but it will be good to finally get work underway. We will need new furniture and carpet - basically everything needs replacing; whether I'll make the soft furnishings I'm undecided at the moment - will review nearer the time!

Our son has almost complete his A Level exams and will break for the summer in a few weeks time, he has decided to look around and do some voluntary work during the summer (paid work seems non-existent at the moment, here at least).

There will be knitting pics and posts, soon! I promise! I am getting on with Cloud my Calmer cardigan project and will blog progress along with photo's.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Another glorious day! & yarn sort out

Another glorious sunny day! and as dh tidies and sorts the room out in preparation for no.2.son's gathering of pals this afternoon, I take myself upstairs with my knitting stuff well out of harm's way and sort it out.
Above is my stash acquired early this year in a half-price sale of Rowan Scottish Tweed 4 ply which is now sadly discontinued; I like this yarn very much and took advantage of being one of the first through the door in picking a selection of colours destined for fab fairisle gloves and mitts and handwarmers!
the laundry tin they are in was also a "bargain" and lifts atop to reveal my stash of KSH! bliss!

Also purchased recently, above half price Rowan Kid Classic and below some more Rowan Calmer.
I have patterns in mind for both yarns and will blog details when I start!

Friday, 4 June 2010

Shopping! (with teenagers for clothes)

THAT is about as close as we're likely to get with taking a picture of my no..2.son in his new clothes.
For some reason he has decided he doesn't like his photo being taken and I find myself having to sneak crafty photos and hope have remembered to remove the flash and silence the bipping noise my camera occasionally makes when pressing the button!
I expect its his age.
At nearly 15yrs he's now wearing adult clothes in the smallest size and is apparent he does NOT want "mum" clothes shopping alongside, but while I'm paying, I'm coming shopping!!
Two other "mums" and I stood at an agreed distance from the changing room and gradually edged ourway closer until two of us were practically IN the outer doorway before being scolded by our teens who emerged moodily half an hour after going IN with an armful of EXPENSIVE clothes they declared "fitted" ..
I managed to get the attention of a passing sales assistant to check that I could under their terms of agreement, return any clothes - to the embarassment of my son .. but I need to be SURE they fit!!
Gulped a bit at the cost of the white cotton mix shirt, but I have to say that it did look particularly smart and will be nice for both a forthcoming family wedding and our summer holidays!

Tomorrow, I am informed, there will be a few more people arriving.
I may have mentioned?
No.2.son had asked that we vacate the house in order for him and "a couple" of friends to watch a dvd?
Casually he let slip it MIGHT be a bit more than 5. 8 in fact. Well more. but managed to shriek at him that EIGHT is absolutely the limit! and that has to include him!
I'm not personally concerned about his friends individually, rather the idea of friends-of-friends turning up. He is told FIRMLY that is his responsibility to make it clear who IS invited and the rest, unfortunately, on this occasion are NOT!

Its not easy balancing the social lives of your growing teens and your own desire for a quiet and peaceful boring middle-aged life, franklyI shall be relieved when it all returns to "normal" with School and College from Monday!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Rock Cakes & afternoon tea

This afternoon no.1.son decided to bake rock cakes. And very scrummy they are too! Usually its his brother that bakes and I had to remember this while quietly "assisting" (ie nagging!) in the background; he did very well, though, and this is one recipe I'd repeat. (love rock cakes! always have!).

Settling down and getting cosy

One thing our cats don't have a problem with - settling down and getting cosy!
Now the weather is brightening they are much happier and spend considerable periods out enjoying the sunny garden.
I don't generally have a problem, either, with settling down - indeed I sometimes feel I live in my comfy chair and one or two rude comments from the family suggest they think this too!! However it is hard to accept that though you feel "better" in fact you are not.
I plan to spend my time more creatively this coming week with planning some knitting; I've given myself "permission" to sit and rest and am feeling much better as a result and am now fast becoming a fan of the afternoon nap! Lilly, one of our cats, is having to compete with me now for the best spot on the sofa around 3.00pm!

As well as pacing myself with physical activities and building in rest, I need to plan some projects to keep my hands busy and my mind active and switched on! The television is way too addictive and I am resolved to switching it OFF and picking up a few more books instead.

A fresh project is just what I need and surely what the Dr would order?

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Getting Organised

In an effort to become more organised in my crafty pursuits, I set about sorting and tidying my yarn stash which is now worryingly growing into a sizeable yarn mountain not helped by recent 50% sale on Rowan Scottish Tweed 4ply (more on that/gloves later).

I kept these handy Body Shop containers as I felt they'd come in for some useful purpose eventually! and they are currently housing my cheapie Lidl sock yarn - and very tidily too! Still undecided upon the yarn - if it really doesn't machine wash well, then I may use it for handwarmers and gloves as I don't mind hand washing those but really I like my SOCKS to wash regularly and behave well in the machine.

We're on a strict economy drive as of now in our household! This last couple of years of me not working is starting to show and as I feel less confident of a return to gainful employment, we're looking at ways to make our single income stretch that bit further. Time, I think, to start looking at what I've already got fabric and patternwise and start making it work! I need some new summer clothes, skirts and tops in particular and really can't afford to buy if I can make "for free" from stash. This might be the incentive I need to finally get my sewing machine buzzing again!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Simply dreadful weather - knitting goals

The weather is simply DREADFUL today! Raining heavily since early morning I fear its set in for the whole day. Which rather makes my plan for a brisk walk look decidedly unattractive. With luck it will brighten up and I shall look for a slot later on and take advantage of a swift round the block walk to get in my advised quota of 30mins walk am and pm as per instructions from the EP following my recent ablation for AF.

No.2.son has been brewing a head cold for the best part of a month within the family - HE has had it in full including earache and now both no.1.son and I are starting to feel it too. Typical as we launch into the better summer months, that we all come down with some dreadful annoying cold managing, as we have, to avoid them this past couple of winters! They arrive at the worst time - no.1.son is still in midst of important A Level exams and I am recovering and feeling decidedly dodgy without addition of a cold and dh is tremendously busy at work and under pressure of scrutiny at work with whisperings of "redundancy" hanging over their department generally.

With this in mind, its TIME I feel to look afresh at my craft goals and plan to start with KNITTING first!
I have three or four projects currently on the go :

  • Kai Mei sock 2 about half way through completion - if memory serves me right, I've stopped right bang at the TRICKY part and I shall need to concentrate hard to pick this one up but am resolved to getting around to it not least because I've done it once! with sock 1 so ought to be able to repeat it again?
  • Scottish Tweed lace scarf is three-parts complete! tempted as I am to abandon it due to summer I know that this will accompany my gloves in same yarn and complements perfectly my good winter coat and if I don't complete it SOON I'll either lose the pattern or the will to finish by next winter!
  • KSH shawl - I've been knitting this for ever! I love the pattern. I want to finish this. I can't seem to get INTO it sufficiently to just KNIT IT and get it over and done with. this disappoints me, but I've nearly complete it and to abandon it would be a waste not to mention a personal disappointment.
  • Plain socks on ML - not long to go, I am approaching the shaping for toes. I want to finish this for two reasons: firstly because I need to measure and wash and compare the socks in order to evaluate the usefulness of the "cheapie" sock yarn before committing to future projects the rest of my stash! and secondly because I just LOVE the technique of ML'ing two socks and am keen to try it out with a more ambitious pattern than just plain st st! (and I've run out of needles given the other one currently has Kai Mei on it!)
  • Rowan Calmer cardigan - I've nearly complete this! just need to sew it up and finish the knitted hem. This is my priority. I've decided! I need to finish this as its fantastically wearable at the moment! I love the pattern and the yarn and will take pics of progress and blog again in due course.
Additionally, I am keen to progress with my crochet. I need to find a proper project and just get on with it! I thought I'd start with some accessories and have a crochet book with ideas that incorporate beading too. I will blog that too.

Temporarily I have decided to abandon Portree and the fairisle goal. I need to get other more established knits finished and as I've only started the hem and not quite started the exciting bit of the fairisle, I shall put that aside for now. But this is just temporary! (remind me of this if you like, later!).

My very sensible and lovely PT'ist advises that DISTRACTION works best in coping with pain and recuperation, and with her other piece of sensible advice too, of little and often every day NOT one mad rush to do EVERYTHING in one go, I am aiming to spend a bit of time working a balance of domestic stuff and crafty stuff inbetween "resting" and recuperating.

I'd love to hear how others manage to balance their goals.