London Marathon – may I have a mothers gloat?

Wow. What a weekend!

The run up started with a request from the daughter who was trained to perfection, all ready to go, just needed to iron her name to her running vest without melting a hole into it. Ooops. Melted.

It fits!

It fits!

Chaotic trimmings

Chaotic trimmings

Yes, the request was for me to bring the sewing machine to reduce the size of the replacement vest that her charity had been able to provide at short notice. It would have been fine if she had been a large bloke, but she is a tiny female. I mentally had Claudia Winkleman in her Great British Sewing Bee voice telling me that ‘I had one and a half hours to reduce the size of that vest to fit my runner or be left behind while she and dad went out for her birthday supper’. No chance of that! I did forget to take the before picture but the after one isn’t too bad, and I ironed the name onto the vest without melting it. Phew!

Honestly, that is Mo

Honestly, that is Mo

 

 The Management and I were settled on the course on Sunday morning in loads of time to see all the London Marathon action. Wheelchairs, the womens elite, and the mens – including the much awaited Mo Farah who I almost got a photograph of. You would imagine since he was going too fast for me to catch him he would have broken the record he was aiming for. Sadly not, but what a trooper for saying he will be trying again.

I spent the next spell peering into the scrum of runners looking for our own Melissa Fehr. I now know that she finished in a blistering 3.30.37 so it was no surprise I missed her! Well done Melissa – that is an amazing pace.

Shared Photo

Well done Melissa!

We managed to see lots of amazing runners – I have amazing respect for them all but the ones in costume must have been really suffering in that heat. It was wonderful supporting weather but it must have hurt like hell to run in.

Looking cool - but check out Dan the fireman in the background!

Looking cool at 12 miles – but check out Dan the fireman in the background!

Finished - and very proud

Finished – and very proud

We managed to miss our runner from our position at 24 miles but it was great to be able to see just how determined everyone was at that point to make it to the end despite there being a lot of ‘walking wounded’. It just showed how amazing people are. I was humbled by their efforts.

My amazing daughter managed to finish her first marathon in 4.42.29. Yes, I know others have done their first marathon faster – but they aren’t my girl. And she is only 5’1″. There have been jokes about her getting a distance allowance for being so small. Small in stature perhaps, but massive in determination. I couldn’t be more proud.

The Management and I eventually tracked down our runner at the collection point in Horseguards Parade (how good was it to be there!) and took her away to have the beer that she said she had been craving for miles. Seemed only fair! It was even better because the rest of her supporters were in the pub already and raised a cheer that got most of the pub involved when she walked in. She must have felt like a Superstar (and so she should!)

London looked wonderful in the conditions, and almost everyone you saw was smiling. I didn’t spot any ill manners or ‘bad behaviour’ on what was an amazing occasion. I was incredibly impressed that Transport for London gave free travel to everyone wearing a runners number/finishers medal for the day. They almost certainly don’t need to – the runners would have to use the system anyway – but it is a wonderful gesture and the staff were being lovely to the runners I saw on the return from Piccadilly Circus. Well done all the TFL staff – you are great!

Team Jess

Team Jess

I had a great time supporting and would love to do it all again next year. She says maybe.


Anyone spotted my mojo?

Some weeks doing any work at all seems to be hard. This has been one of those weeks. I have kept pace with the client schedule (just), but anything for myself has just felt like too much effort.

Comparing with my favourite top

Comparing with my favourite top

I did put together the pattern for the Fehr Tade XYT work out top from the printed PDF file. Kudos to Melissa – this has to be the best matched PDF pattern I have stuck together so far. She has made joining marks on each sheet and every line seemed to just go together effortlessly. I have checked the pattern up against my favourite NIKE top for size and have made some adjustments which should help with the final fit, and lengthened the whole thing by 3″ as I like my tops long. You can see from the photograph that it isn’t far out from the favourite tops size, the bits sticking out should just about cover the seam allowances.

I am still messing about with the built in ‘bra’ section. I am well outside the ‘B’ cup ideal so I know I should just make another piece with a dartless full bust adjustment before I cut out the power net. But not this week.

I have even got as far as selecting some lycra fabric from my stash. It is a very tasteful very bright pink. Very bright. It will be perfect for one of the Race for Life events when it is done. I even have the black fold-over elastic as contrast. Very classy. However you will have to wait till next week for any progress as I have decided to have a sewing free weekend. BECAUSE IT IS THE LONDON MARATHON ON SUNDAY!

My daughter will be running, along with (but not beside) Melissa, and Mo Farrah. And thousands of other people.

Good luck to everyone who is running, or supporting, this weekend.

(Hopefully more sewing progress next week)


Sporty April Challenge

I really want to make this garment. I mean really want to make it. It is Melissa Fehrs XYT workout top. I had intended to make one for my daughter – but after my alteration binge she says she has enough exercise tops at present and so I can try it for me first. Woot woot!

(Click the picture to go to Fehr Trade patterns)

Now, I do enjoy a nice workout and have even been known to join a 5k ‘race’. I will never be the worlds fastest, nor do I want to be. That said I hate the cold wet weather we have had and have proved myself to be a dedicated warm weather exerciser. However, I am (I suppose) ‘a lady of a certain age’ and there is a family history of osteoporosis so it is in my interest to get my butt outside and jog a bit. A new top and a bit of sunshine should help things along don’t you think?

In addition to designing workout gear Melissa runs marathons, and I know will be running at this years London marathon. As my daughter is also be running this year I will be looking out for them both! Given that pedigree I think I can be assured that this workout top will be a goody. Melissa is also encouraging us all to get up and get active by posting a ‘Spring Race Challenge’.

All of the details are on her blog, and I am certainly ‘in’. I am therefore declaring the XYT top my GAM for April. Let stash diving commence!


Musings on fundraising.

In short? I should have started much earlier. All the things I had planned to make, the time allocated (until a client came with a crisis), the fabric I knew I had (somewhere). Despite my organisational shortcomings the fundraising total stands around £400 at the moment with the possibility of a little more if/when the last of the items I made go.

So, what did I make?

Lots of cake

Lots of cake

Lots of muffins

Lots of muffins

The cake from last week was all used up after a trip to my bridge club. I can’t believe how the ladies (and a few gents) who almost all claimed to be ‘on a diet dear’ can clear a table faster than locusts! Thankfully they were also very generous and boosted the total very well.

My husband (The Management) took the muffins into his office, along with some of the sewn goods and improved the total further. Thank you to all who donated. You are all wonderful!

Sewing took more time than I expected, and as I said to begin should have been started earlier. However, I am happy with how things went and some of the items I made are shown below.

London Apron - suitable for bake off or barbecue

London Apron – suitable for bake off or barbecue

London shopping bag (can be used elsewhere!)

London shopping bag (can be used elsewhere!)

The print on this fabric was an obvious choice for London Marathon fundraising. It is a lovely heavy cotton, so well up to the job of being an apron or bag. These are both made from self drafted patterns.

The apron was a very simple ‘draw around an apron I already had’. It really doesn’t come easier than that does it?

The shopping bag was basically two sections (it could have been made without the seam in the bottom but I wanted to keep the design ‘right way up’) which I sewed into a bag (what else?) and then stitched across the corners to create a base. There was an inside pocket so that you could keep a purse or phone accessible when in use. The main thing I had in mind was to ensure the handles were comfortable to hold, and also very securely sewn in place. They aren’t coming off any time soon I can promise!

Loop/Infinity scarves

Loop/Infinity scarves

Another ridiculously easy make was the loop/infinity scarf. I managed to make use of some of the remnants that had been lurking in my stash for a while making these. I chose 150cm wide fabric and cut 50cm strips (or as close as I had. Seam along the long side (wrong sides together) starting and finishing about 10-15cm away from the short edge. Press and turn before joining the short edges to make a loop. I hand stitched the remaining little opening closed but it could probably have been done by machine if you wanted to be faster.

Runners/walkers arm pockets

Runners/walkers arm pockets

I am very lucky to have had permission from several people to use their patterns to raise money.One of these was Melissa from Fehr Trade who kindly said I could use her arm pocket and ruffled wristlet patterns. The arm pocket is another very easy make – and is useful to both men and women – so I set up a production line with these! They are made in Supplex so they are super comfortable to wear and sold very well. I have included the links to Melissas posts for each of these items in case you would like to make your own. Thanks Melissa!

Sadly I ran out of time before making any other little bags as I also had permission from Rhonda to use her clam shell wristlet, and Stephanie at Cake patterns to use her Red Velvet Mini clutch (available here as a free pattern!). Stephanie is happy for these to be made by anyone who wants to raise money this way – just not if you are a multi national or similar! I really wish I had left enough time to make everything I wanted.

I am glad to have finished the fundraising makes, and needed to make a little something for myself just to get back in the mood. Ages ago I watched the Beginners Serging course on Craftsy (having already killed off one overlocker/serger)  which I thought would help me to make better use of my machine. Despite owning and using this machine for years I did come away from the course with some new information so I was very happy (and I bought it on sale so it was a bargain – who doesn’t like a bargain?) On the course was a cute washbag/make-up bag that I thought would be nice to make. It is completed entirely on the overlocker (including a clever way to make the little loops for the sides, and inserting that zipper!) and was a very quick project, made almost entirely from scrap that was lying around  waiting for a purpose. I love it!

Washbag innards

Washbag innards

Cute bag - and fast to make!

Cute bag – and fast to make!

 

It is a little way off but I could make some of these for my friends McMillan Cancer coffee morning. More fundraising. Doh!

 


A Post about cake. Sourdough cake.

Yes honestly. Cake made with a sourdough starter is fabulous. I made two versions for a fundraising coffee morning today and have been asked to give recipes and starters to three people! (Perhaps I should have asked for a donation for them?)

Debris from what was sourdough cakes (and others)

Debris from what was sourdough cakes (and others)

I really should have taken my photograph before the hungry hoards arrived! However, the cake stand had been filled on both layers with my own lemon cake adaption of the chocolate cake recipe from King Arthur Flour website. You can see the plate of chocolate cake just behind and to the right of the cake stand. The chocolate cake has been declared the ‘best in the world – all of the world’ by my nieces boyfriend and is always popular Chez Hood.

It was only after several batches I decided I was going to have to find an alternative before The Management decided he was bored with it. Truly, I didn’t want to find another recipe as this one is so easy and I have found it pretty much foolproof.So….

If you use the recipe from the link and make the following changes I have made a Lemon cake (declared the best today), and an Apple and Cinnamon version.

Lemon Cake:

  • Don’t add the baking cocoa – replace it with flour. Don’t add the espresso powder either.
  • Add the grated zest and all the juice from 2 lemons. (Mine were fairly small but gave lots of juice).
  • For the icing (I only used 1/2 quantity) leave out the espresso powder and use zest/juice from 1 lemon.

Apple and Cinnamon Cake:

  • Don’t add the baking cocoa – replace it with flour. Miss out the espresso option.
  • Add 8oz of grated apple (or rough quantity – I used eating rather than cooking apples but either would work), 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 4oz Sultanas if you like them.
  • I left the icing plain but you could add cinnamon to it (leaving out the espresso).

I only ever put a half quantity of icing onto the cakes and find that is ample, and I am never patient enough to make the drizzle to go on the top before cutting into the cake!

This cake also freezes beautifully (cut into portions before freezing – you can ‘snap off’ the number of pieces you want to defrost) with the frosting on the top. Please don’t ask how long it lasts – we never have it for long before it is all eaten!

And the fundraiser? We managed to raise just over £200 towards Jess’ target. I’m happy but exhausted.

I think I deserve a cup of tea and a piece of cake.


A weeks review

I have been pretty busy this week but had fun all the way.

London Bag

London Bag

London Apron

London Apron

I have made four aprons, and six shopping bags ready for fundraising events. There are more items listed ready to make this week but I really wanted to make a start with things in this wonderful fabric showing the major sights in London. It is a lovely heavy 100% cotton that I am sure will be really hard wearing – and obviously washable since no-ones aprons (or shopping bags) stay clean for long.

I would have liked one of these for some cooking I did myself this week – but not allowed! I have been making sour dough bread about twice a week since I was given my starter and last week was no different. I like real ‘loaf tin’ shaped loaves as they are really easy to cut and make into toast – and sour dough toasts brilliantly!

Sour dough loaves

Sour dough loaves

I also made some Hot Cross Buns. I love Hot Cross Buns so when I saw a sour dough recipe on Fig Jam and Lime Cordials blog I had to try them. This is a fabulous blog but comes with a warning. She is an amazing cook and you will want to eat everything you see. I can almost feel my waist expanding as I read each post. And the Hot Cross buns are wonderful. I like mine well spiced so I will probably increase the amount of spice in the next batch. There will certainly be many more batches. Just look how good even my first batch looks (and there aren’t this many any more!)

Fabulous hot cross buns

Fabulous hot cross buns

Between client and fund raising sewing, cooking, and just general life there hasn’t been much spare time but I have eventually finished one of my ‘Little Minx’ socks. These are another toe-up pattern from Ravelry – and I have to say that the jury is out on this style. It has taken an age but only because this is the third time I have knitted this up. The first time I forgot to knit into the back of the knit stitch and the pattern wasn’t anything like as nice (it took a while to work out what I was doing wrong. Note to self – READ THE PATTERN PROPERLY). I love the yarn but at the moment I don’t love the sock. I have managed to make ‘pairs’ of every sock pattern I have made so far. I don’t want this to be the first singleton, but I think I am going to have to leave this a while before making the second.

Little Minx sock

Little Minx sock

I have lots of sewing planned for this week – but I am also hosting a fundraiser for my daughters marathon at my home on Friday morning so I will be knee deep in cake mix later in the week. I hope they all work right. I will report on fundraising progress next week.


Mad March Minoru

I am back after a short holiday with The Management in Gran Canaria to recharge my batteries with some long needed sunshine. Not only sunshine, I also managed three days scuba diving – heaven.

I'm in there somewhere....

I’m in there somewhere….

Anyway, once back I set to work on another Sewaholic Minoru Jacket which I cut out before I left. The warm, waterproof version has become my ‘go to’ jacket so another was clearly a good idea.

This version was to provide an alternative to the ‘warm’ Minoru’ for Spring (ever the optimist) and is made in a showerproof navy fabric which has been in the stash for too long to remember any details about it. It might be polyester but it feels a bit more natural so is probably a blend. I haven’t done a burn test as it was so obviously right for the circumstances it really didn’t matter what it is made from.The lining is also from stash – a very thick, densely woven polyester which meant that this was going to perform exactly as required without any additional interlining.

Minoru Front

Minoru Front

The only changes I made were to the cuff of the sleeve (as I mentioned in the last Minoru post this was the only thing I wasn’t really happy with), and used a two way zipper rather than just a separating zipper. This will help if I want to wear this in any seated position to prevent any ‘pull’ on the zipper bottom.

To change the sleeve I just drew the fold line more obviously on the cuff pattern piece and pinned that at the bottom of the sleeve piece to give the sleeve length required (don’t forget to allow the sleeve head seam allowance if you do this). The sides of the sleeve obviously wont match the cuff piece now so all I did was draw in a line from the cuff to the underarm and cut on that.When I sewed the sleeve I left a gap in the seam to insert the elastic, turned the cuff up from the fold line, sewed an edge seam to finish the edge better before making another seam to give the elastic casing. I did sew the lining to the cuff turn before I put the elastic into place as I thought that made it easier. I prefer this cuff to the original as I feel it is less bulky, but that is just personal choice and no criticism of the pattern.

Cuff changes

Cuff changes

And just for Rhonda (and anyone else really) …. a flash of the lining.

A lining flasher!

A lining flasher!

I am counting this as my garment for March as I expect to be very busy for the rest of the month doing sewing to raise funds for my darling daughter who is running in the years London marathon  on behalf of Rockinghorse Childrens Charity (her running blog here). Not so long ago I thought I had ages. All of a sudden it is nearly here….  aargh!

I will show what I am making as I do it. Apologies if I vanish for a while again….


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