Where is the time going?!

14th of March already! Yikes. I have been enjoying watching the signs of spring arriving here in Bewdley (catkins dancing, lambs prancing)and not noticed just how the days are flying by. I have been working sewing and knitting but really don’t seem to have a lot to show for it. I have also been spending time completing this jigsaw loaned to me by a friend. Yes, we are still friends! I have finished it now but it has taken an age….

An almost impossible jigsaw!

Jersey ‘bits’ from outside

All from Barrys bargain table

I did have a lovely day in Birmingham when I met the lovely Fairy and Glenda for a market trip. It’s almost a month ago so Fairy has probably finished sewing all of her cloth already and mine is still waiting for action. *sigh*

I had intended not to buy any fabric at all since my stash is heaving but I couldn’t resist these pieces. The jersey from the outdoor area was ridiculously cheap and I have no real idea yet what I want to do with it but I really don’t want it hanging round for a long time so I will decide soon. the Barrys bargain fabrics were a bit more substantial. I think I bought 3m of each of these. The brown and grey lengths are slightly stretchy and would make good shirts but would also work on the Lynn Mizono dresses that I want to try out – and at  £2 a metre they wont break my heart if I don’t like them afterward. The black is a textured polyester – a little bit like scuba but a bit less dense – that Fairy and I thought would be worth trying for the bodice on this dress. I already had fabrics for the Mizono patterns I wanted to use but you know how a bargain can lead you astray….

Elastic and easy thread needles

 

Talking of which, I have a bag with all sorts of lingerie/spsortswear odds and sods in it (including a fair quantity of elastics) but I couldn’t help but buy the red and black fold over elastic. I can’t even remember what it cost but I know it was well worth it! Add it to the bag.

The other item was a bit of experimentation. I bought some of the easy thread needles I have seen around. Have you tried them? I did wonder how the thread didn’t just fall out again but it seems to work! Whilst I’m not quite in need of them on a full time basis yet I can see how they would be useful if you did have difficulty threading up. I tried them out on the shirt I’m working on and they work fine but the top is a bit ‘poky’ and I found I really needed to use a thimble to prevent puncturing my fingers.

When I haven’t been swearing over jigsaw pieces I have done quite a lot of knitting. That gorgeous Botanical Yoke sweater is coming along beautifully – I’m well into the yoke section now so I thought you could have a sneaky peek. It looks amazing – and really isn’t as difficult as I thought it would be (or as it looks!). The Managements quilt is started now but there  really isn’t anything worth showing yet. I know I’m fitting it in around other jobs but I really hadn’t appreciated what I had let myself in for with a full bed size quilt!

A sneaky peek

Hopefully a bit more to show next time I manage to remember where the dashboard is!

Kim


Stashbusting in July

Yes, I know it is now August 4th but I have been waiting for the weather to improve to take photographs somewhere other than my cream wall. It was quite nice before the kids broke up from school but has been a bit spotty since then.

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Wrap pants

While dredging in a not oft used drawer I rediscovered these leopard print wrap pants. I mainly use them on holiday but on a warm day they were perfect. It got me wondering how the pattern would be as shorts.

Pattern shape

Pattern shape

You can see the ties on the back

You can see the ties on the back

Wrap shorts

Wrap shorts

As it turns out I’m not sure I like them. I suspect the problem is that in shortening the whole thing they have lost some of their appeal. They catch the breeze more easily when long, and don’t look quite so ‘tubular’. I think I may try again but add a bit of fullness to the pattern pieces so that they look a bit more like a wrap skirt. The pattern is very simple – just two pieces cut from the width of a fabric piece with a U shape cut out to give the crotch space. I added the darts from my skirt block to the waist to give a little shape and used the full width of the 150cm  wide fabric for the pink. I cut them a bit longer than necessary so lost a bit of fabric when I shortened them. The ties are just strips made long enough to tie in a bow front and back. The style does mean that loo visits are a bit of a fandangle but I like them regardless. The long ones. These were made from some polyester crepe which I know washes and dries quickly making it perfect for hot climates – if a bit sticky. I’m happy to have this used now, even if I don’t wear them very often.

 

You may remember the odd shaped pants from the last Patrones I reviewed. Well, the leapfrogged the Thai Fishermans pants that I cut the pattern for at the same time. They took no time to make up and I love them!

Sarrouel Trousers front

Sarrouel Trousers front

Sarrouel Trousers - back

Sarrouel Trousers – back

That much fabric!

That much fabric!

I made these in some rayon that had been in the stash forever. I liked the colour but never really knew what I wanted from the fabric so was quite happy to risk it with a project I wasn’t sure I would like. How wrong could I be? These are very comfortable to wear – breezy as you like for warm days – and despite expecting The Management to choke when he saw them he has declared them ‘very smart’. Wonders never cease! He also decided that they were ‘skrousers’ as they didn’t quite fit either category.

Sarrouel Trousers - She Wears the PantsThe seams made me think that it would have been useful to have included some in seam pockets, and also that I might prefer them a little shorter. I remembered that a shorter, much more involved, version was included in the ‘She Wears the Pants’ book I bought some time ago. I recall sniggering a bit when I saw them but I now think they would be well worth a try. Summer suit weight perhaps? This book is another of the wonderfully odd Japanese pattern books (the patterns are supplied) which would never fit me but I can crib ideas from them. Despite the title there are few ‘pants’.

Anyway, that makes three garments made for me (along with the Jasper Hoodie) in July and the PJ’s for The Management using 10 metres in total. Not quite as much as I bought this month but a small dent in the stash 🙂

 


Stash busting – and blown.

I have been settling into the idea of being more able to do things for me by …. doing very little. Oops. Not nothing, just not a great deal.

I have been sorting stash (always a bad idea – I get lost down a rabbit hole once I start stroking all the fabric) and decided on a few organised things I want to do. So what did I start with? Something completely off plan and totally unsuited to the weather at the time.

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Spot the hoodie! (Front)

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Spot the hoodie! (Front)

I made another Paprika Jasper hoodie.The fabric was a rich cream cotton and viscose mix (80/20) in a ribbed weave. I have had this for an age and am pleased to say that this is the last of this piece so is a proper bit of stash busting. I know that I will wear this loads once the weather cools down as I have almost killed off the navy version I made a while back. I know this is a pretty bland garment but that means I can mix it with a number of things in my wardrobe. I did try a number of more exciting buttons on the fabric but kept coming back to this thoroughly boring cream ones (which were also from stash – hurrah!).

Thoroughly pleased at the start of my stash busting quest I met Elaine (The Demented Fairy) and Glenda in Birmingham for a spin round the Rag Market and surrounding area on Tuesday. I should have known that despite my protestations that I wasn’t there to buy any more fabric that I would find something that begged to come home with me.

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Jacket fabric and button

Actually inside the market – our first stop after a reviving cup of tea – Elaine and I started to shake our purses out. She found a fabulous long curled hairpiece which matched her own hair beautifully, and will be perfect for her Steampunking  and anything else mad she wants to do. Then I found a fabulous leopard print canvas on a furnishing stall. I just called ‘jacket Kim’ to me and I was fumbling for my purse. At £5 pm it was a steal – and I found a gorgeous feature button just round the corner. No Anne, you can’t have it.

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Shirt fabric for The Management

Then, after Elaine had been seduced by a fabulous taffeta I saw this magnificent poly cotton which I knew The Management would like as a shirt (it was later approved). Aren’t those penguins cute! I was convinced as soon as I saw the baby penguins in grey. So cute. And can you spot the dancing penguins? (I went back into the Market later and Elaine had me buy a piece for her too).

I actually bought the elastic I intended to buy (yes ladies, that was really all I wanted) next along with two cream overlocker cops. I could have run away at that point – but no, I had to carry on didn’t I?

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Knitted leopard this time.

 

Glenda wanted to go to the jersey fabric stall which is outside and while she was rummaging I found this. It is synthetic but I wouldn’t like to guess at the composition, and quite a stable knit. It was the last piece so I got it at a very good price (I think about £8 for 2m) and I had initially thought it would make a great twist top from Pattern Magic I now have another idea. Watch this space as I want to try this soon. Still no Anne.

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The lovely Fairy (Elaine) and Glenda

 

We decided we needed to re fuel after this excitement despite Glenda not having bought anything so far and decided on another visit to Mount Fuji. Excellent nosh all round and a great opportunity to gossip for a while.

We did carry on to the Fancy Silk Store and Barrys  but I escaped without buying any more fabric. I did spot a nice twill weave with Snoopy and Woodstock printed on it but there wasn’t enough for jeans, which was my plan, and as it was polyester rather than cotton I decided to decline their offer of checking the Manchester store for me.

So, another great day out. But on balance I used just over 2m for the hoodie and have bought 5.5m . and I wonder why my stash is massive. There is some serious sewing planned over the next few weeks so I hope to knock a hole in it. Even a small hole would be a good start.


New Year Sloth

Am I the only one who seems to have forgotten how to sew over the Christmas break? I have been ready to get going again, really wanted to sew. Boy have I been making some truly basic mistakes. Anyway, as a result of that I have been taking the trousers really slow (when I haven’t been taking them apart!). They are coming on now that most of the fiddly bits are done so I have great hopes that they will be finished without any more unpicking – and fairly soon!

The Management is properly back at work now, and most of the jobs strictly relating to the holidays are out of the way. I have even spent some time just generally tidying my workroom and stash. I hadn’t quite got down to sharpening pencils but that probably wasn’t too far away when I decided I really just had to get on.

During the work avoidance (and stash shuffling!)I did some planning. Here are another couple of fabrics that I found and really think should be used soon, they also co-ordinate with the brown of the trousers so all I have to do now is decide what they should become. Easy eh?

Pre washed fabric - what could it be for?

Pre washed fabric – what could it be for?

The pumpkin coloured fabric on the left is a felted, knubbly, wool jersey. It might have been a boucle once upon a time and is supposed to be dry clean only. Yeh right. I was pretty sure it would shrink a bit when washed but it should be OK from here on. I think I want to make a long waistcoat/vest out of this. I have seen a few in magazines and whilst I have a couple of ideas I think I need to get the pencils out and start sketching.

The brown on the right is a merino wool jersey. It is lovely. and I have what seems like loads of this to play with! I am sorely tempted by another Savage Coco Presto top – although I think it could probably be useful lengthened into a dress. Whatever it is to be made into I think it should be soon – it is getting cold here. Not Alaska cold I’ll admit – but cold enough to want a nice Merino ….. (fill in the gap).

Since these have both been washed they are ready to be worked. Any suggestions will be gratefully received (although I can’t promise I will follow!)

I truly hope your plans are coming to fruition faster than mine!

 

 

 

 

 

 


Planning…

Well doesn’t time fly? Since I last posted you could be forgiven for thinking I hadn’t done anything. Since I don’t post any clients work I can’t show you any proof – but I promise I have been very busy. In addition to that The Management scheduled a trip to Northumberland to visit an old friend who had moved back there….. and deliver our family Christmas presents! At the time I was informed of this I had about a week to buy said gifts. It would be fair to say I was not too impressed, but now that it is done I can relax a bit and finish my other preparations.

During my time under cover I have still been stalking the blogs I know and love, and reconnected with one I used to read a while ago and seemed to have vanished from my WordPress reader (anyone else have those sort of problems? – and if I haven’t commented on your blog in a while it may be that you have vanished off the list and I haven’t noticed yet for which I can only apologise).

Lemongrass_01_small2

The blog I have found again is the lovely Evie at Pendle stitches who not only sews but knits some wonderful things for her family. In the post you get to if you click on the link you will find the fabulous Lemongrass sweater by Joji Locatelli.

Yarn for jumper and fabric for trousers

Yarn for jumper and fabric for trousers

I thought that it was a fabulous sweater with some slightly different detailing (got to love that side feature!) and immediately hot footed it to Ravelry for the pattern. I was fortunate to receive an e-mail from the Wool Warehouse which gave me the incentive to get right on it and buy the yarn ready to start. I chose Drops Nepal in a lovely Pumpkin shade which I consider to be just right for autumn/winter. I really see too many dull shades from clients so like to introduce a little brightness myself where possible – and I love an orange colour in almost any circumstance.

The ideal partner for such a gorgeous coloured yarn is a pair of brown trousers – and my favourite pair are starting to look a bit shabby. OK, a lot shabby.

Priced in pesetas!

Priced in pesetas!

I have been dredging deep in my stash of late and found this lovely piece. A perfect fabric (though truly who knows what the composition is) and just the right quantity. I vaguely recalled buying this on a Spanish holiday but was both amazed and slightly appalled to discover it still had a price sticker on IN PESETAS! Oh, the shame. Now Spain adopted the Euro in January 1999 so I really think this lovely fabric has marinaded quite long enough and is to be made into my Jeanius jeans pattern with a couple of tweaks. There is a bit of lycra in the fabric so it will be perfect for trousers with a kind of jeans styling, but a bit smarter.

I have got rid of two large orders last weekend so I have a little more time to do something for myself – once I clear the family alterations! I have a bag from my mum, and a couple of things for my DD that she has been very patiently waiting for. I’m on it now. Honest.

Hopefully it wont be too long before I can make progress on my two garments.

Swimming progress

As you see from the ticker I am now at mile 19 – actually 19.2 – so I only have 2.8 miles left in the challenge. It seems to have lasted for ages but the end is in sight. Thanks for all your good wishes – and a special thank you to those who have sponsored me for Aspire. I have exceeded the amount I hoped to raise so I can only thank you for your generosity.

 


Another Jasper…and other stuff

In my last post a referred to something else I had made – another Paprika Jasper sweater. This one is without the hood as I had a very limited amount of fabric. I really love this pattern and can see lots more made this winter.

My new favourite sweater

My new favourite sweater

So, the details. The fabric is a piece of (probably) polyester ‘stuff” which has been in the stash long enough to have celebrated multiple birthdays. It’s more likely to have been there for decades. I seem to remember buying it from a market stall in Kidderminster which hasn’t traded in a Loooooong time. I had seen a number of cabled sweaters in the fashion magazines, Pinterest etc. and this fabric came to mind. I had just 1.5m of 150cm wide so I knew I was going to have to get creative with the cutting to fit it all in. Delightfully, it fitted with whispers to spare. I always like to have minimal amounts of scrap after cutting out.

Tiny pile of scrap

Tiny pile of scrap

Unexpected bonus!

Unexpected bonus!

 

I have already worn this lots, and I can confirm that it washes well! It was brilliant to discover I had a ready made ‘spectacle hanging loop’ as I frequently put my specs down and can’t find them again. Must be age.

 

 

Looking good at half way.

Looking good at half way.

My daughter was home this weekend and admired the hoodie while I was wearing it so that is a

Jess on the finish line

Jess on the finish line

big seal of approval. She had run the Snowdonia Marathon on Saturday and managed to beat her London Marathon time on a course with mountains!

 

Which leads me on to the next make. How many of you have used the wonderful Funki Fabrics printed lycra? Yeah, it’s great isn’t it. But how many of you have spotted the winter lycra? Can I send you to the site right now because it’s great – no wait until you  have seen Jess’s leggings.

The lycra has a kind of fleecy back which feels gorgeous. I think it might be just a fraction less stretchy in the width than the standard lycra but has plenty of stretch in the length. I made Jess the normal Shin leggings pattern without any changes and she declared them a success after wearing them on Sunday morning (actually all of Sunday which is probably a good sign). They haven’t been washed yet but I am sure that with the pedigree Funki Fabrics Have it will be fine.

 

Winter leggings

Winter leggings

I have bought more fabric in black for me so I hope to make some warm leggings for myself really soon. They will not only be worth having for running (stretching the definition the way I ‘run’) but also for marshaling at Parkrun, and to wear as an extra insulating layer under my diving dry suit. These are going to be so useful I should really get on ASAP.

I must make a comment about my coverstitching. As you may know I bought the Janome coverstitcher which I have been very happy with. However, on this garment I started to have problems with the thread getting stuck and breaking – lots of unpicking and bad language. I was confident the cops were Moon (which is a Coats thread and usually pretty reliable) and they had behave beautifully on the overlocker. However, I decided to change all the threads to Gutterman reels and try again. Perfection. I can only assume these reels were an inferior brand and the Janome didn’t like them. So, anyone having problems with a coverstitcher – before you start fiddling with all the dials try changing your thread. I will not be saving any pennies with ‘cheap’ thread in the future as it costs too much in time if I make a mistake.

 

Swimming update

You might have noticed from my ticker in the side bar but I have now swum half the distance needed to complete my swimming challenge. I was thrilled to be able to get this far in the official half way point as I had been on holiday for one week, then ill another. I am now pretty confident of finishing the English Channel distance (22 miles) by the required 7th December deadline.


Tidying loose ends – and making jeans

I don’t know if anyone else will hold their hands up to this but I can procrastinate at Olympic level. Probably gold medal Olympic level. One of the things that is guaranteed to sit me down with a magazine and a cup of tea rather than doing what I am supposed to be doing is chaos. You know the stuff – the pictures of garments from magazines for your wish list, repairs/alterations that shouldn’t take long (once you actually get down to it), projects cut out – or even started (UFO’s) and sitting awaiting attention.

Well, in two separate magazines I have read recently had articles about/by  Gretchen Rubin who is a happiness guru. Who wouldn’t read that? She has written a book called ‘Better Than Before’ and what was detailed in the article I read was very interesting – and eye-opening. She identifies the sort of problems that I certainly recognise, but then suggests ways to correct them dependent on what category you fit. One of the main things to stop you being effective/happy is just that – chaos. So, how to improve?

There are four categories to choose from  – Upholders (self-directed, follows rules easily), Questioner (needs to know why they should do something), Rebel (do I need say?), and Obliger. Guess which I fall into? Yes, obliger. The sort of person who can hit deadlines, demands, and responsibilities – just not if they are for themselves. The doormats of the habit world. Humph.

Ms Rubin suggests that we can all be better by making things into good habits rather than choices. Makes sense, easier just to do something than to decide if you want to do something. As an obliger I can improve my chances of actually doing what I want for myself by committing to accompany someone (exercise buddy, class or such), or announce my intent.

Following reading the article I have gone back to writing myself an achievable ‘to do’ list daily which includes something for myself daily. That may be to go for a swim, or to sew something that will make my own life better. Stress the my own as opposed to family – which I know I would do anyway.

Velvet Jeanius

Gargoyles of the world unite…

Velvet Jeanius

Not a bad rear fit.

Progress? I found two pairs of velvet jeans which had been cut out in January, prior to my client flurry, which I knew fitted as they were from my Jeanius pattern. Since they counted as clutter/UFO’s I decided to get stuck in on those.

I hadn’t cut the pockets and zip guards/facings so I had fun riffling through the scrap bag to find suitable innards. I thought these looked pretty.

Great 'scrap' inners

Great ‘scrap’ inners

I am glad to shift this long standing project. Velvet jeans. Just in time for spring. Perfect. Despite the bad timing I am happy to have them done and feel a blockage has been shifted so I can get on with other stuff now. I promise, no more Jeanius for a good while – we are all getting bored with them (despite them being such a good addition to my wardrobe).

Another result of reading the articles, and thinking about how I intended my life to change somewhat now that I am reducing the amount of client work I intend to take, is that I have decided I really must reduce my stash. I had a fair amount of fabric left from when I stopped trading as The Material Lady and I don’t want it all hanging around. When I get things sorted into what stays and what goes I will list some of the ‘fabric to go’ for sale on this blog. Not all will be ex-TML fabric – I have to confess to buying more fabric than is reasonable for longer than I can remember so there will be all sorts of things. Probably even some Linton Tweed.

On another note, I have been taking ‘adult improver’ swimming lessons (I have only wanted to do this for about a year….). Yes, I am a scuba diver but actual swimming was never my ‘fun’ activity because my neck was always so sore afterwards. Janet Street Porter identified the style as swimming like the Loch Ness monster recently! Anyhoo, I am now better and have signed up for a swimming challenge next week to swim 1.5 km and raise some money for Marie Curie Nurses. Wish me luck!