Saturday, October 25, 2008

Old Fashioned Pom Poms, and Other Things

I had to make my pom poms the old fashioned way, as I'd loaned my pom pom maker to a friend.
It seems a shame to use this gorgeous wool to make pom poms, but I needed my hat to match my scarf, and I'm really pleased with the finished result.
I went to bed about midnight last night, as I decided to do a bit of sewing, beginning with finishing off the bag for my make-it-yourself Secret Santa. The thicker interfacing was difficult to work with once I was joining together the lining and outer of the bag. At one point I thought it wasn't going to work as I had to practically destroy the structure when I was turning it inside out, through a small 5" gap.
However, once it was finished (and I have to say it looked terrible: shapeless and crumpled) I took it upstairs, pulled the lining out and ironed the front and back and pressed the seams, et voila! the shape returned and it now looks fairly crisp and like a handbag. So, I think that must be the trick to this damn pattern.
I just have the button to sew on, in place of my poppy, and it'll be finished. My work colleagues and I have extended the deadline for giving and receiving our MIY SS to 5th November now, as Hagos and I be in Scotland on 31st October, the original deadline.
After I'd finished the handbag I turned my attention to making these Halloween bags for Nate and JJ. I used my toiletries bag template as I'm planning to fill them with Halloween sweets but I don't want to make the kids sick by making a huge bag! I was fairly pleased with how they turned out. There's no finish to them as I'm sure the kids will be more interested in the sweets than the bag. I just need to sort out a better drawstring to use. I'll probably chain stitch 4-ply cotton. The cord I tried in the above photo is too thick so the slide action doesn't work.
I'm looking forward to an extra hour's sleep tonight! I need it as I was woken up at 6.30am by Meg, first at my bedroom door and then intermittently jumping on my Velux window and miaowing, relentlessly, until I had to get up at 9am feeling tired and grumpy. I don't manage well if my sleep's disturbed. So I gave her her second breakfast, determined to poke and prod her once she bedded down for the day, but she looks so sweet and gorgeous I don't have the heart (of course, my resolve dissipates as soon as I see her).

Thursday, October 23, 2008


This is Meg laying claim to our new car. We took our car to have its brakes fixed at our garage on Tuesday only to discover the car had several major things wrong with it, including a major oil leak in the engine (I know nothing about cars and am only repeating what I've been told!). When we dropped our car off we saw the above red car for sale ('red' is about as technical as I get) and on the way home discussed whether we should buy it or not, as our car was really beyond saving a couple of years ago. When we got home I phoned the garage and said we were interested in the red car they were selling, which is when the mechanic broke the news to me about our car. The cost to have all the repairs done came to a lot of money, so we returned to the garage, took a drive in the red car and bought it! It's so lovely, and I absolutely love it.

I'm so tired today. I got about four hours sleep last night as Hagos went to London for a couple of gigs in Gent tonight and London tomorrow night. He arrived in London late and I couldn't sleep anyway, and was up reading until about 1pm. So today at work I felt a bit teary and indecisive and was so glad when it was time to come home. I know I'm just tired so hopefully will sleep better tonight. I'm so looking forward to Saturday when he comes home again.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Too Many Projects

I suddenly seem to have a lot of knitting projects on the go. Or, I suppose I have a lot of projects altogether. I also bought some material at the weekend to make Halloween bags for Nate and JJ, to fill with goodies.

Above is the scarf I've been working on very slowly and steadily. It's easy to knit. I love the colour combinations of the variations of pink and green, and the random mixes they make. I'm using two balls of wool, hopefully it'll be long enough! I'm planning to give it as a Christmas present.
This is the almost complete back of my ribbon twist jumper. It took hardly any time to knit at all, so I expect to have the whole thing finished in a couple of weeks without really trying.
This is a jumper I'm making for my littlest Godson, JJ, for his Christmas. I'm planning to make one for his brother Nate too. This is double knit and they should also knit up fairly quickly. I'm hoping to knit 'N8' and 'JJ' onto the pocket on the sleeve.
And this is my gorgeous hat wool. I bought it a few weeks ago, and then couldn't find my pattern! It's in a really small Rowan book I have and I know the patterns were taken from a bigger book. I have hunted everywhere for the damn book. Anyway, on Saturday I went into John Lewis to see if they still stocked the bigger book but they don't. However, the very very very kind Rowan lady went to search her store copies upstairs and allowed me to take a copy of the pattern. I was so pleased and grateful.
And so last night I very quickly knitted my hat. I really love it. It's been getting so cold recently. Now I just have to make the pom poms for the ends, which I'll make out of the green Cocoon wool. The whole thing should match my scarf beautifully. The mittens, unfortunately, will take longer to get round to and knit. I may not even have them for this season. We'll see. I limit my knitting time to watching telly so I don't have much time to do it in.

It's been so so nice to have Hagos home.
And now it's time to turn my attention to The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

View From a Catflap

I often have to look at this view as, even though Meg can work her cat flap perfectly well by herself she prefers to have Butler Service whenever it's available. She likes to assess the outside before she jumps into it. She looks, she sniffs, she listens, and then she jumps.
After all that waiting, Hagos is back!!! I was so pleased to see him when I picked him up, and I've taken today off work just to hang out with him. It's so, so nice to have him home.
I've had a burst of creativity recently. I did this much knitting just in a couple of hours. I should easily have it finished for going to Edinburgh at the end of the month.

I've also been wearing my orange, Kaffe Fassett dress a lot recently, with my tights and boots, and I feel really comfortable and happy in it. I'm already planning to make another dress from the selection of material at John Lewis. I'm thinking Martini Mustard or Martini Moss.
Though this is my absolute favourite Amy Butler print at the moment. I think it's very Art Deco.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Love and Friendship

I haven't been sleeping at all well lately. Every night I wake up about 3.20am from a nightmare. It's been happening since Hagos went away. Last night's nightmare was quite positive though and it involved Hagos outwitting the baddies and the goodies. Cherie Lunghi (my favourite Strictly Come Dancing contestant) was also in my dream but she wasn't so lucky. Usually when I wake up I have to get out of bed and come downstairs to shake it off. I cuddle Meg, drink a glass of water and go back to bed and read. Last night I did the same, which is how I managed to read A Thousand Splendid Suns in one day. I was completely gripped by Mariam and Laila's stories and moved by the real love story between the two women. How, in times of hardship, love and kindness can flourish and survive. And surprisingly, that cruelty can too.
I'm very excited because Hagos is due home tomorrow. They're at the O2 arena in London today, then tomorrow he comes home! I feel like it's Christmas eve. This tour has felt like three months instead of three weeks. I don't exactly know why. We're used to spending weeks apart, sometimes six weeks to two months at a time, but this tour has felt like the longest ever. So I went to Sainsburys this afternoon to get some goodies in. I wore my orange dress with my blue tights and boots (I love wearing dresses) and when I got home my wool from Cucumberpatch had arrived. It's Ribbon Twist that was reduced from £7 to £2 a ball. So I'll be knitting the polo neck in the photo. It shouldn't take long.
I've been looking through this Arts and Crafts book recently. I bought it about 3-4 years ago and it includes categories from jewellery, wallpaper, furniture and architecture.
This textile design was by Lindsay Butterfield in 1904. Very reminiscent of Amy Butler.
I've often wished I could make my own furniture. Maybe some day I'll get round to it. These chairs are by Gustav Stickley around 1915.
And these mittens are by May Morris, 1910.
Finally, Meg has been a truly great friend to me recently. She's amazing.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Just Looking

These are the Amy Butler fabrics in stock at John Lewis. I looked in today, just to bask in their beauty.
I was also pleased to see they have some Amy Butler patterns and books. Little Stitches For Little Ones is, like all things AB, exquisite. However, there weren't many things in there that I'd actually make.
I started on a Christmas present for one of my Godsons today. I knit while I watch Strictly Come Dancing every night, and eventually it grows.

Cherie Lunghi's dance tonight make me cry, it was so good. I have been teary today and lately. I'm missing Hagos very much. These three weeks have felt like three months. He comes home on Wednesday and I'm so looking forward to seeing him.

The gym is still going well. I've lost another couple of pounds. I'm able to run for longer on the treadmill every day too. I feel better for it definitely.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Amy Butler at John Lewis

I've had a really lovely day. I met Vicky in town for lunch, then we both headed to John Lewis to look at the new Amy Butler fabric section, and the new Christmas section. I was so excited to see they have quite a lot of Amy Butler fabric to choose from and I couldn't resist buying a little selection. I bought half a metre of each, and also half a metre of winceyette fabric, all for a tenner, so I was very pleased. I'll probably make handbags with the AB fabric, and with the winceyette I plan to make sleeve tubes. Sleeve tubes are my own invention. Basically, I have three TV jumpers (short-sleeved jumpers from the Vintage Knits book) and can't wear them because I have cold arms. Vicky and I both observed today that summer has segued into winter and there has been no opportunity to wear those in-between clothes on an autumn day. I have a lovely body warmer I got from Boden. Last week it was too warm to wear, this week it's too cold. I bought it two years ago, and I've never actually worn it. So, I plan to make two tube-sleeves with elastic at each end to wear with my short-sleeved jumpers. I'll let you know how successful that is!Although the weather has gone straight to winter, it's still lovely to see autumn nature outside. I brought these clippings in from my garden today and it's so nice to bring some of the outside in. I especially like this little frog vase that Hagos's mum, Bette, gave to me years ago.
And I can't post without adding a delightful shot of the gorgeous Lady M. She's very vocal at the moment. Talks to me a lot, especially over food.

I'm beginning to plan making the house nice for Hagos returning home in a week and a half's time. I'm even thinking of dedicating one evening to making myself a recipe book so I have something to consult and refer to when he's too busy or tired to cook himself.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Phew! Internet Connection

Our internet connection at home has, well, I'm not entirely sure what's happened, but the upshot is I can't connect to the internet or check my mail from home. And Hagos is in Europe and our broadband provider say the fault isn't at their end so I'll probably have to wait until Hagos returns in two weeks time to fix it :)

So, I'm in the lovely No.33 cafe because I feel a bit funny when I can't connect to the internet! And now I feel much better.

I've had a rough week, part-bug, part-stress I think. Anyway, as a result I cancelled most of my objectives for the week and felt better for taking the pressure off. A couple of days ago I felt an urge to make something so decided to start on my make-it-yourself Secret Santa present.
I really enjoyed making it. I cut it all out on the living room floor while watching Strictly Come Dancing, and Pride and Prejudice (again). Then I sewed together the outer of the bag. I'm really pleased with it so far. The interfacing is much tougher than the last one I used and gives the bag much more support and shape. I just have the lining to do. My only concern is that when I turn it all inside out for the lining to be in position the structure of the interfacing will be compromised as I'm having to bend it and shove it through a small space. We'll see. I can't see how else it's meant to be. Softer interfacing doesn't give it the support it needs. I hope my recipient will like it.
The lovely Meg in her sleeping position.

I was very excited when I went into John Lewis yesterday and saw that they had just taken delivery of some Amy Butler bolts of fabric! I asked the woman about it and she said they're getting even more. So I may have to indulge a little this weekend.

I think part of what's made me unwell this week is I didn't properly recover after Hagos left to go on tour. I was in town on Saturday seeing a friend for lunch, then again on Sunday to see two lots of other friends. And it was lovely to see people but I think it left me depleted of energy and low on immunity. I'm feeling much better now and back on track.
I popped into Neal's Yard and got some herbs to support my adrenal glands! I'm also planning to do NOTHING except homely things this weekend.