Thursday, 29 July 2010

Getting there!

50 sets, 5 in a set - yes, that's 250 stitch markers all packaged up and finished.
I am rather pleased with them, but lordy I am SO nervous about what other people will think.

I am going to leave them alone for the day, then go back through every single one of them tomorrow and double check them.
But that's the first lot of 'stuff' that I have finished.
Next job for this afternoon will be sewing ties and beads on 20 needle rolls, then giving them all a damned good iron ready to attach labels and package them up.

Soooo much still to do.....

I haven't eaten or knowingly consumed any gluten for quite a while now, and definitely feel better for it. But this morning I went wild and had this for brekkie (I wish I had put a spoon next to it for size, it's teenytiny!).
Tangy lemon cheesecake - yes, crushed biscuits in the base, but what the hell, it's worth it just this once.

Cheesecake for brekkie, bliss!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Je suis une fekkin idiot.

A tale of tin openers.
I had one, an old rather grotty looking one, but it worked brilliantly and the only person likely to drop down with botulism and galloping trost would be me. Anway, it died completely the other day - I don't use tin openers very often, but remembered to pick up one when I was in the pound shop, because I am extravagant like that.
Brought it home, tried it, and tried it, and tried it - did it work, did it shite.
It looked like part of it was missing along the side, there was nothing to grab the tin and I just couldn't figure it out, so shoved it into the kitchen door of rattly doom.

Today I bought another one at Great Expense, a whole £5.
Brought it home, tried it and tried it and tried it - did it work, did it shite.
I ended up with the packaging, determined not to be beaten by twlo damned can openers.

Je suis une fekkin idiot.
I was holding the whole thing wrong, and hadn't opened the handle out.
Yes. It dawned on me probably as it is dawning on you - the pound shop opener.
It doesn't have a piece missing. It actually has a rather cunning handle bit that you OPEN OUT. If you have a brain, of course.
My next Pointless Pound Shop Purchase was this.
A cupboard for keys.
Very pretty. Except I only have one door to this house, it being a back to back terrace, and I don't drive.
So I have a whole one key.

On a less useless note this is the pile of sewing from last week, and the reason for my (very) painful swollen wrists (thankfully much better now). 20 needle rolls, and the same almost in lined bags - I am very pleased with all of them, but becoming increasingly worried about the amount I still have to make and the fact I only have 2 weeks ... I have taken a stitch markers break to write this, then back to it. Minimal knitting, and no sewing for me still because I need to get through all this - argh!

I just hope people actually like it at Knit Camp and buy it or I will be absolutely gutted.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Oh. Em. Gee.

Oh dear.
Rowan mags - I love the feel of them, the look of them - yes, even that overdone 'all Yorkshire folk dress like Viv Westwood urchins and roam the moors looking wild and wretched' look.Most of the front covers are beautiful and I want to paint several of them. I have always seen these magazines as a treat. But not this one.
Where to start?
Let's go for flattering knits - surely the main point of spending hours and hours making something is that it looks beautiful and flattering? If I just want warm I will hide under my duvet.
So - Rowan's version of flattering.
Brace yourself.
Bear in mind that these are on very slim, very tall models. I am less than 5ft, and size 14 / 16.

Not as bad as you were expecting? How about this:
Now this is a style very favoured by Kim Hargreaves, and a shape I personally absolutely love - very Victorian, riding crops, saucy smile, long flowing skirts sort of look (or that might just be my mind). But in chunky, with cables, it makes those teenytiny hips look bulky - I suspect there's a reason they don't show the back view.
But, I hear you say, that's still not too bad. It could look good on someone 6ft plus, size 8.
So I present to you:
Yes, I would really love to add what - a couple of inches thickness all round? In Big Wool. With tight looking, too short looking sleeves that must feel very bulky under the arms (there's a giddy big gap between her arm and her side, which I suspect is because the thing is so thick she can't actually bring her arms any closer!)- oh, and the nifty way it flicks out at the hem. And the gaping neckline. And the Michelin man-esque gathery pleat things at the front - nice. What? Not bulky enough for you? Throw in some mega chunky cables to add a bit more girth, missus.
Erm ...

OK, there are more - not very flattering, not very pretty. The ones I half like (but probably not enough to knit, unless my daughter wants one) are the mens jumpers, they are less scary.
And not very interesting either.

So then it moves on to the Russian Doll section (I just checked what the previous section was - apparently it is called Nomad, although Bulky Bastards section would be a better name).
Now some of this section I like - but would never ever wear, mainly due to not being a size 6, liking Yorkshire Pudding (hence not being a size 6), not doing colour and - er - well. Let the pictures speak.
I was going to apologise for the glare on some of these photos, but actually I think it's a blessing in disguise. Obviously Viv Westwood styling - or Hayzee Fantayzee meets Big Country's cast off shirts - and yes, that snippet of 'waistcoat'(?) is the featured pattern. Utterly lost in the styling - maybe for a reason.
I really like this - but do not feel the urge to look like a bag of liquorice allsorts.
I think it says a lot that the ONLY thing in the entire magazine I am really likely to knit are these -
, which I think are lovely. Yes, plain mitts and a long scarf. The combined talents of all the Rowan designers - and fingerless mitts and a scarf are the best thing - in my opinion - and the most wearable. And even they are not exactly mind blowing.
There's also the 'older lady' section. Remind you of anything?
I quite like this.But again, it isn't exactly awe inspiring.
How the hell does she scratch her nose?

So there it is.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Cabbages and Kings.

For no other reason than I seem to have a rather eclectic mix of photos, projects and nonsense to post.

We have had some oif the heaviest rain I have ever seen - I woke at 4am this morning and couldn't believe the noise - sheets of rain, and a mini river rushing past - and I live half way UP  a hill! God only knows what it must have ben like for those at the bottom - it's a steep hill, and it was a LOT of water.
I shoved a thick bath mat around the bottom of my door because it leads straight into the living room, it was the best I could do - I was flooded at my old house, ruined the hall completely (uterly soaked in a couple of inches) and my por cat went yowling past the door, washed away on a sea of bark chippings and half my back garden - I had to go paddling to rescue her!
Thankfully last night didn't do that sort of damage - not nice though.

Hard to believe that just a couple of days ago I was sitting on the step in the sunshine, reading a magazine and eating this

, totally gluten free and delicious, courtesy of Messrs Marks and Spencer. Highly recommend.

The post yesterday was fab - a wool delivery - piccies of that to come tomorrow - a pile of fabric, and this. Peel off the grotty plastic outside, and underneath is:

yes, the new Rowan free gift, Now there's a lot of fuss and bother about this, as they seemt o have stopped giving wool as the gift when you pay for a year's subscription. But I am not complaining - I signed up and paid late last year, and received the wool and the last magazine. AND I still received the bag and magazine 48 - so two gifts.
Yes it looked pretty dire with the plastic design on, yes it took a bit of fiddling about to get it all off, no it doesn't peel off in one handy strip and yes it is marketing the Rowan brand - but I still rather like it and used it yesterday in town.

And I like the sentiment ... a critique of the new magazine to come tomorrow.

This is the first time I have succumned to the lure of this wool, mainly I resisted because it was a bit trendy to knit with it and I wasn't mad keen on the colourways - but cerise and black? Rude to resist.
I started Annis two days ago and it is almost finished, despite only doing a little bit of knitting as my hands are so painful (I think I have overdone the sewing lately, both wrists really hurt).

This is where I was this morning, more has been done since. I like. A lot.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Ten on Tuesday

10 Things to Bring on a Camping Trip.

Anyone who knows me, and those who know me online, will be grinning at this one. The timing is perfect - on dear old Ravelry we (we being some of the British Knitters gang) are planning to do the West Highland Way next year, a 95 mile walk spread over 7 or 8 days.
The subject of tents came up - NO WAY!

So, without repeating all of that very funny and often surreal discussion, here goes - my 10 things to bring on a camping trip:

1)  hot running water and a private bathroom
2) a bed - note, not the air variety - a real bed
3) duvet, bit fluffy pillows and very good quality bedding, ideally from Laura Ashley
4) electricity
5) something to sit on that is not the ground nor of the folding variety
6) food - not from a tin, not heated over a fire, not burnt, not eaten with a plastic fork from a plastic plate or covered with flies
7) walls, floor and ceiling - of the permanent variety and a door that locks
8) clothing, toiletries, hair dryer, tooth brush and tooth paste, fluffy towels, changes of clothes, slippers, all thats ort of thing
9) a variety of books, knitting, my laptop, sketch book and pencils, more books and my beloved camera
10) nope, i think that just about sums it up!

Shallow? Moi?
I love the great outdoors and am really looking forward to this proposed hike - and to the many many practise walks I am going to have to do between now and then because I am seriously out of condition. I love taking ym camera out and about with me, I would rather read than watch telly - but a tent? No thanks - tried it once, in Wales, in beautiful surroundings - and it rained so much that we ended up transferring everything to the van at 2am before it all floated away never to be seen again.

Monday, 19 July 2010

An award! For me!

Oh I know, you must get them all the time - but it's the first time I have had one so I am thrilled !

So - what I have to do now is this:

Thank the blogger who bestowed you with the award.
With pleasure - thank you uselessbeauty! I love the post on your blog about the Race for Life, and commented how special it is.

Sum up your blogging experience, philosophy and motivation in five (5) words.
Sporadic. Cathartic. Creative. Eclectic. Discipline.
The last is very true for me - I tried to keep a diary this year, then tried to keep an art journal - not a cvhance. But this, even when I miss days or weeks at a time is one that I do return to, and I think (hope) it is beginning to be more 'me' in tone, less stilted.

Nominate 10 deserving bloggers
Crikey, the ones I read go on and on in number!
Here goes:


In other news - well, it's too damned dark to take photos (where is the sun? it came out for the day and vanished again at about 5pm, we have had all the muggy heat but none of the sun for ages!) but knitting is going on, not much though because it's too bloody hot to knit with kidsilk.
Lots and lots of sewing, bags galore, needle rolls which I am really pleased with, more and more and more bags. Plus I finally got round to cutting out a dress for ME - might even get it sewn soon ...

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Ten on Tuesday

The Ten on Tuesday topic for 7/13 is 10 Things You Like About Where You Live
So here goes.

I don't like living here, never have liked Leeds and never will - so trying to find 10 positives is a good thing for me to do. I could find 100 negatives probably ...

1) transport - being able to get around the city pretty easily by bus (yes they are expensive, sometimes grubby, often late but they do make travel without a car very easy), being able to get pretty much anywhere by train (Leeds has a big mainline station)

2) following on from the above, being able to get out and about - which is something I haven't done in age and really want to do - I am in dire need of a day out and some fresh air and new scenery. So a trip to the bus station soon methinks

3) food. I personally think Leeds is a bit iffy for meals out - there's plenty of choice, but if all you want is a good pub lunch then it's hard to find. I don't like many Leeds pubs, they are dirty (maybe I am just getting too old for that now, I don't know) and haven't found many I want to eat in. BUT the market, and supermarkets - but particularly the market - is excellent for food. A handful of fresh chilli, garlic and some mushrooms cost me 96p last week. Huge choice because of the cultural diversity of this huge city, all very affordable.
More and more of the inside market is shutting down - wake up people of Leeds, make the time to use your market before it vanishes.

4) my gym - not because I am some mad sporty type, far far from it - but because it has a lovely pool, and swimming is my very favourite thing.
Where I used to loive, a small country market town, the only pool is the public one and although fairly new, it's not very nice - definitely not private. The one I use here is lovely, plus it has a sauna, spa pool, steam room etc. Yes, definitely one of the things I love about living here.
(yes that is the actual pool).

5) oh it's so shallow - but SHOPPING! If Leeds doesn't have it, then do without. Unless you are looking for crafts, a wide range of material, or good wool - none of those in the city centre. There;s Hobbycraft a bus ride away, and a couple of wool shops outside the city, but very lim ited otherwise.
But for clothes, shoes, bags, perfume, makeup, coats, menswear, all that sort of thing - spoilt for choice! From Harvey Nichols (go on, treat yourself to at least a wander round - snigger at the prices of the clothes, spoil yourself in the small food hall, and the makeup counters are excellent - MAC, my favourite) to the smaller shops tucked in side streets, there's pretty much every high street name (no John Lewis as yet).

This is the Victoria Quarter, home of many designer shops (Viv Westwood for example) and home of my very favourite shop of all, Rose&Co.

6) ok, this is getting tough now! I don't have any interest in the night life, or in many of the out of town places. Nor is there enough open land to interest me. The canal - I like the canal, and the part that runs near me (very near me) is pretty, but it isn't really the safest of places for a woman to walk alone. So a bit of a quandry - there are green spaces in and around Leeds, but Roundhay Park leaves me cold, and many others just don't feel safe.

7) cinemas - not exactly thrilling, but again this is something that I didn't have access to where I used to live. Museums too - I don't go very often to any of them, but they are around and are pretty damned good. Aha! The art gallery, I love that - we have an excellent gallery (I am biased - the first time I walked in I came face to face with an enormous John Waterhouse painting, bliss). I love the sculpture gallery the most, haven't been in a while but there used to be several gorgeous Barbara Hepworth exhibits.
Under the gallery is the craft centre, where most things are for sale, jewellery etc by independent artists, well worth a look.

8) OK, I am really struggling now. I think I might have to come back to this, as I am stuck.
If nothing else writing this has underlined just how little I go out, which is a mixture of work and health issues, and how little I have got out of this big city.
Give me the countryside, or ideally the coast anyday!

Monday, 12 July 2010


Isn't this just great material?
My last batch of fabric arrived this morning, after this little lot is sewn up I am stopping buying for the craft fair, and will focus on sewing for meeeeeeee.
I am delighted with it though - I love this pants print, am equally pleased with the British attractions one, and also love the sheepsies one.
Pretty much all are cut out now, I have some heavy interfacing ordered, and am taking a break from interfacing the linings. I am almost, almost at the point where I never want to see another box bag again - I am aiming to have all 100 finished by the end of this week....then it's the needle rolls to start.
Le sigh.

I started these little fellows spur of the monent, and really enjoy stitching them - there's something very soothing about a bit of hand sewing. I am aiming at 50 of these ... we will see.

You may have seen these lovely 'womens' creative spaces' books and blogs, where willowy arty types who are incredibly successful and wealthy show off their beautiful, calm, organised and spacious studios. A bit like this:

(sorry, I don't know whose it is so can't add a credit or link).My workspace is pretty much identical - brace yourself:
Twin rooms.
I kid you not - this was taken about an hour ago and is absolutely what my living room table looks like - somewhere under that lot is my nice white painted pine table. I keep tidying it - and it gets back to this as soon as I turn my back.
Dear lord, help me please - the only way I can see this ever getting tidied properly is when I get most of it sewn up - help.
This is the state of 'next to me on the settee':
Bag fronts and linings all cut out, needing to be pinned together with zips in - that's tonights job, infront of whatever dross is on the telly. Chocolate essential.
The book? Great title - The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Percy Parker. Total tripe, written with far farrrr too many adjectives and flowery phrases - but strangely enjoyable. No brain required, just a good bit of fun.
And this blurry beauty is slowly but surely growing - one front and one sleeve done, it's a relaxing easy piece of knitting, I just don't seem to make enough time for it, It's what, 7.10pm and I have done no sewing, no knitting, nothing much today.

Anyone want to tidy my table?

Thursday, 8 July 2010


Tentatively. Still functioning at about 50%.
But things are OK, and crafty goodness has sort of been happening, in fits and starts.
If confirmation were needed that I am not in a normal state of mind - I decided to knit this Precious in time for Knit Camp. Twit. Fekwit. Black Kidsilk, on small needles, with 1,000 black beads, mainly to be knit on an evening. Fekwit of the first order.
The first front is almost finished, I was aiming to do it tonight but things got in the way, so should finish this and start a sleeve tomorrow - sloooooow going, and possibly the most fiddly thing I have knit but I do like it so far ...

I had a really good walk around the full outdoor market the other day, instead of the usual mad dash - and really enjoyed it. Leeds has a great market - brilliant for unusual foods - but it is falling into disrepair and in danger of shutting in a few years as more and more stalls close. But the outside market was pretty busy this week, possibly helped by the lovely weather.

I picked up these - the ribbon s have 60metres per roll, the embroidery thread (which is a gorgeous deep cerise pink) has 5,000metres - and they cost me a fiver! I also found some really nice black material, to make this:

(thank you for the heads up about cheap patterns Marianne (I can't get the blog linky thing to work). It has been posted (from America) and I hope to get it finished in time - you guessed it - for Knit Camp. We will see.

And very late, Ten on Tuesday, which I thought I would join to keep me bloggymotivated - it is now Ten on Thursday, but better late than never.
So - Ten Ways to Celebrate Summer!

1) eat ice cream - it is a law. Ideally proper ice cream, swirled in a cone from the ice cream man. Dribbling down your chin,
2) walk barefoot on some grass - ideally dog poo free - I really really miss having a lawn
3) make a daisy chain and wear it with pride until it wilts - and then continue to wear it
4) sit outside and read, be it on a lovely garden bench, on the step, in a park, on the steps of a museum - just get some air, and read
5) swim! be safe, if you swim outside, but get a swim, its good for the soul
erm - unless you are this cat.
6) paint your toe nails a really fab colour! Mine are electric blue most of the time, and are currently VERY metallic blue - I love them!
7) paddle. Get to the sea if at all possible, sit for a while and watch the waves, and get in there, roll your trousers up, tuck your skirt into your knickers and get those tootsies wet - paddle, jump in the waves and be 5 again
8) grow something to eat, even if it's a few leaves of lettuce in a pot or a window container, or tomatoes inside - anything, just for the pleasure of saying 'I grew this!'
9) enjoy it - summer doesn't last long over here, and every warm day is precious. Soak it up, and enjoy,
10) wear flowers in your hair - great big flowers, clip them, tie them, headbands, anything. Get some flowers in your hair and feel the love.

Saturday, 3 July 2010


most definitely missing in action lately, but possibly sneaking back a bit. Hopefully the tablets are starting to work a bit, although today was a bit of a non day as i headed back to bed by 11am and slept for a couple of hours.

I finally finished things!
The clap - not only finished and rather huuuge, but with GINORMOUS tassles - the clap took 2 balls of wotton, the tassles took a whole one!
Blocking was fun in my tiny living room: (ignore the gross carpet - this is what happens when your male landlord chooses it) and I love the way the tassles wouldn't fit properly on what little floor space I have!
But it is finito, and much nicer than I had feared (it is a very weird thing to sit and knit and knit on something you are utterly convinced will be vile - it isn't vile, it isn't something I would choose to knit again but no, not vile). Loved the cotton - megacheapo Ice, from ebay - delivered from Turkey within 24 hours, very impressed.
I also got my act together enough to sew the buttons onto the hoody that's been finished for ages - not my favoutite thing ever but it might be handy in the Autumn.

As I feared the sleeves are a tad snug, and it's maybe a bit shorter than I would have planned, but the weight of the silk should help it give when it's worn more. Old Mill Hoodie, from Ravelry, in Rowan Silk Aran which is discontinued sadly, it's lovely stuff

What else - not much really, the last week sort of vanished in a sea of woefulness and tablets!
I did manage to reap an entire two strawberries, they weren't happy at all in a pot.

Hopefully the plant will survive winter in the tiny greenhouse and might be better next year.
And lots of sewing, off and on.

It's good to feel a bit more productive, but I am still battling this 'what have I achieved today?' mentality, it's so so hard to accept that doing NOTHING is probably exactly why my Dr has signed me off ...