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I knit, I sew, I run, I look after children and hamsters, I take truly terrible pictures, I cook, I complain.  Sometimes all at the same time.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

It's cold outside and I can't wear mittens because they're not flattering to my hands!

Hello campers and how's the weekend been?  Normally, I write about knitting on a Sunday evening, but this evening, I want to talk about running and how amazing it can be.

It was the Winter Run today, a 10k race through Central London, which sounds pretty amazing, and really, really was.  I ran it last year before injuring my ankle, and it took me 1 hour 31 minutes, which was pretty slow, but I did it, and I got a medal to prove it.  I then signed up for this year in a fit of adrenaline based madness, and promptly forgot about it, particularly when I had to pull out of the Royal Parks Half Marathon when my ankle meant I couldn't really train for it.  In November, Hattie suddenly piped up about my big run, and I went and checked through my emails, and hurrah, I was signed up again.  Hurrah might not have been my actual first thought.


I did manage some training, after a long time of no running, and managed 10k a couple of times without too much pain and difficulty, so I knew I could do it.  Signing up for the Ealing Half Marathon made the whole "you just have to get on with it" thing easier, plus I've done a hell of a lot of exercise this year so far.  In January, I've walked, run and cycled 211.3km, according to my Runkeeper app, and more if you count the UP band data, which I don't at the moment, as the bloody thing is broken.  

Well, the Winter Run is done, and I managed the 10k in a mighty 1 hour 24 minutes, which is more than 5 mins faster than last year, and I'm so pleased about that.  I've still a long way to go before the Ealing Half Marathon, but I'm on the right track.


The only crap note is that I lost my lovely Peerie Flooers hat; at least I can knit it again, and this time it'll fit properly; the old one was a bit loose.  

The mental dust diet only allows me one proper food meal a day, and it's going pretty well considering.  I've still only lost about 7 pounds in 3 and a bit weeks, but I've lost it from visceral fat (what?) and not from muscle, and this seems legit, what with me standing on a scale with bare feet and a small electrical current running through my body measuring all my stats.  I'm definitely looking leaner and thinner; and my waist and bust have shrunk.  My hips have not.  This is not great, but lets stick to the positive.

Hurrah for running, and I'm going to do it again next year, and let's hope I can shave another 5-10 minutes off that time.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

If you're thinking "Holy shit! Holy shit! A swordfish almost went though my head!" If so, then yes.

How does a crappy picture of an awesome skirt sound?


It's Jungle January over at Pretty Grievances, and I'm now feeling a strong sewing genius enough to join in.

I wanted a bit of leopard print in my life, and I saw this rather fine thick, stretchy-ish jersey on eBay, and snapped it up.  It's a bit more artificial, non-natural fabric-y than I usually go for, but actually, I wouldn't really want to wear a natural leopard print.  Ew. 

The fabric up close looks like this:

 
and it is awesome in every way.  It has minimal stretch and hangs really well.  I haven't worn it much yet, because I don't feel that it is suitable for work actually, but I wore it to my sewing course last Saturday (more on that later, when I'm on my computer with all the photos and not Simon's computer with the keys in the wrong places and the non-responsive keyboard, dagnamit) and I cycled from West Ealing to Chiswick in it and it fits really well.  I should probably cut a smaller size next time though. Woo!
 
 
Thanks Jessica, I do have to ACTUALLY. 
 
Anyway, here is the completed skirt in all its awesome glory, hanging in the window of my sewing room/Simon's office.
 
 
I have enough fabric left to make a three quarter length sleeve top.  Preferably with a BDSM zip up the top.  Hurrah for quick and dirty projects, I love them.


 

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Well now I'm standing. Happy? We're all standing now. Bunch of jackasses, standing in a circle.

The first KNIT CHAT of 2016.  I've been meaning to write about the KNIT LIST before, but, you know, stuff happens.  No ablogogising.

Half my stash is in the storage unit, the other half is stored in the spare room in boxes and while not totally inaccessible, I will have to work on one project at a time, so progress will be even slower than normal.



The Rainbow Raglan: we are in a fight at the moment.  I ALMOST finished the body AGAIN and tried it on, and that bloody side boob thing is still there, and so I've ripped it back to the armholes again, and now we are not speaking.  I may well start knitting it again once I've finished my super Myrna.

Super Myrna: it is lemon.  It is beautiful.  It is sexy.  It is nearly finished, and just needs a second sleeve.  Big love for the sexy lemon.

Hexipuff Quilt: There are 237 hexipuffs done and sewn together and looking gorgeous.  Still.  No car journeys planned, so it might stay the same size for a bit.

Simon's Cobblestone jumper: round and round and round I go, where I stop, I do not know.  *sigh*

Simon's massive man socks: Need more yarn.  I'll buy some after my BIG RUN next week.

This One's for Parties Vintage Jumper: Grumpy

The Yellow Petrie: Being stored.  I'm thinking about it.

Rainbow jumper for Hattie: I'm very much afraid this will be for Nicholas instead, it seems much, much too small for her.  I'm still working on the sleeve problem, I might make them sort of top down.  I know what they'll look like in my head.



These are things that are waiting to be started.

A circle blanket for Robin
Cream and Beige Coco style boatneck striped top
Sun-Ray Ribbing Vintage Jumper
Ishbel scarf thing
Waterhouse Mittens
Mini Hetty cardigan with sleeves for Lucy 
Bright Rainbow Blanket for Lucy
Burton Bear cowl for Hattie
Minion blanket for Hattie

Finished:

Vianne
Wisteria
Elwood Mittens for Lucy
One MASSIVE MAN SOCK
Weather Blanket
Separate but matching vests for twin boys
Urchin hat
Peacock mittens

I've found a great website with ALL the Parks and Rec gifs.  What fun.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Why are my arms so weak? It’s like I did that push-up last year for nothing!

January.  It's been interesting cycling around West Ealing in the morning.  I lost the feeling in both feet and in my thumbs at one point, despite two pairs of gloves and three pairs of socks.  Super.


We went back to school on the 4th, and I've been running around like a maniac since then, what with all the SENCO-ing and the teaching and the looking after children and the knitting and the sewing and the exercising and the mental dieting and all sorts.


The mental dieting is actually going quite well.  I'm mostly not hungry, until it gets to about 4:30/5, at which point it gets a bit much and I end up eating celery until I feel better.  Unfortunately, celery can't really replace, I don't know, bread, pasta, rice, chocolate, sweets, biscuits, shortbread, alcohol, fruit juice, sausages or crisps, but I'm eating a lot of it, and sometimes I even have some homemade hummus or low fat guacamole, so I get my treats!  I don't hate it and it is working, I've lost nearly 9 pounds and about an inch off my entire body, so I'm sticking with it for a bit longer.  It's not sustainable, I know that, and it goes against the whole healthy eating, real food philosophy, but, fuck it, I want to be slim, and this is the easiest way to do it.  Who knew that practically no food and all the exercise would lead to massive weight loss?


I'm sure next week will be better.  If all else fails, there's always beating people around the head and brushing my hair endlessly.




Tuesday, 5 January 2016

That really got out of hand fast

Happy New Year!

As usual, I have all sorts of grand sewing and knitting plans for the year, most of which will probably fall by the wayside to begin with as we have the conservatory at the back of the house removed and replaced with a more permanent extension.  The builders believe that this will take 6 weeks.  We may well disagree about this in the middle of March when it is still a bomb site, but let's be positive and take their word for it at the moment.  



I usually sew in the conservatory, at the dining room table, and cut out on the island in the kitchen, so I will need to have an alternative place to do both these things soon.  I've cut out a Black Watch Francoise dress, and a Skater Dress for Hattie, and before the 21st January, I want to cut out a whole lot of different things.  These might well be or include a Lady Skater, another two child Skater Dresses, a cherry print rockabilly top, as discussed before, a grey Coco sweatshirt which I'll iron hot-fix glitter on to, a leopard print knit fabric skirt, a sweatshirt for each of the girls which will have a unicorn head hot-fix glitter-ed on it, and a grey and white striped Coco dress.  



The only thing with a deadline is the cherry print top, and I should be able to make that in an evening or two.  The rest of my fabric has gone into a box or three and is in the storage unit now.  Some of my wool will be going into storage too, although I will also vacuum pack some and put it in the loft.  This is, as you can imagine, a really traumatic time for me, particularly as I can't even buy more fabric to make pretty things with, or wool, as we will be basically be living in one room downstairs which will be a massively amusing experience.

Looking at that list, it seems quite intimidating, but it's just a bit of cutting, putting in bags and writing words.  The sewing can wait, as I'll be mostly using Simon's office as my sewing room, which will involve a lot of tidying up.  This is one of my skills, so I can't see any problems in our immediate future.



I suppose all the upset and arguments and stress be worth it in the end; it's costing a small fortune, and is going to give us the same amount of space, and moan moan moan, my diamond shoes are too tight.  Still, shiny new kitchen and a downstairs loo!  Dream big, people, dream big.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

My outside is pretty and shiny but my inside is filled with cardboard and horse glue

Well, it's the end of the year, and I've got a lot of super shiny clothes to show for it.  I'm not making a best/worst list, because all the things I've made are great and I love them, and I can see my skills improving and the fit is getting better.  Next year, as well as all the running and the weight loss and the not drinking alcohol, I am going to learn how to take better photos, and I might get a tripod and a self timer for my camera.  Much as I love the "standing in the stairwell and taking a picture in the mirror" selfie, it's time to learn how to make my pictures a bit more interesting.

Anyway, my new top.  My lovely boss was 60 a few days ago, and we love to celebrate at school, so we're going to go out and do something exciting in a few weeks.  I doubt any of my colleagues read this, but I'm going to be all vague and non-committal, just in case.  I want a new outfit, and I want a vaguely in theme rockabilly sexy top, as well as spray on jeans (double Spanx), a strapless bra, cherry jewellery, fishnet socks and glitter sandals.  And a black cover-up cardigan, just in case.

As I didn't want to buy another pattern, I decided to massively hack the Cambie dress bodice, and lengthen it, and make a bustier style top out of it.

Something like this:


She's got a similar figure to me, but more tattooed.  I'm never going to be a proper sewing blogger rockabilly girl until I get some tattoos/a Sharpie.

My toile started off like this:


where I just pinned the pieces to Nigella and had a think. 


Then I sewed this.  You can't tell from this picture, but I've sewn a very long open ended zip to the back to hold it all together, mostly because I didn't have one the right size, but also because I really like the idea of a big BDSM zip on my top.  It's in upside down, which is a DESIGN FEATURE ACTUALLY.  You also can't tell from the picture, but I've pinned a dart in the front, as the Cambie bodice is much too big at the upper bust, and just the right size on the hips and bum.


Then I finished it off like this, with straps, and took a poor quality selfie, which makes the front bulge out a bit, because of the angle of my arm.  I'm really pleased with it, even though it needs finishing and a proper zip.  It's really quite impressive for a first bash at pattern hacking, and I'll be able to wear this in the summer just as it is.  I've got about 2 metres of a lovely black cherry print, identical to the Hell Bunny one up there, and a zip and a lot of bias binding, as I don't want to line the top, and my skills do not extend to drafting a facing at the moment. 

At the moment, the spotty top is on Nigella, and it doesn't fit her at all well.  It's too tight across the bust, and too loose on the waist - I might need to adjust her curves to match mine a bit better.

Well, that's enough waffling on from me for this year, have a great time celebrating tonight; we are going to sit on the sofa, eat crisps, drink wine and watch a crappy film, which is our favourite way to spend New Year's Eve.  

See you in 2016!


Sunday, 27 December 2015

And then a car coming the other way swerves to avoid you and goes off a cliff

It'll be 2016 in a few days, and the start of a new year, and time for resolutions that I don't keep.  Looking back, my resolutions for this year were to be a size 12 (ha!) and to make trousers (ha! again), so this year, my resolutions are going to be pretty much the same.  I've just joined our local cheapy gym, and I've been for a 6.61km run today, and done a load of sit ups and stuff, so things are moving in the right direction.  I've got 20 pounds to lose; so far I've lost 1.  At Christmas.  You can touch me if you like.  I have some photos of me in my workout gear which when I'm feeling brave I will post as a before picture at some point, so brace yourself for that.

Anyway, the point of all this exercise is to make the sewing and subsequent photos more enjoyable.  If I'm going to have to take all sorts of inside leg and around my bum and thigh measurements, it had better be an interesting rather than horrific experience.

Knit chat, as well as FIT CHAT.  No finished objects, but lots of progress.

Hexipuff Quilt: There are 237 hexipuffs done and sewn together and looking gorgeous.

The Rainbow Raglan: it now has a sleeve.  However, knitting the sleeve made me realise that I had knitted in some form of side boob, and so I had to rip it back to the armhole and start again from there.  *sob*  It's coming along pretty well, and I'm almost finished with the waist shaping and then it's only a few rounds after that until the body is done.  AGAIN.

Simon's Cobblestone jumper: round and round and round I go, where I stop, I do not know.  *sigh*

Simon's massive man socks: Need more yarn

This One's for Parties Vintage Jumper: Grumpy

The Yellow Petrie: I appear to be using the orange I used for the facing for something else, so I will need to have a think about that.

Miette cardigan in Lemon: changed to be a Myrna cardigan, again by Andi Satturland for her Selfish Knitting Knit-Along, starting yesterday until Valentine's day.  Myrna is very cropped and LOOK AT MY BOOBS which fits the new aesthetic very well.  I'm going to give it long sleeves and make it a bit longer, so it looks less pornographic and is more wearable.

Mini Hetty cardigan with sleeves for Hattie: swapped out for a Rainbow Owlet jumper without owls, so a DK weight raglan sleeve jumper with rainbow stripes, which I started in Cambridge on Tuesday and am nearly done with.  Hurrah for quick fixes.  Not sure how to do the stripes on the sleeves though, but I'll work it out.

These are things that are waiting to be started.

A circle blanket for Robin
Cream and Beige Coco style boatneck striped top
Sun-Ray Ribbing Vintage Jumper
Ishbel scarf thing
Waterhouse Mittens
Mini Hetty cardigan with sleeves for Lucy 
Bright Rainbow Blanket for Lucy
Burton Bear cowl for Hattie
Minion blanket for Hattie

Finished:

Vianne
Wisteria
Elwood Mittens for Lucy
One MASSIVE MAN SOCK
Weather Blanket
Separate but matching vests for twin boys
Urchin hat
Peacock mittens

It's not looking that bad really.  Just got to keep going, one stitch at a time.  

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Not a creature was stirring

It's Christmas Eve, I've wrapped up most of the presents I'm giving this year; at least, all the ones for the people we're seeing tomorrow.  We've done the Christingle at church, we've listened to Bob Dylan's frankly terrible Christmas album, and we're about to have the traditional Christmas Eve stirfry, before falling asleep in front of a crap film.  It's not the most exciting way to spend an evening, but until the girls are old enough to want to go to the pub, it's the way we spend it.  I'd like to go to Midnight Mass once they are old enough.  It wasn't a thing in my family growing up, much as I'd like it to have been, but what can you do.

I've not made any presents this year.  People don't really appreciate all the effort it takes to make anything, so I don't bother, and just make things at will throughout the year.  I would like to be a bit more Christmas crafty next year; I might do a list before September.  Or a spreadsheet.  That would be festive.

Anyway.  Have a picture of my children in front the Christmas tree.


There will probably be some presents for them in the morning; they've been mostly good enough for a visit from Father Christmas.  Mostly.

Happy Christmas if you celebrate, happy 25th December if you don't.  I'm going to drink red wine and try to fix the strange side boob thing on my rainbow jumper. 


Sunday, 20 December 2015

I have no idea what I'm doing, but I know I'm doing it really, really well

Thank the Lord, it is the end of term at last.  It's been a terrific term and lots of fun in many ways, but also really, really hard work and I am shattered, not helped by Christmas parties and all sorts.

I made a Cambie dress for my work party at the Wembley Hilton, which sounded like it should be a bit of a shithole considering it is in Wembley, but of course, Wembley is a massive world class venue, so the hotel next door to it is very nice, if a bit eye-gougingly expensive on the drinks front.  I had a terrific headache, so didn't really drink anything, but I still had a great time.  

The dress: 


I wore it with a big old puffy petticoat underneath, and I made the neckline a bit more scooped because it wasn't lying flat.  It then became a "look at my boobs" dress, which isn't ideal.  I'm a primary school teacher and a SENCo, I don't really want that to be what people remember.  Especially when they are also primary school teachers.


I dug these shoes out of storage and wore them with fishnets.  They were surprisingly comfortable in the end, and I danced until dawn.  Well, midnight.


I did this with my hair and the fluffy thing is from Primark - I would have made one but I ran out of time, and energy.  The girls were alternatively complimentary (Mummy, you look like a princess) and accusatory (Why are you wearing these things? Why do they not belong to us?), which I suppose is pretty normal for 7 & 5 year olds.  I am now on the look-out for other 1950s style dresses that I can make - it's a good style for me, and I will cover up a bit more next time.  Stupid colleagues.

I also made a Christmas jumper for our school Christmas lunch - a sweatshirt fabric Coco, with a gold applique reindeer on it.  It is brilliant and bonkers and I love it very much.


I didn't get around to knitting one this year; also the Guardian said that this year was all about the Christmas sweatshirt, so I'm bang on trend.  

That's the sewing I've got done recently - I wanted to make the girls a horse print Skater dress each, but I seem to have run out of time.  We had a school Christmas party on Wednesday and there was all sorts happening, and I ended up with the worst hangover on Thursday and the guilt and the terror and the photos of me hammered, and I'm on a health kick and a massive HerbalLife diet starting on the 27th.  I even went for a swim on Friday (20 lengths, 500 metres, non stop in 25 minutes, even the girls' swimming teacher was impressed) and a run today (500 metres non stop in about an hour)(not that bad, but not great), so I'm all about the excessive exercise and the reduced calories.  Part of me is all "oh I want to be healthier" but actually, fuck that, I want to be a size 10 and weigh less than one of my boots.  

As for knitting, it is still going on quietly in the background, when I'm not at a party or slumped with hangover and regret (never go back to your colleagues' flat and drink two more glasses of prosecco, and then end up nearly throwing up in a taxi over another).  

The list as it stands after nearly a month off.



Peacock Mittens: They are done.  Finally.  I wore them to the carol service at church this evening, and they are gorgeously toasty and lovely.  Hurrah.

Hexipuff Quilt: I now have 212 and a half hexipuffs, out of 500.  This is amazing, and I only need the same again plus 26 and it will be done.  Hurrah?

Simon's massive man socks: I am just going to buy another skein in the New Year; it is a massive pain in the bum, but I just can't find the second one anywhere.

Simon's Cobblestone jumper has been ripped back and I have cast on the correct size.  It deserves a post all of its own, and will get one.  At some point.

The Rainbow Raglan: Still the same.  Still not made sleeves.

This One's for Parties Vintage Jumper: Still not happy with it.

The Yellow Petrie: Shshshsh

These are things that are waiting to be started.

A circle blanket for Robin
Miette cardigan in Lemon
Cream and Beige Coco style boatneck striped top
Sun-Ray Ribbing Vintage Jumper
Ishbel scarf thing
Waterhouse Mittens
Mini Hetty cardigan with sleeves for Lucy 
Bright Rainbow Blanket for Lucy
Burton Bear cowl for Hattie
Mini Hetty cardigan with sleeves for Hattie
Minion blanket for Hattie

Finished:

Vianne
Wisteria
Elwood Mittens for Lucy
One MASSIVE MAN SOCK
Weather Blanket
Separate but matching vests for twin boys
Urchin hat
Peacock mittens

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

There's only one thing I hate more than lying: skim milk, which is water that's lying about being milk

Despite not getting into the rhythm of work and home and all the other fun things I do, I managed to do some sewing.  Both are jersey knits, and both were cut out and sat fermenting in the back room while I summoned the energy to finish them.  Of course, once I actually got on with them, they took less than two hours to make.  Between them.


This is a Grainline Lark Tee Shirt.  You can get the pattern from here if you're in the UK.  The fabric is from eBay, and cost about £3.50 a metre, so nice and cheap, and actually probably cheaper than I could buy RTW.  It is soft and cosy, but not particularly structured, so the top is fairly thin.  This is fine, because I layer a short sleeved knitted jumper over the top and look utterly, utterly fabulous (natch).  This tee-shirt is a measure of my commitment to my handmade wardrobe: it is pretty boring, it wasn't hard to make, it was only just cheaper than buying one, but I want to make my own clothes, so if I need a grey long-sleeved tee-shirt, and I really, really do, I must make myself one.  It fits better than a shop-bought one too, and I've worn it twice already.  I love it as much as you can love a grey long-sleeved tee.



This dress looks very 1970s curtains, I think, and I'm not sure what it'll look like on, but I love it in all its flowery fabulousness.  The fabric is from Hawthorne Threads in the US; my husband brought it back last time he went to the States.  I ordered it and paid for it, he's great, but not that great.  The pattern is the Kitschy Coo Lady Skater Dress, and was very, very quick to put together.  It helps that I've made it several times for the children, and once before for myself, so there were no surprises.  It's a very quick and easy pattern to make. 

Both of these garments are being modelled by Nigella, my new dressmaker's dummy.  One of the many things the real Nige and I have in common, alongside fabulous hair, superior cooking skills and general awesomeness, is large boobs, so it seemed fitting to name my dressform after the woman I want to be when I grow up.  Also, I got her new book for my birthday too, so, you know, synergy or something.  The dressform is amazing, and is currently the same measurements as me.  It cheers me up to know that things will fit, and it will be very, very useful when putting together my next Cambie dress.  More on that at another date.

Right, there's rubbish telly to watch, and mittens to finish.  Also, wine to drink.