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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, 4 October 2015

I got rid of all my Colin Firth movies in case they consider it erotica.

How is it October?  How?  I've been back at work for nearly 5 weeks now, and it's absolute chaos.  People keep asking me how the whole "Year 2/SENCO" thing is working out for me, and I cry, not loudly, but there are real tears.  It's hard work.  I'm getting the hang of things, but it is super hard work, and I'm basically working full time for part time money.  It's hard.

Yesterday was a bit of a write off, as I was suffering from a mystery bug; nothing to do with the three bottles of "Italian White Wine" I shared with my colleagues, followed by at least two double vodka and tonics at the Aeronaut, and all the karaoke and the dancing and the having a fun time that happened on Friday night.  I got home at 2, and had a little sleep on the sofa before going to bed in my clothes.  Whoops.  Still wasn't able to drive on Saturday morning, and my stomach muscles and legs are quite sore now.

Anyway, enough shenanigans, on with the KNIT LIST.

Hexipuffs: I've lost count.  I don't know how many I've made.  I will count them soon; I think I need 500 to make a blanket big enough to cover both of us on the sofa.  Must keep knitting.

The Yellow Petrie: Still just a front.  It's not warm enough to think about summer knitting.

The Rainbow Raglan: The body is nearly done.  Woo hoo, get me.  Making a fingering weight adult jumper is jolly hard and really quite boring.  But the colour changes make me happy, because I am simple.

Simon's massive man sock: Sock 1 is half finished.  I've turned the heel, and am about to begin on the mindlessness of the leg.  It looks pretty dull, but I think he'll like them.  He'd better.

Weather Blanket - there are now 3 squares left to make.  THREE! Once the body of the Rainbow Raglan is done, I will finish it off.  Finish it! After all these months!

This One's for Parties Vintage Jumper: I've dyed a bunch of silk yarn from Texere.  It was off white and looked like grubby string, and now is bright, bright red.  As is the kitchen, my apron and my hands.

Vianne cardigan: still needing a new button band.  I might need to buy some more wool to finish it off, and I don't want to do that at the moment.

These things are still the same.

Miette cardigan in Lemon
Cream and Beige Coco style boatneck striped top
Sun-Ray Ribbing Vintage Jumper

Finish the Wisteria so that when it gets cold, I will be warm
Finish the Peacock Mittens, ditto

Reknit Simon's Cobblestone jumper

Mini Hetty cardigan with sleeves for Lucy
Bright Rainbow Blanket for Lucy - I'm a bit over crocheting closed granny squares, but I'll get this started in the next couple of weeks.

Burton Bear cowl for Hattie
Mini Hetty cardigan with sleeves also for Hattie
Minion blanket for Hattie - same as Lucy's blanket.  *sigh*

Owl Blanket for Robin's Christmas present

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Man, do my feet hurt in heels, and other things women talk about

Another September almost gone, another Yarndale whooshing by just like that.  We went up to Skipton on Friday, I spent a very happy day on Saturday shopping and taking photos, then we went home via Leeds on Sunday.  I can't believe it's already over.  

We loved Yorkshire so much again, we've sort of decided to back up there for a long weekend in May, around half term.  Shame I've come back with a bit of a cold.

Anyway, you don't want to listen to me sneeze, you want to see pictures from the weekend.

So many colours.  So many people.  Normally I freak out a bit in large crowds, but the feeling of height and light and space meant that I didn't feel under pressure at all.  It was absolutely lovely.

I've been to Yarndale three times now, it's a fixture on our calendar, written in pen.  It's got better and better each year, with more and more vendors, and more and more fun.  This year, I surpassed myself, and I am now no longer going to buy an overlocker, or go to Ally Pally in a few weeks.  So not sorry.   I shamelessly used my children as a way to photograph Lucy Attic 24 again; such a fan girl.  She was lovely and very patient; and must be utterly exhausted now.  I was, and all I did was shop.

The mandalas were fantastic, and it was so good to be able to get right up close and personal with them this year.  Mine never really got off the ground; maybe I'll send something in next year.  

I brought some things back with me.  Let's see if I can knit them up before next September.

Easy Knits sushi roll and sock yarn.  Last year, I bought a lot of Aran weight, but apparently it didn't sell well, so it wasn't there this year.  Shame.  

Ginger Twist Studios yarn to make a cowl.  Very difficult to choose a colourway, so I might have to buy more.  Eventually.

Triskelion Yarn and white undyed stuff from somewhere else, can't remember.  I'm going to use these two to make the Penelope jumper; the KAL starts tomorrow I think.  

These three gorgeous things are from Midwinter Yarns; the red is for a hat, the blue is just because.

I'm almost ashamed to admit that I didn't buy this book when it first came out.  I've got it now, however, and I've also got the yarn to make the Cockatoo Brae jumper on the front.  It is drop dead gorgeous, but OMG all the miles of stockinette in fine grey wool.  Mindless knitting at its finest.  I feel faint at the thought.

Well, there's knitting to do, and a glass of wine to drink, so roll on next year, can't wait. 

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Now I'm heading home for a nooner, which is what I call having pancakes for lunch.

Well, now this is happening.  I'm doing another sewing/knitting challenge thing, Will I be able to see it through, or will I forget all about it, like I do most things?  WE SHALL SEE.

These are the categories:

Fashionable Foundations for Frosty Weather
Chic Chemises for Cool Climates
Fabulous Frocks
Underneath It All
Tender Tootsies
Those Cozy Nights 
Baby It's Cold Outside

and you can find out more about them here.

But what Julia, I hear you cry, are you going to actually make?  Readers who pay attention might have seen my post about the Yarn in the City Pop Up Market Place that I went to the other day.  I bought enough yarn to make some really lovely things, and these are on the new list.  Where possible, the new list will coincide with the old list, to ease things.

Fashionable Foundations for Frosty Weather
I have some very lovely red tartan fabric I want to turn into a Clemence skirt.  So that's the first thing I'll be doing.

Chic Chemises for Cool Climates
I've made a grey and brown (nicer than it sounds actually) Coco (blog post to follow) for this.  I'm also going to finally finish my Wisteria jumper, and at least start the "This One's for Parties!" jumper too.  I might try to start the Tambourine cardigan in the Kettle Yarns grey wool.  A bit more on the Rainbow Raglan too.

Fabulous Frocks
I'm thinking about making an Emery dress in black watch tartan; I've had both the pattern and the fabric in my stash for TIME, and they need to be used.  I'm also going to make a black and white polka dot Bettine dress to wear under my Tamborine cardigan.  Three guesses which one will be finished first.  Oh yes, and a grey and white striped Coco dress with a contrasting pink yoke.  Go me!

Underneath It All
Might make some more pants.  Probably will.

Tender Tootsies
Might start some socks for me.  Might.  Will probably finish at least one sock for himself.  Probably.

Those Cozy Nights
I'm not sure if I want to go down the loungewear route, but I might make some Margot pyjamas if I'm feeling particularly lazy.  Maybe.  Don't know.

Baby It's Cold Outside
These mittens, in sophisticated orange and grey yarn from TravelKnitter.  A gorgeous deep blue green Ishbel in Triskelion Yarn and Fibre.  Find and then finish the Peacock Mittens.  Maybe a hat.  Maybe.

That'll probably do.  The sewing seems likely, the knitting less so, but we've got a lot of long car journeys coming up, and I do love to knit in the car.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Global warming? Sorry, sir, that's just scientist talk. The same people who say my grandfather was a monkey. If that's true, why was he killed by a monkey?

Well, it's Monday night and no one in the Croyden household has been sick for at least 72 hours, so I'm going to tentatively stick my head above the parapet and say that we are better than we were.  What a delightful few days it has been, but it's a new week now and I'm full of energy at the moment.  This may not last.

Two weeks ago, I went to the Great London Yarn Crawl Market Place, organised by the women at Yarn in the City.  I've started listening to knitting podcasts, a hobby my husband finds amusing but indulges me in provided I don't ask him to listen too.  I've found a couple that are not to my taste: basically, if the woman's voice makes me want to stab my own ears, I stop listening; and I've now found a couple that I really like.  The Knitmore Girls Intergenerational Hour is my favourite, but they are on maternity leave at the moment.  Video podcasts annoy me far more than seems rational, but now I've discovered I can use my phone for other things while listening, I'm a lot calmer about them.

Back to the Market Place.  I spent a bit of money on lovely things, lovely things for me and no one else. Some beautiful grey wool from Kettle Yarns to make a Tambourine cardigan, oh my goodness, it is so luxurious and gorgeous.  Some hand-dyed yarn from TravelKnitter to make these mittens, orange and grey, sophisticated.  Her Etsy shop is on a break at the moment, but know that the yarn is Blue Faced Leicester Superwash Sock, and dyed in Walthamstow, E17.  So I will be singing while I knit.  Some beautiful wool from Triskelion Yarn and Fibre to make a scarf , a beautiful deep blue green colour.  A renewed subscription to PomPom magazine, which I love, but haven't made anything from yet.  Too busy catching up with patterns from 2008.  

It was a lovely afternoon, and a lovely venue.  Next time I'm going to buy from Midwinter Yarns; googling them shows me they'll be at Yarndale on Saturday.  I can't wait.  All the knitting, all the sewing, all the time.  Hurrah!

I have either two or four words for you: Drag queen dim sum.

I meant to post more photos from #sewphotohop earlier than this.  Still better late than never.

Day 11 - Bucket List

Turning my husband's office into a sewing room....

Day 12 - Motivation

Have nothing in your life that is not useful or you believe to be useful.

Day 13 - Sewing Space

Tidy, for a change.

Day 14 - Style

Knitted tops, mad prints, spots, stripes and pants with birds on.

Day 15 - Secret Corner of Shame

Nuff said.

Day 16 - Tiny vs Big

Lucy's socks vs Simon's.  

Day 17 - Proudest Achievement

Children, ballet hair, two Elsa dresses, 1 10k, a The Killing jumper, self drafted.

Day 18 - Sewing Resolution

Reduce the stash!

Day 19 - Boldest Fabric

Nuff said.  Again.

Day 20 - Learning and Practising

Invisible zips are my nemesis.

More soon.  Before Christmas anyway.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

You didn't realize emotion could be a weapon? Have you not read the poetry of Jewel?

Normal service has resumed.  Or what passes for normal around these parts, which isn't that normal to be honest.  The children are screaming at each other in the bath, there is a lit candle, there is a wash on, there is leek and potato soup on the way and there is a massive mess on the counter that I am doing my best to ignore.  My half full cup of tea is pretty precariously balanced on a pile of yesterday's paper and a couple of patterns; I'm pretty sure I'll end up wearing it at some point.

I should probably do some tidying at some point.

The list is coming along nicely, actually, thanks for asking.  I'm knitting lots of things on a regular basis, and they are all going pretty well.  I've taken some new photos using my nice camera; technically they are better than the iPhone ones, but the subject matter is the same, and it doesn't look that great.  Eek.

This is the hexipuff blanket to date.  I've made 7 out of the 100 I was going to make between July and July next year.  They are a quick win, but the individuals don't make up much of the whole.  *sigh*  The photo below is some of the new ones - the red, orange, yellow and green one is new, as is the turquoise and blue one; the red, yellow and blue variegated one is unique at the moment, as it's from the Colinette stand at Ally Pally last year, and I bought the yarn specially for the project.  

This is the Yellow Petrie. It's not that great a picture, I might not take any more until I have finished it totally.  I'm pleased with it, although it feels like it might be too small.  

The Rainbow Raglan is going really well.  You can't tell from the picture because it's all bunched up, but I've split for the sleeves.  I'm still increasing on the front to allow for boobs, and I've tried it on a couple of times, and it's fitting pretty well.  It needs ribbing around the neckline to stop it from rolling down.  The yarn is super lovely to work with, and it still smells all sheepy and delicious, so I work on it for 8 rounds then put it away.  Slowly, slowly, catchy tiger.

Lucy's Elwood mittens.  I love that they have different facial expressions.  Even though it's not been hot here, it's not cold enough to wear them yet.

Simon's massive man sock, part 1.  I bought the wool in Dusseldorf nearly 2 years ago to make him some socks, and I can't have been thinking too hard when I bought it, otherwise why would I have bought black for a blooming pair of socks on titchy needles?  They are knitting up slowly.  I'm trying to do a couple of rounds every day.

No more photos for this week; the light is non-existent.

Weather Blanket - there are now 10 squares left to make, and I've got the wool for the yellow ones, and I will make one tonight as something to do.  I can see the finish line.  

These things are still the same.

Miette cardigan in Lemon
Cream and Beige Coco style boatneck striped top
Sun-Ray Ribbing Vintage Jumper
This One's for Parties Vintage Jumper
Finish the Wisteria so that when it gets cold, I will be warm
Finish the Peacock Mittens, ditto

Reknit Simon's Cobblestone jumper

Mini Hetty cardigan with sleeves for Lucy
Bright Rainbow Blanket for Lucy - I've done a sketch for this, I know how many squares I need to make, I just need to source more yarn.

Burton Bear cowl for Hattie
Mini Hetty cardigan with sleeves also for Hattie
Minion blanket for Hattie - Hattie and I chose some yarn at the Handmade Fair yesterday, and she is excited about craft for the first time in her life.  She is the worst person to make things for; the reaction is ALWAYS "can't you just buy it Mummy?"  Little consumer.

Owl Blanket for Robin's Christmas present

I decided not to unpick the button band, and just cut it off.  Now I need to reknit it.  I like it a lot better already.

I've been to TWO craft events in the last month, and we're going to the third and best in a few days.  I have some photos, and I'll try to write a bit about it later on this week.  So much to say!  All the yarn!  So much fun!

Saturday, 19 September 2015

They're twelve years old. I would have killed to have seen a bag of hands at that age.

Be careful what you wish for because it may well come true.  Teaching in Year 2 is proving to be a lot of hard work, being a SENCo is hard work, moving into a new school and unpacking and setting up a classroom is hard work.  Lucy has now been in Year 2 for 2 and a half weeks, and we're already behind on handing in homework and listening to her read, and don't even mention piano practice.  Getting into any sort of routine is proving to be a bit too much for us, particularly with the gastrically interesting week I've had.  There's been a tummy bug going round Hat's class; she had it on Thursday, and I had it on Tuesday.  Hurrah!  Nothing wipes you out like a vomiting bug.  I was so exhausted that I went to bed at quarter past 9 on Tuesday, and slept for nearly 12 hours.

But never mind all that.  I'm finally making it through the fog to sew up some stash, and I've got two dresses made already.  It's not taken a lot out of the stash to be honest, mostly because there is just LOADS of it, and even though I'm not thin, 3 metres of jersey fabric is a LOT of jersey fabric.

I finally finished my Made Up Initiative pledge, and made the Lady Skater dress in stashed jersey that I got from the Knitting and Stitching Show in April.  I was going to use it to make a wraparound dress from the Sewing Bee book from last year, but I don't like the pattern in the book, so I turned it into a Lady Skater.  It's a brilliant pattern, just like the children's one, and very quick to make.  I actually got it finished on the 9th, just before the cut off date, but I failed to notify Karen, mostly because it was then Lucy's birthday and party and all that means.  For those not in the know, she is 7.  We went to a pizza restaurant and made pizzas and there were 12 little boys and girls, and I will say no more about any of that.

Anyway, here is the beautiful, gorgeous dress.  I've worn it three times and washed it twice, and it looks great and is very comfortable, and when I twirl, the skirt sticks out a bit and is SUPER COOL.

Bit of a crappy Instagram picture, but you get the general idea.  I love the pattern, and I've got a whole bunch more planned.

The other dress I made is a bit more sober and sensible.  I bought some greyish brown jersey at the same fair, and decided to make a Coco with it.  BUT, having made the Lady Skater, I decided that I wanted to try the neckline of the Lady Skater on the bodice of the Coco, with the neckband instead of turning it under.  The dress is also severely plain, so has some pink rick rack around the hem to cheer it up a bit.  I only finished it on Thursday, so I haven't worn it yet, although I've tried it on and it looks good.

Again, another crappy Instagram picture, and the light wasn't great.  I'm not patient enough at the moment to take self portraits with a clicky thing and my good camera, and my photographer makes me look like an idiot, so what can you do.

I also made pants for me.  They are amazing.

I will not be posting a modelled shot.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

You remember my nephew Marcus, the thirty-one year old? He asked me to ask you if you are single. I told him I'm not a third grade girl with pigtails passing love letters.

Hi!  Remember me?  I'm the one who goes on and on about knitting and sewing, and makes lists and joins vintage pledges, and never really actually follows through on things.  I've got 4 months to make two vintage jumpers.  Chances of that happening?

This is what the list looks like now.  There are no photos, because they are on my phone, and that is in the front room and I can't be bothered to move.  LAZY.

Lucy's Elwood mittens are done, and she loves them very, very much.  She loves everything I make.  She is the best person to make things for, as she is so enthusiastic.

The back of the Petrie top is finished.  It looks good.  I'm going to block it before sewing it up, which might make it look less like it was knitting by Mad Margaret on a bad day.  It does not look at all like a minion.

There are now 17 squares to make for the Weather Blanket.  One seven.  That is all.  The plan is now to make one a day until it is finished.  So that will take me another three months.  I've actually run out of yellow wool, so I can't do much more until I go shopping.

I made a start on the Rainbow Raglan.  It is beautiful and smells of sheep.  Big hairy sheep.  I can only knit it for about 4 rows before the smell becomes overpowering, so it will proceed slowly.  I won't be taking it out of the house until it is finished.  Just in case.

We went in the car to Brighton to clean my father in law's house, and I made 4 hexipuffs.  Then I made another one to use up some of the scraps from Lucy's mittens.  So that is 5 out of 100 *(&*&*&^*^%&&^%ing Hexipuffs.

The rest is still the same.

Miette cardigan in Lemon
Cream and Beige Coco style boatneck striped top
Sun-Ray Ribbing Vintage Jumper
This One's for Parties Vintage Jumper
Finish the Wisteria so that when it gets cold, I will be warm
Finish the Peacock Mittens, ditto

Reknit Simon's Cobblestone jumper
A pair of massive MAN SOCKS

Mini Hetty cardigan with sleeves for Lucy
Bright Rainbow Blanket for Lucy

Burton Bear cowl for Hattie
Mini Hetty cardigan with sleeves also for Hattie
Minion blanket for Hattie

Owl Blanket for Robin's Christmas present

I've worked out a way to fix my Vianne cardigan, but I've got to get up the enthusiasm to unpick the ribbon from the buttonband, and then replace it.

In other news, I'm going to a pop up yarn market on Saturday at Chelsea Old Town Hall.  I'm going to try to take some good quality photos; I might even put them on the blog, who can say.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Jake, he is a sea witch in disguise, do not sing into his shell.

You know and I know how much I love any opportunity to take really poor quality photos, so this Instagram photo game set up by the impossibly glamorous Rachel from House of Pinheiro was too good to pass by.

Here's a round up of the ten days.  Can you tell I've recently discovered the layout app and am having all sorts of fun with it?

Day 1 - Hello

Day 2 - Can't (Won't) Live Without

Day 3 - Colourful

Day 4 - Work/Play

Day 5 - Silhouette

Day 6 - Pattern that Changed My Life

Day 7 - Sew Up Close

Day 8 - Sewing Playlist

Day 9 - Stash

Day 10 - Would Swap Closets With

I've fallen a bit behind since we came back from holiday, but I'm catching up, and who doesn't want to see 21 more pictures of my stuff?