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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.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

You know that book I'm reading about getting along with your co-workers? It says that sarcasm is never helpful. I can lend it to you if you want.

I'm full of righteous, rational, if disproportionate, rage, and because, for the sake of my blood pressure, I am only speaking to people I agree with, so is everyone else I talk to.  I don't particularly want to talk about the reasons behind the rage that has led me to pour myself a soft drink, and fill it with gin, that are preventing me from ringing my father and yelling abuse at him down the phone, that has led to me temporarily abandoning the diet (I've lost a STONE people, a whole bloody STONE) and eating all the things in the house.  I'm on the verge of screaming "I BET YOU VOTED LEAVE YOU BASTARD" at anyone who gets in my way, or who looks at me, or who is anywhere within a mile of me.  The only tiny crumb of comfort I can find is that there will be a total destruction of our political system and we'll end up with different political parties and proportional representation, and then we'll have proper, actual democracy; and even though there'll probably be a complete break up of a union that has lasted for centuries and another civil war in Northern Ireland, it's all worth it because we are FREE and IN CONTROL again.  Hurrah.

Anyway, enough of that.  

Things that keeping me sane:

The Sewing Bee
Murder She Wrote

I've made a Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress in the same striped fabric I used to make our #teamcarter supporters tops.  It is delightful, even if I messed up the skirt a bit, and had to piece it together.  But it fits well, and is flattering and I love it, very much.

I've also made a Dolores Batwing t-shirt out of a not actually very stretchy jersey from Spoonflower.  It is much, much too small in places and is a pain to put on but it looks fine, so I'm wearing it on Friday for a do. I might have to remake the top for Lucy in the end, as I'm really not sure about it.

The third thing I've finished recently is the yellow Petrie top in Rowan Wool Cotton, and it is lovely, but much too cold here in Poundland to wear.  THIS BLOODY COUNTRY AND ITS STUPID STUPID WEATHER.

I'm in the middle of making a bright red Myrna cardigan as well, as part of the Outfit Along for this year.  So far, it is lovely; I accept it doesn't look like much here, but it is really gorgeous.  I've not made the keyhole this time, which has made no difference to it at all, I just didn't fancy it.  I'm just about on to the sleeves, and I'll make them tighter this time, the yellow one is too loose around the wrists, which is irritating.  The other parts of the Outfit Along will be a cherry print big puffy skirt - so a waistband and a Cambie dress view B skirt, and a Lark tee shirt in white jersey.  I've made one, but I should have cut a smaller size.  WIN.  Even Nigella is bigger than me now.  DOUBLE WIN.  There's still a long way to go, but I'm definitely shrinking.

Hey ho, I'm on strike next week; I can't go on the march but I will DO SOMETHING in order to relieve my dreadful rage.  I think I might join the Labour Party.  We will see.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

From bad to verse

Friends, give me a moment, for God help us, it has come to this.
The evil that we do lives after us, the good is buried, and so it is with us.
The honourable Boris has told us that the EU was a wrong thing,
And if that's the case, then that was a fault,
And we have all paid for it.
For Boris is an honourable man; and the rest are also honourable men,
So we can speak now at the end.
The EU was our friend, faithful and just to all,
But Boris says it was a wrong thing, and Boris is an honourable man.
It brought many people home to Britain, and their labour helped pay for the State.
Was this a wrong thing?
When the poor cried, the EU helped; was this a wrong thing?
Yet Boris says it was a wrong thing, and Boris is an honourable man.
It thrice and more presented us with human rights,
Was this a wrong thing?
Yet Boris says it was a wrong thing, and, surely, he is an honourable man.
We are not here to disprove what Boris said,
But to say what we know.
We loved it once, not without cause, so why not mourn?
Our judgment has fled to the brutish beasts, and we have lost our reason.
My heart is with the EU, and I must wait for it to come back to me.
Bear with me.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.

It's still half term.  It's still freezing.  People in the North are laughing at us in London, as June comes in with hideous weather.

We went to Northampton today, which was lovely until the last minute, when it took 3 HOURS to get home.  The M1 didn't work, the North Circular was fucked, and it seemed like a good idea to go through Harlesden.  Note to self: don't do that again, but then, at least we kept on moving and we listened to many, many hours of Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.  Hurrah.

Anyway, I've spent this evening sewing and listening to knitting podcasts, and I've made two things.

First up, a Delphine skirt, by Tilly and the Buttons.  I really like this A-Line skirt and made a tartan one last year, which I slimmed strenuously to get into, and is now too big on the waist and fits well on the hips, so let's call that a win.

I bought some stretchy sparkly demin from Ealing Fabrics in Hanwell for not very much money, and I cut out the same size as before, which is a triumph of hope over experience, and lets hope it fits properly.

The photo doesn't do the gold sparklyness justice; it is really lovely and shiny and would be loved by the girls, but bad luck, it's mine.  The waist band has a polka dot lining, and I'm really pleased with it.  I've made the waist smaller by an inch by doing a lapped zip, and it seems to look OK, so yay?  I'll wear it tomorrow and see how it fits.

The second thing I made tonight was a Dolores Batwing Tee-Shirt, in a purple strawberry jersey that I bought for a dress for Hattie, and after I'd cut something out, there was tonnes left, so I made something for me and something for Lucy, which brings the cost of the fabric down from a bit more than I should have spent, to the actually quite reasonable, as I've got three garments out of 2 metres.

I think I need to wear them together and get some modelled shots. Or maybe pop them on Nigella and see how they look.  I'm pleased with them both.  Yay for sewing.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Cher, I don't want to do this anymore. And my buns: they don't feel nothin' like steel.

I need this gif again:

I haven't blogged since Easter.  So much has happened, but most of it has been pretty dull and to do with work, so I won't go into details.   The kitchen is completely done, bar a few shelves, and most of my STUFF is back from storage, although there's still a lot of fabric languishing in the unit, waiting for me to get around to it.  I've made lots of things:

a jumper for Hattie,

two identical dresses for the girls for the May Day celebrations at a local tennis club,

a Bettine dress for me,

a plain, dull white tee shirt for me (and cut out a slightly more exciting turquoise one)

 and a jumper for my nephew.  It's all go.

I also participated in MeMadeMay2016, but lost the will to photograph myself daily, so didn't.  I do wear handmade clothes all the time, and using May as a way to work out what I'm missing in the wardrobe, and it turns out that I need more plain stuff.  I've got a denim skirt cut out waiting for me to get on to it, and some more plain tee shirts, and some more things planned as well.

As far as knitting goes, the Audrey in Unst cardigan is MUCH MUCH TOO BIG, which is a combination of exciting and frustrating, so I am torn between wanting to finish it and give it away, or ripping back several hundred hours of my time and reclaiming the wool.  The wool is nice, but not that nice, so I think I'm going to finish it up and try it on and see.  It's hard to second guess the size, and it's too big over my running stuff, but might be OK over something else.  We'll see.

I've run, walked and cycled nearly 200 km in May, which is extraordinary, and I'm very pleased with myself.  I bought some new trainers which gave me sore feet and the terrible grumps, until I replaced the inner soles with Foot Balance massively overpriced, but simultaneously well worth it ones, and ran up a hill without stopping yesterday.

We've been all over the place in April and May - we went down to the Isle of Wight to watch a friend run around part of the island, and Simon and I have been in Chichester watching a VERY MUCH OF ITS TIME musical version of Travels with my Aunt (which is a kind review, as it is a new musical, reflecting the values of 1969) (I really enjoyed the frocks, the shoes, the singing, the dancing and the jokes, the Sierra Leonian accent, not so much) but it was good to go and see it; we've had two teenagers living with us for a few days, which has been an education, and I've drunk an awful lot of gin.

There is no more to say.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Highly unlikely, but not outside the realms of possibility?

Last night was all about the hand-sewing, tonight is all about the knitting.  Yonks ago, I actually can't remember when, I decided I wanted a close fitting grey jumper with rainbow stripes, so bought some Faroese wool in grey and some rainbow Kauni wool from eBay, which I promptly lost in a pub somewhere.  I swore a lot, and sulked a lot, and then bought some cream wool and some more Kauni, and just got on with it.

Of course, very thin wool on titchy little needles takes a while to knit, so I left it in my knitting bag, and ignored it, and occasionally knit it, and eventually finished the body.

You can't really tell from this photo, but there is a weird "side boob" thing going on under the armpits, and I thought long and hard about it but decided I really, really couldn't live with it, so ripped back all that knitting that had taken months and months, and started again.

I eventually finished it the other day.

It still needs a good block, and the right cuff is considerably bigger than the left, but I can live with that, as no one else will notice, and a bit of sewing will hide it as well.  

I wore it today as it was cold.  FFS April, sort it out, it hailed earlier.  The jumper still needs a block, and I will do that later on, but for now I am running around the house, cackling with laughter as my jumper looks ace and I love it, and also my denim skirt is too big and I will wash it and then send it to the charity shop to seek its fortune.  Hurrah. 

I'm sure I'll have something more to say tomorrow evening.  We're going shopping on the Goldhawk Road tomorrow.  Brace yourselves. 

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Yes, may I please speak to pizza

I love the holidays.  Love them.  So many children.  So many things to do.  So many builders.  Last week, we were in Devon for a few days, more about that later, then back into the children's social whirl; friends round, days out at the trampolining place in Acton, Brent Cross, IKEA (the glamour), sewing, all sorts.  I'm exhausted and I've still got another 3 days to go.  Ah well, the house is quiet, my daughters are asleep and there's two half full bottles of vodka to drink, so it's not all bad.
I did some hand sewing the other day.  I saw this jumper on the internet:

and being a covetous so and so, my first thought was that I NEEDED it in my life.  Of course, there are no more of them to be had anywhere, so my next thought was that I could quite easily make one.  Of course.

I bought six colours of sequin tape on ebay, and searched the charity shops until I found something suitable.  I found a really nice black jumper before the sequins arrived, and I was very tempted to use that, but I wore it with my tartan Delphine skirt, and liked the way they looked together, so that was out.  I then found a superb magenta jumper, but it looked utterly hideous with the red sequins, so that was out too.  A trip around West Ealing the other day, and I found a grey ex-Primark scoop necked jumper, in the right size and absolutely perfect. 

I spent the whole of Friday night alternatively sewing sequins, swearing and drinking, because I know how to live it up.  

By 1:30 am (no word of a lie), I had this.

That took three episodes of "Murder, She Wrote" and a Sherlock.  Also, the best part of a bottle of vodka.

I wore it the next day.  Have a crappy dressing table mirror selfie.

Hurrah for the shiniest boobs in the whole of London. 
It is amazing, and I love it to bits and back. although if I pull the sleeves up, the sequins make my arms itch, and I can't wear it to work as the children will make (even more) grabs at my boobs but details, details.  

Hurrah for upcycling, hurrah for sewing skills, hurrah for everything, basically.  

I have lots and lots of finished things to blog, so brace yourselves, including a progress report on the RAINBOW RAGLAN.

Monday, 7 March 2016

It’s not my fault being the biggest and the strongest. I don’t even exercise.

Monday night, and like an obnoxious twat, I went for a run while Lucy was at Brownies.  It was only an hour, and I managed 7.44 km, which is about 4.6 miles, and while not fast, was up and down hills and all sorts, so I'm feeling pretty smug and pleased with myself. 

I don't know if you know Ealing at all, but there are some biggish hills there, and I ran the whole way because there were no people and things were going well.

I've had a pretty crappy February, with the diet not going very well and the kitchen and the very little running or cycling, and ended up doing a pathetic 45km across 29 days.  Rubbish.  March is already so much better; we're only at the 7th, and I've already managed 24km.  I'm back on the bike tomorrow, after a few weeks off; there will be swearing.  I'm starting to think more about the Ealing Half Marathon, and I'm gearing up to run 10 miles in the next few weeks; along the canal though, as that is flat and easier. I had a route in mind, but it turns out that that one would have been over 20 miles, so better have a rethink.

My massive weight loss has stalled too; nothing like eating normally, although I haven't put anything on and I'm hoping the running will get things going again.  I want to lose 3 pounds this week, as that will take me down into human weight territory, and will mean that I've only got a stone to go.  What fun it all is.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

I change my locks every 16 days. That key's been useless since the 2nd Tuesday I gave it to you.

After this week, probably.  It's all a bit much really.  The children are clearly insane, and I'm catching it off them.  What fun. It was Mothering Sunday today, and we spent it in Spitalfields Market, where I failed to buy a little black dress and did buy some star print African wax cotton (5m for £12!) and some posh tea and had daytime gin (the best gin) and a chocolate brownie, and it was great until about three quarters an hour ago when we had the "I'm really tired but I'm not going to bed, I'm going to sit here and make NOISES and kick you and PUT MY COLD FEET ON YOUR TUMMY and whine" time until I gave up on supper and threw them into bed with mild threats.

They are quite cute when they want to be.
Anyway, that was today, but that's not what I wanted to talk about.  

I started a jumper a few weeks ago, part of the Mason-Dixon #bangoutasweater KAL, which was super fun and not hard at all.  A picture says 1000 words; a collage even more, and saves me boring on.

Genuinely one of the easiest and quickest knits I've ever made, and such a great, cosy jumper at the end of it.  This is not my last go at this pattern, and I'm going to use the Lett Lopi yarn to make an owlsjumper soon, as well as two Penguins jumpers for the girls.  

What else is new?  The Knit List is moving along slowly.  Most of the stuff is still in storage, but we're looking at about another fortnight of building chaos until I can put my living room stash back in its proper place.

The following things are being worked on:

Audrey in Unst: I'm at 26/36 rows of twisted ribbing.  I put it down to work on the Stopover and only picked it up today.  I can't say I love it.  I can't say I don't love it, but I don't love twisted ribbing ONE BIT.

NEW: A bright yellow Owligan: I love this.  It's bright and spring-like and will be a great cardigan to wear outside once I don't need a coat.  So, you know, May.

The Rainbow Raglan: huh.

These things are still in storage.

Hexipuff Quilt
Simon's Cobblestone jumper
Simon's massive man socks: I bought the yarn.
This One's for Parties Vintage Jumper
The Yellow Petrie
Rainbow jumper for Hattie

These are things that are waiting to be started.  I've added something.

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


Stopover Sweater
Yellow Myrna cardigan
Elwood Mittens for Lucy
Weather Blanket
Separate but matching vests for twin boys
Urchin hat
Peacock mittens

Right, there is gin to drink and the X-files to watch.  Hurrah for Sunday nights.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Yeah, it's these grown men running around in their long underwear flapping their arms, which they do a lot of in ballet.

Evening.  In the language of my people, howzit?  

The builders are still with us, the house is still freezing, the crazy thick jumpers are still very necessary but the world is still turning and it is all nearly over.  I've nearly worked my way through the cut out pile, I've just got two dresses for the girls to make, and I need to take in the grey and blue Coco - it is far, far too big.  Hurrah.  I'm going to remeasure myself and draw all over my pattern, so I can make clothes that fit the new shape.

I made a Francoise dress, which is in the wash, and because I cut it out based on my old measurements, it is the right size on my hips and across my stomach, maybe a bit big, but much, much too big around my upper bust.  I am actually swimming in it.  This is frustrating in some ways, but massively pleasing in others, so let's not complain.  I will take some crappy iPhone photos of it next time I wear it, which will probably be before I adjust it, as that will take time and I don't have much of that.

In other UFO talk, I made a Delphine skirt.  This skirt has been a bit of a pain really.  I cut it out around my birthday, sewed it up, put in a beautiful invisible zip and then found that it was cut wrong, and just didn't fit.  Into the bin with it while I sulked.  I removed the zip and unpicked the back seam, and got ready to fit it to my friend Karen, but then we were too hungover and then I forgot and then it was now and the weight loss has happened, so I wrapped it round myself and found I could probably wear it after all.  So I finished it, and I've been wearing it obsessively ever since.  It stands away from my waist in a strange way, but is the right size everywhere else, so overall, it's a win.

How do you like the badger jumper?  It's fabulous and a size 12.

So that's that for this evening.  All the weight loss, all the sewing, all the fun.  Time for a single cashew nut and a magazine that tells me that tells me how old and fat I am.  Night all.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

You do not obey, you choose to co-operate

It's half term here, and we're jolly busy already.  The girls are swimming every day; I've paid an arm and leg for them to have private swimming lessons, and it's really helping them - Hattie can now swim 10 metres on her front and back, which is fantastic, and Lucy is getting much better at breaststroke, and her teacher has agreed to sign off her swimmer's badge for Brownies.  She is very excited about this, as is her nerdy mum.  She's been a Brownie since September, and was enrolled a couple of weeks ago.

We are all very proud of her. She was the first one in her group to be enrolled because her Brown Owl was sure that she would be the one who knew the promise and would say it in a big voice and get it right.  Of course she did.  She doesn't let us down.

She's going to get all the badges.  Every one, if it kills us.

In other news, I have bought a large quantity of this warm Icelandic yarn in order to Bang Out a Sweater, Mason-Dixon style.  The colours I bought are grey, pink, green and orange, and I should be able to make a beautiful jumper in under a fortnight.  I've been dithering forward and backward about making this jumper, so I've totally missed the KAL, which is a shame, but I'll still have a lovely jumper at the end and enough to start an orange penguins jumper for Lucy.  Hurrah.  I'm so glad we're having all this building work and that the house is freezing.  It means all my warm woolly jumpers are getting an airing, and now the work's been pushed back by a fortnight, I'll have even longer to wear them inside.  Yay!