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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.

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!

Sunday, 14 February 2016

My mom used to send me articles about how older virgins are considered good luck in Mexico

After a very active January with all the running and the cycling and the running and the whatnot, I've not really done much exercise this month.  I ran just over 8km today, and I'm planning a 12k run next Saturday when the children are away, so that'll up the average a bit; perhaps I'll even do a bit of running during the week.  Simon isn't planning to travel during half term, so I can go to the gym in the evening, and that should up my total mileage from 17 km to something a bit more respectable.

That's enough RUNCHAT, time to talk about knitting.  The majority of my stash is almost totally inaccessible, and I am totally fed up with the Rainbow jumper, so I moved a load of boxes and climbed over a few loudspeakers to get to my wool, in order to have a new project to cast on.

Super Lemon Myrna is finished and blocked and has buttons and ribbon stabilising the button band, which I sewed on by hand, I thankyew, and I am actually wearing it at the moment.  The house is SO COLD, so I'm wearing it over about three other tops.  It's a bit tight with all the clothes on.

It fits just fine over my running gear.  The yarn is Sublime Extra Fine Merino DK, in Soft Yellow, and it is soft and warm and cosy.  The yarn is from Mr Bunty in West Ealing, and I bought the buttons and the ribbon at the same time.  I was going to make a Miette out of it, but the Myrna is a better pattern for my shape, so that's what happened instead.  However, I have limited use for a wool cardigan with short sleeves, and the puffed sleeves don't do much for me either, so I picked up 68 stitches around the armholes and decreased every four rows seven times, while knitting the sleeves flat.  I sewed them up, because I get a bit of a better fit that way, and also I dislike the fiddly-ness of knitting sleeves in the round.  I've got some red yarn somewhere to make another one.  I just need to find it. *sob*

The Rainbow Raglan: I've done a couple of stripes, and I'm just getting on with it.  SLOWLY.

Hexipuff Quilt: Still at 237/500.

Simon's Cobblestone jumper: in storage.

Simon's massive man socks: I should buy that yarn really.

This One's for Parties Vintage Jumper: Stored.

The Yellow Petrie: I looked at it today.  It's still too cold for summer knitting.

Rainbow jumper for Hattie: Storage.

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

NEW: Audrey in Unst Cardigan in my favourite Sublime Yarn, this time in pink.
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


Elwood Mittens for Lucy
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.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Hand on the rhythm, feel the rhythm of the rhyme; Hand on your life, feel the rhythm of time

What's with all the posts in February?  Am I living a permanent state of sofa sloth hangover, or am I just forcing myself to write, even when I'd really much rather just sit and collapse? Bit from column A, bit from column B.

It's been an absolutely brilliant day today.  We had our opening ceremony at school, which meant that the absolutely wonderful Michael Rosen came to visit us, to run some workshops/performance poetry and to open the school and to autograph a billion books, including one for the children, and of course I got a picture.

I love him a bit.  Well, a lot actually.  He made a great point about Local Authorities being allowed to open schools themselves, rather than having sodding free schools popping up all over the place, and I was tempted to start applauding; I probably should have done, at least one other person would have joined in.  Our local MP was there, she planted a tree in the middle of the playground (nice of her) and we all got absolutely soaked and freezing.  Fortunately, this was just at the end of the day, so we ran the children round to the classroom and sent them home.
I haven't been through my pictures yet, but I will do a big collage of the best 9 or so, and pop them up at some point.  You can see in the picture above the Butterfly dress in the wild, it was very much admired, as was my hair by one of my fellow school governors, which made me blush - I don't do compliments very well - and caused a little Year One brat to ask if he was my new boyfriend.  Er.  NO.
Some other pictures of the dress.
Hello Banned Butterfly cardigan, you really fit well where you touch, and touch wherever you fit.
I really like this picture.  My husband is getting better at photographs, and it helps that I got him to stand on the sofa and photograph me from above rather than below, where all the chins can be seen.
I are serious SENCo teacher in my butterfly dress.  I are not 7.
I think it turned out rather well.  I'm going to make at least two more - one with the flamingo border print fabric, one with the amazing floral fabric of joy.  I'm going to have to wait until the kitchen is done so I can cut out without lying on the floor.  I made a rather sexy and low-cut Coco with a BDSM zip up the back the other day, cutting it out on the carpet and not making the greatest job of it.  It is, however, really comfy to wear and looks great.  Photos soon.
Anyway. I've got the latest Agents of Shield episode to watch and a whole bunch of X-Files to fall asleep into my knitting in front of, so until next time.  Which might even be tomorrow.


Sunday, 7 February 2016

When suddenly Johnny gets the feeling he's being surrounded by horses, horses, horses, horses coming in in all directions

Another Sunday, another post about making clothes.  I'd love to write about knitting, but I've been pretty monogamous this week, only working on the yellow Myrna.  The difference between my knitting now and my knitting then, right there.  Also, I properly screwed up one of the sleeves, and I frogged the damn thing, and am in the process of re-knitting it, which is frustrating, but will mean that I end up with a better fitting garment.  The sleeves need to have 96 rows plus 10 rows of ribbing, and so far I am on sleeve 2, 65 rows in, so not great, but it should be ready for blocking in a day or so.  The only pictures I have of it are terrible, so you will have to wait.

In other making news, I finished my Emery dress, and it now has a hem and is ready to wear in the rain for our grand opening at school tomorrow.

Hopefully, there will be at least one decent shot of me in it to show at some point.  I might have to get someone to take a picture if not. 

This is a quick and not particularly brilliant photo of my latest Coco.  It's got a colour block top, and is actually grey and white stripes, not pure white.  I will take more pictures in the morning, when the light is better, and will wear it on Tuesday and get a picture then.  It was very quick to make, especially since I'd cut it out before we started the building works.  The fabric is from Maud's Fabric Finds, and was chosen by Hattie, at the Handmade Fair in September.  I am making her a Kitschy Coo Skater dress in the blue, so we will be matching.  She chose a particularly pink jersey at the weekend for yet another Skater dress; the girl is developing a pretty good eye for colour.

She's really into clothes at the moment: at the Handmade Fair, she picked out a horse print jersey for her sister, and I've made Lucy a dress.  Guess which pattern?  It's the easiest pattern in the world, and the girls love wearing circle skirts and twirling.

Again, a bit of crap photo.  This seems to be the theme of tonight's post.

That one is Lucy's and this one is Hattie's.

Of course, Hattie took one look at Lucy's dress, and demanded her own version.  And again, of course, the fabric that I bought for Lucy's from The Fabric Godmother was sold out, so I had to find something similar on eBay.  Then I had just enough left to make the back and one sleeve of a Grainline Lark teeshirt for myself, so I had to order another metre and a half in order to finish it.  So all the Croyden women will have matching clothes.  

Horses, horses, horses, horses coming in in all directions.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Leslie, I tried to make ramen in the coffee pot and I broke everything

It's Saturday, and I am dangerously hungover, one of those stealth hangovers that starts off as a banging headache, then creeps up until all you can do is eat cheese and salami and cry quietly while sitting on the sofa under a blanket.  Still, good night last night, and I've managed to pretty much function as an adult until about an hour ago, so it's all good.

Side eye at Jane for taking my picture

 Anyway, enough about my debauched and hedonistic lifestyle and more about clothes.  I finally got around to making an Emery dress, going to another sewing class with lovely, lovely Handmade Jane, at West London's premiere haberdashery, Badger and Earl.  The Emery pattern is lovely, and really easy, except for the masses of darts in the bodice - it's self lined, so everything has to double up, which means that there are 16 to trace, pin, sew and press, which is all the fun.  I don't know if there are any corners I can cut, but I think I will use a different colour for the lining.

I used an African wax cotton print from these people on eBay, and it was really easy to sew and press, if a bit stiff.  It'll soften up as it gets washed, which won't be before I want to wear it on Monday, for the Grand Opening at our school with the marvellous Michael Rosen.

I made an invisible zip, and it is actually, properly invisible.

Look at my happy face. Also check out the leopard print skirt in the wild.
I'm so pleased with it.  I do need to hem it, as it's a bit long still, and a bit Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (dammit) but that won't take very long at all. 

Me, Jane and Michaela
It's not the greatest photo, it's so hard to take decent indoor photos in poor light, but take it from me, this is a properly great dress, and I love it dearly.  

Unbreakable!  They 'live dammit.
I didn't have to make any changes to the bodice either although I used a bigger size for the bust dart, rather than fanny around with an FBA.  

I'm contemplating another one after the building work finishes and I have space to cut out again.  Also, money to buy this fabric with.  I need this fabric in my life.  Isn't it amazing?

Right, I've got the entire first season of X-files to watch and the rest of that Myrna cardigan to knit.