Monday, 31 March 2014

Because I'm not a Vanderbilt, suddenly I'm white trash? I grew up in Bel Air, Warner. Across the street from Aaron Spelling. I think most people would agree that's a lot better than some stinky old Vanderbilt.

It's about crafty stuff again, not politics, so don't feel you have to read on.

Handmade Monday again, and I should probably do some sort of update on the list of a Year of Projects as well.

The List:

Wisteria - on hold; but I've just bought some more yarn for it
Idlewood - split for the sleeves; plugging away on the body
Blue and Grey Socks - one sock done still done (lost in the stash)
Elephant blanket - two stripes still almost finished.  For Hattie's birthday (December)
Peacock Mittens - one finished, bar the thumb (still) (lost in the stash too)
Ringo and Elwood mittens - still queued (still want to make them, but the urge lessens)

Owl Blanket - finished and done
Paper Dolls - finished and done
Peerie Flooers - finished and done
Alphabet Blanket for Noah - done
Granny's a Square Afghan - done

Hexipuff Quilt - 147/500 hexipuffs done (I'm going to take it to Cambridge with me next week)
The Weather in the Streets - 67/400 squares done (there have been 90 days this year - that is NOT BAD AT ALL)

It's only now, when I don't really feel like doing anything, that I realise exactly how much I do.  I sat in Ealing A&E with my crochet, unable to focus; just sitting is jolly HARD WORK.

I have a new-found respect for people who live with chronic pain all the time, and still manage to be cheerful and positive.

March Madness 31/31 - I did it.  31 posts of varying interest to other people; although some had more than 50 page views.  Inconceivable.  I might take a bit of a break in April, you'll be devastated to hear.

I'll leave you with a picture of my Wisteria jumper.  Without me in it.

I'm having terrific trouble with it.  I'm not entirely sure that it won't be much, much too big for me, and I'm decreasing like crazy across the back in a desperate attempt to reduce the sheer volume of bulky knitted fabric.  Oh dear, oh dear.  

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Maybe we could sell the show if we wrote in more special exploding socks!

We started the music and lit the lights; the girls didn't enjoy it as much as we did, Hattie got very upset every time we saw the WRONG KERMIT, and both cried at the end, so another jolly family day out.

Of course, we'd booked to go to The Muppets Most Wanted before realising what a beautiful weekend it would be, so we went to the park after church to enjoy some sunshine.  I spent half an hour or so walking around; my back doesn't hurt as much if I keep moving.

A Simnel Cake for Mothers' Day.  We took it to church; it was all gone by half 11.

Portraits of my children once a week, every week, in 2014.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

You don't need glasses, you're just weak, WEAK

I spent the afternoon in Ealing A&E, waiting to see a doctor about my back.  It's fine, apparently, and should take about a week to stop hurting.  It's not whiplash, which is a good thing.  Shame it's meant I've got nothing else to say.

Maybe I'll be more inspired tomorrow. Sorry.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Cruising down the Sunset Strip, and there's nothing that's not, not within my grip

Someone crashed into my car today.  I'm not really in the mood to write anything deeply profound, or even to show off my new top.  I'm OK, just shocked, worn out, adrenaline depleted and grumpy with a sore back, the car can almost certainly be mended and apart from a bit of a wasted afternoon of being completely out of it, there's no harm done.

Actually, what the hell.  Another Coco.  Made out of the fleece stash.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest

Reasons to go on strike.

I'm a good teacher, not outstanding, not bad, but good.  I enjoy my job, and I work very hard.  My little band of happy three year olds are doing very well, thanks, and I often go the extra mile or so. I'm contracted to do about 20 hours a week, but generally end up doing at least 25.  It doesn't sound much, particularly when you hear that the average for a full time primary school teacher is a 60 hour week, but I am part time for two very good reasons, and it's only because the children are in nearly full time education that I can do the hours I do.  Last year was far more stressful, as I could only work extra hours after school; at least now I can go in early and work in the staff room.

If you really want your children to be at school for 50 weeks a year, because that is more convenient for you, take a long hard look at yourself. 

If you think that the main purpose of school is to be free childcare, remember that we are parents too, we have lives outside our work, and we have childcare problems too.

If you seriously believe that teachers start at 5 to 9, finish at 3 and have 13 weeks of freedom a year, grow up.

If you believe that those who can do, those who can't teach, we can never be friends.

If you don't yet realise that childhood is short and precious, and shouldn't be spent entirely at school, learn this.

If you believe that teachers are solely responsible for your child's education, look at what you've learned in your life.  How much of that happened between the ages 5 and 18?  

It doesn't fit the pattern, but I've found that the parents most likely to complain about the inconvenience of a strike day are also the ones most likely to withdraw their child for holidays during term time.  Apparently, that's not disruptive.

It's not a race to the bottom.  It's not a crap jobs competition.  Our education system is being constantly undermined by someone whose main qualification for the job appears to be "I went to school."  A private style system is a great idea, but there's a reason that that costs 10 grand a year.  

I won't go on.  I will strike again; regretfully, it seems to be the only way to be heard, even if it damages the thing we are trying so very hard to protect.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

It's good to be merry and wIse; it's good to be honest and true; It's best to be off with the old love; Before you are on with the new.

What with all this sewing, I bet you are all deeply concerned about the state of my knitting.

Here is my latest WIP.  It is a lovely jumper, with a big cowl.  Everything I've read suggests that it basically knits itself, but apparently leaving it mouldering on the sofa doesn't work. 

Cascade 220, from the States about a year ago.  Simon is going out there in a few weeks, so I thought I'd better knit some of it up before then, particularly as I want him to bring more back, plus a load of fabric from Hawthorne Fabrics, probably the lemon print and something equally beautiful.  Can't load up him up too much APPARENTLY, although what's the point of him going away if he's not going to be useful.

I've been on strike today.  I will write about it later.  I don't feel the need to apologise or explain, but I quite fancy a rant.

March Madness, 26/31

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.

This is a post about the future.

This is a post about a future filled with handmade wonderfullness, rather than big piles of yarns and fabric.

This is a post which features lots of links to Pinterest, which I really recommend to people with lots and lots of time.

This is a post that is being written at half ten in a desperate attempt to write something every day in March, and without full consideration being given to the reader.  And for that, I apologise.

A Renfrew top by Sewaholic Patterns.  A stretchy knit.  Something like this.  Maybe in a demure knit like this.

A Box Pleated Skirt.  When life gives you lemon fabric.  Or when you scour the internet for lemon print fabric.  Something like this.

I've gone on and on about the Cambie dress, so I won't say any more; suffice to say that I don't know whether I have enough fabric.  I've cut the paper pattern out, and I'll have a placing session tomorrow afternoon.

Some sort of Fifties-esque boxy dress.  Something in this fabric anyway.  Actually, maybe that should be a Cambie dress.  Hum.

A terribly sophisticated jumper in fingering weight wool.  Something like this.  In beige with shades of purple.

Simon, reading over my shoulder, says that our future is always full of piles of yarn and fabric, and I should kidding myself.  Nature has made me a hoarder and a planner; go with what you know.

March Madness 25/31

Monday, 24 March 2014

My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.

I don't normally reference my title quote in its post, but this one is as good a description of teaching as you'll ever find.

Monday again.  No finished objects, and actually one finished object has been unravelled a bit to make the neck less uncomfortable. It's currently sitting on the table, looking a bit sorry for itself.  I've cut out a Coco made out of pink fleece, it'll be my Wednesday afternoon sewing, I think.  I've had a bit of a look around, and it doesn't look that difficult - ballpoint needle, zigzag stitch and off we go.  I've not really thought about nap or anything technical like that, I'm just pleased to have used up a bit more of the fleece stash problem.  If it looks OK, I'll make a matching white one, as well as fleecy tops for the girls for summer.

The writer of one of sewing blogs I like to read, Sew Dolly Clackett, is getting married, and another blogger, who is here at Rhinestones and Telephones, has organised a sew-along to celebrate her wedding.  I bought some fabric at the Knitting and Stitching Show with a vague idea of making something #sewdollyclackett but, you know, that just seems a bit weird as I'm not really part of the online sewing community.  (Is that a thing?  Do I want to be part of it?)  I'm going to make a Cambie dress at some point, and will probably use my super new fabric, but I don't know when.  Maybe, if I get really organised, on Wednesday evening, I'll make time to cut out some fabric.  Maybe I'll decide that joining in really IS my thing, and just go for it.  Anyway, I'll be writing at great length about it. 

The fabric is ever so pretty, with all the little dollies.  And a Cambie dress doesn't look that hard really.  

My February squares are finished and are ready to crochet together.  I think I'll refrain from posting any more pictures until that momentous event has passed.

March Madness - 24/31

Sunday, 23 March 2014

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music

Portraits of my children once a week, every week, in 2014.

Not ballet practise, but Lucy warming up prior to doing the 30 Day Shred.  She is very keen on it, and as far as I'm concerned, someone in the house should be doing it.  A few weeks ago, Lucy was working out and a naked Hattie was jumping off the arm of the sofa onto me.  Life here is never dull.

A new game at the park. Hattie flings herself onto the moving roundabout, then locks and rolls off.  I don't think there's any else to say about that.

Insanity is hereditary; you catch it off your children.

Portraits, 12/52

See other people's admittedly far better photographs of their doubtlessly far less insane children here.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Nobody but a monumental bore would have thought of having a honeymoon in Budleigh Salterton

We went to the revival of Blithe Spirit earlier this month.  It was my mum's significant birthday, so I bought tickets and we went together.  It was jolly good, especially but not exclusively Angela Lansbury.  The play was reviewed this evening on Saturday Review; I'm not sure everyone liked it as much as Mum and I did.

Of course it's massively misogynistic, it was written by a very waspish gay man, what were you expecting? A feminist tract?  Of course it's a bit dated, it was dated when it was written in wartime, rationing Britain; of course it's a bit old fashioned, it's 75 years old.  It was played entirely seriously and everyone had spot on timing; we loved it.  

No one mentioned Ruth's clothes, though, which was a shame.

This photo is from the official set photos, I've not suddenly transformed into a marvellous photographer.  The grey frock is rather wonderful isn't it? She wore an absolutely TERRIFIC red frock later on, simply gorgeous, but I can't find a picture, annoyingly enough.

Anyway, if you can get a ticket, go.  It is fabulous.

March Madness, 22/31

Friday, 21 March 2014

Those who educate children well are more to be honoured than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.

Ever had one of those weeks where everything at school just seems to work, and there are no curveballs at all?  No, me neither, but this week has been pretty close.  The one with epilepsy has been an angel this week, no tantrums or major seizures at all; both the autistic children have been manageable, thanks in part to a new member of staff, who is just wonderful; the non-English speaker is more or less under control, again thanks to our new helper, who speaks fluent Arabic, and has done all sorts of assessments with him; of course, he needs support, and really hasn't got a clue.  So it's been quite a good week, quite calm, quite low key, and I'm content.

The only downside was getting all my assessment data in place by today, which I haven't completely done - the two autistic boys aren't on the system, and the littlest one isn't either, but those can be fixed easily.  I'm striking on Wednesday, which I'm not looking forward to, but I feel is the only thing to do.  I have a very, very heavy heart about it though.  Gove must GO, but there must be an easier way, one that isn't so disruptive.

There's not much else going on; even though things are easier at school at the moment, it's still taking up all of my thoughts and energy.  Not long until the Easter holidays though.

In other news, I found a fabric like this in Hobbycraft, and now I'm obsessed with making a cloud dress.  I'm not too old at 36 for a dress made of clouds, am I?

March Madness 21/31

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.

Together at last. A very easy make from Mollie Makes, and so gorgeous.  The girls love them, and I'm considering making myself one in purple.  

I don't have much to say tonight. School is going well, the girls are happy, the craft mania progresses.  I wore an almost entirely handmade outfit on Wednesday, and my colleagues were very complimentary.  My Head, a knitter, was very impressed, but teased me about making everything except my tights.  I think when I have an urge to make my own shoes, it'll be time to take a long hard look at my life.

March Madness, 20/31

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

She turned to the sunlight, And shook her yellow head, And whispered to her neighbour: "Winter is dead.”

Spring has sprung in West Ealing.

Hattie has been borrowing the camera.

Her view of the world is, well, enlightening.  One of the pictures she took was of the mantelpiece.

Can you see the twigs in the vase?  We collected them a few weeks ago, and they've been sitting in the front room since then.  I've used some flowers from a cushion I made for my friend's wedding last year, and have been working on some daffodils.

They need a good block, so they still count as a WIP, and I want to make a few more.  The green things are leaves; they need to be sewn behind the daffodils, and I need to make a whole lot more.  

I'll have a go at taken some better photos in the next few weeks.  And I've got some more decorations for the branches.

Hurrah for Spring.

March Madness - 19/31

Monday, 17 March 2014

If you’re going to let one stupid prick ruin your life, you’re not the girl I thought you were.

Monday night, fell asleep in the bath.  Do you want more wine, asks my husband.  There's a pile of stuff to do, but I can't, I'm too tired.

A brooch, made for Lucy from a Mollie Makes kit.  She loves it.  She doesn't want to wear it in case she loses it.  Hattie wants hers yesterday.  It is on its way.  Slowly.

Today wasn't even that bad, as they go.  We had an Arabic speaking TA to help with one of my autistic children, and a Polish volunteer.  Amazing the difference that made.  Fantastic, beautiful, almost relaxing, except for the other autistic boy insisting on taking his trousers and pants off outside; at least he knows to do that before doing a wee.  For the first time in weeks, I didn't feel like screaming as I left work.  Or lying on the chairs and crying quietly.  Mr Gove, you know nothing.  You have never been bitten or scratched, hit, kicked or slapped at work, and you've probably only worked with people who understand what needing a wee feels like.  But go ahead and undermine our profession.  Someone I correspond with on Twitter told me that she has parents who cannot spell their own child's name.  You have genuinely no idea what happens in schools, and how we stagger on through it all, teaching, caring, loving, guiding.  But please, undermine us some more.  You have no idea.  No idea at all.

This wasn't intended to be political, but it was.  The personal is political, and the political is personal.

March Madness - 17/31  

Sunday, 16 March 2014

From all that I can collect by your manner of talking, you must be two of the silliest girls in the country. I have suspected it some time, but I am now convinced

What a technically terrible photo.  The tube was packed, which feels wrong for a Sunday lunchtime.  They eventually got a seat, shared between them, and sitting together, with holding hands, were as good as gold for most of the journey.  Too many commas?  Who can say?  Not Mr Gove, that's for sure.

A portrait of my children once a week, every week, in 2014.

Week 11.  Where does the time go?

March Madness - 16/31

Saturday, 15 March 2014

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Some things.

We went to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia today.  It was brilliant, but I'm very tired now.  There's nothing like wandering slowly around massive halls, behind super slow people to utterly wear you out.  I didn't take any photos; be grateful for small mercies.

I bought an Anna dress pattern (late to the party), another paper pattern (New Look 6145), about 6 metres of fabric in 3 different patterns, sewing machine needles, wool to make cardigans for the girls, sock yarn for me, a massive purple cone of yarn from Ireland to make a cardigan for me, some ribbons and lace, and some undyed yarn to dye with Lucy for a new cowl and hat combination for her and her sister (probably will be orange, knowing Lucy).  Less than I normally buy ACTUALLY.

It's all very exciting, and I can't wait to start making my dresses.  Apparently the New Look pattern isn't as easy as it says on the pattern envelope, and I might need to buy a new foot for my sewing machine - a concealed zip foot, how exciting.  I might even need a new "how to" sewing book.  

My Coco dress got its second public outing; I am very, very fond of it, and next month might even make another.  After all the new stuff I got today, I probably need a Lent period of reflection and meditation.  Although I do need to go to Hobbycraft to get some more supplies for the Weather Blanket, or maybe I could use Stylecraft, but it seems silly buying 1 ball when the postage is the same for 10, and...

March Madness - 15/31

Friday, 14 March 2014

It is ever so much easier to be good if your clothes are fashionable

Last Sunday, after making the amazing Coco dress, I attempted to finish the dress I'd started a few weeks ago.  It's in a quilting cotton, so very thin, possibly even a bit see-through, so I had to line it; a new adventure.  I used a bright, bright blue lining fabric, as well as bright blue bias bindings, instead of sodding facings.

I wrote a big blog post about the dress, and all the good things, and what I'd learned and all that, and sodding Blogger lost it.  Grr.  Anyway.  It's a fabulous dress, bit small around the bust because the lining stretches less than the main fabric; but without the top underneath, it fits fine.  Might have to make a bright blue cardigan.

How do you like my rockabilly quiff?  That's what happens when you brush your hair without wearing specs. 

March Madness 14/31

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.

More crowing about how wonderful the first born daughter is, I'm afraid.  She's been ill recently, and generally grumpy and all that, and I was afraid that she wouldn't be able to make her Rainbow promise with the others in the group.  No need to worry; come hell or high water, she was going to be there to make her promise in a big clear voice, remembering the words and generally causing my heart to burst with pride.

The new Rainbow promise is not great, but I suppose we have to cater to everyone, and as far as Lucy is concerned, thinking about her beliefs is thinking about God, so let's let that one lie.  Also, it's a lost battle.

Anyway, there she is, my wonderful little Rainbow. 

March Madness - 13/31

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

There’s your act of true love—riding across the fjords like a valiant, pungent reindeer king.

I went to Lucy's Parents' Evening early; she is a phenomenal reader and behaves exemplarily, apparently.  Which I knew, especially the behaviour bit.  She is a great reader though, she absolutely loves books, and has started being able to read pretty much anything I give her, including those dreadful Rainbow Fairy Magic books.  I was stupidly proud sitting opposite her teacher, an unfamiliar position for me; a bit like gamekeeper turned poacher.  

There's not a lot more to say tonight.  We all have tummy bugs of varying levels of severity, and tomorrow will be fun as Lucy will be off school, having thrown up everywhere this afternoon.  Her poor teacher; I'm surprised he was so lovely about her.

March Madness: 12/31

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

You mean you'll put down your rock and I'll put down my sword and we'll try to kill each other like civilized people, is that it?

Mollie Makes is a lovely magazine, full of pretty things done by interesting people; I mean, who doesn't want a wire mobile with bottles filled with wild flowers hanging in their white walled, massive open space?

Each month brings a new and exciting present to make; and I have quite the collection now.

My husband finds this extraordinary; even after 10 years together, he barely knows me!

I've decided in the interest of marital harmony that I should try to make at least half of the collection, turning them into something lovely instead of, well, mess.  The first one I'm going to make is for the children (obviously); a fox brooch each for their duffle coats. 

I have a very silly fox collar that I bought from the Renegade Craft Fair last year, and the girls (Lucy) are very jealous.  Hopefully it won't take that long to make.

March Madness 11/31

Monday, 10 March 2014

Look for the woman in the dress. If there is no woman, there is no dress.

Coco, how I love you.  Let me count the ways.  You took three hours to turn from fabric to flattering dress.  You were tremendously easy to sew, even though you are in a stretchy knitted fabric.  You can be styled a number of different and exciting ways.  You pull on over my head in a relaxed and easy manner, yet are still more than smart enough for a day in Nursery.  Your instructions are beautifully illustrated and super easy to follow, and even a total wally can set in a sleeve and put a funnel neck on - new skills!  You also caused me to learn where the zigzag stitch was on my sewing machine, and how to lengthen it to allow for more stretch.

Awkward much?  I properly hate having my picture taken.  

Anyway, new dress!  In a day!  I love, love, love, it so much.  I'm now thinking about a similar dress in blue or red, and a top with green and white stripes, or a hacked Coco pattern with red yoke and sleeves and spotty skirt.  And, and, and.  I got my fabric from Tissu Fabrics, in case you're interested, or thinking of making your own; they are cheap and send stuff out quickly.  I'll probably be putting in an order for more this very evening.

Handmade Monday - linking up with this lady here.

March Madness - 10/31

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it


It was World Book Day on Thursday, so of course, Lucy celebrated on Tuesday and Hattie on Wednesday.

Snow White, off to the Big School; as if World Book Day wasn't exciting enough, they had a House Day as well.  In the end, she found it quite fun, but a bit overwhelming, and I think the whole of the Reception classes were a bit stunned by being in a different place and everything being that bit different.

Dorothy, very excited about going to Nursery in something other than her normal clothes.  She wasn't overwhelmed in the slightest, and now wants to dress up everyday.  

I'm adding one more, just because it was such a lovely day today, and I took the children to the Bunny Park after church.  It was even warm enough for an ice cream.

I could have done without Harriet deciding she was perfectly able to complete the maze on her own, without help and without asking me.  As it happens, she was right, and while I was racing around looking for her, she appeared at the raised bit in the centre, waving and very happy.  She didn't even drop her ice cream.

Portraits of my children once a week, every week, in 2014.

March Madness - 9/31

Saturday, 8 March 2014

The Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too

Books this year so far, reviewed.

A Fairly Honourable Defeat; Iris Murdoch - horrible, destructive people; brilliant writing
Tempting Fate; Jane Green - not great
The Goldfinch; Donna Tartt - really brilliant, if a bit flawed towards the end
Mrs Tim Flies Home; DE Stevenson - fun, a bit dated, quick to read
Sara Gay, Model Girl; Janey Scott - very dated, very fun, very bad
Various Pets Alive and Dead; Marina Lewycka - love, love, love her
The Prisoner of Heaven; Carlos Ruiz Zafón - really should go back and read the others now, and then this one again
The Bones under the Beach Hut; Simon Brett - another fun book

7 books in nearly 10 weeks.  If I want to get to 52 by the end of the year, I need to get a move on and read more very, very short books.  Quantity, not quality.

March Madness - 8/31

Friday, 7 March 2014

Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.

My god-daughter turned 5 on Tuesday.  I know what 5 year old girls like; their taste veers towards the pink, fluffy, cute animals, Disney, cuddly end of the toy spectrum.  My 5 year old really, really wanted a hot water bottle for Christmas, so I assume that all 5 year olds want hot water bottles as their top present.

Pink.  Fluffy, cuddly fleece.  A Polar Bear, the best of all the animals that can rip your arm off at the shoulder.  It took me two evenings to lovingly hand-sew it all together, and the best bit is that it used up a big chunk of the never-ending fleece stash.

The pattern is from Mollie Makes, issue 35.  I took a photo before I put her mouth on, and then forgot to take another picture.  Rubbish.  I do like it though, and I'll make one for myself at some point, and probably for Lucy and Hattie too.

I also made a cowl, but it looks exactly the same as the cowls I made my daughters, so no pictures there.

March Madness - 7/31

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Ever notice how 'What the hell' is always the right answer?

Another good day.  It must be the weather.  Now it has finally stopped raining and the children can go outside and play, I'm seeing a huge improvement in both behaviour and attitudes, and that includes mine towards them.  I do like this little group as individuals, but it is very hard to be ever-loving, ever-patient when you feel literally under attack.  It's been a good couple of days, and let's hope they continue.

I've been on the booze at 10am for two mornings in a row - an Ash Wednesday service followed by a lovely mass at Lucy's school this morning.  In the car, Lucy gave me some helpful hints about how to behave during her school communion.  There is a lot of standing up and sitting down, and if I don't know what to do, I should just watch her, as she will be doing it right, and there is a lot of singing, and I must just have a go and practise with her at home.  I'm also not allowed to talk or go to the toilet.  I like to think I acquitted myself well.

It's Lent, and a season of self examination has begun.  I don't intend to indulge in any long blog posts about religion or how mindfulness has changed my parenting; I will probably mention some of these in passing.  No chocolate Lent started woefully, when I helped myself to a Jaffa Cake after church on Wednesday.  Ho hum.

I'm going to sit in front of the television and do some knitting.  I doubt I'll have any time to do any sewing; I might just have to carve some out next week.

March Madness - 6/31

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

You speak an infinite deal of nothing

It's been a good day today.  The sun has been shining, the children have been happy, Lucy managed to keep it together until just before bedtime and there is fish pie in the oven.  If only all days were like this.

I was going to cobble together a WIP, complete with a billion photos, but I used up all my photo taking energy on Monday with the dodgy elephants, so I'm just going to write about my lovely Wisteria jumper, currently on hold.

I wrote about it here, when I had just started, and all the cables were in their infancy, and again here when it got a bit bigger, and now I have split for the arms, and it is started to look like a jumper, and has gone from being insanely complicated to beyond dull to work on.

A terrible, terrible self portrait featuring the jumper.

You can see the cables trailing away to nothing, in a rather fine manner, and the cunningly funnelled neck to hide excessive chins.  I really don't look very happy about the whole thing, do I?

The list

Wisteria - going well
Idlewood - started
Blue and Grey Socks - one sock done still done
Elephant blanket - two stripes almost finished.  For Hattie's birthday (December)
Peacock Mittens - one finished, bar the thumb (still)
Ringo and Elwood mittens - still queued

Owl Blanket - finished and done
Paper Dolls - finished and done
Peerie Flooers - finished and done
Alphabet Blanket for Noah - done
Granny's a Square Afghan - done

Hexipuff Quilt - 147/500 hexipuffs done
The Weather in the Streets - 50/400 squares done

It doesn't look like much, does it?

March Madness - 5/31

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Well, I never heard it before, but it sounds uncommon nonsense

The Great British Sewing Bee is the kind of reality programme I can get behind.  The judges are kind and generally helpful, giving constructive criticism, and genuinely wanting to support the sew-ers they are working with, and even though it's not something I could ever do myself, I'm really enjoying it.  I'm drawing the line at handmade leggings.

I'm looking at box pleated skirts at the moment; I've even done a Pinterest board for it here, which is very unlike me.  I'm not sure about Pinterest, seems like a bit of a time sink to me.  I think I've found a pattern that is easy and won't drive me bonkers; McCall's M5591, and I'm thinking about red and white polka dots that I bought to make something for Harriet, but is too nice for children.

The amount of time that the contestants spent on matching the patterns for the pleats caused me quite a lot of consternation; I don't really have that much time. I can have a go at making something properly, I suppose, with a bit of thought and attention to detail put in.  I would love to have a whole weekend just to spend sewing.  What a luxury.  Although I'd probably procrastinate and spend the entire time watching Murder She Wrote and playing on the internet.

March Madness 4/31

Monday, 3 March 2014

Handmade Monday

This WIP was started back in August last year, initially as a present for a new baby; after all the swearing and angry glares, I decided that the vibes were too bad to give to a newborn, and I'm keeping it.  I don't really care for the pattern, it is very difficult to knit in front of the television, plus some of the elephants look a bit, well, weird.

Very pleased to see you, isn't he?  

The yarn is very cheap and cheerful, and very, very clashing in the colour combinations I've chosen.  I'm not sure what possessed me to knit something that gives me such a massive headache.  

I don't know what's worse - the photos or the stitch definition.

It's going to be Hattie's 4th birthday blanket.  It will be three stripes with elephants on, with heart borders, and because I have not done double knitting, it will need to be lined.  I anticipate it being finished at some point in the next year and a half.

The whole pattern book is full of weird and wonderful objects to knit; the Sunflower Jumper is a particular favourite, as is this thing. I won't be knitting anything else from it, I don't think.

I'm sure* it will look fabulous when it is finished.  And I'm going to let Hattie choose the colours for the hearts border, so that will be very colourful and probably two different and clashing shades of pink.

*not sure

March Madness - 3/31

Sunday, 2 March 2014


A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.

Harriet and I spend Friday mornings together.  We both like sitting in Costa.  

I took this picture of Lucy this morning, before the rain came.  She is a bit of a wuss, and doesn't like physical activity much; it is very unusual for her to climb to the top of the climbing frame, but she did it, and she was very proud of herself, as was I.  I'm so glad she is getting more confident and stronger.

March Madness - 2/31

March Madness

Last night, at around 10pm, I had a super idea.  Why not post something fascinating, witty, scintillating and generally all round great EVERY DAY in March?  I could call it "March Madness", or something equally brilliant, and then it could catch on and everyone (no one) would think I was great.  10pm is too late for finding the computer, turning it on, sitting and thinking, so I thought I'd start today, and backdate it (hem).  Anyway, BRACE YOURSELVES for lots of pictures of fabric, sewing projects and children.

First up, a finished project.  I wrote about Lucy's quilt a few weeks ago, and finally got around to finishing it this weekend.  I don't have a lot of time for sewing, as it involves a lot of preparation, and I'm starting to think about making another dress; but even after the girls were horrible on Saturday, I still used my precious sewing time on my ratbag daughter.  That is pure motherly love.

It's not a great photo, but the quilt is keeping her warm tonight.  I finished it just before I went to bed, and put it over her, and she sighed, rolled over in her sleep and smiled.  My heart lifted, and her rotten behaviour was, almost, forgotten.

A WIP.  

The instructions for this jumper has the cheerful instructions, knit in stocking stitch until the cowl neck measures 15 inches.  Boring.  But ideal cinema knitting.  We went to see the Lego Movie today; I did enjoy it.

Two WIPs to be.

I didn't watch "The Great British Sewing Bee" the first time around, we were in Cape Town over Easter, then I went back for Ouma's funeral, so I didn't learn about Tilly and the Buttons until relatively recently.  The top picture is her new pattern, and I might have a bash at her sew-along next week.  Simon is away on Tuesday; I might have a go then.

The second picture is the same pattern as my first dress, but the fabric is totally different, being quilting cotton, and very thin.  This may prove to be a bit of a mistake, so I am going to have a bash at lining it.  I have lovely turquoise bias binding to match it, and I've already made the front (unlined) and I can't wait to get some time to work on it - probably in May.  

Last picture.  A naughty girl on her scooter.  It's taken her a long time, but she has really got the hang of it now.

March Madness - 1/31