Life in a northern town – July 2016, part 2

Today is the first day of the summer holidays.  We’ve had a slow start to the day. The kids are having a water fight in the garden.  We’re still alive at lunchtime.  It bodes well for the rest of the holidays.

Two weeks today, with a bit of luck and nobody playing silly buggers at the last minute, we will be moving house.  Even though we’re having the place professionally packed for us, there still seems so much to do.  I tidied away my sewing machine last night.  I’m not entirely sure if it will come out again in this house, and just how quickly I’ll get it unpacked in the new house.

Number 2 makes me ever so slightly anxious.

But I will have a lovely and spacious sewing room in the new house so it will be worth a little while without sewing.

Won’t it????

I will get some lovely photos of George soon and share them with you.  But till then, this little face will have to do!

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We weren’t planning on getting a new puppy until after the school holidays.

Sometimes it’s good just to throw the plan out of the window!

We had a dance competition for The Boy at the weekend.  Note to self, when travelling over an hour from home to the competition venue at 7am in the morning…it really helps to pack his dance shoes!

Number 9 is Reason 876 why I love The Husband. He drove back home to collect the dance shoes.

The Boy won.  Again.  First place for quickstep and for jive in the 6-7 year old age group.

With his lovely dance partner

With his lovely dance partner for the day.

I may be ever-so-slightly ridiculously proud of him.

His success may have prompted his sister (who is equally talented as a dancer but decidedly more work shy) to up her game.

I’ll leave you with my current favourite pictures of my wee man.  I’ll be beating the girls away with a stick in a few years!

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Summer in the City

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It’s nice to share some sewn stitches for a change.

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How could I resist this adorable London themed fabric?  It’s so very charming.

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How cute is this?  I just love it.

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Fabric constraints meant that I couldn’t pattern match the bodice.  So I fussy cut cute scenes instead. I’m happy with how it works.

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I cut the skirt as one piece to maintain the integrity of the design, and managed to get an almost perfect match on the seam there.

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Thankfully, Miss Button loves it too.

I’ll call that a win!

Project details

Pattern:                             Geranium from Made by Rae

Pattern cost:                     £10 – this is my 5th version, so it’s excellent value for money

Fabric:                               Cotton novelty print from The Buttonhole

Fabric cost:                       £5/mtr (I think).  I used 1 mtr.

 


Fruit pastille socks

If you’re the lady we met on the train to Birmingham, and you’re here to check in on the socks I started, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed today.

Sock knitting has been slowed down by the siren song of an aran weight cardigan for Button, that now only needs….you guessed it….buttons!

And swatching to find a yarn to make up a pattern that calls for Quince & Co…which would need importing and is also way beyond my budget.

But…I do have another, different pair of socks to share with you.

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These have been done for a while and the husband is keen for me to get them photographed so he can have them back to wear.

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I swear I don’t believe the weather will ever be anything else but grey here. The sun broke through for about 30 seconds, but by the time I’d set up the socks and the camera the heavens had opened again. So I’m sucking it up and sharing somewhat gloomy photos.

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But even gloomy photos of socks can be cheery on the greyest of days.  Especially when they bring to mind a roll of fruit pastille sweeties.

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And now I’ve shared I can go back to knitting the anticipated, and very, very jolly socks that I started on the train to Birmingham.

Project details

Yarn:                             Debbie Bliss Realto Sock

Colour:                          2 – Roskilde

Purchased from:          Fabrix, Lancaster

Cost:                               £9.95

Needles:                        2.75mm

Size:                               64 stitch cast on


Flamingo geranium top

The majority of things I’ve made this year (and my productivity isn’t high at the moment) have been woolly socks for my lovely husband.  However I’ve also been sewing for Miss Button, but getting her to pose for pictures has been a whole other ballgame.  8 is the new 14! Small girls are so stroppy!

However, en route to a friend’s party at the weekend, she was in a good enough mood for a quick 5 minutes of photos, despite the overcast and gloomy weather.

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She’s mad for flamingos at the moment so I couldn’t resist this cute and colourful retro Hawaiian flamingo print.  This is yet another geranium top (my fourth time with this fabulous pattern, I think).

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Oh she looks so very, very tired.  Summer holidays can’t come quickly enough!

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I’ll be honest that I made no attempt at pattern matching.  And because of this I managed to squeeze this top out of a metre of fabric.  I had to skimp a bit on the gathering of the skirt.  We’ve reached a tipping point where I need to start buying a bit extra fabric for her. She’s growing so quickly these days.

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Ah….that’s my girl!

As always the Geranium was a quick and simple make that gives great results.  The simple lines really show off the fabric at it’s best.  This is a sweet pattern for little girls and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Project Summary

Pattern:              Geranium from Made By Rae

Pattern Cost:      $10

Fabric:                 Hawaiian-style flamingo print cotton

Fabric Source:   Fabrix, Lancaster

Fabric Cost:        £5.95/mtr


The socks of incredible gaudiness

As the weather isn’t playing ball for pictures of Miss Button in her new mummy-made garments, I took advantage of the grey skies to tone down the incredible gaudiness of these socks.

It worked!  In this picture they look positively subdued!

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This is what they really look like.

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That pink makes your eyes water in bright light!

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We recently had an interesting conversation with Anne at our LYS, & Sew What, about men and colourful socks.  Her experience is that younger men prefer a more sober sock, sticking with plain or only slightly variegated yarns, whilst more mature men love the more colourful, wildly striped yarns.

The husband bucks this trend as he’s hardly an older chap but the more bold the colour combination of the yarn, the more it appeals to him.

Hence, these sunglasses-inducing lovelies.

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There is a small part of me that’s convinced he chooses such combinations as he knows I’ll be knitting as fast as my fingers allow, just to get them off the needles and onto his feet. But he’s such a sweetheart, so that couldn’t possible be the case.

Could it?


Life in a northern town – June 2016

I cannot believe it’s a month since my last post! Life here has been so unbelievably busy that the days are just flying by.  Thankfully it’s all good busy, but it’s busy nonetheless.

The house move is progressing.  Hopefully not much longer now.

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The kids are dancing up a storm so dance classes now take up quite a bit of our time.

I’ve had a very, very big birthday.

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I’ve finished the first year of my accountancy qualifications.  And passed.

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And I’ve been knitting and sewing, but haven’t got a single finished garment photo for you yet.

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I’m hoping to get time to take a breath and get some photos soon.  I’ll try not to take another month to do so!


Lemongrass

I LOVE this sweater.

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I love the colour.  I love the yarn.  I love the pattern.  I love the fit.  I love every. single. thing. about it.

Lemongrass_2The pattern is Lemongrass by Joji Locatelli and it is a complete joy to knit. It’s a beautifully written pattern and I can’t recommend it enough.  I had no project fatigue with this at all.  I’d happily knit it again tomorrow!

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That cable!  Looks complex…is easy enough to knit in front of the TV!

I couldn’t find buttons to match this yarn.  It’s not quite blue and not quite purple. So I stitched up the buttonholes and the sides together.  Problem solved.

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The yarn is Malabrigo Merino Worsted in the colourway Azul Bolita and the pictures do not do it justice at all.  It’s deeply saturated and gently variegated.  It’s soft and squishy and has beautiful drape. It’s a truly joyous yarn.

Be warned…it leaks colour like a mad thing whilst you’re knitting it.  I had blue hands every night I knitted this.

But it’s worth it.

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If only we weren’t heading into summer.  I can’t wait for cooler weather so I can wear this all the time.

 


Burda Scarf Sweater

Do you remember this monstrosity?

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This was  BurdaStyle 123 – 11 /2014 before I set to work on it.

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That’s better!

To be honest, though, this sweater has been a disaster from start to finish.

First up, I bought the PDF version of this pattern and it was simply awful to tape together. It had been printed in a batch of other patterns that all seem to be ok, so I’m laying the blame for that firmly at Burda’s door.  It was all over the place and nigh on impossible to get two pages to line up properly.

Having compared my measurement to Burda’s measurement chart, I did a 4cm FBA.  That was fine.  But I ended up having to fiddle with the bust darts to make them point remotely in the right direction. They’re still a bit hinky. And I chopped inches off both the sleeves and the hem. They were crazy long!

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Most importantly I hand-stitched the scarf to the neckline.  It looks so much better this way and resolved the issue I had with the neckline being a bit too wide.

The fabric was bought at the Knitting and Stitching Show last November.  When I opened it at home I was really disappointed to find these circular marks all over it. They look like faded grease stains and don’t follow the grain of the fabric.  Another disaster!  It’s so disappointing because this fabric is so soft and cosy and just the most amazing colour.

In real life they’re less noticeable than in the photos, but it means that this sweater is probably relegated to chill out wear for home.

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My adorable photobombers!

I’m confident that I won’t be making this pattern again in a hurry.  Not only is it fabric hungry because of the scarf, but the way the front pleats adds bulk where I need it least.  I also prefer the scarf as an integral part of the sweater, so all in all this is just too much faff.

However, I’m glad this fabric is out of the stash and in the wardrobe. And whilst the weather is finally warming up here, this will be waiting for me on chilly nights.


Burda 6985 – a very wearable muslin

I’ve made a start on the first of my planned TNT patterns, which is this BurdaStyle slim legged trouser.

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The fabric I used is a 100% polyester crepe from Abakhan.  I’m slowly edging away from polyester, but I’d booked myself onto a Sewing for Fun day at Stitchscape with Celia Banks, and new this was one of the patterns I wanted to work on.

I’d already cut them in a cotton drill but when I’d tacked them together for fitting it was really obvious there was a problem. It turns out the fabric was completely twisted on the grain. So I needed a replacement fabric.  And fast.

It had to be navy and this was it!

Whilst it was a bugger to sew, it drapes really nicely and worked well in a pinch for the sewing class.

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For the purposes of fitting, I cut without pockets or fly zip and did an invisible zip in the back seam. This isn’t my favourite style of trouser but I believe it’s a great way to simplify the pattern and work on the fit.

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Ah…the obligatory derriere shot!

This clearly shows how flat I am at the back.  I’m straight up and down with no waist or hips to speak of.  This is one of the reasons I have such issues with RTW.

But I’m really happy with the fit at the back. I’m not sure I could get it much better than that.

The front is pretty good too.

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All in all I’m quite pleased with these.

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I think with a couple of tweaks they’ll be spot on.  I definitely need to take the waist in at least 1/2″, maybe as much as 1″.

I also think that I need to drop the waistline by about 1/4 – 1/2″.

And I may scoop that front curve just a smidge too.

Finally, I’d like the leg to be slightly slimmer, as the next pair I make will be the 7/8ths length shown on the pattern and I like a more slender leg for that style of trouser.

But…these are a great pair of smart trousers and a very wearable toile!  I’d definitely wear them for formal meetings (although those are few and far between) or, more likely, with a pretty top and my wedding heels (as here) for dinner out with the husband.

Now if only he’d book the table…..


Where to go?

Okay, my lovelies.  I need some advice.

It’s a not very well kept secret that I have a rather large birthday looming and although Paris was our first port of call for birthday celebrations, circumstances are conspiring against us (in a good way) to prevent this from happening.

So that’s my 51st birthday celebrations sorted. *wink*

However, The Husband, because he’s a superstar, has offered a bit of a jaunt and some fabric shopping as an alternative.  Of course I’m in for that!

So now I need to decide where to go. I’ve narrowed it down to Harrogate or Birmingham.

Harrogate….because Fine Fabrics and Betty’s, of course.

But Birmingham has the markets and Guthrie and Ghani.  And we could go on the train and both have wine with lunch.  There’s also the library which I’ve read has a super sewing reference section, so I could also have a browse and audition some new books for my home library. (I cannot remember who blogged about this recently, but if you know please do share and I’ll credit appropriately.)

So what do you think?  Which should we choose? And do you know any other great places in either city for food, yarn and fabric?