Author Archives: Pendle Stitches

Steampunked sewing

The sewing room is ready to reveal.  The last boxes were unpacked a couple of weeks ago. All the fabric has been sorted, measured and catalogued.  All paper patterns have been scanned to Evernote ready for tagging, and then packed into easily accessible boxes.  Even the new blinds have been fitted.  I just need a bin, an ironing board and iron specifically for that room, and a full length mirror.

As the first thing I’m going to be making is curtains, and I’ve got all of the missing items in other parts of the house, I’d say I’m good to go!

I need to take some photos so I can share with you, but till then I’ve got quick snaps of a lovely sewing room warming present the husband bought me last week from Pipecreative in Hebden Bridge.

I’m sure the vintage sewing machine purists will be up in arms about this but I absolutely adore it!

A Steampunked sewing machine.  A Jones, no less.  It couldn’t be more appropriate!

The owner was highly amused that he was selling a Jones sewing machine lamp to Mrs Jones to go in her sewing room.  He didn’t believe us at first, and double checked the Mister’s bank card when taking payment.

It’s totally bonkers in the best possible way.

Sitting proudly on the windowsill to the side of my sewing table, it’s straight in your eyeline as you enter the sewing room. It makes me smile every time I walk in there.

My hubby buys the absolute best presents.  I’m one very lucky lady!


The little socks that could

My life feels dominated by socks and hospital visits at the moment. This pair is just off the needles and I have two other pairs on the go.  Our little man is on the mend, but his wound is still about 5 inches long, 2 inches wide and 1.5 inches deep. It’s a slow heal.  So three times a week we are at the hospital changing dressings. There is invariably a long wait. That’s ok. We’re glad we don’t need the nurses urgently any more, and are more than happy to wait whilst they prioritise those that do.

Thankfully, a sock is a very portable project.  We grab drinks from the coffee concession on our way in and check into the ward fully prepped for however long it takes.

Whilst my wee man was poorly in hospital I had a sock with me at all times.  It’s tricky to concentrate on knitting with a sick small person in a hospital bed, as the interruptions are constant.  But slowly, slowly, between obs, and while he slept, my hands turned one round of stitches, followed by another.  And slowly, slowly, the sock grew. And each stitch was a moment of calm that took him closer to wellness.

A sock is also a great conversation starter.  I met nurses who knitted but had never dared try a sock, nurses whose grandmothers had knit socks and who thought the art had died out.  A student nurse who had only used a knitting frame and was intrigued to see how it was done “properly”.  Small peeps whose fascination was wide eyed and intent. And worried mums were distracted for a few moments and transported to a place of calm and cosiness.

This is the pair of socks that I knitted by our boy’s bedside.  That commanded attention and brought our little community behind the curtains together.

Who’d have thought a pair of simple socks could do so much?

Project notes

Pattern:                             Regia 4 ply sock

Pattern cost:                     Free

Yarn:                                 Stylecraft Head over Heels

Colourway:                      Kilimanjaro

Purchased at:                  & Sew What, Chorley

Yarn cost:                         About £7?


Cove Cardigan

I do love a good cardigan for Button, and this certainly fits the bill!

It’s a super little pattern that is easy to knit, but you have that lovely lacy button ‘band’ at the front that gives it a certain lift.

The yarn is starting to pill slightly due to wear. I really must get the pill shaver on it soon. But I’d rather that than the garment languish in the drawer unworn!

This yarn is the perfect match for a pair of cotton trousers and print top that we bought from Next last summer.  I’m really hoping she doesn’t outgrow them too quickly as they’re so cute.  I think we’ll get away with the trousers looking adorably cropped, and the top will still be modest enough for her to get this spring out of the ensemble.

This ‘gathering’ is a simple technique but gives the overall garment a bit of shape and some interest to an otherwise plain back.

The 3/4 sleeves are perfect for spring and give a nice proportion.

I have no hesitation in recommending this pattern.  It’s well written and easy to follow, an enjoyable knit that doesn’t need you to concentrate too hard, but the lace front detail takes the edge off the plain stocking stitch.

In fact, I like it so much I made a second version for Button’s school friend, who admired it when it was worn on a playdate!

Project details

Pattern:                             Cove Cardigan by The Velvet Acorn Designs

Pattern cost:                     $6.60

Yarn:                                 Cascade 220

Colourway:                      Smoke Blue and Dusty Rose

Purchased at:                  Loop London (No longer stocked by Loop)

Yarn cost:                         £5.99 per ball from Wool Warehouse

 


Pattern giveaway

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that at the weekend I decided to tip out the boxes into which I’d hurriedly unpacked patterns and have a bit of a sort out.

Hubby has kindly offered to scan everything into an Evernote catalogue for me so I’ll never duplicate a pattern again, and I’m itching to sew but not sure where to start.  It’s been so long, I don’t trust my hands at the moment for much other than sock knitting!

As I emptied each of the 4 boxes that will be the permanent home of the pattern stash, I sorted them into piles of the same…..dresses, trousers, skirts, etc., etc.

It’s a bit of a revelation. I’ve some fabulous contemporary patterns in there, Big 4 and Indie, and also a growing collection of vintage ones that is bigger than I’d originally thought. This is entirely thanks to the kindness and generosity of my lovely friends Liz and Christian, who have gifted me some corkers over the last year or so. Liz is a whizz with the charity shops and is the person who always finds the most amazing things. Vogue Couturier for £4 anyone!?!?

I think I need to get some archive envelopes for these and store them separately. I’ll happily share details in another post if you’re interested.

But for today I’m sharing some spares I have in my stash.

I’ve got half a dozen Cake Patterns up for grabs and a Frozen costume.  Here are the ones available:

If you’d like any of these patterns then please let me know in the comments.  If more then one person wants it I’ll draw names out of a hat!

Let’s say I’ll close comments on this on one on Friday 7th April.  I hope they’ll find a good home.


Iggy

I finally get to share with you a finished project that isn’t a pair of socks.   Hurrah!

Last Wednesday the sun shone brightly upon budding trees and jolly daffodils, and the wee small boy and I took George to the groomers, then popped into a local cafe for a rather splendid hot chocolate.

It was such a lovely day. Especially as he’d terrified us all the previous week by being rushed into hospital and needing an emergency appendectomy.  The spring weather was the perfect opportunity to wrap him in his new Iggy sweater and grab a few shots.  We’re ignoring that the shorts aren’t the best match….they were just the comfiest on the wound area.

I wish that was the end of his medical adventures, but on Saturday afternoon he developed a nasty post-op infection and was back on the ward for another surgery on Monday.  He’s home with us now, snoring his head off as I type, but we have daily hospital visits at the moment to change the packing and dressings on the wound, as they had to leave it open to avoid further infection.

It’s been, quite frankly, bloody awful.  I wouldn’t wish the past few weeks on my worst enemy, let alone a small boy.  Thankfully, today he seems to have turned a corner.  We are hopeful that the worst is over.

So pictures of a smiling boy in the sunshine in his special request jumper are a nice reminder that this too shall pass.

He had a very clear picture in his head of what he wanted.  Having browsed my patterns to find a shape he liked, we drew out some stripes to get the idea out of his head an onto the needles.

The original pattern is Iggy, by Sarah Hatton. Apart from the stripes, the only change I’ve made to the pattern is to knit it in stocking stitch, rather than reverse stocking stitch.

It’s a quick and easy knit and the details of yarn can be found on my Ravelry page.

Needless to say, I have socks back on the needles again!


Life in a northern town – March 2017

Hello my lovelies.

I had a wee window of time where I should be doing other stuff but, quite frankly, can’t be arsed.

I’ve had a lovely morning skiving off with my friend Julia at my favourite cafe, No 15 in Penwortham.  Julia is wise and witty and should be available on the NHS to cheer all who need it.  She’d save them millions.  With avo and poached eggs on toast and a couple of good cups of coffee, it was the perfect end to the week, even if she had to dash off to get her Louie cat to the vets.

Life here is a full as ever.  The hubby is still working every hour god sends.  The kids are dancing 3 nights a week and we’re about to put an advert out for a partner for our wee man.  Much as I’d love them to dance together, my blood pressure really can’t stand it. The pinch and stomp and whinge and whine and it’s just not worth it. Maybe in a couple of years, but not right now.

I’m on the home stretch with the current studies.  I’ve an exam next week and then two more modules and I’m done for this year.   The jury is out whether I’ll do next year.  Which is actually an 18 month course.  I may bunk off and do something fun like a photography course or a couple of weeks of sewing in London (subject to being able to figure out a solution to childcare other than locking them in a cupboard.  Apparently social services frown on that.  Odd! 😉 )

I have much to share with you but it is so grey here that I struggle to get enough light for decent photos.  But…spring is coming, and then I’ll catch up.

There are knits, almost a quilt, and….drumroll….the sewing room.  As soon as I’ve finished the binding on this quilt that Ma made, I can finally, finally go into the sewing room and get to it.  First up is blinds.  Preferably before the clocks change.

I can make 4 roman blinds in 3 weeks, right? (cue hysterical laughter).

I’ve got a review for a great Craftsy course on the topic of curtain making.  So much to share.

But for now, I can share some super good news.  Some of the best.  As you know we’re having rafts of tests and meetings with various medical and educational peeps to try to get to the bottom of some challenges our wee monsters are up against.  Last night we learned that the boy definitely doesn’t have ADD or ADHD and we’re 95% sure he’s not on the autistic spectrum.  We’ll have final confirmation on that within about a month. We are narrowing the field and it feels good.  Once we hit upon an answer it informs the support strategies we can put in place for them.  This also speeds things up for him as the Autistic Spectrum Pathway (the route to a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder) is currently are 49 week waiting list in our area.  Which is shameful.

So, on that happy note I’m off to pin the final stretch of binding so I can spend a happy evening stitching with wine tonight.

Have a great weekend full of the fun things you love to do.


Tropical Two!

Unsurprisingly, I recently cast on another pair of my favourite vanilla sock pattern using a ball of Rico Superba that we’d picked up on our last trip to Black Sheep Wools.

As an aside if you’re ever in the Warrington area, do make a wee detour to Black Sheep. They’re homed in an industrial unit in what feels like the middle of nowhere but in reality is 5 minutes from the motorway.  The store is stuffed to the gunnels with yarn, quilting fabric, and all manner of lovely things.  The staff  are delightful and there is a very lovely tea shop with piles of crafty magazines to browse over coffee and cake.

Anyhoo, back to the socks.

As I was casting on I had a real feeling of deja vu, and not just from the fact that this is the pattern I always use.  As I knitted I just couldn’t shake the feeling, so popped onto my Ravelry project page to confirm what I thought I already knew.

Yep….I’d knitted this yarn before.

My original pair of socks in this yarn were completed in April of 2015…nearly 2 years ago! And they’re still going strong.  Bloody good yarn this!

The odd thing is, though, that this second pair hasn’t come out quite as planned. Where as the first pair came out with perfectly matched stripes, it was impossible to match the stripes on this pair once you hit the heel.   And you can be sure that I tried.

It’s obviously a dyeing error, but annoying nonetheless.

I know that non-matching socks is a perfectly legitimate thing.  And that my obsession with matched stripes is probably more than a little OCD.  But I love matched socks! Sorry…not sorry.

So this pair took all my knitterly nerves of steel to finish, graft the toes and hand them over to a happy husband.

His stripe obsession is, thankfully, always overruled by his obsession with a new pair of socks!

Project details

Pattern:                             Regia 4 ply sock pattern

Pattern cost:                     Free

Yarn:                                 Rico Designs Superba Poems

Colourway:                      Fabre

Purchased at:                  Black Sheep Wools

Yarn cost:                         ?


Eight

The birthdays seem to come in a flurry at this time of the year, hard on the heels of Christmas and New Year.  But, they are welcomed as such a blessing.  Happy, sparkly days in the midst of cold, grey, wet wintriness.

This weekend our sweet boy turned eight.

I can’t believe that the sad wee man who came home to us 7 years ago is now this charming, funny, delightful boy.

Pictures like these still break my heart. He has overcome so many challenges, and still has a way to go.  But whatever he faces, we face together.

And the tricky bits are always overshadowed by the joy and pride we all feel.

Oh, my darling boy.  We are so incredibly lucky to have you in our lives.  The year without you was the hardest every, but I’ll say now what I said then.  You were, and remain, worth the wait.

You are like a permanently lit sparkler, fizzing with light and energy.  Never let anyone dampen that spirit.  Your determination to succeed and competitive spirit will take you to good places.

As will that adorable smile.

Happy birthday, Handsome.  We love you beyond worlds and beyond words.


In a spin

For the last couple of weeks life has been even more chaotic than usual.  Which is the only reason I can think of that I thought it would be a reasonable and sensible thing to put my Boxy sweater on a 400 spin in the washing machine before laying it out to dry.

I know!

I heard that sharp intake of breath!

It was an insane thing to do and this is how it looks today.  It is wearable…I wore it out and about today to check out the fit and nobody pointed and laughed! But it just feels a bit off. So I think the best option will be to cut the bottom off, lose a couple of inches, pick up the stitches and reknit the hem rib.

The only upside is that it’s possibly less likely to droop going forwards.That’s not a good enough upside in my book.

Take it from me…DO NOT put your hand-wash only hand-knits in the washing machine.

8 Comments
POSTED IN:


Pigeon Toes

Santa was good to me this year and brought me a lovely new point and click camera.

As my big Canon is back from being repaired, but is hiding somewhere in the sewing room, it is very lovely to have a new camera to quickly snap some pictures of outstanding makes from last year.

2016 turned out to be the year I became the patron saint of unselfish sewing and knitting, although, to be honest, I didn’t make very much at all.  14 finished items, 13 of them made it to the blog, only 3 of the blogged items were for me, and only 1 of those is still in the wardrobe.  That’s the Lemongrass sweater.  I just love this sweater so very much!  Cosy, easy to wear, makes you look like you’ve made an effort even when you haven’t!

The Burda sweater has been donated as I just couldn’t get to grips with the scarf neck and even though that was stitched in place I still felt very exposed in anything other than an upright position.

The Burda trousers are donated to Ma.  I’m going to alter them for her as they’re a much better style and fabric for her than me.

The main focus of the year has been socks.  And I’ve another pair to share with you today.

Same old, same old pattern, but just a lovely combination of colours in the stripes.

Very subdued by Hubby’s standards.  Absolutely perfect by mine!  I may have to match that pale grey/blue colour for a sweater for me.  It’s sublime!

Now, if I could just get the wee monkeys to stand still for some photos, I could show you that occasionally I knit something other than socks!

Project details

Pattern:                             Regia 4 ply sock pattern

Pattern cost:                     Free

Yarn:                                 Sirdar Heart & Sole

Colourway:                      Pigeon Toes

Purchased at:                  Black Sheep Wools

Yarn cost:                         £4.99