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Wednesday, 16 September 2009

I know, I know...

It has been a while and I have no real excuse except for being a bit busy. I have got a couple of things finished and I still want to chat about the books and magazines I have bought recently but I have just found out that I am moving in a week and a half (OMG!) so it's all hands to the pumps for the next few days. Obviously it wasn't a total surprise as I did choose to move, but I didn't expect things to go so fast. The place I am moving to is a teeny weeny little flat just for moi and I am currently freaking out about/looking forward to the challenge of utilising the space I have so that I can fit all of my crap in. I hate moving but I am really excited. Yay!

Friday, 28 August 2009

UFO’s!!!!!!!!

I have finally got back into the swing of things now that the weather has cooled down a bit, but unfortunately the more agreeable temperatures have brought with them a serious case of startitis. I have so much stuff on the go at the moment I can barely keep up.

This is a Marie skirt for Jessie. I got this far but I want to measure it on her before I go any further and she is on holiday, bummer. So that went on one side and I got on with this

The asymmetric top from Burda World of Fashion 07/09 I have done all the main seams but I didn't have any inclination to cut bias tape so I'm waiting til I can buy some from a shop. Lazy? Yep. So I moved on again.

These are all the bits for a Maryy from Burda Style. I'm planning on making three of these so I'm pleased I have made a start. Why three? Well one is for Jessie, but that will be the last of the three. I'm also making one for me in a really lovely silver grey jacquard with a hearts pattern for a wedding next week and before that I want to make another one for me in some striped seersucker which will act as a bit of a muslin for the smart one for the wedding. I really need to be sure that the dress will flatter me before I go out and buy shoes to match!

I also still have a whole heap of unfinished knitting projects, same old, same old. Brights 2 is moving along at a reasonable pace, it's starting to look like a cardigan now

My first Kai Mei is currently waiting patiently with it's heel all turned waiting for me to remember where I put my stitch markers so I can get on with the foot . I know I could just use little scraps of yarn, but I flipping well bought little stitch markers for sock knitting so I'm flipping well going to use them!

I also have received a new book of patterns and a copy of Knitscene so I'm itching to start yet more stuff. I would tell you exactly what all my faves are but I'm afraid I won't be able to hold myself back from starting something new if I think about all those lovely patterns right now, so I'll save that for my next post!

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Tunic Dress


I finally completed the tunic dress yesterday and what do you know it wasn't a total disaster in the end. It has it's little 'issues' but overall appears to be wearable and Jess likes it, so hurrah! It's a little loose in places and a the hem looks rubbish but given how wrong it went I think we can just be grateful it actually looks like a dress! I will be making the pattern again (correctly!) because it is really nice.

It is actually really nice to have something to write about because it has been so hot here for the last couple of weeks that I haven't really got on with anything. I do hate complaining about the heat because it seems so stereotypically British but the weather has been really sticky and close. So once the temperature dropped just a little bit the other day I was able to pick up where I left off and finish Jessie's dress and also get on with Brights 2 which we last saw with an unwanted row of eyelets. As always, when I finally got on with it that problem was easily sorted and I couldn't work out why I had left it so long! I have now finished the increasing for the sleeves and now I'm making a charge for the neckline. when I actually get on with this it is a really quick knit and I can't wait to have it done.

That's pretty much it today, I ordered the latest copies of Interweave Knits and Knitscene a couple of days ago and also Kim Hargreaves Amber so I'm sure I'll have plenty of things to say when they arrive....and of course a complete rethink of my knitting queue!

Monday, 3 August 2009

Plan B is go

Well, I'm pleased to announce that the tunic dress is indeed salvageable and looks like it will fit Jessie very nicely with a few tweaks. Left as it is it fits almost everywhere apart from around the arms. This is obviously because the yokes are way too little to be doing without their seam allowances, thank you very much! At first I thought I would just whip off the yokes and cut new ones, but when I remembered that I had already sewn in the zip very securely I began casting around for other ideas. So, hopefully I can continue on as if nothing was wrong whilst being very stingy with seam allowance and then I should be able to bridge the gap between the shoulder seams, either with self fabric inserts or perhaps just little ribbons. I really hope it all comes together because I'm totally onto a winner if this works out. Now I just have to tell the cats. They seem to have decided that all must be lost and have already made a claim to this dress. No matter where I put it down, I turn round and there is a cat sitting on it. Without fail. Someone hand me the sticky tape, I'm off to de-fluff the flipping thing again.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

One down....

I'm very pleased, I actually have completed one of my 'things for Jessie to take to Uni' projects. To be fair it is just a bag, but ticking things off is always fun. I won't bother taking pictures because it is practically identical to this one, except I have sewn a button and loop on as a fastener this time. I'm going to pop round and see her tonight and get her try on the tunic dress and then I can tick another one half off. Oh yes, about that, I went back and looked at the instructions and it turns out that I must have hallucinated the bit that said seam allowance was included. It wasn't. Oops. Seam allowances 2: Me 0.

Anyhow, this is just a self congratulatory quickie, my brother is arriving home from Manchester soon, hopefully for good so I'm gonna go see him shortly. We will all be glad to see him back, but it's hard not to see the irony. My parents were finally on the home straight to an empty nest with Jess off to uni and now Sam is coming back. Hee hee!

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Plans

I had a really nice night on Tuesday, my little sis came round and we spent the night choosing patterns and ordering fabric so I can make her some clothes before she goes off to University. Although it was apparent that she has inherited the same thrifty gene that I have and therefore mostly picked fabric from the fabric pile, I did still manage to order quite a lot of new stuff. A massive box duly arrived this morning, packed to the brim with goodies. Thanks efabrics!

So what will I be making? Another Marie, but this time in an altogether more Autumnal grey corduroy, yet another Estelle bag in the leftover cushion material that never ends, a modified one of these in black satin, a dress sort of like this in grey cotton and a tunic dress in black just like the one I have been making for me… or possibly the actual one I have been making for me because at the moment it's not going to fit me. At all. I am very well aware that this is because I stated that it most certainly wasn't going to be too small. I was concerned it might be a little large, but it couldn't possibly end up too small. Guess what. It's too small, but only in one place! Basically the bottom hemline is way too narrow and although it does fit I won't be able to get it on once I have sewn the shoulders because I need to step through the top. However, while I am feeling the sting of hubris at work, I am aware that there are many options and I will keep sewing. Plan A is to get Jessie to try it on, if it fits her then happy days, job done and I can start another one for me once all her stuff is done. If it doesn't fit her then there's Plan B, I still keep going and either make a split up the back or one at each side allowing me to pull the dress over my bum, which I currently cannot do. I think this might look a bit strange so my Plan C is to shorten the whole thing into a top which should be fine because the top half is actually quite loose. Luckily it looks like will be able to try plan A and if it doesn't work I can move on to plan B etc. As long as I try them all in the right order I have at least 3 chances to sort this out before I hit plan D. Plan D involves jumping up and down on the garment and then putting it on the window sill for the cat to sleep on. That way at least someone wins!

So, in the interest of equality I also have a knitting snafu dilemma as well. As I started increasing for the sleeves on Brights 2 I started wondering if it was going to matter if my eyelets didn't quite match up due to the increased stitches. Obviously I subconsciously decided I'd better find out sooner rather than later because I have added a row of eyelets about 5 rows too soon.

That last row of eyelets – the ones that are staring me in the face and mocking me – that should be a row of ribbing and the row that I have got to, that should be a row of eyelets. Yep, it took me that long to notice. Now I need to decide if I can live with it or if I'm going to rip back. Ripping back will involve me having to work out where I got to with the increases which is a pain but living with it may drive me mad. I've tried telling myself it is on the back so at least I won't see it, but I'll just imagine that everyone is staring at my back wondering how I could wear such a shonky garment – aargh! I think I'll let it rest for a few days while I try to forgive it for being wrong and then I'll deal with it.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Grumble

After being unceremoniously turfed out of my sewing room (again) I have spent the last couple of days relocating my bits and bobs into the living room and trying to set everything up in a way that is workable for me but isn't totally in the way. I have tucked myself into a little corner, quite neatly I think, but I can't really do much until I get a lamp that will fit in the corner with me. I did sit down on Sunday and attempt to get on with my tunic dress, but I made a total dogs dinner of sewing the yoke on to the front – again - and then found I couldn't see a flaming thing when I tried to unpick it. I will try and crack on again tonight, but if I go blind in the process you are more than welcome to say I told you so!

So does this mean I have got loads of knitting done instead? Of course not, that would be too easy! I am just about to start increasing for the arms on Brights 2, which sounds impressive but really isn't because the arms pretty much sprout from the waistband on this one. Unfortunately there have been distractions the last few days. Obviously sorting out the sewing corner has been one, especially as it all involved a trip to Ikea to find a smaller table and some drawer to hide all my fabric in. We've also been totally needing a new mattress for ages so most of yesterday evening was spent trailing round shops self-consciously lying on beds and trying to avoid the gaze of overzealous sales people who feel that they need to explain that you need to lie on a bed to test it. Really?!? Oh and then there is Secret Agent Clank. Yes, once again all my creativity is thwarted by video games! I'm a total sucker for a platform game, throw in a cute robot and I'm doomed until I either finish the game, get stuck or grow an extra pair of hands so that I can knit and fight robotic ninja assassins at the same time. Maybe I'll get working on that one, I could make a fortune!

And yes, that is a cat bum hanging out of my chair in the pic at the top. 5 minutes that chair was there before Pootle claimed it!

Friday, 24 July 2009

It’s good, but it’s (probably) not right

Progress was made last night with my tunic dress and I can see it taking shape now, which always spurs me on. If I wasn't looking forward to it so much I'd be a bit gutted that I'm off out tonight so I won't be able to do any more until Saturday! So , last night I finished up the gathering which for some reason I always dread but is never actually a problem and then sewed the back pieces to the front piece just leaving one open seam at the back. After cursorily wrapping it round myself and holding it together at the back moment I'm quite confident that it will not turn out too small. I then went to attach then bias binding to the underarms and was a little confused that it did not reach the whole way round. Had I made super massive armholes? A quick check of the pattern revealed that I had cut the binding for the wrong pattern and that actually they should have been about 7 cm longer. Oops! So I quickly re-cut those and cracked on. At this point the instructions were not written in a way that made any sense to me whatsoever and I'm pretty sure that I have done this bit at least slightly wrong, but it looks neat and tidy don't you think?

And that's pretty much the stage I am at now. I did pin the front yoke on and have a go at sewing that on, but I didn't do it all that neatly and I ran out of bobbin thread halfway across so I gave up for the night. Roll on Saturday. Like I said, I am going out tonight, I'm having a night on the town with my old work colleagues from when I used to work at Medway Council. We periodically have a big old night out and it invariably gets a little messy, so I may be over the limit for operating a sewing machine until at least tomorrow afternoon! Maybe a spot of light knitting will be in order tomorrow morning instead! I have made sure the fridge is stocked with all the ingredients for a nice Full English for the morning. How's that for preparation. Right, now if only I can arrange for it to stop raining…..

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Photo update

I went to see the new Harry Potter film last night, so I haven't made much progress on any of my projects but I thought I had better stick some pictures on here just so that we can see where I have got to with everything.

This is my tunic dress which I started a few days ago. Clearly it is still a bunch of bits, but I have overcast all of the edges and sewn the basting for the gathering. I would really like to have this done for the weekend so I'm going to have to work really hard on it tonight and tomorrow night.

This is the beginning of Brights 2. Not much to show here but the pattern is really easy. I like how it is mostly stocking stitch but has single ribbed rows and an eyelet row thrown in just often enough to keep you on your toes.

Here is the first few inches of my charades

And here is where I have got to with my Kai-Mai's

And with regards to the Harry Potter film…. as usual, disappointing. I do know that the films can't contain all that is in the book and that's fine and usually with a second watch I can enjoy them better because I know what is left out etc, but when they add bits in (i.e make them up!!!!!) it doesn't half annoy me. Why, when you have to miss bit of the book out, important bits to my mind, would you add bits in that are nothing to do with the book? Why?????? There's some really nice knitwear it in though. Rant over.

Monday, 20 July 2009

LOTF, busted vehicles and seam allowance fail

Ok, it's been a few days so once again I am in catch up mode.

The weekend before last was the Lounge on the Farm festival, which I had been looking forward to all year. Largely I was not disappointed, lots of music, loads and loads of yummy food and rather a lot of booze. Friday was a lovely day all sunshiney and warm and even though it cooled down in the evening I popped on my bee dress and wings and made sure I drank enough to stay warm! I'm pleased to say the dress held up well and looked pretty cool. It kept falling down a bit at the back, but nothing too disastrous considering I didn't really measure anything. Saturday was a bit of a yucky rainy day, which combined with a nasty hangover kind of took the wind out of my sails, but I had a good day eating far too much food and drinking cups of tea. The Sunday was a proper scorcher and we went home after lunch due to feeling all crispy and dirty and covered in bugs. Turns out that could have been really lucky because the car started playing up on the way back and we only just made it. It hasn't started since, which is a total pain in the bum. It turns out that trying to do a reasonable sized food shop for 2 people and 2 cats on a Vespa is not really an option. I hope the part we need to fix it turns up soon!

With all of this going on I have got very little knitting and sewing done, but I had a bit of a blitz yesterday and have got a bit of my mojo back. I cut out all the bits for this (the one with no sleeves). I have overcast all the edges and I want to get some more done tonight, it looks fairly simple to start with but the instructions for later bits seem a bit impenetrable so we'll have to see how it goes. I also picked up my needles to cast on for Brights 2 from Rowan Studio 11. I scored 7 balls of Rowan Calmer for about 15 quid from eBay and I've had my eye on this for a while so I couldn't bring myself to wait until I had finished something else before casting on. I made Brights 1 a little while back and I really like it so I have high hopes for this one. The only problem with Brights 1 was the buttons which kept coming undone by themselves. I thought about replacing them with bigger ones but they would have been too close together so I finally got around to just sewing the whole button band area together. The cardigan is meant to be a bit baggy and just slips over my head so it's all worked out ok. Brights 2 is closed by a ribbon in the pattern, but I'm also not sure how secure that will be so I'm going to do some thinking and see if I can come up with a better way.

As for the strapless top from Burda World of Fashion 06/09 that I was making last time I posted, I have to report an epic fail on that one. I mentioned the problem I was having with all the layers, which meant I was already having my doubts but then I thought it looked as if the top part was going to end up a little short. Just to try and redeem myself I must add that at this point it didn't take me too long to work out why, it's just a shame that I didn't apply my brain from the start! When I traced the pattern I forgot that I needed to add a seam allowance. Fortuitously (or so I thought) I had also traced the pattern a size too large and therefore I could just cut out the bits and use the extra size as a seam allowance. Ingenious, not. Clearly the vertical measurements of that top part are not generous enough for me to get away with this, especially since the seam allowance on the top edge is used to form part of the elastic casing later on so I can't even try and get away with fudging it. Oh well lesson learned eh!

Monday, 6 July 2009

Now it’s only mildly scorchio!

Yesterday – finally – the temperature actually dropped enough to allow me to do some knitting, albeit only if I was sitting outside but still. The first thing I did was cast on for a second pair of Charade's, knit the first row and then switch back to my Kai-mei's. Why? Well I think things are about to get complicated with the Kai-Mei pattern and as I am going to a festival at the end of the week I am hardly going to want to be constantly referring to a pattern. The charade pattern is so super easy that I can just get on with it so it should be perfect. Now I just have to keep on praying that we will have lovely weather at the weekend so that I can get some knitting done whilst sitting in the sunshine listening to lots of live music.

I have also got a wee bit of sewing done, but I am having serious anxiety over my current project so the going is slow. I'm making a boob tube thingy and all in all it looks really easy – and I guess it is – but I and just about to sew the upper back and front together and the seams look like they will be about 3 feet thick! The front consists of a front piece with bust darts and two drape pieces which are both made from the fabric folded double. These overlap and are sewn at each side, so that is already 5 layers of fabric, not including where the dart is and the back is a back piece and a single layer drape piece, so altogether that is 7 layers. Crazy. If I had really thought this through I may have considered looking for a much more lightweight jersey before considering this one. Especially at there is also a lining to go in there as well. By the time this is finished I will have added a good two inches to my bosom! I'm having a nagging feeling that this is going to be a total disaster and the knitter part of me keeps saying 'rip back'. Obviously I have to remind her that all I will end up with is a load of sad pieces that really can't be made into anything else. I do enjoy sewing and the comparatively instant gratification I get from it, but knitting is just magic. When you make a total arse up you can just unravel it and you are back where you started, pretending it never happened.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

FO’s flying all over the place


Well whaddya know, I set out to complete my bee dress and my Marie skirt by the end of the week and by Wednesday night I was all but done. Now I need to decide what's next and get cracking before I lose my mojo! Last night I started with the bee dress which you may recall was fine from the front but had a big triangular gap at the back through which my bottom could be viewed. With the aid of my sister I put of piece of paper under the gap whilst wearing the dress and drew the outline of the triangle so that I had a kind of pattern for the inset. I then cut out a triangle of the yellow t-shirt and sewed that into the gap. All that remained was to make a long string from the bottom of one of the black t-shirts, poke holes at the edges of the insert and lace that baby up like so:

My insert was incredibly badly sewn in but lacing over the top of it seems to have covered that up, so I'm glad I decided to do that. The back needed trimming a bit because the act of adding the insert made the back a bit longer than the front. Overall though, it's pretty cool and looks like what it is supposed to be, which is a start. All I need now is a pair of wings, which I know I can get at the festival and if I have the time or the inclination I may make a matching pair of legwarmers.

Also done is my Marie skirt (pattern here). It was really quick to finish once my invisible zipper foot arrived (also received a magnetic seam guide to stick on my machine which is a total godsend if you suffer from wobbly seams like I do). I didn't quite finish it last night as it was after 11 and I remembered I needed to hand sew the inside of the hem facing thingy so I gave up and went to bed. Amazingly, given my intense dislike of hand sewing, I actually got on and did this today and my skirt is done. I'm reasonable pleased with it, it is a little large so can't really be described as high waisted and consequently is a bit longer than intended but it looks good even if it doesn't look like it is supposed to!

On a completely different and off topic note I would just like to air my displeasure for British Gas who yesterday fired my l'il bro from his job. After extending his probation period because he was off sick on 2 occasions, he has now got the sack for being off sick a third time. Given that the second time he was ill he went to see occupational health and they could see he was genuine and the third occasion was a bout of gastroenteritis for which his doctor signed him off because a)he was far too ill to work and b)it was highly infectious and there are 3 pregnant people in his office, this seems a little harsh. I don't really have a point because I'm sure they can do this if they want to but it seems like bad practice to me and I just wanted to mouth off a bit. So there!

Monday, 29 June 2009

I are sweating!

I'm going to start by stating the only thing that has been on my mind for the last few day. By all that is holy it is HOT! Which would be fine if it wasn't so flippin' humid. Needless to say, therefore, that not much knitting has been occurring. Before it became so warm I cast on for Kai-Mei in some very fetching green Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn and I have about an inch and a half to go before starting the heel. So far they have been pretty brainless and dull in 3x3 rib but the foot part looks quite complicated so it should balance out. So with knitting not so much an option at the moment I have been concentrating on my sewing. My Marie skirt is certainly taking shape, although as usual I failed to look ahead and I am now anxiously awaiting the arrival of an invisible zipper foot so that I can get on. Once the zip is in I just need to add the facings for the waistband and bottom edge. Currently I can't make head nor tail of the instructions after the bit where the zip goes in, but I'm hoping all will become clear while I'm doing it. If not it'll be back to the old standby, making it up as I go along. Speaking of which I have also been busy making myself a bee costume, the idea for which was conceived in a very boring meeting last week. I must add that this was not a random urge, I am going to this festival in Canterbury in a couple of weeks and my friends and I like to dress up for the occasion. See evidence from last year.

Anyway, so instead of buying the bumblebee fur fabric I saw online the other day I decided that it would be much cooler to buy a stack of yellow and black t-shirts, cut them into strips and go from there. This was a little time consuming but I'm glad I did it. It looks pretty cool and should keep me much cooler (arf!) than the furry stuff. I made sure that the strip at the top of the dress came from the bottom of a t-shirt so that I could use the hem as a ready made casing for elastic. After threading that through and securing it I sewed the top two strips together and then hemmed the rest of the way down the dress to form a triangle.

This is where I have got to so far, I have an idea what is going to happen next, but I'm not 100% sure. Check back tomorrow to see where it ends up.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

T-shirt - Raawwwww!

Since I bought a book about reconstructing T-shirts a little while back I have been hacking and slashing like a good un, but a couple of weeks ago I bought a T-shirt with a massive great picture which I couldn't bear to chop into but couldn't find a suitable project that would preserve it in it's entirely. So I decided to make it up myself. I really like the finished project so here is a quick how to in case anyone is interested.


Ok so the picture is not the best, but you kind of get the idea, essentially go are getting a kind of tunic top, with big old armholes, tied together with string! If you think this is a good look then grab a t-shirt, this one is a small men's one with a giant robot on it. Coooool! Chop off the neckband. If you think the T-shirt is way longer than you'd like then trim off the bottom too. I didn't because I like the long length of this. Make a mark about 15cm from the bottom on either side then slice - sorta curvy like - from just inside the sleeve seam down to your mark.

Try the result on. This is where you can fiddle about and make it perfect. When I tried mine on I decided to make the neckline a little wider and also trimmed the back a little to make it a bit 'racer back'. Once you are happy you have 2 choices either wear it as it is (with a vest top underneath if you are going anywhere respectable) or make ties for the sides. I decided mine looked a bit tabardy to start with so I popped it on and pinched the sides together to see where the ties would be most flattering. I then poked a pair of scissors through both layers and threaded through a strip off of one of the sleeves I removed earlier. Repeat to match on the other side. Done. Wear to pub. Get loads of compliments (well that's what happened to me anyway)!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Swift

My new favourite thing:

Love. It. I don't know why I have put off getting one for so long and I know Chris can't understand why he has had to sit with his arms out for hours on end when I could have shelled out a few quid for one of these! Anyway, I've got it now, under £20 from here. Oops, nearly forgot, The yarn being artfully wound in my kitchen is Manos Del Uruguay Wool Clasica. Hopefully it will very soon be a hat. I also wound a skein of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn in a very fetching shade of green in the blink of a eye. It's quite sad how much that pleased me!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Monkey!

As you can see my Monkeys are finally done. They took a bit longer than expected cos I kind of slacked off and did other things in between, but I've got there and I love them. I think they may be my favourite socks, at least for this week. The pattern was really great to knit, much easier than it looks and I'm really pleased with my choice of yarn too (Regia Colour in Candy). I like how the yarn is plain enough to really show a pattern but has the little colourful blobs just to make them a bit more interesting. Love, love love!

To continue on a theme, Cookie A's book, Sock Innovation, plopped through my letter box the other day and I can see myself trying out some of those patterns very soon. Kai-Mei is a definite favourite and Rick (Rav links) is also a must have for me. Some of the patterns have really crazy looking charts and I think I will need to build up to those but overall it is a book definitely worth picking up if you are a sock knitter.

Leading nicely on from that little review, I also received my first copy of Burda World of Fashion the other day. After having a good look through their archives I decided I would try it and ordered a six month subscription. Although some of the photos leave you guessing a bit there are a fair few things in there I may try. This, this and this are particular faves and I even have some fabric I could use. My main challenge is going to be actually getting on and making these things before the next issue arrives and I fall in love with a load of stuff in that one. One thing I really like about the magazine is that it is just loads of pages with pictures of the projects on, the patterns and instructions in the middle and that's it. There's no fluff. Really it is just like a clothing catalogue, except you get to make the things you like yourself and you know it's going to fit. I bought and British sewing mag recently (for a similar price I might add) and it had a few patterns for small thing a couple of larger projects that I didn't really like and then page after page of waffle and interviews and things to buy that were ready made. I hate to say it but really it doesn't surprise me that most people think of sewing and knitting etc as crafty nonsense for scatty older ladies. That's as deep as that observation goes for the moment, it was just something that struck me!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Sewing Machine Meme

Saw this sewing machine meme on the Sew Mama Sew blog (check out blogs I read) and thought I'd fill it in. I spent absolutely ages researching before I bought my machine so I think it is a really great idea that they are collecting people's responses to create a really useful resource. Right, let's crack on!

What brand and model do you have?

Janome 4618

How long have you had it?

About 3 months

How much does that machine cost (approximately)?

£195

What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?

I bought it to make clothing but I also make bags and cushions etc. Anything I can think of - I'm not a quilter though.

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?

I try to sew every week, so between half and hour and 3 hours a week maybe.

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?

I like my machine a lot. When I decided to try out sewing I bought a cheapo machine because I didn't want to spend money on something I didn't use. That machine only lasted a few months and was not a pleasure to use when it was working. This machine was worth the money to me because everything just seems easier and I'm much less frustrated.

What features does your machine have that work well for you?

I like the top loading bobbin - I'm very lazy and the temptation to sew everything with the same thread is overwhelming if it takes ages to reload. I love the overcasting stitches and the way all the feet and needles have their own cubby holes in the top of the machine. Being able to change the speed to low on the foot pedal is useful too.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?

Not really but I haven't had it very long.

Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it!

Again not really, but I can see myself sticking with it for a long time so who knows!

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?

Absolutely. For a sort of mid range machine it was not too spendy and I've had no probs at all. I did do alot of research before I purchased it because I didn't want to buy another hunk of junk but at the same time I didn't want to spend more than necessary. It has all the features I wanted without being bogged down by stuff I'll never use. It is well constructed and charges through loads of layers without breaking a sweat.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?

Think about what you realistically will use it for, taking into consideration any skills you want to learn in the near future. Considering that make a list of things which are essential and desirable for you and look for machines that have those.

Do you have a dream machine?

One with a little hot plate to keep my cup of tea warm!

One jigsaw done

Well it happened a lot more quickly than I had anticipated, but I have an FO for you.

Yes it's another Estelle. This one has a few little differences from the first but is essentially very similar. The main difference is that it is a much neater job than the first. I used an overcasting stitch to join the lining and outer pieces which killed two birds with one stone and adds a little less bulk and I also added a strip of interfacing around the opening of the bag because I find that the first one I made is a little floppy and sometime the top is pulled down a little and the lining pokes out. I'm pretty happy with it, I just need to sew a popper on and then it can go on the present pile because much I like it I did make it for someone else. Plus I made it with leftover fabric from my cushions so I can't keep it. I could just see me coming in, throwing it down on the sofa and someone sitting on it!

Next up I need to piece together the other 2 projects which are currently just small piles of bits. First is a wallet made using this tutorial. I did make a start on the zipped pocket but I made a fairly crappy job of it. Really I need to start that bit afresh but as usual I am procrastinating and have hidden that bit under all the other pieces so I can pretend that it really isn't that bad. I may have to do all of the other bits that I can and then maybe I will have built up some momentum and will get it done. After that there is my version of this skirt. The fabric I am using is quite light so I'm hoping that it will end up being a little less structured than the pattern intends. I'm fairly sure that if I wear a skirt that stands too far out from my body I will just look slightly insane rather than cool and fashionable as intended. I'm going to be really careful when I make this because if all goes well I'm going to make myself a dress. Fingers crossed.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Oops, it’s been a while!

I haven't posted for ages, mainly due to being a bit lazy, nut also I have been quite busy. I can't really remember everything I have been up to ( maybe I should write these things down. Oh yeah, that's what this blog is meant for!) but here are the highlights.

1. Knitting. My Monkeys are nearly done, just a couple more repeats on the foot and then the toe to do. They should have been done by now, but I just had to cast on for the spiral heelless socks from Easy Knitted Socks and I had to complete the first one of those before I could bring myself to work on anything else. I have wanted a pair of them since I made a pair for a friend last year, but after I purchase the yarn I found that I had no idea where the book with the pattern in was which kind of delayed things a little. Chris found the book last week, in a wardrobe heaven knows why, so I was finally able to get on with them. I really like this pattern, it is kind of mindless but you do have to pay a little bit of attention to where you have got to. Most of all I like how you end up with a lovely snugly pair of socks which are just perfect for lounging around in indoors.

2. Sewing. I haven't done much sewing wise. I had one mad evening where I cut out all of the bits for 3 different projects. I am slowly getting some of these bits sewn together but I seem to hit a snag every time I get started, so essentially all I have done is create a load of jigsaw pieces which I am feeling very guilty about not fitting together. I have also just taken delivery of a whole load more fabric and am having to fight the urge to cut pieces out of all that until I have completed at least one of the current projects.

3. Chris. Chris won his case for unfair dismissal against his former employers last week, which was a good end to a long, laborious and stressful process. I know he is a little disappointed that he received the minimum in compensation but to my mind being told that you were right is always nice. Especially as the company's representative thought that he could stand up in a tribunal and say that the reason they hadn't followed proper redundancy procedure, even after we wrote to them and told them where they went wrong, was because they didn't like Chris very much. Way to go genius! Hilarious.

4. Race for Life. I completed the Race for Life yesterday and even though my training dropped off a bit in the last couple of weeks because I hurt my back I'm pleased to say it was much better that last year. My time wasn't much quicker but I ran way further without stopping and could probably have ran the whole way if it hadn't been quite so tropical yesterday. In the end I had to walk for a few minutes after I hit the 2 mile mark because I could feel myself overheating royally and didn't want to do myself a mischief. My mum made it round too and we have made probably £200 or so for Cancer Research which is what it is all about.

Well that is about it for now. Hopefully I will have some FO's very shortly to share. Until then.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Things I have done…

It's been a few days since I last posted which means I have to try and remember what on earth I have been up to and then hope that some of it is interesting enough to write about. Luckily I have had a week off, been to a local festival, had a birthday and completed some projects so there should be some material in there somewhere! So unlike my last post I can write about the things I have done, rather than the things I haven't. However I must start my mentioning that my birthday came and went without the completion of any of the projects I had planned to have done by then. This is because I was suffering from a severe case of 'everything I touch turns to crap' syndrome. I'm sure this happens to everyone from time to time, but it took me about a week to shake this bout. I tried to finish my envelope clutch, I gave up cos it was crap. I very carefully designed something similar, but smaller and simpler. It was crap. It looked fine on the inside but it wouldn't have closed and the card slots were about a millimetre too small. This all took about 3 days with nothing to show so I gave up on sewing to enjoy my birthday weekend. If I stopped sewing, things would stop being crap, right? Wrong. Saturday was the first day of Sweeps Festival and I had planned a nice relaxing day, shopping, having lunch then off to sit in the sun and drink beer followed by more beer in a pub garden. I went off shopping bought a new dress and some other bits and bobs and moseyed home, so far so good. The dress I was going to wear inexplicably looked crap on me, so I broke out the new one and was pleased. I started to do my hair and my straighteners stopped working. I decided not to get frustrated and leave them for a few minutes to cool off and try them again. Walking out of the room I caught my new dress on the door catch, there was a terrible ripping sound and I was stuck. I eventually extricated myself, had a good old swear and fired up the sewing machine. Dress fixed I discovered I had hoped too much for the straighteners which were buggered. I found an old set and got ready to leave the house. Despite it being a glorious day I thought ahead and grabbed a hoodie to wear for when it got cold later on and then promptly left that at the bus stop so that I could end the day at around midnight drunken and shivering, cursing my luck. Sunday started better, I was correctly attired and managed not to break anything. All was going swimmingly until we decided that we had better get something to eat and then Chris ate something which violently disagreed with him and we had to get home quick before there was a seismic bum event. On the plus side we were home in time for Supernatural. Monday was my actual birthday, my family came round and I scored a whole load of vouchers and cash plus a super cutting mat and rotary cutter combo which has proved invaluable for my small sewing project. Thanks mum! Then it was off to the pub again.

And there it would appear, my bad luck ran out because I have completed 2 projects! I tried the envelope clutch again and, while it could be a bit neater it is pretty cool and will be really useful for nights out (side pics). I also made an Estelle bag (below)for times when I need a larger bag with handles. Once again I could have done a slightly neater job, but I love it. Apart from a couple of fiddly bits it was really quick and easy to make and I can see a few more of these in my future. The instructions were a little hard to fathom on reading then through, but if you follow them step by step as you go all becomes clear. Now I want a matching wallet so I have a trio of skully accessories for all occasions. I love this How-to and think I will be trying it very shortly.

Thinks have also been going right on the getting fit front too. I had avoided getting on the Wii Fit for a while because my exercise has dropped off a bit recently as I have been really busy and I didn't want to know how much weight I had put back on. However I finally braved it and much to my surprise I had lost an entire 5lbs!!!!!! that puts the total loss so far as 1 stone 4 lbs, which is not too shabby. I do however need to get back in the pool and back out for some runs as the Race for Life is in less than 3 weeks. So far my Mum and I have raised over £100 and I want to be in tip top condition on race day. So all in all I have got quite a lot done since my last post. Good job!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Things I haven’t done

Yesterday I made a list, a very detailed and comprehensive list, of what I need to do each day in order to get my envelope clutch and matching bag finished by the weekend. Did I get any of it done last night? Hell no! I have nearly finished the leg on my second monkey sock though. Maybe tonight will be different though. Tonight there is very little on television, which may help. However Chris just texted me from home to tell me a parcel has arrived for me, the contents of which will most likely be a little distracting. Although I already have an mp3 player with a matching armband which I take running with me, I have found it a bit annoying to have the wire flapping around and the armband makes me sweaty. So when I saw that Sony have made a walkman which has all the gubbins attached to your ears and has no wires I had to have one right now. I have been waiting for days for it to arrive and now it's finally here!! Right I'm off to rework my 'things to do' list to incorporate all the stuff I didn't do yesterday and include putting music on my new walkman and going for a run to try it out.


 

Monday, 27 April 2009

High hopes

I have to say that Generation T is fast becoming my best buy of the year so far, yesterday I made the purple wonder to the side from a large men's T-shirt. I'm not convinced that many large men would actually have chosen to wear it in it's original state so I guess that makes it even more of an original. All in all it took me about an hour to make, and that includes the bath I took half way through! And yes, I did take that picture in a toilet cubicle. But the cubicle in question is at work and I wanted to demonstrate that I am actually wearing these things in public.

I have also nearly finished the Summer Blouse I was making from Weekend Sewing. By nearly finished I mean that it now has two sleeves, rather than the singular sleeve it had been sporting for over a week. I still need to shorten the sleeves, because I would prefer that my hands can actually protrude from them, sew the hem and partially close the placket because, unlike my hands, my boobies can currently be seen! So who knows, maybe there could be a work toilet picture of me finally wearing that one tomorrow. I am itching to get it finished so that I can move on to all the other projects I am desperate to get done this week. This coming weekend is a bit of a biggy and I want to be looking totally cool with all my individual things. This weekend is Sweeps Festival in Rochester, which is a bit of a strange affair with morris dancers and people dressed as chimney sweeps galore, but there is also a heck of a lot of ale to be drunk and all the gang will be there having a fine old time. It also happens to be my birthday too so I fully intend to have my finished envelope clutch at the ready to buy beer from and a lovely matching bag to go with it. Realistic? As long as I don't sleep it will be!

Knittingwise I am now on Monkey no. 2. No. 1 fits nicely and I am still loving the pattern so all is well. All of my other projects are lying fallow still and may stay that way for a while as I have had many requests for hats recently. I'm not sure it is really worth the effort given that we are finally enjoying some sunny weather, but Mark has been waiting over 2 years for his so maybe I'd best get on with that one at least! I'm thinking this (Ravelry link) in black and red stripes. I was going to design him something but I've never knitted a mens hat and I have such a tiny head myself that I couldn't really be sure if it was going to fit so I think I'll stick to a pattern on this one. Maybe I will take it to Sweeps at the weekend just to show him that I really am getting on with it finally. Ah that'll be the life. Knitting, tankard of ale and all my friends on a long weekend. Bliss!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Bo-o-ooring!

This is going to be a bit of a pointless post but I am currently sat on the enquiry desk at work and over the last 46 minutes I have been enquired of just twice. Both enquiries have been about paper. I have 74 minutes left (correct me if I am wrong) and I'm not confident that it is going to get any more interesting. I work in a university library, which is actually pretty cool and it has been really busy here just recently as dissertation deadlines etc have been looming. However, enquiry desk duty is the job we all groan at. Usually it is done by the subject librarians but when they are thin on the ground their assistants (e.g moi) get rota'd on. The purpose of the desk is to help students use the catalogue and electronic resources, the kind of in depth stuff that just holds up the queue at the main counter. Apparently no one needs any help with that stuff today. They just want to know how big A0 paper is. Apparently 'way huge' did not turn out to be an acceptable answer!

So what have I been up to then? Well apart from working and sewing and a teeny tiny bit of knitting, I have been mainly trying to keep up with being all healthy. I have finally managed to lose an entire stone but since then have been a bit too afraid to weigh myself again. I think hitting a milestone made me relax and I have lost motivation a bit, even though I really want to keep going. Easter saw me consuming a lot of chocolate so I've had to work to get back on track there and I totally have not stepped on my cross trainer for ages (it's in the same room as my sewing machine - go figure!). However, I found out about this challenge and immediately decided that it was something I could be motivated about. Push ups are not my strong point and I always curse people on exercise vids for making me do them so I've decided to try and overcome it. I completed Wk1 Day1 yesterday without too much difficulty and I don't hurt too much today so I'm definitely getting stronger. I also started the sit up programme yesterday as well. I did the initial test and crunched out 40 so I'm starting at Wk3 rather than at the beginning so I'm feeling quite smug about that. These programmes are particularly good as they specify a certain number of reps followed by a rest and so on. All I need to do now is quantify that in knitting terms. For example, 14 push ups followed by 1 round of sock, 12 push ups followed by 1 round of sock, much better than clock watching, sock watching!

Well after a sudden flurry of activity here on the enquiry desk, well someone actually asked me how to find a book and then I spend 20 minutes proof reading an essay (which is totally not a service offered bu the library but I figured I could spare the time) I now have only 10 minutes left, woohoo! After that I'm going to have a lovely cup of tea and daydream about going home in 2 hours!



Monday, 20 April 2009

Mad T-shirt lady

When people come a-visiting why is that you are never caught having a nice cup of tea in front of the TV or something nice and normal like that? On Saturday there were visitors (not visiting me I might add, which just makes it worse) and they arrived shortly after I had carpeted the entire living room with T-shirts. I then had to explain myself, which was simple enough but still made me look insane. I had just bought Generation-T by Megan Nikolay and was so inspired that I had to rush out and get as many cheapo T-shirts as I could find. I then laid them out all around the living room so I could decide which projects would suit each T-shirt. It was at this point I was caught looking like a mad T-shirt lady! However, undeterred I went on to complete one total disaster and one resounding success. My first attempt should have been very simple indeed, but due to me ignoring the little voice that was urging me to try on the t-shirt before decided where to cut I ended up standing in front of a looking like I had just been mauled by a lion. Clearly this was not the intention! I had been aiming for a cute heart shaped design made of horizontal slits but instead I just have a bit of a mess that will become strings and laces for future projects. All is not lost. Next up though was this:

I love it! The one is the book was worn on its own but I decided that I am really at the wrong end of my 20's for that to be dignified – even if I do manage to achieve a flat stomach any time soon.

On the knitting front, I am just about to start decreasing for the toe on my first Monkey sock. Even though I really haven't put much time in, when I do get going this has been flying off the needles. I've actually completely memorised the pattern, which is good because I keep forgetting to print it, which has helped but I really don't understand how this seems to be going faster than your average stockinette sock/ Must be quantum!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Thwarted again

Well my sewing machine has finally seen some significant action since I got the printer back online, but unbfortunately I don't have a lot to show for it, just a whole heap of half sewn fabric. I am once again thwarted at every turn. After all of that pattern cutting and sticking I was impressed that I ended up with a dress pattern that actually looked useable. However it was only a few minutes later that I discovered that one of my chosen fabrics was waythicker than I had realised and was completely unsuitable. Luckily I received a parcel full of fabric the next day so I was able to leave that on the back burner and move on. Nextup I decided to try the Summer Blouse from Weekend Sewing. I traced and cut out the pattern, cut out the fabric, finished the edges, put in bust darts,sewed the shoulders, attached the placket and cut the front....sew far sew good (arf arf!). Then I discovered I would need bias tape in order to proceed. As I'm sure you can guess from the tone of my post, I don't have any of that. I failed to read ahead or pay appropriate attention tho the 'you will need' section so that has been put aside. Next I tried this. Cut it all out, ironed on interfacing (I'm not even mentioning that I had to buy a new iron the other day!), made the card and not pockets only to dicover that the zip, which I have yet to purchase, gets sewn in at this early stage of the game and not towards the end. Put that aside. Moved on to some T-shirt recon. Got half way through that, got bored. Put it aside. On the plus side I have made three cushions, and by that I mean started and finished. This would be good except that I had planned to make 6. The three little ones seem to have gone missing, but they will be found and covered whether they like it or not. For the moment though here is a shot of the completed ones just so that I can prove that I have an FO amongst the huge pile of UFO's in my spare room.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Itty bitty bag

I spent last night in the sewing zone and I have to say that I am reasonably pleased with myself. The printer cartridge had arrived so I printed out the pattern for a dress I've had my eye on for a while and then set about trimming and sticking the whole 30 pages together. I got further than I thought I would before throwing the scissors down and declaring that I couldn't take any more. I'll put in another 10 minutes tonight and it should be done. I'm not planning on making the dress just yet but I want to lay the pieces on the fabric so I know how much I am going to use and then I can get those bits washed and I'll have an idea of what is left over. Genius, huh? After cutting and sticking fatigue set in I went and got on with the bag I started yesterday. I very nearly finished it but I had a total nightmare with the closing flap. I was being all clever and doing it differently than in the how to but every step of the way it went wrong! At the moment it is actually in the right place, as opposed to stuck between the bag and the lining where it started, but the intended button hole went really wrong so I am going to sew the button on the flap and just stick some Velcro on the other side. Not quite as refined as I had planned but it will do the job. After that I need to think about handles. I hadn't actually given any thought to this before hand, the bags in the how to don't have handles because they are quite small, mine is a bit bigger but I wasn't sure if it was going to be big enough to need them. Turns out it could really benefit from some handles so they are going to have to go on as a bit of an afterthought. I have an idea in my head of what to do, but after the disasters on the closing flap I think I'll keep it to myself in case it is really stupid. Miniature disasters aside I really like my little bag, the instructions were really easy to follow and I'm quite proud of myself actually. Now to decide what to sew next!

Monday, 6 April 2009

What I did on my holidays!

I went back to work today after my week off, so it seems like the perfect time to have a little look back and see what I actually achieved. Please bear in mind that this is really just a way of making me feel better about spending most of the week sitting on my behind watching telly!

As I may have already mentioned we spent Monday pottering around garden centres and then planted our spoils in the garden whilst imagining the tasty treats we will be harvesting from the veg patch in the coming months. Clearly we are being a little optimistic as I don't think we managed to grow a single thing worth eating last year, however I think we are better prepared this time around. Chris has planted a whole host of things including squashes, pumpkins and spring onions and is most anxiously awaiting the arrival of fruit on his strawberry plants. I, on the other hand, have thought small and am daily checking for sprouting in what I hope will be my big pot of herbs. So far only the basil has made a tiny green appearance, but I planted that about a week before the others.

I made a fleeting mention of the sock I have been knitting in my last post, but was too excited by my sewing machine to elaborate. Here it is…

I've been thinking about knitting Monkeys for a while and kept putting it off because I had convinced myself there was a problem which meant I couldn't do it. Looking at the pattern I couldn't work out what on earth this 'thing' could be and merrily cast on. I am just about to start the foot and have been enjoying knitting them, particularly as the pattern just seems to fly off the needles. I think I'm gonna like them.

I am still awaiting the printer cartridge I need to print off the sewing patterns I wanna make , but I found this great how-to on the Burda style website yesterday and set about turning a couple of fat quarters I bought months ago into a little bag. As of last night I had produced a rectangle with squared off corners, I had hoped to get further but one hold up was trying to decide which fabric was going to be on the outside as I like them both equally. The main hold up, however, was Pootle, my little feline 'helper'. First he sat on the fabric, then he made merry with the measuring tape which I was trying to measure, then he kept trying to catch the scissors as I was cutting (that was not good for my nerves) and finally went off to sit on the ironing board so I could finally get on unhampered. I'm going to try and get the bag finished tonight and I'll make sure the door of the sewing room is firmly closed to cats!

Last but not least for my week of I have finally achieved running! I have put off going out for a run now for ages because I hate running, but this weekend we had lovely weather so off I went. It turns out that all the swimming and exercise videos have done me the power of good and I can run for much longer than I could last year without dying on my feet. I actually enjoyed my run on Saturday so much that I went out again yesterday and ran for 20 minutes without stopping. I hurt like hell today but I'm feeling quite smug so it's all good. I have also only got 1lb more to lose before I have lost an entire stone and I fit into the pair of jeans I had chosen as my first 'weight loss benchmark'. Woohoo! Looks like I had a fairly productive week off after all.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

At last.

I've had the whole week off work this week, which has been great. We've been to the seaside and bought sea food, we've hit the garden centre and then planted loads of veg and herbs, I've got a bit of exercise done and I have just turned the heel on a sock (finally jumped on the monkey bandwagon, loving it so far). However I've been buggered if I can really enjoy it because I have spent the whole week longing to get on with my sewing. I was all prepared and ordered one last week believing it would be delivered the next day. No such luck. First it was out of stock, due in 2-3 days, then 4-5 days later they let me know they were never going to have it and did I want a different one? I told them 'heck no' and placed an order with my second choice company. Less than 24 hours later it arrived. Yay! Here she is.I'm just setting up my sewing space, but I've had a little go and I love it. It's nice and quiet and has a great compartment in the top where everything gets hidden away
I've even managed to get my head around the buttonhole attachment. The instructions with my old machine were woeful so I never worked it out, but these instructions must be way better cos, well a picture tells a thousand words!Plus Chris can (sort of) work it!
Now all I need is to get ink for the printer so I can print out all the patterns I need. Does it never end!

Monday, 23 March 2009

Normal service is resumed…

…well sorta. I did some knitting yesterday! Admittedly not very much, but all the same. A little while ago I dug out this (first pic) project, it had been in hibernation for ages because I was a bit bored of all the stockinette in 4 ply but I found it again when I was looking for another mindless project to take over from the plain socks I finished a while back. I did a few centimetres but then realised I couldn't find the pattern and had no idea if I had overshot where the shaping need to go, so it was off to the land of nod again. Luckily I found the pattern yesterday, inevitably while I was looking for something else, which remains lost, but nonetheless, it is found and I have achieved knitting! It is with some guilt, though, that I have to confess that the entire time I was doing it I was thinking about sewing. Does this make me an unfaithful knitter? I received Weekend Sewing on Saturday and it is such a beautiful I can't help but plan what to make. There are also several (and no, Chris, for the hundredth time several does not mean the same as seven. Oy) free patterns on Burda Style which I'm itching to try. Unfortunately I can't get on with any of that stuff until I have a functioning sewing machine, so for the time being I will just have to think about sewing while I knit. No matter how dirty that makes me feel.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Oh no – not another stash!

Still no knitting done – what is wrong with me? However, on the crafting front I have purchased a whole load of new sewing books and I can't wait to get back behind the sewing machine. This is slightly unfortunate at my machine is very ill, but I have been promising myself a new one as soon as I have lost a whole stone. The good news is that I am nearly there, just another 5lb or so to go (sound easy when I put it like that eh!). Realistically I think I'll just get it after payday. The reason for waiting was twofold, firstly it was going to act as a reward for getting off my rapidly expanding bum and secondly because I couldn't really see the point of making clothes when I fully intend not to fit in them for long. However, one of the books I purchased, Making Vintage Bags, arrived yesterday and as they aren't size dependant I can't wait to get cracking. Some of the patterns are just lovely and I can see everyone getting handmade bags for Christmas and birthdays this year. Also arrives yesterday was Make Your Own Clothes. I've had a quick look through it and nothing is really jumping out at me, but there are a few useful basic patterns there. The PatternMaker software that comes with it looks pretty useful though, particularly as you can input your own measurements before printing the pattern. I am now expecting one more book to arrive, but more on that one once I've got my hands on it.

More importantly, this week saw the arrival of my new cross trainer – yay! Chris and I built it together with very little fuss (now that must be a sign of a successful relationship) and now my very own torture device is set up in front of the telly in the spare room. I have been on it every day since we built it and I have never sweated so much in my life! It does seem to be getting a bit every day though so hopefully I will be more than ready to take on my 5k charity run by May. I completed the run in around 35 mins last year and I would love to do it quicker this year. Not that it matters, I'll get sponsored whatever, but it'd be nice. The clocks go forward next week I think so I'll be able to actually get outside after work and try some proper running. Maybe, I'll even be able to find a way to enjoy it this year!

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Why can't I knit!!!!

No need to panic I haven't got a terrible injury stopping me from knitting - although it came close, more on that later - it's just that I have totally lost my mojo. I'm definitely going to have to start a new project because my current WIPs are just not inspiring me. I think this is the longest I have gone without knitting for years and it is making me feel quite weird! However I have been fairly busy elsewhere so I have been distracted. I have been keeping up with my exercise, and have now dropped half a stone - yay me. Our lodger finally decided to move out so we now have the spare room back. This is great because my new cross trainer arrived today. Check back tomorrow to see if we put it together correctly! Hopefully the rest of that stone will be history fairly soon too. Maybe I can knit and cross train together - hmm, worth a try.

Chris had his birthday party last Saturday. It seemed to be a success, the last people left at 4:15am so I think they were enjoying themselves! Chris went missing for about an hour and we eventually found him snoozing in the garage. He has no explanation for this, other than that he was tired. I blame the Guinness. Guitar Hero World Tour saw lots of action, which was cool until I woke up in the wee small hours with what seems to have been some sort of guitar playing RSI. Luckily it only lasted a few hours so my future knitting prospects are safe. I did feel like a bit of a loser though, surely only huge nerds play video games long enough to cripple themselves?!

Right, well I'm off to peruse my knitting queue and see if I can find something to get my mojo back.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Happy Birthday Chris!

No-one believes you are going to be 29 – again! He he, today Mr. Hannah Celebrates his 33rd birthday. I don't think he has had a very exciting day, he is still out of work so he is at home all day and I have been at work but I got him 2 DVDs and an X-Box game so I think he has been celebrating by watching Lara Croft's bottom all day! He had a birthday tea with his family on Sunday, which was nice and he is having a big party on Saturday night so I'm not feeling too sorry for him. Happy Birthday Chris – you old fart!

Well once again I have been up to not much at all. Still exercising like it is going out of fashion and it seems to be going ok, I think I am at roughly W-5lbs, although the party food Chris' Mum brought round on Sunday may have adversely affected that! I have also promised that we can have whatever Chris likes for dinner tonight so I may not have a weigh in for a few days til I can be sure I have worked it all off. My non knitting continues apace (if that is not a complete paradox). I think I am just not sitting still long enough at the moment and I'm finding that even a couple of rows of 4x3 ribbing on my Sloppy Joe is enough to put me off the idea when I do pick up some knitting. I also seem to have lost a stitch on the socks I am knitting and rather that solve the problem I have just put them aside in the hope that they will miraculously be ok when I pick them up again. Am I alone in this kind of delusion?

I have signed up to do the Race for Life again this year. This may be slightly mad as I haven't managed to forget how much I dislike running as a sport after last year, but it is for a really good cause and the atmosphere on the day is really lovely. Sponsor me here if you like. Me and my Mum are fundraising together this year as we know a lot of the same people so it's easier. We won't be running together though as she has no intention of running and I don't intend to walk the whole way. Oh well! I'm promising that as soon as the clocks go forward I will start to go out running again and get back into training, watch this space to see how that goes. I hate running way more than I hate 4x3 ribbing – maybe the Sloppy Joe will get done while I am trying to avoid jogging. There is always a silver lining!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Sorry, really boring post ahead!

I have just realised that my efforts in keeping up with this blog have been lamentable recently, unfortunately I haven't really been up to much that is interesting really. I haven't done much knitting, bizarrely due to a case of startitis! I keep getting the urge to cast on new things, I think because I'm not currently inspired by what's already on the needles, but I made myself a promise that I would only have 1 project and 1 pair of socks on the go at any one time so I seem to have ended up just doing nothing. Maybe it is time to review my stance on the amount of WIPs I allow myself.

I have also been spending as much time as possible exercising in my continuing bid fit back in my favourite jeans. I'm not actually sure where I am weight wise as I haven't checked it out for a few days, but I'm sure I must at least be getting fitter. I'm currently swimming twice a week, going for a half hour walk at lunch and doing some form of DVD work out every night as well as dieting so hopefully I'll be back to being a skinny minnie in no time at all. Just because I haven't got much else to talk about I may as well put in my tuppenny worth about the DVDs I have been using. Firstly I got 'My Fitness Coach' on the Wii, which clearly isn't a DVD at all! This is actually really cool and I'll tell you for why. Although setting is up is fairly tedious, about half an hours worth of weighing and measuring and checking out how many of this and that you can do, when you get to the workouts it is really good. As you do each exercise along with the computerised lady (who is great because she is not real and you don't feel bad because she is way fitter that you) a bar runs along the bottom of the screen showing the name of the exercise and how much longer you will be doing it for, it also shows rest periods and you can also see what the next exercise will be before you start it so you are prepared. This is especially great for people (like me) who get annoyed on DVDs when the instructor says there are just 8 more to go and then when you are done asks you to do another 8. Why don't they just tell you there are 16 more to go? The best thing however is that when you have completed a section of exercises you are asked how easy/difficult you found it so that it will be easier of harder next time. This means that you can keep pushing yourself long after you may have given up on a DVD that provides no challenge any more. You also get a completely different combination of exercises each time you work out as well, which is really great for the easily bored. You might be able to tell that I like this! Highly recommended. I have also been using 10 Minute Tone Up, this is really good because it is split up into 10 minute sections (No! Really?) for different body parts and I just choose a different one each morning after I get up. The lady on this one is a bit strange so I try not to pay too much attention. She is frighteningly toned and sculpted and has a habit of doing a really fake smile after she has explained every exercise, but other than that it's easy to follow and I do work hard. The final one, I tried for the first time last night was Pilates for Weight Loss for Dummies. The lady on this one is also a bit of a muscle-bound she-goddess but once again the explanations were good and I really enjoyed it. Hopefully I will be able to report some really good results soon.

Well I hope that wasn't too dull. I'm going to try hard to have some actual knitting progress to report soon, but for the moment I'll be sweating and lunging and crunching as much as I can until I can fit a way to adequately do Pilates and knit at the same time!