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


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 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!