Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Fuzzy feeling

Every once in a while, something happens that makes me smile and think that there are some lovely people out there...


Like a lot of crafty people, I love websites like Ravelry and Pinterest and visit them daily.  As well as being able to download patterns, they are valuable sources of inspiration as well as being a gallery to showcase your own work.


Recently, I was contacted by a fellow 'hooker' (hmm, probably not the best choice of words!) who had seen my gorgeous cardi and wondered if I could share the pattern.  Ironically, I had done the exact same thing a few months ago as the pattern booklet is no longer available, and instead of copying the pattern, VintChic sent me the booklet from the USA.  So when youbetterbehave aka Josy, asked me for the pattern, I was only too glad to return the favour and the pattern was soon winging itself back Stateside.  To return the favour, Josy offered to send me any patterns that I had had my eye on.  After browsing the current issue of Vogue Crochet, I asked for copies of the cowl and cardi shawl.  You people in the States are very lucky as you have much better crochet magazines the we do...


Imagine my delight when my super cool dude postie (seriously- always has his mirrored aviators on) bought me this tempting package to my door.  On opening, as well as a lovely note from Josy thanking me for the pattern, there were the two promised patterns PLUS two beautiful hanks of Berroco Peruvia in the most beautiful shade of teal.  I was speechless - how kind!  The cogs are turning as to what to use this treat for...


How is it that someone thousands of miles away can be so kind yet people on the street struggle to smile and say hello?  I love Ravelry and can't recommend it enough for anyone, whether you are new to knitting and crochet or an old hand, you're bound to find something you love.  I love the sense of community as all the members are of the same mind...


Couldn't resist including my enormous black cat, Baxter in the photos.  He's usually camera shy and scarpers as soon as he hears the velcro opening on the case ...


Also, these are the first flowers from the garden this year and its nearly the end of June!!  I'm usually picking sweet peas every day but the plants are barely a few inches up the cane wigwam.  Here's hoping for a few more days of sunshine...

Monday, 18 June 2012

So satisfying! Simplicity 2927

I couldn't help but smile when my husband recently said, "That's a nice top - where did you get that?"


Such a good feeling to say "I made it", coupled with the knowledge that the garment is unique.  Never again will you suffer that moment when you realise someone else is wearing the same outfit.  On the few occasions that has happened to me (two that I can remember), I have had to have a wry smile and its really not that bad - ultimately someone else has similar tastes to you and that can't be a bad thing.
Simplicity 2927 tunic


I'm not sure who was more proud of my rather amateur sewing prowess - it wasn't me that kept pointing out to friends and family that I'd made it!  However I do feel proud that I can achieve a high quality item and to receive such lovely compliments is a fantastic boost.  Someone also told me recently that they used to love making things but didn't have the courage or the confidence to wear it.  Such a shame and I urge anyone who  isn't quite sure  - do it and wear it with pride!


I love this top and now on its success, I will crack on and make the dress version next - this was a bit of a trial run and a valuable one at that.  The cool and crisp linen was a dream to work with and gives the top a lovely vintage feel - bought online here last year.  Instead of using a hook and eye at the back of the neck, I used a small button with a crochet  loop to close.  I chose this over a hook and eye fastening to help disguise the fact that the left corner above the zip is a teensy weeny bit higher than the right - I am talking about 3mm.  I think this is down to me needing a lot more practise with sewing in zips.  
Now that I have started to make clothes, I can't help but be super critical when shopping.  Sometimes its the fabric quality, the price to quality of work ratio (higher the price the lower the quality) and I have even seen really scrappy finishing on items in prime window position.    Although I am only a novice, both  my successes and what the high street can offer are spurring me on to creating more items for my wardrobe.  Watch this space...

Monday, 11 June 2012

In hope of summer...

As the UK seems to be gripped by monsoons, the sun, summer skies and warmth seem to be a distant dream.  This hasn't stopped me from making a start on some summer additions to my wardrobe...




I decided to make myself a lightweight cardi for the warmer months using the Sirdar 376 Cotton Crochet booklet.  I've made two of the smallest size last year with great success and I am a big fan of the fact that the large yarn manufacturers, especially Sirdar, offer multi-sized patterns to accommodate children and adults.  Everyone loves to feel they're getting value for money.  I had this batch of vintage 4 ply crepe (one of my ebay finds) sat in my stash waiting for the right project.  The crepe works well as the stitch stays crisp looking and the flower blocks on the border required minimal blocking (this means general pressing of finished cardi!) I did make two modifications to the pattern - I can never seem to leave a pattern alone and have to have a tinker with it!  I did a couple of extra pattern repeats on the sleeves before starting the shaping for the sleeve top to create a slightly longer cap sleeve , and I also worked a row of double crochet along the bottom to help 'square' off the blocks.  Oh and I added two buttons to close..
I also made a start on this Simplicity 2927 tunic/dress pattern. I plan to make the sleeveless dress version but felt it would be wise to have a test run with the tunic version - and I am so glad  I did!  I love this cool turquoise linen - the geometric print has a Moroccan feel and is highlighted with a touch of silver thread.  I am most definitely a novice seamstress and I was left a tad baffled by the the seams on the side front and central pattern.  The instructions were more than a little vague and left me checking that I had cut the pattern pieces correctly - it was a bit like fitting a square peg in a tiny round hole as I couldn't figure out why I didn't have enough fabric to reach the supposed end of the seam!  Once I'd worked out that these were curved or princess seams, I consulted my very own sewing bible (The Complete Book of Sewing) and filled in the huge blank left by the pattern instructions.  




This book is amazing as it has super clear written and step by step illustrations.  It was a marvellous find, courtesy of my mum, in a local charity shop for the princely sum of £2.






After much tweaking and careful pinning and repinning, I completed the two seams and am amazed by the result (only one small wrinkle).  More by luck than judgement (basically a complete fluke), the pattern matches almost perfectly between the panels - bet I couldn't do that again!


One thing I have learnt with sewing is always stop when you've almost had enough and never do that one more bit.  This is  almost certainly going to not turn out right and will end in you being cross, cursing and busy with the seam ripper!!  Here's hoping that my finishing this top coincides with the start of our summer...


Every once in a while, you hear a heart breaking story that makes you have a bit of a reality check and shoves all of the things bothering you into perspective.  I heard one of those today and it made me really grateful of my life and determined not to let the challenges that come my way become mountains instead of the molehills that they are...



Saturday, 2 June 2012

Diamond Jubilee


After a glorious spell of weather, the Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday looks set to see the return of our typical weather.  It does lift the spirits however with all the bunting, decorations and Union Jacks.  Its good to see people making an effort and there is plenty of patriotic pride.




We let our creative side run wild earlier in the week when we were making a Jubilee crown for the school parade.  


We also went a step further and made a replica of the Diamond Jubilee medal presented to serving members of the forces.










Spot the real one!


Faye was the only one with the medal and the only child with a dad who's get the real thing!  It was made even better as she took both the real medal and her dad into 'show and tell' in a special assembly.  Not sure who had more fun there but I'm bursting with pride for both of them.
















Also this week, I've finished this super cute cardigan, Sirdar 9554.  I love the construction of this and how quickly it came together - it needed to be to keep up with the growth spurts.   I think this will be the first of many...


With our recent glimpse of summer weather, I was spurred on to run up a small version of the Japanese knot bag.  I wanted to avoid wearing a cross the body bag on the journeys to school but where to put my essentials - key, mobile, drink and snack for ravenous child?  Using some fab striped calico and an off .cut of some flowery cotton, I love this little bag.








Its just the perfect size and the calico is of a decent thickness to give the bag a great shape and form.  I can see that this will tempt some friends and family - if you're interested and want one for yourself, contact me through my blog, Facebook page or email  fuzzyfingers@btinternet.com.


Enjoy your holiday weekend!