Sunday, December 30, 2007

Reader, I married him

First Love and I were married on 28 December 2007 in Portree Registry Office, on the Isle of Skye.

The weather and his health were kind to us that day. But he totally overdid it trying to walk the Cuillins and when he gets tired he gets depressed. So it has been a celebration tinged with sadness.

We stayed at the Marmalade Hotel, where they were incredibly kind to us. We arrived in the midst of a storm, to find the hotel closed! So we spent the first night at its supposedly-posher sister hotel, the Bosville. The food was lovely there, but the room was small, the walls paper-thin and the rain was lashing the windows all night, straight from the sea. It was a relief to transfer to the larger rooms of the more peacefully-located Marmalade. They gave us flowers and chocolates by way of apology for the mix-up - they hadn't realised we were booking Boxing Day night. And we had the best of all possible service when they realised we were getting married the next day! Lovely people, lovely place.

Fashion notes will follow!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Call me Rosie

So all the Christmas shopping is done. Every item was bought online. I have knitted 3 hats and 2 pairs of socks as presents (all blogged). I have still to knit something for my daughter. I was thinking I might give her “my” Marina Piccola socks… but I want to keep them for myself!

Yarn? From the stash, it is Fyberspates sock in Seascape (bright turquoise – she picked this as her favourite a while ago.) Pattern? Pomatomus? Marina Piccola? Esther? Ironwork? She has very slim legs so maybe Marina Piccola is the best plan, since I know it can be easily adjusted to fit.

Every year my mother sends money to get presents for “everyone”. So I have to decide what to label “from Grandma”. It gets harder and harder when the children’s interests divert from what Grandma might deem “suitable”.

The photo? Me and Feargal taken by FL the other day. Note the scruffy coat, the gorgeous hat and the very summery wellies. The next time you see me I will probably have changed my name!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Craft sale in Hereford, Tuesday 18 December

If you are anywhere near Hereford tomorrow (Tuesday 18th December) please be sure to pop into the Museum between 11am and 3pm for a Christmas Craft Sale!

My friend Estelle is hostessing a stall with all manner of crafty goodies: handmade jewellery, some knitted goodies from me, cards and other gifts - well worth a look for an unusual present!

The event is in aid of Riders For Health, a charity which provides motorbikes to health workers in rural parts of Africa.

If you can't make it to Hereford, Estelle also makes jewellery by commission. Have a look on her website!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cartoon dress

Gretel - a picture at last! So warm, I start to feel sleepy when I wear her!
And this weekend's sewing project: the black watch tartan over-dress. From the Japanese book "Cozy Homewear" (ISBN978-4-8347-5668-5).

Very simple drafting and sewing. I had problems trying to cut patch pockets which matched up the tartan while also lying at an angle - so I gave up! But I like the dress for its simplicity. You can tell it is a Japanese pattern because when it is laid flat, the hem curves up towards the side seams - it is like a child's drawing of an a-line dress, a cartoon dress! I am tempted to make one in a bright colour with black tape down the side seams and along the hem to show off this feature!

P.S. My wedding ring is at the assay office being hallmarked - woo hoo!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Two more Japanese pattern books!

New Japanese pattern books! I promise not to buy any more until I have made at least one item from each book I own. I bought these in my search for a coat pattern. I have been wearing my dog-walking coat to work and it is not a good look.

Mrs Stylebook (Winter 2007) is a revelation. This is the kind of pattern book which demands total confidence in your understanding of garment design and construction. If you are not already a proficient pattern-cutter, do not even think about buying one of these books! Of course, I only discovered this after I bought it. It is total immersion in Japanese. I don’t understand a single symbol. But I have gathered from other bloggers that you use the “Making Navi” (apparently that is English – meaning a “construction map” I suppose) to construct a series of blocks based entirely on your own measurements. These blocks then form the basis of the garment patterns themselves. So they are guaranteed to fit if you get your sums right! So, for example you might take one of the bodice blocks and start drawing lines to add 3.2 cm here or there, or cut into the block and angle it to add a dart. So far so good. But that’s your lot. After the pattern pieces are drawn, you are entirely on your own. There are detailed step by step photos for making two garments from the book – and these also have full-sized patterns included as a pull-out section in the middle of the book - but of course I don’t want to make either of these! I need to buy a large quantity of pattern-making tissue paper and a long ruler. There are literally dozens of pattern schematics in this book – an enormous bargain if you can master the drafting process!

The styles are definitely trend-driven, with details I haven’t seen anywhere else. I am besmitten by two coats, a dress, two pairs of trousers, a skirt and a jacket. Watch this space!

The other book was sold to me as “Favourite Black Clothes(link to another blog with photos of the styles) , but I have also seen it called “Sweet Black”. I have wanted this one for over a year after seeing other people rave about it and I am not disappointed. This is “easy” Japanese pattern-making – all you need to do is trace the pattern for your size and then follow the diagrams to put the bits together. This book specialises in quirky angles – asymmetry, pleats, layering and textures. They don’t have to be made in black, but it appeals to me and my goth-wannabe daughter.

P.S. If you can read French (and even if you can't!) I just discovered a great Japanese sewing blog here!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Another post about planning

Found on the needles: the Pine Cones Sweater, the premonition of a second Clessidra stocking, and a lurking So-Called Scarf.

My sock schedule for the new year will be determined by the whims of my random selection process in the Socks From Stash Club. So that’s 12 skeins accounted for!

But what do I really want to knit in 2008? Is it the same as what I want to wear? Could the two – gasp – coincide?

I realise that over the past year I have knitted far more than in any other year of my life. In fact, probably more than the rest of my life put together! And if I added up all the miles of knitting of socks, I would have completed several garment-sized objects. Interesting!

So… back to the Pine Cones sweater. It isn’t working. Like the garment I modelled it on, the twisted rib panel at the front... sags. And the shaping at the waist… bulges. I am knitting myself a muffin top. Lovely.

The So Called Scarf is… grey. Grey without depth. The stitch pattern which intrigued me over a year ago now looks… boring.

You see where this is going don’t you? Start the New Year afresh: rip, rip, rip.

But I DO need to knit the second Clessidra: off we go!

I paid a quick visit to PoshYarns to get some aran to make FL a Koolhaas hat - in "Zany" which is red and green - very Christmassy and cheerful. He needs cheering up. He had a depressed weekend: "Why are you marrying an old decrepit cripple?..." Yadda yadda yadda "Because I LOVE YOU! Now stop that and fetch the mop!" Rain streaming down the inside of the chimney into our bedroom - paddling through icy cold turnip-smelling water is not the best way to start your day. We need to get the builder back - sigh!

Made Christmas cards with my daughter. Made a banana, date and walnut cake - also with my daughter. Cut material for my tartan over-dress. Read a novel called "This Book Will Save Your Life". Waited for FL to emerge from his dark cloud. He is on dexamethasone (steroids) for the next 4 days - he will soon be buzzing.

Oh, and I rustled up a Gretel beret for myself. In medium size. One skein of charcoal Colinette Skye with top-up stripes from leftover coral merino from the first (slouchy) Gretel. The stripes were necessary due to low yardage, but I think the charcoal reveals its depths when contrasted with the pink. A real winter sunset combination! Picture? Working on it!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

My wedding scarf

My mother has finished knitting my wedding scarf!

It is the Lead or Follow pattern, using Perchance to Knit laceweight silk / mohair in "Harlot's Peacock / Midnight Rainbow" which I bought from the Loopy Ewe.

She warned me that her hands had turned purple knitting it, so I took Hanne's advice and soaked it in a vinegar solution before washing and blocking.

It is narrower than I expected, but it is beautiful and I know that my mother agonised over it so I am absolutely NOT complaining!

Look at the shimmering colours! Rather like the Raven colours over at Blue Moon - so maybe this will stop me lusting over them! And look at the shadow too!
So that's me almost set for my wedding... except for the ring! But I won't go into that...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Made his Brown Eyes Blue

I finished the Brown Eyes Blue Christmas socks for First Love at the weekend.

Of course he saw me knitting them and knows they are for him, but played along with the pretence that they were for a mystery recipient! He loves the colours - especially the "sparkle" in the blue caused by occasional tiny undyed patches.

These are the Gentleman's Winter Socks from "Knitting Vintage Socks" (Nancy Bush), hand-dyed bfl from Old Maiden Aunt - if you are quick she has one skein left in her shop! 2.5mm needles.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Birds on the line

On Saturday, the kids were both out at friends' houses, so First Love challenged me to make something with my new sewing machine. I was not allowed to cook dinner until I finished! Splutter! It was a bit like an episode of Project Runway without the bitchy asides. Although I definitely headed more into Angela-territory than planned - the "Holly Hobby artsy craftsy" school of fashion! I would like to call it "Marni-influenced", actually!

Another Japanese pattern from the same book as before (that's my third skirt from this book - it has paid for itself already!). The close-up shows you the tweed and the lace and the bird buttons. The washing-line view shows you "the look", but doesn't make the most of the swinging flare, which is really... swingy! I only had one metre of fabric for a pattern that was meant to take 1.7m, so had to do some piecing-together at the back. I used the lace to highlight the horizontal seam, and I think it works as a "design feature".

We ate dinner at 9pm - not bad!