Sunday, 12 August 2018

August ...ing

Making - An easy peasy crochet blanket from teeny weeny squares.

Eating - Wimbledon Cake: Genoese sponge, fresh cream and strawberries - Well done Big Sis a super light cake!

Growing - gooseberries, raspberries, blackcurrants,
courgettes, fennel and french beans.




Building - Taking delivery of lots of items for our new house: log burner, underfloor heating and a bathroom - but we don't have any windows!

Watching - My big girl get ready for Secondary School. She is keen, for now.

Loving - How much Big Sis loved her birthday presents. 

Disliking - Clutter!

Fixing - The back of the children's wardrobe and book case from over filling.

Getting - The children to sort out their stuff.

Considering - How much Little M has turned into a big girl, she doesn't seem so little now.
Enjoying - Dancing out with the Severn Sisters. I am at the back in Orange. 
Deciding - What to plant in the garden for late summer flowering.

Wearing - ALL of my summer clothes!

Buying - A new hair dryer before the other one burnt our house down. It was turning itself on and off on its own!

Wondering - How long the warm weather will last.

Thinking - About how much we enjoyed our beach break with family.

Wanting - To get back into scrap booking our family history. I have found some interesting documents in my dad's filing which I would love to record.

Feeling - Lighter with less stuff and objects to deal with.

Jo xxxx

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

More Socks

Sock knitting has been well and truly nailed this year. It took me a long time to learn the craft of sock knitting but I am now the proud owner of four good pairs and have gifted many more.


These ones were made using one ball of Wendy Roam Fusion 4ply superwash sock yarn. I don't remember where I bought it but my guess is that I went into a new yarn shop somewhere, on holiday  perhaps, and wanted to support the shop owner in their woolly venture. Since knitting socks it has been great to be able to leave a shop with one ball of wool!



This is Christina's free sock pattern. I have knit three of her patterns now and they are so easy to follow. I got into the rhythm of the rib knitting which makes for a super-snug fitting cosy sock.




There are always things to improve and my kitchener stitch is still a bit knobbly at the corners but I will get there.


I love the yarn colour changes. I have made these a bit little longer than normal because I always have quite a bit of wool left over at the end. I am still getting a feel for how long I could make the ankles, I could easily go even longer.


I enjoyed finishing these off on holiday this week. Bit hot for socks though eh?

Thanks for dropping by. Jo xx


Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Not so much on the making front this week folks. Just mahoosive amounts of decluttering and mindful recycling. I can't go to the tip anymore because it upsets me too much. People throw so much stuff away and for a fixer like me, it is too much for my heart to bear.



In this second week of the Summer holidays I promised the girls I would change around their room for them. There had been an escalation of bedtime bickering and I wanted to divide the room a little. This is what it looks like now. There was also a proviso for me in that they sorted out some of their stuff. It had got way out of control. They could no longer keep their room in order because they just kept rearranging the clutter - there needed to be less of it.



I went for the TV shock approach and asked them to put all their drawer and desk contents into plastic boxes and tip them out onto the dining room table. It worked. It was so overwhelming that they both wanted there to be less objects in their little lives. The children were asked to keep anything that would now fit into three drawers each. They did it with gusto egged on by milka chocolate breaks!


Both girls had physically outgrown a vintage desk given to us nine years ago and Heidi had been asking for a space for her sewing machine since Christmas. By chance I spotted a desk in a house clearance shop which just needed a little TLC. I struck a bargain of £30 if the guy delivered it, took away the old desk along with four infant sized chairs and a mirror which we had kicking around the house - all outgrown. He was delighted, I was delighted; I didn't have to go to the tip. 

Heidi enjoyed using the orbital sander to remove some marks and take down the colour a touch. She waxed it and I sprayed the knobs grey for her until we find some nice ceramic handles.



Other desks were jiggled around too. I now have my machine on a marble washstand that stood in the hallway which is actually a bit bigger and Megan has my old smaller wash table as her desk. 
We are all happy.


Outside of the girls bedroom declutter I have sold vinyl records: 2 Smiths albums were sold in a record shop for £30, I don't even have a turntable to play them on anymore! I have sold CD's, Books, weighed in textiles for recycling, given things to friends, taken bags to the charity shop, sold things on Ebay and I am happy that we only took three carrier bags to the bin. The house is breathing a huge sigh of relief.


Much more to go but gosh it feels good. We have sorted dressing up that doesn't fit anymore and there are more toys and books from their toddler years to pack up. Heidi is starting secondary school in September and I have just payed an extortionate amount of money for her new school uniform. My little money pot, which got to just over £100 from recycling, has gone towards this. We have enough school uniform from Primary school to open a shop! This pile needs sorting into a few things to keep for Meg and other items for like minded second hand friends. 

Do you love a good sort out? 

Not very exciting today but thanks for dropping in. Jo xx

Friday, 27 July 2018

Walkley T-shirt

It is a strange thing to hear myself saying this but I don't have any T-shirts! I have got to the useful end of most of my shop bought T-shirts over the last eight years and when I went to pack for holidays in May I realised I had two - a grey one and a black one. meh!

From Minerva this month I chose an indie designer I had not tried before. MIY collection is small but interesting. On opening my parcel I was surprised to see the Walkley T-shirt pattern in a paper bag. It was useful because when it was all cut out, I popped everything in the bag for a sewing day.


This is a great pattern for anyone starting out with stretch knit fabrics. The shape is simple and the neckline and armholes do not require bindings. This is s good skill to have but if you want to make your first stretch item this is a fantastic pattern. It comes on one sheet and can be modified into a T-shirt dress very simply.


This fabric is super top quality - a little more expensive than single jersey but worth it. If I am making a T-shirt I want it to last and not go baggy. It is John Kaldor Cadiz stretch cotton jersey and comes in nine colours. It is easily a good enough grade to make the dress. I chose red because I wear a lot of navy and it is good to make solid colour garments from time to time. I learnt this during Me Made May 2016.



It goes with lots of things and I really like the shape. Such an easy sew. I already have a cream marl one cut out. 





Just a little aside and a snazzy tip, I use up all the thin off cuts of jersey that curl up by stretching them into tubes - so satisfying. What for I hear you cry?


They make great garden ties for tender plants, runner beans and roses. They flex as the plant moves in the wind and they do not cut into the stem. They are easy to untie instead of having a knot in a piece of string. I have used old T-shirts of Andy's in the past but I always use off cuts too. See. This is my new passion flower which is growing at a tremendous rate of knots.


Thanks Minerva for this top quality jersey knit. Jo xxxx

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Serendipity Crochet Baby Blanket


I wooed you with an extravagant yarn purchase in June to make a baby blanket. I tried to make a heart motif but the cotton yarn was a splitter and required a 3mm hook which made the problem worse. I made a few squares and joined them together. Although the squares themselves looked lovely, when I joined them to see what the edges were like, it all looked a bit rubbish. I was predicting that 63 bad joins was not going to make it look a whole lot better so I jumped ship.


If I am honest, on closer inspection the joins in the book image aren't all that great. All that counting was also a little too taxing in the heat and I needed crochet that would see me through family viewings of the World Cup and Wimbledon.




In the end, I plumped for a pattern from ravelry which I now can't find I have eventually found again here called Serendipity. Some people call it a hens foot pattern or a clamshell pattern but anyway it was mighty addictive and easy to do. 


I had chosen the yarn specifically for the heart blanket and as it turns out I would have had yarn in my stash for this one but anyway it was nice to crochet with something new and not donated. This pattern also meant I could use my favourite super-slick clover 4mm hook which lessened the splitting problem.



The yarn is Drops Muskat DK cotton from here. I chose nine colours and the light grey background colour. There are paler tones too but I went for brights. It is 85p a ball at the moment!! It is a substantial cotton making the blanket quite heavy and dense which is what I wanted for a January baby.

The border is a few rounds of double crochet with my favourite baby blanket edge, the crab stitch or reverse double crochet. A neat, tidy and unisex border. I always think it makes the best edging.



The one heart I kept was my favourite colour, this one now lives on my singer sewing machine top next to where I crochet ready for a mug of tea. It has a new lease of life as a coaster.



It is truly a unisex blanket I think. This one is packed away for January a bit ahead of schedule but it was so fun to do. 



I have some ball ends left over of course but I am thinking this little fellow might be fun to make to add to the gift set and bust out the stash ends. I haven't made a toy for years but I am sure it will be fine.




Happy Crochet. Thanks for calling in. Jo xxxx

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

FREE one hour top pattern

Can you make this one hour top in an hour? Yes you can. The pattern is a free download from Fancy Tiger Crafts. It makes a fabulous mid season top with the simplest of sewing techniques. No serger or overlocker required. Just a machine and an hour of you time.


I didn't include sticking a free PDF pattern together in that hour!!! But the cut and sew part is definitely possible. There are four seams: two along the length of the arms and two down each side. No sleeve fitting required. It has a grown on sleeve.


The neck is quite wide but flattering and the sleeves allow for larger bust sizes. If you had a large bust I would recommend adding to the length a bit as it was quite a short boxy length. 


The fabric is a viscose jersey which I picked up in a charity shop for £2.50. The drape of this fabric is ideal. I used a stretch stitch zig-zag on my machine to join it together. It is cut with pinking shears so no need to get the edges all caught up under your machine.


The neckline and sleeve finishing is simply folded over twice to conceal the raw edges. Simples!


I am dotty about this top and was so surprised by the outcome. I was expecting something a little second rate from a free pattern of such simple proportions but it is wonderful - more of these in the pipeline I am sure. 

Thanks for dropping by. Jo xxx

Saturday, 14 July 2018

July ...ing

Enjoying - making a crochet blanket in the garden. 



Making - jam from allotment fruit


Considering - what to do with more and more raspberries.

Eating - Jamie Oliver's 15 minute dinners. A salad for four with slow cooker potatoes. Yum!



Growing - Basil for the first time ever outside. Well done Heidi a wonderful salad box this year.



Deciding - on a bathroom for our new house, strange when it seems so far away from completion but first fix plumbing dictates

Building - we are choosing windows - tricky, I can tell you.



Fixing - nothing for a change!


Watching - Big Sis confidently go off on the bus to secondary school for her first induction days

Loving - Our roses this year. They have been stunning.




Disliking - watering the garden and allotment twice a day.

Wanting - a few more shrubs to fill in gaps in the garden.

Getting - all our garden jobs finished: new patio and seat in the sun and Meg's mosaics all hung up. 


Wearing - all of my handmade Dresses. Hooray!

Buying - some mint condition uncut vintage patterns. Swoon!



Wondering - How long the sunshine and hot weather will last.

Thinking - What to fill the Summer holidays with.



Feeling - Sweaty!

Jo xxxx