Monday 29 April 2024

 April has brought with it a lot of sewing. As the saying goes 'Make hay while the sun shines' mine is more like 'Keep sewing while the rain pours'. I work freelance so I have been banking up work while it is too wet, windy or both to get out in the garden. Some projects are for work and I have also ticked a few home makes off my list too. 

Re covering - my footstool which was starting to look a bit grubby. Now it matches my armchair.

Delving - back into my fabric stash to use up some more of my Orla Kiely kitchen blind fabric. A rainy day yielded 8 napkins and a doorstop.

Chitting - my potatoes which would normally be in by now but my veg patch still feels like a chocolate mousse!

Mixing - some gifted flowers with some from the garden which had been battered by the winds.

Loving - that my girls still like walking. We enjoyed a Friday night walk up Brown Clee before it got dark. It was colder at the top and my ears were ringing so I fell back on a belly dance head wrap - the girls laughed at me so much but we didn't see another soul. The second picture is of Clee Hill on a dog walk later that week but the I had to get a lick on because there was another shower on the way.

Catching - up on some of my family tree scrapbooking at the weekends. The documents and artefacts are as much of interest to me as the photographs.

Baking - traybakes. Superb for lunchboxes and walks. Big Girl has perfected a recipe and is now trying one out every week with a different flavouring. This week we have cherry and almond traybake. All those years balancing a toddler on a chair while baking once took twice as long. It has definitely paid off now she is 16.

Solving - the welly problem - it was driving me crazy.  This now means we can mop the floor easily, open the door easily and get through the door and past the coats easily as well as not tripping over them when carrying stuff in and out.

Looking - out for little signs of a changing season. I absolutely love cowslips and have tried so many times to grow them for my garden but I haven't been successful so it is best to just get out for a walk.

Watching - the front garden take shape. It really comes into its own from April to September and this year the star of the show so far is the orange broom paired with yellow tulips.

Spending - a fabulous weekend visiting my aunt and uncle then heading off to a sewing retreat in Sheffield. This is my favourite thing I made on the weekend. A samford set shirt in viscose challis from Minerva.

Leaving - you today with a peek of sunshine from my kitchen table view.

Kindest. Jo xxxx

Tuesday 23 April 2024

Fastest Sweater in the West

 I made such a wonderful sweater, I just had to share it with you. 

This is Robinia from Ravelry. I bought the wool first and sourced the pattern later. The yarn is a Debbie Bliss Odin and I bought 10 balls for £30 from the NEC craft show in March simply because I loved the colour. I didn't realise what a bargain it was until I got home and looked it up. It started me off on a trail of trying to find a pattern to match the bulky yarn weight. After a little swatching, and lets face it, guessing I made the chunky jumper of my dreams. The pattern is supposed to be all over the front and back but the wraps used up a lot of wool and I didn't want to run out so I made it a band feature instead. I forgot how quickly you can make a sweater on 9mm needles. Started on Sunday night when we got back from the show and had it on my back 7 days later by knitting for a couple of hours every evening. 

I thought I would be putting it away for Winter but I have been wearing it in the Studio to work in because it has been so cold and i have turned the heater off in there because it is expensive to run.

It's a quick one from me today because I am away on a sewing retreat this weekend and it will be nice to include some highlights in my post.

So for a little while bye bye! Jo xxxx

Friday 29 March 2024

Am I just in time for Here in the UK it has been a wet start to spring so not so much to offer on the outdoor front but there has been lots of sewing and knitting until the nights draw out this weekend.

Continuing - with my table vase challenge. A vase of something from my garden or hedgerow for 12 months. I have one more month to do and then I have completed a whole year. My birthday in January did save me a little because people bought me lovely things as gifts so there was a little bit of cheating in the depths of winter.

Getting - Out and about last Sunday to Hawkstone Follies. It is a wonderful place for a long walk and an explore of caves, follies and vistas if you are ever in Shropshire. 

Eating - winter food still. I made a cheese and potato pie last week for Sunday dinner just to warm us all up!

Gardening - but indoors. I have potted on a lot of my house plants into bigger pots and given them a feed. Our house is hot in the summer and winter so I have to keep them watered and in good soil. I have lots of successful cuttings all potted up too for family and friends. My outdoor soil is nowhere near ready for potatoes (it is like chocolate mousse) so the seed potatoes are chitting inside. 

Watching - the front border wake up with daffs and a few early tulips. This 'hot' colour border fills out pretty quickly in May.

Crocheting - out of season with the addition of an angel for my nativity set. My next one will be a shepherd and a few sheep but no hurry obviously.

Tidying - my yarn basket. It is a nerdy thing I do every time I finish a project so that I can make way for the next without getting everything all tangled up. My next project is a summer throw over with some cotton yarn given to me by my neighbour. Guess what? I am winging it with coloured stripes as usual!

Taking - it easy this weekend with friends for dinner and some light crafting.

Having - the window open on my cabin today for the first time this year. I was sewing with my big girl and we both got really warm for a change.

Making - my first ever historical costume for a party. This is a regency coat and it is very much testing me!

Preparing - for some sunshine with a couple of new summer dresses. I am so over the floppy buffet style dresses now. I like this slightly fitted dress. I made the blue toile which turned out to be wearable and then I made another in my best Art Gallery poplin fabric. 

Leaving - you with a soft sunset as usual. Sending you love and best wishes for a restful weekend. Jo xxx

Friday 1 March 2024

Lots of little random things

The weather has been mixed for the UK so I have been doing lots of sewing for work because I know when it starts to head into spring proper I will want to be in the greenhouse sowing this years flowers and vegetables. The weather has brought about some fantastic sunsets from my studio which are ALWAYS welcome.

I bought a candlestick from an antique shop for a tenner and because I had seen my mum clean one of these on a weekly basis when I was younger, I thought it would be in my genes to be able to put one back together. She was able to disassemble and put one back together like a blindfolded SAS soldier preparing an assault rifle but alas, it took me an hour to work it out and then had to get one of the girls to hold a bit steady to enable me to gain completion. 

My re-upholstered chair has had its much needed seat addition. I know it looks like a child's theatre booster seat but it is now super comfy and I am able to knit in my new chair with full clearance of the arms.

That said, I have finished knitting a baby sweater and some booties for a neighbour...

...along with a crochet blanket which was simply to use up some yarn from my basket.

My table vase is quite repetitive at the moment as I cut off the wind stricken daffodils from the garden.

I always get itchy fingers for gardening in February but I have learnt over time that you can't trick mother nature and it is best to hang in there until the soil warms up. To ease the craziness I have been potting on some of my house plants into larger pots and taking some cuttings. These ones are doing really well and also ready to move up a pot size.

I have been sewing for work but with the bonus of keeping some of the samples I have sewn. This is the Ilford Jacket It is a unisex pattern which I thought would be a bit meh but I have found that I love it made in boiled wool. The little felted left over pieces made for some fab applique fun. There will be more of these for other members of my family in other fabrics this year I think.

I have added three more characters to my Nativity set. The pattern was only for Mary and Joseph but with a little imagination and some off piste crochet shenanigans, I have made three kings. I'm just waiting for the right thingy to fall into my hands for two more gifts - you never have a broken necklace when you want one!

My neighbour who I taught to crochet 10 years ago asked if I wanted her yarn stash. She can't crochet anymore due to arthritis and it was sad to see such aspiration in one basket which could not be fulfilled but my teens and I enjoyed visiting her and we spilt the yarn between us. At the bottom of the basket was a half finished Elise Shawl. I remember teaching it to a load of people at a class so I finished it off and will give it to her for her birthday. She said I could keep it but it didn't feel right to do that.

 Have you ever seen anvil clouds? These ones were amazing last week. We couldn't stop looking at them.

If that feels like a random phone image dump its because it is but lots of lovely things to inspire you I hope. Thanks for calling in. See you for where I hope to get out and about in the garden.

Jo xxxx