Tuesday, 30 July 2019

More Making

House building stuff has been good but steady. We have been concentrating on outdoor clearing ready for landscaping while there are dry days and light nights. When it rains though, I turn my attention to some new home ware sewing to get me ahead of the game when we return to the inside work.

I bought these two chairs from Ebay - I wasn't even looking for them but they came up on my feed for £25 for the pair and I liked the shape. I imagined looking out from our lounge view above whilst knitting, comfortably sat on one of these low seats. I am short so having my feet on the floor holds my posture well while knitting or crocheting. We weren't so keen on the 1960's covers but I knew I could rectify that. 

I re covered the seat pads with some recycled curtains from our current house. This Laura Ashley fabric is 18 years old but absolutely timeless in my eyes. I bought zips to make sure that they could enjoy a long life by being removed and washed. Unfortunately, the back cushions could not be salvaged therefore I bought two new feather cushion pads. Again, I added zips to ensure they could be washed. 

It really is a wonderfully comfortable chair, I wish you could have a sit down and see for yourself! The photos are a bit mid-build but you get the idea.

Pushing the boat out with piping makes them look super professional. I used a linen look one from minerva Crafts online.

Secondly, there was a roman blind to construct. The check pattern of the fabric made it easier to cut and sew a straight line but I am getting a bit of sagging in the middle because it is nearly two metres wide. On the final fitting I will add a few stab stitches to join the lining and outer fabric together invisibly. 

The instructions are from the first Great British Sewing Bee book.

I am also getting a bit of rucking but as this was my first fitting they could really do with a good press which I have not done yet.

It fits the window which was my main aim of hanging them today. A bit more work needed on the finishing but I am nearly there.

A little premature for the completion of our house but all of these items have been packed away now in bin bags to stop them from getting dusty. I am really pleased that I have managed to recycle a lot of what I already had to get a few home furnishings under my belt.

One day, but I can't promise when, you will get the full picture.

Keep popping in. Jo xxxxx

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Heatwave Dress

Feeling hot, hot hot?

I made this dress just before the UK heatwave and although I am not entirely happy with the fit, the flared skirt style was an ideal wardrobe choice today.

I remember making the long version of this dress when I was 21 to wear to all my friends' 21st birthday parties. I knew I was bigger when I was younger but I didn't realise how much. In my memory, the dress I made in the nineties made me feel great so I thought I would just cut out another one in the shorter length and alter it a little on the side seams - oh no no! How wrong my body image perception was!

It is from Prima magazine which my mum had at the time. You can see how old it is by the collared version on the reverse of the one I made - very lady Dianna Spencer!

It was a lot too big. So big in fact that I lost a bit of the shaping because of all the taking in. In hindsight I should have made a toile.

 The all in one facing didn't fit at all after the reshaping and I had to make new ones. The most obvious fitting issue is around the arms. I still have a bit gaping.

I tried hard to salvage this dress because it is made in my new 3m of Seasalt sale fabric. A cotton and viscose mix which is perfect for a fit and flare dress. It was £22 in the sale (now 19.95) so I felt OK about it and lets face it, if it was £55 I would never have bought it!

I used my generic pocket pattern which I add to most of my dresses which made it a bit of a save in the end.

I wore it today and it feels fine on. It made me think, and it isn't the same for everyone, that even though I was much bigger when I was in my early twenties I always felt confident about my body back then and that makes me feel happy today.

Jo xxxx

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Joyride Jumper

Tomorrow is the start of our six week summer school break - Joyride indeed! We always start the holidays with a trip to the Shropshire hills for a 'chipnic' It is like a picnic but we buy fish and chips from Church Stretton and drive up the perilous road to the top of the Long Mynd for tea with our friends. The children run about in the wind and then we all go the pub for a few drinks. It is our portal to the long holidays. The top of the blustery hill was the ideal place to take some pictures of my latest knit.

It is a free bottom up knit from Garnstudio called Joyride. My Auntie saw it in a magazine and said to my mum, "This is a real Jo jumper." How true. It is knit with Drops Karisma 100% wool. 

I made a few modifications of course. I ran out of navy yarn to finish the neck band because I made the sleeves slightly longer. I added the aforementioned ribbed neckband because I like a definite band not a rolled unfinished edge. The sleeves have an added rib too because they were too baggy without one. I didn't add patterns to the sleeves and there was a bit more patterning around the neck but they seemed to mix up the overall effect so I stuck with the leaf shapes.

My colourwork knitting is much better than it used to be. The floats are an even tension which still allows for stretch but is not saggy at resting point. I am super pleased with the inside.

There were ends...lots of ends. In reality however it was only a TV program and a darning needle away from being finished. 

I used to spend the week before the big holidays having a really strange relationship with time. I would tidy, sort, clean, wash, garden and generally work myself to the bone in the belief that I could cram six weeks worth of chores into one week. All that happened was that the house was trashed in the first week and I had a faint feeling of resentment for the rest of the holidays. This year, I ringed the changes and spent an afternoon knitting my sweater; going for lunch with a retiring work colleague; doing an epic dog walk with another friend and making a dress. It felt a better way to spend the week.

Beano managed to get hold of the rest of the ball of green whilst momentarily unattended but I had just enough without regular teeth marks and breakages to get to the end. 

 I am wearing my 'knitting Ninja' badge because I feel truly accomplished making this sweater. I really LOVE it. 

What do you think? Have a good week. 
Jo xxxxxx

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Ottobre Mens Shirt

Have you ever made a mans shirt? Me neither but this first experience was a really enjoyable sew. It is from Ottobre magazine. They released their first family edition in 2017 but I have yet to make anything from it. 

I made the shirt in the easiest version I could make possible. I thought I should avoid any unnecessary fripperies and concentrate on getting the basics just right. 

I omitted the sleeve cuffs by making it short sleeved; missed off the pocket;left out little side vents and omitted the last buttonhole in case it was too tight around the neck. He wears them open in summer anyway. I guessed the size because I wanted it to be  a surprise and it was spot on luckily.

I asked if there was anything I could change if I made it again and he said, "No, the sleeves are so much better than the ones in the shops because they are always too short for me"

I used burgundy thread for the buttonholes and all top stitching. The fabric has a subtle texture to it because the pattern is woven in, not printed, the burgundy thread picks up the little square motif. There is a blue colourway left on the website which would also make a beautiful ladies shirt too.

Here is our last photo from the dog walk :) These photos speak of Andy in a lot of ways; surrounded by weeds, his handsome battered hat, a hole in his jeans but always happy with his lot.

Thanks for stopping by. Jo xxx

Wednesday, 10 July 2019


Making - Two more blocks for my postage stamp quilt. It is definitely snail mail this one!

Getting - Wet! The weather has been awful this June but we are hoping summer will arrive a bit more in July.

Drinking - June's batch of Elderflower cordial. Mine is the fizzy one with gin and tonic and Little M had cordial squash. Both lovely.

Eating - Homemade Indian food. I am lucky that the girls like a bit of spice.

 Baking - a new cranberry and muesli cookie recipe- they were great.

Building - It is not pretty but we are filling another scrap metal skip now that we have taken down another shed. £££

Loving - That our girls can 'play' at the farm. They played farms for four hours this week followed by three hours of playing 'builders' in hard hats spreading wet sand onto broken tiles using various different trowels!

Thinking - About a time when we will have hens again.

Wearing - A dress at last!

Disliking - That the pup is destroying my garden. Lillies today!

Loving - but loving having a family dog again.

Avoiding - Weeding, knowing I will have to pay for that in the long run.

Enjoying - An hour of crochet or knitting every night. I make something everyday - it is indeed true.

Listening - to Meg. I asked her if she wanted a choc Ice and she said, "What is a choc Ice?" I gave her one and she battled her way through it licking the paper and getting in a mess. She said, "This thing needs a stick!" I had my first generation gap moment!

Sewing - a beaded dress. It is an alteration for a friend and it has taken me 3 hours to get the beads off the sides so that I can take it in but I am being paid handsomely.

Buying - Did you know Seasalt online sell fabric and it is in the 50% off sale at the moment? Did you know they post it in a paper bag not a plastic one? Just throwing that one out there...

Fixing - The outdoor hose - just in case the sun shines again.

Deciding - to stop the car and take a photo of a field of poppies on the way to a friend's house.

Looking - for someone to give our 26 Hebridian fleeces to. We have only just got rid of last years and we have just sheared again.

Feeling - Like summer might arrive in earnest soon.

Jo xxx

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Nosing Around our Neighbourhood

We are lucky enough to have a day every June each year where families from our town open up their gardens for people to view. We LOVE it. It is social, inspirational and a good walk.

We started with a neighbour in our street who we know well. Her and her husband's garden is much bigger than you would expect with a beautiful bendy tree in the centre. The children ran straight down to her fruit and veg patch behind the fence to find some redcurrants and gooseberries.

They have a trickling water feature and lots of little secret places which we enjoyed looking at.

A neighbour to this large garden has a tiny courtyard garden in comparison. The sign said 'Stand on the step and peep over into Tracey's secret garden'. Tracey felt people would not want to look at her tiny garden but to see what can be achieved in a tiny north facing courtyard was inspirational.

We really wanted to see the next one. It is a house right in the high street which we pass daily but we have never seen the garden because is has a brick wall around it.

 It was amazing, very different to the others but right up our street as it were. They had three beehives, chickens, a huge vegetable plot and lots of fruit trees alongside a wildlife pond, bog garden and flower borders.

The next one is one of our favourites from past visits. The owners of this garden are more in the expert bracket but are so friendly when we visit. There is a pond, yoga studio, succulent house and a myriad of little pathways. There are some elements of structure which I would like to copy in our new house build garden from this space. The photos say it all for this one.

This rose is called Ferdinand Picard
The next one was a new one on the trail - a real surprise. This garden is on a newer estate of houses and we had to walk through the owners house to get to the rear garden but it was such a surprise to see such a huge amount of planting in such a small space.

The lady was lovely with the children and said they could go up to the back of the garden and sit on her reading bench in the little arbour. She said she read in there most nights. The garden was really considered a room within their house because two sides of the garden had french doors which opened out onto it. It was a perfect day to showcase this with warm sunny weather.

Finally, we made our way to a garden which was described in the program as terraced with water features. The girls really liked this garden. I did too because the views across the valley were great but it was a bit neat for me. Big Sis took over with the camera in this garden to capture the water lillies. 

You may have noticed the absence of our man in these photos. He was all set to come along and then the sheep shearer phoned and said he could do the sheep so he had to be seconded elsewhere. On his return we told him all about each garden with enthusiasm and great detail. We are brimming with new ideas.

Do you have an open garden day where you live?

Jo xxxxxx