I have my Mum coming over for Christmas – she arrives this evening – and Mlle. Tialys the elder arrives Saturday as long as she catches her early morning flight by showing restraint at the bar and, like Cinderella, leaving before midnight from her office ‘do’ the night before. I’m worried, I cannot lie.
As it is a bit antisocial to disappear upstairs to my workroom when there are the proverbial halls to be decked, meals to be cooked and eaten, chocolates to be scoffed, the Muppets Christmas Carol to be watched (again) and general merriment to be made, I will be abandoning the sewing for a couple of weeks. So I attempted to finish projects I had started and clear my cutting table for use as a gift wrapping surface.
Here is the finished Butterick pattern (can’t remember which one) that Mlle T. the younger requested as she likes the bell sleeves. There’s a bit of a 70s vibe going on here. A nice easy pattern cut on the bias so no messing with fastenings – just some bias binding round the neck.
I bought the new Grainline sweatshirt pattern, called Linden because I fancied making a couple of tops to wear for yoga even though my yoga teacher has disappeared to Mexico for a few months so I will have to be very disciplined and do it in front of the T.V. with DVDs. Hmmmm………
Anyway, I made a muslin in some plain french terry for the short sleeved boxy version first but it turned out well, if a bit boring, so I added an image and will wear it to classes when they resume. If you’re wondering, yes, I can do that pose but only once.
This version has no cuffs at waist or sleeves but the other version of the pattern has. I wasn’t going to add them but my double stitching didn’t come out right around the ends of the sleeves so I added cuffs to hide it. Then I added the hem cuff for consistency. I wouldn’t do that again though as I don’t really like cuffs on things – especially trousers/pants – and especially tight ones, I don’t know why, I just don’t. I made the mistake of making it with stripy french terry and spent a merry couple of hours trying to match stripes until I Googled it and realised that, with raglan sleeves, you have to match what you can in the most visible areas and leave the rest to do what they will. So I did. Sort of. The side seams match, in my defense.
I think I’m going to give sewing clothes a bit of a rest for a while now. I bought Colette’s Dahlia pattern and had the fabric lined up for it – although it is the dreaded plaid – looked at a few finished versions, read some of the comments and just couldn’t get motivated to make it. This after buying the PDF version and printing out gazillions of pages and then sticking them all together – something else I won’t be doing in future. Anything bigger than a skirt or top will be ordered as a paper pattern.
Anyway, never fear, my Mum will soon be here and, as you may remember from previous posts, when she is here we knit.
I’m hoping to finish the Kim Hargreaves jacket I started a couple of weeks ago which is going well. I had a bit of a contretemps with the rear vent – considering I didn’t even know it was there until I thought the pattern had gone nuts – rear photographs of designs which have features on the back please publishers! Actually, the pattern for the vent wasn’t particularly well explained in my opinion and I had to call in reinforcements. However, it is done.
Love that blackberry colour and, so far, the Sirdar yarn is proving a good alternative to the Rowan.
When that looks more like this
I am going to tackle a knitted throw. I don’t know why, I just saw the photo of it and got the urge. I can’t show you the photo here as the designer doesn’t want her photos shared but you can see it here. You have to use 6 strands of worsted weight yarn (thats dk or aran to us that speak U.K. knitting terms ) and monster needles such as these.
Those little circular ones with the blue wire are what I used to knit my socks and are there for size comparison as they are 3.5mm and the monsters are 20mm. That is a 450g ball of wool by the way. Reading the feedback on the pattern, one reviewer says knitting it was a bit like ‘wrestling a bear’. I will let you know.
It must be that time of year
I love making these but there are lots of bits and pieces and it really is a labour of love. It’s just from time to time I am inexplicably drawn to making another one
- or in this case, two.
The last big vide grenier of the year took place recently and this was on the first stand I came to so I
wrestled Mr. T to the ground persuaded Mr. T we needed yet another antique mannequin in the house and a deal was done.
She is what I call ‘headmistress shaped’ because my fearsome headmistress at school was engineered by vicious undergarments to look rather like this – she used to remind me of a figurehead at the prow of an old ship. So ‘Miss Viner’ has joined my other girls but I will never refer to her as ‘cheap and nasty’ as she used to do to us if we committed any misdemeanour, even one as small as talking in class (as I did – often)
I am doing quite well with my dog bandanas in aid of the local rescue. There will be a stand at a big Christmas Fair this weekend and I am going to send some along for sale there. Somebody told me about soaking them in an essential oil mixture which makes the dog smell nice and also repels fleas and other nasties so I am waiting for the recipe and might give it a try. In the meantime, the patient Stan has posed for more photos. Just wait until he sees what Mlle. Tialys the elder
forced persuaded me to buy for him when I was over in the U.K. Even he might draw the line at it – watch this space!
Speaking of my U.K. visit, as well as the obligatory fish and chips, Indian meal and high street shopping, I also indulged in a bit of culture. I bribed Mlle. T. the elder to accompany me to see ‘Mr. Turner’, the film about the genius painter which was very good and set me up for my visit to Tate Britain to see the Late Turner Exhibition the next day.
Snow Storm – Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth
This is one of my favourite paintings which was on display at the exhibition.
I have to say Mr Turner is not really her sort of film and I did have to keep glancing sideways at her to make sure she was still awake but, afterward, she pronounced it ‘interesting’ which is all a mother can hope for. By way of compensation I took out a second mortgage and we went to see the West End show ‘Sunny Afternoon’ which is a sort of biopic about The Kinks and it was excellent and here is a reminder of the songwriting skills of Ray Davies and the band’s very distinctive sound.
Off to the U.K. for visiting, theatre going, shopping, art gallery viewing, fish and chip eating and general catching up and seeing what I’ve been missing (if anything). I won’t dwell on a dentist appointment I’ve booked myself in for as it can’t all be fun I suppose.
I couldn’t go without showing you these.
Yes, these are the bottoms of my legs but what I’m really showing you are the temporarily abandoned but finally finished two at a time, toe up socks. I am so in love with them that I never want to wear them.
Do you know what I mean when I say that? If I don’t put them away somewhere safe they might get spoiled/dirty/lost/eaten by a dog. Please say I’m not the only one.
Anyway, here’s another view where I didn’t have to put my legs up in the air whilst holding a camera at a funny angle, as you do.
Just in case you are wondering, I am not a master of intarsia knitting, this is the way the wool knits up. It’s like magic! I’m so chuffed they match although I did have some input into that.
Now that I have finished these, I can cast on for another project free of guilt.
I have been making dog bandanas like a crazy woman for the fund raising efforts of my local Dog Rescue group as mentioned in my last post and I have turned to festive fabric as one does at this time of year, such as these.
Whilst the trusty Stan was modelling for pet accessories in the hope that I would throw a ball for him at the end of it, I happened to get a disturbing photograph of him which revealed he has a much longer tongue than I gave him credit for. It is a rubbish photograph of the bandana but I include it here for your edification.
I’ll be back in a week or so having hopefully replenished my wardrobe, fabric stash, cholesterol count and cultural education.
Hot on the heels of pole dancing cats here’s another title to tempt you into reading but, this time, it’s for a good cause so I’ll let the dogs do the talking.
Hello! Flo here again, that’s me on the right, occasional guest blogger here.
You may know that, before I was living in the lap of luxury and spoilt to death, I was found wandering on the streets and taken to a dog shelter where the Missus and her family came to find me last New Year’s Day. That’s Stan on the left and he didn’t get as far as a dog shelter because the Missus found him running in traffic and rescued him herself after the registered owner (he was microchipped) didn’t care to have him back. Taz is our other brother and it was a similar story with him. Anyway, the Missus says she can’t possibly adopt any more animals or she will go crazy and, although I can’t begin to understand why that would be, I know she likes to help raise funds for the S.P.A. (Société Protéctrice des Animaux) in Carcassonne, France and she does this with a group called Dog Rescue Carcassonne. You can read about some of the work they do here. Just think, my picture was on there once but I was called Froggy then as they thought the way I sat with my back legs sticking out made me look like a frog. As if!
The Missus likes to sew and she thought she would make some bandanas for stylish dogs, like myself, to wear when we are out to impress. Stan is wearing a rather fetching red one above but, as you can see, I am naked because, although I am the most beautiful of the Missus’ dogs, I can’t possibly stay still long enough to be photographed properly.
So, even though Stan isn’t as gorgeous as me, he will do anything for a tennis ball and, if one is held aloft, he will sit and stare at it forever in the hope that it will eventually be thrown for him. This is what makes him a good model
These fit the sort of collars that our size of dogs wear but the Missus says she will even make them for ‘handbag dogs’ whatever that means.
Then she says she will give the profits to the Dog Rescue Carcassonne to help other dogs find homes and also so that the dogs can be sterilized in order to prevent more unwanted dogs being abandoned and ending up playing with the traffic.
I must say that Stan looks almost handsome and he can’t lose his bandana because his collar threads right through it and, if he rolls in fox poo or goes swimming in the river, the Missus can just wash it in the machine.
That is Stan laughing at the suggestion he might roll in fox poo but I know it’s true because I’ve seen him do it .
I quite fancy that cute one with the deer and owl and kitten so I hope one of those is for me. I don’t know who that is in the photo – perhaps it’s one of those handbag dogs.
It’s that time of year when I prefer the comfort of a big, warm, fluffy ball of wool and a pair of chunky needles to a cutting mat and some flimsy fabric. That’s not to say I have abandoned the sewing machine. I have the new Grainline sweatshirt pattern, ‘Linden’ and some french terry fabric ready to make something to keep me warm at the start of my yoga class. I also have Colette’s new Dahlia dress pattern for which I’m going to throw caution to the wind and try sewing with plaid again – they promise it’s an ideal pattern for plaid (no darts) and will hold my hand along the way which I will need after my last disastrous attempt. So I’m just awaiting a huge fabric delivery, praying Customs won’t punish me too much for ordering from the States, then I can get going on that. I also have a sort of 70s boho vibe top cut out and ready to go for Mlle Tialys the younger and just need to make or buy some bias binding and ribbon and I’ll be off. But, for the moment, I’m mainly in knitting mode.
In a timely fashion for the temperature change we’ve just experienced – one day in swimming pool*, next day looking at snow on the mountains – I’ve just recently finished this jacket or short coat, as it is called on the pattern.
This is Sirdar Pattern 8951 in Denim Ultra which is a joy to work with and also knits up quicker than you can say ‘I think I might actually wear this one’. My mum had made one for herself and I liked it, especially when I saw the size of the needles (10mm) and the rope like yarn. It’s definitely a quick fix knit. I was lucky enough to find somebody selling it for a fraction of the price but only in one colour – Laurel – which is a dark green with black fleck, although I know it looks grey in the photo. So an economical knit too.
Here is the back but I confess that, true to form, I made an error right at the beginning by ignoring my usual insistence using cable cast on and following the pattern instructions to cast on using the thumb method. I’m sure there is a good reason to do this but, not being used to it, I cast on too loosely for the back and it stayed a bit ‘loopy’. When I took these photos I hadn’t fixed it but now I have by weaving a length of yarn along the cast on edge at the back to neaten it up.
The reason it is on the mannequin instead of me, by the way, is because it was bloomin’ hot on the day I took the photos and I usually relish any excuse not to photograph myself plus my mannequin carries off a jaunty silk scarf much better than me.
Before I start my next project, I must must must – I really must – finish my socks I started back at the beginning of the year and then abandoned (or hibernated, as they call it on Ravelry) . Remember these? My two at a time, toe up, striped socks using the tutorial from Heidi Bears.
Well they are now past the heel and halfway up my leg so another couple of evenings will have them finished but, until then, I am not going to cast on for this pattern called ‘Shale’ from Kim Hargreaves book ‘Storm’.
which is Sirdar Denim Ultra again, in Blackberry, and I’m going to use it instead of Rowan Big Wool which is what is used in the pattern. It is half the price and, after reading some negative reviews on Ravelry about the Rowan yarn, might be a better choice anyway. I’ve knitted a swatch and I think, by going down a needle size, I can make it work.
But first, I have a pair of stripy socks to finish.
Mlle Tialys the Elder has been pole dancing. Apparently it is a legitimate form of exercise. When she was doing a class earlier in the year, close to her University on the South Coast, she did it in shorts and trainers (I think). Now, she is doing an internship in London and when she rang to ask for details about a local class they said ‘some of the ladies like to wear high heels’. Do they now! I was a little worried because even though I flung myself about in spandex à la Jane Fonda back in the day, there was never a pole in sight. Unless you count the one holding up the pub sign where I usually ended up after class to down a swift lager and lime. Anyway, we have communicated by text this morning and she appears to have escaped being kidnapped by shady characters and was designated as being worthy of the ‘intermediate’ class. Perhaps it’s best if she doesn’t get too advanced.
Anyway, when she first started this pole dancing lark, she made me laugh by telling me about hanging upside down on the pole and having to lower herself slowly to the ground and her thighs were making a loud squeaking, creaking noise against the pole as she descended which resounded around the room and that reminded me of this -
Forget all those other famous lines from classic films, ‘Feed me – if you dare’ has got to be my favourite. Plus, how gorgeous is Antonio Banderas’ voice?
Talking of cats – which we sort of were – on one of my rummages recently I spotted this poster for an art exhibition. It just gets into the ‘vintage’ category (or the American one at least), being over 20 years’ old, so I bought it for my shop but I then made the mistake of hanging it on my wall and now I just might have to keep it.
A bit on the creepy side, I know but just look at that cat’s face. He reminds me of my own long suffering black cat Salem. Every summer he gets eaten by some sort of insect and his face, eyes and ears go all scabby and sore looking. I put cream on which helps a bit but it happens every summer and, round about this time of year, it clears up and you’d never know he’d ever been affected. It’s so bad that, if he wasn’t mine and I saw him wandering around, I would think he was a poor neglected creature with no home to go to. As it is, if I see him and I’m in company, I just pretend not to know him which saves any embarrassment and wards off threats to report me to whatever passes for the R.S.P.C.A. around here.
Of course, I also have a cat that looks like Shrek’s Puss in Boots
Who has also let himself go and is not ashamed to show it.
(He is alive in this photo by the way)
Back to sewing, knitting, crafting news next time but a change is as good as a rest to a blind horse as somebody who likes to mix up their proverbs might say and, anyway, I have too many projects on the go and nothing ready or worth photographing yet.
Yes, I know I should really have called this post ‘Pole Dancing And Cats’ but that wouldn’t have sounded quite so intriguing so I sort of cheated.
I haven’t got a cough, I really want to talk about hems. Or at least let somebody else talk about them .
You know that moment when you’ve made something and you can’t wait to wear it (or give it away or throw it in the bin depending on how the project has gone for you *bitter experience talking*) and then you remember you have to hem the thing. What a faff.
Anyway, the lovely people at Colette Patterns have been doing a ‘Sept – hem -ber’ (enough with these puns!) on their blog and showing you multiple ways of finishing off your hems to a high standard.
They have kindly produced a free hemming guide as an E-book and you can download it for free here. How generous!
Do you do anything fancy with your hems or do you just try and get it over with as quickly as possible? Do you have one of those puffer things to mark the hem level? – seriously, I’m thinking of getting one and want to know if it would be worthwhile, bearing in mind I haven’t got a level floor in my whole house.
I know I haven’t told all yet about the big braderie I went to in Lille a couple of weeks ago but, since then, my Mum has come to visit plus Mlle. Tialys the elder came back for a weekend of home comforts before starting a year’s internship so I’ve been a bit busy but, suffice it to say, it was big, it was expensive, it was crowded, it was an experience. I will elaborate soon when I’ve worked out how to get the photos off my phone – I could’t spare the luggage space for my proper camera and I don’t usually use my phone to take pictures.
Here’s one thing I bought.
Don’t ask me why – it just appealed.
What I have been doing though is companionably knitting with my mother and making some infinity scarves or cowls or whatever they are called at the moment, for my shop. Mlle. Tialys the elder is usually a good model but she moaned a bit this time – and it showed in her expression – so I used a vintage mannequin too. These scarves appeal to the patchworker in me as I like coordinating the fabrics which can then be reversed and mixed to good effect as you puff up and arrange the scarf to your liking.
This one is almost a duplicate of one I’ve made for my resident goth (aka Mlle. Tialys the Younger)
A mélange of greens
which you can reverse to this combination.
Ooer! Looks like she’s thinking about those early mornings and getting on the London Underground in rush hour.
Back to the mannequin….
The title is to do with nothing much really except I’ve started making scarves and it’s autumn and there actually is ‘a bit of a nip in the air’ – suddenly.
It’s been a nice long summer. I did a bit of dog agility – or thought about it anyway – and jumped in the fish pond a lot even though the Missus had bought me my own paddling pool.
We had a few visitors – which gets me very excited – and I went to a bar and tried to get served by pretending to be a human.
Then all of a sudden, things changed. All the visitors have gone home. My beloved Mr. T, who the Missus accuses of spoiling me, isn’t having much time off work and both the Madamoiselles have gone back to University and college. The Missus says she needs to get back into a routine and I have to get used to being left for a couple of hours again.
This morning she went to her yoga class and even though I had Taz and Stan for company, I felt neglected and bored. I can open doors. I like to collect things. I like to give them a little chew.
When the Missus came home she said things in a loud voice that she doesn’t say very often. Also she said that I had cost her about 100 euros as her contract has another year to run so she has to pay for a new phone. I didn’t really want the black thing, I liked the chewy, colourful covering and the black thing just got in the way. She said I was very lucky not to have hurt myself on that pink thing I found in the bathroom.
Which is strange as she then said she felt like killing me which I’m sure would hurt a lot.
Anyway, I felt a bit bad.
Apparently, next time the Missus goes out she is going to ‘confine me to the kitchen’ whatever that means.
Bye for now,
love Flo x
Not that sort of affair – as if I’d tell – but one where I have made a dress from a French indie designer and will be wearing it – weather permitting – to the biggest flea market in the whole of France this weekend and eating copious amounts of moules frites.
Lille was only known to me before as a train station where one would change trains if travelling to Disneyland Paris from the U.K. on the Eurostar but it is also host, on the first weekend of September every year, to a huge, ginormous flea market which usually sees between 2 and 3 million visitors thronging the streets in search of interesting antiques, retro home decor, vintage clothing and everything in between. The streets are closed to traffic and there are all sorts of vendors there from people clearing out their houses to big antique dealers. It is the largest in France and there will be around 10,000 stalls – should keep us busy.
I’ve fancied going there since I heard about it a few years ago and now I have a willing accomplice who is coming with me. We are actually flying up as we are in the south of France and have already started panicking about the luggage allowance – 2kg in the hold and a 55x40x20cm cabin bag allowance – how will we manage when we just know we are going to want to bring back much more? The alternative would have been to drive up but that would take around 10 hours and add another day on to either side of our trip so we abandoned that idea. The hotels fill up really quickly but we found an apartment to stay in which is right in the centre of the activity – – the owner is fleeing the place for the duration!
Apparently moules frites must be eaten and the restaurants have a competition to see who can build the biggest mussel shell mountain outside of their establishment.
We will arrive on the Friday and settle in ready for the onslaught on Saturday. Apparently, making use of the streets being closed to traffic, a half marathon is run through the city on the Saturday morning – we won’t be participating in this needless to say as I haven’t got any room in my case for unnecessary things like running shoes and lycra shorts. Shame, but there you are. The market goes through the night and all through Sunday and I expect to be thoroughly exhausted by the time we arrive back on Monday afternoon not least because my friend who is coming with me is French and takes no prisoners with the speed of her speech so I will be suffering from French Language Overload a condition none the less real just because I’ve made it up.
Thinking ahead about treading the streets of a city shoulder to shoulder with a couple of million other people, I have chosen my armoury.
Comfy shoes – 3 pairs
I have heard much about these Swedish cloggy things and understand that they are very comfortable and made for people who are on their feet all day. We will see. I hope it is true as I’ve bought two pairs – the other pair has higher heels and a completely wooden sole. They are not my ‘go to’ style of choice if I’m honest but, on the day, comfort will be paramount. I will also put my beat up pair of Birkenstocks in as they are very light and I can carry them around in case I need to change halfway through the day.
Bag on Wheels
Oh look it matches the shoes. I hope this isn’t too far down the road towards an old lady bag in tartan with a rigid handle but it’s a cabin bag that I can also use as a flea market shopping bag. It was designed specially to fit Ryanair’s cabin bag size restrictions and, although I’m not flying with them, it suits the other economy carriers too. I like the way the manufacturers have printed the dimensions on the front of the bag as if to say ‘so there!’ to the check-in staff. The plan is to carry it around the market over my shoulder until I can bear the weight no longer and then wheel it.
which brings me to
Portable Weighing Scales
To weigh any prospective purchase if it looks like it might take up too much of my allowance, and to ensure my suitcase, which will be stuffed to the gills, doesn’t go over 20 kilos.
Bum Bag (or Fanny Bag *snigger, snigger* for those of you across the pond)
To keep the thieving buggers, who are bound to be there preying on the crowds, out of my cash. This, after my mother had her shoulder bag split open from behind and her purse stolen whilst alone in a Spanish market – she’s 82, have they no shame? (Just a mini rant there, sorry).
To save space in my case on the way out (it will be packed with bubble wrap), I will wear jeans and just take a couple of tops. However, if we venture out for our banquet of Moules Frites in the evening, and it is warm, I will wear my new dress that I finished yesterday.
This is the Deer and Doe Reglisse dress. Deer and Doe are a French indie design company so it was good to be able to buy ‘local’ and get free postage -a rare thing in France unless you first spend gazillions of euros.
As you know, I will do anything to avoid buttons, zips and other fiddling about but, in order to do so, I generally have to cut on the bias and buy multi metres of fabric – this dress takes around 3 metres – but I love the resulting swishy skirt. I made the dress according to the pattern without any alterations. I’d already made a blouse from the pattern using a hack from another blogger so I knew what size to make. However, the pattern calls for cotton chambray or similar and I thought it would look good in a drapier fabric so, instead of putting bias binding round the hem I did a rolled hem on the overlocker to avoid it looking too ‘weighted down’. Apart from that, no changes.
I think this is a dress I will get a lot of wear out of. It’s comfortable and can be dressed up or down (usually down in my case!) and I think it will be ideal for taking this weekend as my one and only ‘frock’ as, if the sun doesn’t shine, it will look fine with a thin jacket or cardi over the top.
A bientôt .