Although, as far as I can remember, I never qualified as a Doctor I believe I have repetitive strain injury in my left thumb due to overdoing the knitting and crochet leading up to Christmas. I am trying to rest it, ice it, ibuprofen it and generally wrestle it into submission but the frustration at not being able to continue with my current projects is really getting to me. I cannot console myself with a glass of wine as I’m doing Dry January and I can’t seem to get back into the swing of sewing – I haven’t taken the cover of my machine for several weeks. Woe is me!
Although I never qualified as a physiotherapist either, I have decided it’s not so much the crochet activity that’s doing for me as the sock knitting. I don’t really need any new socks at the moment so I’m putting that project aside until I can manage the close pinching movement needed to hold the teeny circular needles I’m using without taking to my fainting couch with an ice pack afterwards and sulking.
So, I have moved on a little with the Eastern Jewels blanket by limiting myself to half hour(ish) crochet sessions followed by ice and now have four completed octagons. I might do as Sheila over at Sewchet did and try to join the rows of four as I go so I can be inspired but mostly so I won’t have as much of the boring stuff to do at the end. I can only hope my blanket will turn out half as beautifully as Sheila’s has.
Talking of being inspired, I rather like Trish’s Liberty tana lawn shorty pyjamas over at The Small Sewing Room and decided to make some myself because I need to get back on that
horse sewing machine again and I don’t really need any new clothes but a new pair of P.J.s appeals as the RTW ones with shorts never seem to fit me properly and are often so short that I end up taking in tomorrow’s washing if you get my drift 😮
Anyway, Trish’s version uses lovely, feminine, softly coloured tana lawn but mine will be covered in pears – although they are still Liberty pears so will be nice and soft and comfy and, anyway, the fabric was a bargain on eBay and I decided I didn’t have anything against pear covered pyjamas at that price.
Once I’m back in the swing of things I will have another look at the Winifred Aldrich pattern cutting book I got for Christmas. I had a quick shufty through and it scared me half to death so I bought a Craftsy pattern cutting course as well to get me started. I am going to try making a skirt block/sloper for the younger Tialys Mademoiselle. I was going to do the trousers course, as she wears those more often, but I think the skirt course has more of the basics included which is probably what I need. I’ll let you know how I get on.
For reasons that I won’t go into again I was very physically inactive during the couple of months leading up to Christmas and over the whole holiday period. Ironic then that, when I returned to my Zumba class last week, I had the cheek to have my hand and wrist in a support glove thingy as if I’d been doing all sorts of sporty stuff rather than too much knitting. I didn’t own up to it though – what does that say about me?
Not my hand – my hurty hand is my left one -you get the idea though.
Usually, I walk the dogs up some very steep land every day and go to Zumba and Pilates classes every week but I had done absolutely nothing. The difference in my fitness level in the Zumba class was evident to all as I staggered, gasping for air and water, out of the side door in the midst of a routine. Well, that’s a slight exaggeration but I did have to stop mid-fling about and swig from my water bottle instead of waiting until the music stopped
It’s been a slow start all round but I’m working on it.
Has 2018 begun well for you?
For one reason or another, this has been a year more dedicated to the woolly crafts than the fabric ones.
I started this first project last November but, by the time it was ready for ‘the sewing up bit’ the weather was far too warm to wear it so I left it until this November to assemble it. It was my second oversized or ‘boyfriend’ cardigan from Kim Hargreaves ‘Storm’ book of patterns using one strand of Rowan kidsilk haze and one of Kid Classic throughout giving it that nice fuzzy look. One reason I’ve showed it on the mannequin rather than me is that the photos of the mannequin wearing it show the fuzziness better than the ones of me and the second reason is, despite being over 100 years old, she looks slightly less raddled than I do at the moment.
I like it but I don’t love it as much as the silvery grey one I made. It will be worn around the house when I can’t be bothered to light the log burner and will make me a magnet for cats seeking comfort which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Since I re-taught myself to crochet, there has been quite a bit of hooking going on this year. I was enticed by these gorgeous colours in Attic 24’s Hydrangea blanket and the dense stitch pattern was an easy one to do in front of the T.V. which means I get on with it more quickly.
I didn’t register the measurements of the blanket which is single bed size so I’ve only just finished it but love it to bits.
Most of the crochet projects I’ve done so far have been in rows so I thought I’d challenge myself a bit. Sheila over at Sewchet started on this lovely blanket called Persian Tiles in the Eastern Jewels colourway and, although I’d already spotted it, I thought it might be a bit complicated but after reading about it on Sheila’s blog I thought I’d give it a go.
Unfortunately, that is not me holding up the finished blanket – I’m nowhere near that finished, blonde or young.
I’m really enjoying it so far – although I’ve only done two and a half octagons – but it’s something a bit different for me to get stuck in to and I’m gaining a bit of experience ‘in the round’ at the same time.
I’m weaving my ends in as I go along because there are multitudinous ones and it will be a mammoth task at the end if I don’t.
Thinking that I would work on both that project and one other over the Christmas holidays, I got out two balls of sock yarn I bought last year and cast on for a pair of socks. As this is only my third pair in as many years I have to keep going back to the tutorials to see what to do.
I like to do both socks at once so I don’t fall prey to the dreaded ‘second sock syndrome’ which I know I would be prone to and there is, apparently, no cure. Also, I knit from the toe up for various reasons but not least because at this stage it looks as if I’m knitting a teeny bikini top or a pair of woolly sunglasses. I am easily amused. This method works for me but involves tricksy beginnings such as Judy’s Magic Cast On and the Magic Loop Method which I need to remind myself of when I embark on my annual sockfest.
All is not so successful.
Remember the Sunshine and Showers Crochet-A-Long I embarked on a while back? Another crochet challenge I thought I’d set myself. Well, I got off to a flying start and then came the flowers.
The flowers are done separately, joined up and then attached to the existing piece.
This is where they are now. It might have been a challenge too far.
I might go back to this project at some future stage but I am also fearful that the edges of the blanket will be less than straight because of all the different stitches and patterns in each section and, in my inexpert hands, it is more likely to happen than not as I’ve noticed other people, more experienced in the ways of crochet, have had this problem.
Unfortunately, having had a pair of needles or a hook in my hands almost permanently for some time now, I think I’ve got some sort of repetitive strain injury in the fat part at the base of my thumb so I might have to resort to an ice pack, some ibuprofen, massage and a few days of yarn deprivation to see if it will right itself.
In the meantime, I will gaze at my lovely hydrangea blanket – repelling all dogs and cats until the novelty wears off – and, because I’m so chuffed with it, put a second photo on, which is almost exactly the same as the first one, just to make myself feel better about not completing the Sunshine and Showers one.
Plus, I will read the book I asked Mr. T. for for Christmas and try to finally get to grips with pattern cutting.
So, in more ways than one I am casting off until the new year which is only two sleeps away but I will raise a glass of something sparkly to you all on New Year’s Eve and I will make the most of it because I am intending to test myself again this year by doing ‘dry January’ when I will try to maintain my sanity (and my liver) while not drinking any wine (or any other alcoholic beverage) until 1st February.
Thank you for your support, comments, good wishes, contributions, virtual hugs and all those other things bloggers are so good at, in 2017 and I hope you will stick with me in 2018 – even though I might be a touch grouchy in January 😉
This year I joined in, once again, with Sheila over at Sewchet’s infamous Stitching Santa. I am greedy so joined in both the knitting and stitching versions. I haven’t yet received my package from my knitting partner but, if she is reading this, I imagine you might have sent it to my husband’s office in the U.K. and he left on the 21st to come over to France for Christmas but it will be safe and sound in his desk drawer and will be with me in the second week of January. Sorry about that but I was trying to save you postage and it backfired – if indeed this is what has happened, I speculate only.
So Christmas came around again and it was time to torment my dogs with silly outfits (there was a hat too but she wouldn’t countenance it!)…………..
…………..get summed up by my daughter on a t-shirt – how well she knows me………….
……….and receive a parcel of goodies from a like-minded sewing person.
This year Sheila had tasked Rita who blogs at Rita’s Design with what to put in my parcel and what an excellent job she made of it.
Love these two little fabric buckets Rita made for me – excellent for the sock project I’m working on at the moment.
I don’t know how long I’ll be able to resist dipping this into a mug of hot milk.
A selection of coordinating fabric squares which will be great for a patchwork project.
These fabric pieces have peel off paper on the back revealing a sticky surface which I can imagine would be useful for covering notebooks or similar projects.
Some sewing spool fabric from Barcelona and some floral fabric from Hungary – and, as Rita lives in Germany now, this is a truly cosmopolitan parcel 🙂
A generously sized key holder which Rita made from a traditional Hungarian fabric which will certainly come in very useful.
Look! She even made me a rubber stamp with my name on it.
I absolutely adore this little nativity scene inside a seed pod. Apparently. Rita’s friend creates these little Christmas ornaments and it will certainly be brought out year after year to decorate our tree.
A side view in case anybody can help me identify the pod.
Last, but certainly not least, my own personalised, beautiful drawstring bag for putting my ‘smalls’ in when I’m travelling.
I was cheered up immensely by my parcel from Rita this Christmas and send lots of thanks to both her and to Sheila at Sewchet for organising us all once again.
Off to heat up a mug of hot milk now before somebody else discovers my chocolate spoon.
As I have done for the past two years, I joined in with Sheila of Sewchet’s Stitching Santa – both the sewing one and the knitting one – you can’t have too much of a good thing.
This cute enamel pin is the thing I spent most of my budget on.
This knitted neck warmer I made while over in the U.K. recently looking after Mum.
I made this little drawstring bag to keep knitting bits and pieces in
such as these wooden stitch markers…….
…….some cute wooden sheep buttons and a couple of other bits I forgot to photograph
Oh, there they are in the next photo of the skeins of slubby linen wool in a fetching shade of lilac.
……and a couple of crocheted coasters which I didn’t make myself so can’t take the credit for those delicate rounds.
Once again I had fun putting my packages together and hope my swap partner will be happy with what I chose.
Thanks to Sheila for organising us all once again.
Hopefully, my parcel for my sewing partner in Sheila at Sewchet’s Stitching Santa will be arriving any day – I hope she isn’t tempted to peek before the big day.
This enamel pin is what I bought with my budget.
This little drawstring bag with I made with some cute Mabel Lucie Atwell fabric contains some little gifts.
Like these buttons….
…..and this sew on purse clasp…..
and a few little charms …..
The pinchushion whale made her way in there but I did take the pins out in case of postal difficulties.
A handmade needle case made with lovely Liberty, some 10 inch squares of their tana lawn cut from my stash and a fat quarter(ish) of the blue and red one all in a luscious Liberty bag.
I hope she enjoys her Christmas surprise.
Once upon a time, back when we called yarn ‘wool’ and there was often a little wool shop or ‘kiosk’ in even the smallest of towns and independent knitwear designers were twinkles in their grandparents’ eyes, my Mum taught me how to knit.
Actually, I think she first used me as a living wool winder as I remember my early encounters with wool involved standing for a long time, arms outstretched, whilst a skein was converted into a ball. Despite this unpromising apprenticeship, I took up the needles at a young age and have continued, on and off, ever since.
I don’t remember my maternal grandmother ever yielding a pair of knitting needles so I wonder what started my mother off on her lifelong hobby.
Perhaps it was this. ….
…..which would have been just a little after the time she looked like this.
I wonder if she made those pompoms herself.
When I moved to France almost thirteen years ago Mum would come and visit several times a year as well as at Christmas and, what with my sister living in Spain, she was nearly always on her holidays which I hope compensated just a little for us not living next door. Regular readers will know that, during these visits, all other activities were practically abandoned in favour of knitting and chatting together.
This is Mum with Mlle. Tialys the Elder who, while not having caught the knitting bug at the time of writing, is a dressmaker and cross stitcher and could probably be brought into the fold at some future stage.
She made this for her Nan as an early Christmas present.
Back in 2013 Mum was nominated for a voluntary carers’ award for visiting a housebound elderly lady every week – almost without fail – for ten years. She was 80 herself at that point but this was the sort of thing she did. She wasn’t going to attend the award ceremony – being far too shy and modest – but I said I’d go with her and she agreed to go. She received a framed certificate from the Lady Mayor and afterwards we had a traditional English tea (another one!!) in lovely gardens in the sunshine.
While I was in England caring for my Mum with my two sisters, I knitted this little scarflet for my Stitching Santa partner.
Even though Mum didn’t have the strength to knit herself any longer by this stage it still felt like a bonding experience as I’m sure she could probably hear the clicking needles and the quiet chatting as my youngest sister began to knit a bear and my other sister started to knit squares for a blanket. One of my nieces visited, saw the three of us companionably knitting, and wanted to learn. And so the passing on of skills continues.
I have to say – and I know she’d agree with me – that Mum never really progressed beyond ‘enthusiastic amateur’ status. Mainly due to the fact that she hated ‘the sewing up bit’ and looked at me as if I were mad if I ever suggested anything as radical as ‘blocking’ a finished garment. She was the Queen of UFOs (unfinished objects) – her loft was full of half finished jumpers, cardigans, baby clothes, etc. – but even those things she finished weren’t deemed good enough to wear or pass on to the new babies of the family. The little baby jackets, cardigans and bootees we found cast off, in both senses, was poignant to say the least. The joy for her though was in the choosing of the pattern, the
yarn wool and the actual knitting – if something decent came off the needles that was a bonus.
You may remember my recent post about the Ugly Christmas Jumper and how it came to be and I hope you will be pleased to know that it was finally finished (once I’d added proper ribbing to the sleeves and lengthened the body) and handed to ‘the nephew’ one week before Mum died. I think he will treasure it forever.
It was a shame, as she loved Christmas so much, that she died the day before the first window of her advent calendar was to be opened, especially as there was a chocolate inside.
Family was everything to my Mum and I am so pleased that my sisters and I were able to be with her, in her own home, in the last few weeks of her life and could be there for her final, peaceful breaths as she had been there for our first ones. I am finding that a huge comfort at this difficult time.
Wherever you are now Mum, I hope there’s lots of wool and chocolate and laughter.
10th September 1932 – 30th November 2017
A picture heavy post today – and not so much of the rabbit* for a change – as I’m pressed for time and might have to go back over to the U.K. at the weekend to give my sister a little break in the care of our Mum.
It’s Kate and Gun’s ScrapHappy day so I’m joining in with some creatures made from scraps to show you. Remember the dogs I was making for a garland to bedeck my stall with at the upcoming Christmas Fair in aid of the dogs retirement home? Well there are now five of them and I think that’s how it’s going to have to stay as I’m not sure I’ll get round to making any others now before the event is upon us.
I still haven’t decided how I’m going to join them in a garland but it will come to me I’m sure.
I also made another whale pincushion and, even though you know it makes me feel bad to stick pins in it, I have.
Who says you can’t have a floral whale?
Sorry about my depth of field in the whale photo but you get the gist and this might be one of my Stitching Santa gifts. (‘depth of field’ – get me and my fancy camera talk. Unfortunately, I can talk the talk but can’t always walk the walk where photography is concerned.)
Talking of fund raising, I just received some new ribbons I ordered for the dog collars I make. They are very nice quality woven ribbons and are very bright and breezy. I love the Red Riding Hood one, so cute.
From the same company I ordered this lovely jersey fabric which I might make into a warm, snuggly dress for the winter – or a tunic if I haven’t got enough of it.
I saw the writing on the selvedge but ignored it
Kids indeed – what nonsense! I’m not afraid to wear a swan dress.
I had a happy unbirthday today because the very generous Claire sent me a gift of this little pouch which is just the right size to keep a packet of mini tissues in.
Such gorgeous fabric and the little snap hook on the end will make it just right to clip into my handbag and save me rummaging in the depths when I need to dry a tear (or blow a nose).
I have a couple of knitting and crochet finishes to show you but they will have to wait until I’m back from the U.K. and have, hopefully, participated in the Christmas Fair on the 25th of this month. Everything is a bit up in the air at the moment and days, let alone weeks, must be taken one at a time.
* ‘Rabbit’ – short for ‘rabbit and pork’ which is cockney rhyming slang for ‘talk’. Just in case you were wondering.
Yesterday, Sheila announced the results of the draw to see who would be partnered with who for the Stitching Santa she is organising again this year.
Amazingly, I’m a bit ahead of the game for a change and, not so amazingly, I have decided to participate in the Stitching and the Knitting Santas again this year because I do both but, more to the point, I like getting gifts under the tree especially if they are crafty ones.
So, I’ve made a start with these gorgeous enamel pins from Jodie over at ricracsews
This one will be for my knitting partner (obviously)
and this one will be for my stitching partner.
Colours may vary as I haven’t decided which one I’m keeping yet (I have two of each in different colours 😉 and I’ll be wearing mine at the craft fair I’m involved with at the end of the month
These are the ‘purchased’ part of my gifts, now to decide what else to put in.
Are you participating this year (and if not, why not) and, if so, have you made a start or haven’t you given it a thought yet?
A bit of an explanation for those of you who might have noticed an absence of my usual waffle in the comments section of your blog posts. I have been to the U.K. for a week but not for the usual fish and chips, underwear grab in Marks and Spencer and other frivolities. Unfortunately my Mother is ill and my sisters and I are taking it in turns to keep her company while she receives palliative care at her home. Logistically it’s quite difficult as I am in France, one of my sisters is in Spain and the youngest is in Wales which – though in the U.K., is still a 3.5 hour drive away from where my Mum lives. Still, whilst it is still possible, she wants to stay in her own familiar surroundings so we are doing our best to make sure she has one of us there at all times. I did take my iPad but screen time was sacrificed to quality time and, although I have certainly read most of your posts, I haven’t been commenting. In fact, since I returned home yesterday I had just under 300 emails and had to be ruthless with the delete button – just so you know.
Anyway, despite taking a new crochet project with me and some small sewing bits to keep me occupied, it was all put aside in favour of ‘the Christmas jumper’. This project was entrusted to Mum, just after she received her diagnosis, by my nephew. I think he thought it would give her something to work on and keep her mind occupied. She was actually knitting a rather lovely top for herself at the time but, as the sun shines out of his proverbial, as far as my Mum is concerned, all else was swept aside in her desperation to finish it for him and the boring stocking stitch began.
My nephew knows absolutely nothing about knitting and printed a very basic pattern off the internet and told her that was what he wanted. Despite knitting for years, my Mum has never got the hang of intarsia knitting and the chart left her dumbfounded. My middle sister was with her at that stage and decided to make the Christmas tree in felt and appliqué it on to the front. It was, I am told, a disaster. So, despite not even being a regular knitter herself, she came up with a separate knitted version of the tree, complete with pompoms for the baubles and star, and sewed that on. Mum completed the back before the extreme fatigue she is now suffering from kicked in, the same sister took some of the yarn back to Spain with her and did the sleeves and my task was to pick up the stitches and do the neckband and then sew it all together.
Could this be the weirdest Christmas jumper you see this year? It is like the Frankenstein of woolen wear – being made by different makers at different times and all of different abilities. Unfortunately, my sister was unsupervised when she knitted the sleeves in Spain and so mistook k1, p1 rib for moss stitch so there is absolutely no difference between the width of the cuffs and the width of the sleeves. I didn’t have time to do anything other than to sew it all together but it did occur to me that it might be worth picking up around the ends of the cuffs and knitting a proper ribbed piece on. What do you knitters think? Would that work? I know that the moss stitch piece would have to stay but we could call that a design feature.
He will be delighted to get this for Christmas. No, really!
I am sure of two things however: it will be the only one of its kind and he will never wear it in public.
Did I mention he is 35 years old?
This is my old boy Taz – he turned 12 in September. He is in recovery mode.
The day before I was due to leave for the U.K. I had slept very badly because, not only was I very nervous about my trip not knowing how I would find my Mum and worried about my caregiving abilites but I could hear the dogs marauding about downstairs in a restless manner. I got up to let them out in case they needed to pee and then I noticed that Taz’s stomach was hugely distended and rock hard. I thought it might be the very dangerous condition called ‘bloat’ which happens when a dog’s stomach fills with gas, food, or fluid, making it expand causing it to put pressure on the other organs. I wondered about calling out an emergency vet – it was 5.30 in the morning – but suddenly he was incredibly sick and I remembered that I had found the dog food delivery ‘tampered with’ the evening before and a kilo of one of the two 15kg sacks stored downstairs suspiciously missing so I put it down to him gorging himself. So, instead of rushing to the vet, I took my daughter to work at the normal time but, when I got back , I thought I’d take him to the vet anyway as he needed some more pills for his arthritis and let her have a look at his stomach – ‘just in case’. Luckily I did because she did an echogram, saw his spleen was in a bad condition and decided to whip it out on the spot. So, he lives to scent our lives with his gaseous emissions another day – while he was having the echogram the nurse was at the wrong end holding his feet still and had to run and fling open a window. ‘Welcome to my life’ I told her. Luckily, Mr. Tialys was on his way home from the U.K. to cover for me while I went to the U.K. and we picked him up at the end of the day. We put him in one of the girls’ t-shirts instead of a buster collar and, just over a week later, he appears to have recovered well.
Just what I needed before setting off for a week of grappling with multitudinous medications and daytime television but I am now an expert in both.
Not being a daytime t.v. viewer myself I am amazed at what gets discussed, dissected and repeated over and over again between the hours of 08.00 and 17.00. The worst of it is, because the target audience is obviously older the adverts are nearly all for life insurance ‘so your children aren’t burdened with your funeral expenses’, fund raising pleas for cancer charities with images of patients and, as it was Halloween while I was there, numerous coffins and other death related paraphernalia – all very uncomfortable viewing when watching with an elderly, sick loved one It was worse than an unexpected explicit sex scene coming up while watching with all the family round at Christmas time.
Still, there was always the Jeremy Kyle Show on to remind us that perhaps a more rigorous programme of contraception ought to be promoted amongst people who can shout at more than 90 decibels and use one swear word for every two ordinary ones in any given sentence whilst demanding to hear the results of the DNA test to prove who, out of a number of possible candidates, is the father of their unfortunate child.
Anyway, I’m back now.
Remember I made a tunic for Madamoiselle Tialys the Younger recently? (If not it’s here). Well, I fancied making one for myself and it just so happened I had the perfect fabric already in my stash which doesn’t happen very often.
Not last time, but the time before that when Ali over at Thimberlina organised the Yorkshire Spoolettes meet up, she ran a competition for people who couldn’t attend to guess the total mileage undertaken by all the people who did. By some amazing stroke of luck I hit upon the nearest mileage (in the international entry category) and Ali sent me some goodies. I had said I wanted to make an Agnes top but she was very generous and sent me more than enough of this black and white stretch fabric so I thought I’d save it for something a bit more substantial than a t-shirt.
So I did and here’s what I made with it.
I made the same view tunic as before but with the straight hem instead of the pointy one.
In other tunic news, I’m currently having a rocky relationship with scuba fabric. I thought I’d give it a whirl for a different style of tunic I wanted to make for Mlle T. and she chose the fabric (so don’t blame me!).
I bought this pattern which seemed simple enough but the Mademoiselle had other ideas.
She wanted bell sleeves so following Ali over at Thimberlina’s example ,although using a slightly different method, I adapted it as requested.
I had a bit of a struggle with the neckline, back and front, as it came out too gapey which might be due to the scuba fabric although the pattern does list ‘novelty knits’ as one of the suggested fabrics. I’ve improved the neck problem a little by taking off the facing which I wasn’t keen on using anyway, reducing the back seam allowance and cutting the facing slightly smaller than it was before so I could stretch it round the neckline a little more which brought it in a bit though it’s still not perfect. The sleeves and the bottom require hemming and I’m not sure how to tackle that yet – I’ll do some research. I know I could leave it as it won’t fray and the hem of the tunic would probably be O.K. but the sleeves don’t look right unhemmed in my opinion as you can see the plain white reverse of the fabric which just looks odd. (The trailing thread will be cut off though – I didn’t leave that as a design feature).
My conclusions about scuba fabric are that I don’t much like it. I don’t like the slightly spongy feel and the vaguely ‘cheap’ look and feel of it – although there might be different qualities I suppose. The designs are a bit ‘urgent’ too if you ask me. I don’t like the floral one Mademoiselle chose – I think it looks frumpy but there you go.
I must try and get over my dislike though as she also chose this one 😮
I know what I’d like to do with it but I think the only way to get away with actually wearing it would be as a very fitted t-shirt with 3/4 length sleeves perhaps. Any ideas or would you accidentally on purpose lose it at the bottom of your
bin fabric stash? How do you feel about scuba fabric if indeed you have ever encountered it? Is it just me?