Thursday, 22 July 2010

De-clutter bug

I'm in the grip of a de-cluttering frenzy. I don't quite know how it started - no, actually, I think I do know how it started. It was when the boy and his friend were trying to find something to use as 'pretend snow' the other day (don't ask) and I suggested that the holes from the hole-punch would make good snow. Thence began the search for said hole-punch. It was not in the desk. Not in any of the (4) kitchen drawers - sorry, bottom-less pits - that it could have been in, not under either of the staircases - i.e. general dumping grounds. In fact, after looking in about 10 different places it kind of struck me that perhaps it should not be so difficult to find an item such as a hole-punch. Especially if you have a desk - which is where it should be. Obviously.

The revelation that I am a bit of a clutter-bug has been complete news to me. Being, as I am (or thought I was) a bit of a Bree Van Der Kampf (Desperate Housewives) who is really a desperate Martha Stewart, I was quite sure that clutter was not my style. Until I asked my husband if he thought I was a horder. He sort of looked shiftily sideways and said 'um'. Nuff said. I understand. I get it.

I must admit I was somewhat shocked when I decided that first up, I'd tackle the magazine pile(s). It turns out, I have magazines dating back to July 2007. That's 3 years worth of magazines - say about 3 or 4 a month -!!! Not good. These enormous Tesco bags are too heavy to lift up, actually. I may need assistance getting them into the boot of the car. There was a very slight exclamation about how much money they may have cost us - until I squelched that one right on the head with the mention of the word beer.

Just in case you were wondering, I did of course go through each and every magazine to check that I had cut out anything I wanted to keep. I'm not that daft ;) The question is ... what next? ...

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Still Knitting

Okay, so I've finally finished this. I made it shorter than the pattern - it should have been 10cm longer on the lacey bit, but I wanted it to sit just above the hips, on the waist, so I shortened it. And I'm glad I did because it's just right like this.

It looks much better on! Especially with a white T-shirt underneath, as you can really see the lacey bit then. In fact I like it so much that I decided to use that luscious blue yarn I got from Woolfest to make another.

Only problem is - I don't have quite enough - arrggghhhh! However, luckily - and in an extremely rare fit of organisation - I managed to write down which stalls I got all my yarns from at Woolfest (I know, stunning, eh), so I know that I got this from Woolfish and I've been in touch to order another skein.

Meanwhile, as I wait for more blue yarn to arrive, I thought I'd start on this fabulous number - from the Kim Hargreaves Misty book.

As you can see, the back is shaped rather interestingly, and it's this bit you start with.

I've never done anything like this before, but you use a technique called wrapping. This is where you knit, say, the first 3 stitches, then you turn and knit back - but - you don't just turn, you do a sort of convaluted wrap-over thing with the yarn, so that you don't get a hole in the knitting. Then you knit back to the beginning. Then, the next row, you knit past your 3 stitches again picking up the 'wrapped' stitch, then carry on to say the 6th stitch and then wrap and turn again. So really you're just doing some shorter rows at one end of your needles. For this (above) you had to wrap and turn until you got to the 31st stitch. then you carry on across the needle to the other end and reverse it all. Very effective though, eh? It was made slightly more complicated for me on this because it's moss stitch and the wrapping technique is all about taking the yarn to the opposite side of your work before you wrap - so I had to really think about which side I should be wrapping. I know - this probably makes no sense whatsoever, but if you look it up on utube (as I did) you'll (hopefully) see what I mean!

It's knitted in this gorgeous Rowan Lenpur Linen, by the way - you can probably see it has a sort of sheen on it so that it reflects the light - beautiful.

At one point last week I randomly decided to knit a teddy bear. God knows why because I think they're a bit naff really, but this one just sort of appealed to me. So - here he is - named Timmy (by the boy). As you can see, he is wearing a rather lovely pair of pygamas (made from an old pair of the boy's!!). He is now the new bedtime teddy. I'm still not sure about him but he certainly looks chuffed with himself.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Tank Top Love

You know it's a funny thing, but I have just realised that I am a bit obsessed with Tank Tops. For years now, I have been on the holy grail of finding the perfect Tank Top. You see, being the classic pear shape that I am, my thinking is that the bulk/extra layer of a tank top on your top half kind of helps to balance out the hips. And yet, somehow, so many tank tops do not look right. Some do - I have 2 in my wardrobe that I wear - but I also have lots of others that look catastophic. Actually, tank tops are pretty hard items to find in the shops (perhaps because they are about 30 years out of fashion? I don't know, it could be that:).

Anyhow, it suddenly occurred to me the other day that a tank top would be the most perfect item of clothing for a 5 year old boy! Hurrah! An excuse to create my (well, his) very own tank top creation!

I used up the rest of my Rowan Milk Cotton on this, imagining it as some sort of 'cricket' top (NOT that he plays crickets, of course not), or teamed with some navy shorts.

I think it's turned out okay. So I'm going to start another one in this glorious yarn that I got from Woolfest. A perfect colour to go with jeans, no? I do hope the boy likes it (he hasn't seen it yet). Me thinks he might just be in for a few more tank tops in the future ...

Friday, 2 July 2010

Baby Love

So. The boy's teacher is having a baby. Soon. I mean she's huge, god love her. And she's such a lovely teacher that of course I've been wanting to give her (or the baby) a little pressie. We don't know what sex it is yet, which does make it slightly tricky when you're planning presents, especially if you need time to make it.

Anyhow, I came across a fab idea in this book - Sew Liberated by Meg McElwee. I got it ages ago - it's mainly about embellishment and applique - but I haven't made anything from it yet.

Anyhow, the idea is for a felt book.

All the patterns for the motifs are given at the back of the book, so it's just a case of tracing them, cutting them out and then finding suitable pieces of material to use. Now I haven't got a huge amount of felt - just a few colours really - so I decided that any material would pretty much do, if bondawebbed onto the panel before handstitching around the edges.

This is the panel for the front of the book.

And this is the first page.

And this the next, which will be opposite a 'cats' picture. Luckily, a couple of months ago I picked up bags and bags of embroidery threads at an antiques fair (of all places - I don't think they were antiques!) for 30p a bag! Must have got at least a hundred of them for under a pound!! Which makes this whole exercise a pretty cheap one, as I'm using what I've already got. NOT that thrift is the name of the game here - just a bonus. Of course, this book has the added bonus of coming under the 'educational' banner (just) which is a double whammy for a teacher's baby, don't you think? hee hee.