Monday, 31 March 2014

Sheets, Shirts and Wardrobe Planning

This blog is a little late as I was recovering from the weekend. No drink was consumed, just the usual amount of running around like a headless chicken. Sprogzilla had a friend sleepover Saturday night- they were  really great to be honest- but I was too knackered yesterday to think about anything much bar some mindless iPad scrying. Well not totally "mind"-less, I spent a lot of time reading the Into Mind website which is all about personal style and wardrobe building prompted by the recent "Wardrobe Architect" posts on The Colleterie blog.

Those of you that know me in real life can stop laughing now as yes, I do resemble the Cat Lady from The Simpsons on most occasions (nor do I care) but recent changes in my day job mean that I am going to have to bite the bullet and start dressing like a sensible adult. However, I hate with a passion most of the baggy, shapeless tents that pass for plus-sized clothes, plus I don't want to look like a corporate Stepford Wife. Is it possible to retain a bit of individuality and still toe the party line? I am going to give it a good try.

I have cut out the pattern this week for Simplicity 2339. This pattern is one from their "Amazing Fit" range which has different sized pattern pieces for A, B, C and D-cups. All well and good but a bit of a non-event for me as I still have to do a 4-inch FBA over and above the biggest size, plus a broad back adjustment. I am really taking my time doing the flat-pattern alterations and am using both my Fast Fit book from Sandra Betzina and the "Sew Busted" Maria Alto DVD to help with the FBA and lowering the bust dart. And people ask why I never make myself anything!

I actually have muslin to make a muslin up in. I am taking this really seriously as I would like to have some smart, well-fitting shirts for a change and a TNT pattern would be nice. However, I am not sure that my fabric choices are serious. First off on the left I have a lovely vintage cotton sheet, the fabric is beautiful, and on the right is some quilting cotton "Flea Market Fancy" from Westminster Fibres that I bought in John Lewis. I am hankering after polka dot button plackets and collar/cuffs with these but might just play it safe. The quilting cotton is quite thin so I thought it would be OK for a shirt. I will get the final adjustments cut out tomorrow night. Hope that it fits after all the changes.

Excuse me Miss but your shirt is sheet. Well! There's no need to be rude.

I managed to get a half hour of wandering round the shops on Saturday and managed to pick up a couple of nice necklaces in a blue colourway. I bought a lot of vintage turquoise beads a couple of weeks ago and am looking to layer them up so need to add to the collection first. I love the colours and the owl is so cute.

Fashionable? I don't give a hoot.

Anyway, do you plan your wardobe? Is it a bit organic or set out with military precision? Do you ruthlessly cull the old and sick or just keep adding and still have nothing to wear (like me)?


Sunday, 23 March 2014

Kind of Blue

We went to the beach yesterday - to Whitley Bay. It was nice, a bit brisk but a good day for a stroll.

Looking towards St Mary's Lighthouse from the beach

 If you haven't been there it is well worth a visit. Loads of cute little independent shops selling all manner of stuff, loads of nice wee cafes and more than a smattering of antique and charity shops. I bought a few wee bits and bobs: a couple of necklaces and a teapot for one with a green-brown glaze and matching sugar dish that are in the shape of snails. I have packed it away with my good vintage china so no pics for now.We ate breakfast - maple syrup and bacon pancakes *mmnnn* - at a nice little cafe near the beach called "Sugarloaf" then walked it off along the shore.

It got quite chilly after a bit so we didn't stay too long. There are some big rocks on the beach that are eroded and look great. I would really love to dye some silk fabric for cushion covers and use the shapes for some Indian-style hand quilting. Mind you the ideas that I have in my head are never really transposed into reality as my handwork is appallingly bad. I can dream though. I love the colours but don't know if they would work for me. Too tasteful.

Look at the beautiful lines and colours.

Sprogzilla loves blue and grey though so maybe she would like them. I have made a quilt top in those shades that is all pinned together with the batting but still not finished. To be honest, it is too heavy as I used a double layer and the machine would not go through it. I thought about hand quilting it, tying it through with ribbon and buttons, but it is still too heavy to sleep under and just wouldn't get used. I have to get a bit of fabric to finish off the back. I made it to fit a remnant of heavy decorating linen that I picked up in John Lewis in Glasgow a while back but then it sort of grew. The colours go really well. Sprogzilla wants it for when we have redecorated her room as she wants it sky blue. The top is made up of fabric rescued from home-dec sample books in silks, velvets, cottons and all manner of things. It's comprised of big 19cm squares and is really tactile. I deliberately joined them off-set as I like the look of random patchwork.

Quilt for Sprogzilla and yes, the studio is that messy.

I made a red one too that Sprogzilla originally wanted but she has gone off the colours so now I can nab it (yipee) as I love it. It is a bit over the top and screams "boudoir" so is just up my street. It will have red and purple snake skin fabric print cotton underneath. Sounds awful but it was some posh designer interiors fabric so is actually quite restrained (for me). It is quite a bit smaller than the blue/sandy one and it is made in a big strip so it can hang over the foot of a bed. I have used all the odd leftovers to made some long strips of patchwork that I can cut up and make Jacob's Ladder style cushions. Just need to find a good colour for the plain rows.

Me, me,me! Mine, mine, mine!

Knitting-wise, I finally sewed the ends into the scarf that I finished during the week. I haven't decided if it is my sort of colours. I might give it to my Mum as she has red hair and suits autumn shades. Since I am bottle black (and grey but we won't go there) I prefer something a bit brighter. It was a bit bright hence the screwed up face.

Oy, Grandma, go buy some hairdye. I am blinded by your roots!

This pattern is addictive. I am knitting another one in the blue/grey Rio wool for Sprogzilla. I am making the pattern up in my head though as I just want ribs of the same size throughout. Well that is the plan, it might get a bit more free-form due to my knitting senior moments where I forget what I am supposed  to be doing (a lot).

Her name was Rio! It was addictive!

Anyway, I bought the new Burda Style magazine this afternoon so I am away for a "swatch" at things I won't fit into and will never sew. Have a lovely week. I will leave you with me doing my "catalogue man" pose.
K xx

Catalogue Mum

Sunday, 16 March 2014

I Am Glorious, Orange

Morning Campers! I hope that you are getting over the shock of two blog posts in one week but I have to make up for not posting anything last Sunday. On the crafting front I have not been up to much. I did get a bit of knitting done on the train on Friday night. I know that it doesn't look like a lot but I have added a good couple of inches to it since then. Sorry for the blurry photo but the train was shaking around a lot. My glorious orange bag is all the way from Dakar in Senegal and was a very kind gift from a colleague's mum. I love it as it has room for all my crap AND my knitting. The wool has turned out to be a bit disappointing as I was really expecting more vibrant colour but I am not at the end of the ball yet so it may perk up a bit after a few more rows. Least it sort of goes with my bag.
My neck-warmer is coming along. Might be finished for next winter at this rate.
So yesterday was mostly spent tidying up the studio in preparation for "the secret project" and getting rid of things that I won't use. I spent a good couple of hours sorting through all my sewing patterns. I have a lot of vintage ones that I have bought mainly because I love the cover art. They are all in small sizes and the effort to grade them up is too much at the moment but I can't resist them when I see them. Here are some of my faves from today. Some have very tatty covers but hey, old patterns need a forever home too.
You can't beat a good Cheognsam and this one is from 60's is great. I love the rounded hem with the frogging.

Ere Doris, she's cleaning again. 'Bout time too slutty madam that she is.

Never one to exclude the boys here is Simplicity 9736 with some amazing trousers. Why don't men wear exciting fabrics like this anymore? I think I may just have answered my own question.
No, they don't look like PJ trousers honest.
I love this one even though I know it would do me no favours as it is essentially a big sack, and I have no waist to cinch it in. But look at the pockets, they are like a big lab coat. That makes me very happy. Best of all it comes with interchangeable collar and cuffs. No sniggering at the back, please.

Simplicity 4523.  (I couldn't write another comment here without it sounding vaguely smutty).
Here is Simplcity 6490. These are so cute.
Simplicity 6490. Clothes for proper ladies.
 I love the pink one, it reminds me of this John Galliano outfit as modelled by Eva Green if I added some big furry sleeves.

I like to think that I look like this in my head but the reality is somewhat more like below.
 Do you think that I could get away with a head square without looking like Ada?
She's having women's problems.
We love Les Dawson here at MOR.


Saturday, 15 March 2014

Everything's Gone Green

Well this week has been at bit uneventful at MOR. I have spent a couple of days nursing the mother and father of all migraines and have day-job work to catch up on this weekend as a consequence. However apart from seeing stars every time I moved it has been a nice week, The sun has been shining. The garden is starting to come to life. So are the weeds, how inconsiderate of them.  We have snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils and the trees are starting to bud. I love crocuses, they are so colourful and really cheer up the place.
Look the sun is shining and I have purple flowers!
So still not much going on on the sewing front but I did start doing a bit of forward planning with the lovely textile artists from F6 Studios in Newcastle. Very exciting stuff going on but I am keeping in under wraps just now so I have something to write about next week. I might even be doing some actual work!

So what have I been up to? Last weekend Sprogzilla and I went to the Newcastle Film and Comic Convention at the Metro Arena in Newcastle. It was the first one that they had done there so to be fair I don't think they were expecting the deluge of geeks (like us) so the queues were monumental, We waited for 4 hours to get in. Yes, that was 4 hours, but I am a sucker for the wee wobbly lip so queued we did.

Come in with your purse out.

Once we were in it was nice, warm and nice. There were all manner of stalls selling comics and collectibles, artists doing signings and actors from sci-fi programs, even a Doctor Who or two (but not the really good ones). Sprogzilla had her portrait drawn by lovely anime artist, Yishan Li. It is such a nice drawing and looks very like her. Sprogzilla was a bit shy talking to the comic artists but she really loves drawing comics and anime stuff so I think that she was mightily inspired. We bought loads of stuff, mostly for Sprogzilla although I got a book of classic Hammer Horror film posters. I am still such a sad goth sometimes. Well going to change tack a little so will post today's pics up tomorrow. Laters people.K xx

Drawing by Yishan Li from Newcastle Comic Con
Sprogzilla by Yishan li. 

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Grumpy and Umpty

The last couple of weeks I have been a bit tired and had a lot on at work, so today I am feeling a little bit cross for no real reason. I even ripped down the scarf I had knitted up over the weekend and it was almost done too. Grump, grump, grump!

Don't worry love, I am sure that the Sisters of Mercy will reform.
I managed to get in a quick trip to Knit and Stitch in the Colliergate in York on Friday where I bought a lovely pattern book for Louisa Harding Yarns called "Fade to Grey". Cue 80's soundtrack, and indeed the patterns do have a bit of a romantic, gothic feel. I was particularly taken by the lovely purple wrap on the front.

I also had time to pop round the corner to Ramshambles and bought a couple of balls of wool to knit up a couple of the neck warmers that I knitted for Sprog before Christmas. The pattern for these is so nice and it is free! My favourite kind of pattern. You can find it on the ""In the Loop" blog. The original pattern is in French but if you scroll down you can download it in English too. Several people at work have knitted these and get compliments every time they were them and people are always asking Sprog where she got her's from. It is knitted on 60cm/5mm circular needles and takes about 150m/100g of wool in an Aran weight so it is nice for using up odd balls and makes for a cheap knit.

I bought myself some Aire Valley Aran from West Yorkshire Spinners in a russet/blue grey variegated colourway shade 862"Autumn Mix". I also bought a ball of King Cole Riot Chunky in shade 650- a lovely mix of blues and grey that will suit Sprog down to the ground.

This is such lovely wool. Hope Sprogzilla likes it.

In case you are of a certain age and think that this post title seems vaguely familiar I will leave you with a short video from The Flumps, a fixture of my childhood lunchtime TV consumption when I came home from school for lunch. Because today I am also under a cloud.