Friday, 30 October 2009

Vintage Chic

Currently it is half term over here, and so my Mum, who works in a school, has been on holiday. Because I have recently secured myself a part time job (whoop!) I have been working all this week and today was my volunteering day at the library, so instead of spending the whole day there, after I had helped with kids halloween activities me and mum went to our local antique center. These are what I found.

Some lovely metal prettily coloured metallic shiny vintage knitting needles and an old knitting needle gauge. Normally I don't like metal needles, but who could resist these? They are really pretty, and as we all know from my swallow needle escapades, I love prettily coloured needles! The gauge is the old style sizes, e.g. 8 for 4mm, but i have a little card that converts those that I have to use for converting US sizing too, so I don't mind, it is nice to actually have a gauge as my knit pro needles are losing their numbers, so now I don't have to worry about using the wrong size!!
Before the trip over to Hemswell I spent my morning doing my voluntary work. As I said it was kids Halloween activities and they all had loads of fun, we read some cool stories and poems and had crispy cakes and juice and made fairy and dragon bookmarks.

The kids also started to colour in some cat's for the board, we are still waiting on some that have been taken home to be brought back in so it is still a little sparse, but I am really quite proud. Getting them involved in the board and the activities has had some of them coming in much more often then they normally would have.

As you can see form the piccies I have also put my RAK'd leather and skeleton leaves to good use as some foliage for the cats to lurk in and an owl and a couple of bats for the sky. I am really very grateful to the lovely people who donated them as keeping kids interested is really difficult and they enjoyed deciding where their cats would hide, up in the tree near the owl or on the ground. The rest of the leather and leaves are safely tucked into the filing cabinet with all the other kids stuff and shall be used in some more boards soon hopefully!!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

All sewn up

This came quicker then I thought it would (hence the new post, I wrote the charity one this morning with a note about an update during the week), I was sure that this would take me a couple of sittings to finish because all I had left was the really fiddly job of sewing in the top, but a couple of hours pinning and sewing, a little bit of unpicking where I had sewn too far so the side pockets wouldn't work and had to be redone, but nothing major, and I was done!

So here it is, all finished and with some jumpers in it so you can see what it's like. shape-wise. The top is curved, which made it even more fiddly to sew.
It is fully lined with some strong calico and stiffened all over with interfacing. I am hoping all my triple stitching will mean its nice and strong too.

I also added some pockets, this fully lined one extends over the front of the bag and will be perfect for putting travel documents and a book or magazine in so i can grab hold of them without rummaging. The end pockets are also lined, with both calico and more oilskin and I think they will be perfect for popping in a water bottle.
I made the bag almost exactly the the airline specifications for hand luggage sizes. I should definitely be able to fit everything in. Now all I need to do is make the shoulder strap (one of those padded ones with velcro) and a wash bag. I need to get hold of some more oilskin for that though so it will have to wait!


One of the things that I have always avoided previous to now is charity, I always used "I am a student" or "I am unemployed" as a reason not to give what little money I had away, usually while walking to work with my treat of a starbucks coffee. Lately however, I suspect because I have been working hard volunteering at local institutions, charity has become something that I feel I should be doing. I am very lucky in that I have recently managed to get a job (even though it is part time and temporary and I wont get much money) and that currently I live with my parents and so have no major outgoings other then fixing my financial situation.

So where is all this going, well a couple of days ago I did a Ravelry group search and came across UK charity crafters. I have some acrylic sitting in my stash at the moment that was going to be the weave scarf I have previously talked about, well I decided that after having discovered the wonders of wool fiber I am probably never going to use that scarf if I ever finish it, and so last night it was frogged, and last night I started to knit it into a basic k3 p3 rib scarf. I have also just obtained permission to stop making the green stripy scarf for the Irish Boyfriend, I am going to make him a nice soft cowl anyways, and use the left over yarn to make more scarves!
Obviously this makes me feel quite good, karma and all that jazz, and it also gets it out of my stash (which has now progressed to taking over not only my knitting bag which is overflowing, but also a drawer) so I would like to encourage all the knitters out there who want to slim down their stash ready for christmas (I know there is yarn on my list to santa :) )to use anything you can bare to part with to knit up scarves for charity.
Mine will be going to the scarves for the refugees group here, after all with all the global warming stuff going on I am betting this winter is going to be a cold one, I am already ill, and thats when wearing my massive Haven scarf!

P.S. Hopefully over the next couple of days there will be a book recommendation and at the end of the week a library board update, it is children's activities on friday and they shall be making some cats for the halloween scene!!

Friday, 23 October 2009

Almost done.

My luggage that is, at the moment it is sat with the final panel pinned into place ready for some manic stitching, there is a base in place courtesy of Mum's work and all I have to do is get motivated enough to sit at the machine and do it. I am not feeling particularly motivated at the moment. I have a cold.
I know, I know, its only a cold, but I feel awful, yesterday was really bad because it all of a sudden hit me out of nowhere, but today I have gone from stuffy and coughy and things to serious head pain. I am hoping tomorrow it will not hurt as much as I am back at work following my volunteering days, and it will be a saturday, and I am currently to be found in the kids section.
On the plus side some good things have coincided with this horrible illness.
Yesterday I received an amazing package from a lovely person over on the random acts of kindness forum on Ravelry. This one was just for me, not for the library, but for me, and it had so many nice things I just have to show you.

I got necklaces, extra beads and embroidery cotton for embellishing things, sock needles and a pattern (already in use as you shall soon see) lavender sachets which are tucked into my stash so my yarn smells all pretty and a giant quality street, of my favorite one, the one with the caramel with the hazelnut in the middle, YUM!
This obviously cheered me up a lot, it is always nice to get something as a treat after you have started a new job which requires you to be up at half 5 and on the bus at 7 in order to get there for 9. It has been a time of transition, and it has been difficult, especially as I wont gain much financially as the transport costs so much money.
At the end of the day when I get home I am knackered and so I haven't done much knitting, not even while traveling, I am too tired in the morning and the bus is really crowded at night. However I have used my RAK gift to start my first ever sock for myself, I once started a child's sock but frogged it to make my Bella's mittens, so I don't count that.

I think the yarn is knitting up in a really pretty stripe, because it is hand dyed it isn't perfectly consistent as I imagine a normal one would be, but I really like it, it is also really soft. I am also not entirely sure that I have enough wool to make both socks, so i shall make them not too long up the leg.

I just thought I would put this one in, it is my current diet, I bought 400g of cola bottles the other day, there is still loads left, and we have loads of banana milk (my favorite flavour) from Mum's work :D

Sunday, 18 October 2009


I think experimitten might not work :(
I am obviously talking about the mitten I am trying to put together to match my Haven scarf. I think I am going to frog what I have done and try it with a few more stitches or on a slightly larger needle, but I am not sure, it's the yarn over's, they look strange, the bottom ones are as you can see in the picture, but the ones after the very bottom aren't very defined and the glove is a little small, so I shall try once more with the scrap yarn and then I will have to make a decision, I might end up just making plain ones if I can't make it work. I do usually really really try though, so hopefully fingers crossed it will work!

At least the knit pro needles are great, they are pretty and they are great to work with, I am going to add several pairs to my christmas list, I love the acrylic ones and the wood so I am going to add a selection I think, especially some more sock sizes, and some more interchangeable tips, some cords, pretty much everything :D

So what have I been up to when I haven't been knitting? Well mostly volunteering, I do quite a bit of that, and preparing to work at the job and such, but other then that I have been wrestling a lot of this stuff:
Obviously doesn't look like much in this picture, the one below you can tell what it is :D

It's luggage!! It is hand luggage to be exact, for visiting the Irish boyfriend. I am flying with Ryanair because I am skint, and they charge more for checking in a bag, and I am only going for 5 days so I wont need a HUGE amount of stuff. So I decided I would make a piece of hand luggage that near enough exactly matched the size specifications, it is going to be 54cm x 38cm x 20cm, so cutting it fine, but it will be nice to know that I will be able to take everything without squeezing stuff in. Not quite finished as you can see, I have to sew the top zippy bit in it, simultaneously sewing in the lining, I haven't done this yet because I need some stiff plastic to make the base all firm and give it some structure, but after a nice trip to B&Q or somewhere then it shall be done, not too bad for about 2 days cutting and sewing.
Next up will be a wash bag to put everything in, and maybe a little make up bag, that requires getting more oilcloth though. I will also be making some project bags when I get more oilcloth, not to take with me though as UK airports are not knitting friendly :(

Thursday, 15 October 2009


It certainly is, I have been up since 7am today, I know for a lot of people that isn't early, but I haven't been up at that time in a while, there is a reason though, I finally got a job :) it is only a temp position, but its back working for Waterstone's again, which I loved. It will also be nice to have a little more spending money, especially as I am finally going to be able to see the Irish Boyfriend next month and it will be nice to do that without worrying too much about limited funds.

Heading back towards knitting content. I recently joined a lovely group on Ravelry called the Random acts of kindness group, the idea is that you put up a wish list every month and if people can they will send you one of the things on your list, I think its a great idea and have already sewn up a project bag for a lovely Scottish lady, and I have also received a glittery crochet hook (which I don't have a picture of as it is supergluing, the postie broke it in half, but it should make a full recovery) and this very pretty sock yarn:

It's perfect for me, I love a bit of pink. It is hand dyed too so super cool, and the first ever sock yarn I've ever had, so I started winding it into a ball so I could make myself some socks, and this happened:
Not good. Basically a small tangle formed, in trying to sort the tangle the chair i had the skein over fell over and it turned into a BIG tangle (the photo is actually after several hours of untangling). So anyways, there is over 300m of really thin yarn in that tangle, it took me literally all day to sort out, so no socks yet. When I finally got the tangle nearly completely undone I discovered it had formed because some looks of fiber had formed around some threads, you know the ones I mean, that form when the fibers rub against each other too much and are just made of dense fuzz. so when I had separated them it got easier, but socks will have to wait until I have gotten over the trauma of untangling for a whole day.

So what else have i been up to in my last few days of unemployment? Well I finished my Haven scarf!
I thought I would have finished this sooner, but it got really heavy on the needles and my wrists have a tendency to keep clicking when they are strained and this kept happening, but it is done now, and I LOVE it! It is amazing, all soft and huge and chunky and should keep me super warm. Here I am wearing it :)
I am not sure I am going to block it, I thought I should but it is already huge and soft and I haven't a clue where I would put it to let it dry, though if I didn't pin it, because I don't need to change the shape, then I wonder whether I could let it dry folded in half? Maybe with a tube through the folded end so that it wont get a crease. Hmmm I shall have to look into it.
Now I am developing some chunky mittens to match, they are very in the development stage, previous to this I had done drawings, and now I'm onto swatching, so watch this space!

Thursday, 8 October 2009


Today I have another autumn picture.
This is what I did today:

It's a display at my local library where I am volunteering, this week is a special children's reading week aimed at encouraging families to get together to read books. We got lots of colouring sheets and a couple of books in an info pack and I turned it all into a great autumnal tree and a bunch of red and orange card leaves that the kids can write which books they have read and who with and then put up on our tree. It was great fun, I love crafty things and have always said if I ended up as a teacher I would only be able to do primary school as the others are too boring!
Anyways, as you can see there isn't a huge amount on it at the moment, but I am also hoping to pick a couple of the poems from one of the books we got with the pack and blow them up a bit to decorate the board too, and we are doing an extra special 'Mr. Big' area for the book with a poster and a giant sized copy. Should be great!!
I am going to try and keep the tree going by turning it into a winter tree with snowy branches once it has really gotten into the winter months, and hopefully get the kids to snowflakes at an activity day.
I wish some of the employers I am sending applications to could see this sort of thing, because as the librarian said today they would be stupid not to hire me (it is a shame my village library is too small to have any more staff too :( )

Wednesday, 7 October 2009


Soup that is, Butternut squash and sweet potato. Yum.
Here it is, in the pan, lots of chopped squash and sweet potato, with some stock and spices, nice warming spices.
And here it is after I had had a little bit and suddenly thought I had better take a picture before eating any more.

This really perked me up today, I haven't been feeling too great, I know its just a cold and things but you know how they can really get you down, there's nothing better then home made soup on a cold day to fix that.
Not much knitting content I am afraid.
My haven scarf is now over 140cm's long, I'm onto the 16th pattern repeat so over half way now :) I love knitting this scarf but it's now getting heavy and i really want to know if I will have enough yarn to knit my mittens!! No picture yet though.
I DO have a picture of some bargain yarn I got lately.

I got some hand dyed and tweed and some cotton all for bargain prices like £2 when it was supposed to be £10, and I did some sums and realised I have saved over £30 by buying yarn from websites with sales and things going on!! Fab!!

Also got all the stuff for my little christmas puddings, the brown wool is only some acrylic stuff, which I usually hate using with a passion, but I am going to be making quite a few of these and I can't afford to spend loads on them so it will do. Also got some nice coloured cottons for the brandy sauce and holly, and the right sized needles came through over the weekend, I am sure the woman thought I was crazy because I rang and requested specific colours, I like pretty things :) They are more of the great casein needles, though because they're so thin they are reallllllly bendy, hopefully they wont break on me!

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Sew..a needle pulling thread.

That is what I look like right now because I stole my mum's sewing machine today and finally finished my red zippered project bag! Here it is:

I am so proud of myself! My sewing skills aren't amazing, I can hem things, and play around a bit but I always dodged textiles at school so things like zips and linings made me feel a bit nervy. Sewing the lining in wasn't very neat because by that time I had sort of had enough, and it was quite difficult, but oh my do I love that zipper foot!! My first attempt I had to hand backstitch the zip in because my machine wouldn't fit a zipper foot on it, but that thing made it so easy this time! Here is the lining, i think its quite neat considering it was my first time doing it.
And here it is with a project inside! This is the purple Bella's scarf I am knitting for my sister and it fits nicely with a full ball of yarn, circular needles, a cable needle and copy of the pattern and there is plenty of space for more bits and bobs, definitely the perfect size.

I got some blue polka dot oil cloth today, so I am hoping to make one in that too, maybe one large and one smaller one, and maybe a little notions pouch. Then I am not sure what i will do with the rest, because there's quite a lot of it, either a bag for all my sewing stuff or a small weekend bag for visiting the boyfriend.

Another thing I have finally finished is this little guy:

I finally managed to get some toy stuffing on friday and so it is nicely stuffed and ready for having pins stuck in it. I veered from the pattern a little bit and made the cake separate from the case as I am hoping to make little christmas puddings in this way, that I am going to stuff with sweets instead of stuffing, for little christmas presents.
I also didn't have the right size needles so mine is a bit bigger then it is supposed to be, and the case is made of wool not cotton. As you can see from the picture below I am also a bit rubbish at sewing it together, I shall hopefully improve on this before December!

I think Sunday shall be spent knitting more of my Haven scarf and reading this week, hopefully the weather will be a bit nicer then it has been today and I will be able to venture outside.
Enjoy your weekends people!