Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Striped Christmas Dress

Ach! This is a lesson in the art of prompt photography. For if you don't take a picture of your girl wearing the dress you finished for her in December, by the time you do it at the end of February she will have (a) grown another 4 inches and (b) be covered in bather tan marks!

Ok, so maybe not quite 4 inches, but she sure has shot up this summer! She better get as much wear as she can out of this frock during the last of the heat, because by the time next summer rolls around it will be a tunic on her, rather than a dress!

Christmas Dress #2

Christmas Dress #4

Ok, so to the pattern review. I wasn't a big fan of this dress. Mostly because I really wanted the petals to sit right up on the bodice line, just like on the pattern photo, but since the petals are one-size-fits-all, if you are making it up in a size 8 like I did, then they just sit weirdly halfway along the bodice length. Bah humbug! So to remedy this I ended up redrafting the entire bodice piece, then altering the waistband to make it all fit. That's a lot of faffing around just to get some petals looking nice.

And then, of course, the darn petals just flopped everywhere after the first wear, so now I need to hand sew them flat to the bodice. STUPID PETALS!

I also ran out of fabric to make the skirt band. Not sure if this was my fault for reading the pattern requirements wrong (is it just me, or is figuring out your fabric requirements super tricky for the Project Runway patterns, what with all their options and choices? I thought I'd erred on the side of caution, but apparently not!) or if the pattern itself was at fault, but I ended up with a skirt not quite as long as I would have liked, event though I did lengthen the skirt to make up for the bodice alteration shortfall. I could always go back to the fabric store and buy some more fabric, but I feel the moment has well and truly passed, people.

The dress has buttons on the back (I went for cute red and white polka dot ones, to contrast against the stripes), but I feel a zip would have done the job more easily and neatly.

Anyway, despite the faffing around, it ended up a very sweet dress to wear to Christmas mass, and for our Christmas day family picnic. And having a happy girl at Christmas is what it's really all about.

Project Details
Pattern - Simplicity 2265
Fabric - 3m of 115cm wide cotton quilting
Notions - Lining for bodice, interfacing, 3 buttons

Monday, February 24, 2014

Creative Frenzy

Yellow Stripe Dress

Boy oh boy, it sure is busy around these parts. My days are filled with freelance content writing, knitting up samples for my own range of knitting patterns, sewing dolls for the school fete, finishing off some clothes for Tyger, and scratching my head and wondering why oh why did I rashly promise to make jam for the aforementioned fundraiser. I don't even do jam for us!

So if you pass by my house and notice smoke issuing from a window, fear not - that's just me burning rubber with my sewing frenzy. And if you see sparks coming from an open door, don't call the fire brigade - that's just me knitting so hard I could start a fire with my needles. And if you smell burnt marmalade then... well, maybe go for the raspberry at the fete jam stall instead.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Monthly Menu Plan - February/March


I am so glad that it is beginning to cool down around these parts. Hot weather knocks me for a six, and I don't even want to think about food, and am happy to just eat the same salad day after day - anything, as long as I don't have to turn on the oven!

So bring on the cooler weather, I say, and I'll bring my cooking mojo back! Starting, naturally, with this meal plan.

Week One
Monday - Cucumber and lettuce vichyssoise (from River Cottage Veg Everyday! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
Tuesday - Sausages with potato salad and coleslaw at the park
Wednesday - Roasted pumpkin soup with garlic bread
Thursday - Macaroni and cheese with rocket salad
Friday - Chard and new potato curry on brown rice (from River Cottage Veg Everyday! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
Saturday - Attending a wedding, so no cooking for me!
Sunday - Tofu burgers

Week Two
Monday - Frittata with summer vegetables and garden salad (from River Cottage Veg Everyday! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
Tuesday - Summer soup au pistou
Wednesday - North African squash stew (from River Cottage Veg Everyday! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
Thursday - Lamb and burghul pilaf
Friday - Bruschetta with asparagus, French beans and feta, plus a tomato salad
Saturday - Asparagus and zucchini green curry
Sunday - Roast chicken

Week Three
Monday - Chicken pasta with rocket
Tuesday - Tomato, thyme and feta tart with a gardens salad (River Cottage Veg Everyday! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
Wednesday - Smoked trout baguettes with chilled pea soup
Thursday - Lemon pepper pilaf
Friday - Ravioli with tomato and basil sauce
Saturday - Hamburgers with apple coleslaw
Sunday - Home made tacos with roasted vegetables and spicy tomato sauce

Week Four
Monday - Jambalaya
Tuesday - Rocket pesto pasta with roast pumpkin, cherry tomatoes and feta
Wednesday - Cauliflower curry with quinoa
Thursday - Jacket potatoes topped with fresh vegetables and roasted tomato sauce
Friday - Home made pizza (mushroom + cheese, plus roasted veg)

Monday, February 10, 2014

New yarn!

Oh my goodness! I seriously think that this might be one of the most exciting days of my life, for the yarn for one of my designs is now in my hot little hands!

Spud & Chloe Yarn

I'd chat more, peoples, but I've got swatching to do with this pure unadulterated lusciousness!

Friday, February 07, 2014

Kimono Jacket

What's there not to like about a baby knit, eh? They are pretty quick to knit up, look super cute and are a great way to teach yourself some new skills without having a major yarn investment involved. Likey like!

Kimono Jacket

I only wish that I was a better knitter when Tyger was born. She would have looked pretty darn sweet in a ballerina wrap top like this! I am loving that moss stitch border. If only it wasn't going to be 40 C tomorrow, I would sit and moss stitch all the day long.

Project Details
Pattern: Kimono Jacket from Noro Collection #1 by Debbie Bliss
Yarn: 4 balls Filatura Di Crosa Zara in yellow
Needles: 3.25mm and 4mm

Find it on Ravelry here.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

A big yellow hug

I have been working like fury on launching my own range of knitting patterns later this year, and while I await delivery of the first batch of yarn destined to be knit up for pattern #1 (exciting!) I'm taking the time to finish up all the half-finished knitting projects lying around.

That included this soft and cuddly hot water bottle cover. I have wanted to make this ever since I saw it in Rowan Knitting Magazine #28 over 10 years ago, and finally got around to knitting one up. Once it was all finished, and we gave it a trial run, Tyger took hold of it and exclaimed that it was like "having a big yellow hug!"


Well, who can say no to a big yellow hug? Not me!

Speaking of all things huggable and knitting, if you fancy a big yellow hug of your very own but lack the knitting skills, come along to one of the hand knitting classes I teach at Handmaker's Factory. Next one is Feb 15th. I'll have you knitting like a pro in no time!

Project Details
Pattern: Hottie by Kim Hargreaves, from Rowan Knitting Magazine #28
Yarn: 2 balls Rowan Kid Classic
Needles: 4mm and 5mm

Ravelried here.

Monday, February 03, 2014

The Cats Pyjamas

Galumph is a man who really likes lounging around on lazy weekend afternoons, totally comfortably in his pyjamas. He would also, given the choice, have a fat purring cat nearby but alas! allergies have put the kibosh on the cat dream.

So Tyger and I put our heads together when making his Christmas present this year. He might not be able to have a cat, but there's nothing stopping us from making him some cat pyjamas!

Using an ancient Simplicity pattern that I will probably be using when I'm 98 to make myself some jimmyjams, I set Tyger loose with the good scissors and the pins, and lo and behold she pretty much made the pjs all by herself! I helped out with some topstitching and inserting the elastic, but apart from that they are almost 100% child labour. Er, that's a good thing in this instance, right?

PJs #1

Tyger was chuffed with her efforts, and as you can from the pictures the pyjamas have slotted in nicely to the Sunday afternoon lounging sessions.

PJs #2

Project Details
Pattern: Simplicity 5338 (out of print)
Fabric: Japanese cotton/polyester cat print from GJ's Discount Fabrics
Notions: Elastic for waistband