#100happydays (part 4)

I finished my #100happydays challenge a couple of weeks ago and here are the final 25 pictures.

#100 happy days 76-100 I definitely got in the habit of thinking about the day’s photo and it was a little bit weird when I didn’t have to do it (I know I never HAD to to do it, but I was determined to do all 100 days). So here in full glory is one hundred things that have made me happy (or grateful, pleased, content, or not-so-sad)

100 happy days

Picture 100 was taken the day I got discharged from the physio and she said I could try to knit again (as long as I take regular breaks every half-an-hour and keep up with strengthening exercises) so I’m hoping for a summer of knitting.

 

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Pom Pom Parade

 

The other day I told you about The Campaign for Wool’s attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for pom-pom sheep. Since it was at the zoo, one of my favourite places to visit, I decided to pop down and play with yarn.

There were lots of tables full of crafty goodies to make pom-pom sheep, and all the yarn was pure wool! It felt a bit extravagant to be making pom-poms with such snuggly wool, but the whole point of the record was to raise awareness of wool.

When I made pom poms as a child we used cardboard donut-shapes and cut them away, but here you can see the donuts are made from foam and can be pulled over and off the fluffy wool.

It was so much fun that I couldn’t resist making two little sheep. Before joining the flock, we went for a walk around the kids corner of the zoo.

 

 

 

On the way back to the woolly pavilion I bumped into Shaun the Sheep!
Then it was time to say goodbye to my super soft fluffy friends. Can you spot them in the holding pen?

I also found another activity that kept me occupied for an hour or so, but it is so exciting it needs its own blog post later on… In the meantime here is a teaser of what I was doing…

***Reminder: My celebratory giveaway closes tomorrow! ***

Thanks and A Parade of Pom-pom Sheep

I am so overwhelmed with the responses to my giveaway (there is still time to enter!) and the lovely comments from everyone so far. I got a little lump in my throat reading some of the comments and was so touched to realise that people actually like what I’m writing. When I asked for feedback, it was in no way a “I want to hear how awesome I am” thing. In the past I have had really low self-confidence and a big case of compare-itis where I always judge myself against others; I read so many great blogs, I’m never really sure what I am contributing to the big blog world.

Some people’s wishes for what they want to see more of on here are actually things I have thought about (such as fitting) but have never posted as I didn’t know what else I could add to the wealth of info on the internet, but you guys have given me a little self-belief booster to trust my instincts and share my little bits of knowledge. I have said it on twitter this week, but I can’t say enough how much I love the supportive collaboration of sewing bloggers 🙂

That was a bit deep, so now for a bit of fun. What do you get when you combine pom-poms, sheep and the zoo? Shaun the Sheep’s Pom Pom Parade!

The Campaign for Wool & Shaun the Sheep's Pompom Parade attempt Guinness record at ZSL London Zoo 3 copy

I totally missed the Campaign for Wool’s plea for people to make pom-pom sheep, which I am a little disappointed about. I loved making pom-poms as a child. My grandma would cut out circles from cereal boxes and give us all her odd ends of yarn, and we would sit winding the yarn to make pom-poms. I can remember turning pom-poms into black cats, snowmen and multi-coloured balls, and how exciting it was when Grandma cut the card away to reveal the final fluffy pom-pom. I think I am going to have to teach my new class how to make pom-poms (it will count as good fine-motor development!).

As I type, the Campaign for Wool’s Wool Room has so far collected 8,035 pom-pom sheep but they want a collection of 10,000 for a new Guinness World Record; they are having a pom-pom sheep-making workshop at London Zoo this weekend, and hope to raise awareness of how awesome wool is at the same time. You may remember I visited Wool House earlier this year (when I had just started my Basic Bella cardigan) but it was lacking in real-life animals (I missed the day when the sheep were there) so this new project sounds like lots of fun.

The Campaign for Wool & Shaun the Sheep's Pompom Parade attempt Guinness record at ZSL London Zoo 8

 

I don’t think my wrists are quite up to pom-pom making yet, but I have identified my next knitting/crochet projects when I am ready to ease myself back into yarn-work; the next Campaign for Wool project is to create a Woollen Wood and there are some very cute little patterns for butterflies, flowers and bugs that should make good “beginner” projects for me.

*Cute pictures are from Campaign for Wool but have given me inspiration for future makes!

Bunny Skirt!

back to blueYou may remember that at the end of June I went through a Navy Blue Period. Well here is the first (yup, I blogged badly out of of sequence) of my blue garments (garment three was worn to a sewing-blogger gathering, but I returned photo-less. I am trying to get some nice pictures of it, I promise!).

bunny 3

As you can clearly see in the close up at the top, this skirt is covered in little bunnies!! I had originally wanted to make a Cambie with this fabric, but Stone Fabrics only had a little piece of it left. Did I still want to order it? Errr, yes, of course!bunny 1

With such a small piece of fabric, the obvious choice was to make a Ginger a-line skirt. I have used the pattern before so I knew it would fit, and the simple style would show off the print. There isn’t much to say about the skirt; I used an invisible zip, lined it in navy and finished with a loop and button on the inside (my new favourite alternative to a hook-and-eye)

bunny 2

As soon as this skirt was completed the weather got really hot, so this skirt got overlooked in favour of floaty maxi-dresses and skirts. The weather cooled down a bit towards the end of July and I wore this skirt to Zoo Lates (zoo fun for grown-ups at London Zoo).
bunny 4

My Bunny Skirt got to meet some real-life bunnies and it even got a close encounter with a snake!snake

The Bunny Skirt even got to meet some Sewing Bloggers a few weeks later at Goldhawk Road (photo from the lovely Roisin at Dolly Clackett.

No longer feeling Blue (featuring the 20p Tee)

As I mentioned in my last post, the past few weeks have been hectic and I haven’t had the time or energy for crafting for almost a month. Eeek, that is a long time. I eased myself back into sewing with some projects I had cut and prepped during the May half-term; I spent a whole day just cutting out multiple patterns and working my way through my pile of fabric ear-marked for spring/summer.

back to blue

Can you see a pattern in my makes? Fortunately I was wearing an all white and navy outfit on Friday and got told it really suited me. I had started sewing the bunny fabric ages ago, but in the light of day realised my thread was not navy. It took me a while to get some navy thread, but once I had it threaded then I decided to do all my navy sewing at once. The bunnies deserve a proper photo-shoot, but the weather today was perfect for wearing the middle garment – a spotty portrait blouse.

This is my third Gertie Portrait Blouse (#1 and #2 is unblogged) and the bust darts are almost “perfect” now so this was a quick and easy make that only took a couple of hours this morning (2 episodes of Fraser and some Sunday Brunch).

1

The fabric was snatched up at the epic blogger meet-up and swap but I have no idea who donated it. Thank you, mystery sewcialist! It is pretty sturdy so I am imagining it is pure/high cotton content, and is navy with lots of white spots, so is slightly different from polka-dots! I finished the neckline and sleeves/armholes with some white bias-binding I got at the Peter Jensen sale for £1 (not even 1/5 through it, so I reckon this top cost me 20p! bargain!)

3

I kept the fitting loose on this top as I was feeling the need for a loose and light-weight top in all this heat (yes, I am one of those people who complains that 26ºC is only just bearable!) but the waist pleats/darts give it just enough shaping to feel flattering. I haven’t needed a zip on any of my Portrait blouses so I guess there is room for more shaping, but I felt comfy on my afternoon trip to the park.

2

It appears the quality of self-portraits on my phone is seriously grainy, but it was too hot to bother carrying my big camera around with me. I spent most of my time in the park taking very obvious self-portraits but nobody seemed to notice in tourist-central. The picture above was taken with my phone leaning on a barrier which was a bold move for me – maybe it was easier when wearing shades and a big, floppy hat (I love this hat so much!).

4

Despite the above look on my face (trying to look normal, while taking posed self-portraits) I enjoyed my afternoon in the sun, and it felt so good to get some sewing done. I didn’t realise the impact no crafting had had on my head until I worked out exactly how long ago it was since I’d last done some sewing. When life gets manic I think I need to prioritise craft instead of abandoning it in favour of work.

I am already in love with make #3 (polka dots + rick rack = amazing!) but the invisible zip I attached got caught on something and broke 😦 I must get another one this week as I need to finish the dress for Saturday so the make can meet it’s muse!

p.s. This weekend was definitely Indie Pattern Weekend for me; Colette Patterns, Gertie (does her book count?) and Sewaholic all sewn.

p.p.s. Google Reader dies tonight so make sure you are following me on another reader. I’ve added a Bloglovin’ button to the sidebar as apparently views in Bloglovin will show up in my stats…

Planning: Decisions!

I spent most of Saturday was spent playing with tissue paper, tape, colour pencils and rulers – making FBA (full bust adjustments) to the patterns I am planning to make in the Easter holidays (one and a half days to go!!). I have been umm-ing and ahh-ing over my choice of fabrics, and after recieving some swatches from Stone Fabrics (this did not make my decision easier since it gave me more potential choices) I have some sewing plans for the holidays. Hooray!

First up is the spring jacket. I made a muslin of the  BurdaStyle 02/2013 #106 jacket and decided that I actually liked the lapel-less style. I showed my blog post  to my colleagues at school, asking if the turquoise was too bright, and was told by A “You don’t need a plain navy jacket – you’re not 50!” That was me told! I ordered a swatch of it and as soon as I opened the envelope I was squealing with delight.* The colour is so much better in real life and so I am placing my order tomorrow, along with some white for the contrast bands (and I think they have some polka-dot contrast lining that will work! double squeal!) My only remaining dilemma is whether I need to underline the fabric, and if so with what (I used silk organza to underline my couture dress). I think I need to read Claire Shaeffer’s Fabric Bible in bed!

For the Cambie dress fabric choices, again A gave me a stern talk. “NOT the red one, you already have too many polka dots.” Too many polka dots? Is that a real problem? Hmm… Then I remembered an episode of New Girl (starring the quirky Zooey Deschanel, new series starting tonight) when she gets accused of “rocking a lot of polka dots.” Her response, which could also be describing me, was:

“I rock a lot of polka dots. I have touched glitter in the last 24 hours. I spend my entire day talking to children. And I find it fundamentally weird that you are not a dessert person – that’s just weird and it freaks me out!”

So did I choose polka dots for my Cambie? Nope. The clear winner among friends I showed my swatches to was in favour of bunnies!

 

I also really liked the swatch of this floral print – it is not as bold as some of the other designs but has bits of hot pink, purple and turquoise so will match all my favourite cardigans! I am going to make both versions of the dress pattern, partly for a bit of variety, and partly because the bunny fabric was the most expensive and the narrowest so I’m going to try to reduce my costs slightly.

fabric choices

 

I made a muslin of the bodice in calico and then cut up my IKEA fabric to make a wearable muslin. (I wanted to make sure I posted this before I get distracted by hot-cross buns and mini-eggs, so apologies for the mirror-pose photos). I love this dress so much already – after doing an FBA the neckline fits perfectly with no gaping. I was planning to make this to wear, however I think the fabric is a bit too stiff (the bust darts are too pointy however I sew them and the skirt doesn’t hang right). I want to get the fit just right before cutting up my expensive bunny fabric so I may make a final test in plain black fabric (with some black and white stripy piping to add a bit of fun).

cambie muslin

*another colleague has commented how cute it is that I am so easily excited when I talk about/stroke fabric! This did start the day I got all those free Liberty samples.

Self-Portrait Blouse

Do you remember I said I had some silk I wanted to use this half-term? And Gertie’s book was in my reading list… well here is my muslin of the Portrait Blouse.

self-portrait blouse 2

A muslin in Liberty lawn?! Am I crazy?! Well yes, but in this particular case I’m not – this wasn’t meant to be a muslin, however after wearing around the house there are a few more tweaks I will make before I make the silk version. I will definitely be wearing it, but its not quite perfect yet (although I’m sure a non-sewist wouldn’t notice). Also, as much as I LOVE the print (pink and purple scottie dogs!) I’m not sure its the most flattering on me – too much cream when worn alone, although it goes perfectly with all my cardigans.

self-portrait blouse 4

Gertie’s sizes are bigger on the hips than on normal patterns. Yay! I exactly matched up with the measurements for once! Hoorah! Except that was using my full bust measurement, so I still had to adjust the pattern and do a FBA. I use the Palmer & Pletsch Fit For Real People method. Amazon tells me I purchased the book in July 2010 however it is only recently (within the past 6 months) have I flipped over the page and seen the “Y” alteration for when you need to add more than 1 1/2″ which makes for a much better fit for me around the shoulders. I can’t believe it has taken me a couple of years to read that properly, but I know how to do it now (instead of adding all the extra fullness at once, it gets spread over two slashes).

self-portrait blouse 1

When I was making the muslin-muslin and this version everything fitted nicely, however when I actually wore the blouse to do things other than stand and pose I noticed it wasn’t quite right. When I moved around the blouse kept shifting up a little, so next time I’m going to move the bust darts down about an inch.

Other changes I made were to add 4 or 5 inches to the length (I like tops to be slightly longer anyway, but the instructions said it was a short top). I kept the dart/tucks the same length so there is a sort of peplum/flare going on that looks good over jeans.

self-portrait blouse 5

Speaking of jeans, these are the pair I started in the summer (do you remember this teaser back in July?) I still need to adjust the waist (too high waisted at the front, but the back is fine) before the pattern is perfect and I can show detailed pictures of my denim-clad derriere. They are totally wearable with a belt and a hip-length top and this time I even added some metal rivets on the pockets.

self-portrait blouse 3

But back to the Portrait Blouse. I also omitted the facings for the neckline and used…

self-portrait blouse binding

HANDMADE bias-binding! I used the Coletterie’s tutorial for making continuous bias binding so I could save a decent-sized and shaped piece of fabric (it is Liberty lawn after all). Then I applied it using Tasia’s method which was AMAZING. I didn’t quite do it in the same way as Tasia as I had already spent time pressing my bias-binding but I finally get how binding is supposed to be applied!inside out

The inside almost looks at good as the outside (although in need of a press after being worn all day) and has French seams everywhere. This make definitely counts towards my Sewlution to make things properly in case Karen does another check on us soon!

My flat is super-insulated and warm (I only have one radiator heating the whole place and I’m sat at the computer wearing just one layer) so I kinda forgot it was still winter outside as I was making this. I think it will be a little while before I can actually wear it in real life. Meanwhile the silk has been pre-washed and ironed and is waiting for a fresh rotary cutter blade before it can be cut.

self-portrait blouse

The excessive amount of photos is courtesy of my new remote clicker thingamabob. 80 pictures taken in a few minutes. I still need to get the hang of sorting the settings before I jump in front of the camera, but the remote made it so much easier to pose.

 

 

 

 

 

Completed: Crafty Resolution 2012

On 4th January 2012 I said:

So here it is – my little crafty resolution for 2012 is to make a blanket!

And at around 11pm last night I darned the final tail of yarn to complete my blanket. Hooray!

blanket!So how did I do in relation to my initial goals and ideas, and what did I learn (other than crochet)?

I was thinking about knitting or crocheting a square a day (too much pressure) or making a square a week (not enough for a big blanket) so after some maths I have decided to make 10 squares a month (for a 10×12 blanket) or 2.5 squares a week. Hopefully this will be enough of a challenge, but also manageable.

My blanket is 10×12 squares and making 10 squares a month was a bit of a challenge. Some months were easy, but in others my time was filled with other crafts. If I had more self-discipline I suppose I could have pushed other projects to the side in order to keep on track with my crochet, but the lure of finishing the hems on a jacket or knitting another sleeve were too tempting for me. The lesson learned here is to have just one big travel/tv watching project on the go at a time!blanket! 083

I am planning to make some traditional crocheted granny squares, knit some different textures and patterns, learn some new stitches and techniques, and maybe sew or patchwork some pieces too.

This project ended up being pure crochet. I enjoyed having crochet to do when my fingers were tired of knitting my Miette, and it was good to use yarn instead of fabric again. I definitely learned lots of new stitches, (special mention to the loopy sheep and popcorn/bobbles) how to read crochet charts and I even designed a couple of blocks myself. blanket! 088

As much as possible all the yarn will come from my growing stash and be a reminder of other knitting I have done, starting with left overs from Christmas, and will probably feature a few buttons from my collection.

Haha! I don’t think I quite realised how much yarn it takes to make a full sized blanket. I used 240g just on the five rows for the border! Lots of stash yarn was used up but lots more was bought and most of the yarns are natural/wool (in the autumn I gave in and started buying wool blends to lower my spending, but they are still mostly wool not acrylic). The blanket weights 2.1kg so if on average each ball of yarn was £3.50 for 50g that means which is pretty heavy (I could feel the extra weight when I went to sleep last night and woke up feeling a bit too warm!).blanket! 089

 I hope that there is a bit of a story behind each square, and I shall document their stories and my progress (when I can work out how to make a special button on here!)

Some of the blocks have obvious stories (can you find the ones made during the Jubilee, the Olympics and Vixie’s Christmas birthday?), others are less obvious (the blocks I made when bed-ridden with tonsilitis or when sitting on “the beach”) and some are just pretty. No buttons were added as that would make it less snuggly, but the little scottie dog has a nice ribbon round his neck.My year in crochet

Now if you’ll excuse me, my toes are getting chilly so I am going to curl up on the sofa under my blanket and resume knitting my red cardigan.

Christmas Baking

Since most of my current craft projects are top-secret at the moment, I thought I would share some festive baking I have been doing today (with decorating entertainment courtesy of the awesome film Elf). I’m going to take most of them into work tomorrow, but I will save a few for a festive fun day-off on Tuesday.Baking

The recipe is my tried-and-tested gingerbread recipe, with a little bit of nutmeg and cinnamon added for extra winter-warming. I tried to make reindeer biscuits, but the legs and antlers didn’t make the journey to the baking tray. Disappointing since I spent earlier in the afternoon sorting packets of Smarties to find the red ones (and an interesting lesson in random probability – some packets contained only 2 red sweets, others contained 8). I suppose they might not have got on with the penguins.

Christmas biscuits

I still have lots of knitting and sewing to do (I decided one of the things I made wasn’t up-to-scratch when I put the elements together, so I am re-making another version). How are your festive plans going?