Wednesday, October 19

FO: charmed things and the dress again

As promised, some shots of the dress on me - why yes, all bloggers are headless! I could do with adding something to the neckline to keep it attached to my bra, the neck is a bit big.


I decided to use the charms to add some bling to my bag - I spotted a designer bag in Selfridges once that had all these charms attached to it and thought, you know what? I could do that for a lot less money, and they could be things personal to me. So I did!

Love themed

Keys, crucifix, heart, scissors

You'd know it was my bag anywhere with all those badges!

The parrot is a gift from a work colleague, the heart was a souvenir from Iceland (about all I could afford, haha, and it turned out there's a branch of Tiger in Coventry anyway), the sheep keyring a present from my sister and the scissors a freebie with a new overlocker case.

Of course, as soon as I tried to convert my Passap swatch into a proper hat, everything went wrong again, so after two hours trying to get something sensible out of the machine I gave up. Ms Passap just isn't happy doing single bed tuck, so no hat, and therefore no competition entry for me. Bah.

Current mood: working

Thursday, October 13

FO: New Look dress 6371


This is New Look 6371 - material (challis? cotton with a ripple, anyway!) bought from Coventry market. I think I could probably have gone down a size to be fair. After all the hassles I had getting the invisible zip in - the first one had to be scrapped after I ripped into it whilst trying to unpick it, having sewn into the teeth and rendered it useless - it turns out I can actually get this dress on with the zip closed! It's a dropped waist and handkerchief hem skirt (you can see it better on the pattern website). Very pleased with it, anyway. I've got some oversewing to do on some raw edges on the sleeves and then I'll get a proper picture taken with me in it! Of course we're now definitely into the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness (autumn for those who don't know their poetry), so it'll have to be worn with leggings. Next project is either a crossover top in a satiny polyester, or an evening gown for xmas with that really expensive fabric I got in 2009. Hmm. The former is a freebie pattern from a magazine a month or so, the latter is a pattern I picked up at Ally Pally at the weekend - rather like this one but I don't think the front is quite as gathered.

I finally got a decent single-bed tuck out of the Passap E6000 - but only because I used a comb and weights. So despite all the blurb about Passaps needing no weights, my machine clearly does! The proper 5mm combs aren't that easy to come by either although I'm sure most machine knitters of some experience are ingenious enough to rig something up. I know my fellow Rav mod Ozlorna once worked some lovely single bed tuck (guipiure? which I cannot spell?) by weighting it with a series of small padlocks.

Current mood: happy

Monday, October 10

Charmed and uncharmed

Charmed: I may have gone a little mad for charms at this year's Ally Pally. Lots of lovely yarn and sewing stuff this year though not Doughtys whom I was particularly hoping to see. Not Uppinghams either. I also picked up a point turner, some quilter's tape, some spare bobbins for the sewing machine and some bobbin tidies, plus "Joanna the vest scarf ever" (a scarf with holes in that can be worn as a waistcoat). Didn't think these items were worthy of a picture really!


The large scissors at the bottom I can wear on a neck chain. I'm glad I bought so many pairs of scissors, as I foolishly wore the charm bracelet in the previous post and almost immediately lost the rather soft looking scissors in the melee. Not a clue what I shall do with the rest of them, they all pertain to various hobbies and interests. Bag charms maybe. From Creatotaal.

Uncharmed: Trying to get a half-decent sample of the Passap E6000's version of card 3. Yep, full of dropped stitches (green) and doubled stitches (cyan). Next attempt, if there's time, I'll be using the comb as weight, because this is just not acceptable! One or two dropped stitches I could repair, but not this many!

tuck error small

In other news, I'm almost done on another dress, bar the sleeves, and I have sewn "Needles of Steel" labels into lots of my jumpers. A silly thing, but it tickles me to see them.

Current mood: annoyed

Monday, October 3

Bits n bobs

Made myself a craft-themed bracelet from various bits picked up at Hobbycraft:


I was after a decent scissors pendant really - these look a bit bendy!

Made myself another Morsbag with some leftover Kath Kidston curtain fabric:


Cartoon characters (or characters with black edges) aren't very successful on my Husqvarna Rose - the design is always shifted by the time it gets to the black, which is the last thread. Ones with large blocks of colour seem to work ok - if the bobbin thread runs out partway then it can go a bit awry too.

Popped into Knits N Bits stocktaking sale, I'm sure Wendy won't mind if I share her pic:


I picked up an adjustoform tailor's dummy, some coned yarn, some binding wires, a grading ruler, some MK books, and some MK bits for other folks.


I think I might call her Etty - although, I nearly called her something else when she tried to stop me applying the handbrake on the way home! I was larking about with beads at the weekend, hence the necklaces!

The poorly tuck stitch:



I might have a duff needle at 20R

Can't take any credit for this, it's a dress I bought from 2dye4 on etsy a while back:


It's way too big now and I'm wondering if I can somehow make it fit my smaller frame.

Autumn started on October the 1st - it's colder and we may have already had the gas fire on. Himself is home with a head cold.

Current mood: cold

Tuesday, September 27


Probably one of my fave Prince songs, it seemed appropriate for this blog post.

People often ask me how come I get as much stuff done as I do. I work full time, so I'm only free after 5pm in the week. Wednesday nights I'm usually at the Coventry Knit Wits and every 3rd Thursday I'm in Leicester at the Manor House MK club. At least once a week I try and get a nordic walk in; Monday nights is housework night, and Mondays/Thursdays/Fridays are often gym nights too. So my schedule is pretty packed! Online I moderate a big Rav group, I maintain the Manor House website plus my own needlesofsteel website. So, how do I do it all? Well, sometimes I'm not entirely sure myself! My theory is that all of us are on a "tourist pass" in this life, so I fully intend to do and see and learn as much as I can, whilst I'm on the earth.

Last night was fairly easy - G had made spag bol on Friday, so I just had to cook some pasta and reheat the leftovers (he's getting leftover barbecue chicken tonight, I reckon that trumps bolognaise as long as he doesn't give himself salmonella!). I get home, feed the cat, fix myself some dinner, eat whilst surfing the 'net on the tablet. Then I baked a batch of fairy cakes - this is unusual but it's for a MacMillan coffee morning we're having at work on Thursday. Whilst the cakes were baking, I started the ironing, and then finished that whilst they were cooling down. Then I iced the cakes - nothing fancy as I had nothing fancy in - just plain white icing, got changed for the gym and went and did a work out. Came home and read for a bit before bed. I clock-watch a lot - do I have time for that/this - and if it's important enough (like the baking) it goes in my smartphone calendar so that it happens. If I've an hour, I think, what can I fit into that hour? Knit a swatch? Clean something (bah!)? Sew something? I've been working on some xmas gifts and am just doing little bits as and when I get time. I need to embroider one more design and then finish up the items and they're done, bar the wrapping. I do tend to prioritise craft stuff over boring stuff (hello dishwasher!) but most household chores can be squeezed in somewhere along the line.

Don't have time? If it's important enough to you, you'll make time. Use your diary. Book things eg classes. Book "me-time". Plan how you can efficiently make a start on a project. Plan to group similar tasks together eg pinning stuff ready to sew up, ironing in batches etc.

But make sure you have a cut-off - mine is 10pm. After 10pm it's quiet time for me - reading in bed or something. Otherwise I swear I'd be hoovering gone midnight and I'd run myself ragged.

So there ya go. My theory on time management. It's not much of a theory, but it's mine, and I'm sticking with it!

PS the craft room is almost done, now it's just deciding where to put everything and how best to organise it. The best part I think! :)

PPS I tried and failed to get a decent sample of the Passap E6000's version of card 3 at the weekend - patt 1004, tech 133. Kept hanging on the colour changer end, awful mess. Will try again at the weekend. Need to knit a hat for a competition and it's the only machine currently up apart from the CSM.

Current mood: determined

Wednesday, September 21

Not only but almost...

...with apologies to whomever I stole that title from and mangled. Think it was a comedy thing?

Well, we finished up the painting last week, and Sunday was spent getting some new shelving up and getting some items into the attic and general reorganisation. It's not finished yet - I didn't realise just quite how much stuff I'd accumulated in the last twelve or so years, so two more 4x1 shelves will be required, hopefully to contain "bins" for smaller items such as WIPs, oddments of yarn, sewing stuff which is currently in the living room. But I'm really pleased with it!

Didn't, alas, account for how much space a stack of six knitting machines take up (and there's a punchcard, plus its ribber, still in the garage, my "workshop" machine). Tried to explain to the Cog why I need all of them last night. It sounded somewhat lame! He seemed happy enough as long as they are all out of his way. So I am thinking maybe I only have the room to put up ONE Japanese machine, now, not the two I've had set up. So then of course, the next question is, which one do I choose?!


Ordered this folding table from Amazon, 3 heights although this is the highest at 74cm and I can't imagine I'll ever require a crafting coffee table! Nice and light though, could easily take it camping (which is what it is sold for).

The yarn and fabric stash (most of it in shot, ha!)

Yeah, I'm an addict. Was going to be one tall pile until I realised it might well fall down and kill me, if it didn't bring down the floor first - that is NOT a supporting wall!

The Passap and hifi corner. Yes, I still have the hifi I bought at uni in 94-95. Tape deck is still functional too I think! No DAB or AUX IN but otherwise a great little hifi!

I did a little bit of sewing last night on my new table, just to try it out, and it's sturdy enough I think. Might turn it around though as there's a strap that hangs down at the front and I'd rather hide that at the back. I made a rather rough drawstring bag from a scrap of fabric. Didn't think about construction order, so the drawstring casing ends are raw, need to pink them I think. Oops. Oh well, it is just for my wonderclips so it doesn't really matter.

The Cog is just pleased that the landing is now 30cm wider again, it's been the home for a spare machine and ribber for too long now. I do need to source some new curtains, I must have washed the current ones (a white jacquard fabric) because they have shrunk by a good 5cm. Alas so far I've been unable to source any ready-made ones with a 120cm drop. I will keep looking!

Current mood: happy

Wednesday, September 14

Sewing - not!

Yep, it's happened again. I was really looking forward to starting Saturday morning sewing classes in Coventry - only to come home to a returned cheque last night. Not enough people. I don't get this - Abakhan was packed out all weekend, in fact there was a queue waiting to get in. The Big Sewing Weekender sold out before I even knew about it (although I may have been double-booked that weekend anyway). So clearly there's demand. But you know what? I give up!

When I first did my OCNCE in machine knitting, it ran concurrently with a two-year sewing class run by the Butts technical college, run above what was a butcher's in Coventry Arcade. Had the course not folded when I completed my machine knitting - in fact, I had to pay £600 for the "pleasure" of not attending the second year of the MK course and had to take precious days off just to hand in courseworks - I would have enrolled on the sewing machine course toute suite. Of course, it had run for years for very little and I knew not of its existence, being, at that time, not inclined / too hard up to take advantage.

In 1998, I took a few lessons with Mum. No offence to her, but she had a tendency to take the work off me and do it herself - I seem to recall the only part of the skirt I did do was insert a zip. Then my sister announced her impending nuptials, and lessons were off the table whilst Mum made two bridesmaids dresses and a wedding gown - and the lessons were never resumed. She's more recently admitted she preferred making children's clothes anyway and had never heard of a full bust adjustment nor pre-shrinking the fabric.

There were the massive classes run in Coventry at the "new" college in Hillfields circa 2008 - which ended up moving to Coundon Court school, on a Wednesday night, the one night I can't commit to (what with running the Coventry Knit Wits). Good class but so big I could easily wait an hour for the teacher's attention. There was a suggestion I move to the Asian Sewing class instead, but I didn't really want to learn Asian sewing, whatever that might be!

Then there was the disastrous two terms with Warwickshire College in 2009-10 ish (I lose track of dates, it's down all in the blog somewhere), at Radford Semele. Only thing I learnt there was to bite my tongue every week, as I found the teacher unhelpful, rude and disorganised. There were a list of subjects, but it turned out she had no intention of teaching us anything unless it was piecemeal fashion. Alas, she's nowhere near retirement age (I think she was probably younger than me), so I assume she's still running her little sewing club (because that's all it amounts to - some of them had been going for YEARS) throughout my county. Complete waste of my time and money.

There's a class in Rugby, but it's full, and anyway I'm now too late to enrol (and again, it's a Wednesday night. What IS it with Wednesdays?!). There were two other classes in the Rugby area but both have closed. Of course, this news came AFTER I went online and bought two sewing bags, one for the overlocker and one for the sewing machine. I'm wondering if I can return or sell on the latter, I don't really need a sewing machine case as mine has a hard case, it would just be better for car transportation.

What do I want? A structured class where each week I learn something eg piping, or a lapped zip - and then we can all get on with our sewing projects. A course that runs any night except Weds, or at the weekend. If I could quit the job for two years and take such a class at uni, I would do.

Apparently, that's too much to ask of karma. Karma hates me.

Craftsy it is, then... Sigh... I'd much rather have a live, interactive person! One cannot ask a video questions, clear as it may be!

I was SO annoyed last night I went straight upstairs, put my painting t-shirt on (I no longer own painting trousers and anyway it was too hot for clothes really!) and painted the front bedroom. Then after a quick dinner, himself did the cutting in whilst I amused myself doing some more machine embroidery for a secret project. This morning I am still finding yellow emulsion everywhere, I look like I have a weird rash.

Current mood: annoyed