Sunday, August 2

FO: Mitten madness in August, and facemasks...


Why yes, I did take leave of my senses Saturday afternoon - after a disappointing wander around Leamington Spa, I came home and made these on the chunky machine, from a pattern in an old copy of Modern Machine Knitting. Leamington Spa was lovely as always - and I love the closed Parade, we walked down the middle of the road just because pre-pandemic that would have been impossible. It was disappointing because we were turned away by a miserable member of staff from an empty restaurant because it was "bookings only", which was fine, but hey, why not put up a big sign so I don't feel like stupid scum for daring to ask maybe? By the time we'd walked back around to Wagamamas (second choice), a queue had miraculously appeared from nowhere. M&S picnic it was to be, then... 

Sunday the weather was really good, so after a morning spent working on the gardens, I got my sewing machine out on the patio and made a few more face masks. Apologies for the corona hair, I'm actually about two steps shy of becoming a Wookie... 


This is the "chin gusset" pattern given to me by an old school friend on Facebook. It is still too close to my eyes despite my trimming this one back, and the chin gusset needs a pleat to fit my face. Himself seems happy enough with the fit but he is clearly squarer of jaw. The birds are sideways because this was leftover scraps from the beach shorts - when I've made the top from the remainder of the fabric perhaps I can make another one with birds the right way up!

  IMG_20200802_174509 IMG_20200802_174525 

These two are made from the Olson pattern - much easier to make, but I added bias binding to both so that I could add a twisty-tie nose wire. The fit is much better for me with these. There's a printing fault on the green one, it is not an extra pleat. Refusing to buy yet more crap online (ie nose strips) unless I have to - alas, the non-fruitful trip to Leamington was for some particular gardening books so I guess my options are limited. Lots of other Olson patterns here - I don't favour the simpler pleated design, only because I don't think they seal well aroud my face. Personal opinion and not scientifically tested! 

Current mood is apathetic. I feel isolated and abandoned (by everyone, by noone) - probably the same as everyone else! But to be fair, I've stopped making an effort too - I failed to show up to Wednesday's knit meet, and a zoom meeting organised by a crafting friend (to be fair I forgot about the latter and I don't know the rest of them so that makes it a bit weird). I just feel grumpy and fed up of lockdown and feel nobody probably wants or needs to talk about that (or anything else!) with me. I feel totally two dimensional, and I suspect nobody would notice if I wasn't here, asides from continuing to pay bills and taxes. Oh well, ho hum. Poor me. Yes, I'm being ridiculous, of course, and many are far worse off. I am privileged, yet still I whine. Well, if I can't be honest here... :) I guess the novelty of WFH has definitely worn off! And yes, my appetite for sugar / puddings has gone through the roof. Need to find a better comfort food...

  Current mood: apathetic

Thursday, July 30

Trundling along...

Apologies for not posting for over a week - we took a short holiday in Lincolnshire for which I do not seem to have taken any photos! There was a brief trip to the beach (Mablethorpe and Cleethorpes), and some wandering around Louth and Market Rasen, and a short visit to a castle and an aviation museum. On Wednesday the Cog was informed he had a new 12 week contract, to start that Monday (!), so on Friday we went to Warwick to pick up IT equipment, and this weekend, this happened to my craft room:


 Yes, that IS my sewing table. Oh dear. Oh well. I'm pleased he's got work, but not so pleased that he doesn't leave the craft room most nights before 7 (and on one occasion, half 9!). It's probably best he's in there and not I - I would find being surrounded by crafting tools very distracting. 

So anyway, I've been having a bit of a sort out in that room, and came across the "One Hour Raglan" pattern - I think I must have had an early version as a freebie because the current version is in more sizes and my copy has a few typos. The idea is that you knit an entire garment, sideways, from centre back to centre back, creating raglans with short rowing and inserting waste yarn between various parts. Always one for a challenge, I decided to knit it, without a swatch, in a fluffy yarn, on the one machine I own that doesn't really do short-rowing (the Passap E6000). The first attempt went well, except for my rather too tight join down the middle, which made a garment that would not fit over anyone's head unless they could remove it like a doll.... 


 Unpicked that and replaced it with garter stitch borders - possibly hard to see in this pic:


 It probably took about three hours, repairing all the dropped stitches, joining the sleeve edges by hand, then unpicking and reknitting the front edges. Second attempt, halving the figures and working on the chunky machine, went a lot better:


 This just needs some edging added to be complete. I also thought I'd make some socks for a friend and my sister, everyone needs a bit of cheering up at the moment:


As for myself, I'll admit I'm a bit down in the dumps at the moment. Some knitting books I ordered apparently got delivered to the office by mistake, and duly disappeared. A camera magazine I subscribed to owes me a free gift, which has not arrived (the magazine did). Today I'm grappling with the vagaries of the new Blogger which has been fashioned to suit smartphone users - I've no idea how I'd post more than a few lines from a smartphone, so I'm none too impressed today! I think it's a step backwards, especially as now I have to tweak the layout in both HTML and compose views. 

I actually found myself perusing penpal sites last night - I'm down to one penpal these days as other penpals sprogged, moved on, got too busy. Yes, lockdown has given me a foretaste of my life in retirement, and although the crafting is fun, socially it's dull, dull, dull. If we ever get back to any kind of normal I intend to do something about that... not entirely sure what though! 

Oh well. Friday tomorrow, the weather indicates a mini-heatwave, and himself has promised a vegan barbecque... I continue to drag myself out of bed every day, despite not having the motivation for it. 

Current mood: thoughtful and glum

Saturday, July 18

FO: tropical shorts

Started these earlier in the week: I made size 22, as before. Loving the pockets and the fabric. Didn't quite manage to pattern match the side seams but never mind. I had 3m of this fabric, so a matching top will no doubt be next. I find these sorts of shorts very useful for the odd occasion when the sun makes an appearance. Off the peg shorts often fit me very badly (gaping at back waist) because fully or partly elasticated waists seem to be out of style unless they're leggings. 

One of these days I'll use the pattern to make the actual trousers on the envelope... 😁

Tuesday, July 14

FO: face masks

The time has come the walrus said, to talk of many things. Of shoes and ships and face masks, and cabbages, and kings... (apols. to L Carroll)...

Well. If you'd told me in January that I'd be sewing face masks for myself and my partner I'd've laughed in your face. Fast forward to July and we're both wearing them whenever we're indoors in a public place - so basically, when out shopping, because that's pretty much the only place we go lately. We get odd looks - well, you see a sudden sharp flicker of "Oh!" in someone's eyes, before they shut their faces down and their eyes slide off you, as if acknowledging your face mask makes them feel guilty. Well, so be it! It's not just some silly 'flu invented by the media, nor some conspiracy theory devised to silence you (yes I've seen THAT on Facebook today) like something out of the Handmaid's Tale. I mean, come on, conspiracy is one thing, but a world-wide one?! As human beings, clearly we're just not THAT organised! Unless you think it's a worldwide conspiracy to kill ourselves off by being meat eaters, in which case... maybe! But we brought that onto ourselves. I went on a mostly plant-based diet at the start of lockdown, did I mention that? Not been all that hard and the weightloss is an added bonus...

Anyway, I made some last week out of some leftover fabric Mum gave me - she didn't like the colour, but I actually loved it, despite not being a lover of green normally. So I look daft? I'd rather that, than face-down for three weeks in an induced coma, with a pipe down my throat, other machines servicing the "other end", with the possibility of long-term health problems or death at the end of it! Yeah, I'll wear a mask. Ironically they force me to limit my exposure to the covidiots because they make me a bit warm so forcing me to focus, stop browsing and get on with whatever it was I came into the shop for. How can that be a bad thing? And for all those saying "Bad for you, pleurisy, asthma...!" etc - I don't see surgeons dropping like flies because of wearing face masks during operations. If they wore them full time, then yes, maybe. Plus we know how to treat pleurisy and asthma. Covid, clearly not so much...



G is happy with the fit on his, mine needs a pleat under the chin. Clearly, he has a manly chin and I do not! :D This pattern was given to me by an old school friend, I might try the one with a seam down the front next, see if the fit is better. I am using hair elastic for the ears and twisty ties for the nose wire - might need to double up or triple up on the wire.

I've got some crochet lap blankets to post but it'll have to wait as I've not yet taken a picture of them.

Current mood: annoyed with covidiots

Thursday, July 9

FO: test socks



Second one is sporting safety pins as two stitches were dropped and not spotted until it was too late to fix. Second sock is a heel flap one, neat but a bit of a fiddle - you have to rotate the knitting 90 degrees to pick the heel flaps up, then rotate it back to complete the foot. Good practice with the decker combs anyway!

I am feeling very 2D at the moment, like a cardboard cut-out of my real self. I don't feel that I have much I can talk about with people, because I've done little other than the odd supermarket run which is hardly very interesting, and of course the knitting, sewing and gardening. I really do hope I'm more than just a transparent human, only defined by my consumerism - what I buy and where I go. Hmph. Other half is keeping it interesting with various vegetarian dishes. He made lentil and cabbage curry last night, which doesn't sound promising, but it was actually pretty tasty. Things did feel a little more normal on Saturday - a wander around WHSmiths, and a lemonade at a cafe - but otherwise it's same old same old. Home is now quite comforting I suppose, going outside still feels pretty scarey. I must admit I think I prefer my cosy little home office, plus there's a much better choice of food options at lunchtime.

Current mood: indescribable

Monday, July 6


Well, the weather has gone back to either spring or autumn settings - overcast, occasional sun, chilly wind. We finally bought a garden set (chairs, table, parasol) so I guess you can blame me, Mother Nature has seen fit to prevent us from sitting out there ever since! It was a bargain, £35 off because one bolt was missing from the package - as luck would have it, we happened to have the correct bolt (albeit not silver, but who cares?). Lucky though - the package was marked "missing washer" which is a BIT different from missing a bolt!

My mood has been somewhat apathetic, like the weather. I've been working on a test knit for a fellow raveller - a sock knitted on the Passap. The first sock was very hard work, I think perhaps the stitch size (certainly for the 2x2 rib) is too tight, I can't imagine it stretching enough to fit my calf (though I've yet to sew it up to check). The second sock I'm trying one ss up, and it's a heel flap sock, which is pretty fiddly on a knitting machine. Almost in the category of "why would I?" but I'm sticking with it. Everything is practice, even if it doesn't result in anything satisfactory at the end. I have found myself falling asleep in the armchair around 7pm, which is both annoying and is poor sleep hygiene. I have to try and remind myself, whatever I do is enough - but I am pushing myself to stay awake as evenings are still my most precious time for crafting!

Would love to know what other crafters do to get themselves out of a funk! Right now I'm all ideas and little action!




Oh yes, the contrast heel is sock yarn and one end of overlocker cotton, for strength. Using cotton is a first for me.

Had a go at sewing a face mask - first attempt wasn't great, but I do know where I went wrong for next time - incorrect bias binding, two parts in upside down, etc:


I'm wondering about modifying it though - this pattern has an internal pocket for a replaceable filter and I'm wondering if interfacing wouldn't be better, and ditch the pocket. The one my friend made me is great, but when breathing in, the lining gets sucked towards my face and it's quite claustrophobic. One, I don't really want to buy a hoover bag to make more filters which ultimately have to be disposed of and two I've got plenty of interfacing and could then chuck the masks in the wash more frequently.

I've been growing these on the windowsill:


Repotted them on Sunday - some sort of caterpillar has been having a munch already, the cheek!

After the drought of May, I didn't think the hydrangea was going to survive, but a bit of rain and it's suddenly burst into flower. I seem to remember it got to the green "pre-flower" stage last year, and then everything died in the drought, so I'm pleased it seems to be making a special effort this year.


I bought a cheap geranium for my "office", and nearly killed it the first week through lack of water. Now a bit of TLC, water every day, and it's lovely and cheery.


Current mood: apathetic