Thursday 18 December 2014

A little bit of knitting and stitiching

Oh my goodness me, is there anyone still out there?!  A whole month has gone by and I haven't blogged on here once = naughty me!

Not much has been going on.  I've been doing some supply work a couple of days a week which has been fantastic and I've really enjoyed it.  I'm off now though until whenever January maybe so am trying to get done all the things I've been meaning to do for ages.

I've made a few more pairs of wristwarmers, one pair was a commission and one pair was for a friend for Christmas which hopefully they will like.  I've also started my Rowan poncho but despite doing the right size it's tiny so the 8 year old is getting it instead and I'm going to make a bigger version!  I'm pleased with myself though as it's the first time I've ever attempted to do cables in knitting so this year I've tried cabling, knitting in the round and double pins - yay me!

This is my friend Hesta modelling her poncho over at

Yesterday I decided to start on the Beatrice pinafore from Sew Me Something as my friend Johanna lent me her pattern to have a try with.  I figured I should be able to manage it as it's a beginners pattern without a zip or buttonhole in sight.

I did the whole thing in under 3 hours but cheated slightly as I didn't do the full bias-binding version or use my new overlocker but just hemmed it all.  Next time I will make it properly but I'm rather happy with it, and the fabric cost me less than £8 too so I think it's a bit of a bargain.

Today I'm rocking it with rolled up jeans and my Camper boots - which apparently go with everything!

I also made a bear this morning from Love Sewing magazine.  He doesn't look very happy with the festive season does he?!

It's the double nativity today and then one more day at school before the girlies break up.  Who knows if I'll manage to get anything done then!

If I'm not on here beforehand, wishing you and yours a wonderful (crafty) Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2015.

G x

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Mitten love

Well it's getting colder, and my hands have been a bit nippy in this house of very little heat.  That said, I decided that I'd make myself some gloves.

Now anyone who knows me very well, will know that I DO NOT wear gloves.  EVER.  This is due to a childhood hatred of people sucking fabric, and principally pulling knitted gloves off using their teeth.   My brother has exactly the same phobia.  Can't stand it.  In fact, I can barely type the words, it's making me shiver with disgust.  Anyways, that is why I don't/can't wear gloves that cover my fingers up.  I'm fine with fingerless ones!

That said, I thought I would be brave, and that maybe if I made myself a pair it wouldn't make me feel so ill.  A girl can try.  I've had a few extra days off this week as I've got laryngitis which means teaching is impossible, as is talking so I decided that mitten and glove making would be my priority instead this week.

I initially decided to tackle the mittens that Tif had made for her over at dottie angel.  I downloaded the pattern as they didn't mention the dreaded dpns in the instructions, but they are still knitted in the round and I just couldn't be hassled with that.  I decided to check out my crafty bookshelf instead but couldn't find mittens to fit the bill.  Then I moved onto the library book pile and found the perfect pair in here!

From the crafty bookshelf I found this pattern for fingerless gloves and I was all set.

Downside is that while the grass is growing, Agatha van is out of bounds, so I had to make a quick trip to Thimbles to stock up on wool!!!!  I'm a sucker for cheap wool, so four 100g balls cost me less than £10.
The mustard and cerise combo is for the fingerless ones!
I finished one mitten yesterday, and the other today, and I'm happy with them.  I will say that I do have long fingers and if you follow this pattern and don't, you might need to use a thinner wool to achieve a smaller pair but they fit me just fine, in fact, being bigger means they don't touch my fingers!

I also got my long-awaited Rowan book through the post today.  I thought it had arrived last week, but the wrong one was delivered so I had to wait an extra week for this to come through the door.  It's amazing.

I'm in love with so many of the patterns, especially the Miss Marple one! As a life-long Agatha Christie fan, it's like total serendipity!

G x

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Magazine overload

Okay, hands up - who subscribes or buys so many magazines a month it's not funny?!

Just me then?!

I had a reminder that one of my magazine subs ends shortly, and whilst considering renewal, I sort of realised just how many magazines I get each month.

The worst bit is though, that I haven't read any of them since about August!

That's terrible, isn't it!

I currently subscribe to:

And also:

Recently I saw a new magazine I liked the look of:

I managed to grab a copy while in London the other week, but guess what, I've not opened the cover of that one either!

I have so much to do, so many books to read, that when the magazines arrive, I rip off the plastic wrapping, throw out the leaflets that bulk it up, put it in the magazine holder, and then there it sits, waiting patiently for me to open it.  I did finally read this months Red magazine the other day, but I think I still have the previous two issues still unread in the pile!  I am definitely not renewing Red magazine after this year.  I was only swayed because they offered me a year for a measly £12 but I don't feel that it is for me anymore, if that makes sense.  I love Pretty Nostalgic magazine very much, but now it has become a society, of which I am a pioneer, the price has gone up to £40 a year which is a lot of cash, almost double of any other sub, and you only get 4 copies a year now. I think I need to seriously see how it goes before I have to renew again with that one, but it will be a hard decision.  I don't get Mollie Makes anymore, and actually the temptation to just grab a copy while in the supermarket has ended, as they have all stopped stocking it here! You can only get a copy in WhSmith and as I hate it in there, I don't even glimpse it anymore!

So what do I do, continue with my subs, change to something completely different, or not buy any at all?!!!!!

What do you get?

G x

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Knitting for Tommy

Today, on the 11th November, at almost 11am as I type, I thought sharing this book would be an apt thing to do.

Knitting for Tommy: Keeping the Great War Soldier warm by Lucinda Gosling
Published by The History Press
4th August 2014
Paperback Edition

During the First World War a knitting craze swept across Britain, as women everywhere wanted to ‘kit out’ their Tommies with socks, mittens, balaclavas, vests, jumpers and all manner of knitwear - some more graciously received than others! Millions of socks were sent from the home front to the fighting fronts in a bid to wage war on the dreaded ‘trench foot’ and thoughtful knitters would often tuck a love note or simple message into parcels to offer extra cheer to the soldier far from home.

Knitting for Tommy explores the knitting craze through magazine adverts, postcards, cartoons and photographs of the day, as well as offering a guide to kitting out your own First World War Tommy using original knitting patterns.

For the historian, and knitter in me, this is a fantastic resource.  One hundred years ago, women across the world were encouraged to knit for those fighting overseas, with the following rhyme:
For the Empire and for Freedom
We all must do our bit
The men go forth to battle
the women wait - and knit
Now obviously today that seems a bit sexist, but in 1914 when women didn't take part in front-line fighting, their 'bit' was to do as much as possible to keep the home fires burning, and to show their support for the men who had gone to fight - and one of the ways in which they could do this was by knitting.  This book includes the original patterns for woollen helmets, a crochet balaclava, convolvulus (leg warmers), an adjustable abdominal belt as well as bed jackets, gloves and scarfs. 
The Cumberland Mitten
Just three weeks after the outbreak of the war, Lady French, wife of General Sir John French, placed an appeal in The Times: There is a great need for knitted socks, &c., for our troops.  It is, indeed a crying need as the War Office allowance is only three pairs for each man, and a long day's march will wear socks into holes.  I would ask those who have leisure to knit, or are willing to employ others to do so, to send parcels as soon as possible, not direct to me but to Miss Douglas and Miss N. Selby Lowndes at the Ceylon Tea Depot.  Lady French kept up her requests and at the start of 1915 requested some 300,000 mufflers to be knitted, at the request of the War Office.
The book also has a detailed history of the role that knitting played, why it was so important, and how it varied around the world.  The book also contains some fabulous photographs, advertisements, and propaganda posters detailing the craze for knitting one hundred years ago.
G x 

Sunday 9 November 2014

London town and another year older

On Wednesday I ventured out of the green pastures here, and went on a train for a full-on 12 hour trip to London and back. The reason being was that one of my favourite funny authors, Marian Keyes, had finally agreed to do a book tour (just one UK date) for the first time in 5 years! The event sold out within 2 hours but luckily, thanks to twitter, I was on the ball and had my ticket within minutes of them going on sale!

I decided that I'd also try to go to two shops that I've never visited before, Loop and Persephone books.

First stop was Loop.  An easy find just a tube ride to Angel, and what a beautiful wool shop it is.

 It's two storey but very small, and oh, the wool inside.  I could easily have stayed inside and stroked the goods all day long! 

They also have a fabulous collection of books of every crafty description.  And did I mention the wool....?!  I resisted any further yarny additions, but I did splash the cash and bought both Julie Arkell books!  I'm still stroking them now!

Chatting to the girl in the shop about Julie, it turns out she has worked with the lovely Louise over at Hope and Elvis too - it's a small world, isn't it?!

Then I ventured across town to Bloomsbury to visit Persephone books.  I have to admit, I was a tad disappointed when I arrived there as it's teeny, weeny and I had expected a bigger shop to browse in.  That said, I still managed to spend my voucher and came away with another 4 books to add to my growing Persephone collection!

Back across town for a quick stroll down Oxford Street before heading to Piccadilly to see Marian Keyes and India Knight.  It was a lovely evening.  Marian was in fine fettle and tres amusing.  I'll blog more about it, and her new book, next week, over at Miss Chapter's Reviews if you want to find out more!

A quick dash back on the underground and I was on the 21:10 train back home, to finally get in at midnight!  Then I had two days of teaching ahead of me which totally wiped me out!  But luckily I found a copy of Oh Comely magazine at the station - delightful!

I had a very quiet birthday on Friday (particularly as I ended up teaching all day, which I wasn't expecting), followed by my first tap dancing class in over 10 years.

To make up for any dance fails, I thought some new shoes were in order!  Needless to say, they stole the show!

I also had a delightful postal treat from Lisa over at Mrs Bobobun.  She had posted some pictures of a craft fair she had been selling at, and one such photo included a gorgeous bag.  Unfortunately the bag sold, but I managed to get myself a similar one from Lisa, plus a purse in the fabric that I had originally coveted.  As a special surprise, Lisa also made me a lavender bag too.  Aren't these gorgeous?!

G x

Thursday 30 October 2014

WTF Knits

WTF Knits; Weird adventures in wool by Gabrielle Grillo and Lucy Sweet
Published by Transworld Books
23rd October 2014
Hardback Edition
Forget scarves and bobble hats. Here are the results of some nutty knitting that will really blow your mind...

For the last four years, Gabrielle Grillo has been scouring the web for the most bizarre knitted items she can find. In this hysterically funny book, she has collected the very best of her finds. From a knitted Christmas turkey cosy to woolly vomit, from burgers to a sperm fertilizing an egg - they have to be seen to be believed.

This is a photographic book of fun - full of weird, wonderful and extremely messed-up knitting and crochet creations from around the globe. As you flick through, there'll be a smile on your face and one question on your lips: 'WTF were they thinking?'
Seriously this book has to be seen to be believed.  There are some bonkers knits in here, and for most of the time I was left thinking 'but why?!' The need for some of these knits is baffling, but it's a hugely amusing book for those of us who love a bit of wool.  I won't share too many photos, or it will defeat the point of buying the book, but here are some images of what there are to look forward to
Now I have a tortoise, but I have never thought of doing this to him:
Image from F***ed Up Knitting


Do you see what I mean?! And these aren't the craziest ideas either!  Gabrielle has a website dedicated to the world of what she terms F***ed up Knitting, and there is a Facebook page for WTF Knits too! 
But as the book says "But while you're laughing, it's important to remember that although these pictures of boob cushions or crocheted turds are funny, someone, somewhere, worked hard to craft them - whether it was for fun, or to make a work of art.  These pieces might be baffling, but they're original and they're made with love."
There is a more serious side to the book though, and that is that it all began with one image, this one
Image from F***ed up Knitting
Gabrielle saw this via twitter and it started what has become F***ed up Knitting, and ultimately, this book.  However the poster of this first image @filleauxcraies, a girl named Claire, was a sufferer of cystic fibrosis, and has sadly since died, so any royalties from this book will go to a charity to help research the disease. 

So with C*****mas approaching, go grab a copy for the wool addict in your life - you'd be helping a good cause too!

I'll leave you with this image! WTF?!

G x

Sunday 26 October 2014

Cath Kidston makeover

It's true, how is it possible to do a makeover on a Cath Kidston product?  However, as I decided to order myself a new dress as a treat for securing a morning of supply work, I had to get the total to £50 in order to get free delivery (I know, it's a hard life but someone has to do it!) so I had to order other items!

My new clock frock

I decided to treat the hubby to a new mug as he loves giraffes!

And then I decided to order this pack of teatowels.  I figured they would make great cushions, for lovely as the ones in the Cath Kidston catalogue are, that even reduced to £16.00 , I figured that was a tad expensive in my opinion.
Now as the teatowels are reduced to £8 for the pair I figured I could turn them into my own cushions instead.  I made one up yesterday, but am waiting for some more pads to come before making up the second.  I won't patronise you by offering a tutorial on this, but if you haven't made a cushion cover before, and fancy doing so, the head on over here for a step-by-step tutorial on making an envelope backed cushion cover.    

I decided to use the grey teatowel for my first cushion and some plain mustardy-yellow fabric for the backing with a 16" pad inside.

Finished front
Finished back
Finished cushion

So for about £5.50 including the pad, I have a new cushion and it's unique to me.  One happy bunny here!
G x