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