Little green froggy

Today I had another visit from the little green frog. Rrrrribbit!

I finished the body of my crazy stripes a couple of days ago, but I’m just not happy with the bottom hemline where the front left meets the back. I’ve trawled through a lot of finished projects on Ravelry and many seem to have quite a wobbly hemline over the hip in just that spot, and I don’t think it’s something that can just be blocked out.

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One project, fortunately, had some notes about just this issue, including a record of what she did to fix it. She was making a different size so I’ve done a little maths myself and think I’ve come up with my own solution, so I’ve ripped back 48 rows (thankfully much shorter ones than last time I had to frog!) and am reknitting to hopefully achieve a better looking line. I quite enjoy a bit of knit-maths but still I hope the numbers stack up!

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On the plus side, my new stitch markers really came in handy for this one!

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Treasure Trove

A random comment I noticed on a Facebook group last night sent me off on a treasure hunt this morning. It mentioned a fabric shop I’d never heard of, just a short drive from where I live. I’ve been on the lookout for some cheap knit fabric so I can practise the Renfrew top pattern I bought at the Knitting and Stitching Show, before I let myself loose on the spensive fabric I bought with it.

The fabric shop itself was much smaller than I’d hoped and didn’t carry a vast amount of stock. Most of it was printed cottons suitable for quilting, but I did find an end-of-roll offcut of a pink floral-printed jersey. I didn’t measure it, but it was only three quid, so I bought it anyway and hope it might be enough for a first crack at a Renfrew.

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The treasure was to be found in the adjacent barn. It hosts a selection of small businesses, almost like a small indoor market – vintage clothes, art and papercraft supplies, a small haberdashery, a petfood stall, fruit and veg, even a yarn shop, but the crown was the most amazing Aladdins Cave of a cake decorating supplier. They stocked just about everything you could possibly want for cake decorating – tools, toppers, food colourings, fondant icing, edible glitter, boxes, cake boards, stands, and a huge selection of cake tins for hire. I know where I’ll be heading next time I need some serious cake supplies, and it’s much nearer than the place I used to go to!

I think I’ll have to keep looking for a good local fabric shop. I discovered a great one a few weeks ago when I visited a friend and her yarn shop in Essex, but sadly that can hardly be considered local! Still, if you’re in the vicinity of Braintree in Essex, Blake House Craft Centre is definitely worth a mooch. They have a whole range of shops there though I’ve only been in two of them myself. And Sew On stocks a wide variety of fabrics and haberdashery supplies. I could have lost hours in there and left with a considerably lighter purse had I been in the mood for indulging. Just next door is my friend’s shop Sconch, which is just yarn heaven. It carries probably the biggest range of yarn types I’ve ever found in a single yarn shop. They have a great space for running Craft and Cake sessions several days a week. The staff were friendly and helpful. They also run an online shop which I’ve ordered from in the past and they have excellent customer service. I’d definitely recommend stopping by if you can.

I’m resisting buying any yarn at the moment as I have several projects lined up already, but I couldn’t come away completely empty handed, so I bought these cute stitch markers.

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What’s your local yarn or fabric shop like? Have you ever come across a crafty treasure trove?

Don’t they fly!?

The years, I mean. WordPress kindly informed me yesterday that it was my 3 year anniversary here. That would have totally passed me by!

I celebrated by picking up my knitting for the first time in about a week. I only managed a couple of rows but something’s better than nothing.

I also went to a rehearsal last night. I’m itching to get back to rehearsing a show. But this one was for a show I’m crewing in a couple of weeks time. Backstage work is something I enjoy, and you still get the buzz of being in a theatre, but it’s not the same as being part of the cast who’ve been rehearsing for months and going out on the stage in front of an audience. So I’m keeping my eye out for other opportunities.

In other news, the cake is safely in the freezer and it remains to be seen whether it survives on the other side.

Brakes On!

Today is Pickle’s birthday party.

We booked a soft play party and invited his friends. From his point of view, it’s that same kind of party his brother has, so he’s happy. From my point of view, it’s easy peasy. Activity is provided, food is included. I just have to do party bags and the cake.

Now, I admit I haven’t been particularly organised about it, but a couple of last minute evening activities this week really threw my timings off. I had an insanely busy day yesterday, but managed to get the cake baked and a chocolate ganache prepared, leaving me about 4 hours to crumb-coat it, fondant cover it and decorate it today.

It took me a while to successfully cover it in fondant. In fact, I wasn’t totally happy with it, but was pressed for time so accepted that was how it was going to be. I was just moving on to the more interesting stages of decorating, when I received a phone call from school saying that Pumpkin had been sick and I needed to collect him immediately. Oh.

Brakes on.

I spent the afternoon calling and texting round all the guests to reschedule the party for two weeks time. And then I crashed out. Shattered!

Now I have a half decorated cake sitting on the side and two weeks before the party. I have googled and I am going to attempt to freeze the cake whole and hope it’s ok to be defrosted and decorated fully in two weeks time.

Just hope none of the rest of us get the bug in the meantime.

A different kind of WIP

Since we moved house, our front room has been a playroom. It’s a pretty small room with not much floor space, so the boys haven’t really played in there much and it’s actually been more of a glorified toy cupboard/ hurl-the-toys-in-and-shut-the-door kinda space. In short, a total toy-filled pigsty.

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So last weekend, Mr Jack and I set to work while the kids were away for a couple of days with the aim of turning this room into a study/hobby room.

Inspired by Pinterest we had grand plans of picking paint colours and shopping at Ikea for a desk, shelves and storage solutions, and generally spending the weekend getting the job done as fast as possible.

Desk, shelves above, drawers or cupboard underneath. And I’m loving the idea of using a really deep blue colour on the walls, with white furniture although it’s a North facing room so I’m not sure if it would be too dark. (You can tell I’m not really an interior designer!)

Unfortunately, the room is one of three in this house with woodchip wallpaper. We battled woodchip once before, when we first moved unto our previous house, and it was such a struggle to strip the stuff that we never bothered tackling the other rooms that had it! But in this case, and since we plan to stay here long term, we decided that if the job was worth doing, it was worth doing properly. So we hired an industrial steamer and set to work.

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The first strips came off in large sheets so we were lulled into a false sense of security that maybe it wasn’t as bad as we remembered. But after that, every square centimetre was thoroughly steamed and scraped and steamed and scraped some more.

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Halfway through the second day we were vowing never again and suggesting paying someone to do the rest. But, we persevered and finished the job.

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Unfortunately, that was the end of our childfree time, so that’s as far as we’ve got. Another project on the WIP pile. Hopefully we’ll find time to get back to it soon.

In the meantime I’ll continue browsing Pinterest for inspiration and flipping through the Dulux brochure to try to decide on a colour. What do you think of dark blue?

 

Ganseys

On a trip up to the North Norfolk coast last weekend, I visited the small but delightful Cromer Museum. Whilst there, I noticed these amazing Fishermen’s jumpers, known as ‘Ganseys’. The knitting was so small and fine, that it’s hard to believe that they were handknit – they looked more like modern machine knitting – and some of the patterns were beautiful. It was fascinating to read about them.

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Here’s a bit of the blurb about them:

“Fishermen traditionally wear a blue woollen jumper called a ‘gansey’, which is a corruption of Guernsey.”

“Ganseys were hand-knitted ‘in-the-round’ using dark blue worsted wool to make a hard-wearing garment. The upper part was decorated with a pattern of purl and plain stitches.”

“Despite great age and years of hard wear the quality of these labours of love shines through.”

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I was also intrigued by these ‘Knitting shields’, though despite the explanation, I can’t quite picture how they would have been used.

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“The shield was tied to the waist or stuck into the waistband of an apron. The right hand needle was inserted into the end. This helped to support the weight of the gansey and steadied the needle.”

The museum also had a great exhibition about the work of Olive Edis, a female photographer around the turn of the 20th century, who also worked a war photographer during the First World War.

All in all, the museum is well worth a visit, and Cromer itself was just glorious!

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