Knitting and Stitching 2018

It’s been quite a week!

I have spent a larger than average amount of time crafting in one way or another. The costume bits for the musical involved a lot of hand sewing. I returned the set to the wardrobe mistress and she’s giving me another whole set to do this week.


I bound off the sleeves of Crazy Stripes at long last and have begun the lengthy task of sewing in many many ends. Buttons and blocking will follow soon.

I moved my attention to costumes for the boys for World Book Day. The process was taking longer than I anticipated when I finally got round to it, but fortunately I was given a reprieve when school declared a postponement and then a snow day! It will be rescheduled for sometime in the next week and I still have a little work to do so I’ll save the details for another time.

I finally finished the alpaca hat just in time to give it to my bestie on the train this morning on our way to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Kensington Olympia. She will need to attach the pompom on the top and I still have the scarf to finish, but it was good to get the hat done.

I went to Knitting and Stitching without much intention to purchase as I still have several projects in the works, and yet I still managed to come home with a fair haul.


I picked up a couple of thimbles as all that hand sewing on costumes made me realise my fingers were in dire need of some protection. I nabbed a fat quarter for some details on Pumpkin’s Book Day costume. I had a rummage in a box full of assorted patterns and picked up three for a tenner that I thought would be useful to use with fabric I already have.

Actually, one of the three required new fabric, so I went in search amongst the various stands, but I struggled to find what I was looking for. Lauren at Guthrie and Ghani was immensely helpful and though she didn’t have quite what I wanted, she and her staff helped me work out what it was that I needed so I knew what to look for if I resorted to ordering something online. As it turned out, just as we were leaving, I spotted a stand that had a rack of various bolts of fabric for just 2.50 per metre, which included a bolt of black stretch denim, which was a perfect alternative for my pattern. At that price, it was worth it even if just for a practise make. I also nabbed a metre of blue jersey at the same price.

Finally, not being totally satisfied, I also bought a metre of this cute llama jersey which will become a top using the other pair of black sleeves that I cut when making my pink top.


We had a fab day and I can’t wait to get working on some of these projects.



Being brave

There are changes afoot in my life at the moment. As part of that, I am having to make a conscious decision not to be held back by fear, but choose to be brave and see what happens.

So, today, I am binding off the sleeves of my cardigan. It’s taken a while to reach this point, not just because of fear, but I’m doing it today!



That’s what friends are for!

Life’s been rather busy here of late. Suffice to say I’ve not had much time for crafting and even less for blogging. I’ve rehearsed and performed one show already this year and I have a musical nearing curtain up.

I’ve done a spot of flower arranging; my cardigan just needs binding off, buttons and blocking. The alpaca hat and scarf for my bestie is in a state of perpetual WIP – I’m not sure they’ll be done in time for wear before the weather warms up. Soz, C! I’ve missed Unravel Festival for this year, although I will be going to the Knitting and Stitching Show with my bestie in a couple of weeks time – excited, much? Thanks, C! (Anyone else going?) I’ve just been given a stack of costume bits to sew for the musical. But looooook what my bestie just brought back from holiday for me…

Ain’t she just the best!? Just gotta find time to knit them now…!


A rose by any other name…

Today I have been turning my hand to something a little different. In need of a more suitable prop for a scene than the fake daffodils we’ve been using in rehearsal, I volunteered to do a spot of flower arranging!

A quick scout round town came up trumps for Arum/calla lilies, white roses and some greenery.


I used a Stanley knife to separate the stems of the roses and the ivy so I could arrange things more easily. I built up the arrangement and secured it with florists tape (which really didn’t stick as well as I hoped) and some sugarpaste flower wire that I dug out of my cake making supplies. I was concerned that my first arrangement may be a bit big for its required purpose, so I used the leftover stems to make a smaller arrangement. Tonight is our dress rehearsal, so I’ll see what the director thinks and I can always rearrange them tomorrow if necessary.





What do you do when you’ve been working on a project for so long, and you’re so close to the end, but you have fear that it’s all totally wrong?

I love the pattern, I love the colours. In general I like how it looks. I’m terrified that it doesn’t fit well, the neckline is too wide, there is way too much ease around the body. I have no idea what blocking will do to it, whether it will grow or not, whether the sleeves will end up too long. I’m not sure I like the texture of the neck band. Will I even wear it once it’s done, if it ever gets done? Could I bring myself to rip the whole thing if I decide it’s just not right?

Is this a normal part of garment making or am I overthinking? I’m so close to finishing it, but so terrified of the end result not being what I want.


Good times!

I do enjoy Christmas. The run up is always a little crazy with school nativities and activities, parties, planning and shopping, decorating, preparing and wrapping. I’ve had rehearsals for two different shows as well as taking part in my church carol service – learning the harmonies for various carols has been a particular highlight!

I also ended up with various creative projects on the go too. Along with the apron for my nephew which I showed you last time…


There was a fair isle hearts hat for my niece. I used the TinCanKnits Clayoquot Toque pattern as the starting point, but changed it up with a folded brim and my own design for the hearts.


And a wheat bag for my sister in law, which I made from a little corduroy skirt I found in a charity shop. I used my mum’s sewing machine to sew it – she’s got an all singing, all dancing Janome machine that took a little getting used to, but sewing machine aspirations right there! – and filled it with wheat and homegrown lavender.


There’s also been a fair amount of baking. Vanilla shortbread and slightly experimental apple and cinnamon cupcakes with caramel buttercream (I’ll be making those again!). My first ever meringue kisses made in a hurry to use up some egg whites before we went away for a few days, and my first ever Christmas pudding which fed the family on Christmas Day.

Fortunately, Christmas itself is a time to chill out and spend time relaxing with family and generally not doing too much except eat and wash up and eat some more and keep the kids entertained!

When we travel up to spend time with my family, Mr Jack and I like to spend time on the journey reflecting on the year past. It’s been a good one, with lots of things falling into place following the last couple of years of upheaval with house hunting, moving, school uncertainties etc. The boys are well settled at their new school, and we feel better rooted in our new house and town. I’ve surprisingly become a runner over the last year. I’m loving parkrun, and though I didn’t quite officially meet my target of a sub-30 minute 5k parkrun by Christmas, I have done sub-30 training runs and I’m not far off that at parkrun. I’ve also shed nearly 2 and a half stone thanks to Slimming World. I aimed to be at target by Christmas and was just a couple of pounds away. Technically that’s within the target range anyway, so I’ll call it a win! I feel very boring going on about food and pounds but ultimately I feel so much better for having done it and just for me!

I’ve been involved in some great theatre this year too and am so excited for what’s lined up for next year already. My first turn in  Shakespeare in February followed by a fun musical in March and then I’m booked to see both Harry Potter and Hamilton in London during April.

Then of course there’s also Unravel in Feb and the Knitting and Stitching show in March too. Plenty to be looking forward to.

For now though, I’m going to enjoy a few more days of food and family and a chance to not do much. Maybe I’ll manage to get this second crazy sleeve done before the year is out. Now that would be an achievement!




Tricky sewing

My nephew’s Christmas list this year included an apron. I’ve been keeping an eye out for one in the shops with no joy, so when I spotted this cute fabric whilst buying black jersey for my sleeves, I decided to make him one instead.


It’s a pretty simple make and I just used Pumpkin’s apron as a template. The challenge was in dealing with a rather tricky fabric. The shiny vinyl surface sticks to any other smooth surface which makes it tricky to keep it moving through the sewing machine. I used a little washi tape on the under side of the foot and a piece of fabric wrapped around the bed of the machine to help keep it from sticking.

The fabrics also can’t be pinned as they leave puncture holes. I just creased the edges as much as I could and hoped it would stay in line when I sewed.


Overall it turned out pretty well. Hope the nephew agrees!


Tip top!

I made a top!


Finding that pile of patterns inspired me to just get on with it. The pattern is New Look K6230. I dug out the pink flowered jersey which I bought as an offcut earlier in the year for practise sewing. I thought an entire top in pink would be a bit much so I investigated a local fabric shop and found the black jersey for the sleeves, which cost me as much for just one metre as all of the pink flowers and the blue flowers fabrics together! I did manage to cut two sets of sleeves and neckbands though, so they’re ready for making another top at some point.

Having not sewn with jersey before, I warmed up by reading a couple of blogs on the subject and referring to a helpful leaflet from Guthrie and Ghani that came with the sewing machine jersey and stretch twin needles I bought at The Knitting and Stitching show.

The pink was quite difficult to sew as it is such a floppy fabric. It was hard to keep it in a straight line without stretching it out. Fortunately the black is much more stable and most of the seams included both fabrics. The top stitching around the neckline was a bit wobbly so I unpicked the front section and had a second go. The most difficult bit was the hem. I had to try various settings on my machine to get the right stitch length and even then had to unpick a section or two that were very untidy.

The end result though, is something that fits and feels pretty comfy to wear and looks half decent! I’ll call that a win!

What new skills are you keen to learn but apprehensive about?


Unexpected treasures

I just popped into town for a few things and found myself in one of the charity shops. They have a whole craft section in this particular shop. Alot of it is quite old and basically junk, but sometimes there are a few treasures. I had a rummage through the patterns box – 50p per pattern! – and pulled out a few that I thought looked good and I might possibly have a go at at some point in the future.


As I was checking the price again for the lady at the till, I realised there were lots of drawers full of other sewing bits and bobs – buttons, thread, bead, ribbons – so after I’d paid I went back for another rummage. Deep in one of the drawers I found this piece of soft stretch jersey. 2.5 metres of it, originally sold as a remnant from Closs & Hamblin. I’vestill not managed to make anything with jersey, but I couldn’t resist this for only a fiver!

I’ve already got my sewing machine out and I am determined to leap the old stumbling block of ‘what-if-I-mess-it-up?’ and have a go at making a top.


Collective crafting

Tonight I had an impromptu craft evening with my best friend and fellow craft enthusiast.

We had a lovely chilled out evening, listening to music and chatting over her dining  table; me with my knitting, and her on the sewing machine. Check out the cute cupcake pouch she made for me!


I took my cardigan and we looked at the sleeve length and decided it needs a couple more rows before the cuff. I should be able to get that done in the next couple of days as long as I don’t get distracted, (I may have cast on another colourwork hat…) and then on to the second sleeve. The end is surely in sight now!

I’ve even done quite well out of the evening. She’s tried knitting and crochet, but sewing is definitely her forte, so she handed me a bag of the most gorgeous alpaca fluff to finish off a scarf she’d been working on, and to knit her a matching hat! Lucky me!