>I made up that word- ‘slackblogger’, sounds almost Shakespearean, doesn’t it?- to describe how I’ve been recently with this blog. Maybe I just haven’t been doing enough of the stuff I like to write about, making stuff and going out and about, or maybe I’ve just been lacking motivation to write in general. Anyway, a big distraction has been the chance of going back to full time work, but following an unsuccessful interview yesterday, it looks like home is where it’s at for a while longer.
With that in mind, it’s probably appropriate that some of my recent making projects have been of the homely variety:
This dishcloth is my first attempt at one. I ended up using a probably over-fancy yarn, Rowan Revive . I’d got it on special from but found it a bit rough and stiff when I knitted it up. Fortunately rough and stiff is quite good for a dishcloth. I used what my Grandma described as ‘a sort of fancy rib’ for the pattern. You knit a row, purl a row, then k1 p1 rib two rows, basically. In this yarn, this makes for some useful, grot-shifting bobbles.
You may also notice the drip-catcher below the draining rack. I think this was inspired by something Soule Mama put on her blog a while back. It goes some way to solving the problem of a draining board that is too small, doesn’t slope enough and has areas around the outside edge where pools of yukky water form. Some reclaimed polyester cotton, from a charity shop duvet cover in glorious Seventies purple flower print, and some fleece fabric I had knocking around- bit of freestyle embroidery foot sewing and there was something that looked a bit better, soaks up the water and is easy to wash.
The only problem with both these items is they’re meant to be chucked in the wash and replaced every couple of days…and I’ve only made one of each so far. With interview preparation over with, that’s where my priorities should be now.
Except…sometimes the sun is shining at the moment, and there’s a very convincing argument for why going back to work full time wouldn’t really have been all it’s cracked up to be. Or rather two convincing arguments, with big sparkly blue eyes ready to take in the world and its wonders. So when the weather is bad I’ll get mundanities such as dishcloths knitted, but when it’s kind I’ll be grabbing the opportunity and the camera and working at kicking the slackblogger habit.
It’s so wonderful to be able to enjoy the beauty of the Lake District just a short drive away and at this time of year only lightly dotted with sailors,horse-riders, walkers and noisy adventurers like us…
The walk we did, by the way, was along Yewdale Bridleway, details can be found here. I say this as if we did the whole walk- we’ve never managed this, for various reasons- but even going a short way along provides plenty to explore and amazing views, even if the initial climb to the pathway is a challenge with little ones in tow.
Last weekend I finally got to unpack the many boxes marked ‘craft stuff’, as the little room which was P’s temporary bedroom is on its way to being a workroom/office space. In other words I spent a relatively peaceful afternoon untangling random balls of yarn (not as many as I thought as it happens) and trying to find ways to sort and store a lot of scrap and resuable fabric (lots more than I thought). With this yarn/fabric lack of balance revealed, along with all my sewing notions and box of threads, I’ve been inspired to get some sewing done this week.
A lot of what I’ve done has actually be useful, round the house type stuff (I seem to remember that this was meant to be the plan for the first three months of the year…oops! Better late than never!) I’ll post about that soon. In the meantime, I wanted to share this little bit of fun.
Actually, sewing with ‘fun’ fur isn’t really fun at all, even when using a floating embroidery foot. But the good thing is that there’s no need for hemming, so the tasks of adjustments in shape of hat and length of trouser leg are just a simple snip, rather than unpicking and resewing.
To make my little tiger’s legs, I simply folded an existing pair of jogging bottoms in half and used them as a template, rather like the way Amanda Soule describes in ‘The Creative Family’ when she makes old t-shirts into trousers- my Christmas present cutting wheel was invaluable for this. I ended up doing a bit of unpicking as amid the family chaos around me I forgot which seam to sew up first, and chose the wrong one. Spend a moment thinking about it and it’s really not that hard. Also, having made a nice long tail out of a long tube of fabric, I forgot to sew it into the back seam, so a bit more unpicking. I had to handsew the tail into this seam as four layers of fun fur just don’t go through my sewing machine. I made a simple elasticated waist so he can pull them on and off easily (useful fo
To make the tiger hat I dipped into the delights of a belated birthday present from my sister, Oliver + S’s ‘Little Things to Sew’ (buy it, it’s gorgeous!). I used the pattern for the ‘Cozy Winter Hood’. Knowing my little boy’s rather large noggin, I chose the largest size, forgetting that, since I wasn’t lining it, it would turn out even bigger. In the end I made a tiger hat that would even fit C, the originator of the big noggin genes. Still, nothing a bit of trimming and off-piste dart making couldn’t fix.
I realise, looking at this post, that it reads like a farcical list of errors made by mother trying to sew amidst an ever-curious toddler, a squeaking baby and getting the tea ready. Actually, that’s about the size of it. But the thing that is fun about sewing with fun fur is that it’s very forgiving, covers a lot of mistakes and pretty quickly gives the results that any toddler would be happy with. Catching a tiger for a photograph on the other hand, is not so easy…
Waste not want not in these frugal times! I wanted to use up some bits and pieces of sock yarn in a sweater for M (P’s sweater is still not finished, but since he doesn’t like any knitwear at the moment I’m not in any great hurry to be honest, plus I haven’t ordered the extra yarn I need). When I say bits and pieces, I mean that in the sense that there really wasn’t much of it. I made it a simple top-down number in my current favourite for baby knits, k3 p2 rib, and having made it just about long enough in the body, I was down to the scraps for sleeves. Hence these teeny weeny balls- two of each colour, so that I wouldn’t knit one sleeve longer than I could match with the other. In the event the sleeves ended up elbow, at a push bracelet length and the body…well let’s just say it’s more suited to a warm but not too bulky layer underneath dungarees. Still, I like the effect, it’s cosy and comfortable for it’s wearer and it didn’t cost a thing but time.