Some dedicated readers may remember this post from the spring when I had a complete nightmare knitting with some yarn I'd bought from Ebay. I had purchased two balls of this type of wool and came across the other when I was doing my sewing room declutter. After my experience with twisting yarn earlier in the year I had wondered if I'd ever bother trying to knit with that brand of yarn again. However, I decided to give it a go. In less that two hours I'd knitted a scarf and no breaking off before the end of the ball. The only difference I can think of with how I approached this, was last time I remembered the paper band breaking around the ball quite soon after I'd started. I thought at the time, well that's OK it'll save me keep pulling lengths free from the ball. However, as this yarn is prone to twisting it's much better to keep the band around the ball come-what-may. So as it starts to twist you can hold up your knitting and let it swing around and untwist. When the band got far too big for the ever decreasing ball, I taped the band to make it smaller so it was once again a snug fit. I can't believe how much easier this was compared to last time!
I'm only showing you a sneaky peek as the light is poor hence the not very good colour and it's a present.
It feels satisfying to have at least made something as I've snuggled on the sofa.
I woke up on Saturday am with a banging headache and feeling I'd been smacked in the face. Strangely the other side of the face that had caused me to rush of to the dentists a few days before in case I was about to get a tooth related nasty. I've been feeling really ill after I've eaten too. I was wiped out for Saturday so had nothing to report or blog about and the laptop didn't even get switched on. Chief and I agreed he shouldn't come down Saturday night as perhaps we both needed a good night sleep. He did come down the next morning though and surprised Mum with an early Christmas present. Thursday in the gales our bird feeding station crashed over snapping in two. It was obviously corroded and the wind was just to strong for it. The real pain was just the week before we'd bought three new bird feeders and when the pole crashed over two of them smashed.
Little did Mum know as she was wondering if Bro could fix it or if I'd take her to buy a new one, was the week before Chief had bought Mum not only a new pole, but some feeding stuff to go with it, as her Christmas present.
He suggested he brought it down early before she got the broken one replaced some how herself.
She was perplexed as to why she was opening her Christmas present on Sunday.
She was surprised and pleased. Just a bit confused when Chief suggested we 'made' a pole with the insides of wrapping paper.
Little did she know that the three pack of wrapping paper had pole sections in side them!
The pole is up in the garden and the birds are loving it. I hope to get a picture in decent light soon.
I was pretty restrained over the whole Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday discount offer shindig. I looked at loads of places and came back to where I was originally going to shop from and only bought from there. I definitely went down the essential rather than: Oh pretty lets just buy it and put it in a drawer for a while, route.
I got all these lovelies from Cindy over at Fluffy Sheep Quilting. I've never known Cindy to be beaten on her Aurifil prices. I've never tried variegated Aurifil before. I thought it might be good for Chiefs quilt - if I ever get it made. I had to guess the colour would be OK from viewing on a computer screen as I don't own a shade card.
The only other black Friday discounted purchase I made was the Noodlehead divided basket. I'd seen this around, but not really followed it up to see if it was a purchased pattern, tutorial or none of the above. Seeing Sheila's fab make for Sarah's baby shower made me see the potential of these baskets for all manner of gift and storage situations. I just now have to find the time to make one!
This afternoon has ended up different to how I expected. (It is beginning to be that kind of week.) I had had a mouth related niggle for the past few days and I was concerned I was going to develop a full on tooth ache just as my dental practice is shut for the weekend. So I managed to get seen this afternoon. An X-ray was taken and advice given but it seems my gum is irritated in that area and that's what's causing the issues. It may have cost me a price of a nice bundle of fabric from somewhere. But it's money well spent for peace of mind and hopefully the easing of symptoms. It has meant though I haven't been able to get a decent picture of the velveteen and voile scarf I finished yesterday.
It would be a bit of an exaggeration to say the office where I work is the coldest on the planet. But I have rarely been warm in there during the last few winters unless I have quite a few layers on and a cosy scarf around my neck. Out of all the scarves I have nine times out of ten I reach for one of the flannel and voile infinity scarves I made a couple of years ago.
Back in the summer when Pink Castle had some kind of deal on, I stocked up on a few fabric bits including two half yard cuts of velveteen.
When it arrived I thought the pink would get a lot of wear in an infinity scarf. I don't tend to wear a lot of pink but I liked the way the pale pink contrasted with the other colours in the print. However, I looked at the brown and couldn't see when I'd use it. I didn't think the colours would suit me and as I'd made so many people infinity flannel scarves in the past I wasn't sure who'd appreciate a velveteen version. I added both pieces of Velveteen to my stash and started looking out for some voile to go with the pink velveteen.
Who knew that finding voile would be so difficult. I trawled the UK shops and in the end I bought this voile from Pink Castle fabrics. I can't remember who makes this voile; it's not Anna Maria Horner.
The blue fabric on top is voile.
When it arrived I didn't like it. I don't like the texture/hand of the fabric. I guess AMH has spoiled us with her buttery soft voile, which reminds me of Liberty Tana Lawn. I added this voile to my stash thinking that was another mistake purchase.
Fast forward to last week and a chance comment on Instagram. I had velveteen and no voile and Mary had no velveteen and a stash of voile and suggested a swap. I thought I'd best show her a snap of the velveteen first in case she didn't like it! Luckily she did and she had a great selection of voile for me to choose from.
Due to my sewing clear out it's taken me a few days to get sewing, but I have. Thanks to the swap with Mary I now have a lovely snuggly velveteen scarf to add to my winter wardrobe.
Excuse last nights IG picture the light is appalling now so I won't be able to better it.
Now I wonder if I can find anyone to swap me something for that blue voile?!
I am doing chores today. Christmas related ones. Like:
Trying to find the Christmas labels because I've been wrapping presents, as they arrived and assumed I'd remember what they were and who they were for, only now I'm not so sure.
Writing the rest of the Christmas cards. Started ages ago and got bored. Mum kindly addressed a few envelopes for me while I was at work today, but says I do have to finish writing the rest of the actual cards.
Thinking really hard what to buy some people because I still just don't know.
Getting ready for post all the various parcels type thingies I need to drop off at the PO
And all the while I'm doing it I'm making a dent in these...
...which were meant for Christmas.
I'm trying not to get too freaked out by how close Christmas is and how much I still have to do.
Are you prepared or just about to implode at the thought of all you have to do?
Last week I won not one, but two prizes. One from the lovely Reene (more about that another time - thanks again Reene!) and the other from Alison over at Silicon Bullet Forever. A while back I'd entered a give away on Facebook to win some Aloe Lips by Forever Living. I'm always up for trying a product that will keep my lips soft and conditioned. I used to be someone who wore lipstick no matter what. Then I started noticing that some lipsticks made my lips so dry and sore it felt like someone had taken a sander to them and rubbed off a good layer of skin. It was horrible and I can't blame cheap lipsticks because it seemed any lipstick: cheap or pricey could cause me issues. Most lip salve has had a similar effect, so I'm forever on the look out for one that does what I want it to: condition my lips and stop them being dry, painful or sore.
Alison also told me it's not just good for lips. Aloe lips can be used on cuts, bites, burns and scratches. She also mentioned some of her customers had told her it was good for soothing...um...piles! I joked I'd definitely be using it on my lips and not piles! (I don't have piles!) When my winnings arrived Alison suggested I proved it was for use on my lips. (She was probably really grateful I wasn't going to use it on piles and provide photographic evidence!) So I decided to try some selfies with my mobile. But apart from accidentally taking an arty shot of a lamp, I didn't do very well. I handed the phone over to my mum (not renown for her phone use, let alone her photography skills.) and the best she could do was this action shot of me applying the Aloe Lips.
I've been using the product all week. I don't have to keep replying it. It has a lovely texture, smell and taste and this will now be my go to lip salve product.
To find out more about Forever Living why not pop over to the Silicon Bullet Forever Facebook Page? There are details of all the Forever Living Products as well as Aloe Lips.
Ps. This is not a sponsored blog post. I won and thought I'd tell you all about my winnings!
I was sat at work this morning when a colleague asked me if I could do him a favour. Or rather could me and my camera do him a favour. I did one of those raised eye brow things and said: "Ok but I'm not going up on any ladders or onto roofs." (Last time he wanted my photography skills he wanted me on a roof taking pictures of solar panels. I'd literally only got the camera that week and DSLR's were new territory to me.)
What he wanted was some pictures of his gorgeous girls (all 5 and under) with the plan of doing photographic Christmas presents for various family members. It seemed like a good opportunity to practise my camera skills. He then arranged for me to visit this afternoon after work.
I got home from work and had a little stress. What do I know about photographing people let alone children?! The light is appalling this time of year. I don't own an external flash yet. Flash would probably scare small children anyway. OH. EMM. GEEE. what had I agreed to?
There were panic texts to Chief who said, "practise on your mother". Which I did. On the agreement I didn't post her pictures on the internet. They were pretty crap. I texted Chief back with my issue and he gave me some camera settings to try. "You'll have to go to full manual though", he said casually.
So I set off without really much time to think about it much further.
Luckily all the girls knew me a bit at least. The eldest was happy being the model. The middle one up for it too. The youngest one was just not that interested. Oh the pressure!
I'm not going to show pictures of other peoples children here; but on the whole, all things considered, I'm ok with the results. I have critiqued them a lot. And know what I'd do differently another time...should anyone ask. I keep telling myself that this is all totally new to me and really I shouldn't be so fussy.
Tomorrow I'll find out what the parents think. Wish me luck!
I was one of the fortunate ladies that got to attend a virtual baby shower for Sarah last night. It was the brainchild of organiser Rhonda. There has been a private flickr group so Sarah couldn't see what we were plotting, planning and making for her and we've been sending off shower gifts for her to open on the night for several weeks now. All this secrecy has meant I couldn't show you what I made until now.
Actually I really racked my brain what to make once I realised that whilst she might not mind having 20+ baby quilts, maybe I should make something different. But what?! I can't knit so no cute baby knitting and my dressmaking is not up to scratch. In the end I decided to have a go at making a baby changing mat. I looked online for tutorials; the only ones I could find just reinforced what I had in my mind to do, so I did it my way.
This is the business side. It's a new hand towel with the edge and hems trimmed off. I wanted to make something a decent size as babies can (soon) be longer than expected. I had half a yard of the birdie fabric, which I had to join for the backing and the overlap. It matched the grey towel so well I just had to use it.
Excuse the scrap of towel photo bombing the picture.
I didn't quilt through the layers because between the front and backing is a layer of nylon ripstop fabric, that I'm hoping will make the mat baby bean-pee proof. The whole mat can easily be slung in the washing machine and also rolls (or folds) up, so it could be used on the go.
As for the party - well that was fun! At one point it looked like it might not work out as poor Sarah had no broadband. Thankfully she managed to phone into the party - although this meant we didn't get to see her. It was sad that there was only space for six webcams because it would have been nice to see the senders reactions as Sarah opened their gifts. Luckily we could either hear or read what people were saying. It was amazing it all worked so well given the attendees were spread all over the world.
I was quite pleased to be able to put my webcam off - no make up and covered in thread from decluttering!
I think we'll do this again, only a smaller scale so we can easily talk and see each other. What a great way of meeting up with quilty friends who are spread all over.
I am going to try my advent blogging thing again. You know where I blog every day up until Christmas starting tomorrow, so I thought I'd flex my blogging muscles and show you what I've been doing since yesterday afternoon and er...share my shame.
This was the photo I took this morning of the area I could use for cutting if it wasn't full of crap! The decluttering started yesterday after work as I started to turn out the chest of drawers that holds my fabric and other sewing bits and bobs. I thought I'd find out some fabric for my niece to practise on now that she's taken up sewing and is trying to improve her sewing machine skills. She had come around one afternoon after school but being full of cold it was really a 'how a sewing machine works' and health and safely lesson. (Don't try watching the TV and sewing kind of thing.)
I even put Mum to work on sorting charm squares from swaps, left over from projects or just gifts from kind sewing friends. By the end of the afternoon they were bagged up with my other charm packs. I'm not sure what criteria half of them were sorted by. But at least they are all in one place now. Not shoved in various drawers.
This is what the top picture looks like after a bit of work. I went through the two drawer units on the bench and the wicker hamper. I can now see properly some of the lovely goodies I've had in swaps and as gifts over the years.
Excuse the bad Instagram pics. Why is this one kind of photography I can't do even half
decently? People have been following my clean up on IG all day!
It's amazing what I've found whilst sorting out. I didn't think I had more than a couple of packs of machine needles (although I was sure I had bought several packs at various times.) I found assorted unopened packs all over. They are now in a little drawer of their own. I've found I do have more machine bobbins than I thought - ditto thread. I found some jewellery I thought I'd lost for good. (In the container I thought it was in!)
Seeing as I've saved every plastic press seal bag sent to me (!) I've put all my WIP's in labelled plastic bags in a wicker basket. It's far better than having piles of projects waiting to be finished or in some cases started!
The living room still has unsorted patterns and fabric strewn across it. There are random items on the dining room table. But I see a time when I can sew in the dining room and eat in the dining room and not only will I know what I have...but I may actually really start to enjoy sewing again.
When my mojo or inclination to sew and blog took a huge nose dive I wasn't even remotely interested in purchasing fabric. I know. Total shock horror. But Instagram has not only kick started my wanting to buy fabric it's started to kick start me into wanting to make. Sometimes though it comes down to finding the time and energy to accommodate what I want to do against all the other things I have to do. I'm sure you all know that feeling.
My first fabric purchase was these beauties from Mary. Over on IG she was doing a bit of market research into whether buyers would prefer build a bundle, colour bundles or assorted bundles. Of course I took the research a little too literally and decided I couldn't live without these ones and so built my own bundle. Mainly because even though I've found a few sheets in charity shops they've tended towards the more subtle colours. The vintage sheet quilt I made earlier in the year is already a favourite. I can't explain why it is, it just is. Mum has also announced that quilts are warmer than duvets and of course that means she needs more than one bed sized one doesn't it? I'd like to make her a vintage sheet quilt. (But I'm selfish and want to make another one for me too.)
I think I'll put these by until I get more - maybe via the UK Vintage sheet swap that I hope will get off the ground in the New Year.
Second purchase of the fabric kind was some Denyse Schmidt and other lovelies that fell into my basket over at Fabric Rehab. I wanted some fabrics that were colours I don't have many of and also had a vintagey feel. When I ordered them I confess I was thinking of my honeycomb EPP project. But now they've arrived I'm thinking I should jump on the scrappy trip along bandwagon. Albeit about a year later than everyone else...
I dunno how this scrap bag fell into my virtual basket - honest.
It's not all been about fabric though. I discovered Kate Broughton via pinterest. I went straight to her Etsy shop and bought these birdie and Christmas nail stickers. There may have been another purchase I can't show you, but I'm sure you want hold that against me. Service was speedier than the speediest thing you can think of and the packaging lovely. You can see from the postcard below some of the other lovelies Kate sells. Perfect stocking fillers I think.
Now I need to go make some lists and get plotting. Also dig out a sewing machine for a sewing session with my niece tomorrow who apparently announced that she needed a sewing machine for Christmas!