First of all thank you for all the kind words about my last quilt. Much appreciated. And I hope you'll be checking out the blog tour... I will!
Second, my computer is poorly and I'm blogging from the iPad because I get withdrawal symptoms if I don't... And that' not pretty at all. This also means things might get a little weird as Blogsy and I are still getting to know each other... After all this years... Totally my fault, because I can't stand watching instructions videos... I don't mind reading instructions... But videos? No thank you. I'm allergic.
Thirdly, I have a finished knitting project to show you...
It's a pattern from Mrs Moon (www.mrsmoon.co.uk), knitted using two skein of their luscious yarn 'plump'. The pattern of the snood is their own too, it calls for size 12mm needles, but I used size 8mm and I still managed to make it on the loose side. It's ok, it loopes quite perfectly twice around my neck and I wouldn't change a thing.
Now of course the weather has gone warm again so the official rugby match sideline testing will have to wait... But I'm not complaining!
A few weeks ago I was super lucky enough to be sent a gorgeous stack of Oakshott fat 1/8s by Lynne at Lily's quilt. She was organising a blog tour to promote this fantastic new range called 'Autumn'.
I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do with them.
So I began. Earnestly.
But it's never as easy as that, is it? There's always a story behind everything... and trouble. Most of the time there's trouble too....
(bad phone photo... sorry...)
I cut and sewed, cut and sewed... then I decided to trim all the blocks to the same size...
and then I re-arranged them on the wall.. and then I was so in love with the whole thing I sent a work in progress photo to Michael at Oakshott.
Cue: music from "The Shark"... daaaah dum! daaah dum! dum dum dum dum.... SCREEEAAAAMMM!
Ten minutes later I got an extremely diplomatic email from Lynne (they should send her in the Middle East to sort things out) asking me, very politely if I'd ever seen this quilt FROM THE OAKSHOTT WEBSITE!!! (the capitals and exclamation mark are mine...that's how I read it in my head).
It was designed by none other than Helen Howes. And it's available as a kit.
Who felt like a really REALLY silly girl then?
Who should have done her research?
Who wanted to dig a really big hole and never ever come out?
ME. ME. ME.
Geesh, I might as well have written to Ferrari and said, I know, I have a very brilliant idea, why don't you build a very very fast car and paint it bright red? Or to Mary Berry and suggesting a nice, traditional Victoria sponge. Or emailed Simon Cowell proposing to him a TV programme to discover the next pop artist...
What a donut.
So anyway, I apologise, I grovelled. I withdrewed from the blog tour. (aaaah the shame).
But I carried on with my original idea of the quilt, because the fabric is glorious and perfectly Autumnal and I still loved it and I still want everybody to know that.
So here's my quilt. Sans border but in its full glory hanging from my red brick wall.
So, to recap:
- it pays to do your research.
- it is possible for two people to come out with similar ideas
- Lynne and Michael are very very nice people
AND the blog tour will begin next Tuesday, be sure to check it out!
21st October, Sonia at www.fabricandflowersuk.blogspot. co.uk
22nd October, Rossie at http://r0ssie.blogspot.co.uk/
24th October, Mary at www.fairlymerry.blogspot.com
28th October, Allisson at allison-sews.blogspot.com
29th October, Nicholas at www.quiltsfromtheattic.wordpress. com
30th October, Kati at www.fromthebluechair.com,
31st October, Wynn at www.zakkaArt.typepad.com
And now I'm going to bake some chocolate chip blondies... because it's waaaay to early for G&T.
I'm sitting at the kitchen table by the phone... i know that in approximately 17 minutes No 1 and No 2 will call to be picked up from the bus stop. I don't blame them. It's been raining non-stop since this morning; a real Autumn rain, heavy, drenching, cold.
No 3 is playing Fifa something or other with a friend who by the sound of it doesn't know that to pass you have to 'PRESS A!!!!!
The dog is lying depressed by the back door... she refused to go for a walk earlier. THAT how bad the weather is...
Did you have a nice weekend? We had a busy one: shoe shopping with No 2 (always an intense experience), a little quilting (only the border is missing than I can do a big reveal), a 15th anniversary party,
a rugby tournament, two hockey tournaments. And to top it all a very interesting 'talk' by Greyson Perry (part of the Cheltenham Literary Festival) on how to do 'Art' with a capital A. I wasn't too impressed on how snobbish he was about 'craft'... but the whole craft v art debate is too big for such a wet afternoon.
(There was also homework and a whole loads of laundy, but I don't feel like keeping it real today)
I've been listening to the new Tim McGraw album non stop today. It's brilliant. Vintage McGraw if you know what I mean. Will he ever tour England?
Tim? If you're reading this (ha ha ha) please come. Me and No 3's art teacher will be in the front row.
And I caught up with Downton Abbey whilst doing the ironing this morning... who will Mary marry then? Let's have a vote!
Have you heard about Zoella? About her blog? Her 6,000.000 (yes, that is 6 millions) youtube subscribers??
If you have teenage daughters you probably have, if you have boys you might have missed her and be more familiar with her boyfriend Alfie.
Anyway, like I said I hadn't... not untill Mr M started working with her to produce a fantastic range. (Which you can find here and here by the way). And now I have to confess I've caught the boys watching her videos too although why would No 2 want to know how to apply a new Autumnal make up... it's beyond my comprehension.
BUT then... there was a launch party. And I love parties. Especially when the parties are full of balloons
and cute tiny tiny meringues.. (and pastel coloured marshmallows too!)
Here's Zoe herself being hugged by No 1
My handsome boy was my date for the evening, (Mr M was in work mode)... but to be honest, he's was always off chatting to people (girls) and ignoring me. (Not cool apparently).
The weather is finally turning colder. Not that I haven't enjoyed this incredibly warm and dry September... it's just that... it feels weird. The heating is not on, I'm not wearing a coat...
I need time to prepare for Christmas and this year it'll smack me right in the forehead because I wouldn't have had enough time to prepare!
Anyway, whilst I dream of thick coloured tights and boots I crochet myself a pair of fingerless mittens.
I used two balls of Lang yarn, Merino +, in a lovely mustardy yellow. And a 3mm crochet hook which is small for the yarn but it made a very dense and thick fabric. I can't stand mittens or gloves with holes... what's the point. (Yes, I'm aware my fingers are exposed, but trust me dense fabric is where it's at).
(talk about wrinkly knuckles... ugh..)
I purchased the yarn at The Fibre Works in Chipping Norton. Lovely shop. Worth a visit if you're ever in the area.
The pattern was inspired by this one on the Crochet Me website. I made the wrist/arm part much longer and didn't bother with the thumb part.
They were ever so quick to crochet - all double stitches through the back loops and a bunch of increases - a really good beginners project.
Please take the word 'loot' as a figure of speech.
I didn't steal anything.
The softest, squishest yarn from Mrs Moon. It's called 'Plump' and it will become a super warm 'Mistake rib chunky snood' which will be perfect shelter for all the oncoming rugby/football/hockey matches.
Sock yarn - hand dyed indigo yarn to be precise from Tart's Art.
Thirdly I'm going to channel my inner Jane Eyre with this pattern:
(I think it's too big for this model, it look better on the mannequin...). Bought from Purl Alpaca Design.
Fourthly (is that even a word?) I will try teaching myself how to spin with the most gorgeous drop spindle known to man:
this stupendous ball (it was a skein... but it got balled on the side of the road whilst waiting for the rescue truck - see yesterday's post) which will become a pair of fingerless mittens. The yarn is called Soliloquy, and it's from Tall Yarns.
That's it. It could have been worse, much much worse I tell ya... so many temptations...
Now if you'll excuse me I must attend to my chores so that I can play with this lot as soon as possible!
I pointed the car North and after a brief but necessary pause for coffee I met up with Ali at Salts Mill.
After lunch (I had a delicious lemon/artichokes/oregano risotto), a mooch around the shops and bookstore and a visit to the Hockney exhibition we got on the road again. (Ok there might have been time for tea and cake... but details schmetails...)
The sun was shining when we got to the Yorkshire Dales and they looked amazing.
And we ate, and talked and put the world to right and sew/crochet/knit the night away. (Ok there might have been a smidge of wine being poured... and whiskey - Penny??... but details schmetails)
Day 2 saw us visiting Yarndale in the lovely town of Skipton.
(Ok... some yarn might have been bought... details schmetails...)
It wasn't all chit chat/knit knit/sew sew though, we did have a little bit of a real adventure too when Emma's car decided to throw this on our way:
yes... not good... but as capable young women who travel prepared we spent a very pleasant hour knitting on the verge of a tiny Yorkshire road and getting funny look from passerbys whilst waiting for the rescue truck.
I had a fabulous time, and I'm really annoyed I didn't take a photo of all of us. After the initial sense of guilt about leaving husband and sons behind and the feeling of skirting my responsibilities, I did relax and feel extremely recharged and inspired. There's so much talk about the danger of the internet (and yes I agree with it) but let's face it... it can also be pretty good. Without it I wouldn't have met any of these women... we live far away from each other, we muddle through different lives... but somehow we were brought together and I really believe we're better for it.
We originally called it a retreat but now that I'm back I'd like to call it a 're-group'. I definitively feel more ready to attack what comes my way.
(Stay tuned. Tomorrow's episode will feature "the loot")
The season of lost items has started in earnest. I don't know what it is with people around here but as soon as it gets a little colder they start leaving stuff behind like there's no tomorrow.
So I was in my studio sewing away when in a break in between songs (digital country radio.. the best, only allowed to listen to it in my room or with headphones... hashtag myfamilymembershavenotasteinmusic) I started to listen to a conversation No 1 was having on Skype.
Whilst playing with online with his friends.
Whilst texting some other friends.
Whilst watching something on his ipad.
(he's over-stimulating/no wonder he's often bored)
So this is how it went. (Names have been changed to preserve anonimity)
"Kevin, you pooh!"
"There it is"
"Oh oh oh get rapped"
"You need to learn the comands"
"It's a fish not a bat!"
"It's gone under"
"I got one"
And my favourite...
"You're not using regulation weapons".
I gave up after that and looked absently out of the window (I have a crap view... the neighbours fence) reminiscing about the lovely chubby cheeked boy who loved trains and reading books. For a while I almost anchored after Thomas the Tank... (Only for about 6 seconds... hate it. Hated it. Will always hate it)
(I have never bought my children toy guns. Never. I really want you to know that.)
I sighed and turned the music up louder. And closed the door.
I've also just killed the 25,878,473th plant of basil. Don't know what's wrong with me but I just can't seem to keep the blasted things alive. Don't tell the basil police.
- The world was starting to look strangely soft-focus... I know have a pair of driving glasses AND stronger reading glasses.
- Getting old is expensive.
- Trying glasses on is only fun when you don't actually have to buy glasses. When you do it becomes very stressful and nothing feels right.
- I have a big spaghetti squash and have not idea what to do with it. I doubt my kids will eat it.
- We're having sausages and mash for dinner.
- I've recorded Downton Abbey but haven't had the chance to watch it yet.
This time last year Mr M and I were having a glorious time touring Tennessee, tasting whiskey in a dry county, listening to great music and generally having a fabulous time. And fabric, yes fabric was bought from the lovely Anna Maria Horner who lives in Nashville and dropped my parcel off to the hotel where we were staying.
(Incidentally I hadn't heard of Nashville the TV program then and, sadly I didn't buy any boots either. Sigh)
Anyway, Nashville + fabric = quilt.
All fabric is Anna Maria Horner fabric, and while the centre star was carefully constructed and the different pattern carefully placed the border is kind of random. I cut strips and started sewing them around and around the big centre block. I did keep them in the same sequence and I'd like to think that made a little difference.
It's about 70" by 70". Odd size but it'll make a very warm sofa quilt.
I booked a doctor appt at the wrong address so had to drive across town and walk... which lead me past a new to me charity shop... which lead me to this:
A complete 6 seating set!
6 dinner plates, 6 bowls (bit small, but hey, too many carbs are bad for you), 6 side plates and 6 mugs
with saucers. Because we are posh like that, dahhhling!
Aren't just perfect for Autumn.? Yes, of course I always match my crockery to the season... ahem... not...
According to the Arabia's website this pattern 'OTSO' was manufactured between 1971 and 1985. I'm very relieved it's not old (I'm older, therefore it's definitively not old), I can use the lot without holding my breath everytime I pick something up.
Well, that's it really, another pair of socks to add to a drawer full of other socks.
For me. Because the men in my life have feet that are way too long and it gets kind of boring. (A part from No 3, but if I did knit him a pair it would be considerate favouritism and that must be avoided at all cost - especially after the "you gave him an egg yellower than mine" incident.... oh noooo, mustn't go there).
Also, I treat my handknitted socks with love and care. I don't go out in the garden without shoes to play football. Or rugby.
Therefore I have a lot of handknitted socks.
Usual pattern, short row heels, I matched the pattern more or less...
Regia Yarn 'BlitzColor' 02526. 2.5mm needles.
Boring as they may be... it was a very satisfying little project.
Oh, also, I've made the first soup of Autumn. Carrots, squash and leeks because that is what was left at the bottome of the fridge. Very tasty.
I am not going to to do a tutorial for this. Seriously, there are soooo many out there that it would be ridiculous and then you'd hate me and never come here again and then I'll be sad and lonely and it's not worth doing that over a door wreath. Right?
I've been wanting one for years but a) they're normally very expensive and b) my hydrangea produces about 1 1/2 flower heads per season so that's not the route to go either. When I saw big bunches for sale in the local supermarket I knew it was now or never. I bought three and they were not terribly cheap but were still much less than a ready made one from the posh garden centre. Much. (I promise, Mr M!)
Then I bought a cheap 'twiney' (technical word, stay with me if you can) ring and some 'bendy' (see previous brackets) wire sticks from Hobbycraft.
And then I improvised, cutting the heads and leaving a short stem only and arranging them all around the ring....and it all worked out in the end, because let's face it... it usually does.
Especially when you work with such pretty things like hydrangeas!
(I have high hopes that it will last a while... our front door is sheltered both from sun and rain so fingers crossed).
Imagine my surprise when I arrive at my sister's house and spot, hanging neatly from her AGA, this tea towel
I first learned to crochet when in primary school, it was a convent school, all girls... the nuns were kin on this sort of things; I have a feeling that my first project was a very crooked grey scarf my grandad never wore... then there was the never finished black mohair shawl for mum... and then there were two tea-towels.
Mum swore she would never use and that she'd keep them for me 'when I got older', she said. 'For when you have a house of your own', she promised.
Pants on fire.
How on earth did this appear in my sister's kitchen? MY SISTER'S. It's mine. MINE!
I distinctly remember making them, choosing the purple cotton and learning the stitches... ok it's not perfect but give me a break, I was ten. We had school in the afternoon and after doing our homework we could read or crochet. I think. It was a long time ago. Ahem.
But now I'm worried about the other one - the purple was darker and the lace taller. Is it gone too? Is my dad using it when it changes oil to the car? Actually I don't think my dad ever changed oil to a car. I don't even know how to check the oil? Do you know how to check the oil? Hey, I don't even know how to put water in my windscreen squirters and am currently relying on rain to clean my car windows. Yeah, ok, let's keep that between us.
Tea towel, yes, the second one. Where is it? Why isn't it with me?
Note to self: ask mum about the whereabouts of the second tea towel.
First a rainy half, an indoor half, a half with a little crochet and two back to back episodes of 'Nashville" because if we all need an addiction, let country music and cheesy story lines be mine. (Hangs her head in shame) (Are you still me friends?) (And what if I get myself a pair of cowboy boots? a step too far?)
Then a sunny half, a half where No 3 and I walked the dog and collected early conkers, a half where he cycled and climbed trees and I cleaned after the dog (how can a dog so small.... do so much...).
You can see his foot in this last picture, top right hand corner. It's as much as I'm allowed to show of him. Copyright infringment apparently... I have tried to explain to him that I made him therefore I own his copyright but he wont' have any of it.
I'm not going to moan about the weather because if you're in England... you know exactly what I'm talking about and if you're not... you probably won't care, so let's skip the subject.
Busy. We've been busy in a non-definable way. E. our Spanish friend is with us for a couple of weeks so we've been trying to entertain him, a little walk here, a day skateboarding down a mountain, an afternoon climbing up a wall (and I'm not talking me doing that metaphorically), a rugby match, a day in London.
(No 1 holds the world land speed record for that exhibition... I think it took him 45 seconds from entrance to exit. Mr M and I absolutely loved it, I'm so glad we went. Monsieur Matisse was a genius)
And then there's the endless washing/drying cycle, the eating (do you have any idea of the amount of food that four boys can ingest? not for the fain hearted), the school uniform, the sewing of a thousand labels.
Right now I'm sitting at the kitchen table with an almost empty cup of coffee and the list of the day; it's not pretty, not everything will get done but you know... I'm ok with that. The boys are still asleep, the dog is grumbling at a squirrel on the lawn. I think it's ok to try to keep it slow for at least another week, before the early starts, before the homework, before the driving here and there, the rugby/hockey/tennis/football training saps us all.
I have a half-finished quilt on the wall, a pair of socks 1 1/2" short of being finished and a broken dishwasher; ok this last one is not such a great event, but a part of from it... life is good.