fresh & springy updates


after about a metre, here’s how the latest crochet is turning out – interesting, and very unplanned colour pattern, don’cha think!


Had more than double this amount knitted, but lost interest for several years, so ripped it all away and started fresh. Am pleased with  this version, and pick it up weekly to do a bit. What could be more springy than yellow & purple!

orange renfrew tee

After another look at the fit I decided the shoulder area was all wrong, and needed to be cut smaller. Unpicked all of it, and carefully measured each piece to see where to re-cut.

Thought I had plenty of leftover fabric to recut if needed. I didn’t. Uh-oh. So there it’s sat, waiting. For what I had no idea until …

A-HA! The Curvy Sewing Collective posted how to do a narrow shoulder adjustment, which I’d decided I needed to do on the renfrew. Now I’m thinking it might be my problem with necklines in general (remember last summer’s neckline fixes?).

However, decided to take a look at ikat’s post on drafting sleeves, and am very glad I did. She explains so much & I found it fascinating. Now to decide how to fix me own difficulties.

Meanwhile, here’s another glimpse of what means Spring to me – the annual availability of these in local shops. This year’s bunches are from England – first time I’d seen that. Jolly good, old Blighty!


Part of the weekly photo challenge & Ailsa’s travel theme.

green flannel~done!

love my hanging-up  ribbon tab!

love my hanging-up ribbon tab!

The green double-napped flannel has been test worn, and the 3/8″ elastic suits nicely.

They’re miles too wide, which adds to their at-home-only comfort, but leaves me reluctant to do a piccie!

Below is a bit of a mystery fabric. It’s 100% poly, very soft & lightweight, and it’s been my security blanket this season. It was a gift from my lovely mate Samantha last Christmas, from Marks & Spencer (wow! I own an RTW from M&S!).

If I could clone it, I’d have multiples, in varying colours.

But I haven’t located a single thing to come anywhere close to this fabric. Do these piccies remind you of any ?


a bit here, a bit there…


Those green pj bottoms got finished last night. The ones that got picked apart about 3 times. Whilst sewing them up the last time, I realized how grateful I was for having used white thread on the previous efforts. Sometimes it pays to use the thread already in the machine, particularly when it’s such great contrast.  :-)

Might explain that this cotton flannel is double napped, meaning both sides are brushed and soft. Makes the fabric feel a little heavier and softer.

Will post a completed pic later. Am test-wearing these today, checking elastic waist. Will also show you the surprise hanging loop ribbon I tucked in at the back. hehe!

Now on toward getting that orange renfrew completed…

updates: orange & green!


orange renfrew update
As you see above, I started re-making this orange knit using Sewaholic’s Renfrew pattern. After basting in one sleeve, I tried it on. The neckline was too wide by about 2” & the sleeve was about 1” too low. 2 sleeves = 2 inches, no?

When I pinched the neckline in 2”, the sleeve was fine. But then I forgot to check the rest of the top – oh, no! Will baste up the other side, and check that when there’s time.  :-)

Meanwhile, have continued searching online for FBA’s used with the Renfrew. there are quite a few out there, so I’ve lots to choose from.

green flannel pj bottoms update
The legs are finally sewn right way round, with waist band & hems to be done. Want to adjust the waist for uber comfort. Maybe a drawstring… ah, just got an idea!

Haven’t baked since last week’s crackers, which I’m loving. Am craving chocolate, but only Ginger nuts are in the tin just now. Speaking of them, can you believe McVities’ Digestives are $5 USD now!!?? Collecting recipes… share yours if you’d like! And stay tuned!



(also part of the wordpress photo challenge)

more insulation & bake off rewards


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Found another reference to another type of insulation we can use in sewing, then located 2 sites, here and here, that offer both insulations, and a list of what each one allows. Who sez home sewers can’t keep up with RTW!

Weather here continues to be rotten, so I’ve continued with more baking than sewing. Why?, you may ask. Because the kitchen gets warmer than anywhere else, particularly when the oven’s cranked up to 400℉.

Today I decided to bake something I’ve wanted to try for donkey’s years: crackers (crisps?). With my brand new food scale, I chose a recipe from Titli’s site here.

They turned out quite well, if I say it meself. I took my time with them, this being a first-time bake, and managed to make a fairly enjoyable process out of it (considering I generally don’t like fiddly processes).

Having just watched the first-ever season of Great British Bake Off shown on this side of the pond, the U.K.’s 6th season, I think I’ve picked up a tip that helped the rolling out process: using cling film to keep sticky dough off the rolling pin. Really worked a treat!

That, plus not using a shaped cutter, cut the prep time. I don’t have any cookie/biscuit cutters right now either, so I just used a knife to cut free-form rectangles. Had to  sit my cooling rack over half the small sink.

Using parchment paper, as Titli suggests, also worked a treat. I rolled out, cut & pricked, then cooled – all on the parchment. Really made clean-up a breeze.

Not much sewing, but I stayed warm this afternoon, and now my cracker/crisps tin is heavy with wholemeal goodies!

But what I’d love to know, from the Bake Off, is this: Does every oven/cooker in the U.K. have a door that slides under & out of the way as those did? Over here, the doors come down smack in front, so you have to reach over them to get anything in or out. Quite inconvenient, particularly in small spaces.


Another post for the rewards photo challenge.

reward: authentic rock buns!

very cakey before the scale

very cakey before the scale

Yes, that scale arrived in the kitchen last night, and I just couldn’t resist trying it out today.

Success! Now I know what went wrong with my previous 3 versions: A bit too much flour, and not nearly enough marg.

Moral: Get thee a scale, and weigh out those ingredients instead of converting a recipe. (Or get a better method of converting than I did!)

(click any photo below to go to slide show, in proper order!)

The original, authentic British rock bun recipe from Simon’s 2010 blog.

original wordpress post

3rd time’s the charm

pattern, fabric, seam rippers, directions!

pattern, fabric, seam rippers, directions!

Planning to get these pj bottoms done the second time round, rather than a third. And considering the white stitching a hidden design feature, rather than dwelling on the “real” reason: not wanting to change the serger/overlocker thread.  :-)

You know how it goes. I felt I knew how to put the legs together properly, having done a shorty pair only 6 months ago. Sewed up the four seams, then slipped one leg inside the other for the final seam, and… not right. Would have been stitching front-to-back instead of front-to-front.

Rats. Definitely NOT a design feature. Had to dig out the directions after all, and unpick all four side seams. Am waiting for a really clear head to put them together again.

Hopefully, not a third time.

lightly browned

lightly browned & in the bickie tin

However, considering this third batch of rock cakes… Made Friday, but not destined to last a fortnight, they’re definitely edible, but me thinks far too cakey for real rock buns.

Converting recipes from weight to measurements doesn’t seem to be working in this case. I had to add almost 1/2 cup of milk to get a dough instead of flour.  Next step is to check out scales.

A friend across the pond is eager to surprise a visitor with real American cooking, so have advised they get a set of American measures. Am definitely thinking I need to do the opposite to really get British recipes right.

And being rather eager to try out a few from this site, the sooner that scale gets acquired, the better. 3rd batch rock cakes