Tag Archives: books

s-l-o-w knitting & sewing in summer heat!

knitting
Have become fascinated with this autumn yarn as it slowly evolves into different colours.

sewing
The shorts-that-aren’t (short, that is) are cut out and might even have a seam or two sewn by the time you read this. Took a gamble with the top of the pocket bags and made them from  blue cotton, left from last year’s shorts. Necessity was the mother of this, as there wasn’t quite enough of the red fabric. Using perennial fav B5432, with length added to use up the fabric.

Somewhere between photo program and WordPress I’ve photos of another cotton fabric cut out for a new toaster cover. (So mundane, but oh so looking forward to!)  Whilst making up the bed just now realised the remainder of that fabric might make a nice little table cover… Never know when inspiration may strike!

nigella’s on our telly
We’re seeing Nigella Lawson’s latest series, At My Table, over here on our PBS stations. In last  week’s episode (No. 4) she admitted – and showed herself using – her “sewing shears” to cut chives. Well! You should have seen the scissors – maybe 6 inches – and definitely not for fabric.  A small needlepoint’s tangle of threads would be more like it.

Clearly, the lady needs a good session with Sewing Bee peeps. I can see it now, can’t you? Nigella Brings Biscuits to Bee!

latest British library crime classics
Just finished reading Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon, which was very pleasant indeed. As Martin Edwards wrote in the Introduction, “For all the chill of the Christmas-time snow… there are repeated clues to Farjeon’s amiable personality in the good humour that shines through from start to finish.”

“Welcome back to the loving family,” she exclaimed. “I haven’t quite (Farjeon’s emphasis) given up my idea of a happy Christmas, David, but Peace and Goodwill have got to get a move on!”

Christmas or no, wouldn’t more Peace and Goodwill be lovely right about now?

Am awaiting Hay’s last and some say best book, not quite in the mail it seems… Don’cha hate it when you see a notice saying “we’ve shipped your books,” and when you click to see the anticipated delivery date the books are still at the bookseller’s?!

Thanks to Sandra at Wild Daffodil for recommending this week’s 15-Minute Drama, “Ground Control.” Several surprises at the end, what?!  (This is only available for a month, so listen now if you’re interested.)

other media
Friday’s Woman’s Hour (just before the Drama) included Aussie author Kathy Lette saying things like “women are each other’s human Wonder Bras—uplifting, supportive and making each other look bigger and better.”  Must say I hadn’t made that connection . . . . .

Friday night was also the “current” (as in what’s finally made it across the Atlantic) episode of The Great British Bake Off.

After Mary & Paul, there was a new program, The Food Flirts. Ever heard of The Brass Sisters? I hadn’t.

“Meet the Brass Sisters a.k.a. THE FOOD FLIRTS! Two passionate food explorers of a certain age on a mission to tackle their culinary bucket list…one bite at a time!”

“… We believe that a cookie is like a secret kiss between the giver and the recipient, and that chocolate is a necessary indulgence.”

With a good chocoholic attitude, what’s not to like?

 

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happy, hot july

white loops on red medium weight cotton

Hello, Lovely Readers — how are you? Life’s been happening since my last post, so this is a mite lengthy.

Hope you’ve time to settle in with something cool (or hot, as appropriate to your weather) and stay for a catch-up, including some sewing. Yeah!

Have cogitated and cogitated over what to do with this medium weight cotton, of which I bought maybe 1½ or 2 yards. Finally decided on shorts with pockets, as my blue pair gets worn constantly at this time of year. How long has it been in stash? Ummm . . .  absolutely no idea.

But I couldn’t resist it as it’s that wonderful tomato red that I love but can never find when I have a specific project in mind. Now that I consider it, I was probably thinking “summer dress” but after laundering realised it would be too hot, and stashed it.

At one point I thought “tote bag” and have a piece cut off for that, as well as what I assume were the handles, except there’s a strange “V” cut on one end. Wonder what I was thinking…

Anyway, this is finally out of stash, ironed, and might be cut out by the time you read this. (Not yet, but the pattern’s out!)

this is what I frogged back to – 😳 – but next time maybe I’ll count better

Remember that green & mustard ski cap I was working on last time?  I got it out and looked at it, then counted my stitches and realised I’d got off about 8 rows from the start.

Yes, I was good and frogged it back, but that put a damper on my crochet ardour. That, plus the early onset of extreme heat & humidity. Managed late last week to pull out of the doldrums a bit, and am almost back to where I was.

See what the triple digit temps have done to the lovely hydrangea bushes dotted around the apartment complex? The roses are too scraggly for piccies and grass that isn’t on a sprinkler system is dead brown because our rain has been sporadic.

Looking on the brighter side… Heat means time to tackle the small unread stack of books on my shelf… and was delighted to have found one I’d forgotten I had!

piccie courtesy British Library Crime Classic site

Back story: Several years ago I discovered the British Library Crime Classic series and ordered Death on the Cherwell by Mavis Doriel Hay. I quite enjoyed it, and learned what a humpty is (a.k.a., hassock), as well as absorbing more bits about British women’s university years.

BTW, if anyone has a humpty pattern they wouldn’t mind sharing, please let me know (sewing, not knitting or crochet).

British Library Crime Classics
originally published in 1934
Click to go to book on British Library Crime Classic site

My forgotten mystery was another Hay book, Murder Underground, which also mentions a humpty.

(I’m blaming my humpty fixation on triple digit heat. That and a desire to stuff one with stashed fabric. Add a zipped top & it might be great storage as well as hassock.)

Hay has a third book, The Santa Klaus Murder,  that I haven’t acquired yet just ordered, but I’m also looking for a nice used copy of Bats in the Belfry, by new-to-me author E.C.R. Lorac (Edith Caroline Rivett).

click to go to the book on British Library’s site

If anyone’s read any of Lorac’s books I’d love to know what you thought. Somewhere I read she was a witty author, and if there’s one thing I like to read in summer heat, it’s something humorous.

(Speaking of witty, just found & ordered Doonan’s Wacky Chicks & another Gerald Durrell. And that third Hay book, too.)

I’ve been puzzling over what to do with some of this cotton batik (below) ordered last summer from Vogue Fabrics in Chicago, but now out of stock.  It’s heavier than I’d thought and has a funny sort of texture (possibly from all the dyes used to get the particular splotchiness of the pattern). I love the colours, but the texture put me off for a season.

Chatting over t’internet with fellow sewer Jen (Let the Sewing Begin) with fabric in hand, she thought it would make a good duster, and we talked a bit about what colours to wear with it. Afterwards I remembered a green linen camp shirt I’d found at a thrift shop in Arlington and got it out to check. What do you think—a definite maybe?

Lastly, a “goodness, I’d forgotten” moment earlier this past week when WordPress sent a Sixth Anniversary note. It’s been a tough time down here for most everyone, and I’m trying to buck up and stay more focused on goodness.

To that end I really really am valuing all you sewing bloggers around the globe. Reading your posts and seeing how you all are coping with a very turbulent world makes me feel not so alone over here, and sometimes even hopeful for a decent future. To that end, am sharing one last thing, which I hope will make you smile as much as it does me. . . . . . .

I finally read the last bits of Doonan’s book, Eccentric Glamour, and want to share a quote from the “Wallflowers and Big Stinky Peonies” section (p. 217). This might sound a little strange, but hang on as I’ve the perfect example below it.

“As you begin to stick your toes into the luscious lagoon of eccentric glamour, you will experience a jarring increase in the amount of amorous attention you receive… It is simply a result of how gorgeous and fabulous you think you are…” (Doonan’s emphasis)

If you begin to feel overwhelmed at such prospects, Doonan chides us not to “stay at home and watch “Dynasty” reruns…” Instead, he flatly says that is “…a waste of time—yours and mine (meaning Doonan’s)—unless you share it with someone… It’s a “What good is sitting alone in your room? Come hear the music play” Liza in Cabaret kind of a thing.”

As promised, here’s one of my favourite bloggers’ recent posts that perfectly illustrates Doonan’s concept. If you don’t already know NYC’s utterly & outrageously adorable Marcy Harriell, also known as Ooonabaloona, click and say howdy.

HEARTIEST THANK YOU’S & CONGRATS TO ALL WHO’VE MADE IT THROUGH!

Ice Cream, Hot Chocolate, or GnT for All!

❤   ❤   ❤    Happy Sewing!    ❤   ❤   ❤

 

 

meltdown

After a slight meltdown last weekend  over wrong style hair colouring (it’s growing out), the whole area is now into a real meltdown. Unfortunately, my old air conditioner’s compressor protested Thursday, packed up, and left town.

In other words, no cold air speweth forth-eth.

With ‘feels like’ temps in the 90’s this is not something to mess around with. Thankfully, Maintenance was ready: They moved in a room unit so I could have a cool bedroom – yeah!

Then after closing time the supervisor came by to try his luck on resurrecting the old compressor one more time. Yep. He raised that puppy from the dead, and had the new one installed by noon Friday. Phew!

For which I am very grateful as this weekend begins some seriously hot weather… probably ‘feels like’ temps in triple digits.  Seriously. Not. Nice.

What am I sewing? Welllll . . . I did get the thread changed twice last weekend, and sewed a seam. Does that count? LOL! 😇

But I have been industriously crocheting and even picked up knitting needles.

You’ve seen what I call the peacock colours currently and slowly being crocheted into a throw for the bedroom. Six 200 gram balls should do it, I hope.

I succumbed to a sale yarn, which is crocheting up nicely into a ski cap (pattern here). Am having to concentrate a bit more with this yarn as the two colours (green & gold) are twisted together to form the strand. When I single crochet into the back post (to create the stretch) often those two strands will appear to separate. But the acrylic is softly agreeable to work with so I’ll persevere.

The other has autumnal colours that are so enticing I couldn’t keep my hands off it. As soon as it arrived I knew I wanted to knit a long scarf and maybe crochet another cap. I love how the colours are shading into each other. It’s like working with soft acrylic angel’s hair.

Other than that I’ve been reading Simon Doonan’s Eccentric Glamour, just finished listening to Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing magic of tidying up, and re-read a couple of M.C. Beaton mysteries.

The Kondo book is quite a different sort of organising book, stressing quite different things than other books I’ve read about organising. And I’m not certain I should have listened to it. Might take a look at the actual book to see if there are pictorial examples illustrating her methodology. I would enjoy hearing from any Lovely Readers who’ve read her book.

What did you think of her way of characterizing “things?” Am not certain about her concept that “things” all have energies of their own, and we should thank them for being in our lives and  bringing us joy. Maybe it’s just a word thing, because I am frequently grateful for the joy of having the right tool for a job, or a yummy yarn or fabric.

A good contrast has been Simon Doonan’s Eccentric Glamour (2008). I’d never heard of Mr. Doonan until Hila (Saturday Night Stitch) mentioned him, and piqued my curiosity. (Thanks, Hila!)

I found the book humorous, enlightening, occasionally upsetting, yet affirmative. I particularly appreciated his concepts and explanations of Gypsies, Existentialists, and Socialites.

A section with much food for thought was “Growing Old Ungraciously.” Considering he wrote this 10 years ago and Things Have Changed, I’m not going to quote anything. . . but here are a couple of brief ones just ‘cause I couldn’t resist–

“Confidence, not physical perfection or power, is the ultimate aphrodisiac… Children and dogs and God do not discriminate against people based on their looks.” (both p. 217, Eccentric Glamour, American edition)

Like to read a bit more by Simon? See here, here, and here.

And now for a Grand Finale — a brief (16 min.) TED Talk by someone all Great British Sewing Bee enthusiasts will recognise, Patrick Grant. Saw this on Lizzie’s Vintage Traveler blog – thanks, Lizzie!

❤   ❤   ❤    Enjoy!    ❤   ❤   ❤

a-hem. . . Hodge has reminded me . . .

click to go to amazon listing for Hodge’s #1 book

… rather vociferously, I might add, that his books are all on amazon, and I’ll list them.

I was thinking of adding a note that the author & artist get more dosh if purchased from them rather than amazon, but haven’t confirmed that yet.

So if you absolutely must have a copy, click a pic and order

click to go to amazon & Hodge’s #2 book

away.

Otherwise, take a breath, and I’ll let everyone know when I’ve gotten an answer.

I do beg EVERYone’s pardon, particularly His Good Self, for not including the proper links Monday.

(Yes, Hodge, I remember that piccie and I hear what you’re telling me… next time it won’t be the handle between those teeth…)

The old, now sold bookstore’s Facebook page is still up & running, so you might find some of the older versions of Hodge’s adventures there.

(I’d have checked that out for you before posting, but ever since I closed my FB ~ before all the craziness really got going in ’15 ~ a gigantic “Sign In or Sign Up” fills my screen. Talk about sour grapes. . .)

click to go to Hodge’s #3 booklet on amazon. It is waaay too short, and definitely good!

 

mid-week hodgepodge

sewing hang tabs on tea towels – pedestrian, but necessary!

Love this quote (thanks to Prof. Pski’s blog) from Poirot in Christie’s 1947 short story, “The Capture of Cerberus” (The Labours of Hercules):

“All these young women who surrounded him- so alike, so devoid of charm, so lacking in rich alluring femininity! He demanded a more flamboyant appeal. Ah! To see a femme du monde, chic, sympathetic, spirituelle – a woman with ample curves, a woman ridiculously and extravagantly dressed!”

But, wait . . . Searching for a better link to this story after declining to use the official Christie page (“BUY” written everywhere), I found the excerpted story and a newsy bit: Christie’s Poirot, hints of “s*x,” and why this story went unpublished for 60 years. U.K. readers & Christie aficionados may know all about this, but it was news to me.

So take a break from today’s “reality” and escape into Poirot’s world, where method and order prevail.

~ ❤ ~ ~ ❤ ~ ~ ❤ ~

last fabric order
Got my fabrics from Vogue Fabrics and immediately checked to see if they were on-grain before serging the raw edges and tossing into the washer. Of the 3 pieces of cotton, one of the six edges was cut properly.

behold the pile from ripping the other five edges.

turquoise cotton batik “pegged out” over the shower rail – it does feel a bit better…

Perhaps because I got the end of the bolt, the touch was rougher than the swatches, and I was disappointed when it came out of the dryer. Have just washed it again and am air-drying over the shower rail. (Noticed the fabric is translucent both wet and dry.)

So, am re-thinking the turquoise/teal group of fabrics…  Perhaps the turquoise would make a better Victoria blazer (By Hand London, or BHL)  but I’d have to try squeezing out the cropped version. And find a lining. So am still very much in planning stages for that group.

The orangey batik is lovely and light weight, but I’m wondering how badly the off-grain printing is going to affect my plan for a duster with an opening straight down the front (like this one).

bottom edge is selvedge; left edge is serged after ripping

Check out the lower selvedge and the left serged edge in the photo. Do please tell me what you think. Am I being too nit-picky?

Had thought an asymmetrical front instead, but am afraid it might look a lopsided mistake rather than planned.

gotta have me greens!

Lastly, the neutrally-dotted lawn’s texture is good and should pair with a lot of the greens I already have (as shown). It will be another duster to blend over the greens and the few browns in stash.

Lastly, from Lizzie’s latest Vintage Traveler Miscellany is a 20-minute film I found utterly charming, scenic and informative. Thank you, Lizzie!

TWEED: From Hill to Hill, a Rural Tradition