Hello, Lovely Readers, and welcome to my Friday evening!
🌬 🌦 🌈 ⚡️ 🌪
We’re very much in see-saw weather so I’m flipping between fleece and cotton, with intermittent cogitations on corduroy & ponte — the season of “what to sew next?” But more on that in another post.
Before I forget ~
In case you’re peckish for something oaty but your recipes are calling for an oat type you’ve never heard of, have a gander at this page. It describes what American oat growers & grinders mean when they use “their” terms. Hope it sheds some light.
I always enjoy a jaunt with Joanna Lumley and was delighted one night to follow her around her own isle, Britain. You don’t have to have access to BBC’s iplayer to watch – just check out YouTube for her latest 3-part series, Home Sweet Home.
On a sad note – The hyacinth I’ve been photographing committed hari kari. Yes, this last ickle bulb, the runt in Aldi’s litter, always had a disconcertingly major bend in the bud stalks. That evidently became too much to overcome Wednesday dead-of-night, and it toppled off a high shelf. 💔
I haven’t done a thing on my blues blanket since pinning 2 of the 3 long rows together, preparatory to joining them. They got carefully rolled up, put away, and not looked at since.
Problem is I keep thinking I need to clear off my long cutting table. Sewing long rows together needs consistent tension everywhere, no? And to get that, everything needs to be flat, right? Any suggestions or hints? Am I being too cautious?? Is a monster trying to stop my progress?!?!?!?!
In January I had a bit of a breakthrough with two crochet projects: a scarf and that turquoise throw.
Anybody remember that red scarf from last year? I had sort of a plan in mind, and kept thinking what was coming off my hook was too wide. Stubbornly Nevertheless, I went with the 10″ concept and finished it.
Unexpectedly, a very different use came to mind, so out it came last month, and I searched for an end to frog. That accomplished, I re-crocheted the whole ball, leaving some for fringe. Gotta have a fringe, even if the scarf’s now over 2 yards long (by 5″ wide – width does make a difference 😆).
Now that’s done, I can concentrate on finishing the turquoise blanket/throw/whatever. I realised why I was so hung up about getting the pieces sewn together: I didn’t have the proper-sized crewel needle.
Trying to thread a super chunky yarn through a “normal” crewel needle is not fun. I had a dim memory of using a larger-eyed needle in the past, but ignored it because it wasn’t in my packet of needles. The project languished.
Finally, whilst rummaging for something else, I discovered I wasn’t mis-remembering, because I had the right needle in a second packet of crewel needles I’d forgotten. And there was my remembered needle. Yippee ! !
Another niggly thought I’d had was that the pattern I’d used was too lacy and wouldn’t provide any warmth, so I should frog everything and start over.
Finally I told myself to test it, so I put one of the rectangles over my legs. Did it make me warmer, or not? It did, so that took care of that froggy-recrochet niggle.
Talk about phantom doubts throwing spanners into the wheels of progress completion. Geesh. 🙄
I did manage to cut out some leggings from a piece of bright yellow cotton knit, but haven’t sewn them up yet. Other things keep coming up – like a microwave that’s suddenly turning its’ fan on, but not off. So inconsiderate.
Unfixed after the first visit, I await a second. I’m not looking forward to another disinfecting of kitchen area – an unpleasant task these days – and sincerely hope this time it gets fixed.
Amongst the angst my weekly loaf started shrinking in size. I finally called the good folk at King Arthur to ask what might be the cause.
(I’d been buying a cheaper white flour from a store-that-shall-be-nameless. Curiously, I remembered my current package had gone into its’ container with a thud rather than a soft swish.)
That evidently brought the difficulty into focus for the expert on the other end of the line. She told me the season in which the grain is harvested can make a big difference in the flour. Mine probably didn’t have enough moisture content, and I should experiment by adding a tablespoon or so more water per loaf.
That same week I noticed a different store had a new-to-me King Arthur brand of white bread flour, and it was on a 2-fer sale — be still my heart! Shamelessly, I stocked up. Out went the suspect flour, in went the K.A. white bread flour, and my loaves have been huge ever since. Expect some good tea sandwiches for February’s Virtual Tea Party. 😉
Autumn has officially arrived up here in the Northern Hemisphere, although temps and humidity are resisting. It’s not as severe as last year’s 90-100℉ September-October revolt, for which I’m most grateful!
All last week telly peeps kept talking about “remnants” of Hurricane this-or-that, and I kept thinking, That’s a fabric term! Use another word, like ‘dying’ or ‘remains of.’
It was like salt in a wound… but maybe that’s because it’s been so long since I’ve been anywhere near a remnants bin. Wonder if that’s why I’ve been diving into my scrap drawer so often. 🤭 Hmmm . . .
Speaking of which, I’ve been favouring a free multi-sized 3-dimensional pattern from Japanese Sewing Books.
You might want to watch her video. Where to fold & sew wasn’t intuitive for me, but easy once you’ve done one it’s easy-peasy.
Speaking of scraps, I’ve given myself permission to use some old cotton fat quarters. I’m definitely not a quilter, but I can whip up a pillow or a bag, so am taking a little break from refashioning to play around with “soft furnishings,” as posh folk might say.
Reminds me! P.O.S.H. is a shop in Chicago I used to pop into regularly. Wonder if they’re surviving . . . Well, I’ve just had a mooch through their website, they’re definitely still there, and online is as cheerful as the store. 😉 Almost.
Have stopped watching telly for several reasons, primarily because the picture blacks out as soon as it turns on and cable comes up. Or doesn’t right now. Maybe the set has something against cable. Someone’s coming out in a few days to check everything out.
I set the schedule because I wanted a week to detox. Admittedly, I wasn’t watching much telly anyway, as local, state and national political parties’ adverts are non-stop. Mind you, some of them only slowed down after the last election a couple years ago.
Meanwhile, I’ve rummaged through my crochet bag and finished a red washable wool scarf, and resurrected that turquoise acrylic blanket I started a couple of years ago. Putting all those pieces together is going slowly — I’m half way through the first two. 🙄
Am quite a fan of Lucy at Attic 24, but haven’t tried any of her blankets— can’t figure out how to substitute colours. Do I order the pack plus my substitutions? This could be a mote point if Wool Warehouse again stops shipping internationally. Deep sigh. . . . .
Hate to leave you on that note, but the shower and my BritBox subscription are calling. I’m having fun catching up on all the “Midsomer Murders” and “Vera” episodes, and have already watched every “Jonathan Creek”.
Thursday will start October and Hallowe’en, so I’ll start diving into everything with Autumn colours or appropriate holiday mentions. Any recommendations?
Meanwhile, puh-leeese be safe and take good care ’cause you’re worth it. You’re special!
(In an earlier post’s comments, someone mentioned tea & sewing, which I thought would be a great idea, so I’m combining them. Tea first!)
Kia ora whānau! (Welcome, friends!) He kapu tī māu? (Would you like a cup of tea?)
Visiting New Zealand for originator Su’s virtual tea party earlier in the week, I learnt it was Maori Language Week. So I had a special treat, seeing Su and enjoying her delicious tea whilst learning a bit of Maori.
Su is the originator of these monthly teas, but had been a bit poorly, so some of us brought along contributions for all to enjoy. I brought some of my crispy digestives as Su is a dunker, and I wanted her opinion.
Su’s crispy crackers with cheese were fabulous! (I love crisps & cheese and these were sooo delicious!) I’m not much for sweets, but I know Su’s brownie isn’t too sweet, so had to enjoy a bit of that, too. Rich, dark chocolate & beetroot = a chocky lover’s heaven on earth! 😇
Back on my home turf to welcome my Northern Hemisphere friends, I’d made a coconut cake to go underneath fresh strawberries and blueberries.
Using the Foundation Cake recipe, I added about half a cup of desiccated coconut. Will do this again, as I think the chewiness of the coconut lifts the combination above a traditional shortcake.
I also have my latest bake of digestives biscuits (cookies). This batch is crunchy, and perfect for dunking. As I have no cookie cutters, these are in a different shape, but I’m sure they taste the same. 😉
Here’s the recipe I use, from King Arthur Flour. King Arthur uses both American and British measurements, so you don’t have to convert.
My variation: I skimp on the sugar. After rolling out the dough to about 3 mm (¼”) I left them to cook a good 6-7 minutes longer. They definitely didn’t burn, just got wonderfully crisp after thorough cooling.
And now to Scraphappy sewing ~
Vintage red top
Blue fabrics (see other photo for better light fabric)
Other side of Vintage red top
This is a better rendering of the lighter blue fabric
2 small balls of this left, plus 400 grams ! ! !
Chiming in rather tardily with Kate’s band of scrap happy peeps, I finally got several large-ish pieces of cotton fabric out of stash and onto hangers this month. Everything can be worn with either fabric to the front, providing versatility.
You might think making tops from different fabrics is totally bonkers, and you’d be well within your rights to do so! However, in this wacko country I’m considering myself in quarantine, so am not out except for very local walk abouts. When I’m out I’m always wearing a duster over whatever top I’m wearing, so nobody sees my back anyway.
The vintage red that I thought would become a bag refused, and has become a top instead. Ditto the blue combination. I’ve worn each over top of my scrap denim shorts.
Good news has been that Hurricane Sally came & went without doing tremendous damage to this little part of the world. My rellies on both coasts are in good shape, but for the horrible air out West.
Still, there’s lots to be thankful for as everyone is safe. Hope all you lovely peeps are in good shape, being well in yourselves, and able to enjoy your weekend safely.
First, hello, Lovely Readers! How’s your week gone? Hope everyone is holding up under whatever rules & regs are in place in your space.
Today is Mother’s Day in the U.S., so Happy Mother’s Day to you all, but let’s extend that to all Mothers in any country.
And let’s extend it to all those Dads who’ve had to be both Mum & Dad.
We’ve been having wonderfully cool weather, and I’m sending a giant THANK YOU to Canada for shipping it down to us. ❤️ 🇨🇦 ❤️
It’s been heavenly — mostly breezy with low humidity and 60’s for highs. As we’ve really had no winter to speak of, the prolongation of moderate temps is MOST appreciated.
[Could we talk about repetitions in June, July, August, September…]
Having recently met folks who had no idea there was such a thing as raw peanut butter, which separates quite naturally if not stirred, I looked it up, and discovered our Northern Neighbours created it! Another reason to be grateful to Canada! 🇨🇦
🐸 Crochet 🐸
Crocheting continued until Thursday, when I thought I had finished the ski hat and could go on to the pompom. Then I tried it on. Oops.
The bulky superwash wool yarn I was using was bulkier and less stretchy than I’d bargained for.
Currently the cap would fit a very short and extra-wide head. Am preparing to rip it, and maybe do a scarf instead. . . .
Still unable to purchase whole wheat flour for my weekly loaf, I started reading about substitutions. Taking my own advice, I did a quick check on the Library of Congress’ website, wondering about flour substitutes. Found a few things that might be doable, if I can get corn meal. Both are circa 1918. You can see them in situhere and here.
Please do stop by either Su’s place, on the 14th New Zealand/Southern Hemisphere reckoning, or right here on Friday, the 15th if you’re Northern Hemisphere/East Coast North America, or both.
Come as you are, or in your best bib & tucker. No need to bring anything, but you can if you want. There’s always an interesting assortment of peoples and conversations about food, recipes, coping, whatever. But we keep it civilised. It is a Tea Party. 😉
P.S./ Here’s a closer look at that page with recipes . . .
From time to time I’ve been into both, and never fail to see interesting items.
They might not be what I was searching for, as you never know what you’ll run across along the way, but sometimes that’s the most fun. 😉
Which brings me to another item I’ve had squirreled away: Su L’s (Zimmerbitch) thoughts concerning our current situation, from her post about a month ago.
Being a New Zealander, she acquaints us with a Maori word, rahui, in reference to what we’re experiencing. I like the concept, and wondered if some of you might also like to know about it. Quoting from Su from the online Maori dictionary, rahui means,
“Rahui (raa·hoo·ee): to put in place a temporary ritual prohibition, closed season, ban, reserve – traditionally a rāhui was placed on an area, resource or stretch of water as a conservation measure … A rāhui is a device for separating people from tapu things. After an agreed lapse of time, the rāhui is lifted…”
I think that idea sounds so much nicer than the LD word. What do you think?
As you can see, I’ve been taking on some hand sewing tasks that were temporarily put off to get to the wearing part faster- hehe!
But the pile has hit the fan, so to speak, and it’s time to make the wearing part more enjoyable. After all, who appreciates forever-flapping facings? (Added note: Am teaming up with Textile Tuesdays over at Wild Daffodil.)
And it’s May! Lovely, Springy May! Just to temper the enthusiasm — as if it needed tempering these days! — it’s also Hurricane Awareness week down south. Sorry if that brought you down with a thud. And I know officially that mess isn’t supposed to start till June, but past statistics have caught up with just how much weather has shifted.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if one of the unintended offshoots of our worldwide rahui was better weather?
MeMadeMay, the brain child of Zoe Edwards (Sew, Jo, What do You Know), is with us again. In thinking about this year’s self-challenge, I realised I already have a wardrobe of either me-made or me-refashioned clothes. So what’s to challenge??
Hidden deep in my closet are two boxes and a full hanging rack of things I almost never think about, and therefore never wear. Whatever could they be???
Jewelry. Weeelllll, it’s accessories, idn’it??
Not talkin’ the sparkly, high ticket items, but the dime store variety. Which actually, these days, can become vintage after a few decades. And that, me lovelies, is definitely moi. 😉
So my self-challenge is to wear stuff, and try not to repeat myself. But isn’t that breaking the rules?
“…a month-long challenge for people that create their own clothing, be that through sewing, crocheting, knitting, refashioning, to develop a better relationship with their handmade wardrobe… You can literally pledge anything… The only stipulation is, really, it does have to be a challenge…”
The MeMayMay discussion starts at about the 30 minute mark into the podcast.
Judging by what’s been worn so far, I’d say there’s a fair bit o’ orangey-red, wouldn’t you? Mind, these have been accent colours, not matchy-matchy. Hmmm… Interesting, veddy interesting.
In case you’ve been Zooming away, I ran across a couple of articles on settings to help you be less palatable to unwanted “guests.” Whilst Zoom experts are working on better security, this and this is supposed to help.
Ending with a gentle reminder that the 15th, Friday-week, is our next #VirtualTeaParty2020, and you’re all invited!
[I see Comments have disappeared. Again. And there is no earthly reason for it. Have spent an hour double-checking everything. My apologies, Dear Ones! Click to this post and use the Comments.]
Left: Camel cut from old tablecloth, backed & stuffed for hanging. Below, Right, is the back.
Hope everyone has had time to rejoice and celebrate❣️
I’m taking this week between holidays to exhale slowly and let Life settle. “Digestion” takes time, and this year may take more than most. 🥴
But hands don’t have to idle, and to that end I have several yarny projects on the go.
They started out as it: a single ski hat in my TNT pattern. Details are here. However…..
This scrummy yarn has two threads of colour in a single strand. As I had doubled the strands, that frequently meant four different colours.
Ever notice how combined colour yarns make distinguishing the stitch pattern more difficult? I did.
After too much frustration searching for back loops, I frogged it, and started over, this time as two projects.
The very solid piece on the right, is single crochet. I needed a rest after the hat tussle. It will be a rug for a pair of pirates of a feline nature.
The narrow one below will be a tasseled scarf. And there’s always the “forgotten project at the bottom of the pile. 🤣
Tuesday I did my traditional Christmas listen to A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College (Cambridge). Thank you BBC Four, for carrying it live. Incidentally, if you’d like to have a listen, it’s available here for a month.
Hoping everything in your world is fresh and new and creating beauty for you to enjoy. ❤️ 🎄 ❤️ 🎄 ❤️ 🎄 ❤️ 🎄 ❤️ 🎄 ❤️
This is Version Two. The centre hole has two slightly smaller holes sort of north east of centre. See ’em? They’re not supposed to be there. 😩
Version one had the same problem, but the holes were bigger. 😣
After weeks of faffing about trying to avoid the inevitable I finally faced fact, and did what needed to be done.
🐸 rip-it 🐸 rip-it 🐸
I was worried that the yarn would be too worn from all the ripping out sessions, but it seems to have held up, thank goodness.
Changing subjects, did a bit of reading over the last heat wave. . . 😅
Scott at Furrowed Middlebrow had just released nine more long-unavailable British women authors’ books. He’s been reviewing them on his blog since they were published August 5th.
So far I’ve read Spam Tomorrow (Verily Anderson, 1956), and totally cannot decide what to read next.
Spam was excellent, after a doubtful start. It’s autobiographical and starts in the English countryside before the war began in 1939.
Initially I was a bit put off by Anderson’s unconventional family, and didn’t know if I would enjoy the rest of the book, but I did. In fact, I was sorry there wasn’t another whole book to get us further into her experiences.
All of Scott’s volumes are published by Dean Street Press, under the Furrowed Middlebrow name, and are available in paperback or electronic copies via Amazon U.S. and U.K. I downloaded a copy to save shelf space, the environment and a little dosh (for more books 😉). I’m not affiliated with any of the above, and if I don’t like a book I’ll say so!
I’ve not decided what to read next, but am thinking about one of Carola Oman’s two books, Nothing to Report, or Somewhere in England. Has anybody read either of them?
Figured I had earned it after polishing off my black linen skirt and finally getting the handles sewn onto the veggie bag.
So here’s what I did with some wonderful crocheted doilies gifted to me by Ali, who knows the woman that made them. (Thanks again, hon!)
However, I do think they could use a spot of colour, don’t you? Maybe some ribbon to hide the rubber bands. Hm…
Have been meaning to post this update to that peppermint stripe outfit: It started pilling less than a month after I finished it. Good thing I’d mentally tagged the fabric for stretchy muslins.
Oddly, the bermudas seem to be okay. Wait! Better check the seat . . . . it’s okay! Don’t feel so bad now.
Have been wanting something in a solid green and remembered this from my Chicago days, languishing in the Needs Refashioning pile. Spent quite some time taking the waist apart, trying to figure out what on earth I’d done. It took a couple of long ripping out sessions.
But newly washed and ironed, it’s hanging whilst I gather my courage to cut into a summer dress I’d put in the refashion pile earlier this year. Hoping to use the dress for waistband facing and a sleeveless blouse. Fingers crossed! 😉
Meanwhile, hope everyone is surviving their season! ❣️❣️❣️
ps… The Guardian had an interesting article on craft/activismhere.
Hello, Lovelies! It is Monday. Again. And the First Day of July. Where is this year speeding off to, and why? Herewith, despite despair at all that wasn’t accomplished, are a few of the bits that were. . .
I’m thinking of changing my gravatar…
You know, this thingey that pops up whenever I write here or comment elsewhere.
My sticking point is this gravatar connects to two things—the C with CurlsnSkirls, and the thistles with my Scots sewing and crocheting grannies, bless ’em.
What do you all think ? ? ?
Pleeese be very honest and say if you think it’s a nutty idea. I promise I won’t be upset.
Oh. What would replace it? Am considering this, if you can imagine it reduced to 1/4 inch-size.
Things are ticking over at the usual hot summer pace, which isn’t spectacularly speedy.
I decided to fiddle about—again—with the dotted duster. I took a good look at it whilst outside at high noon one day and decided it was too white and I wanted a more subdued effect.
My solution (no pun intended) was to tea dye it in the kitchen sink. Not something I do often, but there were tea bags left from the last bout.
I wrote about it even before that session, so that giant box in the photo was good value.
(For tea drinking I prefer decaf English Breakfast, and other black teas which never get used for anything but drinking!)
Hey-ho. Not much photographic difference, but to me, in full sun, there is. 🤣
Stop the presses! I cleaned off my sewing table! And resolve to stop piling things on the end except when I’m sewing.
One of those little but pesky (aka, put off forever) sewing projects is done: I cut down an extra pillow case for a little pillow made years ago. It’s gotten a lot of use, and always needed a pillow case. Minorly major or majorly minor, am not sure, but pleasurable every night when I see it.
Slowly but surely more rounds are being added to the crochet project. Baby steps, but that’s fine. No rush!
We have a strange week here in the U.S. At least it seems strange to me. The Powers That Be usually move whatever day a major holiday falls on to the following Monday so everyone has a three day weekend.
However, this week it’s Fourth of July/Independence Day on Thursday. I guess moving that to Monday would not be appropriate. So we have a national holiday on Thursday. It just feels odd.