Tag Archives: crochet

sewing, bread & the creative process

the moon isn’t the only thing with huge craters

Originally this post was titled “whaddya do when the bread don’t rise” but the writing wasn’t ‘rising’ either, so I put photos and post aside.

Serendipitously, whilst chatting with long distance sewing pal Jen the post came to mind again and she persuaded me to fix and post it. So here it is.

progress in slow sewing process

cutting out the shorts

There’s been a bit of progress – I can share a large unlined bag (below), made from leftover red & white cotton for the knee high shorts that are almost done. Plus the green & gold hat I’ve been crocheting is ready to be stitched up & pompommed.

Yeah! Progress in both the sewing and crocheting processes.

Creating something is a process, and I tend to forget sometimes that sharing the steps of that process in a post can be as interesting as a post written upon completion.

Whether it’s baking bread or sewing, the creator gets to choose what to pay attention to and what to work around and what to ignore. And those can be the interesting and valuable bits of the process, the things to share with others in our wonderful sewing community.

Friend Jen and I made a bargain: I’d revisit my belaboured post and she’d write about the latest bits in her process. (I hope she lists those patterns!)

Which reminds me… over the weekend I finally faced up to a black duster I started last summer. You know, the one that’s been lying on my cutting table for at least 6 weeks. I just don’t like the cotton gauze fabric. There’s not a thing wrong with it, I simply decided at some point that it was not “me.” E-vah!

So I’ve given myself permission to Let It Go. Even though it’s almost done. What a relief ! ! ! And you’ll never guess: Jen knows someone who might like it for a project.

What about that bread? I kept it. That weird end piece was eaten in bits with bites of cheese. The normal part I sliced, toasted and enjoyed.

Realisation? Most parts of the creative process are useful, but sometimes later rather than sooner. Plus, its’ value can extend beyond just yourself.

What you think isn’t worth writing about might be just the spark a Lovely Reader needs to move their own process forward.

oh, dear, summer’s here

And I’m feeling so behind with writing – not to mention sewing! So will just make a start …

Yes, the high humidity 90℉ days have begun to appear with more regularity, and I have but one comment: UGH!

Work progresses slowly on fitting a couple of new patterns, preparatory to using two of the above three fabrics.

The one that’s cut was a small sample of Dutch wax cloth that I bought from Britex. (Treasure those few companies that send free swatches!) I was not impressed and won’t order. I found the photo colours to be quite different, from what I could tell from the relatively tiny swatch versus the HUGE patterns involved.

I’ve started crocheting a throw using James C. Brett yarn, as recommended by my dear  Midlands friend, Samantha. Two huge balls (200g each) arrived very quickly, and didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Will be ordering more of this from Wool Warehouse!

Whoops – time’s up so better hit that “Publish” button!

Happy Sewing, Lovelies!

life’s been happening . . .

just keeping a hand in . . . uh, i mean hook!

Hi there, Lovely Readers!   There’s been a bit of sewing and crocheting going on despite distractions, and have managed to mostly keep up with reading everyone’s posts. There’s been little or no commenting and for that I apologise.

Sometimes life just gets in the way, drat it! So here’s an attempt to catch you up. Hope you’ll grab a favourite cuppa and have a read. . .

really low yarn stash & nothing in sight to fill it with, but oh, wool warehouse is tempting if it wasn’t so far awa-a-a-y

Decided to go through what’s left of my mostly-Chicago-acquired yarn stash and discovered bits & pieces.

Although I tried, twice, to find something tempting at a local chain store it was futile. I wound up getting 2 more soft cotton yarns for yet more mug mats (see the pile above). Plus a third cotton that might become a hat.

renfrew on top of hemlock

Here are a couple more tees – a renfrew and my first hemlock. I took a photo of the renfrew in front of the hemlock just to see what the differences were.

The hemlock’s much too long but the sleeve is short. It will work for layering underneath my solid green. I like the higher neck on the hemlock.

The renfrew is a better fit and I have room to hem sleeves & body as I didn’t want to add the bands. (Although now I see how much the fabric is curling just might change my mind.)

Also, I did something different with this v-neck and rather like the effect. I got tired of the problems I have trying to follow the pattern for a perfect centred v. (It’s me, not the pattern.) This was so much easier! If I could only remember where I read it or saw it I’d direct you, but I don’t.  My apologies . . . 😟

I simply cut my own width & length for the neck band, allowing an extra 4″ in length. I wanted at least 2″ extra of length to play with. Also wanted it wider.  I pin-eased the bodice onto the neck band, working from several inches above the v on one side, then the other, leaving the v pieces dangling. Then I sewed up  one side, then the other, meeting at centre back. (I’d read somewhere that helps to combat extra stretching of the bias-cut neckline – again, don’t remember where.)

 

Then I pinned the left dangly bit, then the right into place, with the pieces crossing somewhere in the vicinity of the centre and sewed. Honestly, the pattern of the fabric is so wonky, I didn’t much care if I got it spot on. Hope it doesn’t show! If the sewing polis come and get me you’ll know I did wrong. Otherwise, it’s our secret.  he-he-he!

Thanks for hanging out with me!  Hope to be back again soonish. Meanwhile, Happy SEWING!!!

not quite friday’s crochet & natter

Hodge, the bookstore cat, is ba-a-ack

We’ve been having another spell of coolness and I’ve been luxuriating in it and not getting much done besides crochet.

But my scarf got finished last night whilst watching some of the Oscars, mostly with the sound off so I could just look at the gowns.

Here’s a quick batch of piccies … click any one to read everything (looong captions), as hovering won’t work. Sorry!

And lastly, my former bookstore owner & friend, Keith Peterson, sent me a copy of Hodge’s latest book last week, which I instantly devoured.

In case you’ve not heard about Chicago’s most famous bookstore cat, you can read more about his vibrant secret life here and here.

friday’s knit & natter

What’s been happening since last Friday? Lots, as it turns out, including enjoying the quietude of a foggy Wednesday.

Unfortunately, it turned quite hot after the fog, so not much progress since. But enough to entertain, I hope. 😉

With several good suggestions last Friday (thank you all!) I spent last weekend trying them all out, as well as having a go with Wild Daffodil’s squirrel pattern.

trying out that squirrel pattern ~ click to go to Sandra’s far better example!

She’s put up lots more photos which I need to go back to as I got stuck about the 4th row. Am delighted that she has several other crocheters also working on squirrels, as I’m a real beginner with this sort of pattern.

scarf progress
First I checked my crochet book (amazon listing in US & UK) for treble and double treble stitches in case I needed to translate. Below are Righetti’s Crocheting in Plain English directions along with my samples.

Had to try out Attic 24’s Woodland blanket pattern as well, so went to several other colours & yarns to give that a go. And decided it wouldn’t work for my scarf as I have those gorgeous autumnal colours too firmly in mind to settle for just mustard.

I also discovered that the dye lots are very different. This current huge ball seems to have only the faintest hint of purple, whereas the small leftover I was using last week is quite purpley. I think I’ll just use up the large ball. Good thing I discovered that now!

Working the treble stitch was not too cumbersome, and I did several rows to try to get used to the stitch, but a different thought kept coming to mind. More on that below.

Also did several rounds with a double treble and that really threw me “for a loop.” Too many loops – they kept falling off in the middle of every part of a stitch. Way too frustrating! Have put that aside for future, more limited use.

Then tried my idea: A large hook (K/10.5) and plain US double crochet (UK treble). The bigger hook was the thought that kept coming to me whilst I was doing the other trials.

So I’m taking the easy way – considering the heat – and haven’t looked back. As you can see, I should have. But I was good, froggied back and started counting consistently.

This weekend will continue almost to 80, so have little planned but staying cool. Reprieve comes nest next week – yeah!

 

crochet & natter friday

Cathy, over at Nanacathydotcom, does Knit & Natter Fridays, and she also crochets, so I’ll join in with my ickle quandary.

Just last night I was working on this little scarf, using up some stashed yarn left over from a shawl I finished some time ago… Oh, dear, it was July 2009 in Chicago… Better late than never.

I decided not to do a hat, and already have a shawl… a scarf seemed appropriate.

Decided to try some rows of single then double crochet (that’s American for double & treble crochet in U.K.) to see if I liked it. I don’t.

Then I realised I could ask my dear readers whilst tying in with Cathy’s post — goody!

Now what to try instead? I’m not bothered by frogging the whole thing, and think probably one airy stitch might be the best, considering the colour changes.

I say ‘airy’ because upon washing, the shawl did felt up a bit, and it was originally quite airily stitched.

What do you all think? Puh-lease make any suggestions that come to mind as your assistance is so much appreciated!

The yarn is hand painted 50% merino/50% silk “Precious Aida Pastel” bought at slashed end-of-supply sale in my old, now sold, Chicago neighbourhood store.

It does feel yummy. I couldn’t resist it despite including that lavender (?) which I normally never go near.

It’s almost ten in the morning here across the pond, and I’m finishing a cuppa  whilst editing this. Those of you in Blighty must be finishing lunch. I usually read (e)mail at breakfast and only just realise how British that sounds.

Should be off soon on this cloudy and too-warm-for-February Friday. Guess we’re in the season of daily 20-degree temp shifts. Sigh.  Time to pull out summer dresses.   Double sigh.

  ❤  ❤ Happy Weekend Knitting-Sewing-Crocheting, Lovelies!  ❤   ❤

 

P.S.Looking at this again I may just frog it soon as I’ve got this posted!

borrowed cats

Yes, all my cats are borrowed. Less cat hair on the fabric, no shredded pattern pieces (why do they love that?), litter boxes or smelly fish tins.

But also no soft furry critter to welcome you home, curl up by your feet on stormy nights, or nestle in your lap when you need a cuddle.

Pluses and minuses.

ad hoc noodles: bits of jacob’s cream crackers

Ah, well. That bowl of chicken soup was all mine the other day, as were the grapes and

homemade bread.

Because fall’s nipping the air somewhere the bread machine got cranked up last weekend.

It makes a weird-looking loaf, so will try to remember to take a photo of some toast.

My big surprise has been sitting down to learn that granny squares aren’t too diffy after all. Not planning no blankets, mind you. But it made a change from all the cuppa mats I’m still churning out.

not too bad, but it got ripped anyway, for a smaller hook & more practice

Although officially Autumn since last week we’re still

feelin’ eighties but the last couple of days the sun’s started setting earlier. A comforting sign.

I got out one of my favourite table toppers, made a quick cuppa, and enjoyed a read through a Corinna Chapman book.

She’s (they’re?) cat people, too.

[long pause to make a cuppa & grab the book …]

“The Mouse Police slunk to my feet and gave me that look which cats reserve for moments when they are finding the human world unbelievably trying and are about to call their union.” Devil’s Food, Kerry Greenwood, p. 2.

“Horatio emerged … He sat down in the kitchen, paws folded, tail carefully disposed, the picture of a cat who has been far too deeply asleep to come to the aid of his human, even though no one expects cats to do that stuff anyway …” Ibid. p. 4.

Come to think of it, as Corinna’s a baker of bread extraordinaire, she might have had something to do with my loaf …

the final word is, of course, from His Good Self:
Here’s messin’ with you, kid…

The latest news on Hodge is he’s outta work and busy with a third book and probably booking appearances in … France? He’s guested in a book that’s gone global…

Keith decided to retire, and is soon to go up UP (pronounced “you-pe,” the upper peninsula of Michigan) to view what should be stunning foliage. Camera hopefully in tow!

remembering esther

does your parchment paper begin to burn even below 400℉ as sides of mine do?

Every Labor Day I remember a neighbor named Esther. A dear and very talented woman, I once asked what she did on Labor Day.  I always labor on Labor Day, she said. And now, so do I, in her memory.

edible, but not too…

Had been telling myself all week that it’ll be September soon and time to bake scones again.

Yeah!

Labor Day weekend’s goal was peppery olive oil scones with Parmesan cheese (from this book).

NOTE added 5 Sept.: This recipe is made specifically for olive oil, not butter. It is not a simple substitution! Read remarks in Alston’s introduction, available here as she specifically discusses substitutions!

Remembering I’m not fond of whole wheat (wholemeal) flour in this recipe I used plain, and decided to try Greek yogurt instead of soured-with-lemon milk.

Big mistake because Greek yogurt isn’t nearly as runny as buttermilk or plain yogurt and the dough wouldn’t form into a ball.

I added milk several times, albeit in tiny amounts. That overworked the dough.

rather dense . . .

I used a different combination of herbs, and didn’t get enough to add much flavour.

The just out-dated flour and baking powder probably didn’t help.

At least they didn’t burn!   😳

Neither did the loaf of wheat bread I threw into the machine this afternoon. Mind you, I almost forgot the salt. And the paddle – an essential if you expect the machine to do any mixing or kneading.

Ah! Home-made bread to toast in the morning.

On the sewing front, am making progress with the winter fabric, washing and loading into large zip plastic bags. Now just need to do a bit of a sort and it should be done. Unless I find another pile in some deep, dark corner . . .

he-he-heee!

using up yarn.
still.

unseasonable weather wardrobe?

NewLook 6871
NewLook 6871

“Winter” made a brief visit last weekend, and might show up again this coming weekend as we put the clocks forward.

Meanwhile this week’s forecasted temps are an infrequent constancy of low 70’s.

How do you select a wardrobe for weather that jumps from the 30’s to the 80’s each week?   For me, a bit of everything seems to be the only solution.

Is there a couldn’t-live-without garment? Yes, but it might surprise you.

It’s NewLook 6871 pattern gifted by Ali with the top lengthened to mid-thigh, and made with lovely blue embroidered cotton from Anne.

It gets washed and worn multiple times each week, which is more than I can say for anything else at the moment.

Huge Thank You’s to you both for my favourite and most comfortable lounge & sleep wear!

❤     ❤     ❤

Saw something different in the library last week and brought it home for a look through. They caught my eye for several reasons – crochet is not emphasized amongst all the knitting volumes, and proper sized models are used. Given our temps, nothing appealed, but will try to keep these in mind, just in case.

Have since looked at Ohrenstein’s other 2 books and can say the second has some of the patterns given in this third book.

camellias have been in full bloom since february!

Plants are going crazy with this weather. Talked to men doing landscaping around this complex just yesterday…

All their winter plantings (pansies & white kale) have died and been replaced speedily with spring because it’s been so hot. (As in had to turn on the AC.)

All for now, Lovelies! Hope it’s steady weather wherever you are, and you’re able to enjoy good sewing!

 

can’t imagine why…

… but about 10 days ago I started replaying my box set of BBC’s The Good Life (1975-1978), aka Good Neighbours.

It’s still as delightful as it was when I first saw it (the 90’s), plus the fashions and hair-do’s Margo (Penelope Keith) wears are classic 1970’s. It’s been fun crocheting and pausing to watch, and a much needed respite.

What I haven’t mastered is sewing and telly. But when sewing came up in one of the episodes, I took a screen pic to show that altering was commonplace then, even for Margo Leadbetter.

Also had to include one of her Jungle January outfits – a glorious caftan that must have been silk because it swished so beautifully.

That mysterious blue crochet became a hat that got finished, along with another beanie-style. (Directions are here.)  It had to be a beanie because I ran out of the blue, and used some cream to complete. Both are on their way across the pond and might be worn for the March NHS event, provided they fit.

Hope everyone has a grand week!