Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm in love with a kitchen implement

Yes. I know. First the iron, now this. I should see a therapist. Seriously though, Oh My God, my life has been changed by a microplane grater. This one in fact. I bought it with my Christmas money (thankyou Granny!) expecting it to be somewhat easier than zesting citrus fruit with the small holes on a cheese grater, but I was not prepared for how utterly perfect and simple it was. I want to put zest in EVERYTHING now.

And yet again, yes I am in my twenties, and no, apparently I do not get excited about the same things as other twenty-somethings.

I just made Amaretto Shortbread from Baking Bites - or at least I almost did. I had to leave out the lemon zest as Martin's stepdad saw my lemon in the fruitbowl and thought 'Ooh! Gin and tonic!' Grr. It still tastes good though!

I have now become so distracted by my shiny new toy that I've forgotten what I was going to say about my knitting, so let's be brief. This weekend we had Christmas again with Martin's family, and I'd knitted some presents for his parents.

His mum had requested a hat like Martin's last year, but with flamingos on. Ok, yep, no problem.

His stepdad wanted a neckwarmer, which I was all prepared to knit from stash, until he told me at the last minute that he couldn't wear wool. I was quite surprised to find how hard it is to buy 100% acrylic yarn at the moment. A good thing most of the time I admit, but then you get saddled with a fussy person. Bahhh, I'm sure he could have coped with 10% wool.

That's not a very exciting neckwarmer. I realise I should have closed with the flamingos. Eh. I'm tired.

There ya go. More flamingos. Yay!

Friday, January 14, 2011

New job new job la la la la la

I have a job! I went back to temping at Castle Cover, who've had me on and off since July and they offered me the permanent position on my first day back. I'm still officially a temp until my birthday (I was booked to the end of the month), then I shall be a permanent admin/mail assistant. It's......not the most exciting job in the world, but it's a hell of a lot better than never knowing when my next temp contract is coming in and things can only get better from here. And hey, it's ten minutes walk away from home! (Although, hadn't I just decided I was going to cut my losses and move out of Poole this year? Oh well.)

I got my security pass today when I signed my contract and whoever was in charge of the photo decided it would be easier to stretch it sideways into a square rather than just cropping it - so I have uneven googly fish eyes and a big clown mouth. Nice.

I'm not sure what the new job is going to mean for my crafting. I've been too exhausted to do anything other than surf the net most evenings, but hopefully that's just beacuse I'd gotten used to extreme lie-ins. I'd like to do more sewing this year, so I'll probably have to persuade myself to take my difficulty level down a few notches. The bad thing about having training in sewing (at least for me) is I have this ridiculous idea that simple projects are somehow beneath me, yet complex projects feel to much like work and I get flashbacks of university deadlines and critiques, which leads to me just ignoring my machine altogether. So, there will be attempts to break out of this habit and sew some simpler projects now. I got One Yard Wonders from Martin for Christmas which has some great ideas in, and over a year ago I was in a knit-and-sewalong in Ravelry for Cape May. I got the knitting part down, and cut up some fabric and then started thinking 'maybe I could add a pocket to the lining' or 'how about an adjustable strap' or 'could I put an extra compartment in this?' before that inevitably turned to 'Meh. Can't be bothered.' So if I can find the pieces, that'll be first on the sewing line.

And finally, just so this isn't an entirely pictureless post, and because I should show it off, I won a new year giveaway from Bugs and Fishes! She sent me 2m of wonderful cutout felt trim (she sells lots of felt, plus she has a new giveaway up)

It's way wider than I thought it would be - I was initially thinking skirt trim, but since I could cut it in half and have 4m, I may save it for when I eventually move out and start needing curtains. Have to find a flat first though...

Monday, January 10, 2011

The project that made me love my sewing machine again. And hate buttonholes.

Last post I showed a picture of Martin's Christmas present, a reproduction (nearly) of this Civil war jacket. I'm quite ashamed to say that this was the first garment I'd undertaken since leaving university, and when I first started drafting, that definitely showed! I can't believe how much I'd forgotten since my degree - my notes were nowhere near detailed enough. Ugh. After failing to remember how to draft jackets from scratch (something to practice for another day perhaps) I decided to swallow my pride and start from a pattern. This is based somewhat loosely on McCalls 4745, though it came up very small so there were a lot of adjustments to make on the first fitting.

Drafting out of the way, my actual sewing skills started to come back to me :) The jacket is fully lined and interlined with the lining finished by hand. The cuffs, collar and centre front are piped and the buttonholes are painstakingly and maddeningly sewn by hand (I was still doing that on Christmas Eve)

The russian braid (rideekulously expensive postage, go to London instead if possible) on the cuffs looks awesome, but was actually pretty easy - it worked much better freehand than trying to pin the braid on before sewing.

He even gets an inside pocket, because I'm that generous! The only thing I'm not entirely happy about is the collar. I'd never done a standup collar in university so I sort of made it up and it doesn't lie entirely flat. I'll get it right next time though!


Thankyou for modelling Martin. Yes, you were marvellous dear. I shall get Tyra on your case right away.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

The mojo returneth

Hey hey! Guess what my new year's resolution is? More crafting, more cooking, more blogging.* That shouldn't be hard after lasting til March this year! I've had a peculiar mojoless year of blah, very little knitting and sewing and nothing else I've wanted to blog about in between. The desire to make, and more importantly for pie and handkerchiefs, the desire to blab about things I've made is gradually creeping back though, helped in no small part by Christmas. Actually I went a bit mad for Christmas. There were cross stitched Christmas cards (with no photos, bah), knitted hats and related woolies (pictures will be in my Ravelry projects) and lots and lots of cookies.

See? Many cookies.

Martin helped me decorate these

Dear God how did I ever think these would all get eaten?

Oh, and this.

Yeah. A nice simple project to ease me back into sewing. Better photos and detail shots to come. I'm so happy with this, as are Martin and my mum who both said 'I'm sooo glad you're sewing again' in the kind of tone that makes me think they would have staged an intervention otherwise. Fingers crossed that the machine will not gather dust for another year.

*well, there is also find a proper job and a place to live, not neccessarily in Dorsrt, but we'll see what happens later in the year.