back again

It feels like its been a while.  Sometimes I just don’t feel like blogging and I don’t feel bad about that.  Hello again.

This most recent absence though is more to do with an almost entire lack of crafting to share.  I didn’t just lose my knitting mojo this summer, my spinning, dressmaking and quilting mojo’s all flew out of the window too.  There were no major house projects to occupy me, or big changes in the garden.  I’ve just been living quietly and my brain’s been a little full of worry to fit anything else in.  (The worry is easing a little now.  There was nothing particular to worry about, just the prospect of something bad happening.  So far, it hasn’t.   Right now, things are fine. But when terrible things have happened to you before sometimes its hard to shake the worry away.)  Sorry if that’s a little cryptic.  I have no secrets but am a little shy and cautious.  I might talk about things more here when I’m ready.  In the meantime, if you’re on Ravelry, this knitting project helps explain it.

And onto the making!  Pretty much the only thing I worked on through my worry was my Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery monthly sampler.  I worked on it a little back in January and then stopped, so I had a lot of months to catch up on.

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I think progress (and so the fact that I made anything at all) should be credited to my good buddy Bex.  She’s working on the same thing, alongside lots of other beautiful embroidery pieces, and she made me want to reach for my hoop.

Just in the last couple of days I’ve felt my knitting mojo starting to nudge me a little.  Maybe something to do with a trip to a new yarn shop?  I cast on for a Wee Brock for a friend* as soon I was home and fed.  I can feel that obsessed-with-a-new-project feeling coming on.  Hopefully it’ll lead to another one…

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*This friend is a Mr Saz’s cousin, who has an adorable little two-year old.  She doesn’t knit, but always seems to be appreciative of handknitted things, and she got a lot from the ladies at her work (and me) when her daughter was born.  But as new babies have been born, her supply dwindled.  I randomly knit a little cardigan and it was passed to her, and I didn’t hear much, apart from ‘she says thank you, she loved it’ from my mother-in-law.  Then, a couple of weeks ago I was in a different town and randomly walked into her and her little girl.  Her daughter was not only wearing the cardigan but she was snuggled up it, it was covered in bits of the biscuit she’d been eating and wow, it looked like it had been loved.  I could see her looking embarrassed that it looked a little messy but all I could think was ‘You get more knitwear for your little one.  You get ALL THE KNITWEAR for your little one.’  Seeing the things I’ve made look used and loved is one of the best feelings ever.

I’m not ready to talk about the time I was in my sister’s house and spotted the huge quilt I’d made her scrunched up her dog’s basket.  It might have looked used and loved, but it gave me the opposite feeling…

shades of green

Finally, lush is the word for the garden right now.  Not so much in the vegetable garden, yet, but definitely everywhere else.

As the weather warms up a little and we spend more time outside, my mind keeps wandering into to the woods at Squam Lake.  I’m not going this year, but I can feel the excitement building anyway.  I am imagining students and teachers getting excited, making plans, gathering supplies and headlamps.  I sit outside with Penny and if I close my eyes and ignore the quiet chatters of the chickens, it almost seems like I’m there.  If you’re going, have a wonderful time x

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slowly emerging

It’s been a while since I last posted, how it can it nearing the end of May already?!  For almost two weeks I’ve been floored by something nasty called the flu.  It wasn’t pretty.  Neither was trying to look composed in my brother’s wedding photos when there was no-one behind me to hold onto.

This week I’ve been attempting recovery in the fresh air, which has mainly involved drinking herbal tea outside my greenhouse, giving directions to my lovely father-in-law John and coughing a lot.  I am starting to see changes in my garden, finally, after almost 3 years of battling weeds, overgrown everything, endless rain and that feeling of where do I start?. The answer – a little section at a time.  Eventually it’ll all be beautiful.  This year’s tasks are the front door, and my favourite bit, the vegetable garden.

I found this picture from 2 years ago -

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And now, today, from roughly the same place -

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This gate is the sole reason my vegetable garden exists, and there are things growing in it (though not as fast as I’d like, it is Scotland in May after all…).  This gate is the difference between my chickens gorging themselves on tasty, organic fruit and vegetables, and the humans gorging themselves on tasty, organic fruit and vegetables.  I mentioned to John a few weeks ago that ‘hmm, maybe a gate here would be a good idea?’ and then a few days later we got back from a trip up north and he’d built one from scraps of wood from our garage and installed it in the perfect place. Such a wonderful man.  I cried when I saw it.

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The parts of the garden John and I have worked in feel so full of hope, and right now I’m clinging tightly to that.  The last three years have started that way too, then all that hope has been washed away by crappy weather.  It seems like this year we’ve got a better start.  Does anyone have any favourite rhubarb preserving recipes?

marielle skirt

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Right now I am happily riding the wave of my sewing mojo.  My Cambie is finished (a reveal will follow after the wedding I’ve made it to wear at next weekend), and I celebrated by starting something new, straight away.

Maybe this puts me in the realms of weird fan girl, but when I saw the Marielle Skirt on Tilly’s blog I knew I needed this skirt in my wardrobe.

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The directions (even in a magazine which I guess might have been edited) were perfectly clear and lovely.  Somehow though my skirt ended up with the opening on the opposite side.  I don’t think I made any whoopsies and my fabric was the correct way up, but clearly something happened, not that it matters.

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(There is a strange chicken v dog territory war going on behind me in these photos.  Penny tries to look for squirrels in the tress.  The chickens are unimpressed and charge her, trying to peck her tail as she runs away.  Chickens look triumphant.)

The fabric is some navy cord, and I lined it with a little cotton print I picked up somewhere.  Buttons are from my rescued/frogged Levenwick.

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I love how this skirt is going to go with so many things in my wardrobe.  Penny likes it too.

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cambie progress

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I’m sure this post will jinx it.  But things are (now) moving along nicely with my Cambie dress. *

There was a moment a couple of nights ago when it all seemed to be going wrong – I had made the full-skirt version and suddenly the niggling voice in my head was deafening…’you’ll look like a meringue, you’ll look like a meringue.’  It was right, and I should have paid attention a week ago.  Mr Saz tried to entertain me with amusing tales but I was screaming at myself inside and trying to figure out if I could re-cut for the A-line version.

The skirt came off.  The gathers came out.  The seams were picked out.  The skirt was hacked apart.  And now, I have version A, with a much smaller skirt and one that is more suited to my shape.  Yay!

And the most important thing I have learnt with this dress – trust your muslin.  (Actually, I am going to start calling it a toile, because I’m not American and I only recently found out that we have a different word.)  Trust your toile.  And trust the friends who helped you fit it. It seemed to me that there were some pretty serious alterations going on.  Pattern pieces were cut with entirely new angles.  Lines went in different directions.  I never expected to need so many changes to the fit, but it is going to be totally worth it. This dress fits perfectly – when I think know about how it would look if I had made it exactly to the pattern pieces I shudder.

I just have the lining to sew, which I will now do with total confidence that it’s not going to be a mess and huge waste of lovely fabric, and then some little finishing bits.  And I still have 10 days to go, so I’m letting my mind wander a little onto my next sewing project…

*Yep, if you look at this picture and think that one of the sleeves is sewn together with the seam allowances on the wrong-side, you’d be right.  Sewing too late at night is to blame.

silence

These days I am not as sociable as I used to be.  This past weekend was lovely, filled with loved ones and laughing and fresh air.  Every day I feel fortunate to have such wonderful family.  But suddenly now it is silent, and just as lovely.

This afternoon there will be quiet work in my office, with just Penny curled up behind me.  Chocolate cake.  Maybe a little seed planting.  Maybe a little snooker.  And definitely an epic, muddy hike.  (We can’t say the ‘w’ word around here anymore, it puts sweet Penny into a frenzy.  Soon that will happen for the ‘h’ word too and we will have to find an new one.)

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sneak peak

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I am working on something new.  In three weeks we have A Big Day in our family, and it requires both a gift and something to wear.

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This the gift – nothing very fancy or groundbreaking, just something I love to make, in fabrics I love, for people I love. It’s coming together quickly and I planned to finish the top this weekend.  But um, the sun is shining.  So off outside I go to dig and potter about, and I’ll take my makings with me when we travel up North for a few days and hope my mum doesn’t mind me using her sewing machine.

The Something To Wear is in its very early stages and I am taking my time to get it right. For the first time I made a little test bodice and got some help from friends to get a good fit.  There’s a little sneak peak on Ysolda’s blog just now (ignore the silly face – I had a fit of the giggles and didn’t know where to look), along with a very thoughtful post on the fashion industry, and our wardrobes.  Enjoy your weekend x