Monday, 26 November 2012

2 Projects finished!

Well I declare my first non-working day a success!

I did a bit of pottering (washing in, loading dishwasher etc) but tried to maintain focus.

1 washcloth finished:

I can't remember where I got this particular pattern from, I've scribbled it down on a piece of paper. However, there are loads of free patterns on Ravelry.

I used Sirdar Simply Recycled DK, it's a good texture as it's a cotton acrylic mix. I've made up a few different patterns which use different amounts of yarn, I can get 2 from a 50g ball. I bought the yarn in the sale so this cost about 80p I think.

1 Denim Do-It-All Bin for my brother to store his project stash in:

(Please excuse the terrible photos, so dark and miserable today)

I'm really pleased with how this turned out. I wanted to make the bigger size (this is the medium version of the tutorial) but sadly my husband's choice of jeans will not be influenced by what I hope to make out of them when he's finished with them! I'm on the look out for family members who prefer wide-legged denims.

I'm pleased with how the Levi's badge and red tab look. I couldn't match the yellow/orange stitching thread exactly but it's pretty close.

The lining fabric is a repurposed shirt (I stitched the button sections together).

So, totally free! There are 8 balls of yarn in there (also part of his gift from Santa) but it will hold more. And this will suit the decor of his flat much better than a wicker basket.

Right, off to cut out the crochet rolls!


Start as I mean to go on

Well the day has arrived, I officially start my new job this week - I am very excited.

There hasn't been a great deal of crafting round here as I've spent the last couple of weeks juggling both roles. I made some cards for my close colleagues at work but haven't photographed them.

It's been an emotional few days, I'm really positive about my new job and am only moving to another office in the same organisation but I've worked with a great bunch for 7 years and there have been a lot of tears - mostly not from me funnily enough! I wasn't well prepared for other people's emotions - I just thought about keeping myself together.

I have today as my non-working day this week but from this point onwards I have Wednesday off. So I'm starting as I mean to go on, my precious day off is not going to be for chores.

Today I am working towards:

  • finishing a crochet baby blanket - I can't do the border as I'm waiting for one ball of turquoise yarn which is out of stock but I'm determined to finish the stripes this week
  • Finishing up a couple of crochet washcloths that I've carried round on journies. I think they'll be good stocking fillers
  • Making a storage bin for my brother, Han Solo. I taught him to crochet last Christmas and he's asked Father Christmas for a yarn stash! I'm using this pattern for Denim Do-it-all Bins using a pair of my husband's old Levis. I've bought some denim needles for my machine. Fingers crossed I can do it
  • Making 2 crochet hook rolls, one for Han and the other for my good friend S, I taught her to crochet in January she now has significant stash storage! She's stuck to blankets this year, I've promised to help her get her head round working to a pattern this year. I've not decided on which pattern to use for the crochet roll yet, might be this one from Sew, Mama Sew!
Right, I'd better crack on! :)

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Public Indecency?

No, this is not a reference to Karen's hilarious True Confessions posts over at 'Did you make that?' - apparently there are a lot of near naked sewers out there!

I'm talking about crafting in public, I have a crochet hook in my bag at all times and I'm not generally afraid to use it. However, it occasionally provokes some strong reactions, so when is it OK to whip out a bit of knitting or crochet? Are there social conventions I'm not aware of?

I started to think about this the other day, I was copied into a comment thread on Facebook. It went a bit like this:

  • I'm in a seminar and whilst the speaker is talking I can see a lady in front of me knitting/crocheting!
  • Wow, that's a bit cheeky.
  • If I was the speaker that would really put me off!
  • So she's not even paying attention!
  • I can see her too!
  • Is it Jacq? (this is the point I got copied in by my bestest friend - who staggeringly can knit with her eyes closed, blows my mind!)
I did reply, said I'd quite like to be crocheting in a meeting but it wasn't me. I pointed out I actually found it helped me concentrate (I wouldn't pick a complicated pattern or take a king size blanket project!) and that there was a lot of evidence to back that up, especially if you were skilled (like my J with her eyes shut).

What I didn't say, because my politeness gene does sometimes kick in, was I bet the lady knitting/crocheting (why can't people tell the difference? I don't much care for sport but I can distinguish between football and rugby!) was paying more attention than the attendees posting on Facebook ... And I've been fuming with myself ever since for not making that point and defending that anonymous crafter more robustly. Especially as it was a conference for educational professionals - I'd hope there would be some understanding of kinaesthetic learners :(

So forward wind to this week and it's still bothering me. I'm in the handover period between my old and new jobs and attended a Conference in London on Monday with my new boss. I've got a little crochet project in my giant work bag. I happily did some on the train, most people don't comment at all and, if they do, I've generally found it to be along the lines of "oh that reminds me of my Gran", which I think is lovely.

But I restrained myself at the actual Conference, I'm still in my handover period and wanting to make a good impression. I'd met lots of new people and was really focussed on taking in new information. I spent the morning taking copious notes. But in the afternoon session I would actually have listened better if I'd crocheted. And I looked round the room at people tapping away on iPhones, iPads and laptops and wondered how many were taking notes and how many were catching up with Facebook or writing their shopping list.

Would you be offended if you were a speaker and somebody started to knit or crochet? I've delivered lots of training, it wouldn't bother me at all although I don't tend to go for the 'stand at the front and talk' method of training so there wouldn't be much crafting time. Interestingly I know trainers who get irritated if delegates eat snacks too. That doesn't bother me either, a hungry person is not paying attention. Perhaps I'm just more tolerant than I thought!

I know when I get settled in my new role I'm going to get to a point where I'm going to need to decide to just do it, this is who I am. Perhaps I start small at a little internal meeting and see how it goes. I spoke to some colleagues and one of the young men in the office (not a crafter) said "you're always juggling several things at once, passing me notes with the answer to questions I have when you're on the phone dealing with something else. Why wouldn't you be able to crochet as well?". I quite liked that, I might make myself a badge!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

No crafting - and I don't mind!

My 'boy' is home from uni for the weekend, he was 23 yesterday.

It's been a flying visit so I've not a single crafting minute - totally not a problem.

Love you Fruitbat.


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The Great Christmas List Debate

I made what I thought was an innocuous comment at work and seem to have stumbled across a contentious issue!

My family all write Christmas Lists - apparently this is sometimes frowned upon.

The children don't, mine didn't when they were small, but there are so many of us we've all found it a really helpful thing to do as adults. Nobody expects to get everything on their list, there's still much whispering and secret planning because somebody has thought of the 'perfect thing' that's not on the list. But from a practical point of view, especially when many people are really cutting back on expenses, it's lovely to spend my hard earned cash on a gift I know my brother would love to receive.

My sister-in-law and I held the annual family Christmas draw on Saturday - instead of buying for all adults we each buy for one other - it's a fundamental part of our traditions, Christmas has begun!

This is absolutely on my Christmas list this year - does that make me 'greedy'? (source)

Does anybody else write a list?



Sunday, 4 November 2012

Apronalong - Scrapron or Mapron?

Well I made it - I was looking really iffy on taking part in Karen's Apronalong over at Did you make that? but then had a eureka moment.

I made myself a promise that I wouldn't buy any more patterns until the New Year (things might be getting a little out of control on the pattern front!) and after a craft show and fabric buying frenzy in Japan I had to impose a fabric ban too.

So I saw all the fab apron patterns and fabric choices and couldn't join in. To be honest, my creative mojo left the building. I have plenty of fabric but it's earmarked for other things - I have plans.

This week, nothing like cutting it fine, I turned to the bottom of my fabric filing system:

I have zero experience with patchwork, and the bits were odd shapes and sizes but by the power of Youtube I started a crazy patchwork shape ...
I always planned to try patchwork, the kids bought me the cutter and ruler last Christmas, and who needs a fancy template when you can cut up a gift tag?

Embracing the 'use it up' mentality to the full I even finished up odd coloured threads on my bobbins - I'm forever buying new bobbins, I've liberated 8 making this apron. It felt really wierd using mismatched thread but none of the fabrics matched so I think it worked.

Look at these tiny, weeny scraps for the bin - love it!

And here is Doris strutting her stuff. P says this is a Scrapron because of used up all my scraps ...

... even the tie is made of bits.

But I think it's a Mapron, as it charts the things I've made this year. The square above is made of the dress I made for my daughter, 2 Sorbettos, 2 A line skirts, 3 dresses for me, a beach cover-up, a craft bag for Auntie S, a dress for Little A's rag doll and some lavender bags! I love that, I can see lots of patchwork in my future - I probably need to learn how to do it properly first!

Definitely a cleaning apron, it's not glamourous like some of the beautiful baking aprons other people have made. But I love it. Thanks Karen.


Friday, 2 November 2012

Ups and Downs

I have a start date for my new job, I finish in my current role on the 23rd definitely an 'up', new laptop bag to celebrate! :)

However things have been really busy/fraught with family stuff and my crafting mojo went AWOL again, look at my poor 'nearly finished skirt ... :(

If anybody has any suggestions about how you get your parents to understand you're a grown up with a life and family of your own (ie you can't drop everything and host a gathering of family and strangers at 24 hours notice mid week and give them all a bed for the night) I'd be glad to hear them! And I've tried the direct approach of "I have a life and family ...etc"! Deep breaths! Finally settled on 'No' - it's not gone down well :(

So I thought about dropping out of a sewalong altogether but then bingo! Creative synapses fired up and I'm back in the game! It might be a car crash but I'm rolling! Totally outside my comfort zone, no co-ordinating and pre-planning (OCD - what OCD?). Total stashbuster, I'm even using up leftover thread and bobbins, they're not even matching - woo hoo! Look at me flying by the seat of my pants! :D

I have found a use for them, totally worth saving :)

And finally, totally gratuitous photo of Elmo, I think she's feeling the cold ...

I'll be back with my finished project, be it a success or a failure!