“Boys who spent their weekends making banana nut muffins did not, as a rule, excel in the art of hand-to-hand combat.”

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, David Sedaris

So once again It’s been a fairly craft sparse week, the time thieving culprit this time…ruddy migraines!

I did however attend a pleasant knitting evening at a new knitting shop in Dundee called ‘Fluph’…should you be in the Dundee area it’s worth a visit as there is some very nice wool which I was careful to drool around rather than on!…around my extensive stock perusal and tea drinking, I did manage to do a wee bit o’ knitting. Huzzah!

Specifically I finished the first of a pair of slippers I was knitting for myself…now the pattern I used (available here) is actually a woman’s pattern, but having knitted it several times I thought I could masculinise it…with pom poms…now that I’m writing this I’m not sure why I ever thought that was a realistic plan…but safe to say pom poms don’t butch up anything.

Knitted slipper

I’m now not sure whether I’ll give these away or save them for the days I’m indulging my feminine side, watching rom coms and eating ice cream (please note this isn’t meant to be a horrible stereotype of women, this is something I genuinely do…on a regular basis…), I’ll knit slipper number two and then decide.

Continuing with the yarn theme, while at the knitting evening I obtained some beautiful mustard wool…

Mustard wool
DROPS Karisma Colour 52

Now despite me banning myself from buying wool without a project in mind, I got it anyway…with no idea what to do with it…and I still have no idea…HELP! For now I’ll simply stare at it longingly…

До свидания
(Which is goodbye in Russian…I hope!)

“Progress is not accomplished in one stage.”

Les Misérables, Victor Hugo

Well hello! Long time no see! Well it’s been over a week…but this past week has been, what one might refer to as a blooming nightmare…

But I am not here to complain, that I shall save for my long suffering family (don’t pity them, it is their job after all!). Given the hectic-ness of recent times, my crafting time has sadly been limited (to which I yell a resounding BOOOOOOOOOO!). However, I do not entirely lack achievements and I shall share some of the progress I have made with you right here, right now!

Keyhole bodice

First up we have a partially completed bodice, which won’t take long to become a fully fledged dress…although I am undecided with what to do for the skirt which might slow things up as I can, on occasion, be insanely indecisive…but no, I shall be bold and think positively!

I draped it a few weeks back but only just got round to sewing it up. I’ll be honest with you though…this is the second attempt at this bodice…apparently I was a touch stingy with ease in this garment, and rather selfishly little sis (who the dress is for) insists on being able to breathe in her clothes! Kids these days…

Moving on…I also decorated a cake for a family friend’s birthday. She likes penguins (although who doesn’t!).

Penguin cake

I hadn’t planned to put any baking on this blog, but I decided to make an exception here to convince myself I’ve not spent the past week drowning in admin!

I fear I must now depart dear reader, as the dogs seem to be most insistent that I am not paying them nearly enough attention!

Diesel
“Hello, my name’s Diesel, I like to lie on overlocker pedals…preferably when hours worth of work is under the blade!”

Auf Weidersehen!

“Sitting here with one’s knitting, one just sees the facts”

The Thirteen Problems, Agatha christie

So today I should be attempting to complete, or more accurately begin an essay for my MSc…and if I’m honest, I’m thoroughly uninspired by it (predominantly because the class it was for was an unmitigated waste of time!). Up until a short while ago I couldn’t even bring myself to come up with the focus of said essay…so I decided to whip out the old needles, stick on an audiobook (The Magicians Nephew, C.S.Lewis) and channel my inner Miss Marple.

1/2 a slipper...

Now I wouldn’t refer to it as a ‘Eureka’ moment, more of a ‘that’ll do, I s’pose’ moment. The important thing is however I have the concept, and only halfway through slipper one! Knitting thou art AWESOME! I will now most likely rejoice in this fact for the rest of the day, conveniently avoiding doing any of the actual essay writing…but what ya gonna do.

To summarize…knitting good, essay bad!

So long
*and with a swish of his cape he was gone…*

“Good things take time. Great things take a long time. And the best things take the longest time.”

Unknown

I must conclude, that if this in fact the case, then 18th century stays are the best…because they take FOREVER! It’s a rather enjoyable forever though, so while it may seem that I am complaining I can assure you I am not.

I was hoping to post part 2 of my previous post with a completed item but alas we ain’t there yet. Progress is being made though…

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18th Century Stay on its way to completion

Need to get cracking to avoid this being ANOTHER unfinished project, which I’d be lying if I said wasn’t a possibility…should a completed stay not appear over the following weeks I give you leave to harass and berate me till it’s done, it’s for my own good!

One area where no pushing will be required is putting in the eyelets…perhaps it’s a man thing but hammers (very much like bow ties) are cool!

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Bang, bang, bang…yay for hammers!

As a final point for today I would just like to comment on another very pleasant day with Mairi B, I can think of little else more civilised than sewing on a Sunday while listening to the dulcet tones of Dorris Day and Tori Amos! I should also thank her for introducing me to The Musketeers (on the good ol’ BBC), as well as being top notch TV there is a veritable Smörgåsbord of beautiful stays, further fuelling my new found obsession!

Alas dear friends, with an audible sigh, I must return to less creative exploits…Adieu.

“Hole onter sumpin’ an’ suck in yo’ breaf,”

Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

Part 1

It never ceases to amaze me how much you can learn from the internet nowadays…this being said though, I’m still a fan of a bit o’ old school classroom learning.

With this in mind, and thanks to a most generous gift from my wonderful Auntie Helen, I decided to sign up for a class on making 18th century stays with the delightful Mairi B (http://mairib.wordpress.com) in Edinburgh.

But what is a stay? I hear you ask (obviously not really, it’s not like I’m hiding behind your Sofa…or am I? Mwahahahaha!). Well in simple terms Stays are the precursor to Corsets, and that’s as much of a history lesson as I’ll be given today (although I may come back to it later as it’s actually quite interesting!).

She runs several classes including a corsetry class, but I chose the stays class mainly because I have some serious OCD tendencies and like to do things in order (and stays predate corsets). I justify it to myself and the world at large though by spouting statements like “I feel if you understand where clothing began it’s then easier to understand the construction of later garments!”. In the main part though…OCD!

Stay paneld
Stay Panels

Regardless, I attended the first day (of two) yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed myself! Not only did I actually learn something but I got to spend the day drinking tea, eating biscuits and chatting about period drama…period dramas (alongside coffee) are my drug of choice so big thumbs up!

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A personal period drama favourite!

Anyway, lots of homework to do before the final day (Sunday) so better get on with some of it…for now, I bid you adieu…

P.S. For those who know me I feel I should point out that I am taking this class to allow me to attempt more intricate sewing projects…I am not secretly wearing corsets and crinolines and currently have no plans to.

P.P.S For those who don’t know me, please note that I do not hold any strong feelings against male corsets, they just ain’t for me!

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery

So I must admit that beginning my blog with a mistake was an interesting idea…if I’m honest, I really hadn’t put much thought into it! While I’m not averse to admitting my mistakes I am now left with a feeling that I now need to prove myself. Today dear reader, I shall attempt to do just that…

I will begin by taking you all the way back to christmas (is it just me or does it already feel like it was aaaaaaaaaaages ago!). This year the mother shaped Santa delivered an item I have been coveting for many a year…an adjustable dress form! Currently she is nameless which is most unlike me. For some unknown reason though I want to name everything after Angela Lansbury at the moment and I’m not sure it’s entirely healthy! As such I am holding off till I can think of something more befitting!

I’m getting a bit off topic…so with dressform, book and a can do attitude I began to learn the art of draping…and here I present to you the ‘prima dress’…

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Button back bodice with two straps (one shoulder, one off shoulder), French darts, straight skirt with angled darts and invisible zipper

Ok, so I admit the photography needs some work but black is ruddy difficult to photograph! I now know why Nina Garcia constantly bangs on about black clothes being rubbish for editorial!

Initially this was supposed to be little more than an experiment but it happens to fit little sis so well I finished it off properly! Still, it is little more than a wearable toile so I do plan to remake this in a more interesting fabric…I’m thinking print. Huzzah to prints!

“My spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.”

A. A. Milne

Like all crafters I am familiar with the old adage “measure twice cut once”…

But let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. Recently my cousin began boarding part time at school and as such was given a rather drab little room of her very own. To combat said drabness, I decided to make a few pieces to help her brighten it up!

My favourite piece was a hand screen-printed cushion which implied that the surroundings did not compare favourably with the fictional boarding school created by Enid Blyton. Unfortunately due to a rather hectic schedule, I employed haste and the following disaster ensued…

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To those less versed in Blyton, no obvious mistake may be immediately apparent. To my fellow Blyton fans however, the blatant misspelling of Malory is down right offensive! *hangs head in shame*

What is more embarrassing is the sheer time it took to notice the mistake. Not during the stencil cutting stage, nor the printing stage did I twig. Even while sewing I remained oblivious. It was only several hours later, while micturating that I had that horrible sinking feeling and scurried off to check my copy of ‘First Term at Malory Towers’ (I did wash my hands in between I promise!).

Should anyone ask, it was intentionally done so as to avoid being sued by the Blyton estate…that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!