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catching up

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Dr B is making excellent progress with his creative task!

Isn’t it good when you share a meal with friends, and are able to catch up on everyone’s news? I don’t do it as often as I’d like. The Bs have far more of a cafe lifestyle than I do, mostly by virtue of their cycle outings (of whichever variety). Yesterday it was my turn with some old friends from my nursing days. One is still in the business, nowadays working as a midwife in a busy city hospital. The other has already retired. We met for our meal at a halfway-point eatery, and between swapping news of former colleagues and hearing about the exploits of children and grandchildren, a couple of hours passed swiftly and pleasantly.

The friend who is still in the business doesn’t live far from me, so we travelled together. She’s another who knits and sews, and would like to learn crochet but is time poor now. A particular joy of our homeward trip was our quick duck into a fabric store, one where we’re both VIP members. It’s not far from home for either of us, so barely even a detour. She was looking for something she could use to refresh the old, tired, three-panelled privacy screens in her hospital’s nursery. We bought some lovely animal-print curtaining (in both colourways, to be used alternately so that one side presents taupe, cream, taupe and the other side cream, taupe, cream). It should sew up beautifully and look a treat.

The style of curtaining uses stretch wires at top and bottom. I have recent experience with that, because I made a small, privacy curtain for YoungB, so that he wouldn’t be constantly disturbed by a neighbour’s sensor light going berserk. I used some old furnishing fabric and put a wire only at the top. That was mostly for haste, but also because YoungB’s cabin presents problems when you try to screw things into its walls. So, although my crochet projects might not be completed, I have had a small sewing success.

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Curtain in a hurry, with some installation challenges unmet. However, YoungB loves it because it keeps out enough light that he can sleep. That’s all it needs to do.

When my friend drove me home, we checked the progress of the Bs’ building work: as the top photo illustrates, they’re going great guns (and they were both working on it yesterday). They did some catching up, too, in their case with a chippie friend who is our unofficial consultant (he has lots of good, sensible advice for safely working alone and will be getting a slab of his favourite tipple when the project is done). YoungB will shortly have a run of almost a week off, so he’ll be a great help with the roofing. They ought then to catch up sufficiently with the work that we might have a fully-roofed pergola by the end of next week. Bonus. And exciting-issimo.

As I implied, I’m not caught up on all my crochet WIPs. The green market bag needs handles, but I have to count stitches at least a little bit so that the handles are centrally located. I have, however, just about finished a knee-rug for work! Yet again, it’s made with some of that 8-ply (DK) synthetic green yarn gifted to me by a friend, and more of my variegated scraps, held double. So it really is thick and, this time, it really is quite small. I think my starting chain was about 60. It will work fine in the office, which is where I intend to use it. I will catch up with finishing all of the other small bits and pieces, but not while I’m watching TV. For me, because of my poor eyesight, that’s sometimes a little trickier than simply dealing with a piece of repeating-pattern crochet. I can manage, “One treble, one chain,” ad infinitum! The photo is somewhat dull, but I think you’ll get the idea: a quick and easy pattern that produces a lovely, squishy finish.

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Scrappy stashbusting stuff. And small, but enough to cover my knees so that I don’t get too cold at the office.

I hope you’re also catching up with your crafty projects, and old friends.

 

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how hard could it be?

Colour-matching stripes as well as aligning them? It's harder than you might think.

Colour-matching stripes as well as aligning them? It’s harder than you might think.

Do you ever find yourself asking that question? How hard could it be for someone else to clean the loo or change the toilet roll or do any of the dozens of domestic chores that evidence suggests can only be done by one person and that would never be either of the males about the house? Yep, me too. All the time!

Sewing can have those sorts of moments as well. By way of background, let me explain that YoungB has a 21st-birthday party to attend shortly (there’ll be a few of them in the next couple of years) and, given that it’s late autumn and the mornings are darn chilly, we reckoned that a long, knitted scarf would be an ideal gift. Remember the Noro Silk Garden scarf? Yep, we decided that that would do the job nicely. When I said recently that I’d finished it, I wasn’t entirely fibbing. The knitting was certainly completed, but there were still the ends to deal with and it hadn’t been blocked. Those details have now been taken care of. The intended recipient is a young woman whose idea of a great birthday present is some homemade muffins or something equally useful and not wasteful. Therefore, we decided that a reusable shopping bag would make ideal gift wrapping.

Really, making a shopping bag should be easy and why not throw in a couple of matching lavender bags?

Really, making a shopping bag should be easy and why not throw in a couple of matching lavender bags?

How hard could it be to make a foldable, reusable shopping bag? It’s not. It’s just kind of fiddly and when you’re attempting it with minimal measuring tools, getting your lines plumb is more of a headache than you might think. And when you’re trying to cut it out late at night – that’s about the only time I ever do things! – sometimes the difficulties associated with making sure your stripes match are insuperable. I lined up the pieces beautifully but not in the correct order, so although the stripes align from front to back, they don’t match. The handles have the same problem (obviously; and there the stripes don’t even align). Never mind, it’s lightweight, made with bright, cheerful fabric (acceptable for the party theme of 80s or lots of colour), suitable for purpose and if I had half a dozen of them on hand to use instead of gift wrap, I’d be extremely pleased with myself. (Yes, you’re right, that’s certainly something to aim for; but let’s not call it a plan. Okay?)

Handmade fibre gifts from our household generally include a lavender bag. In this case, we decided on two because the leftover bits of yarn are part of the gift, just in case there’s ever any mending required, and they’re in a separate little bag of their own (plastic, in that case, for mothproofing purposes) along with an instruction card detailing the yarn’s fibre content and care. The lavender bags are made with the same striped fabric as the shopping bag and I made them without a hanging loop. All YoungB has to do now is get a card and nut out a suitably 80s costume. With Dr B’s wardrobe available for raiding, how hard could that be?

 

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2014 in Knitting, Sewing

 

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banalities of life

I’ve been mending reusable shopping bags. I know. You’d think there’d come a point where you’d reckon enough is enough and out they’d go but when it’s just a bit of stitching that’s come adrift, the urge to fix it is overwhelming. Also, Dr B asked if I would!

I have also been knitting and am a little over three inches along with the White Caps Cowl.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2012 in Knitting, Sewing

 

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fun fabric

Today I was presented with some fabric, most unexpectedly. A colleague’s mother is having to destash. Poor thing. I felt her pain. However, knowing that I use fabric, the mother wondered if I would like it. Her pain became my gain. I’m now the happy possessor of 13 squares of upholstery fabric samples – either linen or heavy cotton, I can’t quite decide which – with a very 70s feel. The obvious use is cushion covers, as there’s not enough of any of it to do serious stuff with. But then again, I might make a couple of shopping bags or even lined totes.

Innocently awaiting their destiny

I apologise for the quality of the photo, which I agree is fairly bad. However, you can probably get an idea from the foremost one that some of the patterns are delightfully wild. I’m going to have fun with these!

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Sewing

 

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again or still

I had to make another shopping bag and I did it quickly, so I don’t know if that’s hurrying in a repeated or renewed manner. My suspicion is that I’ve never stopped. Camera problems meant the phone was the best option for quick photographic results but I think you can see the pretty, cheerful fabric reasonably well. It’s stiff, so I almost had to admit defeat on the French seams which ended up being very thick. Sturdy, I tell myself. They’re not chunky, they’re sturdy.

Slapdash, sure, but sturdy withal

Yes, there was a lavender bag in the finished article when I presented it to the Birthday Girl today at lunchtime. These birthday seem to be coming around very quickly at the moment! Another colleague will be looking for some small, celebratory token next week and I know she’d appreciate fingerless mitts.

I’d like to oblige her in that respect but the difficulty for me is that, while I can sew a shopping bag in about 20 minutes, it would take me more like 20 hours to knit the mitts. I don’t have quite that many hours available this weekend although I anticipate that I might finish Boy’s beanie now that I’ve had a few days of being dedicated about knitting on the bus and am finally decreasing for the crown.

But mitts for my colleague? No, not when you knit as slowly as I do. Another shopping bag, do you think?

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Knitting, Sewing

 

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hurriedly

Somehow I overlooked a colleague’s birthday. This called for swift creation of something. These days, we’re all keen to have sturdy, reusable shopping bags so I decided to make one for her using some of the leftover linen curtain fabric that I used to make Dr B’s Paris-Brest-Paris musette.

The shopping bag is a mix of styles as well as being my usual mix of careful French seams (you don’t want your cans of dog food falling out) and slapdashery extraordinaire with regard to hems! The handles are well secured too (see previous comment about cans of dog food).

Accompanied by a lavender bag, of course

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2012 in Cycling, Sewing

 

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