Oh my exciting life!

I do apologize for the blurry photo from this morning – that’s my knee, in a me-made pair of trousers, on the train.

Today I had to go to London for an appointment, and since it was rather short notice, everything that could possibly go wrong did indeed go wrong.

The ticket was infuriatingly expensive (£49.30, if you must know, for a return including tube). I had to be at my appointment at 9am, which means I had to travel through London in the midst of morning traffic, and as my luck would have it, today was the day where they closed the tube for a good 40 minutes because it was overcrowded. Maybe it’s just me, but I really wonder how that’s going to turn out when the Olympics have started – a time during which I’ll stay well away from London, thank you very much.*

So, with the tube closed, I grabbed a taxi. If you can call it “grab” if you line up for it for more than half an hour. Needless to say, the extra 20 minutes I had planned as a buffer in case it’s busy (ha!) proved nowhere near sufficient, and I arrived at my appointment a good 30 minutes late.Well, at least my taxi had taken me past Buckingham Palace, which I haven’t seen really since I was about 8, and the parade grounds, where some impressive guys in impressive helmets were practising marching around and turning corners sharply. Which my taxi driver didn’t need any practice for – I swear I heard the swish of a trouser once or twice on our way, so closely did he cut it. Nobody died, tho, which I’m very happy about.

Skateboard graveyard at Hungerford Bridge

After the business was done, I met with a lovely friend of mine, and because it wasn’t raining (insert gasp here), we decided to skip on the planned trip to the V&A and just stroll around a bit on the Southbank. We even contemplated a go in the London Eye, but I for one had had enough of queues today. Sorry, Steph! Seeing the prices now, I’m not sure I’d have been willing to cough it up after the train ticket, anyways 😀

And just so you’re not left with one measly, greasly photo today – I couldn’t resist swinging by fabricland on my way home, and snatched up some lovely light cotton shirting, which is going to be a blouse of some sort. My wardrobe is sadly lacking in upper garments.

And a sneak peek of a few buttons I shared with the lovely Kim-ing, so I suspect you might see them make an appearance over there, too 😀 Which is fine, as they’re really pretty buttons.

And next time, I hope there’ll be some actual knitting again. Or sewing. Or at least pattern drafting. So that I can tell you more about something I’ve done, as opposed to rambling on about things I didn’t do 😀

*A quick google search indicates it might actually have been a fire alarm in South Kensington which caused the delayed trains and hence the crowd building up.

Lazy Weekend

My weekend was mostly spent reading, and catching up on some sleep and cleaning around the house.

Hence I don’t really have a lot to share in terms of knitting or sewing today, and will keep it brief.

I did print, tape and cut/trace the pattern for the blouse I’m making for the VPLL1912 Titanic project, and I did sort my fabric into my brand new plastic boxes.

VPLL1912 #1000 Basque

For tracing pattern, I use greaseproof paper. It’s sturdy, cost-effective cheap and the only downside is that it can be a bit narrow, in which case you have to tape the pieces together. This only ever happened to me for trousers, tho, and was easily solved by using some sello tape.

Patternmaking with greaseproof paper

For me this works really well – what are you using? Or do you cut right from the pattern sheet?

Somehow, I don’t like doing that … I think it’s a combination of the delusional belief that one day I will loose these extra 10 pounds, and the fact that I started sewing from magazine patterns (because that was what we had at home … for the longest time, I didn’t even know that you can buy individual patterns. Ya, how embarrassing, I know … ), and since there are many patterns on one sheet, you obviously don’t want to cut it in case you want to make another one from it.

Of course there was some knitting, too. Since the football turned out to be really captivating (sorry, England, but Buffon is a god) I needed something easy to work on, and started yet another shawl.

This one is going to be a present for a friend, and she likes surprises, so the lack of discernible detail in the photo is (for once) on purpose:

Yet another shawl, somewhat secret


Summer Mystery KAL with Wendy

Click on the picture to see the Ravelry group.

It’s this time of the year again.

Last year, when I participated in my first KAL (knit-along), I enjoyed the process immensely. There is something enchanting about knitting the same thing as many other knitters around the world, not knowing what it’ll end up looking like but faithfully trudging on, and have a forum to discuss any challenges the pattern might pose.

Mystery KALs are always a special case. Usually, you get the pattern for less than then full sale prize, but you don’t know what you’re buying. For me, that adds to the appeal, but can of course backfire.

I have done a KAL last year where I had to give up, because no matter how I looked at it, I didn’t like the pattern. It was painful to knit, and I didn’t like the look. After several tries, I finally ripped it.

Gauge swatch

This is the gauge swatch, and I’m pretty sure I’ll love this one. So far, I’ve just cast on, so there is nothing else you show you yet.

And the bland played on …

I promised you historical patterns last week.

Truth is, I haven’t done as much with them as I’d hoped I would, because the Caterpillar Cardigan insisted to be born. Oh, well. Since I’m still utterly in love with this project, I’m down with that.

But I have made a commitment, and so I’ll tell you at least about the pattern, if not about me doing something with it.

It was probably the lovely Cation who acquainted me with this project, because she made a most impressive blouse and blogged about it. The project I’m talking about is the VPLL1912Project:

With the upcoming 100-year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, there seems no better time to be motivated to tackle one of the Vintage Pattern Lending Library’s archives largest projects.   The scanning and digitizing of the patterns and magazines of La Mode Illustree – once France’s foremost publication of fashion of the era.

Now, when I started this blog, I really thought I’d be knitting vintage patterns (which, urm, yeah, didn’t really work so well … I did make one, tho!). Somehow, however, the things on my needles have drifted towards vintage inspired self designed items, and I enjoy that too much to fret about it.

So I was thrilled to find another outlet for my love of all things old, and even from an era I adore for it’s style. Sign me up, Scotty!

Last week I received my first pattern – oh, the excitement! I chose to go with a blouse, too, but a slightly simpler one:

I chose it partly because it seems a little bit less daunting than other projects on the page. But mostly because I’ve been wanting to make a blouse with some pin-tucking for quite a while now, and since this pattern in all likelyhood will need some serious grading to make it fit onto my very much not-1912 frame (waistless, remember?) I’ll get to do a full muslin, hence plenty of opportunity to practice. Yeah, I’m smart like that 😀

However, speaking of waistless. Looking at photos from the era, and the cut of the blouse, I realized I should probably make a corset, too.

Now, the whole corset thing … is probably best left for another post! (Because I have OPINIONS on corsets … do you have them, too?)

When you’re hit by (inspirational) lightning, cast on.

It’s not like I didn’t have anything on the needles. There’s Elwin Calafalas, a triangle shawl and a pair of socks. Not to speak of the cabin log blanket. There’s even a crochet project sitting patiently in a corner. Oh, and a cotton sweater, too …

Cotton Sweater

After looking at all my projects rather miserably, I realized I did’t want to knit any of them. What I wanted to make was … something different. Maybe a shawl in a fingering weight, so it’d knit up quickly and could be used very soon? (Yes, you guessed it … it was raining outside.)

So some yarn was grabbed, I had a vague idea for something two colored and cast on. I used the same green lambswool and Aade Long yarn as in this shawl. Well, while the colours really work well together, what I really want is a black shawl. I don’t know why I don’t cast one on, I even have some really lovely Wollmeise sock yarn in black.Does this ever happen to you? Knowing exactly what you want/need, but somehow that doesn’t seem to be what ends up on your needles?

Too pink. Really.

Since I wasn’t feeling the shawl, I ripped it. While doing so, I considered ripping a lazy-kate-type shawl that had used up most of the Aade Long (which I eventually did. Well, mostly, some’s still waiting …) earlier this year. And then lightning struck.

These two yarns would be *perfect* for a light, striped cardigan with a boat neck. I mean, like, perfect.

Like, perfect

I’m now about a hand’s width underneath the arms, in a top down raglan construction, and striping the cardigan with added texture.

And what can I tell you? I’m loving it.

Rain (and an award)

The lovely Careless Gene has nominated me for an award! Thank you, I feel rather flattered.

Since she had two at hand, I chose the one I thought fits better (or maybe, I’d like to fit me better?), The Versatile Blogger (check out the rules by clicking on the picture).

Maybe that’s just wishful thinking, but I do have the feeling I cover more than just the needles and fibers on this blog, and I certainly plan to add a bit more variety to the mix going forward.

So, without further ado, here are the 15 blogs I love to read (I have a feeling there will be some overlap with previous nominations …):

  1. ChemKnits
  2. Bald Sweater Guy
  3. Wendy knits
  4. The Yarn Harlot
  5. Stitched together
  6. Male pattern boldness
  7. VickiKateMakes
  8. Cation Designs
  9. Sew Well
  10. Yes I like that
  11. Did you make that?
  12. Fuss Free Flavours
  13. them apples
  14. Ciao Chow Linda
  15. Hyperbole and a Half

Now, the eagle-eyed amongst you will quickly spot that these are not all knitting blogs, in fact, there are some food blogs and even one that’s got nothing to do with crafting/cooking at all! The reasoning for including other disciplines is that I know for a fact this thing has gone round for a while, and hence I’m sure many of the brilliant bloggers in the knitting cafe of the internet, if you allow, will have been nominated before.

But also, I do read a lot of other stuff, so I wanted to share the love a bit wider.

Now, onto the 7 random facts:

  1. No navy.
    I don’t know why, but navy’s the color you won’t find in my wardrobe. It’s not like I hate blue, or anything … in fact, I’m quite in love with the brown/turquoise combinations you could find all over the place last year. Just … not navy. Okay, to be honest, I blame my mother. She’s got this thing for “respectable” colours, and navy is right on top of that list (just after white, which is another colour conspicuously absent from my wardrobe). There. I said it. I hate navy.
  2. No processed foods.
    I’m not exactly a health nut, but I have a strong dislike of processed foods. Except <points down>
  3. OMG peanut butter Kit Kat chunky.
    I love the stuff. Which makes it really sad that it’s SO INCREDIBLY HARD TO FIND. Dear Supermarket managers in Brighton – would you please order more of it? Thank you.
  4. Nit-picky by profession.
    I love my job. QA is the next best thing after knitting. Really. I get paid to clickety-click buttons, I get to play with all the new toys before anybody else, and I can nag about them all I want (I have to be nice about it, but you want to do that anyways, no?).
  5. Churches are pretty.
    While I very much enjoy looking at all sorts of old buildings, I’m particularly fond of churches. Which might be because I’m so thoroughly not religious. I always feel like I’ve snuck into some unknown tribe’s territory, trying to make sense of the (to me) bizarre rituals.
  6. Fried insects?
    I’m a huge food lover, and even worked as a chef for a few years. I love to try new things! That being said, I’m still not sure about insects, and I refuse to eat eyes, brains or testicles (unless they’re in Fleischwurst, in which case I don’t care).
  7. The internet
    You probably suspected it, but I do spend a lot of time on the internet. (And during my working hours, I even get paid to do so. Go figure.)

So, now that you know all these things about me, go ahead and forget them right away, please 🙂 Move on, nothing to see here.

Next week, however … there will be historical patterns, knitting progress and maybe even a fried locust. Probably not, tho … even if they were a common sight in the south-east of England (and they’re not), they’d all have embarked on their ark and gone off to drier shores by then, I’m sure. YES, IT’S STILL RAINING.

See you next week 🙂