Colette – Laurel

While the weather is still rather temperamental, it is a bit warmer now, and that means I can finally use the sewing room. Okay, to be honest I could have used it before, but I’d have to drag the electric heater in there, and for a spot of evening sewing that just doesn’t happen – by the time the rooms warmed up sufficiently, I’m ready for bed most times.

But with a four day weekend, I was intent on finally making use of it. I even found a second screw to secure my chair seat, so I wouldn’t fall off the chair and break my neck – win!

Last week, Colette Patterns released Laurel, and while I’ve admired a lot of their patterns, and even own a few, I’ve never made anything but a Sorbetto top – which didn’t fit me very well, and I’ve not gotten around to fix the pattern. I’m thinking I might do that soon, though …

Laurel is a cute little pattern that can be made into a dress or top, and with the fitting issues from Sorbetto in mind, I decided I’d make the top first.

I had this rather weird teal poly-cotton with textured stripes in my stash, and I’ve been looking for a pattern for it for quite a while. Laurel seemed to fit the bill, and indeed it does work rather well, I think.

Things were going fairly well with my first version – there was some gaping in the back neck line, but thanks to the back center seam, it was no problem to fix that by taking the seam in 1.5 inches.

Sadly, though, when I set about to press the seam open, I accidentally switched the temperature on my iron to highest, and promptly melted a hole in the fabric 😦 Go me.

There was just enough of the fabric left to make a second version, and that gave me the opportunity to fix a few minor fitting issues – the gaping back neckline by taking out 1.5 inches at the top of the back center seam, tapering to nothing roughly at waist height.

I also lowered the neck-side of the shoulder seams by a bit less than an inch, as they were standing up a little bit in the first version.

Colette - Laurel front
Colette – Laurel front

The back would probably benefit from a little bit more tampering with the shoulder seams and armscye, there’s a teensy bit of wrinkling there, but not enough to really bother me.

Colette - Laurel back
Colette – Laurel back

The only thing I’m not entirely sure about is the sleeve length, which hits just at my elbows. I kinda like it, though … maybe I get used to it.

And just for giggles, here’s one shot of my litte herb-garden-in-the-making. The birds have ripped out a couple of baby tomatoes and chilies, but it looks like it was more of an exploratory action and they decided they’re not appealing to eat. Phew. I’m sure there will be many other takers once the sun comes out for good …

Future herb garden
Future herb garden

I haz knitting!

Maybe, if I had worn my new amulet, things would have gone differently. Maybe Sun Wukong would have saved me.

Sun Wukong
Sun Wukong

Or, rather my knitting needle, that is. Because I am actually fine. The needle, however, isn’t:

Broken KnitPro :(
Broken KnitPro 😦

But I’m telling the story from the end to the beginning, and that’s never a good thing.

The beginning is rather pleasant, really. I told you that after several knitting related disasters  I had cast on the very simple lace stole again, just using a different yarn:

Easy lace stole
Easy lace stole

Things were going swimmingly (ha.ha. See what I did here? Just so you know I’m still moaning about the rain.), and it’s now nearly as long as I am tall. It’s a stole, after all, and needs to be long enough to be comfortably wrapped around my rather substantial shoulders.

now longer ;)
now longer 😉

But of course I got bored, and under my coffee table, there was the bag with the cotton-wool-mix yarn I’d carried over in my suitcase, as the beginning of a t-shirt that didn’t really work out the way I intended, and consequently got frogged.

And a couple of days ago, while digging through one of the last unpacked boxes (they contain books and magazines and some old bills), I found an Interweave mag from last year. Leafing through it, this cardigan jumped out to me:

Manteo Cardigan, back
Manteo Cardigan, back

So I cast on, decided to ignore the little fluke in the first few rows of the ribbing (I know. It’s hurting my eyes now, too.), and finished most of the back in one lazy Saturday on the sofa.

Then it happened. I went to get more tea, and when I sat back down, I sat on my knitting – accidentally, I might add. SNAP! I heard the noise, I feared the worst, and I was right – the needle had cleanly broken.

Which is really sad 😦 Not only did I have to continue knitting the cardigan with a 3.5mm needle instead of the 3.75mm (which, frankly, doesn’t seem to make even the tiniest difference), but of course I can’t get KnitPro needles anywhere here. So they have to be ordered … LeSigh.

Am I the only person who ever breaks her knitting needles by accidentally sitting on them, I wonder?

In the absence of …

Just to get it out of the way – it’s still raining. It’s still too cold. But we’ve had a few sunny days as well, and all around me the flowers are starting to bloom, so I’ll take that as a good sign and just firmly believe that soon, oh so very soon, the Costa del Sol will behave itself and display what it got it’s name from – loads of sun. Yup. I have faith.

That being said, that’s mostly all I have for you.

Mostly, but not quite – there has been some further unpacking. Or actually some rearranging things. One day, it occurred to me that I have loads of unused wardrobe space, and in the absence of actual garments, why not fill it with garments-to-be?

So I got all my stash out of it’s plastic bin and put it in the wardrobe:

The Stash
The Stash

That was quite a good idea, if I do say so myself 🙂 Now I know exactly what I have – which, of course, also shows me clearly what I don’t have, and that’s the fabric I want. Oh, the hard life!

As a matter of fact, that turns out to be a bit of an issue, as the options to buy fabric locally are somewhat limited. I scouted two stores which sell fabrics, one in Gibraltar, another one in La Linea. Sadly, though, neither of them has ANYTHING I actually want to buy. On top of that, they’re rather expensive – which is a bit nuts, as everything else here is so much cheaper than back in good ole Blighty.

I did, however, finally find an online shop who ships for reasonable rates – UKfabrics online. So I ordered some more denim (yes, I’m still obsessed with making yet another Jalie Jeans. Judge me.), and some funky vintage flowery fabric. Experience tells me, however, that it’ll be roughly 4 weeks before I get my hot mitts on that, so in the meantime I’ll have to find something to make from stash.

Aside from that, I started some seedlings.

Seedlings
Seedlings

What you see there are San Marzano tomatoes, Black Cherry tomatoes, and an assortment of herbs and chilies. Some of which came out of last year’s swap with the lovely Silvia – like she knew!

So, peeps, cross your fingers for me – my green thumb has been severely under exercised these last 10 years or so, let’s hope I haven’t lost it.

It was raining this morning …

… which, to be fair, did not exactly come as a surprise. Now, I do keep an eye on the weather forecast, but my faith in it is limited. So I also keep an eye on the sky. And in that sky I saw the most amazing cloud formations yesterday. That told met the forecast was probably right, and I prepared myself for a day around the house.

Sardines before baking in the oven.
Sardines before baking in the oven.
Sardines out of the oven. Noms.
Sardines out of the oven. Noms.

Some huge shopping was done, and the first meal to come out of that were these sardines, which I baked in the oven with just a bit of olive oil, lemon, garlic and parsley. They were really nice.

Today, I awoke to the pladder of rain, and realized it was a perfect day to finally use the sewing room for it’s intended purpose. It’s been set up for a while:

Sewing table
Sewing table

A couple of days ago, I’d cut out another long-sleeve tee,  using my trusted self-drafted pattern, and today was the day to put it together.

Suddenly, however, I realised I didn’t want the tee all plain, so I chose to do the neckline in a contrast fabric, and add bands to the arms.

This is what came out:

Purple long sleeve tee
Purple long sleeve tee

Not a lot more to say, really – the scraps I used are leftovers from my trip to Walthamstow market last year, and this particular knit was made into another long-sleeve tee. The arms are seriously looooooong, but that’s exactly what I wanted.

The purple knit is a nice, stable double-knit (I think …) that was a leaving gift from my lovely friend Kim-ing, and I’m glad I finally put it to good use. I’d love to give you an eniticing photo in my backyard, with proper light and all that jazz – however, this is what’s happening in my backyard right now:

Rain
Rain

So that will have to wait.