More of the same …

Are you getting bored with my Laurels yet? Clearly, I’m not – I made two more over the weekend.

This time as dress versions. For the dresses, I went up a size, because after some consideration I realized I found the blouses a tad too tight over the bust. Maybe that was a mistake – I made the black linen one first, and ended up taking ~ 2 inches off each side.

Black Linen Laurel
Black Linen Laurel

I know, yet another horrific photo … I’ll try to get shots with me in it, but my camera clearly is a poor weather baby and has huge trouble with the sun here.

Anyways, after I’d made this one, I transferred my changes to the pattern, moved the darts a little bit more (again), and made another sleeveless version.

Sleeveless Laurel
Sleeveless Laurel

Last week, my parents came down all the way from Germany to visit me, and parents being parents, they asked what they could bring me from home. Now, I have all sorts of weird food issues – the most prominent being a rather pesky gluten intolerance. My mother, bless her, tries really hard, but invariably ends up bringing me food I can’t eat without making myself miserable. So this year, I thought we try something else, and asked her to bring me some fabric.

It was a huge success – my mother had weeks of fun bartering with the merchants on her hometown’s market, and I got 8m of nice fabric – mostly solid knits, but this fabric is a light woven cotton-something mix. To be fair, it’s a tad too blue for me, but for some reason I really love it.

My only woe with this make is that I cut sleeves before realizing that it would be much better sleeveless in this drapey fabric … maybe I can squeeze another blouse out of the remnants to avoid the sleeves going to waste.

Manteo growing
Manteo growing

In related news, I think this cardi will go great with the dress, non? Just need to finish it … and hope it blocks out, as it’s looking awfully small at this stage.

And last but not least, my plants. They seem to like it here 😀 When I started the seedlings back in February, I passed a few plants on to friends, since I had far too many. Out of the whole bunch, mine have outgrown all their siblings in the most impressive manner. I don’t know what it is, but I love it!

San Marzano tomatoes:

San Marzano tomatoes
San Marzano tomatoes

Rambling red (stripey tomatoes!):


And the herbs – parsley, coriander, 2 sorts of thai basil, italian basil and pink wonder tomatoes:

The wild growth
The wild growth

There are a few more things on the needles, but I’ll save them for another post.

Oh, and the rain? Nothing but a distant memory. I might even be a teensy bit sun burnt. Maybe. 😉

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?

Elwing Calafalas – It’s done!

Time is a weird thing. I’ll never quite understand how a few hours can stretch into an eternity, and why the same three months can feel like a heartbeat for one thing and like an eternity for another.

This make felt like it was a long time in the making, but according to my blog (trusty friend) it didn’t take much longer than 3 months. Which, to be fair, isn’t that long for knitting a cardigan.

Either way, it’s done 🙂

Finished Elwing Calafalas

Overall, I’m very pleased with how this turned out. There are a few minor details that haven’t turned out exactly as planned. One of the sleeves is a bit wider at the wrist than the other, and I might have to think of a way to remedy that. Since there’s no way I’m going to frog and reknit it, however, I’m not quite sure how … maybe something will come to me.

The cardigan was knit as a top-down raglan, and I fitted as I went. Mostly that turned out great, even though the yarn stretched a bit more than expected when I blocked the cardi and it now has generous ease. Probably not a bad thing for layering in winter, tho.

I really like how the picot edging turned out. It was a lot of hand sewing, but I did become better at it and it does give a very nice finish. Now I think about it, the sleeve thing might be because I finished one of the sleeve edges before and one after I blocked – another lesson learned.


After some deliberation, I decided to go for a button band with a one-stitch-twisted-rib stitch, and it turned out fine. Of course I sewed on one of the buttons in a slightly off distance to the others … which seems to be one of my favorites. I could fix that easily, but right now, I’m not bothered, so it stays.

The buttons came out of my (rather sizeable) stash of vintage buttons, and I think they go very well with the cardigan, adding to the somewhat rustic yet light feel of it.

The goal was a simple, somewhat traditional cardigan, and I think I met that goal. It has a weirdly bavarian touch to it, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing 🙂

It’s done!

Lo and behold – actual knitting!

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe other people are perfectly capable of maintaining a balance. Keep doing the repetitive tasks in their life at designated times, and hence be able to enjoy their spare time in an orderly manner.

Over here, things are of a more transient nature. One week, the focus is all on knitting socks (for any value where “week” == “more than a few hours”), the next ALL.THE.JEANS are calling out to me, and then maybe a round of knicker making. I try to fit the necessities somewhere in between my day job and those fanciful obsessions. Mostly, that works fairly well, but  it’s in the nature of the beast that things proceed on a less than even speed.

Elwing – button considerations

I could try and justify the slow progress on Elwing Calafalas by the summer, but you are well aware that we didn’t really have much of that, so it’d be a lie.

First I was distracted by the Caterpillar Cardigan. Then sewing took over. And then it dawned on me that it’s only 4 weeks until the next HUGE expansion in my favorite MMORPG will be released, and it will have mounted combat and horses you can train and I am 15 levels away from being able to do that. (Any of you playing Lord of the Rings Online?)

Taking a break

But despite all that, Elwing has been growing steadily, and at this point, all that’s left is a whole lot of hand sewing and the button bands. Or zippers. Soon as I make up my mind, I’ll let you know 😀

The hand sewing is because I decided against ribbed anything, and have done all borders in a picot edging which needs to be sewn down now.

Like this:

Elwing – pocket detail

And this:

Elwing – neck detail

And this, too:

Elwing – bottom edging

Now, my question for you – should I add some one-by-one ribbing and buttons, or should I apply this sort of picot facing to the front and add a zipper? I really, really can’t decide!

Simplicity Style: 2211 – the skirt

Is it really Thursday already?!

Somehow I lost a day this week. That’s not a bad thing, you might say, as it means I’m closer to The Weekend, which also begins half a day early as our employer has given everybody in the UK Friday afternoon off so we can watch the Olympics Opening. Yay!

My suspicion is my day was lost during the night where my increasingly bad lactose and gluten intolerances decided to get together and have a party. Both these food intolerances have developed over the last few years, and I’m still not very good at dealing with it.

The easiest way to avoid unpleasantness (which can range from slightly gassy to a full-blown 12 hours of cramps and camping in the bathroom – I apologize if that was TMI) would obviously be just not eat dairy or gluten.

Well, what can I say? I love cheese. Some cheeses are alright, others … not so much. And as I’ve learned the hard way, a brie-and-redcurrant-jelly sammy is just no longer possible. D’oh.

But I digress. The plan for this post was to show you the skirt I made, together with the Caterpillar Cardi, as my first Me-Made outfit post. But this outfit is adamant it doesn’t want to be photographed. I kid you not, I took roughly 50 photos, NONE OF WHICH can be posted to this blog.

You don’t believe me?? Look at this:

Well, at least you get to see the colour changes on the cardi, if you squint a wee bit and try to ignore the fuzzyness 😀

The skirt was Simplicity 2211, the Lisette market skirt:


I had wanted a fairly simple A-line skirt for a while, and this fit the bill perfectly. The pattern is quick and easy to sew up, and I squeezed the skirt out of ~1m of left-overs from a previous trousers make.

You can see that I kinda-sorta tried to match the plaids, but I didn’t try very hard. The result is they’re not matching very well, but I’m okay with that.

Plaid Lisette Market

There really isn’t a lot more to say about it, it was that easy to sew up 🙂 The buttons, of course, came from my stash, and I think go very well with the skirt. I had 4 of them, and they’re just the right size for ornamental use … not sure where else I cold have used them, as they’re slightly too big for a blouse or dress, but just not big enough for a jacket. Hence I’m very happy to have found them a good home on the skirt.

Lisette Market Button

The new ritual

Last week, I told you why The Very Best Jumper is named the way it is (and it has nothing to do with Martha Stewart!).

Today, I’ll show you my silly little new ritual.

And this ritual was inspired by something I also talked about last week, namely the first pajama pants I ever made. Now, I don’t really have a photo of them, tho they’re rather snazzy, if I say so myself … black satin with lace edgings.

The only thing that’s really a constant test of my patience is the fact that it’s really, really hard to tell the front from the back. Because of the slinky fabric, and their blackness, and the fact that it’s usually in a poorly lit bedroom that I put them on, this process can take several moments.

Just imagine me … holding them up, inspecting both sides. Peering inside. Eventually resorting to searching for the gap in the waistband I used to insert the elastic band.

So one day, I said to myself, enough is enough … I need a tag of some sort. Now, me being me, I can’t just … ah, well, you know, sew a little something into the pants and let it be good. This little princess won’t do below a proper tag. Clearly it should bear my name (or the name of my blog) on it.

So I found these:

TVBJ laundry tags

For a very affordable £6.99 plus postage (I paid ~£10 quid overall) you get 36 of these lovely, woven laundry tags. You can choose your font, the colours,  and whether you want some fancy decorations (yes, please!) on them. They come in two different sizes, and were delivered within a week.

The first garment to get one was this (new) pajama bottom:

First use of TVBJ tag

And today, I used another one:

Finishing touches on the caterpillar cardi

It went into the caterpillar cardi, first mentioned here, which I finished today.

As we speak, it’s soaking in the third load of detergent – the green heathered wool is a lovely yarn, scottish lambswool from a small mill, but it comes oiled for machine use, and needs some quite thorough cleaning before it fluffs up.

Hence the absence of photos of the FO … you’ll see more of it during the coming week.